My one word for 2019

Several years ago I stopped making New Year resolutions, because, let’s face it, they were broken the first month (sometimes the first week!)–like walking again or eating healthier! I heard about instead, creating a #oneword and a Scripture verse(s) to go along with it.

One word

When I began to do this, I no longer felt condemnation that I was breaking my New Year resolutions so quickly. I also discovered that as I earnestly prayed to God about this matter, the #oneword always turned out to be a prophetic theme for the entire year.

joy
Red cardinals joy decoration

For example, my #oneword in 2018 was JOY. At times, last year was anything but joyful! There were many hard times. I have cried a lot the last several years, more than I ever have in my entire life.

pensive woman
pensive woman

We all have stress and battle worries–relationship problems. Business or ministry challenges. Health issues. Financial struggles. But joy is a choice. You can be joyful even in adversity or a major crisis! Joy is not the same as happiness.

Smiling child

God wants us happy, just as we do our own children. But joy, like faith, isn’t based on circumstances. The joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) We must choose faith, and we must choose joy.

Compass pointing north
Compass pointing north
Image source: Google

Usually, the last week of December of each year, I pray about the coming new year, for God to protect and bless me and my family and friends, for His guidance and presence with us, and for a #oneword and Scripture(s) for the coming year.

I ask Him to be mine and my family’s compass, our “true north.” (This expression comes from the great chick flick movie, Message In A Bottle, with Kevin Costner!)

Message in a Bottle movie
Message in a Bottle movie

God speaks in a myriad of ways to His children:

  • primarily through His holy word, the Bible;
  • by His still, small voice to our hearts as we pray and listen to Him;
  • from other people, sharing His words of truth and encouragement;
  • in nature (“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”–Psalm 19:1, NIV);
  • through signs in the sky, such as the sun, the moon, the stars, etc. (Luke 21:25);
  • in other signs, such as red cardinal birds, mourning doves, eagles, the wind, a billboard, a car’s bumper sticker, something said on a podcast, radio or TV show, a voice in a crowd, etc. Obviously, we can’t base our lives on these “signs,” but God can speak to His children however He wants to get His message of truth across to us. Sometimes it’s like He needs a two by four to get the message through our thick heads and stubborn hearts!

Just prior to January 2019 beginning, I noticed the words “humble” and “humility” in a couple of different places. First, the words Stay HUMBLE were inscribed on chapstick that I’d received in a gift box.

Stay humble chapstick
Stay humble chapstick gift

That’s interesting, I thought. The words “humble” and “humility” started popping up like Orville Redenbacher’s Movie Theater Butter popcorn on Facebook posts.

popcorn popping
popcorn popping;
Image source: Google

Then I started seeing the words a LOT! A recurrent theme.

Oh no, I thought in dread. Uh oh—wait a minute! That’s my one word for 2019, isn’t it, God?

I knew what that meant (God was going to smash my PRIDE), and heck no, I did NOT want that word! Which is probably exactly why He is giving it to me!

Why couldn’t I get a nicer, easier, funner word like adventures? Or dream bigger? Or overflow, especially in our bank account? Or laughter?

But no. My words are humble and humility! Yes, I know humility is a beautiful, Christ-like virtue and God is doing this for my own good.

You and I know there is just no use fighting God. In the end, He’s going to get His way. Because He’s God!

Jacob wrestling
Jacob wrestling with God
Image source: Google

We can wrestle with Him until daybreak like Jacob did (Genesis 32:22-32), but we’ll walk away with a painful limp. God is bigger and more powerful than you and me, so we might as well submit and obey!

So I started researching the definition of humility to begin preparing spiritually for 2019. (Here goes nothing!)

  • freedom from pride or arrogance;
  • a lack of ego;
  • lowness; an attitude of service;
  • the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance;
  • serving others for their good, as well as your own;
  • a realistic appreciation of your strengths, as well as your weaknesses.

Synonyms for humility include:

  • demureness;
  • down-to-earthness;
  • lowliness;
  • meekness;
  • modesty.

You know, traits that are so unlike me! People who know me well would NOT describe me as demure–reserved, bashful, shrinking. Instead, my sister Maria describes my approach in life more like “a bull in a china shop.” 

Antonyms (the opposite) of humility are even more revealing–and alarming!

  • arrogance;
  • assumption;
  • conceit;
  • haughtiness;
  • huffiness;
  • presumptuousness;
  • pretense;
  • pride;
  • imperiousness (domineering);
  • obtrusiveness;
  • superiority.

STOP! Is anyone else getting uncomfortable here?! Well, I sure am. But then it’s my #oneword, not yours–unless God says so!

