Wednesday, August 10, 2022

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace and presence be with you.  ‘Then looking up to heaven, He sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha.” that is, “Be opened.”  And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.’ – Mark 7:34-35

Ephphatha…Through the years that has been a word that has stood out to me.  Initially because of it’s melodiousness, but also because it’s kind of fun to say…Ephphatha…and I find it interesting that Mark kept this Aramaic word in the text.  Speech and speaking are learned by first hearing.  No one comes out of the womb speaking, but the majority of babies do come out hearing.  When your hearing is impaired or completely blocked, it will affect your ability to speak clearly or even speak at all.  So, in this case, it’s not the debate of which came first, the chicken or the egg.  Hearing certainly precedes speaking.  That’s something to contemplate. 

Before speaking the word, Jesus looked up to heaven and He sighed.  Why did He look toward His Father and sigh?  Do you think He was just worn out from people not listening and needing some strength from His Father?  Or was it maybe kind of a pity sigh?  Maybe it was a sign of disappointment in the fact that He was pouring His heart out to so many, yet relatively few actually heard and understood.  We’re not alone in our struggle to hear.  Even the disciples, who experienced Jesus up close and personal, had to ask on multiple occasions what the real meaning of certain parables were.    

There have been many times in my life when I did not hear the Lord speaking to me, partly because I just didn’t know better.  I hadn’t spent enough time with Him and His word, getting to know Him and why He wanted to be with me.  And then, there were other times that I just didn’t want to hear what He had to say, so I would purposely block Him out.  It sounds pretty crappy as I read this, but the truth is what it is, and the truth is that many times I have put myself above God. 

Hearing the Lord is a choice that we have to make multiple times a day.  As we choose to be opened to hearing God and His word, our mind will be opened, our speech will be opened, our actions will be opened to fearlessly proclaiming Him to all of us who so desperately need Him in our lives. 

I say to you “Ephphatha!  Be Opened!”

Bless others and be blessed.

Shelly  :0)

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.  Click subscribe to receive your message every Wednesday.

#Creed – With Arms Wide Open

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace and presence be with you.  It’s only Wednesday, but my brain feels like it’s put in a 40 hour work week already.  I haven’t worked that much yet, but not having a good balance sets my mind in a fog and it becomes a challenge to focus on something other than work.  When my brain starts getting to that numb stage, I just want to sit and do nothing, thinking that will help relax and refocus my mind.  In reality, getting up, moving around, doing physical work, and getting my eyes off a computer, phone, and TV are more beneficial for me.  When my mind is in that numb stage, I don’t want to read or talk to people, and it’s hard to convince myself to get up and move.  I try to convince myself that I’d do a better job relaxing if I did nothing.  In times like this, I can be my own worst enemy and I’m robbing myself of the peace I need to maintain balance. 

In Mark 6: 30-32 we hear about the apostles returning to Jesus and sharing with Him all they had done and taught.  Recognizing their need for some down time from their work, Jesus invites them to jump in a boat and sail to a deserted place to rest from their work.  So, what do you think that would look like for a diverse group like that?  Right away, I would imagine some of them maybe grabbed a pole or net and would do a little fishing.  Maybe they would find a calm place of shore and do a little swimming.  Maybe when they reached their deserted destination, they would cook up a meal, share some stories, and find some moments of solitude and quiet.

I believe that’s a keep point.  To gain and maintain balance, to a degree, we need to distance ourselves from our job.  But that doesn’t mean we should become a blob that melts into a couch or chair and do nothing.   Yes, we absolutely need those quiet moments alone, but we also need moments of physical activity, and interaction and discussion with others.  Each of us are unique in what that balance looks like for us.  Half the challenge is knowing what our balance combination is and the other half is working at maintaining that balance.  When I’m out of balance, I feel fatigued, my eyes are tired, I’m irritable and short tempered.  Just ask Brian, he’s experienced my unbalance first hand.  It’s not that I want to be that way, but sometimes I just don’t even know what we need to get my balance back. 

I read this quote by Archbishop Fulton Sheen Monday.  “Before undertaking a task great or small, before making decisions, before beginning a journey, the humble will acknowledge their dependence on God and invoke His guidance and His blessing on all their enterprises.” 

When I start relying on myself more than God, I get out of balance.  Our balance starting point is to first get centered and balanced with God.  He will flow through every part and aspect of your life, which is why it’s so important to start with Him.

Bless others and be blessed.

Shelly  :0)

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.  Click subscribe to receive your message every Wednesday.

