This Is How You Do It

Basic instructions

I was in only in kindergarten, yet, all these years later, I can still see her standing in front of the classroom ever so gently looking down at our table and saying, “This is how you do it…” As we cut out the identified shapes, our teacher explained to the class the proper way of holding the scissors, how to pass them to other students, and how to safely walk with them to put them away. Forming a fist around the closed blades with the handle exposed as our teacher had instructed, one of the students asked, “Why do we have to hold it this way?” Tenderly she replied, “It is for your safety and the safety of others…”

Teachers need to be equipped for it all. Trusted educators, who not only pass on knowledge and truth, but also correct a fault with patience and instruction. Communication is one of the most important roles of a teacher, nonetheless, handing forward the benefits of faith, hope and love is the greatest gift a teacher can give. My kindergarten teacher had done this remarkably well as her first priority was to keep us all safe while we were learning new skills.

The same way teachers mold and shape us, filling us with important life lessons from an early age that will stick with us throughout our entire lives, we can turn to the Bible for those lessons from God. Someone once told me we can interpret “B.I.B.L.E.” as our “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” I love this because it reminds me that, like my kindergarten teacher, the Lord’s intention is to protect us and keep us safe, while teaching us to navigate life.

“This is how you do it,” flows like a mighty river through God’s written word. “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.” So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God. {Exodus 24:12-13]

God spoke to Moses high on the mountain, where He was able to give him a higher and wider level of view and understanding. After the climb, “Moses remained there on the mountain with the LORD forty days and forty nights. In all that time he ate no bread and drank no water. And the LORD wrote the terms of the covenant—the Ten Commandments—on the stone tablets...” [Exodus 34:28] Set in stone a vital foundation of basic instructions for our protection and the protection of others was written by “the finger of God”… [Exodus 8:19–20]

The 10 Commandments [Deuteronomy 5:6-21]

  1. “You Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me” [ Deuteronomy 5:7]
  2. “You Shall Not Make for Yourself an Idol” ([Deuteronomy 5:8]
  3. “You Shall Not Make Wrongful Use of the Name of the LORD Your God” [Deuteronomy 5:11]
  4. “Observe the Sabbath Day and Keep It Holy” [Deuteronomy 5:12]
  5. “Honor Your Father and Your Mother” [Deuteronomy 5:16]
  6. “You Shall Not Murder” [Deuteronomy 5:17]
  7. “You Shall Not Commit Adultery” [Deuteronomy 5:18]
  8. “You Shall Not Steal” [Deuteronomy 5:19]
  9. “You Shall Not Bear False Witness Against Your Neighbor” [Deuteronomy 5:20]
  10. “You Shall Not Covet … Anything That Belongs to Your Neighbor” [ Deuteronomy 5:21]

These 10 Commandments from God are as timeless and powerful today as the day they were first put in writing. Basic instructions filled with faith, hope, love and sense. Extraordinarily beneficial in teaching us how to live better, healthier, protected and productive lives for our own good and the good of others. There is a reason and a purpose that you and I were created, great plans for us to grow and flourish. It is no secret that life will always have its challenges, yet, at the same time those challenges can make us better if we seek the intimacy in direction and guidance from the One who created us. Life’s greatest reward is knowing that our Creator is by our side all the way. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit, One God, Creator of all things, Omnipotence (all-powerful,) Omniscience (all-knowing,) Omnipresence (all-present,) is closer then the breath we breathe; if only we want Him to be.

“‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” [Matthew 22:36-39]

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” [Proverbs 22:6]

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.” [Deuteronomy 7:9]

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be with us, direct our path, fill us with the riches of Your grace, transform our mind with a healthy balance that is good for our body and soul. Guide us with Your gracious love, that we may press forward to being all that You created us to be. In Your Holy Name we pray… Amen

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” [Proverbs 22:6]

Who Do You Love More?

What have we missed?

Showering off all the bubbles on my 4-year-old during bath time (fast forward twenty years – now my editor-in-chief and one of my best friends), I turned to pick up the towel when I heard the voice of God whisper ever so gently to my soul, “Who do you love more?” Taken aback, I thought about it for a moment and responded, “I love You more… After all, You gave her to me.” At the same time, I turned with the towel in hand to dry my baby girl off as she looked up at me with her beautiful Bambi eyes and sweetly spoke, “Mommy, who do you love more, me or God?” Taken aback again, thinking, “Wait!…What?!” I smiled and replied, “I love God more!” She had the cutest facial expression, as if to say right back to me, “Wait!…What?!” Come what may, God prepared me for that very moment. If you could only imagine the joy I felt in my heart as I wrapped her in the towel, held her close and explained, “I love God more, because, I am so blessed, so grateful and so happy that He gave you to me! How could I not love God more? If it wasn’t for Him, I would not have you!” With a loving kiss on her nose, my little girl giggled with contentment.

