Thursday, December 27, 2012

Living Up to the Hype

Have you ever been critisized because you are a Christian? Do you stand tall and proclaim God's greatness to those who would love to knock you down? I don't.. I admit it.. for years I was a "secret" Christian. I believed in God.. but I chose to hide behind the world and "protect" my faith. I did not shout it out.. I did not stand for God. Which in a very real way meant I stood against Him..

I compartmentalize my life.. Work belongs at work, friends belong with friends, church belongs at church.. and my faith.. well it stayed right there at church. Not too long ago my youngest daughter and my mom and I were driving and I can not remember what we were discussing but my daughter, said.. "but that's not right. I have a personal day to day relationship with Jesus Christ" that has stayed with me. I hear her voice and I am so proud of her. Why should I be proud when she was discussing her faith with her Grandma? Well because I never would have. It was understood that I was allowed my faith but we didn't discuss it. I didn't "force" my opinion upon them and really it was just a "crutch" to be used by a weaker person. A lesser person. So when my daughter spoke up I was both humbled and awed!

Romans 1:16 (KJV)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

1 Timothy 6:12 (KJV)

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Where's the Line to See Jesus



While I was perusing my email today, I found this..

NEW CHRISTMAS SONG....one of the best!

                    About the Song
                   
                    While at the mall a couple of years ago, my then four year old nephew, Spencer, saw kids lined up to see Santa Claus. Having been taught as a toddler that Christmas is the holiday that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, he asked his mom, "where's the line to see Jesus"?
                    
                    My sister mentioned this to my dad, who immediately became inspired and jotted words down to a song in just a few minutes. After putting music to the words, and doing a quick recording at home, he received a great response from friends. He sent the song off to Nashville without much response, except for a Christian song writer who suggested adding a bridge at the end of the first chorus. My dad   then asked if I wanted to record the song to see what we could do with it. I   listened to the song, made a few changes to the words to make it flow better, and we headed to Shock City Studios.
                    
                    It was at the studio where Chris, owner and producer, rewrote the 2nd verse and part of the chorus... with goose bumps and emotions high, we were all hopeful and felt like we had something special. The demo was recorded in just under 2 hours and sent off again to Nashville ... still no response.
                    
                    Then 2 weeks before Christmas last year, my cousins Greg and Robbie decided to do a video to see what we could accomplish on YouTube. The first day we had 3000 hits and it soared from there. We received e-mails, phone calls, Facebook messages from people all over asking for the music, CD's, iTunes, anything... we had nothing. After a couple of meetings with Chris following the amazing response, we got serious. We headed back into the studio this past spring... this time with guitars, drums, bass, pianos, choirs... the real deal.... and here we are today.
                    
                    Getting iTunes set up, a website put together, and loving that thousands upon thousands of Christians have come together... remembering the true meaning of Christmas.   Out of the mouths of babes come profound truths that many adults can not understand. Hopefully Spencer's observation will cause people all over to reflect on the love of Jesus, and that one day we will all stand in line to see Him. We are most thankful to our Heavenly Father to have this chance to share our music with you. Merry Christmas everyone.
                    
                    MERRY CHRISTMAS OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO




This is not my story nor my video.. I suggest you check out Becky Kelly! What a wonderful reminder! Thanks to Becky and her family

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Peterson Farm Bros

My daughter, Word Girl, shared this video on her Facebook page. It is funny, clever and yes as far as I am concerned a Joyful Noise to The Lord..


Thursday, November 29, 2012

The More Things Change

When I was in High School.. way back when.. there was a policy.. It focused on the entire separation of church and state concept. You know the one that was NEVER mentioned in the constitution? Anyway, they refused to allow us to have a Bible Study on campus. While all other clubs and groups were allowed this one wasn't. We fought, we petitioned and eventually the battle was won. I was not amongst the winners of that battle because I had transferred to a Private Christian High School, obviously having a Bible Study on campus was no longer an issue. But this battle stuck with me..

The reasoning was that because it was a "religious" group it was violating the constitutional rights of those who didn't believe. Not sure how that could be as it was a voluntary group of students who just wanted to share like minded beliefs. No on was forcing anyone to attend and certainly the school was not mandating it. It was on these arguments that the group won.

Skip ahead a generation, my daughter had a Bible Study at her HS.. and yes since it was a school club, they needed a sponsor and even though the sponsor was a Christian she was not allowed to participate in any way. She was there to unlock the doors, turn on the lights and make sure no school rules were broken, that was it. I had no problem with this.. it would have been nice had she been allowed to participate but I understand the basic rules. The thing is all the kids knew she shared their beliefs and would stand for them. They understood that while she was limited in that room, she was on their side in so many ways. Can you imagine the discomfort and dismay, even discouragement these kids would have had, if the sponsor didn't believe as they did. Say, the sponsor was an agnostic, an atheist.. shoot even a person of another faith.. It would underline them in some very insidious ways.. they would know.. they would fear sharing things.. and yes many might stop coming..

Now Vanderbilt University has instated a policy that requires religious student groups to accept leaders regardless of their faith, even requiring Christian groups to allow atheist leadership. The school has outrageously compared these Christian groups to segregationists. There is a petition being sent to Vanderbilt that says..

