Beautiful Light

Beautiful Light

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sign in, Unsuccessful???

There is so much going on isn't there?  I don't know about anyone else but it has felt like a pressure cooker lately that could literally explode at times.  So much is happening now!

I know so many people that are suffering and hurting. 

Tonight when I was checking my messages I saw the statement, "sign in unsuccessful."

Ever have times like that?  When it feels like you are being ignored and not being answered?  I am  thanking God that His messages are never unanswered or unopened.

It doesn't matter what mood you are in, whether you want to say one word or a dozen of them.  Jesus loves hearing from us!  You mean even when I'm venting and complaining that He still cares???  Yes, He does!

Even though I have No Idea what is going on in my life right now it is comforting to know that there is someone who will Always listen. 

The mail that I send to Him is Never marked "return to sender." 

There is so much power and comfort in listening.  Letting someone else vent helps the person feel validated and valued.  Isn't that what we all want?

Sometimes silence can be comforting, especially when you're not sitting alone.  When it's silent you can hear the birds outside, feel the wind blowing by your house, hear the water move in a fish tank. 

I wonder, does God give us times of silence too? 

Does a child feel it when their parent checks on them when they are sleeping?  Does a great teacher stand over the student all the time or does he/she give the pupil some distance and see if they can figure it out themselves? 

There is a big difference in being told something all the time and getting a chance to learn how to do it.  Is it possible that Jesus does that with us?

I'm beginning to think so! 

Sometimes when I talk to God I babble about anything.  I love that what I say to Him doesn't have to be perfect.  He doesn't ask me to be quiet or talk about something else.  He is the best listener that anyone can have!

Maybe the word break-through exists for a reason?  Maybe it means something has to break to get through something?  Food for thought...

Thank you Jesus for always being there to listen!  I love you!

Maria

Thursday, May 4, 2017

First book published! :-)

















Hi everyone,

My book Thyme and Seasonings has been published and posted online!

It has been such a long journey getting this done!  Thank you everyone so much for all your support, patience, and prayers!!!!  It feels amazing!

It is posted on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Westbow.  Thought y'all would like to see them! :-)

Love y'all,

Maria

https://www.amazon.com/Thyme-Seasonings-Maria-Bakera/dp/1512781134/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1493916488&sr=8-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thyme-and-seasonings-maria-bakera/1126295804?ean=9781512781137

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-001123881/Thyme-and-Seasonings.aspx

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Why Is It

It has been a long time since I have written anything. You know there is something that you need to do, and yet finding every single excuse in the book to not take care of what you are supposed to do.

Take for example, I am in the process of getting my first book published. As excited as I am it is also frightening, surreal, and a dream that I have always imagined. Whenever I watched a story about a writer getting their book printed a wave of excitement came over me thinking about how wonderful it would be.

Then comes reality. Appointments, things to do, ya de ya da, nothing gets done. Another day goes by. My goal for the day, getting some writing done. Again, ya de ya da. Nothing. Who is there to blame? No one except myself. Again.

My book still needs finishing details, and as much as I wanted to work on it today, I found myself getting distracted "purposely this time" working on mundane projects that are not nearly as important as getting the book done.

While I was mindlessly, and I mean Mindlessly, organizing drawers, straightening up my room, watching shows on TV, God got my attention. In a gentle tone I sensed Him telling me, "If you only wrote a page a day for a year that would be 365 pages that are done." His statement took me aback. Ouch! Writing a page doesn't take a lot of time and yet, I have been procrastinating...for what!...Fear!

I have let fear stop me from being who I really am, a writer. Not anymore! The truth is when you step out and take a chance you "don't" know what words will end up on paper. You don't know what will be! That is part of life. Taking a chance. Jumping into the unknown.

When God wants you to do something trust that He will give you what you need to do it. And as much as it would be dreamed of, He is not going to wave a magic wand and "poof" it happens. If God did that then we wouldn't grow. People go to the gym to strengthen their muscles. Time to exercise ours.

Stand in faith, Go for it, and Don't Be Afraid! God Will Catch You!!!

May this message Be a Blessing In Your Lives and Mine!

Maria

Its Forever Right

Tonight as I was holding my dog in my lap my mind began to think about a few things...

Relationships.  How much work they take, and what it means to be in them.

It means accepting people for who they are: the good And the bad.

It is realizing that the bumps that are going on today are just bumps and not potholes.

It is forgiving others, and at times even yourself, for the expectations that you have imagined in your relationship.  What you think 'will' happen will not be the way you expect.  Nothing can be planned out completely.

Take for example my puppy, who is really almost 7 years old but I call him puppy anyway. :-)

Sometimes he is the sweetest dog that you will ever meet.  Attentive, loving, protective, loves to snuggle, lets me know when people are around.

He sounds like the best dog right?  Let me tell you the rest about him.  He steals food, sometimes barks incessantly, steals paper towels, rummages through the bathroom trash.  He can be grouchy and nip at times.  Sometimes he has an attitude.  But, it doesn't matter.  I love him anyway!

