Thursday, May 16, 2013

Using Technology to Fellowship and Encourage

Please forgive me for keeping this a secret for so long! I have been so overwhelmed with doing stuff I neglect to share this great venue where you can fellowship and be encouraged each weekday morning - from the comfort of your home or work. What a blessing!! Here's the scoop: Monday through Friday as early as 4:50 am, then at 6:00 am, then at 6:15 am you will hear sisters praising God in songs, scripture, meditation, and prayer. There is also a weekly 5:20 a.m. call. The wonderful news is that you too can join in. You can either listen or if you want to bring a song, a scripture, a thought, or a prayer, you may do so - just let the Host know ahead of time and not for the 5:20 a.m. call. Morning Devotion Conference Calls - Monday through Friday 4:50AM – hosted by D’Antignac Church of Christ, Augusta, GA Moderator: Sharon Hamilton Phone No: 559-546-1301 Access Code: 936434# 6:00AM – hosted by the West End Church of Christ, Atlanta, GA Moderator: Gale Gaines Phone No: 605-781-1000 Access Code: 162823# Call back number to listen to recording is 605-781-1099 (same access code) 6:15AM – hosted by the DOLLS Ministry of the Southside Church of Christ, Orlando Florida Moderator: Yvonne Davis Phone No: 605-475-4000 Access Code: 402548# Call back number to listen to recording is 605-475-4099(same access code) Morning Devotion Conference Call - Weekly, Wednesdays at 5:20 a.m. Moderator: Bro. Howard Boulden Phone No: 805-399-1000 Access Code: 141366# These calls are powerful. When you get on, please let us know you heard it from Expressions of Hope Blogspot. Blessings and spreading hope all around!

Still Being Hopeful

Dear Readers, I know it has been almost three years since my last post. You may have given up on this blog site or you may have been with me through those three years in different areas of my life. Please know that I have remained hopeful. I have endured. I have had trials. I have spent the night in a hospital. I have laughed. I have cried. I have seen good days. I have seen bad days. I have assumed too much. I have done too little. Through it all, I have continued to praise the Lord, to hope in Him, and to trust His guidance and direction. I pray that you all have doing the same. There is nothing sweeter than trusting in God no matter what the circumstances. God's love for us never fails! Never fails! Be hopeful dear friends and God bless you and your families!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What a Day!!

As I write, I am on the threshold of another birthday - and what a day that will be!!! If you are reading this, it is proof that I woke up on June 25, 2010. Hurrah!! Celebrate with me as you read and be encouraged.

There was a time I convinced myself that I could live without others. A deserted island was of great appeal, and for a long time I frustrated myself with that glorious haunting thought trying to figure out how to get to that island.

As I reflect on the last 30 years of my life, I am utterly speechless with gratitude for the number of persons who have contributed significantly to my life. Thank God I never ended up on that deserted island!!!

The beginning of my Christian journey placed me in the company of some great fun-loving godly people. The memories and the bonds of friendships that were cemented, surpass your utmost imagination. I am also very thankful to my co-workers who were always very kind, encouraging, and supportive. I will never forget the kindness of two of my co-workers who pooled together to buy me lunch because I was broke and waiting on the next month’s paycheck. They did it with such ease and kindness. [Sadly, one passed away early this year.]

To my wonderful English-speaking friends and co-workers in Germany, I say “Dankeschon”! {I thought we were speaking English!} My most gracious thanks!! How could I survive five years without you is beyond comprehension!! All those sightseeing tours, KFC visits, English food, weekends together, all night Christmas cake baking, and that bridal shower…. created lasting memories. You made it more rewarding and I thank you yet again!!

The Big Apple was a blast!! I never wanted to go there and I never wanted to leave! Oh the paradoxes of life!! Thank you all for your love and support at Church and at work. The lessons learned were significant and I thank you. Though we are apart, the goodness of God has never left us, and we kept the flames burning despite the distance. I thank God for you always!!

Now, I words are not readily present in my meager vocabulary to describe my gratitude for this next group of persons who have impacted my life. Your welcome reception toward us was top of the line. You sure outdid yourselves!! Our relationships over the last six years have been growing and maturing; and I thank you from the depths of my heart. It would seem that the Lord placed us in your care over these past years because they have presented for my family and I some of the most difficult challenges, and painful experiences in the loss of our loved ones. It was your love; your caring; your showering of compassion; and your friendship that helped us weather the storms. Thanks for being that tower of strength. God knows the full extent of my gratefulness, but I thank you yet again!!

