Stay awake and be ready

Me in "Stay Strong" T-shirt
Me in “Stay Strong” T-shirt

 

messy mom bun
messy mom bun

It’s Saturday night and as I sit here writing in my messy mom bun, grey “Stay Strong” T-shirt, and black yoga pants, waiting on my pepperoni pizza to be delivered (special $10 coupon), the world seems a little too quiet and uncertain tonight.

My office window at dusk
My office window at dusk

My husband Ray is at work, one of his ambulance calls today being a child getting into a toxic substance. (I prayed for the child’s healing.) Although they are saved, our own grown children are God knows where, doing God knows what. I pray daily for them and our grandchildren. Too many temptations are out there in the world, and Satan is way too subtle and evil. He goes about like a lion seeking to destroy our lives. 

Be careful—watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart. Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too.” (1 Peter 5:8-9, TLB)

When you read the terrifying, hopeless, and sad news headlines today, you can see Biblical prophecy coming to pass before your eyes. While we don’t know the exact date, Jesus said that we would know His return is near, just as we know summer is near when the fig tree’s twigs get tender and the leaves come out. (Matthew 24:32-50) He is coming back soon.

Jesus coming
Jesus coming
Image source: Google

Lots of people are having Rapture dreams. There’s so many videos on YouTube now about the Rapture.

We need to be ready for Jesus’ coming. If you are not already saved, I invite you to ask Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior. All you need to do is pray and ask God to forgive you of your sins (no matter what sin you have committed), and receive Jesus as your Savior. You will then be filled and sealed with the Holy Spirit; your name will be written forever in the Lamb’s Book of Life and you will live and co-reign with God forever. 

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”–Romans 10:9-10, NIV

“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”–Acts 2:38, ESV

“The one who conquers will thus be dressed in white garments and I will by no means blot out his name from the book of life, but I will acknowledge his name before my Father and before his angels.”–Revelation 3:5

Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”–Matthew 24:42-44, ESV

The Hands of a Woman
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***My book, The Hands of a Woman: Everyday Women in Everyday Battles, shares about the spiritual battles that you and I are facing each day as Jesus’ return grows closer, and how we can overcome our trials through faith in Jesus Christ. You can find out more about this book of 8 women’s powerful stories here.

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Mothers’ Day with our beautiful daughters and my flower garden

Abraham Lincoln quote on mother

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”–Abraham Lincoln

I had a great Mother’s Day weekend and hope you did, too. The best part for me was seeing our precious, beautiful daughters Heather and Leah. I went by to see our middle daughter Eden, but she was working late until that night. Hopefully I can see her this week when she is off work. 

Heather bought me a sweet card and beautiful fresh red roses, my favorite flowers–so thoughtful of her!

card & roses from Heather
card & roses from Heather

Heather works full-time, stays constantly busy and on the go, and lives almost an hour away from me here in Butler. So it was a real treat for her to drive here with her girls Annabelle and Violet and take me out to lunch at the Mexican restaurant, El Charro. 

Me & our beautiful daughter, Heather Mothers' Day 2018
Me & our beautiful daughter, Heather
Mothers’ Day 2018

 

Heather opening her card & gift from me The girls watching her Mothers' Day 2018
Heather opening her card & gift from me
The girls watching her
Mothers’ Day 2018

Heather and the girls then stopped by our house to see our black cat with green eyes, Natalya, for the first time. Violet loved her! Natalya is shy, so I was really glad she allowed them to pet and even hold her!

Heather seeing our cat Natalya the first time
Heather seeing our cat Natalya for the first time here

 

Our granddaughters Violet & Annabelle seeing Natalya the 1st time
Our granddaughters Violet and Annabelle seeing Natalya for the 1st time here at our house

Their visit was very short and sweet, because Heather had an errand to run, but I’m so thankful that I was able to see them and spend time with them for this special holiday!

On actual Mother’s Day Sunday, our youngest daughter Leah treated me to lunch at El Charro, too (we both love Mexican and I can never have too much chips and salsa!). Seeing our daughters made my whole weekend!

Me & our precious, beautiful daughter Leah on Mothers' Day 2018
Me & our precious, beautiful daughter Leah on Mothers’ Day 2018

 

Mexican lunch
Mexican lunch

 

I'm addicted to chips & salsa!
I’m addicted to chips & salsa!

