Looking for Treasure

treasure4A ship carrying a cargo valued at $3 billion has recently been discovered after having been ship-wrecked over 70 years ago. There is likely to be a battle as to who gets to keep the treasure if it is successfully recovered. Is there anything more exciting than a treasure hunt? No doubt millions are being spent yearly in an effort to find and recover the over $60 billion that is estimated to be “lost at sea.”

Springing forth from a Truth that was revealed to me in writing “A Thankful Heart,” is the realization that there is unfound treasure all around us. It is within the people we live with, and the people we interact with on a daily basis, as well as the people we pass by with hardly a glance. Many times it is as if we are in our own little world in orbit around the sun, never touching the others who orbit around the same sun on a different path. I am for crossing paths, merging universes, and finding treasure.

treasure3How do we discover treasure in those around us?  Ask questions. Dig deeper. Make conversation. How do  they feel about their work, what hobbies do they have? Do they have pets? What are they passionate about? Who are they? We will find that they are people with people in their lives. They have families, friends, co-workers. They have hopes, dreams, struggles, disappointments. Each one has a story to tell and treasure to be found.

A friend of mine wrote a blog recently about the contrasting emotions she felt when her path crossed with a homeless person. Her answer was to simply “look at them.” This is exactly what we can do for each person we encounter, whether they are family members or co-workers or those less fortunate than us such as the homeless one. We can look, and look deeper and ask God to show us the treasure within.

When I wrote “A Thankful Heart,” I referenced an article called “Increase Your Happiness; Build Gratitude Chains.” David Pollay suggested in his article that when we are thankful for something, even something simple such as green beans, that we stop and think about the worker who ran the machine that canned the beans, the store clerk who put it on the shelf, the driver of the truck who delivered to the store. So many hands touch the things that make our life a little better, a little more interesting. We are meeting people every day who are doing things that affect others, possibly ourselves indirectly.

Find out what’s going on with some of the people you meet today. What’s important or interesting to them? What treasure is hidden there? If we learn to explore the treasures within our reach each day, we will indeed be richer for the experience.treasure1

Let Go of the Package

let it go2package1Let go of the package. I think it has been held on to for far too long. You have worried about the same thing over and over and you have let it keep you up at night and take away valuable minutes in your day. You have gone over and over it in your mind trying to figure out how it will turn out, trying to figure out what you should do about it. And I have done this also. I have good news for us. I know exactly what we should do. It is very simple and very wise. Just let go of that package. If it is sickness, lack, pain, concern over children, fear of the future, regret of the past, lack of confidence, lack of money, lack of ability, frustration, aggravation, package2unforgiveness, wrong self-image, addiction to something you don’t want in your life or if it is sin, doubt, or unbelief, let it go. Some of these packages were handed to us as children. Some of them we picked up ourselves along the way. The thing to do is simple and sure, but as many things are, it is easier said than done. Yet there are bigger Hands that can handle it. It is much too heavy for us, and actually the longer we hold it, the heavier it gets.

No matter how difficult it might seem, simply let go of it. I can see it now because I’ve done it myself; we finally get the courage to release the package that we have held tightly to our chest for so long, and we slowly lift it up to the One who can take it from us. He gently reaches out and places His big hands on it. We hold on tightly still. “Let go,” He gently says. We wait, we hold, we look into His eyes, and finally we let go, and we are free. package3let it go1

Three Things I’m Grateful For

happiness4Does being grateful affect our happiness? Can we use gratefulness to dispel darkness, lack of energy, lack of vision, or lack of hope? That is my theory. I’m ready to test it! This project was inspired by a fellow blogger who is afflicted with fibromyalgia. She writes about her pain, struggles and victories, but at the end of each of her writings, she lists “three things she is grateful for.”

