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Cooler Weather, Courage, and Resilience

the four seasonsAugust 24, 2016 – Cooler Weather

Here it is, just near the end of August and already leaves are falling from the trees. This has been a really weird summer. I don’t remember last summer being as odd as this one. We had about one week of Spring and then went right into the 90’s with heat indexes in the 100’s.

It seemed like it would rain consistently for 3-4 days and then the temperatures would pop back up overnight and the humidity was so thick you could cut it with a butter knife. Last summer we barely used the air conditioner, but this summer we had to use it almost every day.

The seasons are not predictable anymore. I can remember, when I was a child, you could almost set your clock to what the weather would do. Spring was Spring, Summer was Summer, Autumn was normal and Winter was cold.

They blame the weather changes , all the extreme weather we are having more of each year on Global Warming. The earth is getting hotter because our protective shield, the atmosphere, is getting thinner. It is due to all the damage, we, the human race have inflicted on like piercing it thousands of times to send out our satellites and ships, by dumping fuel into it from our planes and jets, and by sending up pollution from our factories and plants.

The temperatures are already dropping into the 80’s during the day and high 60’s at night, an occurrence that usually doesn’t take place until mid or late September and the yards are showing that Fall seems to be coming in sooner. It hasn’t been a pleasant Summer and today I am thankful for the cooler weather.

Daniel 2:21 – And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

bibleAugust 25, 2016 – Courage

Wikipedia describes courage in this way. Courage (also called bravery, bravado or valor) is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation Physical courage is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, death or threat of death, while moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame scandal, discouragement, or personal loss. In some traditions, fortitude holds approximately the same meaning. In the Western tradition, notable thoughts on courage have come from philosophers, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas and Kierkegaard: in the Eastern tradition, some thoughts on courage were offered by the Tao Te Ching.

I have medical and physical problems, don’t we all? Several of them cause a lot of pain, which I have accepted and learned to deal with. I’ve been familiar with pain most of life and accepted the fact that I will have pain all of my life. I deal with it.

For the last six weeks I have been dealing with a new pain, one that slowed me down quite a bit, kept me from doing the basic chores I felt needed done around the house, kept me up at night, and actually sent me into another bout of depression.

I saw two doctors over this pain. My primary care said I had gout, but I had a reaction to the medicine he prescribed. He didn’t offer another solution, and the pain and swelling just got worse. The orthopedic doctor told me I had turf toe?? He didn’t add to my medication because he didn’t want me to take any more medication than I already do. He upped my anti inflammatory and told me to baby the foot for awhile.

It finally got so bad that I went to the ER to see what they could do, and they threw some more prescriptions at me, without doing any tests to see if something else was wrong. It is sad that many doctors don’t go the distance to find out what the patient needs, especially those that are on medicaid or medicare, and I understand that they are restricted on how far they can go when this is the kind of insurance you have to depend on.

But, I have had a lot of people praying for me, and I have tried to treat it as I do the other pain in my life. I’ve been working with some natural healing methods that don’t have all the side effects that all these chemicals have that they love to prescribe. Point of interest here, the two prescriptions they gave me at the ER nullify each other, so what’s the point in taking them?

The pain is getting lesser and most of the swelling has gone down and credit God for listening to my prayers and the others that have been praying for me and to the natural methods I have been researching and using. I truly believe that if we look long and hard enough, God has given us methods to heal ourselves without relying on the pharmaceutical companies who only care about making the almighty buck.

Today I am thankful that God has given me the courage to face whatever comes my way, whether it is medical, physical, spiritual or emotional.

Psalm 31:24Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.”

ER -articlesAugust 26, 2016 – Resilience

The Free Dictionary defines resilience as the ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune.

When I read this definition, I think about all the times in my life I have had to start over, many of them after literally losing everything I owned. Each time I managed to rebuild, sometimes slowly, other times quicker that I thought I would be able to.

From these experiences I have learned what is important and what isn’t. For example, we all need a roof over our heads, food to eat, a form of income and at least a determination to stay healthy. The basics are always the priority, especially in situations where children are involved, although children are often more resilient than adults. Adults get attached to materialistic living long before children do. The children of today have learned this from their parents and peers.