"To: Vanderbilt University
You have compared Christian student groups to segregationists because they want the same rights as other Christian organizations in America — the same rights the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed this year — the right to use faith-based criteria when selecting leaders. We demand that you immediately reverse your new policy that discriminates against these students."

If you want to support the rights of these individuals, if you want to ensure that everyone's Constitutional rights are secure.. that yes even Christians are allowed their faith.. you can go HERE to sign the petition.

Shauni

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Chance of a Lifetime!



Such an exciting opportunity! My oldest daughter whom for web purposes I refer to as Word Girl has been given the opportunity to spend her summer in Peru. Yes Eight entire weeks discovering the mysteries of the rainforest! She will be traveling with Operation Wallacea




Where she will be PP101 Biodiversity Monitoring in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

Research Assistants on this project will be based on the research ship and will need to be prepared for the hot and humid conditions of the Amazonian rainforest. Whilst some respite can be found on the boat where the fan-cooled cabins, showers and food provide a retreat from the tough working conditions, the main reward is the opportunity to see and work with such a huge range of birds and animals, including the larger, and more rare, animals such as pumas, primates and tapirs.

 There is a large team of mainly Peruvian researchers based on the research ship with nine different research programmes running. Research Assistants signing up for the various projects will help on all the projects over the course of their stay. There is a strong research atmosphere on the boat with teams coming and going at all times of day and night on various research tasks.

 Research tasks which require volunteer manpower include:, spotlight surveys for caimans and diet studies of this species (which necessitates capture of the caimans through noosing), transect surveys for the abundant Pink and Grey River Dolphins and an elusive population of manatees at this site, mist netting surveys of the bird communities utilising the forest understory, transect counts of wading birds, point counts of macaws as indicators of forest fruiting, gill net surveys of
fish communities, standardised searching surveys to characterise the amphibian communities, land based transect counts of primates, large mammals and game birds as indicators of levels of exploitation, checking 20 camera traps run at a variety of habitats and depending on water level. In addition to these surveys there are dissertation studies where assistance may also be required - for example assisting with behavioural data observations on the primate species.

After her "official" trip is over she will be stopping in Machu Picchu to explore the ancient ruins..

Does this sound like the most fantastic of trips? Well I am sure it will be.. Of course there are expenses involved and we have started a fund raising push to help her cover those expenses. If anyone is interested in donating.. please click on our donating button.. It will show here in this post as well as on the side.. Thanks for all your support whether it be verbal or financial

Shauni

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!



Get off the computer! and have a Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

An Heiress At Heart, A Review

Once again Netgalley has found me a wonderful new author, one who addresses a very definite need in my reading. I love romance books, I admit it.. sometimes I even admit it out loud *grins* but lately with all the PNR and other aspects I have found the books to not only shy away from God but in subtle ways to be very anti Christian. Eventually I will be writing a post on this very subject but for now.. To that end I have been searching Netgalley for inspirational books, romances..  Love stories based on something more than lust.. not that lust doesn't have its place. But sometimes I just want something more.

To that end I have discovered Jennifer Delamere and her wonderful Love's Grace Series. An Heiress at Heart is the first book and let me tell you I was totally and completely charmed and can not wait to read more.

Fleeing from a mistake in her past Lizzie Poole heads for Australia with her brother to find a new life. Once there she finds a woman who in looks and bearing can only be related to her. Together Lizzie and Ria piece together their pasts and realize that there is most definitely a connection. Upon the death of all Lizzie holds dear she returns to England in an attempt at redemption. Only she is returning as Ria, not Lizzie. She is there to help those who loved Ria to find peace and forgiveness and another chance. As well as to see if there really is a familial connection. Although she thought this would be easy she had no idea that things would get so complicated.

Geoffrey Somerville, was perfectly happy being a small parish vicar. Committed to those in need he spent his life ensuring that his parishioners had the best he could offer. He had absolutely no desire to become Lord Sommerville but with the death of his two older brothers the title is now his. Geoffrey quickly becomes a ton favorite but he wants more from his spouse/mate/wife than a shallow flighty miss of the ton.

When Lizzie literally falls at his feet, Geoffrey is instantly smitten and with the help of his friend James assists her. Unwittingly helping the Lizzie to establish herself as Ria. Ria, the woman who broke her betrothal to one brother and eloped with another. Ria, silly, vain, flighty woman of the ton who has seemingly returned after 10 long years, with news of his brother.

To watch these two slowly fall in love and have to deal with both the loss of a loved one, the laws of the land (you can't marry your former sister-in-law). Watching Lizzie try to walk a tightrope of what is right and what is wrong. In fulfilling her promise to Ria and in staying true to herself is a delight. Ms Delamere writes a wonderful story that so many of us understand. Telling the difference between in doing what is right and doing what is RIGHT..

This book made me think, we always picture regency England full of those lacking morals and integrity. That a Vicar is nothing more than a third son who needed a job not a man with a calling. It is nice to see that a man of faith. A man who may now live in a secular world, who deals with secular issues but still retains his faith. And yes a man who stumbles, grapples with his pride and eventually remembers where true strength came from.

This was a story about family and forgiveness. About redemption and yes about Love. It truly was a wonderfully sweet story and I enjoyed it immensely. I am very excited to read the next book in the series..

Shauni

This review is based on the ARC of An Heiress at Heart provided by netgalley

Monday, October 1, 2012

Support Banned Books...


