Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

hiking

We like to go hiking.

Some trails are clearly marked – some are not marked at all. Some trails are wide enough for 4 people to walk side my side. While other trails are barely wide enough for one person to carefully pass. Some trails are filled with stairs. What goes up must come down. While other trails are mostly level.

The trails that drop off on both sides are the ones that make my heart skip a beat and find me forgetting to breathe. Recently, my husband kept telling me to just look at the trail, one step at a time, don’t look down, follow his footsteps………..

Life can be like that sometimes. Only we have God leading us, reminding us to take it one step at a time, to follow Him, to stay focused, to not look at the problem….

Following God!

Psalm 18:32-34 (ESV)

“the God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.”

hinds feet

Following God!
til next time

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April 28, 2017 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons, ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , | Leave a comment

a monkey?

“Hey, isn’t holding a monkey on your bucket list?” my husband asked me.

Yes, yes it is!

Here was a chance, possibly of a lifetime.

However, the lady informed me that this monkey, Lucian, did not really like women or children.

She was more than surprised that he took to me right away.   In fact, I am sure that I was given more time with him because I was very good for business.

Lucian started jabbering and had eye contact with me from the beginning.   He took a moment to pose for a picture. (3rd picture)   Then He decided to groom me.  (4th picture)  After that there were snuggles and of course more jabbering.  Finally, she told him it was time to go.

He grabbed on to my neck and hugged me tight.  He was having none of that.  He didn’t want to let go.  He did have a pretty good grip on me.   She had to pull out the big treat to get him to go back to her.

In the most unexpected places, at unexpected times, God smiles a blessing on us.  Holding a monkey is a small thing.  Yet, it was something I have always wanted to do.  I may have been hugged by a monkey but the whole process was a warm hug from God.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.”  Psalm 37:3-5 (NASB)

My first and foremost desire is for God’s will to be done in my life.  I think that is the primary application for these verses.  As we delight in the Lord our desires will be for His will to be done and for Him to be glorified in us and through us.  As we trust Him, commit our lives to Him, do good and strive to be faithful – God will do the rest.  God is good!  All the time!

Yet even as our earthly father wants to bless his kids in many ways.  God also looks for ways to bless us.  For me, this time it was holding a monkey.  What a blessing it was.

Now about that trip to Israel that’s also on my bucket list??  I’ll keep you posted.

til next time

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January 9, 2017 Posted by | life lessons, ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

spring time, horses, and Carter

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“Behold, I make all things new .”  Rev 21:5

It is Spring, isn’t it?

It was a cool 23 degrees this morning when I woke at O’ Dark Thirty.    Last Friday there were a few snowflakes in the air as we toured an Amish community.  I was reminded of how grateful I am for warm vehicles when I saw this coming toward us.

amish

The horse must know where it is going.   I remember all to well when the horse I was riding  (Jim was his name) took off for the barn.  It appeared I was just along for the ride.  There was nothing I could do to stop him and he even attempted to scrap me off as he ran past the house.  He was quite the spirited horse.

What did I do?  When the horse finally stopped at the fence, I regained control.  Jim and I turned around and went back out.  We walked (he hated to walk) past the house, down the lane and to the railroad tracks.  Then I turned him around and we walked back to the barn.   He never tried that trick again.  The consequences weren’t worth it for him.

April is Child Abuse Awareness month.  I know a sweet little boy who suffered at the hands of  his biological father.  Carter’s only crime was crying – 4 month old babies will do that.  The consequences for Carter are severe.  He is now blind, tube fed, has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, along with global mental and physical delays.  His biological father served 2 years of a 7 year sentence.  Is that justice?

It seems that our country has stricter punishment for animal abuse than for child abuse.

Carter loves worship.   He has taught me much about worshiping with abandonment,  giving it my all.  He loves Gloria kisses and I love him!

Spring time, horses and Carter might seem like an odd combination for a blog but it is what is on my heart this morning.