Like One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, I want to begin to focus every day on those things we so often take for granted. I have not read the book, though a friend said I could have written it. Good, kind, friend knows I love to look for the positive and the good in everything, yet I know I miss so much. We all do. My list has no rules. It will not be prioritized or “spiritualized.” I’m listing blessings as they come to my mind. I will  focus on those throughout the day, letting my mind grasp all of the joy that each one brings for whatever reason it came to mind that day. Each one may have it’s own story that I may or may not expound upon. It’s just me thanking God for his blessings. Come join me. We have an adventure of gratefulness, and all who join are sure to end up having a happier day.

May 24, 2013 Today I am grateful for. . .

cowboys1. Larry and I raised 3 cowboys. Rocky, Nick, and Jay all three had hats, vests, boots, holsters, and cap guns. Cutest boys you ever saw! They had so much fun and brought great joy to our lives through their play Just thinking about those cowboys reminds me of the joy of their childhood.

2. Books that I can read and hold in my hand. I have often been known to highlight with crayons.

3. Food, especially apples.

May 25, 2013 Today I am grateful for. . .

roses4. Fresh strawberries

5. Roses

6. the joy of blogging.

May 26, 2013
7. Giraffes

8. Blue
9. Laughter

May 27, 2013

Today I am grateful for
10. Sunshine
11. Sunsets
12. Bears (live bears)

May 28, 2013

13. Heroes who gave their lives for our freedom

14. Flags that remind us of our freedom

15. Veterans and those in armed forces who preserve our freedom

May 29, 2013

16. Celery

17. Carrots

18. Rabbits (especially very soft, furry bunnies, but also the wild, eat grass from your yard and hop away when you hear a noise, bunnies.)

May 30, 2013

flowering plantToday I am grateful for

19. Legos-Oh the towers we built!
20. Games-I do not have to win EVERY time!
21. Flowering plants-I was given a beautiful flowering plant on Mother’s Day this year, and she is surprisingly flourishing under my care. (Her name is Flora.)

May 31, 2013

Today I am grateful for
22. Mountains
23. Oceans
24. Grass
Imagine the earth without any one of these or with none if these!

June 1 and 2, 2013

Today I chose 7 of my most important blessings to be grateful for:
25. My relationship to God
26. Larry
27. Rocky
28. Nick
29. Jay
30. Taylor
31. Emmerson

Emmerson’s dedication was June 2 and we had a wonderful time with family and friends in Winston-Salem and at Agape Faith Church!

June 3, 2013

Today I am grateful for:

32. Waterfallswaterfall

33. Mountain streams

34. Rainfall

June 4, 2013

Today I am grateful for:
35. Dogs, especially Ranger. There is no dog like Ranger, beautiful, smart, and well, he is family. My childhood dogs that I fondly remember were “Sarge” and “Queenie.” Good beagles who gave us darling little puppies to play with.
36. Cats, especially kittens because I am reminded of Pincushion, my grandmother’s cat who gave us Blackie who gave us Tish and other kittens when we lived in Falmouth, Kentucky. I was 6 to 8 years old at the time. Also in loving memory of Rocky’s first and only kitten. They are  just so cute!
37. Macaroni and cheese because it is comfort food.

June 5, 2013

Remember when being grateful, there are no rules. I’m not prioritizing or spiritualizing. I am simply thinking about how amazing God is for creating everything from a gorilla to insects and also for intangibles like love and forgiveness! I’m very grateful today for:
38. Gorillas- can be 600 lbs
39. Insects-over a million different kinds
40. Forgiveness-unlimited

June 6, 2013

Today I am grateful for:
41. Long time dear friends Jerry and Pam Watts who celebrated their 37th anniversary yesterday. They are beautiful examples of 2 intangibles that I am grateful for.
42. Kindness
43. Thoughtfulness

June 7, 2013Today I am grateful for:
44. Unsweetened tea with lemon!
45. Hugs-Can’t live without them! Can’t get or give too many!
46. Ice-Who wants a drink without ice?

June 8, 2013

Today I was on the beach with a wonderful breeze and brilliant sunshine when I decided I would be grateful for:
47. Peacocks
48. Ostriches
49. Flamingos
Makes perfect sense!

