Monday, May 31, 2010

I Need a Vacation


Do you ever feel like you need to get away?  I'm in great need of a vacation but since that's not going to happen for a while, I decided to do something different. 

Have you ever heard of a virtual vacation?  After all, I love to daydream. 

So, do you want to come along with me?  Let's 'hit the road' and find some fun places to visit on vacation.

(Photo Credit: Victoria)

Before we get started we have to eat right?  I'm always hungry.  When my niece Kristin and I travel together it's great because she's the same way.

(Victoria Magazine)

I love flowers.  Check out this scene in Nantucket.

(Away Network)

How about driving along the Coastal Highway?

(Coastal Living)

I think I'd like to stay here.  There's nothing like the sound of the ocean and the smell of the salt air.

(Coastal Living)

Oh my, what about this view?

(Coastal Living)

I could get into this!


(Coastal Living)

A relaxing bubble bath is definitely on the agenda for a virtual vacation.

(Coastal Living)

I think I'd like to sleep this close to the ocean front.

(Coastal Living)
Of course, this virtual vacation would include lots of sitting and talking and probably blogging.  I'd have plenty of fresh coffee, lemonade and sunblock as I burn easily.

You'd think I live on the ocean but no ...I live in the desert.

Maybe that's why I want my virtual vacation to be on the beach.

I hope you enjoyed our vacation.  I guess I better get back to reality now.


The Lord My Rock


I'm continuing to study Ann Spangler's "Praying the Names of God" and linking up with Jill of Forever N Ever N Always

This week our focus is on the LORD my Rock or Yahweh Tsuri.


Ann writes:

"Rocks provided shade, shelter, and safety in the wilderness and were used to construct altars, temples, houses, and city walls.  Heaps of stones were also used to commemorate important events in Israel's history.  God's commandments, given to Moses, were etched on stone so that all generations would learn his law.  The word "rock" epitomizes his enduring faithfulness."

No matter what appears to be happening in this world today, God's plans and purposes stand firm. 

I know I can depend on Him for ...He is faithful.

There is no Rock like our God.  1 Samuel 2:2

My husband's family name is Petras.  When we got married more than 25 years ago, I took his last name as mine.  I was thankful that it was a name that meant something. 

Petra is the Greek word for rock!

What a great word for God's protection, permanence and faithfulness!

Right now, I'm not sure what's going to happen in my life. 

Those of you who have read Heart Choices for some time know that I like to have my plan and to work my plan.  But how will I ever truly learn to depend on God as my Rock when I'm always trying to maintain control?

Do I really believe and pray to the Lord my Rock? 

It takes faith to believe.  When I am scared, I feel like Indiana Jones when he takes his leap of faith.  Do you remember this scene?



I'm not a fan of heights.  I like to have my feet planted firmly on the ground.

In the midst of uncertainty and fear, I make the heart choice to trust God as my Rock.

The Lord knows what's best for me.  He is reliable and faithful.  He holds me in the palm of His hand.

Are you willing to step out in faith and trust Him?

Blessings and love,

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Then Sings My Soul Saturday ~ Tribute to our Soldiers


It's Then Sings My Soul Satuday when I link up with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders.

As it is Memorial Day weekend, I wanted to share a video that honors our military troops.  So many have died to fight for freedom.  Many mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters have lost loved ones in battle. 

Casting Crowns sings "I Will Praise You in the Storm" as this video pays tribute to those who paid with their lives to fight for our freedom.


Blessings and love,

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend


As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, what comes to your mind?
  • The beginning of summer
  • Graduation time
  • Barbecues
  • Picnics
  • A three day weekend
  • Honoring our troops
Memorial Day is the day to remember the many men and women in the military who died in the service of our country.

The most recent military action involves Iraq and Afghanistan.  My good friend Lorraine's son Michael is serving in the Navy and has been in Iraq several times now.

In my teenage years, Vietnam was the war that impacted my generation.  I still remember Timmy Shelton of Lindenhurst, New York who died in that war.  His parents had a sign on their front lawn for all to see and I noticed it everytime I went to my friend Robyn's house.  It was so sad. 

