LollipopandPearls Theme Song

"Lollipop and Pearls" - Jared Kraft

Monday, April 26, 2010

Great giveaway!!!

My friend, Sheri, at Unexpected Bliss is doing this fabulous giveaway (details below). You should visit her site and enter the contest...but you must work hard to beat me! hehehehehe

You know it’s going to be a good week when it starts with a giveaway, right? I went to a carnival fun night at a local school this weekend, and I won an awesome iPod Touch and iTunes gift card in their raffle! I don’t need an iPod touch, in fact I would probably never figure out how to use it, so I am giving it away to one of my lucky readers! Can’t beat that, can ya?

This is a brand new Apple iPod touch 8gb with a $15 iTunes gift card.

Here’s how to enter:

Leave a comment here telling me what you would do with this iPod touch if you win – would you keep it or give it away, and to whom. One comment per person, but there are other ways to enter.

More ways to enter:

* Subscribe to Unexpected Bliss.
* Mention this giveaway on your blog (include direct link in your comment)
* Follow me on Twitter (@UnexpectedBliss), leave a comment with your Twitter id.
* For an extra entry, tweet on Twitter about this giveaway. This may be done as often as you want, leave a comment for each tweet with the link to your comment and your Twitter id.

For each of the above that you do, leave 1 comment on this giveaway post, ie 1 comment if you subscribe, 1 comment if you follow me on Twitter, 1 comment for each tweet, 1 comment for mentioning this on your blog.

There will also be an additional chance to enter later this week; I will provide another opportunity in an upcoming post about Mother’s Day, so check back.

That is a lot of chances to win!

Open to US addresses only. Please make sure you leave a valid email address with each entry. The winner will be chosen via and will have 72 hours to respond to my email notification. If I do not hear back within that time I will pick another winner.

This giveaway will end May 3, 2010 at midnight CST.

If you don’t see your comment right away, it will show up shortly. I’ve been getting crazy spam comments lately, so my filter is blocking a lot. I will make sure all the giveaway comments are posted, so don’t submit twice. Thanks!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"This is the day the Lord has made...

...I will rejoice and be glad in it!

The handiwork of God just down the street from my house one morning...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Good" Grief, part 2

In June of 2009 I wrote a post entitled "Good" Grief after I lost a dear friend, Melissa, to cancer. Charlie Brown often used that phrase "good grief" when he was flustered. Yet, is there such a thing as "good" grief? Is that not an oxymoron? Grief HURTS! defines grief this way: "The normal process of reacting to a loss. The loss may be physical (such as a death), social (such as divorce), or occupational (such as a job). Emotional reactions of grief can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness, and despair. Physical reactions of grief can include sleeping problems, changes in appetite, physical problems, or illness." offers this perspective on grief: "..Grief is your emotional reaction to a significant loss. The words sorrow and heartache are often used to describe feelings of grief. Whether you lose a beloved person, animal, place, or object, or a valued way of life (such as your job, marriage, or good health), some level of grief will naturally follow.

Anticipatory grief is grief that strikes in advance of an impending loss. You may feel anticipatory grief for a loved one who is sick and dying. Similarly, both children and adults often feel the pain of losses brought on by an upcoming move or divorce. This anticipatory grief helps us prepare for such losses.
What is grieving?

Grieving is the process of emotional and life adjustment you go through after a loss. Grieving after a loved one's death is also known as bereavement.

Grieving is a personal experience. Depending on who you are and the nature of your loss, your process of grieving will be different from another person's experience. There is no "normal and expected" period of time for grieving. Some people adjust to a new life within several weeks or months. Others take a year or more, particularly when their daily life has been radically changed or their loss was traumatic and unexpected."

I know of no one who anticipates grief with joy! Grief denotes loss of someone or something important to us. Grief is the natural response to painful stimuli and is necessary for healing to occur. Grief suppressed creates further physical, emotional, mental and perhaps even social problems. Like a pebble dropped into a stream causes ripples in the water, so concealed grief creates swells of negative ramifications on the body, soul, mind and spirit.

This past couple of weeks have wrought havoc on my life in every possible fashion. My pastor for 13 years, who married Rodney and me, who baptized Rodney and ordained him as a deacon, who came to the hospital when my eldest 2 children were born, passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's (and can I say that I detest that disease and it's effects!). I attended his memorial service at my home church, a celebration of his life well served in the ministry, both as a pastor, and later at Lifeway. His gentle manner, soft soul for things of the Lord, and his passion for his family blessed the lives of countless folks over the years, and his legacy lives on.

