Monday, December 3, 2012

Merry Christmas Blog #1

Merry Christmas to you my friends! I absolutely love this time of year! I think I would love it more if we had a little snow, but hey, I'll enjoy the 70 degree temperatures over the next few days anyway. 

Today I wanted to share this snowman picture I made over at I love using their tools for photos. I will leave a link at the bottom of the post for you so you can check them out.
I also wanted to share a passage of Scripture about the announcement the angel, Gabriel, had for Mary.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:

Good morning!
You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you.

She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.

He will be great,
be called ‘Son of the Highest.’
The Lord God will give him
the throne of his father David;
He will rule Jacob’s house forever—
no end, ever, to his kingdom.”

Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never slept with a man.”

The angel answered,

"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest hover over you;
Therefore, the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God."

"And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God."

And Mary said,

"Yes, I see it all now; I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say."

Then the angel left her. ~Luke 1:26-38 (MSG) 

Until next time my friends, be blessed! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

30 Days of Thanks- Day 30: Focusing

 "Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. 
For love is the beauty of the soul."
~Saint Augustine

Well my friends, it's Day 30 of my 30 Days of Thanks, and today I am thankful for several things:

I am thankful to all of you, my bloggy friends, for taking the time over these last thirty days to read my posts. Even though I won't be posting every day, as I have over the last month, I will be posting on what I hope is a regular basis. I'm kinda playing around with some ideas for my blog for the month of December. We'll see how all that works out.

I am thankful that I got to spend the day with a very dear friend of mine, who I don't get to see nearly enough. We even got to watch my all time favorite movie, Pride and Prejudice. This was the first time she had seen it, so it was fun getting to watch it with her. 

I am thankful for the delicious soup that my daughter, Brittany, had ready for me when I got home tonight. Taylor and I were gone for about nine hours today, including driving time, so by the time I got home, I was wiped out. That soup was so yummy and it really hit the spot.

I am also thankful that this month has been a great way to reflect on all the things I am thankful for.  It's way too easy to fall into the trap of seeing all the things that are wrong in our lives. It takes a little more effort to focus on the things that are good in the midst of all the craziness.

Have a great weekend my friends. Don't forget to take the time to stop and smell the roses, and look at all the blessings in your life. Until next time, be blessed!

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." ~Robert Brault

"Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things." 
 ~Frank A. Clark

"There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things." ~ Dwight L. Moody

30 Days of Thanks- Day 29: God Doesn't Give Up On Me

 "Often times God demonstrates His faithfulness in adversity by providing for us what we need to survive. He does not change our painful circumstances. He sustains us through them." ~Charles Stanley

Good Thursday to you friends! I hope your week has been a good one. Well, it's Day 29 of my 30 Days of Thanks. Today I am thankful that God doesn't give up on me, even when I feel like giving up on Him.
These last three, almost four years, have been filled with some of the most difficult and painful things I have ever walked through. I have felt beat down to the point of wanting to just give up on everyone and everything, including God. I have cried out over and over for God's help, and have heard only silence in reply. There have been times when I have felt like I was going to break into too many pieces to put back together. My heart has felt like it could not take one more crushing blow, and yet more hurt came. My faith felt like it was being ripped apart. There were times where I seriously wondered if I would be able to withstand the trials and come out on the other side with my faith intact.

Thankfully, I'm here to say that I'm still standing. It may not be very tall, or very strong, but I'm still here. I am still taking one step at a time, one day at a time. Some days it feels more like I'm crawling instead of walking, but you know what, that's okay too. God is there cheering me on to continue the race. He is telling me that greater things are up ahead. He is urging me not to give up. He is our biggest cheerleader. He already knows the great things He has planned for us, if we just don't quit.

If you are like me and have been through a season of being pushed beyond what you think you can handle, I want you to know that God is there, even though it may not feel like it. He will see you through. He has not, nor will He ever, give up on you. He has a plan for everything we go through, even when we have no clue what in the world is happening. I still don't know what some of those plans are, but I am trying to trust that He will work them out for my good, somehow, someway.
Until next time my friends, be blessed, and remember, He never gives up on you.

"When circumstances seem impossible, when all signs of grace in you seem at their lowest ebb, when temptation is fiercest, when love and joy and hope seem well-nigh extinguished in your heart, then rest, without feeling and without emotion, in the Father's faithfulness." ~D. Tryon 

"From the tiny birds of the air and from the fragile lilies of the field, we learn the same truth...God takes care of His own.... At just the right moment, He steps in and proves Himself as our faithful heavenly Father. " ~Charles (Chuck) Swindoll

"God trains His soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers and climb mountains, and walk many a weary mile with heavy knapsacks on their backs. Well, Christian, may not this account for the troubles through which you are passing? Is not this the reason why He is contending with you?" ~Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Thursday, November 29, 2012

30 Days of Thanks- Day 28: Snowman Mugs

 "A snowflake is one of God's most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together!" ~Author Unknown

Hello again my friends! Well, the month of November is almost over and that means I'm almost to the end of my 30 Days of Thanks. Taking the time to post things I am thankful for this whole month has really helped remind me of how many things I have to be truly thankful for. There are lots of crazy, stressful, difficult things going on in my life, but there are also many blessings in my life that I am thankful for.

