My Spiritual Journey


Yesterday, was Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten Season for Christians worldwide.  Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran and various other denominations have a service where priest or pastors impose ashes in a form of a cross on parishioner’s foreheads.  The imposition of ashes mean many things but personally to me it is a reminder of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Just in December Christians celebrated the birth of Christ.  And each year depending upon when Easter Sunday is determined we begin the celebration of Lent as early as February.  Quite simply Easter Sunday is determined to be the Sunday following the paschal full moon, which is the full moon that falls on or after the spring equinox.  Yes, I know it had me scratching my head too!

img_8905For me the holiest of times is Easter because it is the reason for which Jesus Christ was born.  That is correct he was born to ultimately die for our sins.  I know it is heady stuff but it is the foundation of the Christian faith.  After a three-year spiritual journey, I chose to convert to Lutheranism and joined a Lutheran church last October.  This was after much soul searching and attending various churches with my husband, friends and solo.  Ultimately what lead me to the Lutheran faith was their doctrine which follows my beliefs.

I will not get into the details but I will say that each of us had to have our own faith walk.  I know many people of varying faiths.  Those who are even atheists and agnostics.  I know people of Muslim faith, my husband is Catholic and yes I am Protestant and have always been.  I know Methodist and even Buddhist.  Part of what lead me to Lutheran faith is it embraces those who believe otherwise and does not choose to condemn.

Looping back to the point of this post, I feel most serene and focused during the Lenten Season.  It is a time to reflect on the sacrifice that was made for us by Jesus Christ.  I am not a theologian and will not get into a discussion of various faiths and their validity.  I will say for me personally repenting by sacrificing something or like my husband collecting change to give to a charity cleanses our spirit.

In addition to the closeness I feel to God.  I also reflect on the life of my late mother.  She also enjoyed this time of year.  My mom made angel wings for her church’s Easter program and they are still being used some six years later.  When I was a child we enjoyed dying eggs in all fun swirling colors.  And I always received a fun Easter basket. Shopping for a new dress and shiny shoes was an adventure.  My mom died a few days prior to Palm Sunday and I chose to have her funeral service on Good Friday of that year.  It seemed only fitting for a woman who was humble and a servant of God.

Finally, I am looking forward to see where this year’s Lenten journey leads me. I have decided that the book “The Purpose Driven Life” is not something I need to read.  For the last few years I have tried reading, thinking that I would get a big reveal of what my life should be.  But I realize that listening to God and following the direction he pushes me toward, I am living my purpose.  Though I have found a new church home my spiritual journey continues and will do so until my final breath.

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Greater Than My Fear


Screw FearI am greater than my fear. I am greater than my fear.  I am greater than my fear.  I could say fears but there actually is only one ultimate fear…failing or failure.  This is not who I was when I was a child.  I had wide opened ambitions. I wanted to attend West Point not for any particular reason; I just knew it was one of the best institutes for higher learning.  I did not know that in the 1980’s they did not admit females.  There were other ambitions like skydiving and mountain climbing that I desired to accomplish.  However somewhere over time as an adult fears rolled away the ambitions.

I have been able to get around the boulder called fear for some accomplishments.  This blog is major for me to share my insights and thoughts as well as poetry.  Overcoming my fear of public speaking is a huge accomplishment.  But still lingering in my mind, I am held back from finishing a major goal I have set for myself.  And it is simply due to fear of not getting it right.

While on Facebook, while ignoring my to do list, I read a post of a former high school classmate.  She had posted as photo of her hearing devices.  Due to a disease she lost all her hearing.  With the aid of cochlear implants and technology she can communicate.  She is a producer and director so you can imagine the importance of her hearing.  It was a simple statement where se wrote, “she knew she wasn’t going to stop working so she had to get the implants.”  I thought this woman had to deal with hearing loss and is still living her passion.

I have heard of others having an epiphany but I never fully understood what it meant.  I now understand.  It is almost like an out of body experience.  You feel as though you are renewed and you have a clear vision of who are meant to be.  In my case I am breaking the bonds of fear.  As a Christian, I believe in the power of God.  But I also believe in the scripture that states:

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”                       James 2:26 (NIV)

We have to put effort into that which we desire, not merely just want it put in the work to attain our goals.

I have never felt this determined before but it is amazing what a hearing impaired friend can do.  She can make you see your own potential.  So I am moving forward and kicking fears butt.  I am greater than my fear and there are no more excuses.

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Guilt Tripping


Easter CrossesI’m feeling guilty today.  It is one of the holiest times of the year in Christian faith.  This weekend is the time when Christians remember the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  On Good Friday the day that commemorates the crucifixion of Christ, I attended the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus performance.

During the start of the week, it wasn’t my plan to not attend Good Friday services.  As planned, I did attend Maundy (Holy) Thursday church services; where the Last Supper is remembered.  During the Last Supper is when Jesus tells of the coming betrayal by one of the twelve disciples in fulfillment of the scriptures.

Tuesday, I learned there would be an elephant walk when the circus came to my town.  Since it was recently announced that elephants would be phased out of circus acts, this would potentially be one of the last elephant walks.  I made the decision to attend and witness the walk, however, the trains arrived early and I missed seeing my favorite large mammal.

Circus ElephantDisappointedly, I drove home and then decided I should end my boycott of the circus.  It turned out the best date for me and my husband to attend was Friday.  I wrestled with the guilt but my love of elephants, acrobats, and clowns (yes clowns) won out.  In addition my mother’s funeral was on a Good Friday.  Here in the South funerals can take place 365 days of the year.  Seeing the circus on Good Friday made me not focus on missing my mom.

There are those who will read this and not understand.  I can’t help those individuals; I can only speak to people who are spiritually aware.  True religion and spirituality are not necessarily the same but for me they go hand in hand.  My belief in Jesus Christ and him dying for my salvation are important to me.  I am a believer of religious freedom and respect others beliefs.  However, as for me, mine, and my household we choose to love the Lord Jesus Christ.  Hence, I still feel just a little bit guilty.

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The Birth of Jesus


Nativity SceneToday is Christmas Day; the day Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  Jesus is estimated to have been born 2,047 years ago.  There is so much I could say about this day but my faith leads me to simply allow the Holy Bible to speak for me.

 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2:1 – 20

New International Version

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Faithfully Yours


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I intended to blog about something completely different, however my spirit lead me to the topic of faith.  This morning like millions of Christians around the planet, I attended church.  Today is the holiest days of Christianity, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ in fulfillment of biblical scriptures.

After leaving church my husband and I went home.  I cooked a simple but nice Easter dinner of baked ham, baked sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts with bacon, southern macaroni & cheese, and hard rolls.  Happily, I finished cooking in time to pack my husband a nice lunch to eat at work (yes his job requires he work holidays).  After eating my dinner, I had planned to take a nap but my spirit said otherwise.

And In Sickness

And In Sickness

While sitting in my big comfy chair, I started to think about a friend whose wife is in the later stages of multiple sclerosis.  I had heard about her being hospitalized and have said prayers for them, recovery and healing for her, for him I prayed for strength.  It is interesting that through an unusual circumstance we became associates and I believe now friends.  Not the kind of friends who go hang out but the ones who see each other in various circles at work, church, or social/political functions.

Seeing my friend who is from my hometown and his wife together embody the “through health and in sickness” portion of traditional wedding vows.  My husband and I have each dealt with the other being hospitalized.  Most recently,  my husband is now dealing with various medical conditions.  However, my friend and his wife show strength beyond measure dealing with issues that couples in their 40’s don’t normally encounter.  Faithfully,  he is there being the primary caregiver for his beloved wife  in addition to working a full-time job and being active in his church.

Faithfully Yours

Faithfully Yours

Christians have not been promised that life would be without trials or tribulations.  The foundation of the Christian faith is based in part on the death of Jesus Christ, who died  for the sins of the world.  Quite simply if God’s son had to live as man and be falsely accused, we basic human beings should expect that we will have our own obstacles along the way.  Faith in God and Jesus Christ requires man to relinquish control and sometimes that is a difficult task.  But as Christians we must remember that our reward is not in  the earthly realm.   When there are trials and tribulations that shake our foundation, we must stand strong,   It is my belief, ultimately our faith will lead to eternal life because Jesus Christ was born, was crucified, died, buried and arose on the third day.  He lives, he lives, he lives today this Resurrection Day!

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Belief


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Today is the first day of advent.  Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.  Local retail stores had Christmas decorations up and shelves stocked for the holiday even before Halloween.  It seems that more and more each year the true meaning and purpose of Christmas is lost.  In addition to Christmas this month December 8 through December 16 is the celebration of Hanukkah.   Hanukkah known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE.

Nativity Advent Calendar

Both holy or holidays as they are referred to today require us to believe in occurrences of the past.  The foundations of the Christian and Jewish faiths are rooted in ancient traditions and history.  During a recent stoplight moment a former PaisleyPerspective contributor Mallori Scott saw a live nativity scene reenactment; within three minutes she realized that it is sometimes best to take the Christmas holiday at face value.  Today my husband and I observed the first of day of advent by enjoying an advent calendar; we read Isaiah 9:1 and look forward to the remaining 23 days of Advent.  It is my belief in the true meaning of Christmas that has lead to less ‘Jingle Bells’ and more ‘Silent Night’.

One of my cherished childhood memories involves watching ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’.  My favorite part of the special is when in frustration Charlie Brown asks if anyone can tell him what Christmas is all about and Linus response with the story around the birth of the baby Jesus.  For me this year there will be more focus on the meaning of Christmas, which I believe is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and less on the retail experience.  In lieu of a Christmas tree, I am putting out a nativity scene and angel figurines to reflect belief that the baby Jesus was sent to Earth in fulfillment of the scriptures.

Each family has to do what they believe is best for their homes.   My wish is that everyone who says Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah would stop and think about what these holidays really mean.  Let us focus on less hustle & bustle and more focus on helping those in need.  And keep that spirit now and all through the coming year along with more kindness to others each day.  God so loved the world  that he sent his only begotten son to be born of the Virgin Mary.  Yes it is a lot to get your head around but it is belief in the ultimate Christmas gift.  Wishing you and yours a joy-filled and blessed December.

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Interview: Never To Young…To Give Back


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When I was 10 years old, I was thinking about the next Nancy Drew mystery I would read, sitting outside with friends and writing about daily events in my diary. When I was 13 years old, I was getting fashion advice from the pages of Seventeen magazines, giggling when boys walked by, and was nervous about attending high school. Talking to pre-teens and teenagers today you will often get similar responses if you ask what is important to them. However, in addition to these items, a young member of my church is helping to change lives by feeding families.

Miss Fatimah A Young Humanitarian – (c) 2012 C. Carey-Wood

Miss Fatimah H. who lives and attends church in the Midlands of South Carolina, decided at an early age to help take care of the planet and help those in need. Sunday it was announced during service that she has fed 15 families this year; I was inspired to share her story. Fatimah shows by the responses below that with an idea and motivation we can all give back. Today is Thanksgiving and around the United States families are celebrating and giving thanks. In addition to life, love, and family, I am thankful for a young lady who believes in God’s love, caring for the planet, and giving back.

Paisley: How and when did you first come up with the project/idea for feeding families?

Fatimah: I was 10 years old when I first came up with the idea. I wanted to help others like Christ helped. So, I came up with the idea to help the planet and others by recycling cans.

Paisley: Collecting cans to sell for money is a creative idea; what made you think of it?

Fatimah: I wanted to do my part to help the planet for the future. Recycling cans helped with that as well as helped me to buy food for families.

Paisley: How many families have you fed since you first started?

Fatimah: I have fed 30 families.

Paisley: What motivates you to help feed families?

Fatimah: My love for God and His people.

Paisley: How old are you and what do want to be when you grow up?

Fatimah: I am 13 years old and I want to be a Veterinarian.

Paisley: What words of advice do you have for other young people you might have an idea to help someone in need but do not know how to get started?

Fatimah: Pray and ask God for guidance, ask your family for help then JUST DO IT.

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