Blessings and Miracles

Of course it’s March, and we will be hearing all about LUCK.  When you give luck the credit for something wonderful that happens in your life, you are not giving God the glory and honor for it.  I’m sure we don’t intend to slight our dear Lord at all – ever, but we should be more mindful of how we express joy for our blessings (and in some cases, miracles).  

It’s really a matter of where you place your trust, isn’t it?  Luck is such an elusive and vague thing, so why would you place your trust in it?  Luck is not higher than we are, and I’m not convinced that it even exists.  Some people think that way about God, and I think that is very sad.  I will bless the Lord God Almighty!

My faith and trust will be placed in God and His Son, Jesus Christ.  He’s all I need to navigate this life and make Heaven my eternal home!

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.  – Proverbs 16:33

 

Chance encounter… random happening… plain ol’ luck?  No.  There’s more to it than that.  Do you catch yourself saying things like…

What a lucky shot!

Wish me luck on that test tomorrow!

Only luck had kept her from getting sick too!

Good luck getting the secret ingredient from mom!

I’ll try my luck fishing on the other side.

I’m gonna take a chance and change my luck.

I’m sure we’ve all slipped and said these things at one time or the other.  If we can just think a little bit about what we’re saying, and more to the point, the implications of what we’re saying, we’d be giving all the credit for the good to God by saying:

Thank You, Lord, for helping me with that shot!

Whisper a prayer or two for me as I take that test tomorrow!

Thank the Lord she didn’t get sick too!

I’ll pray that you can get that secret ingredient from mom with no problem!

Lord willing I will catch some fish over on the other side!

I’m gonna dump the luck and say a prayer instead!

What just happened here???  The randomness and chance in the first sentences were turned into gratitude, praise to God, and prayers!  When we acknowledge God in these ways, we are letting Him know that we recognize His sovereignty and His control over everything – big and small.

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.  – Thomas Goodwin

Don’t leave your life in the hands of randomness and chance.  Luck belongs at the local casino, because let’s face it, gambling is probably the most random activity human beings engage in!  Your life deserves more order and planning by God, who loves and cares for you more than you can imagine!  🙂

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MATTHEW 5:10 ON 5/10

TL 5-10 MATTHEW 5-10 ON 5 10

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:10

Persecution…  I don’t believe Christians in America are actually persecuted like others around the world.  I believe we feel threatened now more than ever because our right to practice our religion freely seems less likely with the passing of time.  Sometimes it just seems the wicked win, doesn’t it?  But we’ve read the back of the Book – and we know the wicked won’t win in the end.  God and His children win.GOD'S GOT YOU

We’re encouraged that those persecuted because of righteousness are blessed of God and theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Even when it seems that God isn’t paying attention, we need to realize that He is very much aware of your situation – and the fact that you are being persecuted for your faith.

In Egypt and all Arab Muslim countries, public distribution of Bibles and Christian literature to Muslims is considered a crime. According to Egyptian law, a Christian can be instantly arrested and charged with insulting the state religion if they are caught distributing such materials. This charge might result in three-year imprisonment. Some Egyptian brothers and sisters have received similar sentences and are now serving time in various prisons throughout Egypt.

Meanwhile back in the USA, we argue and debate and bicker about the most stupid things – seriously.  Some of the subjects of discussion are pure distraction from the important issues we need to be focusing on.  Are we sharing our faith with people really???  Let’s face it, so far in America, we can still post GOOD MORNING AND GOD BLESS YOU on facebook with no fear of imprisonment.

I’m not suggesting that we throw ourselves in harm’s way in a purposeful manner – but I do believe we need to remember that our time is short and there are so many lives to touch.  Our brothers and sisters in Egypt share Christ knowing that if caught, they face jail time, and I’d say in some cases, worse.  According to this beatitude, they are blessed of God for the risk they take.

Keep those who are truly persecuted in your daily prayers.  May God continue to bless and protect them.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIRTHDAY #55

TL 4-2 BIRTHDAY #55

4-2 PERKS & PITFALLS

Last night I got such a sweet present from Lucinda Berry Hill.  Thank you, my friend!  You’ve made turning the ol’ double nickel so much better!  🙂  I love that basket heart too – don’t you???

