Quiet Time

Photo Credit: Maggie P Photography

 

 

I want to show you a way to make a portable quiet time basket, the basket pictured here is mine, in it, I have all the devotions I use on a daily basis whether it is for my morning or evening quiet time, journal book, notebook, books I am currently reading by Christian authors, ink pens, highlighter, yes I am one of those kinds of readers and most importantly a bible!

What I personally like about having a basket like this is that it can go with me wherever I go, I put it in my car and can make any place I go my quiet time space, but at home, it sits next to the chair it is pictured in. One of my favorite quiet time devotions to read is a book by Lysa Terkuerst called Embraced, it is 100 devotions to know God is holding you close. I don’t read them in order, I jump around a lot and sometimes I re-read the same devotion always getting something different from it. 

The next devotion I use in my morning and evening quiet times, I reflect on it in the morning then respond to it before bed, applying it to my day has really helped, it is called 100 Days of Bible Promises by Shanna Noel, several women at my home church are doing this study and have an online  private FB group where we share our thoughts and then every so often during these 100 days we get together in person and share how God is speaking to us through this book.

Finally, the book I am reading currently is called Anxious For Nothing by Max Lucado, he is by far one of my favorite Christian authors, I love that most of his books have a built-in study guide in the back of them. He writes in such a way that you just get it. So there you have it, you can use any type of box or basket and build your own portable Quiet Time necessities, just remember that the focus is on time alone with God and He doesn’t care what that looks like just as long as you are sitting at His feet and talking to Him daily.

Saved To Serve A God Styled Life,

Maggie P

Happy Birthday God Styled Life Magazine Styled Blog!!

Happy 2nd Birthday to God Styled Life Magazine  on February 28th! Sorry I was a little late but we can’t let this just go by without a happy birthday to us. We are so excited to be blessed to do what we do, sharing the word of God in every facet of our lives. God has great things in store to grow our magazine styled blog and we can’t wait to bring new segments to you. We would like to feature other bloggers on this platform so if you or anyone else you know who is a Christ follower with their own blog , please email us to let us know. 

As of this writing we are in the mist of the season of Lent, let us be mindful of all that God has done, the sacrifice of His one and only Son for us and even if we were the only ones on earth , he still would have done so. While the death on the cross was a sad day , 3 days later He arose from the dead, Praise God there is so much hope in that!! Let us not lose sight of the real meaning of Easter, I think this sweet little preschool poem sums it up best, ” Easter is more than bunnies that leave eggs and hop away, the true meaning of Easter is Jesus, He is alive today!”

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Connection

Photo Credit Maggie P Photography – Glass sculpture at the Dale Chihuly permanent exhibition in Downtown St. Petersburg, FL 

 

 

In 2021 my word and intention are to connect, connect with God, family and friends. Last year brought a lot of disconnects into our daily lives, life as we knew it was one major disconnect and remained that way for several months and as of this writing a lot of those are still going on, however one thing happened along the way families were forced to slow down their lives and re-connect with one another, slowly over time we adjusted to a new normal, but the connections made with families has remained.

We are all now virtual in are meeting face to face through a screen of course, but we have managed to find new ways to connect and as time has gone on, we once again started getting out, with some healthy guidelines of course. Mask have become part of our wardrobes, hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes have become our cleaning tools, washing our hands several times a day, these are just a few things in our new normal.

For me zoom meetings and face time are my means of being face to face, connecting virtually has become a norm for most people and I am no exception. Praise God, He gave someone the knowledge in this time and place to create a way to communicate when we cannot be in one another’s company.

Speaking of God how has your connection to Him these days, I find myself talking to him on other people’s behalf, weather it is for a family’s grief over the loss of a loved one or loved ones, for healing of those who have been affected by Covid-19 and just guidance for what to do next. My husband lost his job that paid our bills and had insurance, God has seen us through so far and continues to provide, I know we are not all in the same boat, but we are in the same ocean.

