My latest Zentangle Picture

zentangle owl

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m working on making a calendar to sell to help my parents cover their medical expenses. My dad has had several medical issues lately that they cannot pay for, so this is the first picture I have created for that project.

I am going to title the calendar “Birds Of A Feather”

and all the pictures will be my hand drawn version of a bird.

I would love some input on what to charge for the calendar.

I have never attempted to do anything like this before, so any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks for all you do.

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How I learned to love my Body

 

I write a lot about ways that you too can develope a positive outlook on life.

I feel that I would be missing a HUGE piece of that puzzle if I didn’t tell you about my very own BODY IMAGE ISSUES and how I have learned to accept-

And YES…

Even love my body.

 

Over the years, I have both loathed and loved my body just like every other woman on the planet has.

But, I am proud to say that I finally understand that loving my body is a much, much better way to live my life.

Recently I made a decision to love my body, not in spite of imagined flaws or ways that it deviates from the media ideal of what a body should look like, but rather because it is mine and it is perfect.

It has been with me through each and every moment of my life, and for that alone it deserves respect!

I spent decades putting my life on hold—waiting to achieve an acceptably, socially, skinny body.

I didn’t lose any weight (at least not permanently).

All I lost was a few decades.

This sad, unfortunate, reality was brought home to me in a very painful way:
When my son committed suicide and we were preparing a video for his funeral, there were no pictures of Me and Victor together because I had REFUSED to allow any pictures of me to be taken because I hated the way I looked.
I always assumed that I would lose weight and we could get a family picture done, or that I would allow some candid shots of us playing in the mountains…

but he was gone before I ever got that chance.

The regret that I feel still haunts me to this day.
I had so many opportunities to capture my life with my son in pictures, but I never did,

and now I never can!

So that regret led me to a choice.

I stopped waiting around for the perfect body and started acting as if I already had the perfect body.

Everything I dreamed that I would do when I was thin, I just went and did those things.

Sure…It made my life much scarier, but there is no risk in a life delayed—in a life not lived.

My life prior to Victor’s death was marked by sadness, regret, abuse, and fear.

Once I finally had the courage to leave my abusive marriage to Victor’s dad, and take back my power, life began to improve little by little.

BUT…

It wasn’t juicy.

It wasn’t electric.

It wasn’t faith filled.

So I made the decision to just jump into life with both of my pudgy feet.

Since then, my life has been immeasurably better.

 

I had another terrible habit I used to live with.

It was the need to know what people were thinking about me.

Image result for insecurities

 

I also spent a great deal of my life wondering about that.

It used to consume me.

It was the ONE factor that I used to determine what I wore,

how I acted,

and what events I attended.

I rarely did things that fed my own spirit…I was too busy trying to “feed” everyone else.

But at some point I realized that I didn’t really know what people were thinking about me.

I wasn’t psychic.

I was imagining in my own head what was in their heads.

So one day I decided that I might as well imagine that they think I’m totally awesome.

It’s my imagination. I might as well imagine something that makes me feel good and powerful.

I might as well imagine something that will help me be a positive force in the world.

I decided to start living according to my own desires with no regard to what others thought about my choices.

That was the TRUE beginning of my liberation.

It was through that choice that I really began to get to know myself at a deep level.

And until you know yourself, you will never be able to heal yourself!

So now let’s get back to how I learned to love my body again…

For many years, I hoped that exercise would make me look like a supermodel.

I imagined that if I could just work hard enough it would make me thin and tan, and sweat would sheen and glisten on my muscles.

Exercise did not do that for me!

And… for a while, I was really kind of mad about that.

I felt betrayed by my body,

the exercise industry,

and in a way, life in general.

But as I was getting more and more in tune with my true self, I started to notice something really cool that happened each and every time I exercised…

l I realized that exercise made me feel better.

I began to sleep better.

I was in a better mood.

I felt better about myself.

I even started to notice that I kind of felt a little sexy after I had exercised.

 

So did that transform me into an overnight exercise enthusiast?

I still don’t really love to exercise, but I exercise because I love myself.

images (5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have decided that exercise is one of the most loving things that we can give ourselves.
It doesn’t cost anything to do it, but the rewards are beyond compare.
So I would encourage  everyBODY to at least give it a two week trial.

Exercise every day for two weeks and see for yourself if you can’t begin to notice  what is really wonderful about exercise and start to find the fun in fitness.

