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My Protectors, The Hill and Always There

KnightJuly 19, 2017 – My Protectors

I lived in larger cities for most of my life, but I held to the memories of the country places I lived when I was younger. Most of my memories are from two of the foster homes, the first one and the last. In the first foster home, I lived in Fountain, Colorado which was just a small farm town at the time, probably around 1959. It was a cattle ranch that my foster father was the supervisor of.

It was peaceful and quiet with only an occasional car going down the road. We played in the water from the ditch in front, our foster father putting down a big board when the water would come rushing through after a rain, cause the water to overflow the front lawn and we would run and jump and splash in it.

I wasn’t afraid that there would be a water snake or a poisonous bug in the water. In fact we would run around the ranch barefoot all summer long, playing in the pastures, climbing trees, hiding behind the bushes and crawling through the grass. I don’t remember ever being bitten or stung by anything.

The last foster home was in Black Forest, Colorado. We made tree houses, climbed the highest trees we could find, holding onto the very tops, letting the wind sway us back and forth, and rode our horse daily and nightly during the summer, exploring the forest and country roads around us, and I don’t ever remember being afraid except for the night the horse got loose and we found out later a mountain lion had been in the pasture with us when we went to get them.

I didn’t worry about criminals in the dark, purse snatchers on the street or rapists waiting in the doorway of a building. I didn’t worry about being hit by a speeding car or a flying bullet. I didn’t worry about fighting with the neighbors, terrorists in our country or bullying on school grounds. None of this was happening in my life.

But I have experienced some of the above in my adult life and always when I lived in the city environment. I’ve been mugged at the counter in a drug store, snatched off the street I was walking down and, well, you know and have had guns actually pointed at my head, and lived in an abusive relationship for almost 20 years, and yes for many years I lived in fear.

I’m back in a country setting now, and while I know there is still a criminal element, even in this small town, I still feel safer than I ever did in the big city environment. I worry when I walk out the door, that someone is hiding in a stairwell or the doorway of a building next to mine, the neighbors would never allow someone trespassing on their property.

I don’t worry about a flying bullet from a drive by shooting, I don’t worry about getting into fights with the neighbors, and the chances of being mugged at the counter of a drug store do not exist. I always have my human protector, Rich with me and even when I didn’t realize, Jesus was always by my side, keeping me alive through everything else I have experienced. Today I am thankful for my protectors.

sunrise-in-the-countryJuly 20, 2017 – The Hill

I love peaceful places. Places where you can drive, get out of the car and sit and just absorb nature. When I lived in Colorado as a child, depending on which foster home I was in or if I was at home with my mom, we would go up into the Rockies, climbing up the sides of smaller hills and mountains, playing in running streams, exploring the woods or just having a peaceful picnic.

When I lived in Ohio, I drove a lot through the Emerald Necklace, the Metro Parks area, just to get away from all the noise, pollution and congestion of the City. With one job, I traveled to different counties to research records in their court houses and I would map out the back roads to get there, often driving through the Amish areas and seeing some of the beautiful countryside that Ohio has.

When I lived in Florida, we would go driving on weekends or early evening, down to Clearwater Beach, over the bridges, down past Indian Rocks and sometimes all the way out to Passe Grille with the ocean always in view.

In Vermont, we would drive through the Green Mountains, over to Lake Champagne and take the ferry over to New York and wander through the beautiful countryside there, sometimes continuing on all way to Maine to have a lobster dinner.

I’ve explored allover in different places, here in Missouri, traveling down old country roads and across old rickety bridges, across serene and peaceful streams, sometimes kind of creepy but always peaceful and beautiful.

We don’t drive down the country roads anymore, we don’t trust the car outside of town and now that I don’t work anymore we just don’t have the money for gas. But doesn’t mean we can’t find peaceful places. Our peaceful place is the radio station hill. It’s just a few blocks down from the High school, but there isn’t much out there except for a house or two, the fair grounds and the radio station.

We park at the fair grounds and walk down past the radio station to the last drive of the fair grounds, and then up the hill to the first drive of the fair grounds. We’ve seen rabbits and birds and even a bobcat. We’ve saved turtles, looked at strange bugs and listened to the silence. It is our peaceful place to go now. Today I am thankful for the hill.

Jesus with children 2July 21, 2017 – Always There

Everyone has a story, filled with experiences, some good, some bad. Everyone has memories, starting from childhood and still being made each day of their lives. Everyone has had ups and downs in their life, some more than others.

So many have been victims of crime, abuse, violence, and loss. So many suffer from depression, PTSD, and a variety of physical and medical afflictions. It’s life, it goes on day after day and there are never any promises on what each day might hold.

One of the worse times for a person is when they feel all alone, when they feel that no one loves them, no one cares for them, no one is there for them. I felt that way for many years, being involved in an abusive relationship, separated from family and friends and feeling I had nowhere to turn.

While I’ve had my share of all the bad in this world, I have struggled through it. I’m still here, I am strong from all I have experienced, I’m still alive and life is good. I may not be rich or famous, nor do I really ever want to be, but I am content, I am happy and I am not alone.

