I just want to go here…and stay! Lovely!
Author: Victoria's notes: Sand, Salt and Inspiration
Its a new day!!!
These two years have passed quickly. I would like to tell you that I took a break to lay on the beach and finish my book, but then…. na. In reality, I was bluntly awakened by a crash that totaled my car followed by a long recovery, then moved halfway out and prepared my home to sell, then sold the home and moved the rest out, and a month later, once the new build was complete, moved the 3rd time. Friends, THAT was painful! Meanwhile, I’ve had a blast with four grandchildren, 7, 4, 4, & 3. Now, time to settle in and get back to my art (mosaics), writing and making new friends here. Be sure to stop by Art from the Heart page here (please follow) and enjoy my creations. Stay tuned for a couple of new things coming, such as my first YouTube!! Also, by the special request of my own patients, a new page devoted to health, prevention and how to find light when your world has been darkened by illness. I hope to encourage and enlighten from 15 years of oncology nursing and as my special gift to you, words from dear friends who truly know your pain.
Its 2020, and the ride is just as bumpy as it was two years ago! Disease, politics, disaster, more politics…na, I won’t go there. Please don’t stop praying for our nation. Yes, there is bad, but there is so much good, and even so, GOD is perfect!
Hold on for the bumpy ride..
Astros take the World Series 11/2/17
All I can say is WOW. I love our Astros but honestly, I struggle to find time for sports including Olympics, as my TV time is limited with a demanding work schedule as an Oncology nurse. But let me tell you that the nights of Astro history were very different. I rushed home, took my post in front of the TV and screamed and yelled uncontrollably. The closer we came to completing the series, it was definitely about winning, but it was also about witnessing an entire metropolis city and suburbs, begin recovery from the recent devastation of hurricane Harvey. There were smiles on faces that not long ago, had lost everything. There was an outpouring of love, with no divisions of culture or color; we were all one. Friends, we are still and will always be one. The games were exciting and I am so honored to be at home with the Astros as they claimed their gold, the amazing Commissioner’s Trophy. #HoustonStrong
A simple man who had incredibly influenced my life as a small child growing up under the roof of Southern Baptist parents, until now, and even beyond now. I remember reading of him being sick and thinking of how the tears will fall across the nation when this man passes. The news was sad but only for a moment, for tears were turned to joy as I watched his family and loved ones celebrate the century of this man and his years of leading the lost to Christ. He was truly a man after God’s own heart.
Is your life worth celebrating?? If not, let’s change that now. God says it is and He loves you so much that He would send his own Son to save the world. Thank you and Godspeed, Billy Graham. 2/21/18
Follow Franklin Graham on his Decision America tour at https://pnw.billygraham.org/ and missions: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/franklin-graham/
School shooting at Santa Fe, Tx. 5/18/18
How our hearts were torn in this little neighboring town of Santa Fe, where parents feel their children are safely tucked in, 30 miles away from the big city turmoil of Houston. Call it crime; call it mental health; but truth is, it is life without the presence of God in any person who takes the lives of innocent people. Sources say he was bullied, or he was hurt, or he was rejected; emotions we all share at some point. Pay attention folks…look, listen, and nurture those wounds. Children in this generation must exist in the world with more evil than we, as parents, have ever known. My heart is broken for Santa Fe, as it is for other schools that have experienced this devastation.
Why would this be important in the life of a believer? My own thoughts are that any recognition or elevation of Jerusalem and/or God’s favored people is honorable. On that note, any sign or speech regarding peace in the middle east is exciting to me, as it may mean we are one step closer to seeing Jesus, and it warms my heart to know that could actually happen during my lifetime. President Trump in his role is setting the stage for the finale. God is still in control, therefore, Trump is on divine assignment. Pray for our country!
In closing this post, please be in prayer for the many people who have experienced great lost. The events mentioned here are close to my hometown but my prayers are for many across the world today. My heart mourns for Christians being persecuted, our churches, our soldiers, child abuse, senior abuse, sex trafficking, the poor and homeless, and the evil mutilation of the human spirit but please focus on this promise for God is faithful:
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) KJV.
And then..there was Harvey, a hurricane like none other.
