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America the Beautiful

american flagJanuary 5, 2016

We have never been a perfect nation, but we have more freedoms than most countries. We are a large melting pot of many cultures, belief systems and religions but we were founded on the belief in God and Christ. We have our civil disturbances, our racial wars, our religious disagreements and every so often a terrorist will raise his/her/ their head and try to do something to cause us to fear them.

But we still stand strong. Many people do not agree with the way our government is and every facet of any government has it’s problems, it’s less than honest workers, and it’s failures, but you won’t find any country that has as many freedoms or benefits than ours.

Today I am thankful to live in America. I am disappointed in many different areas but I also realize that I am blessed to be living here than in a war torn, third world,poor country. I have a much better chance of being safe in my home, having a home, having clothes, medical care and food here than I would be in any other country.

I was born in America and raised to love her and respect her and I do. I love and respect the people who actually make up us this country, not the people in government offices that make the decisions about how the country is run, but the people who get up every day, go to work, take care of their families and worship God. The farmers that grow our food, the teachers that teach our children, the mothers and fathers who teach their children high moral values and all the others that really make this country great.

January 6, 2016

Her name was Kim. She lived in a nursing home in Clearwater, Florida. Each Sunday a van would bring her to the church, drop her off, and then come back later to pick her up. She would always ride her chair right down to the front row. She wanted to be close to hear the word of God. She quit showing up one month and we found out her family could no longer afford to pay for the van.

Ken and I went to the nursing home at least a couple times a month to visit with Kim and that’s how I learned her story. She was born with debilitating arthritis throughout her body. She had club feet and a form of dwarfism. She had never walked in her life and when her parents became too old, and her father died, she was put in the same nursing home as her mother.

Her siblings did what they could to make her as comfortable as possible. She had an electric chair, her portion of the room contained her television, books, nick-knacks, a radio and stuffed animals. While the other two women slept in the beds furnished by the home, she had a very comfortable looking, plush wood framed bed with built in bookcases for the headboard.

To speak with her, you would never know her plight in life. You would never have known she had any kind of disability if you couldn’t see it. She was very bright and intelligent. She loved watching movies, reading, playing board games and talking to people, and she was always giving God the glory. She never complained. Today I am thankful for the “Kims” God has allowed me to know during my life for they have shown me faith and love beyond any I have ever seen before. They’re example is what makes me realize just how small my problems are and how blessed I really am.

January 7, 2016

He didn’t pay the utility bills and it was the middle of Winter. He drank up all the money again and we just barely made the rent. We were cooking on a Coleman stove in the kitchen and heating water up for baths and washing clothes in the tub. We ran on candle-light at night and he hooked a TV to a car battery for us to watch as we sat around bundled up in coats and blankets.

We couldn’t buy fresh food or meat because there was no electricity so we ate canned and packaged goods. Once in awhile we would grab a 99 cent pound of bologna and have bologna and ramen noodles for supper. If the landlady knew the utilities were shut off, she would have evicted us and four adults and four children would have been out on the street.

Memories like this remind me of how it can be, how it was for several years until God intervened and started moving me up the ladder to a much better place. Memories like these make me thankful for the small things like heat, electricity and water, the things that many take for granted.

I’ve lived without the basics many times in my life, usually through no fault of my own, other than making the wrong choices in the people I was around. When the lord moved me on, he didn’t take away the memories, but instilled in me the strength to never live like that again. We make the choices of who we want to be with, who we want in our lives, and sometimes those choices can be a very present danger to us. Today I am thankful that God gave me the strength to change who I chose to be around.

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When Satan Tries to Steal Your Joy

 

Christ of the Ozarks

Christ of the Ozarks, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

February 3, 2016

It wasn’t too long ago that I received a prayer request on Facebook. These dear Christian friends of mine had been through so much already. Besides struggling with finances, trying to keep a roof over their heads and take care of their family, two of their three children were special needs children who had constant doctor and hospital visits. The mother, herself, had her own medical problems and struggled every day to take care of them. They are a wonderful family, and when I got the prayer request I immediately prayed.

