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Insects, Help From Nature, Natural Remedies

blue butterlyJune 15, 2017 – Insects

Have you ever stood out in your yard or sat on your porch and watched the many insects around you? If I stand out on the porch during the day I am sure that I will see some butterflies, flies, wasps, ants and bees. All of them going about their daily routine.

The bees and butterflies are going from flower to flower feeding on the nectar, picking up the pollen, then flying to others where they will collect the nectar from them and leave the pollen from the others. The flies are flying around looking for any kind of garbage they can feast on, including other dead insects. The same goes for the ants. They are busily going back and forth to their hills bringing in any tidbits they can find.

I know ants will carry any kind of food they can back to their nest including some leaves and flowers of some plants. I didn’t know that they would feed on other insects, but apparently they do. I found a dead beetle in the bathroom the other day and when I went to move him, several hundred ants took off running from underneath him.

If I stand out on my porch after the sun has set, I am apt to see mosquitoes, water-bugs, moths, night spiders and gnats and other little flying bugs around. It seems that the insect world never sleeps. It is as busy outside at night as it is during the day.

While, for the most part, I watch and leave the insect world alone, there are some things I cannot abide. Roaches are nasty, dirty spreaders of disease. Ants are invaders, sometimes biting you, but definitely getting into your food and drinks.

Spiders are not allowed in the house, especially since the black widow and brown recluse are native to our area, however, I do not destroy the spider webs outside until I know they have been abandoned because in actuality, spiders are our friends. They eat otherwise nasty little insects that could get in the house such as the flies and gnats that are in the same category as the roaches.

What my observations have shown me is that they each have some kind of purpose, some kind of task they must complete. Ants must feed the colony and as far as I know they don’t spread disease, but they help to get rid of garbage by dragging food and bugs down to their nest. Wasps, hornets, bees and butterflies help to spread pollen to plants to help them produce.

Spiders, for the most part help to keep pests under control. They really seem to love flies, gnats and even on occasion a wasp or two. I am not sure if there is any benefits to having water-bugs around, but it is interesting to see them running wildly around on the back deck, seeming to go nowhere or do anything.

God created such an intricate world, even down to the insects around our houses. Each one seems to serve some kind of purpose and each one seems to know their place in this world. If humans could learn from watching the insects, how they get along, how they persist at their functions, we could learn a lot about getting along, surviving and being productive. Today I am thankful for the many insects that work so hard at what god intended them to do.

rainbowJune 16, 2017 – Help From Nature

I will admit that I am one of the first people to complain about the weather. I blame it on getting older and my body changing with age. When I was younger, it didn’t matter what the weather was, I just went with the flow. If it was hot, cold, rainy or snowy, I just dressed accordingly and went about my day.

As I have gotten older, developed different medical problems like the chronic migraines, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, I find myself complaining more about the weather because it does have a big impact on how I will feel that day.

There were several years in a row that we didn’t have much rain and definitely very little snow. They had burn orders and warnings during the summer, and sometimes even restrictions on people washing their cars or watering their yards because we were in drought conditions.

It is easy to see when there are problems with the weather by looking at the prices at the grocery stores. If there is too much water and the fields go to rot, prices go up. If there is too much heat and not enough water and the crops shrivel up and die, the prices go up.

The last couple years we seem to have more rainy winters and less days of snow. I’m told this was a good thing as it brings our water tables up and keeps us out of drought conditions. So far this summer, with the exception of a few very hot days, it’s been pretty bearable. Sometimes Nature has a way of balancing everything.

With the water tables higher and no drought conditions, the production of crops looks like it might be pretty good this year. That means that there will be plenty to go around and prices won’t soar so high that you can’t afford to by the produce or have to buy very little of it. Today I am thankful for the times that we get help from nature.

medicine-bottlesJune 17, 2017 – Natural Remedies

I used to completely trust my doctors, when I lived in Cleveland and Florida, although they always seemed to be cold a detached when talking about my health concerns or prescribing medications for me. Sad to say, most of them never actually talked to me about what to expect from my medical problems or the prescriptions they gave me, so, in my trusting nature, I just took whatever they gave me.

I gained weight, I felt bloated, my headaches got worse, I was short of breath and had trouble sleeping. No matter what I did, I was uncomfortable all of the time and I had no idea if the medicines were helping what they were supposed to be treating. I actually was taking 28 pills a day at one time, which I found out later were treating conditions I didn’t even have.

