Friday, December 13, 2013

Looking to Make A Donation?


It's that time of the year when our hearts are full and we want to do something for our fellow man. Sometimes we are running around so much we don't know where to even look to make a great donation. Sure, I always drop my change in the Santa bucket but there has to be more.

 My oldest daughter attends Western Illinois University and she is part of an amazing fundraising project.

 "Dear Friends,

I hope you will consider supporting my participation in WIU Dance Marathon. All contributions will benefit and be divided among the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals of Greater St. Louis, St. Louis Children's Hospital and SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center. Any contribution will help, and all donations are tax deductible.

I am on WIU's first E-Board as the Finance Chair, this money we raise doesn't just help the families financially but it helps lift some stress from these families and gives the kids a comfortable environment to be in, this event and organization is very dear to my heart, any amount will help me get to my goal by Feb 1st.

 Donating online is safe and easy! To make an online donation please click the "Support Me!" button on this page. Thank you for visiting my fundraising page! For The Kids!"

You can link to her fundraising page HERE.. this donation will go directly into a fund sponsored by WIU, not into my daughter's hands.. So if you are looking for a way to share your good fortune, give a thought to this noble cause..

 Shauni

Friday, October 11, 2013

How Majestic Is Your Name



PSALMS 8

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

I read this as I am sitting on a bench at the beach in Duck NC (Right at the edge of the beach)watching this glourious sunrise (the very one in the picture in this post). I see the world wake and and i watch what God has given us for this day, come to greet us and I wonder.. am in complete awe and then I think, what a perfectly amazing day!

It does make me question though. How with all this glory before us can anyone doubt God's existence? But before I get all smug in my faith I also have to wonder, how can anyone (me) reject God's guidance? How can I look at all this slpendour around me and neglect my relationship with Him?

It's easy to point fingers at the non believers but much harder to accept your own failings and yet judgemental fool that I am, this is what I do. Bot not right this moment. Right this moment I sit in awe of what God has displayed for me.

Shauni

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

In You Do I Take Refuge

Psalms 7

7 O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me, 
2 lest like a lion they tear my soul apart, rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.

 Now this just struck me because so often this is how I feel. Like those around me have picked and pulled at me feeding not like lions but like crows, tearing little slices of my self until I am no longer able to become me.Parts of me are pushed so deep they become dormant. So asleep they are like the dead but waiting to rise again. Only I don't see that hope only despair. Wh? Because I have let the lions (or crows as it were) destroy me.

 14 Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies.
 15 He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made.
16 His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends.

 This passsage is so very powerful! First off he speaks to the liars. Lying is EVIL! There are no good lies! Sure a lie can momentarily make life easier but in the long run they destroy. You might appease someone for a moment but when the truth comes out - AND. IT. WILL! You have destroyed way more than you ever hoped to gain. The worst part about lying is you eventually believe your lies - turning you, the person, into a lie, walking evil, an abomination.

 DIGGING THE HOLE!

 We all know what happens when we try to get out of a hole we have dug. The edges start falling in around us, keepin us shovelin to find solid ground. We might make it out but we are going to be much dirtier coming out then when we were going in.

 And finally, What goes around comes around. Not Karma, just life. If we insist upon living a wicked and evil life then wicked and evil things are going to happen to us. Life is an amazing gift and we have been given an opportunity to serve an amazing God! To descend into evil after being given such a gift is abhorrent.

 It saddens me that I can relate so easily to this Psalm Somehow I have become one of the wicked. The hole I have dug has edges that are dirty and falling fast. I have accepted that I am not coming out clean but PRAISE GOD, I am coming out!! 

 And fortunately for us all, I have a God who has managed to make me white as snow!! 

Shauni

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Be Gracious to Me, Oh Lord

I know it looked like I had abandoned my study, but I haven't I promise! I was on vacation! On the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Duck to be exact. Every morning, I would get out of bed and hobble down the spiral stairs, then head to the beach! Where I sat and watched the sunrise.. and did my morning devotions! What an amazing way to start your day.

 But not only was it a perfect way to start a day, it offered a wonderful opportunity to commune with God


 2 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled. 
3 My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O Lord—how long?

 WOW! I have spiraled far into depression. Having almost lost myself and yet I never thought to look to the Psalms for my answers. Unlike David, I turned first inward and shoved it all down. My head in the sand and then I took it upon myself to find a solution. Writing blogs about my loss of self. 

