December 16, 2014

A Delightful Gratitude Journal

"This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"
[~2 Corinthians 9: 12-15]
Julie, an artsy girlfriend wanted me to join her this year in an art journaling project so I signed up. It is called "Documented Faith 2015" by a doodling paper artist I have never heard of before.  Have you? Her name is Stephanie Ackerman.  I received my first lesson and I will be sharing  more with you later. ( Click here if you want to sign up too!)

Since I have never attempted to art journal before (I'm a crafty rubber stamp cardmaker & crocheter), I visited Youtube to see what others have done and I ran across a delightful gratitude art journal that just made me drool and I had to share with you. It is by Valerie Sjodin! *smile*  Here's my first peek -- ahhh!

Used by permission. Text and image copyright 2014 Valerie Sjodin©

Then I just had to go visit her blog to see her post about this wonderful journal. Click here. After that, since I still had an insatiable desire to see more, my fingers ran to  type in her website on my computer toolbar. Golly wow!  You've got to see her videos, her journal pages and the slideshow of her amazing art! Oh, my!

After all the wonderful art views, I had a brainstorm and decided I must email her and ask for permission to feature her gratitude journal on my online gratitude journal blog! You know, to bookmark it, to have it handy when I need inspiration. Funny thing is,  she created her journal in response to a blog challenge at Bernice Hopper's online art journaling group at . The journal itself was inspired by Teesha Moore's Amazing 16-page Journal YouTube Videos .

Isn't amazing how we can inspire one another toward gratitude? Thank you, Julie, for asking me to join you for Stephanie Ackerman's "Documenting Faith 2015" and thank you, Valerie, for giving me permission to showcase your lovely gratitude art journal, and most of all, thank you, God,  for your saving love and grace in my life!

December 05, 2014

Fish Money

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be THANKFUL. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with GRATITUDE in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving THANKS to the Father through him. . . . Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
~ Colossians 3: 15-17, 23
I used to have a nickname. An older generation  gentleman of our family's acquaintance delighted in calling me "Double Trouble" as he greeted me. Only he was allowed to call me that, for I knew he was not being mean-spirited and he teased me in good fun.  *smile*
It seems like I've been earning that tag lately. Several weeks ago I wrote a blog post about Faith Promise.  When talking to a church friend about it, she got so excited about the concept, she wanted to lay it before the church board and pastor to see if it was something our congregation could do too! Instead of grasping the general idea I tried to convey to her, the term got definition-tangled between me and how our current denomination has defined it, and  our pastor felt he had to address it. You know, when the pastor breaks out THE HEAVY BOOK called the church manual, there's gonna be  a heap of HEAVY EYEBROWS  staring down at you and sighing going on!  
Our current denomination's definition is one-sided, meaning that a person gives a love offering to God above and beyond the tithe from their earnings and God isn't  obligated to provide any financial funds. But, since I mean to continue giving this offering to the church in the spirit of the previous definition, in love, I decided to give up the term I liked so well from childhood and find another one.  
Our pastor preached out of 2 Chronicles 30 recently. His message was about a Jewish holiday called the Passover. King Hezekiah wanted to celebrate Passover in a big way and invited all of Israel and Judah to assemble in Jerusalem for a giant PARTY which had never been done before, according to what had been written. However, only a remnant of the people came to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem and of those, some came who hadn't washed up beforehand. Despite that Hezekiah prayed for them, saying: "May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God--the Lord, the God of his fathers--even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary." And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. [2 Chron. 30:18-20]
Pastor said the word "healed" also meant they were redeemed by God or saved from their sins. I realized my concept of  unexpected or found money and redemption could go hand in hand -- "Once I was lost and now am found," hence a redemptive type of love offering.  There is a lost coin story (parable)  told in the New Testament -- Luke 15:8-10:
"Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, "Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
Nevertheless,  we know that the woman already had the money, because the book of Luke says she HAD ten silver coins and lost one. Perhaps the money was given to her by her husband out of his earnings or the coin fell out of a large crack in the bank jar she was saving it in from her earnings. How ever she had the money, this concept of "found money" leaves out the idea of a contract between two persons -- one vowing to  give with the understanding that God would provide.
A vow, according to the dictionary, is a solemn promise to God to perform some act or make some gift or sacrifice. In addition, it can be a pledge of faithfulness to or contract between two persons. For instance, Hannah made a vow out of the anguish of her heart, so vows or pledges were not uncommon in the Scriptures.  
"Oh, Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life," [1 Samuel 1:11]
So I promise to give if God provides, simple as that.  In the book of Matthew, in the New 
Testament,  there is a story of God's provision.
"After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"
"Yes, he does," he replied.
When people came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. "What do you think, Simon?" he asked. "From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes-- from their own sons or from others?"
"From others," Peter answered.
"Then the sons are exempt," Jesus said to him, "But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch;  open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours." [~ Matthew 17: 24-27]
What did you notice about this story?
First of all, I saw that Jesus said the sons of the King were under no obligation to pay the temple tax (used for the maintenance of the temple), however, in order not to rock the boat, so to speak, and make the tax collectors angry ( they were the heavy-weight bouncer guys at the front door), Jesus said to Peter, "Go to the lake, and throw out your line."  
Peter,  B.C. (before Christ), earned his living by fishing. However, Jesus didn't tell Peter to earn the money to pay the tax.  He did not tell Peter to throw out his line, catch a fish and sell it, did he? Nope. He said, "Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find, you guessed it,  money."  Secondly,  I saw that Peter believed the money would be provided. As it turned out, it was enough to pay the temple tax for both himself and Jesus.
So, like Hannah, I still have a contract between God and myself. I pledged to give if he provides this year. Since he holds all the wealth of heaven, compared to my earnings, which is zilch since I'm a housewife with no extra income of my own, any money found by myself or coming unexpectedly to me has been provided by God.