A few days later, after things looked so bleak they posted a praise report. The car had been fixed, their utility bills had been paid and there was food in the house to see them through until the next month. I can’t lay claim to my prayer being the one that God responded to because I know he heard so many for this family. I believe it was their faith that had the biggest impact, because they ended their request with the phrase “we are believing our lord will take care of all our needs”.

It is people like this that lift my spirit, that give me even more hope and faith than I had before. Not once did they ever accept the idea that God wouldn’t come through for them. It is praise reports like the one they posted a few days later that uplift my spirit and make me so thankful for a loving lord who wants to take care of our needs. Today I am thankful for so many of my friends that refuse to let Satan steal their joy, that believe with an unfaltering faith that God will come through for them every time.

February 4, 2016

I bought a washer a few years back, the first one I have ever had that was brand new. It broke down three days after the years warranty was up. I was livid because the place I bought it from didn’t tell me I could purchase an extended warranty on it. People who sell appliances, furniture, electronics should be up front with the advantages of purchasing extra protection, unfortunately many will not tell their customers because they want them to have to come back and purchase more products from them. We live in such a deceitful age right now and it is just so disgusting to me how dishonest many businesses have become.

Now some people may think that being thankful for a washer is silly, but I have had to wash clothes out in a sink or bathtub by hand and hang them to dry. I have hauled clothes in a wagon, cart or dragged baskets down the street and spent a bundle on laundromats, so when I bought a new machine, I was ecstatic. It sat for a few years on the back porch while I tried to find a way to get the money to fix it. When we moved into this house with the kind help of the people from mom’s church they took the machine and had it fixed for us. It actually works better now than it did when I first bought it, so yes, today I am thankful for my washing machine and the kind people that reached out and helped us get it fixed.

February 5, 2016

It’s old. It sits next to the cabinet on the other side of the stove. The outside is dingy and we had to repair the seal around the edges of the door, ha, with duct tape. We had some old green paint, kind of a lime green and we decided to paint it one year. So, for awhile this lime green thing sat in our kitchen. My sister, the original, now older, hippie got a good laugh out of it when she saw it.

Last year we got tired of the lime green paint so we decided to see what we could do with contact paper. We found some beige looking stuff, made it almost look like it was stuccoed on the outside, and we got most of it covered. We never got around to doing the one side, which is the side that shows on the outside where it sits in the kitchen at the new house. The front looks like a brand new appliance. Lately it has been making some weird sounds, but only once in awhile, but the old gal keeps on chugging along. Sometimes the temp is a little high and things start to freeze, and when it is full things don’t get as cold as fast as they used to, but she still gives it her best shot.

We only paid $175.00 for her about 6 years ago, and even though she was used at the time, she has been ever faithful to us. We know some day, maybe sooner than we think, we will have to let the old girl go, but we have already started saving for another one.

Yes, I am thankful for our refrigerator and to those of you who think this is silly, try living without one. Try buying food by the day and keeping it in a Coleman cooler, or trying living on just canned and boxed goods without the benefit of healthy, fresh foods and see how you like it. It amazes me the things that people take for granted, that they don’t realize are blessings until the day they have to do without.

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One Month Down, Eleven More to Go

New-Years-EveThe Last Day of the Month

January 31, 2016

Today I am thankful to be alive!!! Before I accepted Jesus as my savior, my life was full of very bad things. I faced death several times but not at my own hand. My health was bad, my soul was filled with fear, bitterness, and hatred. I had no goals and the future looked very bleak. Then one day I started remembering my Sunday School lessons as a child, and remembered how to pray. Once I started praying and believing, once I re-accepted Jesus into my heart, many things started to change.

As I look back, I can see the very steps, the actual actions and help God sent me to remove me from those circumstances. I can see how he brought from one level to the next to bring me to where I am today. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. I stumble and fall just like the next person, but I know I have forgiveness and hope in Jesus now.

