Walking in Sunshine

Kim Gossling over at Chronic Conditions and Life Lessons nominated me for the Sunshine Award a good while back. We share a lot in common as mothers who have had to “manage” a condition in a child. We both tend to look toward the positives and lessons of faith and family that come from our experiences. Kim and I both love photography of flowers, wild life and share our faith in a God who is larger than the obstacles we face.

The Sunshine Award is for “positively and creatively” inspiring bloggers. It is definitely my goal to be positive. We are all faced with enough negatives each day as it is.  I’m constantly working on the “creative.” This process of blogging has actually stirred a passion for photography that is borderline addictive! Yet my new passion has also revealed so much through a different perspective that fuels my faith and stirs passion to share what I see with others.

Kim has my sincere thanks for is inspiring me!  In accepting this award here are ten things about myself. A few bloggers have asked me to share a bit more so here goes…

I am an introvert, I know you probably can’t tell from some of my comments on your blogs but it’s true!

I am officially the cat lady on the corner. Not really officially but I figure my stray porch cats earn their keep by keeping mice and snakes away (see next post). I also have a black indoor cat  named “Lucky.”  DSC_7107 (2)

I don’t like crowds (which may have something to do with being relatively short and unable to see when I’m in them!)

I’ve been married over twenty years to the hubby I met my last year in college.

Chocolate is therapy.

My mother and I were spared from a head on collision with a semi-truck. Traffic literally (in slow motion, just like the movies) parted like the Red Sea on I-475  outside of Atlanta. My mother had been praying to know God was with her. After that experience I told her to please stop praying for that.  It was clear He was and my heart couldn’t take much more!

I am the only person in my immediate family (not hubby’s) who did not pursue teaching as a profession. 

My mother’s maiden name, Shinholster, is German. My maiden name, Finley, is Irish.  My married name, Raphael, is French. Go Figure!

I am named after my mother, Kay. I was nicknamed  “Little Kay” before I was born and my father shortened it to Lilka. While my mother was in recovery someone let him sign the birth certificate.

I’m very grateful you’ve taken the time to read stop by and read this today!

My nominees for The Sunshine Award are











These blogs make my day a little brighter and I suspect they will do the same for you!

If you choose to accept this award, the “rules” are that you post the award on your site (you can create an awards page if you like), tell ten things about yourself  and nominate ten other blogs.  There is no pressure from me to “accept” this award. I do think they are a great way to expose bloggers to great reads they may not find on their own.

May you read and write where the Son/Sun shines on you!

“But the path of the just [is] like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18 NKJV


































Inner Peace

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

 If you check out my sidebar, you’ll see I’ve been nominated for a few awards in the last several weeks. I’m going to accept these a bit differently than most so bear with me. You have been forewarned, there are acceptance speeches forthcoming!

Eric who blogs at Hunt for Truth nominated me for the Award for Love and Kindness this week. He also nominated me a while back for the Inner Peace Award. I’m not going to admit when, you’ll have to check out his site to find out. Let’s just say that one kind of slipped by me.

It is ironic that I was nominated for the Inner Peace Award because I hadn’t really felt inner peace for a long time until I began a number of writing projects last year including this blog. I was inspired to develop this site as a way to encourage others and in doing so I surprisingly encouraged myself.

I’ve always loved to write. Yet due to life, I wasn’t really in a position to pursue this passion. Last year, I decided to stop trying to control my life and surrender it instead. I made a conscious decision to be at peace with my present and not drive myself crazy trying to orchestrate my future.

Guess what? I’m much better for it. I’m not nearly as anxious, frustrated or disappointed.

Previously, I hadn’t met some personal goals due to other obligations. That left me dissatisfied, angry and bitter. Sad, I know. I was confident about my salvation but I needed to get a few things straight here on earth!

When I began to write again, I allowed God to take it over and me over. I began this blog as an act of faith. I knew zero about blogging.

This blog began slowly. Very…very… slowly. I’m an introvert. The very idea of commenting on someone’s site terrified me. Technology and I are not friends. WordPress widgets still drive me bonkers!

However, the bloggers I’ve met and responses received about faith and  other experiences have been such a blessing to me. Blogging and sharing with others actually helped me derive a sense of purpose I was missing. I definitely serve a purpose in other aspects of my life but this one is satisfying to me.

I think we are all restless until we discover the purpose God has planted in our hearts. Unless we explore the talents we have been given, I don’t think we can be at peace. I believe so many people are frustrated and miserable because they are not doing the things they were created to do!

If you feel like you’re missing something, why not search it out? My dream was deferred twenty years. Yet now, I know God is allowing me walk out my purpose in His timing.

I have inner peace first and foremost because I have God. Knowing Him means I don’t have to be anxious for anything. I have finally realized that I don’t have to control my life because… I can’t control it!

I can respond appropriately to the events in my life. I can pray for guidance and discernment in decisions I make. I can hear and obey to save myself a lot of headache.

I am not alone in anything I am forced to face in this life. God is with me. And with God, anything is possible.

And I find peace in that.


**And if you think I forgot, my nominees for the Inner Peace Award will appear in the next post!

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

This weekend I was extremely fortunate to attend a reunion with some extraordinary women all of which I met in college. It had been over a decade for many and in some instances more than two since I’d seen most of them.  Yet, our love for each other appears to have actually increased as the years have gone by. 

I believe we were all surprised at the overwhelming love and fellowship we felt as the years melted away, our memories awakened and the support we felt for one another renewed.

Our joy allowed us to laugh and sometimes cry as our affection surpassed the years we’d been apart.  Some of us have experienced exceptional losses. Others are in the midst of amazing blessings. No matter where each of us stands at this point in our lives, we encourage each other very much inspired by testimonies that celebrate gains and mourn losses.  Twenty five years after our first “meeting”  we have survived and even triumphed through the decades.

The speaker for our banquet was one of our own, an exceptional woman touched by God who is walking out the vision planted deeply within her. The Sister Accord by Sonia Jackson Myles is an example of how we are to love, celebrate and encourage one another. Sonia’s testimony spoke of overcoming fear and walking by faith into the future.

Sometimes, what we believe we need, God has already provided for usSomeone who will listen, empathize, support and even pray for us is often readily accessible and often more than willing if we would only open our eyes to the people who are gifts that lie untouched before us. 

We all need a little help from time to time. A hug, a kind word, the experience of someone who has “been there” can help us along life’s journey. Sometimes when we feel we can’t make it on our own, God has already provided people in our lives to help us. Unfortunately, we often don’t recognize the people we’ve been blessed with and fail to open the door and let them in!

I believe our reunion this weekend allowed us to not only reconnect based on memories of the past but also to bind us together for whatever the future may hold.

We were reminded of the love that connects us. The years have taught us that people are important and we can never take them for granted. We’ve lost some of our sisters through the years which makes those who remain all the more precious. We’ve learned since college what life really is and how valuable a gift friendship can be.  Like a special gift wrapped up so perfectly, you have to first tear through some paper, pry open the box and work around the packaging to get to the treasure that lies within. Sometimes the love and laughter you need is readily available if only you would dare to pick up the phone, shoot someone a text or even answer an email.  

God loves us for sure, yet sometimes He extends His love for us through other people.  

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,” John 13:34-35 NKJV 

“[Let] love [be] without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. [Be] kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another,” Romans 12:9-10 NKJV 

***Happy Anniversary Pearls of Opulence!