LIFE GETS SAUCIER

My Homemade Cranberry Relish

I posted the original THE SAUCE OF LIFE a few years back but I feel it is wonderfully saucy to go back and taste some of my original posts with sweet lessons of life, so grab a spoon and sit down with me for a few minutes and taste some of my thoughts on life. This post came to mind when I found some great comments and new followers to my blog. I enjoy the comments coming from all over the world and the adds sauce to my writings. LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST BY TASTING AND ENJOYING THE SAUCIEST LIFE EVER…..ARLINE MILLER, BLOGGER.

TODAY THE WORDS are THE SAUCE OF LIFE. In keeping with my healthy eating, I find myself reminiscing when I threw caution to the wind and ate what tasted good. Since thinking about those delicious moments of times gone by since my health is now the focus, and my memories are what I have, my thoughts went back to Thanksgiving, a great holiday for gathering with family and friends. I started thinking about the sauces which go along with the usual fined dinner; the cranberry sauce, whether it is homemade or canned; the gravy for the turkey and dressing (or sometimes stuffing, whichever is preferable).

Please remember as I post this message, I am talking figuratively and not literally. All of us know who are eating healthy, the sauces can be hazardous to our health but they are consumed in large quantities and are quite desirable for the majority of diners who are indeed thankful for each morsel. Any of us who haven’t over indulged at this time of year are in mostly likely denial.

Let’s take a closer look at the different sauces we taste during this meal. First, cranberry sauce has a different taste since it is the perfect mixture of sweetness and tartness. The canned version has a slightly odd texture but blends softly and is easily blended with the meat or dressing. Second, we usually have the giblet gravy to spoon over the meat or the dressing so it is possible to have both sauces to be shared with the main attraction. Some people make a gravy from the drippings of the turkey so it can be either two or three sauces or gravy to enhance the great food. All three have a different taste but magnifies the taste.

 

Now for the deeper thought of The Sauce of Life…..From the descriptions of these tremendous tasting sauces which are part of a festive occasion; let’s see how they may play into our lives. Life can be divided into several “sauces” and there are times when life is rolling along with some sweet episodes and some “tart” days and issues. We find ourselves accepting the tartness along with the sweetness and are mostly satisfied with our lives at this time with acceptable jobs and/or careers, a few children with our spouses, maybe a slight up and down financial status, maybe a move, maybe a short sickness but all seems pretty settled. Once the meat of life is served; life can become a little dry and maybe everything is a little less tasteful; we have enjoyed the same meals over a course of time but we may question if this is the right menu and unless we put on the “giblet gravy” we, as humans, may wonder if we still love this menu. It is important to make sure we coat the main course of our life with a hearty dipping of gravy to spice up our life without changing the whole meal. Then when we have coated the meat, the dressing, and moved on through the meal of life; we sit still and rub our bellies (or our hearts) and reminisce about the whole meal of life. We will remember the good times, the vegetables and the starches of life; we will relish the sweet desserts by seeing our children and grandchildren grow up and we smile at all of the courses of life and then we will wipe our souls off and welcome eternity.

 FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:
Psalm 136:26            
Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.
(c) copyright 2012-2018 Arline Lott Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material/photos are sourced to original location if known.
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DON’T LOSE TOUCH WITH OTHERS

Last night we attended a wonderfully organized and sentimental birthday celebration to a beautiful and talented 80 year old youngster, Doris Blanchard. A little background on Ms. Doris: My husband has mentioned her many times in the years we have been together. It is obvious he loves her and now that I met her, I see why he is so fond of her. Greg’s mother, Ruby Miller worked with Ms. Doris at her beauty salon. I never had the honor of meeting Ms. Ruby either but now that I met Ms. Doris and others in her lively family, I can see how these two were great friends. This is one of the best results from our move back to Greg’s hometown. It was a delight to attend a great milestone in her life, but something tells me Ms. Doris will be around for a long time. I plan on devoting a blog post exclusively on her life in the near future as she is a very delightful and colorful character while exuding energy and a classy style with a little bling-bling in the mix. Attending this event brought this former post to mind about losing touch. I thought I would post this one prior to writing about Ms. Doris’s wild life adventure ride. Thanks to all of her children, allowing Greg and I to be part of this loving life tribute. We wish Ms. Doris many more happy birthdays!

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Here are some wonderful friends of mine at a recent class reunion, Jan Malphus Downing, me (Arline Miller), Jimmy and Jenny Spivey. Time for catching up.

