"To be disappointed in someone is to have belief in someone. People are human. They are not perfect. Sinners sin. Pray for them," Pastor Miles from the Rock Church in San Diego.
Don't waste time worrying about situations and people. Worry is a pack of ravenous wolves - scary and negative. Belief is freedom and liberation from worry. God has a plan and everything is part of that plan. He loves us so much and just wants a relationship with us - one where we are completely humble and servant. He wants our trust to be in Him, not in man. Whatever problem we are facing, talk to Him. PRAY. He will answer. And you will feel better with all that negative energy and weight lifted from your life.
Trust God. Judging and preaching to someone isn't the answer. Just love them and treat them equally. Don't judge. That's for Him to do. If you love someone who is hurting themselves or you, pray for God to fill their heart and heal their pain. Pray that God will answer your call and show His love and He will.
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
Before I even knew her name, my heart broke for the homeless girl holding the sign that read:
"Sober, Homeless, Hungry, Down on Luck."
I only had a butterscotch flavored Dum Dum lollipop to give her, but Amanda was very greatful.
She stood by my back window of my car as my dogs barked, but then licked her face.
She remarked, "This is true therapy."
She mentioned she had a dog, who was back at her tent.
I asked, "Where are you staying?"
She told me, "The foothills of Presidio," which is ironically close to the Spanish Mission that was built as a safe haven for weary travelers during the early settlement of California. Each mission stood approximately a day's hike away from the next.
She added, "I just left the river 'cause I got a black eye from someone who wanted the $10 I made out here one day."
I asked, "What do you need?"
She said, "A sleeping bag. I just left my husband two days ago at the river. He was smoking crystal meth."
I told her that I was on the way to my church's thrift store, just around the corner and would see if I could find one for her.
She thanked me and the light turned green signaling my departure.
When I entered the warehouse for the Rock Thrift Store, I knew exactly where to go, as I volunteered there last Monday. There's a bin in the back that is full of items intended just for homeless and I bet you can guess what was sitting right on top.
I not only found a sleeping bag, but also a soft comforter, a cozy jacket and even an air mattress.
I would definitely say, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
Or better yet, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door
will be opened to you." -Matthew 7:7
The thrift store employees knew that God had put this on my heart and didn't charge me for the items, when normally you would need a voucher.
So I bagged them up and took them to her. As we stood there on the corner, she told me her story, which you can read some of it here. She used to have a cat named Angel that would sit on her shoulder, but he got hit by a car and she couldn't get afford to get him out of the shelter, for they wouldn't release him unless he went straight to a surgeon and Amanda didn't have the $2,000 to pay the specialist. Tears welled up in her eyes as she talked about it.
She now keeps the company of a dog named, Hades, and says that people often ask her, "How can you be homeless and have a pet?"
Her answer is simple.
"Imagine you lose everything and are living in the middle of the woods in a tent. Could you stand to be alone?"
I also used to wonder how people could be homeless and care for themselves and an animal also. I used to think that they were just using the pet to invoke sympathy from passers by.
Now I get it. This is the reason they are alive.
Without the love of the pet, they would be all alone, and worse, feeling loveless.
Amanda describes pan handling, “It’s like being an animal in a zoo, standing out here with people pointing and staring,” she says. “It’s the most humbling thing a person can experience.”
I gave Amanda my phone number and told her to call me if she ever needed to just talk.
I really hope she reaches out, because as the writer mentioned in the article, Amanda has an "air of decency about her" and I know that God has a plan for her. She already has a very powerful testimony to share. I just hope that my role in it isn't done yet.
Here is the type of life Amanda is living.
If you see one of these "tent cities" pop up by you,
chances are there is an "Amanda" out there who needs you, too.
And I pray that it breaks your heart, just as it did mine, so that you won't just feel bad,
The wire thread through the middle of each precious jade piece. The different shades of green stacked one by one until the strand's length reached desired lengths and the tiny gold beads that separated each stone created a shine like the sun. The wire was tied off and clamped by metal so that the ends my be affixed to the coveted charm. A single cut of leather, fashioned in the shape of love and threaded by Cupid's arrow symbolized the meeting of all this brilliant loving energy. The stones continuously heal their owner and the adornment releases love to all eyes that it meets, granting not just the bearer fulfillment, but also the witnesses who adore it. "Shot Through the Heart" by love and affection, these precious gifts come from heaven above and serve for the greater good on earth. Gleaming like the parts in all their beauty, the gift bearer and receiver bask in the fruits of the spirit - always and forever.