Well, I did it!!!! I was able to find a blessing out of each day for 31 days. Actually I found several and it was difficult to choose which one to post. When you start looking for things to be thankful for, you start seeing just how many there are, and sometimes there are more than you can count. This positive outlook not only affects your spiritual health but your physical health as well.

Even though I had to post a couple days at a time, I didn’t let Satan deter me from doing this. I wrote down the dates and what I was thankful for on a pad by my computer until I would have a chance to elaborate on them. I’m going to keep going. It may be a 2-3 day post, but I will get them up. If we can’t find something in our lives to be thankful for every day of the year, then we are a sorry lot.

First Day of the Month

February 1, 2016

Last month was a challenge. Satan threw everything he could at me. Depression, illness, appointments and business. He tried his best to draw my attention away from doing this. There was a death in the family, there were multiple medical and health problems, and there were just days where I wanted to stay in bed all day and not face the world.

But I did it. I showed myself that I can do it. Even though it may work out the same this month and I might not get posts up for a few days, I am bound and determined to prove that I can find something to be thankful for each day.

While some of the things I choose may sound silly to some of you, it is just possible that they are something you take for granted, but what would happen if you all of a sudden lost those things you take for granted? I’ve been there and done that many times in my life. I have literally had to walk away from every material possession I had and you know what? I learned not to be materialistic.

Today I am thankful that God has shown me that the materialistic things in this world are temporary and not as important as my spiritual life, my love for my family, friends, neighbors and just people in general. I would much rather be homeless, a vagrant so to speak, than lose the love I have with Jesus and so many others.

February 2, 2016

Today I am thankful for healing. I got hit by some kind of virus thing. I was miserable. I had a choking, gagging cough, nausea, sneezing and body aches. We tend to think, at times, that even if we get a Flu shot we are invincible to everything. I don’t often get seasonal illnesses but when I do they seem to hit me twice as hard as they hit anyone else.

I used to be able to work through any illness. I never took sick days from work, in fact they had to send me reminders that I needed to take the allotted days before the beginning of the new year. Our company had what they called “PTO” or “Paid Time Off. It consisted of 6 sick days, 6 personal days and whatever vacation time you had accumulated, but once you got close to six weeks time saved, you had to take some time off. You couldn’t accumulate too much time.

I tried everything I could think of, nausea medicine, Zantac, Prilosec, saltine crackers and even some Tessalon pearls, which finally helped with the gagging cough. If I even looked at food I wanted to throw up. Every time I took something, I asked God to let it work and after three days it was gone. While you might not think you can learn anything from being sick, I beg to differ. If I catch a similar virus, I now know what I can take that will help.

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The Small Things and Hope

blue butterlyJanuary 29, 2016

Sometimes it is the small things that can make us happy, bring a smile to our face or lift our spirits. That quick glance at a clear blue sky while driving down the street, the squirrel running up the tree in your yard, the beautiful chirping of the birds or even the ray of sunlight coming through the kitchen window can uplift our spirits if we take time to notice them.

I have always loved nature, but there seemed to be a long period in my life where I didn’t have time to even notice it. I became so busy that I didn’t know from day to day if the sun was even shining. I let myself become more involved in the needs of others than I should have until they took advantage and made it seem more like an obligation than help.

As I have gotten older and no longer work I have had to step back from taking on the responsibility of others, having to force them to take care of themselves, which I now see should have been done a long time ago. I now have the time to catch up on the small things I missed out on for so long.

Today I am thankful for all those small things, the chirping birds, the ray of sunlight that comes through the kitchen window, the squirrels running up the trees in the yard and the blue sky during the day and the beautiful stars at night.

Here is a small piece of advice for those who have become so busy with life that they no longer notice the smaller, less stressful, free things in life, take a break, breath the fresh air, smell the roses and stare at the sky.

