Hello 2020!

Happy New Year y’all! A new year and a new decade lies ahead…what victories and challenges will you face in the coming days and months? Time always tells.

While 2019 was filled with valleys for many, I am so thankful it was a pretty good year for this ole gal (OG!) – God led me through a journey towards healthier eating habits and cancer didn’t reveal any new challenges🙌🏻 Those small victories enabled me to be more supportive both physically and emotionally…. and I want more of that!

Over the past few years, I’ve participated in choosing my One Word – for 2020, my one word is gather – that word seems a bit odd, but also on the money! Towards the end of 2019, I did a few new things – after several years of procrastinating, I finally opened an Etsy shop to share FaithArt God lays on my heart, I contributed FaithArt to a longtime FB friend as an accompaniment to her Bible Studies, and I connected with another beautiful soul that I am oh so eager to meet face to face and see how God unfolds our story

What One Word has God laid on your heart this year? I’ve included a freebie for you to print or save for digital use ➡️ https://celetac.com/creative-hearts-paper-studio/ My prayer this year is for each of us to live a life of intentional love, gratitude, grace, and surrender.

‘Tis the Season

A few weeks ago I was thinking about how holidays can be pretty painful for many and last night our Community group touched on the topic again and it brought me back to this post where God has been sitting… and waiting… the October thru December is a time where many focus on thanksgiving. This year I was presented with Ann Voskamp’s one thousand gifts – a study to embrace gratitude and allow God to weave it into the fabric of our daily lifestyle.

As I’ve shared before, for me I’d much rather focus on the blessing of cancer instead of the hard parts… but the thing is, it’s the hard parts that I believe bring about the blessings… which begs the question, ‘if cancer was easy, would I be as grateful?’ – good question, right?

And that thought brought me back to those whose “grief bucket” may be overflowing this time of year and Ann’s FaceBook live video that touches on gratitude and grief (around the 14min mark) Ann Voskamp – one thousand gifts

Are you desperately missing a loved one this season? Is this time of year a stark reminder of who or what you don’t have? Most likely. Ann suggests writing out traits of or experiences with that special someone that brings a smile to our hearts…. and in doing so, perhaps the bitter will become sweeter.

Last year my stepdad passed away the day after Thanksgiving. And even though the head knows a heavenly promotion is coming, rarely is the heart ready. Grief during holiday season last year was sidestepped by the busyness of an upcoming move. This year? Not so much. I watch my mom in her silent sadness and my heart breaks for her – there is nothing I can do that will take away her pain. Only God can fill the void in her heart, but I can do as Ann suggests… counter pain and sadness with sweet, precious memories.

Is there someone in your life struggling this season? Or perhaps you find your heart overwhelmed with grief or sadness? I encourage you to seek God and reach out – it doesn’t have to be some grand gesture – a simple “I see you” can do more than you imagine!

Blessing y’all!

The Jesus Bible – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Product reviews are nothing new… but for me to be asked to review something? …especially a Bible? Wowzer! Truly, I was so honored when Bible Gateway Blogger Grid reached out with the opportunity to review Zondervan’s Jesus Bible at no cost – I eagerly responded with an emphatic ‘YES!’ – not really considering the fact that I’ve never formally reviewed anything… no time like the present, right?

As God would have it, I’d been searching for a new Bible… not that I needed a new Bible, I was simply yearning for a Bible that offered commentary or devotionals in the Bible itself… it’s the way I retain information – a picture of sorts. So when this opportunity presented itself, I was a bit more than simply intrigued!

I’m no scholar, nor would I consider myself well-versed in God’s Word… but I have developed a deeper love for my Lord by spending time in His Word. Often I’ve thought about reading the Bible cover to cover, but it just hasn’t happened… enter The Jesus Bible… you see, God always knows exactly what we need and when we need it! He orchestrated the collaboration of several gifted authors to weave His Story from one Book to the next – showing us Jesus taking the lead from Genesis to Revelation.

The Jesus Bible I received is the artist edition. I must admit, originally I thought it was also a journaling Bible – it isn’t per se; the pages are thin, and most pages have notations; however, I believe there is always room for FaithArt! This is definitely a Bible that I want to keep fully readable – no cover ups for me in this one…

For whatever reason, for this particular season, I’m drawn to this Bible like I would a favorite bedtime story… eager to discover what happens next. Odd? Perhaps. But I am captivated to dive into this journey with new lighting.