 But I am not alone! I forgot that I am not the first to struggle with depression nor am I the first to use "worldly" ways to heal. NO MORE!! I need to cast my troubles upon God's waters where I can watch the tide pull them away. 

 This verse was a true revelation to me.. it offered me a chance to seek God's guidance with my struggles. It gave me peace and it rejuivinated me. It's hard to explain how four simple lines can practically change your entire way of thinking and yet that is what happened.

&nbspEvery day we have to remember that we were put here to worship God.. and when we falter, there is only one way to turn. When we try using the ways of the world, we come up short. Feeling alone, confused, abandoned, incomplete, inferior.. the list goes on. Only God can give us the power to go on! The knowledge that we are doing the right thing and are living for the right reason. And if we stumble, if we lose ourselves to languishing, remember.. don't try and fix it yourself, turn to God.. offer yourself up to God and let Him lead you out of the darkness. Which might include counseling or talking about it.. but don't "self medicate" turn to God first! 

Shauni

Monday, September 16, 2013

Lead Me In Your Righteousness



Lead Me in Your Righteousness

5 Give ear to my words, O Lord;
    consider my groaning.
2 Give attention to the sound of my cry,
    my King and my God,
    for to you do I pray.
3 O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
    in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
    evil may not dwell with you.
5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
    you hate all evildoers.
6 You destroy those who speak lies;
    the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
7 But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
    will enter your house.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
    in the fear of you.
8 Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
    because of my enemies;
    make your way straight before me.
9 For there is no truth in their mouth;
    their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave;
    they flatter with their tongue.
10 Make them bear their guilt, O God;
    let them fall by their own counsels;
because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
    for they have rebelled against you.
11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may exult in you.
12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
    you cover him with favor as with a shield.

Psalms 5 has ever been a favorite of mine, partially from the pure beauty of the KJV phrasing.. it flows wonderfully. I know I am using the ESV (English Standard Version) because that is the version I have.. but KJV is just pretty.. 

The thing that touches me about Psalms 5, all of it, is the passion and love David directs to God. He is rejoicing in the ability to speak with God. It isn't a duty, it isn't a chore or a requirement.. it's a joy! He gets to talk to God! 

Why don't we all feel that way? Why do we allow Satan to convince us that talking to God is a chore? Why aren't we all on our knees weeping for joy at the fact that God, not only allows us to speak with Him, but he ANSWERS?? WOW!! God answers us.. 

Now David, flawed man that he was, was smart enough to realize that not only does God listen, not only does he answer, but he cares enough to stand for us. To direct us, to guide us, to mold us.. if we will only let go.. 

That is hard for control freak me.. back when I was much more flexible (and way more fun) it was easier for me to let go.. to let God be in charge.. to rejoice in His care.. somewhere along the line I demanded control.. let me tell you, this was not my smartest move... 

Try to impress a world that can not be impressed is a wasted effort. You destroy yourself.. You won't be impressing God.. (FYI.. I just think God is up there singing Shania Twain's "That don't Impress Me Much") But if you give in to God's guidance, you become who you were meant to be, who God wants you to be and you are centered and complete.. Not even caring if someone is impressed with who you are.. 
Maybe today's post was more about rambling than what this verse is telling us.. and maybe not.. these are the words that came to me as I once again read this absolutely beautiful Psalm

Shauni

Friday, September 13, 2013

Answer Me When I Call

Psalm 4 ((ESV)) 

Answer Me When I Call

 4 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! 
2 O men,how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? 
 3 But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. 
4 Be angry,and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. 
 5 Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. 
6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” 
7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. 
8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

As a single parent there were many many times when I would turn out the lights, and my mind would just start racing. No sleep for me! There was so much riding on me, so much I could do wrong, no one to lean on.. I was alone and afraid. During the day, I could just force myself to take one step at a time.. but at night when there was no sound.. yeah, much harder.

I of course figured out a way to quiet the voices.. I slept with the TV and lights on.. Sure chased the voices away but also made sure I didn't get any rem sleep for years. I became totally and completely exhausted. In many ways this helped lead to my breakdown. No real sleep.

What I should have done was turn those problems and issues over to God.. He would have given me the relief I so desperately needed. I might have still heard voices in my head but they would have been the comforting prayers to my God.. 