Spring is here – no matter what the temperature says.   So I brought a little springtime inside.flowers

Horses remind me of the consequences of choices made.  Consequences remind me of the price others pay for choices beyond their control – Carter.  Carter reminds me that God takes something that was broken and reveals beauty that is there.  God’s grace is enough.

spring

til next time,

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April 12, 2016 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons, living in a fish bowl, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

reminders are good

Sometimes I just need to be reminded.

Some days getting out of bed is an accomplishment.  Yet, it is important to remember that I only have one opportunity to live this day.  When the day is done I want to look back on it and know that I chose wisely, that I didn’t let my ‘feelings’ control my day, that I didn’t let my physical pain have the upper hand, and that I walked with God.

P1080733

This next lesson is one many people could benefit from.   When my life is seeming to resemble chaos, when stress is high, and it seems I just can’t get a handle on things — God leads me beside still waters.   He leads me but this means I choose to follow or I choose to continue down the stress highway.  God’s path is so much better.   Which path are you choosing?

still waters

Sometimes things happen that are out of my control.  The thing to remember is nothing takes God by surprise.  The question is – how long will I allow my heart to be overwhelmed before I cry out to God?   The sooner the better.

psalm 61

Anxious, worried, stressed, this is a good ‘go to’ scripture that is powerful to meditate on.

daisy

Sometimes people can be hurtful.  Recognizing that how I treat them is a reflection of me and my walk with God.   Yes, sometimes I badly need to remember this prayer.

my prayer

Finally, remembering that the center of God’s love is where I want to stay means exchanging my will for His.  What a wonderful trade off.

word pic 5

til next time,

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February 5, 2016 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons, living in a fish bowl, ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

what are we missing?

I received this in the mail yesterday.

cell phone

We have had our cell phones for 14 years – I barely remember what it was like before cell phones.

My husband did not want a cell phone.  An emergency situation was the final determining factor in seeing the need for a pastor to have a cell phone .

I enjoyed greatly the fact that our boys had cell phones when they got their first vehicles.  There was a sense of relief that they were only a phone call a way if they had problems.

Then came texting. How did we get along with it?  Yet, how has it impacted conversations?

Somewhere in there I became a blogger.  Next I jumped on the Facebook bandwagon.  I have not joined any other social media site, nor have I joined pintrest.  Yet social media has impacted my life.

I talked my husband into getting smart phones when we were taking our old motorcycle to the Grand Canyon.   A GPS and google came in very handy.

I love my phone.  As of this moment, I have 1,240 pictures on it.  I say this moment because before the day is over I will probably have at least one more.

That said, I also hate my phone.  I seemed to be chained to it.  Yes, I have checked Facebook before getting out of bed.  It has consumed more of my life than it should.

I saw an article about the simplicity of flip phones and mentioned it to one of my sons.  He has refused to get a smart phone and still uses his flip phone.  He then showed me this YouTube video.

The guy starts out with “I have 422 friends, yet I am lonely.  I speak to all of them everyday yet none of them really know me…....”

It has griped my heart and I am not a great abuser.  That said, I will be making some changes.

There is a line in this that jumped out at me.

We are a generation of idiots, smart phones and dumb people.  So look up from your phone, shut down the display, take in your surroundings, make the most of today……..”

Has social media replaced human contact?  Is it easier for you to ‘talk’ on Facebook than to carry on a conversation eye to eye? When with others, are you ‘with’ them or are you more concerned about what is going on in social media?  I do think we have become a society that is too accessible to a device that should connect us but just might be isolating us.

For me, I am making some changes.  I will let you know how it goes.

My phone is meant to be a tool not a noose around my neck.

What are we missing by looking down at our phone and not around at our surroundings?

till next time

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June 23, 2015 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons, living in a fish bowl, ministry, motorcycle, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

blame game or ownership? you decide

Have you noticed how too often blame seems to have replaced accepting responsibility?

