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Wisdom, Understanding, Being Proactive, and Goals

common senseJanuary 16, 2017 – Wisdom

When we are born into this world, it is without the wisdom we need to survive. As we grow older we learn and depending on our environment, or parents and teachers we may learn many good things or we may learn many bad things. We absorb knowledge all of our lives through researching, reading, listening, watching and experience. It is up to us what we do with that knowledge.

Many people go out into the world with the knowledge of how to use people, how to gain material wealth, friends and prestige by manipulating those around them. Others go out into the world filled with the rage and hate that their parents have passed on to them, and still others go forth with kindness, mercy, forgiveness and love for their fellow man.

As we mature, we know right from wrong and it is entirely up to us how we use the knowledge we gain through our experiences and observing the experiences of others. We develop habits, goals and attitudes depending on how we use the knowledge we have absorbed.

Solomon asked God for the knowledge he needed to govern his people right. He asked God to gives him the wisdom to know right from wrong and to govern his people with honesty and fairness. Sometimes in life we are given opportunities to use the knowledge God allows us to absorb in a manner that will help others, we just have to submit to God’s will. Today I am thankful for the wisdom and knowledge God has allowed me over the years.

2 Chronicles 1: 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

1 Kings 3: 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.

libraryJanuary 17, 2016 – Understanding

When I was younger, I didn’t care about understanding God, his word or his ways. I was involved in being a young person, and because I had not been raised in a Godly house, I didn’t understand just how much I would have to rely on him in later years.

When I left home just before I turned 18, all I could think about was getting out from under my step-fathers thumb and making my own decisions, doing what I wanted and living on my own. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my mom, and I know deep in her heart she wanted the best for her children, but she was easily manipulated by my step-father and allowed him full control over us kids.

Because I never learned any basics of life outside the house while I lived at home, I easily made mistakes, getting in with the wrong crowd, and eventually ending up in a relationship where I was treated more like a prisoner than a human being.

As I have grown in my walk with Jesus, I have begun to understand a whole lot of more. I have come to understand why some people act the way they do. I have come to understand why it is so important to be born again, to walk and talk with Jesus and I have come to understand the pain that so many individuals go through.

Through experiences of my own, he has increased my understanding of what it means to be kind, to be forgiving, to be helpful, to show mercy and to love others. Today I am thankful for the ways he has increased my understanding of life and him.

awardJanuary 18, 2017 – Being Proactive

When Kens was ill, I was working a full time job and working in the evenings doing international calls for the company. Every day after work we would go and get a bit to eat and maybe watch the sun set over the ocean. On weekends we might go to the flea markets, take in a movie, or just drive out to Passe Grill. Three times a week we were in Church, Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday bible study. We were also there anytime there was a special event being held.

I didn’t have a lot of time to spend on cleaning house, so I started developing habits to help keep it straightened out so that we would have as much time together as we could. I would make the beds as soon as we got up, throw in a load of laundry to be dried when we got home, vacuumed on Saturday morning before leaving the house, and doing smaller chores as soon as they needed to be done.

I also made sure to keep up on refilling prescription boxes, setting up doctor appointments, paying the bills immediately as they came in. I soon developed similar habits at work. Setting up certain tasks that needed to be attended to right away so when I walked in to the my cubicle, I knew exactly what needed attended to and in what order it needed to be done.

I guess you could say I have a bit of OCD. Even though I don’t work anymore, I have carried all of this over into my retired life. I make the bed as soon as I get up, I turn on the computer, make my cup of coffee, throw in a load of laundry, do my exercises, do my reading and then make breakfast.

Before I got to bed at night, all the dishes are done and the house is straightened up. I use a calendar to mark appointments and on days when there is an afternoon appointment, I prepare dinner ahead of time so it is ready to eat when I get home. Being proactive about everything has made life less overwhelming. Today I am thankful that the Lord urged me to be proactive.

bibleJanuary 19, 2017 – Goals

We set goals for ourselves all the time. It is actually healthy to set goals but make sure you don’t set ones that are impossible to meet. Some of us set a goal to lose weight, to get projects done, to get chores done by a certain time. Some set goals they want to achieve in work, in material gain and wealth while others set goals for their health.