God has always given me the strengthen, willingness and resilience to bounce back from anything that happens. He is always there by my side, holding my hand, never letting me fall, no matter what the circumstances might be. He has shown me how to start over, how to rebuild, and what to prioritize in my life.

I have never been one who owned a lot of possessions, I have never felt the need to keep up with the “Jones’s”. Material wealth has never been a factor in my life, even during times when my income would have allowed it. Today I am thankful that God created me to be resilient.

Joshua 1:9 I repeat, be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I, the LORD your God, am with you in all you do.”

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Neighbors, Dolly, and No Pain

ButlerAugust 21, 2016 – Neighbors

I’ve lived in many different neighborhoods in my life. In some areas, you didn’t dare walk out the door after the sun went down. In other areas, some neighbors were pretty nosy, always showing up at the door unannounced, looking around and asking multiple questions.

I’ve lived in houses, high rises, duplexes and multiple apartment homes. In the one home, the people in the back had some young men that were into stealing cars. They stripped them in an old, abandoned , multiple garage across the street.

One day I parked in front of the garage and got irritated when they wanted me to move it. The next morning, someone had keyed the top of Ken’s car. Ken decided to take my car to the gym while I waited for the police. When he went to drive off, all four tires fell off.

The very next morning Ken’s car was missing. Luckily it was found a few days later with only the ignition damaged, and I still remember the day he called and said the kids in back had broken into the upstairs apartment across the street and the guy was on his front porch shooting at them.

Here, where we live now, we had altercations with the people across the street at our previous house. They had a big dog that kept getting loose, that, for some reason didn’t like Rich. Every time it would get out, it would bound across to our yard running around Rich and barking.

When I lived in what I thought was a safe neighborhood, I came home from off the road to finish my work on the computer in my office, only to find that someone had broken in, had been able to unhook all my equipment before they were scared off by the woman upstairs coming home from taking her kids to school. They did take the DVD player and case of juice I had for the kids at church.

Unfortunately, no matter what the landlord might tell you, you never know who your neighbors really are or what they are into unless they are already personal friends of yours. Where we live now, the neighbors seem pretty good.

On one side is a young couple with a small boy, and I have seen both parents out playing with him. They wave when they see us and go about their business. They are not loud and pretty much stay to themselves. On the other side is a couple, the wife works at the hospital and the husband works construction off and on. The husband knew Rich’s dad. They wave, say hello and we have had a few conversations with them. Very friendly people.

Today I am thankful for living in a decent house with good neighbors.

doggieAugust 22, 2016 – Dolly

We can’t have pets. The landlord doesn’t want any furry animals that may use the bathroom in the house. We can have fish or birds but haven’t decided yet which we want to get. Even if the landlord allowed pets, Rich cannot be around pet hair or dander.

Rich’s mom has a dog named Dolly. She is part Border Collie and we think the other part may be German Shepherd because of her markings and coloring. When we go over to visit, Rich has to wear a mouth wrap so he doesn’t breath in any hair or dander.

It took awhile for Dolly to warm up to Rich. She wasn’t sure what to make of a masked man. Now she is just ecstatic when we come over. She barks and jumps up and down at the door when we drive up and then runs over to where I normally sit, rolls over on her back and waits for her belly rubs. After that, she shoots over to where Rich is and nuzzles his hand. She’s a very smart dog and seems to learn very quickly.

She’s a nut at times too!! Sometimes she will run around the house like a race horse, going from room to room as fast as she can. Other times she jumps at the shadows on the floor made by Rich’s hands when he is talking. She has a variety of balls, and will bring them to each of us, mom, Rich and I, almost in sequence. She loves to have us bounce the ball and she leaps in the air to catch it.

We may go over there feeling down or ill, but I guarantee you, before we leave we have had many laughs and our spirits are lifted.

Today I am thankful for Dolly, no matter how I feel, I always feel better after visiting her.

older woman prayingAugust 23, 2016 – No Pain

I’ve mentioned before all the different ailments I have, including the most recent problem with my foot. It is not odd for me to wake up with a migraine, with a migraine and a back ache, or with a migraine and a back ache and my foot hurting.

While I try to treat my day as normally as possible, even when I am in pain, Rich says you can see the pain in my face. He says he doesn’t know how I am able to handle it every day without completely turning into a bitter, complaining person. He says I handle my pain very gracefully. To me I seem to be the opposite, but I do the best I can.