 

TODAY THE WORDS are LOSING TOUCH. Life can be a funny thing. We start out as children, play with our friends and family, cousins included and make them our friends too. We start school and the school mate friendships start and build with some friends staying in our lives and others leaving when we either change schools or they do. Sometimes, in life with families moving, we lose touch with friends. We think about them from time to time and wonder how they are doing. Fate steps in with unexpected encounters of seeing them and there is joy in our hearts when we still see the child or the young teen we played, laughed, had fusses (for those not in the south, those are little arguments), shared food, enjoyed a good game of touch football, swam, etc. We try to catch up with stories and updates on current status, where we live, where they live, where we work, children, grandchildren, who we married, and so forth. We bridge gaps of times past, and it seems as if we return to a wonderful time in our lives, so why do we “lose touch”?

Every now and then, I think I should stop the Facebook process and every time when I think this, I see so many of my friends that I had lost touch, and I cannot lose touch again. It amazes me how I can be in one state, a great friend in Tennessee, California, Florida, Virginia, etc. and then so many of my dear friends still living in the same hometown as I did. I also find it wonderful that my husband who lived in a neighboring town has friends who are friends with me too. By social media or getting ourselves out there and touching base with friends, we stay in touch and that is a wonderful thing.

Family reunions or class reunions allow a reunion of people who have affected our lives dramatically. Photos are from a recent family reunion on my husband’s mother’s family. 

 

I found an article with 8 tips for staying in touch:

THE BLOG

11/26/2013 05:03 pm ET Updated Jan 26, 2014

8 Tips for Keeping in Touch

Once you’ve met new people, the whole idea of keeping in touch can fill you with a sense of dread, guilt or fear if you don’t have the right strategies in place.

To help you out, here are 8 tips on effectively keeping in touch:

  1. Remember that you don’t need to keep in touch with everyone. It’s OK to sort through business cards at the end of a networking event and to decide who to follow up with for further discussion.
  2. You don’t need to keep in touch with everyone on the same frequency. It’s good to have a few people that you connect with more regularly, but it’s fine to cultivate other relationships on a 3-, 6- or 12-month basis.
  3. Use social media to your advantage by sharing news and reading updates without having to reach out to people on an individual basis.
  4. Even if you don’t own a business, you may want to consider sending out a mass e-mail to people every 6 months to a year. These kind of contacts could include past employers, old school friends or people who you met at conferences. Add them immediately to a group e-mail list (once you have their permission of course!). Then put a reminder to send the e-mail in your calendar and/or have it correspond with a memory cue like the anniversary of your business or January 1 or your birthday.
  5. For the people you want to connect with more often, consider setting up a recurring weekly phone call or lunch meeting so that spending time with them is naturally built into your schedule. If a recurring event won’t work, decide on your next meeting day and time at the end of each time you have together.
  6. Typically mentors or advisers can best offer you support on a monthly or quarterly basis. For these individuals, I recommend setting up either a recurring event at the correct frequency or setting your next time to talk at the end of each conversation (do you notice a pattern? )
  7. If you’re working on a particular type of project where you may need help or advice in the future, set up a place where you collect names and notes about individuals who could assist with that topic. I keep my list in a simple “People to Help with Book” Word document, but you can keep yours in any note taking tool.
  8. When people tell you to reach out to them when you’re in their geographic area, add them to a list of people in a particular city or put a searchable location note or tag on their profile in your contact management system. That way when you plan a trip, you can quickly and easily know who you could potentially visit.

 

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Both my husband and I celebrate our love with dinner dates, outings, and trips and with that love, we cherish our families and friends and respect each other for having the love for God and others. As much as we love “our” times together, we look forward to the family and friend gatherings.

Now for the deeper thought…..Do we lose touch with our souls? Do we do a check on the status of how we are doing in the spiritual realm of life? Or do we experience the “losing touch” with the dearest friend we have in this life and beyond? When was the last time, we checked in God’s Facebook and made sure we are listed as God’s closest friends? I think of “Reach out and touch someone!” phrase and today is as good a day as any to reconnect or stay connected!

 FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:
1 Corinthians 15:33

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals”
(C) Copyright 2012-2018 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material/photos, if known,  are sourced to original location for credit reference.

TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF

Even on an old tree, new leaves grow. ALM

TODAY THE WORDS are TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF. In the last few years, I haven’t heard this phrase as much as I heard it earlier in my life, but here it is as the topic for today. Going back in history, even as far back as the 1500’s, this phrase represented a new start, fresh and new beginnings, etc.

This has two possible origins: 1) In the spring, when a new leaf came on the plant, it was fresh and fragrant and implied new growth; 2) In reading, pages used to be referred as a leaf and when someone had finished a “leaf” or page, they turned over a new leaf. Both possible origins depict a new beginning or a fresh start.

