Finding Peace

I’m sitting here on my back deck listening to the sounds of nature. I’ve been out here a lot since the cicadas have left us. We had millions in our yard and remnants of their 6 week visit are still visible. My yard is beginning to heal from their time here but we are still seeing some scarring in the trees and on the ground. I have dozens of holes where they emerged. But I can once again sit outside and ponder, work in the garden, read, and enjoy time with my family. 

During the infestation of my yard I began to wonder if they would ever leave us. I mean, I know it’s part of their 17 year cycle but I really wanted them gone. I needed my oasis back. That peace that came from just sitting outside and enjoying the yard. After 7 years of apartment living I have thoroughly enjoyed my backyard space. But then the Cicadas came. Mid-April to Mid-June all I could hear from 6am to 10pm every single day was their noise. I would walk outside and they would just fall out of the trees leaving their empty shells behind. It felt like it was raining cicadas. Not to mention that they are just terrifying. They look like they came out of the pit of hell with those red eyes. Plus they scream when they fly at you. Have you ever heard a cicada scream? It’s the creepiest thing I have ever heard. I just wanted them gone. I needed them gone. 

You can read the rest of this post here: https://aspiringtobemag.wordpress.com/2021/06/24/finding-peace/

© Dianna Auton 2021

Reflections on 2020

2020… what a year. I know so many people who say it was a horrible year. I understand. It was definitely a trying year. However, for us it had an equal share of ups and downs. In January of this year I was applying for my return to college, getting my financial aid in order and gathering all my high school documentation so that I could go back. In February we ended our jewelry business in preparation for my going back to school because I was still homeschooling and working part time from my at home job and was very active in our church. So suffice it to say I was preparing ahead of time. Little did we realize that in March, lives would be turned upside down. What started off as a couple weeks of quarantine and everything closing down, to a degree, ended up being months of regulations and mandates due to covid.

My hubby’s pay was cut due to the shutdown but then reinstated in June. My hubby had a prostate biopsy on the recommendation of his doctor and we started searching for a house to buy. In July we found a house and started working on the closing for the end of that month and my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Talk about getting the wind knocked out of you. Yet during all of this I stayed strong. Kept the faith. Prayed, researched, prepped for moving, prepped for school, prepped for his upcoming procedures. All while working and taking care of everyone.

August hits. We have been in our house for a week or so, and adopted a furry baby, Ben Kenobi. By the end of the month my oldest two and I started college classes, virtually of course, and my youngest started her sophmore year of high school. I then find out that my work is not going to renew my contract and I no longer have a job. It had nothing to do with COVID and we think it may have everything to do with the fact that I have very strong conservative opinions and I am not afraid to share them.

In September my husband had his prostate removed along with some reconstructive surgery on his ureters that they wanted to do while they were in there. It would be a lot easier on him to do it all at once rather than at different times. The good news is my husband is now cancer free. It was all contained in the prostate and was caught at the perfect time. Losing my contract ended up being a good thing because it allowed me the time I needed to take care of him and keep up with the kids and school.

October was a good recovery period for him and a time for me to get in the groove of being in classes full time. November restrictions started going back up and we visited my mother-in-law and her hubby for the first time in almost a year. We also got to see my brother-in-law and his family but it was such a different time. COVID has made things so much more difficult mainly because of the fear that has surrrounded this disease. I started a new business as a Thirty-One consultant and am working on a portfolio for some design work I have done.

Now here we are in December. It’s been tough, yet its been good. It’s brought about change but also time of reflection. It’s taught us to rely on God more. Trust him for our health and our finances. Trust him with our daughters. Trust HIM comepletely and be open to new ideas and ways of doing things.

I know we all would like to rewind time and do this year over again without all the drama and covid. But we can’t. We must learn from what all has taken place, realize that nothing will be completely the same because of things we have had to deal with but not be fearful of it. Yes the disease is real. Yes there are those that are dying from the complications that the disease can cause. Do I think it is over exaggerated? Yes to a degree. Do I think the media is fear mongering? 100% yes. But I believe God is bigger than COVID, bigger than the media, bigger than the government. He can make what some believe to be impossible, happen if we will just trust him.

Let me give you a suggestion though. You want peace in your life? Do you want to live without fear? If so turn off the news, stop reading the social media posts about the news and get into the Word of God. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” Fear is a spirit and the news and world will fill you with it if you allow it. Build your faith. STAY in the WORD!

