Run Sammy Run!

Not too long ago I received a call from my cousin. I could tell when she spoke that there was a great deal of excitement in her voice, but I wasn’t sure if it was good excitement or bad. I asked her how she was doing, and she told me that when she was returning from work, she went to her front door and from the corner of her eye she saw something on the wall. Bugs and creepy crawly things freak her out, so she didn’t want to know what it was. Instead of stopping to investigae she rushed into the house. She opened the door and dashed inside. As she rushed in, she felt something on her head but then dismissed it for her overactive imagination caused by the excitement. Once inside she slammed the door shut. Figuring she was safe inside she turned around only to see a green salamander on her living room wall.

Now let me say that I’ve always considered myself to be a little squeamish when it comes to bugs or any kind of critter for that matter. But over the years, as a homeowner, I’ve had to deal with my share of spiders, bees, crickets, cicadas, and silverfish, so I understood how she felt. Nevertheless, when she called and told me what happened; I can’t lie, I laughed. But being a helpful person, I immediately began offering up ways of how she could rid her living room of Sammy the salamander. I won’t go into the details because I certainly don’t want to upset the animal rights people. Let’s just say we discussed some very creative ideas to get him out of the house! However, right in the middle of our conversation, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Pray”. When He spoke, I felt the concerns and uneasy feelings that were in my cousins’ spirit, and I felt so bad for laughing. The Holy Spirit convicted me so right in the middle of our brainstorming session I stopped and said, “Let’s pray”.

 We prayed for the Lord to tell the salamander to leave when she opened the door. After praying my cousin opened the door and Sammy the salamander ran out the door. Now to all the doubting Thomas’ in the room, may I remind you of this scripture in Jonah 1:17 which says, “Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah.” The Lord told that fish to be where it was at that time to swallow up Jonah. If that is not enough for you, how about, 1 Kings 17:4 which says that the Lord said, “Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.” Hello! Is our God awesome or what? OK-OK just one more. Luke 12:24 says,” Look at the ravens. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in the barns because God feeds them.” I have personally watched a bird fly out of a tree in my yard and go to my mulch bed and jam his beak an inch or two into the ground and pull up a worm. Come on now!  If he can speak to the animals, he most certainly can speak to you. I pray He does.

 Blessings,

 Sandra

Hi, Friend!

I love to walk in the park, except when it’s cold. This time of year, we will have some wonderful days in the 80s then it might drop down into the 50s. That’s been our weather for the last month or two. This morning when I woke up it was in the 40s and even though I wanted to walk I felt it was just too cold.

Uninspired to walk, I made my way to my study to begin working. As I walked down the stairs I said, “Lord I really want to walk today, but it’s just too cold, and I don’t have anyone to inspire me to want to walk in the cold.” I then went to my desk and sat down in front of my computer.

About 15 minutes later I heard that familiar ping that I had a text message. When I looked at the message it said, “Hi friend! Would you like to go walking in the park this morning? “I laughed out loud and responded with a resounding yes!

 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer… 1 Peter 3:12

Blessings,

Sandra

Sing – Along

Yesterday I went to my exercise class and at the end of the class, the instructor played a slow love song for us to cool down and slow down our heart rate. The song was one of those sappy girly songs, so everyone cheered when it began to play. The song was about a guy telling his wife or girlfriend that he will always love her, and never give up on their relationship. We loved it!

After the class ended, I sang and hummed the song on the way to my car.  I liked it so I decided that I wanted to find out the name of the artist who sang the song so I could buy it.  Since there’s a line in the song that is kind of catchy, I figured the song and the artist would be easy to find. Unfortunately, I never got that far. As soon as I got to the car my mind reverted to the tasks on my to-do list and I immediately forgot the lyrics. My mind went blank.

Later in the day after I got a chance to relax, I remembered that I wanted to buy the song. However, no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t remember anything about the song. I turned off the television, I closed my eyes, and I searched my brain for the lyrics without success. Finally, I knew that I needed help, so I prayed and asked the Lord to help me remember, and boy did he! After going to bed for the night I was jolted awake at about 2:13 am. The only way I can describe what happened is to say that it felt like the Lord took the song and pushed it into my spirit. As soon as that happened, I started to sing. Immediately I recognized what the Lord had done so I jumped up in bed and grabbed a piece of paper and pencil from my nightstand and wrote the lyrics down. I was in awe over what had happened. But what was even more amazing was the experience of having the Lord push them into me. I felt the song dive into my spirit. It was an amazing feeling.

