Tag Archives: appointment with god

What Door Will You Open Today?

 

Mission

It’s funny there’s a quote that is shared often and shared like this, “Well you know what God says. He says… ‘When one door closes, another door opens.'” Actually, God never said that. It was Alexander Graham Bell, and what he said was…

“When one door closes, another door opens; but we often look so long regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the one that is open for us.”

Until the other day I had no idea what he meant, but inevitably every time something didn’t go my way someone would recite those words in the hopes they made me feel better, and while I was SMiling on the outside, the inside of me was screaming, “WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? DOES ANYONE REALLY KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS?”

Then the other day I happened to be in San Juan Capistrano with a friend working, when we decided we would take a moment and walk through the Mission.

Corridor

 

Walking down the corridor of the Mission I happened to notice that many of the doors were open so I decided to start my tour and I walked through a door which showed where,  (in the year 1776) the people who lived at the Mission would have cooked. It was a tiny kitchen, but it wasn’t until I heard a young woman say, “Oh, now this is where you would have found me if I lived in 1776,  I would have been in the kitchen.” I looked over at her and she had a SMile that told me that cooking was her gift and it didn’t matter how small or inefficient the kitchen  was, she would be there.

Then I walked into another room and inside was a place where they stored the tools and a man said, “Oh, look at the tools they used back then. If I lived in 1776, you would have found me here, grabbing all the tools to build this mission.” I looked over at him and he had a SMile that told me his gift was building and it didn’t matter how inefficient the tools were, he would be using them.

Then I continued on… into another room… where there was a living space that was tiny and I heard a young girl say, “Oh look how cute this room is. If I lived in 1776, I would be playing house in this room, because when I grow up I want to be a mother and keep my house tidy like this room.” I looked over and saw  she had a SMile on her face that told me her gift was going to be having a family and no matter how small her house would be, she would care for it.

As I walked through each door I kept seeing the same thing. Faces that would light up when the person walked through the door of the room “they belonged in.”

Then it happened. I walked through my door and it was there where, for the first time in my life, I understood what Alexander Graham Bell was saying. I had found my doorway. It was open and just my size. The room was small and it housed the only things I’ve ever needed: A Bible and a writing desk. Yes, there were other things in there, but I didn’t notice. All I noticed was that I had found my SMile and that is when I said, “If I lived in 1776, I would be sitting in this room, reading the Bible and writing down all that I learned, and then I’d run outside and teach what I learned to all who wanted to listen!”

 
IMG_5243

 

For a moment I stood in “MY” doorway and I didn’t want to leave. I had finally found the place within my heart and it was there where I met Alexander Graham Bell. It was as if he was standing in the room saying, “You have found my little secret. The secret of the door is looking back on your life and knowing that YOUR heart is the one that closed all the other doors behind you. Now, keep this door open, read your Bible, write what you learn and share with those who ask you.”

He was right. Within my life thousands of doors had been shut, but the truth-of-the-matter of life is when we know what we were born to do, we’ll stop at nothing to complete it. The trick is to keep walking through doors until we find the one door that makes our heart beat in such way that we couldn’t close the door if we wanted to.

Within the Bible IT IS WRITTEN, “…so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.” Matthew 25:10

 

L.B.

ONWARD BY FAITH!

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Believe in your nuts!

photo (3)

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!”

L.B.
Onward with a SMile!

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The Most Valuable Lesson in Business… I Learned from a Lemon Tree!

Lemon Tree

Has anyone priced the cost of lemons these days? In California a simple lemon is going for 89 cents a piece, and the way I use them,  I realized that I’ve been spending around $53.40 each month to keep them stock piled so I wouldn’t run out. Last Saturday the unimaginable happened. I ran out, and when I went to the store they were out. What was I to do?

I came home and told my husband that the world was running out of lemons. He laughed and  shared that his sister had a lemon tree and he would see if she would share. She did and WOW did she have lemons. She has a lemon tree that is over 25 years old and each lemon is the size of a softball, so I decided that I would take six lemon seeds  from her donated lemons and plant them. I would grow my own lemon trees so that I would never run out again.  I planted the seeds and shared with my husband that I had solved my ‘problem of the lemons’ and within 3-to-5 years I would be producing an abundance of lemons!

“Are you serious? he said. “You’re going to wait 3-to-5 years for those seeds to grow?”

“Yep!”

