My Cup Runneth Over

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Psalms 23:5

Sometimes it is all I can do to tie a knot and hang on, I have less than an overflowing attitude, it is more like who pulled the plug in the drain? I focus on the do not have instead of what we do have, basically I give in to stinking thinking.   I don’t know what God is trying to teach us in this season, are we about to experience loss the size of Job? Please, God, I hope not.

Right before Christmas, my husband lost his second job, he worked part-time for a local grocery store in addition to his day job, just 9 months before that he had lost his primary job due to the company closing its doors, so we were just recovering from one job loss(my husband found a new primary job) when the grocery store announced they were closing right before Christmas.

We were struggling before this to get caught up and back on track, this was a hard blow to us financially and mentally if it weren’t for the fact that it is sports season and I am a board op for our local radio station there are many weeks we would not have had anything. Now before you think man she is very ungrateful, let me just say, it is only by the grace of God and the people he has put in our lives that we have made it thus far. A fact that is not wasted on me and my mopping.

Sometimes just getting it out and putting a voice to the thoughts is so much better than just keeping it all bottled up. Each week I am struggling to figure out how to pay and what to pay bill wise, there are things like electricity, house payments, loan payments well you get the idea. So let’s get to the overflowing part because my cup does truly overflow! God has placed some wonderful and very giving people in our lives, I won’t call them out by name but I will tell of their importance in our story.

First up are the inter-tribe members of our life, these are the people whom we are closest to, the people who week after week have bought groceries, paper products, filled our gas tanks, bought us WW goodies so we can stay on program, but most importantly they pray with us and for us. There is also that one person who has gone out of her way to help us find a way to lower our house payment so we can keep paying it and hopefully on-time, she too has prayed with and for us.

So you see while things seem bleak, and I can’t figure out what God wants us to learn in this season, maybe it is just to recognize His hand in every aspect of our lives and not just in the seasons of abundance. Today I will rejoice and be glad in it, for this is the day the Lord has made. And as I count my blessings I realize that My Cup Truly Runs Over!

Saved To Serve A God Styled Life,

Maggie P

 

Count It All Joy

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A scene very much like this one was outside my office window that looks out to the back yard of our house, it was so funny this particular day to watch the birds and squirrels looking for food and chasing one another around the yard, I laughed as I watched them, birds and squirrels chasing each other, the squirrels chasing and fighting over the buried treasures found in our back yard.

My heart had great joy as I sat there watching the scene and laughing at the bird and animal antics, it did my heart good not only to laugh but at that moment to have a fresh joy, Winter has always been hard for me, I suffer from seasonal depression during that season, I think because more days than not it is overcast and cloudy, so to have this scene play out and the sun to be shinning it was truly a gift from God, I know God has given us these season’s just as He has given us life season’s so on this rare sunny day in the Winter God blessed beyond measure for sunshine and fresh joy!

In John 15:11 it says ” I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” God wants in us what is in Him and this passage lets us know Joy is in Him and so it too should be in us. Completely in us, to me that says God never does anything halfway, it’s not just a taste of joy it is full joy complete in us! This reminds me of a song we used to sing at church camp, with our Christian Preschool kids and probably every youth type event we ever had,” I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart, I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart to stay.” Yes, I got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart to stay, do you?

Saved To Serve A God Styled Life,

Maggie P

 

 

 

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

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Today is the very last day of a very short month, February 28, 2019, and while this picture above was not taken today it is a reminder that Winter is still here, it also reminds me of what lies beneath the snow and what is to come. So what do cold hands and warm heart have to do with it you ask? well you see outside it may be cold but deep beneath the surface God is allowing growth, Spring is right around the corner and there is so much to look forward to, like the saying right now all we can feel is the cold but we know that the warmth is to come as are sunny days and Spring growth, the same growth that has been buried during the cold season.

So for this last day of February reflect on the Winter’s rest we are experiencing and look forward to the sunshine of the Spring months ahead! God has a purpose and intent for all the seasons of our lives and for the season’s Mother Nature provides, let the seeds that are taking root beneath the surface be like the seeds that take root in our hearts as we rest in God word.

In Ecclesiastes 3:1  it says” There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens. The picture above reminds me, while I don’t necessarily enjoy the overcast of a cold Winter’s day, God does give us a beautiful snowy, sunny Winter’s day to enjoy both indoors and out and deep below are the beginnings of the roots that will soon bloom into the beauty of Spring.

Yes Winter to me is a season of rest, a quiet time of reflection and the closing of February reminds me that the warmer, sunny days and the beauty of Fresh joy in the flowers and budding trees of Spring are just around the corner. 

