SOAP IN MY EYES By Sally I Kennedy

And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Humming some mindless oldie goldie lyrics in the shower, I lathered up the shampoo. I felt the soap run down onto my face. Instinctively, my eyes shut tight, so the soap wouldn't get in them. Too late. My eyes were burning! I was glad in a few moments, when they were fine, after running some clear water over them.

Reminded me of when I need an attitude adjustment. Or the Lord wants to get my attention. Or He wants to correct something going on with me. He has this way of gently putting 'soap in my eyes" - a little sting, a prick to the conscience. Nothing seriously painful, or permanent. Just a momentary way of getting a message across to me.

Isn't He a wonderful Father?! He wants to keep us on the right path. We are always on His mind, always on His heart. He holds us, day and night, in the palm of his hand.

Next time I'm in the shower, and get a little shampoos in my eyes, perhaps it will be a reminder to listen to the Lord's nudging, and get back to simply loving God, loving others, and doing the next right thing.

BOTTLE IT UP! By Marion Smith

Our vacation in Pebble Beach was wonderful. The weather was delightful, food superb and we had perfect conditions for golf. The views of the ocean pounding against the sides of cliffs took my breath away. The happy antics of the sea otters frolicking in the ocean lifted my spirits, and the seals amused me as I watched them dive for food and sun on the rocks. The resonance of their barking to each other was a sound that was pleasing to me, as was the crashing of the waves as they rolled into shore. I experienced marvelous visual sights and sound, and when it was time to return home to reality, I wasn't ready to leave.

Sights and sounds so wonderful.... I wanted to bottle them up and take them home with me to keep the joy I experienced alive. I could just let a little of it out each time I faced a trial at home... I could recapture the way I felt - joy, peace and thrill of beauty unsurpassed.... I could allow the happy memories help me face the setbacks of the real world.

But of course, this was impossible, for we cannot "bottle up" joyful experiences and then just pour them out when we want a dab of them, like we would perfume.

There is, however, a bottle full of God's grace, and glory, peace and acceptance, faith, hope and love ready for us to receive. As a matter of fact, it says in the bible- Romans 5:5, that there is so much God wants to give us - we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit. That is wonderful news. I am so glad God has a miraculous way to share all He has with us. It is beyond human understanding, but I know from personal experience that if I go to the bottle of God's love, remove the stopper and ask for His help, He will pour into my spirit what I need. He does the same for all His children, for He loves us all equally.

Remember when you are in dire circumstances or the pressures of life are getting you down, just go to God's bottle of grace, and He will pour out to you a good measure, not just a dab, but a good measure of whatever it is you need. He is faithful!

ROOTS By Sally I Kennedy

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him,rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

The roots on our "eyeball tree" , as my grandaughter used to call them, keep shooting out. I think it may be 'elephant ear philodendron'. At any rate, those roots are strong and fibrous, thin and flexible. When they get long enough to reach down into the decking, I wrap them around the trunk to prevent their rooting in the
earth under the wood deck.

As I was gardening there one day, I thought, "Aren't we like those roots? Springing up and reaching out, waving in the breeze, always turning toward the sun. And, isn't God always there, gently turning us downward so our roots can be firmly and deeply in Him. "

He is continuously and gently doing this, even though it is barely noticeable most of the time. It is necessary, though, in order to steady the large, heavy top growth of the plant - the visible part. Then when the storms come, we will not topple, but stand firm, rooted deeply in Him.

Thank you, Lord, for faithfully taking care of rooting us, even though we are not aware of it.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please help me to grow deep, sturdy roots in You, through communion in prayer with You each day, and through the soaking in your Word. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen.

AS LONG AS POSSIBLE By Sally I. Kennedy shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord... Exodus 12:14

Do you like birthdays? I love my birthday. So much so that I don't even mind what the double digits are registering. Holidays are for everyone. But your birthday is YOUR day!

There is only one of you. That is something to celebrate! My friends know how much I love my birthday; before it ever arrives they call to arrange a lunch or something. If I can stretch it out for a few days, that is good. The whole month is even better!

Actually I have two birthdays. First, the day my mother gave birth to me physically. Second, the day I was born spiritually. You might know the date precisely, or, you might "just know".

A conversation Nicodemus had with Jesus when he sneaked over in the cloak of darkness, went like this: Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born. Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." (John 3:3-8)

Here's the good news: every one of us can have two birthdays. If we believe in our hearts, and confess with our mouths, that Jesus is Lord, we are "born a second time". We can celebrate that every single day of the year. And how about this: we can celebrate as long as we live, then even longer! As long as possible, with God - eternity and forever.

That is definitely good news.