I could have had spent those hours rejoicing rather than fretting.. I can not change the past but I can change the future.. I can take those precious moments before I fall asleep and spend them with God.. Offering my fears and failures up to Him. They won't go away, they will just be easier to bear.. 

Shauni

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Surrounded by Enemies


Today's verse has a split concept.. and one thing speaks loud and clear, David's request.. 
Save Me, O My God
(A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.)




O Lord, how many are my foes!
2 Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
there is no salvation for him in God. 

We are all beset with enemies from time to time.. we see those around us as willing to destroy us. Sometimes we actually wage in battle. I know in my past I have been mired in the muck of battle and while it was hard fought it was never won. Why? Because I did not cry out to God to save me, I just wallowed in the muck. And without God's guidance.. that's all there is.. muck. 

3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
4 I cried aloud to the Lord,
and he answered me from his holy hill.

I think the worst thing we can do as Christians is think we can fix it ourselves.. we forget or don't acknowledge that without God's shield we are unprotected. Sure we might thrive for a while in the secular world but there will always come a time when our enemies come at us. If we do not cry out to God.. then eventually we will fall to those enemies..

5 I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.

See, there are times when we have to rest, refresh.. take the time to regroup.. Spend it in prayer and God will protect us, nourish us and yes save us from our enemies.. No matter the crowds, no matter the numbers God can always overcome it to protect us.

7 Arise, O Lord!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
8 Salvation belongs to the Lord;
your blessing be on your people!  


I often forget how powerful such a simple message can be.. I am beset by enemies, be they my own demons or those around me wanting to tear me down.. the true battle comes from how I choose to fight those enemies.. Do I gather my personal strength and carry on. Putting one step ahead of another determined to do it on my own? Or do I relinquish my enemies to God and allow Him to stand before me, clearing the path? 

The amazing thing is, life is so much easier when we allow God to guide us and yet we fight that over and over and over again.. Choosing to go out on our own, doing it ourselves.. Why is that? What contrary little niggle to we have to our make up that says.. hey stupid, let's do it the hard way? 

Now, for just a moment I want to direct this same verse to our country.. Today is September 11, the 12th anniversary of the attack on our country.. how can this verse apply to our country??

 Today is September 11 an anniversary of the day our enemies came to us. Tried to take us down but as a nation we stood strong and refused to waver. And yet right this very minute our president has the entire issue of Syria on his plate. Another enemy, another country that wants to take us down? Or is Syria destroying itself? My point being that our country is often surrounded by enemies.. too many to count it seems. Even our friends can be swayed.. how can a nation survive? 

We must as a nation remember what we were founded on, the right to worship God.. and we must as a nation chose to do just that! Stand up for God and bow down to Him.. Ask Him to secure our safety, to protect us from our enemies and to allow us times to refresh, re-nourish and regain ourselves.. 

Honestly, there is no other way.. to allow the few to demand we step back from our faith, is destroying that very building block that created this great country.. 

Shauni

Again.. I am not a preacher or a learned woman.. just a woman who wants to study God's word and apply it to my life

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Who Do We Follow and Who Do Those We Follow, Follow?

Psalms 2  ((ESV))

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, 
3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”

I really don't think any of us need further explanation to these verses.. But one has to ask, who does our leader follow? Does he follow God's word and has been anointed by God? Or does he follow the word of man. The council of the world? Does he stand up and say I am a Christian and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God? And LIVE. BY. THOSE. WORDS. Or does he mouth platitudes and give in to the counsel of the world? 

It has to be hard to be a leader of peoples.. to stand firm in your convictions no matter what everyone else is saying. It has to be hard to stand strong in God's word.. (shoot it's hard as an individual) but when you take your oath as president, you place your right hand on the Bible and swear unto God. If you are swearing such, you need to remember that.. every single action you take you are representing God. Make your choices wisely.. spend your time on your knees.. because God is gonna want answers. 

But there is more to it than that.. we, the people, the faithful need to demand those answers as well. To question whether our leaders (church, school, government) are following God's word and are anointed by God. We need to ask questions and demand answers. If we don't find the right answers then we need to take a stand. Yep, we need to vote!! Use our powers (that of course if for government). For Schools, churches, we need to research where we attend.. seek God's guidance and then make educated choices. 


When we stand righteous.. God is with us.. it's that simple


10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Simple enough when you read it.. I know, hard to live.. but as Christians who is more important? God or man? Whose opinions really matter? God's or man's.. 