It took a long time, until 1993 for me to realize that I had never been completely alone. There was always someone there, even though I didn’t notice them, even though I didn’t see them, even though I didn’t hear them. They were there watching and directing my steps to where I am today. In 1993, I went to church, the first time since I was in my teens. And after many altar trips, a lot of praying and a lot of crying I reconnected with the one who has always been there. Today I am thankful that Jesus is and will always be there for me.

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Trying to Catch Up

I have fallen woefully behind on getting these posts up. I sit here at my desk and look at the list and can’t believe how far behind I am. I am not behind on being thankful or finding things in my life to be thankful for, I am just behind in getting them up where you can finally read them. I am hoping to get all caught up within the next week, The last couple months have just been crazy busy and there seems to be more to do than there are hours in a day. Thank you for your patience and may you all be blessed.

sleeping kittyJuly 14, 2017 – Sweet Sleep

When I was young, I slept like a log. I sometimes laugh when I think about how hard I fought with my mom about taking a nap. She would tell mt to just close my eyes for two minutes, and I would close them and pop them right back open asking “has it been two minutes yet?” After about the third time, I was down for the count, they didn’t open back up until about an hour later.

When I was a teen, it never seemed to bother me if I got eight hours of sleep or not. I had so much energy that mom even asked the doctor if something was wrong with me because I was so skinny and yet didn’t seem to be sick. He simply told her that I had a high metabolism rate and that it would even out over the years, and yes it certainly did.

My whole adult life has been riddled with many sleepless nights. Working odd jobs with odd hours and taking care of a houseful of kids that belonged to someone else, since I only ever had the one son, and being kept awake by the person who abused me for many years usually meant I was lucky if I got 3-4 hours a night.

Things haven’t slowed down a whole lot. For a person who is disabled, it seems that I can’t find a schedule that fits. There are the late night visits to the ER, the nights when we just can’t seem to close our minds down and watch TV until 3 am and then the recent early morning wake-up calls because of the construction going on next door.

But, there are certain nights that I crawl into bed with my fan blowing full blast at the bottom of my feet. I curl up into my favorite position, say my prayers and close my eyes. On those nights there seems to be an overwhelming sense of peace that surrounds me. I feel this odd feeling, especially around my upper torso, this feeling that my whole body has suddenly relaxed and I drift off quickly into the sweetest sleep. Today I am thankful for those nights I experience what I call my sweet sleep.

starry skiesJuly 15, 2017 – Late Night Conversations

It’s only been in the last 10 years that I have fully realized that you can talk to God at any time. When I was younger and would be taken to church or when I lived in the one Christian foster home, we prayed over meals and before we went to bed, so I grew up believing those were the only times outside of church that you should pray.

Then in February 1993, when I asked Jesus to come live with me, I would hear all of the “mature” Christians pray using all those words like the “thee and though” and “most gracious god or father God” or “magnificent Lord” and thought I could never pray like this. Oh I tried, but the words did not come naturally to me and I thought I was doomed because I would stumble over the words and wasn’t sure if I was using them in the correct order.

I didn’t see any hope for me because I just couldn’t pray like other people did. Sometimes I would go to the altar and kneel there and cry because I didn’t understand how to address God, how to let him know I believed in him, loved him and trusted him.

Then one service, a visiting pastor was doing a sermon on prayer. Sometimes, even to this day, I think that God directed that sermon directly to me. This pastor said “if you have trouble praying, if you don’t know how to talk to Jesus, then just picture him sitting in a chair next to your bed, like a best friend would do if you were ill, and talk to him like you would that friend.” “tell him your troubles, what you struggle with and ask for his advice or help, just as you would your best friend”. He also said that you could talk to Jesus anywhere. You didn’t always have to be at an alter or kneeling next to your bed, because Jesus could hear your very thoughts.

Ever since then, I have talked to him all the time. Sure I pray over meals and say a prayer before bedtime, but I think some of the best times have been when I wake up in the middle of the night and talk to him. Today I am thankful for those late night conversations.

heavensJuly 16, 2017 – Beyond

I am a word person. I love looking up words that I don’t fully understand. Even every day words that we speak on a daily basis can have multiple meanings depending on how they are used, why they are being used. Take the word “beyond”. We use in in different sentences all the time to sometimes describe something we don’t understand or to talk about something that in excess such as over and beyond what was necessary.

Beyond is often used when talking about things we don’t fully understand like space, the planets, the stars and even the future. It can be used to describe something out of our vision or hearing, something we cannot see or hear with our human ears and eyes. What is beyond the horizon? Or What is beyond the stars.

He has gone above and beyond what was expected of him or beyond that curve in the road is the town you are looking for. It is used to describe distance that is beyond what we can see, but it is also used to describe the behaviors of individuals in certain circumstances.

There are many different verses in the Bible that include the word beyond in what they are describing, to make sure the people understand that what they are being taught, what is being prophesied is beyond anything they can understand on their own.

Gods love, his mercy, his forgiveness are all beyond what our feeble little human minds can comprehend. His ways are not our ways and we will never fully understand, but we are assured that there is life beyond what we know after we have shed our earthly bonds. Today I am thankful that there is more beyond this crazy old world of ours.

