A Hazy Shade Of Winter

When snow falls, nature listens. — Antoinette van Kleef

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Optimistic

It doesn’t snow much in the south so you’ve got to take advantage when you can. I took a little nature walk today and basked in the dusting we got today. Here’s a few shots along with some great quotes about snow. I’m no pro but sometimes I like to pretend to be a photographer 😉

 

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“The first snow is like the first love. Do you remember your first snow?” -Lara Biyuts
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“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?” — John Steinbeck
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“Be like snow — cold, but beautiful.” — Lana Del Rey
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“Snowing is an attempt of God to make the dirty world look clean.” — Mehmet Murat Ildan
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“When snow falls, nature listens.” -Antoinette van Kleef
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“I am a book of snow, a spacious hand, an open meadow, a circle that waits, I belong to the earth and its winter.” —Pablo Neruda
 

 

*all photos by Tawni Winns 2016

Whole

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:34, NIV

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For she said, If I may but touch his clothes, I shall be whole.  Mark 5:28, KJV

 

Besides Jesus, who is your Biblical hero?

My Biblical hero isn’t someone you’d think of when you hear the word “hero.” She isn’t easily recognizable, she isn’t heavily referenced in movies or books, in fact she is nameless in the Bible. She is “The Woman with the Issue of Blood.” It all happens in a few verses in Mark 5:25-34.
The woman had had a disease where for 12 years she had been bleeding. She had been to many doctors and spent all her money but no one could help her. Instead she only grew worse. So when Jesus came to town she saw her chance to be healed. There was a crowd around Jesus but she knew within herself that if she could just touch his clothing she would be healed. And that’s what happened the moment she touched him.

Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. Mark 5:29, NIV

I admire her so because she didn’t wait for Jesus to come to her, or wait for the chance that maybe he would pass her way, she went to him. I’m sure with a disease like hers leaving and moving around couldn’t have been easy. The story takes place in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth, and in a Jewish town she was most likely an outcast. She was constantly bleeding and therefore “unclean”.But she took a chance, faced the crowds and in her misery and desperation she put her faith into action.
How many people out there are desperate and miserable but are waiting for the miracle to come to them?

Another reason I love her is because I see a little bit of myself in her story. You see I had disease too, I was sick with emptiness. I knew who God was in a general sense, but there was no relationship. I had this feeling that there was something missing from my life. I was tired of floating around with no purpose, but then Jesus came to town in a few forms. Through an impactful Christmas service, and I had a friend who would take me to Bible study. I saw a chance to be something I hadn’t been before and I purchased a One Year Bible. That was me touching him.

I wanted to know exactly what God wanted from me and to know what he was all about. I had heard it from others, now it was time to know for myself. It was a decision that changed my life. The peace that came over me when I read those words was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I knew that Jesus could make me whole.
I was baptized not too much longer after finishing that Bible and life has never been the same.
When you reach out to Jesus you will never be disappointed.

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:34, NIV

 

Who is your Biblical hero and why? I would love to know!

 

 

*photo by Heather Hazzan

I’m A Christian, Is That Okay?

So I thought to myself would the people on this website reject me when they see in my profile that I’m a Christian? Would they question my “spirituality” because they assume I have hardened, right-winged politics?

 

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I’m kind of a hippie/hipster. I love yoga, indie music, loving people, and anything that has to do with freedom. And so I frequent websites and web mags that cater to this audience. I tumbled across a dating/community website for the “hippie” community and it intrigued me. The about me page stated:

Imagine a place where you can feel confident knowing you’re amongst your tribe and the odds of finding love are much higher because you’re surrounded by people who share the same values and lifestyle as you—a place full of positivity, inspiration, authenticity and people who naturally “get” you.

Sounds great right? Positivity, inspiration, and
authenticity. Yes, yes, yes, all of that is right up my alley.  There was also an ad box that said:

“Spiritual not religious”

Okay still good so far, I wouldn’t call myself religious. Religion is more so following rules just because that’s what you’re told to do. Rather I am in a relationship with God and He’s called me to live a certain way and I do it out of love and reverence for Him.

But here’s the thing Christians today are perceived as conservative, harsh, offensive and tell people they’re “going to hell.” So I thought to myself would the people on this website reject me when they see in my profile that I’m a Christian? Would they question my “spirituality” because they assume I have hardened, right-winged politics?

I had nearly made up in my mind that attempting to join this community would be mistake when a wise friend gave me a new perspective. They might make assumptions about me but I could be a light to them and show them God’s love in a new way. Thank God for wise counsel!

I haven’t joined just yet but I’m taking it under serious consideration now that my  anxieties have gone away. I wonder though, how many of my brothers and sisters in Christ have ever have these same fears? Have you ever felt afraid to reveal your faith because of potential backlash?
How do you feel about the image of Christians in media? Let’s talk.

 

*photo by Shelly Hoffman

How Deep Is Your Love?

The question is does he have a desire to know and please God? If not then there’s no point. It’s that simple and that complicated.

