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The Wind, The Past and Final Destination

lighteningJune 8, 2017 – The Wind

I’ve mentioned it several times before, I love nature, I love looking at the beauty created by God. I love to feel the warmth of the sun beating down on be when I walk in the spring, summer and fall. I love to look out over grassy meadows, bubbling streams and fields of hay. Standing under the shade of a large tree, looking up into the branches, there is a reverence felt from the age old trunk and limbs. There are even some trees around the world whose estimated age is over 1000 years.

I love watch the colorful butterflies wandering from bright flower to bright flower, sharing the job of pollination with the bees and ants. I enjoy watching all the birds that bless our deck with their presence; the doves, the many varieties of sparrows, the cardinals and blue-jays, the robins and the redheaded woodpecker that has started visiting I consider my little children and try to make sure I get their food out early in the day.

I stand on out on the porch and watch the lightening, hearing the thunder roll and watching the pouring rain as it falls in sheets, cleaning the air, the plants and the land. There is a power and freshness that cannot be duplicated by man no matter how hard he might try.

But the wind, think about the wind. The gentle breezes that ruffle your hair, the higher winds during a rain storm and the mighty wind of tornadoes, tsunamis and hurricanes show the mighty power of our lord. Winds that refresh, winds that spread seed and water and rain, and winds that can destroy and kill are reminders of the mighty power of God. Today I am thankful for the winds that remind me of the power of god.

Mark 4:39-41

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

The_Last_supperJune 9, 2017 – The Past

You hear it all the time, “the past is the past, you can’t change the past” and “don’t dwell on the past”, however I believe that you shouldn’t completely forget the past, especially if you learned lessons from it. Dwelling on the past with a spirit of negativity isn’t a healthy thing to do, but looking for the lessons and the goodness that may have come at the end of that past will give you knowledge and strength for the future.

I’ve been through some very trying times in my life. Some people who have heard about my past have encouraged me to write about, to actually do a book on it, and eventually I may complete that, but before I could do that I had to actually face my past.

Over the years, I have looked at my past from different angles, so to speak. I had to look at the actual events that happened. Were they the result of mistakes I made or the actions of other people? Were there any lessons learned during these trying times and do I recognize what they were? Was I in control and could I have done something different that would have ended in better results?

Although there is a large chunk of my life that was horrible, I can clearly see that a lot of it was not my doing. Sure I made my own mistakes, but for the most part, a lot of my suffering was caused by other people, people who were users, abusers, manipulators.

For many years I thought I was being punished for some horrible sin I committed and I would look back to see if I could recognize what it possibly was. It wasn’t until I gave my life to Christ, that he opened my eyes and showed me that there was no punishment for a sin, but the evil of the world we live in and the evil people who prey on others.

He also showed me many lessons that I had learned, even though I didn’t recognize them at first. He laid out before me all the steps he took me through, all the different levels, each one leading to a different one up to where I am at today.

And even though my past was iffy, even though there was no love for many years, no caring people, I can see events that taught me something, and when it was time, the Lord moved me to another level. For a year before I received Jesus, I looked at my past bitterly. I didn’t want to let go of the pain, the deceitfulness, the danger or the abuse.

Today I look at in a different way. I look at the path I was brought along and I can draw on the lessons that I learned along the way. The past is the past and I can do nothing about it, but I can accept that now and I can deal with the memories without hate and thoughts of vengeance. Today I am thankful that the Lord has taught me a different way to look at the past.

Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

starry skiesJune 10, 2017 – Final Destination

How sad for people who believe there is no final destination. How empty they must feel when they believe that death is final, there is no hereafter, there is no heaven with a loving God. How do they face life every day, thinking that when they are gone from their earthly shell that they completely cease to be?

If only they would open their hearts and souls, if only they would listen to that gentle urging, that small voice that calls to them, that one that loves them and wants to wrap his love around them. But no, for the most part they cling to that material world, believing they must glean all that they can in what little time they have left.

How heart breaking it must be when they lie on a sick bed, receiving the news that their case is terminal and there is no hope of recovery. How very lonely and maybe even angry they must feel, with nothing in the future to hope for, no final destination for them to believe in.

