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February 2016
Issue #30

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Cheryl Barker - Refreshing Spirits, Nourishing Souls

In This Issue:
"Answers to Prayer Fall Like Snow" by Cheryl Barker
“Trusting in God's Better View” by Kristi Woods
Like Snow" by Jeneal Rogers
"Covered” by Cheryl Barker

Quote:

"There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance." William Sharp, Scottish writer, 1855-1905
 

Scripture:
“He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes." Psalm 147:16 NIV

News:
--BroadStreet Publishing has slated Cheryl's book for mothers of the bride to release on June 1. She is working with their team now to get it ready for release. 

--A poem of Cheryl's that's been previously used by Blue Mountain Arts has been included in their new gift book compilation I Love You, Mom. It released yesterday.

--Cheryl sold a poem to Blue Mountain Arts for use on an upcoming greeting card. It is for daughters and should come out later this year.

--Cheryl is hosting the One-More-Chance Starbucks Giveaway this month. Deadline to enter is Feb. 10. Check the giveaway post for details!

--Cheryl blogs twice weekly on her inspirational blog as well as her Mother of the Bride blog. She invites you to join her there and prays you'll be blessed when you visit.

*Be sure to check the social media buttons at the top of the newsletter. Cheryl would love to connect with you in a variety of ways!
Welcome
Snow is one of God's many wonders. When he sends it, it transforms the world around us. Snow can be beautiful but can also be fearsome. We can draw many life lessons from it. I hope you'll be blessed as you read some thoughts about snow today!

*If you enjoy reading Life Notes, would you please tell others about it and encourage them to sign up for their free subscription on my website? Thank you!

Answers to Prayer Fall Like Snow
by Cheryl Barker

Since snow is still a very real possibility for many of us in February, now is the perfect time to share a snowy word picture.

Ole Hallesby said, “As white snowflakes fall quietly and thickly on a winter day, answers to prayer will settle down upon you at every step you take, even to your dying day. The story of your life will be the story of prayer and answers to prayer.”
 
What a beautiful picture—and more than that, what a glorious thought.
 
Let’s imagine it for a minute. We’re standing outside while snow is falling all around us. Big snowflakes glide gently down, looking so picturesque. As we delight in the wonder of it all, we begin to see it in an even more amazing way. The snowflakes aren’t snowflakes at all but answers to prayer. In that moment, we see the true beauty of our lives and we feel rich.
 
It makes me think about all the people who have prayed for me over the years. Are you thinking the same about your own life?
 
Parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, husbands, wives, children, friends, pastors, teachers. Even strangers may have prayed for us when they saw us in tough spots or heard about our desperate need. And let’s not forget Jesus. Scripture tells us that Christ himself is at the right hand of God praying for us (Romans 8:34). How blessed we are, living lives filled with the fruit of their prayers.
 
Consider this as well: In the same way, we have blessed the lives of others by praying for them. Some of these blessings we get to witness while others we may never see.
 
So let’s think for a moment. How many people have we touched through our prayers? How many life stories have our prayers impacted? How many people have shaped our life stories? Mine has been shaped by some of you.
 
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ll ever look at falling snowflakes in the same way again. I’ll be seeing your prayers. And I’ll be thanking God for you.
 
“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3 NIV

*Whose prayers are you especially thankful for today?

Trusting in God's Better View
by Kristi Woods

Are we really going out in that? The roads look incredibly slick. And there’s so much snow . . .
 
Visions of ditches and cars mixing like oil and water danced in my head.
 
I don’t want to go out there. Can’t we just stay in where it’s safe? 
 
I hadn’t driven in snow in nearly twenty years. We’d lived with palm trees, beaches, oceans, and sun, but little snow. My usually calm and queasy-free stomach bounced around in a dizzying merry-go-round of emotions.
 
What little winter driving confidence I had was lost the moment my car began a winter’s waltz on a snowy road nearly twenty-five years ago. That little silver bullet of mine slipped and slid right into the ditch. I wasn’t hurt—nor was the silver bullet—but the fear-filled memory of that slippery trip off the road still remained fresh. My churning stomach was certain evidence.
 
Wonderful Husband planned to be at the wheel this time, so I’m not sure why I was so nervous. He had a clean driving record and had even previously performed successful Dukes of Hazard vehicular moves in the name of our safety. He had the ability.
 
But, the view from our dining room window was stuck in my mind: snow, and loads of it.
 
Slick roads.
 
Cars and ditches mixing like oil and water.
 
Danger. Do not go out.
 
But we did.
 
I perched myself and my churning stomach onto the passenger seat of our minivan. Somehow the seat belt clicked. Moments later we began the descent down our hilly, concrete drive.
 
Hmmm. So far, so good. It doesn’t seem like we’re slipping.
 
A sigh of relief tippy-toed into my mind as we crept safely down the steep incline.
 
By the time we reached town, that sigh of relief had turned into tap dancing. We had clear roads! It was a completely different view than what I had witnessed from my dining room window. Both the main roads and the city streets were void of snow and ice. There was no danger.
 
As I glanced at the black pavement, a God-thought rang in my head.
 
See what happens when you step away from your small view? 
My view is different. 
My ways are higher.
 
The dining room view suggested a white, slippery trek. My view, holding hands with fear from the past, said danger ahead. Beyond that dining room, however, lay a different view. 
And, it was safe.
 
Our walk with God often mimics this. Often we see only what’s right in front of us: the problem, the trial, even the “good”. Fear keeps us contained in a small view. But when we step in faith, in relationship, in prayer and trust, a different view emerges.
 
Problems find solutions through prayer and faith.
His ways are higher.
Trials transform into victory as we draw near.
His ways are higher.
“Good” transforms into “best” as trust intertwines with the Lord’s plan.
His ways are higher.
 
What are you facing today? Are you standing at your dining room window, small view intact? I understand. I was there, too, my friend.
 
But what if black pavement lies ahead? 
 
This one thing today,
 
for you,
 
for me:
 
His ways are higher.
 
“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 NLT
 
Kristi Woods is a writer and speaker passionate about seeing women walk deeper with God. She clicks her words of encouragement regularly at KristiWoods.net and is published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and Premonitions as well as on various blogs. Kristi, her retired-from-the-military husband, and their three children survived a nomadic lifestyle and have now set roots in Oklahoma. Connect with Kristi on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and on Instagram.

Like Snow
by Jeneal B. Rogers

You shuffle along
On a path gray and dim
All sharp edges
Hard
Frigid
Harsh
Nothing to muffle the cacophony of the world’s demands
Ease its pain and despair
Or cover the stench of its sin
 
And then
A shift
Unexpected
Unmistakable
Undeniable
You inhale deeply, ravenously
Gulping in the sweet aroma of its promise
Hope surrounds
 
You lift your face to receive
A million tiny kisses
From a powerful force
Gentle and tender
They land on cheek and brow
Forgiving
Cleansing
Freeing
Mercy falls
 
You look straight up
Mesmerized
Lifting your arms into its embrace
You join the dance
Twirling
Breathtaking
Exhilarating
Joy swirls
 
In huge chunks it floats down
You become still
And you rest in it
Peace
Quiet
Comfort
Grace descends
 
You travel now
On a path that is changed
A world of bright whiteness
Sparkling and sweet
Rounded
Softened
Pure
Salvation blankets
 
Like snow
 

Jeneal Rogers is a writer and a visual artist who lives in southeast Missouri. She invites you to check out her illustrations in “I Love You Sour, I Love You Sweet,” an alphabet book written by bestselling author Anita Higman. It was published by Armonia Publishing and released this January, just in time for Valentine’s Day. You may find “I Love You Sour, I Love You Sweet” on Amazon.

Covered
by Cheryl Barker

Anyone anywhere covered by a blanket of snow right now? Here in our corner of the nation’s breadbasket, we haven’t seen much of the white stuff this winter. However, some regions of the country have been hit hard with heavy snowfalls in recent days and weeks—the kind of heavy snows that can be hard to dig out from under.
 
Of course, there are those of us who may be covered by other things today even weightier than snow. Some are covered by the burdens of grief, debt, pain, fear, or broken relationships while others of us in happier seasons are feeling blanketed with joy, excitement, gratitude, renewed strength, or love.
 
Whatever our differing situations, whatever we’re covered with today, isn’t it good to know that we can all be covered with the love of God? That because Jesus shed his own blood to pay the price for our sins, we can all be covered with forgiveness and salvation if we’ll only call on him? Isn’t it good to know we can all be covered by his grace, covered with the hope he gives?
 
Yes, we can all be blanketed with the peace that can only be found in the Lord. And that’s something that weighs light. Something we’ll never want to dig out from under.
 
“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered." Psalm 32:1 NIV
 

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