Did you know that this week is Banned Books Week? It's a week that has been set aside for the last 30 years to promote reading. To stand up against those who would make our choices for us. It is for those who choose to proudly say I READ..

I grew up in a house where books were plentiful.. where more often than not when we were at sporting events, if you wanted to find my mom, you looked over to the nearest set of trees and there my mom would be in her chair, reading a book. Not watching the game, reading a book. The thought of not having a book on me at all times is inconceivable.

Consider this.. if we allow books to be banned, you can be sure one of those books will eventually be the Bible.You may think some of these books need to be removed but isn't it better to teach.. to instruct.. teach your children WHY you find such books inappropriate.. WHY, you feel they should not be read. And WHY if they have to read them, they should question what they read..Isn't that way stronger than banning them?

My mom always said, it didn't matter if your child would only read comic books, at least he is reading. Of course that didn't pertain to her children we read classics.. *rolls eyes* She still hasn't forgiven me for my love of romance books.. but that is another story. I do know, more often than not if she had heard that a book was banned and she felt it was age appropriate, we had to read it. I tried to raise my children in a similar manner. I can say with great pride, all four read.. they have unique and interesting tastes but read they do.

Sadly, not all people are afforded that right.. schools, governments, churches all for one reason or another choose to challenge or ban a book.. How can that possible be right? Sure some books are graphic, some books are extreme, some books are *gasp* bad.. but it is not the right of State to make that choice for us. Parents need to guide their children, encourage them to read and question what they are reading.. to make their own choices...in short to LEARN..

I found this list on Rebecca Ryals Russell's Website  and  thought it needed to be shared..

SOME of the 2011 challenged or banned books were:

    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
    The Flamingo Rising, by Larry Baker
    The Notebook Girls: Four Friends, One Diary, Real Life, by Baskin, Newman, Pollitt-Cohen, Toombs
    Running with Scissors, by Augusten Burroughs
    My Mom’s Having a Baby, by Dori Hillestad Butler
    Betrayed, by P.C. and Kristin Cast
    Staying Far for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
    Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank
    The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich
    Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
    The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
    The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer

In 2010 the top 10 most frequently challenged books were:

1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

3. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

4. Crank, by Ellen Hopkins

5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

6. Lush, by Natasha Friend

7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones

8. Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich

9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie

10. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

But it’s not just contemporary books that get banned, classics get banned and challenged, too.
    *The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    2. *The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    3. *The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    4. *To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
    6. Ulysses by James Joyce
    7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
    8. *The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
    9. *1984 by George Orwell  (This one is the most ironic as its theme is suppression of books and thoughts)
    10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
    11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
    12. *Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
    13. *Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
    14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
    15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
    16. *Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
    17. *Animal Farm by George Orwell
    18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
    19. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
    20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
    21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
    22. *Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
    23. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
    24. *Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
    25. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
    26. *Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    27. Native Son by Richard Wright
    28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
    29. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
    30. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
    31. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
    32. *The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
    33. *The Call of the Wild by Jack London
    34. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
    35. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
    36. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
    37. The World According to Garp by John Irving
    38. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
    39. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
    40. *The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
    41. *Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally
    42. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
    43. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
    44. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
    45. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
    46. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
    47. *The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
    48. *Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
    49. *A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
    50. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
    51. My Antonia by Willa Cather
    52. Howards End by E. M. Forster
    53. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
    54. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
    55. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
    56. Jazz by Toni Morrison
    57. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
    58. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
    59. A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
    60. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
    61. A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
    62. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    63. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
    64. Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence
    65. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
    66. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
    67. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
    68. Light in August by William Faulkner
    69. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
    70. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
    71. *Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
    72. *A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
    73. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
    74. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
    75. Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
    76. Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
    77. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
    78. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
    79. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
    80. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
    81. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
    82. White Noise by Don DeLillo
    83. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
    84. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
    85. *The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
    86. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
    87. The Bostonians by Henry James
    88. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
    89. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
    90. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
    91. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    92. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
    93. The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
    94. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
    95. *Kim by Rudyard Kipling
    96. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    97. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
    98. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster
    99. *Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
    100. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie



To read the entire article click HERE

You want to support banned books, share what books you have read that have been banned.. shout it loud and proud!!

Shauni

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Love Surrendered, A Review

What a beautiful love story. A Love Surrendered is the the story of the remaining O'Conner in Julie Lessman's The Daughter's of Boston and The Winds of Change Series'. Julie offers romance in a way that touches not only our hearts but also offers us a choice. Her stories are based not just on man's love but on God's as well. She reminds us that being a Christian does not mean being boring or without love but rather that if we do it God's way there is just so much more to any relationship.

Set in the last months of Prohibition Steven O'Connor a fed.. is determined to be the best he can be. The best son, the best brother, the best friend, the best fed and he is going to do it all on his own. After making mistakes in his life that almost destroyed his family while in college, Steven is not about to mess up his life again. He wants to hold up his honor and not embarrass his family again.

Orphaned and left to live with her standoffish aunt, Annie Kennedy wants to start again. She is determined to ignore the God who took both of her parents, the God her father had been committed to. Instead she is determined to follow in her wilder sisters footsteps and live a little. Only problem is, she is just not that girl. While she values her friends she is missing something in her life. In a moments weakness, her aunt hears her cries and gives her a letter left for her from her father, to be read on her 18th birthday. In it he reminds her to trust in God and she will never be alone.