Love is the essential foundation and necessity in life that we all need in order to truly live established, fulfilled and healthy lives. Extraordinary power lives in love and how we see it will lead the way to success or otherwise. To understand love, it is not only helpful but also very interesting to recognize that there are various definitions and types of love. Here are a few that stand first in rank:

  1. Whichever title we choose, Intimate love / Eros / Romantic love / True love, this type of love is is a beautiful blessing from God and reserved exclusively for marriage. After all those crazy natural chemicals fire off in our brain that produce attraction and affection for that “in-love” feeling; this kind of love requires commitment, communication, faithfulness, honesty, trust, selflessness, time, respect, patience, support, and should be celebrated, cherished and enjoyed everyday. Scripture gives us an innermost look, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.” – [Song of Solomon 2:16]
  2. The love we have for family is recognized as Familiar love / Storge / Natural love. The naturalness in a familial bond, built on strong connections between family members that provide a sense of wholeness and meaning. Important responsibilities come along with the gift of family as well; provision, nurturance (spiritually, emotionally, intellectually), respect, forgiveness… “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – [1 Corinthians 13:4-8]
  3. When people share the same values and respect for each other, it’s commonly referred to as Brotherly love / Philia / Friend bond, love without romantic attraction. Friendships are an important part of life. They are one of life’s necessities, grounded in trust, special-moments, precious-moments, simple-moments and comfort during trying-moments. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor…” If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” [Ecclesiastes 4:9-10}
  4. The greatest type of love and what we seek most is Unconditional love / Agape love. This is known as the highest form of love and is given, even when it is not returned. It is pure, completely unselfish and accepts us for who we are, regardless of our flaws or imperfections. It is God’s deep love for us, fully expressed through the complete and on going life of Jesus Christ. If we will take just one moment out of our busy schedule and place it on God (Creator of all things), the Living Word (Bible), and prayer, (conversation and communion with God), we will become aware of a magnificent and breathtaking love like no other. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

If we were to ask God, “Who do you love more?” He would tell us that it is already written. A love so great that it continues to shine and flourish through the darkest hours / simplicity of the day / and by way of tender celebrations… * The Agony in the Garden – “Jesus knelt down and prayed…” [Luke 22:39-44] * The Scourging at the Pillar 39 times – “Jesus was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” [Isaiah 53:5-10, Matthew 27:26] * The Crowning with Thorns – Kneeling before Him in derision, they spit on Him, and cry out: “Hail, King of the Jews! [Matthew 27:28-31] * The Carrying of the Cross – “He went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified Him.” [John 19:16–18] * The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus – “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do…” [Luke 23:34]

Jesus knows the sins of all mankind, whose guilt He has taken upon Himself, for each and everyone one of us. What have we missed? It is my prayer that we will continue to listen to God’s call, observe the blessings, value the love, embrace His goodness and experience His love in its many forms and share that love with others, as God intended. You are important… ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” [Matt. 22:37–39].

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be with us, direct our path, fill us with the riches of Your grace, transform our mind with a healthy balance that is good for our body and soul. Guide us with Your gracious love, that we may press forward to being all that You created us to be. In Your Holy Name we pray… Amen

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” [Matt. 22:37–39].

The Stone In A Sword Fight

If you’ve never hurt, you’ve never lived.

Inspirational quotes have the capability to tell a story in just a few words. They bring us encouragement, instruction, and guidance though some of the toughest and saddest hours of our lives. We hang them on our walls, write them down in books and treasure them in our hearts. Quotes make us smile, reflect and ponder what life is all about through the treasures of written and spoken words. Extraordinary moments that leave us with memorable statements are usually built upon layers of experience that may even echo out, “If you’ve never hurt, you’ve never lived.”