And speaking of that, I found two more pennies and a dime in the laundry and a dividend check came in the mail this week. I was surprised when I saw the check for $1.37, as I had previously been told I had received my last check for that account, being paid in full. I'm giving God all the glory for his FISH money! Combined with my previous total and today's FISH money, today's total is $4.14.

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By the way, we've put on our thinking caps for FISH acronyms. We've come up with "Found Incredible Silver Hope," "Faithful In Surprising Me," "Forgiven, I Serve Him," and "Faithful in Serving Him," "Fund In, Supporting Hope,"  and "Friendly Involvement Starts Here."  Which do you like the best?  Or, please share,  if you think of one better than these.

December 04, 2014

Thank You


November 26, 2014

The Thanksgiving Tree

Bob Evans' $1.00 leaf for the Thanksgiving Tree.
All monies raised goes to feed the hungry through the Salvation Army.
By Mamie Ozburn Odum (d. 1975)
Newton County, Georgia's officially appointed poet laureate

Give thanks for every sunset,
For flowers on the hill,
For silver moonlight overhead,
For songs of whippoorwills.

Give thanks for friends and neighbors,
For the laughter of a child,
For family life and hearthstones,
For weather, brisk or mild.

Give thanks for all gifts given,
For home and family ties,
For mother's love and father's care,
For leaders strong and wise.

Give heartfelt thanks--be grateful
For all that you possess,
And when, each year, you gather
Give thanks you've been so blessed.

~~ <> @ <> ~~
Something to Be Thankful For
Bob Evans' Thanksgiving Tree, Belton, MO.
By Clara J. Denton

I'm glad that I am not today
A chicken or a goose,
Or any other sort of bird
That is of any use.

I rather be a little girl,
Although 'tis very true,
The things I do not like at all,
I'm often made to do.

I rather eat some turkey than
To be one, thick and fat,
And so, with all my heart, today,
I'll thankful be for that. 

