Without a hitch we met up with Steve, Marla, Paula and Kater Bugs for lunch and laughter at the Palomar in downtown Santa Cruz. Mike was aptly inspired to purchase a pair of flip flops at a surf shop. We then we strolled hand in hand down the boardwalk and flew across the water with a God's eye view. We stuck our toes in the sand at Seascape beach and then topped off the day under a stand of mighty Eucalyptus trees at Le Selva beach. The time had come to share the vision of dancing with God as we listened to a rhapsody of music while traveling along Pacheco Pass. He dwells within our PRAISES and His radiant power renews, restores and saturates our mind with words, ideas, and memories. God gave us such a magnificent gift in that we GET TO CHOOSE to remind ourselves of what God showed us, where He led us, and in that MEMORY we are blessed with increased HOPE for all the good that is yet to come on earth, as it is in heaven! Refreshed in my spirit, the panorama of our mind is unlimited ~ Bathing my mind with living, lush thoughts ~ another moment with God comes to mind, a time alone dancing in the foam of crashing waves in Chacala ~ A Valentine trip with Jesus Feb 14, 2008. "PEACE, do not be afraid" Only receive the Person of Peace, the Holy Spirit as He takes up residence in thee. My indwelt Peace does not tolerate the spirit of religion and He pokes me with conviction whenever thoughts that I am any less a sinner than the person next to me. Inhabited by the Presence of God, I am His chosen host. Without striving, by my sweet surrender, in sync with the will of God, victory comes effortlessly as I release Peace into the atmosphere of wherever I travel. Our choice of focus can bless us or mess us up if we listen to the liar, and expect that foul things are about to ponce and dash our dreams. Once upon a time, it was a unconscious choice to think that I was unworthy to linger in JOY. Keeping an intensely hectic work schedule, and trying too hard on my own, kept me from experiencing the Peace of God within. Today this KEPT WOMAN has learned that a better more beneficial choice is to practice yielding to God, and simply let God lead, and gleefully walk "this way" in His ever present power. After all, the truth is that God commanded His angels to look after me ~ and I believe what God says is true! In 2008 I pranced along the shores of Chacala with a dream of living JESUS among a simple people that knew Him not ~ On Christmas day 2009, He led me to Chapala! Following Him, required that I trust Him completely along a bumpy path that eventually delivered me to a village of fishermen and expats from around the globe! As a keeper of His Word, and His promises, He delights as I enjoy long walks and talks with Mike. Together we meander on trails along the Delta and in July we allowed waves to wash away our past at Seascape beach. Each moment is a treasure and a reason to praise God for His will and ways to bring people together for His purpose. As He paints magnificent murals to decorate the walls of my mind ~ I rejoice to share the intimacy with the Holy One who coos in my ear. His words, His promises, His instructions, His mercy, His grace, His generosity, and His love erupts within me! My Spirit is quickened with a joyful BITE of His truth ~ that my faith, hope and love of God increases as I love who I am to Him and in Him. Feeling blessed and privileged to be called His own, and to be His 'KEPT' woman, ahhhh I surrender! To be the woman that my Lord treasures as His bride, as a woman of noble character. To believe that I am worth far more than rubies! That my Beloved endowed me with His Holy Spirit, to ensure that I have full confidence and lack nothing of value! That He trusts that my gifts, my service, my work, my love shall bring Him honor and glory all the days of my life. That I will select the most basic labors and work with eager hands. My Lord sees the larger map of my soul, that I am His vessel that brings sustenance, His sustaining food, from a Source that is far distant from this world. He wakes me up while it is still dark, to provide nourishment for the family of souls that He surrounds me with. As He overflows me with an abundance, I am able to give a portion to those that serve me. He made it possible for me to consider a field in Mexico, and purchase it; out of my earnings and from my inheritance, I am able to plant a vineyard for a future harvest. Because of His generosity, I've been enabled by the Holy Spirit to set about my work vigorously, with strength in my arms for the tasks. Sharpened in His wisdom, my trading of hours for dollars is profitable, and there is ever adequate Oil for the Lamp within my soul. He has placed in my hands the ability to grasp opportunity with my fingers and open my arms to the poor in Spirit. My desire is to extend hope to the desperate who know not that they need God. When the tides change, there is no fear in me for lack, for I am able to cover my lot with the blood of Jesus. He blankets me with protection as I rest in Him. My Lord has clothed me in His fine royal robe of righteousness. My Master's will is respected "IN" and at the gate of my mind and soul, where He sits on His throne among the elder saints of this world. Telling the stories of the saints of old, I paint word pictures for this generation in His order that the Word is visible, and God's vision journeys on to touch future generations. Even in 1969, in this