January 30, 2016

Romans 8:24-25 : 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? 25. But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. Websters Dictionary defines hope as “the desire with expectation of obtainment: to expect with confidence and trust.

Without hope, we have nothing. Hope for a new position or job, hope for your children to grow up right, hope that you can provide your family’s needs, hope for good health and more importantly hope in Jesus Christ are the most basic. A child may hope for a new toy, knowing his parents will more than likely get it for him for Christmas or his Birthday, an young adult may hope for a good job after school or that the person they have a crush on will return their affection.

New parents may be hoping for a healthy baby or that the paperwork on their first house will go through. Grandparents may be hoping for a visit from their grandchildren, employers are hoping for good employees, the homeless man on the corner is hoping for a hot meal and people in war torn countries are hoping for some relief.

Without hope, the world becomes a bleak, black and white, silent place, but we all have hope in Jesus Christ as our savior. It is the hope of his blessings, his guidance, his love that keeps the majority of the worlds population pushing on, hoping for better things to come. Today I am thankful for hope.

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Looking Into the Past

robinJanuary 27, 2016

We all think about the past, about the good things that happened, the bad things that happened, the mistakes we made, and the people we have lost. I’m sure most of us have thought that if we could go back in time, we would do things differently, there is always something we would change.

Since I became a Christian, the Lord has opened my eyes to the lessons he was teaching me. He has shown me all the steps he took to bring me to where I am today, to mold me into the person he wants me to be. I’m not perfect. None of us ever will be. We will still stumble and fall. It’s in our nature. We need to realize that where we have been is why we are where we are.

When we accept Jesus, all of our sins are forgiven and we start with a new slate, but doesn’t mean that God will erase the memories we have of those mistakes, and boy, do I have some doozies. I am now able to look at the result of those sins and mistakes and I can clearly see the lessons that I learned from them.

Sometimes I think I would change some of the things I did, but when I look at the whole picture, I was where I was because God wanted me there, I went through what I went through because he wanted me to learn strength, kindness, mercy, forgiveness and so much more. Today I am thankful for all the lessons he has taught me over the years.

January 28, 2016

The sky was the bluest it has been for a long time this morning. There were six little birds sitting up in the bare branches of the tree out back and many more flying around and chirping. The sun stayed out all day and the temps were in the 50’s.

Strange weather for January for sure. It has rained a lot and it has only snowed one time here. I can remember the first year I lived here, it snowed a few inches on Thanksgiving. My, how things have changed.

In a few months, it will hopefully get warmer and we can go back to walking the Radio Station Hill for our exercise. When we walked it last summer, we always took a camera with us to get some pictures of the trees, foliage, and flowers. We even got some pictures of a family of rabbits.

I believe that animals can tell if you will harm them, if you are some kind of threat to them. When I would sit on the front porch in the morning, the robins, blue jays and cardinals would fly up to the wire next to the porch and look at me and then fly away. Sometimes they would land on the railing not 3 feet from me. When we walked the hill, our family of rabbits would come out and watch us. I think that they got so used to us being there, that they accepted us as belonging there.

I cannot think of a time that I haven’t loved the things in nature and today I am thankful for the nature that God has surrounded us with. It is just so sad, that man, in his race to expand has destroyed so much of the beauty that God gives us.

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Sunshine

sunrise-in-the-countryJanuary 25, 2016

We’ve had a really dreary winter. Instead of the normal snow we used to get, it seems that it has rained an awful lot. I don’t know if it has anything to do with global warming or not, but I know that over the years our season have changed a lot from what they were.

Scientists and health researchers say that our bodies need serotonin and vitamin d, both of which can be gotten from the sun. I read a while ago, probably several years ago that the suicide rate was higher in those areas that have several months of darkness, and I guess I can understand why because I do get depressed when the sky is constantly gray with rain clouds.