Christianity has grown in leaps and bounds since the death of Christ. Each minute, each hour, each day many are finding that hope, that love, that realization that there is, in fact, a final destination, a final place where our souls will meet with others to worship and receive the love of our creator, a final destination where the cares of the world are no more upon our shoulders, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no hate, no evil and no illness. Today I am thankful that I know my final destination.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live

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Side Effects, An Open Heart and A Shut-up Soul

medicine bottlesJune 5, 2017 – Side effects

This is the age of medical miracles. Each day a new medicine is in the works, being tested on animals and in some cases on human volunteers. Each day thousands of requests are received by the FDA for approval to make and sell new treatments for various diseases. It is big business. New medicines are expensive and they stay that way. I’m not sure of the time frame but I remember being told that the creators have complete rights to the recipes for seven years before a generic, less expensive type can be released.

If you look at the side effects on most medicines, most of them are pretty much the same. Nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, diarrhea, headaches and rash are normally listed on most products. These are all supposed to be short lived and go away after awhile. Some medications have long term, dangerous side effects, especially if they are not take right, for instance the methotrexate I take causes mouth ulcers, thinning of the skin and easy bruising and if too much is taken can end your life. The methylprednisolone can cause heart flutters, insomnia, headaches and all the other normal side effects mentioned.

Diseases and illnesses can have long term side effects if not treated on a regular basis. Asthma can kill you if you don’t treat it on a daily basis or carry a rescue inhaler., as can COPD also. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation of the heart, lungs, bladder, kidneys and liver and deformities of the hands, knees and feet. Chronic migraines can cause reoccurring TIA’s and stroke,

But there are some things in life that have good side effects. Reading the word of God has the side effect of increasing your knowledge and your belief. Praying has the side effects of receiving answers, healing, and the knowledge that someone is listening, someone cares, someone loves you and someone understands what you are going through. Faith has the side effects of increasing your strength and endurance and giving you hope. Love has the side effect of feeling comforted, cared for and lifted up. Today I am thankful for the elements in my life that have these wonderful side effects.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 4. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5. does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6. does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7. bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

heartsJune 6, 2017- An Open Heart

Jesus said‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20). He knocks on the door of your heart and if you answer and invite him in, he will reside with you for the rest of your life.

Unfortunately, we humans, have, during troubled times closed our hearts to his message. We are so stubborn that we believe we must handle all of our troubles ourselves. Instead of going to the Lord in prayer, inviting him in and letting him take control of our lives, we blame someone else for our troubles, look for ways to resolve them ourselves and often times seek vengeance on those we believe have caused our sorrow.

In this day and age, with so much going on around us, it is hard for non-believes to have an open heart and it is hard for Christians to keep their heart open. Terror lurking on every corner, threats of violence and death always in the news, pedophiles lurking at the playground, gangs taking over neighborhoods, drug abuse rising every day with new and more dangerous drugs on the market, relationships falling apart and a government that just can’t seem to find the right way to operate bear us down with so many burdens that we often feel like there is a ton of bricks on our shoulders.

Natural disasters are forecast almost every day threatening the loss of our homes, our jobs and in some instances our very lives. Super storms, volcanoes, tornadoes, tsunamis, floods, earth quakes and close calls by meteors and asteroids are as common place as mom’s home made apple pie. Outbreaks and epidemics and new super bugs pop up on a daily basis, infecting many and killing some, and we humans keep on struggling to survive.

I’ve lived in poverty and violence at different points in my life. I’ve lost everything I had far more times than I can count. I’ve lived in fear, often wondering if I would awake the next day, and I’ve had to struggle to survive many times in my life. I’ve gone day to day wondering how I would feed myself and my son and where we would lay our heads at night.

But one day someone knocked on the door of my heart and I let them in. I was at the bottom, I couldn’t go any further down and was desperate for a way to climb back up. Since then, I have made it a habit to keep my heart open, to not close it up or close those who need me out. Things have changed so much since the day I opened the door to knock and it’s been a wonderful change in my life. Today I am thankful for an open heart.

eyeJune 7, 2017 – A Shut Up Soul

Merriam Webster defines the mind as: the element or complex of elements in an individual that feels, perceives, thinks, wills and especially reasons.  They further define the soul as: the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe.