Most doctors treat the symptoms first, and if they continue or get worse, then they will run tests to see what is really going on. Unfortunately this is not really their fault as most of the ones whose practice is connected to a hospital clinic are pushed to see a patient every 15 minutes. I know this to be true as there is a sign in our doctors office that says if you are sitting longer than 15 minutes, let the clerks know.

Medical practice is big money now. I’m sure there are kick-backs from pharmaceuticals to different medical establishments for how many prescriptions are written for their product. Many patients are automatically referred to specialists or other doctors because that way the hospital or clinic gets paid for another visit.

Sadly, most prescriptions have some nasty and often times severe side effects. I’ve researched all the ones they prescribe me and often times have refused what they want me to take, doing research on natural remedies and cures.

For instance, one that I need to take because it is actually the safest treatment for the rheumatoid arthritis has the side effects of black tarry stools, blood in urine, bloody vomit, diarrhea, joint pain, swelling of feet and lower legs and this is just the listing under major side effects. Sadly, there is no natural cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but I have found some natural treatments for the pain and swelling and help hold flare-ups down.

If you compare possible side effects on all your medications, you will see that most of them list the same side effects like nausea, constipation, headaches, indigestion, fatigue, sleepiness, weight gain, weight loss, insomnia, elevated blood pressure, rapid heart beat and these are the most common and considered the least dangerous.

While I have to take a possibly dangerous drug for this condition, I have done my research on how to take it, what signs to look for if it is causing problems and different ways to be more comfortable with the side effects of the disease and the medicine.

My sister and I do a lot of research in natural remedies and cures. She even makes some of her tonics, creams and tinctures. Unfortunately she also researched and found out there is no natural cure for this type of arthritis.

I have made it a habit now to research symptoms myself before running to the doctor, and looking for and using natural remedies and cures if I can safely pinpoint what the problem is. For instance, I know when my GERD is acting up, so I grab the apple cider vinegar and honey. I know when I have strained or pulled a muscle so I grab the cayenne and a heating pad. Today I am thankful that there are still natural remedies and cures available to us.

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Accomplishments, Grand-Kids, Laughter and Research

awardJune 11, 2017 – Accomplishments

We strive hard during our lives to create a good life, to accomplish goals. We work hard in school because our parents expect it from us and our teachers tell us it will benefit us later in life, and basically you need that piece of paper to start opening the doors for you.

I loved my parents, don’t get me wrong, but my step-father and mother did me wrong. When I was working an after school job, they took my paycheck, telling me they were putting it away for me to go to college. When I was getting ready to move out of the house on my own and asked about the money, they told me it went toward my room and board.

What child has to pay room and board when they are in school, even if they are working a part time job? To make matters worse, after I discovered there was no money to even help me get into the City College, my step father knew all about student loans, where to get them and how to get the, but never told me one word about it.

As far as that goes, the people I met while working, a lot of them college graduates, lawyers, judges, police officers and business owners, many of whom knew I wanted to go to college, also knew about student loans and never told me.

It wasn’t until I was around 38, had finally gotten away from my abuser and went to my sister in Arizona that I found out about these loans. She was the one who told me. So, at 38 I went to a business college, never using anything I learned there, but having that paper started opening the doors for me.

While I never became a millionaire or a movie start, while I never got into politics or owned my own business, I strove to get to the point where I never had to depend on someone else to help me out. There were times in my younger life, when I had to depend on people for charity, but I wanted to be the one who could be charitable to others.

My mother had always said that I was fiercely independent and would accomplish whatever I set out in life, and while it took many years for me to find a way, I did accomplish the ability to take care of myself and several others during my life.

While things have slowed down, and I no longer work, I can look back and see that my accomplishments were brought about by many acts of God, putting me in the right place at the right time, or putting the right people in my path. Today I am thankful for the accomplishments he helped me to achieve.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jesus with children 2June 12, 2017 – Grand-kids

If you had asked me when I was in my 20’s and 30’s how I would feel about being a grandparent, I would have told you I was too young, but I was a grandmother at the ripe old age of 40. My son, throughout his life had two step children that he raised as his own and five others that he fathered.

Today through my one son and several step children I am the proud grandmother of 16, and one on the way, and the great grandmother of 2. Does that make me feel old? Maybe in some ways, but I find joy in talking to all of them whenever I can. They are all spread out in different states so I don’t see any of them often, but we still stay in close contact.

