The Worst of 2015

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Seems like everyone is re-posting their most loved posts of the year.  So I decided to do the opposite and give you a list of my top 10 least viewed posts for the year.  The main thing I noticed about all of these posts is that none of them have any pictures!  I suppose this is probably the biggest reason that they haven’t been widely viewed.  I was also a brand new blogger at the time that most of these were posted.  So if you missed any of these and have time to read, please by all means indulge yourself!  😉

Here they are….

#10 Traveling Onward – This is the story about Terah and his family.  It is here that we get our first glimpse of Abraham (known here as Abram). The original story can be found in Genesis 11:10-31.

#9 Obsidian Water – This story describes the second day of creation.  The sky and the sea are finally brought to life.  The original story can be found in Genesis 1:6-8.

#8 Spontaneous Formations of Life – This is day six of creation and one of my favorite days.  Animals and mankind are beautifully created.  The original story can be found in Genesis 1:24-31.

#7 Impropriety – This story is about Noah and shows how he struggled with sin just as much as the rest of us do.  The original story can be found in Genesis 9:18-28 – 10:1-32.

#6 The Deliverer – Here’s one of the first poems that I ever wrote.  It’s about a woman who tried to share her faith and leaves feeling discouraged.  I think many of us can relate to similar situations.

#5 Too Late for Goodbyes – It’s in this story that we witness the death of Abraham’s beloved Sarah.  I actually cried while writing this one.  The original story can be found in Genesis 22:20-24 – 23:1-2.

#4 Rules and Rainbows – In this story, God has a conversation with Noah.  Agreements and promises are being made about the future of the world.  The original story can be found in Genesis 9:1-17.

#3 Swearing By Posterity – In this story, Abraham decides to look for a bride for his son Isaac.  The original story can be found in Genesis 24:1-9.

#2 Creatures of the Air and Sea – Here we see day five of creation being described.  Sea-creatures, birds, and fish were all created on this day.  The original story can be found in Genesis 1:20-23.

#1 Waiting and Watching – This is the story of Noah and his family aboard the ark.  During this time, they are patiently waiting for the waters to recede.  The original story can be found in Genesis 7:24 – 8:1-14.

 

I hope you check out some of these posts, despite their lack of pretty pictures.  😉  I also want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year!  It’s been so much fun getting to know all of you and I look forward to another year of meeting new bloggers and continuing on with the wonderful friendships that I have developed over this past year.  Love and blessings to you and yours!  ~M

 

Also….

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for my blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

 

Top photo credit: toptentrend.in

 

 

 

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Day 18 of our 21 day adventure

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It is with a heavy heart that we are leaving Zion today. I am dreading the fact that I have to say goodbye to my brother and nephew. I wonder how long it will be before I see them again. I only got an hour of sleep last night because I am coming down with a cold and can barely breathe.

IMG_2461The sun is just starting to rise as we say our goodbyes to David and Levi. We all have long drives ahead of us and are eager to get started to avoid the traffic on the roads. I spot my Spanish speaking friend who is just arriving for work and say goodbye to him as well.

IMG_2467As we make our way toward Avon, Colorado, the heat index starts to rise and it is now over 100°. I am feeling worse now because of the heat and my cold isn’t helping matters. Because of this, I am not being a very good sport about the long drive and exhaustion is starting to set in from getting so little sleep last night.

IMG_2465When we finally arrive at the hotel, the attendant is really rude to me and makes me feel even worse by something that she says. I always take everything so personally and it only gets worse when I don’t feel well.

IMG_2462We finally get up to our room and I crash on the bed. Both of us sleep for hours before we finally wake up feeling hungry. We look outside and discover that it has been raining, and surprisingly there’s a double rainbow right outside our window. Unfortunately, the rainbow is almost gone before I can snap a good picture.

IMG_2468We finally both drag ourselves out of the room with just enough strength to go pick up something to eat for dinner. The food ends up being terrible and I am really missing home-cooked meals at this point. Normally, we hardly ever eat out and I just haven’t been able to get used to the food on this trip. I think to myself… only three days left and I will be home, and right now I really wish I was.

Merry Christmas!

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Just finished watching the movie “White Christmas” which is one of my favorites.  The day has been long… full of last minute preparations for tomorrow.