I am a word person. Even though I have a pretty good understanding of most of the English language and grammar, there are times that I like to look at words or objects that people tend to think are the same and see what the actual definitions are. I know of many people who have, probably still do believe that the soul and the mind are the same.

If you look at the above definitions it is very easy to see that they are totally different. You use your mind to live, to see and understand different functions, different actions that allow you to learn, perceive, work, and gather knowledge. You have to use your mind to decide what you will eat, what you will wear, where you will work and so many other necessary daily functions.

But the soul, ah the soul, what a completely different situation is the soul. Our soul, definitely connected to our heart is what urges us to search for the reasons we are here, to search our spiritual side, to look for the intangible in us and in the world. A well developed soul realizes that we are not alone, that we are a part of something else. With our soul we seek God, we seek to understand and follow him. We find love and friendship and fellowship and faith with a being that we can neither see nor touch.

There are so many today that have a shut up soul. I would have to include a lot of scientists in that category, especially the ones who believe we developed from fish or apes and that the earth was created by an accident out in space. There are those who firmly believe that when we die, that is it, we completely cease to exist, we are no more, and that is why they seek to have all that they desire materialistically today. Today I am thankful I don’t have a shut up soul.

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

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Quiet, Home, and Getting Older

old front porchJune 2, 2017 – Quiet

For the most of my adult life I lived in noisy cities. Cleveland was the worst. It didn’t matter where you lived, there were always cars shooting up and down the streets, honking horns, people fighting and yelling and sirens going off all hours of the night.

I lived in some of the suburbs a few times, but unless you move way far out, you still got basically the same noise. I had to live closer to the city because of work, but the best job I ever had was when I got the company in Florida to transfer back to Cleveland as a field agent.

Several of the courts I covered were in smaller cities, rural towns in different counties. I found back ways to get to them so I could drive through the countryside, taking the scenic routes on country highways past the farms and Amish areas, enjoying the fresh air, the scenery and the quiet.

When I moved here, the very first night, I couldn’t sleep, something was different, something was strange, something was missing. It was the noise. There wasn’t any. It was like the sidewalks were rolled up at night and the whole town slept. It was peaceful and quiet.

Even though the noise factor has elevated a little over the last 10 years, different groups of people moving in and out and the fact that the freeway is only a few blocks away from us, accidents do happen sometimes at night, it is still the most quiet place I have lived outside of Barre, Vermont. Still when I walk out one last time onto our front porch before I go to bed, I listen and I hear the quiet. Today I am thankful for the quiet.

Psalm 131:2 Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me.

DCIM100MEDIAJune 3, 2017 – Home

Many people are in the habit of referring to their city of birth as their home, where they are from. Others refer to the cities they have spent most of their life in. For example, I was born in Chicago, left there when I was five and moved to Colorado, left there when I was thirteen and moved to Cleveland, Ohio. For a large part of my life I claimed to be from Cleveland.

I lived 33 three years in Cleveland before I ever went anywhere else to live. I went to Tennessee once and lived there for six weeks, it was just too hard to find a good job there at the time. I went to Arizona for six months but had to move back because of the work situation there also.

It wasn’t until 1997 that I left Cleveland and stayed away for more than a few months. I spent one year in Vermont so Ken could spend time with his mother before she passed away from cancer. I lived in Florida for five years and loved it, but after Ken was gone, there was nothing left there for me. I moved back to Cleveland again, the place where I had spent the majority of my life.

As I have gotten older, I have come to realize that home is where the heart is, it is where you are the most comfortable, most at peace, where you are the happiest. I’ve been in this small community for ten years now. I will never return to Cleveland again as there is nothing there for me. This small country town is my home and my only regret is that I found it so late in life. While my true home is with Jesus, today I am thankful this is my earthly home.

John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

oldman prayingJune 4, 2017- Getting Older

Ah, I have finally reached the top of the hill heading to old age. At least that is what a lot of people think. 65 is at the top and everything after that is downhill, old age. Although I don’t really feel like a senior citizen, I can feel the difference in my body as it ages the way we are meant to.