What I do know is that now it is even more important to make connections with God, He is the only thing that will get us through this time, connect to his word, connect in prayer and connect with one another by phone, zoom call, face time or text. Let your family and friends know you are still here for them. And let God know you are still here for Him too, dive deeper into the word and pray without ceasing. Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” In these uncertain times that is what we need , rest for our soul.

Here Comes The Bride

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Photo Credit belongs to Leslie Stillions Photography

This picture is a reminder of my wedding day, you see the mother of this bride is one of my dearest and closest friends, we have been through so much together and on my wedding day she stood beside me as my husband and I became one.  We have been friends through many health scares, hard times, good times, birth of our children, various moves, I love doing life with this gal and her sweet , beautiful daughter, like mother ,like daughter.

The above picture is taken on my friends,daughters big day last October, there was nothing that was going to keep me from attending her special day, she would ask often to make sure we(my husband & I) were going to be there. It was a beautiful day and the weather cooperated. One of the things that really stood out to me was the tying of the three strands, this is taken from Ecclesiastes 4:12 “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”NIV together as the pastor read to the couple the scriptures about this and from First Corinthians 13, it was a reminder of the brides Mom reading those very same words during our wedding renewal. With God in the center of our marriage we can and will overcome any obstetrical that come our way, there is nothing we can’t face together.

The above picture is also a reminder of what it says in Isaiah 62:5 ” As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” NIV There is an even bigger meaning in  Revelations 21:2″I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” This is a beautiful picture of what has yet to come we all as believers (the bride-church) will be waiting for Gods return. prepared as a wedding day! Oh what a day that will be! Read all of Revelations 21 verses 1 through 8.

As honorary Aunt to this beautiful bride above, my prayers continue to be with them and their lives together as man and wife, it was a beautiful celebration, may we all prepare for our biggest wedding celebration yet the coming of God to take us home!!

Saved To Serve A God Styled Life,

Maggie P

Motherhood

It is funny to me how we view life so differently in different stages of said life, in the top left picture is my Mom and I , our first picture together, I am sure at that point I was just trying to figure out the world outside of her womb. As I grew my life perspective grew too, until one day I reached the pinnacle of adulthood, the time in life where I thought I knew it all and better than my parents, especially my Mom who raised us most of my younger years as my Dad was full time Army and lived away from us most of his 24 years. Dad retired but worked as a nurse in the ER at our local hospital when he first retired, left nursing and went to be a lead maintenance man at out local hotel from there to college and then graduated in his forties with a bachelor degree in Computer programming by this point I had graduated high school and was preparing to go to college myself. I say all this about Dad to understand that my Mom basically raised my sister and I, even after Dad retired and moved back to live with his family, I would still refer to Mom on our do’s and don’ts.

It took me becoming a Mom myself to truly understand the sacrifice my Mom made for us and for being a Army wife, it meant a lot of time living apart and playing the role of Mom and Dad, I didn’t appreciate her sacrifice or what she gave up, at least not until her death.  You see my Mom took on being a Army wife with a husband who served most of his time living away from his family, a special needs child(my sister) that required so much of her and her aging mother all under the same roof.

I graduated in 1984 and in 1986 I became a mother myself to a beautiful baby girl, she was born with health issues and went from the hospital she was born in to the children’s hospital, in and out of said hospital for many years of operations to repair her cleft palette and hair lip, she learned to walk and turned 1 years old in the children’s hospital when she was 3 years old Sarah contacted spinal meningitis and we lived there for almost 2 months, this is where she gained the nickname of “Wild Child” , when she was finally recovering she would run the full extent of her IV causing me to run behind her to catch up so as not to pull her IV out, this was a sure sign she was feeling much better.