Psalm 86:15- But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

eagleJuly 17, 2017 – Up Up and Away

I’ve learned to rely on Jesus so much over the years. He is my safe haven. He is who I talk to the most throughout my day. Sometimes it is just little one word or two word prayers like asking him to help when I can’t crew the top of a water bottle, or asking him to just help when I find I am getting tensed up over being clumsy, running into things or tripping on air.

Sometimes there are longer conversations as I am going through the day catching up on my chores or just browsing the internet, when a certain person or need comes to mind or I see that one of my family or friends on Social Media is going through a tough time.

Sometimes I just walk through the house, looking at each room and the contents it holds and thanking him for all he has allowed me to have. Other times, when the pain in mouth, head or feet has abated for awhile I stop and thank him for that period of relief.

Life on this planet isn’t easy and it’s not going to get any easier. We are all having tough times now and as the time goes by and it gets closer to the return of Jesus, things are going to get much worse. We’ve had our share of troubles, more than our share of scary moments. Recently, when it was time for a refill on a special medicine Rich takes for his hereditary disease, we got a notice that his insurance companies were not going to cover it anymore.

We went through two weeks of agonizing terror trying to get our representative at the pharmaceutical company, the doctor and the insurance company all on the same page. But god worked it all out and we let him know just how thankful we were.

There are tough days ahead for this old world, worse than anyone has ever seen. While we can sit and worry over all the news stories, all the political garbage about our president changing things that could affect our ability to get the medical attention we need, all the threats of nuclear missiles that are able to reach our soil, all the civil strife, evil and immorality of this world, one thought stays clear in my mind.

Whether I live to see the return of Jesus or I die many years before that, I know deep in my heart and soul that I will be going up to meet him in the sky. Today I am thankful that some day I will go up, up and away from all the evil, sickness and hurt anf immorality in this failing world of ours.

1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

racconsJuly 18, 2017 – Three Raccoons

NO, not one, not two but three raccoons!!!! Yes we have some more members to our ever growing outdoor, backyard family. Besides all the birds, our occasional visit from the possums, the appearance now and then of the old fat skunk and the new squirrel, we now have three raccoon hanging around.

I walked out on the deck after dark, which I do several times a night before bed because it is so peaceful and on a clear night the sky is more beautiful than I ever remember it being and I heard a thump. I looked to the left and there, sitting on the railing was this humongous raccoon. I mean he/she was really big. He or she jumped down on the deck, looked at me, went further to the north, jumped up on the railing and then into the Formosa tree. I could see it watching me.

The next night, I went out, close to the same time, this time leaving the light off so if it was out there I wouldn’t scare it away. As I didn’t hear anything, I reached in and switched on the light and there were two younger raccoons sitting at the bottom of the deck steps on the west side. They were about half the size of the one the night before.

One crawled under the steps and hid. The other one actually walked up the steps, sat up on it’s hind legs and just looked at me, it’s little claw-like hands wiggling it’s fingers and cocking it’s head side to side as it sniffed at me. Slowly it hopped up on the rail, jumped into the Formosa tree where the one from the night before did and sat there looking at me. So now we have a few more members to our nature family out back. Today I am thankful for the addition of the three new raccoons.

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cardinalsJuly 10, 2017 – The Cardinals

I’ve talked about the many creatures in my back yard several times. Each one is beautiful in a different way. The birds are a multitude of colors, shapes and personalities.

The one Blue Jay will sit in the Formosa tree next to the deck and literally yell at me if I haven’t put any food out for him yet. He will yell at me all the more if he doesn’t like what I put out, like crushed saltine crackers.

The varieties of sparrows is amazing. There are ones that are just a dingy brown, but there are ones with white around their neck, and then a swatch of black, like they are wearing some kind of collar. The doves are the most peaceful ones. Sometimes one of them will just lay in the food dish, sunning itself. It might lay there for hours until the Blue Jay starts yelling or a Starling chases it away.

Cardinals are my favorite. The males are such a brilliant red. Often you will see a pair together, male and female. The female is usually a brownish color with red around the head. Did you know that Cardinals mate for life?

Someone recently mentioned to me on one of my articles about the birds that Cardinals were a sign that Angels were nearby. While I couldn’t find any actual reference to that I did find some interesting beliefs. For example the Cherokee Indians believe that a cardinal is an omen. If they are seen flying downward, it is bad luck, if they are seen flying up, it is a sign of good luck. I don’t do luck.

I found one site that claims that Cardinals have a special meaning for Christians because they symbolize vitality – the faith in the blood of Christ and Christmas – the birth of Christ. The Latin word Cardo means hinge, so something that that has cardinal qualities is important because other things hinge around it.

Other beliefs indicate that the sighting of a Cardinal signifies that a loved one who has passed away has come back to check on you. I also read that there are a group of angels called Cardinal angels, I do believe it said there were four of them.

While there is no solid proof to any of these beliefs, I love seeing these beautiful birds making themselves at home at my feeders. If they are connected with angels, that would be awesome. Today I am thankful that I get to have these beautiful birds around me.

