Change can be beautiful.

It has been a busy few weeks adjusting to the start of school.  I am definitely being challenged this year and stretched, but God is there and I am grateful that He is willing to use me.

The leaves are beginning to change around here.  As I was driving to school this week I saw a small tree with two colors. The tree caught me attention and as I thought about it, I was reminded that when I asked Christ to be my Savior, I was changed; however, living my life for Him and through Him is also a process or a journey This tree illustrates the beauty in the process for me.

The red is the change that has happened

and the green is what God is still working with  me on.

Change and work through the journey is what turns this

into this into this

and it is still a work in progress.  Each stage becomes more beautiful.

As you go through this week, remember you are a work in progress. God wants to continue to change you and make you more like Him. Are you willing to let Him? I am being shaped on this journey with you.

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Choices and Stress

Choices. We all have them and have to make them. Some choices are easy, and others more difficult. Some choices are quick decisions; others require prayer, facts and thought.

I have been looking at choices in my life.  I haven’t been studying the choices in my past; although there are things, good and bad, that I can learn from them.  I have been looking at choices that are before me in my life right now as I seek to be more and more the woman God has called me to be where I am.

This verse came to mind, “Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21.

I have heard that voice behind me speaking regarding involvement in One Voice this Fall, and I am clearly not supposed to be a part of that ministry this time. God has something else in mind; pieces of what that is are beginning to fall in place (that voice again).

I know that many times in my life I have left choices take control and I have become overwhelmed and extremely stressed.  Maybe you have done this same thing. Many times the choices were good things, but were to the detriment of my self and my family.  Being under that type of stress is not healthy physically, emotionally or spiritually.

A few weeks ago I was reading an RSS Feed I get from Simple Mom (http://www.simplemom.net).  The article was about Stress being a CHOICE. As I thought through the times I have been most stressed, most of it would have been the result of choices.  Although there were times it was not my choices, but my reaction to what was happening around me.

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Stress is a choice. Do you buy that? Some people have a hard time with the idea. …Yes, bad things happen: The economy sours, our business struggles, the stock market tumbles, jobs are lost, people around us don’t follow through, deadlines are missed, projects fail, good people leave. Life is full of these. But still, stress is a choice because whatever the ‘trigger event,’ we always choose our own response. We choose to react angrily. We choose to stuff our emotions and keep quiet. We choose to worry. …Stress is a choice.”

–John Miller QBQ, The Question Behind the Question

“Stress isn’t happening to me, it’s a reaction to a situation I’m allowing. Stress might still be a logical reaction to a situation, but it’s usually not helpful. Or at least, it’s not usually necessary to feel quite so stressed.

It helps to take a deep breath and remember that you don’t have to choose stress. You can choose level-headedness. You can choose to be calm. Stress doesn’t make the situation any better, worse, or different. It’s simply a reaction, one you can change.”

–Tsh Oxenreider, Simple Mom

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These are some of the Scriptures that came to my mind regarding handling stress and stressful situations.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”   Matthew 11:28-30

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?…No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35, 37-39

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing, Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:6-8

I don’t want my life, or that of any family member or friend, to be ruled by stress.  I want my life, and theirs, to be ruled by Jesus Christ.  I know this will be a journey for me, but I am trusting the One who loves me more than anyone else to take me one step at a time.  Do you want to join me? Praying for you today.

2 Days of music, friends and fun.

Thursday John, Katie and I went to a NeedtoBreathe concert (with 3 questionable bands before them). Friday afternoon/evening we went to SoulFest with the purpose of hearing OC Supertones and MercyMe.  This will just be a photo expose’     ;0)

More photos in Facebook.

Blog Fail!

I can’t believe it has been a month since I posted anything here.  We had a wonderful vacation in NC and since being back I have been busy helping a lot of people in various ways.  I am glad I have the time to do it and not feel stressed because something else might have to drop by the wayside.

We are loving having Katie home.  In the past month she has acquired a ukulele and a dulcimer, found her Senior Recital dress and had her beau from MD visit for 5 days.  She and John began their boat building project yesterday. Below is a picture of what the GOAL is and the other picture is them building the strongback for the forms.

Hilary is busy with her new job, as well as working with SoulFest ’10 which begins the first week in August. She is settled in her new apartment and Stuart, the cat, seems to love all the space.  We are cat-sitting Stu for a few weeks – he hated the 2 hour drive here, but seems to remember the house.

It was wonderful to have 2-1/2 weeks with Lindsey.  She is enjoying her summer and has been busy with planning for school for the fall and doing things with the ministry she is involved in at church.

I have about a month left before school starts again.  For some reason I am struggling with “justifying” (to myself) making time for me and for doing my digital scrapbooking.  I have theories as to the “why” of this and God and I are working on it.  I desperately want to get the girls books finished, so I need to let some things go and get moving.

Before John started the boat, ge finished part of a project he had been working on for me.  Here is my chair. The footstool and glider will wait until sometime next year, after the boat is finished.

