How to feel worthy. 

27 May

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

May 26, 2017

 

Memorial Day is what sparks not only memories of those who died in wars, but remembering special moments in life. A while back, my friend and I entered a hotel’s conference room, eager to receive nuggets of wisdom from each speaker. A loud buzz filled the room.

The special part for me was that Cecil Murphy was teaching the sessions—the illustrious author of over 100 books, including “Ninety Minutes in Heaven” which has been on the New York Times bestselling list for 130 weeks and has been translated into 37 languages.

I settled in my seat, anticipating the wisdom he’d pour out. And he did.

Once the first portion ended, I chatted with other writers, catching up. Suddenly, I heard a familiar voice to my left. “Excuse me,” he said. “I just want to say hi.”

He took me by the arm, and gave me a big hug.

My delight turned to awe. It was Cecil Murphy! His warm gesture left me touched and ever so grateful. Yes, THE Cecil Murphy, the famous author actually remembered me after we first met five years ago!

Why do we have that reaction when someone of a great stature extends kindness toward us? Could it be we feel we’re unworthy or undeserving?

Okay, time to admit it. I’ll be the first. We often have that same notion when it comes to a connection with Jesus. We fall into that false idea that Jesus, the Lord of our lives, the King of kings might not be interested in lil’ ol’ me down here.

And with sentiments of unworthiness, we rationalize: His divine and awe-inspiring presence couldn’t be real. At least not really enough for me to have personal contact with Him.

How wrong we can be. What He wants is to know Him enough to feel comfortable to call upon Him. He so longs for us to whisper any need, any doubt, any insecurity. He’s not way out there in the universe somewhere; He’s right by us, watching our tears, hearing our sobs, reading our longings, and so, so very aware of our pain.

Personalizing this verse just a bit: “You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted (like the person reading this right now); you encourage them, and you listen to their cry” (Psalm 10:17 [NIV]).

Father, help me to let go feelings of unworthiness, for you make me worthy—with your unending love, your constant nurturing, and your trustworthy reassurance. In Jesus’ name, amen.

How close do you feel to Jesus right now?

Janet

 

Source: How to feel worthy. ~ Janet Perez Eckles

Window Wonders

26 May

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

 

 

 

My kitchen window overlooks my patio.
It affords me an excellent view.
I observe the antics of my animal friends
while cooking, perhaps a stew.

 

My window wonders this week
have become a bit disturbing.
What used to be a heartwarming scene
has become very disconcerting.

 

I have a most unusual guest
who really is quite rude.
He appears uninvited at meal time
and devours all the food.

 

Lord, I need your help-
I really don’t want to be mean.
But that cute raccoon is gaining weight,
while my cats are looking lean.

 

I said he is cute because
his habits are disarming-
He picks up his food with his “hands”-
I must confess he is charming!

 

I take out fresh water for my cats,
but our visitor is quite pristine!
You see, he “washes” his food in it-
He is the original “Mr. Clean”.

 

And Lord, you see the other problem, too, I know-
How he trashes up my patio?
I get so tired of using my broom,
I moved the garbage can to the utility room.

 

Lord, I have a question, please-
“Was this your plan from the start,
to put me “under pressure”
to tenderize my heart?”

 

 

 

Airing of the Quilts with Friends

25 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

That’s right, my favorite event of the year happened on May 13, 2017. I am not a quilter so it may seem odd that I love this event so much. I think it is because I have childhood memories of  heavy quilts made by one of my aunts. I think it was Erma. She could sew anything and always had scraps for quilting. To me, quilts convey love and warmth.

This year two of my friends came from Florida and one from South Carolina to share the day with me.  The weather was threatening rain all morning but only produced a few sprinkles. The breezes from the weather front whipped the quilts and sent their supports swaying.

 

There were some amazing quilts on display and several organizations were raffling off some beauties. One quilting group from Georgia spent a year working on the quilt they were raffling.  My favorite was, surprise, surprise a tea pot theme. I especially liked the color scheme.

 

 

The city government building  was open and housed a texture exhibit complete with someone spinning alpaca into threads and a demonstration of an old form of hook quilting. My friends received a short lesson from the helpful artisan.

 

 

The following day husband and I with Florida friends Pam and Diana headed to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for some shopping and nature.  Of course I made a stop at the Corning Revere store in the Red Roof mall. There are several of these outlets in the area, but the one in this particular mall has a clearance area in the bottom level and I have scored some great deals there.