The Jesus Bible features:         

  • Introduction by Louie Giglio
  • 66 book introductions highlight the story of Jesus in every book
  • Seven compelling essays on the grand narrative of Scripture by Louie Giglio, Max Lucado, John Piper, Ravi Zacharias, and Randy Alcorn guide you to treasure Jesus and encourage you to faithfully follow him as you participate in his story
  • Over 300 full-page articles and nearly 700 sidebar articles reveal Jesus throughout all of Scripture
  • Single-column text of the most widely read modern-English Bible—the New International Version (NIV)
  • A beautiful special edition featuring the art of Atlanta-based artist Britt Bass
  • Room for notes and journaling throughout
  • NIV dictionary-concordance
  • Two ribbon markers
  • Exclusive Zondervan NIV Comfort Print® typeface
  • 9.5-point print size

The Jesus Bible debuted almost 2 years ago and yet I’d never heard of it! Maybe that’s you too? For more information, check out the article on Bible Gateway’s Blogger Grid (https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2017/01/the-jesus-bible-debuts-at-passion-2017-conference/)

If you are in the market for a new Bible…. oh heck….even if you aren’t… check out The Jesus Bible…. I give it five sparkling stars!

Fence FaithArt

I love my little cottage, but I have to admit, the view out the front left something to be desired! Originally, I looked for the large garden flags – unfortunately, they can really put a dent in the budget and the Texas sun is pretty brutal on fabric. Thanks to my brilliant sister, I’ve now filled that once bland space with wonderful reminders to praise God. She suggested I use some of the FaithArt I created and convert it to a banner – pretty smart, huh?

Etsy Store

Granted, I had no prior banner making experience, but Vistaprint was running a special so I took a gamble, created a design & ordered away. I was so pleasantly surprised by the quality and clarity of the end product, it wasn’t long until I added another… and another!

The video below is far from professional and my Texas twang is overly obvious when I’m excited 🤪

Since I’ve finally opened the Etsy shop, I’m kinda thinkin’ perhaps others might enjoy outdoor art too… let me know what you think!

#write31days – Day 26

imageFor those that don’t follow my blog, let me introduce you to Lucille – my camper!  Silly as it may seem, I even have a blog dedicated to her restoration / facelift.  I purchased her in late 2012 and planned to have her settled in the country by mid-2013… well, if you’ve been following the #write31days, 2013 didn’t exactly lend itself to “me” time let alone getting a camper moved!  So here’s the link to Lucille’s story… My Someday Getaway [click HERE] – you can also get there by clicking on the “Jesus makes me a happy camper” photo in the sidebar below.

Ladies group - writing Scripture before new flooring - literally STANDING on His Word! Ladies group – writing Scripture before new flooring – literally STANDING on His Word!

Lucille and I have a unique relationship – and yes, I’m quite aware of how odd that sounds, but it’s true!  My purpose in purchasing Lucille was to have a place where I could truly be still with God – away from the dailies of life – a place where I could rest in Him, and open myself to the words He scribed on my heart.  But it wasn’t just for me… little did I know she would become a place of rest for weary souls…as you step over the threshold, all who enter are literally surrounded and standing on God’s Word.

And don’t let the enemy fool you…Lucille didn’t need to be in the country or finished to be a sanctuary for this weary soul.  During 2013 and most of 2014, Lucille was parked at a storage facility…behind a Chinese restaurant with an often overflowing dumpster and beside other campers… not exactly what one would describe as serene, huh? Oh but it was!

I guess you could say Lucille is my WAR ROOM – and if you haven’t seen the movie, you’re missing out!  I can immediately shut my mind off to the noise of life and zero in my focus to God.  Everyone needs a Lucille – a war room – a space where distractions stay at the door and you enter into His Presence

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#write31days – Day 17

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Short ‘n sweet on the commentary tonite! As you’ve read, 2014 was far from uneventful, but I kept plugging along… determined to persevere… determined to meet expectations on all fronts… determined not to faulter…

Let me tell ya from experience… determination is only one piece of the puzzle.  Determination, or as I often claimed perseverance, will only get you so far if you’re trying to do things on your own…if you leave God on the sidelines instead of letting Him lead the way.  Most often you will find yourself worn thin, discouraged, & desolate. There’s a reason why Jesus said,

“Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke—for it fits perfectly—and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.”  Matthew 11:28

We were not made to carry these burdens on our own – we so desperately need a savior!

