What Makes You Smile?

beach

Picture taken at Juno Beach Pier by Teri Knapp – 2018

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness. I say to myself. “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” ~Lamentations 3:22-24

I came downstairs to look for my husband, and since I couldn’t find him – I assumed he was out running. He’s so good about sticking with his routine.

Not long after I grabbed my morning mojo and sat down to watch the news,  my hubs walked in with a box of delicious doughnuts. I normally don’t like surprises, but I like little ones like this. 🙂

For me, it’s always the little things.

Makes my day when I get a call (yes, people do still talk on the phone!) from family or a friend who lives far away. I always have to stop what I’m doing when I see a sunrise, sunset, or the beauty that fall brings.

Can’t forget to mention the countless times I’ve opened up my devotional and realized the message was meant for me. Like today.

So, what makes your day?

That One Thing

Do you have that one thing that you’re afraid to admit you’ve never done? I mean like something that even your closest friends assume you’ve done because they know you know it’s important. (Voted, had flu shots, immunizations, your teeth cleaned – to name a few)

Let me give you a little background so that this all makes sense.

I am a Christian. I wasn’t brought up in a family that went  to church (well, we did go one time and I remember it like yesterday!) and we never really had discussions about God – not that they didn’t believe. God  wasn’t something we talked about –  like politics.

When I went to college, my eyes were opened to a whole new world – independence and a campus full of people who were ready to express their feelings or thoughts.  So different from the family I grew up in.

That’s when I became a true follower of Jesus – not because someone talked me into it, but because I felt something change in my soul. And 40 years later, I’m doing the same.

Here’s the thing…For a Christian, the Bible is the instructional guide, so it’s pretty important that we read it. I have tried to read the entire Bible over the years, but would give up because I would catch myself thinking, ‘what on earth did that mean?’ – especially when reading something in the Old Testament. Some of it is so confusing. If you’ve read any of it, then you know what I mean.

A few years ago, a friend was talking about another friend of hers and how dedicated she was to her faith and how she had read the Bible from beginning to end. Just out of curiosity she asked if I had read it all. My reply was, “Umm, not all of it – but I do read it!”

About two months ago, another friend asked me if I had read it all. Honestly, I wanted to lie, but I didn’t. Again, they were asking out of curiosity. I’ve never been one to think you’re going to go to Hell because you haven’t, but I  started to realize I was missing out on something. Something good.

This summer I was in Indiana for about a month. I went to church with my son, and wouldn’t you know – the sermon was focused on reading God’s Word and why believers should even want to. It wasn’t a message that condemned people for not reading it (as in all), but revealed all the reasons why we should want to- rather than pick and choose what we think we need to learn.

Because of that sermon, I am on week 4 of my commitment to reading God’s Word – all the way through. If you have struggled with reading it a well, I encourage you to do 3 things:

  1.  Pray – for the desire, commitment, and for understanding
  2. Use a Bible App (I use YouVersion)
  3. Use a commentary for those times when you get stuck and don’t understand a word you just read.

You will be so thankful that you took the time. It will make a difference.

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4

“Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” 2 Timothy 2:7

Bible

 

 

 

 

What Path Are You On?

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

 

Easy path

Photo taken by Teri Knapp in a beautiful garden in Ireland.

How Do You Know?

Boys 2 2014 007

Sweet memories on Church St.  My 3 Sons. 

I am a mom to 3 sons.

Although they are adults now, I can’t help but think back to the days when I would have to tell one of them (or all 3 of them at the same time, which was the WORST!) why they couldn’t go outside without a winter coat on, play one more game of football or basketball with the kids down the street, play one more video game, or about a million other things they didn’t want to stop doing throughout their growing years.

Some of those talks were easy, and some – not so much.

What stands out most (in my memory) is when they would go on and on – giving their 2 cents worth why it would be ok to continue doing whatever it was. I admit, there were times when I would give-in because I could see their point. But then, there were those countless times when I was worn down to the core and tired of trying to explain why – I would catch myself saying what I hated hearing my parents say when I would protest, “No! Because I said so!”

So, you’re probably wondering what on earth would make me think about this today?

There is something I’ve been praying about for a long time. (If you don’t believe in God or maybe do – but don’t really pray about things, I think you can still relate to wanting something so badly or hoping for something to change! And, on top of that –  thinking about it every. single. day.)

I’m not going to share the specifics here, but the fact is – this one thing that I’ve prayed about hasn’t happened. Sometimes I feel like I’m a kid again – pleading my case in my prayers – giving all the reasons why He should let me have what I want.

Believe me, I know what I would say if someone else wrote that last sentence. I know it’s not about what we want.  I know we should pray for HIS will. I realize the universe doesn’t revolve around me. I know, I know!

But —

How do you know when you should accept things as they are….. as your answer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 11 01

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteousness…” ~ Matt. 5:43-45

When I woke up this morning,  I saw the most beautiful sunrise that I’ve seen in a long time. Unlike any other time in my life, I didn’t take the time to reach for my phone to snap a pic.

Before I knew it, tears started streaming down my cheeks. Like many of you, I thought about all of those innocent people who were killed on 9 – 11. I thought about their families, friends, first responders and co-workers who are still dealing with so much pain –  today and forever. 

I can’t help but feel angry as I know most Americans are and  probably always will.

And then I thought about those people who attacked us, and I prayed for their families as well. Human nature makes us want to hate, but if you believe in God you know he instructs us to do otherwise – even when it’s the last thing we want to do.

I prayed for the people who are considered to be our enemy because I know prayer works. I highlighted the word ‘people’ because that’s what they are. It’s almost hard to believe, but they have a beating heart like you and I. The difference is – they were raised in a place where they weren’t exposed to the love of God or didn’t experience what it’s like to strive to love all people. I believe that God has the power to change anyone, don’t you?

I know some might argue that you have to want to change, so why waste your time?  I agree – and that’s the same for you and me. Many of us have been exposed to the gospel, yet we still choose to turn our backs to the one who loves us more than anyone. Maybe we don’t go out and kill, but we certainly don’t care about breaking every other commandment that hurts not only our self, but others as well.

And then, when we are attacked in some way –  we wonder where God is…

“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.” ~ 1 Tim. 2:1-3

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Col. 4:2

 

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“Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.” ~ Karen Salmonsohn

What Catches Your Eye?

If you like taking pictures like I do, then you most likely have a fave. Would it be sunsets, sunrises, mountains, oceans, or are you more drawn to taking pictures of people?

I have to say that there is something magical about stumbling upon a moment and you happen to have a camera or phone nearby to capture it. Whether it’s when you see a baby’s first smile, or when you look out your window and notice some vibrant rays of reds, orange or pinks streaking across the sky as the sun descends – it’s all magical. It feels like a gift, and you know you only have a moment to capture it.

Those are my favorite photos. They provide special memories – ones where I remember seeing it  in person just like that first time I discovered a hidden Easter egg that was tucked behind something – yet revealed just enough of it so that I knew it was there.

Rain drops

Sunshine reveals the raindrops

Sunday Afternoon

I remember when my parents would want to go for a Sunday afternoon drive. I didn’t understand the reason at the time, but I did look forward to it – mainly because we usually stopped to get a milkshake at some point. Knowing me, I probably complained about being tired and wanting to go home once we had our treat. Ha.

I remember how good it felt to have the windows down, have the whole backseat to myself (before my bro was born) and getting to listen to my folks talk.

Anyway, this morning we decided to take a drive after church. We didn’t stop for a milkshake, but I’m so glad that we took the time.

Hobe Sound Rd

Hobe Sound

Parkinson’s Disease — Walking Dude

Written by a friend….

My dear friend is battling Parkinson’s Disease. He has been for awhile. My Grandfather ( not the one you already know, but my paternal Grandfather) also had this disease. Please take a few minutes to read and understand a little about Parkinson’s. Ok, Brad, that’s a sad story, but what can I do about it? […]

via Parkinson’s Disease — Walking Dude

You’re One in a Million

What’s the best part of your day?

Is it when you take a sip of that first cup of coffee –  or second? Maybe it’s when you get to clock out for lunch – step outside and get some fresh air.

Or is it when you get inside your car, and you feel that pressure lifted off your shoulders that your work day is d o n e?

Now that I’m retired, it’s hard to say. I think the answer would have to be when it’s the end of the day – especially when I can look back and see that I’ve accomplished something meaningful. I think that’s what we all want, though. Don’t you? A desire to make a difference — which is way more satisfying than a handful of change. More than a million bucks.

Next time you take a sip of that morning coffee, think about how you can make a difference that day. See what happens. 🙂

Simple Truth

Since we’ve lived in Florida, I’ve learned that keeping flowers and plants alive is a challenge. More like impossible!

When we first moved down here, we had at least 3 outside plants (not at the same time) that died within weeks. I’m not sure if we over watered them or didn’t water them enough. Maybe they had too much sun or perhaps not enough. Seriously, no clue. All I know is that I finally gave up and didn’t want to deal with them anymore. No matter what I did, they made me feel like a failure!

One day when I was grocery shopping at Publix, I found this inside plant that I decided to buy. The best part  – you only need to water it 2 times a week. One year later, it’s still living and is growing like it should. What a good feeling it is to know you’re doing something right!

The bad thing about it is this: because the plant doesn’t need much attention, I tend to forget about watering it. I’m embarrassed to say that I sit by it almost every day, and the thought doesn’t even cross my mind that it’s probably due for a drink.

You may think I’m crazy, but I think people are like plants. Some need a lot of attention in order to survive and grow  – and some are pretty self-sufficient and only require a little attention.

Here’s the deal –  those that need constant attention can drain you to the point where you want to give up. That daily ritual of trying to figure out what they need from you makes you feel like what you’ve said or done before wasn’t good enough. Then there’s the people who are so independent that they are sometimes overlooked or neglected because everyone thinks they are OK. Know what I mean?

Isn’t it amazing how different we all are?

Sometimes you find yourself wondering if your neighbor, your friend, that acquaintance or church member (that drives you crazy)…. is worth the effort. One thing I know is that people are complicated. All of us. Relationships take work, but they’re worth it. Every bit of it.

In the study helps section of 3 John, it talks about people and how we treat them. So worth sharing here: “But how we treat others reflects our true values–what is really important to us. Do we see people as objects or inconveniences, or as unique creations of a loving God?”

It might not be the end of the world if you lose a plant (or 2, or even 3), but your life certainly suffers greatly when you lose someone you love – or someone you will learn to love-  in time.

I read something that Bob Goff said and I think it also fits perfectly…

“God isn’t wowed when we go across an ocean; He’s dazzled when we go across the street. Keep loving your neighbors. They’re everywhere.” ~ Bob Goff

And better yet…

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” ~Mark 12:31

L o v e.