Many times I had thought if I had a chance, I would go back in time and change some of the mistakes I made, but when I really think about it, it was from those mistakes that I learned, that I became stronger and more wise.

While I wish a lot of things could have been different, I can clearly see how each level in my life brought me to a new level until I arrived where I am today. I am still am learning, increasing my knowledge, searching, researching and increasing in understanding of many things.

Life is one big huge lesson with little mini lessons that all lead to the main lesson you need to learn. It’s not about wealth, it’s not about increasing in popularity, friendships or climbing that ladder to the top at your place of work.

It’s about stepping back, looking at the immaterial, the spiritual, the love, the kindness along with taking notice of all the evil and less than humanistic events that happen around the world. It’s about opening your mind and heart to what Jesus died for, what he is, what he wants to be in your life.

While it has taken me many years, many, many tears and uncountable prayers to realize this, and while I had to learn some hard mini-lessons along the way, it was worth every day, month, year that it took in my life.

I used to be afraid of getting older, but now I see the advantages of it. Not only am I getting closer to being with Jesus and my loved ones who have already shed their earthly burdens, but I am still amassing a wealth of knowledge that I try to share whenever I can. Today I am thankful that I am no longer afraid of getting older.

Job 12:12Wisdom is with aged men, with long life is understanding

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After the Rain, Mom, Normal Days

lighteningMay 30, 2017 – After the Rain

We’ve had some weird winters here the last few years. Instead of snow we had rain, and instead of ice, we had rain, and instead of sunshine, we had rain. Rich says he’s beginning to think we live England. Many people believe it is the result of climate change. Some claim it is just a natural occurrence as the earth gets older and yet I can’t wonder what we have done to our atmosphere with all of our polluting technological advancements and inventions.

If you live in a large city, like Cleveland, which I am using as an example, you know that days of rain often hold down the pollution. I remember when I first moved there, standing under an awning on the square during a down pour, and looking at a cement wall next me, watching the dirt and mud just roll down. I even wrote a letter to my foster sister in Colorado about how dirty and nasty everything seemed to be.

Another time, many years later, the bus driver for the church picked me up. We went back to the church to wait for people to take to a convention. After an hour we decided no one was coming so she drove me home to Cleveland. As we crossed over a bridge coming from Brecksville, she pointed to downtown Cleveland and told me that is where I live. Clear as day, I remember seeing this blackish gray cloud just sitting over the top of the city. It looked someone had taken a vacuum cleaner bag and just dumped it on top.

I have loved living in a rural town without all the factories, airports, and traffic that is in major cities. I love to walk out on the porch during the summer and sniff the air, taking in the green, fresh smell that you can only find in the country after the rain. As the sun starts to shine again, the rain drops sit on the leaves like little crystal raindrops and everything smells so fresh and clean. Today I am thankful for all the beauty after the rain.

birthday cakeMay 31, 2017 – Mom

Today my son would have been 46. He had a will like none I’ve seen before. I could stand him in the corner and somehow or another, he could stiffen his body and fall asleep standing perfectly upright and still, not leaning on the wall or falling down. He was a quiet child, often so quiet, playing off in a corner of the room, you’d forget that he was even there.

I remember my heart breaking for him when he had his first crush and the feelings weren’t returned, and I think back to the wrong paths he was heading down, but I continued to be his mother and I continuously prayed for him.

I was so proud of him when he became a father for the first time, went out and got a better job and worked so hard to be a good father to his children. He worked many hours, and then would come back and cook for the family, get the kids their baths and get them off to bed. He rarely took time for himself.

And my heart jumped for joy the day he called me in Florida and told me he has just been saved at a Billy Graham crusade. He continued on, following down the right path for awhile until he let the outside influence of the world and a ton of disappointments and failures turn his heart cold.

But he fought his way back after losing his house, his business and his job. He started over again many times in his life, just as his mother did and for awhile it looked like things were turning around for him until his separation with the mother of his daughters.