Sarah’s last surgery was her senior year in high school, she had the very same nurse that she had when she was on the toddler unit, Nurse Kathy and Sarah had come full circle and little did we know that she would later work for said children’s hospital. Truth is Sarah and I both grew up together me as a young Mom and her as a child, we both experienced highs and lows , good stuff and the bad together. I raised her myself until her dad and I married in 1991 a few more years went by , she headed off to college where she learned about a group called Dance Marathon that raised money for the local children’s hospital, the very same one she was in and out of, learned to walk and talk in, she had found her passion!

Sarah now works as a paid employee doing what see loves and over sees the teams who over see the dance marathon’s for colleges and high schools in Indiana, she lives and works her passion every single day. To say her dad and I are proud of her is an understatement, she is an incredible woman and this stage in life I also call her friend!  now days motherhood consist of my friendship with our daughter and I am now Mamma to the sweet fur baby in the picture who is 8 months old at the time of the picture above and this post. I am realizing just how much fur babies are like toddlers and I am loving every minute of it, we also have a wonderful 5 year old grand dog named Whatley, our first fur baby we fell in love with!

So you see motherhood has it’s many ups and downs, stages of change but I wouldn’t trade a single moment except to say I would turn back the clock to have more time with my own mom to resolve our differences and let her know how much I really appreciate her sacrifices she made for us. Happy heavenly Mother’s Day Mom you are loved and missed every single day.

Saved To Serve A God Styled Life,

Maggie P

Bloom Where You Are Planted

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Photo Credit: Maggie P Photography

John 15:1-5

As I sit here writing this I am so ready for warmer months ahead, longer days watching the sun rise and set from my front porch and back yard. There is a long list of things to do both inside and outside the house, one of those things is painting the outside of our home, taking care to choose the right colors and finding the right person to do the job in order for it to look nice.

One of our other project is cleaning up and replanting our flower beds, we have two memorial gardens one at the side of our house in memory of Poppy, my husbands father, the other is in front of our back shed in the backyard and it was created for my Mom, she passed 6 years ago and Poppy has been seven or eight years ago , I know that is bad that we are not sure but I promise you we don’t miss him any less, Poppy had such a sweet and giving spirit, he is missed greatly as is my Mom, she gave of herself to help other most all of her life on top of the care of her Mother and a mentally challenged daughter(my sister).

Why do I bring all this up?  because those two gardens have been neglected for a bit, that is why they are on our clean up/replant list. Much like in our scripture it talks about how God is the true gardener, he cuts off the dead branches and prunes the healthy one to keep them growing strong. Just like when we neglect our gardens things die, when we neglect being in the word of God and cultivating our spirituality we become dead inside and the only way to revive is to grow in Gods word. 

Have you had a dead season in you life? have you ever felt like you can’t hear God? Take time to cut of the dead branches in your life and prune the live ones , dig deep into Gods word and grow in your faith!

Saved To Serve A God Styled Life,

Maggie P

 

Give Thanks In ALL Circumstances

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1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in All circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

These verses have been very hard to follow in the last few months, my physical and mental health has taken a nosedive, grief is a fickle fellow and mine started with the unexpected death of my Mom, I have talked about this loss in another blog post but it is the place in which I can see the downward spiral. This time it came in the form of my physical health, I woke up one morning and could barely get out of bed, for the first time in several years I was in a full-on flare up with my Fibromyalgia, I struggled the better part of a month before seeing a doctor who after extensive blood work with questionable results sent me to a specialist thinking I might have Lupus, turns out it was a Fibromyalgia flare-up in full force, a medication was ordered and at this point I had also become deeply depressed as well so I was placed on Cymbalta to help with both issues, I, however, could not start it right away as I had bronchitis on top of everything else.

A few weeks later, I started the medication, at first the lower dose did well then after a couple of weeks it was increased, I did okay for a short time but then I just felt numb all the time, at this point I was sleeping 18-22 hours a day, yes you read that right 18-22 hours a day, getting up to take meds with a little bit of food and bathroom trips only. Things got worse and I just wanted to curl up in a ball and never wake up. My Mom’s death affected me in a very deep way and some days even now it seems like it just happened, outside of my Grandma White, my Mom’s Mom, this was the most immediate death to date.