On Day 28 of my 30 Days of Thanks I am thankful for all the snowman mugs I have accumulated over the years. Some of those mugs have been given to me as gifts, and some are ones I saw in the store and thought were really cute, so I bought it. I am a big lover of all things snowman. Most of these mugs are put away in a cupboard in my laundry room until the Christmas season rolls around again. However, we do have a few we keep in the kitchen cupboard to use on a regular basis. Who says snowman stuff can only be put out at Christmas time? Not me.

I also have a few wine glasses that would never get used if I only used them to drink wine out of because I don't drink wine, or any sort of alcohol. (It messes my stomach up so it's a no-no for me.) I decided the other morning, when I was getting a glass out of the cupboard for some orange juice, that I was going to use one of those wine glasses for my juice instead of just letting them sit there, not being used. It was so fun using that wine glass. I felt all fancy using it. I will be using them a lot more often than I have in the past.

What's the purpose of saving those "special" things only for certain times? Why do we do that? Why do we keep special things up until certain occasions to pull them out and use them? Why not enjoy them now? Use the good china for supper tonight. Drink out of those special glasses just for the heck of it. Wear that beautiful dress you've been saving for a special occasion. Don't wait till tomorrow, or for a certain occasion, to enjoy the special things you have.

Just as we wait to use those special dishes and glasses until a special occasion comes along, we sometimes think if only "this" would happen then I would be truly happy. Why wait for certain things to happen before deciding to be truly happy and start living your life to the fullest? Why not make the most of the life we have now? Time passes way too quickly and once it's gone, well, we can't get it back. Live your life to the fullest instead of just getting through the day thinking that one day things will be exactly the way you want and then you will start enjoying it. We aren't promised tomorrow. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. Today is all we have.

Until next time my friends, be blessed! Take those special dishes out and use them for supper tonight!

"It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis." ~Margaret Bonnano

"We are always getting ready to live but never living."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Why be saddled with this thing called life expectancy? Of what relevance to an individual is such a statistic? Am I to concern myself with an allotment of days I never had and was never promised? Must I check off each day of my life as if I am subtracting from this imaginary hoard? No, on the contrary, I will add each day of my life to my treasure of days lived. And with each day, my treasure will grow, not diminish." ~Robert Brault

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

30 Days of Thanks- Day 27: Decorating the Tree

  "Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."  ~Calvin Coolidge

Hello again my bloggy friends! I have fallen behind, again, on my posts. Please pray for me. I need it in this area. Consistency has always been a big problem for me. I am consistent in some areas, but in others, well, I stink.

For Day 27 of my 30 Days of Thanks, I am thankful for the time spent with my daughters decorating our Christmas tree each year. We have been doing that together since they were very little. It's a tradition that has been passed on from when I was a child and used to do the same thing with my mom.

I remember how me, my mom, and sometimes my little brother, would go to a local Christmas Tree Farm called O'neal's every year to pick out our tree. He had the best trees there. After we walked around looking for just the perfect one for us, we would get Mr. O'neal to cut it down and load it in the trunk. We would take our perfect little tree home and get it all set up in the stand, and then came the best part, decorating it. We would turn on the Christmas music, which always consisted of my mom's Christmas records. You don't hear that word much anymore; records. I can still hear those same songs today and all those wonderful memories come flooding back.

Here are some of the songs we used to listen to while decorating the tree: Elvis Presley- Blue Christmas, Here Comes Santa Clause, I'll Be Home For Christmas....Andy Williams- White Christmas, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire), It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.....and of course it wouldn't be complete without Burl Ives singing, Holly Jolly Christmas. Those songs are classics, but they never get old to me. It's funny, but my girls love some of those same Christmas songs that I used to love listening to at this time of the year.

My husband always says my tree looks the same every year. Well, that could be because I put the same ornaments on it every year. Most of the ornaments we have hold sentimental value for me. Some are ones the girls made when they were little, some were given to me as gifts by people I love, some I made, and some are the girls favorites that have to be on the tree each year.

I cherish these times with my girls because I don't know how much longer I will have them here with me at home. Brittany is twenty and Taylor is seventeen. I get choked up and teary-eyed just thinking about the day when they leave home to start their own family. What in the world will I do then? You should probably start praying for me now because I really don't know how I am going to deal with the empty-nest thing when it happens.

What are some Christmas traditions you have for your family? Do you have special events and things you do each year? Cherish those special times with your loved ones my friends. Hold them close to your heart and take every opportunity to tell them you love them. Okay, I really need to get on with the next post since I'm sitting here crying like a baby now.

Until next time my friends, be blessed!

"Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas." ~Dale Evans 

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful." ~ Norman Vincent Peale 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

30 Days of Thanks- Day 26: Beauty for Brokenness

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." ~Psalm 147:3

Welcome back friends! Today is Day 26 of my 30 Days of Thanks. Today I am thankful for the beauty that God brings from the brokenness of our lives.

It's comforting to know that even through the painful, heartbreaking situations we experience in our lives, that God can still bring beauty out of it.

Have you ever thought.....there is no way anything good can come from this situation. I have thought that a time or two myself. Okay, maybe more than a time or two. I have thought there is no way anything beautiful can come from some of the ugly, painful situations I have walked through. I was thinking there was just too much heartache and pain to get past. I thought there are just too many broken pieces to ever think it will be whole again.

