Sisters For Sunshine

Receive God's Warm Love Through Reflection

Weekly Song: I Can Only Imagine

MercyMe’s song I Can Only Imagine questions what it would be like to meet Jesus. How would you act? What would you feel? Will you dance, stand in awe, or kneel down? Will you feel joy and peace?

I Can Only Imagine

I can only imagine what it will be like
When I walk by your side
I can only imagine what my eyes will see
When your face is before me
I can only imagine
Yeah

Chorus:
Surrounded by your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for your Jesus
Or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

I can only imagine when that day comes
And I find myself standing in the Son
I can only imagine when all I will do
Is forever, forever worship you
I can only imagine, yeah
I can only imagine

Chorus (repeat)

I can only imagine
Yeah
I can only imagine
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever, forever worship you
I can only imagine

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God’s Instruction Manual

Our priest this past Sunday started off reading appliance and furniture instruction manuals. Most manuals today come with a huge amount of warnings, cautions, and preparation steps before they actually discuss how to assemble or how to get the product functioning.

These instruction manuals often say phrases such as:

“To ensure the packaging machine lives up to all expectations, it is important to read and comply with this instruction manual. Please store this manual near the machine for easy access, as it is an important resource for all personnel involved”,

“Only trained professionals should handle this”,

“It is important that all personnel read and understand the safety concerns BEFORE operating the machine”,

“Check that all parts are included before proceeding”,

“Failure to properly use this increases risk of serious injury or death”.

And words such as “never”, “don’t”, “be careful”, “always”.

If we want to assemble something to work properly, we first read it’s instruction manual to familiarize ourselves with all possible preparation steps, cautions, and directions. And, to keep the item functioning and to get a good lasting life out of it, we then have to strive to keep it working in good order the whole time.

Likewise, God instructs us carefully. When we want to live a full life, we must read God’s instruction manual, the Bible, and follow His teachings. We must continually reference God’s word in order to stay on track with our own life.

“Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.” -Deuteronomy 4:1-2

“‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.’…Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen to me, everyone, and understand this.‘” -Mark 7:6-8, 14

God uses words such as “follow”, “listen”, “understand”, and “watch yourselves carefully”. We are told clearly to stick to His laws, and to not add or subtract from them.

When we observe God’s laws, wisdom, understanding, and blessings will follow. God’s words are our safety net. 

Remember to turn to God in every decision, in every aspect of your life. He carries the ultimate instruction manual on how to fully live.

Lord, thank you for guiding us each day and providing us with the Bible to reference as an instruction manual. May we continue to learn more about your teachings and do Your will. Amen.

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Weekly Prayer: Traveling

Yesterday my husband and I booked our tickets to visit family in Texas, in November. Both of us feel uncomfortable with flying and traveling, so I thought to share a prayer for travelers.

God, you have given us feet to move, and a mind to imagine new things and places and people. You have made us to travel and explore your wonderful world. Thank you for this gift.

Still, this world over which we move is wrought with dangers and threats. When we travel, we are vulnerable. Please protect our steps. Protect us on the road, and in the air. Send an angel of protection to accompany us. Shield us from evil and the Evil One who would use this opportunity to bring destruction. Bring us safely there and back home again.

And while we’re gone, protect those we leave behind. Keep the peace and secure the boundaries of our home. Assign an angel of protection to stand guard over our property and our loved ones, our children, and our friends and family.

Keep us healthy and guard us from sickness, injury, accident and violence. Give wisdom to those flying the airplane and driving the vehicles, and keep the machinery working properly. Moderate the weather on our travels.

And even now, begin to prepare us and the places we will visit, so that we can meet you there. In fact, Lord, come with us. Join us on this journey and be our companion and guide and protector and provider. In Jesus we pray, Amen.

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Weekly Song: Believe In Me

It’s so important to be authentic to yourself. Be who you want to be. Love who you are. Believe in yourself and stay true to who you are. 

Believe In Me by Demi Lovato

I’m losing myself
Trying to compete
With everyone else
Instead of just being me
Don’t know where to turn
I’ve been stuck in this routine
I need to change my ways
Instead of always being weak

Chorus:
I don’t wanna be afraid
I wanna wake up feeling beautiful..today
And know that I’m okay
Cause everyone’s perfect in unusual ways
So you see, I just wanna believe in me

La la la la la la la la

The mirror can lie
Doesn’t show you what’s inside
And it, it can tell you you’re full of life
It’s amazing what you can hide
Just by putting on a smile

Chorus

I’m quickly finding out
I’m not about to break down
Not today
I guess I always knew
That I had all the strength to make it through

Chorus
So you see, now, now I believe in me
Now I believe in me

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God’s Gift of Marriage

Marriage is a wonderful and challenging thing. God has blessed us with the sanctity of marriage; He gave us our life partner to teach us about love and sacrifice, intimacy, and communication, among other things.

