Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What Really Matters in 2018 — The Condition of My Heart

A peek into my journal lets the secret out. My New Year's Resolutions were different this year. Perhaps it's getting older, perhaps living with cancer, but when I sat to  reflect and write my 2018 resolutions, I chuckled realized my hopes had changed. Gone were my annual lose weight, get organized, exercise goals. Instead, God placed the following in my heart:

My 2018 Resolutions:

To glorify God.

To surrender to Him and His will.

To Trust in the Lord.

To keep my eyes on Jesus.

To die to self and live for Christ.

To be a soldier for Christ.

To share my faith.

To encourage others in their faith.

To live each day to the full.

To not waste time in earthly pursuits.

To praise Him continually.

To pray without ceasing.

To keep the wonder of a child.

To cling to the cross.

To be joyful in affliction.

To shine in the dark.

To hunger and thirst for righteousness.

To love unconditionally.

To live.

 To feel the wind on my face and the grass between my toes.

To not rush through life, but enjoy the expanse of moments.

To smile and bring joy.

To notice children and listen to them.

To love deeply.

To be all Christ created me to be.

To rest in His Arms.

To have no expectations that this world will ever satisfy me.

To live for Christ alone.

At the end of life neither God nor I will care if I lost weight, exercised, or ever got my house in shape. What will matter is the condition of my heart. May our resolutions reflect what God wants us to be instead of what the world entices us to become.

"The Lord does not look at the things people look at.
People look at the outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)

May 2018 be filled with splashes of serenity as we live for Jesus!


Saturday, December 16, 2017

My 2017 Christmas Wish List

"'Don't be Afraid!' he said. 'I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!'" Luke 2:10

What a shock when I opened our Christmas decorations. Instead of thrown willy nilly into a glad-Christmas-is-over box, each ornament was wrapped with care and love. I realized that because of my cancer diagnosis, I had cherished and packed each trinket in the realization that last Christmas could be my last Christmas.

But God, who ordained the day of my birth and the day of my death, allowed me another year. I'm doing great, my blood counts are normal, I'm still writing and speaking and marveling at the ministry and marriage Dan and I continue to enjoy together. 

". . . Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
 Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed."
 Psalm 139:16 

Cancer has opened doors I would not have opened on my own. For this, I thank God, embrace the gift and the lessons I wish I had learned sooner.  

Now I realize each day is an ornament not to be thrown into the trash or the I-can't-wait-until-this-day-is-done box. Every moment is treasured as a gently wrapped memory in the ornament box of my mind, for every single breath is a gift placed on my tree of life.

What have I learned on this journey? 

Here's my 2017 Christmas wish list:

I wish I had loved more and judged less. 
Judging people robs me of time and joy. 
None of us know the whole story in anyone's life, even our own.

 I wish I had smiled more because 
smiles make me and the people around me happy.

 I wish I never had a grumpy day. 
Grumpy is a waste of time.

 I wish my eyes and mind had never let in negative, immoral, violent, 
God-dishonoring media that destroys mind and spirit. 
Life is too short to dwell in the garbage. 

I wish I spent every day in the eternal instead of the worry. 
God's got this. 
He's not worried and 
He doesn't need me to worry for Him.

This Christmas I choose to make my wishes reality as I thank God for His abundant and eternal joy gifts to me:

I thank God for a blessed life spent
 cherishing Dan, our children and 12 grandchildren, 
extended family and friends which includes YOU.

I thank God for placing a hunger within me for Himself and His Word. 
Reading the whole Bible multiple times and
 looking to Jesus and His teachings as my moral compass protected me.

I'm thankful our travels gave me a world view of, and love for, all people.

I'm thankful I believe Jesus is my Lord and my Savior, and that 
I surrendered my life to Him for He is true to 
His promise of eternal life in Heaven and abundant life on earth. 
A win/win!!!

I'm thankful I know 
The Baby of Christmas, 
The Teacher in the Temple, 
The Savior on the cross, and 
The Lord Who rose from the dead. 