When Steven and Annie meet is is instantly attracted but she is keeping a secret from him. Her sister is the girl who Steven was madly in love with in College and betrayed his family with. While Steven and Annie slowly fall in love we watch them struggle with themselves and their refusal to live God's plan. It is a struggle that they must deal with every moment of the story and yet slowly they come to the realization that once you make the choice and live it, it isn't really that difficult at all.

Another intriguing aspect of this book is we get to see peaks into the lives of the siblings whose stories have been told in previous books. Sometimes it seems a bit heavy handed and confusing but we watch the lives or ordinary people coping with choices, making mistakes and working through their problems. As I got into this story I found myself truly enjoying these asides.

In a world that is so often filled with fifty shades of something.. it is refreshing to read a story about love that expounds waiting not jumping into sex the moment a character meets. Ms Lessman tells a sweet story and we should truly treasure her work.

Shauni

This review is based on the ARC of A Love Surrendered provided by netgalley

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr Seuss

Over at Speculative Fiction they are doing celebrating Dr Seuss' birthday by doing Seuss style blog

Here's my attempt


Happy Birthday Dr Seuss
you'd be here if I choose
you'd be here to write a book
you'd be here to meet a zook

If I had my way
You'd be here to stay
writing writing every day
maybe even writing a play

If you were here
I would stand up and cheer
wishing you well
with my silly spell

but you are not
things aren't so hot
you've been gone a while
But I still smile

when I hear about ham
and someone named sam
whenever a hoo let's out a shout
or a screech is out and about

I miss you today
All of the way
But at least we know
what you tried to show

that you were you,
that is truer than true
and there is no one alive, who is Youer than You!!

@Shauni

hey don't laugh it's a poem

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Reminder

I was very fortunate that my parents allowed me to attend a High School of my choosing.. Back way before magnet schools.. I asked to be transferred when I was a Sophomore and my parents graciously allowed me to attend Whittier Christian High School. Especially amazing as they were not and are not Christians.. and yet they allowed God's plans for me to happen..

One of the perks of attending WCHS is the fellowship I still recieve and since the advent of the internet and facebook we can be in as much contact as we choose. One of my friends posted this verse today.. and it spoke to me.. reminded me.. so I thought I would share with you all.

Matthew 6:19-21
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. "

Too often, we as Christians get caught up in the daily grind of keeping up with the Joneses.. and frankly we should ignore that desire and instead focus our goals on keeping up with God. Yes we can get all sorts of fancy stuff and show off to all our friends and neighbors but in the end what will that get us? Absolutely NOTHING.. no we obtain true treasures by serving God.. doing His work and sharing His word.. and God being great and all.. stores those treasures for us.. where no man can take them.

You know that is amazing.. when you think about it.. not only are we storing up treasures by serving God.. we are securing them. There will be no chance of them getting lost, or stolen or... letting go of the things of this earth is a hard struggle but one if learned a great relief..

Not too long ago I lost ALL my things.. and I mean everything.. pictures, baby books, kids artwork, EVERYTHING... it was horrid and sometimes I still grieve but if I truly listened to God and let go of wordly treasures I would understand that these things are just that things.. not of any true value or worth.. While I lost all my things.. God has cradled me and my children in His hands over and over again.. and that my friends is the true treasure..

Shauni

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Moment of Peace

Something happened today that hurt me very deeply, well last night, and me being me I automatically started to lash out. I was quite pleased that I able to refrain from snarking at the people who had hurt me and was able to take joy, honest hoy in their accomplishment. BUT, it was hard! 


My Inner Voices kept popping up with malice wanting me to think unkind thoughts to feed the hurt and anger. Every time this happened I stopped and spoke with God. I told Him "I don't want to be this person. I don't want to think these thoughts. Please help me with my struggles." I will admit, I stopped often.


About mid morning, I found myself sitting in a waiting room at the Doctor's office (for a friend) and I pulled out my kindle. Now normally this means I will shortly be engrossed in some book or other. NOT TODAY!! Today I was compelled to open my Bible ap and did a search for forgiveness.. tangent, do you know the word forgive is only mentioned 89 times in the Bible.. at least the NASB version... Now, back on track.


The important part was as I was thumming through the selections that had the word forgiveness in it looking for something.. not sure what I was moved to stop at Ephesians 4: 11-32. I must have read verses 17-31 twenty times over and over again and most especially... vs 31-32

Ephesians 4:31-32

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. 

WOW.. just think.. 2000 years ago when St Paul wrote this letter, God knew I would need to read it today! Praise God! What a wonderful reason to rejoice.. God knew I would struggle with this for all of my life and today would finally come to Him with it.. I am so very blessed!

Shauni 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

God Never Gives you more than you can handle.. how often in life have you heard that particular phrase? I have heard it more times than I can count and believe me I hate that particular expression.. I can hear you gasping from here..

To me the nature of Christianity is that you offer your burdens to God and He bears them for you.. I have this visualization and yes it is my wonky imagination NOT reality.. I see God sitting on a cloud watching me.. laughing.. waiting.. you know like a kid with a water balloon... anyway.. there sits God, on his cloud and here I come.. all I can do it myself.. I can handle it.. No you caused this.. don't go to God now.. you never go during the good times why do you think He wants to hear from you now... when what should happen but a lightening bold slams into me.. I look up and there is God laughing.. saying you can do it all yourself? Well BAM bad marriage, still on your own.. BAM single mom of four.. still on your own? BAM.. homeless.. there God sits just tossing bolts at me waiting.. yes waiting..