The restaurant staff also blessed me with a free dessert for Mothers’ Day: it was a creamy, yummy cake with strawberries!

the yummy dessert: Leah & I shared it!
the yummy cake with chocolate & strawberries: Leah and I shared it!

I’m so thankful that I was able to do this with Leah. It made my whole day.

My husband Ray bought me a beautiful butterfly card (I love butterflies!) and a Chicken Soup for the Soul book, The Empowered Woman. What the card read inside about me being beautiful and what he wrote about me as a mom meant the most to me and deeply touched me.

butterfly card & book
butterfly card & book

To treat myself afterward, I planted some flowers in my flower bed that I’d bought at the Mennonite store in town, the Stoplight Market, where I purchased them last year. All this is a lot of hard work, and I was very sore the next day! I posted a meme on Facebook which read, “My glutes are on FIYAH!”

 

flower bed
my flower bed. I started gardening last year and am happy to have fresh flowers again!

My friend Stephanie urged me to buy mulch for the flower bed, so the rains wouldn’t wash away the petunias. I went the next day to buy the mulch and put it down to protect the flowers.

mulch
mulch

 

petunias
petunias in a variety of colors

 

cute little sign-fairy
cute little sign: fairy crossing

 

yellow daisies
friendly daisies for our back steps

 

purple potted petunias
purple potted petunias

 

gardenias
red gardenias for my sunroom

I love having creamy coffee and drinking it in our sunroom in the morning. It’s a great place to just pray to God and watch the birds, squirrels, butterflies, and bunny rabbits.

coffee in the sunroom
coffee in the sunroom

My mother-in-law Judy bought me this beautiful, little glass table for the sunroom. I love it! It is perfect for my coffee, flowered cactus, and aloe vera plant.

glass table
glass table

Our cat Natalya loves our sunroom as much as I do, but for different reasons. She intently watches the birds and the squirrels, anticipating a kill if she could only get outside (she’s an indoor-only house cat!). 

Natalya watching the birds
Natalya watching the birds

 

Natalya by the sunroom screen
Natalya by the sunroom screen

 

Natalya in the sunroom
Natalya in the sunroom

I bought a few herbs for my sunroom: wonderful-smelling lavender, oregano to use in cooking dishes like spaghetti, and beautiful purple Salvia. I never leave our cat alone in the sunroom with the plants, as some can be toxic. The door stays locked when I’m not in there.

I have the herbs in a big, white crate that was filled with goodies the attendees blessed me with last year, when I spoke at a retreat in Liberty, MO.

herbs: lavender, oregano, and Salvia
herbs: lavender, oregano, and Salvia

 

faith deco in sunroom
faith deco in sunroom

Last year I planted a big butterfly bush to entice butterflies, which I love. It blossomed well, and drew butterflies in my garden. But Missouri can have harsh, cold winters and it’s likely the ice and the snow killed the poor, little plant. I wasn’t able to find a big plant I really liked for that corner, so I bought a Celtic Cross.

I am proclaiming it is a prophetic declaration for me visiting Ireland, one of the things on my bucket list! Irish legend says that Saint Patrick was trying to convert the pagans to Christianity. Some of these pagans worshiped the sun, so it is said that he combined the cross with the circular pattern of the sun as a way to associate light and life with the Christian cross in the mind of his converts. I think it adds a unique touch to the garden.

Celtic Cross
Celtic Cross

I also put new bark mulch around my roses. Last year I planted my first rose garden. Two of the rose bushes look somewhat sad this spring, so they may have to be uprooted and replaced. I’m not sure they survived the winter. The other two rose bushes are doing well, and one is already blooming beautifully.

rose garden
rose garden with stones

 

my roses from this year's garden
my roses from this year’s garden

I bought bags of black sunflower and other little seeds to draw the red cardinals, sparrows, purple finches, blue jays, and other beautiful birds in our yard. I’ve already seen the male and female red cardinals in our yard. The red male cardinal is my special sign of love from God, and it makes me so happy to see one!

