Celebrate!

five years….FIVE years….60 months….260 weeks…1,820 days ago….I heard the words no one wants to hear…. “Ms Carr, You have cancer and it’s stage IV”

honestly, that feels like a lifetime ago and yet sometimes it’s at the forefront of my attention….

those close to me have heard me say more than once how cancer has been a blessing… crazy, right? how can there be ANYTHING good about cancer??????

oh, but there is! I am a living testimony that God will truly take every single situation…even the really sucky situations….use it all for good and I’m blessed to be a witness to His goodness.

don’t get me wrong, if I’d had a choice, I doubt I would’ve said, “sure! I’ll take on cancer!” but the choice wasn’t mine and here’s just some of the good:

  • I am confident God will deliver me!
  • grow my relationship with God deeper than I ever could’ve imagined
  • the medical community has advanced to target and treat my specific cancer
  • retired at age 55 vs 65 or 70
  • discovered a love for faith art and grew to share it with others
  • be available to take regular trips to see ‘my girl’ and extended family
  • write and share a Bible study

yeah….so I’m an optimist….I choose not to focus on the hard parts of cancer… and that’s not always heathy or easy… I also discovered its a huge part of being authentic…. it’s just as important to share the hard parts…

  • cancer is hard – really hard
  • cancer is painful….almost every.single.day.
  • cancer causes physical limitations you never dreamed of
  • cancer is relentless and certainly doesn’t care about your hopes and dreams
  • cancer is just.plain.mean

BUT GOD….

  • God provides a WAY when there seems no way!
  • God provides PEACE in a seemingly never ending storm…..
  • God provides COMFORT when the pain feels unbearable
  • God provides WISDOM and DISCERNMENT when you’re on information overload
  • God provides STRENGTH …spiritual – emotional – physical when you are tapped out
  • God provides HOPE and assurance of VICTORY that He will deliver me

bottom line? there are no guarantees in life…except one…to know and accept the salvation offered by my loving unchanging LORD and Savior 💖

A Brave Thing

So I did a thing today.  For me, a very brave thing indeed!  As I was scrolling thru the Netflix guide, my eyes landed on ‘The Long Goodbye’ – the documented story of Kara Tippitts.  A seemingly average woman, who wasn’t the least bit average.  A young mother’s story of love and grace in the midst of the enemy – cancer.  You can read more on her restored blog, Mundane Faithfulness.

I don’t generally watch cancer movies – I know how the story ends.  I don’t want to see my life in someone else’s and measure where I’m “at”  But today was different…. and I watched…. and of course, the tears flowed like rain.  But they weren’t tears of fear – they were cleansing tears as God pressed on my heart, “I see you, My sweet girl. It’s okay to let others see you too.”

You see, I love to write. I love to share… but I absolutely cannot authentically write without being vulnerable. And with vulnerability, comes pain exposure.  It’s hard to share the hard stuff…. and what I admired in Kara’s story was her ability to be so lovingly real and graciously raw.

God’s been pressing on me for a while and yes, I’ve been dodging Him (as if that’s a real possibility!)  It’s so much easier to be lazy, but there’s no value in a wasted life.  Watching the movie today reminded me of a group on Facebook that’s led by a friend –  Fight Dirty by Loving Big. She always ends with “go forth and conquer – that means I love you”  And no, I don’t usually actively participate – that requires more authenticity than I’ve been brave enough to muster.

You see, in many ways, I’m the proverbial duck… calm on the surface and paddling like mad underneath.  Folks…..when they see the girl….. they get to see the girl who loves Jesus and talks about the gifts of cancer.  She doesn’t talk about the hard parts – why? She doesn’t want to make people sad or feel sorry for her.  BUT she’s been slowly exiting far left…. for fear of showing pain or showing fear itself…. hiding from the day to day….all the while not realizing what she’s doing.

And here’s the real beauty in writing…. God shows me what I’m really doing…. or not doing, as the case may be!

