Sunday Poetry: Healing From Above

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The day is ripe with sun-laid gold
And blessings near yet to unfold.
From God above who feels my pain
And delivers hope, once again.

Amidst the thorn-bush, He does bless
With roses, sweet, in which it’s dressed.
In skies of blue, and meadows green,
His love and mercy can be seen.

Forsaken not, I feel Him near
In morning dew, mixed with my tears.
For here I stand, in weakened frame,
Wrapped in dawn’s warmth, I’m not the same.

With heart so true and full of love,
He sends blessed healing from above.

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Have a blessed Sunday, Dear Friends

ღ Skye ღ

Photography & Poetry:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Just Don’t Throw a Fish at Me……..Cheesecake Will Do.

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Me–still asleep, trying to find a glimpse of motivation within as the music begins.

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Me–Yelling at the computer that it really is entirely too early.

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Me–Giving it my all…like a trained seal…waiting for the end and my reward.

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There is a voice I hear that gets me moving–a voice that, as soon as I hear it, makes my ears perk up and my feet move into action. The owner of that voice is a woman on youtube.com that tells me to, “Pick up the pace. Lift my legs higher. Reach taller. March faster.”  I have watched her so many times that I have become like a trained seal. I follow along knowing each step and wait for my reward at the end as, in a calming voice, she tells me to, “Breathe in. Breathe out. Relax. You did it!”

The women I am referring to is my on-line walk instructor–a perky woman about my age and height that I thoroughly enjoy and who is helping me to regain my strength and get back in shape. I hate exercising for the most part, especially since the pain within my body has grown worse, but I hear her voice, and I dutifully move into action. There are many other workout experts on-line to choose from, but she is the only one that my exercise-hating body will get off the couch for and follow.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Isaiah 30:21

During my lifetime, I have been guilty of following many people’s voices. Prior to coming to know the Lord, it was a daily occurrence; after coming to know the Lord, His voice was all I wanted to hear, but the clamoring for my attention still raged on from many other sources.  It took a long time to be able to hone my listening skills, and I am quite sure I miss His voice or drown it out regularly still. The voices in my head (no I am not crazy) never really quieted–fear and self-doubt talk still abound daily and can drown out any positive affirmations I try to ponder, but through taking the time to listen for that still, small voice that sounds more pleasing than any other, I can find His way and walk in it. It takes patience; it takes practice, and it takes a willingness to slow down and listen.

But you will not leave in haste
    or go in flight;
for the Lord will go before you,
    the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
Isaiah 52:12

I tend to get ahead of myself when things are offered to me that seem appealing, or I tend to run and hide when things seem impossible that are asked of me. The problem with either response is that I am focusing on “me”, my desire or my fear is driving me and either getting me off the couch too quickly or keeping me tied to it. When I listen to the wrong voices in my mind, I inevitably make the wrong choices. So, I am teaching myself to slow down and listen. Through Scripture readings, prayer, Godly friends, nature, and just about anything, really, I hear His voice speaking if I just listen. It is  a matter of realizing that He goes before me and hems me in from behind, but I must not act in haste. I must listen for the voice I long to follow.

 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

Isaiah 30:21 says that God will show us the way in which to walk. Jesus, my precious Lord and Savior is the only way–the truth and the life. Knowing intimately the person of Jesus Christ through spending time with Him is the only way to begin to hear that voice. Just by familiarizing yourself with Him, you begin to quicken your ears to His spirit. We all have that voice speaking to us, we just have to listen, but we need to know Him so we can recognize the voice as His. My daughter does not like my favorite exercise guru’s voice, so she is turned off by her and does not want to listen to her.   It will always be my prayer that my children, family and friends are never turned off by Jesus’ precious voice–the one leading each one of us off the couch and into the wonderful adventure called life He has prepared for each of us.

Begin each day spending time getting to know Him; reap the rewards of listening to Him and not the voices of the day because you recognize what He sounds like. Nothing in this world will ever be more important or sound as sweet than hearing what He is trying to say to you.

Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

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Photography & Devotional:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Conversations

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Over the last few years, my life has changed in many different ways. Major losses and changes in my life, coupled with health issues that are demanding much of my attention, have left me asking God many questions:  “Why did/do You let this happen?” “Why are You allowing this to touch my life?”

“Why?”