 

Since that day when I realized that I had no pictures of me and my son…
I have lost a total of 110 lbs.
I have gone from a size 24 to a size 10, and I feel amazing.

But that is not the best part about this story because Looking back, I can honestly say that the reason I was finally able to lose weight was because I had finally found MYSELF!

I have not joined any one specific weight loss program, or taken any “magic” pill.

I just decided to love my life.

Love my body.

And stop hiding behind excuses.

Once I did that, the weight just stopped being an issue.

(I would really love to hear your thoughts on today’s post. This is a subject that we all struggle with, and I would love to hear how you have learned to cope with your body issues.)

 

Angel wings

I have been thinking a lot lately about the word HOPE, and what it really means to me in my life.

As I pondered this question I realized that in the past 5 years I have learned to put my HOPE in the Lord more and more, and each time I take another step toward His Loving embrace, my life gets a little bit clearer and easier.

So this weekend I wanted to make something special to remind me about the things I am learning about HOPE.

For me I have really come to understand lately that we are not living for this life, but living for Eternity.

My life is a gift to the Lord, and as a mother I feel I have a responsibility to pass that truth along to my children.

So this project is for that very purpose.

I made these Angel Wings so I could hang them on the wall downstairs in the room where my children play so that each day they can be reminded to put their HOPE in Eternity, and not in this world.

 

I will give you pictures and a step by step description of the process I used to create these wings.

 And as a gift to my readers, anyone interested in making a set of their own can send me a self- addressed stamped envelope, and I will mail you a FREE set of the pattern so that you can make your very own Angel Wings.

Step#1:

angel wings 2

The first step was to trace a wing pattern onto a piece of cardboard.

My wings measure 31″ x 15″ ea. So the finished project with both wings measures 31″ x 32″.

Then cut them out with a really sharp exact-o knife.

 

Step#2:

angel wings

 

 

 

 

 

 

My next step was to paint them black.

The reason for this is because I want the finished wings to have a copper patina to them and black is the base color for that technique.

(But if you wanted your wings to look more like carved wood you would base coat the cardboard a cream color instead.)

 

Step#3:

angel wings 3

 

 

 

 

 

The third step was to trace the 25 different wings onto a foam core board and cut them out.

Once I had them all cut out I applied Locktite spray adhesive to both the cardboard frame and each individual wing piece to create a strong secure bond.

 

Step #4:

angel wings 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I simply repeated step #3 on the other wing.

So now I have the wings all built and ready to paint.

 

Step #5:

angel wings 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

For this step I took a cheap chip brush

and lightly dry brushed white paint over the entire wing.

You can see that I have left quite a bit of the black showing through. This is very important if you want the copper look.

(But again if you are going for a carved wood look your wings should be a cream color so you will want to use a light yellow for this step instead of the white. This will form the base color for the wood.)

Step#6:

angel wings 6

 

 

 

 

 

Now that both wings are dry brushed with the white, I am now going to add a third layer of paint with the exact same Chip Brush ( don’t worry about washing out the white, just dip it in the turquoise paint and start adding it to the wing like I did in the picture above.

(If you are going for a wood look now you will add a layer of medium brown paint during this step. After you have added the medium brown, you could also add a bit of the turquoise if you like the look of it.)

angel wings 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the wing after the entire wing has been dry brushed with the turquoise paint.

Step# 7:

angel wings 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This step actually has two steps to it. 🙂

The first thing you need to do now is to add your fourth layer of color onto the wings. You will dip your exact same brush into a lime green color and very lightly dry brush this onto just the spots where if they were really metal and had been outside would receive the most oxidation. You want most of the turquoise color to remain on the surface of the wings.

The next thing you will do is take a small round tip brush and add the feather detail to the wings like you can see in the picture above.

(for those of you doing the carved wood look, you will need to do this step also, but just use a dark brown or gray paint instead of the black to give your wings the detail.)

Step#8:

angel wings 13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now we are at the step where we can finally add the copper color to the wings and really make them shimmer. For this step I used a copper metallic acrylic paint that you can get at any craft store. If you prefer the look of silver, or bronze you can use that color instead.

(For the wood looking wings you could also add the metallic paint if you want, or you can just gently reapply a little bit of white back over the browns to give them the weathered wood look.)

angel wings 11

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the wings with the five different layers of paint.