It’s not my fault, he did this and this and this and well what do you expect me to do?  —-  It’s his fault I’m not happy.  —- She doesn’t love me so I showed her.  —  He pushed me away. —-   I was out of  my meds and the baby wouldn’t stop crying. —- I wouldn’t have been drinking if my boss hadn’t fired me. —  He owes me. — What do you expect with the way he talks to me?

Blame –pointing a finger at someone else instead of taking responsibility for your choices.

I am grateful my parents taught me early on that my mistakes were my fault.  It didn’t matter what someone else did. I answered for what I decided to do.   What someone else did was not an excuse for me to do the wrong thing.

Let me say that huge truth again.

What someone else did was not an excuse for me to do the wrong thing.

My dad would say over and over again, “Two wrongs do not make a right.”

Trying to pass blame or lie about things only made it worse.  The truth does have a way of surfacing.  I think people sometimes forget that.  (Luke 12:2-3)

Holding someone accountable for their actions is appropriate.  Accountability brings with it truth.

Truth begins the journey to healing. 

Blaming someone else as the reason for why you choose to do or not do something is wrong.

Sadly there are some choices that the consequences will follow you all your life. For the drunk driver who killed someone, for the spouse who threw away her marriage by having an affair, for the father who chose to shake his son causing irreparable damage ….. sometimes choices cannot be undone and consequences will forever be a part of your life and even a part of the lives of others.

So what do you do?

Own up to it.  Make real amends. (Continuing to place blame is not ownership and is not making amends.)  Start making right choices.  Live in the truth.  Put up boundaries, if necessary, so that you don’t act out of anger.  Acting out of hurt or anger is still  a reflection of who you are.  Think about it before you say or do something in a moment of anger.  Two wrongs do not make a right.

David is a wonderful example of someone who made monumental mistakes and yet we read that he was a man after God’s own heart. (Acts 13:22)

  1.  It was spring and the kings went into battle.  David chose not to.  He neglected his responsibility.
  2.  He inquired about a woman and was told she was married.  He should have stopped right there but he doesn’t.
  3.  Now she is pregnant (a consequence to his actions)
  4.  He tried to manipulate her husband into sleeping with her.  Uriah was a man of integrity and did not.
  5.  David decides to get Uriah drunk – manipulation again.  It doesn’t work.
  6. David has Uriah placed on the front lines – in essence issuing his death sentence.  Uriah dies.

David then marries Uriah’s wife.   All is well, right?

The story is not over.

Choices have consequences. 

David’s consequences:

  1. The sword will never depart from David’s house.
  2.  Evil will rise up from his household.
  3. The child born will die.
  4. David’s wives would be given to his companion.
  5. What David did secretly will be done openly.

How does David respond?  Does he cast blame?  He was King, surely there were people he could blame?

No, he owned up to his mistakes.  He did not look for someone to blame.  He went before God with a broken and contrite heart.  David acknowledges his sin.  He makes another right choice by going to the house of the Lord and worshiping.  He recognizes his desperate need for God.  (You can read the story in 2 Samuel 11 and 12)

In Psalm 51 David writes about this whole situation.  Here are some of the things he prays.

  1. Have mercy on me.
  2. Wash me.
  3. Cleanse me.
  4. Purify me.
  5. Make me hear joy and gladness.
  6. Create in me a clean heart.
  7. Restore joy.
  8. Sustain me.

It didn’t end there though.  With God the story always goes on.   God would make beauty out of ashes.

Then I will teach your ways to other sinners, and they—guilty like me—will repent and return to you.”  Psalm 51:13 (TLB)

David would teach.  David would proclaim God’s truth. David would follow God.

til next time

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June 6, 2015 Posted by | life lessons, ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I was wrong

I was wrong.

I am sure you have noticed that it is hard for some people to say that.  Sometimes pride stands in the way of truth.  Sometimes in an effort to avoid  what comes next, some won’t admit they were wrong.   If they do admit it, then there is the blame game – it wasn’t my fault.