June 9, 2013

I am grateful for:

50.Turtles

51. Cars

52. Airplanes

June 10, 2013

Today I am grateful for

53. The Bible, the whole thing
54. Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because He trusteth in thee.
55. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.

June 11, 2013

Keep in mind that these are in no way prioritized. I am grateful for:
56.Teddy Bears
57. Jelly beans
and. . .
58. Angels

June 12, 2013

Today I am grateful for:
59 My dad, Edward Lee Rouse. Happy Father’s Day!
60. Pizza
61. Peace

June 15, 2013

Today I am grateful for:
62. Pillows
63. Clouds
64. Marshmallows-if eating them, this should be done in sweet potato casserole or rice krispy treats or roasted over the open fire. In the square squishy form, it is best to use them to have a marshmallow fight, as my opinion is they are disgusting to eat in that form. Also it is a good week to buy a new pillow and analyze cloud formations.

 

Shortcut to Success

 

“Success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose; the attainment of popularity or profit.” Or is it?

happy3

suc·cess

/səkˈses/
NounThe accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
  1. The attainment of popularity or profit.
Synonyms
hit – prosperity – luck – achievement – triumph – speed

happy2Two Steps to Success

1. Change the definition of success to “Success=Happiness.”

2. Follow the 10 steps to How to Be Happy.

happiness1

Ten Steps to How to Be Happy

1. Get close to God.

2. Get closer to God.

3. Talk to Him about everything.

4. Be grateful.

5. Be good to others.

6. Be good to yourself.

7. Find something to laugh about.

8. Laugh a lot.

9. Saturate yourself with Positive.

10. Share your blessings.

Enjoy Your Success!

Happy1For more great thoughts on success, click here.

30 Days to Happiness: T is for Trust

trust5 Please Don’t Let Me Fall!

Trust Exercise # 1 Choose someone in the world that you “trust.” Ask them to catch you as you totally fall back into their arms. This is a team-building exercise often used in group encounters to encourage trusting others. Don’t you just want to say to the person who is supposedly behind you, “Please, don’t let me fall.”

Since they are human, there is ever the possibility that they could be distracted by trust1something and step away at just the moment you are “trusting them” as you fall back. It is also remotely possible that they could, heaven forbid, decide to see what actually happens if they step back and watch you fall. Your life and health are in their hands. So you say, “Please, don’t let me fall.” I realized that I daily have the opportunity to fall back, trusting  God to catch me, but something was holding me back from fully trusting God. I was dealing with worry, and trying to figure out solutions to my own problems, being frustrated and even frightened when things didn’t go my way.

trust1_2I found a quote online that answered the question, “What is trust?” Here is the answer: “Trust is believing that the person you are in a relationship with means good for you.” That statement bolted through my consciousness. I realized that at the heart of my “trust issue” was the fact that I was not sure that God meant good for me. I was afraid He would let me fall.

This led me to the next question. Does God ever cause destruction, pain and failure? No, He does not.  At the first sign of trouble, He sweeps in to bring every ounce of good and benefit and blessing out of anything that comes our way. It doesn’t matter if it comes to us through our own mistakes, consequences of our actions, life, or the enemy of our soul. He is there. He will not let us fall.  A loving  parent can’t, and really shouldn’t, stop every unpleasant thing from happening to their child, yet they are always available and rush in to help, love, advise, comfort, and restore. They can be trusted. Just like this, God is always there to rush in to help, love, advise, comfort, restore, strengthen, and guide, through it all. By doing this He brings forth treasures we could never have had otherwise. Yes, He can be trusted.

trust2Taking it a step higher, by staying close, close, close to Him, we will avoid many of the troubles that would have come our way had we trekked out on our own course. Yes, I can trust Him. He wants my good, He alone knows how to lead me to fulfill His Plan for me. Without a doubt, as I walk and talk with Him throughout the day, He loves and leads, guides and encourages. He can be trusted. He will not let me fall!