I REFUSE Author Unknown

I refuse to be discouraged, To be sad, or to cry;
I refuse to be downhearted, and here's the reason why:
I have a God who's mighty, Who's sovereign and supreme;
I have a God who loves me, and by grace I'm on His team.

He is all-wise and powerful. Jesus is His name;
Though everything is changeable, My God remains the same.
My God knows all that's happening; Beginning to the end;
His presence is my comfort; He is my dearest Friend.

When sickness comes to weaken me, To bring my head down low,
I call upon my mighty God; Into His arms I go.
When circumstances threaten to rob me of my peace;
He draws me close unto His breast, Where all my strivings cease.

When my heart melts within me, and weakness takes control;
He gathers me into His arms, He soothes my heart and soul.
The great "I AM" is with me. My life is in His hand.
The "Son of the Lord" is my hope. It's in His strength I stand.

I refuse to be defeated. My eyes are on my God;
He has promised to be with me, As through this life I trod.
I'm looking past all my circumstances, To Heaven's throne above;
My prayers have reached the heart of God I'm resting in His love.

I give God thanks in everything. My eyes are on His face;
The battle's His, the victory mine; He'll help me win the race.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!!!!


GOD knew that everyone needs
companionship and cheer,
He knew that people need someone
whose thoughts are always near.

He knew they need someone kind
to lend a helping hand.
Someone to gladly take the time
to care and understand.

GOD knew that we all need someone
to share each happy day,
to be a source of courage
when troubles come our way.

Someone to be true to us,
whether near or far apart.
Someone whose love we'll always
hold and treasure in our hearts.

That's Why GOD Gave Us Friends.


As the threatening "Clouds of Chaos"
Gather in man's muddled mind;
While he searches for an answer
He alone can never find;
May God turn our vision skyward
So that we can see above ...
The gathering clouds of darkness,
And behold God's brightening love.

For today we're facing problems
Man alone can never solve,
For it takes much more than genius
To determine and resolve,
The conditions that confront us
All around on every side,
Daily mounting in intensity
Like the restless, rising tide.

But we'll find new Strength and Wisdom
If instead of proud resistance ...
We humbly call upon the Lord
And seek Divine Assistance;
For the spirit can unravel
Many tangled, knotted threads
That defy the skill and power
Of the world's best hands and heads.

For the plans of growth and progress
Of which we all have dreamed,
Cannot survive materially
Unless the spirit is redeemed.
So as another New Year dawns,
Let us seek the Lord in prayer
And place our future hopes and plans
Securely in God's care.


"How do I make them remember?" he asked me.

"You can't," I replied.

"But I want them to remember these times," he said.

I placed my hand on his shoulder and said, "Then make these times worth remembering. "

I was trying to understand what it was about Christmas that makes my family love it so.

The music? The cookies? The presents? The people? The giving? The getting? The twinkling lights? The laughter or the "Silent Night?"

Yes, and so much more.

But what was at the center of it all for me? It would be the right thing to say, I suppose, the proper and most wonderful answer to give, by saying the expected and most obvious reply...the birth of Christ.

Dare I say anything else?

I will.

I suddenly discovered that the center of it all, the beginning and the focus for this family is the tree.

The celebration begins and ends there.

Wait. Do not bow your head and pray for this sinner yet.

I do not suggest that it ranks higher in importance than Jesus Himself.

Still, nothing happens in our home until the pagan ritual of selecting, decorating, and caring for the Christmas tree is complete.

I have shared my story with you about the talking Christmas tree, the journey to find the perfect one and the final words of thanks I offer it on the last night.

My son Keith has had his very own tree for a number of years and my youngest son, Evan, was presented with his own bow saw this year. He and Crystal ventured out in search of their tree. It was a big event worth noting. A crossing over, a standing on his own, a passing of the torch giving me the satisfaction of knowing the tradition will go on.

It was a moment all alone, a silence, not in the night, but in the brightness of a sunny afternoon, that embraced my heart bringing peace to my very soul and joy into my life once again.

I was lost somewhere wandering around the forest of pine, listening for the whisper.

Glancing across the field I noticed for the very first time that both the smallest and the largest trees cast big shadows.

Suddenly, I heard my family calling me.

"I'll be right there," I shouted. I turned to capture one last image of the beauty of this sunlit still shot.

"One day, I will not be here with them," I thought. "They will walk among these trees and pausing here, perhaps in this very spot, they will think of me and smile.

I hope they see the shadows beyond the trees. That is where I'll the shadow of a memory."

How powerful. To see not only the beauty in what stands before you, but in the eternal forever-ness of the memories left behind them.

This new revelation helped me to better understand what my friend meant when he asked, "How do I make them remember?"