November 10, 2014

Two More Thanksgiving Acrostics

By Mamie Ozburn Odum (? - 1975)
Newton County, Georgia's officially appointed poet laureate

Thank You, Lord, for deep green hills,

Homes with laughter, love and song,

And bread that comes by sweat of brow,
New strength to work the whole day long.
Knowing Thee, we praise in prayer,
Safe and warm from winter's cold;
Give us peace of mind and soul,
Instill new love as we grow old.
Vanquish our selfish hearts and plans,
Inspire us to be forgiving
Now, and may we be content

Giving thanks for each Thanksgiving.

~~ <> @ <> ~~
All in a Word
By Aileen Fisher
T for time to be together,
Turkey, talk, and tangy weather.
H for harvest stored away,
Home, and hearth, and holiday.

A for autumn's frosty art,
And abundance in the heart.

N for neighbors, and November,
Nice-things, new-things to remember.

K for kitchen, kettles croon --
With kith and kin expected soon.

S for sizzles, sights, and sounds,
And something-special that abounds.

That spells THANKS. . . for joy of living
And a jolly good Thanksgiving.

November 07, 2014

Two Thanksgiving Acrostics

I've been noticing that people have been typing in "thanksgiving poems" into my search engine, so I am going to give you two today. Hope you can use them and that they will be a blessing to you.
~~ <> @ <> ~~
Thanksgiving ABC's
Author Unknown.

Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame.
Even when times are hard
Fierce winds are bound to blow
God is forever able
Hold on to what you know.
Imagine life without His love
Joy would cease to be
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee.
Move out of "Camp Complaining."
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone
Quit looking at the future
Redeem the time at hand
Start every day with worship
To "thank" is a command.
Until we see Him coming
Victorious in the sky.
We'll run the race with gratitude
EXalting God most high.
Yes, there'll be good times and yes, some will be bad, but. . .
Zion waits in glory. . . where none are ever sad!
~~ <> @ <>~~
My Thanksgiving List: "Intangibles"
By Linda Sebatke
Thankfulness: God convinced me several years ago that He could begin turning a marriage around if one person was thankful instead of critical. I'm so thankful He showed me the power of thankfulness.
Hungering after Christ and His goodness that He placed in me until I had to get into His Word.
Accountability: He's given me Christian friends who will know me and hold me accountable for doing what He challenges me to do.
Needs: My needs are being met by God or being used by Him to change me.
Knowledge of Him that He allows me to have, and knowledge of His working in others' hearts.
Sheep that stray and are drawn back to the Good Shepherd. Thank you, Lord.
Guilt: My guilt has been taken away by Jesus' blood. I appreciate the joy and freedom of forgiveness because I no longer experience the bondage of guilt.
Infirmities that are used to teach me about His upholding power, allowing me to experience His strength through my weakness.
Victories that I realized I was incapable of!
Interceding that is done on my behalf by friends and by the very Spirit of God.
Nothing can separate me from the love of God -- "Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation." (Romans 8:38-39)
Good work that God has begun in me and has promised to perfect.

October 30, 2014

Pre-Automatic Instructions

This is a copy of a letter from an unknown pioneer woman to her daughter telling how to wash clothes:

1. Build a fire in the backyard to heat a kettle of rain water.
2. Set tubs so smoke won't blow in eyes if wind is pert.
3. Shave 1 hole cake of lie sope in biling water.
4. Sart things, make 3 piles, 1 pile white, 1 pile cullard, 1 pile britches and rags.
5. Stir flour in cold water to smooth, then thin down with biling water.
6. Rub dirty spots on bord, then bile. Rub cullard but don't bile. Just rench and starch.
7. Spread tee towels on grass.
9. Hang old rags on fence.
10. Pour rench water in flower bed.
11. Scrub porch with sopy water.
12. Scrub privie seat and floor, with sopy water caught from porch scrub.
13. Turn tubs upside down.
14. Go put on a clean dress. Smooth hair with side combs. Brew up tea, set and rest a spell and count blessins.