I know I have been all over the place today but I hope you are encouraged to look back and find the good things that have happened even through the bad. We’ve all had a hard year, some worse than others. But try to find the good that has come as well.

I pray that your Christmas is a blessed one and that you will keep one another in your prayers.

Occupy until He comes…

If you had told me that we would be where we are today in this world even a year ago I would have thought you were crazy. I look around me and barely recognize this world that we have called home for so many years. Pandemic, Quarantine, Riots, Violence and Mask ordinances have just come out of nowhere in such a short amount of time. These words have become a part of our every day vocabulary. I shake my head in slight disbelief that this is what our world has come to but it shouldn’t really be all that shocking. Especially for those of us who call ourselves Christians.

At some point we should know that the world was going to begin to decline. And for those of us who believe in Jesus Christ and what the Bible says it should just be one more sign that it’s almost time to return to our true home. The return of the King is imminent. It will be soon. How soon is up to the Father as only he knows the day and the hour. But we can be prepared and take all those who will listen and heed to our voice with us. Isn’t this the ultimate goal? Spending eternity with the one who created us. The one who desires our love and devotion and who cares enough about us to provide us with hope and protection even in the midst of a world that has gone awry?

That is what I believe. We are literally in the last of the last days. And one day in the future I will rejoice with my family as we worship our Father God in His presence. Not just glimpeses of it but fully in his presence. We will get to reunite with our loved ones that have gone on before us. Those that have planted the seeds of faith into our lives and left us with a heritage of following Jesus.

But until that day comes we are told to occupy (Luke 19:13). But what does occupy really mean? Dictionary.com gives these definitions:

  • to take or fill up (space, time, etc.).
  • to engage or employ the mind, energy, or attention of.
  • to be a resident or tenant of; dwell in.
  • to take possession and control of (a place), as by military invasion.(usually initial capital letter) to participate in a protest about (a social or political issue), as by taking possession or control of buildings or public places that are symbolic of the issue.

So bascially we are to dwell in this earth until Jesus returns. But we are supposed to take possession and control of it as well. Which means we are to do the Father’s business wile we are here on the earth.

Here is the next question: what is the Father’s business?

Good question. The Bible tells us in Matthew 28:19-20 says: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

While on this earth we are to preach the gospel and do as Jesus commanded us. Jesus was the ultimate example of what we are supposed to do and he preached in Luke 4:18 that He came to “….preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” If that is what we he came to do and he is our example then we are supposed to do that as well.

We are called to bring hope to people who may not see or have hope. We are called to help bring healing and freedom to those who are sick and bound. We are called to remind people that Jesus will return and come back for his people. We HAVE to be the light to this world that has been darkened by sin and hate. This world that has accepted as normal those things that God has called immoral and wrong has blinded so many and we MUST speak the truth of God’s Word into this world. That, my friends is what we are supposed to be doing while we occupy this earth. Not just sitting back and waiting for Jesus to return. We still have work to do and we MUST do it.

How about we choose to remember what God has brought us out of so we can be the hope for someone else who may be going through something like we were. Let’s choose today to show God’s love to the people of this world. Let’s choose today to pray for those around us. Let’s choose today to be God’s hands, feet and mouth piece so that this world will know there is hope, there is healing, there is freedom and it comes in the name of Jesus Christ.

What I Have Been Doing During Safer at Home…

I’ve been seeing all these posts about people getting their homes cleaned out during all this because of the extra time that they have. I do have an extra hour a day that I am not driving but I’m still working so I don’t have as much time as those who are stuck home not working. Just a side note. I am not complaining by any means. I am so thankful I still have work when so many people are being laid off and not working right now.