Get it Behind You

procrastination3There it is. . .looming in the darkness ahead of you. You can’t see itprocrastination1, but you know it is out there lurking in the shadows. It is nagging at you, calling you. . .louder. . .louder. . .LOUDER. “Quiet!” you say. I will get to it. I will do it later. I will do it tomorrow, probably. I don’t want to do it. I want to do something else, something fun or relaxing. It will still be there when I’m ready to do it. Now it’s LOUDER again. There’s only one way to stop this incessant, annoying, nagging voice. Get it behind you. Do the thing, and then relax and have some fun.

The Other Side of Fear

  fear1“Doc, thanks for seeing me today! Do you have any idea how long I had to wait in line. Do you know the line to get in here is wrapped around the building. People have lawn chairs out there. I personally started a conversation with a guy near the door and kind of just slid in line with him. I just had to see you.”

“Now, Bill. You didn’t have to go to such drastic measures as to break in line. I’ve sent word out that I’m not leaving today until everyone has been seen. It’s an epidemic. It is contagious, and we have to put a stop to it.”

“So, Dr. Sharon, all of these people have the same symptoms that I do? There must be over five hundred people out there.”

“Bill, are you having difficulty sleeping, do you have a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. Sometimes you break out in a cold sweat? You have general feelings of despair and anxiety?”

“That’s exactly right. It seems to be getting worse, not better. What is it Doc?”

“Well, Bill, it’s been around for a long time and it does seem to be becoming more widespread. One thing leads to another. Naturally the more you share with others about it, it gets worse for all of you. It’s a thing called FEAR, and it’s rampant in the world today.”

“What can you do for me, Doc? This is awful!”Female doctor checking man's blood pressure

“I would like to try a drastic procedure on you, Bill. It is guaranteed to work and the great thing about it is that it is also contagious. The more you share it with others, by talking about it, they too can be relieved of their symptoms. Eventually they will have to have the same procedure, but just from being around you, they can have temporary relief of their symptoms.”

“What is so drastic about the procedure, and what are the risks, Dr. Sharon.”

“What we are going to have to do, Bill is to take the fear and turn it inside out.”

“That sounds serious! How do we do that?”

“Well, Bill. Here’s what we do, you take a good hard look at what is making you feel afraid. Then you ask yourself, ‘What if this doesn’t happen? In fact, what if the opposite happens? What if something completely good happens? What would you do if the opposite of something really bad that you feel afraid of happens? And how would you feel if something opposite of something that is making you feel afraid of happens?’ Do you understand what I am saying to  you, Bill” Dr. Sharon says as she looks into Bill’s bewildered face.

“So all I have to do is figure out what you just meant by what you just said and do it? And I will be fine?”

“Bill, there are two more treatments that follow the first one, but they go hand in hand. After we get your fear turned inside out by thinking about the opposite of it and feeling how you feel if the opposite happens, then you starve your fear.”

“Oh no, that I can’t do, Dr. Sharon. I have to eat three meals a day plus snacks. Starving is not in my vocabulary, just not possible, no way.”

“This starving I’m talking about, Bill is just refusing to add more thoughts to the thing you fear. Don’t let it run away with you. Feed the opposite, giving your thought time and energy to the good that might happen. Picture it, smell it, taste it and talk about it. Do not feed your fear, and it will die of starvation.”

“Well, as long as I can eat my Big Mac. I’ll try that. What else, Doc. I need a cure that will last me a lifetime.” fear3

“The last part of the treatment is to simply live your life in the present. Enjoy the moment you have in your hand. Live it to the fullest. It’s a gift. Make the most of the moment you have, and you’ll have no fear of the future.”

“Pretty drastic steps, do you think I can do this?”

