The Bejeweled Crown

In my dream I knelt before Your throne

You placed a bejeweled crown upon my head

In awe I marveled at my precious gift as You instructed me on its care

More valuable than any earthly possession

Each gem perfection, shining brightly before the King of Glory.

As brilliant as the sun is jewel number oneV__6FD7

Beautifully graced with a heart and mind attuned to God

Her destiny written in the heaven’s above

Painting the moon and stars in masterful worship

And it is well with my soul.

Mel

My love for you precious jewel number two

Endless, infinite, never-ending

Sealed in prayer and consecrated at your very first breath

Your life a miracle for the world to see, and a melody for ears to hear

Teaching and spreading the good news.

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Jewel number three is a mirror of me

Alike on the surface, but so much more in breadth and depth

Racing after God in complete abandon

To the ends of the earth seeking broken hearts and weary minds

Mercy and favor are ever-flowing before her.

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Magnificient to behold is stunning jewel number four

Gloriously singing in high praise

Stunning the world with untold gifts

Her hands dancing across the strings and keys

And the people sing, “Hosanna in the highest!”

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Behold! I gaze in wonder as the Lord gently sets you in place as the centerpiece, my lovely jewel number five

With an exclamation point you arrive, a delightful aria to my symphony,

Long answered prayer and covered by the Holy One

She is a joyful masterpiece

And His promise of a hope and a future.

Most only see the outward shell of me

Smiling, singing, giving, living

With wisdom and understanding

I care for my most precious legacy

A crown more valuable than any earthly possession

The revealed pieces of the whole.

 

Blessings, CED

Where Would I Be?

True confession:  I ADORE music in all forms. Jazz, classical, even movie soundtracks have earned their way into my eclectic listening collection over the years.

When asked to describe my love of music, the closest pictures I come up with are lit fireworks spilling from my spirit as instruments pour out their harmony, or the vastness of the open ocean at sunset as beautiful voices swell together in an a cappella performance. The ability to give our deepest, raw emotions “life” through song is such a great mystery (and joy) to me!  As a musician and writer, I created songs for my children as I carried them in my womb and soothed them with lullabies as fussy infants.  When they grew older I taught them their names by singing the letters and clapping their hands to the rhythm. What a great testimony that they’ve  ALL picked up instruments and sing as well. Here’s #4 at a local talent show…

After returning to my faith as an adult, and fully accepting God’s gift of salvation, I clearly remember promising for the rest of my days to give my song only to Him. Why do that, you ask?  I choose to praise and worship God for His amazing grace towards me, and for His everlasting love which covers all my imperfections. Where would I be Father, if not for Your grace?

I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord. Psalm 104:33 (NIV)

 Blessings,

CED

Saturday Scripture

Living On Earth, Preparing For Heaven

Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord?
    Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?
Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,
    speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
Those who refuse to gossip
    or harm their neighbors
    or speak evil of their friends.
Those who despise flagrant sinners,
    and honor the faithful followers of the Lord,
    and keep their promises even when it hurts.
Those who lend money without charging interest,
    and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent.
Such people will stand firm forever.

Psalm 15:1-5 (NLT)

Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father thank You for every, single wonderful day. In particular, the ones like today where things tend to play out opposite of my desires. I lift my eyes and praise You all the more! I obediently defer my plans to the ones You have laid out for me before my very creation in my mother’s womb.

You are Jehovah Nissi, my miracle and refuge, and lovingly reveal Yourself to me through holy scripture. Today I receive Your timely instruction, and pray it brings hope and encouragement as I continue this journey under Your banner of salvation.

Your will be done, and declaring victory in all areas of my life, I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Blessings,

CED

Thankful Thursday – The Gratitude Edition

Howdy Friends!

It’s a little late in the day, and we’re preparing for yet another, late evening snow shower extravaganza. Just about this time last month we experienced 38 inches of the igloo building, stick-to-your-face, horizontal blowing, flaky stuff.  It was truly a winter wonderland! My little one’s still pretty excited about seeing her first real accumulation, building life-sized snowmen with her neighbors, and eating S’mores.

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Yikes! Raise both hands if that’s you #5…

Blizzards tend to cause major cities to cease all normal operations, with its citizens making the customary mad dash to the gas station, grocery and grown-up beverage store in that order to stock up on supplies. Our sleepy town is no different, and the local news station does nothing to quell the sense of mad hysteria that seems to grip the sanest of my neighbors.

I’m going to sit this storm out, and not act like the zombie apocalypse is happening tonight. Partly due to my recovery from a major health crisis. Mostly due to the irony that I now see that everything I really need is already here. Yes, we’ll have to get creative with a few pantry and cupboard items, but oh well… I’m humbled and grateful for all I have, and will never take any of it for granted again.

*On that note, are Rice Krispy Treats considered breakfast food?