I'm thankful God tells us to not be afraid because 
He is with us always. 
He holds us in our troubles and 
He never lets go. 
I know because He holds me.

Merry Christmas dear ones. I have every plan to see you next year, but if I don't or you don't, that's good too if we love Jesus.

 Hang your ornaments with care. Each one matters.

Merry Christmas love and lots of Splashes of Serenity in 2018!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Protecting Your Marriage From Sexual Misconduct

When My husband Dan started a secular job over forty years ago, his boss took him aside and whispered the names of women in the office he could have sexually. Dan walked away and kept his eyes, his hands, and his mind on the work he was hired to do.  Never before had the in-your-face wickedness of the world so threatened our marriage. When the office Christmas party invitation arrived on Dan's desk, he was told "Spouses not invited."

"I don't go to parties without my wife." Dan explained to his co-workers and to me. 

We went to the party together. I was the only spouse at a celebration of Christmas which included dinner, dancing, drinking, and too much coziness between co-workers.

The next Christmas we attended the dinner/dance/drink and were happy to see that this time a few others ignored the "No Spouses Invited" rule and brought their mates.

When we take a stand for marriage, others join us. Won't you?

Sexual misconduct can be blatant and it can be subtle. 
A wink of an eye. 
A lingering touch. 
A flirtatious glance. 
A conversation too personal for anyone but your spouse.  

Protecting yourself and your marriage from the damage of sexual misconduct requires setting guidelines for your life and living by them. 

Rev. David Linn, District Superintendent for the Christian and Missionary Alliance, offers the following common sense advice for keeping your marriage bed and your ministry pure (bold emphasis mine):

"1. Avoid all actual sins whether outward or in thought life. This is where the real battle is fought, as Paul wrote: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry” (1 Cor. 10:13-14). Run from it, reveal your struggle to an accountability partner, put barriers in the way, restructure your life pattern, work in larger groups, or whatever necessary. Repent every time you fail and receive forgiveness. No excuses. Don’t ever tell yourself: This little sin really doesn’t matter.

2. Do everything you can in public. Take away the enhanced temptation of private space wherever possible. Hire a carpenter to put windows in church classrooms and office doors. Meet outside or over video chat if that helps. Make your own choices about this. Don’t merely follow what others do.

3. Observe personal space. Approach others with a measure of wise caution and watch for cues about what is comfortable for them. Everyone is different. Adjust as necessary. It doesn’t really matter what is comfortable for you.

 4. Kindly and assertively tell others what you want and do not want. 

5. If you are married, follow the cautions and reservations your spouse expresses about your relationships without hesitation or reservation. Whatever your loved one says goes, even if you do not understand it. You probably won’t. 

6. Respect the holy life patterns of others. Some do not wish to eat out together in twosomes, travel together, or minister together. You and I have no access to the inward history and life of others. It is their prerogative to make those decisions. Love your brothers and sisters by following their wishes without complaint. The expansion of the kingdom of God will not be slowed by wise and holy living.

7. Never let down your guard. Be prepared for temptations to come your way from both non-churched and churched people, both men and women. There is no genuinely safe space on earth. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12)."

 Sexual sin seems to make headlines daily. A few weak moments can destroy your marriage, your family, your ministry, your career, your finances, your children, your children's respect, your children's marriages. etc. etc. etc. 

The cost too high, the pain too deep, the damage irreplaceable.

Dan and I set boundaries for our marriage and we live by them. 

"Marriage should be honored by all, 
and the marriage bed kept pure, 
for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."  
Hebrews 13:4 (NIV) 

Bring splashes of serenity to your marriage by never giving a glance to or thought of another person other than your spouse. Take that stand today. Please. For the glory of God and the honor of  your marriage!


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Christmas Special! No Postage! I'll Pay the Tax!

Dear friends,

The prayer of my heart this Christmas is that God will restore broken marriages and fractured families. We are in a fight against satan whose desire is to destroy us and those we love.

