Archive by Author

Easter 2021

4 Apr

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Easter 2021…what a change this past year has been.  

Last year, Easter was just about forgotten.  We had just ventured into the lockdown for Covid-19, and were unable to attend church as usual for that holiday.  Our church MAY have started having a drive-in service, but I don’t really remember.  I do remember that even that service was outlawed for a time.  We were devastated.  At least, with today’s technology, we were able to have the service on youtube and could still worship “collectively.”

I remember Easter from many past years.  I remember that was a time for getting a new “outfit” for Easter.

1944 – Easter – Dallas, Texas – Bill and Judy

1952 – Easter – Albuquerque, New Mexico – Bill and Judy

1955 – Easter – Albuquerque, New Mexico – Bill and Judy

1956 – Easter – Albuquerque, New Mexico – Bill, Judy and Boots

1957 – Easter – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Judy and DiVoran Bowers (soon to be DiVoran Lites)

After Fred and I married, we were too “student” poor for that to happen, but I still had plenty of clothes that still fit, and our new church friends hadn’t seen any of those outfits anyway, so it was “new” at that point.

I remember one Easter that Fred and I had traveled from Fort Worth, Texas back to Albuquerque.  Of course, we stayed with my parents, and went to the Easter Sunrise Service, held at the football stadium on the campus of the University of New Mexico (UNM).  That sunrise coming over the East mountains was breathtaking! 

1964 – Easter – Albuquerque, New Mexico – Fred and Judy

On another note, Fred and I have attended one Easter Sunrise service at SeaWorld here in Orlando.  It is held in Bay Stadium, and some of the local radio and TV celebrities and musicians held the service.  It is quite meaningful.

But that brings me back to Easter 2020.  In spite of the lockdown – in spite of not being able to hold services inside the church building – Easter still came last year!  The time our Saviour walked out of that grave is all the Easter we need!

Found on Google and FaceBook

The government may think they can stop our worship…oh how WRONG they are!  If they will just study history, they will see that when the church (Christians) are persecuted and their gatherings are curtailed…the church grows!!  And grows stronger in the faith.  God is stronger than anything!  In a small way, I am glad to be living in the time when the church is persecuted, and I have a front-row seat to see the believers getting deeper and deeper into their faith in God.  Remember – the “church” is NOT the building where we meet.  The “church” is all the believers that worship the One and True Living God!

And so…on this Easter morning 2021, the very best thing I can say to you is

HE IS RISEN!!   HE IS RISEN INDEED!  HALLELUJAH!

Credit ChurchArt

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

The Hometown Museum

30 Mar

The Storyteller Almanac

Reblogged

Greetings All,

This weeks episode in my podcast series, “The Storyteller Almanac” is a little special and different. It’s a conversation with a wonderful lady named Kaye Malins. Kay resides in Marceline, MO. – the boyhood home of Walt Disney. But the story surely doesn’t stop there. Kaye knew both Walt and Roy Disney. In fact she lives in the house where the Disney family lived while in Marceline, MO. What’s more, when Kaye was about 18, she was sought out and hired by Walt and Roy Disney to come to work at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA. 

You may have read or heard stories about Walt Disney. But Kaye offers a very unique perspective with her stories about the man having known a side of Walt that was much more than his professional or public persona. Well worth the listen especially if you’re a Disney fan or a Disney Cast Member.

Click HERE to listen to the podcast.

You can find the episode at www.StorytellerAlmanac.com or on any of the major podcast platforms such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and more. And if you feel so inclined, please feel free to subscribe to the podcast on those aforementioned podcast platforms so you won’t miss any future episodes. No obligation. No commitment. No charge and of course no salesperson will call .

Thanks for droppin’ by, neighbor! “Mike The Storyteller” 

I’ve been ‘clickin’ the shutter since I was about 16. I morphed into video production when I went to work for The Walt Disney Company many years ago. Currently, I still work for Disney. But my real passion and path is utilizing my photography and multimedia skill sets for the greater good. Translated, anything or anybody that deserves recognition, appreciation or documenting for future history, I’m all over it. Too many important things just slip away in a fast moving, fast paced world / society. ‘If ya’ wanna know where you’re going, ya’ gotta know where ya’ come from’ (Sir Lawrence Olivier – The Jazz Singer 1980). 