Then yesterday happened. My husband walked into my garden and saw my bright yellow container with a note that shared there were lemon seeds within the soil and he said, “That’s it. Get in the car. I’m taking you to a nursery and I’m going to buy you a lemon tree that has a lemon on it.”

We got in the car and drove to several nurseries and no one had a lemon tree to sale and all I could think was… The world is running out of lemons. What am I going to do? But as life always seems to work itself out we came upon a nursery that had one lemon tree standing alone as if to say, “Pick me!” My husband looked at the price and said, “Let’s go to a few more places. I can’t fathom paying 24.50 per lemon, because with only two lemons growing,  these will be the most expensive lemons you have ever squeezed.”

Last Tree Standing

We got in the car, headed to a few more places before we ended up back at the nursery with the last lemon tree standing. My husband purchased my tree and when we were leaving I noticed there was a beautiful statue of a little girl sitting in the garden. I snapped her picture and when we arrived home my husband planted the tree for me, I watered it, and the two of us went inside. Our mission was accomplished.

Little Girl Waiting

Then this morning I walked outside  to check on my two lemons and it was there where God showed me the most valuable lesson in business that I will ever learn.

My two lemons

For 25 plus years I’ve been working on a non-profit that has been very hard, and every time I wonder if we’ve given enough, God will put it on my heart to keep going. So, we go!

But, what I realized this morning was that God used the lemon tree to show me the importance of timing, and when He wants someone else to do something for us. To help us. To teach us. To give to us. He will put it on their heart to do so. Just like the tree. I was willing to wait for the harvest, where my husband’s heart was willing to purchase the necessary tree in which fruit was already producing.

One of my favorite bible verses arrives within Habakkuk 2:3, For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day. 

Now, I know why it’s always been one of my favorite verses, because my Appointments with God have been nothing more than my waiting on His appointed time to teach me the lesson, and He’s right. I’ve never been deceived by Him or disappointed.

And, real quick… Back to the picture I snapped of the statue of the little girl. God used that photograph to remind me that even though my body is aging my mind still remembers the little girl who once sat in a garden and dreamed that the desires of her heart would one day be made possible, and from this day “onward”,   I will never ask God again if He still wants me to give comfort, because much like the tree. All I have to do is plant the seeds and the harvest will arrive.

The fun part of this appointment is within a few years I will have six lemon trees that I will pass on to others, and they too will have lemons in abundance, because there are some moments in life where we plant a seed thinking the fruit is for us, but in the end… He had us plant it to help another.

My hope in sharing the story of my lemon tree  is to share that if God has given you a dream…  keep growing it because one day your harvest will arrive or another will arrive to help and the two of you will harvest “the” dream together.

L.B.
Onward to watering the desires of my heart!

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I AM!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over six months since I’ve had a second to scribe the moments I never want to forget, and this morning a friend called asking, “Gina, are you okay? I used to follow your whereabouts through your Appointments with God, but became concerned when you disappeared. I actually thought you may have died or something!”

“Died?” 

“Well, yes. I’ve known you for decades and you’ve always had an appointment to share and when silence filled my in box I realized I had to make sure that you were okay.”

We laughed and then she asked, “No, really. How are you?”

I am fine!” I replied, but in the midst of answering her question I smiled because 10 minutes before she called I ran into my office to grab my purse off my desk and when I did I knocked my Bible off, and as I was picking it up it opened to Exodus 3:14, and I read: 14 God replied to Moses, “I Am Who I Am. Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.”

My friend and I talked a bit longer and when she was assured that I was fine she said, “Well, I can’t wait to read your next Appointment with God. I’m sure that it’s going to be an interesting one. At least, if nothing else… I will know you are alive!”

We laughed, said our goodbyes and off I left to run my errands, but as I was driving I couldn’t help but wonder if God didn’t open the Bible deliberately to Exodus 3:14,  and if God didn’t have my friend call to ask if I was okay, because I answered her the same way God answered Moses when I said… “I am fine!” 

Then I started thinking about the many questions that people ask God, and I realized that within the words, “I AM”  He is giving a simple answer to the truth of who He really is, and He did so, so that everyone could understand the simplicity of “I AM!” 

Questions people ask God… 

Question: “God are you real?”
God’s answer: “I AM!”

Question: “God are you with me?”
God’s answer: “I AM!”

Question: “Who is going to help me pay my bills?”
God’s answer: “I AM!”

Question: “Who is going to help feed my family?”
God’s answer: “I AM!”