Through many long conversations with God, I used this summer to re-evaluate my relationship with Him. Growing more and more quiet with my blog and even the friends around me, I have taken the time to ask the big questions of God and search for answers. Turns out His answer to all my “Why’s” is a loud “Why not?”  In His answer, He showed me how “me-centered” my questions have always been. My “Why’s” have always taken my eyes off Jesus and put them solely on me. In doing so, I could only see my current problem or issue not the prize of Jesus Christ throughout each woe.

As I spent more and more time with the Lord over the last few months, opportunities were beginning to present themselves. My questions were turning from “Why’s?” to “How’s?”:  “How can I possibly teach children when my body hurts so much?”  “How can I become a ministry leader in my church when I am so hopelessly imperfect?” “How will I not fail?” “How do I not see what You or others seem to see in me?”

“How?”

Once again, my questions were the wrong ones. Totally focused on me, this time on my own power to perform, strength to carry out, and ability to understand, I was not factoring in the strength and power of my Lord and Savior to bring about in me all that He has called me to do. In my never ending “How?” questions, I was forgetting that the answer was Him all along once again.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
~Philippians 3:13-14

Exhausted, at the end of my rope, and sick of trying to figure it all out,  I have changed my question. My new question is “What?”: “What do you have for me, despite the pain in my body, what do you want me to do?”  “What do you want me to learn from what is happening now?” “What can I do to glorify You through this experience.” “What’s next, Dear Lord?”

“What?”

My “What?” question takes my eyes off of me and puts them squarely back on Him. No matter what I face, if I turn it back to the Lord and simply ask Him, “What now?”, I can take that next breath as I search for what He holds for me in the next moment. I do not remain stuck in regret, fear, and anguish; I move ahead towards the prize.

I have realized that, because I am a child of God and I call Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior, at the moment of my death, I will be with Him. It is then and there that my “Why’s” will be answered. It is there that all things will be made clear.  In the here and now, my question of Him will only be, “What now, Lord?”

Pain and suffering in this life is so hard to look beyond sometimes, but if we can keep the reward of eternal life in our sight at all times, our questions will always be the right ones. Truly, the only “Why me?” question that should be on our lips is when we realize our absolute unworthiness to be saved at all and that in our unworthiness, Christ died for us.

Again, I thank you for your patience with me. I am humbled that any of you read me at all since I have been so absent. Your friendship, readership and thoughts are a blessing to me that I cherish.

Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

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Photography & Devotional:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Wordless Wednesday: None of My Words (but many of my feelings and experiences) About and With Depression

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“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”

― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”

― Laurell K. Hamilton

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“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”

― C.S. Lewis

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“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.

Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”

― Stephen Fry

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“Listen to the people who love you. Believe that they are worth living for even when you don’t believe it. Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future. Be brave; be strong; take your pills. Exercise because it’s good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you. Reason with yourself when you have lost your reason.”

― Andrew Solomon

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 I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.

 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.

 He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

~Psalm 40:1-3

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Photography:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Please say it isn’t so…..

Rub the lamp....make a wish

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I could not hide the tears. I tried to, but what I just read was too much. As I blurted out, “No, it cannot be! Please say it isn’t so!” the words hung in the air. An explanation was needed–one of our favorite actors had done the unthinkable; yes, Robin Williams (a/k/a The Blue Genie in Aladdin or Theodore Roosevelt or countless other roles) has passed away. What makes it all the harder was it was by his own hand.

How I wish I could protect my little ones forever from the harsh realities of life. As my littlest looked at me with her big eyes and asked, “What is suicide?” my heart broke inside. In all honesty, I do not want my children to even know that suicide is a possibility; it is so unthinkable. But, a teachable moment was presented to my family, and through tears, I walked through the door with them.

Trying to explain to happy children that someone could feel so alone, ashamed, or desperate, that they see the only way out as taking their own life is a hard thing to do. I explained to them that, “God loves each one of you very much, but sometimes things in life get so difficult that it may be hard to feel that love. That is when we have to hang on even tighter–when we do not feel it.  For it is in those times that the devil, who would love nothing more than to get you to the point of thinking death would be better than the life you are living, will try to gain a foothold. Thoughts of suicide are from the pit. God, the giver of your life, wants you to live it and live it to the fullest; and when things get bad, He wants you to hold on to the Truth–the Truth is the only thing that can drown out the voice in your head–that lie from the pit that death is an option. Dear Mr. Williams listened to the wrong voice and believed the lie. Satan is rejoicing this evening as God and His angels weep.”

We remembered him afterwards–for the many times his voice made us laugh or the times his character made us think. I especially remembered a commercial he was in recently for the iPad Air. You can click the link to listen. Every time the commercial came on, my children knew they needed to be quiet because mom would listen and tear up. His words haunt now as I listened this evening.