I was struggling with that very same thought when I came across the perfect answer.

It was a suggested gift in a collection of ideas I found on the internet. I clicked on the link and there it was...the image of a candle lit pine tree casting a shadow against the wall.

"That's it!" I said. I could clearly see the purpose, the gift, the power of the light, the beauty of the tree and the memory of it, flickering off in the distance.

Much like our lives. We are given a purpose, a gift to fulfill it, the power of faith to light our way, the beauty of our own image becomes a reflection of our Creator and the memory of all we were, cast forever like a shadow behind us.

Look for me there my sons. When the day comes when I am no longer walking by your side through the forest of Christmases past and future. I will be there... "In the shadow of a memory."

"I believe in You!"

CAPTURED By Sally I Kennedy

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:16 NLT

The rosy sunset began seeping across the sky. I quickly grabbed my new camera, all excited for an opportunity to capture and hold onto the glorious sight.

When I received the camera as a gift last Christmas, it came with an instruction manual. The section on how to best photograph subjects and landscapes, etc., was spelled out in great detail. The thick booklet described how to capture the moment.

Today, at the grocery store, I saw a pre-schooler in the parking lot. She was bent over, completely fascinated by something on the ground. Maybe a bug, or a leaf, or a rock, or a piece of paper. Whatever it was, she was trying, without success, to get her mother's attention to come look at it.

The child was oblivious to the fact that Mom wanted to get in the store and get the grocery shopping done, back home, unpacked, and put away. She did not realize Mom had many other things to do today, She was totally captured by the moment.

God is in every moment we have. How awesome to be so enthralled with the moment. There used to be a phrase, "Stop and smell the roses." Each moment is truly a gift from the Lord.

Today, may I be filled with gratitude, to my Creator, and see the beauty and awe of "the moment".

ALPHABET Author Unknown

A lthough things are not perfect

B ecause of trial or pain

C ontinue in thanksgiving

D o not begin to blame

E ven when the times are hard

F ierce winds are bound to blow

G od is forever able

H old on to what you know

I magine life without His love

J oy would cease to be

K eep thanking Him for all the things

L ove imparts to thee

M ove out of "Camp Complaining"

N o weapon that is known

O n earth can yield the power

P raise can do alone

Q uit looking at the future

R edeem the time at hand

S tart every day with worship

T o "thank" is a command

U ntil we see Him coming

V ictorious in the sky

W e'll run the race with gratitude

X alting God most high

Y es, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but...

Z ion waits in glory...where none are ever sad!

"I AM Too blessed to be stressed!"

The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance
between your knees and the floor.

The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything.


He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Several days had passed since I bought the beautiful big, plump rose. I cut the stem at an angle, under water (as the directions suggested). Then I placed it in a special bud vase, and set it on my husband's washstand. Ben loves roses, and although this flower didn't have much fragrance, it was lovely to look at.

The flower just wasn't opening like I thought it should.

"I'll help it," I thought. So carefully, I pried the blush color petals open.

Perhaps you have tried to force a flower to open before it is ready. It didn't work for me, that's for sure.

So often I am impatient with how things are going, and I just have to get involved and try to "help" speed up the process. I am an action person, so have always prided myself on not procrastinating; rather taking the bull by the horns and jumping in.

Forcing this flower to open clearly brought home the message to me that, even though it is ok to be an action person, it is also wise to be patient. There is a rhythm, and a time, for everything. My impatience helps nothing!

Thank you , Lord, You make everything beautiful, in Your time. That is Good News.

THE FATHER DIED by George Prins

Frederick Buechner tells a story about a boy of twelve or thirteen who, in a fit of anger and depression, got hold of a gun and fired it at his father, who died shortly afterwards. When the authorities asked the boy why he had done it, he said that it was because he hated his father who demanded too much of him. And then later on, after he had been placed in a house of detention, a guard was walking down the corridor late one night when he heard sounds from the boy's room, and he stopped to listen. The words that he heard the boy sobbing out in the dark were, "I want my father, I want my father."

Reading this story reminded me of how society has tried to kill off God, the Father. Faith in Him has become so meager as "enlightened" people contemplate the "fallacy" of God's existence. "Where is God?" we ask as the killings in Kosovo continue, as children are forced into drugs and prostitution at an early age, and as terrorists find nuclear toys to tinker with. The weeping of society does not abate and the media noisemakers darken the whereabouts of a God, saying we perhaps have outgrown Him.

And yet, within each of us, there is a deep longing to find fulfillment. We are given the freedom to find gratification in anything we desire, only to discover that only God satisfies our hunger. As Augustine aptly wrote: "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee." Likewise, Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher wrote: "There is in each of us a God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill."