Proverbs 17: 8
"Receiving a gift is like getting a rare gemstone;
any way you look at it, you see beauty refracted."
Well, I am half way through the month long challenge of blogging every day!!! YIPPIE!!!
It's been a challenge for me this year, as I feel way busier now than I was last May when I first completed the challenge.
However, as I learned in my favorite blog post by the Blogathon coach, Michelle Rafter, it is better to have a short and sweet 250-350 word post, with bullet points for user friendliness.
So, I am taking her advice. It's important to listen to your coach. You will always improve.
So without further ado, here are 10 things I have learned from the Blogathon.
1) Links to other posts in your blog are important! They keep readers hanging out longer on your blog.
2) Images can drive a ton of traffic to your blog. Use them ALWAYS!!! WE live in a browsing culture and a strong image can be the deciding factor whether someone is going to stop and read, or cruise right by.
3) Find your niche and stick to it. I definitely struggle with this one. It's hard to be a creative writer and do this. Discipline is the key.
4) There are a LOT of writers out there. If you visit other people's blogs and leave comments, then they will do the same. I guarantee it!
5) You can schedule your posts to go live in the future, which really helps if you need to go on vacation, or take a few days off in a row.
6) Writing at the last minute is not good. Setting a schedule is important and following through with it is not easy, but nothing that comes easy is worth much anyway. Try hard to stay focused on posting at the same time every day.
7) Posting at the same time every day will increase your hits. Readers can count on you to publish consistently and that alone can establish accountability with an audience.
8) Look at your most popular posts and determine what makes them so popular. Then write more like them. And make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
9) Be more conversational. It's way more fun and exciting to read a post that feels like the writer wrote it with you (the reader) in mind. Posts that sound preachy will be left to the sleeping congregation. Write with more PIZZOW!
10) Creativity is a gift. Even though it's not always appropriate, telling your story and interpretation of things can help a reader relate to the subject at hand, and moreso to you. Build a relationship with the reader. Compassion goes far.
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. (Mark 1:35 KJV)
It's no coincidence that I woke up at 5:30am on my own today.
It was God challenging me to get out of bed and spend some time with Him before my busy day begins.
For a few weeks at The Rock church in Point Loma - San Diego - our pastor, Miles, has been encouraging us to rise up an hour before our actual day begins and pray.
I've actually woken up most days since that call to action - either on my own, or with the help of Annie (my labradoodle) pawing at my face.
But what's interesting is that it's ALWAYS one hour before my alarm clock goes off!
So, in a "God incident" (there are no coincidences) I woke up at 5:30am today when my alarm wasn't set until 6:30. Ha!
I didn't rise and shine at that moment however. I did consider it ;) so I half way slept and half way dreamed for another hour until my alarm did buzz. I got up, fed te dogs, let them out and then say down for my morning prayer moment.
When I opened the You Version bible app on my iPhone, today's devotional - was the scripture listed above!
This life is not a test, but an opportunity to learn and grow each and every day!
Even if you are not on the Christian path like I am, you still have goals and dreams, right?
I am pretty certain if you seek those things out in the light of what is true and right in your heart and spirit, you will succeed!
And I am also pretty sure that He will reveal himself to you also - as long as your eyes are not clouded with the ego of pride and selfishness - or by despiriting things like drugs and malicious desires.
Today, I learned that He is here, encouraging me to spend more time getting to know Him and less time "sleeping. in"
I hope that you also "wake" early and find your calling!
Happy Morning Mother's Day!
Cheers to the blessings of our families and the joy of babies and children in the world!
After joining the Rock Church and getting "right" with God, the music that I had been listening to on the radio didn't have the same effect on me. The beats and the tempos were still great, but the lyrics felt "empty."
I tried to get into Christian music and some songs got me pumped, because they were the same ones that we were singing in worship on Sunday mornings, and the same ones that could bring me to tears.
However, I started to feel a calling bubbling up inside of me - one to start making electronic Christian music. I envisioned myself with two turntables and a microphone - beat matching and scratching downtown at 2am when all the clubs let out on a Friday night - inviting all the party people to come chill in my music space and come back down to earth, allowing me to minister to them with musical prayer.