I am sure I do not have to say this, but I will anyway.  Please keep his family and many friends in prayer. I cannot imagine what they are going though. My prayer, too, would be that parents everywhere will take this opportunity to sit with their children to let them know that Satan is out there prowling and waiting to feed them his lie–that life, when it gets too hard, is not worth living….that there is a way out. No!!! God is always our way out! No matter how bad things get! Trust me–I know! Yes, my prayer is that we speak it boldly to them so that they can draw on those words in their darkest hours should they come. For friends or family who seem to be sinking deeper and deeper, I pray we have that same boldness before a call comes that it is too late. Depression, hopelessness is curable–God is the cure.

Robin….Dear Robin….I thank you for the many hours of laughter and sheer enjoyment you gave me personally as I watched your amazing talent. I will never forget you, and you will forever remain one of my favorites. I pray that you are resting in our Father’s arms….safe, sound, whole and at peace. You are loved this night and always.

ღ Skye ღ

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Devotional & Photography:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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And then the sun rose…..

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For most of my life, I felt like I was waiting for something. As a child, I was convinced that when I was a teenager and could drive, my life would be complete. When I started driving and that was not the answer to the stirring inside, I knew that when I landed my perfect job, I would be whole. Empty, I waited for the perfect man to come along, and as that still left desires churning within me, children would surely be the answer. Four children later, I felt complete in some ways, but still a desperation for more churned. My answer was yet to come.

“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11

Even after becoming a Christian, I had yet to learn the full understanding of being content in the here and now and not looking to some future event or addition to my laundry list of “things needed” to be complete. How I long to instill in my children early that their seeking is in vain if they are looking in all the wrong places. What a gift it would be to live a life with that understanding early on. I find, though, in today’s world, it is a difficult lesson to teach. With everything under the sun clamoring for their attention and creating a noise that drowns out the Creator, it is a daily challenge to keep the truth of Isaiah 58:11 ever before them—and myself for that matter. I still find myself waking in the dark of the night or stopping in my tracks in middle of my day as the old struggles crop up in my head once more.

Recently, I was baptized along with the rest of my amazing family. It was one of the most spectacular days of my life. The pain that has plagued my arms and legs seemed to disappear in the cold water as each of us made this outward sign of what is going on within our hearts. The rest of the day was filled with peace and purpose, hugs and kisses. And then Monday came. Like a lion, the day brought in all of its issues, problems, distractions, and pulling desires with a giant roar. Each one of us could feel the pull even stronger. It was as if Satan himself was so mad over our day that he determined to make his anger known.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8

Looking back on that day, I believe that I went into those waters thinking that life would be different somehow once I emerged. Surely after eighteen years of waiting to be baptized, all the hard stuff would suddenly be easier and Satan would be kept at bay. Ah, my delusional mind amazes me sometimes. In truth, it feels like life got harder immediately. I do feel like a veil was removed from my heart and mind and a new vigilance was born–a warlike feeling to fight to keep the significance and special feeling of that day alive. And it is a battle.  Daily, I fight to keep our attention towards God.

When we went under the water, we identified with Christ’s death. When we emerged, we identified ourselves with His resurrection. Even though it was one of the best days of my life, the sun did set on that special day, and the sun rose to reveal that life goes on. The struggles that are common to all man will still plague my family and me. All of us will face daily distractions and desires that will try and pull us away—things that can cause us to feel dissatisfied with the amazing gifts He has given. Guarding the joy of my salvation and baptism is key to not allowing daily life to rob my joy. Thankfulness and prayer is even more important now as the devil works even harder to create discontentment.

It is my prayer for all of us that we remember to be alert and of sober mind. Drawing from the wells of this world as Satan tries to woo us will never satisfy the soul. It is only when we draw from the living waters of Jesus Christ that we will be satisfied. Daily calling out to Him in humble thanksgiving and prayer, we can begin to know true contentment as He honors our prayers.

As always, you are daily in my prayers, Dear Friends. Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

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Devotional & Photography:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Submerge…..Emerge

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Hello, Dear Friends.