The pain is there. Just like anything else that becomes a part of your life, you have to learn to deal with it and go on. You have to accept that it is going to be there whether you want it to or not. That’s why it is so important for me to act as normal as possible. I never want to give in to it, I never want to let it take over my life.

On rare occasion, there will be milder days, days where only one or two places actually hurt and on even rarer days, I will wake up with no pain for at least half the day. I’ve learned all the tricks and methods to ease it or try to prevent it from getting worse, but I am so thankful for the mornings that I wake up without any pain, even if it is only for half a day.

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Positive Conversations, Handling Pain, and Peace in My Soul

crossAugust 18, 2016 – Positive Conversations

We have conversations with many different people. Sometimes we might speak with several individuals during our day. Family and friends are always top priority on our conversation lists, but we may also have to interact with co-worker, professionals, store clerks, doctors, police officers and more as our day goes on.

Some of these conversations are face to face, some by e-mail, others by phone and many are through social media. Negative conversations, no matter how they are sent and received can put a damper on our day or evening, causing us stress that we really don’t need because our lives are already stressful enough.

But a positive conversation has they entirely opposite effect. It can set the tone for our whole day, even spilling over into the next day, depending on what the conversation was about and what it might have brought to mind.

We can choose how conversations affect us daily. If we have a a conversation with negative overtones, we can choose to let it make us miserable all day, or put it on the back burner and go forth looking for the positive in the rest of the day.

We all have that one friend or relative that tends to be negative most of the time. I have one and although I love this person with all of my heart, when it is time to call in and check on them, I have to take a moment to steel myself against the torrent of negativity that many times takes over their conversation.

So I made the call, expecting the worse but praying for the best, and this time the individual had a totally different outlook on their day and on their life. The conversation was beneficial to us both in that we had a few laughs, didn’t argue about anything and hung up feeling more cheerful than when we started.

Today I am thankful for uplifting and positive conversations.

anger faceAugust 19, 2016 – Handling Pain

I’ve been battling pain most of my life. Some of it has been medical and some of it was inflicted on me, and a lot of it has been emotional. As I get older and my body is starting to wear out there is more physical pain.

I’ve suffered from chronic migraines and arthritis for years. I’ve had problems with my wrists, shoulders, back, knees ankles and toes at different times, only to be told that it’s “Arthur” simply moving around my body.

A few months ago I started having gout attacks in my feet. First it was the right foot, then it was the left. The doctor put me on a prescription which I had a reaction to, so I did some research and found some homeopathic remedies which seemed, at first to help.

Recently, about a month ago, I had what I thought was a severe gout attack on my left food. The swelling finally went down but I have remained in pain since then. On the days that I can take it easy around the house and not put too much pressure on it, it isn’t too bad, but on the days that I have to be out running around, by the end of the day I can hardly walk.

I went to the orthopedic doctor and he diagnosed as “turf toe” and upped my anti-inflammatory medicines. He told me to baby it for another week or so, but I should see improvement withing a few days. I see him again in 4 weeks.

It doesn’t seem to have changed much. If I walk real slow, watch everywhere I step, there is less aggravation, but who can watch every step they take? I have turned wrong a few times and that makes it burn and I have stepped on one of the strips between doorways and that also ignites the pain. There just doesn’t seem to be a happy medium with this thing.

Today, while I was rubbing my foot, God reminded me of the pain and suffering that his son went through. The whipping and scourging, the nails in his hands and feet, and the heartbreak over the condition of his children, when you think about it, is overwhelming.

If Jesus could go through all of that to give us forgiveness of our sins, then what I have gone through and what I go through are nothing in comparison to what he went through. I can’t even imagine the pain that God went through, sending his son down here to be so horribly crucified and I can’t imagine the pain Jesus went through when they nailed him to the cross. Knowing this, I can handle this pain.

Today I am thankful that God has shown me just how minimal my pain is in comparison.

lakeAugust 20, 2016 – Peace in my Soul

My older sister once told me that she wasn’t afraid of dying, but she was afraid of getting old. I don’t know if I have ever been afraid of dying, but I have thought about how I might die and I was afraid of that. I was afraid of a lot of things in my early life.