I like to sit down and write a list every so often of goals I would like to meet, but I dare say my list may be different than most. I don’t make goals that are way out of my reach. I don’t set goals to gain material possessions or wealth. I don’t set goals to become well known or famous. Most of my goals have to do with living the way the Lord wants us to.

I have a bad habit of interrupting people when they are talking, and it’s not because I am rude or think what I have to say is more important than what they are saying, it’s simply because I am at an age where thoughts that were in my head a few seconds ago suddenly disappear. I am just trying to get them out before I forget them. So one of the goals I have set for myself is to practice not interrupting people when they are speaking.

I also, at times, have the habit of making negative remarks, especially if someone is rude to me, like when someone cuts me off in traffic or walks in front of me when I’m trying to go through the door at the hospital or store. Now I don’t make rude remarks to these people, but I often say them to myself which, in turn, tends to put me in a negative mood.

So one of my goals is to quit thinking or making these types of remarks, after all, that person that cut me off in traffic, may have been looking the other way, and that person that jumped in front of me at the door may be in a big hurry. Today I am thankful that the Lord is teaching me to make worthwhile goals.

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Choices and Sisters

libraryJanuary 14, 2017 – Choices

We are given many choices in our life time. We choose who our friends are, what course we want to take in Middle School, High School and College. We choose what kind of work we want to do, where we want to live and even what we want to eat. We choose our doctors, our cars, our reading material and our electronics.

We choose what we want to wear, the style, colors and manufacturer. We choose where to go to church, where to shop at, where to go for entertainment. We make small choices and large choices. Sometimes our choices aren’t so good and other times they are great. We choose to follow Jesus or we choose not to.

But, there are countries where the people have no choices. They are told where to live, where to go to school, what subjects they can take, what job they will work, who they may marry and how many children they are allowed to have, and what clothes they can wear. In some places they are not even given the choice of serving Christ. They serve the government, doing, saying and believing exactly what they are told to.

In other countries, some third world, poor countries, many of the people don’t have many choices either. They stay where ever they can find shelter from the storm. They eat whatever they can scrounge up. They get their medical care from charity organizations or they don’t get it all. And sorry to say, unless a missionary comes their way, they don’t know anything about the Lord. Today I am thankful for all the choices I have.

sistersJanuary 15, 2017 – Sisters

I had three sisters at one time. My older sister Dee passed away in November. She was gone in twenty minutes, after they had said she was getting better, after they said they had cleared the pneumonia up and were going to transfer her to rehab. My youngest sister barely made it to 21 before she was brutally murdered in her home. The murderer has never been caught. Now there are two sisters left. My younger sister Cindy and myself.

Today is Cindy’s birthday. My baby sister has reached the big “60”. I pray she will be with us for many, many more years. I love her with all my heart. I had arguments with my older sister, I barely knew my youngest sister because she was so young when my parents moved to Mexico. I saw her briefly in Arizona about 15 years later. As far as I can remember, Cindy and I have never argued about anything. I guess you could say we are kindred spirits.

Besides my familial sisters, I have had many other sisters. I had two sisters in one of the foster homes, two life-long friends that I have always considered sisters and many church sisters. Each one has a very special place in my life and I have been truly blessed to have them all. Today I am thankful for my sisters, the ones still here and the ones who have passed on.

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Shelter From the Storm and God Provides

lighteningJanuary 12, 2017 – Shelter From the Storm

While Egypt and Canaan don’t normally have blizzards and ice storms like we experience in the U.S. they have their droughts, famines and their rainy seasons. Imagine having to wander through the wilderness for 40 years in weather like this, stopping at the occasional oasis to fill up on water, let the animals graze and then trudging onward, never building a permanent home, living in tents, sleeping on the ground, often camping out in the open during the rainy season.

In cooler weather it was probably much easier, but they never stayed long in one place, and they often circled around, coming back to the same places over and over again, walking over rough ground for there weren’t many roadways traveled at that time. Imagine having to hunker down in a tent or makeshift shelter during a torrential rain.

Even though God provided their food and their clothes never wore out, it was rough going. There were no cars or trains, no trailers, no campers, no modern convenience to make the going any easier. Each place they stopped they had to set up the tabernacle, set up their tents, find places to tether their animals and graze their herds.

