Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Being Bartimaeus

Never knowingly tempt the devil.
In a post on October 12th, writing about my contraction of the flu, I summed up the post by saying...

"Because I want the devil saying, "Oh, crap...She's up!"
Because I want him to know me as the threat that I can be."

Is that a challenge or what?!?
It may not read as one.
But in my heart of hearts, I knew what I was saying.
"Come and get me...'cause you can't keep me down."

Worse, I think I knew what I meant.
Not "come at me because my Father is stronger than you and He wants me doing His work."
But "come at me because my will is stronger than your power, and I'm needed to do His work."
Wahn, wahn, wahn...
It's surprising what a subtle shift of language can do.

Today I wish I had said it as a woman of faith and not a woman of pride.
Because three weeks later, I am sicker now than I was before.

This past Sunday, the Gospel reading was all about that man of faith, Bartimaeus, in Mark's book.
You know this guy?
The one blind since birth who asks to see?
Father Francis opened my eyes (yeah, yeah, pun intended) to the miracle of this reading in his homily.
Yes, of course, it was a miracle that Jesus restored the vision of a man blind since birth.
But the miracle wouldn't have been set in motion if not for the faith of this simple man and his request.
To me, this may be the most astounding part of the miracle...

"...As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus...was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
...Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “...He’s calling you.”  Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. - Mark 10:46-52 (my edits notated "...")

You see, Jesus, gave Bartimaeus the chance to ask Him for something specific.
He could have asked for a walking stick...
Or a companion to care for him...
Or shelter & food to get him through his sightless days.

But no, Bartimaeus asks for far and away the most incredible blessing he can think of.
The mother of all requests.
He asks for his sight.
And because he articulates this desire, Jesus acknowledges his faith and grants him this profound gift.
This kind of faith is staggering to fathom.

Further, as I reread the passage this morning, two other items of note leap to my consciousness.

  1. Bartimaeus presents this impossible request in front of Jesus, the disciples, and a large crowd.  He doesn't grovel in a corner.  He doesn't ask in shame or embarrassment.  He proclaims this seemingly unworkable favor in front of the throngs, thus giving Jesus a chance to bless him openly; work a miracle; further His ministry.
  2. After Bartimaeus receives his sight, he doesn't run back to his family and friends.  He doesn't receive his blessing then take off and just enjoy.  He "follows Jesus along the road."  He stays with Jesus. He illustrates his faith still further by continuing to follow.

This morning as I prepare for a visit with my doctor, I humbly realize that my faith is unbearably small sometimes.  
I realize that instead of groveling and hiding small requests in embarrassment...
"Jesus please give me strength today,  Help me feel better," I should be stepping out in Bartimaeus-like faith.
Jesus is asking me every day, "What do you want Me to do for you?"

So for a day, I'm going to cease being Cynthia.
And instead, I'm being Bartimaeus.
I'm stepping out in that kind of awe-inspiring faith and proclaiming the far and away most bold request I can.

"Jesus, I want to be healed fully...
To be restored...
To be strong...
I want to "see" you in every possibility.
I want my health back - beyond what is was to the very most healthy, strong woman I can be."
And I will say this with the knowledge that it is not my strength and will that is making me well, but His in whom I have faith.

Come to think of it, perhaps I should try being Bartimaeus every day.
With faith that can heal so many ills.
With faith that will follow Jesus along any & every road ahead.

{Pray with me in confidence that Jesus can 
heal & uphold anyone and any illness today?  
Praying for each of you in that same spirit.
Thanks for reading.} 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Prayer for the Harried Human

As I pulled away from my garage this morning, I was reminded that not every
- New Beginning -
is ushered in with enthusiasm and excitement.
There are the every day new beginnings that can find us hiding under the bed, curled in the fetal and wanting our mommy.

You know that beginning?