The kids are all tucked in now and I just saw Santa outside on the roof across the street.  I suppose he will be stopping by soon; so I better get to bed so that I don’t get caught being up past my bedtime.  😉 

To all of my blogging buddies, have a very Merry Christmas!  ~M

Day 17 of our 21 day adventure

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Today we are traveling to Bryce Canyon and Kodachrome Basin State Park. The weather is beautiful and I am excited to explore a new place today. After getting ready, we stop at the hotel dining room for some breakfast. We have only been able to eat breakfast here a couple of different days now, because we always leave the hotel before breakfast starts. There is a cook here that I have made friends with, he spoils me with real eggs instead of the nasty scrambled ones in the heating pan. I am impressed by his generosity and wish I could meet more people like him. He has a thick Spanish accent and makes me feel quite at home, especially since I grew up in California and had many Spanish speaking friends when I lived out there. It always amazes me how you can make friends in the strangest of places and sometimes just being around someone for a few minutes can spark a friendship that can last a lifetime.

IMG_2029Feeling quite full after the hearty breakfast, we now make our way to Bryce Canyon. It’s a beautiful drive and every time I see a Hoodoo, I get excited and want to jump out of the car and take a picture. There are several rock shops along the way and we indulge our young nephew by letting him visit a few. I love rocks as well and end up buying a sandstone sculpture that catches my eye. There are quite a few other things I would like to get as well, but after looking at the price tags, I decide just to get the one sculpture.

IMG_2038Down the road a little further, we spy a natural arch bridge that covers the highway. I can’t help but stop to take pictures. It doesn’t take too long before we finally reach Bryce Canyon. There are several places to stop and explore the canyon. By the end of our journey through Bryce Canyon, we have taken over 500 pictures and are eager to see how they all turned out.

IMG_2047Its lunch time now, and we find a burger place to stop at. The food isn’t very good, but we are all so hungry at this point, that none of us really care. There is another rock shop across the street and so of course we have to stop at that one as well. After going through a bunch of other small shops, we finally decide that we need to get going again.

IMG_2263There is one last place we want to stop at before we go all the way back to our hotel. Kodachrome State Park isn’t too far away and so we decide to head out and take a tour of the place. When we get there, I am amazed at how beautiful it is, and the crazy thing is, I end up finding an area that reminds me of my dream once more. Dying to explore the place, I find myself running off the trail in search of a closer look of the rock formations that surround us. My brother bravely follows me; knowing that I will probably get into trouble alone without him. I head in the direction of a place that looks like a good place to explore and my brother David stops to investigate an area where he sees some crystals poking up from beneath the sand. As he begins to dig them up, I take off and explore the remainder of the area.

IMG_2272It seems that I have finally found the one place that reminds me the most of my dream, and so I stop to take a few pictures. I am almost crying once again, the emotional connection that I have to this place is eerie and I am at a loss for words on how best to describe the feelings that are coming over me. It’s as if I’ve been here before, but now the entrance to the place in my dream is covered with a pile of rocks and I cannot enter the cave that once existed here. Knowing that we will probably get caught for going off the trail, I decide to find my brother and get back to the trail where Levi and Brian are waiting. I am surprised the park Ranger hasn’t been out to yell at us yet, as I catch a glimpse of his headquarters from where we are standing. Back on the trail, we hike for a little while longer. It’s starting to get late and we know that we need to get back before it gets dark. I feel so drawn to this place that I don’t want to leave. After taking a bunch more pictures, I finally convince myself that we must go.

IMG_2286During the road trip back to the hotel we stop and take several more pictures. The landscape is just breathtaking and I can’t get enough. Unfortunately, because of my hesitation to leave, poor Levi ends up having an accident in the back seat because we didn’t stop soon enough for a potty break. He feels just awful about it and I laugh because I did the same thing in the back seat of my uncle’s car when I was about his age. The day ends with us cleaning out the car and trying to save the upholstery. Even with this small hiccup, this has been one of the best days yet.

Oh Christmas Tree (Homeschool style)

Here’s an old post from last Christmas that I came across today… I hope it brings you a bit of Christmas cheer! ~M 😉

Putting My Feet in the Dirt

Making candy trains! Autumn and her candy train

My daughter Amy and I wrote this song together as part of a homeschooling project years ago.  Every year, I find myself singing this tune along with the silly words we wrote and remembering our first year of homeschooling.  We had such a fun year and had a really awesome Christmas party where we strung popcorn alternating with wooden beads and hung them on the Christmas tree.  We also made Christmas trains which is a tradition in our house each year.  I love creating new traditions with my children.  Last year instead of giving stockings filled with gifts, we decided to give decorative boxes filled with gifts instead, to signify more closely what the Magi brought to Jesus.  We also put messages to each other in the boxes during the year when we want to say something special to someone.  Then on Christmas day, we read through…

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Day 16 of our 21 day adventure

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It’s another early day for all of us. We are trying our best to avoid the crowds and today we will be hiking in a place called the Narrows. The shuttle ride takes us about 45 minutes and it looks like it is going to be a beautiful day. I am a little concerned that I didn’t wear a warm enough sweater. It’s a crisp cool morning and I know that being in the water will only make things worse.