He married, had four beautiful boys and was fighting for custody of his girls that social services had taken from the mother. I saw his heart break again when the courts convinced him he couldn’t take care of seven children and to let the foster parents adopt the girls, for they had fallen in love with them.

I watched him go up and down many times in his life. I watched him cry and shout, smile and frown, and still no matter what life was throwing at him, he always extended his hand to any of those he could that needed help, always had a ready smile or a joke to share.

Sadly things went from bad to worse, he split with his wife, and she moved away with his sons. A few years later he started having health problems while still dealing with a broken heart. He had minor heart attacks and lung cancer and there were rumors he had gotten into drugs.

Even though there were many who loved him, who could see that he had a good heart and that he loved people, he still really had no one there, no one to hold his hand through all of this, no one to tell him how to mend his broken heart and his broken spirit, so God decided to take him home and end his suffering. Today I am thankful that for 44 years, he called me mom.

fantasy trees111June 1, 2017 – A Normal Day

It’s just another day around here. I get up, throw a load of laundry in, feed the birds, make the bed, grab my coffee and go read my bible. Later I will fix a small breakfast, change loads of laundry and straighten up the kitchen and living room.

I might get on the internet and read the news, check in with family and friends on Facebook or write an article or two. I’ll make a list of things I need to get done, things I need from the store, and appointments I will need to keep within the next few days.

After I fold the laundry, I may make a little lunch, sit and watch an episode of Paladin or Tales of Tomorrow or some other earlier program that today’s children and teens would cringe at because it is black and white and there is no CGI or special effects. I might have a little nap afterwards.

I will get up from nap, check in on family and friends, have my second cup of coffee and finish folding the clothes. If it is summer, I will go out and water the plants and maybe talk to them for a minute or two. If it is winter I will water the house plants in the kitchen and maybe put things together for a project I have planned.

Yes, it is one of those glorious normal days that we don’t often see enough of. There are no infusions today, no ER visits as we both seem to be fairly well today, no store runs because we did all that the day before. Life gets hectic around here because of all the medical and physical challenges we face, but today, I am thankful it is just a normal day.

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Endurance, Extra Time, Memorial Day

eagleMay 26, 2017 – Endurance

Merriam-Webster defines endurance as the ability to withstand hardship or adversity, the ability to sustained prolonged stressful effort or activity or the act or an instance of enduring or suffering. I have no doubt that there isn’t a person a live today that has had to endure something in their life. For many they endure an illness or financial difficulty for a very long time, especially if they have a loved one or spouse who is suffering from or dying from a prolonged illness or disease.

People around the world endure hunger, poverty, pain, illness, oppression, depression, and loss over and over again in their lives. For many, it completely tears them down physically, emotionally and spiritually. Some may pray and wonder how long they have to endure the suffering they are going through, often questioning God as to why they must endure what they are going through.

I’ve endured a lot in my life. I suffered for twenty years from an abusive situation. I fought a battle with drug addiction and alcohol, often crying out to god in my suffering, asking him why he didn’t just take it away from me.

I’ve endured the loss of loved ones, my parents, my two sisters, my step-father and my son, enduring the sorrow for each one for a very long time, often looking back to see if there was something I missed, something, I, myself could have done that would have kept them here longer.

I’ve endured poverty, abuse, rejection, and homelessness. I’ve endured financial hardships, illness, the decline and eventual death of those I loved from debilitating disease or medical problems. I’ve watched one loved on go from being a stand up father and husband, to being a drug addict to eventual death from an overdose. What I’ve discovered over the years though is that enduring all that I have been through, it has made me an incredibly strong person.

That endurance and the love and promises of Jesus Christ have given me the strength I now have. When I look back at these endurance’s, at the strength I’ve have acquire, I am positive that there is nothing the Devil can throw at me that I can’t handle or cope with. Today I am thankful for the strength I have gained from the endurance I have gone through in my life.

ClocksMay 28, 2017 – Extra Time

Why does it seem to me that I am just as busy, maybe even a little busier that I was when I worked. I always assumed that if I went on disability or retired that I would have tons of time on my hands, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Between visits to the hospital every 48 hours, varied doctor appointments, trips to the grocery store, trips to pay bills, it seems like I am running almost every day. Even on days when there are no appointments, it seems we have to run to the store for prescriptions or something forgotten last time we were there.