I know this is almost blasphemy.. but to me it says.. God WANTS me to lift my burdens up to Him.. God WANTS to bear my burdens..

1 Corinthians 10:12-13 "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man;
but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape,
that you may be able to bear it."


Isn't it interesting? The most famous verse on God helping us to bear our burdens is not on our struggles and day to day life but rather on dealing with temptations..  It's sort of like that whole separation of church and state thing.. you know the one that isn't in the constitution..  oops tangent..

I still think this verse applies to many walks of life.. Yes we will be given burdens, we will be tempted we are not expected to bear these burdens alone.. we are not expected to resist temptation on our own.. we are encouraged to go to God and share.. to offer up to Him all our supplications.. all our hopes and fears.. our struggles and yes even our triumphs.. because in the end we did not triumph, God did.. and when we fail.. we have to ask ourselves did we fail? If by failing we serve God then we triumphed...

I struggle.. I am a needy creature.. I want accolades.. glory... triumph.. so often I do not offer my worries up to God.. stupid me.. I suffer needlessly.. all because I am a "strong" individual.. yeah.. total whack job.. I should be prostrating myself before God and offering it all up to Him.. I am working on it.. Pray with me.. for me..

Shauni 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Freedom From Religion

There is actually an organization of that name.. Freedom From Religion.. wow.. In a country that was founded on the right to worship God, I just don't understand this need to be Free of it.. I don't understand why a small select group of individuals get to demand that we, as a nation cease and desist.

Are you aware that the phrase separation of Church and State is never once used in the Constitution? The phrase "wall of separation between the church and the state" was originally coined by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists on January 1, 1802. His purpose in this letter was to assuage the fears of the Danbury, Connecticut Baptists, and so he told them that this wall had been erected to protect them. The metaphor was used exclusively to keep the state out of the church's business, not to keep the church out of the state's business. Interesting isn't it? That over the years people have insidiously twisted something stated by Jefferson to PROTECT a church into something that destroys it?

It bothers me, because what our constitution actually says is.. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

What does that mean? It means that we will not have a National Church, like the Church of England.. we chose not to have a National Airline.. doesn't mean people are trying to separate the airlines and the government.. Officials still fly, some even fly commercial! You don't see a bunch of people running around demanding that no elected official uses an airline.. so what's the difference? We can fund and airline but not a church?

I understand that we, as Christians are under attack. That Satan is thrilled by the constant undermining of the minority and the silence of the majority.. Speak up.. Demand your rights to your faith before a select few have them all taken away..

Monday, January 30, 2012

What a Friend

Music is a constant in my life.. not that I have any talent what so ever but I have a profound love of song.. *rolls eyes* well some songs.. Usually silly camp songs.. but the other songs I adore are hymns.. I will find myself humming or singing to myself in a regular basis.. Lately I have been singing/humming What a Friend We Have in Jesus...

While this is a beautiful song it is an even more beautiful reality.. Jesus is the very best of friends and as is so often the case.. that makes it all to easy to take Him for granted. We, as Christians need to remember.. a true friend is always there for us.. BUT we need to return the favor, so to speak. We (make that I) need to always be there for Jesus.. Because we have this awesome friend who not only died so that we might live.. He also carries our burdens for us.

Matthew 11:28-30
King James Version (KJV)

 28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Thus the reality of a Christ like life.. The thing NON Christians never quite get. Because we have this amazing friend, life's burdens are easy. I remember once being told that Christianity was a crutch, something people used to lean on in hard times.. It was said with a sneer, instead of in wonder. I remember thinking no, living a Christ like life is hard..really really hard.. choosing the right path over and over again.. then I realized, in a way they were right. We do have something to lean on, SOMEONE, someone who will bear our burdens for us. So if you need to call Christianity a crutch, go ahead.. so will I.. Although there is no sneer in my voice when I refer to my crutch, my Savior.. no there is joy, wonder, awe and amazement.. you can have the sneer.

So dear friends, I will tell you.. What a Friend I have in Jesus..

In case you don't know the words to the song, here they are..

  1. What a friend we have in Jesus,
    All our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
    Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
    Oh, what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
  2. Have we trials and temptations?
    Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Can we find a friend so faithful,
    Who will all our sorrows share?
    Jesus knows our every weakness;
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
  3. Are we weak and heavy-laden,
    Cumbered with a load of care?
    Precious Savior, still our refuge—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
    Take it to the Lord in prayer!
    In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
    Thou wilt find a solace there
  4. Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
    Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
    May we ever, Lord, be bringing
    All to Thee in earnest prayer.
    Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
    There will be no need for prayer—
    Rapture, praise, and endless worship
    Will be our sweet portion there.

I hope this touches your heart, it came from mine

Shauni

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Righteous Life

Do you find yourself trying to build yourself up by knocking someone else down? Trying to make yourself look like a worthwhile person all the while criticizing another? Do you know someone who does this? 


