Victory In The New Year!

DSCN4779Super Moon Through Droplets (Taken: May 6, 2012)

 

So, I’ve got a confession to make: Although I spent some of my December with family and friends, and participated in church activities, too much time was actually spent watching movies and playing games. Sadly and ironically, real meaningful moments with the Lord – the One whose birth we just celebrated – were diminished in the name of holiday vacation “down time”. My first priority must be my relationship with God. To grow closer and be more like Jesus every day. Yet lately my focus had shifted too often towards pursuing comfort and fun.

Some rest is expected this time of year (though it’s never a good idea to take a vacation from Him!), and I did give myself some grace as I continued working toward reconciliation with my husband within an especially awkward emotional climate. However, I could easily have spent more time with Jesus, who, as I’ve written before, loves and pursues us, and wants to spend time with each of us, too. When seeking my own desires, I’m not seeking His and not growing; therefore I have nothing to offer on this blog and can do nothing of eternal worth (John 15:5). That simply won’t do! So I prayed and wrote this poem to express my regrets and feelings about where I was at:

“New Year’s Battle”

Blithe comforts quickly become a jail cell.
It’s hard to resist; the devil knows me well.
Caught up in self-pity, I waste precious time
fretting over falling short of the sublime.
Distracted from fellowship to recount fears,
immobilized, in a haze of salty tears.
My Savior waits so patiently once more
for my gaze to shift from off the floor,
where my fleeting notions lie scattered
alongside pursuits that never mattered.
My life, simply an assortment of choices,
listening for His whisper amidst the loud voices.
Each day I’m fighting to hear and follow
– for Christ lives in me! I can face tomorrow.
Knowing He is there, and here, and always,
my heart is lifted in His love and grace.
Pulled from the mire by His mighty power
to battle another year, each day, each hour.
Shortcomings and failures transform to victory
as I receive His love, and see as He sees me.
Only by wisdom and strength from above
can I hope for the future and rest in His love.
Emboldened to move forward as He casts out fear,
trusting with each step, He’ll guide me this new year.

1-1-18
©Ladeena Ashley

We all stumble and get lost in our fears, failures and human reasoning. Good thing our Father is the God of second, third, and many more chances! (1 John 1:9) God is so good and faithful, and through Christ He calls us His own, and we can claim the victory over sin!

Though not a goal-oriented person, here and now I resolve to rekindle more focused time with the Lord, using a devotional book that I have in mind. The closer our relationship, the stronger His light in me, and the more folks who may be drawn closer to Him, even through this imperfect vessel.

I’m guessing that you have a similar goal, perhaps even as part of a longer list of New Year’s Resolutions. We all need to keep learning and growing in Christ, and to be more lovingly bold followers of His. Overall, I’m praying that 2018 brings a worldwide “spiritual shake-up” and a revival in that sees many more souls saved by the love, power and forgiveness of Jesus Christ! Get out there and shine His light, and as the saying goes: when necessary, use words!

Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Ashley
2018 All Rights Reserved (Blog content and photos)

Share the Greatest Gift!

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Just like that, two weeks have gone by since my last post. Amazing how time flies during the holiday season!

Several years ago I had fun using Christmas song titles within a poem. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed composing it!

“Christmas Poem”

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear,
the reason for our holiday cheer.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,
and all through the land,
very few knew what God had planned.
O’ Holy Night, Silent Night it was,
when Emmanuel came to live among us.
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night,
they left after beholding the sight
of Angels, who were Heard on High,
as the star in the east led the magi.
Joy to the World! The Lord had come!
God gave to us His only Son.
Go, Tell it On the Mountain, or just to a friend
that Jesus came for all, God’s love to send.
Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful, let us rejoice,
with old songs and new, with one joyful voice!

11-9-96
©Ladeena Ashley

Jesus is the greatest GIFT that anyone can get, and unlike fruitcake, I’m happy to “re-gift” Him! My prayer is that all who celebrate the true meaning of Christmas will be PRESENT with others, and DECORATE others’ lives with His love by sharing the joy of our Savior’s birth and the hope He brings. May we all shine and twinkle with the LIGHT of the Spirit; dispelling the darkness and showing others the way to lasting peace beyond anything this world offers.