October 22, 2014

The Trouble with Tribbles

If you are a classic Star Trek fan, you will know the story of the cute, furry little creatures known as Tribbles. To protect a space station with a vital grain shipment, Captain Kirk must deal with Federation bureaucrats, a Klingon battle cruiser and a peddler  who attempts to sell the purring, hungry little balls of fur that are born pregnant and replicate almost as soon as they are fed.  Eventually, the tribbles finds their way into the space station's granary compartments,  consume all of the grain, and gorged,  dead or dying,  rain down on top of Captain Kirk's head when he opens one of the bin doors. After Kirk gives the command to get the tribbles off his ship,  Scottie, the Enterprise's engineer, whisks all of their tribbles to the engine room of the Klingon ship before they warp off into space. 

Of course, that's a fictional story set in the future. But it relates to what we've  been experiencing at home as I have been wishing I could transport all my "troubles" off somewhere in our "battle of the bug."
I am embarrassed to admit we have pests.  The tribbles were useful in their way; not only did they lower the blood pressure of crew members,  they revealed a hidden plot of poisoned grain  and a Klingon spy, but as far as I'm concerned, bugs belong outside where they feed the frogs and other critters that run along the ground, not in my house.   So I have been doing a little online research to get more information about my "enemy" and to figure out a battle plan.  At this point, you know I'm not grateful for this particular problem, but as it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 "give thanks in all circumstances," it did spur me into figuring out what I could be thankful for instead. 
Kirk opened the door of the shipping container. . . Ah, ha!  The light flashed on as I began thinking about containers in general, something I think I have taken for granted.   Wikipedia defines a container as: a basic tool, consisting of any device creating a partially or fully enclosed space that can be used to contain, store, and transport objects or materials. In commerce, it includes "any receptacle or enclosure for holding a product used in packaging and shipping." Things kept inside of a container are protected by being inside of its structure. The term is most frequently applied to devices made from materials that are durable and at least partly rigid.
As I read about containers, be they gourds, baskets, pottery, wooden boxes, barrels, glass, tin, and plastic, I remembered a story about someone in the Bible who stored grain for seven years and then sold it to hungry people during a famine of seven years. That person was Joseph. You can find his story in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, chapters 37-50. "Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure." (Genesis 41:49).
One of the first things on my battle plan list was the storage of my food. How could I enhance it or change it so bugs could not gain access to it?  In the story about Joseph, several containers were mentioned: a cistern, a cup, a basket, storehouses, bags/sacks, carts, saddlebags, and a  coffin. Not all of those are applicable for food though, nor are they all airtight.
Happily, I found several solutions that fit my needs nicely, namely the use of plastic or glass containers with lids and zippy plastic bags. All food scraps and any remaining dog food left in the bowl are being placed in used plastic grocery bags and tied tightly closed before being thrown into the trash can. If I were still composting, I would have put them in a large throw-away cottage cheese container and hauled them out to the bin in the backyard, but since I'm not, into the bags they go. And the dishes are being washed every night before I go to bed. What I read online also suggested that I throw away any cardboard boxes or piles of paper where can bugs can hide, so as soon as I can work without feeling winded (I'm still fighting a viral bug as well), spring cleaning is next on the agenda. 
In addition, during my research, I have been amazed to learn that  God has provided ways to take care of these pesky problems naturally. Vinegar is an acid that breaks down wax (like on bug bodies) and is antiseptic.  Food grade diatomaceous earth acts like a bug dehydrator and crushed white daisies (Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium)  are a source of an insecticide called pyrethrum which paralyzes bugs so they can't forage for food and water.  I can also make my own bug motel -- they check in, but don't check out. Directions to make one as follows: Use clean plastic or glass jars with tight fitting lids, add fruit or beer as bait and smear Vaseline around the inside neck of the jar so they can't climb out. When the jar is full, cover and toss.  
In conclusion, I think I'm most thankful for these battle weapons of choice: accessible knowledge to bug control and airtight containers. =0)

Educational Link Update from Bob Villa:
1. Apartment Pest Control & Prevention
2. Pests Be Gone