After writing down the lyrics I wondered what made this the right time and place for Him to speak to me. Is my brain too occupied at other times for him to get through? Maybe it was because I was listening to some scriptures to some soft music while sleeping. Did this open the door? Whatever it was I wanted to do it again! Several questions popped into my mind as I reviewed the experience before falling back to sleep. I’ve heard people say that once you experience the presence of the Lord you never forget it. I agree to that 100%! If there is a way that I could figure out how to live in that space all the time, believe me, I would. I pray the same for you.

4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4

Blessings,

Sandra

 

 

Color Me Happy!

Recently I added a strength training class to my exercise routine. Even though I was told the instructor was very tough, I figured I could make it through the class. I was in the military, so I’ve had experience with tough drill sergeants. I wanted to build my strength so whatever I needed to do I was willing to do. I was told if I took the class that I should not be surprised if the instructor called me out in the classroom. I was told if I was doing something incorrectly she would single me out and that she wasn’t the type to let up. This did not shake me; I actually looked forward to the challenge.

I arrived for the first day of class and found I was the only one in the class that was new. Since I had never taken the class, I wasn’t familiar with the exercises. So naturally I didn’t do them all correctly. And just as I had been told the instructor started calling me out. It seemed like my name was being called every two or three minutes.

One of the exercises I had difficulty completing is called the plank. Basically, you position yourself as if you’re doing a push-up. The only parts of the body touching the floor are your hands and toes. Your body is as stiff as a board, or a plank. If I heard, “Sandra get your rear end out of the air,” once I heard it 1,000 times.

After I left the class, I replayed the class over in my mind and realized that being corrected didn’t bother me. I knew I must do the exercise accurately or I could hurt myself or not get the full benefit. The problem that I had was her attitude during the correction. Each time I was off the mark, she seemed to become more and more aggravated. Huffing, puffing, or slamming her hand down on the ground and stomping over to my mat. “No, like this!” Color me embarrassed!

As she became more and more aggravated, I could tell the other students in the class were beginning to feel uncomfortable and a little sorry for me. Several of them chimed in, “Don’t worry Sandra, you’ll get it!” or “Don’t feel bad, I couldn’t do them when I first started either.” After the first day, I felt defeated and embarrassed, but I refuse to give up. As I arrived for class over the next few days, she continued the verbal assault.

By the time I reached my fourth day of class my attitude was beginning to really sink. I was dreading going to the class. But in order to improve my strength, I had to go and not quit. On the fourth morning, I laid in bed struggling to get the courage to get up and go. I was trying to talk myself into being happy. Then I prayed, Lord please don’t let her yell at me today. And then to my surprise, the Lord said, “You’re not praying for her.” That hit me like a ton of bricks. He was right! I was so miserable and living in my own pity party I forgot to pray. So, I stopped right then and said a prayer for the instructor that she would be more encouraging and that I could do a better job with accurately completing the exercises.

Well color me happy! I showed up for class on the fourth day, and she welcomed me with open arms. For the first time, while in class, she was encouraging and said, “Good job Sandra! You’re getting it. I knew you would.” Now I can hold a plank for 20 to 30 seconds! What a great reminder to lift every situation up to prayer.

27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Luke 6:27-28

Blessings,

Sandra

 

 

 

You Don’t Have To Say It Twice

The weather has been beautiful for the past couple of months. When the weather is warm, and the sun is shining I must get outside, so I walk almost every day. I walk an average of 3 to 6 miles per day depending upon the whether. In addition to walking, I also go to an aerobics class. It’s not unusual for me to take a walk in the morning and then take another walk in the afternoon.

Well, today I decided to take a walk right after breakfast. After my morning walk, I showered and went to church. I got home from church about noon. The weather was beautiful, the sun was shining, and I thought I have to get out there and get in one more shorter walk. So, I grabbed some lunch and then got dressed for the park.

Before leaving the house I sat down for a minute to watch the end of a television show that was on while I was eating. When I was ready to leave, I turned off the television and then stood up to leave. I don’t think I walked more than 5 feet when I heard the Lord’s voice loud and clear. He said, “Don’t go and walk, it’s going to be too much for you today.“ I froze! It was almost like everything went silent. I stood still, but only for a second. Then I said out loud, “You don’t have to tell me twice.“ So instead of heading for the door, I went straight to the bedroom and changed clothes to spend the rest of the afternoon at home.

Now I have no idea what would’ve happened if I had ignored the voice and walked anyway. I can only assume it would’ve been bad. I was so thankful for the Lord’s warning and thankful that I was obedient. I pray the same for you.