I LOVE IT! Now to finish this ramble, there is a man (snowbird) in our church who writes poetry and songs. Today he surprised John by reading a poem he had written called, “What is a Pastor?” about John. Below is a picture of John and Ralph, followed by the poem.

What Is a Pastor?

A Pastor is like a shepherd, tending to his flock,

His words must be anointed, and set upon the rock.

A Pastor is a listener, and has quite a load to bear,

His heart has much to carry, his ears have much to hear.

His tears flow like a river, as he kneels before the cross,

For he knows that Jesus hung there, and died for all the lost.

A Pastor is a teacher, and with his heart he tries,

To fill us with the knowledge that opens up our eyes.

A Pastor is a comforter, as he show us God’s way,

A Pastor will reach out to us, and help us as we pray.

A Pastor can be many things, to mend or heal a broken heart,

To bring the lost to Jesus, to give them a new start.

A Pastor is a friend when you are in need,

He’s always on the ready, to help and plant the seed.

His life he gives to Jesus each and every day,

Thanks for being our Pastor and showing us the way.

-Ralph Caron

And on that note (um, poem), I will end this rambling…

Carolina!

We are having a wonderful time in the Blue Ridge.  We have gone to our favorite places, played games, eaten foods we can only get here and just enjoyed being together.  God is good.  Katie went home yesterday and John’s niece, Erin, arrived the same day.  John has been plagued with headaches, but today seemed to be a much better day…he has been back to his silly self.  Pippin, our dog, did not fair well at the kennel.  We have never left him longer than a few days (I don’t like to do it at all, but sometimes it is necessary).  Katie has had him to the vet and he is on 3 different medicines – the poor baby.  Hopefully, he will begin feeling better in a few days.

We have been blessed to visit with several friends since we got here last week.  We ate supper with the White’s in Boone last weekend and it was great to have time together.  We knew Paul and Linda Dean were in the area and missed their stop at the house on Sunday. Lo and behold, we ran in to Paul on Main Street in Blowing Rock!!! We also got to see Linda, of course.  It was short, but wonderful to see them.  After we dropped off Katie we made a few stops in Union County – the place we both call “home”.  These friends are more than friends, they are “family”.  Any time we stop to visit (which is maybe once a year) it is as if we never moved away.  They have no idea what a blessing and encouragement they were – God is good.

John finally got to go golfing today – I have offered to drive a golf cart for him sometime ;0).  I am hoping we can find a short hike we can all take together.  It feels good to be “home”, even for a short time.  Unfortunately, my Mom is not going to be able to join us at all while we are here, but thankfully she is beginning to feel better.

I know this has been a ramble – I am just so thankful for God’s blessings – especially the blessing of family and friends.  Enjoy your week!

31 Years as Mrs. Gallagher!

I am so thankful for God’s blessing in choosing John as my husband.  31 years ago we said the richer/poorer, sickness/health, better/worse vows and had NO idea what a ride we were in for.  Through it all God has been right there; guiding, protecting, directing, loving.  John and I got to spend the day together.  I told him 31 years ago he got me and this year he got this…

He told me he had kept me longer than any car – to which I replied maybe I had kept him ;0).

After we got the Jeep (named after his favorite movie – “The Patriot”), he humored me and we headed to Sugar Hill to the Lupine Festival.  For 8 years I have seen this advertised on TV and it seemed to be a big deal, so I wanted to go take a look. I had visions of fields of lupine like I remembered on the road from Camp NOMACCA in Maine to Presque Isle.  Let’s just say there are more lupine in one place at an intersection 3 miles from my house.  I did get a few shots, we had a great time on our “explore” of the northwest section of NH, test driving the new car and later a nice supper at Johnson’s in New Durham.

I used the tripod to try and get a picture of us – John looks wonderful in all of them, but I am partially cut off in my favorite one. Oh well…here we are.

I hope you have had a blessed day – I know I have.

Odds and Ends…

  • Last week I discovered I have family in NH!! Sharon found me through Facebook and she lives 45 minutes south of here! The magic of Facebook! We hope to meet in the near future.
  • Hilary is home for a few days.
  • I have a LONG weekend!
  • I have been to the greenhouse :0)
  • I have my engagement ring back AND it actually looks correct, but it is not my diamond. The setting is now almost identical to what I had before; however, the jeweler who did the repair chipped my diamond before or after putting on the new head. That explains why there was no “sparkle” coming through it and no clarity.  The owner gave me my diamond back, but put a new diamond in my setting.  It is a much better outcome than I had expected – thanks to all who had prayed.
  • I will never be the “Ace of Cakes” or the “Cake Boss”.  I am not Johnnie Gabriel of Gabriel’s in Marietta, GA, BUT I am a woman who loves to bake for her family and here is the Fresh Strawberry Cake I made tonight from, Cooking in the South, by Johnnie Gabriel.  (Phone camera takes a lousy picture…)

Have a great weekend!