“I know you can, Bill, and you must. When you are cured of this, others are going to want to know how you did it, and you are going to save the world one person at a time. In addition, take a healthy dose of scripture verses ten times a day until your symptoms are completely gone, and then continue to take them for preventive measures. You’re going to be fine, Bill. Send the next patient in, and please pay the receptionist on your way out.

 

10 Things You Can Do With Jesus

Jesus6Imagine that you have been lost in the woods and have begun to feel quite alone and frightened, yet you hear Someone call your name. When you see Jesus coming toward you, you are filled with a sense of relief. “You say Jesus, I am so glad You are here!”

Focusing on the Lord can open up wide, sweeping vistas to abundant life.”Things You Can Do With Jesus,” a sequel to “Lost in the Woods.” is a list of things you can do with Jesus as you purpose to spend time with Him. You might want to choose one and see where it leads you.

  1. Affirm your belief in Him. Tell Him who you believe He is.twists
  2. You can talk to Him about your fears. Tell him what keeps you awake at night. What things cause you to feel vulnerable and anxious? What does He say about your fears? Listen carefully.
  3. You can talk to Him about the twists and turns you have taken trying to find your way through life. He will help you make sense of it, and you will see that even when you went in circles and found yourself in the same place, it was all for a purpose.
  4. You can explore His creation with Him. He can point out things you miss when you aren’t looking. Explore the amazing intricacies of each creation. You can spend hours learning to notice His Divine touch in the world.
  5. You can be comforted in the darkness just by being with Him, walking or sitting in the woods or by a stream, saying His name.
  6. You can let Him lead you out of the woods into the green meadow, talking about life, about your family, your friends, things you like to do, things you wonder about.
  7. You can sit with Him or climb a tree with Him and talk about your dreams and plans.
  8. You can listen while He tells you about His dreams and plans for you.
  9. You can listen to His guidance, new insights, ideas, and direction.
  10. You can ask Him for the secrets of the universe and listen as He reveals Himself to you.

Jesus1Today’s Verse: Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Try This: Find something to do with Jesus every day. Have a great day and truly enjoy Him and His creation!

Lost in the Woods-A Fresh Look at John 3:16

John 3 16-4For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

John 3 16-2That’s right pick it up, look at it, turn it around, now inside out. Can you see anything you might have missed before? Are there any phrases that pop out at you, that can speak to you in a new and different way. What I saw when I tried it this morning was a very tightly knit verse that completely and compactly gives us God’s plan of salvation for the world, for you and I. It’s all there. . .who, why, what, when, and how. It’s really all we need to know to make our way back to God and literally have eternal life.

voice5But there is more. . .With my picking and poking, I found some amazing revelation. God’s love is far greater than our love for our children and grandchildren, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers. He thought of us, created us, created a world for us, created everything in it for us. We are his project, his plan, his purpose. All of His dreams and hopes and plans are wrapped up in us.

And there’s more. . .The Greek word for perish is “apollumi” which actually means “to lose or be lost.” Did you ever feel lost like you were wandering alone in the forest and didn’t know where to go? There are so many twists and turns, rocks and stumps to trip you. That tree suddenly looks very familiar. Perhaps you are going in circles. You thought you were making progress, but you are back right where you started. “Help!” you yelled. It’s soon going to be dark. and there are going to be scary animals, bears, coyotes maybe even snakes crawling John 3 16-3around on their way to dinner. Your imagination starts to run wild. Your breathing becomes heavy, you are frightened and sweating. Then you hear a quiet voice saying your name. You turn and look to your left. It’s not quite dark yet, and you can barely make out a face. He is coming to you and He is calling your name again. He just asks you to believe in Him and He will lead you out of darkness and away from all of the scary things. He will make sense of all of the twists and turns, and as daylight comes, He will show you His beautiful creation. He will lead you out of the woods into a beautiful meadow where you can discuss your dreams and plans and His dreams and plans for you and marvel that they are so much alike. And then He shows you how to take the next step and the next and then He shares even more of Himself with you until you can barely breathe with the wonder of it! This is eternal life.