It’s Beginning to Look A LOT Like Christmas🎄

Christmas means different things to all of us. It can be a time of great joy or a time of great stress due to “pressures of the season.” But at the heart of it, Christmas is a joyful celebration of the birth of our Savior over 2000 years ago. Below are images that speak Christmas to me – snow covered trees, cardinals, candles, shepherds and the star, hot cocoa, Christmas cards, Christmas trees, and snow-covered chapels. Whatever speaks the season to you, I pray a breath of peace, a chorus of beauty, and a warm cup of comfort and joy over you and yours this Christmas 2021.

If this Christmas is painful for you, I am praying a supernatural touch from Jesus. There has been unimaginable illness and loss these past many months. I know many who have added grief to the colors of their holiday season. And this is never something intentionally added to anyone’s Christmas list. But for many it has shown up, uninvited and certainly unwanted.

If this is you, my heart aches for you this holiday season. I pray the story of the Nativity would remind you how very much you are loved: “unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”

Encourage someone who is hurting. HELP SOMEONE who could use your help. GIVE to a family or to an organization to meet tangible needs. SO many have lost so much in the recent storms! LORD, the needs of the world are beyond our comprehension. So many are grieving so much loss and suffering so much misery that it overwhelms us. But we can do something if we listen for Your nudge. Help us to be Your hands and feet especially now and in this season.

In Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25:35-40 He said, “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.” The hearers asked when had they done that and He said, 40I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

Thankful and Grateful

Butterfly Moment

I am thankful for you. Yes, for you! Writing and painting are both solitary undertakings and I cannot do this with any expectations of result. So I want to take a moment to express my appreciation to those who have followed me on this journey and let you know how much your encouragement means to me. Your presence in this moment means a lot to me. May the Lord truly bless you.

We are in a season of thanksgiving and yet the reality of giving thanks gets lost in the recipes, the cooking, the parties, and the Event itself. I would like to get very personal and share public and heartfelt praises to our Lord who allowed me to know, love and trust Him. SO many don’t even believe He exists, let alone that He cares deeply about what they care about. I am humbled that You allowed me to not only know You, but to love and trust You. I realize this is a truly invaluable gift, and I am eternally grateful. I thank You, Lord, for my life. I had many years that were very painful, yet even in the most difficult of trials, You were always as close as a prayer. I am now in a season of great joy and blessing. We know from Ecclesiastes that there is a time for every purpose under Heaven. I THANK YOU, LORD for Your presence in my life — for my husband, our family, our church, and our many beloved friends. We are blessed beyond measure.

Sarah Young in her wonderful book, “Jesus Calling,” says “Hallelujahs” are the language of Heaven. What a beautiful song a Hallelujah can be as the angels of heaven sing along! 🎶. I invite you to be still in this moment. Find your hallelujah and sing it to Your Heavenly Father – even if you are unsure of the words. He knows your heart.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25,26

Give Us This Day

For Those You Have Given Me, Lord~

I am thinking this morning about the many people God has put in my life. Much if not most of the time, we are very caught up in what is going on in our own lives. Self-focused are we! But we were made for relationship, so most of us count those we know as an important part of the fabric of our lives. Facebook, which is often a bit intrusive, is still important to me because it gives me a window into the heart, mind and lives of some of the people I care about. It enables me to (hopefully, prayerfully) make comments to encourage rather than inflame. But Facebook certainly is not the best platform to reach those we care about.

This morning I feel the weight of concern for family and friends who are struggling. I’ve often been torn almost literally to pieces by the emotional baggage of someone else’s burdens. Can anyone relate? I’ve had to learn to ‘let go and let God’ take care of what is not mine to handle. Over time, I’ve realized that I cannot edit someone else’s life story. I cannot fix ‘their broken.’ But there are things I can do when someone I care about is hurting. I can reach out with words spoken or written. I can reach out without words by a hug or a gesture – even just an “I see you – I understand” look. I can think out of the box and ask the Lord to help me know how I might encourage them or brighten their day by doing something spontaneous or unexpected.

But I believe the best thing I can do is to pray. The very best! No, not the least or the only thing I can do. Praying is the best thing! In supernatural ways we cannot even begin to fathom, God drew us into relationship with Him and one of the outcomes of His great love impacts our relationships with one another. How AMAZING that my pitiful words to God can somehow have an impact in someone’s life! How can that be? It is certainly beyond my understanding. Some verses from the Bible which tell of the power of prayer:

“Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  James 5:16   

“God is my refuge and strength. He is an ever present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

There are too many promises to share more here, but my prayer today is that someone reading these words will trust the Lord today to handle something burdening their spirit and grieving their heart. I pray that someone who feels unequal to the task of lightening someone else’s load – let alone carrying their own – would pray and ask God to speak encouragement and direction. I pray those who are struggling, anxious, or fearful, would hear the voice of the Lord possibly because someone else prayed over them.

Lord, we cannot fix, nor can we heal. But we know who can and who does. I pray we might lay those burdens weighing on our hearts today at Your feet. I ask You, who knows and sees all, to take care of those who desperately need a touch from You! And I ask You to lift the weight of these burdens from our collective shoulders and lay them where they belong – in Your grace-filled, loving, and powerful arms. Because there is power in Your name, we pray

in Jesus’ name. AMEN✨

Encourage Someone Today – Maybe in a Live Chat!

Mi Princessa

Don’t those eyes just grab you. We miss you, sweet Princess~

I had an interesting experience today. I was trying to get online help from someone somewhere in the world who, by virtue of “Live Chat”, is visible only via typed words. For some reason, I decided to throw a bit of the real me into the conversation so said some funny things, thanked him for his time and generally treated him as I would someone I could actually see. His response broke my heart a bit. He thanked me profusely saying he’d had a horrible day up until that moment. I realized how often I was like the other customers – in a hurry, totally disconnected, treating the other “voice” as if coming from a robot rather than a real person. I could feel his emotion through his words and it touched me.

I made the effort to get his name so I could use it. He shared it was Cavan. I’d never heard that name before and have no idea where it originates. But I met Cavan yesterday and hopefully made him feel valued.

Even though I’m not seeing a lot of people these days or going as many places as I used to go, I can still try to make someone smile in the course of my day. I hope these “maskless smiles” below brighten YOUR day today. I loved painting each of them and invite you to consider letting me paint someone who lights up your life.

Which is your favorite? I fall in love with each pet I paint especially when I have to capture the look in their eyes~ I invite you to see these and more in my Furry and Feathered Friends Gallery.

Cheryl