Wednesday

Thankfulness & Happiness go Hand in Hand - A Dose of Encouragement








When you think of Thankfulness what comes to your mind?



When you think of Happiness what comes to your mind?








When my husband and I think of thankfulness we often talk of God's protection over the years.         

       One winter Sunday evening we were driving home on the same road on which we then travelled twice every Sunday to go from our home in Banbridge to the church we attended in Lurgan. The drive takes 20/25 mins depending on traffic but on Sunday evenings there is normally very little traffic on that road.


        A certain section of the road has a few quite significant dips so that as you drive up towards one of these you have no real view ahead and the road is clearly signed to tell drivers about this in advance. So as we drove along in the dark around 8.30pm and came to the slight brow of a hill before one of these dips we suddenly saw several lights of cars coming towards us but as well as this we saw a set of lights coming towards us on our side of the road. 


       This is a country road with a very narrow footpath and hedges or walls etc. so usually no room to manoeuvre. A large lorry (truck for my American friends) was trying to overtake 3 or 4 cars and was still on the wrong side of the road; he had obviously ignored the signs about the dips in the road and also the road markings which clearly showed that no overtaking was allowed on that stretch of road.


        The only thing my husband Fred could do was to swerve in to the side of the road as the lorry tried to cut back into his proper side in front of the lead car. Up until then there had been no break in the narrow footpath but at the exact place that we had to cut in there was a gap in the footpath and in the hedge because there was an entrance to something there. 

Just enough room for our car to get in out of the way as the lorry skimmed past us.


Obviously God had brought us to the right spot at the right time

 and saved our lives.



There are big things in our lives that can cause us to be thankful & happy like this time 
and the other times He has protected us in the car. 

 You can read about these occasions at:
4 Accidents and a ????  (pt1)
4 Accidents and a ????  (pt2)
4 Accidents and a ????  (pt3)
4 Accidents and a ????  (pt4)
4 Accidents and a ????  (pt5)



But there are also the other smaller things everyday that we sometimes forget to be happy about. 

We have had several times when we have been thankful to God because of his hand of protection but so many other times we forget to be thankful for the things that make us happy.  Most of us will have something each day which makes us happy but often we forget to thank God for that (however small) thing He has provided in our life.




Then also we often forget to thank others who in some big or small way help us out.

One example is the time I was happy to have been able to help someone I only knew online, with somethings that I used to have to ask others to help me with.






Isn't that nice that Caroline acknowledged the help I had given her, she didn't need to do that, but thankyous are always appreciated.


Then there are the friends that you make that no matter what happens throughout the years you know they will always be your friends.  The ones who know you for who you really are.  Such a gift to be thankful for.








Who or what are you thankful for & happy about today?


So many times we are drawn to think on the more unpleasant things in life which lead to unhappiness and they can keep us from being thankful for anything when we are in that frame of mind.  






What can we do to keep the right frame of mind and not get into that attitude that can get worse and worse as we dwell on the hurts and unpleasantness caused by others?





 

We can remember that God has not promised us that everything will always be perfect for us, that every day will not be full of happy events, that many days will bring upon us the more unpleasant things in this imperfect world.

 

One of the saddest times in my life was when I miscarried my first pregnancy.

All those years ago most people did not know what to say or how to comfort someone but God sent me someone – not a particularly close friend, not someone who had gone through a similar experience, not someone who was even married.

He sent me someone who simply said they were sorry about what had happened and were praying for me and then they gave me a card with a little poem.  Somehow that card got lost – I just don’t know how or when but then one day I saw the same poem

 




I bought this box and it sits in my study now (empty) but it reminds me to be thankful and happy that God will care for me through the worst of times.


Memories of times when we proved God's comfort and love are GOOD! 




God’s word also reminds us that: 
  • God’s love to us never ends.
  • God’s mercy to us never ends.
  • God’s faithfulness to us never ends.







So let's not forget that:
  • God has promised to be with us at all times, the best and the worst.
  • God has given us His Holy Spirit to guide us in all our days.
  • God is still with us even when we don’t feel we are close to Him.
  • God is still demonstrating His love even if we are not looking for it.









Tuesday

Meditate & Delight - Unique Gift Ideas









Searching for that different, unique gift for a special occasion can prove to be a hard, time-consuming, eye-tiring search of the internet for us each time a birthday, anniversary or Christmas comes along!


Do you need some help to pick out something different for the people you want to encourage and show your love?







I like to support smaller businesses within the UK who give thought and care to their individual products so today I want to introduce you to 



Meditate & Delight


This is a small business venture by a talented girl and I was very impressed by her unique designs and ideas which will make lovely gifts.