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible shares quotes that leave us with tools, techniques and a realizations that can help teach and comfort in ways that last a lifetime. Incidentally, a ‘quote’ also refers to an estimated cost of a job or service. In other words, there is a price tag attached. Let’s take a closer look:

Known for being a dreamer and the favorite son of his father Jacob; the Scriptures tell us of a young man named Joseph. If we were to take a step back and reflect on the early years of Joseph’s life, it’s hard to imagine how much hurt must have followed rejection as his jealous brothers threw him into an empty cistern then sold him into slavery. He must have shed so many tears from the separation and thoughts of never seeing his Father and other family members ever again. To top it off, humiliation and imprisonment were a price he paid for a crime he did not commit. Yet, through it all, we see a spirit of hope, integrity, and a personal relationship with God Almighty rise to the top as we read these words; “It was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” [Genesis 45:8]

David was the son of a man named Jesse. Scripture gives us a first glance of this ruddy, bright eyed, good-looking youngster during a very important family gathering that David, being the youngest of his seven brothers, was not invited too. Overlooked, David, was out in the field tending the sheep (fields that would serve as the training grounds for bravery, endurance, and courage, while teaching him to lean on God for strength and guidance). It wasn’t until the stone in a sword fight was picked up by this young Shepherd / Musician / Warrior / Poet / later to be King, that he would gain his popular acclaim (through defeating the giant ‘Goliath’). Accustomed to waiting for the Lord to direct him on a very laborious and slow rise to power, we continually see David’s personal relationship with God, as his Chief Cornerstone, in the foundation of his life. “For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” [1 Samuel 16:7]

The success of an athlete, awards of a scholar, scars of a warrior have all come at a cost. Stories have great purpose, they help us to remember the incredible things that God has done and is doing for us. Life as we know it gives us no guarantee, but God Himself does. He promises that if we seek Him first He will never abandon us and will always be the Chief Cornerstone in any fight that this life brings our way. As the price He paid for our salvation is beyond words, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16]

In writing about God’s love, I myself have learned a great deal. From 1st grade on, school was beyond difficult and unfavorable for me. I did not feel like I fit in academically, being a visual learner made it so hard to retain information. Socially, unless I was invited I did not feel like I belonged, and physically, during my teenage years, it was the 80’s! When it came to gym class, my hair took way too long to do in the morning to justify any sort of pool, rain or sweat. Yet, the truth is, I didn’t realize how important and exciting learning really can be. It would be years later with children of my own when I was invited to teach a 3rd grade religious education class. Honored and thrilled over the opportunity to share with the children the love of God, I walked into that class fully ready, yet not prepared to be unprepared to hold the attention of 8-9 year olds for 90 minutes. As I walked in feeling like a star, I literally left seeing stars (these are those moments that make or break you, nonetheless, I was up for the challenge). Time later, when our class tests were due, I questioned God if I was truly capable of teaching. I will never forget the exact spot I was standing in the school parking lot when His peaceful presence filled me with these words:

A teacher is not responsible for what their students know, but for the seeds they plant to help them grow.”

What we feel about ourselves will direct our path, how we see God, will guide us. I remember asking the question, “What is love?” to a class that I taught. The most beautiful melody came from a little girl named Charlotte, when she responded, “Love is a gift from God.” Quotes speak of the many hidden treasures found within ones life, even though it may hurt sometimes…

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.” [Romans 8:28]

Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be with us, direct our path, fill us with the riches of Your grace, transform our mind with a healthy balance that is good for our body and soul. Guide us with Your gracious love, that we may press forward to being all that You created us to be. In Your Holy Name we pray… Amen

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible shares quotes that leave us with tools, techniques and a realizations that can help teach and comfort in ways that last a lifetime.
You are worth the fight…

Play It Again

For no word from God will ever fail

One life, one song, one book, can have such an impact on so many lives. Tom Brown’s School Days is one of those books. It’s a famous British novel by Thomas Hughes, about a popular boy who attended a boarding school in England. Tom had tremendous influence on the group of boys he lived with in one of the dormitories. One day a new boy came to the school. That evening, as they prepared for sleep, the new boy knelt down to say his prayers. A few of the boys began to make fun of him, one even threw a shoe at him. That night, Tom could not fall asleep. He kept thinking about what happened to the new kid. He also began to think about his mom and the prayers she had taught him to say before he went to bed. Prayers he had not said, since he came to this school. The next evening, as the boys were getting ready to pick on the new boy for saying his prayers, something monumental happened, Tom knelt down also. There was silence in the dormitory. His example changed the thoughts of many boys that night. Tom saw the purpose in life and decided to live it, taste it and experience it to the utmost. He reached out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience, and with that he became that “One life.”