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God has blessed me with another year of life!  Today I am the ol’ double nickel…  old enough to receive a senior citizen discount at most restaurants and I could join AARP (but that will never happen because I am not a fan…).  I am a fan of good health, happiness, faith and joy.  I’m thankful for every day God gives me to begin again and do better with His help.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,  compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and,  if one has a complaint against another,  forgiving each other;  as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  – Colossians 3:12-13

Of all the things I could pray for, today I ask God to give me more compassion for everyone and everything around me.  I want to be more relatable than ever because it’s what God wants for me.  He wants all of us to be more gentle and kind with one another.  I KNOW I need to have more patience and compassion for those young drivers…  Lord help me with road rage!

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.  –  Albert Schweitzer

You are not going to believe this, but shortly after I wrote this post, Lucinda sent me a poem to design.  As I read it – the little blurb about compassion just reached out and slapped me!  I have to share it today.  I love how God guides both of us to write – but it’s especially cool when we’re both directed to write so similarly!  I just got chills when I read this.12571279_1738613263049803_574237969_n

Yes – I will make an effort to bring calmness where I walk, to show kindness and compassion, and pointing all to God.  SEE why I got chills up my spine???  WE LOVE HOW GOD WORKS

Love you, my sister in Christ!  ❤

My husband gave me a a 3.5 qt. Dutch oven.  Of course I’ll be trying it out today.  So, let me share the recipe with you.  Just one more thing…  if you are not a vinegar fan, you may want to add a couple of packets of Splenda or Truvia to this.  It’s got a pretty strong vinegar flavor.  😉

Vinegar-Braised Chicken & Onions (serves 6)

Ingredients:

2 lbs. pearl onions

Kosher salt

3 Tbs. olive oil

8 oz. pancetta (Italian bacon), cut into 1/4″ pieces

4 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed

5 lbs. chicken pieces (I use thighs & legs)

Freshly ground black pepper

3/4 c. balsamic vinegar

3/4 c. red wine vinegar

2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 c. golden raisins

2 bay leaves

Directions:

  • Cook onions in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, 5-8 minutes. Drain and let cool. Trim root ends; peel.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add pancetta to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and pancetta is brown, 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a large bowl.
  • Add onions to same pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer onions and garlic to bowl with pancetta.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add chicken to pot skin side down and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 10-15 minutes per batch; transfer to bowl with onions.
  • Carefully drain fat from pot and return to medium-high heat. Add both vinegars to pot and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Add broth, raisins, bay leaves, and reserved chicken, pancetta, onions, and garlic to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is fork-tender, 35-40 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and onions to a large platter. Skim fat from cooking liquid and discard. Remove bay leaves, and season sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken and onions.

For dessert we will probably have some fresh sliced strawberries with whipped topping.  Sounds like a great birthday dinner to me!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (12)

CHOOSE HOPE

When it comes to family, we have a stubborn love – a love that will give anything and defend tirelessly.  You can say anything you want about me, but when you go messing with my family, watch out!  Know what I’m saying? 

Where does this protective (sometimes overly protective) instinct come from?  I’m fast to say it comes from God.  God is love, so it stands to reason that the love we experience with family comes from God.  This tenacity, this willingness to love no matter what – it’s a gift from God.  And when you think about it – isn’t it the same way God loves us?

On a wicker chair in a corner of my Cape Cod office is a profile I wrote about a former Phoenix Superior Court judge, who mentored me in the late ’70s in the art of court reporting.  As she rose through the judicial ranks, the judge instructed me to keep asking questions.  Persevere, she counseled me.  “Keep at it until you get the answers!”  Little did I know how this training would sustain me in times of great challenge.  Today, as I fight the demons of early onset Alzheimer’s disease, I still follow the sage advice of my mentor, Sandra Day O’Connor, who became the first woman justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Justice O’Connor, whose husband, John, died from Alzheimer’s after battling the disease for nearly two decades, has left me an indelible memory.  – Greg O’Brien

Greg O’Brien wrote a book entitled, “On Pluto:  Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s”.  It’s an excellent resource for family directly affected by the disease.

There are about 35 million people worldwide diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.  Five million in the United States afflicted with Alzheimer’s and it’s predicted that 13.8 million Americans could be diagnosed with the disease by 2050.  It is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.