I just needed one thing - to learn how to DJ and match up all those beats, create those mixes and write the meaningful prayers aka lyrics.
So I began seeking - and we all know what happens when we seek - we find.
It just so happened that my church, The Rock, offers a
DJ Ministry and I hopped on board just in time for the first class. I recruited a couple of girlfriends and carpooled down to the awesome event space called the 1825 Ministry located at 705 16th St, San Diego, CA.
Look at all the beautiful people who showed up that night!
Here I am learning to scratch and play with the cross fader...
That's DJ Ketchup next to me! He is pretty awesome for offering up his DJ equipment to amateurs like myself to come and stumble all over. However, he said it best that first night,
"Once I turned my equipment over to God,
I received more blessings than I ever did when I was hoarding it all to myself."
Amen DJ Ketchup! Thank you for feeding that calling :) Now, it's feeding mine! AWESOME!
Here is a video of me scratching on that first night.
I had so much fun! It's hard not to smile when you are learning how to do something fun!
Tonight was the second session and we worked more on timing. Here I am scratching on REAL records.
I just wish I had a set of turntables at home so I could just spend hours on end perfecting my craft. For now, I will just have to stalk Guitar Centers and go to these types of workshops, but once it gets to the point where I can start making my own mixes - watch out Christian music - you are about to be changed forever :)
During the 11th century, the Moors ruled over a thriving port city on the Mediterranean Sea.
Rich in history, this city was the ultimate prize to victors of numerous wars.
In the time of our story, a fair Moorish King ruled the land and lived high above its port in the Castillo de Santa Barbara, this breathtaking castle...
The King lived in the castle with his beautiful daughter, Cantana, who was his pride and joy. Cantana was a free spirit, full of joy and love. She was as lovely and soft as a rose, yet her amazing spirit and open heart made her beauty shine brighter than any star in the universe Unlike other princesses, Cantana appreciated her servants and treated them as equals. She especially loved attending festivals in the city, for it was then that she was able to live freely among the many colorful people of her father's kingdom.
On the summer solstice, Cantana begged her father to grant her permission to celebrate the most important festival of the year, the Bonfires of Saint John. For weeks the villagers built elaborate parade floats in all of the city's streets - all for one purpose - to burn as bright, big fires in honor of Saint John. The King, knowing his daughter's lust for life, agreed to let Cantana attend the festival, but only if she promised one thing - to stay in the company of his guards at all times - for the King would never forgive himself if anything happened to his beautiful daughter.
Cantana, thrilled by her father's approval, decorated herself in silks of all colors and pinned her hair with the most fragrant flowers from the castle's garden. The guardsmen accompanied her down the mountain, but had a hard time keeping up as Cantana skipped ahead for delight in her thoughts of the celebration that awaited her. Fires, fireworks and friends from all walks of life smiled as Cantana arrived to the street party.
She danced and laughed and talked with many cheerful people through the night.
On the sandy beach, where the pyrotechnics lit fireworks, Cantana sat and rested awhile to take in the show and admire her home - the Castle - as it rested quietly atop the mountain above the city.
Just then, a beggar from the streets approached Cantana. As her guardsmen began to stop him, Cantana said not to worry and invited the man over. He introduced himself as Ali, and confessed that he had been following her since her first appearance at the festival hours before.
"Everything about you is unique.
From the top of your head
to the tip of your toes.
No one else can walk how you walk,
or laugh like you laugh,
or dance how you dance,
smile how you smile,
or shine like you shine.
You're one of a kind.
You are amazing to me."
Cantana admired Ali for his bravery. Even though he was a beggar, she saw him as her equal.
She knew that his heart was pure and immediately felt a strong explosion in her heart.
Cantana was going to save him from his life on the streets.
She grabbed Ali's hand and danced around him singing,
""All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful-
The Lord God made them all.
Come with me, Ali!
I will love you just as He made you -
To my heart you are true.
You are amazing to me, too!"
And while the guards were watching the fireworks display, Cantana and Ali slipped away to dance and sing and laugh and smile the night away.
The next morning, Cantana arrived back at her father's castle and declared her love to the King.
"Father, my King,
as you are aware,
the love in my heart knows not class,
and I want to be married to my heart's true love.
He is Ali."
The King became very upset, for Cantana had broken her promise to stay with the guardsmen all night.