'egg' on my faceHere I am with ‘egg’ on my face.  I know it isn’t really an egg but you get my point.

My last post was written in error.  I have since revised it to be accurate.  However, for all of you who follow my blog you received the original.  (click here for the revision)  It is never my intention to mislead anyone.  Generally this blog is about my life so staying in the truth is easy.

Even though it wasn’t the main point of my blog I should have verified my information.

Yet this brings about a life lesson.  How do you handle it when you are wrong?

Some will:   ignore it, blame someone else, try to cover it up, or deny it.

It can be easy to get into a bad habit.  Make a mistake — blame someone else.  Make another mistake – blame someone else…… and on it goes.

I encourage you to own it and move on.  The truth sets us free.  (John 8:32)

 James 5:16 (AMP)Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].

You will not be so apt to repeat the mistake if you acknowledge it and make it right.  There is something about dealing with it openly that helps you choose differently next time.   It keeps you accountable.

til next time

September 4, 2013 Posted by | life lessons | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

timing

Back in the beginning of July my son and his wife started the process of purchasing their first home.  We are very excited as it is just a few blocks from us.  They closed on the house this past Wednesday.

They have their own ‘horror’ stories to share of yo-yo Dan the loan officer, but all things happen for a reason.  Timing is indeed God’s department.  This is a valuable lesson to learn.  Whatever we are facing, whatever the time frame, God is still the One we depend on.

This is the beginning of the end of a chapter in their life and the start of a new chapter.  You see for the last almost 10 months they have been living with us.  If you have read any of my other posts than you know that I love, love, love having my family home.

I was not a fan of empty nesting.  However, I know from experience that God has that all in control too.  Timing again is God’s department.

Change.

Seasons change — not just the weather but in our lives also.

Part of living a life to the fullest is learning how to handle change.  Part of successfully learning to handle change is understanding the truth that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  (Hebrews 13:8) He never changes. (Malachi 3:6 ” For I am the LORD, I change not;…”

He is the stability we have when the rest of the world is changing all around us.  He is our helper when we need to make changes in our behavior and our thinking.

Change.

It is a new day, a new opportunity to choose to really engage in life or to just go through the motions.  It is so easy for me to get wrapped up in all that needs to be done that I forget to fully enjoy this day that God has given to me.

Change.

Let there be change in me as I desire to be more and more like the One who gave His life for me.

til next time

October 26, 2012 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

feelings – control them or they control you

Feelings – everyone has them.

I feel __________— fill in the blank.

I’ve seen a big push for people to get in touch with their feelings.  Then to share those feelings and receive validation for said feelings.  After all, people can’t argue with how you feel.  It is your feeling.  Right?

Just because you feel it –  does not make it true, nor does it mean you should give your feelings a voice and speak them out loud.   Feelings are just feelings and you either master them or they master you.

As I have entered into perimenopause, getting a grip on the role feelings play in my life has taken on a greater importance.   I have found my feelings to be all over the place.  Just because I feel it doesn’t mean I should act on it.  In fact I shouldn’t act on what I am feeling until I have had time to pray about it.

Going to God in prayer and keeping His Word (which is The Truth) in front of me helps to take away the control wrong feelings try to have.

People who allow their feelings to rule over them have a hard time living a peaceful life.  All it takes is the actions of one person or just the thoughts of a situation to put your feelings in a tail spin.

A perfectly good day is ruined just because you choose to dwell on  bad feelings.

If you want to walk in victory and live in peace than mastering your feelings is necessary.

“Walk in peace instead of pieces.”  (C. Stankee)

Feelings tend to cause us to go to pieces.  They can have a downward spiral effect.

When we accept the saving grace, offered to us by Jesus Christ, we begin the process of lining up our lives with the Word of God.  This also means lining up our feelings with what the Word of God has to say.  We are to take every thought captive. (2 Corinthians 10:5)  Our feelings are a product of our thoughts.