If you feel so inclined, I’d sure appreciate you subscribing to Storyteller Almanac on any of the major podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more. Really helps me grow the po

To contact me for any reason, please click or copy & paste: 

MikeThomasImagery@gmail.com

What to do When We’re Stuck in Fear

27 Mar

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Reblogged March 26, 2021

March 26, 2021

“C’mon, girlfriend, we’re going to the mall,” my friend said.

“Yahoo!” I hung up the phone with a huge smile. Any chance to hit stores and come home with bargains stirred girlish excitement. Since I lost my eyesight, these trips gave me a chance to get out, catch up, laugh, and come home with crazy stories.

I grabbed my friend’s arm and we strolled through crowded store aisles as we headed to the petite department.

“I see a perfect outfit for you,” she said. “And I think it’s on sale!” Our steps quickened.

Once in the dressing room, she handed me the fitted top. I slip my arms through. “Hmm… a little tight.” I tried to poke my head through, but got stuck midway. “I think I need a bigger size,” I said.

“No way. It’s your size,” she said. She tugged first one side then the other.

The top wouldn’t budge, on or off. My arms up in the air pressed against my ears.

My words of panic muffled by the blouse that smashed my face.

“No pain, no gain,” she said as she yanked with all her might.

My head poked through, jack-in-the-box style. While catching my breath, I stared in space. My arms limp to the sides as I imagined this garment would never come off again.

Moments later, my friend gasped as she ran her fingers to the side. “Oh, I can’t believe it…” she said.

“What?”

“It has a zipper.”

A zipper? She’s got to be kidding.

“Sorry. I just didn’t see it.”

Another crazy story.

But this one mirrors the difficult dilemma for many today. COVID, fear, anxiety, masks and all that junk we face puts us in a tight, uncomfortably painful spot. We’re stuck. And raw from the stress, we wonder if we’ll ever be free again.

Confusion sets in because we made the mistake of expecting happiness by allowing the world to dictate our goals, dreams, and expectations. But the world failed us.

When all seemed to be just fine, surprise, 2020 greeted us with an unexpected tight grip that choked our happiness. Then, the struggle began. We tugged, yanked, and pulled on various ways to be free. But we remained stuck in fear.

We failed. Because we battled using our feeble strength. How do I know? I’ve been there.

I was only 30 years old when the effects of my blindness put me in a pandemic of fear. The battle became real, painfully real that my own ways to solve problems were not sufficient. solutions were not a match for a tragedy of this magnitude. Nothing brought comfort, reassurance, or hope.

And empty of that hope, I frantically shopped for a dose of comfort—through specialists, even visiting fortune tellers, psychics, New Age healers, etc. They successfully increased frustration and decreased the balance of my bank account.

My whole life was off balance. And when almost ready to tumble in defeat, I found the zipper—the opening. It was the entrance designed in the heart for Jesus to come in.

When He did, He provided freedom from the world’s deceptions.

Once I received Him into my life, I made Him my Lord, my God and my all.

His faithfulness, compassion, and guidance offered a perfect garment for my soul. The price tag read, “Free.”

This incredible gift, complete with the jewels of His trustworthy promises, adorn my renewed life.

It can adorn yours, too!

With a new beginning, you can leave behind attempts to win the battle on your own. With the new-found confidence, you can embrace the truth that God created you and thus know what will fit your soul. He knows the size of your needs. The color of your pain, the fabric of your fears, and the fashion of your insecurities.

Trusting in the pattern He custom-designed for you, He invites you to step into the dressing room of life where you can put on the new garment of His freedom.

Breathing in that freedom, fear, anxiety, and doubt no longer fit. Instead, you receive a new peace-filled life in Christ.

That’s how God’s peace filters through as He turns blindness, emotional virus, or tragedy to joy.

And with a new outlook, we can hold on to his healing Word as we sing from within: “We will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland” (Isaiah 61:10 NIV).

Let’s Pray

Father, I confess my feeble attempts to find my own way out of fear. But because of Your grace, I delight in the perfect fit of your faithfulness that clothes my longing soul. In Jesus name.