After reading the statistics it is likely that you will either be diagnosed or be a caretaker for one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

A few days ago I listened to a sweet conversation between a mother and daughter in my favorite restaurant.  They were sitting behind me, so I could not identify them if I had to, but this is what I heard:

The mother said that there were a lot of nice looking desserts on the menu.  She said, “You know, my very favorite is chocolate…”  Then there was a long pause.  She said, “Oh, what is that word?  You know, since that stroke I just can’t get the words out that I’m thinking.”  The daughter said, “Do you mean chocolate cream pie?”  “No”, the mom replied.  I could tell she was getting frustrated and was embarrassed that the word was not coming to mind.

The daughter continued trying to help.  “Chocolate cookies, is that your favorite, mom?”  By now the mother was losing patience with herself.  “I just don’t understand why I can’t say what it is I’m thinking!”  Her daughter kept a cool, even tone in her voice and calmly said, “Well, let’s talk about something else and eventually it will come to you, and you can tell me when it does.” 

I thought to myself, “This is not her first rodeo!”   I said a silent prayer for both.

The topic changed from chocolate to shoes rather quickly.  I was not as attentive when that happened.  The subject of chocolate always makes my ears perk up!

The daughter was talking about flip-flops, when out of the blue her mom yelled “BROWNIES!!!  I like brownies!”  I could hear a smile in her voice, as well as a feeling of great relief that finally the right word emerged from her mind – and out of her mouth!

I don’t write this to depress you, but to let you know how important family is when the difficulties come along.  This love of family – this love that comes from God – that is God – shines forth at times like this.  Alzheimer’s disease affected my family and maybe you have a friend or loved one battling it – or maybe you do.

There is not a cure for this disease, but if you have a loving family surrounding you and supporting you, consider yourself blessed indeed.

I’m reminded of the movie called “The Notebook”.  I think it’s one of James Garner’s best performances.  That is what family is all about.  That is what marriage is.  Remember when he tells their children he won’t leave the facility because “That’s my sweetheart in there” – ???  I cried the first time I watched that scene – okay – I cry every time I watch that scene!

Did you see Glen Campbell’s farewell tour?  There’s a documentary about it called “I’ll Be Me”.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glen_Campbell:_I’ll_Be_Me

Look at the love he is surrounded with.  His loving wife and daughter are so patient and just keep loving him.  I cry when I see love like that.  I believe the love that God puts inside us is the best kind of love.  It’s a love surrounded with hope.  🙂

 

WORLD CANCER DAY

TL 2-4 WORLD CANCER DAY

It’s WORLD CANCER DAY!!!  It’s a day to honor the lives of those who succumbed to it, but also a day to celebrate those who overcame it.  It’s a day when we will try to fly the flag of hope for the future.  Hope for better treatments, hope for more cures.

2-4 THE BIG C

How many cancer awareness ribbons are there?  SO many.  Here are just a few:

  • Clear, pearl or white:  Lung Cancer
  • Yellow:  Bone Cancer
  • Blue:  Colon Cancer
  • Orange:  Leukemia
  • Light Blue:  Carcinoma, Prostate Cancer
  • Lime green:  Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Purple:  Testicular Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer
  • Lavender:  Cancer of all kinds
  • Pink & Blue:  Male Breast Cancer
  • Gray:  Brain Cancer
  • Black:  Melanoma
  • Pink:  Breast Cancer, Abdominal Cancer
  • Green:  Kidney Cancer
  • Teal:  Cervical Cancer, Ovarian Cancer
  • Violet:  Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Gold:  Childhood Cancer
  • Burgundy:  Oral Cancer
  • Burgundy & Ivory:  Head & Neck Cancer

Wow – so many colors…  we will call it a rainbow of hope.

I’m not a stranger to cancer.  My earliest memory of cancer was way back in the early 1970’s when my Aunt Frankie started writing letters to my mom about not feeling well.  She thought she had the flu, but tests were done and an exploratory surgery revealed that she had cancer – to quote the doctors – “everywhere”.  It was so advanced there was nothing they could do but keep her as comfortable as possible.  My cousins lost their mother when she was only in her 50’s.

