Niagara Falls

Wowed Once again – Niagara Falls

If you haven’t been to Niagara Falls yet you need to be sure to add this one to your bucket list!

I can’t even begin to explain the beauty and power that I could see and feel in this place and all I can say is, “WOW! God sure did an amazing job on this one!”

Check out these video’s I took

The United States view:

The Canada view:

Here are just a few of the hundreds of pictures I took –

These pictures don’t even compare to actually being there.

Of all of the places I’ve been to so far, Niagara Falls is at the top of my list in the beauty and power category, so if you can go there – then go! 🙂

 

Connected 24-7 Isn’t Good for Me

Connected 24-7 Isn't Good for Me astorybyme.comA few weeks ago my husband and I were in a restaurant and one of us asked the other if we were ‘checked-in’ yet.

A couple of seconds later I found myself taking a picture of our food and checking us in on Facebook and also on Instagram. It was only a couple seconds after the ‘check-in’ that we had our first ‘like’ and also a few comments.  We then ate our dinner and I spent the next hour or so replying to the comments on our check-in via my cell phone.

In the middle of all this, the thought suddenly occurred to me that something felt really wrong with this scenario.

That thought seemed to plague me for the rest of the week.

The more I thought about it the more perplexed I became. I found it strange that 9 years ago checking into a restaurant meant something totally different to me.  Back in those days (gosh I think I may be sounding old now) checking in at a restaurant meant that we would have told the host or hostess we had arrived so that we could be seated.

How did we go from checking in to be seated to checking in on social media and sharing our date with the world?!

And why on earth am I sharing a picture of my food with people?!!

My ‘check-in’ now seemed kind of silly and it also felt as if it were nothing more than a big giant brag.

“Oh look at what I am having for dinner!… its too bad you can’t be here with us…oh but wait, you are sorta-kinda here now!…well only virtually… and guess what?…now we’re texting with you on Facebook instead of talking to each other.”

Wouldn’t it have been much more fun had we had just kept our date to ourselves or better yet – how about if we’d had a bunch of our friends with us in-person around the table enjoying that dinner with us?!!

Over the last week, I’ve also compiled a list of what I have observed about social media that bugs me:
-We can soft focus our wrinkles and shave off 10 pounds.
-The sky can be a little bluer and the flowers a little brighter.
-We can crop out the stuff we think is not so attractive
-And we can always put on our happy faces.

But the truth is all the happy faces in the world on social media has nothing on a good old fashioned face to face conversation.

Real life just isn’t as perfect as it may seem on social media but the truth is I actually think I like it better not so perfect and with real live people close beside me.

I know it sounds as if I hate social media, which isn’t at all true.

Social media can be a good thing too. I love the fact that I am able to connect with friends and relatives that live far away that I may have never connected with again or have never even met if not for social media.  I love that I can have a glimpse into the lives of my cousins and old school friends and I absolutely love seeing pictures of their kids, grandbabies, and vacations.

The truth is I even enjoy the check-ins of my friends and yes even their foodie pictures!

I think what I discovered is that for me personally, I don’t think its so good to have that connection going 24-7.

About a week ago I made the decision to take a few social media apps off of my PHONE.  Not all of them, mostly just the ones that I feel the urge to look at all day long or post to when I am out enjoying real life. I then decided that when I use those forms of social media I will just sign in online via my computer or tablet for a few minutes each day so that I can catch up with those people I can’t see in my everyday life.  From now on I am going to put away my phone so I can give my full attention to those people who are here with me in-person.  I also want to call more and text less and invite people to lunch or dinner with me instead of scrolling through Facebook while I eat lunch alone.

Real-live-up-close-in-person experiences are what I am aiming for and hopefully, that’s what those people I’m closest to will want also.

Lost Connection

So today I set down to read my Bible and the minute I picked it up I had a cat meowing in my face. I gave him some attention and then picked my Bible back up about the same time my phone dinged informing me that I had a text message. I answered the message and then in came another.

Half an hour later I was back with my Bible in hand, the sound turned off on my phone, and then into the room walks my husband telling me about some neighborhood excitement going on across the street. It seems that two work trucks were accidentally running over stuff and backing into trees. That for sure was something I had to go see.

About 15 minutes later I was back in my office with my Bible open just long enough for the other cat to jump into my lap and meow in my face just as the music I had been playing on Pandora stopped leaving a message across the screen that said, ‘Lost Connection’.

Lost Connection…

Suddenly those words seemed to have a whole new meaning.