Mrs. BeasleyJuly 11, 2017 – A New Squirrel

We have a new squirrel. At first I thought it might have been Mrs. Beasley returning, but upon closer look, this one is skinnier, a little longer and has an odd curve to its tail. I’ve seen it a few times, out at the end of the deck, on the railing, down by the water dish and up by the window.

While I was sitting at my sewing machine one day, which is directly in front of the open back window, it came up there by the food, sat and ate, and didn’t seem the least bit scared of me. This one is a little picky on what food he/she eats. Mrs. Beasley loved it when we would peanuts out there, but this one will not even touch them.

It likes the bird seed and the bread and cereal, but isn’t the least interested in the nuts. I would think that it would want to take them back and store them, since they are still in the shell, they would probably do well buried or stored in the nest, but it won’t touch them.

Wile I know it is not our Mrs. Beasley, I am excited to have another one hanging around. They are curious little creatures. If you stand quietly, they will not run away. They will watch you as they eat or while they are getting a drink of water. As long as you move slowly, they will continue with their meal, but will run like the wind if you make any sudden moves. We haven’t decided yet what we should name this one. Today I am thankful for the new squirrel in our back yard.

anger faceJuly 12, 2017 – Frustrations

We all have those times when we get frustrated. Sometimes it is just over something small and sometimes it seems like the whole day is just filled with a bunch of frustrations. Maybe its something as simple as finding a knot in your shoe lace when you are trying to get ready to go out the door, or reaching for the creamer for your coffee and finding out you forgot to buy more.

Little frustrations happen every day, but how you handle them will determine how your day will go. There is some kind of lesson in just about everything that goes awry. A little frustration could be a test of patience. A larger frustration may actually cause you to stop and think something through.

It’s when you have a day filled with little and large frustrations that makes it hard to handle. For example, maybe you have a relative, someone you truly love or care about that is on drugs, alcohol, or gambles or makes other unwise decisions and no matter how much you talk to them, they just don’t see the light.

A frustration like this can make a day go sour quickly for it is hard to get these things off your mind. The conversations, the worries hang around with a bunch of “what ifs” all day long, making it hard to concentrate on the things that need your attention the rest of the day.

I’ve had these conversations with people I love and I know the frustration of feeling like your hands are tied and frustration of not knowing what you can do to help the situation. These are the frustrations that we are supposed to step back from and leave in Gods hands. Today I am thankful that he has taught me how to handle all of my frustrations.

sunJuly 13, 2017 – Heat Wave

The last couple winters have been a little weird. They have mostly been rainy with only one or two days of snow, never more than an inch or two for the whole season. I read somewhere online during the winter that they were expecting us to have a really tough summer because of this. It is claimed to be caused by environmental changes caused by global warming.

This year was much like last year. It didn’t seem as if we had much of a Spring. I guess because the Winter was so warm and rainy, the two just kind of melted into each other. It felt like we went from Winter right into Summer, and Summer started out just fine.

The trees all of sudden had their leaves. It was like they grew overnight. The sky was blue, the birds were singing, the grass was green and the temperatures were great. Summer didn’t seem like it was going to be all that bad, and then, and then, we are in the middle of a heat wave.

Temperatures flew up to the 90’s overnight with heat indexes in the 100’s. The air was so thick with humidity you could have cut it with a butter knife. At times it actually interfered with my breathing. I wasn’t that much sort on breath as much as it seemed I was breathing in water instead of air.

But we hunkered down, turned the air on only when absolutely needed, closing off the rooms that were not in immediate use to try and cut down on our bill, but it got so bad that we had to leave it on for a few hours after bedtime, something we very rarely have ever done.

We’ve made it through, and even though it will rain in a few days and the temps will go down a little, they are predicting that this isn’t the last heat wave will have this summer. I hate to even think about what the electric bill will look like this month, but I am thankful we made it through this first heat wave without either one of us suffering from heat stroke or dehydration.

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Repentance, Beef Steak Tomatoes, The Blue Jay

older woman prayingJuly 7, 2017 – Repentance

We are told that we must ask Jesus for forgiveness when we accept him as our savior, that he wipes away all our previous sins and washes our hearts and souls clean, as white as snow. All past sins are forgiven, never to be spoken of again.

Some people believe that this absolves them from all future sins as well. They believe that once their sins are forgiven, then all other sins are automatically forgiven. In a way they believe they now have a license to keep on sinning. There are others who are raised to believe that once they are baptized, as an infant, they are going to heaven whether they have accepted Jesus or not, whether they have repented of their sins, or not, whether they believe in him or not.

Unfortunately, there are different denominations that teach that this is true, that once you are saved, all your sins are automatically forgiven. Other denominations teach that if you confess your sins to someone in authority in the church, that they can absolve you of all your sins, but no man can take the place of Jesus when it comes to forgiving sin. We are to make restitution when possible and we are to ask forgiveness from those we have sinned against when possible, but only Jesus can completely wash our sins away.