The one where everyone leaves the house angry and not speaking?
The one where you go to your doctor's appointment in another city, planning on lifting that gas gauge above empty after the appointment...
Only to discover that you left your wallet at home?
The morning where you roll up to the Natural Gas station on fumes and a prayer, 
as you endeavor to leave the 10 miles of anxiety behind you?
The one where you clean all of the bathrooms before your appointment,  
then proceed to watch as your previously spotless toilet overflows with, what can only be described as, the lowest form of human excrement?
{Hence the moment you realize you could never play Jean ValJean in a production of Les Mis because you could never make it through the sewage scene 
- imaginary or not - 
without sharing that morning's breakfast with the audience?}

That morning which turns into afternoon as you realize:
You are never going to catch up on your paperwork;
Your smartphone is now crossing lines with your son's thus you're receiving his texts and he's receiving yours, some of which, ummmm, he maybe shouldn't be reading;
You have three projects, all undone and untended, that are outspread in various rooms of the house...and you don't have any idea WHEN you're even going to get to them.
The devil took you up on your challenge to try to knock you down with an upper respiratory infection...and it's working.

My office for the day.

Those mornings.
Those days.
Those beginnings.
What can you do?

Pray, friend.
That's it...pray.
It's always the answer.
Breathe. (while trying to not hack up a lung)
Rely on your Father who loves you.
Who guides you.
Who is the Master Physician.
Who is all that you need when nothing seems to be going your way.

So for all you harried humans out there, a prayer.

"Thank You Jesus, for this day.  Thank You for the opportunity to lean into Your grace & strength in my weakness.  Thank You for each and every new beginning, whether easy or challenging.  Because with each new beginning, that is exactly where Your grace lies...
in giving us another opportunity. 
Another morning.  
Another breath.  
Another chance to choose joy."

Today, in this moment of challenge and illness, I choose joy.
I choose Him.

{Choosing to find humor & grace 
in this redonkulous week . 
Pray you can too in whatever 
place you find yourself.  
Much thanks for visiting.}

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Meet Bella - Correction!

For those of you who received the "Meet Bella" blog post in your inbox, 
there was a glitch with the story link at the end of the post (a video).
If you didn't follow the link from your inbox straight to the blog site, you were unable to watch the story unfold...or share it!

I wanted to keep you updated with all of the
- New Beginnings - 
happening over here, so I'm providing another link:

Meet Bella

Simply click the link and it will take you my YouTube channel.  (You can share it from there!)

Thanks again for tuning in!  And happy watching!

Meet Bella...

Okay guys, 
- New Beginnings - 
for this chick all the way around!
(And boy am I grateful for the #write31days challenge, so I can share them with you!)

After a small hiatus from everything "non-house related," 
(remind me to tell you about being stuck in a giant ogre's pocket for a few days)
I'm happy to report that my Branching Out in Faith app is getting a fun marketing facelift!
I've been using it daily again, and I'm humbled each time at how much richer my prayer life is when I'm actively reminded to pray.
And that daily gratitude feature ain't too shabby either.

Now that the old bugaboo memory feature is FIXED & FABULOUS - 
and we're finally settled in our new homestead - 
I'm redoubling my efforts at getting the word out.
After all, this God-sized dream was planted in my heart for a reason.
And it ain't just to sit at the store idle and not touching people lives, ya know?!?
(Click here if you're new to God's Daily Message for the Dense and have no idea what I'm talking about!  I'll catch you up.)

So here's the first story to share.
And I tell ya' what...
Like then share the YouTube link on Facebook, Pinterest or Google Plus, and I'll enter your name into a drawing for your choice of:

A free download of the app 
(for yourself or to gift a friend) 
or a beautiful gratitude journal!

Either way, you can make a daily record of all that you have to be grateful for - 
whether with a pen or on your smartphone.
How awesome is that?

Now enjoy Bella's story...
And stay tuned for the winner!

{Thanks so much for reading...
And for sharing!}

Monday, October 12, 2015

I'm Up!!

I found this wall decor the other day while perusing Wayfair for some cheap artwork.
Boy, there are lots more rooms in this house than there were in my last!
I remembered reading it somewhere in the past, and as before, it really cracked me up.
After I laughed, my next thought was a sincere one, "I endeavor to be this woman."
Every. Day.

Artistic Reflections 'Be The Kind Of Woman' Framed Textual Art

The fact of the matter is - and the reason I'm sharing this thought with you - 
is that the past few weeks I have been feeling more like this woman than I have in some time.
Yes, I've been a bit weary from the months of house improvements, packing, living in an extended stay (which smelled vaguely like beets and stinky feet) for too many days then unpacking.
But it's been these past few weeks that I've really begun to take up the baton again for Jesus.
Teaching from the very depth of my heart.
Writing again.
Bringing Branching Out in Faith back to the forefront.
And most importantly, relying on Him in the difficult transition of my boy being in a new place.