Because for me he is the best dog that I could ever ask for.  'That' is what matters!  He is the best For Me!

Why is it easier to be more accepting of animals than people?!

Everyone that has been created has been given free will to make choices for themselves.  What will I wear, what is my favorite color, etc.  What about myself?  What decisions have I made, what are some of my mistakes?

Maybe if you are like me at times in a relationship you may feel like you don't have a clue what you are doing and completely perplexed at times.  At first in this relationship I was trying to be the best girlfriend that I can be...What exactly is that?  Is there a definition?

I am realizing that the best girlfriend that I can be is being myself and not giving more or less than that.

Years ago I was inspired to write a book about "times and seasons" in our lives using cooking analogies called "Thyme and Seasonings".  Tonight I thought about a couple more...

Imagine you have a beautiful piece of salmon, and for my vegetarian friends imagine a gorgeous butternut squash.

Salmon has a lot of scales.  As delicious as it is, eating it with all of the scales on the fish will not be as appetizing.  It is going to take a lot of work to get all of the scales removed from it.  It will be worth it though right?!

Now back to the butternut squash.  Nothing is as silky as a luscious butternut squash soup.  Also, if you don't have the right equipment it can be difficult cutting and peeling it.  If you do not have the correct knife and peeler you could have 'quite' the time getting the squash ready to roast in the oven.  Believe me I Know.

I am going to call the 'bumps in the road' phase 'scaling a fish' or 'preparing butternut squash soup' instead.  

The reason that I am going to change the name is because it will help remind me to look at the bigger goal of being together.  Its forever right?!

So now, who cares if there are a few extra scales that are more challenging to remove than others.  When I get frustrated instead I will stay focused on how wonderful the salmon will taste after it is cooked.  I will remember how creamy and smooth butternut squash soup is supposed to taste when you take the first bite...Yum!

So, if you are like me, and you find yourself feeling stressed and/or overwhelmed remember the bigger goal...it's the 'soup' and the 'salmon that you are after...Right?!




Wednesday, August 3, 2016

It Doesn't Have to Be

It doesn't have to be the way that you think something works out.  As long as it does...

I used to believe this.  I have always been known as the encourager.  The one that lifts others up when they are feeling down. 

What if you find yourself losing strength to keep doing that?  What if you start to lose faith in what you have always believed? 

When I was watching one of my favorite movies called Kickboxer I realized something.  My favorite part of the film isn't when the battle is over.  To my surprise the part that I liked the most was when Jean Claude Van Damme was training for the battle.

That is when it struck me.  As an encourager my job is to be one of the cheerleaders shaking my pom poms up in the air when a believer is in the 'endurance' phase of their lives. 

I realize that not everyone is made this way. 

When my son plays a video game his favorite part is when he fights a boss.  Mine is my character's journey to get to the end of the story.  Not as much getting in battle with the main villain.

When I realized this recently it has caused a lot of things to make sense about myself.

1.  I have always cheered for the underdog. - maybe it is because I have felt like one myself???
2.  I have always believed in second chances. - Everyone messes up at times.
3.  I like the struggle to be better. - Seeing someone transform into who they are becoming is wonderful to see.

Then it occurred to me.  Is it only about the 'struggle' that I like?

 Every person has been given a different calling in their life.  None are more important or more glamorous than others.  Each one is needed equally the same.

It has taken all this time for me to realize that part of being a warrior is to encourage and inspire those around you.  To cheer others on when they want to give up.

Well, what if the person that needs to be lifted up, is you!

I started something recently that has caused me to do a lot of thinking about direction in my life.  I was a highly independent person for a long time until something happened.

Which it always does.  Doesn't everyone have a 'something happened' in their lives?  Maybe even more than one 'then something happened'. 

What do we do with them?  Do we throw them away?  Keep telling ourselves that nothing happened and go along like everything is okay? 

Will it make everything better to not admit out loud that something happened?  Does is make the pain any less bearable to stay in denial?

What do you do with the pain?  Do you bury it?  or...let's think for a moment...what if...you...Use it!

I find it interesting that some of the most beautiful parts of nature involve pain.  Think about birth, or better yet, think about surgery.  It takes pain to heal!

What is the main attitude that you see when a person has a challenge to face.  That he/she doesn't want to do it.  Well, I don't either.  I admit it loudly.  There is a lot that I don't want to do, even when I know it is good for me.

Now how about this for a thought...what if 'everyone' felt the same way?  Then nothing would get done. 

Now think of one of your favorite stories.  Where is the struggle?  Is it a love story, a business feat, or an inner struggle that the main character faces?  Where does it stop!

I believe very strongly that when I get to the other side of the struggle that I won't be the same person anymore.  This is because struggle changes us.  For the better or the worse, but it Does change us.

Struggle doesn't have to be a terrible thing.  It can be good when used wisely. 