October 11, 2014

A Sign

Just last week I was talking to a girlfriend about having a difficult time being thankful right now and she said "Don't you always have things to be grateful for?" and me, trying to back pedal, said, "Well, yeah, but I'm having difficulties coming up with something to write about this week on my gratitude blog." You see, I've been dealing with two infections recently, one bacterial that led me to the hospital ER 3 times in two weeks and now a viral bug. Being sick & grumpy short circuits the brain.
Well, when you get right down to it, I wasn't feeling very thankful. I should have been thankful for good health before I got ill, but you know how it goes, until something happens, one gets in the habit of taking things for granted. 
I got a good reminder a couple of days after that conversation. I was scrolling down my feed at Facebook and it stared me in the face. A sign! Literally. It must have been a God-thing, because Hometalk featured a sign made by crafter Gail Wilson made to order for her cousin Terry. She almost quoted my friend, Karen, word for word!  My fingers quickly did a hop, skip, and a jump across the keyboard to ask if I could have permission to feature her sign and Ms. Wilson agreed if I would backlink into the article on her blog, so here tis!

Ms. Wilson's article has step-by-step instructions plus many photos on her tutorial. And wouldn't you know it, her article sparked a couple of other ideas for upcoming gratitudes. Thank you, Jesus!
Oh, and before I forget, four weeks ago, I wrote an article on Faith Promise. I wanted to update you on my finds so far. God has provided two pennies from a parking lot and lots of change from the washing machine. It's up to the guys to clean their own pockets out, but still, I've been finding change in the bottom of the machine, all clean and shiny. All told, I've collected $2.40 since that article, so that makes it $2.65 including the previous quarter. Oh, and we also received a legit $20.00 gift card in the mail from a local restaurant, but I haven't quite convinced my husband that we should give $20.00 from his earnings in Sunday's offering for that free-fall from heaven! =0)

October 01, 2014

Velcro Friends

Sandals fastened with hook and loop tape
This is the blog where I'm supposed to be changing my attitude into something positive, right? It's been a slow process, but I've heard it called a journey, kinda like "Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan. Well, I decided to give myself a Pollyanna exercise this week. A few months ago, I mentioned that one of my online friends, Merry, has stuck fast to me like a burr. I didn't mean for it to sound like a bad thing, but I meant it as a good thing in that she has been a faithful friend and I appreciate that!
Perhaps it was my choice of word that niggled at me. My intent was good, but I didn't carry through and explain my metaphor, so in this little exercise, I decided to look for the positive in a cocklebur that so many think of as a weed. I once heard a saying that a weed is a plant planted in the wrong place.
I asked my husband for his help. First off he said he didn't believe cockleburs were in the Garden of Eden, but were only created after Adam's fall from grace. I asked him how he figured that and he said he bases his belief on these two verses: Genesis 3:17-18: To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it.' Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field."
He said perhaps this is where the negative connotations associated with these plants come from. However, he said, God can help us find the good in the bad things. We all experience tragedies in our lives, however, as Paul was inspired by God to write in Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
So I purposed to study the cocklebur plant and here's what I learned =
First Section:
POSITIVE = God created the cocklebur as an annual which is a good thing because that means it lives its whole life in one season.
NEGATIVE = However, the seed pods come with a built-in, long-lasting, back-up plan; its twin lies dormant underground until months or sometimes years later. In order to exterminate the plants, it is necessary to destroy the plant before the seeds ripen by cutting down, mowing or burning a field. This was Adam's natural consequence for NOT obeying God's directive -- he was given an annual reminder when he had to get rid of the pesky buggers.
POSITIVE = But a persistant plant could illustrate a faithful friend, don't you think?

Number Two:
POSITIVE = The cocklebur has both sexes of very fertile flowers on one plant. The male makes the pollen which pollinates the female flowers below, which in turn makes the seed pods for the next generation. Sounds like a perfect illustration of a family to me -- one male plus one female equals babies.
NEGATIVE = God gave the cocklebur natural defenses. It is toxic to livestock in its infant stage, both the seeds and the seedlings, and the green and purple plant is covered in short stiff hairs and the leaves have a distinctive scent. It wears signs that says "DON'T TOUCH ME!"
POSITIVE = The cocklebur has been used for medicinal purposes. In Chinese medicine, for instance, it has been used to treat nasal & sinus congestion.