IMG_1901After hiking for about a mile, we are now in the Narrows. The water looks fairly calm and the skies are clear. Sandstone walls engulf us and make us feel small in comparison. The water has woven its path here for thousands of years and there is hardly any dry land to walk upon. Flash flooding is a danger in this area and so any signs of rain and we will have to head back immediately. Fortunately, the weather forecast isn’t calling for rain and so we should be safe for today.

IMG_1744The water is deeper in some areas and I don’t have a walking stick to judge the depth of the water. It’s a little unnerving stepping out into the water, not knowing what lies beneath each step that I take. There are a couple of times that my brother has to help steady me. The water is running pretty fast in some areas and I feel as if I will be swept off my feet.

IMG_1879Along the way, the water reaches us to my thighs and I feel a bit hesitant about continuing on since the water seems to be rising at times. Every step we take, takes us deeper into a maze of colorful rocks, formed by the brisk waters that shape and mold each tiny crevice. The rocks remind me of the leaves back home during the fall season. As I look down in the water, I can see a million different colors and the sound of the water playing its magical tune is soothing and begging me to continue onward.

IMG_1894After hours of hiking through the river, we decide that it’s getting late and that it’s now time to head back. The river beckons to me and my heart aches to continue on, but I know that if we don’t leave now, that our strength won’t hold out for the trek back. And so with regret, we start our return hike back.

IMG_1922As we get closer to where we began, the water seems to be getting deeper and there are now multitudes of people walking through the river. I am having trouble finding a pathway to walk through that isn’t too deep. With scores of people around now, I am starting to feel a little claustrophobic and walk as fast as I can through the murky waters to reach dry land.

IMG_1996When we finally reach the spot where we first entered the river, all of us are relieved and just want to get back to our hotel. We still have about a mile to walk before we get to the shuttle and when we finally make it to the shuttle stop, it’s a relief to find a shuttle that isn’t completely filled.

IMG_1761With each shuttle stop that we make, more people try to cram into the tiny bus and before long there are so many people that the doors are threatening not to close all the way. People are standing in the aisles, falling over each other and I am thankful that I actually have a seat to sit in right now. As tired as I am, I doubt I could stand for very long.

IMG_1854After returning to the entrance of the park, we race back to our hotel and rest for a while. The only thing that finally gets us moving again, is our appetites; and so we head back down to the city of Hurricane and order a pizza to bring back with us to the hotel. Tomorrow will be another long day and so we head to bed early. I am exhausted, but excited for tomorrow

One year anniversary!

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Yup… Here’s me doing something else besides writing for a change…  😉

 

Just want to say thanks to everyone who has blogged with me over this last year.  It’s been so much fun getting to know all of you and I really appreciate your words of encouragement and the support that all of you have shown me.  You’re the best!

 

Love you all so much! 

~M

A dream that I will never forget…

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I dreamt this dream so very long ago that the exact date escapes me, but here goes my best recollection. I believe the dream came to me in 2005 and it was at this time in my life when I was suffering through a spiritual battle that had been waging war over my soul for fifteen long years. The battle was now reaching its climax and I would either defeat this battle or lose everything in the process. Little did I know that this dream would serve as a turning point in my life. Here is what was going on in my life during the years that led up to this dream…

Without my knowledge, but as I would come to realize later, the Lord was fighting alongside me every step of the way. I fought him daily and searched for answers to my questions in the darkest of places. I felt as if my whole life had been a lie and I wanted the truth for once in my life. I had come to the conclusion that God must not be who I thought he was; because if he was, certainly he would be helping me, instead of always causing me so much pain.

I chose to look for another god, one who fit into my idea of what God should look like, one who could make me happier, one who didn’t ask so much of me. I fell into a hopeless tailspin as I searched and I was sucked into a pit that I couldn’t climb out of. I searched out every lie that had ever been told and I tried to believe every last one of them. I was certain that I could convince myself that the one true God wasn’t real, that somehow there must be another. So I searched and searched…

At first, I found other gods to be quite interesting and I felt as if I could somehow be happier if I could just understand their mysterious ways. I began my spiritual journey of self-improvement by studying natural health and I fell in love with the natural ways of healing. I found quotes by Buddha inspiring and listened to meditation music in order to relax and cleanse my soul of the darkness that I felt. I thought about ideas like reincarnation and how such transformations could quite possibly be truthful. I bought books about other religions of the world and studied them in order to find the true meaning of life.