My brother Steve enlisted in the Navy back in 1970.  My cousin Ken was in the Army and spent much time in Vietnam.  Thankfully, both of them came home.

My parents grew up during the time of World War II.

Recently, my husband and I had the opportunity to view the HBO 10 part miniseries called "The Pacific".  It was produced by Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman.  They followed the stories of three United States Marines during WWII in the Pacific. 

It was eye opening for me as I'd only heard the names of many of the places where the Marines fought including Peleliu, Guadalcanal and Okinowa.  But The Pacific drew me in quickly as I followed the true stories of the servicemen and their families. (I wanted to add a caveat.  This mini-series contains some strong language and is graphic in parts.  I wouldn't recommend that children watch this.)

I dislike war but I realize that there are times when it may be necessary.

My heart goes out to the families who have loved ones serving in the military today.  However, I am so thankful for them too.




Take a moment to see the preview of this amazing mini-series called "The Pacific".

As you celebrate Memorial Day, would you remember those who lost their lives in service to our country?

Blessings and love,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Word Filled Wednesday ~ Majestic


It's Word-Filled Wednesday and our host for this week is Susan of Forever His.

I took this photo in Flagstaff, Arizona.  I love looking up at the tall trees from this angle with the sun shining through. 

Psalm 8:1 came to my mind when I looked at this photo. 

Wednesday's Walk ~ Flagstaff

 

It's Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane and I'm linking up with Jenilee of The Goodwin Family blog.

Right now, I'm missing our mountain cabin.  Greg and I used to own a home in Flagstaff, Arizona.  We'd make the two hour drive every Friday after work and stay until early Monday morning.  We repeated this process for at least 10 years and ...loved it.

At that time we lived in a small townhouse in Phoenix, so the Flagstaff home was like our real home.  I even joined a church there.  It was such a great change of pace for us.  We had such fun hiking, fishing and riding our mountain bikes.

You've got to check out this view!  I never got tired of seeing it.  Notice the snow capped mountains.

This is the back of the house.  We loved sitting outside on the patio.  At night, the stars were so bright.  I remember reciting Psalm 19 as I gazed overhead.


I'd often find Greg sitting out back watching the ducks in the lake.  We took so many walks around this lake.

We even named the ducks!

Here's a glimpse inside the cabin.  

Greg was so proud of the wildflowers he planted from seeds.

This was our method of transportation when we were in Flagstaff.

And best of all; feast your eyes on the elk!
One year we had so many of them and a few even came and ate some of our flowers.

I really miss Flagstaff and the fun times we had.  The Phoenix weather is great in the winter time but I kind of missed the four seasons.  Driving two hours north to the high country allowed us to experience a whole different world. 

Blessings and love,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In Other Words Tuesday ~ The Church

It's In Other Words Tuesday and Tami of The Next Step is our host today.

The quote Tami chose for us to write about comes from a book I recently read called "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan.


As a believer, the Holy Spirit lives within me.  However, I must choose daily to yield my life to the Holy Spirit's control. 

I can obey the Holy Spirit or give in to my flesh.  My flesh will continue to struggle for control this side of eternity.

As I think about our churches where believers come together to worship and grow in their faith, many decisions are made in the wrong way.  Committees are formed and conferences on church growth are attended. 

But have we forgotten that if each one of us yields to the control of the Holy Spirit we have all we need to change the church ...one heart at a time?



If you are a believer, the Holy Spirit has given you a gift to use for the common good.  They are chosen for us by God.

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit."  1 Corinthians 12:4
"Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good." 1 Corinthians 12:7
"All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines." 1 Corinthians 12:11

What would happen if we really believed this and lived it out each day?



I believe the world would see something quite different than they may be seeing today.

As individual people live Spirit-filled lives, change would happen in the church.  My desire is that the world would take notice and see that difference and ask why. 

May they know us ...by our love.

Blessings and love,


Monday, May 24, 2010

Graduation Celebration for Julie

Yesterday, we celebrated the high school graduation of our niece Julie Fletcher.  She is Greg's sister Amy's daughter.  Family and friends gathered at the Fletcher house to wish Julie congratulations. 

Uncle Greg interviewed Julie to new learn more about her plans for the future.  Julie has been accepted into Arizona State University's Herberger Institute for Design and Art.  She will be living on campus in the fall so it's an exciting time for her. 