Thirty-seven years ago I was ready to give up and walk out. I shudder thinking what my life would have been like had I obeyed satan and left the husband I have loved for over 40 years.
My decision to turn to God and honor my wedding vows is written with three different perspectives in my three books.

My Merry Christmas gift to you is to offer each book for $12 total. I'll pay the tax and the postage. Please message me on facebook or email me at SplashesofSerenity@yahoo.com with your order.

With thanks to God for restoring my marriage and prayers that God will work in the hearts and families of all reading the books He gave me to write to you.

May your marriage and family have their best Christmas ever!


Sunday, November 26, 2017

How I Felt When Heaven Was Near

Looking back at October birthday photos, I laughed and realized they were a picture of how I felt this past year when Heaven was so near.

A year ago my prospects of enjoying this birthday were slim. In November 2016 my leukemia went from stage 0 to stage 3 and was moving fast to stage 4. Doctors forewarned me that with my genetic make up the leukemia would be fast and fatal.

Dan and I decided to enjoy Christmas with our family and share the diagnosis after the New Year. But, bad news went away and good news arrived in mid December 2016. A new drug was approved by the FDA which effectively controlled my type of leukemia. The week before Christmas Dan and I stood at our bed and prayed as I took the first of my daily three pills (one in the Name of the Father, another in the Name of the Son, and the last in the Name of the Holy Spirit). Voila! In two days my leukemia was shrinking away. In a few months my blood count was normal, and remains so.

So, this year I celebrated the birthday I never expected to see. I feel wonderful and healthy and alive!

Looking back, I must give praise to God for the gift of life He is giving me and answer the question: 

How did I feel when Heaven was near? 

JOY!!! That's how I felt. I didn't choose joy. Joy filled my heart with no effort on my part. Certainly, I had no strength at that time to muster up some fake joy. No. This joy was a joy like I had never felt in my earthly life. Heavenly joy that comes from the Spirit came to me as though Jesus was assuring me that I had a lot to look forward to in Heaven where there would be even more joy! I could hardly wait!!!
"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." James 1:2 (NIV)

PEACE. Absolute peace in the knowledge that I was on a trip to Heaven, that Jesus loved me, and that He alone would carry me there. Peace knowing that when I left this earth, He would care for all those who love me and who grieve my death. Peace knowing Jesus loved my family too. He would not take me away unless my husband and children would be all right without me.
"And the peace of God, 
which surpasses all understanding will guard your heart and mind in 
Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 4:7

Happiness!!! Bordering on hilarity!!!  If my days were numbered, I didn't want to spend them sad. I wanted to be happy and surround myself with happiness. I laughed at the days ahead, knowing I was and will always be in the Hands of the only One Who gives perfect delight on this earth and in Heaven. 

  "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at days to come."
Proverbs 31:25 (NLT)

Thanksgiving. God tells us to thank Him for everything. So, I thanked Him for cancer. I thanked Him for the life lessons He would teach me on this journey, for the doors of ministry He would open, the hearts I might touch, the precious moments I had left with my family, the abundant life I had on earth, and the promise of eternal life in Heaven.  

And so I ask?

"Where, O death, is your victory? 
Where, O death, is your sting?" 
1 Corinthians 15:55 (NIV)

Death had no victory over me and it didn't even sting. God was so close I could touch Him. In God's Sovereignty, He allowed me to have cancer, and then He allowed me to be healthy again. Hallelujah! He has given me life. And you too. Let us determine to live our lives with joy, peace, happiness and thanksgiving. Let's fill the world with joy this Christmas season. Will you join me?

Splashing joyful, peaceful, happy, thankful serenity on your day today!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Take a Stand and Stop Mocking Marriage

Ha! Do you find the calendar page funny? Did the thought for the day bring a chuckle? 

Since when and why did mocking marriage become a comedy instead of a tragedy?

My heart breaks for marriages.

My mother cautioned me against bad talk. "What you say is what you are." She warned. Her words ring true more so for married couples. Remember, you and your spouse are one flesh. The two of you became one on your wedding day. So, if you can't say anything nice about your spouse, well, you can't say anything nice about you.