The problem?
I think the devil knew it too.

I think he saw me rising up again.
Ready to do battle.
Ready to share God's messages again.
And he hit me right where he knows I fall...
I got the flu.

Now, me getting the flu or even a small cold is a problem more so than it used to be for one simple reason.
I cannot take medication.
Not cold medicine.
Not antibiotics.
Pain reliever and nothing else.
Because it all makes me crazy.
(I really wish that were a colloquialism but it's not.  
I literally start hallucinating with any antihistamine or antibiotic now.  
It's quite a ride....
And I wish it were a fun one.)

So as soon as I feel something coming over me, I go to bed.

And try not to stress about it getting worse and lasting for months without treatment.

I was on a roll for weeks.
Yet with one little bug, I was in bed.
My writing suffered.
I missed my faculty meeting.
The celebration for my mother-in-law's birthday went on without me.
My husband took on everything in the house (thank you, honey) 
and I laid low.

The problem came when I finally felt well enough to start posting here again - yesterday.
I could have.
And I didn't.
Because I was scared.
I didn't want to risk my health.

"But which is worse," I thought to myself today.
"Living a life relatively healthy but not thriving?
Or risking staying a little sick and living up to His desires for you?"
I can't believe I let that dude keep me down another day in fear.
(Incidentally, when I decided to write this today, all of a sudden my computer keyboard stopped working.  Sheesh...the devil's really trying to keep me down over here.)

So this morning, (now afternoon since waiting for the keyboard to unfreeze)
I decided to throw caution to the wind and peck out this message.
Because I want the devil saying, "Oh, crap...She's up!"
Because I want him to know me as the threat that I can be.

- New Beginnings -  
Day #9 tell me that the devil may knock me down for a bit.
But my Father always brushes me off and tells me to carry on.
So I'm up!
And I'm carrying on!

{I humbly ask that you keep  me in your prayers 
as I continue to heal.
...and thanks for reading.}

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Short & Sweet

3 days...
17 hours of teaching...
8 hours of commuting...
2 evenings of schlepping then waiting...
And 1 tired Mama later...

This one will simply be short and sweet.

Day #8 brings a beautiful thought by T.S. Eliot on
- New Beginnings - 

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."

To make an end is to make a beginning.
Yes, my finishes this year have certainly birthed even more wonder.
Thank You, Jesus, for new beginnings.

{More tomorrow when I'm not 
a sleepy lump on the sofa.
Thanks for stopping by.}

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Let Them Hear You When I Speak

I’m taking a brief Branching Out pause from my "Where You Go,I’ll Go" story to sow seeds of a different variety…
…seeds of education and encouragement…
…to six classes of students at the Young Americans College of the Performing Arts.

I sometimes forget but am quickly reminded, with the start of each new semester, of the fragility of the human spirit.

I think of my eldest sister who, when a mere 2nd grader, was told by a nun to stop singing because she was off key.  
Words are powerful.
These words, spoken by a woman who, I’m sure, never realized their impact or their devastating consequence, were the barometer by which my sister was to gauge her future vocal endeavors. 

For years my sister would accompany her siblings on the piano while we sang.  
I can’t recall a time growing up when I heard her sing alone.  
(Unless it was around the house to that ‘70’s classic “Freak Out.” 
Oh, or the other classic - 
...in response to my mother leaving the house after a particularly harsh session of scolding to which my sister broke out a full-voiced, enthusiastic version of the Hallelujah chorus....just as Mama walked back in unexpectedly.  
Boy, did she catch it for that one.  Hee hee.)  
Still, Theresa would participate in our familial musical endeavors primarily as an instrumentalist.

It broke my heart.
Oh, the power of words.

Yet, more than four decades after her decision to be silent, one of the sweetest sounds I ever heard was her solo voice at the hospice bedside of my father.  
We girls were taking turns singing the verses of a church hymn, and, based on a lifetime of singing only in groups, I wasn’t sure what would happen when the turn was hers.  
But as the circle closed, the decision was upon her and that throaty Irish voice with the gorgeous, big vibrato spilled forth.  
It was a miracle moment in my eyes.  
A moment that can only come with the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  
She threw back her head, eyes closed and smiling and the dam of forty years of swallowing musical moments burst.  
Pure grace.  

Yes, words have power.
And we need to be careful with them.

