2020 Vision

Hello, Thursday Morning! It’s day sixteen of 2020. In our part of the country, it’s either raining or rain is on the way, according to the weather “seers.” Here, we’re still waiting for winter.

If you have 20-20 vision, your sight is perfect. You can see far into the distance, and read without cheaters. What a blessing! But, how well can you see into the future?

Often, our hindsight is much clearer than our foresight. What have I learned from the mistakes I made last year? Have I been able to overcome those mistakes, forgive myself and move forward?

OK, Google. Where to now?

Course correction is easy when I’m driving. I can pull over, figure out my route, and then turn around and head back if I need to. Sometimes, my phone’s GPS will tell me to “proceed to the route”. What does that mean exactly? I don’t know about you, but when that voice tells me to “proceed north” on a street, I have to pause. Which way is north?

And what about those areas of our country where phone service is interrupted? Suddenly, I’m thrown on the mercy of my sense of direction and I have to figure things out on my own. That’s when planning ahead is the most important. I know there will be times like that, so I should either download the directions and save the map on my phone or print it out and have a backup plan. Notice I said, “I should…” I don’t always do that.

In life, we need to have some form of advance planning and preparation. There will be route changes along the way. So, how can we be prepared for what life sends us?

Obedience matters. Prayer matters. Though we can’t see the future, He can.

Prayer positions us. It is our spiritual “GPS”.

Prayer is not just being religious. It’s not legalism. It’s a conversation with someone who loves you more than you can fathom.

Prayer is 20-20 vision.

January is a reset-month. It’s the dawn of a new year. God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Yes, that kind of renewal. A seed falls into the ground and dies, and out of that old last year seed, life renews.

We get a fresh start.

What will you do with your fresh new year?

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DON’T MISS THIS! If you’re a writer living in or near Kentucky, make plans now to attend the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference in Elizabethtown, Kentucky (early-bird pricing ends March 1!). Bob Hostetler is our keynote speaker for Write the Vision 2020, June 18-20, 2020.

Tracy Ruckman’s Big Adventure

My good friend, Tracy Ruckman, along with her husband Tim, set off on the adventure of a lifetime last year. I kept up with their journey via her blog and social media posts, and I have to say, she certainly kept my attention!

So, of course, I was excited to learn she’d written a book about their experiences. I interviewed her just in time for the release of Go West, His Momma Said.

 

“Go West, His Momma Said” – Great title! What’s the story behind the title?

Tracy: My husband Tim inspired the title. He loves to tell people that all his life, his mother always said, “Go West, young man,” but then he married me, and I took him east instead (when we moved from Alabama to Georgia.) This trip was finally following his momma’s orders.

Many of us desire to “take to the road” and seek adventure. What spurred your decision to do it?

Tim and I have dreamed of going on the road since we got married, and even independently since we were kids. On December 26, 2018, we got some difficult news and realized that many changes were ahead of us. We started toying with the idea of traveling again and realized that, at the ages of 71 and 55, time played a crucial role in our doing this now or never. We decided ‘never’ was not an option, so we began selling or giving away almost all our belongings, packed a few things into storage, and set off on January 8, 2019. We spent 189 days tent camping our way around the country – 36 states, more than 25,000 miles.

Most adventures also include adversity. It’s the unknown factor that makes the experience a true adventure. Can you share a moment like that with us?

Tracy: In some ways, it seems like our whole trip was filled with adversity, because we were tent camping in the winter! We didn’t have an RV, we didn’t have any savings, we didn’t have a plan, or even a destination. We just packed up our SUV with camping gear and took one day at a time. We saw God’s hand on us the whole way, though. We didn’t have one bit of car trouble – none at all – no accidents, flat tires, faulty belts. God gets all the credit for every bit of that.

Our biggest challenge was the weather – we spent much of the first three months trying to dodge the cold. Texas winds took out our tent in our first ten days on the road – broke two tent poles and ripped one of the walls, and we were in it at the time!

Somewhere along the way, I also developed an irrational fear of mountains. I haven’t had any bad experiences with mountains, but on the road, I became fearful of driving in them. I still haven’t conquered that fear completely, but on the second leg of our trip, the mountain fears weren’t quite as bad.

What is the greatest positive you gained from this journey?

Tracy: As I compiled this book, I was amazed at all we saw in such a short time. Go West, His Momma Said is only the first half of our journey, and I’m still amazed by it. I know we could have done things differently (better, slower) than we did – but we actually made this trip, even with our limited resources and planning. Now, when I hear a town name mentioned on the news or in a book, I can recall the terrain, the people, the personality of the place, and say, “We’ve been there.”

What would you like to share with any of our readers who may be considering a similar experience?

Tracy: Don’t wait for perfect circumstances to make your dreams reality. We kept waiting, thinking, hoping we’d have an RV or a pile of savings to travel with, but we could never make those things happen. We just decided to take the LEAP and go. In fact, we dubbed ourselves the LEAPFROGs, which means: Leaving Everything Always Praying Fully Relying on God. We did just that and He proved reliable every hop of our journey.