Several years ago, in the garden of the school where I teach, I had my students reenact the story of Tom Brown. I shared with them, how they too can make a difference in the lives of many with their love for God. With the soft sound of nature and bright bloomed flowers, I turned my class towards a beautiful sculpture of the Blessed Virgin Mary, drawing their attention to how one life can exert a wholesome influence on so many people, without force. I explained how Mary’s ‘Yes’ to God was not only one of the greatest turning points in history, but it faithfully defined what true courage is all about.

As we may forget what people do and say, it is harder to forget how they make us feel. My niece and I always laugh, as I often reminisce on a story of when she was just a toddler sitting on my lap at an outdoor movie. Through the coils of her curly hair blowing in the wind, I whispered in her ear “I love you.” This memorable moment is so precious because of the way she turned her little head and looked up at me with her beautiful brown eyes and said, “Say it again.”

There is so much to be grateful for. That year, after sharing Tom’s story with my class, I played a beautiful song, titled, ‘Thank You,’ by The Katinas. It brought me great joy to watch each one of them reach out eagerly and without fear for that newer and richer experience. I could tell this through the enthusiasm in their words, as the song ended they spoke out, “Play it again!”

“For no word from God will ever fail.” [Luke 1:37]

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be with us, direct our path, fill us with the riches of Your grace, transform our mind with a healthy balance that is good for our body and soul. Guide us with Your gracious love, that we may press forward to being all that You created us to be. In Your Holy Name we pray… Amen

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. Psalm 105:2

Misunderstood

Waiting for something beautiful to bloom

John Chapman was known to be unconventional and/or slightly strange, yet, his story lives on in the folk hero better known as Johnny Appleseed. John established orchards throughout the American Midwest because he had been given the precious gift of vision and knowledge, yet, it was the determination and drive to share what he was given, that has left us with reaping benefits. Note: Orchards don’t grow overnight, they can take 7 to 10 years before there is any fruit. However, from there, you have a tree entitled to bear for centuries!

Have you ever tucked seeds into the dirt, and waited for something beautiful to bloom? For me, I recall it being my favorite time of the year in the breath-taking season of Autumn. The leaves on the trees were starting to change their color and the air was crisp and with a light dew when I gave my 1st graders a few seeds, some dirt and tiny terra-cotta pots. Filled with enthusiasm, my class was ready for action as questions, thoughts and wonder filled the air, “Can I have some more seeds,” “When will it grow,” “I’m going to put mine in the sun.” All around me were bright happy faces, as I watched them cultivate the soil.

As tiny as they may be, seeds have within them, everything they need to become all that they were created to be. The Parable of the Mustard Seed produces evidence for this notion, “Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” [Matthew 13:31-32]

In the same way, there is opportunity to plant seeds of ambition to take fresh root and thrive, in the lives of those we have been given to love. To cultivate the best possible environment to help ensure healthy growth in the lives of our men, women, and children, truth must be taught. Before my grandmother entered into the gates of heaven, she shared with me some beautiful memories of letters that my dad had sent to her while he was in the army. Her biggest regret was that she did not keep them all. She said; “It would have been a book in itself!” Several years later in 2012, as our younger son prepared for Italy, I shared my grandmother’s story with him. I suggested he journal his semester abroad so that someday his children and grandchildren could hear all about his experience. His response, “I’ll think about it…” as he was soon to board the plane. Several weeks into his trip I received an e-mail that read, “What’s up mom… I know you wanted to me write a journal but I’m probably not going to do that. Bobby is a pretty good writer though, and he has a blog online. So far he has made a post for everyday. If you want to keep up on what we’re doing, you can read it at… He has pictures to go along with it. Tell Vin, Dad and the girls I said hi. love you. – Joe.” As curiosity grabbed me by the hand, I clicked on to read his friends observation’s. His blog was informative, funny, and straight to the point. So much so, that it inspired me to share my journey of teaching and the heart of the classroom through my own blog. Through my grandmother’s story, I’ve embraced the planted words of her loving regret and have been encouraged to not only write it down and keep it, but to share it as well.

There is a paradox that my son shared with me in the conception of free will, called Buridan’s Donkey. It dates back to the 14th century, wherein a donkey that is equally hungry and thirsty is placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water. Since he couldn’t make a rational decision between the hay and water, he dies of both hunger and thirst. In life, we may not always know the best route to take, still, movement is important. Pray first, then take the necessary steps.