Not only had I lost connection to music on Pandora but I also seemed to have lost connection with what I was really after this morning, my connection with Jesus.

This time was the time I had reserved for just Jesus and I and all the distractions were keeping me away from Him.

I know that Jesus is with me all day but this time is our special time. This is the time I reserve to study the Bible and just hang out with only Him.

Jesus is not only the person who leads my life, but he is also my best friend and without Him I can’t really do life very well and tend to flop around like a fish out of water.

It still amazes me that Jesus wants to hang out with me too. Actually, he wants to hang out with me so much that he will come find me if I am distracted. Like today when he gently reminded me of my lost connection with a message on my Pandora screen.

Have you lost connection with Jesus today? Well guess what?! It’s not lost! He’s been right there beside you all along, all you have to do is say hi.

I hope you have an awesome week! Oh and before you leave check out this awesome praise song – Waiting here for you by Christy Nockels.  🙂

Just for Today

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5‭-‬6 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/pro.3.5-6.NLT

Mr. KB’s Sticky Situation

This is the face you make when you are a cat and you are angry with your person for not warning you that they had changed up the morning routine.

Anyone who has a cat knows that cats are pretty routine and most of them don’t really like it when you mess with the schedule.

My cat Mr. KB loves routine and today I realized that he and I have a routine that I guess I never really thought much about until now.

The usual routine is that when I go into my office to work or study he runs ahead of me and jumps up on top of the desk.  At precisely the exact moment that my rear end hits the chair is when his feet hit the desktop. He then usually settles in beside me until I’m finished with whatever I’m doing.

If it’s morning time I will bring a cup of coffee to my desk so when he sees me with the coffee he knows it time to go in the office.

But today what Mr. KB didn’t know was that I had already made a buttered and jellied bagel and had put it on the desk before I went for my coffee.

Seeing me with coffee in hand heading for the office he knew it was time but because I didn’t think about his routine of diving on to the desk, and Mr. KB wasn’t expecting me to change my routine and have breakfast waiting on the desk, Mr. KB to landed right in the middle of my bagel!

Needless to say, Mr. KB’s whole routine was immediately thrown out of whack.

If you want to see something funny and not so funny all rolled into one… just imagine a butter and jelly-covered cat and a woman with a cup of coffee in her hand trying to catch the butter and jelly-covered cat and a plate of food before any of them land on the carpet.

Success!!  😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Mr. KB is all cleaned up now and my life is back to a normal routine, but from the way he’s been glaring at me all morning, I think this routine change thing may have totally ruined Mr. KB’s whole day.

 

The Time I was Given Salvation, but Decided to Give it Back

 

I never went to church as a child or adult other than occasional visits. When I was in my late 20’s I had been attending a church for a few months and one day I found myself walking down the aisle during a church service because I had just given my life to Jesus. I didn’t really understand the whole, ‘give your life to Jesus’ thing other than I knew that I had just been ‘saved’ and I was excited and happy about it!

Shortly after I was saved I was informed that because I was now saved, I could also become a member of the church. I hadn’t even realized until that moment that I wasn’t already a ‘member’ of the church.  I also soon found out that but there was a catch to being a member of the church.

To be a member of the church I had to be baptized.

I was still pretty new to all of this, and getting dunked underwater in front of everyone seemed horrifying to me. I really wanted to be a member of the church but did NOT want to get baptized!

And to make matters worse someone told me that if I didn’t get baptized then I couldn’t get into heaven!

Being saved by Jesus had somehow now turned into me freaking out about church membership, baptisms, and getting into Heaven.  None of this stuff had even been on my mind when I had asked Jesus to come into my life.

If this was what being saved felt like, I didn’t want to be saved anymore. I had felt a whole lot safer before the whole saving ordeal had happened!

Oh and also now added to the pot was this — my 7-year-old daughter had also been saved in Sunday school and she was scheduled to get baptized with me. The pressure was on and there was no way I could back out!

So the baptism happened and the joy I had felt at the beginning about being saved by Jesus was now lost under a huge weight.

Not only was the robe they made me wear to be baptized in heavy material that when wet made me feel as if I were coming out of the water with a couple of bags of rocks attached to my back.  But it added to the fact that I now felt weighed down with the overwhelming task I had in front of me to keep it together. I felt like a fake and knew I had to be good so as not disappoint God or anyone in the church.

After I was baptized I barely went church anymore. I felt like a huge failure and I eventually walked completely away from church.

The worst thing of all is that I also walked away from God. I felt like somehow I had been part of some crazy bate and switch scam and I decided that God wasn’t real.