A few weeks ago, I started a group study called The Wellness Revelation being hosted by Stephanie Ackerman  – it’s a God first study focused on losing what’s weighing you down – and yes, physical weight is a big part… but for me, I knew it was something much deeper – I just didn’t know what.  And to be quite frank, if I’d had a clue where God was leading me, I obviously would’ve run the other way!  But I suppose God usually has to work that way with me – at least when He’s trying to get my undivided attention.

f.e.a.r.    who’da thunk????? But that’s how fear works, isn’t it?  Well, thank ya Jesus!  Now that it’s been identified, it’s up to me to let God do His thing and work it out of my life.  I’m not afraid of death – I know to whom I belong.  I’m not afraid of cancer… at least I don’t think so (time will surely tell!)….could I be afraid of living?  That sounds pretty weird to me, but again…. time will tell….but where I landed today was realizing and acknowledging that fear has been dictating the extent to which I’m living and loving.

And selective living and loving isn’t really living at all, is it?  Where is God going to take this? No idea.  But I’m committed letting Him do a work in and through me and to being real – raw – and open.  Intentionally open to my inner circle, outer circle, and whoever is out in cyberland that God chooses to touch with His message of love, hope and redemption.

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Welcome to The Table

Welcome to the TableI shared this post on Facebook, and then it dawned on me that I didn’t write about it here first!  So…. here it is….

I’m so excited!!! My brain has been going a million miles a second….flooded with ideas….

I shared a video on Facebook about the book “The Turquoise Table” – it’s all about creating community in our own front yards by reaching out & loving others….

In case you haven’t followed recent posts on my blog, I started writing and sharing a bible study based on the Love Dare book (you can read about it here: https://celetac.com/my-love-dare-with-god/ )…..and yes, it’s about loving others!

And then, a friend at church invited me to join a group…. Fighting dirty…loving big… it’s all about getting out of my comfort zone by physically reaching out to love on others…

Well…. I’m not really out and about daily, and lately cancer challenges have really been a pain in my backside (literally! 🤣) – I’ve found that when I am out, lingering to reach out is much more difficult physically than emotionally

Notice a trend????

Well….as I read the book (The Turquoise Table) I’ve been thinking, “where can I put MY table???” I live at the back of my complex & my cottage gets very little traffic 😏….down the way, a neighbor sat out chairs, but that didn’t seem quite right either…

As I was engrossed in the book (thank you Amazon Prime!), I kept asking God, “where’s my table?????”

And then…. as I was preparing to work on the Love Dare with God study, it hit me…. THE CRAFT ROOM!

My complex has a room designated for crafts, but it’s rarely, if EVER used! They also have a COFFEE ROOM; it’s on the 2nd floor… the BEST part???? They are both near me!!! The main activity room for the complex is at the front of the property & a bit far for me to walk on a regular basis, let alone carry beverages or crafts… notice a ‘God Thing’ happening here????

No Strangers HereHonestly, I was so excited that I just had to walk over for a visual of each room 🤓….. the only thing it didn’t have was a billboard saying,

you asked Celeta, here it is…..love God

Yes indeed….. I found “my” table….first things first though….finish the Love Dare study, and THEN leap out of my comfort zone again and watch God show off 🙌🏻

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Strength Rises

A month or so ago, a fellow artist shared a study on the Psalms by Lisa Albinus of Praise Heart studios – I just love how God consistently introduces me to new and inspiring believers who worship through art! Five years ago, “art” was literally not a part of my vocabulary….and today? Gosh, I can’t imagine my life without it!

Yesterday my sister and I were talking about a talent she has for deciphering ingredients for a particular dish…. she correlated that gift to art…or her lack, rather. My initial response was something like, “it’s all about what we nurture.” Well, that took us into a deeper conversation about our relationship with God – don’t you just love how He does that?????

It’s all about what we devote our time and efforts into…. it may not always be obvious, but in some form or fashion, the things we focus on will inevitably be connected to our relationship with God….to either bring me closer to Him… or pull me away… and that’s probably been the biggest standout of the current study I’m working through – My Love Dare with God – to heighten the awareness that everything I do impacts my relationship with God…. pretty exciting stuff, don’t you think? And the thing is, no two relationships are the same – similar? perhaps… but just like the two images shown – they are similar: a sun & 3 figures, but definitely not the same… so if… or rather, when you’re tempted to compare, think about these things:

This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. –1 Corinthians 12:25-28

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. –Ephesians 2:10

You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this. –Psalm 139:13-14

God Speaks

New to journaling? Welcome!!!!
I just love how God speaks to us on such a personal level!! I always try to encourage folks to journal – whether you write a few words, a picture, or any combination…it can inspire and encourage either yourself or others in ways you can’t possibly fathom!
I stumbled across this note from a binder…a BIG. BLANK. BINDER…
“Where to begin??? So much space to be filled!!!