Blessings,

CED
 

The Dailey Dose – Happy Leap Day!

Leap

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Leap right up onto the mouse’s shoulder #5; Huzzah!

Happy Leap Day Friends! Today in social media circles it’s all about living out today with extra kindness, but are we really relegating goodness and mercy to such little importance that the spotlight only shines on them one day every four years? Is grace so insignificant it’s a gimmick assigned to #DayitForward?

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.  Galations 6:9 (New Living Translation)

I believe we were created to be a blessing everyday. That’s why we get such an emotional boost when we’re kind to others, and especially when we bless someone generously. Put it to the test today: see what happens when you genuinely smile at someone and say hello. Don’t worry about looking foolish!

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Say cheese! XOXO for my sweet #3

Take it one step further and suppress the urge to capture acts of kindness on social media.  Be a private Good Samaritan!

“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others…But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Matthew 6:1,3-4 (New Living Translation)

Blessings today and everyday,

CED

Note:  This is the final edition of The Dailey Dose, which was a 90 day trial blog running from December 2015 through February 2016. Thank you everyone for all your constructive feedback and support. Did you enjoy a blog in particular?

The Exceptional Life would like to introduce a new biweekly series. Weeks one, three (and five) will feature Thankful Thursday and Saturday Scripture posts, and weeks two and four will offer Monday Musings and Wednesday Wisdom. Enjoy!

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom

Hello Friends.

Everyday I seem to ask with increased frustration, “what in the world has happened to Wisdom?”  My parent’s and grandparent’s generations worked really hard, made notable civil rights progression and even put a man on the moon.  Now it seems as if everyone wants to be the next teenaged CEO!  If we’re all giving orders, who’s left to do the work?

Today we demand the best INSTANTLY, and have an insatiable appetite for newer, younger and faster.  No time to cook on the stove?  Then put those organic veggies in the microwave.  Why wait in line at the gas station when you can pay at the pump and be on your way?  Don’t want your pet anymore?   Then drop Fluffy off at a shelter and move on with your life.  Best of all, if you don’t have any money…no worries.  Just take out a loan, get a payday advance, or give a total stranger the title to your car!  Have we lost our collective minds?  It would seem so, but it’s just the absence of wisdom and understanding.

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Image Credit: http://asrs.arc.nasa.gov

Growing up in the U.S., I held a summer job during my high school years like many other teens who lived in the city.  One of the first was at a company where my Mom worked, in a pilot apprenticeship program.  It was the WORST EXPERIENCE EVER.  All summer long I ran around like a maniac delivering messages and answering the phone as the office clerk, while attempting to master as many administrative skills as I could by watching my co-workers.  My job was to apprentice (or  learn their trade) under them.  My supervisor was extremely rude, and barely tolerated anyone’s presence.  Needless to say I avoided him at all costs, and next summer I was not invited back.  Not sorry!

The next year I decided to work at a local restaurant with my best friend.  You know the one, where billions of golden fries and juicy burgers are sold.  What an eye-opening experience.  With a system in place for almost everything, this organized, left-brain teenager found her home.  For example, to master the basics, which was the grilled food area, everyone did the following: watched a series of videos, took a written test, worked under the most senior person’s supervision, ultimately worked unsupervised and then trained another.  This system was in place at each station in the restaurant, and employees were only instructed using the above successful and proven techniques.

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Photo credit: content.time.com

What I clearly remember from that time was the great amount of praise we received for a job well done.   Mistakes were quickly identified, and correct technique continuously reinforced in the workspace.  Team members were rewarded with increased responsibility, taught the importance of great customer service and the power of caring for fellow employees.  I’ve matured and added to those teachings from decades ago, but recognize the significance of senior mentorship and empowerment.  Opportunity came to a group of  inner city teenagers that summer in the form of leadership, discipline, and compassion.  It still knocks softly on the door of this generation’s heart asking, “will you slow down and listen to me?”

I am Wisdom.

Blessings,

CED

Banner credit: http://www.theencouragementhaven.com

Monday Musings

The Most Important Thing

Twisting and turning on Grandma’s lap

Sleepily fighting as her hand pats

A gentle rhythm on my back

She overcomes all my resistance

And I drop soundlessly into dreams

Safe in her care

A baby’s love.

 

New kid again starting school number ten

Listlessly walking the empty halls

One day he is there

Watching me intently with kind eyes

And friendship begins

On the building block of trust

A schoolgirl’s love.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Now on my own in the big city

His familiar voice stops me in my tracks

Beautiful eyes from my childhood

Look back at me with a new awareness

And ask for a lifetime

I do

A bride’s love.

Renewal of Vows

In great expectation I wait

My miracle who will have my mother’s name

The spring rains come and after much travail

I hold her and we are face to face

She has her father’s eyes

I am undone

A mother’s love.