#Newsboys – Restart

Keep Moving Forward – Episode 47: What To Do When You’ve Lost Your WHY and Episode 48: Stop Waiting For Your Life to “Feel Different”

Christ’s peace and presence be with you.  Last week when Diana Marie Keller released her Keep Moving Forward episode 47, I was on vacation with my mom and sisters, so I listened to both episode 47 and 48 this morning.  I think Diana may have been looking into my life a bit, because in both of these episodes she was very much describing what I’ve been experiencing and feeling.  The good news is, she also provided some good advice to work through these moments.  Click the links below and listen for yourself. 

Friday, July 22, 2022

Keep Moving Forward – Diana Marie Keller

Episode 47: What To Do When You’ve Lost Your WHY

Check out the episode here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1889846/11007672

Friday, July 29, 2022

Keep Moving Forward – Diana Marie Keller

Episode 48: Stop Waiting For Your Life to “Feel Different”

Check out the episode here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1889846/11043490

#DianaMarieKeller – Keep Moving Forward

Blog Link

Podcast Link

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay if forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.

Bless others and be blessed.

Shelly :0)

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace and presence be with you.  I spent last Thursday through Sunday experiencing new and different adventures in downtown Cincinnati, OH with my mom and two sisters.  My oldest sister picked a fabulous hotel that placed us within walking distance of the majority of our planned activities.  I very much enjoy getting to know an area by foot.  There is so much that is missed when you have to concentrate on driving.  Along with our planned outings, we also had some planned down time just hanging out at the hotel.  Who knew that doing the daily USA Today crossword puzzle could bring so much laughter and late nights?

We enjoyed the Van Gough Immersion experience, a B & B Riverboat cruise, the Underground Railroad Museum, Khron’s Conservatory, and a Cincinnati Reds game, but there was one experience on our list that gave me the greatest feeling of family and brought me back to my childhood.  Sunday morning we walked to St. Francis Xavier church and prayed the Mass together.  I do enjoy walking to Mass.  It just seems to allow a degree of peace before walking into church.  I don’t get to experience it very often, but having Mass outside in nature is my favorite. 

After Sunday morning Mass, we walked back to the hotel to checkout and head off to our next adventure.  When we arrived at our room, I went to get my checkbook so I could pay my sister for the weekend, but couldn’t find my checkbook.  I knew exactly where I put it, but I couldn’t find it.  I emptied everything out of my bags twice.  I then turned the lights on hoping it would help me see things a little better, but I still didn’t find it.  My Mom also looked, but still nothing.  I called Brian to see if maybe I actually left it at home, but he couldn’t find it there either.  At that point we considered it gone and were heading down to the lobby to file a report.

When we arrived in the lobby, my sisters were already there waiting for us.  We informed them that we couldn’t find it and my sister suggested taking one more look.  I told her, “I know exactly were I put it.  Right here behind my flip flops.”  And as I pulled my flip flops out, there it was.  Both Mom and I were like, “We pulled every thing out of there and even felt down there, but couldn’t find it.” 

So, what made the difference?  In the room, my first couple searches were with just a little sun shining in the room, with my back to the windows and my body blocking the light from my bags.  The next two searches were in the same room, but with the addition of a couple dimly lit table lamps on.  The lobby on the other hand had an entry that was a wall of windows and a partial glass ceiling, which allowed so much natural light in.  I placed my bags in a chair that placed them closest to the window, so my body wasn’t blocking the light.  It was amazing how clearly and quickly I was able to find what I was looking for.  I thought, “Wow, I can’t believe I couldn’t see that before.” 

In that moment, God reminded me that from time to time we create our own blindness by blocking the Light of Christ from illuminating our lives.  All I have to do is put His light ahead of me, not behind me.  How much more do you find when your open your Bible, allow the light in, and are able to read His word, as opposed to a closed Bible with no words to be read?  How much more can a song lighten your spirit and lift you up when it’s playing, as opposed to when it’s silent?  How much closer will prayers prayed and conversations with the Lord bring you into a deeper relationship with Him, as opposed to never saying a word to Him?  Yes, being in the light is a choice.  When searching for my checkbook in our room, probably all I needed to do to find my checkbook, would have been turn around with my bag to face the light.  I know, it sounds pretty simple…and it is.  Your better days ahead are as simple as choosing to turn to face and walk in the light, as opposed to choosing to walk in the dark.  If you don’t believe me, I encourage you to take this challenge.  Pick something in your regular daily activities and choose to invite God into that activity each day for three days.  After those three days, try doing that same daily activity without inviting God along.  Seriously, it can be as simple as brushing your teeth or walking down the steps.  When I brush my teeth, I pray on the Armor of God and when I walk down the steps, especially in the dark, I pray the Sign of the Cross.  “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.  Thank You Jesus.  In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.  Thank You Jesus.  Thank You Jesus.”  That gets me from the top step to the bottom.  Allow His light to brighten even the most menial activities in your life, and before you know it, you’ll be inviting Him into greater activities.  As His light continues to grow in your life, your eyes will be opened to seeing so much more.

