Praise You in the Storm

Everyone in Central Florida knows that we had a bear of a storm yesterday.  It knocked out power for many people, downed trees, and caused quite a ruckus!  I was inside watching Eat, Pray, Love when it struck, and about halfway through the movie I heard an unfamiliar loud sound outside.  When I looked out, I saw this.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’m so thankful that nothing was damaged and no one was hurt.  I thought about venturing out to see if I could fold the tent down, but kept envisioning it whacking me in the head and Andrew coming home to find me laid out on the lawn.  No bueno.

I ended up just sitting a watching the storm for a while; what an awesome reminder of how powerful God is!  The wind is powerful, but my God is more powerful than that.  He can calm the storm with just a word, and He is more than able to calm every storm in this life.

Advertisements

Let’s Go, Magic!

Andrew and I were so very blessed to be able to watch last week’s Magic game from a private suite in the new Amway Centre with his father and sister Kelley.  We were there as guests of a firm trying to do business with Andrew’s dad, and we were more than happy to be some of the beneficiaries of their “wooing”.

This was the first Magic game that I have been to in… well… a really long time, and now I think I’m spoiled.  I just don’t know if I’ll be able to enjoy the game as much with the “regular seats” 😉

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Years Go By

Many friends come and go throughout our lives.  We move away or grow apart, but being able to reconnect again, even when years have lapsed, is always a blessing.

Last week Andrew and I went to a surprise birthday party for Dr. Portugal and I was so excited about it for several reasons.  One, Dr. Portugal gave me my first job and was a tremendous advocate for me during my spinal issues, but more than that, she has been a true friend to me and my family.  Two, we were able to see her son, Ivan, and daughter-in-law Lindsey who we also had not seen in several years.  Andrew was in Ivan and Lindsey’s wedding, and Ivan and I have been friends since high school, but honestly, I don’t think that we had seen any of them since our wedding day over two years ago.

Blurry... but it's the best picture I had of the four of us

It was such a joy to see the Portugal family and to be able to reconnect; Lindsey and I talked for several hours while Andrew and Ivan play video games {of course}, and we were able to catch up on each others’ lives.  I was even able to see some of the office staff that I worked with several years ago which was an unexpected pleasure.

We had a great time… I just hope we don’t have to wait another two years to do it again!

Dr. Portugal and I

Tone

I have tone issues.  As in, I often use sarcastic, impatient, or short tone.  It’s something that I’ve become more and more aware of because of marriage, but most recently when I used a less-than-kind tone with a friend.

Honestly, when I use that mean-ish tone of voice, I’m not particularly upset, I am just not exercising good self control.  But even though I’m not upset or angry, it hurts the feelings of those close to me, it alienates people, and it makes me look like a jerk.  Looking back into my childhood, I can see that this is something that I have always struggled with.  I don’t have to think too hard to recall many times when I used a supercilious tone with my sister, and we are only now able to work toward a good relationship.  I use that tone of voice with my mother, husband, friends, co-workers–the list goes on and on!

My heart is so grieved over this sin, and the people I have hurt, but I am so thankful for God’s grace and His help in overcoming it.  I cannot imagine where I would be without Him.

I know the first step toward fixing a problem (or character flaw) is identifying the issue.  Okay, step one done.  The hard part is catching myself in the moment and changing my tone of voice even before I speak.

Drawing Near to God

31 Days of Drawing Near to God is a devotional written by Ruth Myers.  In the introduction, Ruth gives her testimony, and let me just say, it is powerful!  I would give the book five stars if her testimony were all that were in it!  She is a devoted woman of God who has allowed her trials to bring her into a deeply wonderful relationship with the Lord.

Each of the thirty-one devotionals is a look at an attribute of God or a specific way He loves us or we can love Him.  It takes about 5-10 minutes to read through each devotional, and she also includes a prayer and some Scripture to read through.  Sometimes I wondered how the Scripture she listed related to the devotional passage, but that is where reflection and meditation on the Word comes in.