As we drove up US 441 through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, I was saddened to see the damage to the forests during the November fires caused by arson.

 

 

 

In Gatlinburg we discovered our hotel was literally down the street from where the fires encroached on the city. This is an overview of the city.

 

We did a motor tour of the Roaring Fork nature trail which begins near the top arrow. Much of the forest had suffered fire damage but the park service had many of the trails reopened and parking areas were full with the cars of hikers.

Of course, sampling the restaurant fare was a top priority. Along with the usual favorites of  The Old Mill and The Apple Barn, we tried out Bubba Gump. They have a yummy dippin” sauce.

 

 

On one of our drives, we had a mixup on directions and took a scenic detour.  I wasn’t sure how we got turned around, then I saw this sign in Pigeon Forge.

 

 

I guess in the mountains, north can be south and south can be north!

On Monday, I received a telephone call congratulating me on winning a gift card to one of our local stores, North Carolina Mountain Made. I was thrilled and knew instantly what I would buy.

 

 

I have been wanting this CD for ages. This man’s soft guitar strumming and picking of hymns is very similar to my father’s playing. The sound of my dad “plunking” on his guitar is the soundtrack of my childhood. I love how God listens to our hearts and delights in giving us sweet gifts.

Peru and the Amazon River~The Final Episode

23 May

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

I hope you have enjoyed sharing this journey with Melody on the Amazon River. I certainly have-Onisha

Sights of the Rainforest

For the last post of the Amazon series, I have included some random sights of the rainforest and land excursions and a little more information about this extrodinary place. Unfortunately, I only have a handful of the wildlife pictures here. We could only view from afar unless they were domesticated.

Behaviourally, Oropendolas are very interesting birds. They make long hanging nests which may provide protection from snakes.

 

 

The birds feel their hanging nests aren’t enough to protect their young, as they often nest around highly dangerous wasps. The wasps offer protection from parasitic species such as cowbirds, which lay their eggs in the nests of others. These parasitic birds often kill the nestlings and force the host-bird to care for their young.

 

 

Below, the Hoatzin (stink bird) is an herbivore, eating leaves and fruits, and has an unusual digestive system with an enlarged crop used for fermentation of vegetable matter.The alternative name of “stinkbird” is derived from the bird’s foul odour, which is caused by the fermentation of food in its digestive system.

 

 

This is a noisy species, with a variety of hoarse calls, including groans, croaks, hisses and grunts. These calls are often associated with body movements, such as wing spreading.

 

 

Water buffalo have been introduced, especially in the flood plains because they can thrive in a wet environment where cattle cannot.

This buffalo was in the water but quickly approached  me to find out what that strange noise was coming from. It was the camera clicking. It was a little nerve racking, but I came out alive.

Below, many sloths were pointed out to us as we explored along the river by boat, but all were a distance away. There is one sloth hanging in this picture.

Sloths are actually lazy with very low metabolisms.

 

 

Sloths sleep from 15 to 18 hours each day! Some even stay in the same tree their entire life. They spend most of their lives upside down.

Sloths are amazing swimmers. They are known to sometimes simply let go from their tree branch and drop into water below for a quick swim. They can move three times faster in water than they can on land.

Capybaras.

 

A constant source of water is important to capybaras, who retreat into murky waters to escape from predators. People eat capybara meat and produce leather from their skin. We often saw them in the villages along the Amazon.

Back to Lima where we spent our first and last day, I walked around a bit to record some of the life in Lima. Quite a large city. This was our hotel view.

 

 

 

Using every bit of space possible, rooftop living is common.

The city was founded by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535. He called it ‘La Ciudad de los Reyes’ (the City of the Kings). It became the capital and most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. And after the Peruvian War of Independence, it became the capital of the Republic of Peru.

 

 

The buildings are adorned with great history and art.

 

 

Artisans line the streets with their talents.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed your trip to Peru and the Amazon. Thank you for visiting.

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

31 Days of God’s Comfort~Day 27

22 May

Painting and Paraphrase by DiVoran Lites

 

Day 28

Work of Art

Matthew 11:29

 

Beloved,

My children are my best works of art.

Release the light in you.

Meet the new friends I send.