Bless others and be blessed.

Shelly  :0)

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.  Click subscribe to receive your message every Wednesday.

#DanBremnes – Wherever I Go

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace and presence be with you.  This past Thursday – Sunday was the Greater Dayton Women’s Walk to Emmaus #108.  I had the pleasure of serving the Pilgrims and live-in team each day in different capacities, beginning with kitchen set up on Wednesday, greeting and carrying the Pilgrim’s luggage upon their arrival, preparing and serving meals, participating in a candlelight prayer service, praying multiple times during the 72 hour prayer vigil, clean up at the end of the Walk, and attended the closing ceremony to welcome the new Pilgrims into our Emmaus Community family.

I really, REALLY enjoy experiencing the Pilgrims upon arrival Thursday and then experiencing their Walk transformation at the closing Sunday.  It makes me smile when greeting them and carrying all their luggage in, they don’t really know what to do.  So many times I’ve heard them say, “I can get them.”  At times, it’s hard to allow others to help us.  We don’t want to seem weak or that we can’t take care of ourselves.  There is no weakness in allowing others to serve you.  Jesus is the perfect model of serving others, in so many ways.  At this moment, Jesus comes to mind when He washes His disciple’s feet.  So often, when others offer us help, our kneejerk respond is similar to Peter.  ‘”No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”’  I’ve reacted like that more times than I remember or even care to count.  It can be a real challenge, but by allowing those walls that we build around ourselves, come down brick by brick, you allow God to step in and be your shield and defense, but you also allow His amazing grace and many blessings in.  Some of those blessings are the people that God sends to you when you need them most.  Allow yourself to be open and available to Him and those He sends to you.

One of the, I would guess, top three experiences that the Pilgrims mention and discussed at the end of the Walk is the incredible feeling of family and a sense of belonging in this Emmaus Community family.  So many Pilgrims, including myself when I was on my Pilgrim Walk, have no idea how much we need this community and the presence of God they bring with them.  Some times you just don’t know what you need until you experience it for the first time.

My Pilgrim Walk weekend was July 21 – 24, 2011, which will be 11 years ago tomorrow.  I remember telling the Community at the closing, “I didn’t hear anything this weekend that I didn’t already know.  But what made the difference was all of you.”  Looking back, it sounds kind of cocky.  I was comfortable and confident in my relationship with the Lord, but oh how He has enlightened me and opened my eyes to so much more in these past 11 years. 

It’s actually been a bit of a struggle writing this today because my mind is all over the place as I reflect on my Emmaus Walk.  That weekend experience was one of the biggest pivot points in my life.  I feel like my thoughts today are a bit scattered and there is so much I want to share with you about the weekend experience, but ultimately it really is all about your “Walk” with God.  Please allow Him and others to serve you in His name.  And in return, He will guide you in how you may serve others in His name.  Knock a brick or two off the wall.  Allow His light to penetrate into your soul, that you may radiate His presence in and through your life.

This week, I would like to conclude with a quote from Archbishop Fulton Sheen.  “It is easy to find truth, though it is hard to face it, and harder still to follow it.”

Bless others and be blessed.

Shelly  :0)

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.  Click subscribe to receive your message every Wednesday.

#HawkNelson – Sold Out

Keep Moving Forward – Episode 45: ”I’ve Got 99 Coping Skills…” with Lindsey Konchar and Episode 46: Stop Talking About the Weather!

Christ’s peace and presence be with you.  Diana had a double shot of Keep Moving Forward for us last week.  The first is a Monday bonus episode focused on coping skills.  The second is a combination of conversations with six of Diana’s book launch team members, as they discuss six of the conversation starters in Diana’s soon to be released book, “Stop Talking About the Weather!”  I found their conversations interesting and relatable to experiences in my life.  Take a listen.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Keep Moving Forward – Diana Marie Keller

Episode 45: ”I’ve Got 99 Coping Skills…” with Lindsey Konchar

Check out the episode here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1889846/10934343

Friday, July 15, 2022

Keep Moving Forward – Diana Marie Keller

Episode 46: Stop Talking About the Weather!

Check out the episode here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1889846/10964918

#DianaMarieKeller – Keep Moving Forward

Blog Link

Podcast Link

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay if forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.

Bless others and be blessed.