Shauni

Remember.. I can only tell you what these verses mean to me.. what God is whispering in my ear.. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Walking in God's Counsel


Psalm 1:1, 3-4 ((ESV))

1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

How Can I apply that to myself? Where do I walk? From whom do seek my counsel?

I walk in shadows not hiding in the dark. I find that I compartmentalize my faith. I protect it, keep it huddled in the corner. Not because I am ashamed but because I am afraid. Afraid of those who will mock me. Afraid of those who will judge me. And yes afraid of those who will find my faith lacking. 

  So I walk not in the counsel of the Lord but rather in the counsel of the wicked. Those whom I have given power to knock me down. 

  But there is more to this verse it also says "nor sits in the seat of scoffers" think about that. When you sit at the seat of scoffers you become a scoffer. You can't help it your are surrounded by people making mockery of others. The unjust, the wicked... if you don't walk in God's word - gird your self for battle, using all the tools available you walk in Shadows.

  Shadows are not the light! So you can say you don't walk in darkness but you deceive yourself. I know... I do.

3. He is like a tree planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
4. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

   So basically, when you walk with God your talents grow, expand bear fruit. You live a fulfilled life. But when you walk with the wicked, your talents are scattered your focus is lost. You remain afloat with no comfort. 

  Interesting isn't it how you can open your Bible and find a solution to your prayers? 

  I have been searching, seeking, looking for a way to use my talents. I know I have been blessed with them but constantly get distracted, blown in the wind. 

  Why? Because I have not been walking with God. Rather with teh wicked, my goals got twisted. Now it's time to stop living in the shadows and walk in the light.

Shauni

Bear with me on my thoughts and interpretations . I am not learned in the word.. just a simple woman who seeks God's guidance and has this need to voice those thoughts.. feel free to share your opinions..



Saturday, September 7, 2013

Psalms


Have you ever noticed that when you are searching for a verse, be it on anger, strength, love, faith, fear, rejection, redemption or just about anything.. There is a verse in Psalms that meets your needs? One has to wonder why.. well, we know why, it was a written by David about his emotions and relationship with God.. So he felt all of those things..

While I am not David, nor am I a learned person, I will be spending the next few weeks just reviewing and meditating upon the Psalms. I feel a need for the uplifting power of Psalms. To be shown just how unbreakable our relationship with God is. 

For the next little while I will be discussing what I discovered in my daily devotions.. Not whatever thought pops into my head. 

A Little bit different tack for me but hey, thought I would give it a try!! 

So bear with me, my friends if my interpretation of something is different than yours.. I will be as always speaking from my heart

Shauni


Friday, September 6, 2013

Broken Pieces


Lately, I have been dealing with the fact that my entire life seems to be completely broken. For years I have shoved down my feelings, hurts, dreams, everything and just got along. Of course I totally failed at that. I mean we, as humans are supposed to grow, not stagnate..

Anyway, I have been dealing with it all.. a little late in the game, but you know the saying "Better Late than Never". Because I am dealing with it, I have good days and bad days. Days where I think, hey I am getting better.. and days where, well not so much. 

Today I was feeling a bit broken and went looking for pictures to use in my posts.. (I am doing a three blog series sort of). What I found amongst all of those pictures of broken things was a lot of great art using broken items. That got me to thinking.. Isn't that what God can do for me? I mean yes I am broken but isn't there a lot of "art" that I can still be used for? Can I not still be a vessel for Christ? 

Oh sure we all know that in our heads, from our teachings, but when the epiphany hits.. it's truly powerful. 

I am not a "good" Christian.. Sometimes I think I am a mockery of what a Christian can be.. and yet.. I firmly believe and always will that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God and that I should always want to be more like Him. 

Since at best I can only be a reflection of what He is.. I have to accept that the broken pieces can reflect just as well as the whole ones. That my plans are just that plans.. but God's plans, well there is greatness in those.

1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Now there's a thought.. instead of feeling broken and battered rejoice in the fact that you can be restored not by yourself.. but by God.. 

Shauni

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Burdens


Life is full of burdens, everyday ones, big ones, little ones.. some we don't even see as burdens and yet they are.. 

We as humans have a tendency to shoulder our burdens and move on. Afte rall God would never give us more than we can handle, right? (btw, Hate that expression) I think by stating that we are making a mockery of some of what God has done for us. 

