Things Don’t Always Go As Planned

   I am quite upset today. I had to bury my new little feathery friend. 

Let me back up and start the story from the beginning. 

We have a bird nest high up above our front door under our porch covering. It belongs to a swallow couple and their babies. Every spring the mama and daddy bird come back and build their nest or use parts of their existing nest from the year before. Sometimes the nest is gone because the power washer destroyed it. Quite honestly, the birds and the nest showed up after my dad chased them away with his pokey contraption preventing them building their yearly nest. My dad had enough of the bird poop on his front porch and front door mat. So they relocated to my house across the street. 

We were happy to greet them and watch their babies hatch every year and fly off and start their own families. This year they had trouble after trouble. First the power washer guy accidentally sprayed their nest away with their baby eggs falling and breaking on our front door mat and exposing their underdeveloped selves. That was sad to see and I was so mad at the power washer guy. He immediately told my husband he was so sorry and said he tried to avoid it and it just exploded and fell. 

My husband and I watched the bird couple remake a new nest in less than 48 hours. New eggs were laid and a new family hatched. A fresh start and a total of five baby bird heads emerged  from the tiny nest!!  While I was gone on a vacation two baby birds had fallen out and were found dead under the nest. It was sad to see them not make it. Nature is the survival of the fittest is what they say. Well, another bird fell out and this time I saw it. I immediately made a new plastic nest complete with soft paper towels. I tied it up high on the window where the mom and dad could still feed him. That worked for about half a day when “Mr. Jump out of My Nest” decided he wanted out and landed on the ground again. 

I lowered his nest to the bottom level and he still didn’t like his nest. He wanted out!!! So I put the plastic nest on the ground. For two days we watched as the mom and dad dive bombed us to protect their baby. I kept an eye on him to see if he was still strong and flappy. He was walking around chirping with his mouth wide open begging for food. I tucked him into his bed at night and he flopped down with exhaustion. He woke up this morning perched in the regular spot at the edge of the step waiting for his food to swoop down and land in his mouth. 

Little did I know his parents were not giving him much to sustain him and he went from super strong  to laying down hardly moving in a matter of an hour. My daughter and I rushed him to the animal refuge thirty minutes away. He made it to minute 15 in the car and was gone. We turned around and gave him a nice burial in my backyard complete with a scripture reading and flowers to come. 

What’s the point of this silly blog about a bird?

God cares about everything in our lives

It didn’t feel so much like it at first. I have been praying over this bird, spending time with him and caring for his every need that I could.  

All for nothing it felt like to me. I was more upset than I expected and probably surprised my daughter with my emotional response to our bird battle lost and now buried. 

As I was cleaning up the bird poop off the front porch and sat scrubbing away all the places he had perched and rested. I was telling God it’s not fair. He brought life and didn’t protect it. This is not what I asked for and this is not the result I expected.  As I was scrubbing away,  I  thought of people who are watching their children die in hospitals, hospice, unfair tragic circumstances or just the heartaches that can find their way to our doorsteps. This is just a silly bird. 

How do these people cope with such tragic loss. 
Maybe they too prayed for a miracle only to not receive one. It doesn’t make sense to us in the natural. No one can fully explain how God works or doesn’t seem to work on our behalf. 

Quite honestly, I don’t think you can be comforted until the time is right for you to clear away the grief and be willing to hear the still small voice whispering to you. 

It’s God reaching out you to comfort you. 
We live in a fallen world full of brokenness brought in by sin. This was not God’s plan when He created us and the world. 
His plan is to bring life out of death and joy out of sorrow. As I continued wiping away the bird poop, I heard the whisper in my head. 

He can now fly forever.

You showed great love.  

Love never fails. ❤️

This is a time for me to reflect and receive comfort from above that God cares about everything that I care about. 

Thank you God for caring about me and my baby bird. 

~Kelley Allison

http://www.bowlofspendor.com 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 

3 To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven:

2 A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted,

3 A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up,

4 A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

6 A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away,

7 A time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak,

8 A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

He Is Here 


Many times in my life I have questioned, “Is God really here?” Is he here when a mother loses her precious child? Is he here when she cries out in pain? Is he here when grief seems harder than living? Is he here when sickness has no end? Is he here when hate is favored over loving? Is he here when it seems as if the world were going to break? Is he here?