4 Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. 5 Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me.  All day long I put my hope in you. Psalm 25:4-5

Blessings,

Sandra

 

Just a Sip

Every day I learn more and more about my walk with the Lord and how to let him lead. It’s actually part of my morning prayer. This desire to allow the Lord to lead my every move comes from studying the lives and reading the autobiographies of awesome men and women of God who were able to surrender their lives to the Lord. Their surrender included giving every need and every circumstance over to Him. This inspired me to do the same. Initially, it was a little discouraging. That was because some days I would see his hand at work in such a bold manner it would take my breath away. And other days I would see just a light touch, one that was easily forgotten. It was the light touch I was tending to forget until I learned to smile with gratefulness that he took the time to show up in my life in the first place. Just like he did the other day.

A few days ago, the weather was beautiful so, I called a friend and asked her if she wanted to meet me at a local park for a walk. She was excited so we met, and we ended up walking for about 3 miles before calling it quits. After our walk, I asked my friend if she wanted to go and have a cup of coffee. Generally, when we hang out together, we go to the same coffee shop all the time.  It’s a popular local coffee spot, with nice music, the Internet, and a good place to socialize. This little shop had become our routine go-to spot.  I wanted to spend some more time with my friend, so I asked, “Do you want to go get some coffee?” I didn’t have to ask her if she wanted to go to our regular go-to spot, I just assumed that would be what we would do. She wanted to continue to hang out so she said, “Yes do you want to go to John’s Cafe?”  This was our go-to spot, so when she asked the question to my surprise, without even thinking, I said, “No why don’t we go to Sally’s Cafe. It’s on the way home and we can sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.”  The words flew out of my mouth before I had a chance to call them back. Where in the world did that suggestion come from, I thought? This was not our ordinary spot.  After suggesting that we go to Sally’s she said, “That’s great, I love Sally’s!“  Still a little puzzled we both jumped in our cars and drove to Sally’s.

She pulled into the parking lot first, and I was right behind her. My windows were down so as I pulled into a parking space next to hers, I heard a lot of voices. I was not able to see around her car to locate where the voices were coming from, so I continued to park and then get out of the car. She also got out of her car and I suddenly heard screams of joy and excitement. That was when I saw that two of her children were there having coffee. All of her children are grown and no longer living at home so seeing them at an unplanned place and time was such a blessing. They were all so excited to see each other. She looked at me knowing that this was not a coincidence. Had we gone to John’s Café she would have missed seeing them. She looked at her children shaking her head at how the Lord orchestrated four lives for that moment.  It was great to watch her interact with her children and to see a simple sip of coffee turn into a family reunion.

10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing. Psalm 143:10

Blessings,

Sandra

 

 

 

Pour Out His Spirit

Now that I’m retired, or shall I say semiretired because I still teach; I have more time to do one of my favorite things which are to volunteer. Over the years I’ve volunteered at food banks, I’ve helped people during natural disasters, I volunteered at the veteran’s hospital, and now I’m volunteering at my church. Our church is in a high foot traffic area, meaning people walk up and down the street past our church all day. I work at the church 3 to 4 hours a day. During that time if people wander in, to sit and read, drink coffee or pray, I assist.  Over the last couple of weeks, some things happened while I was in the church that recalled the following Scripture.

It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.Joel 2:28-29

About two weeks ago I was at church sitting in the lobby. No one had come in off the street, so I was looking at my iPhone. Then suddenly, I almost jumped out of my seat because I saw someone, or shall I say a shadow of someone come out of the room next to the lobby. I jumped and turned my head to the right, but immediately realized that what I saw was not an earthly person but someone in the spirit. I jumped out of surprise, not out of fear. I did not know what to do so I said a little prayer.

The following week I was sitting in the lobby alone and I almost jumped out of my seat again when I saw the shadow of someone walk across the room, next to the lobby.  Again, they were not an earthly person but a spiritual person. Again, I said a prayer.

Then again, a few days ago I was at church. On this day I brought in my cell phone to listen to some worship music while cleaning. I left the lobby to go to the restroom and when I arrived back in the lobby, I saw the shadow of someone standing near my cell phone which was sitting on the table playing worship music. This time I didn’t jump. The worship song that was playing was “How Great Thou Art.”

As this activity increases in your life, I pray for you to press in and ask God to go before you and open your eyes and pour out his spirit.

Blessings,

Sandra

Better than Aspirin

Very seldom do I have a headache. Since I don’t get them very often, I always go through a list of questions to try to identify the reason. Was I getting sick? Was it stress? Was this a hunger headache? I considered the questions, but I could not identify the cause.

I had a busy day ahead of me so I had to move on with my day. I went to my aerobics class but when I got there I didn’t go in right away. I sat down in the lobby contemplating going home because my head was still hurting. However, as I sat in the lobby and watched my friends go into the class I knew I had to push through the pain and attend class.