When we are in the midst of a dark storm, it's hard to see the light of day. We tend to focus on the pain and the discomfort we feel right now because, well, it hurts and we don't like hurting. It can feel overwhelming and hopeless. Many times we can't see beyond the hurt. It feels like we're in this desert place and will never get out. As long as we have God walking with us through those hard things, through the desert, we can trust that He will bring us out and even bring beauty from it.

There have been many situations throughout my life where God has redeemed what was lost. He has brought something beautiful out of what was at first broken and painful. God is close to the brokenhearted. He saves those who are crushed in spirit. Have you ever been brokenhearted or crushed in spirit? I'm guessing you are shaking your head and saying a hearty "Yes!" I don't think there are too many people who have not experienced heartache and brokenness in this life. It's pretty much a sure thing that at some time or another, we all will experience.

Brokenness isn't always a bad thing. It may feel awful and the pain may be deep, but from that brokenness can spring forth something more beautiful than anything we could have imagined. God uses our brokenness to draw us closer to Him. It empties us of ourselves as we cry out to Him.

God has promised to heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds. He knows every tear we've cried. He knows every hurt we've felt. He knows every part of our broken heart.

He has not forgotten you dear one. He knows the depth of your hurt. Be encouraged in knowing that He can, and will, use your brokenness to make something beautiful. He will give you beauty for ashes. He is well able to take care of all that concerns you. He wants to draw you into His embrace. He wants to love and comfort you as only He can do.

Here is a link from Sheri Rose Shepherd with His Princess Love Letter about Beautifully Broken. I hope it ministers to your heart.

“God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.” ~Vange Havner

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."~Psalm 34:18

“True brokenness is a lifestyle – a moment-by-moment lifestyle of agreeing with God about the true condition of my heart and life – not as everyone else thinks it is but as He knows it to be.” ~Nancy Leigh DeMoss

 "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." ~ Psalm 51:17

Monday, November 26, 2012

30 Days of Thanks- Day 25: Bible Study Group

Hello again my friends! It's Day 25 of my 30 Days of Thanks.
Today I am thankful for the ladies in the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study Group that I'm a part of. We are just beginning a new book study today for a book called Greater by Steven Furtick. This is the fourth book study I've been involved in with this group.  It means so much to have the support of this group of ladies. Just having a safe place to open up, without fear of judgement or condemnation, is so comforting.

These ladies are real, they are honest, they are full of compassion and so encouraging and supportive, and they pray for one another. I have never met any of them in person, but I feel like I have known them for years. Maybe one day I will actually be able to meet some of them.

I believe God brought this group of ladies together for a purpose. He has already used this group of ladies to help me grow in my walk with Him. I am looking forward to whatever He has planned for all of us in our brand new study.

If you've never been involved with an online Bible Study Group, I would encourage you to give it a try. I don't think you will be disappointed.  It's not too late to join us in our new study. If you're interested, here's the link to get you signed up.  The sign up info is on the right hand side of the page. Let me know if you have any questions or if I can be of help to you.

Until next time my friend, be blessed!

"Both within the family and without, our sisters hold up our mirrors: our images of who we are and of who we can dare to be." ~Elizabeth Fishel

"A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself." ~Jim Morrison 

"The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity." ~ Ulysses S. Grant

Saturday, November 24, 2012

30 Days of Thanks- Day 24: My Hubby's Stew

 “I would rather be able to appreciate things I can not have than to have things I am not able to appreciate.” ~Elbert Hubbard quotes

Hello again my bloggy friends! Well today I will finally be caught up on my posts. It's about time! Things have been very busy around here and I've had little time to get my blogging done. I remember now why I stopped doing daily blogs. Too much to do!

Okay, so here I am at Day 24 of my 30 Days of Thanks, and today I am thankful for my hubby's Brunswick stew. It's a great day here in Virgina for a hot, steaming bowl of stew. I don't want to brag, but my husband makes the best stew I've ever eaten. Just so you don't think I'm being biased, I'm not the only one who raves about his stew. He has made quite a few stews for church fundraisers, and everyone always comments on how good it is. He makes at least one stew for our family each year when the weather turns colder. He just made one yesterday, so we have about twenty quarts in the freezer now to hold us over through the winter. There have even been people who claimed that they didn't like Brunswick stew, who have changed their minds after trying my hubby's stew.

This blog isn't solely about Brunswick stew, although I am very thankful that my hubby is so good at it and I get to reap the benefits of his skills. It's more about how nice it is when people compliment and encourage you for something you do well. When others notice the hard work you've done and they take the time to tell you, it really makes you feel good. It's such a common thing anymore to see people beat each other down and always find something to complain about instead of building each other up and encouraging each other. Many times we get so caught up in how we feel and what we want, that we forget how other people feel and what they may be going through themselves.

After being taken for granted and belittled for so long, it can really beat a person down to the point where they don't even want to bother doing anything for anyone anymore. Don't we all want to know we are appreciated and the things we do make a difference to someone? What if we all took the time each day to find something to thank someone for? What if we told someone how much we appreciate all they do? What if we started telling them what a great job they do at something that maybe we take for granted?

Until next time my friends, be blessed!

"Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it. " ~Ralph Marston

"There are realities we all share, regardless of our nationality, language, or individual tastes. As we need food, so do we need emotional nourishment: love, kindness, appreciation, and support from others." ~ J. Donald Walters 

30 Days of Thanks- Day 23: Chocolate

"If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of." 
~Bruce Lee

Welcome back my friends! I hope your Thanksgiving was blessed. Okay, you knew I was going to have to use one of these 30 Days of Thanks to be thankful for chocolate, right? I absolutely love the taste of chocolate! Unfortunately, I can't eat it as much, or as often, as I would like, but I do have a little now and again. The caffeine in chocolate causes me to feel bad, so I try not to indulge in it very often.

I found a recipe online at for chocolate chess pie that is beyond yummy. I will include a link to the recipe at the end of my post. You really should give it a try. I haven't had the best results when I've tried making chocolate chess pie before, but this time, it was a winner. The chocolate fudge pie from Ukrop's Bakery is probably my favorite chocolate pie, but the pie I made comes in a close second.

How about you? What is your favorite chocolate dessert or treat? Please feel free to share some of your recipes with me. I am thinking about doing a Christmas recipe blog for December. I am always looking for new recipes to try.

Until next time my friends, be blessed!

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." ~Charles M. Schulz

"After about 20 years of marriage, I'm finally starting to scratch the surface of what women want. And I think the answer lies somewhere between conversation and chocolate." ~ Mel Gibson

Thursday, November 22, 2012

30 Days of Thanks- Day 22: Thanksgiving Day

 "Thanksgiving is nothing if not a glad and reverent lifting of the heart to God in honor and praise for His goodness."  ~Robert Casper Lintner

Happy Thanksgiving to you, my friends! I hope your day has been a very blessed one surrounded by loved ones from near and far.

Today is Day 22 of my 30 Days of Thanks, and today I am thankful for Thanksgiving. I am feeling completely worn out and my body is hurting because a lot of time and effort went into preparing the house and the meal for Thanksgiving supper, but it was worth it to be able to have those memories of precious time spent with loved ones.

I am so thankful that my daughters helped me get things ready today. I don't know how I would have done everything if they hadn't helped out so much. Thank you girls! I love you!!!

What about you? How was your Thanksgiving? I hope it was relaxing and enjoyable. I am off to go soak in a hot bath before heading off to bed. Sleep well my friends! Until next time, be blessed!

"Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse." ~Henry Van Dyke

"Pride slays thanksgiving, but an humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves." ~Henry Ward Beecher

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

30 Days of Thanks- Day 21: Grateful Attitudes

"The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude." ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Hello there my bloggy friends! It's Thanksgiving Eve, as my younger daughter, Taylor, calls it. I hope your day has been a good one and that tomorrow will be a very blessed time for you and your family.

On Day 21 of my 30 Days of Thanks, I am thankful for grateful attitudes. It does my heart good when I see people who are truly thankful for what they have and for what they've been given. It seems more common than not that grateful attitudes are in short supply these days.

Have you ever done something for someone, I mean really gone out of your way to help someone, and they didn't even act like they were thankful at all? Or maybe as long as you were doing what they wanted they acted like they were grateful, but as soon as something didn't go their way they changed their attitude?  How did that make you feel? I can tell you how I felt when that happened to me.....angry, upset, sad, discouraged. It also made me feel like I didn't want to do anything else for that person again because of how they acted.

I've come to realize that when I do something for someone, whether they say thank you or not, God sees what I am doing and the sacrifice I am making. He is the One who will bless me in return, even when others don't act like they are grateful. He knows the attitude of my heart and He will make things right. He will cause all things to work together for my good.

If you are doing something for someone, out of the goodness of your heart, then you can trust that He will return blessings to you.
I would like to take a moment to say, "Thank you" to all of you, my bloggy friends, for being so faithful in keeping up with my blog. It means so much to me to know that you take time out of your busy day to read my posts. I have thought about giving up on the blogging thing quite a few times since I started, but your encouraging comments have helped keep me going. Thank you again!

Until next time my friends, be blessed and keep an attitude of gratitude!
"Gratitude is the fairest blossom that springs from the soul." ~Henry Ward Beecher

 "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." ~William Arthur Ward

"Everything we do should be a result of our gratitude for what God has done for us." ~Lauryn Hill

30 Days of Thanks- Day 20: A New Day

"Every day is a fresh beginning. Every morn is the world made new." ~Sarah Chauncey Woolsey

Good Wednesday to you my friends! I hope your week is going good. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! Do you have family coming in, or are you going to be traveling to a relatives house? We are doing both. Thankfully, we won't be traveling far at all since my in-laws house is right across the field from our house. We will be going there for lunch, and later me and my daughters will be cooking for supper since my mom and my brother usually come to our house for Thanksgiving. I still have lots of things that need to be done. Busy, busy, busy! 

It's Day 20 of my 30 Days of Thanks, and today I am thankful for the gift of a new day. As I was watching the sun come up over the trees in our backyard this morning, I was thinking what a wonderful gift we get from God in each new day that dawns. This day has never been here before, nor will it ever be here again. What are we going to do with this day? Are we going to see it as a gift or are we going to see it as just another day to try to make it through?

Just like this day is a new beginning, sometimes we also need a fresh start, a new beginning. There have been many times over the last few years now where I knew I had to let some old things pass away. I had to release my hold on some things that were hindering my walk with the Lord. I had to release the grip I had on people and things so I could grab hold of the new things God wanted to do in my life. Holding onto those things and those people were only weighing me down because that season was over and it was time to let go. Even though I didn't want to let go, I knew God had told me time and time again that He was doing a new thing and to let old things pass away.