Occasionally we will actually have a free day, a day when we proactively got everything from the store the day before after an appointment, and even then it seems there are things around the house that I need to catch up on. You know, general picking up, laundry, taking out the trash or watering and caring for the plants. Still there are times, like today, when I find that I have a few extra moments of time. It is those days that I try to catch up on my articles. I really would like to get to the point that I can get one up each day instead of doing them in rushed batches, but still I thankful for all the times that I actually do have some extra time.

american flagMay 29, 2017- Memorial Day

Memorial Day originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868. The Grand Army of the Republic with the help of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois, established as a time to decorate the graves of the Union War Dead with flowers,

By the 20th Century, when other wars were in fought or being thought of, the celebrations days of the North and South were combined into one observance day, the last Monday of May, as Memorial day. Today this day is set apart for us to recognize all those who served in the military, died fighting to keep us a free country.

Over the years, it has become a time, not just to remember those who died in service to our country, but all those loved ones who have passed away. There are many families that did not lose a loved one to war, but have lost loved ones irregardless and they remember them as well as those who died for our freedom.

Families get together at BBQ and picnics to spend time with family. The person or persons whom they are honoring are often spoken of in loving terms, stories often repeated and handed down for generations. There are others who just see it as another day to imbibe in drugs and alcohol, to get high, not really honoring anyone.

Today I am thankful for those who have fought, who still fight to keep us a free nation, but I am also thankful for all the loved ones that I have lost, not to military service, but just lost in death for the memories and influences they have left on our lives. A special thank you to both my father and stepfather, both gone now, that did serve our country in times of war.

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Control, Faith and Strength

Jesus with children 2May 23, 2017 – Control

I control my own destiny”. You’ve probably heard this said most of your life by many family members, strangers and co-workers. “I decide how my life is going to be”, is another famous saying among those who believe that they have control of their whole life, that they decide how and where they will live, how much money they will make, what they will own, how many children they have and so on.

While this is partially true, there are many things that can happen that can upset the plans of the most intelligent planner. Sudden illness, acts of nature, the sudden loss of a loved one, relationship issues, the loss of a job, depression, economic down turns and so many other factors can contribute to how these best laid plans come to fruition.

At one time I wanted to be a nurse, at another time I wanted to be a librarian, at another time I even thought about devoting my life to God and becoming a nun. None of these plans ever came to fruition. My parents didn’t teach me about people. They didn’t warm me about users and abusers. They didn’t warn me about drunkards, drug users, pimps, pushers, liars and cheats. There main conversations were mainly about me being out of the house when I was 18.

So, through running into the wrong kind of people, getting mixed up with the wrong crowd and naively believing that everyone was honest with me, I ended up in a 20 year abusive relationship that, on several occasions, nearly took my life. I’d like to get into specifics but that will eventually be a whole book, so I’ll let the specifics ride for awhile.

I never became the nurse or librarian. I never married the man of my dreams and had a whole bunch of kids but I finally did make it to college when I got away from my abuser. Now I know there are those who will wonder why I didn’t get away sooner, let it suffice to say that he made that impossible and if you haven’t walked a mile in my shoes, don’t judge.

One day I remembered to pray, and from that day forward I continued. When I look back I can clearly see the steps that were taken, the doors that were opened by God. He had seen my suffering, he had known from the start when and where I would become free. Since then, he has directed my steps down many paths and today I am thankful to know that he is still in control of my life.

Mathew 4:1“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

older woman prayingMay 24, 2017 – Faith

Being faithful seems to be a very hard thing for us humans to do. How many friends and family members do you know who have cheated on their spouse, or had their spouse cheat on them? How many “Christian” acquaintances do you have who seem to only show faith to God on Sundays but the rest of the week they break almost all of the ten commandments, and the main commandment of Jesus “love others as you love yourself?

How many times have you, yourself lost your faith, doubted God because so many events happen to disrupt your peaceful life? Did you slip from faith when a prayer went unanswered? Did you lose some of your faith when someone you loved and cared for suddenly passed away?