We are born with a sin nature and we sin every day of our lives, sometimes without thinking and other times on purpose out of anger, resentment and revenge. We sin, not only in our actions, but in our thoughts as well, and not always on purpose, it is our sin nature coming to the forefront. It is our defensive mechanism kicking in when we believe we have been hurt or misused.

Remember what Jesus said to the woman at the well “neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more” (John 8:11). And he does not condemn us, but he does expect us to recognize when we sin and to repent of those sins. He also expects us to continue to strive to live a sinless life

He wants to know, that deep down in our hearts we truly love him and want to be obedient to him and he knows this by looking into us, hearing our repentance, seeing our sorrow over the sins we commit and our willingness to keep trying. He just wants our love and faithfulness, our willingness to learn, like little children, his ways. Today I am thankful that we are allowed that repentance of our sins.

garden plants 002July 8, 2017 – Beef Steak Tomatoes

I am a tomato person. I love them, all different kinds, all kinds of flavors, in many different recipes. I can remember just picking them off the plants in my moms garden, brushing them off and eating them right on the spot. I think my love for tomatoes comes from the fact that in my younger years they believed that tomatoes, citrus fruits and milk actually instigated asthma attacks, so for a very long time I wasn’t allowed to eat them. By the way I also love milk and citrus fruit too!

I have always wanted to be some kind of farmer. I have always wanted to plant and grow crops to eat, flowers that brightened the day and spread their perfume throughout the air. I even wanted chickens, which we did have for awhile in Pueblo, and I wanted fruit trees. Nothing big, just an acre or two with a few little farm animals.

I have had to settle for container gardening. Physically and medically I cannot be a farmer. I cannot dig up the ground, til the soil, sow the seed and weed the garden. I cannot spend hours in the sun and I cannot sit or stand in one position for any length of time.

So, every summer I buy a few plants and experiment with my container garden. Last year I had some unknown tomato plants that I actually nursed through the winter, a husky tomato plant that grew into a giant bush, some squash, that rotted as soon as it started producing and cucumber that was eaten by some unseen guest.

OK, so I am not the farmer I would want to be, still I continue to try. I couldn’t find a Husky plant this year so I bought a Beefsteak, figuring by its name, it might produce like the Husky did. I am trying squash and cucumber in containers on the desk. The squash has grown quite high with many pretty flowers but no squash, the cucumber plant as one cucumber that just started.

The Celebrity tomato gave me two tomatoes right away, and then nothing so I trimmed in completely down. It has grown back up and has one tomato. The Beefsteak has three tomatoes and many blossoms. It’s been that way for weeks. I have trimmed it, watered it, even talked to it, but it just slowly grows in it’s own way.

We can take lessons from many things in our daily lives, even growing plants. When I think about the Beefsteak, I wonder if I am being taught a lesson. The lesson? Slow down, take it easy, enjoy life and quit rushing around like a chicken with your head cut off, quit panicking over every little problem that pops up, try just living life instead of chasing it. Today I am thankful for the lesson of the Beefsteak tomato.

blue jayJuly 9, 2017 – The Blue Jay

We have had a variety of birds on our back deck the two years we have lived here. We have had several pairs of doves, Blue Jays, Cardinals and a wood pecker. We have about five varieties of sparrows and quite a few robins.

We have a feral cat living under the deck, have a few possums come and go, seems to always been one living in the garage, have been visited by skunks a few times along with all of the birds. I don’t doubt, that if there wasn’t a fence around the back yard, we would probably have deer there as well.

We’ve had a few squirrels. They come and go. Mrs. Beasley hung around for the longest time and even got to the point where she was no longer frightened by me. She’s been gone for awhile, grabbed by a large hawk or vulture, who it seems couldn’t hold onto her and dropped her in the path of an oncoming car. We miss her.

But this summer we have this one loud Blue Jay and it seems the he really likes to yell at Richard. He reminds every morning that it is time for us to feed him. He sits in the Formosa tree next to the deck and yells until we bring some food out. Of course, he will fly away when we come out, but quickly returns to right by the window to eat his breakfast.

There have been a few times that we have walked in the kitchen and he has been sitting there, looking in and making noise “you guys forgot to feed me”, he seems to be saying. So Rich will quickly mix up whatever he can find and take it out to his favorite spot.

We, humans spend a lot of time worrying about ourselves, our families and friends. We clutter our lives up with so much to do that days often fly by quicker than we want and at the end we still don’t feel that we have accomplished what we need to. There are lessons we learn every day, and maybe today this Blue Jay was reminding us to not forget the small things in life, that sometimes they are more important than all the junk we clutter our days with. Today I am thankful for our persistent Blue Jay.

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Independence Day, Off the Grid and Walking

July 4, 2017 – Independence Day

Just about any country that lays claim to being an independent entity celebrates the day it became independent from another world power. For the United States July 4, 1776 was the day that we declared our independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. For Armenia, they claimed their independence from the Russian Empire on May, 28 1918 and then again from the Soviet Union on September 21, 1991.

Bulgaria claimed their independence from the Ottomans on September 22, 1908 and Ecuador claimed theirs from the first time on August 10, 1809 from the country of Spain and then again on May 24, 1822. India claimed theirs from the United Kingdom on August 15, 1947.