I was afraid I wouldn’t be accepted by certain groups of people. I was afraid I wouldn’t stand up to the expectations of others. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to take care of myself and my son. I was afraid of a man for almost 20 years who had gotten complete control of my life, and I was afraid of what would happen to my son if this man succeeded some day in killing me.

When I accepted Jesus as my savior when I was in fourth grade, I wasn’t given any guidance on what that really meant, so it was easy to forget about him when I was transferred to non-christian foster homes. When I was in my early teens, I attended a catholic church with a friend of mine, but when the priest couldn’t explain properly to me why we had to pray to the saints and the virgin I left.

As life went on, I made many mistakes and I had many worries. When I look back on it all I see the steps Jesus took and the levels I went through to get to where I am today. I don’t worry like I used to and I am not afraid like I used to be.

Today I am thankful for the Peace he has given me in my soul.

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Good News, Positive People, and True Doctors

Legs in SPA

August 15, 2016 – Good News

Everyone likes to get get news, at least once in awhile. Finding out problem has been solved, receiving an unexpected blessing, or hearing of something good that happened to a friend or family member can often brighten an otherwise bleary day.

We tend to get stressed when we are awaiting news. For example, tests run at the hospital don’t always get run immediately, the results are often delayed or the Doctor’s office is too busy to call. Some medical establishment don’t call unless there is a severe problem, they let the patient follow up on the results.

My foot has been giving me a lot of pain lately. It’s been going on for over a month now. My wise doctor sent me to x-ray and then scheduled me to see an orthopedic doctor, all within the range of about two weeks, and given the work load many of these physicians have, that is pretty quick.

When it first started, the whole foot was swollen, especially up by the big toe. Even though the swelling has subsided for the most part, the toe still pained me, and pretty soon it was the arch, the ankle and the ball of the foot too. I assumed it was a sever gout attack. Doc thought it might be stress fractures because of my age and medical issues.

When I saw the orthopedic doctor, he said there were no broken bones and no stress fractures. He diagnosed me with “Turf Toe”, a condition often mostly associated with athletes, however he said that a severe gout attack could have caused it, but more than likely I miss-stepped or jammed my toe without realizing I did it. He also said the the pain and swelling in the ankle, ball of the foot and the arch was because of the way I walked when it hurt.

The cure? Keep it elevated as much as possible, use ice and heat, increase my anti-inflammatory to three times a day instead of twice, keep taking my apple cider vinegar for the gout and I should see definite improvement in a few weeks. This was all good news because when I looked up stress fractures there was the chance of having surgery and wearing a cast for awhile which would inhibit my ability to drive and get around.

Today I am thankful for good news.

Jesus with children 2August 16, 2016 – Positive People

I spent a large chunk of my life around negative people. They were always complaining about something. There was always something going wrong. If they had attempted to smile at some point it might have cracked their face (little joke there).

If you hang around with miserable, negative people too much, you, too can start picking up on their negativity. Instead of seeing the good things in your life, you start seeing all the “not so good” things. You start dwelling on the days that go wrong, problems you can’t fix, and even the problems and complaints of these negative people.

In 1992 God started moving me away from all this negative environment. He started showing me how to look for the blessings in my life and they greatly out numbered the negative. That is one reason I started this blog, to talk about the positive things in my life.

The difference between a large city and a small town is the fact that you deal with less people on a daily basis. You aren’t battling to get through crowds on the streets, in public buildings or mall and stores. You are less likely to run into incidents of road rage, rudeness and irresponsible, irritable people who just push past you in their hurry to get somewhere and do something.

No matter where I go here, people know me by name, even at the hospital and Walmart, even just walking down the street. It is such a blessing to be walking somewhere and pass someone who stops to say “hi Lori” and spend a few moments of their day chatting with you.

When I go to the hospital or doctors office, they don’t call me Mrs. Carter or Lorraine, it’s always “Lori” and they aren’t clinical, they don’t just talk about my medical needs and throw prescriptions at me. They treat my like family. They truly want to know how things are going and they like to share what’s happening in their neck of the woods. Just the other day, one of the nurses asked me if I wanted some of the apples they had picked and left a big bag of them for me to pick up (now I owe her a homemade apple cake “smile”)

Today I am thankful for all the positive people God has put in my life.

laughterAugust 17, 2016 – True Doctors

I had mentioned in the first article on this page about the problems with my foot. In this small town I have been blessed with a caring and friendly physicians. He not only cares about my medical needs, but about my life in general. We chat about different things that are happening in our families for a few minutes at the end of my appointment.