In this season of giving, I pray that more folks receive forgiveness and new life through Jesus. That people hear how the birth of Jesus Christ the Messiah fulfilled scriptures, setting the main stage for our ultimate redemption. How in fact His birth was not simply a quaint story or fairy tale, but that the King of kings and Lord of lords was born and placed in a manger in the most humble of circumstances. But most importantly, that He lived a sinless life here on earth before willingly giving it up on the cross for our sins, put in a tomb, and rose again on the third day.

In the nicest way possible, we should spread the less-than joyful truth that we all get to live forever, but we have free will to chose where: eternal life in heaven, or a tortured existence separated from God. Let’s share that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God offers us the greatest gift of all: the gift of a Savior who broke the chains of sin and death. For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Let’s share the true meaning of Christmas.

Do you understand and celebrate the real meaning of Christmas? If you haven’t yet received Jesus and trusted Him as your personal Savior, you are truly missing out! To accept the free gift of salvation, I invite you to pray something like this: “Father God, thank You for loving me. I believe that You sent Your Son Jesus to earth, and I believe He died on the cross and rose again, as a payment for my sins. I accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus, and ask You to help me to follow You the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

If you prayed and accepted God’s free gift, congratulations! I’m sure many of the same angels who sang in the skies over Bethlehem are rejoicing that another soul has escaped from death into new life with Him! If you don’t have a Bible, get yourself one, and find a Bible-believing place of worship where folks will help guide you on your new journey with Christ.

This Christmas, whether you’ve just accepted the gift of Jesus, or you’ve been a follower of Christ for many seasons, let us all share the true reason for the season with everyone we meet!

Merry Christmas!

Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Ashley
2017 All Rights Reserved (blog content and photos)

Pining For A Happy Ending

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The Christmas season has officially begun, and I’m feeling a bit disjointed. This will be the third holiday season in waiting mode: living apart from a loved one while continuing to navigate new emotional territory in myself.

Those of you who don’t know me personally might have guessed by now that the relationship I’ve been writing about is indeed my marriage. My husband and I have been living separately for two and a half years. In the grand scheme of things, that span is barely a blip, but at times it seems like an eternity. This morning in Sunday school, we discussed patience and perseverance, and I’ve had plenty of practice with both! There is much that is unresolved and will take more time to work through, but God faithfully walks with me each day.

It seemed like a good time to reveal the nature of the relationship in progress, because I’d like to talk about Christmas movies – the cheesy romantic ones in particular. I’ve actually already watched several of them this season. For most who are living alone or struggling this time of year, the last thing they want to do is be reminded of what they’re missing, or that their situation is less than ideal. For me, however, it’s a pleasant distraction that offers a smidgen of hope that things can work out. Yes, I’m fully aware that it’s all just fluff, and real life is never fixed by a kiss under the mistletoe. Loose ends and troubles aren’t all neatly wrapped up in a big red bow within short time frames like they are in the movies. Real reconciliation and lasting love takes godly wisdom and tenacity.

No, I don’t rely solely on those sticky-sweet, unlikely story lines to give me hope. My hope is in Christ. When I’m feeling disjointed, I look to Him, trusting that He is active behind the scenes. None of this is a surprise to Him. In a way, each of us are in our own Christmas movie. Let me explain:

Many of the plot twists and story lines we find in chick flicks are similar to what happens with the Lord, such as the main characters disliking, ignoring or misunderstanding each other in the beginning. For instance, many folks these days celebrate Christmas while ignoring the reason behind it. Before we know God, we may not understand His character or believe what the Bible says about Him. Even once we do, we forget, or the antagonist of the story (the enemy of our souls) tries to convince us that God isn’t really as loving, trustworthy or perfect as His Word says He is. The angst and distrust between people make for interesting drama on TV, but in relation to God it’s a real spiritual battle.

Like a tentative couple in a movie, we walk snowy paths, spending time learning more about the Lord and getting to know who He is (minus the stolen smooches, of course!). Things go well, until complications arise and we wonder how this will all get sorted out. In the movies, it must happen within the final ten or fifteen minutes, but in our lives it may take hours, days, or even years, depending on how stubborn we are.