This is a wake up call, people be ready as God in His perfect timing commands us to turn our faces to Him! If we do this, He promises to heal our land. Who would choose otherwise? Each direction you turn, crisis and instability can be found. The Cat-4, unpredictable beast named Harvey, belted his rath over miles of Southeast Texas coastline. Rockport – Port Aransas – Galveston – Houston – Beaumont – Port Arthur – then crossing the border into Louisiana. Twenty seven trillion gallons of water was dumped on the state of Texas. What does that look like? Aside from containing twelve zeros, it looked like complete devastation for this heavily populated metropolitan oil and gas town.
I’ve lived most of my life within a few miles of the southeast Texas coast. I love the ocean and its massive beaches on a sunny afternoon. On occasion, I’ve observed its mysterious, angry and treacherous waves, even hurricanes but nothing like Harvey. So much loss gave way to the sea as the grey clouds dropped an ocean of its own magnitude upon the land that was home to so many. During the night storm as Harvey made landfall, I had never prayed so hard as I did for its passing. Deafening claps of thunder in the night shook our homes as we griped our pillows and each other, too scared to close our eyes for fear they may not reopen. In these few days, 51.88 inches of rain fell on the great city, which is the region’s 7-month average, leaving the city underwater and in ruins. The storm quickly displaced 34,575 people who were forced into crowded shelters. Harvey took 35 human lives in and around Houston, the lives of many beloved pets, horses, and anything else with breath in his path. Many clung to life in the aftermath. For five days it rained, but then came dawn bringing the brightest sun in her most beautiful clear blue sky.
Just 7 days prior to Harvey’s destructive path, August 21, 2017, the entire country looked to the sky as a beautiful solar eclipse made the trek across the United States. How do these two conflicting events share the same sky? Simultaneously, in the small town of Crosby, Texas, there were threats of multiple chemical explosions while Harvey pounded the neighboring cities. Runaway wildfires were out of control in California and Montana destroying many national landmarks. Within the same week, torrential floods killed thousands in Bangladesh, India. A 7-yr old girl lives there whom I sponsor and unfortunately, have not been able to get information on her status. War in Iraq began in 2003 and is in the 14th year. With such devastation, economical loss always follows, as well as financial disaster for many families and businesses. Our world is in crisis and as I look into the faces, I see the desperate need for hope. A hope in something or SOMEONE with a permanent effect, the power to restore and revive, and the ability to provide rest for such weary souls. Our world needs God. From one extreme to another, we are left breathless, either from her sheer beauty or from the effort to stay alive.
God, you are Holy. Magnificent. Powerful. We need you. Be with us as we unite and pick up the pieces of brokenness in this wake of heartbreak and devastation.
Solar Eclipse 2017
..and we heard from heaven with this beautiful sight over the path of totality, coast to coast. The photos are amazing and that’s some kind of diamond ring! I’m in love!!
And God said,” Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years..” Genesis 1:14
How easy it is to believe in the days and years bringing forth what became our calendar because we could see and understand, but sacred times so many doubt.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. John 20:29
There WILL be time if you ask!!
How many times have I said, “if only I had extra time,” I would do so much, catch up, take time for me and get better at what I do….what then? I have often asked for that time and gotten only silence and a few more to-dos to add to my list……but on April 12, 2017, God decided to grant my wish although not exactly in the way I would have chosen. The auto accident stopped me in my tracks!! Sometimes, we hear from God in subtle ways; other times, it’s a direct punch in the gut, oh um make that sternum!
After the accident and during my recovery, I kept thinking about being off the 6-8 weeks to recover from the fractured sternum and other bumps and bruises. I was very limited in what I could do but I could surely write…..well, so I thought. What great time to finish the book, right? He had other plans. I did’t feel like writing and while the words came to me, I just didn’t feel it. All writers face their nightmare, writer’s block. It quickly became evident that God wanted ME, spending time with Him. He was not concerned with what I wanted to do or needed in my own mind, but He wanted my mind “stayed on Him,” focused, growing in faith and able to hear His voice. “Stop and listen,” I heard Him say. To be certain He had my attention, He removed my busy schedule, along with the ability to pen my ideas, so the book and this blog were put on what seemed like terminal hold. The dream of having a clean house disappeared, as did the ability to lift and care for my precious 4 grand babies. Basically, my world came to a screeching halt and I was stuck in a recliner. The blunt force of not being able to do anything hurt much worse than the actual pain radiating through my chest. I felt stunned and helpless. If that wasn’t enough, my 85-yr old mother had moved in with me. We were a real case, the two of us, “We will drag the garbage bags out together ……..!”
