Ugly Or Beautiful?

When I made this cross out of clay you could bake in the oven I didn’t think much about it at the time. I have created crosses that looked better than this plane black cracked cross. I am not even sure why I chose the black clay that day.


 Yet the other day when I picked up this cross and looked at it and thought you are kind of ugly. then I heard God speak quietly to me. The cross was never beautiful, the beauty came from the One who hung on it.
Many of us have crosses that decorate our homes. I have a beautiful one with wings that was given to me as a gift that hangs in my living room. I have made them myself as gifts for friends, and even made one as an emergency repair for a plaque on which the original cross was accidentally broken. These crosses are works of art and are beautiful.                       Let us not let the beauty of these crosses make us forget the ugliness of sin and what sin costs. Then remember the One who paid the price. Who let Himself be nailed to a cross. Who bled on that cross and finally died on that cross for you and for me.

That is love and that to me is beautiful.

Art and poetry by Julie Sheppard


Is this cross ugly or beautiful to you?

Would love to hear your thoughts.

A Bright New Year

Okay it is January and here in Bridgeport Texas it is 70 degrees the gray sky is gone and it is a beautiful bright blue sky. Not usual for us this time of year but enjoying the sunshine, tank tops and flip flops.

I know winter is not gone but I am enjoying the break from the cold of winter. It is like God is telling me that this year is going to be a much better year than the past five. In a couple of days the freezing temperatures will return but today I am basking in the sun and enjoying its’ warmth Thank you Abba Father for this beautiful day.


Genesis 8:22  “While the earth remains, Seed time and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease.”


Photography by Julie Sheppard

Even the tree in front of my apartment is enjoying the sunshine and has decided to bud.

Matthew 5:45  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Giving Thanks December 30, 2016 – Thankful For Children

Psalms 127:3 – Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

John 16:21 – A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.

baby-me-n-momIsaiah 54:13 – And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great [shall be] the peace of thy children.

Proverbs 17:6 – Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.

3 John 1:4 – I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Matthew 18:10 – Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Mark 10:14 – But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.


Children are gifts from God. They can bring joy and laughter. They can also bring tears and heartache. Yet life without them is empty. Thankful for all of the children who have blessed my life.



They Came Back!

In two of my previous post ‘Giving Thanks December 27, 2016 – Thankful That God Is Always There’, and ‘God Speaks To Me’ I wrote about the doves in the tree out my back door. The first I was only able to capture a photo of just one of the doves, and in the second three doves allowed me to take their photo.


I have seen a single dove and occasionally a pair while sitting on my porch but no more than that until this last week. The first day I had stepped out my back door to take the trash out I had wished that I had my camera on me but was able to quietly go back in my apartment and get my camera. When I came back out they were still in the tree until I stepped off my porch and all but one flew away.


Then on another day the tree was filled with these doves again. This time 3 remained and though the sky is gray and the branches were making it difficult to photograph them the stayed until I was able to take their picture.


Now a third day and they are back! This time not one dove flew away until I was able to photograph them. Yes once again the day is gray but these beautiful doves bring God’s beauty and hope into my life. Filling my heart with joy and peace knowing He is speaking to me of His great love and how this love is growing in me everyday.

Genesis 22:17  indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.
 Genesis 1:28  God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
2 Timothy 2:2  The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Jeremiah 30:19  ‘From them will proceed thanksgiving And the voice of those who celebrate; And I will multiply them and they will not be diminished; I will also honor them and they will not be insignificant.


Giving Thanks December 27, 2016 – Thankful That God Is Always There

3 doves.JPG

The other day I wrote a post about walking out my back door and seeing the tree behind my apartment filled with almost a dozen doves of course when I went to get my camera only one remained and I was able to take a picture of this one bird. Today when I went out my back door there were three doves and this time not one flew away. It was difficult to take their picture through the bare branches but they stayed.


As I took these pictures I thought about God always being there. He is faithful and I can trust in Him. I just have to look up and I can see Him.

3 doves 2.JPG

Today I am thankful that I cant trust God to always be there. Even when the day is gray and gloomy I have hope.

Deuteronomy 7:9 – Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

2 Timothy 2:13 – If we believe not, [yet] he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 – But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep [you] from evil.

Matthew 24:35 – Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Lamentations 3:23 – They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.


Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.



1. Adhering firmly and devotedly, as to a person, cause, or idea; loyal.
2. Engaging in sex only with one’s spouse or only with one’s partner in a sexual relationship.


a. Responsible; conscientious: the faithful discharge of his duties.
b. Dependable; reliable: The faithful engine started right up.
4. Consistent with truth or actuality: a faithful reproduction of the portrait.
5. Having or full of faith.


