Going Beyond Thanksgiving Into Gratitude and Grace

It was only a month ago but it seems longer since I wrote my last blog about walking meditation. It was a pause that refreshed and it prepared me for all the hustle of this month. So far, November has been full of activity and good things. First of all was the continuing celebration of my daughters engagement and the preparations being made for Lindsay and Ben’s wedding day.

Love Is In The Air

Lindsay - Ben Photo-60_

It has been a joy to everyone who knows Lindsay and Ben, to see how their love for each other has grown. The grace God has given them, by drawing good people to them on their journey, has made my heart swell with gratitude.

Lindsay - Ben Photo-1_

Congratulations Ben and Lindsay!

 

The Season of Family and Thanksgiving

This year Thanksgiving fell on the birthday of my mother in law, Shirley. We had a double celebration! At 97 years young she is a delight to be with. Mom often talks about her older friends who are still active. “We have a 106 yer old man here (Laguna Woods) who still golf’s at 106 years old, she told me.

Shirley grandchildren 2017_-1

Nana Shirley with her grandchildren and great grandchild, Riley

My sister-in-law, Alison and my niece Erin, hosted the festivities with their usual graciousness and artistic flair! They bring the best of Pinterest and “Martha Stewart Living” together for a fabulous event.

Erin Alison Thanksgiving table_

Erin and Alison and their beautiful Thanksgiving table

I am so grateful to be on the receiving end of their grace and gift for hospitality. Even though I am family, I still look on myself as one who is receiving grace, undeserved favor, not earned. 

 

Giving and Receiving Grace

Grace begins when one person is full and another is empty. One person has and the other has not. “Then grace comes into action as the emptiness of one is filled up by the fullness of the other. What we do not have is supplied by what he has.” ¹

Whether we are giving or receiving grace, it can become sour or boastful when humility is not present. “The notion of “self-made persons” who deserve all the success and wealth they’ve received is simply wrong. Indeed, “deservedness” is the opposite of gratitude, even if it occasionally produces prayers of thanksgiving.” ²

 

Gratitude vs. Entitlement_-

The Greatest Gratitude

Being thankful can often times just be an expression of good manners but real gratitude, received in grace, goes beyond the expression of “thank you” to a feeling of awe and blessedness for God’s goodness through people and circumstances.

Speaking to my youngest brother Al on the phone this week brought this all home in my heart. Al has served as the Director of Worship and Music at Living Rock Bible Church for over 18 years. His beautiful family also serves in leading worship and ministering the grace of God to their church.

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The Alberici family

Al is not only my brother but also my Christian God son. We have a very special connection.

Almost every week Al sings about the most precious grace of God, the debt of our sin that was paid by Jesus Christ. A perfect sacrifice was given, that brought heaven down to earth. The curtain separating us from God was removed, giving us access to our Father God through His Son.

In this pure state of worship, gratitude and grace, my heart becomes full, not with pride or deservedness but with  humility and blessed joy. I am filled with an incredible lightness of being that actually restores me to God and changes me from within. 

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! – 2 Corinthians 9: 15

From my heart to yours, be blessed, Linda

 

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. – Romans 5: 1-2

 

Footnotes:

1. https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/grace-gratitude-and-the-glory-of-god

2. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/marcusborg/2013/11/gratitude-one-of-the-most-important-virtues/#cM0CHR8bcoShA0MX.99

 

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Keeping Your Peace In Tumultuous Times

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Choosing to look forward to a bright future is exactly that, a choice. The world seems a little scary right now. Every day, whether in the news or in our personal lives, we are presented with a multitude of problems and troubles. I yearn to keep this negativity from taking my peace.

“While it may sometimes seem impossible, inner peace is possible despite the emotional influences from world events, media, negative people, and our own judgments.” ¹

Peace is a State of Being.

I am not in denial. There is real evil in the world. Peace does not necessarily mean a world without problems, pain, or persecution.