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It starts out a classic story, girl meets guy. He’s funny, he’s attractive, he’s put together all the things that the girl wants…well at least what she wants on a surface level. She gets to know him some, they have similar upbringings and hobbies. But then the guy drops a curse word with ease, he tells a dirty joke, he references sex with her as something coming soon and at that point the girl knows. He’s not a Christian, or at least not an “all in” one.

It’s something that has happens to all us single Christian girls at one point or another. Meeting a guy we “vibe” with but then we look deeper for that spiritual aspect and there’s nothing there. Now you have to tell the guy that nothing will be happening between you and hopefully you can remain at least friends. The guy will most likely not understand, to him it seems you had the beginnings of something great. He doesn’t get why his faith or lack there of is so important. But it is important, it’s everything.

It’s frustrating because its hard enough to find a guy who meets the first two levels so when you do it’s exciting, only to be let down by the missing third level.
I want to clarify though I’m not looking for a pastor or priest, he can be a normal guy with an average job. The question is does he have a desire to know and please God? If not then there’s no point. It’s that simple and that complicated.

I wrote this because it’s something that I have experienced a lot these last few years. I’ve met a lot of nice guys but none of them having that third aspect.
But what I have resolved to do is learn more about men from these encounters. They may not be Christian men but they are still men. I feel now I understand more the thought processes of men compared to women (they really are less complicated). And I’ve gotten a chance to really hone in on exactly what I like on the first two levels. So all this frustration wasn’t all for naught, now I’m more prepared for the that elusive “One”.

 

New Year, New Determination

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  “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

2015 was a year of molding for me. The great Potter put me on his wheel and formed me into something different than in years before.
I used to start my years with lofty goals and no plan or direction in which to make them a reality and God knew that. So he threw at me  a lot of things that would help me find my way to the path He intended. There were many tears but with every challenge came a new strength, a lesson learned, and a fear defeated.

There will be more molding in 2016 as I face new challenges. I intend to transfer to a 4 year university this year, become more dedicated in my yoga practice, be more dedicated to this blog, save more money and pay off my credit cards. That’s kind of a lot but I’m getting off to a good start, today I bought the domain to this blog and I started my “21 yoga classes in a month” challenge.

So bring it 2016, come hell or high water I will be okay. My God is with me, I am not afraid.

When The Prayer Isn’t Answered

Earlier this year I prayed a big prayer for something I knew there was no way I could accomplish on my own–to pass my College Algebra class.

I had great faith that God would answer it and it didn’t happen. I wondered why? I wasn’t lazy about it, I gave it all I could. I studied and did homework for hours, I paid attention in class, asked questions, got a tutor! I figured if I gave it all I had God would meet me there, but it didn’t happen. Oh how I cried, and cried, I hated that I tried so hard and it didn’t materialize.

Math & science have always been tough for me, I can remember as a kid just crying during my math tests. So this semester I’m taking Cell Genetics and Biology, shoot me please. I can already tell its going to be tough, this stuff is so boring to me, and I am stressing.

So in a recent cry session to God, I realized the reason I am so stressed is because I had lost some faith in God. I’m stressing that he isn’t going to come through for me again. I felt like he had let me down before, in all of my Walk I had never felt like this before. So what I did I do? I googled bible stories to read when you feel God has disappointed you. The story of Job popped up in my results. If you aren’t familiar with it the story it basically goes that Job was this awesome Godly man and God allowed the devil to test him because he knew Job was of great faith. The devil threw a LOT at Job and I do mean a LOT, all kinds of sickness and death. But he came through it with his faith still intact and he was blessed tenfold. Now did he ever feel disappointed by God? Heck yeah he did.

If Job can keep the faith, surely I can.

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” Job 42:2 ESV

I may never understand why things happen the way that they do, but I do know God has plans for me and they will come to fruition. I have to believe that or he isn’t God to me. So I renewed my faith, knowing that disappointment will certainly come but God is still God and he still loves me.

Here’s little inspiration for you if you’re questioning God right now, keep worshiping through the sorrow. It’s hard, but trust me God will come to you at that moment and fill you with his peace. It will work out!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Here’s some worship music to get you started.

I Just Want To Be Okay

I’ve been dancing in the rain a bit too long, I’m thoroughly wet and cold to the bone.The rain has lost its beauty, its instead become my torment. The clouds are dark above me and the wind hard against me. With each step I take, the mud seems thicker around my feet. I’m desperate for one ray of sun to peek through these clouds.

There is a cloud of dissatisfaction over all the places in my life and it seems its been hanging there for awhile. I’m taking steps to try to change things and I have faith that it will all work out. But what about the inbetween times, the waiting area, or the hallways? How do you navigate that? My friend told me to dance in the rain. But what do you do when you’ve grown tired of that? I’ve been praying and reading my word, trying to stay faithful, keeping God’s promises in mind. But what do you do when as soon as you walk out the door your fighting to just be okay? What do you do when you sit at your desk fighting off tears? I know one can never be happy all of time, but I long for that peace in the storm.