Click-to-Tweet: Don’t wait for perfect circumstances to make your dreams reality. Tracy Ruckman’s Big Adventure! #travel #camping #travelogues


Tracy Ruckman is an author, artist, and book publisher. Her book, Go West, His Momma Said, detailing the first leg of the Ruckman’s tent-camping journey released January 8 and is available on Amazon. Tracy’s artwork is available for purchase on FineArt America. She loves to connect, and invites you to follow her online:

Website

Amazon Author Page

FineArt America Art Page

TMPixArt blog

Facebook Author Page

Buy the Book at Amazon [Kindle Version] 

The Morning After Christmas

Judging by a couple of our Christmas gifts to each other, Hubby and I think along the same lines.

Hello, Thursday Morning! I hope you had a wonderful holiday.

Though my family was a bit scattered this Christmas, we still managed to see everyone. The gift exchange is still in progress since some were out of town. Mom is still in the hospital, so she was unable to join us for the holiday celebration. When I got up this morning and headed to the kitchen, I found an “unintentional smile” waiting for me on the table.

I had packed all Mom’s gifts from the family in a box to transport to Lexington. You may think it’s silly because it actually is, but it gave me a reason to smile this morning. Sometimes, it’s the small things…

“It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine.” — Eeyore, from Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday was very un-Christmasey for our neck of the woods. It was well over sixty degrees and sunny. Most of my family spent their day with the other side of their family, so Hubby and I had a quiet dinner. I was reminded of another Pooh-quote: “Any day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day.”

Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. I could have given in to sadness that we spent the day alone when so many others had a grand day filled with family and fun. But I made the choice to be happy in the day I was given and rejoice that I was not alone but spending the day with my favorite person.

As we enter the last week of 2019, my prayer for you comes from Psalm 20:

May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
    May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary
    and give you support from Zion!
May he remember all your offerings
    and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah

May he grant you your heart’s desire
    and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation,
    and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions! – Psalm 20:1-5 ESV

As always, thanks for stopping by!

 

Joy in the Morning

Joy. I just can’t seem to drop that theme.

Hello, Thursday Morning guests! It’s a fresh start moment. A new day. Glory awaits you.

Maybe it comes in the sunrise. Maybe in the first smile from a precious infant. For me, it’s the glow inside my heart. I can’t lose this feeling, and that’s a good thing.

It started with, “and when they saw the star…”

That was enough to get me started because I knew what followed. They rejoiced with great joy!

The coming of the Savior resulted in joy filling those who understood. Even before His birth, His presence within Mary’s womb filled the unborn John with such joy, he leapt in Elizabeth’s womb.

Okay, that’s joy, pure and simple.

Though our observances of Christmas can result in a temporary joy, gift-giving is a small part of the true celebration.

It’s the gift that has already been given that results in true joy.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” [1 Peter 1:8-9]

This is the season for joy. Maybe it keeps popping up for me because I was struggling. I dreaded the season. I wanted it over. You may feel that right now.

But when I saw the star…

When I read the scriptures and listened to my favorite Christmas songs, joy stirred within my heart. If you concentrate on you and your feelings, you’ll be depressed, plain and simple. So bundle up and step outside on a clear night. Look for the star.

Look within your heart. Lift a prayer to God. Read scriptures that instill joy and peace. Find a devotional to help prepare your heart for the holiday and beyond. These are things I did to get past the “woe is me.”

Once I stirred up the joy—true joy in my heart—peace followed. My prayer for you is that you will find that same peace and JOY and comfort. You are loved.

Note: Check out these devotionals in YouVersion (an online Bible app): A Jolt of Joy, (Carol Mcleod) and Ann Graham Lotz’s Jesus in Me. Or, you can find full versions of these on most bookstore sites.

When Christmas Comes

Christmas comes, whether we’re ready or not.

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I hope the speedy approach of the holiday hasn’t frazzled you. If so, may the  “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, …guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

This holiday season has been a struggle in our family. After a long illness and some heart issues, we thought Mom was no longer able to remain on her own. I was going to care for her. I made myself willing and available, even if it meant I had to pause my work.

Love sometimes requires sacrifices and hers would be as great as mine. Since Dad died, she has wanted to remain independent and she has, to a large degree. But with the decline of her health, we had come to realize she could no longer remain in her small second-story apartment. Alone.

I wasn’t ready for any of this. I was busily dashing to and fro, chasing that perfect gift for each name on my list.

But Christmas comes, ready or not.

If the list was never finished, my family would understand. Some changes are not to be missed. I had a feeling this would be one of them.

But something happened to interrupt our best-laid plans—something completely unexpected.

I was on my way to my weekly bookkeeping job, where I intended to turn in my letter of resignation. But, my heart wasn’t in it. That still, small voice was whispering and I felt uneasy, as though something was off, but what? So, I prayed, “Father, if this is not right, make it plain to me. Help me do the right thing.”

I had just pulled in to the bank to make my client’s weekly deposit when the phone rang. My brother was on the phone. He’d just taken Mom for her weekly doctor visit when he was going to ask the doctor about moving her. But, he didn’t end up asking, because her heart rate had normalized. She was showing signs of renewed strength, and the infection she’d suffered for almost three months was finally responding well to the daily IV antibiotics.

Because of this new development, my brother felt that it would be best to let her remain where she is.

. . . [Pause to Breathe].

God had delivered a miracle to us. He had healed her most dire health issues and strengthened her will.

We are still guardedly watching her, but for now, she’s rejoicing and feels that this is the best Christmas gift anyone could give her. A Christmas Miracle.

Published on http://www.InspiredPrompt.com