Every 4th of July we are reminded by celebrations, parades, special events and fireworks that we are a free country, that we do not serve or bow down to any other country around the globe. Almost every free country celebrates close to the same way.

As a free country, as free individuals, we may celebrate some private independence days. For some it may be the day they move out on their own, from under the rule of their parents. For others it may be the day they leave a dead end job for something better, and for another it may be the day that they are independent of the yoke of their sin, the day they ask for forgiveness of their sins and accept Jesus as their true King.

I am proud to be an American. Even though our country has been going through a difficult time, even though we have so many battles being fought on our home ground, even though we seem to be in a political and racist mess, I am still proud to be an American, I still celebrate the Fourth of July. But I also celebrate an even more important independence day. I celebrate January 15th, 1993 for that was the day I accepted Jesus and took my independence from the evil and sin in this world. Today I am thankful for my independence day.

July 5, 2017 – Off the Grid

I have noticed over the last several years that more and more people are looking at living off the grid. There is no doubt in my mind that at some point in time we will loose all the technological advancements we have made, and it is as simple as taking down our “grid.”

What is our “grid”? It is the network of technology that has been built over the years that connects everything in our country by use of underground cable lines, satellites orbiting the earth, power grids that are joined to keep our lights on, plants that use solar and water to generate power, it is the very fibers that connect us 24 hours a day to each other and to the technologies that we take for granted.

I’ve read some articles over the years about what could happen if the “grid” went down. People would panic for sure, because they have become so spoiled, so dependent on the man made technological inventions and advancements we have today. Not only would we lose power, we would lose communication, not just with each other, but with the satellites that orbit the earth and bring us the minute to minute news of what is going on in the world.

We would not be able to fill our cars with gasoline because 99% of the pumps are electrical and computerized. We wouldn’t have lights, heating, cooling, public transportation or communication other than with our neighbors and residents of our small town. And while this is so possible, we supposedly have a network of checks and balances that get us back up and running within a few days.

The sad part is that within that time people would still panic, running to the store for water, over running people in their way in theirrush to make sure they empty the shelves at the store before anyone else does. We could actually be thrown back in time to where we might have to live without all of these things that make our lives easier.

Because this is a possibility, many people are learning to live off the gird, to do without all the advancements that make life easier for us. They are setting up stockpiles of canned and packaged goods. Some are buying generators and fuel while others are changing completely over to solar power. Some are actually buying property and living without electricity, the internet and television. They are growing their own food, raising livestock and learning to live off the land like our ancestors did.

I haven’t ever completely lived off the grid but I have been homeless and hungry. I have had to, at times in my life, sleep in the back seat of a car in a garage, sleep on a basement floor or sleep in the store room of a bar. I spent one winter without heat and electricity, with a small tv hooked by wire to a car battery and cooking on a Coleman stove, washing clothes out in the bathtub or sink and heating water to wash with. Today I am thankful that for now I do not have to live off the grid.

July 6, 2017 – Walking

When I was a child and a teen I used to walk everywhere I went. I never gave it much thought, it was how we got around the small town of Pueblo. At that time you could walk across the whole town in half an hour, today it is quite huge and I am sure it would take several hours.

When I was a young, single mother, I still had to walk a lot. At one time I had to walk two miles to work each day and then repeat that walk at 2:30 in the morning because I didn’t have a car, couldn’t find a trust worthy ride and the buses didn’t run that time of night.

I have always loved to walk, especially in rural settings. I’ve climbed partway up mountains, explored ravines, climbed trees and looked out over an awesome vista. I’ve walked across meadows, out into cornfields and down country roads or through the woods.

I’ve pulled a cart for several blocks, filled it with laundry or groceries and pulled it back home again. A few winters ago, when our car broke down we walked to the hospital three times a week for Rich’s infusions, walked to the ER when he would have an attack, walked downtown to pay bills and walked the mile to Walmart and back carrying bags of groceries.

Last year I started having trouble with my feet. It took several months, several different doctors and a bunch of blood work for them to figure out that I have Rheumatoid arthritis. For the most part, my feet ache all day but I’ve basically gotten used to it. On other days, when I have a flare up, there will be shooting pains through my ankles or toes or the whole foot will feel like it is on fire. On those days, I stumble, I walk slow and often walk with a limp.

I can no longer walk the radio station hill, but I walk around the block once in awhile, get up constantly and walk around the house. I get on the stepper and do as many rotations as I can, when I can. I am determined to walk for as long as I can. Today I am thankful to still be walking and praying God will allow me to do so for many more years.

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Positive Days, The Right Decision and Soul Maintenance

loveJuly 1, 2017 – Positive Days

We live in a world that is shaky to say the least. We have no certainty what each new day may bring. We wake up in the morning, hoping that our day will be a positive day, that everything will fall into place where it should, that everything will run smoothly from the time we awake until we lay down at night.

Life seemed so simple when I was young. I got up, went to school, came home, did my home work, spent some time with friends, had dinner, TV time if we had one and then bedtime to start the same routine over again.