Now, we have houses, apartments, and mobile homes to keep us sheltered from the storms. If we go camping there are portable, waterproof tents and cabins and campers to keep us warm and dry. We are protected by some kind of conveyance no matter where we go, whether it is a bus, a cab, a car, a truck or an SUV and most of us don’t have to worry about shelter for animals unless we are farmers. Today I am thankful for shelter from the storms.

Hands holding the worldJanuary 13, 2017 – God Provides

When you live on a fixed or low income it can become difficult to make sure you have all that you need. Often families in this situation find themselves at a loss if their car breaks down, something needs repaired in the house or an appliance bites the dust.

Most people can’t just go out and buy something new every time the old something wears out. Many have to look for good, used items and some find that they have to do without a convenience because the expense is too great.

I remember one winter, many years ago, when the person I lived with drank up all the bill money. We didn’t have gas to heat the house so we walked around bundled up in layers of clothes. We cooked on a Coleman stove in the kitchen and heated water on it to wash up and for entertainment we watched a television wired to a car battery.

Our used refrigerator that we bought 6 years ago has been making a lot of racket. It rattles when it runs and it sounds like it’s coming through the wall when it shuts off. We started a house fund to save up for another one and it seems that it was just in time, for the noises were increasing and we weren’t sure how many more days it would last. But we survived.

When I started calling around for prices I was shocked at how much many places wanted for a used refrigerator. For a couple hundred more we could have bought a brand new one, but we didn’t have the extra cash. We finally found one at a price we could afford at one of the appliance stores in town, and they got it delivered before the ice storm was scheduled to arrive. It amazes me how God shows up just when you need him and I am so thankful that he always provides.

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Eating Humble Pie and Quiet Mornings

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJanuary 10, 2017- Eating Humble Pie

I will admit it, I have been wrong in my life, many times. I have this streak of stubbornness, I have this inherent need to be right, all the time, and my tongue can quickly override my brain. I’m a researcher by profession and by nature. Ken used to say I was like a little robot, I always needed “Input”. But it’s true. I research everything from my medications to herbal remedies, from vitamins to the habits of birds and squirrels, from how to make a cake to how to plant tomatoes.

It’s true, I have a strong will, I have some stubbornness in me. I was born with it. My mother used to say my will was so strong that when I set my mind to something, nothing would hold me back from achieving it. I think some of my need to be right also comes from the abusive relationship I was in for twenty years, where I wasn’t allowed to have an opinion, I wasn’t allowed to complain about anything, I wasn’t even allowed say anything without being asked most the time.

It still is a problem at times. There are times I am sure that what I am saying is correct, to the point where I have gotten into a few arguments only to be proven incorrect. I’ve been working on that as much as I can, trying to evaluate what is being said and what I know about it before I open that large mouth of mine.

The dictionary says the the definition of being humble is: 1. marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, 2. conscious of one’s failings, 3. unpretentious and 4. to make meek, to humble one heart. Right along with that the Free Dictionary has a list of idioms and “Eating Humble Pie” means to act very humble when one is shown to be wrong, to be apologetic and admit you are in error. Eating Humble Pie” can also be related to “Eating Crow”. A crow is a foul tasting nasty bird and having to eat it would be awful just as eating your own words is emotionally hard to swallow.

Believe it or not, today I am thankful for all the “Humble Pie” I have eaten in my life. It helps me to see how arrogant I can be and arrogance is not pleasing to God.

sunrise-in-the-countryJanuary 11, 2017 – Quiet Mornings

Yesterday was a very hectic day. Not only did we have to go for Rich’s infusions, but we needed to go to the appliance store to pay for a refrigerator, which took just about every cent we had. But, it needed to be done because the one we have, we bought used six years ago, and when it shuts off it sounds like someone is breaking in the back door.

We also had to go to the store to replace some grocery items and then wait for a repair man to come and fix the light switch in the bathroom off the kitchen. We have a great landlady who is very quick on getting repairs done when we let her know about them. So, because of that wait, I didn’t get my nap, poor me.

This morning when I woke up and went out on the back deck, as is my usual habit when the weather permits, the sky was clear and the prettiest blue. The birds had not gathered out there yet for their breakfast and everything was peaceful and quiet. I stood there for a few minutes and listened to the silence, took in the peace and prayed for a quieter, less hectic day.