In his anger, he forbid Cantana to marry Ali and told her to make him leave immediately!
The hearts of both lovers broke together at that same moment.
Their knees became weak and tears poured from their eyes as they fell to the ground.
Overcome with sadness, the light that once shined in Cantana's heart went out.
Overcome by despair,
she looked one last time into Ali's eyes and said,
"If I cannot be with you,
my true love,
I do not wish to live."
"If I cannot be with you,
my true love,
my life is also over."
So the two star-crossed lovers joined hands tightly,
ran quickly from the King and the guards
and jumped from the castle walls and far down into the salty sea below.
The King immediately felt remorse for his hasty response to his daughter's plea,
and overcome by his sadness he kneeled at the castle wall and cried for weeks.
His tears slowly eroded the mountain into the shape of a Moor's face.
To this day you can see what the trail of the King's tears created.
The name of the city - Alicante - forever echoes the sad love story of Ali and Cantana.
I overheard a story today that has Hindu origins, but basically describes the concept, "All roads lead to God." It's just a short anecdote I overheard and thought I would share. I may not have the whole story here, but you will get the point, I'm sure.
The story is about a few blind men in India who encounter an elephant.
Curious, they all touch different parts of the animal to try and understand what it actually is.
One of them grabs the elephant's leg and describes, "It's like a tree trunk."
Another grabs its tail and says, "No, it's more like a vine."
Yet another grabs its ear and says, "You are both wrong, it is like the fan of the palm."
The story illustrates that without an objective authority to see the whole animal as an elephant, the men will always cling to their ideas and how they feel - convinced that they are right.
Similarly, different religions claim that their interpretations of God are the right and only way to interpret His glory.
However, we can only be open to the existence of something greater than anything we can see or imagine during our short and seemingly "blind" trials on earth, which makes me wonder, "Do all roads lead to God?"
One thing I know for sure - God is Love - and the Word is my path to receiving His blessings.
Today is the first of two theme days that occur during the month-long Blogathon challenge. Our topic: 5 movies that have inspired you, or inspired your writing. As a writer for kid's, I am pretty inspired by animated films, more than dramas. Therefore, most of my choices are kid's flicks.
As a creative writer with a child-like perspective, I remember vividly when the Shrek movies came out. Their humor and grown-up references hidden in the fairy tale theme opened my eyes to a new kind of creative writing. I was in college at the time and the Shrek series inspired me to write this play.
Not only did "Up" have an incredible story line, but it has gifted me with phrases like "Collar of shame" which I used in this post where I actually have a picture of my dog, Lucy, wearing the dreaded E-collar.
Being the happy owner of two canines, I also loved the fact that the dogs in the movie wear electronic translator collars that allow the viewer to hear their "doggy" thoughts. My hands down favorite example of this was the simple word, "Squirrel!" Anytime someone said the word "Squirrel" all of the dogs would go running to find one. I still laugh about that and even use it on my dogs! It never fails!
3. Finding Nemo.
Similarly, I love the voices of the seagulls in "Finding Nemo." The way the writers had them say, "Mine?" "Mine?" "Mine?" all the time, is so relevant to how one-track-minded they are. Eating = survival. It also illustrates the ego and how we are always fighting for what we think is ours. It was a pretty small part of the movie, but very moving to me and something I've been inspired by in many ways.
4. "Kung Fu Panda"
In both Kung Fu Panda 1 & 2, the writers leave the viewer with powerful thoughts. From the first movie, my favorite line was from Master Oogway under the Sacred Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom. "There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why they call it the present."
In the second movie, Po is challenged to find "Inner Peace" - a concept that many might expect to blow over a child's head. He meets the Soothsayer, who tells him, "Your story may not have such a happy beginning, but that does not make you who you are, it's the rest of the story, who you choose to be... So, who are you Panda?" The most important time is NOW. Kung Fu Panda is my "Zen" movie. It not only inspires me in my writing, but also in my daily living. As Master Shifu explains, "Anything is possible when you have inner peace."
5. "The Goonies"
"The Goonies" is my favorite movie of all time. To me, it is movie perfection. It has an awesome story about finding the treasure of the lost pirate One-eyed Willie, excellent bad guys, funny moments (the Truffle Shuffle) and a happy ending (finding the treasure!). I think "The Goonies" represents storytelling at its finest.