Saved To Serve A God Styled Life,

Maggie P

An Open Love Letter To You

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Today is Valentine’s Day and there is absolutely no money to spend on a gift, so my love this is my gift to you and by the way, the whole wide world will see it! I know that I have been struggling lately and in those struggles, it is easy for me to forget all the reasons why I still choose you, the obvious is that you are a wonderful provider to your family, even when our Daughter was little you have always been a hard worker, sometimes working multiple jobs. 

A long time ago I learned that our faith walks would not be the same, I do know you are a man after Gods own heart and I know you struggle just as I do in that walk sometimes, but at the end of the day I know your priority is putting God first, your wife(me) and family and friends, and then your job.  I love that you ponder the word of God and then share your heart, it is always profound to me the insights God gives you.

Knowing from the moment I first met you that you were the one God had for me, and it was confirmed by our Daughter, you both are the greatest gift from God I have received in this life and I love you both so very much. I don’t want to think of my life without you in it and I know that I don’t always communicate that through my words and actions, but I promise you there is no one else I want to do life with other than you.

One of the most favorite things I love to do with you is to travel, whether it is a day trip, date night/day or road trip my favorite adventure’s are with you! I love how you humor me for a selfie picture, protesting the whole time but like the picture above, those are some of my favorite memories that I can go back and look on.

So, my love, we are not promised tomorrow but as long as I live I will continue to love you, today, tomorrow and forever! thank you for choosing me to be your helpmate, lover, and wife.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2019

Saved To Serve,

Maggie P

 

 

For God so Loved

For God So Loved

Matthew 25:40

Who are the least of these and did God so love them too? Some are obvious, but others are not, we can look around us at people everywhere and make judgments on their lives but the fact of the matter is in some way we all are the least of these, maybe you suffer abuse that doesn’t show outwardly or you hide from the world, a spouse with an angry temper, mental or verbal abuse. Maybe your the man in the picture who is ridiculed for his gay lifestyle, (we are to love the sinner and not the sin). Home from war and not able to cope, fractured in mind, living on the streets with no home to go to. Mentally broken and so paranoid of all people, drunk and/or drug-ridden.

My point is this, these are the very people that God so loved the world for not just the ones who appear normal, let’s face it, Normal is just a setting on your dryer just ask Patsy Clairmont, not only does she believe this, but also that God uses cracked pots. Okay, enough name dropping and quoting, As I was saying the least of these or those we judge on outward appearances, lifestyles, the way they act, etc… just like you and me they too are why God so loved the world, it’s like reading the Bible and believing what it says, you either believe it all or you don’t believe it at all.

Our circumstances and sin is what breaks Gods heart, He so loved us all that He gave His one and only Son while we were still sinners to stand in the gap of our sin, to pay the high price on our behalf, if that is not the ultimate love I don’t know what is because lets face it none of us deserve it. From this point forward let’s leave the judging to God and show the love of God to all because the truth of the matter is this, we will all stand before God someday and answer for our actions, not for the lifestyle someone else leads, not for anything but what we have chosen to do, the good, the bad and the ugly.

If God can work in a wretched sinners life such as mine then he can work in everyone’s lives, those very circumstances are the very things that make up our stories and while God does not cause it to happen(because of free will) He allows it to happen. I think of a classmate of mine who’s life was spinning out of control, she not only did drugs, she sold them, she was a mess, was in and out of jail, recent years, she got clean, gave her life to the Lord and opened a halfway house in the city she now lives, she oversaw all the process to do so and last year was sentenced to a long jail term for charged that had pended for several years ago in her hometown  where she was originally from, they had really been cracking down on the drug pandemic that has been happing in this community and she had to pay the piper, long story short, she accepted what was to be, went to jail to begin to serve her long sentence and God intervened, she is now back at the halfway house overseeing the day to day operations and sharing her message of hope in a God she truly loves.

She is one of the least of these that God so loved the world for, next time you are walking down a street and see the homeless go buy them a meal, get to know them, learn their stories, don’t judge them. Jesus met people where they were, not where He felt comfortable going. The least of these is all of us and that my friends is who God so loved the world for.

Saved To Serve,

Maggie P

 

 

Stillness

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Psalm 46:10

This is by far one of my favorite photos I have taken over the years of Wintery scenes. I remember standing outside on the bridge where this photo was taken and just hearing the stillness, how do you hear stillness you ask? I could hear God in His creation, the snow as it was falling, the creek as it flowed, the snowflakes as they touched the water when they fell. I know it seems like an oxymoron to say still and express it with movement but God is still even in His movements, there is such a peacefulness, a quiet beauty in this Winter scene.