I need to add that these feelings were already under the surface to say this medication affected me negatively is an understatement; I asked to be removed from this particular drug and placed on a milder depression medication, as I was coming off the Cymbalta it caused my serotonin levels to drop and my depression to become even greater to the point of going from wanting to die to actually making a plan on how to do so, I knew I was in trouble when I went to bed at 10-10:30 p.m. and slept until 3:30 pm the next day, I woke up and had torn my nail beds down to next to nothing, had looked like I had got into a fight with a sidewalk on my nose and no memory of either thing happening. I later learned that this is a form of self-harm; my thoughts kept going to how to make this pain I was feeling both mentally and physically stop for good, which landed me in an unscheduled doctor’s appointment scared out of my mind thinking if given the opportunity I will end it all. I was tired and just done.

That night my very supportive husband and  I called 3 of our closest friends and our pastor to come over and told them what was going on and that in all likelihood I was going to check myself into a mental health facility, I knew enough to know to admit I needed help, but felt I could only trust a very few with this information as there is such a stigma in our society about mental health issues, the next day I went from the therapist office to the ER, that is how you get admitted and from there I was sent to the only bed they had in the whole state of Indiana at that time, a place called Harsha Behavioral Center in Terra Haute. I cried myself to sleep that first night, I had never been to a place like this in my life and I was scared, I prayed a lot too. Turns out God had me right where I should be.

This entire experience has had a profound effect on me, my meds where changed, a couple of different ones added and I learned a lot about my triggers and coping skills, I was in a place with people who were there for all kinds of different reasons but we were all there to help us learn how to deal with our different issues. I won’t bore you with the details of my stay, but I will tell you how this ties into the above scripture. As I said there were people there for various reasons, God was there with me protecting me, before this experience I might have been a bit judging of the stigma that goes along with mental health issues, but I believe God allows us to go through things because someone out there needs to hear your story. I met a woman who also chose to get help and she and I are keeping in touch, I am no one special, my story could easily be someone else’s but I tell you my story because every time even now I stand on the word of God, I believe very strongly in the power of prayer and the above verse have helped me through and continue to help me through a very dark season.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in All circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

My personal journey is not over it has just begun, my official diagnosis is Major Depressive Disorder and PTSD and I will begin therapy this week, there is a long road ahead but I will “give thanks in ALL circumstances” because I know God has a purpose for all we go through.

Saved To Serve A God Styled Life

Maggie P

Symbols

Deuteronomy 6: 1 – 8

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What do these three items have in common? that was the very question I was asking myself as I was looking around my bedroom earlier today. I am a very visual person and like to have visual reminders all around me and around our home. Eight years ago when we purchased our first home we had walked through it and prayed over every room in the house asking God to bless the use of each room.

You see my husband and I knew on paper it didn’t make sense for us to be able to get a home loan but through much prayer and I believe because of my faithfulness in serving God in the very home we were trying to purchase, our home used to be the preschool I taught in for sixteen years of the eighteen it was opened, God had honored my service to Him by allowing what seemed impossible to be possible! So what do the three items above symbolize to me?

The first item is the Holy Bible, it is a visual reminder to always pray and to sew Gods word into my heart, how many time in the very bedroom that once was where my desk sat when it was a preschool is the very room that I prayed to God that if Martha, the owner of the preschool ever went to sell this house she would offer it to me first, and she did, the first time the timing wasn’t right but the second time is when we got serious and gave it to God to open the doors that needed to be open in order to get this very house!! and that He did, as a promise to God when we got this house we would open it up to serving others, it has been a meeting place for Bible study, a place for friends to gather and a place of comfort for those in need.