God has the perfect garment that fits your every need, will you try it on?

Janet

______________________________________

Did you know I wrote a book filled with words of encouragement, uplifting thoughts and illustrations of real-life triumph to empower you? Its title, Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life. You can get it HERE.

CLICK HERE for a one-minute inspirational video.

Looking for a speaker for your upcoming event? A great speaker makes the difference between a so-so event and one that shines with impact. I invite you to view one of my two-minute videos HERE.

Please shareFeel free to share Janet’s posts with your friends.

Janet Eckles Perez

Some say she should be the last person to be dancing. Her life is summarized in this 3-minute video: http://bit.ly/1a8wGJR

Janet Perez Eckles’ story of triumph is marked by her work as an international speaker, #1 best-selling author, radio host, personal success coach and master interpreter. Although blind since 31, her passion is to help you see the best of life.

www.janetperezeckles.com

Great Coffee, Good Day

26 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Our time in Florida is almost over. With our cameras we see the daffodils blooming at our mountain home and soon the peonies will bloom. We missed the peony bloom last year due to Covid and I am anxious to see them. This is a picture from 2018

Yesterday was my daughter’s day off work and we decided to combine running errands with lunch. A new coffee house opened a year ago and I had been wanting to try it but due to Covid it was closed for inside service most of the year. One of the errands was to pick up a prescription from a pharmacy we don’t generally use, but they had the cheapest price and guess what? It was in the same shopping area as the restaurant.

As soon as we entered the restaurant, RearView Coffee I felt that this was going to be a good experience. It just had that “feel’. We told them it was our first visit and they were helpful with our order. My hairstylist had recommended the chicken salad which comes with a croissant. We ordered coffee asked for the salad without bread and expected a scoop of it on a plate. When they brought it to us, they had wrapped it in a large lettuce leaf and topped it with a tomato slice. We still needed to use a knife and fork to eat it but appreciated the presentation. They also brought our coffee….

Photo Credit RearView Coffee Facebook

Ah, the coffee. We have a local bean roaster in town and the restaurant collaborated with the roasters to create a signature blend. It was amazing. All coffee should be that good. I picked up the register receipt to see how much this divine brew was costing me. To my surprise and delight, it was priced the same as I would have paid at any chain restaurant.

The restaurant is family owned and everything they serve is made fresh. I’m looking forward to trying more of their food next winter. Before leaving the shopping strip my daughter dropped off some books to share at a Little Library Box.

On our drive home I mentioned I would have liked to have visited a local shop downtown that has a large stock of Paparazzi Jewelry. She said we can do that. And so we did.

I’m not a fine jewelry kind of lady but I do enjoy tossing on a necklace when I am wearing a pretty shirt. Paparazzi costs only $5.00 but looks more expensive. Perfect for me. These pictures are from the Paparazzi website and chosen at random. I tend to favor long pieces but they also have lovely short ones.

We were almost home when I saw the sign for an estate resale store we had been wanting to explore. So we went exploring. The store was having a 70% off sale on dishes. Dishes are my weakness. Before I got carried away I remembered that I had spent almost all of my cash on the jewelry. I did leave the store with an adorable cut glass mini cream pitcher and a sweet miniature jug in blue and white. It will make a perfect vase for small blooms and wildflowers and I spent less than $2.00.

We had fun but it was good to get home and take a rest. I spent the time proof reading my daughter’s soon (hopefully) to be released book, Legacy.

Too Much of a Flag Waver

23 Mar

The Storyteller Almanac

The latest episode in my podcast series, “The Storyteller Almanac,” is now live. This one is entitled, “Too Much Of A Flag Waiver.” It’s presented in the Paul Harvey “…Rest Of The Story…” format so listen until the end to hear the resolve and figure out what famous person in history We’re talking about . 

It took me almost to the end of the podcast to guess the song. How long did it take you?

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

The podcast can be found here: www.StorytellerAlmanac.Com or on any of the major podcast platforms such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and more. And please, please, please … if you feel so inclined, subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any future episodes. It helps me and the podcast when you do. Thanks .

Thanks for droppin’ by neighbor. Peace – “Mike The Storyteller.” 