I’ve also seen purple finches and mourning doves. Doves make beautiful sounds in the morning and are among my other favorite birds. An interesting fact about doves is that they mate for life. 

red male cardinal Image source: Pinterest
red male cardinal
Image source: Pinterest

 

purple finch
purple finch

Last year my mother-in-law Judy bought me the squirrel-proof feeder on the left in the pic below. The squirrels are greedy, and practically do acrobatics on the feeders, even going upside down, to try to get to the seeds and eat them. 

bird feeders
bird feeders

I also put back out the hummingbird feeder with sugar water, and have already seen hummingbirds at them. I love the hummingbirds; they are so little and cute!

To make safe hummingbird food (there is controversy whether the red dye is safe or toxic to hummingbirds),  mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts water and bring to a boil to kill any bacteria or mold that is present. Cool and fill your feeder. They love it! This morning I saw a big black and yellow bumblebee at the feeder; they like it, too, so be careful. I was stung by a bee on my foot as a child, and my foot was swollen to twice its size, so I’m allergic to bees. 

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”–Ashley Smith

hummingbird feeder
hummingbird feeder

The previous owners of this house had planted two pink peony bushes on the side yard. They are now blooming beautifully. My friend Stephanie said these are her favorite flowers, and that if I take care of them, they can grow as big as saucers.

pink peonies bush
pink peonies bush

 

pink peony
pink peony

I have a few more goals for our yard. One is to get a white trellis for the Wisteria tree, that Ray suggested I buy and plant last year. We put it in the front of our house by the little porch. It is now taking over our house, and friends of mine advised to get a trellis to train its growing “arms,” so it won’t destroy the siding on our home.

Wisteria tree
Wisteria tree

My other planned project is to buy 3 giant rocks at The Grass Pad in Martin City, MO, and make an attractive fairy rock garden on top of it. This is where I bought my stones for my rose garden last year. 

I had a very good Mothers’ Day this year and am so thankful.

Me on Mothers' Day 2018
Me on Mothers’ Day 2018

What did you do for the holiday? Leave your comments below.

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Follow the Light

Sunflowers
Sunflowers

In  my post about the seed and the soil of your heart, I shared some interesting trivia about sunflowers, including that the flowers track the sun as the earth moves across the sky in the daytime and that mature sunflowers remain facing the east. I shared that even as sunflowers follow the sun and the light, may you and I as believers follow the Son and the Light, Jesus. But what does it mean to follow His Light and walk in it?

All you have to do is read today’s news headlines to know that we are truly living in the end times. Jesus is at the door, coming soon. Biblical prophecy is coming to pass before our eyes.

Jesus' second coming Image source: http://godsheart-heart2heart.blogspot.com/2016/05/this-is-second-coming-of-jesus-christ.html
Jesus’ second coming
Image source: http://godsheart-heart2heart.blogspot.com/2016/05/this-is-second-coming-of-jesus-christ.html

We are seeing what the prophet Isaiah foretold in chapter 60, “the darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the people.” Evil is increasing, and legions of demonic forces are being unleashed against God’s people as never before, because Satan knows his time is very short.

These frightening news stories are enough to make you give up hope and want to just go home to heaven.

You may feel despair that God can intervene in the above situations and that things (or people) can ever change. You may feel discouraged, depressed, angry, worried, confused, stressed out, or overwhelmed.

You don’t understand what is going on or why things are happening the way they are. You may feel what is the use of even being a Christian? You may think what good does it do and are you even making any difference and impact at all in your children’s and other loved one’s lives? Life can seem like a nightmare and happiness may elude you.

You may wonder about your purpose and why you are here on Earth.

You may feel things are just too dangerous today and feel afraid. The world is no longer safe. It’s hard to follow the Light when all seems dark around you.

Our family
Our family

If you are like me as a parent, you fear for your children and your grandchildren in this dark world, and want to constantly keep them close to you…or just go to Heaven. But the safest place to be is in the loving hands and the will of God. 

We must not have an escapist mentality. We must remember that we are more than a conqueror through faith in Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:37)

The light in us (the Holy Spirit) is greater than the darkness surrounding us. 

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”–1 John 4:4

We must remember that as we see all these scary things happening and the spiritual darkness becoming even darker, to look up at the Light of Christ and be encouraged with hope that our redemption draws near.

“But when these things begin to happen, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near.”–Luke 21:28, New Heart English Bible

 

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