On the heels of that experience, my Aunt Bibbie died in Orlando, Florida, where she and her beloved husband, Uncle Jerry, have lived with their daughter since my Aunt's diagnosis with Alzheimer's. I went every summer for years to visit with them in Atlanta and, later in Fayetteville, GA. Their daughter, Susan, and I looked a lot alike when we were growing up. Both my aunt and uncle used to randomly laugh or break into an extreme smile while saying to me, about something I did or said, "Oh, you are so much like our Susan!" My aunt was a saint and IS a saint in Heaven right now! She endured much in this earthly life: raising 3 children while my uncle was away at war (she was a concert pianist and taught lessons in her home to help provide for the children); their eldest son committed suicide 29-years ago, and from that point on my Uncle went down hill quickly, struggling with alcohol, Meniere's Disease and utter depression, rarely moving from his chair in grief. Their youngest son married and had 2 children, with limited contact with their grandparents on that side of the family. That son passed away a couple of years ago, leaving only their daughter to care for them. My precious aunt has now died of Alzheimer's related stuff. My Mom and I drove to Mendenhall, Mississippi to the funeral for her. Seeing my uncle for the first time in years brought me almost as much grief as burying my aunt. He went from being very overweight to being extremely thin, confined to a wheelchair, and doesn't know who I am. Though it was not unexpected, it hurts nonetheless, as I feel as though I have buried him, too. Praise the Lord he does know my Mom (his sister) and I am so grateful for that. My beautiful cousin, Susan, is no longer working and caring wonderfully for her parents. Oh, that we all would be so blessed with care like that from our child(ren) if needed.

Have we forgotten Haiti and it's people? It is a natural, though unacceptable, progression, once the media leaves a place like Haiti, to simply return to our "normal" life, and forget what those destitute people are enduring. If you are reading this, you likely remember me writing about our Haitian pastor friend and brother, Romano, who lost a brother in the quake. He since has moved his sister, another brother, and the 2 children of his deceased brother to live with him in the Dominican Republic in his very small 3-room home. He had to drop out of the university in the DR to help with Haiti relief. He had to get another pastor to lead his church for a while, as he has been going in and out of Haiti with GO Ministries to help assess where help is most needed and to translate. This is no short trip in and out and he does it nearly every week. He is emotionally and physically drained; yet, his faith in the Lord endures! Just a couple of days ago, his nephew (whom I guessing to be about 10 or so), the son of his brother who died, was admitted to the hospital for 3 days with a fever and has now died. I know no further details at this point! So I find myself asking, "Lord, how much more?!" My faith is weak right now...BUT faithful!

The promise of God in Romans 8:28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." It says we KNOW that...God works for GOOD (even in grief)...IF we LOVE HIM and ARE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE! But I find myself doubting during these painful, trying times! My grief is real; it is deep; is hurts badly; it is raw and full of emotion...and questions! Yet, my God is faithful in ALL things, and He WILL see me through this, He WILL see my cousin and uncle through these times, He WILL comfort my pastor's family missing him every moment of every day, and He WILL bring Romano and his family through these dark and painful days to bring good out of it. HE WILL! He says so! He promises! I, however, am weak...BUT...HE is strong! May we never forget that, and may we never forget those who grieve...and may we never forget Haiti!

Oh, and a suggestion that someone made to me long ago that I have tried to remember, and want to share with you: immediately after a loss, people tend to call, write, come and want to help. Once the dust has settled, however, and everyone has gone back to life "as normal", the grieving soul still grieves, and the days and nights grow long, and dark, and lonely. Why not send a card a month or so after the death? Better yet, purchase a card for each month, go ahead and address and stamp the card, mark your calendar and send a card each month, or every other month. Unless you have been on the receiving end of that, you will NEVER know how much it means to the recipient!)

Thank-you for your patience with his lengthy post. Guess I am making up for all the times I do not post :-)

Be blessed!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The eyes have it...and Tim Conway, the dentist!!

It has been said that the "eyes are the window to the soul". Have you ever looked into someone eyes and determined the state of their soul? Has it ever occurred to you that others may look at your eyes and see the transparency of your heart? It is often easy to discern the state of a pet's emotions by it's eyes. Our eyes say much about who we are and how we feel. Take heed that the light of God's love is radiating from your eyes!