I’ve been ‘clickin’ the shutter since I was about 16. I morphed into video production when I went to work for The Walt Disney Company many years ago. Currently, I still work for Disney. But my real passion and path is utilizing my photography and multimedia skill sets for the greater good. Translated, anything or anybody that deserves recognition, appreciation or documenting for future history, I’m all over it. Too many important things just slip away in a fast moving, fast paced world / society. ‘If ya’ wanna know where you’re going, ya’ gotta know where ya’ come from’ (Sir Lawrence Olivier – The Jazz Singer 1980). 

If you feel so inclined, I’d sure appreciate you subscribing to Storyteller Almanac on any of the major podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more. Really helps me grow the po

To contact me for any reason, please click or copy & paste: 

MikeThomasImagery@gmail.com

Tarpon Springs Adventure

18 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Last week we enjoyed a Covid delayed trip across the state of Florida to spend time with family and visit Tarpon Springs, Florida. I have always found it interesting that my husband’s parents settled on the east coast of Florida and other members of my father-in-law’s family settled directly across the state on the west coast. Before interstates and toll roads we traveled one main road all the way except for maneuvering into and out of our subdivisions.

My father-in-law was the only boy in a family of five children. His sisters adored him and I learned on this trip that when my father-in-law’s sister was looking for land on the west coast, they chose their land because Highway 50 ran from their land straight-ish across the state.

I have wanted to visit Tarpon Springs for quite a while and I was disappointed when we didn’t make the trip last year. It’s a small town, so maybe you haven’t heard of it. Here’s a short description from exploretarponsprings.com

Tarpon Springs has the largest population of Greek and Greek-Americans in the U.S. The city is home to the World Famous Sponge Docks, which are still an active working waterfront as they have been since the 1800s. As the sponging industry grew, so did the City. Tarpon Springs was once known as the “Venice of the South” and has long touted the moniker “The Sponge Capital of the World.” 

We made an early for us start, 10:00 am. The weather smiled on us with lots of sunshine tempered with a cool breeze. We decided to cruise the town first to decide where to park. The main street of the town is lined with shops, restaurants and more bakeries than I could count. One restaurant with outdoor seating even had heaters. Fortunately they weren’t needed.

My husband and his cousin enjoyed chatting on a bench while the ladies walked along the dock to look at Sponge boats. We coaxed them from the bench to get a picture.

The pretty blue and white boat is a display and has a statue in front of it commemoring their heritage.

We decided on an early lunch and our hosts took us to their favorite Greek Restaurant. Early was a good decision. By the time we completed the meal the restaurant and the sidewalks were filling up.

As a rule, I research a destination to death. This time I decided to be surprised since our hosts were familiar with the town. I didn’t know any of the restaurant’s history but the food was delicious and the setting beautiful. A nice perk was the restaurant provided a parking voucher to its diners.

As I began writing this post, I decided to research the restaurant.

Since 1970 Hellas Restaurant has been a proud cornerstone of the Greek Community in Tarpon Springs. Owned and operated by the Karterouliotis family, Hellas Restaurant heralds their rich heritage by producing a truly authentic and cultural cuisine. We strive to provide you with the finest Greek dining experience. Located in the center of Tarpon Springs, Florida’s World Famous Sponge Docks and Fishing Village, Hellas Restaurant features Award Winning Greek Cuisine and Authentic Greek Pastries creating a truly memorable dining experience. Because of our uncompromising dedication to culinary excellence, Hellas Restaurant is a favorite dining spot among local residents, Tampa Bay area residents and visitors who crave an authentic Greek dining experience. We also have a full service bar with an extensive wine selection.

Did I forget to mention their bakery? Words fail me. When I learned the restrooms were in the bakery I felt an urgent call. I felt it would be a responsible action to cruise the laden cases so that we could make a good choice for our desert to go. Except the desert didn’t make it out of the bakery! My husband and I shared a baklava cheesecake. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of it. I guess I was a bit eager.It was beyond delicious.

Since my husband is getting his strength back after surgery, we decided to do the rest of our exploring by car.It was fun having someone point out interesting things instead of reading from a book.