Many great treasures get lost and are easily misunderstood in the power of time, size, and struggle. I pray that we never loose sight of this incredibly precious moment, while we are waiting for something beautiful to bloom. Words from Solomon remind us “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” [Ecclesiastes 3] Life, like a seed is a process. Our activity, choices and tasks of daily work in this world are meaningful as we rely on God’s wisdom (planting), timing (watering), and goodness (sprouting).

From an activity in the classroom and my grandma sharing her heartfelt thoughts, to my son’s e-mail, my Blog Bloomed!

What is within you that is waiting to sprout? Don’t be afraid to make the move!

Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. [Proverbs 19:20]

“For such a time as this.” [Esther 4:13-14]

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be with us, direct our path, fill us with the riches of Your grace, transform our mind with a healthy balance that is good for our body and soul. Guide us with Your gracious love, that we may press forward to being all that You created us to be. In Your Holy Name we pray… Amen

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

The Parable of the Sower is to teach the importance of the state of the heart, and how our choices and actions matter… [Matthew 13]

A Pillar of Salt

Transformed By God

The more we understand the more we can appreciate this life that we have been given. One of my favorite quotes on this discussion derives from a Chinese philosophy book, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” As we understand life through a time that no longer exists; we realize that it must be lived by moving forward. Too often we look back, and as Lot’s wife, become a “pillar of salt,” frozen in time and held back by our own fear of moving forward [Genesis 19:26]. The truth is, the past is a stepping-stone to becoming all that we were created to be!

As I reflect on life, it gives me hope to know that what is impossible with man is possible with God. Stories of old are like treasures that can help in starting something new, and the beauty is that there are so many lovely treasures found in the living word of God. Throughout the Bible we can see clearly that the great patriarchs of the faith were by no means perfect. They all held their own doubts, frustrations, irritability and restlessness. Nonetheless, what they all shared was through their weakness they held on to the strength they found in our Creator (God), and with that, they moved forward.

I can say with confidence that we don’t always control the results of our efforts. Still, it is imperative that we work towards what we feel called to do while leaving the results entirely in the hands of God. I often share these words with my students, “Even though we may never make the team, that doesn’t mean we won’t own the team some day.” If the desire for the game is strong we need to keep our eyes on the opportunities, whether it is to play or just help out, and God will direct the path.

You are important. We have all been given one life to live and if you are reading this, you are, somewhere in-between your birth and death. Your life and my life and every life around us counts. We matter to God and He created each and every one of us with purpose. We know this is true, because as Jesus was suffering on the cross with nails in His hands and feet, a back that was ripped apart from scourging, a crown of thorns pressing into His head, spit on His face, humiliation, abandonment and above all this our sins and the sin of the world on Him, He spoke these incredible words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” [Luke 23:34].

It is hard to imagine the level of hatred that can actually live in the human mind, soul, and spirit, as to bring on such torment, and evil to another human being, let alone God in the flesh. Jesus was treated in such a way by those He came to save, yet, His love for us endured. It was prophesied in the book of Isaiah: “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with His stripes we are healed” [Isaiah 53:5]. The “stripes” referred to, are to the lashes Jesus received. Don’t live a life unfulfilled. May we seek God first, in all we do and be transformed by God and the riches of His grace.

When our children were in their early stages of life, I prayed to God for some special time to share with our oldest son. He was growing-up so fast and every-day becoming more and more independent. Being a mom, wife, stylist and all of the other roles I would play on a daily basis, I felt a need to just spend some fun time together with him. As life was pulling us in every other direction, on this one particular day we headed out to his little league game. When we arrived at the field, no one was there. So, I went over to the pay phone thinking maybe we’re at the wrong field. As I proceeded to pick up the handset receiver, I noticed the cord was cut, my thoughts, “What do I do now?” That’s when I felt the presence of the Lord. That still small voice so powerful saying, “This is the time you have been praying for.” A sweet peace filled me, and I said to my son, “Well baby, let’s wait around a few minutes and see what happens. In the meantime, let’s play some ball.” We had so much fun and just to play and laugh with him was priceless. Before we knew it, his team and the other team players started coming in from all ends of the field. We were in the right place, we were just a half-hour early.

