Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sunday Morning Worship

I sit here at my desk looking out at the almost blizzard conditions.  The snow is falling rapidly and the wind is blowing from the north.  Snow is collecting on the blue spruce trees and covering the yard and street.

The only movement that I see is my neighbor shoveling snow, a rabbit hopping from one rock to the next trying to find shelter and the American flag fluttering in the wind.

It is Sunday morning.  I am normally at church, but I chose to stay at home due to the icy, snowy streets.  I enjoy going to my church because it is a place that I feel my faith is renewed and my joy is restored. 

Today I am renewing my faith and restoring my joy by sitting inside my warm, cozy home and reading God's word.  I know that my faith is renewed by having my quiet time and being still so that I can feel His presence.

Psalms 9:1-2 says "I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wanders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name."  As I praise God, I am helping myself by expanding my awareness of who He is.

I may not be able to go to church, but I can still worship and praise Him in my own home. 

"Be still and listen to Him as He whispers."

Enjoy your Sunday!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Voice Within

I love music!  It can be vocal, piano, orchestra, etc.  There is something about hearing someone sing a sing that tells a story or listening to a person play the keyboards on the piano.

I am not a singer or a concert pianist.  When I was younger, I did take a couple of years of piano.  I could sit and listen to someone playing the piano all day long.

There is an enjoyment of listening to someone sing.  I especially love music where someone tells a story and you can feel the emotions that they are going through.

I did try singing in the church choir, but I felt that I couldn't carry a tune.  I felt embarrassed.  So of course, I quit. Growing up, my personality was if I couldn't be good at it, I would just no longer do it.  As I have gotten older, I have tried to stick with something and keep on persevering even when I wanted to throw up my arms and say no more.

With maturity, I have learned that sometimes you have to go through valleys to reach the mountains.

I have a friend who told me that everyone can sing.  They just have to find their voice. Last week, I took my first voice lesson.  My instructor began the class with talking about what I wanted to accomplish from these lessons.  The one thing I want to accomplish is to be able to sing with friends and not to feel embarrass about my singing.

It was an aha moment when I realized how important it is to exercise the voice.  How do I stand and how do I breathe?  We did some stretches with the body, with the neck area, the jaw, etc.  We focused on warming up with vowels.

I am beginning to discover that learning to sing is like exercising my body.  I need to have cardio and weights to tone up.

After my first two weeks, I still feel embarrassed.  There are demons that tell me "Why are you doing this?  You are sixty-four.  You will never be able to carry a tune."

I am banishing those demons.  Rome wasn't built in a day.  I will practice.  I will keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I am sixty-four, but I do have a lot of life in front of me.  Who knows, maybe I could be the next candidate for the "The Voice"? 

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Snowy Day!

There was a smile on my face as I rocked in my rocker and sipped on my creme brulee coffee.  It was snowing!  I enjoy a snowy day.  Especially a snowy day where you don't have to go anywhere.

Today I had permission to stay at home and to enjoy the moment.  The huge flakes collected on the ground as it became a wintery landscape.

As I enjoyed my second cup of steaming, hot coffee, I read this verse, Isaiah 1:18 - "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool".

We all have sinned(we have missed the mark).  No one is perfect.  Our sins are like the stains(crimson color) that we can't remove.  It is only through Jesus that our lives can become pure(white as snow).  

I know I will never be perfect, but I do know that with Jesus in my life I have those days where it is like a snowy day and I can rest in His hands.  I know He wants me to rest in His hands daily.  This is something that I will work on, "to let go and to let God".

Today, I will rest in His arms and allow Him to fill me with His love and His spirit!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

It is Winter!

As I looked at the weather app this morning, I could feel my body shivering.  The temp read 15 degrees.  Brrrr!!!!!! I thought to myself "it is winter"!

Just this week, this collage of photos that I took about a year ago of the area that I live in, popped up.  This helped me to remember that it is the "season of winter".  In most areas(unless you live in Hawaii), winter means cold temperatures and snow.

Winter in Colorado is all about the colder temperatures and snow in the mountains for the skiers.

When I look at this collage, I see the winter photos and then I see the one photo, which is another season. It is the season of later summer and early autumn.

These photos make me think of life.  One of my favorite authors, Charles Swindoll, wrote these words "our journey begins in the winter, a season of quite reverence.  This is followed by spring, a season of refreshing and encouraging renewal.  Then comes summer, a season of enjoyable and much-needed rest.  Finally, we'll stroll through autumn, a season of nostalgic reflection."

Isn't that how life is?  So as I begin a new year during the months of winter, I know that whatever I go through God has another season waiting for me. May I allow God to escort me through the seasons of life.  Even if I go through a storm, He is wanting me to build deeper roots, so that I can have a stronger life.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."  Ecclesiastes 3:1

Friday, January 12, 2018

You Only Have 3 Hours in Singapore!