I was more than miserable and wished for an enchanted island where I could retreat, relax on the beach and stare out at the ocean – yes, the words would surely come to me then.
My book has now taken a new turn which will delay publishing, but I know that His ways are always higher. He is true to His own. Hear that? His own. Do you know that feeling when you really belong to someone who adores you? There is no greater love! I was also blessed with great friends; well actually a couple of great friends! If you ever wonder how many you have, just get really sick or hurt…I could count on one hand those that I could depend on. Hey, did you know that we are actually hard wired to need each other? As Jesus commanded us to love one another, He also gave us many instructions on loving our neighbor which may catch you by surprise. Most of us have tendency to quickly reference what kind of neighbor we might have but God’s way is to pay close attention to the kind of neighbor WE are! Our lives are built for community which sounds simple but biblical community takes time, work, commitment and sacrifice! It comes natural only to those that have a heart in pursuit of His. The blog will be updated as I work through a bible study based on why we believe in what we do. Are you comfortable defending your faith? Do you have a case for Christ prepared to speak when the unexpected need presents? Consider a Bible study in you life group. What better way to unwind from your work day – just pour up a cappuccino or hot tea and dive in. Remember always, “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” He gives me strength and joy everlasting. If you don’t know this kind of joy, it is my fervent prayer that I could help you find your way to this love and perfect peace. He fills every need. When you submit, He will make your way straight. I pause to appreciate all this technology that allows us to share these thoughts in the comfort of our homes, when we are fresh, rested, and ready to receive.
Thanks for stopping by. As always, I welcome your comments.
Are you ready?
God has something planned for tomorrow and He wants you to be ready for it. In our world of fast motion, often we can’t find an extra moment to breathe and still, we are left with unfinished business at end of day. Pause. Fill your minds with His Word, not the world and all its empty distractions. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 ESV.
In our busy lives and work places, there are as many different kinds of people as there are differing opinions of exactly who or what God is. In a multi-cultural establishment, we must all maintain respect for another person’s choice, whether we agree or not. The many that know me can attest that I am sold out to Jesus however, there are always those that will not hesitate to use the Lord’s name in vain. It is sad that we must be careful not to offend the offender. The hard fact is that they have no idea how great the offense is to Our Savior nor do they realize the personal penalty they will pay for it. On most occasions of such outbursts, I immediately began softly singing, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…there’s just something about that Name.” The sound of my singing should have been penalty enough, right? The attitude usually changes, for I’ve now disrupted their frustration. That’s alright, they get it. You see, we must always stand guard and ready to defend our faith without offending the other person. I always believed that if you do offend someone in this way, then you have been successful at showing that God is greater than their frustrations. Sometimes, we are the eyes, the ears, and even the voice of the Lord Jesus.
One young girl in particular, had already become my target. I started praying for her and her young daughter whose family lived far away. She was a single mom, alone and needed to know someone cared. I needed to be a resource for her, to show love while respecting boundaries, but aware that I had been given an assignment and it was not up to me to chose the conditions. I still pray daily on the way to work that my words and actions would be in line with His, that they would be effective in letting others know that God is real, He loves us and has a plan for our lives. As you already know, anyone claiming to be Christian has immediately set themselves up for criticism. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..” 1 Peter 3:15 NIV.
From my own life experiences, God has shown me over and again that He will do amazing things to and through those that seek to serve Him. We should fill our minds with things from above and stand ready to accept whatever He asks, for much is the reward for your faithfulness.
Greetings and thanks for stopping by! We have all experienced a shipwreck or two in our lives and are familiar with loss to various degree. People will tell you to look for the silver lining but often, in the midst of storm and grief, you wonder how you can experience great troubles and claim it for some kind of good. It’s that very thing I want to show you, God’s very familiar words of Romans 8:28, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” but how familiar is it really? Trust friend, that for those who don’t love God, the outcome brings unimaginable suffering in all facets of life. It’s not worth testing it, for the Word is full of testimony to this account.
First and foremost, I love the Lord. He has shown up dramatically in my life so many times, it would be impossible to deny Him. I have vowed to love and serve Him all of my days and although I be most imperfect, there is nothing He is unaware of and will not forgive, when I seek it from Him. I spend my weekdays as an oncology nurse specialist searching for needed cures in a very busy and renowned cancer center. I pray for wisdo and compassion each day. I know what fighting for life looks like; I also know victory! Outside of the hospital, I spend my time caring for my elderly mother, doing what I can for my three adult children and four young grandchildren, so yes, I am on the go. On Sundays, I teach a class of beautiful five-year-old, high spirited children in a Kids Ministry program about the love of Jesus and how to follow Him in this fallen world. Caring for people is my passion, it’s what I do. Yes, I am busy and perhaps like you, often too busy to finish my daily tasks. And now, this very task list has been brought before me along with all other things I have neglected because I am too tired, including my time with God. Imagine me, of all people, on a road to recovery. Well, it is time for refining the silver, re-prioritizing the use of my time, cultivating relationships and preparing for my future, whether here on earth or in heaven, for on April 12, 2017, my entire life changed. My ship wrecked and life as I knew it came to a halt.
On the way home from a busy day of work, headed to my grandson’s T-ball game, I collided with another vehicle totaling my nearly new Nissan Murano. It felt like I was already at the game and took a fly ball square to the chest. When I opened my eyes, slumped sideways over the console, I saw in front of me only the hood of my car and the wooden cross hanging on the mirror which read, “My hope is in Jesus.” The pain from my fractured sternum (from airbag) left me clenching my chest and gasping for air. Staring at the Cross, I had the most indescribable peace come over me as I uttered aloud, “No, I could never be mad at you.” I don’t know why that came to mind but I felt fear disappear in the presence of a loving God, literally there, in the car with me. In this two-way conversation, I totally trusted Him with my life and did not ask to stay although I love my family very much. All of my focus went to Him. He told me that I was not finished here. He told me to breathe. He told me to trust Him. I don’t know yet why or what He has in mind for me but I thanked Him and continue to thank Him for my life and have vowed to serve Him with what remains. This conversation was very clear. I never lost consciousness and am fully sane although my children might be quick to comment. I have full recall of what transpired inside my vehicle while waiting on paramedics. I am His and He is mine and friend, this and this alone is the fullness of joy. No other thing, person or possession can give you this joy; no amount of money, no home in the hills or even the beach, nothing can compare. My prayer is that you discover the depth of that Love and find words here that will encourage you on your faith walk and minister to you during your difficult times.
So, what about that silver lining? How would a single parent, devoted to caring for patients and family, now stripped of transportation, unable to lift 5 pounds, on medical leave with 50% salary reduction and a mortgage over head find anything good in this picture? At this point, some may curse God as Job did when he lost everything, after all, I had this Cross hanging there for everyone to see, I was doing the best I could, yet this suffering has come upon me. In this moment I was reminded of Psalm 119:11 that “I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” I knew God was with me, conversed with me, and I could count on Him. The Cross is not there to prevent anything bad from happening to us but to show us the way through it. The silver lining for me was being brought to a point of needed rest, a time given to refocus, to go deeper into His Word, and to use my love of writing to pen these thoughts to you, my personal devotions, to help you get through trials and yes, they will come. From my suffering came many benefits, too much to mention here but He knew my need. If we are to share in His glory, we must also share in His suffering (Romans 8:17) as Christ alone suffered, but our view of that suffering will keep us in darkness or send us soaring high on wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31). I pray these words will in some way help as you greet the world daily and the many challenges that come with it. Writing these words to you and finishing my book is a life-long dream and if I can manage to get back to it soon, “Highly Favored” will be on the shelf late-summer. Friends, believe me, God keeps His promises and works all things together for our good. Trust Him.