Maybe so much happened in your life that you started questioning the very existence of God or you got angry with him because he didn’t take care of a situation the way you thought he should, or maybe he didn’t answer a prayer at all that you really wanted him to answer.

Being faithful is not always easy. We are pushed this way and that by the way society is today. We are encouraged to drink, to entice or be enticed sexually by others. We are encouraged to forget all of the morals and good habits we were raised with.

The news media promotes all the personal and less than healthy habits of all the famous people. Movie stars, musicians, politicians, teacher, preachers and even families considered to be among the rich and famous have their lives splattered all over the televisions networks and every news media outlet that exists.

Being faithful takes practice. You have to learn to ignore all the outside influences that may bar your way. You have to teach yourself to think in the positive even when the negative seems to drown it completely out. You have to believe, not just for a minute, not for a day, but for your entire life, and while you are teaching yourself to believe with all of your heart, you have to remind yourself to cling to your faith. Today I am thankful that the Lord helps me in so many ways to keep and build my faith in him.

2 Corinthians 5:6-7 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Hands holding the worldMay 25, 2017 – Strength

We all are weak at different times in our lives. Physically, mentally and spiritually weak. Life is so full of enticements, disease, peer pressure, and draining events that it is hard to always remain strong. Disease and illness zap us of our physical strength which in turns zaps us of our emotional strength and continues to zap us of our spiritual strength. We can often times become as weak as a new born kitten.

Life matters, life continues on, but when you are weak in any area, it is hard to continue with the daily physical, emotional, spiritual and mental functions that keep us safe, sane and happy. It has been medically proven that emotional distress can cause medical and physical ailments and most of us know that a continuing disease, illness or physical handicap can cause us emotional and spiritual problems.

Some people use meditation as a means to balance themselves during times of emotional stress and illness. Others turn to medications, alcohol and illicit drugs, and some look to the lord to draw their strength, praying continuously for his touch, for his healing, for his direction.

I much prefer the latter. I don’t do drugs, I don’t drink and don’t participate in “recreational drugs”. I meditate, but I don’t meditate on an object or a point of light, I meditate on God, you could actually say I pray more than meditate. I have conversations with him. I thank him. I point out all he has done for me and others I care about and yes, sometimes I question him. I draw all my strength from him.

I’ve had many people tell me how surprised they are at the emotional strength that I have. When others would crumble under some of the stress I occasionally am buried in, I stand strong, I hold on and I keep on going, for God has made me strong. Today I am thankful for the strength he gives me, the physical when it is needed and the emotional and spiritual strength that has become a part of my daily life.

Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

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Life Lessons, Needs and Beliefs

common sense

May 20, 2017 – Life Lessons

In today’s world, children are being taught at an early age. 2,3,and 4 year old children already know how to use a cell phone and the internet before they even reach kindergarten. School curriculum has definitely changed and computers are used more and more for teaching. While this teaches them how to use the technology we now have, I have to wonder about how much they are actually having to think for themselves.

Sadly, no amount of education can actually prepare you for life outside your parents home, and sadly many teenagers leave the home without having the slightest idea what they are supposed to do. Most families today have two working parents because that is the only way they can survive in this economy and provide everything they believe their families need so they aren’t able to spend the time they want with their children.

When I was in school, it was mandatory to take certain subjects. We had to take health, home economics, at least one grading period of sewing, at least one grading period of psychology along with all the basics, like math, English, history and science. We didn’t have computer labs, we had libraries. Some of these subjects, such as health, home economics, shop and such are electives now, and some schools no longer teach these “life” classes.

I was the official nerd of the family, I had straight “A’s” all the way up until the last grading period in my senior year, when my grades suffered somewhat because I was already out of the house, trying to work a full time job and pay my own bills. I didn’t have a clue as to what I was going to do.

It’s funny, how my parents never taught me much about the outside world. They didn’t warn me about criminals, rapists, pedophiles, liars and cheats. They didn’t explain to me how to budget and pay my bills and even though my step father knew about student loans, he didn’t tell me I could actually go through college that way. I didn’t expand my education until I was 38 when I finally found out about student loans.