Today I am thankful for the sunshine. I love to get up early on Spring and Summer mornings, sit out on the front porch with my coffee and enjoy the sun, but there isn’t much chance of doing that during the winter months, but I am thankful for every time it decides to finally peak through those nasty, gray clouds on rainy/icy days

January 26, 2016

I am thankful today for a small town doctor. I have seen many doctors in my life time and it has always struck me how cold and aloof many of them seem to be. They don’t take much time to find out what is going on and are over eager to just throw a bunch of prescriptions at you. I have often thought that they must get a kick back on how may they prescribe, I don’t if that is true, but in some cases it could be. There was one doctor that had me taking 28 pills a day, only for me to find out later he was treating problems I didn’t even have.

Small town doctors and hospitals seem to take more time with their patients. They seem to truly care how you are feeling. My doctor will prescribe medications for obvious ailments, but if he isn’t positive about what he is treating you for, he will have specific tests down before throwing a bunch of prescriptions at you. He talks to you, treats you and accepts you as a personal friend and not just another file number.

January 27, 2016

My joints ache and my head hurts, on a daily basis. There are a lot of pain killers and anti-inflammatory that I can’t take because of allergic reactions, but what I can take does dull everything enough that I can still function pretty well on most days.

I am thankful today that I can get out of bed in the morning without any help, that I can go to the kitchen and make my own coffee, that I can sit down and read the news and check in at Facebook and that I can spend my day doing normal things.

I know so many people, people that used to be able to live a normal life that now have to live in assisted living or nursing homes that are the same age as I am. I pray for all of them but am thankful just to be able to get up and do normal things around the house, get some exercise at the hospital, and do my own shopping

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Faith

bibleJanuary 22, 2016

Have you ever felt like your faith has been shaken? Have you ever lost faith because things looked so dark and there didn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel? I have come close to this many times in my life, but I have learned that by holding onto my faith, trying to never let it waver, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I can believe in the promises of God. Hebrews 1: 1-13 says it all. These men were some of the most faithful in history. Today I am thankful that God gives me reasons to hold onto my faith.

Hebrews 1
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

January 23, 2016

There is no doubt that illness is a fact of life. Some people are blessed with very little while others have hereditary diseases and conditions that affect them all of their lives. I suffer from arthritis in different parts of my body. I have at least 4-5 migraines a week. I have the aches and pains that come with getting older and the body not functioning as it did when I was young.

I was privileged to meet a lady named Kim many years ago when Ken and I lived in Florida. Kim was a very short woman that had been born with club feet and debilitating arthritis. She had never walked a day in her life and had lived in nursing homes for much of her life. If you ever had a chance to speak with her, you would never have known she had grown up this way. She was always vibrant and happy, always praising the lord

Today I am thankful for the meeting her. Even though I haven’t been in contact with her since Ken passed away 16 years ago, she still remains an inspiration to me. When I think about what she has gone through in her life, when I think about the hereditary disease that Rich lives with, I realize how blessed I am in health and how little I really have to go through with my medical issues.

January 24, 2016

A year ago I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. While some cancers spread quickly and destroy the tissue and organs nearby, I was diagnosed with “Carcinoma in Situ” which basically means the cancer stays right where it starts. It does not metastasize, however if the surrounding tissue is not removed, it can appear in another area.

The doctor said the early detection was due to me always following up on my yearly exams. He was surprised to see it because it is rare in women my age who have gone through the change. An immediate, total hysterectomy was ordered and done. I recovered faster than most people, in fact I only had pain for a day or two.

When they tested all the other tissue, ovaries, cervix and uterus, there was no other sign of cancer cells. I don’t need yearly exams anymore because there is nothing to examine, but I wasn’t planning on having any more children anyway (laugh out loud).

Today I am thankful for all the new medicines and procedures that they have developed that make surgery less invasive, less painful and more accurate. NOTE: to all my sisters out there. If you still have your parts, no matter how old you are, even if you have gone through the change, my doctor says you should still have the yearly exams.

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