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In life, there are times when we have finished a certain period in our lives and we want to take on something new and it is a good idea to “turn over a new leaf”. This can be giving up old habits which can be unhealthy or morally depriving to us. We find it hard to change or flip over our leaf in life as old habits die hard and it takes effort and dedication to make the turning possible. I can feel some of you going directly in your thoughts of how many diets have I tried; how many times have I said I would give up smoking; how many times have I thought of changing careers; and/or how many times have I said I am going to start exercising or walking? We think more about turning over a new leaf more than we actually turn or change. We ponder, we stall, and we walk around the leaf that needs turning hoping it will turn on its own, right? Are you with me on this? I know it is true for me and for a lot of my family and friends. I hear conversations a lot of the time about “thinking about” and not much “turning over a new leaf”. I also have personal knowledge of this stall tactic (hmmmm, okay I am guilty). 

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I found a great article for us to ponder while deciding to turn over a new leaf:

Finding the Motivation to Change Your Entire Life

BY LEO BABAUTA

Almost exactly 8 years ago today, I ran my first marathon and soon after I started Zen Habits. I’d changed a dozen or so habits, lost weight, was getting out of debt, quit smoking.

And almost 7 years ago, I quit my job.

That was a period of intense and profoundly scary life changes for me, but they were all of my choosing. I decided to make them happen, and I pushed until they did.

Today I’d like to share a few things that worked for me, in case you’re considering changing your life. Maybe you want to quit your job and start a business, or start an organization that will change the world in some way. Maybe you want to change your eating and fitness habits and become healthy. Maybe you want to finally start creating that art, that book, that blog that you’ve been meaning to start someday.

Someday is today.

Let’s look at how you find that motivation to finally start changing — and then to keep going when the changes inevitably get tough.

Change quote

What Gets in the Way

None of these are insurmountable, but they can often cause us to put off major changes. So be aware of them:

  • Fear of change
  • Not wanting to be uncomfortable
  • Fear of uncertainty
  • Being tired
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of not being good enough
  • Not having time
  • Being busy with all kinds of things
  • Waiting for something to happen
  • Perfectionism
  • Being overwhelmed with all that you have to do
  • Not knowing how

We all have these fears and reasons for not taking action.

They’re all bXXXXXXXt. (edited for language)

Yes, the fear of failure and change and discomfort and uncertainty are real … but they’re not good enough reasons for inaction. They can all be overcome. I’ve dealt with them, and so have thousands, millions of others. You’re no worse than me or anyone else — you can face these fears.

Yes, you’re busy, tired, overwhelmed, lacking time … we all are. I would get up at 5 a.m. to go for my runs or write my blog, because I knew I’d be busy later in the day. I didn’t have more time or energy — I was motivated, and I prioritized. You can make that happen too.

So let’s look at how to overcome these fears, find motivation, and prioritize. All with one small set of actions.

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The Make It Happen Actions

These are the set of actions that I’ve found to help overcome fears, find motivation, and prioritize:

  1. Find a purpose. You might already know what your purpose is, but it’s good to review it and keep it at the forefront of your thoughts. If you don’t have a purpose, start here: what will you want to look back on at the end of your life? What will make your life feel significant? What will give your life some meaning? If you don’t have an answer to these questions, it’s worth spending a little time here. Go for a walk and think about it.
  2. Embrace your desire. You’re reading this article because you have a desire to do something positive in your life. Embrace that. Isn’t it wonderful that you have this desire? See this as the first positive step, one you’ve already taken. Now use it and take action.
  3. Create the space. You won’t make any changes if you don’t create a small space for the change. When will you start making the change? In the morning, in the evening, during your lunch break? Don’t wait for the change to happen — make it happen. Block off some time on your calendar each day, even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes. If you don’t have the time, think about how long you spend each day on Facebook, TV, games, or doing smaller tasks that aren’t as important. Push those back for just a bit, and do what’s most important to you first.
  4. Surround yourself. The best way to make change happen is to surround yourself with others making a similar change themselves, others who will support your change. Find a few people online or off, and create a support team that will check in with each other regularly. Yes, this might take some work. Yes, you can do it.
  5. Make the accountability. Find at least one person who will hold you accountable for making this change. It might be the support team mentioned above, or a coach, or an accountability partner. Tell them not to let you off the hook.
  6. Take a small action. If you’re overwhelmed by a large change, or a bunch of large change, just focus on one small step. What small action can you take today that will move you forward? It might be something as simple as “do an Internet search about selling my quilts online”, or “call Freddie to ask him to hold me accountable”. Take a small step, and get moving. Movement begets movement. Now take another small step. This is how change is created

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Now, for the deeper thought….Turning over a new leaf in our faith and life by rededicating or dedicating our life to being the best we can be to God, ourselves (yes, this is part of turning over a new leaf) and especially others. When we speak to others, let it be with God’s love; when we give, give with a willing heart without expectations; when we love, love as Our Maker loves us; and when we die, may we die with grace and humility giving thanks to God for being present in our lives. Our family tree will blossom with new growth, fragrance, and deeper roots.

FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:
Jeremiah 17:8      
He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.

(c) copyright 2012-2018 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material including photos are sourced, when known, to original location for credit reference.

MY LIFE AS A DUMPLING

MY LIFE AS A DUMPLING…..and you ask what are you talking about? Allow me to clear the air, I am not expressing anything about my weight. I am somewhat fluffy and that may come into play in my blog post. I am a Southern Gal, but those who know me or have read my blog have heard that twang in how I express myself and I am proud to say I can make old fashioned dumplings.

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How does this have anything to do with life? As I always see a life lesson in most every action in my days, I will share with you my thoughts as a dumpling. I will add a recipe for making dumplings so let me put on my apron and go into the kitchen of life.

Making Dumplings takes some preparation as does bringing a child into the world:

  • Maybe making dumplings is a spur of the moment decision and you find yourself in the kitchen looking around to see if you have all of the ingredients which is equivalent of unexpected pregnancies. You may have to improvise if no time was allotted. That doesn’t mean your dumplings will not be as good as planned dumplings but it means simply it is on the spot cooking. I must have been an unplanned baby and I have never been the smoothly rolled out dumpling but more of an abstract, rough edged dumpling but still a good dumpling in the end.
  • When proper planning, with all ingredients handy, rolling pin with lots of flour to prevent sticking, dumplings may look more uniform, same size, same thickness but to a tad a little boring. You may be scratching your head on my opinion of the cookie cutter type dumpling but you have met these “dumplings” in life. I have nothing against this type dumpling but they are not the trend setters, artists, motivational speakers, inventors, etc. When each dumpling is the same size and thickness as in life, a group of young girls or boys who feel they have to dress the same, wear the same brand of shoes, hair cuts, make up, jewelry, and speak the same and live in the same type houses, they become “squared dumplings”. It is very seldom that a square dumpling will rise differently than the other dumplings and even will stick together to where they are not eaten separately, but become a big glob of dough.
  • Some keys or secrets to making and cooking dumplings are:
  1.           Do not overthink dumplings. Dumplings, as are humans,  better with uniqueness and not how they measure up to others. Dare to be the one dumpling who wants to rise to the top faster, be the one that soaks up the gold liquid instead of worrying about drowning or being eaten by life. Go for it and be the dumpling that someone cannot wait for and they savor the taste your life as a dumpling has become.
  2.          Hang around with other outstanding dumplings. Other dumplings, or friends who have the same dreams, inspire you to the top while those sticky dumplings, or people who are always trying to stick together or depend on others to be beside them are not the best dumplings. Break away from the needy and dependent dumplings or they will weigh you down to the bottom of the pot of life.
  3.          Don’t stress my dear dumpling if it gets pretty hot. Dumplings need the heat because if the heat is not present, dumplings will become a gummy mess. Life is made to have the tense moments to complete the process or cause a mere dumpling made of nothing but a few ingredients to soak it up and rise. Many hot moments of life can create something so tasty you never forget the taste. It is the same thing for us human dumplings, we write or cook our life stories each and every day and fill our lives with seasonings or experiences. It is the same way the cook adds the extra flavor with the seasonings to the hot broth. Without those seasonings or life adventures, life would be hum-drum to say the least.
  4.         Not all dumplings get eaten at the first meal. I think back to a song “Our Day Will Come  (click on the song title and you will hear Ruby & The Romantics sing it) and I have experienced this part of life taking its time to give me an opportunity to do what I truly love to do by writing a blog for 6 years and publishing 2 novels and in the process of the third one. I must have been a little thicker and it took longer for me to cook through before I began to rise. Be patient if life makes you, my dumpling friend, a little thicker and it takes some time and more effort for your talents to develop.

    OLD FASHIONED CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS

    Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings is a family favorite meal that is both comforting and delicious! This chicken and dumplings recipe is created from scratch including the tender dumplings and juicy chicken in an easy homemade broth.