 

Lord,
I want to follow Your lead and not get so focused on the canvas that I lose sight of Your artistry. Amen”

 

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My Love Dare with God – week 3

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Welcome to week 3 of My Love Dare with God!  I hope you are enjoying the study and ready to keep deepening your relationship with God.

This week we will take a look at four aspects of love:

  • believing the best
  • turning away jealousy
  • making good impressions
  • loving unconditionally

As I mentioned before, I recommend approaching the study tools as follows:

  1. print stuff
  2. read The Love Dare
  3. watch related video
  4. read related discussion
  5. complete Think-Write-Pray

I remain confident you will find your groove

My Love Dare with God Study – Week 3

I’m looking forward to your feedback!  Please share your thoughts & any questions on the site; also, please feel free to share any artwork on my FB Page – Celeta’s Journey

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Rise up!

Oh my goodness! Why I didn’t publish this post TWO years ago, I have no idea… but I stumbled across it this evening and it fits in perfectly with My Love Dare with God

Not so long ago, I posted on Facebook that I received my new Inspire journaling Bible & discovered something new….the line art included with the Bible actually draws me into scripture – pretty cool, right?

So now I’m learning to take it a step further, which is actually bringing faith art full circle….beyond coloring (first)….beyond reading….to writing & a bit more coloring!

This morning as I was working in my Documented Faith binder – I’ve revised mine a bit to focus on words of the month vs months (that way I don’t feel “behind” – yeah, the comparison stick, but let’s leave that subject for another day!) – anyway, my eyes landed on love – so many verses on love, right?  So I began flipping through my Bible and landed in Judges – admittedly not a book of the Bible I’ve spent much time studying or even reading…the line art was simple, but it grabbed my attention all the same…Judges 5:31

May those who love You rise like the sun in all its power.

Immediately I thought of sunrises. I love them! Everything is usually still & quiet….life is still a bit blurry-eyed and the brain isn’t driving at supersonic speeds…the promise of a new day….new opportunities and yes, new challenges…. But it’s a time to set our paths straight again – to keep our eyes & focus upward.

The first sunrise that came to mind was at Surfside beach – yes…I had to head out from home pretty early, and even though the ocean usually doesn’t call my name, it did that day…so off I went.  The beach was deserted and quite frankly, I didn’t have much of a clue as to where I was going! I’d only been there once before in recent years, and since I’m not exactly the spontaneous type, I’d definitely call it a God thing.  Alone with the waves rushing in, sand in my toes and coffee in hand, I sat and watched as the sun sparkled across the water – such power! such promise! Oh…. if only I showed my love for God like a sunrise!

I went in search of pictures I took that morning – not on my phone, not on my old phone, not on my Mac….darn! They must be on that hard drive buried behind boxes…what I discovered though were other sunrises…and you know what? The feelings were practically the same! All the others were woodsy type (that’s my favorite place!)…the difference? Anticipation. On the water, there is nothing to block your view – in a wooded area, you get glimpses at first….it takes a bit more patience, but maybe that’s a good thing….it’s an opportunity to “get still” first….to lean in and hear God whisper to my heart.

What is God whispering to you today? Did you miss it? Did you rush off in a flurry of to-dos today? Take a few moments – walk outside….take your phone with you & snap a picture of the sun…is your view clear? cloudy? dark?  Now close your eyes and imagine….only the sun…feel the warmth of it on your face and let it sink in. God’s love for us is infinitely more powerful than the sun and even though there may be obstacles blocking our view, He is still there….loving us and wanting nothing more than for us to rise up and love in return.

May those who love You rise like the sun in all its power.

Further Reading 

After I found the verse, I put the spectacles in reverse to see what in the world they were actually talking about! Go figure….it was a song! The Song of Deborah….whoops back up….Deborah who? Yeah….I’ve got a LOT to learn! The less than abbreviated version (i.e. I’ve got much more reading to do!)….Deborah was a prophet (surprise to me) and a judge….anyway, her song was praising God for defeating Canaanite King Jabin.  Happy Reading!