It isn't easy to start something new. It can be scary to let go when we really want to hold on. I've learned that just because something feels comfortable or familiar doesn't mean it's good for us. There are times when God will call us to lay something down because He wants to do something new in us and through us. He has something better for us.

What is God asking you to lay down and let go of? Is it something that has become like an anchor around your neck? Perhaps He is leading you into a new season. New seasons can be scary, but they can also be exciting. I guess it all depends on how you look at it. Just like this new day. Do you see it as a gift or a burden? Sometimes just changing our perspective can change everything.

Until next time my friends, be blessed and enjoy this wonderful, new day! Have a very Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow with your loved ones!

"All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions." ~Leonardo da Vinci

"Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over." ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

"For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland." ~Isaiah 43:19 (NLV)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

30 Days of Thanks- Day 19: Memories

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart." ~Helen Keller

Welcome back friends! It's Day 19 of my 30 Days of Thanks. Today I am thankful for memories. At this time of the year, when much of our family will get together to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am reminded of the loved ones who are no longer with us. My grandfather and my nanny were such a big part of our family and they are greatly missed. I think of them quite often and look forward to the day when I will see them again in Heaven. In the meantime, I have my precious memories to carry me through.

I grew up being around my grandparents on an almost daily basis. My grandfather was one of the kindest men I knew. He didn't have much, as far as money goes, but he would have given you the last dollar he had if you needed it. He suffered terribly with emphysema when he got older because of many years of smoking. He also ended up having Alzheimer's a few years before he passed away. That disease changed who he was. I try not to linger on those painful memories, but to focus on all the good ones I have of him. He was the first father figure I had in my life. If you'll remember from a previous post, I said that my mom got pregnant with me out of wed-lock. She was living at home up until she married my step-father when I was two years old. My grandfather was the only positive male figure I had in my life when I was little. It's been twenty years since he passed away, but sometimes it feels like just yesterday.

My nanny was such a spunky, little lady in those early years of my childhood. I loved that she wasn't afraid to tell you what she thought, and if you didn't like it, well, that was your problem. She was a short woman, but she wasn't afraid of anyone. I remember many times how she would stand up to my step-father when he was on one of his abusive, alcoholic episodes and my mom would take me and my brother and we would go to my nanny's house for safety. My step-father would come over there and stand outside crying and begging my mom to come back home. I can't tell you how many times he promised that he would never do it again if she would just come back home. Needless to say, he never kept his promises.

My nanny was a stickler for manners too. I grew up being taught, and expected, to use my manners. If I happened to answer her with just a yes, she would say, "Excuse me, what was that?" I sit here and smile as I remember how she would say that. It wasn't in an ugly, demanding way, but in a very firm, loving way. I would immediately say, "Yes ma'am." Unfortunately, Alzheimer's also stole her away from us in her later years. That disease left her being just a shell of the woman I remember her to be. I know one day, when I see her again, she will be that sweet, spunky lady I remember so fondly.

The years may come and go, and many of our loved ones may no longer be here with us, but they are still very deeply missed and forever in our hearts. If you know of someone who has recently lost a loved one, please pray for them, or send them a note to let them know you are thinking of them at this time of year.

Until next time my friends, be richly blessed by making wonderful memories with the ones you love.

"Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity" ~ Unknown

"There is a sacredness in tears.  They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.  They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.  They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and of unspeakable love." ~Washington Irving

"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure."  ~Author Unknown

Monday, November 19, 2012

30 Days of Thanks- Day 18: My Mother-In-Law

"Everyone wants to be appreciated, so if you appreciate someone, don't keep it a secret."
~Mary Kay Ash

Welcome back my friends! As you can see I am playing catch-up, again. I fell behind over the weekend, so I will be posting three blog posts today.

On Day 18 of my 30 Days of Thanks, I am thankful for my Mother-In-Law. This woman is such a sweet lady. She has the gift of serving others and she does it well. What is so amazing to me is, I have never heard her complain, not one time, about what she does for others. I have been married to her son for over twenty-seven years now, and I am still blown away by the things she does, even at her age. Now, I am not saying she is old by any means, but she is in her seventies and she is still going strong. She puts a lot of these younger people to shame when it comes to what she does. Shucks, I wish I had half of her energy. She cooks lunch every Sunday for her family. On average, there are fifteen of us that come over for Sunday lunch, or dinner as some folks call it. She doesn't just cook a little something, she cooks a huge amount of food. Here is a list of food on a typical Sunday at my mother-in-laws: mashed potatoes, green beans, fried apples, cabbage, some type of salad greens, corn, roast beef, gravy, chicken fingers (for the kids) and homemade rolls, plus she always has at least two different desserts. Whew! It makes me tired just thinking of fixing all that food. I do enjoy eating it though.

I always make a point of thanking my mother-in-law and telling her how good everything was. We all need to hear that we are appreciated and loved. I know I do. Make a point to tell someone you love how much you appreciate them. I bet it will bless them so much.

Until next time my friends, be blessed!

"Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it." ~Ralph Marston


30 Days of Thanks- Day 17: Tea

Hello there my friends! It's Day 17 of my 30 Days of Thanks!