As with any devotional or spiritual exercise, you get out what you put in, but if you are looking for an uplifting devotional, 31 Days of Drawing Near to God is a good choice.  You can pick up a copy at Amazon.com or BN.com.

I received this book for free as part of the Blogging for Books program through WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Vote for this review on the Blogging for Books website!

Needles

My acupuncturist always finds an interesting place to stick needles in me.  Lately she’s been placing one needle on either side of my nose to help with nasal congestion.  She tells me that I looks like a cat.  You be the judge.

Please pardon the terrible picture. The light in that room is awful.

Little Things

It was difficult to have a good attitude today.  And I really don’t have a good reason as to why.

I had a few disappointments today, nothing major, but I just could not shake that bad attitude!

I kept telling myself that it’s not like I was being crucified (nothing should make me feel better about my circumstances than that), but I had to keep telling myself over and over again.  It was still a struggle.

Little things make such a big difference, good or bad.

Here’s hoping that I have more success tomorrow.

St. Patrick of Irelend

Since today is St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it was fitting to post a synopsis of one of my most recent reads, St. Patrick of Ireland by Philip Freeman.

I was in Barnes & Noble at the beginning of the month, armed with their Groupon from a month or so ago, and came across their St. Patrick’s Day display.  I realized that I knew next to nothing about St. Patrick and decided that I should remedy that.  I feel a strong connection to my Irish heritage and really wanted to learn about this man who was sainted and had a day named after him.  Was he just some Irish dude that drove the snakes out of Ireland?  Is St. Patrick’s Day really just an excuse for debauchery?

I dove into St. Patrick head first and learned so much!  Not only did he not drive the snakes out of Ireland (writers born long before Patrick say that Ireland had no snakes), but he was an exceptionally devoted man of God.  According to the book, which is based on Patrick’s own letters, he was kidnapped from his British home at the age of fifteen and served six years of slavery to an Irish master before the Lord brought him back to his native home.  A short time later, the Lord spoke to him in dreams telling him to go back to Ireland to spread the Gospel among that pagan people.  He obeyed, and because of his obedience, many Irish were brought to Christ and Christianity began to spread.

As I began to read more about Patrick, I was awestruck by his humility, grace, and love for his Savior and for the people who had previously enslaved him.  The only real knowledge we have of Patrick is from his letters, which the author includes in the book, and I really was impressed.  They don’t give much detail, but they are full of praise for His Lord and his devotion comes across loud and clear.

Philip Freeman does an excellent job of giving the reader insight into Patrick’s world.  He includes information about Roman politics at the time (Britain was still under Roman rule in the fourth century), the state of the Church, the state of Ireland, and much more.  I learned a great deal about Patrick and the world around him, and the writer does an excellent job of separating myth from truth.

It makes me sad to think of how this man’s life is celebrated today.  We use this day as an excuse to consume large amounts of alcohol to commemorate the life of a Godly man and Irish culture.  It’s sad that this is how the Irish as a people are known (but, really, don’t we do the same thing with all cultures?), and I’m quite certain that Patrick would be grieved.

He reminds me a lot of the Apostle Paul.  Read his letter Confession sometime.  It’s really good.

If I have ever done anything worthwhile for the God I love, I ask that I might be allowed to die here for his name with these converts and slaves — even if it means that I won’t have a marked grave or that my body is torn apart piece by piece by dogs or wild animals or that I serve as a meal for the birds of the air.  I know if that were to happen, I would gain my soul along with a new body on that day we will undoubtedly rise again like the sun in the morning — like the son Jesus Christ our redeemer.  We will become like children of the living God, brothers and sisters of Jesus, so that by him through him, and in him, we will be like kings.

My final prayer is that all of you who believe in God and respect him—whoever you may be who read this letter that Patrick the unlearned sinner wrote from Ireland—that none of you will ever say that I in my ignorance did anything for God.  You must understand—because it is the truth—that it was all the gift of God.