This latest horror in Nice, France, on July 14, hit close to home because, Nina, the daughter of my good friends, was a couple of blocks away from the violence and she was caught in the stampede of panicked people that followed. Nina Heintz found refuge under a restaurant kitchen sink where she hid for an hour, not knowing if anyone was coming in with a gun. Thankfully she is physically fine but it will take a while for her to heal emotionally and regain her inner peace. “I wish I was more fearless like I use to be, but everyday gets a little better,” Nina said, “… and in the long run it will make me stronger…”

Peace state of mind_1

Finding Peace In Chaos

During a time of crisis strong emotions can overtake us and our very existence may come into question. Taking time to be alone with our thoughts and feelings is a valuable tool to develop a strong foundation of inner tranquility and hope.

I recall the day I drove by San Bernardino, right after the mass shooting on December 2, it was like a war zone. Numerous helicopters flew overhead  and dozens of police and SWAT vans zoomed past me. My heart pounded and my stomach turn with nervousness. The tragic details played over and over for days in the news. It took a while to work through my feelings of confusion and despair.

“Ego says, ‘Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.’ Spirit says, ‘Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.’” ― Marianne Williamson

Pursuing Peace

Some of my friend take periodic fasts from the news. Turning off the outside world from time to time is important. What helps you feel peaceful? For me it can be: meditating on peaceful thoughts, a walk in nature, yoga breathing, prayer, a day by the ocean or sometimes just time to rest and enjoy a book or a movie. Taking care of ourselves goes a long way to maintaining a calm state of mind. Self-care can easily be intertwined into our daily routine.

Creating A Peaceful Mind

Keeping our thoughts on happy memories and taking into account all the the wonderful things we are grateful about will also help us keep a hopeful attitude. Remove thoughts of “need,” “must” and “have to” from your life. These words communicate life-and-death direness that probably doesn’t exist and robs us of happiness and peace. ²

“An affectionate disposition not only makes the mind more peaceful and calm, but it affects our body in a positive way too.” – Dalai Lama

Riley-Krugh-New-York-Policeman

Preserving A Peaceful Heart

Doing kind deeds or supporting others who are doing a good service, helps me to maintain a feeling that the world is becoming a more peaceful, loving place. Just looking at this photo of my grand-niece, Riley, and this New York policeman as she shares her plush unicorn, named Uni, and he shares his police cap, gives me a nice, serene feeling.

“A heart at peace gives life to the body.” – Proverbs 14:30

Positive Outreach – “To Protect and Serve Ice Cream”

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police department bought an ice cream truck dubbed, Operation Polar Cops . The police men and women hope their ice cream truck and free ice cream will help kids see them as positive role models and develop a better relationship with the community they protect and serve. Surely, it couldn’t hurt! The idea spread from the Boston Police Department; they also have their own ice cream truck.

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St. Louis Police hand out ice cream

Using our creativity in a peaceful and harmonious way can give us empowerment when we face injustice and feel like the moral compass of the world is spinning out of control.

First keep peace within yourself, then you can bring peace to others.” – Thomas a’ Kempis

My friend Theresa Bishop Miller created this graphic as a creative contribution toward unity and understanding and to move her own consciousness and purpose in a positive direction after a string of senseless killings throughout America.

Unity-Flag-Theresa-Bishop-Miller_

This photo is a reminder of our potential together as fellow human beings.

We need to do whatever we can to spread love, dismantle hate and become the people we aspire to be as a nation.

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendrix

 

Peace That Transcends Understanding

The world’s peace depends on having favorable circumstances: if things are going well, then we feel peaceful; when things go awry, the peace quickly dissipates. Jesus made the distinction between His peace and the world’s vacillating peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27). ³

Christ’s peace has to do with having a right relationship with God, reconciled through his love and sacrifice. 

My faith is tantamount to why and how I can maintain peace in my heart. I know God is pure goodness. His goodness in the face of the atrocities that exist in the world are beyond my understanding but I know God is Sovereign above all, and desires that I come to Him with childlike trust and rest in His compassionate presence. Yes, I receive His supernatural comfort, protection and peace.