High School photo, unbeknownst to me, I was clothed with His love, His strength, grace and dignity Today in 2012 I am released to laugh at the days to come, no matter what condition the world is in, or the economy of Stockton. The Holy Spirit enables me to speak with wisdom, and delight in the faithful instruction that is on my tongue. My Lord has taught me to watch carefully over the inside condition of my tent, and reminds me to not eat the bread of idleness. His children shall awaken, and call me blessed; as will my Husband also, as He praises me now, saying "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." Proverbs 31 embraced by His chosen bride, Barbara Alley. KEEPING a photo journal is my visual reminder that my EXTERIOR appearance matters NOT to God. The condition of my INTERIOR soul, where the Holy Spirit resides, is where I clean regularly by confession to keep it comfy for my holy Spirit. God has used my brokeness, my pain, my denial, to show me the TRUTH that only the gift of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, can enable me to experience the power of a changed life in Christ. The comments below this post REVEAL that I have always been His beloved KEPT WOMAN. The truth behind each image is that I was lost, empty and afraid. I was babtized and given the gift of the Holy Spirit on June 19, 1985. But without my complete surrender, as I held on to parts of myself, I continued to struggle as I grieved the Holy Spirit. It is my hope that today I reflect God. No matter what my exterior fashion is. As a chosen daughter, a princess of the most high King, I am who I am, and I am constantly AMAZED by His grace as I look back on how distant, how neglectful I have been to the Lover of my SOUL. "But you will receive power WHEN the Holy Spirit comes to you. THEN you will be My witnesses to testify about me in Jerusalem (Stockton), throughout Judea (Mexico) and Samaria (all nations), and to the ends of the earth." I am blessed and full of praise for Who created me, for Who faithfully has loved me unconditionally, Who has never left my side, for Who dwells in the midst of me, without judgement, but full of mercy and a burning desire for my call on His wisdom. The confident knowledge of this world is vast. But, the idea of the ideal is also of the world. Whatever science reveals to be truth ~ has the thumbprint of man ~ who was created by God! What I choose TODAY to believe is different than many. It also may cause argument and outgage, as it always has. Being rejected by intellectuals puts me in the company of God. The mind of man is a trap for that which pours in through the eyes, the ears, and the dark influences. I believe the only true wisdom is from God, the author of my soul. A KEPT woman who is enraptured by the love of God, listens for His voice and trusts what the Spirit is saying. People come along with ideas about God, some science, and a theory that as long as we are kind, good people, God will allow us to be close to Him, that He will respond to our prayers. Some people of FAITH tempt us to "come along, don't be so serious, party with us ~ drink wine, be happy!" The LIAR comes along side to entice us with a promies of riches, of fame and all that money can buy while gaining recognition and high regard by our peers. The dark one hovers with clouds of doubt...and whispers, "you are nothing, you will never be anything, go ahead kill your miserable self, forget God, he never loved you, you have nothing to live for....just shoot yourself and get the pain over with!" All the innocent woman wanted was the PEACE that surpasses all understanding, her Everything. That sense of purpose, of being truly loved and cherished. She fights to return to God, His Peace, the Holy Spirit, her Counselor, Helper, Comforter, while the ways of the world lay grip on her soul --to keep her from LOVE itself. BUT our SIN is like WATER that is poured over the FIRE of the HOLY SPIRIT. Our sin grieves the HOLY SPIRIT and until we confess, and AGREE with God that we have sinned, and turn away from our "old" ways, we cannot abide in His full power. Jesus is the Light, the Truth, and the Way to the everlasting presence of the Holy Spirit...now and forever. Through continual repentance, by constantly agreeing that I am nothing without God, that I am easily tempted and taken off His path by pleasure, by beauty, by the promises of the culture, the TV, the news, by the fleeting ways of the world. To give God my soul, my body, my mind as a living sacrifice, is craziness to the world! A very funny but true comment I heard in a sermon stuck in my spirit: "Living sacrifices tend to crawl off the alter!" YUP ~ we all sin, we all fall short, and we all need grace every day! God's purpose for ALL of us is found in scripture - "And so dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him" Romans 12:1 -- To DENY myself, my wants, my needs, my desires and surrender completely? To obey God's Word, His leading and serve others, unselfishly ~ this command is entirely IMPOSSIBLE without the HOLY HELPER! Why do I love God? How can I love God so much? What power do I possess outside of the Holy Spirit? What chance do I have without God on my side? What possibility do I have to radiate peace, joy and beam happiness without God? Because, He first loved me, I have been given His love, to love others with! In order to continuously be filled with the Holy Spirit, we must continually AGREE that we fall short, that we mess up, that we sin against a holy God. The Holy Spirit cannot abide where sin exists. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we lie, gossip, covet, speak ill of others, exhibit anger, treat others disrespectfully ~ or say that we do not sin. The apostle Peter reminds me that we are all quick to deny God to protect ourselves from not being respected by man. The Holy Spirit resides within us, He is holy, so we must remain holy to remain filled and useful. No matter how shiny we keep our exterior, or how wide we smile and recite scripture, the power of the Holy Spirit will NOT work through us, or speak through us when we proclaim the truth of the bible. Our job is to simply tell our story, to speak the truth outloud to others. The Holy Spirit then enters the hearts of those we speak to and does the work - the conversion. Trusting NOT in our ability, but in the power that is given as a GOOD GIFT, the Holy Spirit, the Helper, our Comforter, the mighty filling of the Counselor..."So that whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything to the glory of God." Acts 4:31. On my own, I cannot do anything worthy of God's glory WITHOUT the help of the Holy Spirit. ALL human research or example HAS defects of character, including mine. Human love is always conditional, but when the love of God, and the fear (respect) of God, and Who HE is...engulfs a soul, the unconditional reality of God's love is then available to offer another. Our FAITH in He who resides within overpowers all that comes against us, that battles within us, to accomplish our Fathers will. AMEN The self-torture to believe my doubts, and doubt my beliefs had me clinging to any new teaching that came along. The passing praise of people looses its power to inflame us with pride ~ while all along, God the Father, Jesus the Son, the Holy Spirit, all in One, is Who pursues, it is He that captures our heart, it is He who draws us unto Himself. When we come to realize that our way is inferior, He delights in our surrender, and our request for His HELP! We go home to the Father to be comforted and wiped clean, renewed, and forgiven. We who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior have always been the host of the Holy Ghost! He has waited for us to claim His power and allow Him to shed light and transform our thoughts to His. What man does with the intent of doing harm --- SURPRISE! Our sweet merciful Lord, as in the story of Joesph ---uses the intended harm in a way that brings honor and glory to the Creator of all people! Ask to be shown what to confess, Ask for more faith, Ask to be used, Ask for a miracle, Ask to be changed, Ask, Ask, Ask and it is be given, full measure, pressed down, according to your faith,He overwhelms us with greater than our wildest expectations. God uses all things for good! For His glory...always, every day! He used a shoe salesman that could not write, spell or understand the bible to reach millions---DL MOODY. God wants to take pleasure in watching us use the gifts He has given us. Hmmm, How can I increase my Father's joy today? I am a 'KEPT' Woman! You see, there were a few times when I thought I would lose my mind, But GOD kept me sane. There are also times that I think I cannot get out of bed, But the LORD keeps me moving. At rare times, if I feel like lashing out at those whom I suspect in my flesh are devising wicked schemes against others, or me ~ I ask God to HELP ~ and He is faithful to give me patience, and to keep my lips sealed so that I do not interrupt the lessons for others or stir up dissension. God gave us unique personalities, talents and a strong will ~ for us to exercise, that we may accomplish all that we desire. The very desires of our hearts is a vision, a gift, an opportunity to vigorously utilize the immense power we have been given to realize what we imagine! What we VALUE above all tells the world about our faith in God. What if we VALUE our mate, our children, our home, our work most of all ~ and what if we loose them to My passion for more of God is what keeps me climbing UP and UP and UP! When I thought I would fall, HE lifted me up, when I am weak, HE keeps me strong! Increase my faith oh Lord, that You shall satisfy my desire to connect with a man who seeks You, who VALUES GOD above all things or people. Active, walking in faith, and being transformed by the renewing of my mind, God makes me GLAD with His often humorous, and surprising provision! Tuned into the 700 CLUB, Pastor Marc Maffucci, Pastor Mark Seagraves, and Pastor Bill in Redding ~ God answers even the silent prayers of the heart that He loves! In His time, for His purpose and for His pleasure. Yes Lord, thank You for this amazing life, and for introducing me to my personal angel! ACTS 12 - "But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we've compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we're in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ." Romans 3:21 THE MESSAGE ~ The peace of Peter allowed him to sleep so soundly that the Angel of God had to rattle him awake!" "Peter is at the door!" The praying believers responded "You're out of your mind, it must be Peter's angel." Peter persisted in his knocking, they opened the door and they were ASTONISHED that their prayers for his release were answered! Let us NOT be astonished when God answers our prayers! We are His greatest pleasure! REJOICE!