Jesus said "Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.  (Matthew 11:28)

What are your struggles?  Where do you feel helpless and at times hopeless?  Will you join me in believing that you can overcome whatever you are facing in your life? 

Jesus said that He will give you rest when you need it.  Are you going to continue fighting the fight?

Are you not going to quit?  Are you going to believe Him?!

Keep persevering!  Don't quit! 

Keep on keeping on!




Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Stillness

When I woke up last night it was raining outside and there was a blue hue in the room.  It was the glow from my fish tank. 

Instead of turning on the television or some lights I decided to sit there and stare at the glowing light.  Even though there was darkness all around me I felt such a peace.  No one else was around, the phone wasn't ringing. As the rain gently fell to the ground it was like magic filling the room.

The romantic in me could have danced in it.  The quiet allure of the night.  There is such a beauty in it.  When I looked outside and saw the stars glowing it caught my attention.

There are countless concerns about the condition of our world, and how it is failing.  That is when it occurred to me.  God said "Do not fear" numerous times to us.  Through people, His Word, even the stillness that you can feel in your heart.

Remember when God told Moses to lift up his staff so the Red Sea would part? (Exodus 14:21)

Moses Parting the Red Sea 

Imagine that you are one of the Israelites.  You just left Egypt and can finally come home.  Instead of heading back in a direction that you heard from your ancestors is the correct way, you see Moses leading everyone somewhere else.  Would you be afraid, concerned?  How about when people around you started screaming in fear.  They see a faint glimmer of Pharoah's chariot in the distance.  He is coming for revenge. 

What do you do?  Now Moses has led us up to the edge of what must have felt like the world.  There is nowhere else to go because the great sea has swallowed up the land.  How terrified would you be in this situation?!  Where would you go?  Who can you go to for help? 

Now, as if it wasn't enough, the Israelites start talking amongst themselves.  They are in disbelief that not only is there no where else to go, but now Moses is lifting his 'staff' in the air?  What is he doing?

What has happened?  Why would God lead everyone this way? So they can get killed by Pharaoh?!    Nowhere is safe.  Cannot run.  We...are...finished!

Then, something happens.  A great wind envelopes the crowd.  Clouds of thunder roll in.  Instantly, water shoots up towards the sky.  It is not coming back down.  Something or 'someone' is holding it up.  A pathway opens.  This is the moment!  That everything changes.  As you take the first step into what was the sea the ground is muddy, and the smell of salty ocean air permeates the walkway.

This is something new, different, and safe.  It may not have been the 'way' that they thought.  It was better!  It would be impossible to follow God's people because when the Egyptians tried to the water collapsed on their bodies crushing and drowning them.  The enemy was slain!

Are you afraid?  Do you struggle with fear and/or hate?  Jesus said "I am the Way, The Truth, and the Life. No One comes to the Father except 'through' Me."  (John 14:6)

'His' path is one of love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, and love.  Even when He is rejected Jesus doesn't change.  When we are asleep He sees you.  When you cry it breaks His heart.  When you fear He comes to comfort you.  When you hate He calms and soothes our souls.

Going back to the original point that I made my mind is swept back to a song that I heard called "Be Not Afraid". "Be not afraid, I go before you always. Come follow Me, and I will give you rest."

Do not be afraid of this world.  The air we breathe, and the gravity surrounding us was made 'for' us.  Even when there is stillness it doesn't mean that God's storm is not coming.  He Will fight for the just and the righteous.  Jesus fights for His beloved.  His Bride.  His Queen!

When you feel your heart tremble.  When the news of what is going on grips you with fear.  Remember, You Are Not Alone!  "Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations.  I will be exalted in the Earth." (Psalm 46:10)







   

 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

New Beginnings

Today is the start of a new day. There will never be another yesterday, and today is almost in the past.

This year I have been given a fresh start with someone from the past, who I truly thought was someone that I would not hear from again.

I am learning that God's timetable is very different from our own. He has given us a certain number of years to be here, and He can name every single person that you and I will meet. He remembers the number of times that you will see the person, fight with them, and reunite once again.

Hmm. In a way, while I am writing this it reminds me of how many times the Israelites upset God.

Think of someone that you knew and you don't speak with he/she anymore. Is it forever? Even years may be a long time, but they are not forever.

Everyone makes a difference! In the scientific world if a certain kind of atom is not attached to the other atoms of a formula it cannot be completed. If one ingredient is left out of a recipe; changes the whole thing.

When you are saying goodbye to another how do you know that you won't see him/her again? You don't.

Don't be surprised if God's design for your friendships and inner circle becomes completely different from your own.

Time can change anything, but more than that is forgiveness. It Will change Everything!

Last month I had an emergency surgery, and it has caused me to do a Lot of thinking. If you ever get a chance again with a project, lost love, dream job, best vacation, chance to be on stage, publish a book...We don't know how many chances we get.

I don't know about anyone else. I am not satisfied with some facets of my life. It is time for change. When a program on tv is more exciting than some parts of my life...No More

I am ready for those doors to open in my life, are you?!