“There are many things that are essential to arriving at true peace of mind, and one of the most important is faith, which cannot be acquired without prayer.” – John Wooden

The bible reminds us to: “pursue”, “seek”, “promote”, “search” or “run after” peace (Psalm 34:14). I’m not trying to add work or pressure to your life; quite simply, peace can be promoted with something a easy as a smile or a prayer. In Christ we are free! Jesus paid it all. So, be grateful, lighten up, rejoice, have a little ice cream and laugh a lot. It’s good medicine!

With a grateful and peaceful heart, Linda

~~~~~

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

References:

1. Quote from – Sandra Lee Schubert, an interfaith minister. http://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/2008/10/9-ways-to-find-peace-amid-chaos.aspx?p=2

2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-purpose/201309/lighten-and-laugh

3. http://www.gotquestions.org/peace-that-passes-all-understanding.html

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The Power of Flowers

This has been a season of helping others carry their burdens. I have a few family members going through some very stressful and hurtful situations. Some difficulties cannot be avoided or ignored. When you love someone you feel for them and you hurt with them.

Finding Beauty in Unexpected Places

One of the ways I like to restore my spirit is by walking or hiking in nature. The hills above my home in Westlake Village are a close retreat. When I started out on my hike my heart was heavy, unaware of the beautiful treasures I would soon find hidden in the chaparral.

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Within minutes, I was dazzled by a burst of color. I had never seen this particular collection of wild flowers. They were much larger than any I had ever come across before, so vibrant and delightful!

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Yellow California Wildflowers – Sticky Monkey Flower

“Earth laughs in flowers.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wellness Through Flowers 

Nature provides us with a simple way to improve emotional health. Flowers trigger happy emotions, heighten feelings of life satisfaction and increase positive social behavior, according to a study at Rutgers University.” What’s most exciting about this study is that it challenges established scientific beliefs about how people can manage their day-to-day moods in a healthy and natural way,” said Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Rutgers and lead researcher on the study.

The study also found particular benefits for seniors. There was a marked decrease in depression for older adults who received flowers. “Seniors performed higher on everyday memory tasks and experienced enriched personal memories in the presence of flowers.”¹

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Another group of wildflowers I saw that day was such a lovely orchid purple color, I could hardly believe my eyes. Southern California is in a drought and these beauties sprang up without any man-made cultivation. Incredible! They were perfection.

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Purple California Wildflowers – Chinese Houses

 

Consider How the Wild Flowers Grow

Does God speak through flowers? I think so.  As I moved in closer to more fully experience their fragrance, Jesus’ words came to my mind.

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” ~­ Luke 12: 27-31

These verses spoke to my heart, refreshed my soul and renewed my mind.

A Sweet Blessing

“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~ Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts

Mothers are the sweetest beings God ever made and put a soul into.

I was blessed with a visit from my mom from Pennsylvania,. I am very grateful for those rare and precious moments shared with my mom.

Linda-Mom_

May the garden of your heart be filled with flowers.

Many Blessing, Linda

~~~~~~~

© All rights reserved

Footnote:

  1. http://aboutflowers.com/health-benefits-a-research/flowers-a-seniors-study.html

Year of God’s Abundance

This has been a challenging, perplexing and emotionally painful year for me and for many of us; all the more reason to hold on to the hope of God’s faithful promises.

Recently, I had a big scare about a mysterious medical problem my husband was going through. It has been resolved, but in the midst of the crisis, I was on an emotional roller coaster riding the turns between processing grief and standing strong; moving up and down between fear and courage. A very tumultuous ride to say the least. I leaned on friends, my faith and sought counseling. Relief came when I released my white knuckled grip and rode with my hands raised up to God. 