This is one flaw I have managed to escape.. but I know many people who bolster their self esteem this way. It is heart breaking to me to see it. Many of these people are talented, gifted, loving individuals who want nothing more than to be acknowledged for their accomplishments? That I understand.. I have a tendency to compliment others for their accomplishments then am felled by their lack of reciprocation. See, I don't need to drag someone down.. I do that enough on my own. I understand the need to scream, Here I am.. See me!! But I have to wonder why it bothers me so? 

Does it not serve me and others better to use what God has given me in the best way possible for no other reason than to serve God? Does not such behavior destroy links with God? Are they not destructive? Would it not be better to work towards living a life of righteousness for no other reason than THAT is what God asks of us? 

Hosea 10:12
12 Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD,
until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. 


What does this verse tell me and how does it apply to today's thoughts? Well it tells me.. Don't bother with accolades we are not here to please man but to live a righteous life and serve God. To represent God in a humble and honest manner.. and when the time is right HE will give you all the accolades you require. 

It always astounds me how God nurtures us, how His book shares that He is aware of our deepest secrets and inner needs.. He knows that there are people who thrive on attention and few who actually get it from man. He promises that His love will surround us and comfort us and yes offer us that very attention that we need.  That we will find great joy in living a righteous life, that we don't need to drag others down to make ourselves look better.. that God is always there.. ready to shine on us in His time..

Yes I know this is disjointed today.. but it is my thoughts from my heart.. hope it touches yours. 

Shauni

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Prodigal Daughter

Yesterday I spoke of becoming the prodigal daughter.. how it wasn't one large leap of wickedness but rather a slow slide down that ever slippery slope. Today I want to talk about the fact that while I admit to this travesty.. that I admit to such acts of sin.. I do not have to dwell on them. I can confess my sins and relieved of the burden. That is one of God's most enduring graces..

All I had to do was confess my sin.. and God lifts the burden of my sins from me..
He tells us this in His book

1 John 1:8-9

New International Version (NIV)
 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 Is that not just so grand? Now don't get me wrong this is not a license to sin.. rather a license to be forgiven our sins.. If we confess our sins.. that means if I confess my sins.. admit to fault God will forgive me.. Now when we confess our sins, our wrong doings, most of us do so with the intention of never doing so again. If we flippantly apologize with every intent to resume our actions then we are not sincere.. 


Now there are times when we repeat our offenses, over and over again.. is that the same? No, I don't believe so.. it's a habit and habits can be broken, behavior can be changed.. With God's Grace.. 


It is a day by day struggle.. no different than any other addiction.. and yes such behavior needs to be confessed, daily, hourly, however often you need to confess.. but with each confession the prayer for strength and guidance should also follow..


I am a sinner, I stumble I fall.. and I rejoice that God in His Grace forgives me such behavior..


Shauni

Friday, January 27, 2012

When Did I Become the Prodigal Daughter?

This is a blog long time in coming and one I have taken great pains on. 

I spent my entire life being the good girl.. Honestly, my teenage years were a parent's dream. Aside from an unreasonable fear of my parents (who never did anything to cause it) I was a parent's dream. I came home when I said I would, I did my homework, I went to and was active in church, girl scouts and school. Shoot I even went to a Private Protestant High School by choice.. yes I was the good girl. I had a strong faith and an even stronger support system. When I stumbled I was wise enough to go to people who were there for me. AND I was truly happy.. no doubts, no questions, no secret desire to become the wild child.

AND YET....

Over time my fortress fell.. I changed churches, moved, created a new life.. and in doing so I slowly sowed the seeds of my own destruction. Oh don't get me wrong I always believed in God.. but so do many non Christians.. I had become the worst of the worst a "social" Christian.. A Do Gooder with no anchor.

I stopped Daily Devotions I was too busy
I married unwisely and then followed so many of his questionable Christian beliefs.. instead of following my own convictions.
I went to a church that didn't support my convictions.. I won't critisize the church as I met plenty of God Fearing Christians who were devoted to God's work while there, but it wasn't the right fit for me.
I left that church and didn't fill the space with another
I floundered.. made excuses for lies and deceit
I got involved in some questionable websites w/some questionable people (nothing illegal just questionable)
I stole.. yes I actually stole things little things, shoplifting things that fit in my pocket but seriously for a girl who let the petty theft of a package of M&M's made as a child eat at her for years until she went back and paid for it as a teenager.. this was huge.. and it doesn't matter.. stealing is stealing..

Do you see the slow decline? Oh this didn't happen all at once I would say it happened over 20 years or so. Then one day I woke up and realized I was no longer walking in God's Grace.. I had become the Prodigal Child.. I had walked away from my heavenly father.. WOW..what a powerful conviction.. I was almost thrown to my knees.. and still I didn't rush back to Our Father and beg forgiveness.. no I considered it.. I worked around it.. and eventually I excused it. I oh yeah.. this is good.. I COMPARTMENTALIZED my life..

Yes I recognized my sin but had yet to address it.. It was hard for me to let go.. to un compartmentalize my life..  it still is..

I am happy to say I returned to Our Father's house.. oh it is still a daily struggle to remain the "good child" I haven't found that support system that anchored me in my earlier life. I struggle with daily devotions.. I know how can one not want to speak with God? I speak, I talk to God all the time, tell Him my thoughts and feelings, what is going on in my life.. what I fail to do on a regular basis is LISTEN!! And that is where the trouble always starts..