For supper we had a lovely meal at a mom and pop Italian restaurant not far from the Gulf of Mexico. By accident, we timed our meal perfectly with viewing a beautiful sunset at nearby Pine Island. Our past attempts to view a beautiful ocean sunset were dismal failures, even from a cruise ship. This one was perfect.

It did my heart good to see families enjoying time together. If Covid has had a positive effect, it would be that our lives slowed and families spent more time together in the outdoors.

Our trip to the west coast and Tarpon Springs was short, but a delightful break from daily schedules and to do lists. We always enjoy time spent with our hosts. We usually meet in Orlando, half way between our homes, but this time we went all the way. Haha

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  where we frequently host the best in up and coming authors.

My 2020 goal is to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

Piper

16 Mar

The Storyteller Almanac

Greetings Everyone!

The latest episode in my podcast series, “The Storyteller Almanac” is live now. This one is a story. A true story from my youth about a journey up to the Maratimes of Canada – my family’s home – and how that trip eventually helped create one of my favorite and proudest songs much later in my life. Give yourself about 15 minutes to escape, listen to ‘Mike The Storyteller’ (and musician) paint a picture in your minds eye of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and help you de-stress for a bit.

And as always, if you feel so inclined, please subscribe to the podcast – which can be found at THIS LINK or on any of the major podcast platforms such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and more. No commitment. No charge and no salesperson will call . 

Thanks droppin’ by neighbor – “Mike The Storyteller

I’ve been ‘clickin’ the shutter since I was about 16. I morphed into video production when I went to work for The Walt Disney Company many years ago. Currently, I still work for Disney. But my real passion and path is utilizing my photography and multimedia skill sets for the greater good. Translated, anything or anybody that deserves recognition, appreciation or documenting for future history, I’m all over it. Too many important things just slip away in a fast moving, fast paced world / society. ‘If ya’ wanna know where you’re going, ya’ gotta know where ya’ come from’ (Sir Lawrence Olivier – The Jazz Singer 1980). 

If you feel so inclined, I’d sure appreciate you subscribing to Storyteller Almanac on any of the major podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more. Really helps me grow the po

To contact me for any reason, please click or copy & paste: 

MikeThomasImagery@gmail.com

Cancel Culture Vs Grace Culture

4 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

After my post last week, Pondering Cancel Culture, I was surprised to learn not everyone knows what Cancel culture is. I found that to be encouraging.

One writer describes it as a modern day stoning in the public square. The aim of Cancel culture is not to change a person’s mind with civil debate. No, the aim is annihilation. Whether the target is a business or someone working in your building, no one is safe.

“Canceling a human, not redeeming a human is the prize here.”

Dr. Keith Ablow

No matter the victim’s attempts to explain, they are judged and condemned. Brave is the employer who stands up to a Cancel culture attack.

In my opinion, the media fuels the outrage, trading lives for revenue.

The world’s Cancel culture says you have offended us and you must be destroyed.

I am so thankful that we can live in God’s Grace culture which says

You have offended me and I forgive you.

Cancel culture scorns repentance but God’s Grace culture

Graciously and with love welcomes repentance.

In my pondering this week, I knew that Cancel culture was definitely not my culture. Certainly, I felt the urge to cancel them! But wouldn’t that drag me into their net of rage? As coincidence would have it,(sure it was a coincidence) I am participating in a Bible study with the women of my church, The Armor of God. The first session teaches about standing firm in God’s truth and discarding anything that deflects from living in His truth.

This truth I am sure of. I was not created to live in anger. I am making the choice to forgive those who choose Cancel culture life. And I hope they discover the blessings of living in the Grace culture of God.

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  where we frequently host the best in up and coming authors.

My 2020 goal is to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

Believe: A Quest For Peace

2 Mar

The Storyteller Almanac

Reblogged

Greetings All! The latest episode in my podcast series, “The Storyteller Almanac” is out now and is called, “Believe: A Quest For Peace.” This one is a bit different. It tells the story about an epic piece of music I wrote and recorded a few years back. The tune is likewise called, “Believe: A Quest For Peace” and delivers a powerful message about seeking peace in our world. Check it out by clicking  www.storytelleralmanac.com . The song is also played out towards the end of the podcast so make sure you stick around to give it a listen!

And as always, please subscribe if you feel so inclined to Storyteller Almabac via any of the major podcast platforms such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and more. 