Sometimes I believe that those who have to struggle with life on an ongoing basis from the time they are born until they fly away from the nest learn more. I truly believe that poorer children learn more about humanity and survival that those born with a silver spoon in their mouth. We weren’t rich, in fact there were many times we just barely scraped by, and when my parents could have used these times as life lessons, they did not.

I’ve learned more from just living, having to find ways to survive when it looked impossible. I’ve learned more about society in general and the many different types of people in this world just be being associated with and living among them. I’ve learned more lessons over my life than any school or college could ever teach me. Today I am thankful for the Life Lessons I have learned.

John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

loveMay 21, 2017 – Needs

What do you count as needs in your life? Sure, there are the basics like a roof over your head, heat, water, electricity, food and clothes, but what else do you consider a need?

Some people are born strong, others become strong through life experiences, and some people never find the strength they need to combat all the ups and downs of life. Those people seem to have more needs than the strong people. They need a support group that surrounds them, helps them cope with every little thing that can go wrong, and if something” big” happens they tend to fall apart.

I believe that God gave me strength from the very beginning. My mother used to say that I had such a strong will, that if I set my mind on something there was nothing that was going to stop that. I learned early in life that I would need that strength to survive.

Some people need a lot of love. It is not enough for them to know that someone loves them, they have to see hard proof, sometimes materialistic proof such as a big diamond ring or presents and flowers showered on them all the time. Some people have self esteem problems and they need people around them to boost them up all the time, to pat them on the back so to speak, every time they do something good or right.

The stronger people like myself have very few needs. We have learned over the years to separate our needs from wants, and many of them such as myself have realized that our list of actual needs are small. Sure, I love to hear someone say they love me, but I don’t require special gifts, flowers or cards for them to prove it. I need love just as much as the next person, but I prefer the simple love, just knowing it is there is enough for me.

My list is very short. I need the basics just like anyone else. I enjoy it when someone pats me on the back, but it is not a necessity in my life, and I don’t need anyone to hold my hand through every crisis I go through although it is nice if someone is available to do that. I need my shelter, my food, my utilities and my health care. I need the simple love that my friends and family show me, and more than anything I need my “God”. Today I am thankful that my “needs” list is a short one.

Matthew 6: 31-32 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

parts-of-a-flowerMay 22, 2017 – Belief

What do you believe in? Yourself, your family, your friends, your spouse? It is wonderful to be able to believe in all that, but do you believe in a higher power, one that watches over you, often times guiding you, and often times protecting you?

There are so many different belief systems in this world today. One group believes that everything is accomplished only through your own efforts and another group believes that there are multiple deities that watch over and take care of everything in your life.

Some people believe in light and darkness, good and evil, but don’t necessarily believe in God. They believe in a spirit world that goes back and forth creating good and evil times in our lives. Another group believes we came from apes or fish and there is no after life, when we are dead, that is the end of us.

For myself, I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the three in one. I’ve seen and felt the proof. This earth didn’t happen by accident and we didn’t crawl out of the ocean or descend from apes. We didn’t develop from a big bang out in space or one cell that for some odd reason decided to multiply and grow. Seriously, look around you.

Look at the complexity of the human body for instance. We are made of flesh, blood, bone, nerves, organs and a brain, each with it’s own function that keeps us alive, up and moving, thinking and doing. Do you really believe that this is all an accident?

Take a look at nature. Have the squirrels evolved as they say man has? How about the birds, who know how to build their nest, mate, have young, raise them and forage for food. Do you think they were an accident as complex as they are?

Have you ever looked at a leaf or plant or flower? I mean really looked at it. The veins in the leaf, the stem, the skin all have a function. Look at the flower with it’s beautifully colored petals that know it is time to close up when the sun goes down, see the stem, the veins in the leaves, the stamina, the stamen, the petal, and yes, even the ovaries keep the plant alive and growing.

If you really start looking at the different things on this planet, the natural life, the human body, the majestic mountains, the rivers in the valleys, the animals going about their daily routines, the oceans, the deserts, the meadows and fields how could you possible believe it was all an accident. Today I am thankful for my belief in God and all the beauty he has created.

John 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”