Questions to Consider

As I was reading The Love of God by Oswald Chambers, I came across the following paragraph that made me pause and consider. 

 "If Jesus Christ were manifested now, would we be like Him? Or would we have a hundred and one things to do before we could be as He is? We have not been taking time to purify ourselves as He is pure because we have been restless and annoyed; we have imagined that we have things to do that no one can do but ourselves. It may be true, but immediately we think it, we lose out. There is only one lodestar to the saint, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have no business getting into circumstances God does not put us into. Faith means keeping absolutely right with God. He does all the rest. We are only what we are in the dark; all the rest is reputation. What God looks at is what we are in the dark--the imaginations of our minds; the thoughts of our heart; the habits of our bodies; these are the things that mark us in God's sight." (Excerpt from "The Love of God" by Oswald Chambers)

I strongly feel these are questions we, as Christians, need to ask ourselves. 

How am I in the dark?

Where do I let my mind and imagination take me?

What are the deep, inner thoughts of my heart?

What are the habits of my body?

And most importantly, What can I do to purify myself so I'll be more like Jesus? That's a tall order. It seems almost impossible but I must remind myself that all things are possible with God. 

 When things don't go as we like, do we accept the situation immediately, or do we indulge in feelings of regret that can easily spill over the line into resentment? I am reminded that I need to remember that God is sovereign over my circumstances and humble myself under His mighty hand. Instead of being resentful, I need to rejoice in what He is doing in my life, even though it is beyond my understanding. The ultimate challenge is to fix my eyes on God, no matter what is going on around me. 


Update on Make Lilly's Wish Come True

The dinner & silent auction are over but there is still time to donate. The Austyn's are approaching the halfway mark of the $55,000 goal needed for the climate controlled enclosure for Lilly's therapy pool. The therapy pool will be provided by the Make-A-Wish foundation but the family is responsible for covering the expense of the enclosure. Every donation counts. 
Please help and Donate. Thank you!

       Rett Syndrome is a rare genetic neurological and developmental disorder that affects the way the brain develops in females. It affects 1 in 10,000 live female births. The child will usually develop normally for the first six to 18 months of life, then a rapid regression phase sets in robbing them of once-acquired skills. It affects every part of their functioning body and is described as cerebral palsy, Parkinson's, epilepsy, and apraxia all rolled into one devastating disease. Most girls experience life-long motor issues, heart arrhythmias, breathing irregularities, scoliosis, digestive problems and a host of other symptoms including the possibility of sudden death. They lose purposeful use of their hands and are unable to speak. Most girls are confined to wheelchairs. It is a terrible disease that sneaks up on them slowly, the word they used to describe it is insidious. It robs them of so much and they become trapped in a body they can no longer control, but there's hope!

"We are thrilled beyond words to announce that Make-a-Wish is granting my daughters wish for a therapy pool. This is such a wonderful blessing as her aquatic therapy has been one of the most important therapies that has helped with her mobility and many other areas. We are having a Silent Auction and Dinner to raise funds for the structure enclosing it. She can't regulate her body temperature on her own and we want her to use this year round! This is truly something special and hope you can help us make her WISH come true!"   - Jaime Austyn

       After months of prayers and discussions, we determined that we didn't want Lilly's wish to be something that would be over in a day or a week. Lilly's wish had to be something that would benefit her everyday life. For over a year now we've been traveling weekly taking Lilly to receive aquatic therapy. We feel this has been one of her most beneficial therapies and it's definitely the one she loves the most! You see, at a very young age Lilly learned to swim through rescue swimming lessons - before she was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome. She has always loved the water which is why we ultimately decided her wish would be for a therapy pool - something that would allow her to receive the therapy she needed in the comfort of our home.
       Our hope is to keep Lilly's mobility up for as long as we can, as we know most Rett girls become wheelchair-bound by their teenage years, if not sooner. After months of waiting anxiously to hear, we received a phone call from our wish grantors saying that Lilly's "Wish" was granted and that the Endless Pool version was to be Lilly's wish. We were thrilled for her and we could tell she was excited when she heard the news!
       Being able to use the pool year-round, especially in the winter, was a very important factor to us. Since fewer than half the girls with Rett Syndrome can walk, we wanted to make sure she has the best chance to stay mobile. Lilly's seizures are triggered by the sunlight and she is unable to regulate her body temperature, so we knew this pool would have to enclosed and full climate-controlled. Make-A-Wish will be providing the pool, but we will need to provide the structure to house it. 
       With help from the contractors, we decided the pool room needed to be located off the living room and master bath for accessibility. The proposed pool room will connect with a door leading from the deck into this new pool room. The cost for these types of enclosures varies anywhere from $60 a square foot up to $90 a square foot for about $45,000-55,000.
       Our family wants to thank you in advance for being a part of our dream . . . something truly special, where together we will help make a precious little girl's "Wish" come true!
God bless you!  -Brooks & Jaime Austyn

To read more about Lilly's story, click HERE  

"It has been a desire of mine since I began painting in 2004 to have my artwork touch lives and bring joy. I must say, it was an honor and a privilege to be a part of something so special. The two paintings shown below were donated for the silent auction fundraiser. What a pleasure to be able to give and help this precious family as they face unknown hurdles."  Susan

20 x 30 diptych
Acrylic mixed media on canvas.

9 x 12, framed
Acrylic mixed media on canvas panel,

Still Waters

Still Waters
Acrylic Mixed Media
30 x 24 Stretched Gallery Canvas

This painting was inspired by Psalm 23 "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. . .  He leadeth me beside the still waters; He restoreth my soul. . . " 

Still Waters consists of turquoise green, blue, raw umber and gold on a textured background. Scumbled metallic copper and coarse metallic gold accentuate and highlight the random texture. The edges of the canvas are painted. Painting has been sealed with an archival UV protective satin varnish and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, wired and ready to hang.   

Stop the Hate

Stop the Hate

Social media has the potential to reach hundreds, even thousands of deranged, angry minds.
We never know what one post might trigger in another individual. It could stir up so much anger and resentment that it pushes another individual to harm or murder someone like walking into a school or establishment and shooting anyone in sight. We fail to realize how much power our words or posts may carry.

Yes, we have the freedom to express our opinion, 
But we also have a responsibility to be aware of the result that opinion may cause.
So, let's consider . . . 

Why feed anger?
Anger kills.
Why spread slander?
It destroys.
Why speak hate?
Hate divides.

Hate and anger
Divide and destroy,
But . . . Love and kindness
Heals and restores.

Our heart is our garden.
We should guard it with all diligence.
The seeds we plant in our garden of life will grow.
They will produce fruit and we WILL reap what we plant.
What we post or share on social media
Reveals what is in our heart.
It exposes who we are.
It plants seeds . . . always!
Seeds that grow and produce fruit, good or bad.

Be careful of the seeds you plant.
You may not like reaping the fruit they produce.
Plant seeds of love and kindness
Not seeds of hate and anger.

Stop and think before sharing a post! Ask yourself . . . 
Does this post create a climate of hate?
Would I want someone to say THIS about ME? 
Would I want friends, family, or the world to BELIEVE THIS about ME? 
Do I REALLY want to plant THIS seed and reap the fruit of it? 

Then don't post it. 
Don't post things that promote hate
Or stir up anger.

Plant seeds of love.
Plant seeds of kindness.

Stop the hate.


© June 2017 Susan J. Harris

Oh, How Blind

Oh, how blind we can be
If only we could see
Perhaps our hearts would open wide
Releasing hate; allowing love inside

© 2017 Susan J. Harris