Letting Go

The human psyche is delicate and complicated. Our flesh and God’s Spirit are at odds with one another.¹ This could be the subject of a lifetime of blogs but, right now, I will stick to this one simple thing. Whatever difficulties you are going through, my prayer is that meditating on these promises of God will comfort you as they have me and help bring you into healing, restoration, transformation and joy. 

As we let go of the old and embrace the new, I wish this New Year to be an exceedingly abundant year of grace for you, beyond your wildest dreams.

Ephesians 3-20

Praying the Promises of God

Abundance
“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” – Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)

Purpose
“The Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.” – Psalm 138:8 (NLT)

Comfort
“The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34: 18

Favor
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” – Psalm 84:11

Guidance
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” – Psalm 32:8

Compassion
“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” – Psalm 103:2-5

Righteousness
“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” – Proverbs 4:18

1 John 1-9

Forgiveness
“If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins, and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

Endurance
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

Healing
“Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” – Jeremiah 17:14

Restoration
“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” – Isaiah – 44:22

Fellowship
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:7

Meditation
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14 (ESV)

Harmony
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” – Colossians 3:12-14 (ESV)

John 14-27

Peace
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

Safety
“For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” – Proverbs 1:32-33

Provision
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

Courage
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

Judgment
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” – Romans 14:1-4

Priorities
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

Assurance
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” – Romans 8:38 (NLT)

Hebrews 10-23

Hope
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23

Understanding
“What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.” – 1 Corinthians 2:12

Prayer
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” – 1 Timothy 2:1

Goodness
“The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” – Psalm 145:9

Acceptance
“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” – Romans 15:7

Health
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” – Proverbs 3:7-8

God’s Kingdom
“For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.” – Romans 14:17-18

Psalm 27-1

Strength
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1 (KJV)

Mercy
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” – Ephesians 2:4

Purification
“I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me.” – Jeremiah 33:8

Reconciliation
“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17

Gratitude
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24

Faith
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” – Romans 5:1-2

Truth
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14

1 John 4-19

Love
“We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

Kindness
“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” – Galatians 1:7-8 (NLT)

Freedom
“Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” – Romans 6:14 (NLT)

Wisdom
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” – James 3:17 (ESV)

Thoughts
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” – Philippians 4:8 (NLT)

Victory
“But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 15:57

Transformation
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)

Direction
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NKJV)

Desire
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4

Power
“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 1:19-20 (NLT)

Grace
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)

God’s Children
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” – Romans 8:16-17 (ESV)

Thanksgiving
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” – Psalm 107:1

Perseverance
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12

Romans 15-13

Joy
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

Self-worth
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:13-14

Trust
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” – Psalm 28:7

Redemption
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 3:24 (ESV)

Deliverance
“Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.” – Jude 1:24

Salvation
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” – Acts 16:31

Eternal Life
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

God is with us; God is for us. May these words live forever in our hearts! From our house to yours have a Happy New Year filled with the blessings of God’s promises.

Eichberg Family Christmas

Be kind to yourself. 

With love, Linda

 

References: Bible verses are from The Holy Bible NIV, unless otherwise stated.

  1. http://ptl2010.com/2011/02/03/where-is-my-miracle/

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“War Room” – Approaching the Throne of Grace

We have a Father in heaven who loves us, a Father we can go to for help when we need it most, a Father we can talk to any time of the day or night.

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“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16

This bible verse came alive in a movie I saw last week with a group of friends. In the film “War Room”, the main characters walk through life as if God is some distant relative with whom they have lost contact because he lives too far away. Tony and Elizabeth Jordan seem to be living the dream but we soon find out they have a strained marriage. They have lost connection with God and each other. Then, their lives take an unexpected turn when Elizabeth meets Miss Clara and is challenged to make a battle plan of prayer for her marriage and her family.

“War Room” is much more than a movie about the power of prayer. It’s full of biblical themes that we can reflect and chew on for a long time.

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Victories Don’t Come by Accident.

In the film, Elizabeth feels hopeless. Her inner warfare is so intense, she has to actually cry out to the Lord and verbally rebuke the devil. There most certainly was a spiritual battle and until Elizabeth applied the tools Miss Clara gave her, she was losing the battle.

