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

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

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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

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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

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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.

~*~

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

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Thankful Thursday: A Most Amazing Journey

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You registered on WordPress.com 1 year ago!
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

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Come and hear, all who fear God,
And I will tell of what He has done for my soul.
 I cried to Him with my mouth,
And He was extolled with my tongue.
 If I regard wickedness in my heart,
The Lord will not hear;
But certainly God has heard;
He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God,
Who has not turned away my prayer
Nor His lovingkindness from me.
Psalm 66:16-20

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One year ago, a miracle began to unfold, and my life began to make sense in ways that are hard to explain. One year ago, I started this blog.

It was just over a year ago that someone suggested to me that I start posting more of the photographs that I so enjoyed taking–the photos I would occasionally use in my poetry blog. I was so fascinated by his work, that I began to look at the world differently; eventually, this blog came into existence. It was there the miracle began.

I never realized how different life looks to someone who struggles with depression. Actually, I never thought about it until I started photographing the world around me. It was as if someone had removed gray-colored glasses from my eyes, and I actually started soaking in the colorful world around me. Walking with eyes fixed down on the ground always, I began to see the beauty of God’s world in a new light as I fixed my gaze outward and upward.

So, what was this God chick to do? Start telling what He has done for my soul, of course! Day by day, moment by moment, the world began to take on new meaning. Not only was I finding joy within the walls of my home now (outside of the joy my family has always provided me), but I was stepping out into the world and capturing the things that moved me and those things that God was speaking to my heart on film! Life was being poured into my spirit daily and I wanted to shout it to the world. That is why this blog was born! Here, on this precious-to-my-heart blog, I have found a way to rejoice and proclaim, “He is amazing! Look what He is doing in my life!”

The year has not been perfect. Depression still visits and hardships come, but now I write about it, and I am healing through the words He gives to me. Along the way, I have met friends that I absolutely cherish…..YOU! My life is enriched each day by the interactions I have shared with you all. Not concerned with stats or numbers, I have tried to truly adopt as friend each visitor. I love the moments we share. I am always amused and blessed when I write something that is meant to help others, but my dear friends here rally around me and, in turn, help me heal, too.

One year ago, God gave me a gift. You are all part of a woman’s prayer being answered. I wanted a voice in the world to speak of His great love. Being too shy, I thought it would never happen.  It amazes me how He works; He gave me a voice where I feel safe and loved.  I thank you for being a part of His great work in my life.

I could keep writing and writing about this, but I will end by saying a heartfelt, “Thank you for making this first year such a blessing to me. I love you all, and I cherish the friendship we have.”

Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

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Where the healing began. This is one of my very first blog photos. Still an amateur, I am blessed by my iPhone and Canon. Life is a gift…..look around you and cherish it!

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Photography & Devotional

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Wordless Wednesday: None of my words about animals.

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“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”
~St. Francis of Assisi

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“Animals are God’s creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness.”
~Author Unknown

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“We can see a thousand miracles around us every day.
What is more supernatural than an egg yolk turning into a chicken?”
 – S. Parkes Cadman

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“Regard it as just as desirable to build
a chicken house as to build a cathedral.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright

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“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.”
~Martin Buber

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“Don’t spend the egg money before the hen lays the eggs.”
~Author Unknown

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“Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.”
— John Muir

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“People who count their chickens before they are hatched act very wisely, because chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them accurately.”
— Oscar Wilde

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“Until one has loved an animal,
a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
~Anatole France

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“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”
~Albert Einstein

~*~

“How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.”
Psalm 104:24

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Photography

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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A Sneak ‘Peep’ from a God Chick!

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He shall cover thee with his feathers,
and under his wings shalt thou trust
Psalm 91:4

Well, they arrived!! Twenty-seven little bundles of fluff were picked up at the post office yesterday! To say that I am happy feels like such an understatement. All day, the children and I tended to our new charges and got to know them better. They all are named and loved. We each have adopted our favorites and love figuring out their very individual personalities. It was a wonderful day, and today we get to do it again! Life feels rather good!

I guess it is only natural that one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 91, played in the back of my head throughout the day.  It has always meant a lot to me, but since I developed my love for raising chickens, it has taken on new life. As one who struggles with depression and anxiety issues at times, the comforting picture that I find within the verses has become a refuge for my weary soul when the lows or fears visit.