A suggested prayer:

"God, my heart and mind are restless, ever racing against time and place.Where do I find satisfaction? How can faith in you relax me and give me hope and peace? God, I often think that I have outgrown you. Forgive my failures, my doubts and my meager faith in You. I ask you to take my vacuum, my void, my aching, and fill it with Your
presence. Thank You for taking my burdens when You died on the cross and rose
again. You knew myname already then! So You investigate my life and get all the facts straight. Let me be an open book to You for I am never out of Your sight.

You know me inside and out and know every bone of my body. I thank You,Father, that You are not dead but let Your Son die to give me a future. Amen!"


An elderly woman wrote in to nationally-syndicated columnist, Dear Abby, because she had done something that many of us do: wrongfully judge someone based on first impressions.

The woman felt awful because she had terribly pre-judged a male neighbor, simply by how he looked. When he first moved into the neighborhood, and she saw him all dressed in black; even black nail polish and eye-liner, she marked him as a "devil worshipper." Months later, his long hair was completely shaved off, and her next harsh conclusion was that he must now be a radical "skinhead!"

It was only when she took the time to actually get to know her neighbor, that she learned he attended the local university, and was merely dressed in costume for an event the first time she spotted him, and that his long hair was now missing because he regularly donated his fast-growing locks to a charitable association which uses human hair to make wigs for cancer patients who have lost their hair.

The woman felt bad for judging a book by its cover, and wrote in to warn others of doing the same.

How thankful we should be that God does not judge us the way mankind often does; only by what is seen on the outside. Our Heavenly Father is more concerned about what's going on in the inside; within our hearts and minds, as it is these which control our actions and what comes out of our mouths.

Do you love God and His Son, Jesus Christ? Do you treat others as you yourself wish to be treated?

If yes, you do well, but if not, it is never too late to take that first positive step toward salvation.

Reach out your hand whether it is yellow, black, red, brown or white, for God is the Master Painter who created all these beautiful colors of the spectrum!

Extend out those fingers regardless of whether they have long or short nails; are adorned with color or not, for God wants your love, not your nail polish, fashions trends, hair styles, or makeup techniques.

Prayer: "Dear God, please forgive me if I have been shallow, and in my criticism of others, I may have missed rich opportunities to share your truth, or to know someone wonderful. I ask You, God, to help me see others as You do; to give me the same patience You have given me, and to allow all I do and say to be a walking testimony of Your merciful love. This I ask in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen."

MORNINGS By Sally I Kennedy

The Lord's great love...... his compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Lamentations 3:22-23

This morning I rolled out of bed with my eyes not quite open, and headed for the coffee pot. It might have resembled sleepwalking as I began unloading the dishwasher. Routinely, I stacked the cups and glasses to put in the cupboards. That was when I noticed a coffee stain in one of the mugs. And, there were only a couple of plates in the bottom of the dishwasher. "Oh, no!" I thought. "I hate when I do stuff like this." Especially early in the day. A morning person I'm not, to which my family and friends will quickly attest.

Everything went back in. I finished loading and ran it. Out of the corner of my eye, now much more open, I saw on the counter our daily calendar with the scripture verse for the day. Proverbs 17:22, "A cheerful heart is good medicine".

Into my mind popped, "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!! OK, so I started getting the message. And yes, it WAS a glorious day.

Mornings. They're like new beginnings. And thank God, He is gracious, because of his great love and compassion, to give us plenty of those. All we need, in fact.

That's good news.


May you find serenity and tranquility in a world you may not always understand.

May the pain you have known and the conflict you have experienced give you the strength to walk through life facing each new situation with optimism and courage.

Always know that there are those whose love and understanding will always be there, even when you feel most alone.

May you discover enough goodness in others to believe in a world of peace.

May a kind word, a reassuring touch, a warm smile be yours every day of your life, and may you give these gifts as well as receive them.

Remember the sunshine when the storm seems unending.

Teach love to those who know hate, and let that love embrace you as you go into the world.

May the teaching of those you admire become part of you, so that you may call upon them.

Remember, those whose lives you have touched and who have touched yours are always a part of you, even if the encounters were less than you would have wished.

May you not become too concerned with material matters, but instead place immeasurable value on the goodness in your heart.

Find time in each day to see the beauty and love in the world around you.

Realize that each person has limitless abilities, but each of us is different in our own way.

What you may feel you lack in one regard may be more than compensated for in another.

What you feel you lack in the present may become one of your strengths in the future.

May you see your future as one filled with promise and possibility.

Learn to view everything as a worthwhile experience.

May you find enough inner strength to determine your own worth by yourself, and not be dependent on an other's judgments of your accomplishments.

May you always feel loved.

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