In Psalm 46:10 God says “Be still and know that I am God” His creation and beauty that surrounds me reminds me of this and when I actually stand still and take it all in, His presence is even more clear to me, stillness is not just in an action but in a moment as well. I captured this moment in time by capturing a photo to remind me to just Be Still, our lives go at warp speed most days, stop, slow down and just be still God is all around you and with you always.

Saved To Serve A God Styled Life,

Maggie P

The Legacy She Left


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Our lives are the sum of the legacy we leave, so let God guide your legacy.  
Maggie P

Mom arms not only good for hugs, but for corraling the little ones!

 

Today marks the 5 year anniversary of laying my Mom to rest, as the years go by it doesn’t get any easier, it’s just different. I still live with the regret of not having a closer relationship with her or healing what relationship we did have, but over the last 5 years, I have thought often about what was left behind. Mom was a military wife and with that brought strength, but I can honestly say growing up I did not look at it that way, so much of my younger years were spent with my Mom being both parents as my Dad was absent from our lives due to the military sending him to and fro without his family. My Mom’s Mom lived with us and I know that added to my Mom’s stress level, but to top that off I have a younger sister who is challenged and that brought with it its own challenges.

Amazing what you deal with when you don’t have a choice, When my Mom’s Mom died my Mom shut down, it was the year  we moved to Indiana if my memory serves me right, my Dad was stationed in Okinawa, Japan and had to fly home on a quick leave, my Mom dealt with everything by herself, including making arrangement for grandma Whites funeral( her Mom), Mom did well with most things but finances was not her strong suit and as I said she shut down. All this to say I completely understand that response as I did when I lost her as well.

Over the last 5 years, I have thought many times on my Mom’s strengths and the legacy she has left behind, I think about her passion of reading and writing, in the last few years before her death she became a lay speaker in her church body, she also was passionate about hats, this, however, is not something I have acquired, I think what stands out to me most is how she gave of herself selflessly to others in her volunteerism to her community and the surrounding areas. Red Cross and Special Olympics were just two of her passions, Mom coached basketball and volleyball for Special Olympics for my sister’s team, she worked with Red Cross disaster services for more years than I can count.

As I reflect on the legacy my Mom has left I pray that through the gifts and talents that God has given me that I too can pass on a legacy of a life well lived serving others to our daughter. you are missed beyond words everyday Mom, but I know you are home with the Lord, I knew when you said to me you were praying for me that you truly were, you lived an imperfect life in a perfect faith out loud and I pray that I can leave at least half the legacy you have left me.

Saved To Serve A God Styled Life,

Maggie P

Reflections of them

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These two people hold such a special place in my heart, they are the heartbeat of me, one gave birth to me the other I gave birth to. My Mom and I struggled in our relationship, even before she died 5 years ago things were slightly strained, we had come a long way but had not arrived, funny how after someone dies those things have no matter. I reflect back on my memories of my Mom, she was a legacy leaver even if I didn’t recognize it at the time she was doing it, her strength as a military wife alone makes me respect her even more now, she raised my sister and me most of the time in my Dad’s career military years all by herself, my dad was gone for most of my life courtesy of the Army and his many unaccompanied tours of duty. 

Mom had so much on her plate and did her very best to keep it together, a child with special needs, her own mother living with her and the care for her added to her list of duties an absentee husband, add to all of this her regular duties, housekeeping, childcare, driver, cook, and the list goes on, by the time she laid her head down at night she was exhausted. I wish I had respected all she did for us as I was growing up but if truth be told I didn’t thank her near enough or respect the sacrifice she made as both a military wife and mother. To say I miss my Mom is an understatement, I still go to the phone to call her, and now I cry out to God to be able to just talk to her one more time before her stroke and eventual death.

In the above picture, my Mom is holding our daughter, Sarah, this child was a gift from God, I was never supposed to be able to conceive let alone carry a child and there were so many circumstances that happened in her creation that can only be of God, she came a whole month early to the day, but Gods timing is always perfect so she was right on time and saved herself from being named Holly Noel, Sarah will now have been on this earth 32 years this coming Friday as of this writing, our beautiful daughter is one of the best gifts I have received thus far in my life, her Dad is another!