The same thing happens with the cashiers at Walmart, the people at the food bank, the people at the thrift stores we go to and just so many others in this town. You don’t find them rushing around like lunatics, they are way more laid back than those in bigger cities.

My doctor is what I would call a true doctor. He doesn’t just throw prescriptions at me and walk out of the room. He really cares about me as a person, he really cares about what is going on in my life. He hugged me and told me he was sorry to hear about my son’s death a few months ago. I had an appointment with him just a few days later. He even told me to let him know if there was anything he could do.

Last week when I went to see the “foot” doctor, I found in him another “True” doctor and he made it no secret that he believed in God. He talked to me about the ailment, explained in detail about it and made references to “thanking God” for my healing.

Doctors, today are pushed to extremes. In our clinic there is a sign that says if you have been there more than 15 minutes to let the clerks at the desk know. I assume this means that the “higher-ups” expect these doctors to be able to see and diagnose a patient within fifteen minutes. That has to be really tough on them to meet those kind of standards.

Both these doctors take all the time it needs to diagnose my problems, chat with me as a friend before pushing me out the door. They are true doctors in every sense of the word, they truly care about their patients.

Today I am thankful for “True Doctors”.

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Night Sky, The Birds, and the Butterfly

heavensAugust 12, 2016 – The Night Sky

On a clear summer night, I like to step out and look at the millions of stars in the heavens. I often wonder if any of them are angels, or perhaps a few of them are our loved ones looking down on us. It is a peaceful time, standing there, listening to the locusts, frogs and crickets chattering back and forth and feeling the gentle breezes blowing through the trees.

Sometimes I will see a falling star, and even though scientists claim these are falling meteors, I often think they could be angels traveling from one place to another. Enoch saw the pathways of the angels when he was taken up and shown so many things in heaven and earth.

I also like to walk out on the deck in the evening, just as the sun has set and there is a storm rolling in. As I watch the sudden flashes of lightening and hear the rolling thunder from the impending storm, I think about what a powerful being God is to have created all of this. I see the thick, fast moving billows of clouds traveling from the north to the south or south to north, and wonder where they go when they disappear.

Today I am thankful for the night sky. It is truly something marvelous and beautiful to behold.

Doves 001August 13, 2016 – The Birds

Toward the end of the month, when things get a little tight and I run out of bird seed, I tear up old bread to feed my friends on the deck. Each morning they line up on the railing, chirping and singing as if to remind me it’s time for breakfast.

It is not odd at all to see 20 or more sparrows, 4 or 5 doves, the pair of blue jays, the couple of cardinals and the pair of thrushes who have recently shown up, all sitting together, not fighting or arguing, waiting for their morning meal. I think, wouldn’t it be great if humanity could get along like that. I have watched them all eating in the same area or out of the same dish together. The only time there is any kind of disturbance is if a pack of starlings show up, then everyone else will take to flight.

There were quite a bit of starlings at the beginning of summer, and that upset me. I felt bad for all the other birds, because they are such pigs. They take over the whole area, they are aggressive and territorial, not letting anyone else near the food. I had to go out and chase them away many times so the other birds could come and eat.

The starlings are gone now, probably attacking the grain fields and playing havoc with the farmers crops. They are basically scavengers that not only eat up seeds and grain, but will also attack and eat small animals and road kill. Every once in awhile, one will land to eat, but he waits his turn because he is now out numbered by the other birds.

Many of the birds have gotten use to me coming out on the deck. They won’t let me approach them, but the doves, especially the babies, will not fly away when I come out. I have had a cardinal fly down on the railing near me, and a blue-jay a little farther away, scolding me, I think, because he doesn’t want me around when he is eating.

Today I am thankful for the birds that come to my deck to feed. I talk to them and sometimes I feel like they can actually understand me.

blue butterlyAugust 14, 2016 – The Butterfly

This morning, when I stepped out on the back deck, there was a butterfly skittering around on the floor. Every so often it would fly up to the railing and just sit there, folding and unfolding it’s beautiful wings. It looked like it could have been a young monarch by the coloring. I could be mistaken, maybe it was just a huge, colorful moth?