Let's meet the seller herself - Katie Wood

Disclaimer:  I have not received any products or money from Katie or Meditate & Delight - this is simply a review of her business because I wished to support her.



Katie tells you about her collections and business here:


Hi, I'm Katie, owner of Meditate and Delight.







I am based in the West Midlands in England. I am a huge lover of God's word and believe in the power of the scriptures. So, around 3 years ago I decided to paint journals and write scriptures on the covers.

I wanted people to have small reminders of an encouraging or uplifting verse each time they used their notebook. Whether at home during quiet time or at work during a meeting, I wanted scripture to be at the forefront of daily life.






Since then, I have begun to produce other products and currently I sell hand-painted journals, cards, vinyl stickers, mugs and t-shirts. Everything with a Christian message. All to bring life-giving truth into our daily environments






I got started when I saw one girl on Instagram painting Bibles.

Nowadays there are loads of people doing this but years ago it was only one or two people doing it. I thought "I could do that" but for me it was less about the 'prettiness' of the Bible, and more about the scripture. So - since it was too expensive to stock Bibles at the start of my business - I decided to do notebooks instead. I wanted scripture to be more prominent and visible. As a reminder of amazing truth. Since then I have expanded to multiple products with scripture on/inside.

(I do paint hardback Bibles, but by request only. This can be done on any hardback (non-shiny) Bible. Many translations are available.)


In terms of inspiration, I get ideas from the scriptures themselves in many cases. Other times I see trends on social media. For example, at the beginning I did more landscape paintings (mountains, beaches) but nowadays I do more florals. The 4 journal designs being released in the Christmas Collection 2020 are all floral designs. Again, I saw stickers everywhere on social media so I did some digital designs and had them printed by a sticker company. They have been very popular.




So far I have added the products to my Etsy Shop here and there, when I have the money/time to create them. However, going forward I will do 4 collections a year - starting with this Christmas Collection 2020, which I am so excited about!

So 4 times a year I will produce and create a collection of various items and release them all at once. Once they are gone, they are gone.


In the Christmas Collection 2020 there are:


  • 4 designs of hand-painted journals - a few of each design are available. They are all floral designs and have scriptures on the front and back.




  • Professionally printed Christmas cards - a pack of 5.





  • Various professionally printed vinyl stickers which are for indoor or outdoor use and are weatherproof so are great to stick on water bottles, notebooks, cars etc.

  • Slogan t-shirts and glass items.





  • Also a variety of ceramic hand-painted Christmas decorations.




The products in this collection are probably my favourites of everything I have ever made.

The collection was released on Tuesday 3rd November.


I do custom, bespoke orders but usually only when people message me and ask. I have taken down the custom order listing from my Etsy shop. I find it easier to produce a variety of hand-painted journals and list them ready to be shipped. But I do get people messaging me asking if I can paint them something specific - either a Bible or a notebook/journal. And I am happy to do that. Depending on the design it takes around 2 weeks to paint and varnish and dry. I create a mock-up digitally and send that to the customer before I start painting for them to see/suggest edits. Once the design is approved, I start painting and that takes around 2 weeks.


I sell within the UK and also internationally and have sent products to America and France and even as far as Mozambique.


You can view all of my products and order at my Etsy shop.

Meditate & Delight on Etsy


Follow me on Facebook & Instagram to see more photos of my products and behind the scenes of the making process.

Meditate & Delight on Instagram

and

Meditate & Delight on Facebook

Feel free to send me a message too and I'm happy to answer any questions.






I hope you enjoyed reading about Katie's unique gifts and if you need any help with your Christmas shopping or for birthday, wedding, anniversary or just those little gifts to say "thinking of you" in these times take a little note of what she has and do look around her shop to see ALL her items.






Hercule Poirot's Christmas - Book Review




I am reading through the novels of Agatha Christie in the order in which they were written and writing a review on each one.








Hercule Poirot's Christmas


1938


Description


It is Christmas Eve. The Lee family reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture, followed by a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed.

But when Hercule Poirot, who is staying in the village with a friend for Christmas, offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hate the old man…









My Thoughts


This is the 32nd book by Agatha Christie and the 19th Poirot Mystery


Another one of the Poirot murders that is hard to forget once you have read it because of the memorable incident of the death - hint but not quite a spoiler -the sounds!  


The title comes from the fact that it is Christmas time and Poirot is the detective of the story but otherwise in my mind it is not really a unique descriptive title for this mystery, which does happen at Christmas time but could it have happened other than at Christmas?

If you have seen this one as the TV adaptation it must be noted that there are definite differences there to the actual novel Agatha Christie Wrote and again we must ask the question why. 
Why did they have to make those changes?