Our feelings can be carnal.  Our feelings can be based on out right lies.  Just because I feel it, no matter how strongly, doesn’t mean it is true.  Making the decision that I will not be ruled by my feelings but instead rule my feelings will help me to be at peace in any situation.   After all, I know that God is in control and He will work all things out for my good. (Romans 8:28)  Lining up my feelings with that truth is key to me walking in peace.

The day I made the decision to place my trust in the One who loved me first; was the day my sins were covered with Jesus blood!  My life is no longer my own.  Christ lives in me.   He gives me the power to cast down wrong feelings, to strip those feelings of any power and to act on what is the truth regardless of how I feel.

Before accepting God’s gift of salvation we could choose to let our feelings rule us.  Our feelings would dictate to us how we would respond verbally, what we would do and the way we would treat others.

Now there are times we must take our feelings to the foot of the cross and leave them there.

“Great peace have they that love Thy law and nothing shall offend them.”  (Psalm 119:165)

Our feelings can harbor offenses, resentment, pity, hate……….Feelings can lead to a father leaving his children, a wife leaving her husband, sibling relationships strained, friendships ruined, bad decisions being made………. living a life where the tiniest thing can ruin a beautiful day.

Feeling expressed can do great harm to the cause of Christ.  Many a church has split over people’s feelings.  “… as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)  This is important if you want a life of peace.

Master you feelings.  You can change the way you feel.  Start by changing the way you think.  Are your thoughts pleasing to God?  “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight…” (Psalm 19:14)

Extend grace and mercy to others.

Lead by example.

Let your light shine.

Encourage others to line up their feelings with the Word of God.

til next time

October 23, 2012 Posted by | life lessons, perimenopause, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

did this ever happen to Martha Stewart?

Some TV icons make everything look so simple and perfect.

I live in the real world and sometimes even if I follow all the steps perfectly and in order, well, it just still doesn’t turn out right.

I am not a big Martha Stewart fan.  Before there was Martha Stewart there was Mary Ellen.  Back in the early ’80’s I was given a couple of her books on tips around the house.   I am a Mary Ellen fan.

I got to thinking about Martha Stewart yesterday when I was baking cookies. I love to try new recipes.  This one is called Light Pecan Puffs.  (It is not a Martha Stewart recipe.)

Mmmmm don’t those look lovely?  They smelled wonderful.  However, I had some issues with my cookies and it got me to wondering if Martha Stewart ever had a cooking disaster?

I had a bit of trouble getting the cookies off the pan.  In fact I broke my favorite spatula.  I didn’t know that was possible.

As you can see I had a mess.

 

 

About this time my husband came home.  After trying some of the pieces, this is what he had to say about it.

“These are really good.  I like them quite a bit.”  (Yes, there was surprise in his tone.)  I guess you can’t judge a cookie by its look.

So what would Martha Stewart do?  Blog about it?  — probably not.

I collected the pieces and decided they would make a great ice cream topping.

That got me thinking about God. When plan A does not work out how I had hoped, God is right there ready to show me  another way of looking at it.  My perspective changes and what I thought was a mess turns into an opportunity to see the goodness of God in my life.

I have made a lot of cookies over the years.  I have never broken a spatula, nor have I ever had such a mess.  Yet I will still bake cookies.

In life, sometimes it gets messy. Things break and we wonder how did that happen. Dreams crumble and all we are left with is the pieces.  What are we to do?

Hold on to the One who holds all things together. (Col 1:17)  God will make a way. (Proverbs 3:6)  He will work all things out for our good.  (Rom 8:28)  He doesn’t see it as a mess.  He sees the whole picture.  He is an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

At times it seems that the night is so long and morning will never get here.  Yet morning will come.  In the process God offers to me (and you) hope, strength, and peace. I choose to accept those things and to trust the One who loves me (and you) most!  (John 3:16)

I’m off to go back some cookies using a tried and true recipe.

til next time

April 7, 2012 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons, living in a fish bowl | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment