"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer. 29:11

Vision and Purpose

>> Monday, December 31, 2012

“MY IMAGINATION INFLUENCES MY ASPIRATION. In other words, your dreams determine your destiny. To accomplish anything you must first have a mission, a goal, a hope, a vision.” —Rick Warren

Vision combined with passion equals purpose.
When a vision is God-designed it ignites passion. Have you ever felt a burning desire to accomplish something, and couldn’t understand why everyone else wasn’t feeling the same intensity you were? It is a God-given vision. God gives us a vision combined with passion to accomplish and fulfill the purposes He created us for.
If we are passionate about our visions, our goals, and our dreams, we are eager to get started. Passion makes us willing. Passion motivates us when fear is oozing out of us both mentally and physically.
Vision without passion is a daydream.       
Vision combined with passion is the difference between driving an old wreck of a car and slowly bumping down the road, or zooming down the road in the latest (shiny red) sports car. Passion doesn’t eliminate obstacles in our path, or prevent the occasional fender-bender. It does give us the motivation to focus on our goals and hold on to the knowledge that through Christ we can succeed.
A God-designed vision combined with God-given passion moves us forward and gives us that feeling of being alive, living the life we were created to live.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)


The Gift

>> Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I cuddled under a plaid blanket on the sofa sipping a caramel latte. The morning light glowed through the window framing the snow that had fallen during the night.

My eyes roamed to the Christmas tree dressed in all of its finery. I lowered my gaze to one particular gift beneath it, wrapped in red foil and topped with a crystal angel that seemed to promise something special inside.

“Oh, Deidra, are you going to open it?” Skye waltzed into the room with her hands clasped around a mug.

I made room for my sister and shared the warmth of the cover. “Should I accept a gift from Phillip?”

“Well, it is Christmas.”

“But I’m not interested in him. I wouldn’t want to give him the wrong idea.” I moved from my cocoon and picked up the present, musical notes sounded from inside. I wanted to open it, but I ... I wasn’t sure.

“How can you turn it down?”

“Skye, give it a rest. Besides I need to rush, I want to stop for donuts on the way to work.” I scurried out of the room and dressed for the day ahead. Outside, even with gloves and boots the frigid air stole my breath. Inside the car I cranked up the heater.

When I walked in the office door Phillip cast a look my way.  Oh, great. With any luck he would go to his office—maybe he had some projects to finish. After all, the graphic designers seldom mixed with the front office employees. 

“Ah, donuts.” Tammy took a closer look.

We gathered around the reception desk with our coffee, biting into the sugary circles.

“Deidra, did you open the gift?” Kari licked lemon filling from her fingertip.

“What was it?” Melinda reached into the pink box.

“Tammy. You told.” I tossed her a frown.

She rolled her eyes. “What’s the big deal?”

Opinions flew—talking over one another. “Enough. He might hear us.” Annoyed, I stormed to the coffee room. I didn’t notice Phillip until I entered, trapped.

He pushed the glass carafe toward me. “Refill?” His smile startled my pulse.

My hand trembled as I pushed my cup forward. “Thanks. I’m freezing.” The words came out mumbled—I’m sure he thought I’d lost all sanity.

“I happened to see a little something I thought you’d enjoy. Sure, I’d like to get to know you better. But there’s no hidden meaning attached to it.” 

“Thanks. It was really nice of you.” I tossed him a slight smile and hurried to my desk where I tackled a few emails that needed my attention. We had a long weekend and we were leaving early today, for Christmas Eve.

The office closed at noon. Excited I scraped the snow off the car windows and began the tedious trek to my street, hoping to get there before Skye.

The house appeared quiet as I pulled into the driveway. I made a dash for the front door. Without removing my coat, I started a fire in the hearth and tried to stop shivering.

Unable to wait any longer I knelt next to the tree. My heart beat faster as I untied the gold ribbon and folded back the shiny paper. I held the small glass angel and watched it sparkle in the firelight. 