I must also thank profusely the Teachers, and Moms of my children who have afforded us much quality together. It was a blessing hanging out with other Moms in a PTA meeting or on the playground, wherever. It sure beat having to talk to babies and toddlers all day long. I do appreciate the friendships that were developed and you have been a blessing to my life.

To my family (born of the same mother and father and extending), we have shed tears together, we have laughed ourselves silly; we have talked and consulted; and it is always like we have never been apart What a blessing to have you all in my life. I was blessed to meet some of my cousins and their families for the first time last year. The wonderful aspect of losing a love one is that you get to spend time with families you have not seen in many years. So it was that we enjoyed that time together! Such blessings!!

Above all, I thank my point man of 14 years who has endured much as a result of being with me. The victor he is, he stood strong, tall, and confident and lovingly tightened the band around his household. Of course he was the recipient of the greatest care a man could ever ask of a woman in this life! He has never slept on the couch!! I praise God for Him and his little trainees - our four handsome and precious gifts from our God Almighty!! I pray we do right by them and present them back to the Lord well nurtured in His word.

Through it all, as the song says, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus and I have learned to trust in God. My faith, love, and compassion, have grown, and are still maturing. I sincerely thank you for traveling this journey with me. You lightened my load and made the walk more enjoyable.

Wait up!! I am almost done!! I must change course a bit here and encourage you to pursue your dreams and fulfill your passions in life (so long as they are in keeping with God’s will). Take the time to find out what your passion in life is (if you don’t already know) and work at it; develop it; succeed at it!! You are not too young nor are you too old to start where you are right now.

In 2009, I witnessed the pride and joy on the face of my over 70 year old Sister in the Lord when her book of poetry was published. It was always a dream of hers for many years and she kept on writing poetry all her life. She just needed the encouragement, and the tangible help to see it to fruition.

Similarly, I have always wanted to get published (traditionally) but felt the urge to really follow through on all that talk I have been doing for over 30 years. And by the grace of God my book was published (Print on Demand) before my next birthday! That alone is reason for jubilation for me. Even if I buy the million copies myself and use them to decorate my boys’ rooms, I am still overjoyed that I can say with all humility, “I am now a Published Author, and I did it before my next birthday”.

Dear Readers, make it happen!! And if you need that tangible help that I may be able to give you – let it be known! Just ask!! I want to celebrate accomplishments with you so go ahead and chart your course….. What a day!!

As my Minister here would say, “God loves you, and I love you, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it!” Be hopeful!!

Happy Birthday to me!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Consider Him That Endured

Hope, when discouragement comes at you fast from all angles, is my prayer for you dear Readers. I know we all have a story to tell, but let me go first in sharing my recent ordeal with you to be, hopefully, of some encouragement.

The last month has brought me much despair – from family, friends, fellow Christians, and self. Wow!!

My nine year old decided that he no longer needed to complete school work including work that would reflect on his final report card. He tumbled from the Honor Roll to C's and D's. This is the same child that also brought home the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) results with a perfect 5 in Math and an almost perfect 5 in Reading (he missed one question only). You can’t get higher than a 5. I was raging mad and extremely discouraged as I, due to the length of time I have been on this earth, am so aware of how much this boy is hurting himself and not realizing it now. He knew the consequences and withdrew into his shell from the moment I picked him up at school. I was truly disappointed and discouraged especially for him. I saw (when he realized that that was a dumb thing to do and there was nothing he could do about it) how he felt and I couldn’t comfort him because I was hurting.

“Misery loves company” is a good saying that became true to me as added to my sorrows with my nine year old, I had the support of a number of friends in a business venture, and in the space of one month, four of them (due to personal circumstances) quit. My business credibility plummeted. More cause to despair. I was cut, I was broken, I was discouraged.

No, it is not over yet. I spoke up on a particular course of action I felt was not prudent, and not in the best interest of the people, and the reaction I received was heart-wrenching! I was chewed up and spat out by a fellow Christian. I was left battered, torn, badly wounded; and, at that time, I thought I would never be able to worship again unless the Perpetrator repented.