Question: “Who is going to help me find a job?”
God’s answer: “I AM!”

Question: “Who is going to be with me when I’m ill?”
God’s answer: “I AM!”

Question: “Who is going to watch over my children when I can’t?”  

God’s answer: “I AM!” 

The list of questions goes on and on, but in the midst  of “I AM!” I realized that God used my friend today to show me why I haven’t had any time to scribe the moments that I never wanted to forget, and that was because I had become, “I AM!”

My list had gone from being a “TO DO” list to a “I AM” list, and within my head it went something like this…  

I AM going to accomplish this today, and when I AM done, I will make an appointment with God and I AM going to scribe what I want to remember! Or… I AM going to figure out how to get out of debt today and when I figure it out I will then write my appointment with God. It seems that for the past six months I became “I AM!” and when that happened, it seems that I had no time to remember all that I never wanted to forget.

I do now believe that God showed me who He is and who I am, and it’s by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. 1 Corinthians 15:10

Onward to remembering… “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

 

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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!

L.B.

ONWARD TO THE MEMORIES!

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TRUSTING THROUGH THE STRUGGLES!

 

Last week a friend of mine, Richard Norris, posed this question on Facebook,  What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

It only took me a moment to reply, “Never give advice unless someone asks for it, because they won’t listen unless they ask!”

Yesterday I received a phone call from a young woman who was seeking advice, and I had to SMile when I realized that my favorite quote had been turned into my reality. Someone “actually” wanted to know what it was that I had to say.

It’s interesting how God always sends hearts our way when He knows that our heart understands the hurts of those we are talking to. I learned long ago, that I can’t give advice to anyone unless I understand the “why” of what it is that  I am sharing.  We talked for several hours and as our phone conversation came to a close, I knew that she already knew what it was that she had to do, but sometimes we need to know that others have had to do the same things, and I believe that it’s always easier when we’ve talked to someone who made the same choices, and came out stronger because of them!

Now, in the simplicity of my sharing this Appointment with God, I wanted the young woman to know today how proud I am of her, because she could continue to do the things the world says is okay to do, but she is choosing to do the things God wants her to do so that He can give her the blessings of the life that He promises each of us.

And, as a reminder to anyone who wonders what things we should be doing each day… If we can remember to count to ten… all things are possible!

  1. You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
  5. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20: 1-17

ONWARD TO COUNTING!

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GOING UP!

I was 12 years old the first time I jotted down an Appointment with God, and it seems that each time I go to pen an appointment I’m always reminded of the young girl I once was. So inquisitive. I wanted to know the truth of my heart, and if I only knew the length of time that it would take me to find it, I wonder if I ever would  have scheduled my first appointment.

Last week I went on a trip that would introduce me to a woman who I’ve been talking to for nearly a year.  Kelly Barker and I were introduced by a mutual friend, and from the moment we first chatted on the phone we became instant friends. She helped me with my business, non-profit, and quickly I realized that I could learn much from her.  I was like a sponge trying to absorb everything that she had to say, and the more we chatted, the closer I felt to her. Within a few months of our friendship, her brother, Russ, was killed in an accident, and that is when I was able to share with her the knowledge that I had learned about life, death, and comfort.

Now, nearly 10 months into our friendship we finally journeyed “onward” towards each other so we could finally meet, and it was interesting because the moment I saw her coming down the escalator at the airport I felt as if my heart had known her my entire life. We hugged, giggled as girls do, and then we left the airport knowing that the few days we were going to spend together would define the amount of time we would spend together in the future.

Our trip was wonderful. From the moment we walked out of the airport to the moment I took her back to the airport, we were like life-long friends who just needed a few days to catch up to each other, and immediately we started talking about our next visit.

As I was driving away from our visit, my heart realized the importance of communication. Believing in others. Love that can’t be explained, but known.

Through this appointment with Kelly, God showed me the reason He asks us to open the Bible and read from His words. I spent the past year getting to know a woman I had never met face-to-face,  but because we took the time to get to know each other, the moment we saw each other we knew exactly who we were.

And, that’s all God wants. He knows us, because He created us, but what He wants is that when it comes time for us to take the escalator up to heaven he wants us to be able to look straight at Him and know exactly who He is.

I’m so glad I didn’t turn away from my first appointment with God, because I would have missed this one.

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1: 14-15

ONWARD TO MY NEXT APPOINTMENT!

 

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