I admit that marriage is challenging at the same time beautiful. Marriage makes me less selfish and teaches me to let go and focus on loving my husband fully. I am learning to openly share my thoughts with my husband, to communicate effectively, to overcome my introversion and habits of overthinking, and to not be afraid to show my love through actions. My husband teaches me every day to give and take, share, and sacrifice. He teaches me to be a better me, letting go of pride, learning to resolve conflicts maturely, learning to be fully exposed and open with him, learning to listen and be patient, learning to trust and forgive.

Some marriages struggle with one aspect, while others struggle with another. Don’t compare your marriage to another. Focus on your own marriage and how to be a better partner. Remember that marriage is a gift from God! God wants you to constantly strive to be better, and He gives you your significant other out of love. I’m so blessed that God found me my husband. I pray that my husband continues to know how much I love him. I pray that I may always be a better wife each day and work on my weaknesses.

What are some strengths and weaknesses in your marriage? 

What are some things you can do to make your marriage better?

Some ideas:

  • Make regular date nights, but keep it varied, spark the romance.
  • Touch, hug, kiss, and show your husband you are devoted to him.
  • Set time out to talk and communicate each day about what’s going on and on how you’re feeling.
  • Offer to help with something, do a chore, or do something nice unexpectedly.
  • Workout or take a walk together, and make good health a priority together.
  • In conflict, don’t let your pride or anger get in the way; rather, take a breath and hear your partner’s side, be willing to understand, and be kind.
  • Express an interest in their hobbies and ask questions, even if you don’t care for the hobby yourself.
  • Make sure you make time for yourself or your friends; give your spouse space to do their own thing and spend time with their own friends. 
  • Support each other and don’t talk bad about your partner to others. Don’t try to change them – love them for who they are.
  • Encourage, compliment, and make your spouse feel desired and appreciated. Don’t forget to tell them often that you love them.

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Recycled Post: Be Silly

This post comes from July 2014:

Be fun. Be silly. Let yourself go and just have be you without a care in the world. Smile and giggle, tell a joke, play games, dance, be goofy! Let others see you fun and relaxed.

What do you like to do that is fun and silly? When do you let your guard down? How do you relax and have fun?

For me, I like to watch Disney movies and sing to the music. Disney can never be too childish! I also like to hear jokes from my husband and laugh at how goofy my dogs can be. I just love to hang out with my family and find joy in their uniqueness. Sometimes my husband and I will have fun dancing crazily or sticking out our tongues.

Focusing on the simple things in life and taking time to be silly and just relax can be the most rewarding. Reflect today on all the joy and goofiness of your life, and smile through it all. You’ll find the most joy and happiness when you just have fun!

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Weekly Prayer: For Firemen

In the last few weeks in Oregon, we have been fighting wildfires. Central and Eastern Oregon have been in such a drought, and likewise, it was quite easy for a fire to start and consume thousands of acres. As we deal with the smoke and the danger, we must remember to thank and pray for those that are up close fighting the fires. Our firemen work hard to keep us safe.

“He led them on safely, so that they did not fear” – Psalm 78:53

Prayer for Firemen

Merciful Father in heaven, look down in Your love upon all those who protect us and ours from the ravages of fire and flame. Grant them the courage and skills to carry out their duties well and safely. When they must go into the face of danger, be by their side in the smoke and flames. Watch over their families, ever reminding them that those who fight fire are also in Your loving care. This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

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Weekly Song: The End Has Only Begun

This song, The End Has Only Begun, is written by Lifehouse, one of my favorite bands! I wanted to reflect on this song with a Christian viewpoint.

As Christians, “we walk in [God’s] footsteps”. We have our “ups and downs” where we may stray from God and our relationship with Him may suffer and those times won’t change. We may have been in darkness (“I’d give anything to see the light of day”) and not have heard God’s words (“I’ve been too far away to hear you whispering”), but we need to only look forward to what new beginnings we have with God – to “live out in the world” with faith. Now, God is always present, but “it’s up to [us]” to follow His ways. When we are in difficulty or darkness (“when the world falls apart”), we need to “choose” God. The end of darkness is a new beginning.