As I spoke to several tearful students after my classes today, I was reminded of this weighty lesson.  
The lesson that the fragile spirits of young adults are in my hands for two hours each week.  
And it's my responsibility to care for them and nurture them...
Speak words of life over them while I challenge them...
Always build and never break them.

So Day #7 of 
- New Beginnings - 
reminds me that, at the beginning of this brand new semester, 
I have an opportunity to affect change in the lives of our future generation.  
My prayer is that this change is always positive.  
My prayer is that my words reflect Him always.

{So grateful for my young students, 
artist hearts each one.
So grateful for this work 
& the opportunity to grow these 
dear ones with words of grace.
Thanks for reading.}

photo credit:  Brooke Thompson, 
Cynthia Branches Out website

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Where You Go, I'll Go - Part II

Yesterday's post found me looking for a rental home after the very quick sale of our house in August.  (If you missed it, read here to catch up on where I'm going with this...)

As I mentioned, I knew immediately that this was the home I had been praying for.  

  • First, it popped up the day after I decided to pray a big, bold prayer.  
  • Second, it was unlike anything that had surfaced  on the rental sites until that time.  
  • Third, it looked quite similar to a home Drew & I had offered on several years back when we wanted to upgrade.  

Same color.  
Same style.  
Same charm.  
Nicer and newer but same feel nonetheless.

We were heartbroken when we lost that bidding war way back.  Of course, God had other, better plans for us, so we eventually realized that we weren't meant to live there.  Still, the raw of losing it would resurface in me every now and then.  I was so charmed by that Cape Cod-ey kind of Southern porch feel, all clapboard siding and cream colored trim.  And the green/black color scheme is a classic yet not often seen, especially in Southern California.

The house we offered on 5 years ago...
The house that popped up on Zillow for rent this August...

The house was out of our price range, but I decided to look anyway.  After all, here it was the very day after I prayed.  And, is that St. Francis of Assisi in the garden?  My Daddy's favorite...

I clicked open the photo stream after seeing the exterior shot, saw this first as a steady stream of consciousness, a dialogue with God, began verbally vomiting in my brain...

1st interior shot

"No, an upright piano in the living room?!?
The player piano bequeathed to Drew from Marvin is "front and center" for us too.
Lord, you know we're all all about the music.
And, is that a statue of the Blessed Mother on the piano?
Is this a Catholic family?
No, can't be..."

I continued on to pic #2...

"Please tell me that this is a dedicated dining room!!
Italian people need a dining room!!
Lord, you know I've never had one.
And look at the light spilling in.
So warm and inviting...but the ceilings are high.  It's so spacious.
P.S.  Is that a cross on the wall?  Ummm, I have a cross collection.  
This is weird...can't be real..."

Third shot in...

"Ummm, yes those are definitely crosses on the wall.  
Jesus, are you trying to tell me something?
This. cannot. be. happening."

The last shot, this one of the backyard exterior convinced me that this house was meant only for me and my family alone...

"God, are you really providing a pergola for our outdoor gatherings?  
The ones we have had for years and years under the light of the outdoor patio...
the get-together's where we have lingered into the night with friends and family?  
Really God?
Uh, have I told you lately how awesome You are?!?"

I was dumbfounded.

But He wasn't done yet...now for the rest of the items I asked for.
I looked on the map and the house was exactly 3 city blocks - one mile! - from my son's school.  
And the beach?  
The ocean with all of it's overcast mornings and turquoise blue midday splendor?  
Six city blocks.

It couldn't have been clearer.  
This was our home.  
The one I prayed for...  
Supplied for us a mere 24 hours after I prayed that incredibly poignant prayer.

But would we get it?
And would the timing work out?

Friends, Day #6 of
- New Beginnings - 
reminds me that He will always find a way and a path for His plan.
Even when we're too blind
(or too terminally dense?)
to see it.

As ever, God's timing is always perfect and forever mind blowing.

{The final part
Part  III of Where You Go, I'll Go 
coming at ya' Thursday.
See you then.}

Monday, October 5, 2015

Where You Go, I'll Go - Part I

Our house sold after 12 days on the market.
We thought we were golden!
Then came the sale aftermath.
And the paperwork!
Oh, the paperwork...
It must have felled at least 10 trees all by itself!

We were finally ready to set a close escrow date.
But then we realized...
We have nowhere to move.