I am working on finding that support base I know Daily Devotions should be first.. but to me they seem almost intertwined. It's like AA.. yes quitting drinking is important but having a place where you can go and share your thoughts and feelings about quitting drinking helps.. I know how dare I compare my support base.. aka, my church of choice, to AA.. but to me the similarities are there so go with it..

I don't know if it was actually finally time to write this post.. but I was compelled.. so I think.. this was me finally LISTENING to what God has instructed.. I am halfway there.. well, I took my first foot steps and am on the path.

Hope this post finds a place in someone's heart.. it came from mine

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Using Your Gift to Serve God

It's an interesting conundrum many Christians face.. They are given an extraordinary talent then told by people in their lives, usually parents and teachers that they need to find something more practical to do with their lives. and maybe that is true but wouldn't we be better served if we also cultivated the talents God gave us?

I was a precocious child and was tested early for the gifted program.. labeled a creative genius all anyone ever focused on was the genius.. and that was truly everyone's mistake.. Yes I did well in school, passed with A's and B's got accepted into college.. but I never quite fit the mold.. I have previously announced on another blog that I am proud of being a square peg.. and instead of trying to force myself into round holes.. I am in search of square ones. But that has been a difficult road of discovery. The thing is I was basically told NOT to use the gifts that God gave me and focus on what was best for the world. I followed the advice of my eldars and have lead what can only be considered a life bordering on failure..

My failure was in not listening to God but man..

My verse today is

1 Peter 4:10-11
10
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 

Would my life not have been richer, more fulfilled had I used my talents? Of course they needed to be used in Glory to God. I write.. I love to write and in many of my darkest hours I have heard God whisper write.. for years I ignored God's words.. then when I really started writing again it was of a questionable nature.. and that was just as much a travesty if not more than refusing to use my gifts all together.

I started my blogs as a means to write.. maybe not life saving, ground breaker stop the presses writing.. just my thoughts.. and gradually I have been able to use this format to share my faith. It took time to figure out how to do this.. but I am grateful for God's grace that He allows me the opportunity to stumble and fail and yet still serve Him

Shauni

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I made it just a few days....

I made it just a few days.. and then life interupted!!

I plan to resume my daily posts tomorrow morning.. Hope you are all having a blessed day!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Memory Verse

This week's memory verse is especially compelling to me.. I think in many ways it addresses me deeply and directly...

for 1/5/12 through 1/18/2012:  Galatians 1:10 (We'll all use this New King James Version)
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

How often do we choose to please man? I know for a large part of my adult life I was so worried about pleasing the people around me that I literally lived in hell. I stayed in an abusive marriage and was petrified that someone would say I was a failure.. 
I hid my love of Christ from those in my community because I wanted their approval.. point in case they never approved of me so I ignored my God and didn't find favor with the individuals I thought to impress.. what a joke.. Had I served my God faithfully, I would have been happy in Christ and not bothered if it impressed others or not.. and yet I bet I would have impressed them.. Or not.. it wouldn't have mattered.

Why was there ever a question? Am I a servant of God or of man? Do I serve God? Or Man? Whom should I attempt to please?

Isn't it amazing how God's word touches us and teaches us?

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Cab Ride and A Promise

I had to go to the bank yesterday.. and since I don't have a car I use a local Cab service when I am

A) to lazy to walk
B) in a hurry and don't want to take the bus
C) the bus doesn't go there..

Anyway I took the cab and when I got in the driver was listening to a wonderful sermon. I found it so inspiring.. It was about how we have troubles in our lives.. you know that age old question if "God is so good how come He....?" All I could think of was wow.. God promises us so much but one thing He has never promised us was an easy life. As a matter of fact.. he promises us the exact opposite..


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.”

Right there Jesus tells us, life is not going to be easy.. We will have struggles  but more importantly he will be there with us. He offers us His peace the knowledge that those struggles have purpose.. That we need to be joyful.. be consoled.. yes to take heart! Because when push comes to shove Jesus has overcome the world.. what does that mean? Well it means that no matter how hard life is, no matter what evil abides beside us..that if we walk through the evil on the path that God has given us then we shall emerge victorious on the other side. That Jesus is the winner that yeah life may get us down but His triumph should bring us up. 

There is no reason for fear, there is no reason to give up.. "soldier on" (had to use that phrase, I just love it).. that there may be a battle coming but if you follow Jesus, the battle is already won! Wow, what soldier wouldn't love that type of victory.. going into battle knowing that he has already won? Well, brothers and sisters.. Jesus gave us that exact type of battle.. HE HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD . and I say REJOICE

Shauni 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

God's Grace


I had a conversation with a friend yesterday who said while she believed in a higher power she had a hard time believing that God had the time to pay attention to what was going on in her life. That made me feel very sad. All I could think to respond to her with was 

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Matt 10: 29-31

I see God's action in my life every single day. His attention to the details, His love and His comfort. I know for a fact that I should not be living such a protected life. I have made so very many bad choices, oh not the grand outrageous ones, you know drugs, sex, whatever, no the day to day life ones. The ones that pick at you and slowly destroy from within. And yet for every bad choice I have made God has graciously countered that with His love and protection. 
He cradles me in the palm of His hand and like any parent shakes his head at my stupidity while allowing me to make those choices, probably cringing as I do. And yet when life falls apart as it invariably does... God is GREAT and is there. Does He take away the problems that I have made? Heck no!! He stands resolute and offers me His shoulder.. shows me His plan and waits for me to listen. 

