September 29, 2013

Windowsill Angel

This little windowsill angel sits on a shelf over my kitchen sink along with some of my collection of Mary Engelbreit mugs and teacups. A friend crafted it for me after I admired hers. It's approximately 6 1/2" tall by 2 1/2" wide by 3/4" deep and made of painted wood. The handwritten poem on front says:
"Here sits your Windowsill angel
A gentle reminder to pray;
Have you stopped to give thanks
For God's love today?


My Thanks:
1. One of my favorite verses = "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1 John 3:1). Thank you God for your LOVE!
2. I'm thankful for all those courageous moms out there who hold their children accountable.
3. I'm thankful that our son continues to have a job! And I am thankful for the creative way his supervisors found to keep him employed in the slow season!
4. I'm thankful for the extra tomatoes that a friend shared with us from her garden. They were delicious!
5. Creative ideas -- I spied hand-lettered chalk art Thank You Cards in a flea market magazine last weekend.

September 17, 2013

The Glad Game

I was introduced to Pollyanna, played by Hayley Mills, and the Glad Game when mom took us to a nearby drive-in to watch the Disney movie. Later I read the book by Eleanor H. Porter. Too bad I didn't see the analogy of this glad game to thanksgiving at the time.
Pollyanna was the child of missionaries and when her parents died, she was sent to live with her namesake, Aunt Polly, a cold, proper woman who lived by the rule -- children should be seen, not heard. When I first saw the movie, I thought the cheerless bedroom way up in the attic that her Aunt prepared for her was a touch romantic, almost like her own private treehouse and at one point, Pollyanna did crawl out of her window and shimmy down a tree to go to the village fair her Aunt forbid her from attending.
Pollyanna made friends wherever she went, both children and adults alike, and touched their hearts through playing what she called the Glad Game, a game her father taught her. Like any girl-child, she craved the companionship of a playmate, but not having that, she would settle for a doll. Her parents were so poor they couldn't afford to give her one, so her kind father wrote to the missionary board and asked them to send a second-hand doll in the next barrel. Well, instead of a doll, the barrel contained crutches. She was very disappointed, but her father said, "Don't let's be gloomy, let's try and find something to be glad about instead." So, her father invented the Glad Game.
I've have collected some quotes from the movie that I really enjoy about the Glad Game, a version of an attitude of gratitude -- you play too!
POLLYANNA = "Just a game I play. A game my father taught me. Helps sometimes when things aren't going so well. That's when you can play the glad game. If you knew how to play the glad game, then you could find something to be glad about too."
POLLYANNA = "My father used to say that a person should think about living, not dying all the time. It just reminded me of my father and the doll. You see, I always wanted a doll, but we never had enough money for things like that; my father was a minister. He couldn't (afford it) and we had to have the money for food. So, anyway, my father wrote to the missionary people and asked them to please send a little secondhand doll. But there was a funny mistake when the missionary barrels came, instead of a doll, they sent a pair of crutches. Well, I was rather disappointed, so my father made up the glad game. About the crutches, my father said, "Don't let's be gloomy, let's try and find something to be glad about instead." So we made the glad game. Well, we played the game and after awhile I forgot about the doll and being gloomy and you know what, I found a reason to being glad. We were glad we didn't have to use them (the crutches). You ought to forget about dying and be glad you are living!"
POLLYANNA = "Do you like being a minister? Oh, the way you looked just then reminded me of my father. He sometimes looked sad like that and so one day I asked him. He said he was glad he was (a minister), but it made him sad sometimes when he just couldn't seem to get through to his congregation. Well, he read something one day that he said helped him. 'When you look for the bad in mankind expecting you'll find it, you surely will. (Abraham Lincoln).
Anyway, he said it started him thinking and from then on he was going to look for the good in people. That's when he started searching the Bible for the texts. You know, my father called them the glad passages. You know, the happy ones, like 'Shout for joy,' or 'Be glad in the Lord,' you know, like that. There are 800 happy texts, did you know that? My father said if God took the trouble to tell us 800 times to be happy and rejoice, then he must have wanted us to do it."
My Happy Thanks! =
1. I told a girlfriend last Wednesday that I didn't think I could thank God for the two mud-dauber stings I received on my right index finger knuckle. I'm allergic to bee stings and swell up most dreadfully and itchy-red and I have a common cross-reaction with most other stinging insects as well. She said I can thank God not for the unpleasant circumstance, but that I knew first aid for stings. I applied a paste of baking soda and water to soothe the area, inserted my finger between a folded over cold gel bag to help with the immediate swelling and pain, swallowed an antihistimine tablet to help with the allergy symptoms, and called someone to check on me later. Next morning, there was little swelling and I could stiffly bend my finger with only slight discomfort. That's an important finger, you know, when you are right-handed! *smile*
2. I am so grateful for air-conditioning! My bod does not handle heat and humidity well. And I welcome cooler weather!
3. I had a great time at Kathy's shoebox party! Thanks for the invitation, gal!