I have missed being here very much. It feels good to try and write to you today. Some health issues have kept me away. My body is not behaving in a way that makes it easy to concentrate, type, or write for extended periods of time. I have never appreciated the gift of pain-free living more than I do right now. Pain truly does take your mind off writing and causes you to focus on the “just getting through the necessities of the day.” With homeschooling gearing up and trying to still make this a special summer to remember for the kids, I have not had much left at the end of the day to give. All this to say, it is very good to feel well enough to be able to type something to you this morning. As healing is beginning, I hope to make a full return quickly.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38

Tomorrow will be a very special day in my family’s life. We are all being baptized! As I type those words, I am filled with joy unspeakable. I have waited for this day for a very long time, but have erred in my thinking on it for years. Finally, through my year with this blog and truly growing closer to the Lord each day, I have realized my erroneous thinking.

For years, I have waited for the “right time” to take this step. In vanity, I said no because I was either too pregnant or too heavy to even think about being submerged by a poor soul who had to try to get me back up after being submerged. Or, I was not in a good place in my spiritual walk with the Lord: not praying enough, not spending enough time with Him, not walking perfectly beside Him. Excuse after excuse, I waited and hoped for that right time to come.

“…having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.”
Colossians 2:12

Well, eighteen years after asking Jesus into my heart, I have finally and happily realized that there is no such thing as a “perfect time” and that the error in my thinking has kept me from a most beautiful and obedient step of faith. You see, this is not about me reaching a certain place (or weight or health goal) or me holding a certain level of satisfaction in God’s eyes over my performance as a Christian. This is about me saying publicly, “Thank You, Dearest Jesus, for all you did on the cross for me! Thank you that I can come here today and stand in these waters and know I am imperfect but dearly loved in my imperfection! Thank you that my sins can no longer separate me from You and that nothing….NOTHING….can pluck me out of your precious hands!”  It is also me saying publicly, finally, to all the folks around me that I believe! I believe in the cross, I believe in God the Father, and I believe in Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death for me!

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
Galations 3:26-27

Foolish pride, health, fear, self-condemnation, kept me for far too long from this amazing day, but I do believe that God redeems and works all things out for good. Now, I get to share my joy with you! I also get to covet your prayers, if you would be so kind. Pain is a scary thing when you are talking about climbing into a pool and being submerged under water. I would love to have your prayers that any pain that surfaces tomorrow would not hinder my own experience or the joy I will feel as my family experiences their own very special day. I know that my health challenge has grown more and more as I draw closer to God–Satan seems to truly want to draw my mind into the pit with him.  Tomorrow, as I proclaim to heaven and earth that I am a follower of my Precious Lord, I want to be able to praise the Lord, too, for the day’s victory over any strongholds that Satan tried/tries to put in place to ruin this moment. I know He will be faithful to those prayers.

I want to thank each of you for sticking with me and my blog through this absence from your blogs and writing on my own during this particularly difficult season of life. Please believe me when I say it is not for lack of want. I still hold you in my prayers daily even though I am a bit behind the scenes right now. Prayer will always hold joy indescribable for me–praying for folks across the world is a gift that I cherish.

Thank you, again!!  Much love sent to you all, my Dear Friends!

ღ Skye ღ

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Devotional & Photography:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Sunday Poetry: Sweet Rose Fair

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Behold the beauty of God’s fragrant rose ~
See subtle winds brushing petals there.
Gently, in Love’s garden she grows,
Quiet as the whispered prayer.
Carefully, each hue chose,
And the perfumed air ~
In these, He shows
Love’s great care.
Sweet rose,
fair.

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Poetry & Photography:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Wordless Wednesday: None of My Words About…….Living

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“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”
― John Wesley

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“Go forth today, by the help of God’s Spirit, vowing and declaring that in life—-come poverty, come wealth, in death—come pain or come what may, you are and ever must be the Lord’s. For this is written on your heart, ‘We love Him because He first loved us.’”
~ Charles H. Spurgeon

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“Jesus first, others next, and yourself last spells J-O-Y.”
― Linda Byler

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“Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us—a crucified God—must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world.”
― John Piper

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“God can enter into me, even me, and use these hands, these feet, to be His love, a love that goes on and on and on forever, endless cycle of grace.”
― Ann Voskamp

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When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
~John 8:12

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Photography

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Wordless Wednesday: None of My Words About…..Summer!

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“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

― Henry James

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To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie -
True Poems flee.
~Emily Dickinson

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Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all’s right with the world.
~Ada Louise Huxtable

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I question not if thrushes sing,
If roses load the air;
Beyond my heart I need not reach
When all is summer there.
~John Vance Cheney

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I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days — three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.
~John Keats

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There is something deep within us that sobs at endings. Why, God, does everything have to end? Why does all nature grow old? Why do spring and summer have to go?
~ Joe Wheeler

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It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
    you made both summer and winter.
~Psalm 74:17

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Photography

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Sunday’s Poetry: Cracked and Broken

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There is a pain that rages strong,
A sorrow hidden in my soul.
A thin façade, worn all day long,
My masquerade to hide heart’s hole.