The book on the stand is a visual reminder and also written by one of my very favorite Christian authors Max Lucado, throughout our home we have a beach house type theme, my husband and I find peace and rest near the water and the beach has always been one of our favorite spots, this past May we went to North Carolina and spent several days at a lake house, my husband would kayak in the early morning and then again in the early evening, in the evenings I would go down to the dock with him and sit and read and or write while he would take the kayak out on an evening excursion, when we left North Carolina we headed to South Carolina and stayed at an Air B&B on the marsh just one mile from Folly Beach, a completely different setting than the lake but just as beautiful, the marsh has its own set of sights and sounds, in the evenings we would sit on the screened-in porch and listen to those sounds it was very relaxing. As I said I am very visual so we have two memory jars filled with thing from both of those trips, which brings me back to Max Lucado’s book in the picture above the title and cover of the said book brings me peace and reminds me to just breathe.

Lastly, we have the turtle in the picture, the turtle is a symbol of us and a turtle was the very first gift my husband gave me for Christmas twenty-nine years ago when we first started dating, it is something that represents a marriage of twenty-eight years and counting. We have visited a turtle sanctuary and hospital, have seen sea turtle nest up close and personal and have a love for these beautiful creatures. My family lives in Florida near the Emerald Coast and the turtle above is one I purchased to help with turtle rescue and survival in that area. The Emerald Coast has become more commercialized and with thousands upon thousands of tourist a year coming to the beaches of South Walton along with the hurricanes that have hit this area especially hurricane Michael, the turtles need help protecting their nesting areas. 

So how does this all tie into Deuteronomy 6:8, it says;” Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” This scripture was talking about the ten commandments that were just read to the Israelites in chapter 5 when God gave Moses the ten commandments. Webster’s dictionary’s second definition of Symbols is this  ” a thing that represents or stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract.” and this is what represents the above picture. There are visual symbols all around us of God in nature and in our everyday life. Don’t forget to stop and reflect on God for He is everywhere.

 

My Cup Runneth Over

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Psalms 23:5

Sometimes it is all I can do to tie a knot and hang on, I have less than an overflowing attitude, it is more like who pulled the plug in the drain? I focus on the do not have instead of what we do have, basically I give in to stinking thinking.   I don’t know what God is trying to teach us in this season, are we about to experience loss the size of Job? Please, God, I hope not.

Right before Christmas, my husband lost his second job, he worked part-time for a local grocery store in addition to his day job, just 9 months before that he had lost his primary job due to the company closing its doors, so we were just recovering from one job loss(my husband found a new primary job) when the grocery store announced they were closing right before Christmas.

We were struggling before this to get caught up and back on track, this was a hard blow to us financially and mentally if it weren’t for the fact that it is sports season and I am a board op for our local radio station there are many weeks we would not have had anything. Now before you think man she is very ungrateful, let me just say, it is only by the grace of God and the people he has put in our lives that we have made it thus far. A fact that is not wasted on me and my mopping.

Sometimes just getting it out and putting a voice to the thoughts is so much better than just keeping it all bottled up. Each week I am struggling to figure out how to pay and what to pay bill wise, there are things like electricity, house payments, loan payments well you get the idea. So let’s get to the overflowing part because my cup does truly overflow! God has placed some wonderful and very giving people in our lives, I won’t call them out by name but I will tell of their importance in our story.

First up are the inter-tribe members of our life, these are the people whom we are closest to, the people who week after week have bought groceries, paper products, filled our gas tanks, bought us WW goodies so we can stay on program, but most importantly they pray with us and for us. There is also that one person who has gone out of her way to help us find a way to lower our house payment so we can keep paying it and hopefully on-time, she too has prayed with and for us.

So you see while things seem bleak, and I can’t figure out what God wants us to learn in this season, maybe it is just to recognize His hand in every aspect of our lives and not just in the seasons of abundance. Today I will rejoice and be glad in it, for this is the day the Lord has made. And as I count my blessings I realize that My Cup Truly Runs Over!

Saved To Serve A God Styled Life,

Maggie P