Sometimes I am a little jealous when I see other grand-parents with their grandchildren, but I think back to the years I have already had with mine and the love and communication we still have, and I’m not jealous anymore.

I realize that there are some I may never see again before I die, some I might only meet once, and others who I may never personally meet, but I have a relationship with all of them just the same. Today I am thankful for all my grandchildren and love them with an undying love.

Proverbs 17:6 Grandchildren are the crown of the elderly, and the pride of sons is their fathers.

laughterJune 13, 2017 – Laughter

There is an old adage that goes around, and depending on who is telling it, the numbers change. Some say it takes only 10 muscles to smile and 100 to frown and others say it takes 12 muscles and 11 to frown. Scientifically it has never been proven but we all know that a smile is more pleasing to look at than a frown.

It has been scientifically proven that stress takes a physical and mental toll on the body. When you are stressed or angry, your blood pressure rises. Some people tighten up their muscles, causing undue stress on their backs, arms, chest etc and others may experience headaches or increased heart rate, all of these which can lead to medical or physical problems.

Mentally and physically laughter is healthy for you. It reduces blood pressure, lessens the feelings of stress and anxiety, actually helps you retain a better memory, improves your immune system, and reduces pain. So, basically a good laugh a day keeps the doctor away!!!!!

I love to laugh. A good belly laugh or just some giggling with family and friends always makes me feel better, no matter what I have been going through that day. It helps me forget all the depressing and stressful thoughts I may be having. It helps me forget the pain in different areas of my body, and for awhile it helps me forget any problems that are on the horizon, yet unsolved. Today I am thankful that the good lord gave us the ability to laugh.

Psalm 126:2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

libraryJune 14, 2017 – Research

I have always loved to research. I did it for a living for eleven years. The company I worked for did background checks. We not only looked up criminal and civil records, but we also searched for work and education back grounds on individuals. I learned to look for details on records that were often missed by other researchers and agents. It was a learning experience and probably the most interesting job I ever had.

Some of my research was done on the internet and when I discovered the plethora of information there, I started researching things of interest to me. From how to eat healthy to how to grow your own vegetables, from how to make a rug to different home hacks that saved you money, there was no end to the information I found.

I research many other things also, including biblical history. We acquired some books from the thrift store at one time that were put out by Readers Digest. There were four or five of them. They were all about the biblical days; before Jesus, during Jesus time and after Jesus. We have read these books over several times and often I have taken notes on certain parts, gone to my computer and looked for more information.

These books not only told about what the bible says, but how the people lived, how they survived, how many different times their belief’s were changed, how many and who wrote different versions of the bibles. They told about wars that weren’t mention and the acts of some of the emperors and kings that you don’t find in the bible.

I also love to go to the library and check out books on different subjects. Most libraries, including our small town library have a computer system where you can look up information by author, title or subject. It makes it a whole lot quicker to find what you are looking for. I love to research and today I am thankful for different ways I can use to research the things that interest me.

Proverbs 1:5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance

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The Wind, The Past and Final Destination

lighteningJune 8, 2017 – The Wind

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

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

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

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

Mark 4:39-41

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

The_Last_supperJune 9, 2017 – The Past

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

starry skiesJune 10, 2017 – Final Destination

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

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

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

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

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

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

medicine bottlesJune 5, 2017 – Side effects

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

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

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

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

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

heartsJune 6, 2017- An Open Heart

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

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

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

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

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

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

eyeJune 7, 2017 – A Shut Up Soul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Quiet, Home, and Getting Older

old front porchJune 2, 2017 – Quiet

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

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

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

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

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

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

DCIM100MEDIAJune 3, 2017 – Home

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

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

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

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

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

oldman prayingJune 4, 2017- Getting Older

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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After the Rain, Mom, Normal Days

lighteningMay 30, 2017 – After the Rain

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

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

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

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

birthday cakeMay 31, 2017 – Mom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fantasy trees111June 1, 2017 – A Normal Day

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

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

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

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

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

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Endurance, Extra Time, Memorial Day

eagleMay 26, 2017 – Endurance

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

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

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

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

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

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

ClocksMay 28, 2017 – Extra Time

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

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

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

american flagMay 29, 2017- Memorial Day

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

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

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

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

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