Inspirational Thoughts

Conform or Be Transformed?

Church sermon today was part 2 of Unshakeable, following the story of Daniel. The big question to ponder after is: Will I conform to the world, or let my mind be transformed by God?

I’d like to say when confronted with choices such as Daniel was, I would remain strong and true to Christian values and morals. But would I?

If I look at Lot’s wife, she became conformed to the world after her family left Abraham and settled in Sodom. What a strong difference between that culture and the way they had been following with Abraham in their travels.

Did she easily conform? Was it a culture shock? I wonder if she found it easier to follow the crowd than to stand alone amid such sin.

Those decisions are part of my everyday life here in America where the general public seems to be against everything the Bible says. The ten commandments are ignored. Murder has extended to  innocent unborn children. Marriage is not always between a man and a woman. Sleeping together outside of marriage is acceptable. Sigh. But we see this as commonplace in the television shows, movies and even advertisements that we and our children view daily. Murdering others in video games is a sport children participate in with parental approval.

Everyone is doing it. So does that make these things acceptable to God as well as the world? Or have we filtered God our of our daily living activities? Have we begun to succumb to the world and then attend church on Sunday and believe we are living as Christians?

When Lot was told to leave Sodom before the city was punished, he did so, but bargained with where he would live next. And Lot’s wife…she was still being pulled by the Sodom world, she could not help looking back. Was she longing to stay?

How about us? Do we feel so comfortable conforming to the world, that we don’t want to change? When did we stop thinking about eternity and exchange it for current pleasure?

These are the thoughts running through my mind today as I self-analyze my own life and actions. I know I want to be transformed. In order to do that, I cannot conform. What changes will I need to make? What about you?

Colorful Life

A Wolf, A Dragon, Doves…

This week has been a busy one for me. On Tuesday, I decided to venture to the BMV to get my driver’s license renewed. With a tote on my arm holding all the documents I thought I needed for the enhanced license, I stepped into the parking lot filled with people standing socially distanced and holding clipboards. I wasn’t sure what to do at first, then I heard them call a number. Hmm. How in the world would I get a number?

I asked a man near me and he told me to go to the door and a woman would come out and instruct me. Okay, not so bad. I stood in front of the door until a woman opened it slightly and asked how she could help me. “I need a number to get my driver’s license renewed.” She ushered me inside to a table right next to the door. She looked through my documents and said, “I’m sorry. I can’t accept this.” What she held was my divorce decree. “This doesn’t have your maiden name on it. You will need to provide your marriage license.”

Let me say, my first husband was a man who took care of everything, not letting me handle any personal documents or bank account information. He took care of the license after we received it and drove me and my grandmother to another county to get married. I didn’t know why he was always so secretive, but I was young and naive. Making a long story short, I had no idea where we were married and how to get a copy of the marriage license. So I opted for a regular driver’s license.

Two hours later, I finally received my paper documentation and was able to come home. As a sidenote, I did see the county where we’d been married in the divorce papers and was able to contact the clerk’s office there. I can get a copy if I decide to go that way. However, since I do not plan to fly anywhere, I may not do it. I have until next year to decide.

That afternoon, I planned to go to my small group, and just minutes before I planned to leave, my heart monitor beeped at me saying it was critically low and needed to be charged. Sigh. So, I missed my small group.

Wednesday was a bit brighter. I met my close friend for lunch. We wanted to do Cracker Barrel, but seeing so many people sitting distanced outside waiting to be called, we turned and headed for our normal mexican restaurant across the street. Great conversations, lots of laughs, and back home. Wednesday afternoon and evening I was a little nervous because I had to wake on Thursday morning two hours earlier than normal in order to be at the hospital at 6:30 for a coronary CTA scan (computed tomography angiography).

Yay! I woke in time to take a shower, make my cats happy with fresh water and food, and get to the hospital. The most difficult part for me was walking from the back of the parking lot to the main entrance (a slight incline) because I am so used to walking fast. I struggled for breath and contemplated resting on one of the benches along the way. The test itself went smoothly. Not a good test for anyone who is claustrophobic. I just remained still, with my eyes closed, and breathed slowly like I was trying to go to sleep. About halfway through the scan, a nurse put a nitroglycerin tablet under my tongue to make the arteries appear larger. Near the end, they injected an idoine contrast dye intravenously. The hot sensation abated shortly after the test was finished. The rest of the day I spent at home trying to get warm.

Not sure why I have those episodes where my body is completely chilled, but when it happens all I can do is curl up on the sofa with a warm blanket and watch television! So I did. Ha! Good excuse to relax, right?

Friday I always Skype with my daughter in Wisconsin. The internet gremlins made that impossible, so we talked on the phone (speaker on) while we crafted for our 2 hour session.

Even with this not so perfect week, I didn’t get frazzled. After all, the little things don’t matter. What matters is God continues to look after me and I’m so blessed with family, friends, and a cozy home.

Here are the pictures I colored this week. Again, I used markers a lot. On the portrait picture with the wolf, I used colored pencils over a marker base. I really love the final result. So that is my update for the week on my colorful life. I hope you all have a good week ahead and stay safe and healthy! Love and hugs until next time!