Every closed eye is not sleeping, and every open eye is not seeing.
~~Bill Cosby

The way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason.
~~Benjamin Franklin

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.
~~Mohandas Gandhi

Do everything as in the eye of another.
~~Lucius Annaeus Seneca

The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me.
~~Meister Eckhart

With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.
~~William Wordsworth

Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.
~~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

The eye is the notebook of the poet.
~~James Russell Lowell


To bring a smile to your face and add a gleam to your eye, I share with you the following clip, sent to me by my dentist this afternoon, just after filling 5 of my sons teeth! Yes, you heard me correctly--5! Can you say $$$$$$$!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Giving back...

I read this post today and was touched in several ways. I appreciate anyone who is willing to put all pride aside and be transparent with feelings, positive and negative, that go deep to the core of the soul! That takes courage! I also am touched that one would ask for help when help is needed, rather than living a lie of "Oh, I'm fine"...when feeling the weight of the world crashing down. I admire anyone who would give away an item they had worked long and hard to be able to purchase, hoping to get back on track. How many of us would exemplify that courage, take those risks, and be that transparent to many people, most of whom she/he doesn't even know?! So, I ask you first of all to pray for her, that God will ease her burdens in life and give her clear direction; and secondly I ask you to visit her site, read past posts to catch up to the events leading to the most current post; and, if interested, enter her giveaway for a Nikon D40 camera, lens, and accessories. However, please keep the main thing the main thing: we need to pray for one another, those we know, those we have never met, and we need to assist those in need in whatever ways we can! May God richly bless you as you prayerfully read this post and consider how you may help!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday's here! He is risen!

HALLELUJAH! Jesus Christ conquered death and hell! He broke out of the grave, and rose to the right hand of His Father! HALLELUJAH! What a Savior!

1 Cor. 15:3: "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

9For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed...

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For he "has put everything under his feet."[c] Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all....

51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."[g]
55 "Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"[h] 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

HE IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD! HALLELUJAH! And, so,those who are in Christ celebrate this day~and every day~the resurrected Christ! Our hope and our confidence is in His coming again to take us home with Him for eternity~ in perfection, face-to-face with Christ our Savior, no longer dimly as in a mirror! HALLELUJAH! May it be on earth as it is in Heaven!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sunday's a'comin....

Sunday's a'comin'...and because of the Resurrection, we have life eternal! Enough said!
You Raise Me Up—Selah

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Oxymoron: Triumphal Entry

TRIUMPH: a victory or conquest. A notable success. Prevail. To celebrate a victory…

Does it not sound like an oxymoron to you that at the beginning of the end for the Savior of the world, Jesus, He made his “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem? Triumphal?!

The Triumphal Entry (NIV)
Matthew 21: As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
5 “Say to the Daughter of Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ”
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosannad in the highest!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Good Friday…the day Jesus was crucified, AFTER His “triumphal” entry into Jerusalem to be tried, convicted, and crucified~ the most horrible, grueling, painful, reserved for the worst-of-the-worst criminals death~ and it was a triumph! YES, IT WAS! Jesus triumphed over Satan, over death, over hell, over the grave and put on the crown of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! HALLELUJAH!

One of my sweet Father’s favorite hymns that we sung at his homegoing service was “He Arose” (Robert Lowry, 1874):
“Lo, in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior.
Waiting the coning day, Jesus my Lord.

Up from the grave He arose with a mighty triumph o’er His foes!
He arose the victor of the dark domain, and He lives forever with the saints to reign!
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah, Christ arose!”

For those of us who have willfully and deliberately chosen to invite Him to be the Savior and Lord of our lives and have aligned our life and our will with His life and will, it is a triumph for us, as well! We no longer fear death because we know that “for me to live is Christ, to die is gain”, and we know where our eternal destination is: in Heaven with our Creator, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Lord, our Father, and our brother, Jesus Christ! Have you ever realized the Jesus is your brother?! Are you even able to wrap your brain around that concept! HALLELUJAH!

So while today is humbling and a time to pensively ponder the price Jesus Paid for our sin so we would not have to pay the eternal death, we need not stay in that frame of mind…because remember: it’s Friday but Sunday’s a’comin!

Matthew 27 (NIV)
27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”
41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

45 From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”
65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.