You’ll enjoy them.

You have a gift of discernment.

Use it, but harbor no judgement of others.

I relish working with you,

I turn your mourning into dancing.

I have cast off your sackcloth and ashes.

You prosper in body, soul, and spirit.

Memories of New Mexico~Part 13

21 May

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

More random memories of New Mexico:

 

In previous musings, I’ve written about Sandia Crest, on the East side of Albuquerque.

 

Sandia mountains, East of Albuquerque

 

Albuquerque is in the “valley” between two sets of mountains. (Please revisit my post of February 15 2015 about The Crest) The Sandia’s, to the East, are the tallest, while the ones to the West, are more volcanic. There are essentially two ways to get to Sandia Crest: drive, or take the Tram. My post of February 15, 2015 tells more about the tramway.

Occasionally, on a family outing, we would drive from our house up to the Crest. As mentioned before, the Crest tops out at 10,678 feet above sea level. And since it is that high, it is COLD up there – even in the middle of summer!!

 

 

At the top, one will find the usual gift shop (tourist trap as we like to call them), but they have some delightful New Mexico items to purchase. Also at the top are several microwave towers, as well as observation stations. If one cares to look – especially during the daylight hours – the entirety of Albuquerque can be seen from any of those observation points – probably 100 miles! It truly is a magnificent view!

Driving up to the Crest was an adventure in itself. At the time I lived in Albuquerque, there was just a two-lane road going up, with a lot of twists and turns – we called them “bobby pin” turns, or hair pin turns. But I suppose that was the best way to build the road to make the grade up that tall mountain do-able. It’s been many years since we made the jaunt up, so I’m not sure how the road is, at this point.

After Fred and I married and moved away from New Mexico, my parents kept talking about this neat all-you-can-eat-fish/chicken restaurant on the way up to the Crest. It was called Bella Vista (beautiful view), and it did have a magnificent view. It was such a popular eatery, that they just kept expanding and expanding, until they could seat approximately 500 people! Busy place! And the food was terrific! Of course, it was all fried fish or chicken, but that was okay back in that day. Unfortunately, the original owners of the restaurant either died or retired, and their children took over. The children turned it into a sports bar – which didn’t go over very well with the usual clientele, and the business folded. We were sorry to see it go.

 

Credit Google Search

 

As for driving up/down the mountain, I remember the time after my Mother died. Fred and I had flown to Albuquerque for the funeral, along with my brother, Bill and his wife, DiVoran. Our oldest daughter, Karen, and her husband, Brian, had made a driving trip from South Carolina, as well. We wanted to introduce Karen and Brian to Bella Vista, so we all made one “last” supper visit to Bella Vista, before heading back to our respective homes. By the time we had finished eating, it was beginning to get dark outside. Fred was driving the four of us, with Karen and Brian following us in their car, down the mountain. Fred, not being too familiar with the rental car, was trying to find the head light switch, while driving. At one point, he either hit or turned a button, and all the car lights went out. We all said “NO!” and he turned the switch back on quickly. Karen later told us that they both yelled “NO!” at the same time! There was just too much darkness to be driving down that mountain without head lights!

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

God, calm my storm

20 May

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

(May 19, 2017)

The experience was unique on my last trip home. The plane ride was bouncy and rough. I stretched out on the seat beside me in that 10-passenger small plane.

I must have dosed off because all of a sudden, I notice the engine slowing down, the plane seem to lose power. The engine turned way too quiet– a frightening kind of quiet. There was no one beside me to ask. A bit of worry knocked at the door. So I thought, “Lord, here I come, open those heaven gates.”

Suddenly, the plane stopped. Unable to see the surroundings, I had no idea we had landed. The change of the engine sound was because we were on the ground already.

Please make me feel good and tell me you did something silly like that, too. You assumed the worst when it was the best instead.

I don’t feel too bad, though. The disciples did something similarly as related in Matthew 8:23-26.

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, and “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

Father, forgive me when I lose my faith and doubt that you’re in my boat, present during my storms. Grant me wisdom and conviction to know I’m never alone, to be calm when the winds of disappointment, of heartache and fear blow fiercely around me. I will count on the safety of your presence in the storms of all sizes. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What storms are you facing today? Who’s in your boat.