Even still,
HE IS HERE.

“He told them a story. “Look at a fig tree. Any tree for that matter. When the leaves begin to show, one look tells you that summer is right around the corner. The same here—when you see these things happen, you know God’s kingdom is about here. Don’t brush this off: I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for this one, too—these things will happen. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out.” Luke‬ ‭21:29-33‬ ‭MSG‬‬

~ Baring His Beauty,

    Tiffany Thomas 

Should I Go or Should I Stay 

Today’s post is about The Shack Movie 

*slight spoiler alert 

I read the book, The Shack by William P Young about nine years ago. My youngest daughter was about the same age as the character Missy in the book who goes missing and is tragically murdered. I remember putting the book down for two weeks when I got to the part where she disappears. It hit too close to home and the description of the little girl matched perfectly to my daughter at the time. I picked up the book again and actually skipped through the middle chapters to fast forward to the scene where Mack goes to the shack to meet Papa (God).

 I remember reading the book and being so moved by the love of these three characters (The Trinity) meeting Mack. They delicately meet him exactly where he was with this horrible tragedy that had caused him such anger, grief and sorrow. I was so impressed with how the author depicted each character of the Trinity with such unique qualities that were so different yet so similar. I remembered I finished with a great sense of who God was to me. I started understanding more fully the unconditional love He has for each of us. The three in one mystery of God is delicately portrayed through the three characters that meet Mack and help him to gain an understanding of who God really is to us and how important we are to Him. 

 God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. 

I loved how God chooses to meet Mack as a tender caring mother type figure. God knew that Mack had a hard time with his own father. He had harbored bitterness toward his father because of his past experiences with his abusive father. Mack can relax with this nurturing mother type as she answers all the hard questions he has about the tragic death of his daughter. 

 The three in one characters distinctively give Mack answers and illustrations showing him how all things are connected and effect each other. He meets up with Wisdom who shares revelations about how we choose to sit in the judgement seat and make false judgements that are without all the facts many times. I thought for sure I would be disappointed with the movie because it could never match the magnitude of the influence the book had on me nine years ago. 

 
Boy, was I completely wrong. The movie provided amazing visuals and a story line that sticks closely to the message of the book. The producers did a fantastic job not losing the power of the message and bringing the story to life on the big screen. I would recommend you see the movie and sit in the judgement seat and decide for yourself if this production doesn’t stretch your heart to allow more room for God and less room for false judgments against yourself and others. 

You will leave the theater after watching The Shack feeling like the Grinch whose heart just grew three sizes that day. 

Go see the movie with an open mind and see if your heart doesn’t burst with new revelations about God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. 

His favorite, 

Kelley Allison

http://www.bowlofsplendor.com 

           You are his favorite too!!

    “Just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors.”

William Paul Young, The Shack

When We Don’t Understand 


As I sit here in my prayer corner thanking God for all the blessings He has given me, I am so grateful, but there is a deep sadness in my heart. Last night a friend of mine texted me that a man I highly respect in my company, lost his son in a car accident. He was only 22 years old and was on his way to college, when a truck hydroplaned in the rain, crossed the center line and hit him and his girlfriend head on! He was killed instantly and she survived and is in serious condition. Please keep them all in your prayers!

 
News like this is always shocking and cuts right to the core of your heart and a deep sadness overwhelms you. Thoughts begin to race through your mind of how tragic this is for their family and friends. I can’t even begin to imagine how it must feel for the parents and brothers and sisters to endure such a loss. Even though you may not know the person who passed, you still feel the deep sadness and have empathy for their loved ones. 
 

You can’t help but question, Why Lord? Why did this happen to such a young, vibrant young man, who had his whole life ahead of him? How could you let this happen? We can’t even begin to understand, yet we continue to try to figure it out.  

 

Scripture says in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  

As Christians, we just have to trust that God loves us and has a greater plan and purpose and He will use everything for His glory. Even though we cannot possibly understand, His plans are for good and not evil.

 
The Message, Romans 11:34 captures it so well, “Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do? Anyone who has done him a huge favor that God has to ask his advice? Everything comes from him; everything happens through him; everything ends up in him; Always glory! Always praise! 
 

In devastating times like this, we can find peace and comfort through him and only Him, nothing can heal a broken heart, but the love of Jesus. He is our strength in the darkness, and he is the light at the end of the tunnel. Only he can take away the pain of losing someone we love so dearly. 