That said I have still found myself getting some side things done…

  1. I finished crocheting Angel’s blanket that I started before Christmas. I was making it for her birthday and was only behind by 1 week so I count that as a success.
  2. I’ve only put together one of my Thomas Kinkade Disney puzzles since the Safer at Home started. I did the Princess and the Frog. Keep in mind that since January 2020 and before the Safer-At-Home order went into effect I had already done 12 of those puzzles. Don’t ask me why I have only done the one. I really don’t know.
  3. I started a new workout routine with an accountability buddy. We are one full week into this routine and lets just say I am sore, I hurt, I want to say things I shouldn’t and yet I still get up and do it all again the next day. I really do have a love hate relationship with working out. I love the results but hate doing it. And seriously to the little miss skinny minnie that I, for some reason, have allowed to torture me and continue to go back to…. I’m not that flexible.
  4. I’m reading more for fun. I’m always reading. I love to read but I’ve put “for fun” reading on the back burner because I was so busy. I picked up my 1st generation iPad (yes its that old), which is basically an over priced Kindle at this point since so few apps will work with it. I mean they aren’t updating it anymore. lol (side note: It was my dads and I got it after he passed just so I could read my kindle books on a bigger screen.) I downloaded some fun Christian historical fiction that I had on my cloud and did this instead of watching t.v.
  5. We’ve been playing more games and watching more movies together as a family. Sierra downloaded a game on steam that we can use our phones/tablets to play on. It’s called Drawful 2. It’s kind of like pictionary. It’s a lot of fun and we laugh a lot while playing it.
  6. We’ve been homeschooling of course. This is our youngest daughters final year in home education. She will be going to a private school in the fall. So been working on the application process for that. Gathering all the information. Preparing her where she feels comfortable with going and getting all our ducks in a row.
  7. I’ve been doing a lot of re-evaluating and praying. Thinking about plans for the future and new things I would like to do. Including my own school journey this fall to go for something I have always wanted to do and that is Graphic and Web Design.
  8. We’ve walked a lot and enjoyed our patio a bunch more. Sitting out in the evenings and walking during the day.
  9. I’ve done some coloring and putting Lego’s together. I enjoy doing that cause its creative and they are like puzzles. Hubby bought me the Lego set cause he wanted to bring a smile to my face.
  10. Most importantly we celebrated a birthday. Angel turned 15 a few weeks ago. But because they were already advising no groups of more than 10 that eliminated our plans for her. But we still had cake and ice cream and gifts.

So what have you been doing during all of this?

Trust God, Do Not Fear

©Dianna Auton
©Dianna Auton Great Smokey Mountains National Park

We are in a time right now that seems like things have just turned upside down. Schools and businesses are closed or running at half capicity and the spirit of fear around our nation and the world is strong. All from a virus. A new virus. One that has a very high percentage of contagion and does not have a “cure” or “vaccine” yet. So its scarey. I totally get it. Things are uncertain right now.

That said, I have to remind the children of God no matter where you are that you do not have to fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 says “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.” We must remember that we can trust God to protect us from this disease. But we also must be smart. Do what you know to do and then let God handle His part.

Never in my lifetime have we had to be quarantined. It was like overnight we went from the “busyness” of our lives to being forced to slow down and spend more times with those we love. Rather than seeing this as an interruption to our lives, which it is, take it as a time of being together. Spending more time with our families. Enjoying some togetherness and focus on our spiritual fitness. Maybe you can take this time that you have and spend more time in the Word and prayer getting to know the one that created you and that fights for you.

For me I have been meditating a lot on God’s Word. I’ve been listening to worship music and I’ve been refocusing my mind on what is important. I’ve allowed it to help me to put things into perspective and it’s reminded me yet again that we are strangers in a strange land. We are not of this world. We were meant for another place. It’s reminded me yet again that what is spiritual will last not all the activities that we do. What I do for the kingdom of God is so much more important than whether I am a good sales person. Not that there is anything wrong with that because we can represent God no matter where we go or what we do. But are we even doing that? It’s made me really think about that.

This thought process didn’t start for me with this current situation it actually started at the beginning of the year. I started re-evaluating what I was doing and started taking steps towards where I felt the Lord wanted me to go. Even just this week I took a step of faith in an area of ministry that I know I have been called to do but was so afraid to step into. God blessed that and gave me favor and really it’s not even about me. It’s about Him and what He has called us to do for Him. It’s about enlarging the kingdom for His glory not our own.

It’s also about how quickly life can change and whether we are doing what He has called us to do.

This post has not gone the way I was expecting it to go. But God leads and I guess that other thing is for another day. But God is awesome and His ways are perfect.

Regardless of whether or not I am babbling just remember that God is with us through this outbreak. Be smart but trust God most of all.

Praying Blessings, health and favor over each person that reads this today.

Battling our Thoughts

There are times you make decisions and you know it’s the right one. But immediately afterwards you have to deal with thoughts. Thoughts that bombard you and tell you that you’re a failure. Thoughts that make you feel as if you are just doing something out of selfishness. Even though you know for a fact that is not true. But it doesn’t matter becaue satan likes to use those things to make us feel bad and question are motives.