Pretty soon this little skittering butterfly flew back down to the floor of the deck, this time very near to my feet. I backed up a little because I didn’t want to accidentally step on him, but he kept close to me. I stood and talked to eat for a little while, telling it I wouldn’t hurt it and telling it how very beautiful it was.

Pretty soon I bent down, and laid my had, palm up, next to it. Within a few seconds it crawled up on my hand. I was thrilled that this tiny little creature, that I could crush so very easily in a few seconds actually trusted me not to harm it. I brought my hand up slowly to in front of my face and talked to it for a few more seconds. It stayed there on my hand for at least 10 seconds then flew back down to around my feet.

Moments like this just make my day. When something that small will put it’s trust in me, then nothing else matters at that moment. This will stay on my mind and bring a smile to my lips for the whole day.

Today I am thankful for that little butterfly that trusted me not to harm it.

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Best Friends, Getting Closer, Failures and Small Victories

doggieAugust 8, 2016 – Best Friends

I have never been a social butterfly. Even during my school years, I kept mostly to myself. In fact I only attended one school dance. I had few friends and fewer best friends in my life. I have a lot of friends now, most of them are friends I’ve made over the years, almost everyone of them is a Christian or former pastor of mine. I don’t talk a lot with any of them. I like their status and they like mine.

There are two friends on Facebook that I just recently reconnected with, and they were actually the only best friends that I had during my junior and high school days. We like each other status and every so often one of them will come to me with a prayer request or I will go to them. They were the first an only “best” friends I had in school and I am glad that we are reconnected.

I had another best friend “Ken” my deceased husband, but I was only allowed to have him for five years and then the Lord took him home. But, we serve an awesome God who foresees what we need before we even know we need it. Today I have four best friends, and each one of them hold a very special place in my heart. I know they are always there for me, I know they care for me, I know they love me.

Today I am thankful for my “Best” friend ever “Jesus” and for the other “Best” friends he has put in my life.

older woman prayingAugust 9, 2016 – Getting Closer

When I look in the mirror and see all the wrinkles and scars on my face, it reminds me that I am getting older each day. I never planned on being disabled, but with age and events in your life, many different medical and physical problems start showing up.

I won’t go into the whole list that keeps growing, but I take each appearance with as much grace as I can. Someone recently told me that they don’ t understand how I can handle the daily pain I’m in so gracefully. There is no secret, like anything else in your life that is a constant, you know it’s going to be there, you handle it the best you can, accept it and go on with life because it is not going away.

My older sister used to tell me she wasn’t afraid of dying, but she was afraid of getting older. Not me. I know that each day, week, month and year brings me closer to either the rapture or death, and both will take me in front of my Lord where I will spend eternity basking in his love.

Today I am thankful for each day that brings me closer to meeting Jesus face to face.

anger faceAugust 10, 2016 – Failures

We all fall short of the glory of God. There has only been one who was perfect – Jesus. We struggle every day with temptations and tribulations but Jesus knows it all. He sits and waits for us to call on his name, to cry out in our misery and anguish and then he acts on it.

We are allowed to fail because we are human, but with each failure we grow in our walk with God and we are to learn lessons from them: don’t make the same mistake over and over again. Through these failures we are allowed to learn what is the best path for us. We gain knowledge, we gain experience, and we learn to think a little more logical so that we don’t rush in head first.

Failures are not fun. They are a hit to our ego, they tend to make us feel embarrassed at times, and they can also add to PTSD and depression we might already have. It all depends on how we look at the failures, what we draw out of them, and the attitude with which we handle them. I fail at one thing or another every day of my life, and so does the rest of the human race, many just don’t want to admit it.

Today I am thankful for my failures. They serve to teach me something and they show me that I still have a lot of work to do. They actually create healthier goals for me, spiritually speaking.

laughterAugust 11, 2016 – Small Victories

My article about failures suggests we are to learn lessons each time we fail. We are to store knowledge from them and use that knowledge when the situation calls for it. Jesus sees everything that happens and he allows us to learn from our mistakes, but we also have to be willing to admit our failures, repent when necessary and try to do better. We will suffer because of our failures because that is how we learn from them. Everyone is accountable for what they do and must bear the consequences.