I talk about hope, I write about hope, I try to encourage others to have hope in times of despair, yet what do you think I did in all this?

I turned on self and sunk to an all time low. My spirits were low, and I craved nothing but to sit under a juniper tree – I cried out, “it is enough now O Lord” take me away from here! (1st Kings 19:1-9). I didn’t ask to die, just for Him to give me a break – send me to Europe, Africa, Australia, somewhere I could get away from everyone. I grew weak, and I allowed the Evil One to crush my Spirit. I wanted no one’s help so I cried out to no one. I kept it all to myself and moan and groaned until my eyes were opened as the Prodigal Son’s. I eventually allowed the Spirit to guide me back to the place where I needed to be. I again picked up my cross, denied self, and ran like Ian Bolt following Jesus.

Dear Readers, disappointment, discouragement, disagreements, disapproval, discord, and discontentment, will come upon us. So What? We must deal with them! Get over ourselves and get on with life? No sense in behaving like I did and increase the suffering by turning on self.

Nearly every Christian at some point in our lives despairs and grows fainthearted. As I encouraged myself so I encourage you - look to the Word of God. “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Hebrews 12:3) Wow! God knows! Jesus has been there. He endured hostility, opposition, hate, and sufferings, from sinners!! Read that again, He endured hostility, opposition, hate, and sufferings, from sinners!! Yes, He ENDURED and it paid off in the end. We have salvation as a result. When we find ourselves in situations similar to what I found myself in; when family, friends, and fellow Christians cause you to grow weary and discouraged, look to our great example. Jesus the Christ who never beat up on Himself; He never harbored thoughts of wanting to quit. Instead He endured it all. When confronted with reasons to want to give up, run away, or end it all, consider, (seriously consider) our Savior, and all that He suffered for us!! Be hopeful, Dear Readers, and don’t remain in a weary or discouraged state. Burst forth with bowels full of hope!!

Closing Thoughts

1. My child had to watch his brothers celebrate their excellent report cards and he couldn’t share in the celebration. I would like to think he learned a valuable lesson and this behavior will not be repeated
2. My business is prospering and I have learned a valuable lesson that disappointments will come, so deal with it and get on with the business at hand
3. My feelings still remain strong; and no, the perpetrator has not repented for me to hear, but I am still worshiping and praising God.
4. I told you already that I no longer beat up on self – I allowed myself to be guided back to a place of Love, Forgiveness, and Hope! Glory Hallelujah!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Vacation in Heaven

Mother’s Day, May 9, 2010, was one of those rare moments. My husband and I were blessed to have both our parents with us so the focus was on them. We all worshiped together and had dinner together with the rest of my husband’s family.

Both our parents have suffered much personal lost of loved ones in the past year and traveling to the US was a recreational treat for them. I pray that it was therapeutic and relaxing for them both; and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time with them, helping them, cooking for them, taking care of them in any way I possibly could. They, in turn, were a big help to me, especially in the area of babysitting! I cherish these moments and pray that we will be able to have each other on this earth for a very long time.

The time is drawing near though when they both will be returning to that great land called Jamaica! They will be thousands of miles away from us, but we will stay connected through the memories that we have nurtured over the years and especially in the past few months they were here. We hope to see each other – most likely my family and I will travel to Jamaica during the summer holidays – in the near future.

Can you somehow see the parallel with our relationship with our Lord Jesus?

We are blessed to always have Jesus with us and our focus as a result, should be on Christ. We get together with His people and break bread together. When we suffer hurt, loss, pain, we can always run to Him for support, comfort, recreation. We will get all the therapy and relaxation we need, if we only submit to His will. I’m enjoying this!! God is so good, He takes great pleasure in providing for us, helping us, and taking care of us as only He knows how!! We, in turn, will be able to be of help to others. The icing on the cake is the knowledge that “He will never leave us nor forsake us” so we have Him for a very long, long time if we chose to stay connected. Wow!! What a steal!! It is a win-win situation if we anchor our souls in His care.