The very nature of Christianity is to lift your burdens to God and let Him help us carry it. To share the weight, so to speak. 

Psalm 55:22
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved .

If this is the case, why do we constantly try to carry our burdens alone. A shared burden is an easy burden.. and when we have God Himself to share our burdens with, why would we even want to carry them alone? 

Sheesh, we (and by we, I mean me) aren't too bright are we? 

I have this tendency to carry the weight of the world.. not only being accountable for my mistakes, sins, flaws.. but others as well. So double whammy on me. It isn't always pride that keeps me from asking God for help, in fact it rarely is. Most of the time it's shame.. Why did I let this burden get so heavy? How can I ask God to help me now, when I don't go to him when the burdens were small and manageable? What kind of Child of Christ am I...

So of course I allow the burdens to get heavier and heavier.. until finally I collapse. This time, my collapse was colossal and I am a wreck, physically, spiritually, mentally.. you name it.. total and complete collapse. Is this what it takes for me to turn to God? 

Scary isn't it that even now, I tend to "take care" of things.. and not lean on the one Being that could ease my burden. Not take it away.. no, this is the path I am on, but ease the burden so I won't be so weary on my journey.. 

I have so much still to learn

Shauni

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Be Strong?

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9



So this is supposed to be my blog about my faith and what is going on in my spiritual life. The thing is because it can be so deeply personal, I often ignore this blog. .. There is also the fact that I tend to act like I have a clue.. and face it, I wrote the book on cluelessness.. Or at least one of them. 

I often feel like a pretender on this blog. Like I am acting like I have this great relationship with God and yet it totally sucks. Mostly because I doubt. I doubt everything.. and I get so envious of those who seem to be able to stand up for their faith. To say this is who I am.. I am who I am because I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 

It's hard to explain my ability to compartmentalize. Sometimes that has served me well in life... but it is a double edge sword because I can compartmentalize my faith. Keep it hidden, keep it safe.. Protect it. And yet by doing that I diminish it. The flame grows ever weaker.. the promise ever farther away..

Faith, like love, grows in power when we share it. I believe.. and I will BELIEVE more if I share my belief with others. Does that make sense? Faith is not a crutch, although many still insist that it is. It is hard to live a Christ Like life.. incredibly hard. Christ was perfect.. do we understand what that means?? It means he didn't make a single solitary mistake.. EVER.. he didn't lie to the bill collector.. he didn't manipulate his friends. He always stood accountable for his actions.. Shoot, he stood accountable for ours. And yet, society insists on saying Christianity is a crutch.. Lumping Christianity in with all the coo coo religions out there (and yes I differentiate, Christianity is NOT a religion)

Today there is no rhyme nor reason.. nor overall theme to my post. Just my rambling thoughts. I want to just believe.. I want to ease my doubts.. I want, I want.. maybe a little less I want and a little more God Wants in my life would do me some good.. 

Shauni

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Live Like You Were Living..


This morning I was on Facebook and saw a post where one of my friend's hosues was Tp'd. That got me thinking about another friend, Diane. My partner in crime for those wonderful middle school years. 

Diane died of breast cancer a few years ago (or so I have been told, I seriously hope I am not passing out misinformation). Today's Tping post made me think.. Of Diane but it also made me think of the friends and family who have left us. Then I got to seriously thinking..

One of the things that always makes me guilty is this desire to not die...yet. I think about going home to Jesus and that is absolutely awesome.. but in a way it's still in concept form. I understand it, in theory but I haven't lived it yet. On the other hand I have lived life here on earth. 

I want to see my children grow, get married, have families.. you know have that long, rich and fulfilled life. But should I want that? Shouldn't I want to go home to Jesus? 

Of course that is a tricky one.. I mean we are supposed to rejoice in what we have.. give thanks for our day to day life. That means we can enjoy what we have here on earth. Honestly, if we were supposed to only live to die.. then what good would we be? 

Anyway.. as I was pondering all of this I found this verse..

Philippians 1:23-24 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.

Funny how God does that. Seriously, I don't ever remember this verse.. and today when I am questioning things it just pops up? Hmmmm. 

I guess the goal in life is not to Live Like You Were Dying but rather to Live Like You Were Living.. A Rich, Full, Complete life in Jesus and when it's time. When Jesus calls us home, we can finally discover the wonder that is heaven.