Artist Mariola Budek
Book: Chibi Girls Grayscale
Book: Chibi Girls Grayscale
Book: Chibi Girls Grayscale
Book: Chibi Girls Grayscale
Inspirational Thoughts

Another Long and Quiet Sunday and I Miss…

Sunday. Some Sundays tug at the deepest emptiness in my heart. Not every Sunday. But when those long and quiet Sundays drag on, I can feel the tears building behind my eyes. That’s the me I hide behind a smile when I am with others. I’ve perfected the smile as part of the widow’s mask.

It has been 7 years, 3 months and 15 days since my hubby’s soul went to heaven. Not a day, hour, or minute goes by that I don’t miss him. Most days I keep busy and bury the sad thoughts with happy activities. I am blessed to have family and good friends. Jesus is my daily companion. So, why this long and quiet Sunday?

Ah, those good old Sundays when hubby and I would have brunch after church and then head to a little fish joint to enjoy a senior dinner together where we met new friends and often reunited with old ones. Life was fuller then. We had each other for company. We shared hugs. We kissed. We loved. And then he was gone.

The reality of living alone settled on me and oh, how I struggled to find a new normal. I’m not sure I’ve found it yet. What my days consist of are hours of keeping hands and mind busy so the absence of voices isn’t the loudest thing in my home.

Perhaps the blessing is that I’ve always been a bit of an introvert. Never enjoyed the party scene or being in a crowd of acquaintances and strangers. I much prefer a smaller, intimate group of friends. With the pandemic, it has been a plus that I’m used to living alone. But, those long, quiet Sundays emphasize I’m alone with my thoughts.

I miss my family. The impromptu drop-ins, the conversations, the smiles, the hugs, the love. Have you ever felt alone in the midst of family? Have you ever hurried to pick up your mobile phone when you hear a text come through hoping it is a contact from a family member? Have you ever tried to explain you don’t mind living alone, but miss the company of others? Sigh.

But God…

When I’m feeling Satan tap on the lonely part of my heart, I can find comfort from God. I pick up my Bible and read. I pray. I shed tears.

And I blog . . . because it is a long, quiet Sunday and I miss . . . voices.

Coloring Fun

Loving My Alcohol Markers

My adventure into coloring this week has been stress-free pictures done with markers and glitter gel pens. I spent one day working on a diamond painting for Christmas. It’s a peaceful scene of a room complete with a fireplace, hanging stockings, a Christmas tree, presents, and a comfy chair. A wreath is hanging above the fireplace. I can’t wait to show you the completed picture! Can you believe Christmas is only a little over 2 months away? Yikes!

It’s been a busy week for me. I made cards for two sisters of the heart for their birthdays. I’ve been learning but not doing anything elaborate. I’ve found the more heavily decorated cards are not good for mailing. But I have fun creating cards for different occasions instead of shopping for them. With the pandemic, I’m still cautious about shopping in stores. I only go to the grocery store when I need to stock up.

The reason I haven’t been coloring with pencils is mostly because I’m feeling more tired due to a medication change. Hopefully, this will change once my body adjusts to it.

I ordered a new coloring book by Jade Summer (a business name with a number of different artists). This one is Chibi Girls grayscale. These pictures are adorable! There are a few Halloween themed ones which I’ve already colored. I use markers in this book instead of pencils. The pictures are on one side of the paper only and I don’t like using colored pencils on this paper.

Honestly, my coloring book stash is quite large. I have 34 books!! I also have 5 sets of colored pencils, glitter gel pens, and 3 sets of markers. Can we say I’m really hooked on my coloring hobby?!? My daughter got me started coloring the year after my hubby passed and I’ve been loving it ever since. My coloring style has changed over the years as well as the type of pics I like to color.

As for diamond painting, the same daughter bought me my first kit for Christmas 2019. I immediately became a fan. Since then I have completed 6 diamond paintings, have one in progress, and three in my stash. I used to have huge stash of yarn when my hobby of choice was crocheting and knitting. My hands cramp too much now to enjoy working with yarn.

And now, for the pictures I’ve colored this week. Looking forward to doing at least one portrait picture with pencils this coming week. Wishing you all a peaceful Sunday and a happy week ahead!

Magic Autumn
Artist: Alena Lazareva
Lovely Swirls
Artist: Stefana Miro
Chibi Girls Grayscale
Jade Summer
Chibi Girls Grayscale
Jade Summer
Chibi Girls Grayscale
Jade Summer
Chibi Girls Grayscale
Jade Summer
Colorful Life

Hurray! Introducing My New Blog Site!

It’s launch day! I’ve been looking forward to this for a couple of weeks, ever since I announced my retirement from writing novels. It is time for a change in my life and my lifestyle. This new blog will feature inspirational thoughts, stories from those good old days, stories about my cats, and pictures of my hobbies of coloring and diamond painting.

I titled my site Seasonal Changes because I love the changing of the seasons and also because in our lifetimes we go through different seasons, too. I love color. Seeing the seasons change through my office window touches my spirit and makes me smile. I feel closer to God when I view what only His hands can create.

The subtitle, My Colorful Journey, I hope, sets the stage for the colors in my life., including pictures of my coloring pages and diamond paintings, We can all find the beautiful colors in our lives if we focus on the positive. No matter how dark the storms we might walk through, there is something good God will show us.

It is October, my birthday month, and I am looking forward to sharing themed colorings with you. So thank you so much for stopping by, and I hope you will continue reading my future blog posts.

May you have a blessed day and remember to be kind to others and to you.