I didn’t feel any peer pressure to take drugs, participate in harmful dares or follow what any open crowd was doing. Even though we were pretty poor, things were mainly peaceful and calm. My life was orderly and I liked it that way, but I grew up and moved away from home.

Our days are iffy to say the least. Although we have the normal infusions every 48 hours and monthly doctor appointments, we really don’t know how many times we may end up visiting the ER during the month. We have a small refrigerator so we probably have to refill on grocery items more than the average person.

For the last couple months, everything seems to have been in chaos. Rich got sick first and 12 days later I got sick. It took us over a month to get well, but during that time we were very sick and very tired. It took every effort we could make to get to the appointments and pick up groceries at the store.

I’m the type of person who, if given a choice, likes my life well ordered. I don’t like to let my housework suffer and there are projects I would love to work on, but lately there just hasn’t been time, it’s been hard to just keep up with the basics.

Things seem to be settling back down since we have healed and our schedule is getting back to normal with less ER visits and normal infusion days. When things are not stirred up, we usually have a day in-between infusions. We try to pick up what groceries we need on infusion days so we can have those days at home. I call these my positive days because we can actually stay home, relax, get a few things done. Today I am thankful for our positive days.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope

oldman prayingJuly 2, 2017 – The Right Decision

We make many decisions every day of our lives. We make some small ones, some medium size ones, some huge ones, some good ones and some bad ones. Some of the decisions we make are not always thought out because they have become habits for they are normal ones that need to be done on a daily basis, like going to work or taking the kids to school.

We quickly decide what we will wear, what we will eat, what we will buy and where we will go. It’s life and these decisions are normal almost every day of our lives. On a large scale, we may be faced with making decisions about buying a house, buying a car, changing jobs, changing churches or relocating and these decisions take more thought.

But there are some decisions that people never make. They keep putting them off, often times because they consider themselves too busy to be bothered at the moment or feel they have other, more important decisions to make. Maybe they aren’t sure or are even afraid of some of the decisions they should be making.

But what if you had to make a decision that would have the largest effect on your life. If it was a health decision, you wouldn’t hesitate to make the right decisions, so why is it so difficult for people to make a decision that can ensure their future for eternity? In 1993 I made the most important decision of my life. I decided to accept Jesus as my lord and Savior. Today I am thankful that God urged me to make the right decision.

John 14: 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

eyeJuly 3, 2017 – Soul Maintenance

Every well working machine needs maintenance. Any building of any size needs maintenance. Even our gardens need maintenance as well as our lawns and yards. Maintenance may include oiling and replacing parts on machines, checking electrical outlets, plumbing, cleaning and repairs on buildings. To maintain our gardens we pull weeds, trim and water. To maintain our lawns and yards we prune, mow and rake.

Our bodies need a certain amount of maintenance also. We take baths to keep clean, brush our teeth, comb our hair Women shave their legs, men shave their faces. Many people exercise, run or walk and the body must be fed in order to keep functioning. Society has advanced enough to where many people are maintaining their health better by eating better, more natural and healthier foods.

But what about our soul. Shouldn’t we be doing some kind of maintenance on it? Shouldn’t we be cleaning, straightening up and feeding our souls? Shouldn’t we be feeding it good things while cleaning out old, worn out, negative thoughts and ideas? Shouldn’t we be exercising it also?

I used to go to bed worrying about everything from work to what my son was doing, from what I need from the grocery store to problems with the neighbors. I would toss and turn all night trying to figure out the problems for everyone I cared about as well as my own.

Eventually I developed a way to clean it out before I went to bed. I would picture my mind as a big, cluttered room with things thrown all over it. In the corner stood a broom and dust pan. In the middle of the room was a big box and a trash can. All the clutter, dirt, dust and cobwebs were the problems that were keeping me awake.

I would sweep up the dirt and dust and take down the cobwebs that represented all the chaos from the day, sweep it into a pile and put it in the trash can. Then I would start picking up the clutter, piece by piece, look at it and if I didn’t have an immediate solution in mind, I would put it in the box, if I knew what needed to be done I would set it off in the corner to be taken care of the next day. Usually I would doze off in the middle of cleaning.

When I became a Christian, I started doing the maintenance a different way. I would take all the thoughts, all the feelings I had from negative events during the day and throw them in the trash can. Then I would start picking up the clutter. What I could take care of on my own I would set against the wall, what I couldn’t I would hand to the person sitting in the middle of the room, Jesus. Then I would feed my mind with positive thoughts and the word of God. Today I am thankful he directed me on my soul maintenance.

Philippians 4: 8 Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

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Chronicles, Easy Choices and Hot Water

bibleJune 28, 2017 – Chronicles

I’ve read the bible from cover to cover several times. I have read different translations, The Original King James, The NIV, the NIV Study Bible, John Hagee’s Prophecy Bible, and the Good News Bible are the ones I have in my library now. I also own the whole Left Behind Series, and several books from Readers Digest that give a historical view of the times before Jesus, during Jesus, after Jesus and how the bible came to be.