Lily Lover

It’s been a busy weekend, but John and I did manage to get some yard work done.  He is helping me rebuild a flower bed in the back of the house.  I am pretty good with vegetable gardening and am experimenting with flowers this year. My cousin, Kay Gregory, is a lily expert; I am just a novice.  The last color of lilies opened today and I was so pleased. Here, take a peek.

I am taking an online photography class, and am behind in taking photos, but here are a few of the other lilies.  I tried some different angles.

I like this shot the best.  I need to buy my other plants this week, and it should be warm enough to plant them.

I fully believe God cares about the minute details of ours lives, so I am asking you to pray with me about my engagement ring.  I took it a month ago to have it repaired.  I was told it would be ready in 1-1/2 weeks.  I went Friday, 4 weeks later, to get it and it just didn’t look right; it did not look the way my diamond had looked before.  I talked to the store owner about it, and he has sent it back to have it  “fixed”.  I will admit to being a bit anxious about it.  I know it is only a “thing”, but it has great value to me.  Please pray the it is returned this next week and it looks like it should.  Thanks.

In other news, I have 9 days left of school – woot- woot! I hope you have had a great weekend and that Monday brings you much joy.

Jehovah Jireh

The past few days I have been reminded of Jehovah Jireh – God, my Provider.  Here’s a quick list…

  • Rachel & David – their gift of blessing helped Hilary pay for the U-Haul she needed
  • John – who loaded up his truck here Friday PM and left early Saturday AM to head to Nashua with some of Hilary’s things and to drive the U-Haul once he arrived
  • Dave, Kenny and Derek Stock – who gave of their Saturday to help load and unload Hilary’s things
  • Kenny – who offered to go clean at Hilary’s old apartment so she could continue to unpack
  • Ken – from Grace Fellowship – who gave Hilary an entertainment center AND delivered it to her new apartment…he also told her about a place where she might get a table and chairs
  • Matt – who spent time putting together Rita’s bed and being an encouragement to the gang that was at the “Lake” house
  • Derek – who walked in and started hanging shower curtains and doing anything he could to help
  • I was thankful for God’s financial provision that allowed us to help with some of the little odds and ends needed for the apartment and that the girls were willing to let me help set up the kitchen
  • God – heard my inner thoughts about missing the texts messages I would get daily from Katie and had not received since she was in Europe – SURPRISE – she used Andrew’s ipod (and some kind of app) to send me text messages!  It brought tears to my eyes – and stars in Andrew’s crown ;0)
  • God – for creating the beauty of flowers and allowing me to enjoy some new lilies I have planted this year

It is SO easy to take God’s blessings and provisions for granted.  His hand was seen in so many things over the past few days and I was reminded of the song “Jehovah Jireh”.

Jehovah Jireh, My Provider, His grace is sufficient for me, for me, for me.

Jehovah Jireh, My Provider, His grace is sufficient for me.

My God shall supply all my needs, according to His riches in glory, He will give His angels charge over me.

Jehovah Jireh cares for me, for me, for me. Jehovah Jireh cares for me.

I pray HE is Jehovah Jireh for you.


		

Forget the glimpses – All is Well.

It has been a busy few weeks, so I am so glad to have had Wednesday-Friday as school vacation.  I have not gotten and digiscrapping done, yet, but other things seemed to be more important. I am grateful for the sunshine today.  I got the “ingredients” for Mel’s Mix for the new flowerbeds we are making and stopped at my favorite nursery, Bearcamp Garden.

I also stopped and took a few pictures of Mount Washington and Mount Chocorua.  There were hurricane force winds in Intervale and I was blown into a railing, but you can see the snow on Mount Washington – they got 2 more feet on Tuesday night.

Perspective from Intervale parking lot – love the clouds.

Getting closer…

Brrr – total zoom – loving the camera John gave me for Christmas.

Mount Chocorua and Chocorua Lake.

As I was randomly channel surfing yesterday I heard a comment that really made me think.  The man was thanking God for all his blessings and trials.  He said that he didn’t expect things to turn out as they had, but he knew God was in control and wondered where the journey would take him next.  Then he commented that he really didn’t want to know where the journey was leading, he was just going to relax and enjoy the ride.  I spent some time thinking about what he said.  I have been at the other end of this – wanting God to just give me a glimpse of what HE is up to – needing encouragement and reassurance, I guess.  I have a friend whose husband has been in the hospital with heart issues…her email made a statement that has also been weighing on my mind.  She said, ‘I really don’t know what this week will hold, but because God is already there, “All is well”.’   Have I been spending more time on asking for glimpses than I have on relying on the fact the “All is well”?  Maybe – probably.  I needed these reminders – I don’t think they arrived by chance.  I guess I need to remember the signature line on all of my emails, “At all times, in ALL things, God is good…even when I don’t see or feel it…it is a faithful fact!”

So thankful that because God goes before me – All is well!!