    INGREDIENTS:

    BROTH

    • 1 chicken cut into pieces
    • 1 onion
    • 3 large carrots, cut into thirds
    • 3 stalks celery, cut into thirds
    • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
    • salt & pepper to taste
    • bay leaf or a pinch of poultry seasoning (optional)

    DUMPLINGS

    • 1 3/4 cups flour (plus extra for dusting)
    • 1/3 cup shortening
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    OTHER

    • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
    • parsley for garnish

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Combine chicken, onion, carrots and celery in a large pot. Season to taste.
    2. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered 45-60 minutes or until chicken is tender. While broth is simmering, prepare dumplings below.
    3. Remove chicken and vegetables from broth. Discard skin and bones and chop remaining chicken, set aside.
    4.  Gently add dumplings to broth.  Simmer 15-20 minutes or until tender.
    5. Stir chicken (and vegetables if desired) into broth and cook about 2-3 minutes or until heated through.

    DUMPLINGS

    1. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and shortening with a fork until shortening is mixed in.
    2. Add milk a little at a time and mix until combined (you may not need all of it, you want a soft but not sticky dough).
    3. Knead a few times on a floured surface until dough is smooth.
    4. Generously flour your surface and roll the dough out to 1/8″ thick. Cut dough into 1″ x 2″ strips.  Flour generously to avoid sticking.
    5. Cook in broth as directed above.

    TO THICKEN BROTH (OPTIONAL)

    1. In a small bowl combine 4 tablespoons cornstarch with 4 tablespoons water.
    2. Add to boiling broth a little bit at a time stirring to reach desired consistency.

    NOTES:

    Carrots and celery can be served on the side or chopped and added to the broth along with the chicken.

    NUTRITION INFORMATION

    Yield: 8 servings, Serving Size:

    • Amount Per Serving:
    • Calories: 551 Calories

    (Nutriton information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

    ©Holly Nilsson for SpendWithPennies.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Please view my photo use policy here.

 

Blogger’s note: I am proud to be a dumpling and I want to be the best dumpling I can possibly be. I want each and every dumpling like you to succeed. Be the best dumpling filled with savory taste and enjoy the moment you are recognized for your uniqueness.Now get in the pot and start rising dear dumpling friends.

(C) Copyright 2012-2018 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known, to the original links and/or locations for credits.

CAN GOD REALLY TALK TO YOU?

God is wanting to talk to you; are you listening? Photo courtesy of Charlene Harper  Brannigan
I posted this message in 2014 and I saw it and remembered the cruel words recently spoken from a talk show personality slamming a highly respected Christian for referring to God speaking to him. She cynically referred to anyone who says they say they hear voices is mentally ill. As much as I want to hit back, I feel sorry for her if she has never heard the inner voice of God speaking to her heart. Maybe she is just not listening. On this note, I pulled this post up and want to revisit the message behind it. I hope you enjoy it…Arline Miller, blogger of Sipping Cups of Inspiration.
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TODAY THE WORDS are WHEN GOD IS TALKING. I have been very busy lately between work and writing, taxes and spring cleaning. It seems this way for everyone I know. Greg does our yards, and he has been busy with maintenance of the flowers, shrubs, lawn, etc. This is because he loves to work in them and watch them grow. It is Spring and with Spring comes the tidying up for the beautiful display of May flowers. During these times as well as other busy times of the year, we may not be still to listen for God’s voice to come through our “heartways”. Oh, we hear all of us humans chattering away but we have a problem sitting still because we have those chores on our minds.
Yesterday morning, I posted this statement instead of writing the blog,
 “This morning I feel like being still and let the full meaning of knowing God is Almighty God flow through my heart and soul. I will be spending my meditation/devotional time not asking for anything, but I will be giving prayers of thanks for blessings. I will try to write the blog tomorrow as I want To Spend Precious Time appreciating the ultimate sacrifice Our Lord made for all of us.” 
For some reason, I felt a need to be still and wait for direction. It wasn’t long after I had my time with God, I saw a spiritual post message and without thinking, I asked the author of the message, “Do you write a blog?” This was what I was supposed to do. God wants her message out to the world and I felt led to help. This is the focus of this message. It is not all about us in this world; it is about how we can assist, help, guide, and/or support someone else who is under the direction of God. I have said many times, and all of you who know me well, will recollect me saying, “I am not trying to preach or teach; I am using my failures and errors to hopefully save some of you from making the same mistakes. I have learned through them and life became better after I learned to either do something or not to do the same thing.”
It is up to Our Creator to use us how we best fit into His Divine Plan. It is up to us to “Be Still” and listen; not to the noise of the world; not to the television; not to others who are not talking in our best interest; or not to ourselves when we have doubts. God can speak in a soft, quiet voice or God can move mountains with His Roar! The wondrous result is to know we serve A Mighty God who will speak to someone unworthy and mold them into someone who will extend themselves to help someone else. Listen to God as God wants to talk to all of us; not just some.
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For a visit to Prayer Bench, for my communications with God through prayer, check out this page on my blog. Just a little talk with Jesus makes it right for me.
I am including an excerpt from an article about Listening to God if you are interested in learning more about tuning into your inner spirit and open the communication channel to Our Higher Power. You may not believe and that is your right. For me, my faith gets me through the hardest and most difficult times. I hope wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you have peace and love in your heart.

Listening To God

Listening to God – Preparing Your Heart to Hear Him
Listening to God is like listening to anyone-before you can hear Him, you must be ready to listen. Just as in a conversation, you cannot hear the other person if you are talking or if your mind is distracted. So it is with God. If you want to hear Him speak, you must be quiet and you must be focused on what He is saying. Regular conversation with God can transform your life! Consider identifying a place and time to meet with God everyday.

Prayer is how you begin a conversation with God. Think of it as saying “hello.”

Listening to God – How Can I Hear Him?
Listening to God requires a deliberate choice to shut out the chaos around you and focus your thoughts. Is God someone you can hear? The Bible says He is, and the Bible is one of the main tools through which He speaks.

We live in a world of noise. Almost everywhere we go, we find sounds competing with our minds, keeping us from letting our thoughts get below the surface level. Hearing God’s voice means not listening to the noise of the world around us. It’s not easy, but it can be done.

King David, author of most of the book of Psalms, gave us a model for meeting with God, “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8).

He sought God’s direction in the morning, at the beginning of the day. Like a general in God’s army, he wanted to hear from his Commanding Officer before he entered into battle. Beginning each day fresh with God is a great reminder that, as the Scripture says, His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22, 23). You must find the time of day that works for you, but morning is the best time if that is possible.

Do you want to hear God speak to you? Listening to God requires regular Bible reading, since the Bible is the Word of God. To listen to the Bible, click here.

Listening to God – Get the Picture
Listening to God requires a heart committed to understand His message. God often speaks to us in visual images. Consider the example of the prophet Habakkuk, in Habakkuk chapter 2. The prophet longed to hear from God! He was so determined that he was willing to stand and wait as long as it took. “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me…” (Habakkuk 2:1).

Habakkuk found that God was faithful. “Then the LORD replied, ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:2).

Listening to God – What Now?
Listening to God requires a right attitude in our hearts. In order to listen to God and receive His instruction, we must want to do His will, much as Habakkuk did. God honors the heart that is fully surrendered to Him. If we are stubbornly clinging to our own desires, we are likely to get a garbled message that will not be God’s voice at all. As a result, we are likely to continue pursuing a path that is contrary to the one God has designed for our lives.

Psalm 40:8 says, “I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”

Do you desire God’s will for your life above every other desire? If you do, you can trust that He will direct your path. Listen to His message, and be quick to obey. Write down what He tells you and be ready to share it so that others may understand.

When you listen to God and obey Him, you will discover a life that is full and rich with purpose, confident you are following the Master’s plan.

 FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:

Psalm 46:10 New International Version (NIV)

10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
     I will be exalted among the nations,
     I will be exalted in the earth.


(c) copyright 2012-2018 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material/photos are sourced to original location, if known for credit reference.

TODAY THE WORDS ARE WHY DO WE PRAY

 
TODAY THE WORDS are WHY DO WE PRAY?” The majority of the world prays in some form or other. Many are devout believers in different faiths and honor the tradition of regular and/or daily prayers. Many pray when they are in need of divine intervention; others pray prayers of deliverance. Whatever the tradition, ritual, custom, or practice; most people pray. I bring to the discussion table of thought for today’s subject….WHY DO WE PRAY?
Throughout my life, even in times of being outside a Christian lifestyle; I prayed. I have heard from some people say, “Do you think God hears sinners’ prayers?” so what are our thoughts of this. My feelings are simply, “If God had not heard my sinner’s prayer, I would have been lost forever. It is how we pray and not if we pray. Life deals out blow after blow; we become weary of its toil and we feel defeated. At some point in time most of us will fall to our knees and ask for divine help from God to save us from ourselves.
thanks3
I am including an article on REASON FOR PRAYER: 

Christian philosopher and scientist Blaise Pascal (1623-62) wrote, “The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing … ” This article proposes that prayer has its reasons. Why we pray is important, as is prayer itself. What follows are twelve reasons to pray.

1. God’s Word Calls Us to Pray

One key reason to pray is because God has commanded us to pray. If we are to be obedient to His will, then prayer must be part of our life in Him. Where does the Bible call us to prayer? Several passages are relevant:

  • “Pray for those who persecute you” –Matthew 5:44 (NIV) [1]
  • “And when you pray …” –Matthew 6:5
  • “This, then, is how you should pray …” –Matthew 6:9
  • “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” –Romans 12:12
  • “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” –Ephesians 6:18
  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” –Philippians 4:6
  • “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” –Colossians 4:2
  • “Pray continually” -1 Thessalonians 5:17
  • “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone …” -1 Timothy 2:1

Prayer is an act of obedience. God calls us to pray and we must respond.

2. Jesus Prayed Regularly

Why did Jesus pray? One reason he prayed was as an example so that we could learn from him. The Gospels are full of references to the prayers of Christ, including these examples:

  • “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.” –Matthew 14:23
  • “Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.'” –Matthew 26:36
  • “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” –Mark 1:35
  • “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” –Luke 5:16
  • “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” –Luke 6:12
  • “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” –Luke 18:1

3. Prayer is How We Communicate with God

Prayer allows us to worship and praise the Lord. It also allows us to offer confession of our sins, which should lead to our genuine repentance. Moreover, prayer grants us the opportunity to present our requests to God. All of these aspects of prayer involve communication with our Creator. He is personal, cares for us, and wants to commune with us through prayer.

  • ” … if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” -2 Chronicles 7:14
  • Isaiah wrote, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31).
  • Hebrews 4:15-16 reads, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Prayer is not just about asking for God’s blessings – though we are welcome to do so – but it is about communication with the living God. Without communication, relationships fall apart. So, too, our relationship with God suffers when we do not communicate with Him.

4. Prayer Allows us to Participate in God’s Works

Does God need our help? No. He is all powerful and in control of everything in His creation. Why do we need to pray? Because prayer is the means God has ordained for some things to happen. Prayer, for instance, helps others know the love of Jesus. Prayer can clear human obstacles out of the way in order for God to work. It is not that God can’t work without our prayers, but that He has established prayer as part of His plan for accomplishing His will in this world.

5. Prayer Gives us Power Over Evil

Can physical strength help us overcome obstacles and challenges in the spiritual realm? No, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). But in prayer even the physically weak can become strong in the spiritual realm. As such, we can call upon God to grant us power over evil.

  • “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” -1 Timothy 4:8
  • “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – Matthew 26:41

6. Prayer is Always Available

This point is covered separately in another article. But, in short, another reason to pray is because prayer is always available to us. Nothing can keep us from approaching God in prayer except our own choices (Psalm 139:7; Romans 8:38-39).

7. Prayer Keeps us Humble Before God

Humility is a virtue God desires in us (Proverbs 11:2; 22:4; Micah 6:8; Ephesians 4:2; James 4:10). Prayer reminds us that we are not in control, but God is, thus keeping us from pride.

  • “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” –Matthew 18:4

8. Prayer Grants us the Privilege of Experiencing God

Through prayer we obtain an experiential basis for our faith. We do not ignore the intellect or reasons for faith, but prayer makes our experience of God real on an emotional level.

9. Answered Prayer is a Potential Witness

If our prayer is answered, it can serve as a potential witness for those who doubt.

10. Prayer Strengthens the Bonds Between Believers

Prayer not only strengthens our relationship with God, but when we pray with other believers, prayer also strengthens the bonds between fellow Christians.

11. Prayer Can Succeed Where Other Means Have Failed

Have all your options been exhausted? Prayer can succeed where other means have failed. Prayer should not be a last resort, but our first response. But there are times when sincere prayer must be offered in order to accomplish something.

12. Prayer Fulfills Emotional Needs

Do we need God through prayer? Yes! We were made to function best, emotionally, in a prayerful relationship with God. As C.S. Lewis put it, “God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.” [2]

Prayer, then, has its reasons, and they are many.

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the New International Version of the Bible.

[2] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Macmillan, 1952), Book II, Chapter 3, “The Shocking Alternative.”

Robert Velarde is author of Conversations with C.S. Lewis (InterVarsity Press), The Heart of Narnia (NavPress), and primary author of The Power of Family Prayer (National Day of Prayer Task Force). He studied philosophy of religion and apologetics at Denver Seminary and is pursuing graduate studies in philosophy at Southern Evangelical Seminary

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Now, here is where I feel a need to share a thought. Once we have found salvation and redemption; why is there a need to pray? We are starting to wade in the waters of life with this thought. Some cynics would say; if you have been saved, why is it necessary to pray? As you have heard me say, I speak from an ordinary person’s position and not one of the spiritual leaders and pastoral stand and I am not anybody and my thoughts are my own from my experiences.
May I say why I pray? I pray because I want to thank God, praise God, ask for forgiveness for any wrongs, willingly or unwillingly, and all of these reasons are great reasons but this is not the most important reason I pray. I pray because I want God to know how much I have learned to love God. I love the peace I get from praying. I love the assurance I am and have never been alone. I love God’s patience in teaching me patience. I love the love I feel without asking for it; God gives it to me freely. I love to ask for others who are in need as I know how many times God has helped me and how God loves all of us and is willing to help if asked. Maybe my reasons aren’t your reasons and that is the best part of praying. Each person can pray prayers written by others; prayers can be either long or short; and there are no grammar checks as God listens with the ability to interpret what we mean when we speak to Him. Please remember, it is not a science and there is no specific way to pray; Prayer is an emotional talk with Our Maker.
YOUR BLOGGER, ARLINE MILLER wants to encourage those who like to pray to visit my page titled PRAYER BENCH on this blog (click on link) for a multitude of prayers, some timely and some prayers prayed for the sake of praying.
 FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:

Philippians 4:6-7ESV 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

(c) copyright 2012-2018 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material is sourced if known to original location for credit reference.

A SUNRISE LIKE NO OTHER

Tomorrow is another opportunity to see A SUNRISE LIKE NO OTHER. I found this post from 2014 and I wanted to share that excitement I experienced this particular Easter morning. 
TODAY THE WORDS are A SUNRISE LIKE NO OTHER. Throughout our lives, we have witnessed many sunrises, some more outstanding than others. Some of us may have, as on this special occasion attended sunrise ceremonies, to see how miraculous each sunrise is and how unique the sun can alter its magnificent appearance. We take photographs of the first peek of the sun rising above the land, lake, mountain or ocean and expressions of excitement or a quite, reverent sigh comes out of our mouths. I have been known to hug when it bursts from the bottom and starts its powerful climb into the sky. Sunrises are awesome but this morning as so many Easter mornings, my heart goes to the sunrise like no other which I want to believe had to occur when Jesus rose from the tomb. As humbly as Jesus lived, even His resurrection and appearance to Mary Madeline was quiet and demure. However, I believe God was beyond happy, beyond excited, and beyond control of being quiet and was bursting with pride as a Father would be and had to “show out” with the most brilliant, most illustrious sunrise. The clouds from the gloomy Good Friday were pushed back and the skies had to be that blue which only God can produce and allow God’s creative sunrise to shine through. It makes me think this special sunrise almost would hurt the viewer’s eyes but it had to be so incredible, the viewer could also not turn away.
I would think people who were awake might even give the other person with them a hug. Something special about this day would be on their minds, but for my deeper thought….Were they aware of how special and how their lives would be forever changed by this sunrise and the events which had taken place? Do we, as people realize that no matter how people who try to change the truth of the real meaning of Easter, fail in the final attempt?
Easter hope
As each sunrise occurs, the same glory God felt on that first Easter is present today and what changed with that sunrise that was like no other is present today. When you have seen a beautiful sunrise, and your heart feels it is like no other; I think it may be God reminding us of His Son’s Resurrection and pathway for our salvation. Enjoy Easter; enjoy each sunrise and sunset; and recognize God’s beauty in all of these things.
Side note from the blogger on the morning before Easter morning: I woke this morning with a heavier heart than usual. More than not, during the Easter season, it is placed on my heart how we as humans fail to live up to the life of Christ and we allow distrust, anger, frustration, and confusion about all of the worldly events going on. I felt this morning a sense of a need for a special display of love. I had written a poem about a week ago and thought I would share it for this Easter season.

The Tiny Crosses on the Pines

From my humble vantage from below

I look up and see the lofty crosses flow

In the wind, they bend and show

What we realize is a sign for us to know.

 

Jesus you left us with a reminder to agree

The crosses on the pines at Easter  will be.

You died on a wooden cross to set us free.

Each year, they will grow and we will see.

 

My Dear Lord, You could have left us alone.

To live with Your Father on His throne.

But you chose a human form  with bone.

For redemption from our sins we’ve sown.

 

I will reverently cherish those tiny  statues

Heavenly Father carved them for our views.

May we bow and pray with reverence in pews.

Jesus, we thank You for those wooden hues.

 

Easter will be a day for us to reflect on You

Your life, sacrifice, death and resurrection too.

As those tiny crosses point the way to You.

We will worship and fill our spirits anew.

 

Happy Easter with love and reverence to Our

Lord in 2018 written by Arline Miller

 

(C) Copyright 2012-2018 Arline Miller, blogger and author, with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced if known to original location for credit reference. Photos are not necessarily the exclusive property of Sipping Cups of Inspiration.