Step #9:

angel wings 14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the last step for decorating the wings.

I took a piece of copper foil and laid it over a cardboard heart that I had cut out.

I secured the heart to the center of the wings with E600 Glue 

Once the glue had dried I took my engraving tool and engraved the word HOPE in the center of the heart.

angel wings 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then just for a little extra added bling I tapped some decorative tacks into the copper heart.

After this all I needed to do was attach a wire hanger to the back and hang them on my wall.

 

I hope that they will be the perfect reminder for my family to live our lives for Eternity.

If you want to request a pattern just send a Self addressed stamped envelope to

Melanie Jensen

PO BOX 15

Orangeville, Ut.

84537.

 

 

 

 

Weekend Project Barn Wood Door and Painted Owls

I got this gorgeous barn door off the Barn Jeff and I are tearing down at his farm.

The minute I saw it two years ago, I fell in love.

So of course We salvaged it when we tore the barn down.

It is now painted and sealed and sitting proudly in my front yard.

I put a barbed wire wreath on a nail in the door, and placed a bale of hay in front of it to hold my two wooden owls and farm sign I painted last week in my painting class.

Here are the pictures.

Day 1: Becoming God’s Canvas

Why should we try to find the personal messages found in the Bible?

I believe that you and I are designed to be captivated by God.

When we read from His word with the intent to discover Him,

We can’t help but find ourselves on a quest to know more…

More about His attributes.

More about His character.

And especially more about the plans He has for us.

I pray that over the next few weeks as I attempt to re-tell some of the most beloved Bible stories that together, we will uncover truths that will open our hearts and minds to the will of God in our very own lives.

Let’s attempt to discover the beautiful portraits together as we explore the word of God.

Let’s discover the light of God that resides within us all.

I hope that by the end of this series you will be able to recognize the Divine in the most ordinary of people.

 

I think it would be difficult to find a more clear picture of who Jesus was as a person

than you will find in the Gospel of John.

John was the disciple that Jesus called “Beloved”.

 He was His friend.

(That is why most of the stories I will be using will be found in the writings of John.)

If you want to discover who I am, and what makes me “tick”, you would ask my children,

My siblings,

Or maybe Brenda or Jeff.

You would naturally go to those people who know me best if you want to discover more about me.

The same is true for God.

If you want to know him, go to his friends, the disciples, and read their testimonies in the Bible.

They lived with Jesus,

they ate with him,

and spent practically every waking hour with him for three years.

They had a personal relationship with Jesus, and are qualified to introduce Him to the world.

That is why I love to read the words of John.

He offers such an intimate look at the person of Christ that I cannot help but become completely captivated by Him when I read John.

I would like to begin this quest with some questions:

How did you first encounter Jesus?

Where were you?

Who were you with?

Was there a particular set of circumstances that led to your encounter?

For me personally, it has been a series of events that began when I was small, and have continued throughout my lifetime.

God has been pursuing me all my life, and I have spent a good part of mine trying to understand WHY.

It wasn’t until I began relating the stories from the Bible to my own life, and my unique circumstances that I finally began to understand why God wanted a relationship with me,

AND…why I NEEDED one with Him.

It is my sincere hope that as we work our way through this series, you too will find meaning and understanding in your very own walk with God.

I was so much like Nathaniel for most of my adult life.

Skeptical, until I heard His personal call to Follow Him in my own life.

In John 1:43-51 we read: 

43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him,“Follow me.”

44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.”

51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”

 

We don’t know what went on under that tree,

but it must have been very intimate and personal

because of the response Nathaniel gave.

He immediately recognized that Jesus was the son of God.

 

We all need to recognize that every one of us is unique and has our very own story to tell.

Recognizing this is essential to becoming open to the ways that God wants to use you to draw others to Himself.

Your individual story and experiences are essential to building His Kingdom here on Earth.

That is the very reason that throughout this series,

I am going to be very real and honest about my life as I retell these stories.

I am finally ready to step up and do my part, whatever that may be, to build the kingdom of God.

I will begin each post with the scripture reference where you can find the story in the Bible.

I encourage you to read the Biblical account for yourself either before or after reading the post.

I am NOT a biblical scholar.

I have had no formal training.

I am just a woman who has been on a lifelong quest to discover who God is, and what His plans for me are.