Singapore Changi Airport is one of the largest transportation hubs in Southeast Asia.  It is one of the world's busiest airports by international passengers and cargo traffic. 

There are so many people that fly through Singapore on a daily basis and have long layovers before heading to their final destination.

If you had three to five hours to see Singapore, I would recommend that you tour Singapore on the "Hop-On/Hop-Off" Red Bus.  One of the places that you can visit is the Gardens by the Bay.

It is a nature park consisting of 250 acres.  There are three waterfront gardens:  Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. 

The day that my husband and I were at the Gardens, we visited the Flower Dome area and the Cloud Forest area.  We were able to get there right when it opened.  It was nice because we got there before the crowds.

As we walked into the Cloud Forest, you could feel the coolness of the area and smell the fresh water from the 115 feet waterfall.  This is the world's largest indoor waterfall.  Walking around in this huge greenhouse, the lush vegetation was surrounded by beautiful, colorful plants, orchids, ferns and trees.  As I walked across the bridges in the dome, I felt that I was walking through the Amazon rainforest.

After enjoying the Cloud Forest, we headed to the Flower Dome.  This dome is also a gigantic air-conditioned glass greenhouse with many exotic plants .  Since it was Christmas, the dome was decorated with poinsettias, Santa's Workshop and many Christmas trees.  Also in the area was a thousand-year-old olive trees and unusual Baobabs of the cool-dry Mediterranean and subtropical regions.

Another area to visit is the OCBC Skyway and Supertree Grove.  You can enjoy dramatic vertical plant displays.  There was also a 73 feet OCBC Skyway.  Since I don't care for heights, I didn't walk across.

So if you have limited time in Singapore, I would definitely recommend visiting the Gardens by the Bay.  It would be a great way to relax and to enjoy your surroundings!

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Today as I was going through my photos of my recent trip to Southeast Asia, I reflected on the many places and events that we experienced.

One particular event that I remember is the day that we docked at Kota Kinabalu(KK).  The passengers were glad to be on land.  The day before we had been at sea and had ridden the rocky ocean with swells from 3 feet to 12 feet.  A deadly tropical cyclone, Typhoon Tembin, had impacted the southern part of the Philippines and the Sapphire Princess got to feel and endure the path of the typhoon.  I was seasick some, but there were other passengers that never left their cabin.

I was happy that I had signed up for a tour and that I was going to be on land for several hours.  About thirty-two passengers climbed aboard the bus and our tour guide began to give us some history of KK.  KK is on the South China Sea and is the state capital of Sabah.  The main contribution for the prosperity of the area is from oil and gas.  Shell has a large office located in the downtown area.  Palm oil, tourism and coffee/tea also play a big part for the economy. 

Our guide gave some other facts.  The population for Sabah is approximately 3 million compared to the population of Malaysia which is about 30 million.  Within Malaysia there are 32 different races with about 18 different languages that are spoken.

As we drove through the city, the main thing that I noticed that there were areas of poverty with wealth of large homes or condos across the street.   Since KK is on the water, it is surrounded by palm trees and beaches and the beautiful ocean.

KK has some unique buildings, such as the Federal Building and the Tun Mustapha Tower.  This stunning 30-story glass tower is suspended from high tensile steel rods surrounding a central core.

On our way to the Sabah Museum, we drove past the State Mosque, which has five golden domes.

Arriving at the Sabah Museum, we visited the Heritage Village.  We experienced the different types of traditional houses of the various groups of Sabah.  The one hut that we went into had human skulls hanging from the ceiling.  To marry a Chief's daughter, the warrior had to present to the Chief, seven human skulls.  After roaming through the Village, we then headed to the museum to see the history of the Malaysia area.

Before heading back to the ship, the bus stopped at the market. In the market, there were clothing, unique, fresh vegetables, fruit and seafood.

Another day of traveling in Southeast Asia and seeing how others live!  To understand people, one must understand where they come from!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Faith = Living

As the rising sun promises me a new day, a new beginning, it also promises me that my life is all about living!

I have to have faith each morning as I place my feet on the floor.  Knowing, that is what my body does, it  moves forward.  I don't have to stop and think, "do I put one foot in front of the other or do I bend before I walk".  It is a process.  I just do it.  That is faith!

Living is what God wants me to do.  By living, I know God.  As I read God's word and allow Him to be a part of my life, I allow Him to grow closer to me.

A lot of us talk about faith, but do our lives reflect how God wants us to live it! 

I look at the soft blue sky, seeing the whispers of the clouds and the majestic colors of orange, pink and some yellow across the horizon and I know that God wants me to step out in faith and to live the life that He has given me.