Even though I am one of the younger ones in my aerobics class most of the members are in good physical shape and able to do all the movements. However, about four or five have noticeable physical limitations. One woman has rheumatoid arthritis in her hands and her feet. She says they hurt all the time. Yet she showed up for the class. Another woman had a stroke which severely impaired the left side of her body. Particularly the use of her left arm. Her left arm hurt because they were struggling to try to find the right type of brace. Yet she showed up dragging the left side of her body going into the room to move as much as she could move. Another woman has braces on both legs and is unable to stand or walk without a walker, crutches, or a wheelchair. Yet she came to the class and sat in the back of the room moving only her upper body and arms.

As I sat in the lobby, I thought to myself, here you are, physically able, with a little headache, contemplating turning around and going back home. Get a grip, Sandra!

Headache or no headache I was going to push through this aerobics class. So I got up, I attended the class and returned home. Once I got home, I still had a headache, so I decided to go to my little home chapel in my basement and pray. So, I sat in my rocking chair, and for 30 minutes I prayed in the spirit and listened to worship music. When I was finished the headache was gone! I thought, now that’s a whole lot better than aspirin!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Blessings,

Sandra

Clicked into Place

This week has been a challenging one. In addition to teaching a strategic management class to graduate students, I am also taking a week-long workshop required for all instructors. This workshop was extremely important because I needed to pass it in order to continue teaching at the graduate level.

I wanted to do well, so I canceled all of my activities for the week to focus on teaching my class and attending the workshop. In order to get a head start on the workshop, I began three days early to give me enough time to complete the daily assignments successfully. I did not just want to pass the workshop by the skin of my teeth, I wanted to pass with flying colors!

Though I started three days early I still struggled. As each day passed, I was becoming anxious because I was not ahead like I thought I would be. The workshop was just downright hard! I felt like I needed more time, but three days was all the school allows in terms of early access to a class or workshop.

Finally, day one of the workshop rolled around and I moved ahead with caution, trying to remain calm. At the end of the first day, I felt confused and frustrated. Fear and panic were bubbling at the surface of my skin. About halfway through day two, I stopped to take a break. I needed to refocus and take a breath. I needed to get it together because I had three and a half days left and I needed to be sharp and focused.  I didn’t want to allow myself to develop a bad attitude or for the frustration and fear of failure to consume me.  So, on edge, I left my office to get some lunch.

While eating lunch I tried not to think about the workshop, but I knew sooner rather than later I needed to get back to work. The time had come to return to the workshop, so I stood up and began walking back to my office. As I walked, I prayed, “Lord help me to do well in this workshop. I’m not understanding this. Help me to get it. “

I walked over to my computer and as soon as I sat down it felt like a light bulb clicked on.  Fear and anxiety left, and I had clarity. Within 15 minutes I not only completed the activities for day two with full understanding, but I also started the assignments for day three. I finally was a day ahead like I originally planned. From that moment of clarity, everything just clicked into place. Hallelujah! I passed the class with flying colors.

4 I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. Isaiah 46:4

Blessings,

Sandra

 

Pity Party

I wish I could tell you that I never whine and complain and that I never create my own personal little pity party. I wish that were true. Even though I trust the Lord with every area of my life, I still have those days when I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, I’m grateful that over the years I’ve learned to rest in His mercy and grace in my life.

There used to be a time when I would beat myself up over having a pity party because I knew, that I should know better. I learned that as I continued to beat myself up the recovery was so much longer. As I’ve grown in my relationship with the Lord, I watched as my faith grew as well. When I find myself going down that road of whining, and complaining, I immediately change my attitude from fear to faith and go to scripture.

Not too long ago I was whining and complaining because I had not been offered a new contract to teach. As an instructor, I am hired to teach a class when the classes are available. Basically, I am a contract worker. My livelihood depends upon keeping under a contract at all times. That is important because it means that when one class ends another one begins without a gap. This time of year is always a tough time because there aren’t many contracts open. That’s because many students don’t want to attend class during the holiday season. As a result, if students don’t sign up to take a class, they don’t need an instructor to teach a class.

A few weeks ago, my contract was ending and a new one had not been offered. I knew from experience that if I didn’t get a contract soon, I would not be able to get on the roster until February. That would mean no paychecks during the holiday season. During my pity party a few weeks ago, I kept waking up in the middle of the night tossing and turning about not having a new contract. But as soon as I caught myself whining, I stopped and began quoting scripture until I fell asleep. I woke up a few hours later to the sound of the alarm clock. I said my morning prayers and then I heard a ding that signaled me that a new email had arrived. I grabbed my phone and went directly to my email. At the top of the list was an email with a very familiar subject. It said, “Sandra are you interested in teaching…”  A class had arrived for me to teach!

On those days when you find yourself having a pity party, do not beat yourself up. You are human, and you will make mistakes. I encourage you to leave the party immediately and let the Lord drive you home!

5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5

Blessings,

Sandra