Since the momma hen is no longer with these baby chicks, I have become their mother. I found such delight as I would stick my hand in their box and they would run to my hand. It is a feeling I won’t soon forget. As I held each one, I could feel them relax and fall asleep. Chick by chick, one at a time, I would hold them and allow them to find a bit of needed sleep. In the box, was noise and chaos as the others got used to their new digs, but the one I would be holding would find perfect peace and rest.

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
    for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
    until the disaster has passed.
Psalm 57:1

Like the chicks, that is the way I feel when I reach out to the Lord, especially during times when anxiety is visiting. There is the perfect peace of His protection found within the safety of His wings; a special closeness is achieved as I pour out my heart to my Savior. Just as my chicks find comfort as my warm hands wrap around them, or my children find safety as they rush into my arms when they feel scared by a dream or life, I can calm my own fears by seeking out the tenderness of my Savior.

Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.  My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
Psalm 63:7

Since returning to my morning quiet time with the Lord, I notice there is the special feeling of being able to relax more throughout my day. I can feel His arms wrapped around me because I took that needed time in the morning to remind myself of Who holds my day and orders my steps. As I walk in the shadow of His wings, there is rejoicing. There is a peace that envelops me.

Just as I willingly and joyfully give protection, comfort, and love to my children (and my chicks), I know that God is moved in His heart to give me that much more. I give all I can to everyone God has given me, but I am flawed.  He is perfect; His love is perfect, as well. Under His wings there is treasure to be found; more precious than any jewel, there is peace in a chaotic world found there. I will take that treasure over all the rest any day. I am a God chick–you can find me under His wings!

Have a blessed day, Dear Friends!!  Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

ೋღ ♥ ೋღ

Photography & Devotional

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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When ‘Sir’ Came to Visit

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Look before you reach…..

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Bad picture, but it is the only one I snapped that showed Sir Snakes length.

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It was a lovely spring day, and I went to go check on my two remaining chickens. As I walked into their humble abode, I saw that there were eggs in the box.  Now, by the pictures, you can tell what I found waiting for me. There, in all its scaly awfulness was Sir Snake, all four feet of him, munching on MY eggs!

After I screamed, I (being the photo journalist I have apparently become), came to my senses and grabbed my camera. As I talked to my chickens, asking them if they could believe what we were seeing, I snapped photo after photo of this invader to my peaceful weekend.  They clucked in agreement that it was in poor form to steal my eggs since there are now only the two of them working hard to provide for my whole family.  Crafty and rude–we were in agreement.

While Sir Snake is not a poisonous snake, he certainly poisoned my feelings of well-being when I walk into my chicken house. Prior to his visitation, I would blindly bound into the house to greet my girls.  Now, I ever-so-slowly open the door, peek in, and pray. I wonder how long he has slithered his way into Lucy and Ethel’s home unnoticed. I am so thankful that God protected me on this visit from reaching in and getting quite the startle.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

Sin is a lot like Sir Snake. Recently, I have asked the Holy Spirit to begin to reveal to me any hidden sin lurking in the dark corners of my soul. He has brought into the light some things that have taken me off guard and given me quite the startle. Little sins that easily slither in to your daily walk that you brush off and do not address can grow to dangerous lengths and become quite heavy a burden as they begin to weigh down our spirit (Sir Snake was quite heavy). I fear that some of the sins revealed to me have been quite weighty.

While a decision has not been made on how to deal with Sir (he is good for keeping the pesky mice away), my slimy sins DO need to be addressed quickly. Giving Satan a foothold by not addressing my sins will only feed his slimy nature and allow his deceptions to grow and take up even more residence in me. (Does anyone else have the “ick’s”?)  Thinking about sin within me like that black snake gives me the willies.

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

My snake slithered away quickly as we tried to capture him in a garbage pail. Off to hide in his snaky shame until he could come back once more when the screaming lady was far off, he went back to his wood pile.  Because of our precious Lord, we do not have to retreat to dark places and hide. We can boldly come to the cross confessing our sins and repenting from all the Holy Spirit is revealing. In doing so, we can live in the light in full confidence of His forgiveness.

My chickens walk in the sunlight each day enjoying God’s precious green earth and sunshine; my snake hides in dark places. It is no wonder Adam and Eve met a snake in the garden and not a chicken.  God gave Satan the perfect beast to represent him and his slithery ways–don’t you think?

As a side note, I am happy to report that we have 26 chicks showing up!!  I am so excited, I could barely sleep last night.  I am looking forward to sharing the pictures of my new cutie pies. They truly represent to me living in the light–thriving in and on all that is good and true.

