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When I think of what we can be thankful for

When I think of what we can be thankful for it is easy to make a list and then be done with it.
Not so easy my friend, we must really take in and consider all the many blessings we have surrounding us.
First of all, we live in houses that have heat. We can go to a thermostat and turn it up or down.
Some people do not have that choice.
Second of all, we have fresh running water to make coffee or brush our teeth or shower.
Some people do not have that choice.
We have facilities within our home that keep us clean, such as bathrooms, dishwashers or laundry.
Some people do not have that choice.
We woke up in a warm comfortable bed with clean sheets and warm blankets and soft pillows.
Some people do not have that choice.
We made our breakfast from food that was kept safe in a refrigerator that is cold with an oven that is warm.
Some people do not have that choice.
We walk on clean soft carpeting, as we look out a window that is open to the outside; yet it keeps us safe inside.
Some people do not have that choice.
At any point in time we can get into our car and drive down the road to a grocery store for fresh goods.
Some people do not have that choice.
Are you beginning to get the picture of how blessed we are? How fortunate we are? How thankful we should be?
Not to put a should upon you or me, but so often we complain and get frumpy for no real reason.
We have nothing to complain about when we think of others in different situations that is not our reality.
Inconveniences for us would be a major blessing to some of them.
Not to use the ‘them and us’ concept but you understand what I mean?
When I think of what we can be thankful for it is easy to make a list and be done with it.
May I challenge us all to think more clearly and with more intentions?

Heading into Thanksgiving season

Heading into the Thanksgiving season,
I realized the other day that the holiday is almost upon us.
Seems like the year has just raced past us.
We had such an interesting year with a major move, a death and losses on many levels.
I am still recovering from the change.
It was a good change.
We needed to move from a two story home to a single level; only it happened so fast I am still trying to navigate through boxes.
When you pray for a new direction be very aware HE might show you in a mighty way.
Our house sold quickly and we had a very short window of time to find a new one.
Our little home is cozy, and the yard isn’t much; but it’s just enough for us.
I thought I needed all the ‘other’ things we had, but in reality when we moved many of the them were not needed.
We rehomed at least 10 pieces of furniture, boxes of ‘goodwill’ items and an assortment of clothes for a church drop off.
I love to repurpose things, or give things away.
It is fun to bless others with something; Or as a last resort I will sell something.
As we are settling into this new place we call home.
I am feeling most thankful that all of our grand children live close to us.
Our grown children did not move far away so we can see them very easily within an hours drive.
We have a good relationship with both of them and they both call us often.
We can go to events at the schools or extra activities the kids are a part of and it is nice to be a face in the audience.
I feel thankful that our health is good.
I feel thankful that our finances are not in bad shape.
I feel thankful that we have a wonderful church home and a good small group of people we associate with.
Heading into Thanksgiving I challenge you to write down the things in your life you can be thankful for.

I am remembering at the six month mark

I am remembering at the six month mark, my sister has been gone now for half a year.
Still so hard for me to imagine not seeing her, hearing her voice, talking to her.
Even when she was gone in her earlier years sometimes years at a time, she always returned.
Always at Christmas. The holidays brought her home.
Not this time.
Loss happens to all of us on so many levels depending on who is the one we lost.
Sometimes a friend, sometimes a relative, sometimes even a much loved animal friend.
It is always hard to say that final goodbye.
Even Jesus had loss in his life.
When Lazarus died he cried. Two words, Jesus wept.
He wept even though he knew HE had the power to bring him back, he wept because of his love for him.
At times the grief comes close to me and I let it sit and then I wait for it to leave.
It is good to remember.
It is good to remind ourselves; that we were three, and now we are two.
I don’t want to ever forget who she was, oh sure at times she was a pain and her behavior was far from perfect.
But she was a sister. And I did stand up for her over and over many times when we were growing up.
As she got older she needed someone to speak for best interest. I did that too.
I couldn’t always protect her, and she didn’t always want me too.
It was ok to release some responsibility for someone else.
I was the youngest and I am remembering at the six month mark, how much she is missed.
I was reminded that it is only 5 months, December will be the 6 month mark.

That is where the power is

That is where the power is
I read a quote not long ago and there was no author to give credit to, so I want to share it here.
“When you can’t control what’s happening around you, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening.
That is where the power is.”
Oh I really like this.
When our children were little and when they were acting out over some incident that created a stir for them.
I would often say, “are you reacting or responding?” The decision would then direct my choice as to how to deal with them.
Same idea if I was disciplining them. If they are over reacting then it’s a bigger problem. If they chose to respond in a good way.
We both won.
The power is controlling our response.
Often we may be angry, or frustrated or worried or the many other things we can feel but how we show that is very important.
I have seen people come out of horrendous situations and remain calm and with the attitude, “I made it”.
I have also seen some who could come out of the same situation really angry and bitter.
One friend I remember who was coming through a terrible divorce remained very angry for many years.
How much time was wasted by allowing that bitter attitude to steal joy, peace and calm.
Some things will happen in our lives which we have no control over.
We may lose our job, our home, our health, our loved one.
The biggest choice we will have in those moments, is how we respond.
How will we make it through. How we will get to the other side.
If others are watching; what story are they reading when they see us push through the ‘issues’?
That is where the power is, the way we respond.

Whintley Phipps singing Amazing Grace

When I think of this song, Amazing Grace, I remain in complete AWE for the concept of Grace.
Unmerited favor, not deserving. Not even qualified to receive it, YET we do, because of God.
I don’t like the term, ‘that saved a wretch’ like me, but really without the love of God surrounding us, we are broken people.
The dictionary says, [a deplorably unfortunate or unhappy person. a person of despicable or base character.]
I really think we are made new and whole when we truly feel and experience Amazing Grace.
Deep down in the depth’s of our spirit.
His love surrounds us and reaches us in the deepest painful parts of ourselves.
‘I once was lost, but now I’m found, I was blind but now I see.’
It becomes more clear to us and we become more aware of the deep, deep love HE has for us.
I pray you take a few minutes and listen to this beautiful song.
It is powerful, healing and it ministers to me whenever I hear it, he sings with an ability like no other.
I pray you are able to sit back and really listen to him.
He is a gifted singer …. look him up if you want more of his music



I thank my God in all my remembrance of you

Philippians 1:3-11
[I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,
5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.
6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
7 For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.
8 For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,
10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.]
Have you ever met an encourager? Someone who constantly lifts others up and wishes the best for them no matter what is taking place in their own lives?
Paul was like this, he was writing to a group of people who he cared about and wanted the best for them.
Do you have someone in your life that speaks truth and hope to you?
I have a best friend who does that for me. She believes in my ‘journey’ and process.
I love the way Paul was confident of their growth, their purpose, and their ability to discern and love others.
He brings affirming words to them and leaves them with a sense of value.
We all need cheerleaders who stand or walk beside us cheering us on.
The world is hard enough, no one needs negativity from others.
I am thankful, and willing to lead and encourage those who are around me.
I will continue to challenge myself to push forward and cheer others on to a better place within themselves.
We all need a “you can do it, I know you can” person in our lives.
Even when our own circumstances are not peaceful or calm.
Let us stir one another and offer prayer for others.