September 09, 2013

Two Types

I've observed that there are generally two types of people. One is either a verbal or a scribbler. When the world was created, the verbals had a head-start in communication, however, along came a person whose head was wired in a different way than his utter brothers and sisters. He had a bright idea to dig out some clay from a local riverbed, shape it into a clay tablet, and then scribble a pattern into it with a stick.

I believe Moses was a scribbler at heart. You know, a reserved, thinker type of guy who learned Egyptian hieroglyphics as a child, but as a man of action rather than diplomacy, he was lately used to the open spaces where his sheep grazed. I only understand too well the dilemma he found himself in when God asked him to go talk to Pharaoh about letting the Israelites go. He explains it to the Lord, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." (Exodus 4:10). Although God was angry at Moses for trying to weasel out of the job, He didn't let Moses off the hook and suggested his brother, Aaron, obviously a verbal, as his mouthpiece. Moses obeyed and because of his obedience, the Egyptians and the Israelites were shown the mighty, miraculous power of God. Then God said to Moses, "Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered. . ." (Exodus 17:14) and Moses, the humble scribbler, happy to use his own particular talent, wrote the first five books of the Bible which we still read today.

Through the ages how has technology developed for verbals? They have the telephone, radio, films, stereos, audio tapes, television, CD's, MP3 Players and now Skype on the internet. And yet, technology has also developed neck to neck for the scribblers -- it went from those simple clay tablets, to papyrus and parchment scrolls, Chinese paper, painting and printing, books, letters, telegraph, braille, sign language, cards, e-mail on the internet and texting.

God created each one of us and has generously given each one of us different gifts and kinds of service for the common good of Christian society. Thanks be to God! "The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable." (1 Corinthians 12:21-22). So verbals, you need us scribblers! We're the recorders and the historians, the writers, artists, and composers. Let's use the gifts we were given to encourage and strengthen each other and to praise God for his blessing of communication! "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).

Thanksgiving List =
1. I have struggled with aptly expressing myself with angry verbals, because I go blank when anxious. Then I feel intimidated when they demand I orally communicate with or apologize to them in the manner they are most comfortably skilled in. And, too, they usually prefer to not receive handwritten notes. I realize when we're angry, oftentimes we don't act in love. But because of the fear of saying the wrong thing, making the situation worse, I would rather back off, giving both of us time-out and a carefully written note, however I'm not often given the choice. I, needless to say, have not been very thankful for the gifting I received at conception. Today, though, I'm gonna thank my Daddy Lord for his generous lap and welcoming arms. He's my refuge and comfort when I've had a hard day amongst the utter ones.
2. I'm grateful for verbals who make me stretch and grow like my pastor who is faithful to preach from God's word every week! 
3. While our son worked nights, it was nice that I only had to fix dinner for my husband and I. And if we had errands to run, we could eat out. However, our son went back to days and the first night I fixed dinner for all three of us, he quietly thanked me. I was going to reach out and take his temperature to see if he was sick, but I didn't! *smile* Instead I basked in the glow of appreciation!
4. Praise the Lord for a repaired relationship -- it was good to see Caitie in church with her foster mother Carleta!
5. If you can read this, thank a teacher!