Behind the makeup of a clown,
A vessel cracked by life’s sorrows~
Painted smiles to hide the frowns
That return with every morrow.

But through each cracked and broken place,
One longs to shine His light and heal.
To remove the mask from my face,
Grant solace from the pain I feel.

Gently He lifts this shattered soul,
And whispers softly over me.
With words so kind, He fills me whole;
Overflowing, I can share with thee.

Just a vessel, a jar of clay,
Held together by the Potter’s love.
Cracked and broken, I’ll survive each day,
Illumined with Light from above.

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But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10

Poetry & Photography

Bible Verse: Biblegateway.com

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Wordless Wednesday: None of my words about…..Silence

 

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True silence is the rest of the mind;
it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body,
nourishment and refreshment. 

~William Penn

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You can hear the footsteps of God
when silence reigns in the mind. 
~Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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He who does not understand your silence
will probably not understand your words. 
~Elbert Hubbard

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We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…. We need silence to be able to touch souls.  ~Mother Teresa

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Soon silence will have passed into legend.  Man has turned his back on silence.  Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation… tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego.  His anxiety subsides.  His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation.
~Jean Arp

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We listen too much to the telephone and we listen too little to nature. The wind is one of my sounds. A lonely sound, perhaps, but soothing. Everybody should have his personal sounds to listen for—sounds that will make him exhilarated and alive, or quiet and calm… As a matter of fact, one of the greatest sounds of them all—and to me it is a sound—is utter, complete silence.
~André Kostelanetz

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God’s poet is silence! His song is unspoken
And yet so profound, and so loud, and so far,
That it thrills you and fills you in measures unbroken—
The unceasing song of the first morning star….
~Joaquin Miller

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It is good that a man should both hope
and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:26

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Photography

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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A Poem for Independence Day

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From my window, I see her there
Gently waving in summer’s breeze;
Her stars and stripes my reminder
Of the birth of our liberties.

Majestically her red does wave;
A symbol of blood that’s been shed.
The brave, the tried, the true–they fought
For this emblem of our heart they bled.

White’s innocence and purity
Represents each heart that believed
That God above all else be served;
 Now to worship, we are free indeed.

Oh, stars of white against night’s blue
As in the sky, God placed them there;
A divine reminder of His love,
His providence, wisdom, and care.

Old Glory raised high in the air
 Waving proudly over this land,
Brings thankfulness to my heart today
 for God’s country in which it stands.

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Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans.
I hope your holiday weekend is blessed.

To my other dear friends,
May your weekend be quite blessed, as well.

Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

Photography and Poetry:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

Bible Verse: Courtesy of Bible Gateway

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Wordless Wednesday: None of My Words on the Deep Blue Sea

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“The sea, once it casts its spell,
holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
— Jacques Yves Cousteau, Oceanographer

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“I have seen the sea when it is stormy and wild;
when it is quiet and serene; when it is dark and moody.
And in all its moods, I see myself.”
— Martin Buxbaum

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“There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent. “
— Dave Barry, Writer

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“Man cannot discover new oceans
unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
— Andre Gide, Writer

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“My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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© Skye Alexander, 2014

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“The sea hath no king but God alone.”
— Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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“Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,”
— Psalm 148:7

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Photography by Skye Alexander, All Rights Reserved

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When God lives in your heart, there is NO place like home…..

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When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who watch over my way….
I cry to you, Lord;

I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
Psalm 142:3 & 5

Well, I am home from my week-long visit back to where I grew up. I am so happy to be here at my table overlooking my pond and flowers, typing to you all once more. As I begin to read posts again and pray about what to write myself, I can feel my spirit lifting; I find a piece of me awakens with each post read and prayer whispered, and I am renewed and at peace once more.

My trip north was an interesting one. It was so good to see friends and family, but it was not without its challenges. I knew it would be hard to walk into some situations, much prayer went ahead of me as I traveled. As I suspected, the tensions were present, and it was all I could do not to crumble under the weight of them. I could feel Satan lying in wait for me at many a turn. There were many opportunities to allow hostility, frustration, tears, and regrets to become a stronghold in my heart leading to unforgiveness and a hardened heart; Satan knew this full well.