Janet

 

Source: God, calm my storm. ~ Janet Perez Eckles

Write Your Own Positive Quote About Growing Older

19 May

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

 

 

 

The age I am is a welcome friend-

It is so patient, no rush to the end.

 

One day at a time is sufficient for me
to glean the promises of God eternally.

 

I want so much to continue to grow-
It is Christ, my Savior, I want to know.

 

Age is a gift from our Lord above.
Treasure the memories of His infinite love.

 

One rule I have made as I age.
“Don’t let your life be ruled by a calendar page”.

 

P.S. As long as God gives you life,
LIVE it!

 

 

 

Peru and the Amazon River Part 6

16 May

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

Nazca Lines

For our next adventure and one I have been looking forward to is a flight over the Nazca lines. We began at the Lima (capital of Peru) airport where we boarded a small but comfortable plane. We were going to hop to another airport where they would take us to see the lines.

 

 

It was an amazing sight already flying over the Andes mountains. For the most part just a bare landscape of sand and rock . There were structures that made you wonder, possibly to store or extract water from underground.

Arriving at our next airport was a shocker. All I could see was mountians of sand and an extreme primitive control tower that looked like a tropical hut.

 

Inside the airport however was a beautiful place to relax, eat and even see some wildlife. There was a sacred condor  (Kuntur).

 

 

The Condor teaches the ability of fly and freedom. It is one of the most sacred animals because it lives on the heights and rules the skies, like the master of the wind, the clouds and the sky.

They soon called us to board the plane. Oh dear….. I had a feeling this might be a little rough. It was a tight fit in a warm plane, but we were still excited about what we were about to see.

 

We arrived and the pilot wanted to make sure we could all see each of the lines by lowering one wing, then the other. The motion soon got to me. I was able to click only a couple of pictures.

 

 

There were several trapezoids. Some believe they are landing strips for aliens, others believe they are roads that lead to gatherings of water rituals.

There are a few different birds that look similar. This one is believed to be a condor.

This one is called the owl man. Some believe it is an astronaut.

And some believe it to be a fisherman holding a fish and net.

This graph I found online shows many of the geoglyphs and what they are.

 

 

Some 700 geoglyphs (Nazca lines) are thought to have been drawn by the ancient Nazca people who flourished from around 100 BC to 800 AD. The earliest lines, created with piled up stones, date as far back as 500 BC.

Many of the images also appeared on pottery and textiles of the region.

Other drawings represent flowers, plants, and trees.

Archaeological surveys have found wooden stakes in the ground at the end of some lines, which support the theory the ancient people used simple tools and surveying equipment to construct the lines.

Most of the lines are formed by a shallow trench with a depth of between four inches and six inches, made by removing the reddish-brown iron oxide-coated pebbles that cover the surface of the Nazca desert and exposing the light-coloured earth beneath.

The largest geoglyph is a 935ft-long of a pelican.

The purpose of the lines continues to elude researchers and remains a matter of conjecture. Ancient Nazca culture was prehistoric, which means they left no written records.

One idea is that they are linked to the heavens with some of the lines representing constellations in the night sky. Another idea is that the lines play a role in pilgrimage, with one walking across them to reach a sacred place such as Cahuachi and its adobe pyramids. Yet another idea is that the lines are connected with water, something vital to life yet hard to get in the desert, and may have played a part in water-based rituals.

Anthony Aveni, a former National Geographic grantee, agrees, “Our discoveries clearly showed that the straight lines and trapezoids are related to water … but not used to find water, but rather used in connection with rituals.”

“The rituals were likely involved with the ancient need to propitiate or pay a debt to the gods…probably to plead for water.”

Anthropologists, archaeologists, and astronomers have all studied the lines, but have not found conclusive evidence for any of the theories.

Please join me next week for some wildlife and landscapes of the Amazon. Hanging Oropendola bird nests below.

31 Days of God’s Comfort~Day 26

15 May

Painting and Paraphrase by DiVoran Lites

 

Day 26

Galatians 2:20

I Forgive You.

 

Beloved,

If you make too much of the concept of sin

Guilt, worry, and sadness plague your days.

My Spirit blows away the tyranny of sin and death.

I am not here to punish you or force you into following rules.

I love your praise far more than any sacrifice or self-hatred.

I have covered you with a suit of mirrors, so that when I look at you I see only the glory of your redemption.

Our life together is full of goodness.

 

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