1. The practicing members of a religious faith, especially of Christianity or Islam: a pilgrimage to Mecca made by thefaithful.
2. The steadfast adherents of a faith or cause: a meeting of the party faithful.

faith′ful·ly adv.
faith′ful·ness n.
Synonyms: faithful, loyal, true, constant, steadfast, staunch1
These adjectives mean adhering firmly and devotedly to someone or something that elicits or demands one’s fidelity.Faithful and loyal both suggest undeviating attachment, though loyal applies more often to political allegiance: afaithful employee; a loyal citizen. True implies steadiness, sincerity, and reliability: remained true to her innermostbeliefs. Constant stresses uniformity and invariability: “But I am constant as the northern star” (Shakespeare).
Steadfast implies fixed, unswerving loyalty: a steadfast ally. Staunch even more strongly suggests unshakableattachment or allegiance: a staunch supporter of the cause.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.



1. having faith; remaining true, constant, or loyal
2. maintaining sexual loyalty to one’s lover or spouse
3. consistently reliable: a faithful worker.
4. reliable or truthful: a faithful source.
5. accurate in detail: a faithful translation.


6. (Ecclesiastical Terms) the believers in and loyal adherents of a religious faith, esp Christianity
7. any group of loyal and steadfast followers
ˈfaithfully adv
ˈfaithfulness n
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



1. steady in allegiance or affection; loyal: faithful friends.
2. reliable, trusted, or believed: faithful assurances of help.
3. adhering or true to fact, a standard, or an original; accurate: a faithful copy.
4. strict or thorough in the performance of duty: a faithful worker.
5. Obs. full of faith; believing.


6. the faithful,

a. the believers in a faith, esp. the members of a Christian church or the adherents of Islam.
b. the body of loyal members of any party or group.
faith′ful•ly, adv.
faith′ful•ness, n.
syn: faithful, constant, loyal imply qualities of stability, dependability, and devotion. faithful implies enduring fidelityto what one is bound to by a pledge, duty, or obligation: a faithful friend. constant suggests lack of change inaffections or loyalties: a constant companion through thick and thin. loyal implies firm support and defense of aperson, cause, institution, or idea considered to be worthy: a loyal citizen.
Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

Are you thankful?

Photography by Julie Sheppard

Giving Thanks December 25, 2016 – Thankful For The Birth Of Jesus


   Today we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus.


Today I am thankful for the hope


and joy that the news of this birth of our Savior  brings.

merry bport.JPG

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones from Bridgeport, Texas.

Luke 2:1-20 (NKJV)

Christ Born of Mary

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife,[a] who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Glory in the Highest

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold,[b] an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”[c]

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely[d] known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Giving Thanks December 23, 2016 – Thankful for the night

Genesis 1:5  God called the light day, and the darkness He called night And there was evening and there was morning, one day.


Matthew 14:25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.


Luke 6:12  It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.

I am thankful for the night when the stress of the day turns to the peaceful night. I am thankful for the quiet of the night. The time without distraction and the closeness I feel to my Heavenly Father. I confess that I am a night owl and not much of a morning person.

What time of day are you thankful for?

Giving Thanks December 22, 2016 – Thankful for the gifts of the spirit

2 Corinthians 9:15 – Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

1 Corinthians Chapter 12: 8-10  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

Thankful for gifts from family and friends are gifts we hold dear to us but the gifts of God’s Spirit are eternal treasures that I am forever grateful for. They are gifts that we get to share and never lose.

What gifts are you thankful for?

Giving Thanks December 21, 2016- Thankful for the Morning

Genesis 1:5

God called the light day, and the darkness He called night And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

Psalm 30:5  

For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

IMG_0003 (6).JPG

Photography by Julie Sheppard

I am thankful for the morning. The dark times in our lives do not last and like the morning sun rises so the joy of our Savior Jesus comes to us.

Psalm 92:2

To declare Your loving kindness in the morning And Your faithfulness by night,
Psalm 30:5

For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
Isaiah 50:4

The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.

Giving Thanks December 20, 2016 – Thankful for Light






1 John 1:5-9

      This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.



John 12:35-37

    Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them. 37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.



Ephesians 5:14

 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
photography by Julie Sheppard

James 1:17

 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

   Candlelight, moonlight, and sunlight are all lights but they cannot compare to the One True Light who is Jesus Christ. Today I am thankful that it is Jesus who lights my path.

What lights your world?

What song brightens your day?

What are you thankful for today?