We walk in your footsteps
Though I’ve had my ups and downs
And I’ll stand in the silence
Until I figure it out
Chorus:
One might fall and the other will stand
And one might give where the other won’t bend
The night is bright as the sun
I’m never gonna know
Never gonna look back
Never gonna know where we would have ended up at
The end has only begun

So stop counting the hours
Live out in the world
Cause I’ve been chasing the answers
And they don’t want to be found

Chorus

Well the day
Tonight feels like a million miles away
And these times just won’t change
Life just stays the same
I’d give anything to see the light of day

Cause I’ve been too far away
To hear you whispering

Chorus

Well the day
Tonight feels like a million miles away
And these times just won’t change
Life just stays the same
I’d give anything to see the light of day

What you do
No one can decide it’s up to you
And who you are is what you choose
These times when the world falls apart
Make us who we are

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Recycled Post: Audrey’s Wisdom

This post comes from June 2014:

Audrey Hepburn was a beautiful and humble lady! Here’s some of her wise words that everyone should reflect on:

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others: For beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

“I don’t think you have to make just the big gestures to be helpful. Every second of every day you can do something. Just a cheerful smile does wonders for a beginning.”

“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others.”

“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.”

“It’s that wonderful old-fashioned idea that others come first and you come second. This was the whole ethic by which I was brought up. Others matter more than you do, so ‘don’t fuss, dear; get on with it.’”

“I decided, very early on, just to accept life unconditionally; I never expected it to do anything special for me, yet I seemed to accomplish far more than I had ever hoped. Most of the time it just happened to me without my ever seeking it.” 

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.”

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God is our protection

Here in Central Oregon, we are in the midst of dealing with a big wildfire. Wildfires on the Warm Springs Reservation has spread to over 36,000 acres, and many people are evacuated from their homes. Warm Springs and some of the towns around Warm Springs are dealing with smoke and ash, so much that the air quality was confirmed “unhealthy”.

The firefighters, the Warm Springs residents, and the people in the surrounding towns – they are all in this unfortunate event. BUT, we must seek out God in our tribulations. God is our protection. He is with us, comforting us, keeping us safe, and bringing us peace. The following bible verses ensure that:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

“You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.” – Psalm 32:7

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.” – Psalm 138:7

“And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.’” – Exodus 14:13-14

“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” – Psalm 34:19

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:3

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Weekly Song: I Lived

Have you made the most of your life? Have you spent your days giving it all you have? Have you truly lived? 

I think that’s something to really strive for – to live each day to the fullest!

I Lived by One Republic (Cover by BYU Vocal Point)

Hope when you take that jump, you don’t fear the fall
Hope when the water rises, you built a wall
Hope when the crowd screams out, they’re screaming your name
Hope if everybody runs, you choose to stay

Hope that you fall in love, and it hurts so bad
The only way you can know is give it all you have
And I hope that you don’t suffer but take the pain
Hope when the moment comes, you’ll say…

Chorus
I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
With every broken bone, I swear I lived

Hope that you spend your days, but they all add up
And when that sun goes down, hope you raise your cup
Oh, I wish that I could witness all your joy and all your pain
But until my moment comes, I’ll say…

Chorus

Oh [4x]
With every broken bone, I swear I lived.
With every broken bone, I swear I…

Chorus

Oh [4x]
I swear I lived. Ohhh [2x]

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Weekly Prayer: Explore Nature Around You

Don’t you love summer? I love the sunshine, the flowers and trees fully blossoming, and all of nature thriving. My husband and I frequently see chipmunks and bunnies out in our backyard…and we even saw a bat out the other day!

This summer, my husband and I have been taking advantage of the nice weather and going on road trips. As an air force family, we have been blessed to explore new places. This summer, we managed to drive along Lake Erie, through NY, and along the east coast to see so many wonderful sites! Niagara Falls is jaw dropping, and Acadia National Park in Maine, standing on top of Cadillac Mountain, takes my breath away. And last week, we took a day trip to Lake Erie and stayed along the beach, enjoying the peace of the waves and the joy of the warm sunshine.

God blesses us with such beauty in nature. 

This week, may you find ways to explore nature and go on an adventure! Even if the adventure is small or in your local area, it’s still something to try. We can all find God in the little places around us, even in our backyard. God created all of Earth, and we need to get out in it every so often to explore it all and appreciate its beauty. 

Prayer for Enjoying Nature:

“The warmth of the sun’s embrace, the gentle breeze swept in by incoming tide, the rhythm of seasons of new birth, death and recreation. All these speak so clearly of your love, your power, and your beauty. All are expressions of your creativity, and more importantly of yourself. As an artist might share his personality within each brushstroke, so within the myriad colours of a butterfly’s wing you share the exuberance of your love.

That we can glimpse you within creation is a beautiful thought, but also tells us that you desire to be seen, to be found and known. Open our eyes, Lord, as we walk through this world, feel the wind and sunshine, see the majesty of creation unfolding before our eyes. Help us to see you.” Amen.

8.07.15 Cleveland Lake Erie Day Trip (5)

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