I will not say that I was 100% successful in my attempts to thwart his fiery darts. A few days, by nightfall, I climbed into bed feeling defeated, angry, sad, and all the emotions that God would not want me to be experiencing; regardless of that knowledge, I would swim in the bucket of tears and swirling thoughts anyway and drift off to a restless type of slumber.

One morning, when I was missing the peace of my window back home so badly, I stopped and looked around. There I sat in the home of where I was staying and reminded myself that God was still with me even though my place of refuge looked different. In this little alcove (pictured above), I was reminded of the truths of the Psalmist’s words.

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
    I look in triumph on my enemies.
Psalm 118:6-7

I began to pray daily in this special place that He would give me the strength needed to approach each day with His peace and comfort–the kind only He can provide. I became acutely aware in those precious morning moments how my witness was being tested there amongst those who truly needed to see the Lord living within me. I was also brought to my knees in those moments as I realized that, within my own strength, this visit could be a royal disaster instead of a divine appointment.

Through the eyes of faith, I was able to approach each day in the best way possible.  Armed with His strength and His wisdom, I would set out praying through each moment. When times got tough, I would slip away (if only in my mind not physically) and meet with Him to draw from His well once more. Knowing I could not force changes in anyone, through God’s power, I walked in a way that was worthy of all the blessings He has bestowed in my life rather than in the hurt I was feeling. My prayer was that eyes would be opened to His goodness and changes would begin; it is still my prayer as I sit hundreds of miles away.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

I was tempted during my trip to go back to my old ways; I was tempted to take a path that would lead me far from my heart’s home–my Heavenly Father’s realm that lives in my heart. In an alcove each morning, He provided a way out for me–a gentle reminder of Who is in charge of my every day if only I give Him the authority.

In hindsight, many blessings occurred during my time away. A drawing closer in a difficult relationship and a deepening of that love. Where Satan could have celebrated, his plans were squashed. My desire was a soft and gentle heart, God was faithful to provide one for me as I drew close to Him.  Truly, there is no place like home when He is living in your heart.

Much love sent to you all…….

ღ Skye ღ

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Photography and Devotional:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

Bible Verse: Courtesy of Bible Gateway

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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And from the backseat, there came a voice…..

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From here……

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To here……

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Piece o’ cake

Right?

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“Are we there yet?” As I sit and prepare mentally for the drive ahead of us today, the words are already ringing in my ear, “Momma, are we almost there?”  It actually makes me giggle at the beginning of the trip to hear–the record was fifteen minutes into a thirteen hour drive. After the eleventh hour and way too many miles, it then grows wearisome to hear. Try as I may to comfort my passengers with talk of our final destination and how great it will be, we now move into the bolder and a bit louder statement part of the ride, “I am bored. I am hungry. I am bored AND hungry. Oh! And thirsty. Yes! Thirsty, too. Are we there YET????”

On one particularly long journey back home, the normal seven-hour trip was turned into an eleven-hour haul because of New York traffic. As soon as I saw the miles and miles of red brake lights ahead of me, I knew I was in trouble. I decided to once again try to comfort my kiddos with chit chat. We talked about New York and what it was like growing up there. My daughter asked me if New York was as dangerous as her friends in the country seem to think it is. I was in the middle of giving my answer when a huge sign overhead announced we were at Arthur Kill Road. At the same moment, a truck passed us with a humongous advertisement on the side of it.  There was a small bug holding a rather large gun that was made to look like it was about to shoot us. Well, my kids went into hysterics. “Even the bugs are dangerous in New York!  Make sure you avoid Arthur on HIS road at all costs!!!”  They were snorting and laughing for the remaining three hours making up all different stories that made the movie, A Bug’s Life, look boring.

Ahhhhh, in this final, slow-moving leg of our trip, my kids were truly enjoying the journey on the way to their amazing destination (being spoiled at Grandma’s), as was their mother listening to the hysterics. Somehow, the journey became as memorable as the destination’s memories in the annals of time.

As I sat and began to pray for our trip, I started to realize how very much this is true of life, as well. Heaven is our final destination–that marvelous place promised to all who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior awaits! But, there is life to navigate prior to arriving on Heaven’s sunny shores–there is a journey to get there. Fraught with things that test our patience and threaten to make us turn around and choose a different route, it is here where our rubber meets the road; it is here that God tests us, refines us, shapes us, loves us, and prepares us for when we shall finally arrive home.