I love locked room mysteries and mysteries in a similar vein when we need to know how did the murderer get in? when did they get in? 
As is so much a part of Christie storytelling we also need to look for the misinformation and the twists in this one.

Another good murder to solve and of course Poirot is the best detective to do just that.
So we end up with an enjoyable read as we try to work it out along the way and if we read carefully we could solve it.

Agatha Christie is quoted as having said the following about this book and I have to say I imagine her laughing as she wrote the true words - 

‘You yearned for a “good violent murder with lots of blood”. So this is your special story – written for you.’


So another  "TIC"  from me.



If thinking of reading this book in the future why not pin this pic to go back to later.





















Sunday

How to Learn Psalm 34 v 1-4 - Bible Memorization with FREEBIES


I could never do it!

          Do what?

Memorize Psalm 34 verses 1 to 4!

          Yes you can one verse at a time.







Many people think they could never manage to memorize 4 verses of the Bible together.

But they might consider learning 1 verse.

Over the years you have probably memorized some verses from all over the Bible - all individual verses or perhaps two verses like Proverbs 3 v 4-5.

So why not learn a short passage of 4 verses just doing it 1 verse at a time.


So let's look at 3 things:
  • Memorising Tips
  • Some Freebies to help you.





Memorising Tips

If you read the blog post on 
10 Ways to Learn Scripture - Bible Memorization
you will know that I shared 10 ways to tackle this but some ways are more helpful than others to different people and to different verses or passages.
If you didn't read that blog post it might be good to go over to it now HERE
and then come back to see which of the 10 ways I would recommend for this one.



I am going to help you with this passage using
        Ways  1,  2,  3,  4,  7,  8,  9,  &  10  
because of the structure and Rhythm of the verses.

1.  Read the verse often, every day, multiple times in the day.
     Repeating it over and over.

2.  Write out the verse often, every day.
     Writing it out over and over and over.

3.  Feel the excitement of a verse that is an exaltation of praise to God.
     Think the praise as you say or write the words.

4.  Personal Testimony - Action from you and result from God.
     Think about the request from you and how God answers our prayers.

7.  Understand the meaning of the verse.
     Think of what it actually says and means and it will remain better in your mind.

8.  Make it easy to see the verse clearly &  regularly each day.

9.  Make or Use Bible Verse Graphics

10.  Sing It.


Each verse in this passage contains 2 parts - yet both make up just one sentence so there is help here of the second part relating to the first so that the verse makes sense.


In fact in the other blog post mentioned above you will have seen me take various verses from Psalm 34 as the examples for the different ways.




So let's look at each of these 4 verses on their own and then you can put them together.


Psalm 34 v 1

I would use any or all of  1, 2, 7, 8, & 9 

1.   Read it like it is in two sections

2.   Write it on two separate lines

7.   Understand that the second part of this verse is a natural result of the first part

8.   Stick copies of this verse on the mirror, fridge door, etc.

9.   Make or Use Bible Verse Graphics 
      (this graphic is available to download as a free printable in my Resource Library)









Here's a video I made just to show you one way and you can use this by replaying it as often as you like to learn it within a day or two depending on how often you practice it.












Psalm 34 v 2


I would use any or all of  1, 2, 7, 8, & 9 

1.   Read it & Concentrate on the two first words in each part and then get the "what each will do" straight in your head to go along with it.

2.   Write it on two separate lines

7.   Understand that the second part of this verse is a great result of the first part

8.   Stick copies of this verse on the mirror, fridge door, etc.

9.   Make or Use Bible Verse Graphics 
      (this graphic is available to download as a free printable in my Resource Library)










Psalm 34 v 3




I would use any or all of  1, 2, 7, 8, & 9

1.   Read it like it is in two sections but making a request

2.   Write it on two separate lines.

3.  Feel the excitement of this verse because it is an exaltation of praise to God.
     Think the praise as you say or write the words.

7.   Understand that the second part of this verse is reinforcing the first part.

8.   Stick copies of this verse on the mirror, fridge door, etc.

9.   Make or Use Bible Verse Graphics - because this is portrait shaped it will make a good phone screen saver 
      (this screen saver is available to download as a free printable in my Resource Library)










Psalm 34 v 4







I would use any or all of  1, 2, 7, 8, & 9

1.   Read it like it is in two sections - there is excitement here over what happened.

2.   Write it on two separate lines.

4.  Personal Testimony - Action from you and result from God.
     Think about this as a prayer from you and how God answers our prayers.