Remember that pride, and then rebellion, was Satan’s sin. We don’t want to be like the devil, do we? I don’t!

Humility and gratitude
Humility and gratitude

Mother Teresa said, “If you are humble, then nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”

No doubt that I have some family members, or even friends, who will remind me throughout this year of my #oneword humility and how I am being so NOT humble!

Maybe humility isn’t your strong suit, either. I have good news, dear friend. When we stumble and fall, as we surely will, we can get back up.

That is why Jesus died for you and me; nobody is perfect but Him. He’s teaching us to be more like Him each moment.

You and I can breathe again, and be thankful that God’s mercies are new every beautiful morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

 

Humility book
Humility book

This week, I ordered a used copy of Andrew Murray’s book Humility from Amazon to start off the year right and plan to do other studies on this topic as well.

My Scripture verses for 2019, based on these words humble and humility are:

“The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 15:33, ESV)

“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6, NKJV. The NLT translation says, “And He gives grace generously.”)

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:6-7, NKJV)

This last Scripture shows me that I need to be alert in Spirit this year. Satan wants to cause destruction in mine and my family’s life, to devour and kill us. I thank God that Jesus Christ is more powerful and the battle belongs to the Lord, who has the victory already!

The great news in all this? If we humble ourselves before God and cultivate a lifestyle of humility, depending on and trusting solely in Him, the Bible says God will give us HONOR and EXALT us! (Good surprises for us, for HIS glory!) Isn’t that exciting? 

Do you have a #oneword, Scripture verse(s), and/or theme for the new year 2019? Please share it below with me! And let’s pray for each other this year to walk it out with God’s grace and help!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Saint Mary’s Cathedral and stained glass windows: the beautiful pieces of our lives

This is post #15 and the final blog post of a blog series I’m writing including pictures of the recent amazing trip I took with our precious, beautiful daughter Leah. Here are posts:

#1, My daughter Leah and I went to Ireland,

#2, Ireland: Dreams Come True,

#3, We visited Bunratty Castle in Ireland,

#4, Bunratty Folk Park: the waterfall, the lamb, and the fairy village,

#5, The Gorgeous Cliffs of Moher,

#6, Galway Girl,

#7, Galway Girl, Part 2,

#8, Treacherous Corkscrew Hill,

#9, The ferry in Kerry County.

#10, Torc Waterfall, and

#11, Killorglin: flies, a spider, and a moving bed, and a French couple!

#12, Kenmare: Palm trees, a pub, and Irish coffee;

#13, Ladies View: A break for coffee and chocolate/;

#14, Kilkenny: A near wreck with a semi and a lesson inspired by Leah and a harpist.

We took so many pictures with our phones that I need to break up the posts, to make it easier for you to read, as I know you live a busy, hectic life like mine and you don’t have lots of spare time!

I hope these blogs inspire and bless you. I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, who made this amazing opportunity and prayer possible.

“I’m Irish not because I was born in Ireland, but because Ireland was born in me.”–Anonymous

I’m a speaker and writer, but words feel so inadequate to describe the beauty and mystery of Ireland. In my heart, I knew it was calling me and I had to go. It was such an amazing trip to take with my precious daughter Leah; we both can’t wait to go back!

As I wrap up this 15th and final blog post in this Ireland blog series, I want to share a few pics of one of the prettiest places we visited, Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Killarney. A Roman Catholic cathedral, it is massive and had gorgeous stained glass windows, which I love.

Built from 1842 and completed in 1855, its construction wasn’t continuous due to the Great Famine and lack of funds, so the work had to be stopped several times. This reminds me of how the work God is doing in our lives is continuous until He finally completes it, the Author and Finisher of our faith in Christ. Sin and many other things can stop His working in our hearts. 

Saint Mary's Cathedral
Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney, Ireland

 

Stained glass, St. Mary's Cathedral
Stained glass, St. Mary’s Cathedral

The church is still in use today. I didn’t realize this and when Leah and I went to visit it, they were having Mass. We stood quietly at the back of the cathedral, admired its amazing beauty, and took a few pics.

altar, St. Mary's Cathedral
altar, St. Mary’s Cathedral

The architecture of the cathedral, both inside and outside, was amazing. The stonework is a mixture of brown and grey stone. Tragically, the grounds are a burial ground for dozens of children who died from starvation, and the monument was erected in their memory.