Thanks for droppin’ by, neighbor! “Mike The Storyteller. 

NOTE: I am behind on sharing the podcasts. I apologize. If Believe does not appear in the first position-Onisha

Lonzo Green Storyteller Almanac

Presented in the Paul Harvey – "Rest Of The Story" format, listen to this story about an old country music singer / musician who befriended a little kid from 'the wrong side of the tracks' in Tennessee one time. But that little kid turned out to be …. well …. you'll just have to listen to the podcast to find out ;).
  1. Lonzo Green
  2. Salute In The Rain
  3. Too Much Of A Flag Waiver
  4. The Hometown Museum
  5. “Piper”

I’ve been ‘clickin’ the shutter since I was about 16. I morphed into video production when I went to work for The Walt Disney Company many years ago. Currently, I still work for Disney. But my real passion and path is utilizing my photography and multimedia skill sets for the greater good. Translated, anything or anybody that deserves recognition, appreciation or documenting for future history, I’m all over it. Too many important things just slip away in a fast moving, fast paced world / society. ‘If ya’ wanna know where you’re going, ya’ gotta know where ya’ come from’ (Sir Lawrence Olivier – The Jazz Singer 1980). 

If you feel so inclined, I’d sure appreciate you subscribing to Storyteller Almanac on any of the major podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more. Really helps me grow the po

To contact me for any reason, please click or copy & paste: 

MikeThomasImagery@gmail.com

5 steps to turn painful changes to a fresh, new beginning

27 Feb

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Reblogged February 27, 2021

February 26, 2021

Moving to a strange city kept me awake at night. Hubby and I had no choice. In preparation, I ran the palm of my hand across the kitchen cabinets to make sure all was packed away. With the last of the everyday dishes in a large box, I taped the lid closed and pushed it aside. But I couldn’t push away the tears of self-pity that attacked me. “Lord, I should be grateful my husband got a job. But why couldn’t it be here where all is familiar?”

The move was inevitable. Though the transition from sighted to blind years prior had been painful, eventually adjustment came.

But leaving our familiar home in St. Louis and moving to Orlando made me tense. Thoughts of a new territory, a new house, a new neighborhood, a new world kept me tossing and turning in bed.

During those sleepless nights, more questions swirled inside. Unable to see my physical surroundings, how would I navigate through the new house? Would I find friends who would accept me in spite of my blindness? Could I handle my emotions and still be a good Mom to my three young sons?

That same uncertainty might have visited your world, too. Maybe it’s not a sudden move or change from being sighted to blind. But instead, you’re facing an unfair life change, courtesy of the pandemic; one that’s painfully out of your control. The transitions could be from marriage to divorce, from health to debilitating illness, from financial comfort to unemployment, or from independence to limitations that choke your life.

But the transitions don’t have to choke your life. They can instead, usher a new, fresh beginning. They can bring to light the horizon where God has painted new, pleasant surprises.

That’s what happened to Ruth when she left the familiar. She fell into God’s perfect plan. That’s what happened to Joseph. Painful change revealed God’s hand at work. And sudden change caused Joshua to discover the source of his strength.

We can all join them in a wondrous outcome of life’s changes. Isaiah 43:18-19 highlights five steps to follow.

Step 1: “Forget the former things…”

Forget them, Lord? I argued. The former things were doable, pleasant and comfortable. But now the pending changes became the dark cloud that covered my security. The same thing happened in Ruth’s life. With no warning, she became a young widow. But rather than join the poor me club, she wiped away her last tear and headed into a new chapter. And even when Naomi tried to discourage her from making that daring transition, Ruth insisted. She clung to Naomi’s sleeve, and replied: “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16).

Don’t you just love Ruth’s boldness? She stepped into a huge change with gusto. The unknown she faced didn’t intimidate her, worry or made her doubt.

And because she did, she saw God’s plan unfold. She became no other than one of the ancestors of Christ, the Savior of the world.

Ruth faced change hoping for something better. God formed her life into something greater.

Step 2: “…do not dwell on the past.”

Is there a danger in dwelling on what once was, what we had, what we knew? Yes. Lamenting what once was is a lame way to face what’s ahead.