Today's post is plain and simple. Today, I am thankful for tea. I really enjoy drinking herbal tea. As I am sitting here playing catch-up on my posts, I am having a cup of decaffeinated Chai Tea.  This tea has some yummy ingredients in it. It's black tea with cinnamon, cardamom, clove and ginger. I usually mix a little honey and some almond milk in it. I also discovered that you can add some pumpkin spice creamer instead of the milk and honey, and it makes a delicious pumpkin spice chai. I also enjoy drinking ginger tea, especially when I have an upset stomach or just want something a little spicy. My cupboard is full of all kinda of herbal teas like raspberry, blueberry, orange cinnamon; just to name a few. 

Do you enjoy herbal teas or are you more of a coffee drinker? I love coffee, but can't have it because of homeopathic remedies I take. Coffee counteracts the effects of my remedies, so I have to say no to coffee. 

Until next time my friends, be blessed!

"Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company."  ~Author Unknown

" Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors."  ~Alice Walker

Friday, November 16, 2012

30 Days of Thanks- Day 16: Simple Things

Welcome back and Happy Friday to you my friends! Today is Day 16 of my 30 Days of Thanks. Today I am thankful for the simple things. The simple things mean much more to me than anything money can buy.  I truly enjoy spending time with the people I love and care about. The memories we make will last much longer than anything money can buy.

I've learned it's the simple things in life that make it worth living. Our lives are already filled to the max with busyness, and the world tries to tell us we need even more stuffed in there. I have never been one of those people who enjoys being busy all the time. Some people thrive on that, but it stresses me out. I need time alone to refresh after I've been in a situation where there are lots of people and lots of busyness going on.

I'd like to share some of those simple, yet priceless things, I love and am so thankful for:

*Taking a walk with my sweet hubby
*Wonderful smelling candles
*Long, relaxing bubble baths
*Reading a book 
*Our annual Christmas-light-seeing outing with my family, while we listen to Christmas music and drink hot cocoa
*Going to the movies with my girls
*Watching a favorite movie for the hundredth time
*Talking with a close friend on the phone, or in person over lunch
*Sitting on the back porch swing, listening to the frogs and bugs on a summer night
*Having late night talks with my girls
*Walking on the beach, feeling the salt air against my face
*Going on a date night with my hubby
*Taking pictures of the ones I love
*Going for a picnic lunch at the park with my girls
*Sitting around a campfire, roasting marshmallows with my family

What about you? What are some of the simple things you enjoy? Please feel free to share them with me in the comments sections. Until next time my friends, be blessed! Have a great weekend!

"But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads." ~Albert Camus

"If you get simple beauty and naught else, you get about the best thing God invents." ~Robert Browning

"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

30 Days of Thanks- Day 15: My Bed

"May sleep envelop you as a bed sheet floating gently down, tickling your skin and removing every worry.  Reminding you to consider only this moment."  ~Jeb Dickerson

Welcome back my friends! Well, I'm at the half-way mark for the 30 Days of Thanks. I hope you've had a good week and that you will have a great Friday, and a fantastic weekend!

It's Day 15 of my 30 Days of Thanks and today I am thankful for my bed. Yep, that's right. My bed. I am writing this at 12 midnight, so my bed is definitely looking pretty good right about now. My bed is that place I go for some peace and quiet, especially when my body is overly tired and hurting, which is pretty much everyday. 

Once I go to sleep, I know I will be able to get relief from the chronic pain I feel everyday. It's finally quiet and not screaming at me. I enjoy this respite as long as possible because I know it will start again soon enough when the morning comes. I don't by any means sleep great, but when I do sleep, there's peace. I will take whatever I can get.

I know there are many people who suffer with sleep problems. If you don't sleep well it really makes you feel awful. It's hard to function when you are not getting the rest your body needs to restore itself. My daughter, Brittany, has had sleep problems for the last few years now. I have also had my own sleep issues off and on because of fibromyalgia. Not being able to sleep stinks! I believe it's God's desire for His children to rest and sleep peacefully. I would like to pray for all of you who have sleep problems.

Father God, I pray for all of those people who are having problems sleeping. No matter if it's problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or not being able to sleep at all, I ask that You would touch each one and bless them with sweet sleep. I ask that You would quiet their minds and their bodies when they lay down at night. I pray for Your peace to settle upon them like a warm blanket and that sleep would come easily and quickly. I pray that these sleep problems would come to an end now in Jesus' name.

I hope you all have a peaceful nights sleep tonight and a blessed day when you awake. Until next time my friends, be blessed!

 "O bed! O bed! delicious bed!
That heaven upon earth to the weary head." ~Thomas Hood

"In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe." ~Psalm 4:8 (NLT)

 "You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly." ~Proverbs 3:24 (NLT)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

30 Days of Thanks- Day 14: Thankful for Today

"The seasons are what a symphony ought to be; four perfect movements in harmony with each other." ~Arthur Rubinstein

Welcome back my bloggy friends! I hope your week is going good. I'm trying to play catch up today.  Thank you for your patience.

On Day 14 of my 30 Days of Thanks, I am thankful for today. Right here, right now. Many times I've gotten so caught up in either living in the past, or yearning for a future time when I hope things will be better, or different than they are now. We can neither go back in the past or go ahead to the future.