Of course, I had been looking for a place since the moment we decided to put the house on the market.  However, we were looking to rent instead of purchase, as we were moving for our boy to attend the Academy of the Performing Arts.  Who knew whether or not we would want to stay there after he graduated?  Why put down roots in a place you aren't head over heels for?

House after house came on the rental market.
I was subscribing to three different sites at this point in the hopes that I would find the next available home before anyone else did.  I had been looking at one property for a few weeks that seemed perfect.  
Close to the school.  
Beautiful home.  
Gated community.  
We set our escrow date, and my next call was to the rental office...it had been rented that afternoon.  
It was difficult getting excited about anything after that one.

Me and the boys went to look at a few properties in person.
It was all a bit Goldilocks...
This one's too far.
This one's too quiet.
And then finally....
This one's juuuuust right.
(That one ended up being rented the day after we saw it too!  Argh!)

Why do I never think to start with prayer?
Why is it still - all of these years and lessons later - a last resort?
Maybe so that the miracles are more evident?

After the second disappointment, I started praying the very next evening for the "right thing."

Encouraged by my friend, Sally, who told me, "Jesus is looking to bless you beyond what your imagination can even fathom you need or want," I prayed in a new way.  
I prayed in a way I'm not used to...
I feel like I usually beg for scraps, as if that's all I deserve.  
As if that's all God feels I deserve.

No, this time, I decided to pray a big, bold prayer.
I prayed for a house that would sleep lots of people as I want to open our home and hearts to as many as we can bless.
I prayed for a home that was warm and inviting but light and spacious.
I prayed for the right homeowner who would want our family taking care of their investment.
I prayed for a house close to my son's school.
I prayed for a house close to the beach where I could experience the serenity of the ocean as often as possible.
I prayed for Jesus' most profound, far and away blessings on our family.
"Just a couple of things, Lord..."

The very next morning, a house popped up on Zillow.
I knew it was the one.

Home Sweet Home for now...

So for Day #5 of 
- New Beginnings - 
I reveal the house we've been graced with for the next few years.  
Yes, in this new beginning, I'm reminded that my beautiful Saviour 
doesn't want me begging for the least....
The barely getting by...
The table scraps usually saved for the dogs.
I am His child, and He wants to bless me abundantly 
so I can share all of those blessings with others.

Thank You, Jesus, for your grace and gifts.

{More tomorrow on how I immediately 
knew that this was our home.  
Hint:  Take a look at the front garden 
outside the gate for my first clue.
And thanks for reading.}

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Saying Goodbye

August 2001 began a new course for our young family.
We became homeowners and as such, 
began a journey of joy (and desperation) and pride (and headache) like no other.

The first monumental world tragedy occurred just one brief month after our move - 
the terrorist attacks on September 11 - 
so found us on our front porch with candles lit in accord with vigil suggestions on the evening news.
Though the circumstances were horrific, that experience provided a fast-forward to our relationships with neighbors like nothing else could.

We got to know Bennett and Betty who, for years, frequented our kids' lemonade stands and the latter of whom we lost a few years ago to Alzheimer's.
Perry and Karen, working professionals who ended up adopting baby brothers about seven years in.
Elaine, across the street in the yellow doll house, who baked cookies to bring over the day after we moved in...
Who questioned why I would ever pull up the carpet in my house to refinish the hardwood underneath ("...then it won't be preserved, dear...")
And who passed away just a few short months later.
And Annie who moved away the following month making way for our friends 
Jaimz & Teresa and their two girls 
who became integral parts of our childhood and family.

So many celebrations and gatherings.
Birthday parties for the children...
Bounce houses & dance parties & movies & sleepovers.
Our ten year anniversary celebration after a renewal of vows.
My 40th birthday party with a wine tasting, live music and my four sisters flying in to surprise me!
Baby showers and wedding showers and engagement parties.
Even a high school graduation for our sweet girl!
So much joy.
So much living life.

Of course, there were hard events as well. 
Times I don't like to relive but are integral parts of our story.
The passing of our grandparents.
Losing Drew's stepdad, Marvin.
My dear Daddy's death to new life.
Braden's diabetes and Coll's scoliosis diagnoses.
The loss of my voice... 
an illness which had me down for the count but, without which, 
I would not know Christ and faith today as I do.
Mercies in disguise.