We have faith and chose to commit our lives to God because we HOPE to see Him when we leave this earth. Remember, we are but pilgrims traveling through. Live lives that reflect our hope! God is faithful in all that He promised, so if we lose out on life eternal it is only because we made the choice. If you are reading this and are not sure that you have a claim on life eternal, go to the source (The Bible) to determine your condition. If you need help, I’m here as well, call on me – 407-249-8894!! Now don’t get me wrong, I’m am not about to tell you to do anything wrong, but I must encourage us to live our lives with a plan in mind to vacation in Heaven. God will meet us in the skies and we will have no need for anything so no need to worry about what to pack and whether or not they will be charging for checked bags or extra pieces of luggage.The time will come so we might as well get prepared!

Be encouraged to live hopeful lives and happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers.

Do we think of heaven as a vacation? Take the challenge to do a word study on heaven to see how it is described in the Bible, and please share your findings if you so desire. I will be sure to share mine.

“Motherhood Saves Souls” was today’s sermon topic!! Ask for more!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Story Behind The Story: "I Wish I Were Many Colors"

“We must never underestimate the incredible life-shaping power of even the smallest word of encouragement, spoken by one who loves and respects another.”

[Paraphrased from Author Lynn Anderson]

It was dinnertime and I was sitting with my sons when my deep-thinking, sweet second child remarked that he wished he had another skin color. [On our side of town, blacks are in the minority.] My child further observed that most of the TV shows on the major child friendly networks show few children of his pigmentation.

I was surprised at the turn of the conversation; and surprisingly, I did not respond in a hurt or shameful manner. In a lighthearted way of diffusing the situation and grasping the teachable moment, I said, “Why not wish you were many colors instead? We could write a book. What color should your eyes be? Carrots are good for your eyes so let’s say orange.” What color should your ears be? Lets say red like the fire engine” and I grabbed paper and pen and gave birth to this beautiful masterpiece - “I Wish I Were Many Colors”. We had so much fun! That was over two years ago. Since then my children no longer desires to be of a different skin color. I encouraged them then, and still do now, to be the best they can and to believe that they too can be on Television; they too can write the script; they too can produce the show; they too can be the Director. The possibilities are endless!!! The lesson of acceptance coupled with desire and determination (ADD) was taught and is reinforced on a consistent basis.

My ten year old joined the News Crew at school. (He stays behind the camera though!); and he is also the Lieutenant of the School’s Safety Patrol Troop. He is also a Webelos crossing over to Boys’ Scout in a month’s time.

My 9 year old (The Thinker he is) is reading at a 6th grade level with excellent comprehension skill. He is smart, talented, and can tell me within seconds of my asking, how many hours it would take to bake a ham that weighs 9.06 pounds at fifteen minutes per pound. [The answer my husband confirms is 2 hours and 16 minutes.]

My 7 year old boasts that he is smarter than his 5th grade brother (sometimes) and is excelling in reading and math in school.

My 4 year old annoying tells me over and over again to ask him a question that he can answer by spelling the words “Yes” and “No”. Yes, he is spelling words and can accomplish simple additions as taught by his 7 year old brother. My 4 year old even has his own profile on the computer and knows his User Name and Password.

Most importantly, as my 4 year old will tell you, they all know that “God made me Special”! They know that God should be first place in their lives and no matter the pigmentation, the statistics, the ratio, the probability, they can achieve anything they set their minds to achieving.

Dear Readers, keep on hoping and encouraging our young children. They are so precious and God made them special. “I Wish I Were Many Colors” is bound to become a classic for our young people.

PS: I love to see that slow smile creeping across their faces when they accomplish a task they thought they could not do …… PRICELESS!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Voice From The Past

Hello Dear Readers,

I must apologize for the silence. Wise King Solomon tells us that "there is a time to speak, and a time to refrain from speaking". I have been silent but for good reasons. Life has a way of knocking you down and you just have to yield your stubborn will to the Almighty. I have been extremely busy doing good things, and I'm thankful that God has kept His loving arms around me as I go about my daily tasks.

Tonight, my long of list of "To DOs" will go to sleep in a little while. My allergies are so debilitating, (but then again I refuse to take all those prescription or over the counter drugs) so I am suffering.

I do have some exciting news to share and will get back to you next week the latest.

Hold on to God and remember always that there is absolutely nothing to fear if we are children of His. Be hopeful,