“Oh, you’re opening it!” Skye clapped her hands.

“The shop is already closed?” 

“Yeah, I closed the doors early for Christmas Eve.” She lowered onto the carpet beside me as I opened the box and removed the red tissue paper from inside.

“A snow globe!” I turned the winder and music chimed. Inside the glass glistening snow fell on a little Church. “Look! The cross on top of the steeple lights up.”

“I recall ignoring God's gift. But when I finally opened my heart Jesus forgave my sins and filled me with His love. He changed my life." Skye brushed a tear away. "He gave me the gift of His son, Emanuel."
"The true meaning of Christmas

I wound the snow globe once more. It took a moment, but I recognized the tune. 

Skye tugged the blanket around us. “Have you considered giving Phillip a chance?”

“Maybe.” I hummed the song and Skye joined in. Then together we sang the words.

“ Hark! The herald angels sing,

Glory to the newborn King;

Peace on earth…”

Note: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, written by Charles Wesley, pub 1739.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas filled with family fun and joyful memories as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus! 


Changing of the Seasons

>> Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Summer may be dragging its heels, but signs of fall are emerging. The sun is setting earlier and the evenings are cooler. 

While I like change, when a new season in life seeks to pull me out of my comfort zone, just like summer I drag my heels and resist. Through His Word I'm reminded that God created the four-seasons in nature, and He also knows the phases of our lives.
God is in control. 
And like the seasons in nature, every season of life presents new opportunities. We can be about our Father’s business seeking to use the gifts He placed within us, and allowing Him to prosper those gifts according to His will. 

A Time for Everything
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 

A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 

A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
 a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 

A time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 

A time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 

A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 (NIV)


Welcome, Jan!

>> Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My friend Jan Ackerson is guest posting on Reflections today.  Welcome Jan, and thank you for sharing one of your amazing stories with us.
Is it possible to capture a character in one hundred words?
Jan accepted this challenge and excelled in writing “teeny little fiction.” In one hundred words, this gifted author touches on many different genres. She delights the reader with humor, suspense, drama and even romance. 

Maybe Tonight

Laura took her friend’s hand. “Come out with us tonight,” she said. “You can’t spend your whole life in this house.”

“Maybe tonight he’ll come home.” Anne pulled her hand away. “Thanks, but I’ll stay here. Go on without me.”

After Laura left, Anne made a cup of tea. She took it to her chair by the window, the one with threadbare arms. She pushed the curtain aside and whispered his name.

He didn’t come home that night. But he came closer than he’d come in months. He saw the curtain, the shadows of movement as she stirred her tea.

For more of these wonderful one hundred word stories check out Jan’s blog. http://www.1hundred-words.com


The Sweetest of Fragrances

>> Thursday, September 13, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom! Thank you for the cherished memories. 
I wrote this story thinking about my mother's sweet and loving ways. Everyone who came in contact with her, loved her. While I miss her sweet fragrance here on earth, Heaven is a much brighter place for sure. Love you, mom!
Betty Mae Ruth 1921-1991

The sweet olive shrub is not for the fussy gardener who must have plants that can be trimmed to perfection. The sweet olive has a tendency to grow wild and intrude on its neighboring bushes. But I couldn’t imagine a garden without the sweet bubblegum fragrance of the sweet olive plant.

Although the sweet olive is one of the horticultural prizes that Southerners boast about in their gardens, growing up I had a neighbor who included it into her Southern California garden. She often shared a cutting of her treasured plant with her friends and family. I was visiting her daughter not long ago and as she took me on a tour of her garden she pointed out herMama Opal’s plant, a wild and fragrant sweet olive shrub.

Much like her favorite flowering shrub, Mama Opal possessed a wild and free nature. She loved to sing and her voice rang out sweet and pure. She was not considered refined and could often be found wearing, what she called her house dresses. Mama Opal has graduated to heaven, but the memories of how she brightened the lives of those around her remains a sweet fragrance for all who knew her.


"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

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