Several years had passed and he was now thirteen years- old, standing on the big field, pitching. As I watched him I felt such a joy, our little boy was growing into a young man with such a heart for God. As I tucked our children in that night, I gave him a kiss and shared how proud I was of him, and happy, knowing that he had a heart for Jesus. He then turned to me and said, “Mom, before every pitch, I make the sign of the cross and ask God to protect me and help me make the move.” As I listened to him, so filled, I said, “Honey, most men have yet to capture that wisdom, I love you.”

God does hear our prayers and He does care about protecting us and helping us make the move. The moves that we need to make in our lives to be all that He has created us to be, to move forward.

The psalmist wrote in Psalm 32:8-9, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”

Life is not always easy, but we can be encouraged by those who were and/or are very active in spreading the Gospel message about Jesus and His protective love for us, in all situations.

Lot’s wife looked back. This was more than just a glance over her shoulder; it was desire to return to the ways of old. Called to press forward to save life, yet, she could not let go, and paid for it with her life.

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be with us, direct our path, fill us with the riches of Your grace, transform our mind with a healthy balance that is good for our body and soul. Guide us with Your gracious love, that we may press forward to being all that You created us to be. In Your Holy Name we pray… Amen

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:18-19

When the Eyes of the Heart are opened

Workers in the Vineyard

Being a visual learner, I always feel the need to produce a mental image for my students. Building up students to be out-of-the-box thinkers, while watching them gather together some basic life-long tools for their shed, is a wonderful privilege. Whether we’re engaged in a creative activities, discussion with thought provoking questions, or silent in prayer, the ingenuity of my grammar school students always drives our class to experiencing more.

There are several ways of teaching, but the most efficient way to pass on information, is when it’s from the heart. When we speak through experience and connect through understanding, our vision tends to rapidly expand while stimulating the brain.

Several years ago, my sister had asked me to take-care my niece and nephew for the night. After working all day, I stoped in a Hallmark store to find a fun game to play with them. They were both under the age of eight, yet all the games they had seemed to be for older kids. As my eyes scanned the shelves, I noticed a beautiful Coca-Cola home town winter village puzzle. I thought to myself, “This is great!” I didn’t notice where it said, ‘1,000′ pieces. That evening, my Aunt joined us (puzzles were her past time hobby) and she noticed!. As I excitedly presented the box to them, her eyes opened widely, as she laughed at my humorous error. Giving it our best shot, we worked on it for all of about 5 minutes before they walked away.

As I put the pieces back in the box, a desire to continue and not give up lingered. Feeling as-though this puzzle was a gift to me, I saved the few pieces we put together and placed them on the top. While working on it over the course of time, early mornings, late nights, and sometimes in-between things, I couldn’t help but see that the process of putting this puzzle together was a great reflection of life itself, a lesson to be learned.

This is what I learned in connecting puzzles to life:

It’s best to first spread out every single piece, making sure the picture side is facing upward. We all have been given time in this world. In living a healthy, well balanced life, it’s so important to Recognize the Blessings given to us daily. I remember reading a commentary page in one of my Bibles that said, “Take notice today of ten things God has created.” Leaving our home that day, I saw buildings, houses, the highway – way more concrete than nature. Praying about it, “Lord, it’s so hard to find you in all this cement,” was like being flipped over to the picture side of my life. I started to see more blessings than I had before. I looked up and saw the most beautiful sky, I noticed God’s presence more than ever.

Next, sort the pieces. The corner and edge pieces should be set aside into piles, the interior pieces into smaller sections. Getting Organized is one of the toughest challenges for many of us today. The good news is, if we are not born with this great skill, we can learn it! Being organized gives us more free time for God, family, friends and ourselves. It also reduces stress. Organization gives us more space and can simplify our life by allowing us to work smarter and not harder.

Third, when putting together the puzzle, it’s best to start with the border, that defines the space when working through the other piles. When our Priorities are kept in order, it plays an important roll in becoming all that God has called us to be on this road to success in managing our time. In setting small goals, it helps to lead us to larger ones. Identifying our responsibilities helps to set-up our daily list of priorities, family, commitments, personal time.

Homestretch, when a piece doesn’t fit, and it seemed like it was the perfect one… This can happen often, but don’t worry. It’s easy to get frustrated or even give up too soon, but here is where Patience is needed. Remember, every piece has apart in it, even when it seems like it doesn’t meet the required purpose. When we envision how the puzzle needs to look or what piece needs to be found and placed, then the connection between the brain, eyes, and hands start to work together to find the perfect fit. Paying attention to detail, will help to find that certain piece in the pile and to place it where it belongs. Nonetheless, we can often find ourselves rotating the piece and trying to force it where it doesn’t belong or trying it in different spot, maybe even placing it aside and getting a another piece, only to once again achieve the opposite of success. – That’s okay, challenges help us grow.