Number Three:
POSITIVE = He created them to grow in all sizes; from 8 inches to 6 feet tall. Sounds like people again -- we come in all shapes and sizes too!
NEGATIVE = God fabricated the football-shaped, spiny seed pods as globetrotters so they can hitch a free ride on clothing or in animal fur should it be brushed against.
POSITIVE = Several inventions have been based on the cocklebur. Velcro (hook and loop fasteners) was invented in 1941 by a Swiss electrical engineer named George de Mestral who returned from a hunting trip and noticed burs stuck to his pants and tangled in his dog's fur. The cotton gin and the crochet hook were also modeled after the spiny burs.

Number Four:
POSITIVE = God created cockleburs with a single taproot, like its cousin the dandelion, so the whole plant can be pulled from moist ground in one or two yanks.
NEGATIVE = It can cause allergic symptoms in susceptible people either from inhaling the flower pollen, like its cousin the ragweed plant, or contact dermatitis.
POSITIVE = In the crafting industry, cockleburs have been used to produce a yellow dye and in producing products such as baskets like the one my sister made the first Christmas after she married. She combed the roadsides and fields near her tiny apartment for burs to make our mother one for Christmas.

In closing, I provided two positives for every negative about the cocklebur and not only that, I showed that a bur could be used as a metaphor for a loyal friend. I am thankful for stick-to-me friends who are brave enough to continue being my friend and are willing to overlook my sometimes foot-in-mouth disease which I have struggled with all my life. Thank you Jesus, too, for loving me and being a faithful, forgiving friend despite my sinful nature inherited from the first parents, Adam and Eve.

September 09, 2014


If you haven't noticed I've been struggling with things to be thankful for. LOL! Thank you, faithful followers, for encouraging me along the way, especially when I feel like giving up and deleting this blog.
I have been mulling ideas around for the last few days and nothing seemed right for today until I thought of Shorty and how much I miss him.
I met him at church and as I got to know him, I began to love him dearly as a brother in Christ. He was such a character. You would never know that he had been an alcoholic that God gloriously saved. When he got blest in church, he busted loose with "Amen, Hallelujah!"

As he got older, he struggled with letting go of being active in Christian service. His spirit was willing, but his earthly body was weak as he developed cataracts, heart problems, hip replacements,  diabetes, and skin cancer. The one thing he felt he could still do, when waking in the wee hours of the morning and not being able to go back to sleep quickly, was pray. He kept a prayer photo album of all the people he met and felt led to pray for close at hand. You see, when he was a small child (this was during the American depression), he was pulled from school at the age of nine, to help his dad put food on the table. So he never really learned to read and write well, but with a photo album he didn't need to write anything but names of each person in there. Shorty knew that God knew who those persons were. And yes, my family and I were in that book.
So Shorty, who is full of joy at God's supper table, we'll meet by and by and I will be able to tell you then how grateful I am for your shining light. And thank you God, for bringing him into my life. He was such a dear man to me.
"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:2-6, NIV.)

August 30, 2014

Winter is NOT Forever

Once when my husband was unemployed (mind you, he was/is a faithful employee and worked hard for years for several companies until they saw fit to lay him off), we were living in my mother's basement because of circumstances beyond our control, I was having a hard time adjusting and cried out to the Lord. We had been ripped from our cozy home and I could not envision the time when we might get beyond our present situation to a new one. God provided a little devotional book based on the scriptural book of Job. During the course of the study that summer, I learned that seasons come and seasons go and Winter is NOT forever!