Addendum 9-18-2017 = "Dear Amy" has had several reader responses to a recent letter in her column from a woman who wanted to argue well. This woman wondered if it made sense to send her husband a letter outlining her grievances rather than to verbalize them. Several readers said letters were the best way to argue and that the act of writing out their thoughts has helped solve arguments before they even got started in many instances. And as my niece recently told me, hurtful verbalized words can be forgiven, but not easily forgotten. 

September 03, 2013

Disabled Hearts

Nothing makes me madder than to see people taking advantage of the handicap parking spaces in front of stores for their personal convenience or forgetting to teach their little ones not to use the handicap stalls in the ladies when there are other available stalls for the taking. Or pushing around the elderly and infirm or mocking (making fun of) the hearing impaired or blind. Nothing shouts disrespect and contempt louder than that to me.
The last few days, the media has been focusing on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech. My hubbin and I watched a historic documentary the other night on the television about the race riots interspered with parts of Martin Luther King, Jr's speeches. I can remember my mother driving way out of her way to and from church, just so we could avoid the more volatile parts of town during those uneasy days. Prejudice comes in all forms.
Since I began writing down my gratitudes, I've noticed a gradual shift in my thinking. It's like that verse that says: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2).
In preparation for opening this blog, I read up on the definitions of gratitude and thankfulness. Take note of  the antonyms of the words =
Thank = acknowledge (verb); Syn. be grateful, give thanks, express gratitude, show appreciation, appreciate, recognize, praise, credit
Grateful = thankful (adj.); pleasing (adj.) Syn: appreciative, beholden, indebted, obliged. Antonyms: unmindful, abusive, rude, disagreeable
Gratitude = gratefulness (noun). Syn: appreciation, thankfulness, recognition, acknowledgement, valuation

The pattern of the world are those antonyms = unmindful, abusive, rude, disagreeable, symptoms of a disabled heart -- hate of others. As I was looking up the verse above in Romans, my eyes also caught sight of several other verses in Romans, like: "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts became darkened." (Romans 1:21). "Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Romans 13:9c,10) and "We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up." (Romans 15:1,2).
I could say that, even though I became a believer at the age of ten, I wasn't very grateful growing up. I was still operating in the world's pattern of thinking. It's hard not to when it's all around you and insidiously infuses your mind. It taken me years of perseverance, courage, tears, lots of prayer, forgiveness, refusal to give into bitterness, yielding to Christ on a daily, sometimes moment by moment basis, reading God's word to get to know his voice of love and a loving friend who instructed me to write down the things I should be grateful for. Christ, through my friend, is helping me to shed the clothing of darkness and to attire my heart with his shiny goodness = " since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. . . Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace, and be thankful." (Colossians 3:9-10, 12-15).

This is not to say I'm a perfect Christian by any means. It's a process of becoming clothed with loveliness. Ungratefulness and selfishness still rears its ugly head at times in my behavior, but when I become aware of it, I ask my Daddy Lord and others, if included in my faux pas, for forgiveness. I would hope no one would point fingers at me and say I'm a hypocrite, but it's possible. They don't understand that perfection doesn't come until I cross over into heaven where the all the uglies are barred. However that doesn't give me an excuse to keep doing wrong. "You, my brothers (and sisters), were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather serve one another in love. . . For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want." (Galations 5:13, 17); "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy." (Titus 3:4,5). "What a wretched (wo)man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:24,25).

1. Thank God for his love, mercy and grace! Thanks, Daddy Lord, for your generous lap, taking my hand and cheering me on!
2. I'm grateful for my library. They provide a genealogy library, databases, and much reading materials for FREE! (That is, if I return the books and videos on time -- I tell them my overdue fees are keeping them in business! *smile*)
3. I'm extremely thankful for my new rolling walker with a seat!
4. I'm thankful for my crafty friends who share ideas and craft DVD's with me!
5. I'm thankful for the relaxing Labor Day weekend we had!