You Have a Spiritual Inheritance. Pass it on.

Raised a Christian, I grew up knowing I was saved by grace and the precious blood of Jesus but it wasn’t until I was in my forties that I fully understood God had a spiritual inheritance for me and my family.

“You see, you can have the experience of salvation and receive a new heart, but still miss the experience of walking into your spiritual destiny—your spiritual inheritance—the portion that is to be implanted in your new heart.” – J. Bynum ¹

It was through the Holy Spirit’s revelation and walking with God that I received what He had for me. I had to learn to use spiritual weapons to fight for it as Elizabeth did in the movie.

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Mercy and Grace

“War Room” also addresses the challenges men and women face after they confess their wrongs and make a move toward God in repentance. Tony has to decide if he will make amends to his family and his company. Through his journey to restitution and reconciliation, he finds the power of God and the destiny God has uniquely planned for him.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

In response to prayer, faith and obedience, God poured out His mercy on the quagmire Tony created in his life. I left the movie with a fresh appreciation for God’s abundant mercy. If it wasn’t for God’s forgiveness and mercy, none of us would stand a chance. 

“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”  – Luke 6:36

“War Room”, written by brothers, Stephen and Alex Kendrick, is full of biblical truths nicely woven into a good, believable story. 

At the start of the film this scripture fills the big screen:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:1  

By the end of the movie my friends and I understood this passage in a fresh new way. “War Room”, appropriately exhibits how we can apply this scripture to our lives and receive the grace we need to live His Word and to protect our families.

I highly recommend this movie from Sony Pictures!

With much love and gratitude, Linda

Footnote:

  1. “My Spiritual Inheritance” (a book about walking in your destiny) by Juanita Bynum

A Mother’s Blessing

i-have-no-greater-joy-3-john-1-4

What a day! On May 21st, my youngest sister, Alisa, delivered the 21st of my nieces and nephews. I can say I am a very blessed Aunt! That’s a lot of hugs and kisses and yes, that is a lot of birthday checks!

Alisa-JulianAlisa amazes me, two days after a cesarean section, with staples still in her stomach and not getting sleep for days, she manages to look so good for this photo.

Behind the smile, Alisa lives with the fact that baby Julian was born with a hole in his heart and with a leaky heart valve. This was due to mosaic trisomy 9 which can affects many different systems of the body. She has to navigate several medical options for him. Not knowing what lies ahead for her son, Alisa has stayed calm and joyful. She and her husband are standing strong in faith, taking it one day at a time.

A Rough Start

The arrival of my newest nephew reminded me of my daughter Lindsay’s early years. I started out as an awkward mother. After having a C-Section and being in pain, I didn’t have a lot of desire to bond with my daughter right away.

Lindsay was a beautiful baby with pink rose bud lips but she was a colicky baby, an inconsolable crying ‘thing’ that left me sleep deprived, cranky and depressed. I remember my father trying to cheer me up; he told me, “Lindsay is going to be your best friend some day.” I heard the words but at the time, I had a hard time conceiving of such a thing.

Lindsay moved on from her colicky phase. and into her ‘wild child’ era. She was only about 2½ or 3 when she dragged a chair to the 2nd story opening over the recreation room, stood on its ledge and waved good-bye to me, announcing that she was, “going to fly like Dumbo.” I never moved so fast in my life!

Motherhood was a wild ride. Lindsay was challenging, but today, Lindsay is one of my best friends and our love continues to grow. She’s a joyful, compassionate and giving woman, a devoted daughter who makes herself available for her friends and family. I wish I could take credit for how she turned out but the truth is, I had to surrender the whole motherhood thing to God early on. delight-yourself-in-the-lord-and-he-will-give-you-the-desires-of-your-heartI knew from the start I was in way over my head.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4

We all have supreme hopes and desires for our children. I pray and put my hope  in God, but learning to “Delight in the Lord”, what is that exactly? How do I best do that? Am I walking with Him in love, joy and strength? I still ask myself these questions every day. My life line is this, I am grateful because my God is with me and for me. He will never leave me or forsake me. 