Have a blessed day, Dear Friends!!  Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

ೋღ ♥ ೋღ

Photography & Devotional

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Heeding the Warning Signs

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My kids and I spend a huge amount of our time in the kitchen. This is where we cook, eat, play games around the table, and homeschool. Off the kitchen is a stairway that leads down to the basement. In that stairway is a smoke detector, and that is where today’s devotion begins.

Since changing the batteries at last check, I have never heard a peep from this smoke detector until recently when it started “chirping” at us every once in a while. I would press the reset button, and then it would be quiet for another few days.  Lately, though, it became louder and more frequent until finally I had to remove the battery to quiet it. Even as I type that, I cringe.  I pressed the reset button over and over knowing it just required a new battery (which I did not have yet), and then, because said battery still was not acquired, I ripped the old battery out of it to stifle the warning sign and bring back peace to my kitchen. I then proceeded to forget about the incident altogether leaving the detector powerless.

OK…in case you are not shaking your head at me enough yet, the other day, while driving home alone from my Bible study, I passed the railroad tracks. Now, when I lived in New York, railroad tracks were a big deal. There were all sorts of bells and whistles to warn you and gates to ultimately come down moments before the train passed. Because there are no speeding commuter trains where I live now, the railroad crossing warnings are just one sign with a flashing light warning you to slow down and take stock of the situation before continuing on. Well, you guessed it, I realized the other evening that this sign at this one particular crossing, meant to protect me, has been ignored each time I pass because I have never seen a train there in all the years I have lived here.  But, it does not mean it could not happen. The warning is there to keep me safe because, someday, that mysterious train WILL show itself, and it may be just as I am passing with my precious cargo.  Again, something put in my life to keep me safe that was being ignored.

But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” John 16:7-8

This morning in my devotions, I was reading John 16. In it, Jesus is telling His disciples that He must go away and that it is good that He does because if He does not, the Helper will not come. The Helper, the Holy Spirit, was sent to the world to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement. After feeling so convicted about my fool-hardy ways in keeping my family and myself safe with man-made signs and warnings, this verse truly hit me. Am I guilty of ignoring the warning signs of the Holy Spirit, as well?

As I sat and thought about that question, I would have to shamefully admit, “Yes, yes I have.” How many times have I justified my own sin by comparing it to someone else’s “bigger” sin? If there is any conviction in me at all, and I am shifting my thoughts to those other folks and how much worse they are than me rather than addressing the warning sign that the Spirit is clearly “chirping” in my ear–than yes! I am guilty of ignoring the warning sign. My so-called “small” sins can easily escalate and drag me off the path if the battery is removed from my Spirit because the sound in my ear is annoying and convicting me of what I do not want or have time to address.

The job of the Holy Spirit is to convict and sound the alarm when I am going astray. It is only when I am not avoiding those signs and warnings that He can do His transforming, convicting, helping, healing work. As the Spirit brings to my ears the irritating sound that reveals to me my own sins or to my eyes the illuminated flashing lights of impending doom, I can humble myself and confess my sins and embrace His truths as I am brought back to safety.

The big question is:  Will I heed His warning signs or quench the Holy Spirit by disconnecting from Him or looking the other way? I pray it is the former–there is much at stake. Just as there is a battery now in my smoke detector and I will never take any road sign for granted again, the precious voice of my Spirit will be listened for so that I may not fall into danger.

I pray blessings on your weekend, Dear Friends. Please check your smoke detectors now that you are thinking about it.  :)

Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

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Photography & Devotional

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Putting Joy on Hold

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I had the opportunity to spend time with two of my most favorite people on the planet this week (at separate times). I love getting together with both of them; the discussions we have are always a delicious mixture of deep and meaningful, light and fluffy, and an understanding of each other’s lives that blesses beyond words. Both of these precious women are in places that need a touch from God, as many of us are.

At any given moment, we (or someone we know) can be facing life’s great unknowns. You know the ones–things that rob our peace until the answer is clear and the matter is settled in our minds:

The financial issue that needs quick resolution

The marriage on the edge of ending

The prodigal child that worries us day in and out

The health scare that has you terrified

The diagnosis that is even more terrifying

All of these things, and many more, thrust you into a time of question marks in the waiting. That not-knowing place can feel quite dark (even more than the knowing in some cases). Imaginations run wild there and can cripple, but life does not have to stop until the answers arrive–our joy does not have to be put on hold.

In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:6-7

Both of my friends amaze me. There is a peace that is felt in their presence despite their circumstances, despite their not-knowing. By wrapping themselves in God’s promises and truths, they have been able to keep living even though their worlds seem to have stopped in the waiting. The joy they hold in their hearts because of their personal relationships with the Lord carries on and carries them.