 

I would like to encourage any of you who feel like you want to share your own encounter,

or how these stories relate to you personally to do so in the comment section.

By sharing our own stories, I believe that we can “sharpen” each other as we go along.

 

The beauty of your encounter with Jesus was never meant to be tucked away,

but rather to be put on display like “art work” in a gallery for others to see.

 

God wants to DISPLAY His character through our lives, and through us personally.

 

Are you willing to join me in becoming His canvas?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road Trips

I’m all about a really great road trip!

 

The kind where I have a tank full of gas and a heart filled with wonder.

road trip

Want to come along for the ride? 

 

 

 

This past March, my best friend and I packed up three of my kids, (the 4th was a senior and didn’t want to miss 10 days of school) and headed out to sunny California.

We spent 10 glorious days in a condo right on the beach in Oceanside California. We were within walking distance of the pier, and the legendary Ruby’s Cafe.

We woke up each morning to ocean sunrises and dolphins playing in the waves.

We met lots of interesting people.

Saw interesting things.

And basically had our minds blown wide open!

That what is so great about road trips.

They are, by their very nature, unpredictable and exciting.

exciting adventure

 

 

 

 

Life is like that for me.

 

It is really just a big, uncertain adventure.

Each day is new and fresh.

 

BUT…

Sometimes, on a  road trip, your car will break down, or you may run into construction…

flat tire

 

 

 

 

 

Life is just like that too!

 

The really good news though is that those set backs don’t have to ruin your trip.

You have the choice to see them as just minor setbacks…

Nothing more than a small inconvenience.

But all too often, when life throws a “flat tire” at us, we panic.

We start down that road of Self Pity, and successfully turn a small inconvenience into a major life crisis.

WHY?

Is there a way to avoid this “Pot Hole” in the road, and take a detour around the road called “Self Pity”?

For me, my detour is my creativity.

Without creativity, my life would be flat, boring, empty.

The creative process allows me to bypass the perfectionist,

give visuals to my journey,

and create new stories out of old. 

It is the pattern I use to “Unfold my Own Yarn”.

It is my invitation to discard the old, tattered yarns that I believe about myself.

It is a way to recreate what others have said about me and to begin to unfold my story

my yarn –

with my voice –

in my way. 

snowman trio mel and bren 1

 

 

 

 

I can clearly see how essential it is to give ourselves the experience of mothering through an ongoing creative practice.

Creative means lots of things to lots of people. That is why I am not going to specifically “label” my creativity today.

As a woman, I just know and understand the power of having some type of creative outlet for ourselves.

We are really good at taking care of everyone first, and leaving the leftover scraps for ourselves. We find ourselves starving and depleted…

And then wonder why!

But if all we ever fed our physical bodies was the leftover scraps…

scraps

 

 

 

 

Our health would suffer huge consequences.

Our spirits are no different.

They need to be nourished and rested too.

Creativity is a great way to engage in deeply honest inquiries about the whats, whys, where’s and hows of our own wounds, healing and desires.

It’s an amazing way to join with others and to be in real conversations with others who might be on the same path.

With these magical ingredients of creativity, determination, and excitement, I believe it is possible for us to begin to heal the wounds and internal messages that we have been carrying for most of our lives. 

Lets go back to the road trip metaphor again for a minute…

Because… Summer is about road trips!

The beach,

discovery,

and traveling light.

On this Whimsical Road Trip to creativity…

Lets all
invoke our inner Rock Star who will invite that Inner Soul Child for a little walk on the wild side.

We will introduce her to boundaries, self-love, kindness, her own essential wisdom, and unique quirkiness.

Lets all vow to learn how to take our creativity along with us,  and use it to do some really deep inquiry on the road without weighing ourselves down.

Without getting sidetracked by “construction”, or “flat tires”.

Lets vow instead to see life as one big creative adventure.

I am going to end this post today with a quote from Ray Bradbury. I just feel that it fits really well with today’s conversation.

“If there is one door in the castle you have been told not to go through, you must. Otherwise, you’ll just be rearranging furniture in rooms you’ve already been in.  Most human beings are dedicated to keeping that one door shut. But the writer’s job is to see what’s behind it, to see the bleak unspeakable stuff, and to turn the unspeakable into words –not just any words but if we can, into rhythm and blues.  You can’t do this without discovering your own true voice.  Truth seems to want expression.  Unacknowledged truth saps your energy and keeps you wired and delusional. But when you open the closet door and let what was inside out, you can get a rush of liberation and even joy. And the truth of your experience can only come through in your own voice.”