Persevere through the hard times; good times are coming! 

Joy For This Journey

On Mother’s Day, Lindsay gave me a special personalized gift and a sentimental note. Her words were so beautiful and heartfelt. I wish I could see myself the way she sees me.

Lindz also took her dad and I out for a cruise on her boyfriend’s family boat. His family’s generosity was amazing: flowers, food, great scenery and witty conversation. Everyone made it a lovely day.

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Mother’s Day was followed by a very romantic get away with my honey, Steve. I am thankful; at this moment life is sweet.

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God’s Promises to Never Leave Us

1. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

2. The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8

3. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Joshua 1:5

4. “May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our fathers; may He never leave us nor forsake us.” – 1 Kings 8:57

5. David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.” – 1 Chronicles 28:20

6. For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. “They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off.” – Psalms 37:28

7. “For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.” – Psalms 94:14

8. “The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.” – Isaiah 41:17

9. “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” – Isaiah 42:16

10. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

 ≈  ≈  ≈  ≈  ≈  ≈

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God promises are true. “His word is above all! We can move forward because, He goes before us. And if God is for us, who can be against us”?¹

With a grateful heart, Linda

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Jesus in Matthew 28:20 ²

Footnotes:

1. http://www.thejourney2grace.com/index.cfm?i=11059&mid=1000&id=324730

2. Matthew Chapter 28 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+28&version=NIV

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Easy to Prepare Kabocha – Recipes for Wellbeing

Starting Strong

I love it. It’s the start of a new year and my Pilates and Yoga fitness classes are full, both the ones I’m teaching and the ones I’m taking. Everyone is brimming with energy and hope, intending to be healthier this year. The excitement has infused new life into me.

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Exercise is a very important part of overall health but what you eat also plays an essential role in physical well-being.

Healthy Seasonal Treats

A good portion of my life is spent preparing meals. The thing is, I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I went to the grocery store looking for something different to make as a side dish, that was healthy, seasonal and easy to prepare.

kabocha

Some winter squash get all the glory: butternut, spaghetti, acorn, pumpkin, they get their fair share of promotion but what about the kabocha, have you tried that yet?

Kabocha – Pumpkin’s Much Sweeter Cousin

This green marvel surpasses the pumpkin in flavor and color. Yet, when was the last time you had one as part of your meal? Kabocha needs no flavor enhancers, it is perfect simply roasted with nothing added to it.

Opening the kabocha, you will immediately notice the vibrant yellow-orange color inside. It looked so inviting, I had to taste it raw. It is one of the few squash varieties that taste good raw, similar to the taste and consistency of a carrot.

These simple roasted kabocha recipes are as easy as one, two, three. The prep time is  less than 5 minutes! Got to be grateful for that, right?

Roasted Kabocha

1) Pre heat your oven to 375°.

2) You will need a very sharp knife to split open the kabocha squash. Cut the squash into fours; scoop out the seeds and stringy membrane. Coat a roasting pan or cookie sheet with oil and add 4 tablespoons of water.

3) Bake squash for 50 minutes at 375°.

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When the squash is finished and slightly cooled, it is ready to be served. Spoon the sweet flesh off the skin and into your mouth. You could add a sprinkling of cinnamon on top or some buttered peas but Kabocha is equally delicious with nothing on it.

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Crispy Broiled Kabocha 

kabocha-raw

1) Pre heat your oven to 375°. Using a sharp knife, cut your kabocha in half. scoop out the seeds and stringy membrane. Cut the squash into crescent shaped slices (about 1/2 thick in the center). Coat a roasting pan or cookie sheet with oil and add 4 tablespoons of water.

