November 23, 2013

Thankful Journal

It seems there is a challenge and blog hop  going on at Gina K and Stamp TV. Despite my gently nudging my friend Karen Lange to get her own blog and she good-naturally resisting, she decided I needed to advertise the  Gratitude journal she made as she was inspired by one I made  located somewhere down in this blog. Stamp TV's  theme is "Thankfulness."

Karen: "It is a piece of design paper glued on front and back of a composition book, then embellished with layers of cardstock, ribbon and copper sparkle stickle. Lastly I rubbed the edges with a distressed ink pad. Inside is stamped GRATEFUL also inside the covers which is a clear stamp by Studio G."



November 18, 2013

Count Your Blessings

 

Words by Johnson Oatman, Jr. (1856-1922)
 
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
 
Refrain
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.
Refrain
 
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.
 
Refrain
 
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
 
Refrain
 
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
 
Refrain
 

November 12, 2013

Be the Change and Pass It On

I've been transcribing names from old national women's magazines for publication in the Missouri Genealogical Association Journal recently and ran across this letter in one of them. It goes along with my theme here of thankfulness.

 
It's Worth Trying
I was deeply impressed by a conversation I overheard while waiting my turn in a dentist office. A patient had come to tell the doctor what a fine job she felt he had done for her in making her a dental plate. I watched the look of pleasure and surprise that spread over his face as he said, "You mean to tell me you came clear back here solely for the purpose of thanking me? This is very unusual! Some of my patients find time to come and see me when they have a complaint to make, but very few ever return to praise."
I couldn't help thinking how true this is of most of us humans. I wondered if perhaps this old world wouldn't be a far different place if we were to make a practice of handing out the words of praise and thanks just as freely as we passed around the faultfinding and grumbling ones.
Perhaps this has become such a life-long habit, that it's too well rooted to make a change all at once but I'm certain that, with a little effort, we could remedy it considerably.
~ Mrs. Elsie LOOKER, Beloit, Wis
Woman's Day, New York, August, 1947.

 

This article tells me that human nature, being what it is, hasn't changed much. In fact, in 2000 years it hasn't according to this story found in Luke 17:11-19. Don't you think it makes the Bible still revelant today?

 

Ten Healed of Leprosy

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"
When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him--and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."

 
A little less selfishness and a little more gratitude would make this world a better place to live. It starts with one person passing it on.

 
1. I'm thank God for friends who share my love of history, whose eyes don't glaze over when I talk about my latest exciting find! I explain genealogy to my friends like this -- it's a little like a scavenger hunt and and little like a jigsaw puzzle. If you like these games, it's a cinch you might like family research! J
2. I thank God for our new-to-us cousins found on ancestry.com!
3. I'm grateful that my latest medical screening test came out negative and I don't have to go back for 10 years! Woo hoo! Thank you, Lord, for your loving-kindness!
4. I'm thankful my mother-in-law's knee replacement surgery went well!
5. I'm thankful my old electric dryer lasted as long as it did. It gave good service for almost 20 years!

November 03, 2013

A Herald of Seasons


"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree:
                                  As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out,
                                                 you know that summer is near."
                                                   ~ Matthew 24:32; Luke 21:29,30

There is a maple tree up the street from me that is the most glorious shade of red in the fall. It is absolutely gorgeous. I had taken the fall colors for granted (shame on me!) and had never really explored them until a artsy girlfriend moved to Alaska and asked me to take photos of the leaves for her. She said Alaska had two color seasons, unlike the area in which we lived and she missed the resplendent colors of autumn.

Here was a God-gift -- a wonderful palette of colors to explore and one in which I was remiss to thank him for. I began by cruising up and down the street, treasure-hunting, inspecting the ground like a nut and gathering up the most interesting leaves I could find, bringing them home and scanning them. I collected a whole series of them to send to my friend, even getting creative with their arrangement. It was the most fun!

I've often thought of trees since then and wondered why God created them. He must have had fun doing it since there are so many different kinds, including the family tree! There are people who say "Save the Whales," but I say "Save the Trees." I never thought of myself as a tree-hugger until I read what trees do -- like taking in the carbon dioxide we exhale and giving off the oxygen we inhale. As a person with asthma, I can appreciate any fresh air I can breathe. Not to mention the other things that trees provide which we would miss if they suddenly disappeared -- bark (for baskets, clothing, cork, river transportation); climate control (provides cooling shade, holds the soil, windbreaks); fibers (chair strapping, rope); food (drink, fruit, honey, maple syrup, spices, nuts, oil); fuel (oil, firewood); sap (jewelry, rubber for rubber stamps, incense); wood (carved d├ęcor, the cross; furniture, paper, sawdust, shelter, toothpicks, transportation); etc.. Trees are also a renewable resource, meaning if you plant them, they will grow.

Did you know there are at least thirty kinds of trees named in the Bible? When we were homeschooling our son, we made trees a unit study and one of the verses he had for handwriting practice was "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." (Psalms 1:1-3). We took our concordance down from our library shelves and he read about trees in the first Book of the Bible to the last -- "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:15-17) to "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city." (Revelation 22:14).
Our son made a tree project notebook in which he placed samples of tree leaves sandwiched between pieces of clear contact paper with sticker label identification. At the time, we had eleven trees in our yard and various others at his grandparents' homes, so he had plenty to identify. We visited our local conservation station and saw samples of tree products from our state. Did you know Indians used the hardwood from the Osage Orange tree to make their bows and arrows?
In closing, I want to end with one of our former pastor's favorite verses. It is found in Isaiah, chapter 55, verse 12 = "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."
1. I think it's wonderful that God worked out all the things people needed during his days of creation and crafted them for us. Praise God for his goodness to us!
2. I thank Him for watching over family members recently -- traveling ones, ones who've had surgery, and our son, who got a finger mashed at work between metal press rollers. At least he didn't lose the end of it, just some skin.
3. I thank God for the freedom that I have to pray for our children (sons, daughters, nephews, nieces, students; young adults) as they learn from the Board of Education in the School of Hard Knocks. It's tough to stand by as a parent (or teacher/Titus elder) and watch them wise up that way, but sometimes it's the only recourse we have when they stubbornly refuse to listen to us.
4. I thank God for our District Superintendent and for his preaching visit to our church. May God continue to bless him with strength as he governs our district with wisdom and grace. May God give him daily joys and the support of prayer warriors, to guard against and alleviate the troubles that orbits spiritual leadership.
5. I'm so thankful that my mammogram test results came back negative. Woo Hoo!

Postscript: I found a wonderful quote that fits right in with this post, so I'm adding it in:

"There is a very close relationship between appreciating beauty and worshipping. In fact, it is difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. As long as appreciation of beauty is not substituted for worship, we need not worry, for beauty will enhance and add to the worship. The two experiences need not be separated.

Surely those who have seen the woods afire with autumnal glory understand this. They know a scene like that lifts the soul to worship the Maker of such a world. In the field of arts they know that the great and mighty music of Bach stirs them in a manner closely akin to worship. They are also moved by noble works created with brush and chisel, which are the expression of the artist's inner feelings about a scene or an idea. These works of art--great painting, sculpture, carvings--make us feel as worshipful as music or natural beauty does. "
~ Jean Louise Smith, Great Art and Children's Worship