Since this was my devotion time, I looked back over the pages of my journal. There, I found a woman who sounds a lot like the kids in the back seat at times. “Lord, are we almost there yet? I am so hungry (for more of You). I am thirsty (dry in spirit, quench me, Lord). This trip is toooooo hard, Lord! I think I may surely die (ok, I am a drama queen–yes–but it’s MY private journal)!” (And yes, my daughter used that one on our last trip–I still giggle about it).

“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
~Philippians 3:12-14

The Apostle Paul lays out our destination as the goal, our prize. It is towards this upward call that we are journeying daily. How often do I want to just race towards that finish line and get to those gates instead of pressing on and pressing through in a way that I do not miss all the blessings He has for me along the way? I am sure more often than I would like to admit.

A highway will be there, a roadway,
And it will be called the Highway of Holiness.
~Isaiah 35:8

Life is hard. Detours, accidents, and things that slow us down and try our patience, do get in the way and tend to turn our ‘praise’ prayers into ‘whiny kids in the backseat’ prayers. When my kids took their minds off their perceived misery and started enjoying life around them, the journey was sweet and memorable. I want my life journey to be the same way. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the ride as we press on towards the goal. In the midst of any misery, we can still grab hold of a funny moment or a friendly smile and cherish the blessing as we press through. God is on the journey with us; I believe that how we journey is equally important to God as the end result of us reaching our destination because it is on that journey that we learn about Him and ourselves.

Next time I start the, “Are we there yet?????” whining song with God, I think it best I picture Him looking at me through the review mirror asking me if He needs to pull the car over. Once I stop with my poor backseat attitude, I can travel down the road of grace that He leads me down happily making memories along the way home.

Well, with attitude now in check, I bid you a fond farewell.  Actually, that may or may not be true. I am not sure what this trip will hold or how much time it will afford me to write or read blogs. Please know you will be thought of and prayed for, as usual!  I will be checking my email for prayer requests, so please do not ever hesitate to write. Prayer is an amazing part of a vacation.  I will see you soon, Lord willing.

Much love to you all…….

ღ Skye ღ

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Photography and Devotional:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

Bible Verse: Courtesy of Bible Gateway

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Thankful Thursday: Fragrance ~ Finding My Own

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When I was a brand-new Christian, I took a look around at the other Christians surrounding me. Each one seemed to have it so together:  heading up committees, singing in choirs, public speaking (horrors), sharing with non-believers to draw more people to the kingdom. Oh, how I longed to be like them. For many long years, a life of striving to fit in took up much of my time. The bondage I had myself in to become like other Christians was keeping me from the one thing I needed to do to bloom in my own garden.

And ye shall seek me, and find me,
when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

This Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for my own fragrance. From a green bud wrapped way too tight, to one that began to show glimpses of color and promise peeking through, He pursued, and I learned to persist.  It was not until I repented of trying to be like others by only looking at my own perceived needs not what the Father had in store for me individually, that a sweet aroma–a mix of His Spirit and my special gifts, began to emerge.

There was much healing that needed to take place (and still does to this day) before I could see that He has me blooming in my own special garden and in my own special way. By seeking Him with all my heart daily, His promise to me is fulfilled–I am finding Him. Through relationships, faces in crowds, kind words that catch you off guard, flowers, the sky, the soil…..* sigh *, just everywhere…..His love abounds, and I continue to learn how to bloom for Him.

Instead of “watering my wishful ways,” I finally started “fertilizing my faith.”  So now, whether it is behind a computer screen, at home raising my children or working behind the scenes at Vacation Bible School, I am blooming right where He has me planted. Take my eyes off Him, and I begin to wither; covet someone else’s gifts or garden, and I begin to fade. Feed my life with Him, and I blossom.

Is there any gift, talent, lifestyle that you are coveting today? Talk to God about it and let Him help you fertilize the amazing life He has set apart for you. Draw near to Him and watch yourself bloom.

I am so thankful for my blooming garden and its reminders to me of how far I have come. I am so thankful for a special gift from Morgan this week that blew me away (Thank you again, Love). I am so thankful that I will travel back home for a week’s vacation with family and friends this Saturday. My list goes on and on and on.  I would love to hear what is on your thankfulness list this week.

Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

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Photography and Devotional

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Wordless Wednesday: None of My Words About…..Humility

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Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself at all.
~William Temple

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If you plan to build a tall house of virtues, you must first lay deep foundations of humility.
~Augustine

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The only humility that is really ours is not that which we try to show before God in prayer, but that which we carry with us in our daily conduct.
~Andrew Murray

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Jesus is the God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair.
~Blaise Pascal

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It was pride that changed angels into devils;
it is humility that makes men as angels.
~Augustine

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Wordless Wed. 6.18.14

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Many a humble soul will be amazed to find that the seed it sowed in weakness, in the dust of daily life, has blossomed into immortal flowers under the eye of the Lord.
~Harriet Beecher Stowe

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 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
~Philippians 2:3-4

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Photography

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Oh, the humiliation…..

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eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It planely marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and tipe a werd
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.*
~Author Unknown

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Technology, and the wonderful way it can help our lives, has been lost on me. My GPS has taken to sighing at me in disgust as she announces for the hundredth time, “Recalculating”, and my spell-checker and grammar-fixer has decided that it is hopeless to even try anymore and has opted for early retirement.

I am the queen of typos. I cannot tell you how many times I have pressed “Publish” only to find yet another mistake that I have missed. Like a frantic mad-woman I rush to the edit button and try to fix my error before anyone sees it. Inevitably, the star in the right-hand corner lights up, and I know I have been found out–I made yet another error, now someone knows it. Then there are the mistakes that I miss completely for a few days that all of a sudden pop out at me like a neon sign after most of the people who typically follow me have come and gone.  That is always a special kind of awful, sinking feeling. Now, my face feels like that emblazoned sign–beat red with blushing embarrassment.  It is right then that I want to hit the delete button on all things “blog” and disappear out of sight. I convince myself that I am a laughing-stock (because none of you ever make mistakes like me, right? One of the many lies I tell myself), and the unreasonable and unrealistic spiral begins. Ahhhhh, the life of a prideful perfectionist.  Yuck.

O God, thou knowest my foolishness;
and my sins are not hid from thee.
Psalm 69:5

This morning, I found myself thinking once more about a few embarrassing moments I have had lately.  Just recently in a published poem, I had God not on His ‘throne’ but in a ballpark being ‘thrown’. Horrors! Once again, I could feel the blush come over my cheeks. My secret was out, I type too fast and make lots of errors. As always, though, God was there with a teachable moment.

This morning’s verse talked about how my secret sins are not hidden from God. I had to ask myself, “Do I have the same reaction to my daily secret sins, committed before my all-knowing God, as I do when I make a mistake in front of all of you? Do I feel the urgency to run to Him as soon as I realize He has witnessed a poor attitude, anger, resentment, dishonesty or anything else that really should embarrass and convict me in front of a Holy God? Do I feel that same flush of embarrassment and need to confess and make it right as I do when my prideful self has been embarrassed somehow publicly?  Shouldn’t I?”

It concerned me that my outward mistakes render more of a gut wrenching, knee-jerk urgent need to correct than my private sins elicit. I can easily wait to get with Him later and work it out, but don’t let me get embarrassed in front of you! Sigh–sinful pride–another embarrassing mistake.

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
Luke 12:2-3

All the secret sins that we feel are safely concealed from the world and can be dealt with at a more convenient time with God, will not be secret at all, as we read here. Talk about embarrassment–my sins being proclaimed from the rooftops? That is definitely enough to get my attention quickly.  What if there is no later? What if I allow whispered evil thoughts or curses to accumulate and do not have time to bring them to the light of Christ for cleansing and forgiveness? This seems ever so much more urgent to me now than the temporary shame I feel when I make an error in my writings or the embarrassment I feel when I have left the house with something stuck in my teeth.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

Each day, let us each not be more convicted by our spell-checker than we are by our Sin Checker, the Holy Spirit. A quickened Spirit and a short account will keep those rooftop proclamations far away.

Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

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Photography & Devotional

*Author Unknown

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Your Daughter’s Love

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To the One who is my Father~
The One who cheers each day I rise,
I pray You feel, and always see,
The love in Your daughter’s eyes.

With everlasting love for me,
You send signs of poetic art;
I pray You feel my gratitude
As it pours forth from my heart.

Your symphony of brilliant lights
Brings night’s peace as You serenade;
I pray You know my soul does dance
As Your melody is played.

You are the calm in all my storms~
A quiet touch that leads the way;
I pray You feel my hand in Yours
And my love on Father’s Day.

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To all my friends celebrating Father’s Day tomorrow,
I wish you peace, love and joy as you celebrate.

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To those who, like me, are without a father tomorrow,
and to those that may find this day painful,
I pray that you find peace, love and joy,
in your Heavenly Father’s care.

Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

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Photography & Devotional

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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