3) Bake squash for 50 minutes at 375°. Then broil for 5 minutes or less. Keep a close eye on the squash.

kabocha-broiled

Remove from the squash slices from oven and serve. The skin will be crisp and edible. My husband, Steven, likes them very well done. I asked him if he wanted some salt or cinnamon to add and he gratefully replied, “It’s delicious, doesn’t need a thing.” 

  

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Nutrition

Winter squash is very nutritious. It is packed with antioxidants, dietary fiber and it’s loaded with Vitamin A and carotenoids. Carotenoids found in winter squash include alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin.¹  

Finishing Strong

Let’s keep exercising and eating fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables for our physical well-being. But going further than that, well-being extends to satisfaction in our career, finances, family life, social and spiritual life. Connect to the One who knows us best. By spending time to ask God about the direction of our lives, we can connect with our Creator in meaningful ways that will give us true fulfillment, happiness and over all well-being. Our foundation is in the love of our Father, God, and our futures are with him now and beyond this world.

“What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God-direction is road tested. Everyone who runs toward him makes it. Is there any god like God”? – Psalm 18: 30-31 (MSG)

My hope is for us to walk in the joy and freedom that Christ gave up his life for. We are blessed.

Gratefully yours, Linda

“We’re depending on God; He’s everything we need. What’s more, our hearts brim with joy since we’ve taken for our own his holy name. Love us, God, with all you’ve got—that’s what we’re depending on”. – Psalm 33: 20-22 (MSG)

Reference

1. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2648/2

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. Always seek the advice of your health care professional.  © All rights reserved.

Earth Day – Blessing the Earth

Earth Day is April 22; I am reminded to think about how I can make a positive impact on the earth. Last year, to celebrate Earth Day, I bought reusable stainless steel water bottles to use in place of the plastic disposable one’s I had been using. My family also made a monthly commitment to Greenpeace USA. In years past, I have bought the ladies in my bible study fashionable reusable grocery bags and made a pledge to recycle Styrofoam packing peanuts at my local mailing center.

Our Beautiful Earth

Last week I returned from a family visit to Pennsylvania, during cherry blossom season. The trees were exquisite! Driving by the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia was a spectacular site!

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My love for trees inspired me to support the Canopy Project this year. Sponsored by Earth Day, one tree will be planted for every dollar donated. Jaden Smith speaks passionately about this project. Learn more about The Canopy Project.

 

Remembering Earth Day With Gratitude to God

I enjoy taking ‘gratitude hikes’ to the beach. I like to take groups of friends, mothers and daughters. We have fun! It’s a great way to relieve stress and keep fit. Being together on the beach brings out our inner child and grows our appreciation for nature and each other. It draws us closer to God’s magnificence and supports our beautiful State Parks.

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Sitting on top of Point Dume, Zuma Beach with Marianna Riccio, Maria Lauren, Susan Buckner and Linda Eichberg

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Balancing side plank, a joyful expression of health!

I appreciate how the earth sustains and nourishes me and my family with the food it provides. When I eat, I will consider how the food is grown and the people who sacrificed to get it to my table. I am supporting organic and non-GMO food growers.

Since ancient times it has been recorded in The Holy Scriptures that God rules over the earth and we “are like grasshoppers” living on it. Our Father in the heaven, gave us the earth as our dwelling place. It is a perishable gift that we must handle with care. Grasshoppers can be destructive and ravenous. The earth is not ours to abuse. It is fragile like we are. I prayerfully ask God for wisdom for this generation and the next, to save and heal our world.

How does your family protect the earth or reduce their carbon footprint? It can be something simple like not running the water when brushing their teeth or washing the dishes. I’d like to hear your ideas.

Happy Earth Day with blessings, Linda

Reference: The Holy Bible

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. ‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One.” – Isaiah 40: 21-24 (NIV)

 

DISCLAIMER: This is a personal blog, reflecting my personal opinions and its contents are not intended to offer personal medical advice. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted. Photo credit is given when know but some photos of unknown origin may appear on this blog. Please contact me if you have additional information about photo credits.