Of course, I won't go into the ongoing plumbing issues.
$12,000 later and no, I refuse to relive it.
(Suffice it to say, the new owners will benefit from that replacement piping!)

Painting and redesigning and remodeling and fixing.
A new roof.
A converted garage.
French doors to replace the roll-up steel door....
Yes, you heard that right.  
Roll-up steel doors in the family room.  
(My brother-in-law used to say "liquor store open for business" as I yanked it up and the chain cranked it 'round! Oi...)
So much heart.
So much sweat.
So much family!

That season was the focal point of life for our little family in the growing and raising stages.
Now Colleen is off at college in her sophomore year.
Braden has started his sophomore year at high school.
And on September 4, a little more than 14 years later, we closed that season, saying goodbye to our cozy home and starting a new chapter in a  new house in a new city.

One last picture in front of our family home...

...and one last kiss goodbye.

It's never easy saying goodbye.
But I'm choosing to look at that sweet sayonara as a "hello" to new beginnings.
A new beginning for our family as we close one door and open the next.
A new beginning for the young family who has moved in and started making their own memories. 
It was time.

So Day #4 of 
- New Beginnings - 
reminds us that sometimes to begin a new journey, we must blow a kiss goodbye to the one we've walked and run and trudged and closed.
And look forward to the road ahead.

{Reliving our sweet memories in Long Beach 
this morning but giving great thanks to God 
for His many blessings - already! - 
in our  new city.  More on that to come...}

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Branching Out...Together

There's a darling song from the musical, Oklahoma, that I sing to myself occasionally...
Those times when I need to gently chide myself for dropping the ball on a task.
It kind of perfectly sums up the way I approach life.
For better or worse.

"All 'Er Nuthin"!

"With me it's all 'er nuthin.'  
Is it all 'er nuthin' fer you? 
 There ain't no in between...there ain't no now and then.  
No half and half romance will do."
(Just replace "romance" with "project" and you've nailed it!)

Sometimes, when I'm laser focused and on a roll, I love this quality and am so grateful for the way my Father created me.
But when I'm overwhelmed and there are a million things which need tending, my inclination is to just STOP.  
Deer in the headlights.  
Frozen in time.
And do absolutely nuthin'...
...well, other than watch the eczema creep onto my face...sigh.

All 'er nuthin'....yep, a blessing and a curse.

For the past year, since publishing Branching Out in Faith in the iTunes store, an incredible blessing and answered prayer for sure, there has been lots to do.
I was "all in" at first.
I stayed on top of fixes and updates.
I managed my Branching Out Facebook page.
I even reworked my business website "Cynthia Writes" to include my writing, directing and vocal coaching, lifestyle work and tech endeavors.
Cynthia Branches Out was born.
More reworks, more updates, more links and research and articles and design.
All good...I can't stress that enough...but too much for this one woman to manage.

Come spring 2015 with an ensuing house sale and move (oh, the work we did on that house readying it for market...a full-time job and don't let anyone tell you differently!), my attentions began to fracture until I was doing nuthin' at all.
'Cause there ain't no in between in my world, ya know?

So while prayerfully considering whether or not to continue with this blog, a simple answer was provided for me.  
Wish I could take the credit.  
Once again, there is no prayer left unanswered when you doggedly repeat yourself.  
Sometimes I think God just flings me one to shut me up.

"Change the name of the blog.
Consolidate FB pages.
Plant more seeds but in ways that will allow you to tend them more lovingly and fruitfully.
And grow the Branching Out brand in doing so.
I have a work yet to do with that one."

Who'd a thunk God was so tech savvy?!?

So following my dear Father's wise words and directives, four beautiful years later, I'm changing the name of my blog and enhancing it's mission to include personal writing projects, musical experiences and lifestyle, design solutions that my friends and family so lovingly encourage in my work.
Still with a faith-filled focus.
And all while still considering myself to be terminally dense.
That image will never die.

Day #3 of 
- New Beginnings - 
introduces you to 

Branching Out...Sowing Seeds of Grace

With the first offering being a month of those precious new beginnings.

Thank you for journeying along with  me.
It's gonna be great.

{FYI to all of you subscribers:
I am leaving the Gods Daily Message web address
for a week as we navigate this transition.
Sometime next week, you'll begin to see 
"Branching Out...sowing seeds of grace" 
in your inbox.  
Just a heads up that it will be changing soon.}