"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 
and the two will become one flesh. 
So they are no longer two, but one." Mark 10: 7-8

I'm done listening or reading or partaking in the abuse of marriage. I want to stand for marriage, not mock the sacred union created by God.

Will you stand with me?

Will you stand and walk away from any talk where a spouse is belittled?

Will you take a stand and not partake in the laughter of any conversation mocking marriage?

Will you stand and turn off media when the "entertainment" ridicules marriage?

Will you stand up for your spouse and focus on the good instead of remembering the bad?

Will you stand by your beloved and not give a wink or a flirtatious nod to another?

Will you stand alone and refuse to attend an after-hours office gathering without your spouse?

Will you stand firm in your commitment to your marriage?

Will you stand in a decision to never say a disrespectful word or think a disrespectful thought about your husband/wife?

Will you stand and promise to pray daily for your spouse and your marriage?

Will you stand to always cherish and never chastise your mate?

I sound like a radical.
 Well, I guess I am. 
  I see a radical shift against marriage in these days.

So, I stand to radically change the world's view of the sacred blessing God gave when He gave us the gift of marriage. 

Will you stand with me?

This Thanksgiving, let us all stand for marriage and family. Take a stand and thank God for every dear trait your loved ones display. Share your "I love you because . . . " with each person around your table and have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

Will you take a stand for marriage? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

Our lives know splashes of serenity when our words say blessings to those we marry,

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Our Military Love With a Great Love. Thank YOU!!!

I watch and remember the endless stress of military life.

Packing, unpacking, moving every two years.

Praying the house you loved, decorated, and created memories in will sell and a new home in a strange town will somehow fit your family, your furniture, and your curtains.

Leaving a church where your children run into the nursery to join friends and known child care, where you've grown closer to God through treasured Bible study friends and the teachings of a loved pastor.

Endless goodbyes to kindred spirit friends who walked and talked you through troubled days and joyous celebrations.

Collecting medical records from the doctors you trust who held your hand and your heart during uncertain days.

Moving to the unknown place, searching for the perfect church, trusting your child to strangers, finding competent doctors, and the grocery store. And please God, I need a friend. Please send a friend.

The fear and dread that never goes away. Settled in your heart and residing in your brain is the fact that any day may be the one your spouse comes home with orders to deploy.

Military life is hard.  So why do they serve? A friend gave me the answer many years ago when my Dan served in the Navy.

We lived in Navy housing with our lawn joining the backyards of several Navy families forming a massive playground. We all had young children and our afternoons were lived together with our littles running delighted in the grass expanse.

The Navy family living behind us had five children including a newborn. The husband was a computer guy serving on a submarine. He was gone six months every year. Plunged into the ocean, he left his family and sacrificed six months of never-to-be-had good night kisses, first steps, and love.

Yet, I never heard a complaint. His wife served her man and her family with joy. This day, the day we met her new-born daughter, (whose nursery was in a closet, because Navy housing was too small for five children) was a cold, windy November.

"When is your husband leaving again?" we asked.

"He'll be gone before Christmas." she answered with resolve and not a twinge of regret.

I couldn't help myself. The questions, doubting, and concern tumbled from my tongue.

"Why does he do it? Your husband could get a job in the secular world that pays a lot of money. He wouldn't have to leave you, you wouldn't have to move again. Why don't you get out of the Navy?"

"Because we love our country. 
That's why. 
We love our country."

Her answer pierced my soul and changed the way I felt about the USA and those who sacrifice their lives and their families in military service.

Thank you Veterans and your families for loving our country and its citizens with the greatest of love. Thank you for loving our freedoms enough to sacrifice and die for the United States of America. I salute you today! You are the best of the best and I thank God for you.

"There is no greater love 
than to lay down one's life for one's friends."
John 15:13 (NLT)

Because of our military, we are splashed every day with serenity, and we don't even realize it. Realize it today, and thank a veteran!

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