Last but not least, Practice helps build up skill level before taking on even bigger puzzles. Our memory will recall how to do a puzzle once completed; knowing where to start, paying attention to detail, shape recognition, problem solving, planning, etc… By keeping it close at hand so that we can work on it whenever we get a chance, is the fact for attaining and achieving any goal towards which we desires.

So to Recap:
*Recognizing the blessings *Get organized
*Put your priorities in order *Have patience
*Practice

These are all stepping stones in putting together a deeper, brighter and more dynamic version and vision for our lives.

As my friend and I were driving home from a beautiful day at the beach, I asked her what she thought about the Parable of the ‘Workers in the Vineyard’ ~ Matthew 20:1-16. As the story goes, those who started work later in the day earned an equal pay as those who started early in the morning. Her response was that she was ok with that. Referring and relating it to God being equally generous to all (Many debate how they feel about this parable.) Truth is, we need to step out of the box, so we can grasp a broader point of view. We are all like the workers in the Vineyard, and the day is a representation of the fact that we all can receive equal treatment in heaven no matter what age we turn our life around. However, when the eyes of the heart are opened, our vision expands and our brain is stimulated by the fact that the workers whom started early had the privilege and responsibility to be a worker and gather up a treasure that would go beyond, what the eye can see. This treasure is lives touched through sacrifices made, little things that go unnoticed and generosity. In other words, it’s not just about what we will receive at the end of the day ~ yet, what will we bring?… When we stand at the gates of heaven will we stand alone or will we stand in awe as we hear those beautiful words, “My child, look around you for great is your reward.”

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ [Matthew 25:21]

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” [Matthew 28:19-20]

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be our protection, direct our minds, watch over our paths, help us to listen, understand and believe. Guide us with Your gracious love… Amen

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

The World Needs People Who Have Come Alive

Jesus Did…

When our older daughter was graduating high school, she sought after the perfect quote to add to her yearbook picture. As a family friend became aware of her needs, he put forward for consideration one of his favorites by a prominent religious figure who played a leading role in relations between individuals and society, in the twentieth century.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman

An opportunity to do, to be, and to live everyday awaits us. All we have to do is see it that way.

One morning, sweet words from my friend Donna Moore-Stewart, (through her morning radio segment) woke up my intellect. Donna asked, “Do you know your assignment?” The word “Assignment” resonated with me. At the time, I was in the process of creating a beat sheet for my book Delilah, in order to be a bit more organized and have a clearer picture of what I was writing. As I decided to make a commitment to go through each chapter with a fine-tooth comb, I gave myself nine days to stay focused on eight chapters, along with the introduction page. A chapter a day, weaved in through working full-time, homemaking and all that life has for us to do.

God’s timing is always perfect. Donna’s words came at the very point that I was working on a particular section of the book. She conveyed how assignments are universal. They are a course of action which one is required to take, whether it’s within a family, school, place of worship, employment, and-so-forth. She noted that some assignments are meant to be completed and yet others are on-going, even beyond our lifetime. Donna also touched on the most beautiful and important part of her definition for this discussion, in her words, “Jesus did exactly what He was ‘Assigned’ to do. Our Lord and savior came to perform miracles!”

Jesus’ course of action: 

● Raise the dead  ● Heal the sick 
● Teach us how to live victoriously  ● Serve others 
● To to testify to the truth 
● To give life 
● To reveal the Father  ● To call all sinners to repent 
● Ultimately, to be a ransom for many.

Jesus is the Savior of the world; of you, me and all of history, if only we want Him to be. He does not force Himself on anyone, none-the-less, is here for everyone!

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.” (Psalm 34:8)

Scripture is a beautiful invitation that encourages us to dig deeper into the treasures of God’s marvelous love!

Highlighted by the birth of Jesus, the scriptures consisting of the Old and New Testament provide us with knowledge, discovery, and implementation, making it relevant for enriching any present day living. What’s more and to the point, it concerns the future comings of our spiritual state of everlasting communion with God. Your assignment is waiting for you ~ the world needs YOU, Come alive!