During the Mass, people light candles because God instructed His people in the Old Testament where an oil lamp was lit to “keep a flame burning perpetually” (Exodus 27:19-20); to show reverence for God and as a reminder that Jesus Christ is the source of all Light (John 8:12); to pray for people; to petition saints to pray for them (I don’t personally ascribe to that Catholic belief); and as the light is burning, to show a desire to remain in God’s presence as we go through our daily duties at home and in the workplace.

steeple, St. Mary's Cathedral
steeple, St. Mary’s Cathedral

 

People at Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral
People at Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral

 

candles for lighting at St. Mary's Cathedral
candles for lighting at St. Mary’s Cathedral

 

cross, St. Mary's Cathedral
cross, St. Mary’s Cathedral

 

arched door of St. Mary's Cathedral
arched door of St. Mary’s Cathedral

 

window at St. Mary's Cathedral
window at St. Mary’s Cathedral

 

Pretty window at St. Mary's
Pretty window at St. Mary’s

 

unique architecture of St. Mary's
unique architecture of St. Mary’s

I miss Ireland so much! I pray that Leah and I can go back one day soon. One of the famous sites that Leah really wanted to see was Giant’s Causeway, an area of about 40,000 basalt columns which are the result of a volcanic fissure eruption–very unique-looking! It was named the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom.

Giants' Causeway
Giants’ Causeway

And of course there is a legend associated with it, of an Irish giant fighting a Scottish giant!

I was going to do my best to get her there, even though it is in the far northern part of Ireland, which was opposite the direction we were driving to the B & B’s.

She finally decided that it was too long of a drive to get there (we were both getting tired toward the end of the trip), and that it’d cost too much. I told her we will see it next time we go!

From this incredible trip, I learned:

  • God can make your big dreams come true, and even exceed them!
  • Pray and keep praying–God hears the prayers of your heart!
  • Be led by the Spirit of God wherever you go and PRAY–He is your GPS! He will help guide you and to find your way, even to unexpected, wonderful places!
  • Pack light and tight. I did this but still packed too much! Leave room for souvenirs.
  • Make plans, prepare, be organized, but also be flexible and spontaneous for more fun! Some places that you planned to go, you won’t go. Other places you hadn’t even thought of–you will find!
  • Stop and listen to the music! Keep your eyes wide open.
  • Try new foods and drinks.
  • Try to sleep on the plane! Wear comfy, loose, warm clothes. Eating turkey sandwiches and bananas can help you sleep (avoid caffeine late in the afternoon/evening).
  • Stay hydrated! Stay awake and in the sun as long as possible to help with jet lag!
  • Make sweet, precious memories with your children and loved ones!
  • Always back up your pics and videos when you get home! 
  • Take time for coffee and chocolate!
  • Laugh! Have fun! Enjoy every minute!
  • Praise and thank God for His awesome blessings!

I can’t thank Jesus enough for this amazing trip with my beautiful, precious daughter Leah. I’m so thankful that she decided to go with me! We both conquered some fears and had a very exciting adventure! I believe it also gave Leah a little taste for more travel!

Praise You, God, for doing this for me and Leah and for blessing us so much! And now, here I am, Lord, send me–wherever You want me to go!

View from the plane. Goodbye, sweet Ireland!
View from the plane. Goodbye, sweet Ireland!

 

Torc Waterfall
Torc Waterfall

 

My precious beautiful daughter Leah & me at the Cliffs of Moher. A lady offered to take our pic together.
My precious beautiful daughter Leah & me at the Cliffs of Moher. A lady offered to take our pic together.

Remember, DREAM BIG BECAUSE WE SERVE A BIG GOD!

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Ladies’ View: A break for coffee and chocolate

This is post #13 of a blog series I’m writing including pictures of the recent amazing trip I took with our precious, beautiful daughter Leah. Here are posts:

#1, My daughter Leah and I went to Ireland,

#2, Ireland: Dreams Come True,

#3, We visited Bunratty Castle in Ireland,

#4, Bunratty Folk Park: the waterfall, the lamb, and the fairy village,

#5, The Gorgeous Cliffs of Moher,

#6, Galway Girl,

#7, Galway Girl, Part 2,

#8, Treacherous Corkscrew Hill,

#9, The ferry in Kerry County.

#10, Torc Waterfall, and

#11, Killorglin: flies, a spider, and a moving bed, and a French couple!

#12, Kenmare: Palm trees, a pub, and Irish coffee.

We took so many pictures with our phones that I need to break up the posts, to make it easier for you to read, as I know you live a busy, hectic life like mine and you don’t have lots of spare time!

I hope these blogs inspire and bless you. I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, who made this amazing opportunity and prayer possible.

Irish Quotes

“Ireland is where strange tales begin and happy endings are possible.”–Charles Haughey

After a long journey, we need to stop and rest. Even Jesus, the Son of God, had to rest at times. Leah and I found the perfect spot when reaching Ladies’ View, a scenic view on the Ring of Kerry, in the Killarney National Park. The name comes from the admiration of the view given by Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting during their 1861 visit. 