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The Bridge of Faith

We’ve all heard the phrase, “riding coattails” and in some form or fashion we’ve all been there…relying on someone to bridge the gap in a relationship – a very common scenario is between a parent and child…the mom (or dad) is consistently the one to bridge the gap in communication.

While the Mom/Dad may initially have the best motives to bond the two parties, ultimately she/he is in the way and no true bond ever forms – there is no “bridge” – only a barrier.

Now let’s take this example and apply it to our relationship with our Heavenly Father…have you found yourself using another person as a go-between in your relationship with Him?  Perhaps you don’t even realize it – I certainly didn’t.

Yes, we all need teachers, coaches, mentors, and the like to share perspectives – but there is a very fine line between facilitating from the side line and getting in the middle.  There is only ONE bridge in our relationship with God – and that bridge is the cross.

One of the studies my group went through last summer was the Bridge Illustration – I’m sure there are many studies using this method for presenting the gospel – the one we studied was Bearing Fruit in God’s Family (Session 7).  When we went through the study the principles all made sense, but like so much of our walk, there are phases of revelation.   In a performance oriented world, I struggled for some time to accept there was NOTHING I could do to earn salvation or God’s love – in a You Can Do It! culture, it’s difficult to accept we can’t get there on our own – salvation is God’s gift to us!  Once we embrace His love and grace, it opens the door to so much more…

 “8 For it is by grace you have been saved,   through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works,   so that no one can boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

Receiving God’s gift of salvation is our open invitation into a personal one-on-one relationship with Him.  Christ’s death on the cross is the bridge!

8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NIV)

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross tore the veil inviting us into a direct relationship with God.  I recently read a deovotional on John 14:6 that wove the pieces together – it was definitely one of those ah-ha moments and fits so perfectly into this message.  Author Susy Medeski discusses the meaning behind John 14:6:

“There are 3 gates or doorways in the tabernacle. The first was on the east side of the compound, the only way in, and took people and priests alike into the courtyard where the brazen altar was located. This entrance was called “deherej – Way.” The second doorway was the entrance to the Holy Place, which could only be entered by the priests, and was called “emet – Truth.” Finally, there was a veil that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place and could only be entered once a year by the high priest and it was called “chayah – Life.” Boy, doesn’t that shed some light on Yeshua’s words!”

How wonderful is that?  Like I said, an ah-ha moment…  As we progress in our walk, we have to earnestly ask God to search our heart and reveal any roadblocks in our relationship with Him.  Like any new and undeveloped relationship, conversation at first can seem a bit awkward.  Take these words of encouragement and press on! Unlike other relationships, this is one where you will never be disappointed.

Construction Zone – Yield Ahead…

Still catching up on blogs!

Jan 2, 2012

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV)

Following my last entry about God’s faithfulness, I had a deeper revelation about my old thoughts of being ‘enough’ – rejection – acceptance… it’s okay to be weak when I have God…HE IS MY STRENGTH!

As I laid my head on the pillow that night, tears flowed as I surrendered yet another part of myself to Him.  I may not be at a place of complete surrender – yet – actually, I may not realize all the parts of me I’m holding back – so much has been suppressed and buried for so long it’s difficult to know how much more there is to be revealed.

I am certain, however, God will reveal the hidden pieces of heart as I continue to seek Him.  Day by day, He is refining me, calling me closer to Him.

The best part of change is when we (me!) think it’s our idea! Here’s a good one:  last year I had an idea to save money (at least that’s what I thought!)…I have always tried to control my hair – it’s curly and unruly – the more there is, the wilder it is!  For the past 20+ years I have kept it short and even went so far as to have it chemically treated in an attempt  to control the curls.  And then there’s hair coloring – or what I called camouflage – how telling is that????  Now, I’m not saying there is a right or wrong way to manage hair…and yes, I’m aware of varying beliefs – that’s between you and God.  For me, it was the underlying issue needing attention – the issue of control.

God is slowly teaching me it’s a lot of work to be something / someone He hasn’t designed me to be and hair is just the tip of the control iceberg.  He’s also teaching me I can’t really move forward until I have purged the past.

I receive a newsletter from Be in Health and there’s a series on Personality Mis-Profiles – I read one titled “Fabricated Personalities” – I couldn’t help but wonder if it was describing me.  Am I driven by perfection as a way to preserve some sort of identity?  Have I not made allowances for weakness or failure?  What defense mechanisms have I put in place to accommodate things I have difficulty facing?  Ouch.