As I prayed for them this morning, I read, something that has been tucked in my journal for years. It is something that I try to hold on to whenever I find myself in the waiting and worrying places of life; it is something that they seem to have truly grasped, as well.

Today, my number one problem is: _________________.

Remember, Skye, that God has promised to work all things out for good because you love Him.  Count on His goodness today.

ღ all things include my most pressing problem

ღ all things include good things

ღ all things include bad things

ღ all things include small things

ღ all things include all things!*

I have been in those moments of waiting. Right now, I am waiting for two other precious women in my life to find out if they have cancer or not. Life, and its ever-swirling and forever-twirling chaos can overwhelm me if I do not submit all to Him and trust that He really does have all things in control. In all four of these women’s situations, my precious Father tells me not to worry; while that is very difficult, and I am sure I will find myself in those dark places where time seems to stand still in the waiting, prayer and a close walk with Him is key.  I absolutely love this quote by D.L. Moody. It is a good thing to remember as we walk through life because those not-knowing places will probably be around the corner for most of us at some point or another:

“If our circumstances find us in God, we shall find God in all our circumstances.”

Does today find you in a place of not-knowing? If it does, please find a trusted friend to pray with you. Remember, I am always here to pray for your situation and to be a friend. Allowing yourself to be loved in the waiting helps so much. A loving and trusted friend can help remind you of what you cannot see as the fear consumes.

I pray blessings on your day today.  Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

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Photography & Devotional

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

*No ownership claimed.

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Thankful Thursday: Mornings

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O satisfy us early with thy mercy;
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Psalm 90:14

Happy Thankful Thursday, Folks!  I hope this day finds you feeling fine!

There seemed to be much that I could write about today with regard to thankfulness, but what was most pressing on my heart was how thankful I am for my morning devotional time with the Lord.

Last evening, at my ladies Bible study, we discussed spending time with the Lord in the morning. As I listened and shared, my morning time became even more dear to my heart. Upon waking this morning, I could not wait to open my Bible, journal and devotional book to hear what the Lord would speak to me today. With the sun just beginning to rise and the early birds catching their worms, I felt so thankful to have that time to share with Him.

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
    I will call on him as long as I live.
Psalm 116:1-2

One of my daughters is especially sensitive to the evils of the world. She grieves deep within her spirit when she hears of the awful things God’s created are doing to each other on a daily basis; each new day seems to hold new events for her to try to process. As she daily meets with the Lord, she is able to connect with the spirit living within her. His love, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control are her covering as she prepares for her day. It is my prayer that she will always protect this precious time that she is learning holds great value in facing her days and this world.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

We are the Lord’s beloved children, He wants to reveal His perfect will for our lives. He can only accomplish this task if we are daily in His word seeking out His priorities and His thoughts, though. I can tell when my daughter is not spending that time with the Lord because her peace is being rattled. If we order our steps by turning to the Lord daily for understanding, we begin the day armed in our spirits for all that may befall us, and we are more likely to seek His face throughout the day to stay on His path.

You will seek Me and find Me
when you search for Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

I realize some may not have time in the morning to spend and the evening is more conducive to hearing from Him, but the Lord wants to give each of us His wisdom, hope, and understanding of His will daily. It can be found any time of day, but it must be sought after. I find that amazing–the Creator wants me to seek His face daily. He longs to hear from me and to spend time with me.  He wants to teach me and comfort me. It is an opportunity I do not want to miss!

Recently, I was going through a difficult/dry time with the Lord. In looking back on it, I realized that I was “squeezing” in my time with the Him rather than looking forward to it. I hate that it may have grieved Him–the “too busy for You” attitude that I was finding myself in each day. So, I went back to my old ways of meeting with Him, and I am so very thankful and blessed.

As always, I would love to know what you are thankful for today. Also, I would love to hear how you spend your time with the Lord. Is it in the quiet of the morning or the still of the evening? Does mid-day more suit your personality and lifestyle? What does that quiet time entail?  Are you one that keeps a journal like me–preferring to write out your prayers and scriptures, or do you have a different method of quiet time? Whichever way you spend it, I pray that you adopt some form of time set aside for Him if you are not already doing so. I once committed to 30 days of journaling in the morning that changed my life; I am foolish when I allow that time to slip away.  I truly see the fruit in meeting with Him daily and the desert times that arrive when I do not.

Blessings to you, Dear Friends.  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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