7.   Understand that the second part of this verse is God responding to the first part which was a prayer.

8.   Stick copies of this verse on the mirror, fridge door, etc.

9.   Make or Use Bible Verse Graphics - because this is portrait shaped it will make a good phone screen saver 
      (this screen saver is available to download as a free printable in my Resource Library)



Bible Verse Graphics

I post a Bible Verse Graphic every morning on my
so if you want to be encouraged by a verse each day or have a graphic you can Share to your timeline or Save in Facebook then click through to my Facebook Page and be sure to like and follow the page to see those graphics in your feed each day.




Did you notice something was missing?

For the 4 separate verses I said we would use
1,2,3,4,7,8,9,10

and as we went through the verses above we did not include no.10

because no. 10 is going to be the way to reinforce the whole passage for us

We are going to pull all 4 verses together in a song.





Rhythm

Often we see rhythm in verses of the Bible and especially so in the Psalms.

They were meant to be sung but we can use the fact of the rhythm of the words to help us learn this passage.

As I said above each verse contains 2 parts

v.1   I will bless .....
        his praise shall .....

v.2   My soul shall .....
        the humble shall .....

v.1   O magnify the Lord .....
        and let us exalt .....

v.1   I sought the Lord .....
        and delivered me .....


and if you say the words aloud you will notice the rhythm between them repeating throughout.

When we recite something rhythmically it really helps us to learn it.



PLUS

Let's not forget the best and easiest way for most people to learn scripture

We sing it!

Watch the video below of Fred and I singing this passage as a song we learnt as teenagers and have not really forgotten over all these years.

This song is fantastic for this passage as it does not leave out any words or add in any words but takes the exact verses straight from the Bible.


 

You can come back anytime and replay the video here to practise or you can find it on my YouTube channel  Scripture Memorization in Song at Sandra's Ark




We can also pull all 4 verses together by repeating them straight through as we colour a picture around them.


Here you will see an example of a colouring page I made for Psalm 34 v 1-4 and it is also available as a freebie on the Blog with the link at the end of this post.





Other posts on the Memorization of Scripture are












FREEBIES

Don't forget to get all your free downloads to help with memorizing this verse

or pin the appropriate pics to remind you to come back later.


We have your  




ALSO 








AND 



  







Wednesday

How To Be More Encouraging on Facebook - A Dose of Encouragement


I want to be more encouraging to others.

I want to share items that will make others laugh, smile, learn something worthwhile, help, and encourage people.  


You probably want to be a good friend to others too!

So we all really want to be good encouraging friends on Facebook!



I just thought I would share a little story with you because if we were out for a coffee together I would have told you this.  I love sharing little things that happen to us (or rather mostly me) if they are funny as it is good to laugh.

I love my slippers.

For years now as soon as I get into the house off come the shoes and on go the slippers.  


But last year I got worse!


Yes I started getting into the car in my slippers and taking a pair of shoes with me for putting on at my destination.

Before anyone starts to worry about safety in the car let me assure you this is perfectly ok as I am not driving very much now and my husband Fred does wear his shoes as he drives.


So one day I opened the hall cupboard and grabbed my black sling backs and headed on out to the car in a hurry.

However when I got to my destination and went to put on my shoes I discovered I had lifted two left shoes.


Yes I have two pairs of the same shoes!








They must have both got thrown in to the same part of the cupboard and in my hurry I did not look closely enough to make sure I was bringing out the correct pair of shoes.

Now the thing is 2 left shoes are very useful if you have the two right ones to match up with them but 2 left shoes on their own are not good.

Firstly they are exactly the same shoe but my feet are not, no way is a left shoe going to fit properly on my right foot.  I could get my foot in but it would not be the correct shape so not a good fit.

Secondly it would not be wise to try to walk with the wrong shoe.  Of course I did try but it is so uncomfortable especially around the toes and the arch.   Wearing shoes like this would end up injuring my foot.



What do we learn from this little story?


Not everything is what it immediately looks like!

Be more careful!

You must look carefully at what you are going to use!


In a pair of shoes, both will look exactly the same in colour, size, design but they are not identical.  We have to look closely at them to see which is the right one for each foot.

Something like this happens as we scroll through our facebook.
We will see posts that look like great Christian posts but we need to look closely at them to know whether they are the "right fit" for us.

Remember there will always be imitators of all good things and there are plenty of them on Facebook

but it may be a while before you see their true colours

for example

A.  In a group of what were supposed to be "Christians" I had a lady private message me and call me "the Devil" because I had spoken to her friend about the reference for a verse she was using to instruct other women.  She was actually taking a verse out of Job and using it wrongly but did not want us to know so she just said it was in the book of Job and then scoffed that we obviously did not know our bibles well enough when asked for the reference.  I gave her the reference of the verse and then asked her to treat it properly in context with the verses around and that is when she got mad at me and her friend messaged me (twice in fact because she claimed this lady was very holy).
Obviously these two ladies had to be blocked by me on facebook so that I would not have to put up with being cursed at on messenger and called names and I also left the group because being in it was going to bring me into contact with more of this type of person - trying to teach the word wrongly.