But, along with failure come victories. When we are able to use the knowledge we have gained in the right perspective, draw from it in another similar situation, we then accumulate small victories. There is no greater feeling than knowing you have used that knowledge to defeat Satan. Him and his minions work daily to make Christians suffer, sometimes tempting us, sometimes putting a block in our path, so those small victories count even more.

Today I am thankful for my small victories. When I know I have thrown a wrench into Satan’s machinery, it makes me feel that much better.

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Acceptance, Jesus, and Observations

common senseAugust 5, 2016 – Acceptance

We, as humans are inclined to find a solution by ourselves to every problem that presents itself. Whether it is in the work place, in the home, at our children’s school or even something in our adult children’s life. We are free with our advice without stopping to think about exactly what the problem is. We give advice to our co-workers, our brothers and sisters at church, our neighbors and family members and even sometimes to strangers. We know it all.

But we don’t know it all. We look at a situation or problem and say the first thing that comes to our mind. Instead of mulling it over, looking at it from every angle we just blurt out our so called expert advice. It is a rude awakening when someone takes your advice and you both find out later it was the wrong advice. Most of us cannot accept the fact that we can’t change everything.

I have learned to be honest with friends and family when asked for advice. I try to look at the situation from different angles and I also ask questions. Unless I have been in the same situation or had the same problems at one time, I don’t feel qualified to give them a definite solution. Many times I advise them to pray about it for awhile and see what happens. Other times, if it isn’t a huge problem that needs to be solved right away, I advise them to put it on the back burner and concentrate on immediate problems and circumstances, often finding out later that the problem actually solved itself.

At Alcoholics Anonymous they say this prayer:

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
The things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.

This is the original prayer first written by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in 1943 . At most meetings today they have shortened it to just the first 6 lines.

Today I am thankful that God has shown me how to accept the things I cannot change and given me the wisdom to know the difference.

Jesus 002

Drawing of Angels taking Jesus off the cross by Richard Carter

August 6, 2015 – Jesus

I sincerely apologize to Jesus, my lord and savior. This should have been my very first article when I started this venture to list something to be thankful for every day. If it wasn’t for him I would not be where I am today, I would not even be alive.

I can’t count the many sins that I know he has forgiven me of. I cannot count the times in my life that he has intervened on my behalf. There is no way that I could list the many prayers that he has answered or the many times he has lifted my spirit when I thought I was completely at the end of my rope.

If it were not for him, I would not be able to find the strength and peace that is needed to make it through every day on this earth, especially now when there is just so much going on that could eventually affect us all.

If it were not for Jesus, I would not have met the two most important men in my life, I would never have moved from the concrete jungle to a peaceful, rural town in Missouri where life is so much easier and safer.

If he hadn’t called to me when he did, if he hadn’t moved me from a dangerous living arrangement, I wouldn’t be here today writing this. I would have died a very horrible death years ago and my murderer probably would have gotten away with it. He literally has saved my life on several occasions, even before he called me back to him.

Today I am thankful to know Jesus as my lord and savior.

eyeAugust 7, 2016 – Observations

When you are young, you’re on fire. You just want to be liberated to do the things you want to do. You want to run with your friends, do what they are doing, follow what they are following, leaving everything else behind you.

I couldn’t wait until I was 18 and could move out of my parents house. I was a Miss Know-it-all and felt like they were holding me down. I wanted to show the world that I was a responsible adult, even though I was no where near that.

Sure, I already had a job, one that would never go anywhere, and I was able to find a roommate to share an apartment with me. I had it all together, or so I thought. Yet, I made many mistakes, one right after another, jumping head first into situations and relationships without taking the time to make any observations of the people or circumstances I was getting involved with. This mistake alone cost me many years of my life.

Today I observe a lot of things, people: the way they act, the way they talk, the things they do, places: where it is, what is around it, is it safe, is there any kind of danger, events: where is it being held, what is the theme of the event, is it worth going to.

Those are not the only observations that I make. I watch things in nature also, especially the weather, the way animals are acting, the presence of animals in certain places or the lack of their presence.

Now you might ask why all the observations? Maybe I am just a little paranoid after some of the things I have been through in my life. That wouldn’t be hard to understand if you knew the half of them. So, by observing everything around me, in and outside my life, I am creating a safety zone that will possible keep me and those I care about safe.

Today I am thankful that the Lord has given me the desire to observe everything around me.

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