At some point, one of the characters often makes some grand or incredibly thoughtful romantic gesture to communicate their love. Of course, God already did that by sending Jesus to earth to die for our sins. It was the grandest gesture of all (Romans 5:8)!

In the end, with misgivings resolved and love professed and expressed in kind, the happy couple embraces, looking forward to a bright future of life together. Once we are reconciled through Christ by grace through faith, realizing and accepting God’s infinite love for us, there is a sense of wholeness, joy and peace as we are wrapped up in a spiritual embrace that assures the hope of eternal life (1 Peter 1:3-4).

How the Lord interacts with us is truly a holy romance. God has shown us His love in multiple ways; most amazingly by sending His Son, Jesus, to be born in Bethlehem, knowing He would eventually suffer and die on the cross in our place.

Here’s a poem I wrote in response to God’s pursuit of me:

“Holy Romance”

You have all eternity
to listen and care for me
Amazing love overflowing;
You wait so eagerly.
Who am I to deprive
my soul of all You give?
Holy romance of faith;
You’re the reason I live.
Longing for fellowship sweet;
help me leave all at Your feet.
Renew my mind, flood my heart.
Only in You am I complete.
May worldly chains be broken free
as You woo me by subtle charms;
Daily refreshing the Spirit in me,
’til in heaven, I run into Your arms.

4-18-03
©Ladeena Ashley

If you know the Lord, then you know how your story ends. Jesus rose from the grave so we could live forever with Him in perfect fellowship and love, in heaven. No cheesy Christmas movie can even begin to match that feeling. Until that day comes, we must keep looking to Him, trusting that all the broken parts are in His hands.

Sometimes I feel disjointed and often carried away by my emotions, but no matter how messed up life gets, or how drawn out the process, He ultimately holds my life together and all will work out the way it should, in His perfect timing. It’s taking a lot longer than two hours, but I’m okay with that because God walks with me and gives me strength (Philippians 1:6).

If you’re not sure how your story ends, look to God. He loves you, broken parts and all. Tell Him your misgivings, spend time with Him and trust Him with your life. Just don’t give up. Only God can truly fill that ache in your heart, and make you feel complete (Proverbs 3:5-6; Romans 15:13).

Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Ashley
2017 All Rights Reserved (blog content and photos)

Blessed To Be A Blessing

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Thank you, friends, for reading my humble blog! It is such a blessing to bless others, especially when I hear that a post encouraged someone. It’s why I keep writing.

In preparing this post, a simple thought came to me:

Thanksgiving and Christmas are closely linked – not just because of Black Friday, marking the beginning of the Christmas season – but they are also in the perfect order. One holiday is set aside to give thanks to God for how much we have, and the next is focused on sharing with others from that abundance, because God the Father gave His Son out of His abundance. For those who have gratefully accepted that free gift (Ephesians 2:8), the natural response is to give back to God by paying His grace and love forward to others. At Christmas, and all year long.

Here’s a poem I wrote last year about paying it forward:

“Blessed To Be A Blessing”

Counting blessings is just the start;
our grateful joy should be shared
freely with others, from the heart,
because for us no expense was spared.
God gave Himself through the Son
with a thousand good gifts beside.
Who are we to hoard what’s been done
or to embrace such foolish pride?
All we have, do, or will obtain
is from His endless supply of grace.
Faith in Jesus compels, even through pain
to give with a smile on our face.
For through every trial, His light will glow;
the Hope of our life expressing
His love, so that all may know
that we’re blessed to be a blessing!

5-6-16
©Ladeena Ashley

Although the two holidays seem to get lumped together through countless store sales and online Cyber Monday deals, let’s give Thanksgiving – and the Lord – the time they deserve. If you skip ahead, you may not fully appreciate and remember all you’ve been given. The more thankful our hearts, the deeper the joy in giving! That same cyclical “give and take, and give again” spirit can only grow stronger by maintaining an attitude of gratitude throughout the year; and no matter how hard you try, you can’t out-give God!

As I’ve mentioned before, there are many moments when it’s hard to be thankful. Life in this world seems to get crazier and more polarized by the minute. So instead of focusing on the problems, and what is lacking, I focus on the blessings I do have. Like the rose in my photo above, I find the beauty and blessings in (or after) the rain.

When counting my blessings in prayer each day, I always end up first listing them all out, naturally flowing into praying, “You are so good to me”, which then quickly turns to simply, “You are good”. Every second spent just reveling in God’s goodness uplifts my soul, propelling me to share my blessings with others (2 Corinthians 9:8). May it be the same for you!

“Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” Psalm 106:1

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Psalm 100:4

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Ashley
2017 All Rights Reserved (blog content and photos)

Frozen or Free?

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For some folks, this time of year is difficult. Hearts can feel as frozen and cold as the ground, and the crisp air can easily feel stinging instead of refreshing.

Several days ago, the northern Willamette Valley was graced with several inches of snow. It was beautiful, and still is; however the lingering cold front quickly turned a winter wonderland into dangerous conditions for travelers. It reminds me of a Christmastime in my not-so-distant past.

2003
My husband and I were visiting his family in Washington state for Christmas. It snowed while we were there. In fact, we were having so much fun with family members (some we rarely saw), that the decision was made to stay an extra day to romp in the deep snow. I remember talking with my father on the phone. He’d been especially vocal about wanting us to come back to Oregon and spend more time together. My dad was quite disappointed that we weren’t returning just yet; however we still ended the conversation on good terms.

About an hour into our journey home, Mom had called, asking me to phone when we arrived. We happily discovered that it had also snowed a bit there, so as I stood by our front door, looking at the other-worldly landscape, I called. She let me know that Dad had remained in bed all day, and had passed away peacefully in his sleep a few hours earlier. Mom had checked on him a few times before realizing the final time that he wasn’t breathing. This was three days after Christmas. Sadly, not everyone could make it to the funeral, due mostly to the hardened snow and ice that stubbornly coated the roads that whole week.

Thankfully, my father and I talked and spent time together during the months leading up to Christmas. He’d been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis (from inhaling fumes during a truck electrical fire) the previous year, and had been using oxygen for a few months, but it was still somewhat of a shock. Though I sort of regret not returning more quickly to see him for a few more moments, we had already talked things out the best we could, and I had shared my faith with him. We had made peace.

Sadly, some souls may not have had that privilege, and may muddle through the holidays with a palpable emptiness and bitter regrets. Many others try to ignore unresolved differences with estranged family or friends.

The good news is, we don’t have to live like that!

Hope & New Life
The gift of Christmas is for all time! Hope came in a manger, Jesus bore our sin and pain on the cross, and then the promise of a powerful new life sprang from the tomb!
Put another way, if we come to Him with hope and faith like a child, trusting that He knows and has taken on all of our sorrows and mistakes, then He creates beauty out of the ashes of our life!

No matter what you have been through, whom you have lost, or how badly you might feel things are messed up, there is ALWAYS hope, ALWAYS forgiveness and ALWAYS renewal available through Christ!

Forgiveness
If you have been hurt, just remember what Christ did for you. He endured pain and all kinds of temptations, ultimately taking the punishment for all of our screw-ups, on the cross. Our sins did not put Him there, but in awesome love, He willingly gave up His life for ours. Nothing anyone has done or could ever do will come close to that. We have forgiveness through Christ, so we must forgive others. Before we even come to the manger or “go tell it on the mountain” and offer praises, “if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you” (Mark 11:25).

If you get along with all of your family members, count yourself especially blessed! If that is not the case, do what you can to pursue reconciliation and patch things up. Just remember: In the end, you can only do what you can do. The rest is up to the Lord. We are each responsible for our own choices and ultimately accountable to Him.

In Summary…
All of us know folks who have lost loved ones. Show them extra patience and love.
If someone has hurt you, forgive them. (You’re really releasing yourself!)
If you hurt someone, ask for forgiveness. (Humble yourself by taking responsibility for your part.)
Like Jesus, they may reject us. Love them anyway. (1 John 4:11)
They may not accept forgiveness. Forgive them anyway. (Romans 12:20)
Don’t let the winter snow chill your heart. Let His love melt it and make a new start!

The greatest gift of Christmas is love.
Don’t wait! Claim it, embrace it and then double it by sharing it today!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

©Ladeena Ashley
2016 All Rights Reserved (content & blog photos)

More Than A Holiday

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As I’m typing this, my heart is light and I still feel absolutely giddy. Why? Because I just returned from serving once again at Simonka House! One of the blessings of Christmas is giving, but I get to give of myself every month! My co-minsters and I are real with our joys and struggles, which blesses the ladies; it is also an honor and blessing to share my poems that minister to their hearts and bolster their faith. It’s like Christmas all year-round!

My hope and joy comes from my relationship with my Savior who came down to earth, gave His all for me, and died and rose again so I could live. What I share with the women at Simonka springs from that glorious hope, a hope that began in creation and came to life in a lowly manger. If I didn’t believe that, then Christmas would be just another holiday.

Here is a new poem I wrote the other day about the true meaning of Christmas:

“More Than Cheer”

More than just a holiday
with twinkly lights aglow;
Santa, gifts and reindeer,
or the hope of Christmas snow.
Traditions we take part in
have a far deeper, joyful reason:
The origin of the hope and love
we celebrate this season.
Singing carols like the angels,
we’re heralding Christ’s birth;
Each chord once more proclaiming
His humble arrival on earth.
Bulbs and candles shining bright,
Light of Christ, and that of His star
which led the wise men of the East
on their journey from lands afar.
Then bittersweet sacrifice:
Red and white Shepherd’s canes…
His blood cleanses white as snow;
We’re healed by His stripes and stains.
Every brightly wrapped present
like the gift of God’s Son;
The greatest treasure of all:
new life offered to everyone.
Jolly Saint Nick and his sleigh,
reindeer and trusty elves
show teamwork and giving spirit,
serving others above ourselves.
Yes, not just another holiday,
Christmas brings more than cheer:
but abiding hope, deep joy and peace
and love that lasts the whole year.

12-4-16
©Ladeena Ashley

My prayer is that each of you think of the deeper meanings behind so many holiday traditions. Jesus is the Reason for the Season. We must all must honor the true meaning of Christmas and keep Him first in our hearts, because He loved us before we even knew Him! Share the Good News that is found during Christmas and throughout the year!

Note
I may not post much more this month, to give myself a breather (famous last words — the Lord may have other plans).

Faith Notes
Here is one of my absolute favorite Christmas songs: Joy (To the World) – by Avalon

Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Ashley
2016 All Rights Reserved (content & blog photos)

The Greatest Gift

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Thanksgiving is over, and we’ve survived “Black Friday”, “Buy Local Saturday” and “Cyber Monday”. As the Christmas season goes into full swing, everyone continues to shop for those “perfect gifts” for loved ones. I don’t know about you, but the pressure society places on buying and giving Christmas gifts – items that others may or may not even use or want – somewhat diminishes the holiday fun for me.

Those who know me know that I’m no Scrooge or Grinch. I do give gifts (sometimes I even make them), but just not always at Christmastime. My gift radar is active year-round. If I had to find gifts for all of my loved ones within a month, they would not only get less-than-inspiring presents, but I’d go broke in the process. Instead, items come home with me as I happen upon them throughout the year. Occasionally I don’t even wait until Christmas, birthday or some other special occasion. It’s partly out of excitement, but also because tomorrow is not promised, let alone Christmas. (Disheartening thought for a Christmas post, I realize, but there it is.) One of my favorite quotes is: “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late” (Ralph Waldo Emerson). Though it may not work for everyone, giving as I feel led is a true blessing!

Gift Options
What we give is just as important as when we give. Honestly, however, do we all really need more stuff? (I’m asking myself also.) Friends and family could likely live without some of what is given, thoughtful and useful as it may be. We are all so blessed; our “first world” holiday problems consist of scheduling conflicts, fighting traffic and discovering that “must-have item” has sold out. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to help the growing homeless population, the “working poor” in our communities and the needy abroad. Instead of that game console or gadget, for instance, a more meaningful, inspiring, life-giving gift could be purchased in a loved one’s name. Some ideas: buy a cow or sheep through Heifer International, help sponsor drilling a well in a remote African village, donate to the American Red Cross, or provide meals or socks to the Union Gospel Mission or another organization. Less clutter, no lines, and knowing you’ve helped someone in need…that feeling is priceless!

The Greatest Gift
The greatest gift of all, the One we celebrate this season, is Jesus Christ. He came down from Heaven and wrapped Himself in flesh to live with us – Emmanuel “God with us” – showing us how to love one another. It truly is “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), but His example goes beyond gift-giving: He gave His ALL for us. We should pass along this gift by giving sacrificially of ourselves: being “present” for others, caring and sharing our time and talents. While opening our pocketbooks is great, opening our hearts is equally or even more important: showing our love for Him by shining His light and hope into the world (Matthew 5:14-16). One should never underestimate the power of a hot meal, a hug or even a smile.

Here’s a simple poem I wrote about the greatest gift of all, Jesus:

“A Gift to Remember”

The greatest gift ever
was sent from above
Jesus our Savior,
the sacrifice of love.
Power for living
because of the cross.
Reminds the enemy
just Who is boss.
Eternal gift, Jesus
God’s only Son:
Victory is assured
– the battle has been won.
Death is conquered forever,
Hallelujah! Christ is King!
What a gift to remember,
for He gave His everything!

7-17-96
©Ladeena Ashley

Reason for the Season
Without Christ in the center, Christmas can easily become just another few days off from work, and a reason to shop, party and watch cheesy Christmas movies (guilty). I challenge you, even as I challenge myself: step away a bit from the commercialism of the holiday and pray for opportunities to share the true meaning of Christmas with everyone you care about. Let’s keep Christ in Christmas, and may His love shine through us all year!

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV).

Bah Humbug!
Just for fun, here is a brand new song by one of my favorite artists: Owl City
Humbug  (Note: Link will open in new window.)
The singer, Adam Young, has the same struggles with holiday shopping as I do! He has a fun way of expressing it, too.

©Ladeena Ashley
2016 All Rights Reserved (content & blog photos)

A Thanksgiving Poem

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It’s an earlier, shorter post this week. I’m giving myself a small break, and also wanted to leave more time open for you to spend with loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sitting here typing this, I’m basking in the glow of my laptop screen, of course, but I’m also enjoying the fruits of my labor on Saturday: I put up Christmas lights in the living room. Perhaps it was hasty of me, but it’s been increasingly gloomy outside and darker earlier. I needed a bit of cheer.

Giving God thanks for all He’s given to me also cheers me up. We’ve all been blessed with so much, but it can get overshadowed at times by the stresses and troubles of every day life. Struggles try to pull our attention away from the good – away from His goodness – and steal our joy. Don’t let it! (Psalm 42:11) Instead of counting yourself out, count on His strength and count your blessings! Trials are just blessings that you have to work a little harder for! (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

So, without further ado, here is a poem with a theme of thankfulness. Many of my poems speak of being thankful for this or that, but I actually wrote this one around Thanksgiving, several years ago.

“Thanks Be to God!”

With so many problems in our world,
our fears and worries mount;
It’s often difficult to pause –
our many blessings to count.
Thankfulness sows the seeds of joy,
so be grateful for all things;
Cheerful or blue, God loves you –
only the best for you He brings.
Give thanks for life, for guidance
through all that comes your way;
Good or bad, we can be glad
–praising God for every day.
Thank the Lord for family,
Praise the Lord for friends,
Give thanks for His enduring love
– a perfect love that never ends.

11-27-92
©Ladeena Ashley

Faith Notes
Here’s one of my all-time favorite songs: Every Good Thing – by The Afters
It is a joyful song of praise that always lifts my spirits, thinking of how good God is, and all He’s done in my life!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 (NIV)

“Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise You! I will praise You as long as I live, lifting up my hands to You in prayer.” Psalm 63:3-4 (NLT)

©Ladeena Ashley
2016 All Rights Reserved (content & blog photos)