~ Ray Bradbury

 

Am I a wise woman?

I have heard it said many times that people wish there was an instruction manual for success, or parenting, or relationships.

Well…there is.

It is found in one of the oldest known texts. Written by a man who has been touted as the ‘WISEST of them all’  for thousands of years, King Solomon.

That instruction manual is found in the Bible in Proverbs 14.

Simply by reading this chapter every day, and memorizing it, you can literally change every aspect of your life.

The highest compliment anyone could ever say to me would be to tell me that according to proverbs 14, I was a wise woman. That, for me, would mean that I was successful beyond my wildest dreams… no matter what the number on my tax return says. 😉

Each time I read the 14th chapter of Proverbs, I am forced to look deeply at myself and ask the following questions…

 1.Am I a wise woman?

2. Do I build up my house, my children, my family, my relationships, or do I tear them down?

 3. Do the people around me KNOW that I love them. 

4. Am I a person that they KNOW they can trust?

If I am not, then I am a fool who uses my mouth, my actions, my talents to destroy, rather than uplift.

To save you the time of looking up Proverbs 14, I will post it here on today’s blog.

I want you to read through the verses and honestly ask yourself… Am I wise?

After each and every verse, you will be shown a different aspect to your personality.

It always amazes me how the bible really is ALIVE AND POWERFUL. It has the unique ability to proverbs 14speak directly, and personally to each one of us in a language that our hearts can hear and comprehend.

PROVERBS 14

1: The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

2: Whoever fears the LORD walks uprightly, but those who despise him are devious in their ways.

3: A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.

4: Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests.

5: An honest witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies.

6: The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.

7: Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips.

8: The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.

9: Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.

10: Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.

11: The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.

12: There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.

13: Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.

14: The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways, and the good rewarded for theirs.

15: The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.

16: The wise fear the LORD and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure.

17: A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated.

18: The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.

19: Evildoers will bow down in the presence of the good, and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.

20: The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends.

21: It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor, but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy.

22: Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.

23: All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

24: The wealth of the wise is their crown, but the folly of fools yields folly.

25: The wealth of the wise is their crown, but the folly of fools yields folly.

26: Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.

27: The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.

28: A large population is a king’s glory, but without subjects a prince is ruined.

29: A large population is a king’s glory, but without subjects a prince is ruined.

30: A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

31: Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

32: When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous seek refuge in God.

33: Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning and even among fools she lets herself be known.

34: Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.

35: A king delights in a wise servant, but a shameful servant arouses his fury.

Can you imagine living in a world where these ideas were practiced?

You could literally revolutionize your life by simply meditating on this one chapter in the Bible.

Begin right now, in this very moment and commit to becoming wise, according to the definition given by the Great King Solomon.

Have a great day!

Peace starts with ME.

Being defeated is often a temporary condition. 
Giving up is what makes it permanent. 
~ Marilyn vos Savant 

Let’s face it…at one point or another, we all feel let down by life.
It’s been said that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall – it’s how many times you get back up.
So today I want to talk about my journey from pain to peace.
There was a time, not to long ago when the blogs I write would have been much different from what they are today.
My blogs would have been filled with images of fear, guilt and regret.
When my life crumbled around me and the only thing that I had left was the memories of ‘What once was’, I was confused, and disoriented.
The day that it all changed for me was the day I picked up my journal and started flipping through the pages.
I came across a particular entry that was over two years old by this time. The entry was a prayer to the Lord to ease my burdens. I asked specifically for a home where my children and I were safe.  A place where we had financial stability, security, and a sanctuary from the rest of the world.
At the time I wrote this prayer in my journal, my son had been dead for only 5 months.
My marriage was in shambles, and we were existing off welfare.
My husband had given up on life, on us, and on our kids.
I, myself was on the brink of suicide.
  I was nearing the bottom of my downward spiral.
So when I read the prayer two years later, I realized that every thing I had asked for had been given.
But before it could be given, the Lord first had to REMOVE certain people and situations from my life.
It was in that moment that I realized that sometimes the things that we view as tragedies, or hardships are actually just the beginning phase of an answered prayer.
That is when I started to let go of a lot of the fear that I carried in my heart.
I am like a butterfly.
I am completely transformed from the person I once was. There is very little resemblance to the “old” and “new” me.
It’s like that old saying…
“Just when the caterpillar thought her life was coming to an end…
She became a butterfly.”
That is exactly what happened in my life. The Lord got a hold of my heart and transformed me into a new creature.
As I look back, I feel that I need to share some of my experiences and the wisdom and knowledge that I gained by going through the fiery furnace and being reborn.
My greatest lesson was learning that  “Peace begins with me.”
These few words are so simple, yet they contain a message so profound as to be the only key to the utopia our troubled heart seeks.
(Please keep in mind that my words alone cannot open doors.
But if you will try to receive them with your hearts, I pray that you will comprehend them with your minds in perfect harmony.)
Almost from the time we gain the ability to process thought, we set forth on a journey that takes us further and further away from the beautiful destination we seek.
As we mistakenly journey outwards rather than inwards, we begin to feel lost and disoriented.
Fear rises within us and we become embroiled in greed, criticism, judgments, hatred, and disquiet.
Every aspect of our lives becomes a hurdle to clear and an enemy to fight.
We lose sight of the beauty that resides within us, the light of Christ that we were all born with.
‘If only things were different,’ we scream, as we view the errors of the world and its effects upon us, as our enemies.
I used to miss out on so much in life because my mind was cluttered with garbage thoughts like,  “When I get more money…I could be happy then”

“If we could just settle the conflict in our marraige…I will find peace.”

We believe so strongly that we must find this beautiful state rather than just experiencing – being it – that we frequently miss its serene presence.
We are on a hunt, trying to capture our prey.
We dress the part,
we speak the part,
we completely submerge ourselves in all these costumes in an attempt to capture something outside us,
when the thing we seek is already a part of us…
No costume needed!
Few of us realize that the only enemy any of us have is ‘ourselves’.
Until we understand that, we can never truly experience peace because that which we are becomes covered up so deeply in all of the costumes that we are wearing, that peace is prevented from expressing itself.
Most of us are not aware that we live our lives in constant fear, the absolute polar opposite to the nature of our own divine essence – the polar opposite to love and peace.
Last week I was able to enjoy a vacation free from the fear that used to be as much a part of me as oxygen.
I traveled in strange cities, and spoke to complete strangers, and enjoyed every single second of it all. I was in a stae of Peace and surrender the entire time.

Letting go of the fear and accepting the peace is the greatest gift I have ever given myself.

Our constant drive for power is the result of fear –

fear that is itself fed by our misguided survival strategies.

Unless we are guided away from this mistaken view of ourselves and the world around us, our childlike perceptions follow us into the ‘grown-up’ world.

We cannot change people;

the way others think,

act or behave.

We can’t change the weather

or prevent that which has passed,

but we can change the world.

Everyone’s idea of peace is different… but peace is not a concept; it is the reality of our own identity and in accordance to its own nature.

Peace cannot exist in the presence of fear.

Fear is a powerful, destructive, negative emotion whose energy is fuelled by our anticipation of what may happen but probably won’t.

Fear can only be regenerated by its own survival.

Peace is a beautiful empowering energy that sits within our hearts, always in quiet acceptance of where we are now – at this moment.

That which I am is Peace and is constant.

When I am still – I know this.

When I am still – I know that Peace begins with me – right now.

This, of all the lessons I have learned, is the one that I want to share with the world.

Getting to a place of Peace was NOT easy.
It was one of the hardest battles I have ever fought…because I was fighting my own ego.
I had to teach my ego to let go…and trust.
It is my deepest prayer that my words will somehow touch your heart and give you hope that a life lived with a peaceful heart is possible for everyone, and that a PEACEFUL HEART is the way to change the world.
Butterfly in sand

A wacked up view of Holiness.

People can get pretty messed up. Even good people.

The town I live in has had its share of scandals, which are always tragic, and almost always predictable.

Sometimes the fall from Grace plunges the person into a pretty dark place.

When the shocking news is made public, the shared reaction is typically along the lines of, How could this have happened?

It happened for many reason,s of course, but they usually include – though it is rarely named – A WACKED VIEW OF HOLINESS.

What do I mean by a WACKED VIEW OF HOLINESS?

I mean that usually when one of these scandals pop – up the problem can usually be traced directly back to a person’s attitude about their HEART.

The Lord speaks to us a lot in the bible about our HEART.

There is a really good reason for this.

If you believe that the HEART does NOTneed tobe a central focus, because the heart of a Christian is wicked even though Christ came to dwell within then you are heading toward a WACKED VIEW.

So often we make the mistake of believing that holiness is all about behavior. When you neglect the sanctifying of the heart, You are setting yourself up for a major FALL.

Nobody can discipline their self into the holiness we need in this world…

and you sure can’t discipline yourself out of a deep dungeon.

Neglect the Heart and you are toast!

The other thing that can lead to a WACKED VIEW is character issues that pave the way for sin.

I honestly believe that at the heart of every sin ever committed was a seed of selfishness.

We are all prone toward narcissism.

This can lead us into some pretty dark places.

Places filled with pride, self-absorption, money lust, and manipulation.

Whenever you introduce duplicity into your personality, it allows for greater double mindedness to follow.

We mistakenly believe that we are strong enough to compartmentalize our “issues” but they will ALWAYS bleed over into other areas of our life.

Dishonesty with a co-worker will bleed over into dishonesty with your family members.

Feelings of financial entitlement can lead to feelings of sexual entitlement, or possibly lead to theft.

When you lie to yourself and say, “This is not a big deal, I really don’t need to address this issue,” You will soon find yourself justifying the bigger issues that lead to scandal.

How often have you dismissed your HEART?

Are you more worried about keeping up appearances than you are about the state of your heart?

If you are, then you are on thin ice.

You are a prime candidate for duplicity to enter into your heart.

Our sins often have a root in childhood.

Maybe you stole and got away with it.

Or, maybe you saw sexually explicit material at a young age…

Whatever the origin these experience can lead to a rift in the soul, into which darkness loves to rush in.

But if you lie to yourself and believe that the rift does not exist, or that it is small and does not matter…

BEWARE. That is the fertilizer that your seed needs to grow.

Gods main purpose in our life is to make us BOTH whole and holy.

If you choose to view the word “wholeness” as just an intrusion by secular psychology into the Christian life, and are unwilling to admit that you are “Broken” then your fall will be utterly predictable.

You are literally a disaster waiting to happen.

If we are brutally honest…we are all,

DISASTERS WAITING TO HAPPEN.

So what can we do about this?

Is there any hope of us fixing our brokeness?

Can we ever be WHOLE?

or…are we doomed to live a life with a WACKED VIEW?

I don’t want to pretend that our process of transformation is easy, you already know that it is NOT.

But I do believe that we can find the genuine goodness of Jesus in our deep and lasting struggles.

I believe it can happen; I’ve seen it happen in my own life many times.

The scriptures promise that it can happen.

For me remembering that the Lord likes to take the long way around, and rarely ever takes the shortest path helps me to be patient.

Afterall, didn’t the Jews wander for 40 yrs?

By making them struggle with their faith, he created in them a people strong enough to be WHOLE.

In my life, I have waited for over 20 yrs to find a loving partner that I could grow and learn with.

But by making me wait, he has created in me a heart that is ready to be a godly, loving woman.

So, please always keep in mind that WHOLENESS is a process.

A process that God is completely committed to.

It is a process in which we can cooperate,

a process that NEEDS our cooperation.

There really is a way to be good again.

I am going to give three scripture references that have helped me in my pursuit for wholeness.

In (Romans 6: 15-16) Paul asked the question,

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under Grace? Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness.”

IN (Ephesians 4:26-27) Paul again says,

” In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

The third scripture is found in (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. may your WHOLE spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The one who calls you faithful and he will do it.”

Freedom from brokeness comes only as we bring these unsanctified and unholy places under the rule of our Savior, so that he can possess these very places deeply and truly.

That is why it is so important to go to him as soon as you recognize yourself in the process of mental attitude sins.

Repent, and ask for his holiness to cover your broken places before the rift has time to grow.

Because, from the mental attitudes, sins transform into sins of the tongue or sins of the flesh.

And those are the places where SCANDAL come from.

You must walk through this process in prayer.

There is hope of freedom and WHOLENESS.

We can walk away from a WACKED VIEW and into the truth because of what Christ has done for us.

We have an option!

Wholeness begins when we can be brutally honest with the Lord about our sins during prayer.

This is just a beginning, but it is a very important place to start to receive clarity about holiness,wacked view instead of your current WACKED VIEW.

Humiliation in small doses can be a good thing

Life, like war, is a series of mistakes; and he is not the best Christian nor the best general who makes the fewest false steps. Poor mediocrity may secure that; but he is the best who wins the most splendid victories by the retrieval of mistakes. Forget mistakes; organize victory out of mistakes.   

Fredrick William Robertson

 

Today I want to talk about HUMILITY.

This word, this topic, this idea keeps coming up in my life in numerous ways.

We are studying this topic in Church right now.

My 10 yr old son is in the stage of life where this is the life lesson he is starting to learn and understand.

I have been challenged by this topic at work.

Even Jeff told a great story the other night illustrating the idea of humility.

Everywhere I turn this word keeps popping up for me.

I want to share the story Jeff told me, (he gave me permission to do so)

His brother works at a place that requires steel toe boots as part of the safety equipment. He arrived at work and realized that he had not grabbed his boots before he ran out the door.

This was a BIG deal, because that simple oversight could cost him his job. So he was very uneasy when the safety officer approached and asked where his boots were. He was honest, and humbly admitted he had forgotten to grab them. Because of his impeccable work ethic, the safety officer choose not to fire him, he instead gave him some “slip on steel toes” which happened to be bright pink, and made him sound like one of the characters from the movie ” Monty Pythons quest for the Holy Grail.” He was clop – clopping his way around the warehouse all day long…humiliated!

But, when he told the story to Jeff, his comment was that, “I will NEVER forget my boots again.”

Lesson Learned!

So you see, a little humiliation goes along way toward creating a humble person.

Now I am not talking about the cruel and abusive type of humiliation. That is wrong and never ever in the history of humanity has it ever made a situation better.

I am talking about the kind of humiliation that Jeff’s brother suffered. The “lesson learned” kind of humiliation.

As humans, we have very fragile egos, that do not like to feel shame, guilt, or…humiliation.

We will go to great lengths to avoid ever feeling like we are “LESS THAN” We will avoid situations that have caused us pain like we would avoid the plague.

So, today I want to encourage everyone to consider this statement for a while. Allow it to ruminate in your mind and see what insights you come up with from your own life.
How has humiliation been a gift that has led you to a higher state of humility in your life?

How has it served to strengthen your personality?

A humble heart is NOT an easy thing to achieve.

It is probably the single most difficult thing we will ever seek after in this life time. But it the only way we can truly be free in life.

If we are walking around looking for a reason to be offended…I promise you will find it.

If you are looking for proof that you are a victim…you will find that too.

Life really is what we make of it.

Lets consider for just a moment the one perfect example of HUMILITY that we have all had the chance to meet. Jesus.

Nobody was ever humiliated to the extent that he was.

Nobody was ever as innocent of the crimes for which they were accused as he was.

Nobody ever had the RIGHT to be angry and upset like he did.

But how did he react to all of the humiliation, betrayal, and abuse that he suffered.

He reacted to it all with HUMILITY!

He extended the hand of forgiveness to his enemies. He suffered, bled and died to save his enemies from Hell.

WOW! Just thinking about his life brings me to my knees. His example makes me WANT to learn humility myself.

Humility means that we have a correct assessment of ourself. We don’t exaggerate our importance or value to the world.

I want to combine two words that I think puts this whole concept into perspective. They are…

CONFIDENT  HUMILITY.

What that means to me is this…

It is not only acceptable to walk with your head held high, and feel confident in your talents, and abilities, but it glorifies God when we do this.

He created us to be unlike anyone else.

We are unique.

An original.

There are not two Melanie’s ever created, there is just one… and it is good that I feel proud of that fact.

So to be confidently humble means that we acknowledge our uniqueness, but we don’t puff ourselves up with pride over our achievements…or on the flip side, feel that we are so important that when someone offends us, they did so because they were plotting to take us out.

Humility is the ability to accept the fact that we are just not that important to the world.

A confidently humble person can easily and quickly offer an apology when they have hurt or offended someone. Forgiveness is also not difficult for a humble person.

I am on a quest to learn and understand humility and would love to hear stories, or favorite scripture references that would help me better understand humility.

Please leave a comment on the blog if you have something to share that will help us all better understand this personality trait we call humility.

 

 

 

Henry-Ford-Mistakes