Recently, due to an painful illness that required of me patient waiting in an emergency room for several hours twice, I thought again of Job.
"So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes." (Job 2:7-8).
Job's wife and his friends could see he was greatly suffering, but they offered no hope and no comfort. Like me, they couldn't see the forest for the trees. Instead they said blamed God and eventually Job for his troubles. It's easy to get caught up in the blame game,  still,  Job repented of his foolish small thoughts and acknowledged that God is wiser and more powerful than he was.
 It occurred to me while I was impatiently waiting for the doctor to see me, that there were others in the hospital not so fortunate as I was. I would eventually get to go home that evening, but they were stuck there. I knew about that since I was there last summer in the same place!  My mind reverted to gratitude after that. I was also thankful I had only been afflicted with one thing, instead a series of heartbreaks like Job.
Along that line, I found several other things I could be grateful for while I was waiting  (Pollyanna's little glad game). You know, my mind is being renewed from the world's pattern of griping to the heavenly pattern of gratitude!  For instance, I was thankful for the little book I brought along to help pass the time. And I finished it! I was thankful that the nurse placed an IV in my left arm on the first try and that I could get something for the pain. I'm thankful that I live in the age of medical diagnosing equipment and antibiotics.
When it was necessary for the doctors to inflict more pain, I'm so thankful my compassionate hubbin came along side to kindly hold my hand instead of mocking me.
I'm also thankful for praying friends, for I don't know what I'd do without them and while I lay there on the examination table, it occurred to me that I could pray for the other patients as well as the nurses and doctors who were there to take care of me. Now I understand more fully the saying about someone: "having the patience of Job!" *smile*

August 23, 2014

Faith Promise


As I have mentioned before, I'm grateful for the beautiful, good, precious memories of childhood. One of the things I've been thinking of lately from my childhood days is a thing we called "Faith Promise" which is a simple covenant (contract; agreement) between God and myself -- he will provide and I will give.
Good stewardship indicates we give a tithe or 10 percent of our paycheck to the church to be used to provide a salary to the pastor and to keep the lights on in our church building and to provide Sunday School curriculum and many other things for the various ministries.
If I recall correctly, the concept of faith promise was that we trusted God to provide "found money" above and beyond our earnings and promise to give it for a designated special project at church. As a little girl without a regular paycheck to tithe from, this was something I eagerly anticipated being able to do. I walked around for years looking down at the ground hoping to find pennies to give. It wasn't until my teen years that my folks could afford an allowance for us or I could earn money by babysitting or mowing yards for neighbors. In fact, there was a special emphasis that this money could not be worked for, but had to come from unexpected sources. That's the faith part. I recall many testimonies about people finding extra cash in their pockets or purse that they didn't remember having or being given non-birthday gifts of money without a designated purpose or getting a check in the mail for overpayment on a bill or finding change in the bottom of the washing machine or dryer. It may have seemed silly to give so little at the time, but God can take a little and make a lot, such as in the story of 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed a crowd of five thousand.

"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and it's already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."
But he answered, "You give them something to eat."
They said to him, "That would take eight months of a man's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?"
"How many loaves do you have?" he asked, "Go and see."
When they found out, they said, "Five--and two fish."
Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand." ~ Mark 6:34-43.

So last weekend, I found a quarter in the parking lot at Walmart which to me was a bit unusual.Usually I see pennies (from heaven), so I thought it would be a good thing to designate it my Faith Promise. So I slipped the quarter into a giving envelope last Sunday and gave it in the offering labeled "Faith Promise. May God increase." I'm taking it on faith that God will provide miraculous sources of income for our congregation this year.

August 01, 2014

Ten Happy Things

Happiness Is . . .

1. Happiness is when there is harmony between family members, not discord.

2. Happiness is when friends ask for forgiveness after a quarrel.

3. Happiness is encouraging, kind, patient, and respectful people.

4. Happiness is a new baby in the family.

5. Happiness is making a new friend.

6. Happiness is finding a new "piece" to place into our family history "jigsaw puzzle."

7. Happiness is clever ideas I can put to use in our home.

8. Happiness is when all the appliances in our home work.

9. Happiness is healthy bodies.

10. Happiness is knowing the love of my Daddy Lord.