The truth of the matter is we had to make a tough decision recently, one that we never thought we would have to make. Although we have always kept this option open because we knew there may come a day when we would have to do it. But we had always believed that day would never come.

We made this decision after much prayer and talk. We are at peace with this decision. But then satan came right up behind me and starting whispering those little lies. The ones that tell me “I failed” and that “I’m not good enough”. The ones that make you want to question each decision you have ever made. You know they are lies. But every now and then they will just crawl into your mind and the next thing you know you have to shake yourself up and tell satan “Get thee behind me”.

You may be wanting to ask me what decision I am talking about, but I’m not quite ready to make that public knowledge on here yet. One day in the near future I will share about it, but right now I’m just not ready.

The point of this post is, when God gives you a clear answer about something don’t let satan beat you up over it. When you have inner peace, remind yourself that not all thoughts are from God and some thoughts are just planted by satan to try and keep you from doing things that God has already given you peace about doing.

Have a blessed day,

Free 30 Day Bible Reading Plan

I just wanted to share that over on Aspiring To Be Magazine’s blog they have this awesome reading plan. To download the plan head over there and grab it.  30 Days With Jesus

You can click the image above to go to the page OR click the link below.

30 Days with Jesus reading plan.

I hope you enjoy this free resource.

Guatemala, Camp and Growing Up

I know its been super quiet around these parts. It’s because this month is crazy busy for our family. And it never slows down. I always think if I can just get through this then it will calm down a bit but that never happens. I don’t know why I continue to think that way. But, alas, I do.

I’ve got some more reviews coming up… A couple books and another Bible review that will be uploaded to YouTube on Friday.

But anyway, today I’ve been pondering the fact that my kids are growing up. My oldest, Sierra, is currently in Guatemala with a group from our church and two other churches from around the country (North Carolina and Indiana). I have been missing her like crazy. She is serving with Living Waters Ministries which has been around for a good long time. They do amazing things. We took her to the airport on Monday and had not heard from her until last night. She is loving it. She is already talking about going back.

This kid of mine is so much like her Grandfather. She loves learning about other cultures and loving on babies. That seems to be her favorite part. Loving on the kids in the orphanage. They spent some time last week in sister cities San Marco and San Pedro visiting schools and ministering on the streets. In that three day campaign 752 people received Jesus for the first time and 200 re-dedicated their lives to him. Isn’t that awesome? God is so good and I am so proud not only of my girl but of all the other kids that went as well. God is using and changing them.

I can not wait til she returns so I can give her big hugs and never let her go again. LOL No, I will let her go. Because I know that this is something God has called her to do. My baby has a strong desire to see God change the nations of this world. I would never deny her that opportunity when she has it. It’s still hard letting them go, though.

While our oldest is in Guatemala our youngest, Angel, left for camp yesterday. I can’t believe how  quickly these squirts of mine are growing up. She was pretty confident that she would have a great time. And she was looking forward to, of all things, the food. Now I must say that last year I went as a counselor and the food was amazing. So I am with her on that one.

I am so glad the girls are independent and love to go when they have the opportunity. But I do miss them greatly when they are gone. But as my husband told a friend of ours at church yesterday… “Don’t worry. We still have Hope.” Which she proceeded to laugh so hard about that I couldn’t help but laugh about it either. But its true. Our middle daughter, Hope, is still home and we have some fun things planned for just the two of us. Hope is a good kid and is so looking forward to going on missions next year. But until then she gets some much needed one on one time with mom and dad.

I love these girls of mine. And as hard as it is letting them go so they can spread their wings and fly, we continue to let them. Because its a wonderful experience for both them and us. The experiences, stories and changes that take place in them are worth every second of any tears we may shed. And believe tears were shed and as they grow up and go out into the world more will be shed as well.

So I leave you with a couple beautiful pictures that my girl sent us from Guatemala. She is seeing the beauty in everything.

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The picture above is a Volcano. She is on the Living Waters Main Campus in Xela (There is a much longer name but that is what they call it).

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She knows how much her momma loves flowers and sent this one to us. She said the flowers are so pretty there.

Worship Wednesday – Oceans

A little inspiration for your Wednesday.

Hillsong United – “Oceans”

If you can’t see the video click here.
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine
oceans scrnsht