How can I ever question God's great love for me? I can never question whether or not He cares for me because I see it each and every day. In the way I manage to be able to live and raise my children. I am so very grateful for His attention!!

Sometimes like any child I wish God wasn't looking, wasn't aware cuz my actions do not reflect well on Him but like any child, I am also grateful that He is there! I can not doubt that God not only knows what is going on in my life but has a plan for me.. If I will just listen and wait upon His timing..

Monday, January 2, 2012

Memory Verses


I attend a small group for Bible Study, well I am a member of the small group, attendance has been a bit off but.. 

One of the things we do is week to week we have a memory verse. Remember memory verses? I used to love them For two reasons, first off it was always a competition for me even if no one else new it.. yeah I know I have serious issues. 

But more importantly it was a great way to really learn God's word.. As a child I of course didn't comprehend the importance of memory verses but throughout my life I have been grateful fro those diligent teachers, both Sunday School and HS Bible classes.. Those verses have sometimes saved my very sanity and very frequently helped me through some dark times.

Now as an adult, when you learn a Bible Verse you, in theory, should attach meaning to it. What does it mean to you? I am going to work on that. Both the learning of the verse but how it can apply to me. 

So this weeks verse is

through 1/4/2012: Galatians 1:3-5 (We'll all use this New King James Version)
3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Hmm, Grace to you and peace from God, so salutations.. hello, but more importantly hello and let God's grace flow over you and give you peace with your life. Remember Jesus gave his so that we could be saved and escape from the battles of this world. Yes we still have our struggles but Jesus died so that we may offer them up to Him and have peace in our daily walk..  That alone should be cause for glory!! and yet He promises us so much more..  

and here is a thought for the day... 

If nothing you do matters than what should matter is what you do..




Sunday, January 1, 2012

Making It Public - Part 3

Today marks the final part for my three pronged blog on taking my faith out into the world. I hope you have enjoyed the previous two. My finally personal verse that I took with me upon leaving school was Philippians 4:13


I can do all things
Through Christ who strengthens me


Is that not a totally empowering concept? I can do ALL things. As I have pointed out in previous blogs I was an arrogant child. The concept that I could do anything was not new to me. I honestly believed that all I had to do was set my mind to it and I could achieve whatever I wanted. In a way I still do believe just that, one of my personal crosses I carry. Did you note how I conveniently forgot part of the verse?


Upon leaving school I rushed forward ready to take on the world. After all I could do anything! Anything that is except succeed, everytime I tried something I failed. I self imploded no one was out to get my I was just unable to stay on course. I became best at was surviving.


Everytime a challenge came my way I did not rejoice and accept God's support, no I worked hard to battle on, on my own. Oh I would usually complete the challenge but each success took a piece of me. My survival became my triumph there was no praise to God. There was no rejoicing no there was a smirk my battle cry became I did this all by myself. Each victory was hollow and each failure consumed me. Oh I could rationalize, I could even make myself a hero in the eyes of the world my trials had been legion, my survival an accomplishment. Of course it was my success not one single Glory to God. Forgetting or refusing to apply the entire verse is an eventual recipe for disaster. The verse is "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". It doesn't mean I am going to conquer the world, no it means when God shows His plans, no matter how hard, no matter how difficult it may seem, with God behind us, with the power of the Spirit flowing through us WE CAN DO ANYTHING! Conquer any crises, survive any trial and when we do it, it is not our glory no it is God's. The spotlight is removed from us and transferred to God. The glow that shines forth embraces us all

Over my adult life I have struggled and stumbled many times. I have gone without as often as I have had plenty. My life has been about feast as well as famine I have never quite managed that even keel, that nice balance, that sure and steady. Nope not me I am an all or nothing kind of girl. May I suggest if you have a choice choose a different way of living.

One of the most amazing things about God is He allows us our idiocy. He allows our struggles then when we finally admit we are lost without Him, He raises us up and uses those same struggles to bring Glory to Him. As a Child of God even our failures are God's triumphs.

As I prepared for this series I have written I went back and really read all of my verses. Went straight to the Bible and refrained from going from memory. I took the time to really do my research to make sure I do not take quotes out of context or misrepresent God's word. In doing so I was so amazed when I re-read this verse. I not only read the verse but the ones previous to it. Instead of just Phil 4:13 I think I should embrace verses 10-13


(10) I Rejoiced in the Lord greatly
that now at length you have
revived your concern for me. You
were indeed concerned for me
but you had no opportunity
(11) Not that I am speaking
of being in need for I
have learned in whatever
situation I am in to be content
(12) I know how to be brought low
and I know how to abound in any
and every circumstance
I have learned the secret of
facing plenty and hunger
abundance and need
(13) I can do all things through Him
who strengthens me.


WOW! Praise God for truly I have been blessed.
Looking back this almost 30 years I realized that I would choose these same three Bible verses to carry forth with me.. Oh I would hope I will do so with humility and grace. That I would take advantage of all the words God gives me through His book but I will always treasure these three verses.


For God so loved the world.
They that wait upon the Lord.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me


LUCKY LUCKY me, I am loved.