I was convinced that I had been brainwashed my entire life. Surely there was no such thing as a man named Jesus who had come to earth to save me from my unrighteous ways. Did I really need saving anyway? Life seemed so much easier not having to live out all of those silly commandments and I wanted to be free of the condemnation that I constantly felt from other Christians. I assumed everything I had grown up believing was false, because I surely wasn’t getting anywhere fast by following Christ. I figured if the God I had been told about really existed, that my life would be wonderful all of the time. If he truly loved me, wouldn’t I feel that love always? Wouldn’t I be free of the pain and the suffering that I was constantly being tormented with? I was convinced he was the biggest lie of all and yet every time I turned my back on him, every time I tried to be free of his steadfast love, I felt the darkness growing inside of me; consuming me to the point in which I didn’t even know who I was anymore.

I went so far as to apply for a job working at a nature preserve, where a Wiccan clan needed a part-time secretary. Their lives seemed so much more happy and fulfilling and they seemed like they had everything figured out. I wanted what they had for myself and so I attended their workshops and grew in love with their peaceful ideas. I received a call one night from them, asking me to come in and interview on Halloween night. They said that I could come and join their party and wanted to interview me during the night’s events. As I spoke with the woman on the phone, my heart sunk deeper into my chest. I could hardly breathe and a pit formed in my stomach that was like nothing I had ever felt. Oh I so wanted to go and make a new life for myself, but something held me back. I started to tell the woman that I would be there, but somehow my words changed and I ended up telling her that I had other plans and that I wouldn’t be able to come. I was furious with myself when I hung up the phone and yet somehow I felt lighter, as if some of the darkness within me had somehow just evaporated.

A few years went by and I continued my schooling in natural health. I also continued to look for ways to make my life more fulfilling. I quit my job working as a laboratory assistant for a Biotechnology company and my family and I moved to the country where I discovered some of the much needed peace that I had been searching for. I still kept searching for some sense of truth, but I just couldn’t seem to find anything that made sense to me. Every time I sought a new religious idea, every time I flew in a different direction, reaching out for answers, I couldn’t find an ounce of truth in any of them. Sure, many ideas were lovely thoughts and some even brought me temporary happiness, but it was all fruitless in the end and my joy continued to leave me, as I sank further and further into the depths of despair. Which now leads me to my dream…

I was in a pitch black room and tried blinking my eyes a few times so that my eyes would adjust to the darkness that engulfed me. I realized very quickly that I was sitting on the lap of a giant man. He had to be at least eight feet tall and was dressed like a roman soldier. His attire was red and gold in color and he had leather straps that wove their way up his legs in order to affix his sandals to his feet. The armor he wore was shiny and new and he looked as if he had the strength of a thousand men.

He was completely bald and clean shaven. The massiveness of his body made me look tiny in comparison and he held me close against his body. His arms were wrapped firmly around me, yet lovingly and gentle. As I looked up into his eyes, I saw a tear escape and slide down his brilliant face. He was the most beautiful man I had ever laid eyes upon. His skin was the color of bronze and his eyes spoke of a love that of which I had never known. There was a brilliant glow that seemed to flow freely about his entire body. The glow resembled a wave of light and left me feeling complete elation as I reveled in his splendid beauty.

His head hung low, as if he were deeply saddened by something or someone and I began to look around the room to see if I could figure out what was causing him so much pain. Now that my eyes had begun to adjust to the darkness, I noticed shadows all around us. Their presence spoke of a deadly evil that lurked in the shadows of the vilest of places and they charged at us from all directions.

After focusing a little more, I noticed their daggers were plunging deep into his body. His loving arms were protecting me from the sharp blades that pierced his flesh over and over again. Then I noticed that he was actually moving the entire time as I sat there quietly in his lap. It was if he was moving at warp speed, blocking every dagger that was meant to take my life. I looked back up into his eyes and even though he did not speak, I understood that the life I had been living apart from him, had been literally killing him.

He was suffering because of my sin and he was absorbing all of the attacks that were meant for me. He was doing all of this in order to save me from the evil that I had let come into my life. Once realizing my mistake, I began to cry and he held me in his loving arms, rocking me and gently wiping away every tear that escaped my worn out earthly body. I had never felt so loved in all my life and I didn’t want to leave him. I snuggled in closer to his body. The warmth of his love spread through me like a fire that could not be contained and when I suddenly awakened, I knew that he was real.