As I drove through treacherous mountain curves to Kenmare, it rained a little but the sun came out and we saw a beautiful rainbow.

a rainbow in Ireland
a rainbow in Ireland

This made me smile as I had prayed before going on this trip that it would not heavily rain, but if it did ever rain for God to give me a rainbow as a sign of His promises and His presence with us. 

 “I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.” (Genesis 9:13, NLT)

The mountains were gorgeous but it was a little scary driving through them. Cars were flying around the curves, but around each corner there was another breathtakingly beautiful view. Pictures simply don’t do the beauty in Ireland justice. 

mountains on the way to Kenmare
mountains on the way to Kenmare

 

mountains in national park
mountains in national park

 

mountain lake
mountain lake

 

unique trees in mountains
unique trees in mountains

In Ireland as you are driving, you have to watch for sheep, goats, cows, and other animals on the side of the highway and roads. Leah and I saw one lone sheep and a lone goat on the highway as we drove, and I slowed down to take a pic. We also saw a funny sign, “Adopt a Sheep.”

Adopt a Sheep sign on highway
Adopt a Sheep sign on highway

 

mountain highway in the rain
mountain highway in the rain

 

lone sheep by the mountain highway
lone sheep by the mountain highway

After driving up and down the steep mountains, Ladies’ View Industries was a welcome place to stop and relax for a bit, to have chocolate and coffee and browse their little shop for souvenirs, such as wool scarves and clothing, postcards, soft toy sheep, and other cute items!

Leah ordered an iced caramel latte and I got a hot latte. They had scones, chocolate, and other goodies. We shared chocolate fudge with walnut, which was delicious. The tables had pretty, fresh flowers on them, such a nice, elegant touch!

Ladies' View Industries
Ladies’ View Industries

 

Leah's and my lattes' at Ladies' View shop
Leah’s and my lattes’ at Ladies’ View shop

 

my latte at table with pretty, fresh flowers
my latte at table with pretty, fresh flowers

 

scones, chocolate, and other goodies
scones, chocolate, and other goodies

 

different types of fudge
different types of fudge

I love coffee and drink it every morning. I also love the smells, sights, and sounds of coffee shops, and think it might be fun to work in one. At home, in the morning after I get ready and cook my cheese omelette, I enjoy “coffee with God,” having that first cup of coffee as I pray and read the Bible. Then at work, I make coffee for the second smaller one! I even have a sign on my bookshelf at work, “But first coffee.”

employees in coffee shop
employees in coffee shop

We looked out the amazing scenery at Ladies’ View for awhile, then went on our way and stopped at another scenic view, this time with mountains and a lake.

gorgeous mountain and lake in Killarney National Park
gorgeous mountain and lake in Killarney National Park

 

scenic view of mountain & lake in national park
scenic view of mountain & lake in national park

 

mountains, Killarney National Park
mountains, Killarney National Park

 

Leah, Killarney National Park mountains by lake
Leah, Killarney National Park mountains by lake

It was raining softly. The area had huge mountain boulders, that Leah began to climb. Since she was wearing flip flops, I was so afraid that Leah was going to slip, fall, and hurt herself. She was very amused, taking a picture of herself with me in the background, admonishing her to be careful. Thank God she did NOT fall. The picture is funny now!

me telling Leah to be careful climbing the wet rocks in her flip flops
Leah is funny–but she needs to listen! Me in the background, telling her to be careful climbing the wet rocks in her flip flops

As you drive through Ireland, you see stone walls on sides of the roads and highways, a variety of homes with thatched roofs, and so many castles and castle ruins (you can even take a castle tour, attend castle meal feasts, and stay in castles overnight). The sights are interesting, so make sure you have lots of room on your camera or phone to take pics and videos!

stone walls on the side of highway
stone walls on the side of highway

 

home with thatched roof
home with thatched roof

 

you see castles and ruins all over Ireland
you see castles and ruins all over Ireland

In my next post in this Ireland blog series, I’ll share about our last B & B in Kilkenny, where we listened to a woman playing an electric harp on the sidewalk and Leah shared a lesson of truth with me which convicted me. LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN’s HEARTS! We also had a near miss with a semi-truck when I stopped at a convenience store for ice cream! God protected us! Stay tuned!

Green Irish hills
Green Irish hills

 

My beautiful, precious daughter Leah. I love her so much!
My beautiful, precious daughter Leah with her souvenir necklace from Ireland. I love her so much!

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail