Category Archives: Coffee




The first thing I do each morning is I grab a cup of coffee. I then go into my office and grab my Dollar Store container that is filled with five books. One is the Bible and the other four are written by the wisdom of others. I then read the Bible and pieces of each book until I find the place where God is speaking to my heart and then I write down in my journal what my heart hears. I’ve been doing this since I was 12. Reading, writing, listening and doing.

Today as I was reading I began to write… Gina, it’s important that you stay focused on your destination. Do what you know you must do now. Take joy wherever you go. You have been much blessed!

Pass every blessing on!

Always seek to understand others and you cannot fail in love.

Love all!

See Me everywhere… in everything… in everyone!

When my heart knows that I’m done with the message that God has for “me” I then write, Amen and Amen, add XO, and sign it L.B. (Which means I’ve received this from the Lord with His love and His Blessings.)

Then today as I was closing my journal (for the first time in the history of my doing this) God put it on my heart to share His blessing with you.

Today I’m to pass on every blessing that God has ever given to me to YOU!

As I do this, I must write that there is no greater gift that I could give to anyone. There’s no amount of money that you could pay me to miss the blessings that I have received, so my prayer today is that when you receive the greatest gift that I can give that you take a moment and thank the one who is giving it to you, because the minute you receive His Blessing… YOU WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN.

Within my life I have received many adversities, but within each one there was a blessing.

Praying that no matter what you’re going through today… YOU ARE BLESSED!

Onward to passing on God’s Blessing to YOU with love!

Amen and Amen,




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Onward By Faith… My cloud has been lifted!

Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journey. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up. Exodus 40: 36-37


A few weeks ago I found that passage and for a moment I couldn’t breathe. I had just spoken with a friend and said, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. God has given me work to do, but each morning I feel as though I’ve got a heavy cloud rising over me and I can’t seem to move. I’ve never felt this way before, and for the past year I haven’t done anything to move ‘onward’ with the desires of my heart.”

“Don’t worry” she said, “God will show you the reason why you haven’t moved onward and when it’s time, you will!”

She was right.

After we spoke I turned on my computer and immediately went to a daily devotional that I read each morning. It was there where I was reminded… Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journey. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up. Exodus 40: 36-37

For the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about what God reminded me of,  and I realized that a cloud was the well-know symbol of the Divine Presence.

If one were to google the definition of cloud within the Bible one would find…

CLOUD/BIBLE: The Hebrew so rendered means “a covering,” because clouds cover the sky. The word is used as a symbol of the Divine presence, as indicating the splendor of that glory which it conceals ( Exodus 16:10 ; 33:9 ; Numbers 11:25 ; 12:5 ; Job 22:14 ; Psalms 18:11 ). A “cloud without rain” is a proverbial saying, denoting a man who does not keep his promise ( Proverbs 16:15 ; Isaiah 18:4 ; 25:5 ; Jude 1:12 ). A cloud is the figure of that which is transitory ( Job 30:15 ; Hosea 6:4 ). A bright cloud is the symbolical seat of the Divine presence (Ex.29:42,43;1 Kings 8:10 ; 2 Chr 5:14 ; Ezekiel 43:4 ), and was called the Shechinah (q.v.). Jehovah came down upon Sinai in a cloud ( Exodus 19:9 ); and the cloud filled the court around the tabernacle in the wilderness so that Moses could not enter it ( Exodus 40:34 Exodus 40:35 ). At the dedication of the temple also the cloud “filled the house of the Lord” ( 1 Kings 8:10 ). Thus in like manner when Christ comes the second time he is described as coming “in the clouds” ( Matthew 17:5 ; 24:30 ; Acts 1:9 Acts 1:11 ). False teachers are likened unto clouds carried about with a tempest ( 2 Peter 2:17 ). The infirmities of old age, which come one after another, are compared by Solomon to “clouds returning after the rain” (Eccl 12:2 ). The blotting out of sins is like the sudden disappearance of threatening clouds from the sky ( Isaiah 44:22 ). Cloud, the pillar of, was the glory-cloud which indicated God’s presence leading the ransomed people through the wilderness ( Exodus 13:22 ; Exodus 33:9 Exodus 33:10 ). This pillar preceded the people as they marched, resting on the ark ( Exodus 13:21 ; 40:36 ). By night it became a pillar of fire ( Numbers 9:17-23 ).

Then this morning happened…

When I awoke I realized that my cloud had been lifted and that I wasn’t a failure in not working on my hearts desire, but that God didn’t want me to move yet. I needed this past year to be still. I needed to listen to Him to understand that the things God created me to do were His things and not mine, and that by His silencing my heart I would know that it’s not my “will” that will complete these things, but my understanding  of the things that He created me to do that will allow me to complete them.

Looking back, I wish I would have spent this past year not worrying about why things were not happening, but spent more time understanding that everything that God calls me to do will happen in His time and not my time.

I’m so excited now to move “onward by faith” in God’s timing— and to be honest… I will never look at a cloud the same way.  Just as rainbows were created for a symbol to remind us that God will never flood the earth again… Clouds were created to remind us of the Divine Presence of God and if we follow Him we will arrive exactly where He wants us to be and we will arrive on time!

Onward By Faith!




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Are You One of the Thirty-Six?

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It’s been months since I’ve had time to sit down and scribe one of my “Appointments with God” and I missed Him.

Now, I know that’s okay, because there are moments within my life when life happens and I can’t stop and say, “Well, I’ll work after I get done writing down something that I never want to forget!” or “I’ll stitch up your arm so you don’t bleed right after I’m done  with this important thought!”

No, there are moments when writing must wait, but today God graced me a little time and a great story that I never want to forget!

Within Grass Valley, CA. is a tiny store-y that we opened that sells things so we can buy comfort for hospitalized children. It’s probably the tiniest store-y in town. It’s a little “thrift-consignment” store that sells the products of others, and because each person who donates or creates something wonderful has a story, hence: we call our “25th of Remember” store, “The store-y!”

So, back to my store-y!

A few weeks ago one of my dear friends, Irene Masteller, donated a stack of books, so I did what I normally do… I wrote: Donated by: Irene,on the tag, added a price and then placed it on the shelf. Then last night as I was closing up, God put it on my heart to pick “one” book a week, read it, and then put the book up for sale so I can share with those who shop here why I believe they would enjoy the book.

The book I walked out with was titled: My Grandfather’s Blessings, written by: Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.

Then this morning I grabbed a cup of coffee and started reading the book and within a moment I was in love with Rachel’s grandfather, and I wanted to call her and tell her that I couldn’t put the book down!

The book is a beautiful book about the lessons she learned from her grandfather. Her grandfather was an Orthodox rabbi and shared great lessons of life within his stories, and one story he shared made me cry…

The story told  dated back to the time of the prophet Isaiah. It’s the legend of the Lamed-Vov.

Do you know it? If not, no worries… I didn’t either.

The legend goes that God decided He would allow the world to continue as long as (at any given time) there is a minimum of thirty-six good people in the human race. People who respond to the suffering of others. These thirty-six people are called the Lamed-Vov. If at any time, there are fewer than thirty-six such people alive, the world will come to an end.

As she continues sharing her grandfather’s story she asked her grandfather if he knew these people and he replied, “No, Neshume-le, only God knows who the Lamed-Vovniks are. Even the Lamed-Vovniks themselves do not know for sure the role they have in the continuation of the world, and no one else knows it either. They respond to suffering, not in order to save the world, but simply because the suffering of others touches them and matters to them,” he answered.

It turns out that Lamed-Vovniks can be anyone within the world, “And because no one knows who they are, Neshume-le, anyone you meet might be one of the thirty-six for whom God preserves the world. It is important to treat everyone you meet as if this might be so,” said Grandfather.

When I finished reading the story God showed my heart that each day I’m touched by people I will never see again, but the moment they walk into my life they’ve touched my life and changed it.

I do know one thing. I agree with her grandfather. I have no idea who these thirty-six people are, but I’ll bet… YOU ARE ONE OF THEM!

And, as soon as I’m done reading the book I don’t want to sell it, but I want to share it. If you’d like to read it when I’m finished, please send me a personal email and I’ll send it to you. Then when you’re done reading it, you can sign your name within the book, and send it back and I’ll send it the next person on the list and so on and so forth. Then when the last person on the list is done reading it I’m going to send it to Rachel and show her how many people “one” book blessed!

If you’d like to read the book, please email me at:


Now, onward to seeing how many of the thirty-six of you I meet today!



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Believe in your nuts!

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Have you ever had one of those days where you’re feeling so bad you just don’t ever want to get up again?

For the past several weeks I’ve been under the “instructions” of a physician on what I can eat and what I need to stay away from,  and it seems that my new frequent favorites are “nuts”.  All I have to do is pick a nut: a walnut, peanut almond, brazilian! As long as it’s a nut. I’m free to eat.

Anyway, last week I was having a really bad day and as I went to reach for a walnut, for some reason my heart really missed my grandfather, so within the simplicity of how my heart works, I looked up to heaven and asked God to simply tell my grandfather I said hello and that I love him.

A few hours later my friend, Gina Aponte, sent me an instant message on Facebook asking  if she could send me some shelled walnuts, and I knew… God was letting me know that my grandfather was saying hello and that he loved me too.

How did I know that?

Because… when I was in high school my grandmother used to paint pictures and then each weekend she would take her paintings down to the park and she would erect them on easels and wait for someone to come along and appreciate them. Now, while she was waiting for customers, my grandfather was waiting for her, and he would take his newspaper and sit in the park and read. Then one day he noticed  a woman had set up a booth and  was selling something unusual:  painted walnuts that looked like strawberries. She wasn’t selling any so my grandfather walked up to her, purchased one, and tried to tell her how to sale them. But, when the woman didn’t care to listen to what he had to say,  my grandfather decided he would go home and make his own. The following weekend he would return with his painted nuts and show the woman how it was done.

Strawberry Nut Ornament

And, “done” he did. Within 10 minutes my grandfather had sold every one of his “red” creations, and when the woman saw that he sold them so quickly she immediately came running to his table and asked, “What’s your secret? How did you do that?”

His reply…

“Lady, you’ve got to believe in your nuts!”

I never in my life thought I would be sharing that “I believe in my nuts”,  but I do! Because if God can go so far out of his way to put it on Gina’s  heart to send me a box of nuts… Can you imagine what He’ll do for YOU!

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14)

Gina Aponte, “And you thought you were just sending me a box of nuts!”

Onward with a SMile!

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Growing Lessons!

My Garden

I can honestly write that since I was a child I’ve been planting seeds. When I was in elementary school, and would eat an apple, I would save my seeds and on my way out to the playground I would find a piece of dirt and plant them. I never actually saw any of my seeds come up, but just the same… I planted them.

As I got older, I began planting flowers and  small vegetable gardens, and when I got brave and understood how to take one seed and turn it into a bountiful harvest,  I planted hundreds of pumpkin and corn  seeds, and when the harvest arrived in the fall, thousands of visitors would stop by the field, picking their favorite pumpkin and getting lost within the corn.

I love to garden, but truth-be-told, I don’t like to garden because of the crops, but because it’s always been within my garden (whether big or small) where God shows me the simple lessons of life and yesterday I saw something I always want to remember.

In March I walked out to find my dirt ready to be planted, so I did what I always do,  grabbed my rake, and got busy drawing the lines of where I would plant my seeds. When I was happy with the design  I got busy planting. I always plant my herbs first, my vegetables second, and I finish up with flowers.  As always, I have a few flower seeds left over, and instead of saving them I find a spot where they can grow, and over the past several months— they’ve been growing.

Yesterday morning I went out to my garden and  noticed something I had never noticed  before…

My flowers!

I had a planted a beautiful row of Zinna’s and had a few leftover seeds so I planted them in their own special holes, and yesterday I noticed that the flowers that were planted together are now nearing 5′ tall, and the few plants that I planted alone, are barely 12″ and yet— they were both planted on the same day, and watered and cared for in the same way.

Then this morning as I was reading in Ephesians 4:16, I couldn’t help but smile when I read: 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

I finally understand why God designed corn to grow in groups of 4 seeds and squash to be planted in twos, and so on and so forth, and not that I didn’t understand it before, but because I got to see the “why”.

Everything that God created was created to join together. To work together. To support each other, and to grow and to build up one another in love. And,  when each of us start to do our part, that’s when life flourishes, because it’s not that we won’t grow…

Because we will!

It’s all about how high we can reach, and we can only do that when we reach out to help each other.

Onward to the garden!




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My furever friend

Yesterday morning (September 21, 2013) I shared a story about a mother and her heart and I wanted to share the rest of the story with you now.

For the past few days I’ve been blessed with a moment to enjoy the fun of running a retail store that will benefit our non-profit, Owie BowWowie and Friends. I can honestly write that from the moment the door is unlocked my heart smiles, and not because of the merchandise that is within the store, but because of the people who will walk through its doors, each looking for something unique with their own stories to share.

And, I have to share that I learned something very profound about running a small shop around the corner! What a difference there is in the way people walk into them. When someone walks into (let’s say a large department store like Target or Walmart) they become one of hundreds of people who are shopping that day. They walk in assertive, grab their shopping cart, some grab their cell phones and talk while they shop, or maybe they will need assistance and  will walk around the store looking for that one person wearing the shirt with the name tag only to find that it’s not their department, and the person in the shirt will be back shortly with someone who can help them! But, when a person walks into a small shop around the corner they don’t walk in the same way. Their walk through the door is quieter, a little apprehension arrives… (Will this person want to talk to me? Do they expect me to buy something?) Some walk in with their heads half-way down, do a quick run through and try to head out the door with a quick, “Thank you!” And then there are others from the moment they walk through the door they become your friend for life, and they come back the next day to see you, and that is the reason I can finish this story.

On Saturday a woman came in the store and told me a story about her son who was hospitalized and how he received  an Owie BowWowie that our non-profit gives to hospitalized children.

Then yesterday I was standing at the counter chatting with a customer when the woman came back and as I turned to see who had walked through the door there she was with her son, and her son was holding his Owie BowWowie.

What an amazing moment for me to meet a child who had received an Owie from one of our special donors and I could tell by his Owie that he was worn from love. The mom proceeded to tell me that when she went home the day before she told him that she had met the woman from the organization who had given him his Owie. He didn’t believe her so he wanted to come by and see for himself if she was telling the truth. We hugged, and then he saw Lil’ Owie and wanted one. His mother immediately purchased one, knowing that her purchase would benefit another child, and next weekend they will be back to visit us again.

As they were walking out the door I called him back and said, “Yesterday your mother told me that you lost the bandage that was on your Owie?”

“Yes!” he said as he put his head down.

“She also said that you were upset that you lost your bandage!”

“Yes!” he said as he looked up.

“Come with me.” I said.

He followed me to the counter and I had brought him a bandage in the event that he came to visit. I didn’t know if she would bring him in so I could meet him, but in the event that she did I wanted to make sure that  I was ready!

I placed the new bandage on his Owie, he smiled, we hugged and then he left.

What I love most about this story is it applies to all of us, because there are moments within our lives when we misplace things, but if it’s a desire within our heart, no matter how big or how small, God always finds a wonderful way to give it back to us. Now, I wonder if He allows us to misplace things so we can meet the person who is supposed to give it back to us. Because I truly believe that life is not about the things that we give, but about the people we give things to, because it’s true… It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 

Because once we give… we actually receive the best thing in life that one can get… A HUG!

And, also we’re nearing the holidays, and being that I am given the opportunity to be a small shop around the corner, I would like to ask everyone who reads my heart to shop this season at your shop around the corner.  Walk in, say hello, introduce yourself, and if you don’t find an item that you want to purchase that’s okay, because you will find so much more… YOU WILL FIND A FRIEND!

And, now I know why decades ago I read something that touched my heart in such a way that I said out loud, “If I ever have a store I’m going to make book markers and hand them out to each person who frequents my store which reads…

People open their business in order to sell things. They hope to become busy so that they will have to enlarge their business, then sell more things, and grow rich, and eventually not have to come into their place of business at all. Isn’t that true?

But, are there other people who open a shop with the hope of being sheltered there, among such things as they most value- friends or tea cups or books- and with the idea only of making a comfortable assertation? They will become part of the block, a part of the street, part of everybody’s memories. They will sit and drink coffee in the middle of the morning. They will get out the familiar tinsel at Christmas. They will wash the windows in spring before spreading out new stock. Shops, to these people, are what a cabin in the woods might be to somebody else- a refuge and justification. Alice Munro, from “Open Secrets” 

So, next Friday or Saturday, if you happen to be in Thousand Oaks, CA., please stop by our little shop around the corner at, 2940 E Thousand Oaks Blvd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
From 10 – 6, because I would love to give you a book marker! 


Onward to the little shop around the corner! 


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Remembering Lisa…

Gina and Lisa

Gina and Lisa

A few weeks ago a dear friend of mine passed away, and her “Celebration of Life” was last Friday. Lisa and I met a few weeks before we graduated high school, but from the moment we became friends we stayed in constant contact with each other. Lisa was an amazing women, who lived an adventuresome life, and she did many things that I can only dream about. For instance… jumping out of planes, hanging with lions, tigers and bears! Her love for life was contagious, and at a young age Lisa was diagnosed with MS, and spent the majority of her time living each day to her fullest.  I was blessed to be given a moment to share a story about my friend, as those were gathered to celebrate her life, and  being that I believe the most important words we share with others are the memories of others… I wanted to make sure that I placed this moment within yet another… Appointment with God!

My words shared…

Each day I’m surrounded by adversity, and because I happen to believe that God allows things to happen for a reason, people always ask me this question…

“If God is such a loving God, why does He allow bad things to happen to good people?”

Up until a few days ago my answer was always the same.

“I have no idea why God allows bad things to happen to good people, but I trust Him in all things.”

Most the time that answer never sufficed the people who asked me, and needless to say they would leave our conversation more confused!

But last Sunday I was sitting in my office and I decided instead of not understanding “why” God would allow bad things to happen to good people, I decided I would simple ask God to show me the answer, and that’s what I did,  and it didn’t take but a moment for God to remind me of these verses in the book of Matthew…

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Now, I am not sharing these verses to preach a sermon today, but to share with you “why” God allows bad things to happen to good people.

And the answer is… because God is blessing us!

We think blessings should arrive within the perfections of:  relationships, children who never screw up, great jobs, enough money, the perfect house, vacations, life without sin, and bodies that never tire, but in the reality of what Lisa and I believe… Jesus never said those things were the blessings, but rather, He shared with us that the blessings arrived within the adversities within our lives, and even today… and through Lisa, I realized the truth to what He was sharing.

Lisa was the blessing!

And because He loved Lisa so much He gave her the hardest job in the world and that was to learn the lesson of living each day to “her” fullest, and reminding us of what truly is important, and that is each other!

Lisa had time for everyone, and when I would show up at her door, she would greet me with her smiling face. She would share stories with her dry and witty sense of humor of her animals, family and friends, and she never had unkind word to say about anyone that she considered her friend.

I happened to be with the Lisa the day of her “ah ha” moment when she realized that God wasn’t punishing her with an illness, and that she didn’t do anything wrong, but because he knew her heart so well, He knew that she was strong enough to handle the adversities that He would allow within her life, and when Lisa shared with me that she understood what it meant to allow Jesus into her heart, I told her to hold on a minute… I ran to my car, got my notebook and when the two of us were face-to-face again I said, “Lisa, each day I make an appointment with God, and when something grand happens or I learn something I write it down, because I want to believe that life isn’t about the disappointments within our lives, but the appointments that God makes with us, so we can see the beauty that arrives within our hearts!”

When I had my notebook in hand I said, “LISA! Okay. The roving reporter in me wants to know why you decided to accept Jesus into your heart today,” and she said, “Because this morning when I woke up I asked God if He was real to send someone to knock on my door… and today you knocked!”

The two of us smiled, and I shared with her how I was passing by and God put it in my heart to stop and check on her, and that is why I knocked, and when we both realized that my knocking and her opening the door was not an accident, but an “appointment!” Lisa smiled at me and said what Lisa always said to me… “Alrighty then!”

I believe God has me scribe these appointments, because there always seems a time when I get to look back to finish the story, and the beautiful part of the story of Lisa is the moment she entered heaven… God pulled her aside and she got to see the story of her life, only as it played out she didn’t see the adversities she once had, but she was able to see the love and joy that she gave to others.

And, I for one am so blessed that she was willing to call me her friend, because the friendship of “Lisa” was one of the greatest gifts God could have ever given me!

And to verify that the story I just shared is true and correct I have to add that God gave me one more appointment that I HAVE TO SHARE!

As I was finishing writing the above I stopped typing and looked up to heaven and asked God, “Is this the story you want me to share with her family and those who loved her. If she truly is with you, and is happy and whole, let my heart know?” I waited for a moment and my phone rang and on the other end I heard my mother say to my father, “That was weird!”

Immediately I said, “What’s weird, and my mother said… “Gina, I know your cell phone number. Your number is 210-1403, but as I was dialing you I got an answering machine and it said, “You have reached the number for Lisa Smith! Gina, I hung up the phone and I dialed your number again, and it said the same thing…

She then had me call the number, and my mom was right. God confirmed my heart that we have reached the number for Lisa Smith only her number has been changed to 523-2013 because….

May 23, 2013, is the day when God “called” Lisa home!



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