Shauni


Monday, September 2, 2013

I Woke Up Today


I have this long standing saying.. Whenever I am having an especially bad day and want to remain positive.. When someone asks me how's your day going? Or how are you today? I respond with "I woke up today, so I am ahead of the game"

Honestly, I am not trying to be funny, rude or snarky. I am stating my honest opinion. Sure today is not going so well but God granted me one more day where I woke up.. So, it is in fact going rather well. 

My mom is even funnier cuz she will say, "well I woke up and checked for toe tags and didn't find one, so all is well". yes I come by it honestly. 

The thing is whenever I say this I get a smile.. it seems to make everyone give one of those startled half laughs.. and give you a huh, never thought of that look. 

The thing I try to remember, especially on those especially dark days.. is 

Psalm 118:24  

 This is the day which the LORD hath made ; we will rejoice and be in it! 

(Admit it, you started singing didn't you). It was made into a song for a reason! Yet another way to rejoice in the day God has given you!!

Shauni

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Rainy Sunday


There is just something so very awesome about rain.. There is a gentle rain, a farmers rain, a spring rain, a summer rain.. etc.. But one of my favorites is when the thunder rolls and lightening dances across the sky. Showing us God's amazing power.. 

Sometimes I want to just run out in it and rejoice (although I do usually reserve that for when it's not thundering and lightening)

Today is one of those days.. The rain is pounding, the thunder is rolling and the lightening is dancing it's way across the heavens.. what a party must be going on!! 

I just thought I would rejoice in the rain.. nothing deep or dark to say.. Just rejoice on this Rainy Sunday

Isaiah 55:10 ESV 

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,

Yet another reason to rejoice the rain!!

Shauni

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Foregiveness is an Amazing Thing


When was the last time you forgave someone? I mean seriously forgave them?.. How often does someone say I am sorry and you respond with that's ok.. It's not ok, that person did something that hurt you, something wrong, something that required forgiveness and by not acknowledging it, you are not doing your part of the job. 

Ephesians 4:31-32 
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you

Where would we be if God had said, hey no biggee..Where would we be had not God shown us the true power of forgiveness? What would our lives be like? Where would the hope be? We would be plunged in eternal darkness. First in our bleak existence then in our afterlife. Who would even want an afterlife? Ok, megalomaniacs and dictators.. but who among us wants to live in a dark world with no forgiveness? I know I don't.. 

I know I would be so lost if God did not daily, minutely, constantly offer me forgiveness. I would be a wreck of a human being. I am already enough of a mess with the knowledge of God's love and forgiveness.. without it.. yeah not a pretty site. 

So my thought today is.. God forgave us, we learn to forgive others, sometimes we aren't so good at it but we try. At least I do. When was the last time you forgave yourself? When did you let yourself know that God's forgiveness means that you no longer have to punish yourself? I have trouble with this one. I have trouble letting go. I am a grudge holder. I punish myself over and over again. Of course I hold grudges against other people too.. you know that kid who in the 4th grade made my kid cry? Yeah, he's toast.. seriously. 

And that is not how we should live our lives. We have been forgiven, washed white as snow. Now we need to pass that forgiveness on. To ourselves, to our friends, to our families to those we may never see again. Let it go.. Allow the light to shine into your darkness and disperse it.

Shauni

** Yeah I know, so much easier said than done!


Friday, August 30, 2013

Looking for A Good Social Group? Attend Church!


So, in theory, we are or used to be a Christian Society. Long before we stopped being a Christian Society, we stopped being a society that went to church. We became a society that was formed on Judeo/Christian beliefs. And the reason we stopped being a Christian Society? Well we stopped going to church. 

I know when my life is in shambles (like it is right now) one of the reasons is because I don't have a connection with God. Oh sure, you can worship God anywhere, and I do. But peer pressure isn't always a bad thing. 


Matthew 18:20
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Find yourself a church, take your time go to a few, check out denominations you aren't sure of. I joined the Catholic church in our area because, well my husband was Catholic and was only comfortable there, but mostly because when I walked into that church, it was the only place with people there to greet me. That wanted to get to know me, that offered me a chance to become involved.. In short it was a community I could get into. 

When my ex decided that he would rather spend the rest of his life with a bottle, rather than his wife and four kids.. It was that very same Catholic Church, that helped me get my first apartment, that put food on the table at Thanksgiving and Christmas, that made sure my kids had presents (and there were some pretty awesome presents in there). 

I stayed with that church while my kids were growing up, I didn't want to add more change to their lives. But when the time came I found another denomination that suited me best and my youngest came with me. The rest, are still Catholic. 

The thing is, church is so much more than weekly worship service. It's a place to gather with people who share your faith. A true place to find friends.. a friend to go to the movies with, a friend to meet for lunch, a friend to share your struggles with or better yet a friend where you can share theirs. And the people that go to church? Well they are doctors and lawyers and plumbers and students and housewives and... yeah you get the picture. There is a wide variety of people to get to know. 

Most of the people you meet in church will encourage your faith. You won't have that awkward moment of silence when you bring God into the conversation. He is already there, part of the party. 

So we go to church to commune with God, learn lessons about our faith and God rewards us with people to share our lives with.. win/win! 

Shauni


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Giving God the Power and taking it away from Man

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Ever feel like you are a useless loser? That no matter how hard you try your life is a joke? Ever feel like the opinions of others have defined you? Molded you? Created you? yeah me too.. and that is SO wrong. We, as Christians know who created us, who wants to mold us, whose very being should define us. And yet so often we allow the world to interfere. 

I know I do.. it's hard not to. We are humans, we were born into families and societies and we want those families and societies to love us. To respect us, so we conform to their images. Not a horrid aspect if you come from a loving Christian family, but even there you have to deal with disappointed parents, family members. People who just "know" what is best for you. Even when you know what path you should be taking. When you feel God's call from the deepest part of your soul.. yet often we still listen to the chatter around us. Why? Well we want to be loved. We want to be accepted.. 

Standing for God can be hard, it shouldn't be. It should be a joyous statement. A powerful freedom.. but pressure, peer, family, societal.. sucks.. and yes often I succumb. 

The worst thing is when I finally stand up for my beliefs and I wonder.. am I doing this for me or for God? Am I writing this very blog because I want acknowledgement or because I need to serve God? Do I want validation so desperately that I will even use my faith, as a launching pad? Doubt.. what a demon doubt can be. How does one escape it? 

Honestly there is only one way, a way I am ever so neglectful of, and that way is to constantly be in communication with God. Spend time with your God.. spend time with the scriptures.. Even when you doubt, even when you question.. the positive reinforcements can only help. Instead of putting constant filth into your brain put some God Power in there. My grandma used to have a saying, well she had several, but one that comes to mind now is "Your mind is like a computer, Garbage in, Garbage out" what did that mean? Well if we only feed our minds negative information only negative information will come out. If that is true then it stands to reason, if we put positive messages in, God's message in, then God's message will come out. 

The most important thing to remember is that serving man gets you nowhere.. Oh sure we should serve.. but serve God.. We can serve God by serving our country, as soldiers  politicians, mail carriers (trying to think of all the gov't jobs) but when we do these things to serve God, not man there is so much more to it.. When we do it to serve man.. well man benefits sure but where is your heart? Man can not save you God can.. and will


That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:5
King James Version (KJV)


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

When to Worship


So I was reading my daily Bible verse that I get in my email 

King James Version (KJV)
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

and it got me thinking.

When is the right time to worship God?? Is there a right time? 

Of course there is.. it's always the right time. Think about it. You are out on a gorgeous sunny day, just driving along.. all around you, you see God's creations.. Those amazing acts of God.. so yeah perfect time to worship..

Or wait, it is a dark and stormy night. The thunder is rolling the lightening is zapping across the sky.. Windows are rattling and God's power is displayed in your summer storm. How can we not take the time to Worship God's awesomeness?

You have a five minute break at work, things have been really hectic but finally a moment of peace.. wow.. you have a job and a few minutes peace.. yep, it's time to Worship God.

Your kid aced a test, made the winning goal.. or my favorite reason to celebrate.. you woke up today!! It's time to worship!! 

Shauni

Saturday, August 17, 2013

And God Said Write


My life hasn't always been easy, in fact it has been down right difficult. But most of that is on me. Honestly, some of the choices I have made have been down right pathetic. And yet for the most part I don't regret those choices because they brought me here.. to this point right now. A place where I am finally listening..