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Let us thank the Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. Let us praise You Lord, our God in Your sanctuary. Teach us to do Your will,
for You are our God; Let Your good Spirit lead us on level ground. For the sake of Your Holy Name, O Lord, revive us. In Your righteousness bring our soul, the souls of Your people all over the world out of trouble. And in Your lovingkindness, be with us in all we do. For we are Your servants…

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

Teachers go to work every day to transform and inspire ~ A classroom treasure from 2016 ❤️

A Bird’s-Eye View

Land of Opportunities

In a world that is filled with awe and wonder, it is with great expectation I seek to dig deeper into the rich soil and elegant beauty of God’s (Creator of all things) marvelous love. A flowing river of wealth that lies within God’s creation. Words are powerful, words have meaning, words are like seeds with roots that go down deep into our mind, and soul. Below the threshold of sensation or consciousness, the word ‘Subliminal‘ takes a seat. It holds a message meant to slip passed our mental radar, embedding itself deep into the subconscious affecting the mind without us even being aware of it. This being both good and/or evil, let’s aim to give a bird’s-eye view of what goes on in the environment connected to the works of subliminal:

*Sub ~ to act as a substitute: under: beneath: below
*Limen ~ a Latin word that means “threshold”
*Al ~ is a suffix that means relating to, process of, or an action.

What we listen to has a strong affect on us emotionally. Take the power of music, it has a huge influence on our mood, emotions, and our day. When we merge the strength of music with the heart, hope and passion of the Gospel, it has the ultimate power not only to change our day, but to impact us for eternity. In a similar way, who and what we surround ourselves with, affects us intellectually. As each person is responsible for his or her own choices, the consequences for our behavior come at a cost. Businesses, in the same manner know that subliminal messages are one of the elements that most attract attention in advertising, film, art and television work; otherwise, billions, would not be spent trying to convince us that we need what they are selling or have. Bottom line, what we read, what we watch, and what we listen too, affects us. If we are exposed to what God calls good, then we are more likely to be affected for the better. If we are exposed to what God calls evil, what is immoral is more likely to get the better of us and bring out the worst in us.

When the Holy Spirit is within us and the Word of God is teaching us, all of creation takes on new beauty, and magnificent blessings. The sky shows a deeper blue, and the earth becomes richer in its glorious tones. We just don’t see creation; we see our Creator, our Heavenly Father, who cares so deeply for and about us. In the Olympic Games, rules, fouls and penalties play a major part in all their sports and are regulated and enforced vigorously by referees, umpires, judges and other officials. Every participant knows the boundaries must be set and behavior monitored or the game will disintegrate into chaos. There are laws in the world as well; boundaries and rules for living, established by God. These boundaries and rules are not set to harm us, but to bless us, protect us, keep us safe and ultimately bring us victory for eternity. The greatest victory is knowing God and the love He has for each and everyone of us.

There is an affirmation in the Good Book, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” These few words follow up with the simple conclusion, “Because you have forgotten the law of your God.” [Hosea 4:6]

God’s love for us is not based upon our performance:

  1. We love because He first loved us.” [1 John 4:19]
  2. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” [Romans 12:2]
  3. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” [Philippians 4:8]

Where there is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land; there you will have cursing, lying, murder, stealing, adultery, idolatry, disorder of structure and function which break all bonds.

Let’s take a look into the stylish motion of the rhythmic word, ‘Opportunity.‘ We are all given an equal amount of time each day and how we use it determines its value. The word of God tells us to make the most of our time on Earth. Our choices will have an unswerving effect on our lives and the lives of generations yet to come. As opportunity knocks, let us look at this word in more detail. “Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” [Ephesians 5:16]

*Op ~ A set of planned actions for a particular purpose: operation; observation post *Port ~ A place on the coast at which ships can shelter, or dock to load and unload *Unity~ The state of being united or joined as a whole.

God’s divine land of opportunities, may be challenging, convicting and even candid sometimes, but it is a reminder of the many ways in which God desires to use each of us daily in His beautiful purpose and plan. May we rise-up and take a bird’s-eye view in the beauty of His unlimited possibilities that were made just for you.There is power in words, there is grace in heeding the call, there are miracles waiting for you to take action! Rocky Balboa, said it right:

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth! But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, you ain’t gonna have a life.” ― Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Let us thank the Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of His, Holy Spirit.Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in his mighty heavens. Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness. praise Him with the clash of cymbals, praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.” [Psalm 150:1-6]

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

Photo By: Ricciardi Photography ~ Outlook