Joseph knew. Once his brothers threw him in the ditch and left him for dead, he could have sat at the bottom, sulking in a puddle of tears. And while lamenting his misfortune, he might have asked God over and over again why He allowed the change from what was comfortable to what now was painful. He should’ve cursed his brothers. And, he could have become miserable longing for what once was.

But he didn’t. Instead, he pulled out his weapon called faith. Rather than doubt, he believed. He carried his faith as God ushered him through more changes—from free to a prisoner. From respect to ridicule. From serenity to sorrow.

If Joseph had access to Instagram, he might have posted about his anger, resentment or bitterness for losing what he once had. Instead, he faced each stage of the ugly changes with faith in God’s faithfulness.

And that’s when God showed up with a victorious ending and a triumphant result.

Joseph relished in that victory. And with humility, he declared: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Genesis 50:20).

Changes may seem threatening, difficult and uncomfortable, but faith is the vehicle that takes us to the destination God already prepared.

Step 3: “See, I am doing a new thing!” 

A new thing? Though I couldn’t see it, my physical blindness couldn’t be an excuse. It was my spiritual blindness that prevented me from seeing God’s hand at work, preparing, moving and crafting good things.

“Show me, Lord,” was my frequent prayer. I wanted Him to guide me to the next step—from labeling items, to walking through piles of packed boxes, to remembering the layout of the new house in Orlando.

Once the movers packed the boxes, furniture and clothing, the family flew to Florida.

And when He said in Psalm 119:105 that His Word would be a lamp to my feet and a light for my path, His promise came alive.

He showed me how to memorize the path from room to room. To record in my mind the location of the walls, the furniture and the open spaces for me to walk through.

He did the same as I navigated through my fear, walking carefully through moments of worry. And He showed me to stay clear of stress and doubt. The path was wide, easy to navigate and the new house became a home.

Step 4: “Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

Joshua could only perceive his weaknesses. When he faced the change from being a Moses follower to being the leader of God’s people, he lay at night on the pillow of his insecurities and perhaps during the day, he was taunted by the misconception that he was alone in the journey.

We do the same when an unexpected change rattles our peace. We ask: Do I have what it takes? Am I prepared? Will I succeed?

Those same questions might have stressed Joshua, too. That’s why God had to make it clear and with emphasis in His voice, He spoke to him: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

God’s order was clear then. And it’s clear now—not to be discouraged, not to fear or worry. And then comes the promise: God would be with us. In that unknown, God will be there. In the uncertainty, He will be there. With the change unfolding, God will be with us. When stepping into strange territory, God will be there, too.

And with God already present, that new chapter has to contain pages of fresh success and victory. It did for Joshua and it will for us too.

Step 5: “I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

Ruth, Joseph or Joshua didn’t make a way. God did. And in the midst of the unknown, none of them made things happen. God did. None clung desperately to what they had. God helped them to let go.

He did the same with me. A couple decades have gone by since that time I packed up my kitchen and moved to a strange city. And with gratitude overflowing, I relish in each step through which He guided me. The new friends that adorn my life, and the way my sons flourished in the new place.

God did it all. And, in turn, I blossomed. What a fool I had been to resist the change when God was opening the door to beautiful surprises.

And that beauty shines through God’s promise for you and me in Isaiah 43:18-19. Dreaded changes turn to divine exchanges. God ushers new ways, new opportunities. Each lifts us higher, draws us closer and makes us better.

Let’s pray.

Father, I resolve that all changes wrapped in Your love will take me to places that will help me see you better and to know you more intimately. In Jesus’ name.

What change has rattled your life lately?

Janet

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Did you know I wrote a book filled with words of encouragement, uplifting thoughts and illustrations of real-life triumph to empower you? Its title, Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life. You can get it HERE.

CLICK HERE for a one-minute inspirational video.

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Janet Eckles Perez

Some say she should be the last person to be dancing. Her life is summarized in this 3-minute video: http://bit.ly/1a8wGJR

Janet Perez Eckles’ story of triumph is marked by her work as an international speaker, #1 best-selling author, radio host, personal success coach and master interpreter. Although blind since 31, her passion is to help you see the best of life.

www.janetperezeckles.com

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