B.  Then there are the lovely pictures we see on Facebook but they are not being shared by Christians - they are being shared by people who just want more attention and followers and have sometimes even stolen other people's pictures to use - as was the case a few years ago when someone took a picture I had made and shared it but they had removed my name from it before they put it on their page.

These people are not there to help or encourage others but to gain something for themselves.

They don't care if they are sharing misquotes of the Bible or of well known Christians, they don't care so they don't check their pictures or words are TRUE.

(This is completely different from the people who share pictures of mine straight from my page and I have several people who do this regularly and I do appreciate their support.)


I don't want to share things on my Facebook personal page or on Sandra's Ark Facebook Page 
that would not be fun or educational or encouraging or beneficial to others and I certainly don't want to share posts that are advertising/promoting something I do not believe in.

So I am very careful to avoid certain posts on Facebook.



How can we we tell which posts to avoid?



1.  Take a little look at the bottom of the picture or in the corner and you may see the credit given to whoever or whatever organisation created this picture, you may have a good hint from this name whether it is a Christian post or NOT.

NOTE. 
Almost anything with "Spiritual" in the name will indicate other religions and not true Christianity. 
Spirituality does not = Christian and if you don't know what I mean here take a look at all the categories in bookshops - Spirituality there will present you with Mysticism and Occult and other Non-Christian Religions.

I actually wrote a previous short blog post about    Spiritual = Christian?



2.  Look and see who originally posted this on Facebook and you may get a clue about whether or not this is a Christian post or NOT.

NOTE. 
If they regularly tag loads of people they are looking for lots of likes and shares, if they are looking for an amen comment or if they are trying to make you feel bad for not commenting, liking or sharing their post, they are using a form of blackmail so just let it pass by.



3.  If you are not sure about the poster/page when you find out who originally posted it, just click through to "about" on their Facebook page  (about is sometimes now under "Community" on the side) and then scan through what you find.

NOTE.
You will most likely see a link to a website with a strange name, or a website which when you click through to it and scan down a page or two will obviously show you whether you can trust it or not.

EXAMPLE:

You may see "Project Happiness" and it looks like a good name.

These two links will indicate what it is like

https://www.facebook.com/projecthappiness

http://www.projecthappiness.org/

(you don't have to scan far on either of these two sites before seeing a person or a small logo of a person in a sitting yoga meditation position - and no you cannot have Christian Yoga)




4.  Not everyone who calls themselves
 Apostle / Prophet / Prophetess / Pastor / Pastrix (new term used for a female pastor) / Minister / Elder / Deacon / Deaconess, 
are actually ordained by a true Christian Denomination. 


Matthew 7 v 21-23
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

NOTE.
Most Christians worth following on Facebook rarely mention their true titles.




5.  One thing that stands out to me is if the picture or the cover pic of the page that shared it has angels or a type of celestial look to it just avoid.


Another Tip!
Look at quality of the picture that is shared - if not good or looks like it has been altered then think twice before you click the like or share button.





I know this all takes a bit of time but it is worth it not to be passing on something that is linked with someone or some organisation you really would not intend to advertise to others.


And remember EVERYTHING we do on Facebook
 actually does promote ourselves and others
 whether we mean it to or not.


I make a point of not feeling that I have to just share anything I see.

I make a point of not feeling that I need to daily fill up my personal page or my Blog Page.

I make a point of thinking twice about whether the item is good to share onwards.



When we have a safe, friendly, encouraging page or group or personal profile on Facebook 
we will be an encouragement and blessing to others. 



For further help in checking out other FB pages see my earlier blog post  Spiritual = Christian?








Here are some Facebook Accounts to avoid:

Jen Hatmaker
Heidi Baker
Paula White
Christine Caine
Ann voscamp
Joshua Mills
Bill Johnston - Bethel (California)
Joseph Prince



Here are some Facebook pages to avoid:

Letting Love Flow  by Mary Ruth Velicki
Wisdom of the Women rising
Soul Awakenings
Butterflies rising
Embracing yourself
The Warrior within You
Project Happiness




Here are some Words / Phrases to avoid:

Angelic
Spirituality
Christian Yoga
LDS - Latter Day Saints (Mormons)
Good Thoughts
Sensing your spirit
Spiritual energy
Crystals