Presently in my readings I am in First Chronicles. No matter how many times I read something, it seems that when I read it again I find something I missed the first or second time. I do believe that God’s word speaks to us, that we are directed to certain books, chapters and verses to help us through our daily lives and through trying times.

Chronicles covers the genealogy from Adam to Solomon. It covers all the fathers, sons, grandsons, and great grand sons and so on down until it gets to Solomon. While going through these lists of historical birth records which can get boring from time to time, there are breaks where they will get into detail about the deeds and accomplishments of one person or another.

I’ve really been disturbed by this world we live in lately. It seems that it can often be dangerous to even step out your front door, that no matter where you live there is a chance of getting hit by a stray bullet, attacked, robbed and beaten, harassed by some of the younger generation, murdered by a maniac or hit by a drunk driver, and lets not forget the possible kidnapping of our children and an attack from terrorists.

It seems like the news is so full of death every day; terrorist attacks, war battles, serial killers, mass shootings, missing children, murder suicides and family members killing family members. These are the last days, but the last days can last for a long time, it is according to God’s will and his timeline.

What I have noticed in Chronicles is the many battles and wars that were fought. The heroic deeds of certain individuals, the instructions from God to destroy a whole town, city, or ethnicity. There were a lot of battles in the bible, a lot of destruction, a lot of slavery, a whole lot of destruction.

In a way it is comforting to know that what the world is going through is just a repeat of history in many ways. It is a continuing series of ongoing, repetitive actions from generation to generation. We just hear about it sooner because of all the super technology we now have. In the end though, the people of God always win!!!!!! Today I am thankful for books of the bible like 1 Chronicles that allows us to see that we don’t necessarily live in worse times than our ancestors did.

common senseJune 29, 2017 – Easy Choices

We have to make many choices on a daily basis. Most of them are small, but every so often and big, important one pops up. Many of the choices we make during the day are spontaneous and quick because we’ve made the same choices every day for a very long time. Unfortunately when a major choice comes along, many of us will make the mistake of making a quick, rash decision that could have dire consequences.

I’ve learned over the years to try and be proactive in the choices I make. I try to schedule appointments in a way that we can also accomplish other things during the day such as restocking at the store or stopping to get a bill paid. When you live with disabilities, you have to learn to make things as easy as you possibly can.

We have to be at the hospital every 48 hours for Rich’s infusions, then there are his monthly visits with his primary care doctor, my monthly visits with the same doctor, food bank appointments, specialty doctors to see, checking in on mom, picking up groceries and the list goes on and on. It seems that for being disabled, we are often very busy.

There are other choices we have to make. What will we eat for dinner, what can we afford at the store, do we need more gas in the car, do we need a repair person to come out for the internet, do we need to run the electric bill higher by using the air conditioning, can we afford to eat out at least once this month and so on.

We have become proactive with our health, it was a necessity, especially with the way the medical facilities are now. If you have to go to the ER, which we sometimes have to do several times a month, we prepare a list of questions we need to ask because they are rushed and don’t always have the time to go into a bunch of details with us. It is much the same at doctor appointments, because they are expected to see a patient every fifteen minutes.

But there are also so easy choices. Simple ones that only take a second, like choosing what to make for dinner, when to lie down for a nap, or what to watch tonight during our television time. These are the simple choices that take little or no effort, no stress and very little time for thought. Today I am thankful for the times we can make easy choices.

waterJune 30, 2017 – Hot Water

I’m not exactly sure when they built and installed the first hot water tank, but I sure do enjoy my hot showers in the Winter, warms ones in the summer, and long soaks for achy bones when necessary. Most people take hot water for granted. When they move into a house, they are 99% sure they will have an abundance of hot water, but what happens if the water tank breaks.

I can tell first hand what it is like to live without hot water. A couple years ago our hot water tank went south. Because we were in the process of buying the house, it was our responsibility to replace it. At first it just didn’t seem to be heating up as quick, then the water was only luke warm. When the electric bill and water bill umped to 500.00 we knew something had to be replaced.

If you live on a fixed income and you live from check to check you don’t usually have any money left to put aside for a rainy day, or in this case a “no hot water day”. We didn’t have any extra money and there was no one or no where to get what we needed to get a new hot water tank.

So for several months we scraped by the best we could, saving every penny we could possible put away for a hot water tank and the money to pay a plumber to install it. In the meantime we bought some five gallon buckets. Each night I would take every pot in the house, fill them with water, heat them to boiling and dump them in the tub. It took six buckets to get enough water in the tub for Rich, because he likes baths, it only took two buckets for me to do a bucket shower.

He would bath very quickly and then take the extra bucket waiting with hot water next to the tub to rinse off. I would stand in the bath tub with one bucket and a bowl or cup. I would wet myself down, wash my hair, use the cup to dip water over my head to rinse it. Then I would wet a rag, lather it up, and wash down. When I was finished I would take that bucket and the second bucket and pour them over me to rinse off. For dishes I would heat water on the stove. Finally we saved up enough for the tank and the installation, and right after that, the stove quit working. Today we rent and any repairs are the problem of the landlord, but this place has a brand new hot water tank. Today I am thankful for hot water.