Shelly :0)

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace and presence be with you.  What does peace mean to you?  For me, it’s more of an outdoor, not indoor feeling.  It’s quiet, not noisy.  It’s individual time, not group time.  It’s eyes closed, not open.  It’s an internal conversation, not external.  It’s early morning or late night, not midday.  It’s ears open and mouth closed. 

Now, how does your body, mind, and spirit tell you that you need more peace?  I have a few tells, but the most predominant is body, which produces pain across my upper back and shoulders.  Mind causes me to want to shut down and sleep.  Spirit causes restlessness, until I rest in Him. 

Something I experience, which you may also, is that my body, mind, and spirit at times fight themselves to keep me away from seeking the peace I need.  I don’t know, maybe that sounds very strange to you.  Here’s a perfect example…In my younger years there was a certain time of the month that I would become rather irritable and I would literally have this conversation with myself.  “Just take a Midol.  You’ll feel better.”  To which I would respond in a louder tone, “I don’t need a Midol!”  “Yes, you do.  Just take a Midol.”  Granted, this was all going on in my head.  Much of the time, it’s those internal, nonverbal conversations that will raise your level of angst, unrest, and a lack of peace.

In Mark 4:35-41 when the apostles found themselves on a boat, in the midst of a storm, worrying if they were going to drown, they found Jesus in the stern of the boat sleeping.  The apostles seemed a bit bewildered that Jesus wasn’t concerned about them possibly drowning.  Jesus’ response to the apostles makes me smile. ‘He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to His disciples, “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?”’

I know, it’s easy to say, “But He’s God.  He can be calm.  He doesn’t have anything to worry about.”  That could be very true.  He doesn’t have anything to worry about, but He does care and He does love you.  At times, I think our actions cause His level of peace to go down.  He wants great things for us and when we don’t want to accept the path to those great things, He knows we’ll end up making choices that aren’t great for our physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing.  Take some time this week to find your best path to peace, when life and those voices in your head start fighting you.  Don’t wait too long before you shout out “Quiet!  Be still!” 

Bless others and be blessed.

Shelly  :0)

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.  Click subscribe to receive your message every Wednesday.

#LaurenDaigle – Hold On To Me

Keep Moving Forward – Episode 44: Shame is in My Driver’s Seat.

Christ’s peace and presence be with you.  Have your past actions haunted you with shame?  Do you beat yourself up because of them?  In this episode of Keep Moving Forward, Diana talks about how she struggles to give the former version of herself grace and love.  She shares things she has struggled with, what she is experiencing in real-time, strategies that have helped her not let shame be the driver, and ways that she is learning to love all versions of herself (past, present, and future).

Friday, July 8, 2022

Keep Moving Forward – Diana Marie Keller

Episode 44: Shame is in My Driver’s Seat.

Check out the episode here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1889846/10926047

#DianaMarieKeller – Keep Moving Forward

Blog Link

Podcast Link

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay if forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.

Bless others and be blessed.

Shelly :0)

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace and presence be with you.  I was blessed to share last weekend with family that I don’t see very often and visited Pittsburg, PA for the first time.  Friday before dinner we were sitting in the sandy area of the backyard.  I had flip flops on and had dusted my feet off a couple times before we walked to our dinner destination.  About half way to the restaurant, I noticed a sore spot on the top of my left foot.  Apparently, I didn’t dust all the sand off and it caused a raw spot.  Now, as I reflect on the experience, I realize I dusted my feet, but not my flip flop.  If we don’t separate ourself from the irritant, it will continue to be abrasive and bothersome, causing discomfort and unrest.  We need to remove those irritants from our lives in order to start down the path of healing and peace.

You must first live for today, so that you can live tomorrow.  Our tasks and journeys today are what leads, guides, and prepares us for the tasks and journeys of tomorrow.  Robert Louis Stevenson is quoted as saying, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” 

Sift through those irritants in your life, dusting them off of you and that which you would come in contact with.  Speak with God.  Share with Him those irritants you’ve identified.  Ask Him what your best course of action may be…then listen.  He’ll tell you, if you’ll listen. 

Bless others and be blessed.

Shelly  :0)

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.  Click subscribe to receive your message every Wednesday.

# EvenCraftDannyGokeyRedimi2 – Be Alright

Keep Moving Forward – Episode 42: Be A Tree, Plant A Seed

Christ’s peace and presence be with you.  The title of Keep Moving Forward episode 42 caught my eye and ear.  Take a listen.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Keep Moving Forward – Diana Marie Keller

Episode 42: Be A Tree, Plant A Seed

Check out the episode here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1889846/10843426

#DianaMarieKeller – Keep Moving Forward

Blog Link

Podcast Link

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay if forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.

Bless others and be blessed.

Shelly :0)