The wind was whipping up a little, and few clouds skittered across the sky. Presently the birds started their singing, the Blue Jays hollering at me from up in the tree “It’s time for breakfast Lori, go get our food.” I turned to go in and get the birdseed, taking one last look at this quiet morning and thanking God for the peace I felt. Today I am thankful for quiet mornings.

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Truth and Vengeance

bibleJanuary 8, 2017 – The Truth

It is so easy to lie to someone and many people argue that telling little white lies hurts no one. This isn’t true. Everyone has a right to the truth, no matter how hurtful it is. If you feel you have to lie to spare someones feelings, then it is better not to say anything than to tell them an untruth.

There were times in my life I lied, not many, but during a certain period I felt I had to lie to a certain individual to keep from being abused and in the long run it didn’t matter because he already had his mind set on the abuse. There have been times I thought it was better to tell a “white lie” to spare someones feelings, but when it happened to me, it opened my eyes to the fact that there is no excuse for lying.

I have known people who have told so many lies that they have come full circle to bite them in the rear end, and usually when that happens they either don’t remember the lie or deny telling it to begin with. Many times in my life, even after I learned that no kind of lie is acceptable, I’ve been lied to. When it has come full circle and I question the person who told the lie they have done just that.

As the years have gone by, I have learned who I can trust and who I can’t and unfortunately there are not many that I trust to tell me the exact truth. I would rather a person not say anything than to tell me a lie, even if it doesn’t harm me it will still come back to harm them. The Devil is the king of all lies, so if you are in the habit of lying you are serving him. Today I am thankful that I know the one who will never lie, the one who is all about the truth;  Jesus.

John 4: 16 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

loveJanuary 9, 2017 – Vengeance

We all get hurt during our lives. People deceive us, lie to us, spread rumors about us. Many are verbally and physically abusive and it is only human nature to think about getting even with them. The bible tell us that vengeance is the Lords. It tells us that he will eventually take care of those who have hurt or abused us.

For a few years, vengeance was all I could think of. I, at one time, actually thought about different ways to kill a person without getting caught. This person had abused me, physically, mentally and emotionally for almost 20 years. I won’t get into all the gory details, but I was basically held a prisoner with no where to turn for help.

Even after God removed me from the situation, I had thoughts of revenge. I would lay awake in bed and think of different ways I could get even, different ways of hurting this person for what they did to me and my son. I never acted on any of them because there was just no way I could inflict enough pain to make up for the horrors I had been through and I wasn’t willing to put myself in the position of spending my life in jail

As I grew in my walk with God and read his word, it made all the sense in the world to me that he would exact my vengeance on this person in a way that I could never do. All I had to do was let go, give it to him and eventually he would take care of it. I can’t imagine what people like this have waiting for them when they have to stand in front of him on judgment day. I have actually prayed for this person because that is what Jesus instructs us to do. Today I am thankful that I have never taken revenge on anyone because it would have been against the will of the Lord.

Romans 12:17-21

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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That “Gut” Feeling

common senseJanuary 7, 2017 – That “Gut” Feeling

Do you ever get that awful gut feeling. You’re about do something or say something and you get that queasy feeling in your gut, or maybe, like some people your gut becomes tied up it knots.

You try to reason with yourself that it’s just your mistrust of things kicking in. You go through all the logical things you can think of to convince yourself you are doing or saying the right thing. Then after you override that feeling you find out you have made a huge mistake.

Maybe you get that urgent feeling once in awhile that pushes you toward saying or doing something, something you weren’t too sure of. You, again go through all that turmoil of trying to rationalize not following the feeling, and again, after you have convinced yourself not to do or say what you were urged to, you made another huge mistake and regret ignoring it.

Some people call it instinct and most Christians consider it the Holy Ghost. For many years in my life, even before I became a born again Christian, I fought that “gut” feeling. I would rationalize it over and over again in my head until I was so fatigued that I finally chose to ignore it.

Over the years, after I became a Christian, I started listening to that gut feeling, following what it said to do or not do, what it said to say or not say, and it has never ended in a catastrophe. Today I am thankful for that “gut” feeling that comes from the Holy Ghost.

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Time, Inner Peace, and Childhood

ClocksJanuary 4, 2017 – Time

There are 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 53 weeks in a year. There are 10 years in a decade and 100 years in a century. It sounds like a lot, but it seems to go so fast. I remember how I couldn’t wait until I was 18 so I could get out from under my parents rule. Then I couldn’t wait until I was 21 so I could drink alcohol legally.

For some reason, the time between 21 and 30 seemed shorter than from 18 to 21. From thirty to 50 seemed almost overnight and from 50 today seems like just a few hours. Time can slip away from us. We can become so busy that we lose track of time.

I get up at around 8:00 to 8:30 each morning and I usually have to take a nap around 2 or 3, not because I have exerted myself a lot but because of my age and medication side effects. Even on days when I take a shorter nap, the day seems to slip away. I never seem to get everything done that I want to, but I make sure that I have some time to relax before going to bed.

Even though I am disabled, there are still things that need to be done. It takes me longer to do my house work, there are runs to the stores for groceries or to pick up prescriptions. I have to go pay the bills, go to doctor appointments and check on mom each night. 24 hours a day just doesn’t seem long enough.

I have always put a bigger load on myself than was necessary. Even when I was working, I took on extra tasks because they needed to be done. But lately I am learning to pace myself a little better, developing house cleaning habits that make it less of a chore, and keeping things done up so I don’t have to spend a whole day on it. All in all, I’ve had a lot of time in my life. Good times, bad times, joyful times and sad times. Today I am thankful for all the time I’ve had and for all the time I will have in the future.

pruple fieldJanuary 5, 2017 – Inner Peace

I used to go to bed with a thousand things on my find. I would go over events, problems, things people said or did and sometime it would be very late when I finally fell asleep. I felt that I had to find a way to solve all my family members problems. I felt that I was responsible finding all the solutions at work and I put such a burden on myself that the answers never seemed to come.

As I grew in my walk with the Lord, I learned that I could cast all my cares on him. It took awhile before I realized that I was not responsible for everyone’s needs or problems. It was not my place to solve everything for everyone. I learned to start clearing my mind at night, replacing all the stress and problems with prayers.

I started doing what I called “blanket prayers”. I would imagine a blanket spread out, and the person I was praying for seated in the middle of it. Then I would arrange in neat little piles next to this person all the things I wanted to pray about.

It might consist of their salvation, their peace of mind, their bad habits, their financial and family stresses. Then I would picture tying the blanket up, lifting it on my shoulder and walking out onto this gigantic hand. “The hand of God”. Would lay it down, tell him I was giving it to him, and then quietly drift off to sleep. It was my own “visible” method of giving it to God. Today I am thankful for the inner peace I have by doing this.

Jesus with children 2January 6, 2017 – Childhood

Everyone has many memories from their childhood. For a long time I though I only had bad memories, but as I have gotten older and started looking back, I find that I had many good and interesting memories as a child.

I played in the woods, gathered rocks and twigs and built forts and tree houses. I rode horses and climbed trees. I collected pretty leaves and learned to milk a cow. I had friends and school and sisters and brothers in each foster home, and while a few of them were not so good, there were two where I totally felt like family.

I read books, I explored grave yards, I joined the gymnastic team, I earned honor roll and merit roll, deans list, presidents list and citizenship awards. I was a junior librarian. I learned to sew, crochet, knit and cook.

I remember good Christmases and not so good ones. I had five moms, seven dads and multiple sisters and brothers. Some I liked, some I loved and some were just so so. Not many people can claim to have such a huge family. I’ve had best friends, I still do have some of them.

We had sleep overs, I went camping, I got to go the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak. I saw the Grand Canyon and lived in several different states. I did a lot when I was a child and I find that I have many good memories, more than I thought I did. I was in a parade, I went to the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo. I went to theme parks and just so much more.

I learned many things from my parents and foster parents. Honesty, cleanliness, kindness, forgiveness, and love and last but not least, Jesus, were some of the things I learned about, but I also learned hate, abuse, dishonesty and emptiness. I have to say that the good outnumbers the negative and I learned a lot from all of it, the positive and the negative. Today I am thankful for my childhood.