I stayed that way many years but then I saw my father-in-law die and that was the day I met the real Jesus once again.

As my father-in-law took his last breath his face suddenly became peaceful, I can never begin to explain what happened, except that God let me see my father-in-law as he was entering his new home in heaven and the peace surrounding him felt as if it were surrounding me. There was this overwhelming feeling of peace and love and it felt like it was all put there just for me to grab hold of.  I remember going home that night with the loss of a loved one, yet I felt like I had gained something huge I knew at that moment that God was real and that He truly loved ME! Unconditionally.

I had been told by well-meaning Christians my whole life that I should go to church and somehow I had grasped on to the idea that if I didn’t go to church I wasn’t good enough for God.  I also thought I had to be good when just being who I was was good enough.

A hospital room at one of the darkest times of my life is where Jesus came and got me. For no other reason than because, He loved me… just as I was. There wasn’t a church building or baptism required to be a member of his family and the only strings attached were for me to believe in him and come into his arms.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Being saved by Jesus means that Jesus loves me so much that he gave up his life for me so I don’t have to be perfect.

The gift of Salvation is a God’s gift to ALL of us.

His gift is for any of us to take no matter who we are or where we are in life. It doesn’t have to be opened in a church building and we don’t have to be a member of anything to receive it. Once we accept it we are part of the family and will live in Heaven with him one day

I did eventually find a church that I now call my church home and I did even get re-baptized when I felt led by Jesus to do it not because I was forced to do it.

I love Jesus and the family of believers he has placed in my life and it’s good to have those people in my life because they help make that connection to Him even stronger. We worship together and learn about him together. We even help lift each other up in our times of struggle. So a church family is a good thing to have.

I did not share this story to condemn any church or denomination,  I shared it because I have met up with several people now who have had this same experience as me. I want others who read this to know that no matter who you are or where you are at you can come to Jesus just because He loves you and wants YOU right where you are.

If you already have accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation that is awesome! If you want to share it with others and you are attaching strings to it, please stop doing that!

‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.’ John 3:17

 

I Still See

Hey all,

Can you believe it’s already Monday again?!!!

The older I get the faster time seems to fly by.

Speaking of time flying by, sometimes I think its good to slow down not only during the moments we have right now but also to slow down and take a look back at how far we have come.  I find it amazing at how things that once were hard have actually helped me to become the more secure in who I am today.   Today before I share the song I want to share something I wrote in August of 2014.

Before we get started here is a little background on what was going on the day I wrote it –  I was on vacation in Mexico and had suddenly discovered a black hole directly in the center of my vision in one of my eyes.  At that time I also already had a blind spot in my other eye that hadn’t been very noticeable with both eyes open. Now with blindness in both eyes, I was in a full-blown panic.  I was laying in a beach chair beside the ocean, real live storm clouds looming over the water but a larger storm was going on inside my mind.  I could not bear to open my eyes because I didn’t want to see the blind spots. In the middle of it all God spoke peace to me.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the peace of God and how he can totally give peace in the middle of some of our hardest moments in life.  This was one of my hardest moments and God made it peaceful.  Sometimes in life we really can’t do anything about our situation except give it to God.

Okay so much for sharing an old blog post I seem to not be able to stop typing and it now looks as if I am writing a new one…

Here is the post form Aug. 2014…

I Still See

 

20140829_130352

The wind is raging, storm clouds looming over the waves and in my mind.

I see where I don’t see and it frightens me.

The waves crash the shore and inside my mind they crash my sanity.

Fear overwhelming, the roar of the ocean matching the roar in my mind

Threatening dark clouds in the distance much like the dark blur obscuring my vision of the beauty before me.

The beauty…you are so big you created this

I feel so small right now,

I know you are so much bigger than me and even more bigger than the small blur.

I feel the breeze starting to cool as the storm in the distance calms the storm that is raging inside calms too.

The blur still threatens to get in the way but you won’t let it.

Even if I can’t see… I still see YOU perfectly.

20140829_124958Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

via I Still See

Now for today’s Music Monday song

“Even if” by MercyMe

Even if what we are praying for isn’t seeming to end, our hope is still in Jesus.  He will always be there for us and with Him we can move on. Even in the middle of the storm we can always find Jesus right beside us.

Thanks so much for coming by the blog today, I hope in some way what I’ve shared can inspire you or help you to find the peace you are looking for. Jesus is the only answer I really know of for perfect peace inside and I hope if that is what you are looking for you will know him too.  If you want more info about knowing Jesus you can click -> here.

T