Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cherokee Indian Legend

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's right of passage?

His dad takes him into the forest ~ blindfolded ~ and leaves him...alone.

He is required to sit on a stump the whole night...and not take off the blindfold until the ray of sun shines through it. He is all by himself. He cannot cry out for help to anyone.

Once he survives the night he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience. Each lad must come into his own manhood.

The boy was terrified-could hear all kinds of noise...Beasts were all around him. Maybe even some human would hurt him.

The wind blew the grass and earth...and it shook his stump. But he sat stoically - never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could be a man.

Finally, after a horrific night...the sun appeared and he removed his
blindfold. It was then that he saw his father sitting on the stump next to him...at watch...the entire night.

We are never alone. Even when we do not know it, our Heavenly Father is protecting us...He is sitting on the stump beside us. All we have to do is reach out to Him.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" Joshua 1:9

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Tear Down

By: Lisa Petrarca

I've been dealing with some difficult things in my life lately. I've been praying, reading the scriptures daily and turning all of my problems over to the Lord. Then on Sunday, after a sleepless night, I received a really powerful message at church. It was the kind of message that made me realize that my Heavenly Father hears my prayers, He is mindful of my struggles and heartache.

Our Pastor Aaron, spoke about life changes. He used the analogy of a demolition crew coming in to tear down an old building or a construction company remodeling a home. In order to make everything new, it has to be torn down and old walls and appliances removed.

It is a hard but necessary process that the construction crew must do in order to rebuild and make everything new and beautiful. It also takes time...but eventually after all the walls are replaced, new fixtures, lights, and floors are put in, along with a fresh coat of paint, the room/building is complete.

Before God can make everything right in my life, He needs to tear down my old, broken way of thinking. He wants me to bring all the hidden things out into the open so He can repair and rebuild it. He will make all things new again.

So, as I sit broken and wondering what now? My Heavenly Father is putting me back together, piece by piece, room by broken room. Remodeling me to become all that He intended me to be.

Are you in the tear down stage too? Just remember, it may take some time, but He has heard your prayers. God is working to restore you. Your are being rebuilt and remodeled into His image.

Hold on...be patient...trust...have faith...your Heavenly Father hears your cries.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:10-11

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gripping Fear

By: Lisa Petrarca

Inching closer we stood on our tiptoes to peek through the heads of the thick crowd. My mouth opened in surprise as I looked at my sister, “I’ve never seen anything like this in all the years I’ve lived here.” She grinned, “That is so cool!” We tried to maneuver our way in, kids in tow, mumbling, “Excuse me, excuse me…we just want to get a closer look.”

Perched on the top of the pier railing, long strong beak pressed tightly to his chest, he slowly moved his head back and forth; eyes shifting in curiosity at the large crowd pointing black objects in his direction.

We softly walked closer trying to place the young children as close to him as we dare. Snapping picture after picture, feeling more confident as he continued to stand still and pose, the kids moving even closer.

I looked around to find my teenage son. I wanted him in the picture with his young niece & nephews. I called out to him, “Go stand next to the pelican so I can get your picture with everyone.

“NO!” he firmly replied.

“C’mon…I need to get a picture,” I pleaded, wondering why he was being so difficult. I grabbed his arm to pull him over; he yanked it quickly out of my grasp.

“You know I HATE birds!” He was now yelling at me, “I’m not going to!”

“What’s wrong with you?” As the words came out of my mouth, I flashed back to a time, several years ago on a bike ride. A large seagull swooped down and literally snatched a sandwich out of his hand in mid air. He was very young and so afraid at the time…he cried and cried. That one incident continued to grip him with fear, even as a teenager.

Notice how the young children were eager to stand beside the pelican. They trusted that they would be safe. They hadn’t experienced trauma at the beak of a bird. My teenager on the other hand was no longer able to trust that he would be safe. He felt he had to protect himself. Staying a safe distance away from the bird. Because of this fear, he was unable to get the same beautiful picture that the children did with the pelican.

We too do this in our lives. Because of past pain, we keep a safe distance from people in our lives to protect ourselves. Unfortunately, we are actually missing out on important, meaningful, loving relationships.

Is there something that you continue to hang onto in your life? Has something in your past caused deep-rooted fear and pain? Have you spent years hiding behind protective walls such as, alcohol, drug abuse, poor choices, gambling, explosive anger, compulsive shopping, a negative self-image, or unrealistic perfectionism?

God wants to take our hurt and pain away. He wants us to lay it at His feet. Ask Him to help you get over the pain and be free from the destructive behavior that is keeping you from fulfilling the Lords plan for your life.

In You, O Lord I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed; deliver me in Your righteousness. Bow down Your ear to me, deliver me speedily; be my rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress: therefore, for Your name's sake, Lead me and guide me. Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me. For You are my strength. Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.
Psalm 31:1-5

I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, for You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, and have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy.
Psalm 31:7-8

As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud and He shall hear my voice. He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me.

Psalm 55:16-18

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Who's In Control?

By: Lisa Petrarca

As the New Year begins, we need to strive to stop letting our thoughts control us. They are just feelings, momentary bursts of emotions. They can often pound us down, like huge crashing waves, leaving us gasping for air, paddling to reach the surface..

Waves of emotions hit us each day~happy, sad, frustrated, angry, hurt, annoyed, scared, worried....they are never ending.

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, "Who's in control of my life?"

Imagine a day that you were able to actually stop and rationalize the situation you're going through without following your feelings.

This year take a stand...

Stop letting your thoughts interfere with your faith.

As your emotions begin to overwhelm you...STOP....PRAY...ask the Lord to fill your heart and mind with His peace.

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
Proverbs 12:25

I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:9-10

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Handbook 2010-New Beginnings

The New Year signals a time of new beginnings. I received this email today and thought it was a great way to start the year.


1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants..
4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games
7. Read more books than you did in 2009 .
8. Read the Bible, pray & sit in silence for at least 20 minutes each day
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don't over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with His/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...

25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything..
28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your family will. Stay in touch.

32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come..
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Look for 5 good things that happened in your day, everyday.

40. LOVE, TRUST & PRAYER will transform your life

Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
Proverbs 30:5

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength: They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31