For the first time in my life, I now understood what I could never figure out on my own. I felt his love as it burned through my body, consuming me to the most inner parts of my being. I wept in the darkness of my bedroom. Wanting him back and yet realizing now that he was actually there and always had been. I just needed him to show me who he was and how much he really did love me. I needed him to hold me in order to feel his true presence and he gave me what my heart had desired for so long.

The feelings of his love from that moment on, have stayed with me since then and I will never forget the glimpse into his world that he showed me that day. Jesus is the light in the darkness when we cannot find our way. He is our healer and our creator and he is everything that I ever wanted and so much more. I wasted so many years searching for the truth, when all along he was right there, holding me in his loving arms and he never let me go. Even when I turned away, he never released me, he just held on tighter until I finally found my way back to him. He is my God, my King, and my Savior now and forever. May He reign on high forevermore.

~M

Twenty- five things I’ve learned over the past year…

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With the New Year approaching, I got to thinking about the things that I have learned over this last year. Here’s a few of them I thought I’d share…

 

Twenty- five things I’ve learned over the past year…

1.) To love others as if it’s my last chance.

2.) Not to over burden people with my struggles.

3.) To guard my heart; because once a piece is lost, you can never get it back.

4.) To let go of things I can’t change.

5.) That the grass is never greener on the other side.

6.) To choose my battles carefully.

7.) Not to joke with serious people.

8.) To love God above all else.

9.) That age doesn’t have anything to do with maturity.

10.) To never think that something can’t happen to me.

11.) That true happiness is achieved when you live each day as if it’s your last.

12.) That doing what I love, is more important than making sure my house is clean.

13.) That each new day brings a whole new load of challenges with it.

14.) That children emulate their parents to exact proportions.

15.) That music can help mend a broken heart.

16.) That finding our passions in life and living them out, brings about true happiness.

17.) That cell phones have killed real communication.

18.) That laughing every day helps more than prescription drugs.

19.) To spend as much time with my kids as I can, before they move out on their own.

20.) Not to be afraid to be the one who loves the most.

21.) That hugging should be required at least three times a day and at our house we have morning, noon, and nighttime hugs. (My daughter invented this rule and she never misses a moment to remind me of this.)

22.) To always keep Kleenex within arm’s reach for all kinds of situations.

23.) To take every opportunity that is set before me and run with it.

24.) That coffee always tastes better when you’re on a coffee date with a friend.

25.) That nobody will ever agree with everything you say and that’s quite okay.

How about you?  What have you learned over this past year or over the course of your lifetime…

 

Photo credit:  livingrichwithcoupons.com

The continuation… Day 15 of our 21 day adventure

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The continuation…

Taking one last peek over the edge of the cliff, I know that it’s now time to head back down into the valley below. The adrenaline rush is still pulsing through my veins though and I don’t want this feeling to end. People are coming in droves now and it’s making the trail harder to maneuver. A few hours later, we are finally back where we started.

IMG_1623We stop and eat the lunch at the picnic area and then decide to catch the shuttle that will take us to the Zion Museum. The museum isn’t very big, and doesn’t take us long to wander through. We buy a couple of souvenirs and head back out once more to find another hiking trail. I immediately spot another trail right outside of the museum and we hike for another two miles until we find ourselves in a quiet cove by the Virgin River. It’s a beautiful spot to sit and think and would be the perfect place to spend a long lazy afternoon. Tired as we are though, we decide that it’s best if we go back to the hotel to rest for a while.

IMG_1632Before long, my nephew Levi gets bored and so we all decide to take him over to the local rock shop again. Levi has fun examining each rock closely and cannot settle his mind on just picking out one. He loves them all! After spending nearly an hour shopping for rocks, we’re all realizing how hungry we are from all the hiking and walking that we’ve done today and we decide to head south on the highway to see if we can find a restaurant down in the city of Hurricane.

IMG_1626After driving for about 45 minutes, we finally spot a Mexican restaurant adjacent to a movie theatre. We contemplate a movie, but nothing looks interesting, so instead we go inside the restaurant to eat dinner. The restaurant offers take-out or dining-in and we decide to stay there to eat. The food turns out to be really good and reasonably priced.

IMG_1636After eating our fill, we decide to head over to Walmart to by some water shoes for our hike tomorrow through the Narrows. After finding out that there are no water shoes left in my size, I decide to settle on a pair of tennis shoes to wear instead. After buying shoes for everyone and a few random items that we were in need of, we are now heading back to the hotel for the night.

IMG_1703We are relieved to find a parking space when we return to the hotel and we drag ourselves into the room with hardly an energy left. It been a long but glorious day and most definitely my favorite day yet.