Years ago, when my marriage was at it's worst. When It was all but over. I remember being down in the basement sobbing.. I literally slid down the washer to sit on the floor. I was crying out to God.. why my.. blah blah blah.. what can I do to change this and in response.. God said "WRITE".. Later when I would go to church and sit in the sanctuary, before service and spend some quiet time to myself.. preparing myself for service I would ask God what He wanted of me and I would hear a voice.. yep you guessed it God said "WRITE". When the pastor would be giving his sermon, I would hear it with two parts of my brain, one the lesson being taught and one the words I could write from it.. yep God was still speaking to me. When my life was at what I thought was it's lowest... when I contemplated suicide.. I begged God for an outlet and God said.. you guessed it "WRITE" 

There was not vagueness about this. I honestly swear I heard the voice of God telling me to write.. So what did I do? Well, I didn't write anything that's for sure. That would have made sense. I was like the man in the old joke.. There was a flood and he was sitting on his rooftop.. a man in a rowboat came by and asked if he needed help.. the man said "no, God will save me".. Later another man came by this time in a power boat and asked if he needed help and the man replied "no, God will save me". Finally a man came by in a helicopter and asked if he needed help and once again the man said.."no, God will save me". Needless to say he died, when he went to heaven he spoke with God.. He said "I had faith I believed in you and yet you didn't save me, why not?" And God said "I sent you a row boat, a power boat and a helicopter what more did you want?" That my friends was me.. 

God has given me the talent to be fulfilled. To serve Him by sharing His gift. I have always known that I have a skill for writing. There are always stories bouncing around in my head. My world is a truly unique place.. of course reality always manages to come crashing in.. but still.. why do those worlds remain in my head? Why do I refuse to sit still and let them escape? Who knows? Fear maybe? Laziness? Fear?.. lol.. yeah good old fear..

But my time has come.. God has said WRITE long enough.. the words dance on my tongue and demand to escape.. I may not be as talented as I thought but that doesn't matter.. God said WRITE and finally I am listening..

Shauni

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Serving God by Loosing Weight!!

Yep that is me at 50 that is so not going to be me at 51! I woke up today (it has been a long time coming) and decided enough was enough! I can not take looking like this, feeling like this, living like this. Life HAS to change.. 

I need to loose about 175lbs and that is just scary.. Fortunately for me the only weight related health issues I have are bad knees and those come from years of sports and teenage injuries but the weight totally jacks up the pain..

The thing that amazes me is I made this plan today.. I finally set a serious forseeable goal.. then I went on facebook and one of my friends post this verse


Colossians 3:23-24

New International Version (NIV)
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Is that perfect or what? It's nice to know that I can serve God by loosing weight!


Shauni

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Supplication or Demand


So after yesterday's melt down and total life collapse.. I did what I usually do.. I asked God for help.. But this time I said the words I had held forever in my heart.

Are you really there? and why am I not good enough, even for You? 

It was an intense moment. A question of my very faith. I have always and I mean always believed in God.. and to hear myself utter the unbelievable question, Are You real, astounded me. And yet, they have echoed in my heart for many years. 

There are times when I feel like I am just talking to air.. and yet whenever I really look back over my life, I see that God was indeed there.. protecting me from the more serious consequences of my incredibly stupid bad choices. But I wonder, why do my miracles always come in the invisible manner.. by that I mean become obvious only after the fact? Just once couldn't I have this grand moment? 

It'd hard to say the envy in my heart.. for those who live day by day in God's love.. with a spouse that loves and admires them. With a roof over their heads and a family around them. With friends.. while I sit here day after day alone.. Deeply and extremely alone. Of all the commandments I break.. coveting has to be my absolute worst.. I have this deep seeded need for family.. one that truly and completely loves me. And yet, I just can't get it... I have to wonder why not? What is wrong with me? 

Is it because I walk the fence between Christianity and secularity? I can not fathom living a wild life and I stumble constantly at living a Christ like one.. What is wrong with me? How can I fix this? Don't know if I can.. Although, I can put myself in God's hands and stop trying to be the one who does all the work... That is hard.. let go and let God.. how do people do that? 

I fear so very deeply.. it invades my dreams and yet when the darkness comes and my dreams are at their worst.. I find myself singing hymns.. Yep in my subconscious I know to put my life in God's hands.. hmmmm wonder if it is my subconscious at all.

So once again.. I find myself totally lost.. alone in the wilderness and having to stop demanding and start supplicating.. 

Shauni