AND 1994

When everything within me cries

For peace and hope and solid ground

I look over my life

And give to God

The most important thing

All my heart, all my soul, all my mind

A daughter’s love.

 

Blessings,

CED

Saturday Scripture

Do Not Be Anxious

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. …

Matthew 6:25-34 ESV

Prayer for Today

Thank You Heavenly Father for my life.  You are El Elyon, The Most High God, and the only Name that is holy and exalted forever!

I confess to not always understanding the path my life should take, and in haste and frustration make plans opposite the wonderful ones You have for me.  Forgive me for allowing fear and anxiety to take root in my heart, and restore a spirit of freedom in me to fully live out my days according to Your promise of peace, joy and prosperity.

With hands upraised and declaring victory in all areas of my life, I pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Blessings,

CED

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday friends.  I’ve really missed you!

2016 has raced to an adventurous start by throwing the most unwelcome curve ball into my happy, drama-free, planned out life.  An earlier post, The Invisible Introvert, explains my primal need for mental, physical and spiritual order.  After experiencing quite a bit of discomfort during the holidays, Yours truly dutifully went to the doctor for an explanation. “Just the creaks of middle age,” I soothed my children.  One visit quickly ruled out continuing my pain control regimen.  After explaining the ongoing symptoms, I only heard snippets of my doctor’s diagnosis as we reviewed my test results.

Health crisis.  Operation.  As soon as possible.  Her words snaked through my brain and into my ears, but it took every bit of concentration to hold onto my husband’s hand.  I left the hospital shaken, with a surgery date, paperwork listing an encyclopedia’s amount of procedures to undergo, and very little time to emotionally prepare my children, immediate family and most importantly MYSELF!  Ensuing days became so chaotic I’d turn off my cell phone and email for quiet time, and to gather my thoughts.  Most days when fear threatened and tears escaped, I’d remind myself again and again that God was in control. Deep breaths Crystal, I said to myself each day until surgery.  Extended family, friends and co-workers became puzzled by my distance.  Some gently inquired while others weren’t so gentle, and oddly enough a few just created their own explanation for my absence.  When pressed for news, I simply asked for prayer for me and my family.

While being prepped for general anesthesia, my husband kissed me, smiled, and told me how much he loved me.  It was the last thing I remember before waking up in recovery.  Two weeks later I’m up and walking around on wobbly legs, and happy to report that surgery was a success!  Thank You Jehovah Rapha (the Lord that Heals) for answering prayer, and for healing my physical and emotional needs.  Your Word says:

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.   James 5:13-16 ESV.

Blessings,

CED

Banner credit: http://www.cityofhope.org

 

The Dailey Dose – Identity

Say Your Name

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Last week’s writing prompt asked us to write about our first name, and the story or association behind it. Also, if I had the choice (which I do) would I rename myself?

Names are important to us! The great lecturer and self-improvement guru Dale Carnegie  teaches that “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”  Principle #6 from How to Win Friends and Influence People.

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My inner Neo stopping bullets with an ice-cold pose.

 My first name’s Crystal, and a feminine name originating  around 19th century England.  Derived from the word crystal, a very clear, brilliant glass, or a clear, transparent quartz. It’s also κρυσταλλος (krystallos) meaning  “ice” in Greek. So (dramatic pause) I’m a brilliant woman, transparent in word and deed, exuding a calm, cool and collected strength? Love it! That explains how I flawlessly channel my inner Neo  through camera poses. Click the link and catch my drift… The Matrix

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What terrible two’s? Posing in my Sunday Finery.

My Mom insists on being reasonable, and tells me I’m named after her high school classmate.  She was pregnant with me her senior year, and friends were few and far between. Girls “in that condition” had two choices in 1970: drop out or go to an alternative school. Mom stood her ground, stayed in her neighborhood school and graduated (walking across the stage a full nine month’s pregnant)! A girl named Crystal carried her books between classes, and would help her out alot.

As a woman of faith, I then turned to my Bible to find out if God calls us by name?  Yes, He does in many passages!

…Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.  Isaiah 49:1 NIV

And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”  Exodus 33:17 NIV

I read on, discovering that God not only knows us by name, but also reveals Himself by name so we can fellowship in the most personal way. Whatever the need and in every situation, when we call He promises to answer. He is El Shaddai (the Lord God Almighty) and so much more!  Throughout the Old Testament, there are many beautiful  Names of God. After all this research I’m on cloud nine, and feeling like a physical and spiritual superhero.  So who am I?

Crystal, a child of the most high God and gifted to earthly parents for a season. When my Lord saw fit, He rewarded me with a husband designed just for me, who KNOWS me and LOVES me (flaws and all). Together we have our children and inheritance. My babies are a beautiful promise of a legacy that will live on long after I’m in Heaven. So would I rename myself?

Absolutely not. I’m living The Exceptional Life!

Blessings, CED

Banner credit: http://www.todaysword.org