Btw, I recently wrote about Julie's artwork here.   So feel free to go back and read it if you missed it. :)

I put together a little Smilebox with a few of the photos from her graduation celebration party.

Click to play this Smilebox greeting: Julie's Graduation
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Congratulations Julie ~ We love you!


Monday Morning ~ Lord of Hosts


I continue to study Ann Spangler's book "Praying the Names of God" and linking up with Jill of Forever N Ever N Always.

This study has been such perfect timing for me.  I tend to focus on the challenges in my life.  My eyes gaze at all that needs to be done or simply  ...how can I get out of this?

Did you notice the "I" in that last one?

This morning I was reading about God as the Lord of Hosts or Yahweh Tsebaoth.  This title "emphasizes God's rule over every other power in the material and spiritual universe". 

Have you ever considered that all creation serves God's purposes?

The Scripture that contains this reference is found in 1 Samuel 17:45-46.  I'm sure you all remember the story of David and Goliath.
But David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defiled.  This very day the LORD will deliver you into my hand."

Can you just picture little shepherd David yelling this up to the giant Goliath?

(Photo Credit: Backpew Greetings)


David even refused King Saul's bronze helmet, armor and sword.  He simply wasn't used to wearing all of this. 

David's experience was as a shepherd herding and protecting his sheep.  The Lord had delivered him from the paw of the lion and the paw of a bear.  This past experience provided David with the confidence and faith that God could deliver him no matter how big and strong Goliath appeared.

I don't know about you.  But I'm not so sure I would have displayed the courage of David if I were in his shoes. 

My Goliath's are different but ...are they really?

What kind of Goliath's are you facing today?
  • Loss of a job
  • Financial stress
  • Loss of a home
  • Health issues
  • Disobedient children
  • Marriage problems
  • Spiritually mismatched relationships
  • Constant fatigue
  • Depression
Are you willing to call on the name of the LORD of hosts in the midst of your personal challenges?

There is great power in the name Yahweh Tsebaoth; LORD of hosts. 

Ann writes that this name "occurs more than 240 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, reminding us that all of creation, even in its fallen condition, is under God's rule and reign".

Remember how faithful God has been to you in the past?

Will you make the choice to display the confidence and faith of a David against your Goliath? 

Are you willing to trust the Lord of hosts today?

Blessings and love,


Saturday, May 22, 2010

It Is Well With My Soul


It's Then Sings My Soul Saturday when I link up with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders.
 
This week my focus has been on God as my Peace or Shalom.
True peace isn't the absence of problems.
Peace can only come through an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ.
 
I choose the song "It Is Well With My Soul". 
Bill Gaither begins this video by sharing the story behind this song that was written so many years ago.  
Horatio Stafford was still able to say the words "it is well with my soul" despite losing so much.
 


Is it well with your soul?

Blessings and love,

Friday, May 21, 2010

Flashback ~ Lindenhurst High School Reunion

Friday Photo Flashback
It's Friday Photo Flashback when I link up with Alicia of More Than Words.

Today I'm going back to 1991 and it was my 20 year high school reunion.  Yes, you read that right.  I graduated from Lindenhurst High School in 1971 before many of you were even born. :)

The day before the reunion I got together with several of my girlfriends for lunch at Maryjane's house. 
We had so much to catch up on. 
From left to right: Maryjane Mazzapelle, Lois Copozzi, JoAnn Hoza, me and Donna Lorelli.
Yes, there were so many Italians in my school. After all, it was Long Island.

This photo was taken at the evening reunion event. 
Maryjane is with her high school boyfriend and yes, he's been her hubby for more than 30 years.  They are now grandparents.
Lynn Jaeger is next to Lois and I'm on the end.
They were getting us ready for the group photo.  I think I was trying to tell my husband Greg to take a picture too.  All I can say is that after that night, I could barely talk.  But it was worth it since I had such a good time.
Next year is going to be our 40th reunion!
Let me assure you; time goes by soooo fast ...

Am I a kid or what?

Am I a kid or what?

I love this place...Carmel, CA

I love this place...Carmel, CA