  Our peace, comfort, strength and joy comes in The Word of the Lord:

 

“Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles” 2 Corinthians 1:3

“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” Psalm 105:4

 

 “The joy of the Lord is your strength”, Nehemiah 8:10

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

“I also saw that no one can understand all that God does. People can try and try to understand the things that happen here on earth, but they cannot. There may be wise people who claim to understand the meaning of these things, but they are wrong. No one can understand it all. ” Ecclesiastes 8:17

Later in the afternoon, I received another text saying that he donated organs to save 75 lives. One life was lost, but many, many lives were blessed!  
 

Deb Hicks
http://www.bowlofsplendor.com 

Only One Foundation 


In this time of desperation

When all we know is doubt and fear

There is only one foundation…

When all is dark, You help us see…..

With each new day the news keeps bringing more and more stories of hate, darkness and violence erupting all around us.  

I felt this song fitting this week! 
                     

So, let our faith be more than anthems


Greater than the songs we sing


And in our weakness and temptations


We believe, we believe!

We believe in God the Father!


We believe in Jesus Christ!


We believe in the Holy Spirit!


And He’s given us new life!

           BELIEVE! 
There is only one foundation. 

~ XXOO Michelle Bollom 

Lyrics: We Believe – Newsboys 
In this time of desperation
When all we know is doubt and fear
There is only one foundation
We believe, we believe
In this broken generation
When all is dark, You help us see
There is only one salvation
We believe, we believe

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s coming’ back again, we believe

So, let our faith be more than anthems
Greater than the songs we sing
And in our weakness and temptations
We believe, we believe!

We believe in God the Father!
We believe in Jesus Christ!
We believe in the Holy Spirit!
And He’s given us new life!
We believe in the crucifixion!
We believe that He conquered death!
We believe in the resurrection!
And He’s coming’ back again!

Let the lost be found and the dead be raised!
In the here and now, let love invade!
Let the church live love our God will save
We believe, we believe!
And the gates of hell will not prevail!
For the power of God, has torn the veil!
Now we know Your love will never fail!
We believe, we believe!

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life!
We believe in the crucifixion!
We believe that He conquered death!
We believe in the resurrection!
And He’s comin’ back,
He’s comin’ back again!
He’s comin’ back again!
We believe!
We believe

Come Near Lord 


“I live in a high and holy place, 

but also with the one who is contrite 

and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit 

of the lowly and to revive the heart 

of the contrite.”

Isaiah 57:15 NIV

Dearest Father in heaven,

A fallen world continues to produce sin, hurt and pain. May it not be the significance of what is most important. Do not allow the ground to be saturated in the darkness of sin, even though the heart of man has escaped far from you.

Come near, O Lord, create new growth through the nurturing of your voice. Let the sound continue to fertilize established roots. Shine down in radiant splendor on the life that lives deep within the soil of your land. Firmly plant your Spirit as the replacement to the root-bound heart.

Water and refresh each season of new life. Produce an unforeseen harvest that reflects the nature of who you are in abundant mercy, grace, and newness. Oh Lord, revive the heart that lacks the ability to receive, especially when you desire to give so much. Bring unity to your garden. By your presence be made known.

In Jesus name, amen.

~Baring His Beauty,

   Tiffany Thomas 

Love Overcomes Fear 

  

The need to be loved and validated as worthy of something better was undeniable. Somehow, I knew finding a safe place (like church) would be the answer.

Between the ages of 17-21, I had lost three immediate family members. My mother was murdered, my mother’s younger brother was killed in a motorcycle accident and my Grandfather was killed while working under his truck. All three deaths were separate from each other, yet tragically unexpected.

And for a girl who had already lived life stripped and lost, the deaths of these closest loves ended up feeling like a confirmation of a generational curse bestowed upon me. The emotions this stirred up within me were chaotic and irrational. Nothing in life made sense.

Not only did the dysfunction of my childhood hinder me, so did the inability to understand the loss of my family members. It created a sense of powerlessness which controlled me with anxiety and fear.

For years, I couldn’t shake it. I lived in constant fear of a pending death of the next loved one. Who would be next was always a lingering question. 

It was a trigger that ignited a raging mess.

Eventually I was done feeling weak, being victimized by a fallen world. I was tired of living in the insanity of my emotions. Instinctively, I knew that finding a church, finding God, would ease the pain of my loss.

Anything had to be better than living numb and depleted. Though fear would go on trying to keep me captive, God started to reveal His goodness to my heart. The more I’ve learned about having a relationship with God, less fear controlled my circumstances.

Because I was bound by a misplaced loyalty to fear I hadn’t been able to trust or to learn about the freedom God desired for me. I was a prisoner of fear.  Ultimately, I had been led by the negative emotions instead of the loving heart of God. Fear had prevented me from moving forward into healing and the life He had created. It kept me from understanding God and the freedom he wanted to give me. And it stole much more. Years and relationships that were meant for His goodness were taken.
But God, with his gracious heart, pursued my broken heart. As my perception of who He was became my anchor, my heart softened. I began to believe and have faith in who He was and His word. I began seeing and experiencing new defining moments in life, ones not led by fear. They consisted of faith. At times, fear can still be my first reaction. But then I hear the whisper of God saying, “Fear not, I am with you.” My loyalty was once misplaced. Now, I lay it down at Jesus’s feet.

Whatever you may be facing today, rest knowing God is with you right now, waiting to walk with you through your circumstances. May you be blessed today.

        ~Baring His Beauty,

           Tiffany Thomas 

The Weight Of The World 

  
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever! ~Psalm 30:11-12

Life never fails in it’s ability to create unending cycles of events and experiences. It still amazes me in it’s elegant beauty, but also in it’s crushing tragedies.

Today, I find myself experiencing the richness of life, having just swam in warm tropical waters while on vacation. However, my thoughts were also confronted with another season of life which will leave me brokenhearted and in pain.

Recently, I have received news of a loved one. News…I’d rather hide and deny of it’s coming. When you love someone it is very hard not to think they are invincible. Life can impose implacable timing.

I have discovered that life never seems to leave anyone out. No matter what the person’s background, social platform, ethnicity, economic lifestyle, or talent is, life delivers it’s extremes to everyone. It does not pick or choose who will experience the various elements it offers.

The very moment I find myself comfortable in a season, content with life, a storm is stirring behind the scenes, undetectable. It is preparing a season that will leave me sifting through the destruction and devastation that will be left. As is life, it does not stop. There will be new creation and the next season of growth and restoration.

Even still, it is my flesh that can not comprehend the emptiness my heart endures when it comes to the loss of those I have loved deeply….The whisper within, tells me I’m not supposed to. I have experienced enough loss of loved ones to understand that we all have a lifespan numbered by our Father. So, how is it that my flesh will, again, battle what it already knows?

When life consists of a fallen sense of purpose, it is impossible to understand, at times. Somehow, what is at hand, is followed through with intentional determination, whether I want it to, or I don’t.

I am starting to openly understand that life is a place I exist, with an inability to control its direction, and where my expectations, simply will never be met. Yet, I find myself with two choices. I can get caught up and be imprisoned by the things that are simply out of my control, or I can experience all that it has to give. 

My hope is to choose to live this beautiful life with purpose.

     ~Baring His Beauty,

        Tiffany Thomas 

Tend To The Roses 

  
I saw him standing outside in his new yard 

looking at his old yard

What was he thinking? 

Did he hear the sounds of his families laughter and business before they faded away?

I hope his new life and family bring him some kind of solace! 

These tragedies occur right in our neighborhoods and we smile 

We wave and pretend

Nothing has changed

What if crosses were put in that yard 

With the names of his children 

And the wife of his youth 

To remind us to slow down 

And smell and tend to the roses 

❤️~ Krystal Lynne

  

My Saving Grace 

 
 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had faith. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had trust. If one knew the history of my life, they would wonder how this little girl escaped the clutches of the enemy and rose above the curse that was surely attached to my childhood. My self-diagnosis ……. God.

One of the earliest memories I have, which happens to be one of the last childhood memories of my mother, is well before kindergarten, which at that time started when you were about six years old. I remember my mother, coming to the back yard as I was standing on the highest place I could find. I strove to find the closest place to God I could ……… a 4×4 piece of scrap wood I had put on an overturned 2 quart pot my mother had given me to “mix” ingredients for mud pies. 

Out of the blue, she appeared. She stood at the back door with this weird look on her face, a puzzlement to me that looked like a swirl of love and question. I wondered if I was in trouble. She raced to me and gave me the biggest hug and the best kisses a kid could ask for.  She said, “Mrs. Cratz from across the street just called and said you were singing at the top of your lungs!” I thought for sure I was in trouble, despite the hugs and kisses. If I had disturbed the neighbors, it was surely a serious offense. My mother said, “Mrs. Cratz said you were so beautifully singing, “At the Cross,” that she was moved to tears.” I would imagine there was no beauty in the notes at the belting of my song, perhaps it was simply the words. 

I later learned, I was four years old.

Directly across the street from our little house, was a small Baptist church. When I say “across the street,” I mean about 8-10 adult paces. We lived in a very tiny town. This was my place of refuge. I loved God. I loved the people who loved God, and apparently, by the time I was four, I was dressing myself in my finest and attending church by myself. I remember one time I couldn’t find any clean underwear, so I wore my brothers, haha. I was scolded for this when I got home, but it was worth not missing Sunday morning church! Oh, how I loved those songs! They spoke to me, ministered to me. At the time, I didn’t know why. I didn’t realize the circumstances I was in were abnormal and potentially life altering. I just knew, I loved God!

This was my saving grace.

Life happened, as it unrealistically does. I went through some hard, horrible, and terrible things. They were not exclusive, my siblings experienced them as well and in no way have I ever felt singled out, like I was the only one, or had feelings of “poor pitiful me.” 

Save your pity for someone who needs it, I’m an overcomer!

Then I was married. Then I had kids. Still, my burdens were light. As I worked my way through my horrors as a child, I sought God, my heart needed Him. Before I ever knew salvation, He was all I had ever known. Marriage brought new challenges, but my children brought new opportunities. A gift, a second chance to change that curse of childhood, to do better. I was committed. I was determined.

As a young adult and mother in the Christian community, I would often hear older folks say, “I wish Jesus would just come back now.” I admired and looked up to these people, but in my heart, I didn’t feel the same. That made me feel guilty, lacking spiritually somehow. In truth, I wanted to see my three handsome boys become men. As a homeschooling, dedicated mom, I wanted to see the fruits of my labor come to pass. I wanted to see marriages, grandchildren ……. I wanted to see my babies flourish. I knew this was a selfish thing, somehow, somewhere. But I couldn’t deny, it was how I truly felt.

Today, almost twenty years later, so much has been experienced since the days of naivety and innocence. My view has changed drastically. 

My son, nine tender years of age, asks me, “Isn’t Jesus coming back soon, Mama?” 

The days of levity and carefree illusions are past. Sam sees what I see. We both see what the elders of my day must have seen. Devastation on a personal level, of drugs and sin in those we love. I see siblings struggle with past issues that has led them down a different path. They have often asked me how I turned out so normal when everyone else seems to be such a mess. I used to feel guilty about that, honestly. And hey, I’m not really that normal. I’ve strayed, made mistakes, done some really stupid things, but I’ve always had God. And that’s what I tell them.

On the news Sam sees innocence lost in that beautiful twelve year old girl forced to execute a Christian at the hands of masked, horrid men, proclaiming god’s will. He sees a Godless people, forcing the Godly to prove their right, prove their faith, and fight for their freedom. It disturbs his spirit and makes him angry.

My son, is truly the son of his mother.

In my youth, when I could not justify for my personal, selfish reasons, the feelings of my elders ….. Now I pray ….. NOW, as they did. “Jesus, come quickly!” I beg forgiveness for my selfish and worldly desires to see my children reach maturity. To not have one more day I worry about my heartsick loved ones, to not have one more feeling of insufficiency, to know that not one more Christian, one more person, is taken, or sacrificed for their belief in MY JESUS ……. To BE with God, converse with Noah, and walk with Jesus …… Now THAT my friends, is living!

And so, many years later, I realize ….. at four years old, Jesus held me close to his breast, cared for me, protected me. For that was when, “I first saw the light. And the BURDENS of my heart rolled away.” Burdens I didn’t even know I carried.

I thank you Father, that You took my burdens ever so young. You showed me grace. The plan of the enemy was thwarted and I have been repaid 100 times over. Thank you Father, for your saving grace. 

It was there by faith, I received my sight.

~ Sandra K. Yates