When Sarah came into this world, I remember telling my doctor I couldn’t have her yet, I didn’t know how I was going to pay for her. In my defence, I was on some heavy duty drugs due to complications, born with a cleft palate and harelip she weighed in at 6 pounds and instantly dropped to 4 pounds, figuring out how to feed her was a challenge but we had an incredible doctor, we navigated  the ins and outs of our local Children’s Hospital as Sarah went from being born in one hospital to going to a children’s hospital,

Her first year of life met with challenges of not gaining enough weight in her first year, several surgeries to repair her cleft palate and harelip, a month before her first birthday we found ourselves on the parent care unit at our local children’s hospital, Sarah was almost one and only weighed 13 pounds, she was failure to thrive, a common problem with children with her condition and leaving me feeling like the worlds worst Mom on planet earth. Sarah learned to walk two days after her birthday while in the hospital on that stay. Her life in the early years was spent in and out of the hospital, when she was 3 years old she contacted Spinal Meningitis, we spent a month and a half in the hospital and she gained the nickname of Wild Child from that stay.

Sarah’s early life was spent making friends during hospital stays and visits for check-ups, as she got older the visits and stays became less, her final surgery was her Senior year in High School on Christmas break and her nurse was one of the very first nurses she had from one of her first stays. Life has moved at warp speed since those days and Sarah has grown into this amazing woman, who I now also get to call my friend, to say her Dad and I are proud of her is an understatement, she went on to honor her early years of life by returning to the very same Children’s Hospital and now oversees the teams who oversee the entire Dance Marathons of Indiana for both colleges and high schools. Earlier this year (2018) she was honored by her employer ( The Children’s Miracle Network) as the first recipient of their new annual award for Dance Marathon  Person of the Year!

Summing up my thoughts on these to amazing women, the one who gave birth to me and the one I gave birth to. I thank you, God, that you thought the world needed one of me and for the people, you chose to bring me into this world. Thank you, God, for our beautiful daughter, I celebrate her, I pray I leave a strong legacy to her and those in my circle of influence and that we have instilled in her a love for you that she shares with others. God, I pray that she knows her identity is in you and that she also leaves a legacy of your love in this world.  Amen.

Happy Birthday to our beautiful, successful, loved daughter! Your Grandma was so very proud of you and the woman you have become and so are we.

Saved To Serve A God Styled Life,

Maggie P

God Styled Life – Part 6

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My love for reading started early in life, but then I lost interest for a long time, it was when I was in grade school that I found that long lost love of reading again, some of my favorite books were Nancy Drew mysteries, The Hardy Boys, Trixie Beldon, I loved me a good mystery book! Nowadays I read many types of books, currently, a  Christian series of books called After by Joy Ohaweu, in each book is a story of someone who has a large weight loss to overcome, I can so relate to that as I am currently on my own weight loss journey, as of this writing I am down 70 pounds from my heaviest last year(2017), 30 of that has been since I joined weight watchers in April of this year (2018), these After books are works of fiction but are based in truth.

Keeping my reading material fresh I read many books at a time but can retain all the information from what I am reading.  I love to read any book by Max Lucado and Lysa Terkuerst as far as spiritual non-fiction goes, but my favorite fiction authors are hands down in this order, Nancy Naigle, who is a personal friend, two of her books have been made into Hallmark movies for this Christmas movie viewing season, Christmas Joy to air on Hallmark Movie Channel and Hope at Christmas to air on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel(2018) check your local listings for both!

My other favorites are Grace Green, she writes about the beaches in North Carolina as well as heartfelt novels like her book The Memories of Butterflies, her writing touches me deeply and my other favorite writer is Kathleen Brooks, her Bluegrass series is awesome and draws you into her fictitious world of Keeneston, KY, she went on to write a strong series about strong women called Women of Power, carried on the lineage of the bluegrass brothers and their growing families, and now books about their kids, an espionage series called Web of Lies and her newest series about the cousins of one of her Bluegrass series characters called Saving Shadows which takes places in the fictitious town of Shadows Landing in South Carolina.

In the morning I also like to read devotions, before I even get out of bed I read a devotion on my First 5 app on my phone, the current one I am reading is a study of the Psalms 1-72, I also am doing a study by Beth Moore about James the half Brother of Jesus. So as you can tell reading is something I am passionate about and love to do! The above picture is one of my favorite place to read, it sits in our bedroom in front of my bookcase and a lot of times when I read you can find me there, it is also placed so I can look out onto our backyard, I love to watch the birds of the seasons that fly and nest in our backyard.

Reading is my favorite pastime and this is my favorite place to read!

What is your favorite thing to read and where do you like to read? Comment below and let me hear some of your favorite titles.

Saved To Serve A God Styled Life,

Maggie P