I know, from personal experience, how quickly things can change from one minute to the next. Some of those changes we welcome and others we feel like we will never recover from. As hard as it is sometimes, I am trying to learn to enjoy each day, each moment I have been given, regardless of what I'm going through at the time.

There is a season for everything we go, sorrow, life, death, weeping, laughter, dancing, mourning, war and peace. Growth happens in each of those seasons; yes, even in the midst of great pain and loss. Allow yourself to feel what you do in the season you're in right now. I believe there is a gift in every season we go through. God has not forgotten us when we are walking through the wilderness seasons. He is well able to take care of all that concerns us, no matter what the season.

Until next time my friends, be blessed!

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; 
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal; 
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose; 
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew; 
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate; 
a time for war, and a time for peace.” ~Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”~Lewis Carroll
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. ~Galatians 6:9

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

30 Days of Thanks- Day 13: My Home

"He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home." ~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Welcome back friends! I'm a little behind on my posts, so there will be two today. Let's get started!

For Day 13 of my 30 Days of Thanks, I am thankful for my home. As I was growing up, after my mom and step-father got divorced, we had to live in some really run down places because that's all my mom could afford on what she made as a waitress. Being a waitress was all she knew how to do, and she didn't have a high school diploma, so there weren't a lot of options available to her. My mom had to quit school and get a job when she was a junior in high school because my grandfather got hurt and wasn't able to work anymore. My mom and grandmother both had to go out and get jobs so they could support the family. My mom was a darn good waitress though. She worked hard everyday and put in a lot of hours for a little bit of pay.

I used to feel intimidated when I would go to other people's homes that were so much bigger and fancier than mine. I used to feel like I didn't measure up because my home wasn't as big. I know that sounds kinda silly to measure your worth based on something like that, but that's what I did. I thought I had to act a certain way or look a certain way to be acceptable and liked. I thought my house had to be perfect. I was so concerned over what others would think about me, or if they would approve of me. My self-worth was in the toilet, so to speak. I didn't realize back then that my worth and value was not based on anything this world has to offer, not in what I looked like or what I wore, or where I lived.  It is based solely on God's love for me; always has been and always will be.

Looking back at some of the places we had to live in, and how I grew up, makes me all the more thankful for my home. It's not anything fancy by any means, just your average three bedroom home, but what makes it so great is that it's filled with much love and joy. I didn't grow up in that kind of home. It was filled with arguing, yelling, screaming, crying, hitting, and fear. I am thankful that God brought me through all that to where I am today. I still have a long way to go, but I'm moving forward, even if it's sometimes baby steps at a time.

Until next time my friends, be blessed!

"Nothing can bring a real sense of security into the home except true love." ~Billy Graham

“A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.” ~Unknown

Monday, November 12, 2012

30 Days of Thanks- Day 12: Music

"Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence." ~Robert Fripp

Happy Monday to you, my friends! I hope you all had a great weekend. My hubby has been working almost every Saturday for the last couple of months now, so the weekends just don't seem long enough for me. I am thankful he has a good job, but I really miss spending time with him on Saturdays. Hopefully, the Saturday work will be coming to an end soon and I will have him back around here on the weekends. Okay, on to Day 12!

It's Day 12 of my 30 Days of Thanks, and today I am thankful for music. I absolutely LOVE music! I always have and probably always will. Music has been a part of my life since I was a child. I remember when I was a teenager falling asleep with the radio on. The radio was on constantly.

My taste in music has changed over the years, but my love for it has not. When I was a teenager and young adult, I loved listening to Q-94, which played pop and rock music. After I became a Christian my taste in music changed more towards praise and worship, and Christian based songs. I don't think there's anything quite like singing a song to the Lord that says exactly what your heart is feeling.

I also enjoy listening to classical music at times. The beautiful sounds of the instruments is so soothing and peaceful, especially the piano, violin, and cello. The wind instruments are wonderful too. I have never been to a symphony concert before, but that is something I would love to do one day.

I still enjoy listening to those oldies but goodies too. Man, I feel old when I think that the music I used to listen to when I was a teenager is now considered classic rock, or oldies. Good grief, time flies!

Until next time my friends, be blessed!

"Sing a new song to the Lord! Everyone on this earth, sing praises to the Lord, sing and praise his name." ~Psalm 96: 1-2

"Music expresses that which cannot be said, and on which it is impossible to be silent." ~
Victor Hugo

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." ~Berthold Auerbach

"When words leave off, music begins." ~Heinrich Heine

 photo credit: <a href="">melolou</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

30 Days of Thanks- Day 11: The Veterans

Hey there my friends! It's Day 11 of my 30 Days of Thanks. Today I am thankful for all the men and women who have given their lives to serve and protect this great country we live in. I know there are many who would argue that it's not a great country anymore, but I would have to disagree with you. It is still a great country, especially if you compare the freedoms we have here to many other countries. There have been many lives that have been given to protect those freedoms we enjoy here in America. No matter what some people think, freedom isn't free. It never has been. It costs a great deal, so I would urge you to stand up for your freedoms because many lives have been given to protect your right to do that. 

Thank you, to all the Veterans, including my dad, who so faithfully and boldly served and protected this country over the years. Thank you, to all who are currently serving and putting their lives on the line everyday for us. We honor you all.

Until next time my friends, be blessed.

"Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die." -G.K. Chesterton

"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave." -Elmer Davis

 "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

(The above picture was taken by my daughter, Brittany)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

30 Days of Thanks- Day 10: Lessons Learned

 “We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over them, or build with them.”~ William Arthur Ward

Good-day my friends! I hope you are enjoying this beautiful day. It certainly is a gorgeous day here in Virginia.

Today is Day 10 of my 30 Days of Thanks. Today I am thankful for all the lessons learned throughout my life, even the hard ones. There have been many difficult things I've walked through in the forty-six years I've been on this earth, but as I've gotten older, I've tried to focus on the positive things that have come from those painful times. I've tried to focus on how much I've grown because of those painful situations. I spent many years going about it the wrong way by allowing my emotions and thoughts to control me. I spent many years believing lies from the enemy. I still find my thoughts going that way out of habit more times than I would like, which is why I have to work hard to make the effort to keep my thoughts focused on the positive. Old habits are hard to break, but they can be broken.

There were many times when I got so caught up in the pain and hurt of a situation that I failed to focus on the good I could take away from it. During those times, I would pull away from the Lord and sink down into a pit of worry and fear. I allowed the enemy to fill my mind with all the reasons why I was justified to feel that way. It's not a good place to be, which is why it's so important to keep our mind renewed, so we can be alert of the tactics the enemy uses and recognize the lies immediately.

Thinking positive takes a lot of effort, but it's so worth it.

Here is an example from my own life where I tried to focus on the positive aspects of what happened and allowed it to make me better instead of bitter.

My mom got pregnant with me out of wedlock. I was raised in an abusive, alcoholic family. My step-father had some very serious problems with alcohol and with his temper. I never knew my biological father until I was twenty-two years old. I missed out on many years of knowing him. I went through a lot of hurt and pain as a result of the choices other people made that I had no control over. I had many problems as a result of the environment I grew up in, and have spent many years healing from those things. However, I am so thankful that my mom chose to go through with the pregnancy and not have an abortion. That was never an issue for her, but it could have been. She could have decided this would complicate her life to have a child since she wasn't married, and the young man didn't want to get married. Abortion could have been an easy answer for her. I am thankful for her making the sacrifice to go ahead with the pregnancy and have me. No matter what difficulties I went through as I was growing up, I always knew my mom loved me. I am thankful for my mom and her love for me. I am also thankful that I've had a very good relationship with my biological father for the last twenty-four years. We don't get to see each other as often as I would like, but we do talk on the phone regularly. He loves me and is very supportive. I could have held a grudge and ended up bitter and resentful because he rejected me and left me before I was even born, or because he never tried to find me before I called him the first time, but I have chosen instead to be thankful he is in my life and that I have a relationship with him. I am thankful that he tells me he loves me each time I talk to him. He even calls me darling sometimes. I love that! My little girl heart will always yearn for what could have been, but I am truly thankful to have him in my life. I know one day those yearnings and desires will finally be fulfilled when I stand before my Heavenly Father.

If we allow the difficult things to make us better and not bitter, we will always take something good away that will help us grow and become all the Lord created us to be. We may even be able to use those lessons learned to help someone else along the way.

Until next time my friends, be blessed!

"Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise." ~Philippians 4:8

“There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.” ~W. Clement Stone

“The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity.” ~Benjamin Franklin

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” ~Harriet Beecher Stowe

Friday, November 9, 2012

30 Days of Thanks- Day 9: God's Word

"Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path." ~Psalm 119:105

Happy Friday to you friends! I hope it's a good day for you and that you will have a very blessed weekend. Take some time this weekend to do something special for yourself.

Well, it's Day 9 of my 30 Days of Thanks. Today I am thankful for God's Word, the Bible. His Word is our instruction manual for living our life for His glory. He didn't leave us here with no way to know what we should do, or how we should live our lives. He loved us enough to make sure we had His Word and His instructions to use as a way to guide us and direct us. Not only is God's Word our instruction manual, it's a love story.  It reveals the great love God had for us by sending His Only Son to die for us. It's the greatest love story ever.

I've heard it said that Bible stands for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. We are not here alone, even though there may be times when we feel alone. We are greatly loved and accepted, even though we may not feel that way some times. God's Truth and Love is not based on how we feel. It's based on what He has said and done.

If you need direction and wisdom, look to the Lord and His Word. He has promised to give wisdom if you ask for it, expecting to receive it. If you need comfort, look to the Lord and His Word. The Psalms are full of comfort and reassurance. David was a man after God's own heart and even he had many times where he messed up bad, yet God loved him and used him for great things because David had a repentant heart and sought God's will for his life. If you need help standing against the enemy, God's Word tells us how to do that, and using His Word is part of that. If you need help knowing how to love others, His Word covers that too. If you need help in your marriage, that's in there too. His Word is relevant for every part of our life. Between His Word, His love, and the Holy Spirit, which leads us into all truth, we are covered.

Do you need some guidance and help with some things you're walking through? I would urge you to turn to His Word. Ask Him to guide you in His Word to what He wants to speak to you. He will do it. He has promised when we seek Him with all of our heart we will find Him.

Until next time my friends, be blessed!

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right." ~2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT)

  "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." ~Romans 15:4

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." ~James 1:5-6

"The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed a stronghold in times of trouble." Psalm 9:9

"God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth will give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." ~Psalm 46:1-3
"The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple." ~Psalm 119:104

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." ~Jeremiah 29:13