Of course I want to move forward, but as ridiculous as it may sound, I can’t help but wonder if there’s a part of me that doesn’t believe God is moving me in the right direction…  OR is it more likely a part of me has decided the direction and I’m trying to fit God into the equation?

In my mind to move forward – to marry, leave the corporate world, etc., means I have to sell the house, which if that’s what I’m supposed to do, I have to get it on the market.  To get the house on the market, I have to get it market-ready.  To get the house market-ready, I have to clean out the clutter…

Could it be my hesitancy has nothing to do with de-cluttering my physical house, but actually my spiritual house?  Am I ready to yield my will to His?  It’s my choice – will I choose to rest in His grace and mercy or will I keep trying to be someone other than who He intends for me to be?

Boot Camp

When last wrote, I talked about moving into the next phase of My Love Dare with God: Living My Love Dare with God...here we go..

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress,    my God, in whom I trust.’  For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence..” Psalm 91:1-3 (ESV)

Allow those words to sink in  a bit…refuge – fortress – deliverer

I’ve known for some time 40 days of developing a deeper relationship with God was, for the most part, an outline of sorts – still an essential, integral part the journey; but a critical part..a connection with my heart and in my spirit, wasn’t there yet.

The real work was only beginning – taking the concepts introduced in the initial 40 days and putting them into practice – application is always a critical step of development.

My initial confrontation/realization came  last Fall —  my life was changing dramatically and the chain reaction was much more than I could have imagined.  The range of emotions seemed almost too much to bear at times.  I went from certainty to uncertainty  to greater uncertainty day after day.  I felt more alone than I had in a long, long time.  I would soon learn the loneliness I felt had nothing to do with a man – it was about me attempting to venture down a path without completely trusting  God as my guide.

At the time I wrote this entry, I believed I was planning to marry and embark on a new journey.  But the plans were falling apart.  In the blink of an eye, the wedding moved from 60 days away to an undetermined date.  I went from my future husband moving to Texas  to me moving away.  I went from transitioning away from the life I’d known with the help of a partner to feelings of abandonment – on my own to sell  a 30yr old home in need of much repair, moving away from a full-time corp career, being near family and friends, and most of all, remaining in close proximity to my daughter.   In other words, moving from my comfort zone to something unknown.

I was now being thrust into a position where all of the “things” I cherished would be stripped away and I would be responsible for the execution – no one here to physically push me forward.

It had to be intentional surrender and I was in a tailspin of emotions.

I felt abandoned by the man I trusted as a future partner and it was excrutiatingly painful – I kept thinking to myself, “I could do this if he were here.”

You see, even  though God provided great revelation in the 40 day Love Dare, the principles were still theorectical – I had no life application (yet!) and my old tendancies readily moved into play.

I found myself trusting a man…loving a man…an imperfect human more than God.  My instincts weren’t honed yet to look to God first and foremost for my motivation, strength, and support.

You see, God had shown me what was necessary to really take my walk deeeper two years before…

08/04/09: For God to effectively use me, He has to take me completely out of my comfort zone…that way I will be forced to lean on Him.

What does this mean to me? BIG change.

Interesting…I hadn’t read that note since I wrote it 2+ years earlier.  Am I  willing to embrace what God has ahead even if I don’t have a grasp on what the picture looks like?  No one else can do this for me – someone pushing me through won’t achieve God’s objective.

This leg of my journey is intended to be bonding time with God – much like the initial bonding between parent and infant.  In spite of past experiences, in spite of past perceived successes, this is a time of trials where establishing complete trust and dependence on God is critical – and no human can provide the incentive or fuel.

And so, God is providing me with opportunities to trust Him and depend on Him in every single facet of my life – to take refuge in Him when weathering the storms of life changes….

    • Relationships: uncertainty will inevitably create strain – can I trust God to manage it all?
    • Career: it’s not the career I love, but the confidence I have gained – will I surrender so God can redefine my sense of self-worth?
    • Possessions: I must de-clutter my life – voluntary purging of the past is essential for me to be fully available to God

I’m sure there’s so much more I haven’t recognized yet, but it is overwhelmingly apparent I’m not just moving into a new phase – I’m in boot camp to serve the Most High!

©  Celeta’s Journey & My Love Dare with God, 2012. All rights reserved.

Leaps and Bounds

How wonderful it is to see God grow His children by leaps and bounds – it requires real trust on our part though!

He loves to show off!

Stay tuned…