In the 1970’s Aunt Mary had radiation treatments for cancer but I don’t know what kind.  I was still young enough that details were being kept from me.  Aunt Bea had breast cancer that she fought and won a couple of times.  My cousin fought thyroid cancer and will be on THRT (thyroid hormone replacement therapy) the rest of her life.  My mom’s family seemed destined to get some form of cancer.  I kept waiting for it to be my mother’s turn.  When she was 81 she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.  There was nothing they could do.  I feel blessed to have had her until she was 82.  I was surprised to lose my dad to cancer since he had no family history of it.  In 1988 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and lived a few months.  He was taken by a blood clot and not by the cancer at the age of 62.

The theme for World Cancer Day 2015 is NOT BEYOND US.  A day of encouragement for everyone.

The point is, cancer is everywhere and we pray for better treatments that are not so radical.  Some folks say the treatment is worse than the disease.  The treatments do seem to get more tolerable as time goes by, but some chemo is still very rough to go through.

I keep hearing about the advancements in the testing.  Cancer is being found in earlier stages now, which makes it better to fight, which gives a person better odds of survival.  Some people survive it – I’m one of those very blessed individuals.  Ovarian cancer is quite deadly if not caught in time.  Once it spreads it is almost certainly fatal.  I don’t take one day for granted and I make the best of every day I’m given.  As I speak with other cancer survivors, I hear the same thing.  Surviving cancer gives you a brand new perspective on life.  I have a much shorter list of “bummers” than I did before.  I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore – there is no more small stuff.  Cancer is the biggest bummer of all – and God saw fit to see me through it – so nothing else matters.  Now – I live.  Living is the goal and living cancer free is the greatest blessing.  🙂

CURMUDGEONS DAY

TL 1-29 CURMUDGEONS DAY

1-29 MAKE A CURMUDGEON LAUGH

In this day of high prices, high taxes, high debt worldwide and in our own country, it is such a temptation to have a bad attitude.  If one was given to such moods, cynical and sour, today would be the day to show it.  But that would be taking the easy way out.  We don’t do that here on the blog, do we?

Is it possible to celebrate CURMUDGEONS DAY without being grumpy yourself?  Well, of course you can.  I want to challenge you to make a curmudgeon laugh!  It may be the largest challenge you’ve received all month, but I have faith that you can do it.  I see you scratching your head and saying, “Linda, you must be crazy!  You want me to go out and FIND a grouchy curmudgeon and make him / her laugh?”  YES – that’s what I’m asking you to do!

This day is not like Hermit Day when we stay inside all day and do nothing.  There’s a great big world out there and it is, unfortunately, filled with curmudgeons who need to snap out of it!

A self-proclaimed curmudgeon, Charles Murray, wrote a book called “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead” for young people just getting started in the workplace.  I would recommend it to every young person who wants to get ahead in the business world.  Mr. Murray said the book started out as a way to “vent” about the mannerisms of millennials (I understand completely). 

I enjoyed LIKE watching this LIKE presentation he gave and LIKE hope you like it too… LIKE.  I quite literally rolled out of my chair when I heard him describe vocabulary with the overuse of the word LIKE as a LIKE TIC.  LOL!!!

It is not a day to excuse bad behavior and become grumpy yourself – no, but nice try.  If you are a grouch, it is not something to be proud of, but a mood that needs to be overcome.  We won’t be celebrating grumpiness on the blog today, but we will be the ones who go about spreading sunshine and the love of Christ to those who are downcast for whatever reason.

Have you ever crossed paths with a curmudgeon who seemed determined to frown back at you no matter what?  Don’t be discouraged – just keep smiling.  Whether they want to admit it or not, your smile is probably the best thing they could possibly receive.  Don’t give up!

A smile confuses an approaching frown.  – Author Unknown

If you are not typically a negative person, you could play a little trick on your family.  You could purposefully act grouchy around your loved ones – but make sure when you’re finished they know you were just joking!

 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.  – Proverbs 17:22

Wouldn’t today be a great day to sit around the table with your family and make a list of blessings?  Appreciate your life and talk about why you really should not be grouchy and grumpy and difficult to live with.

If you belong to God, you are blessed and have no reason to be anything but happy and appreciative and smiling.  🙂

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

TL ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (11)

A good-looking truck driver walked into the offices of Sun Records and the Memphis Recording Service on a Saturday night in the summer of 1953.  He paid $3.98 + tax to make an acetate record for his mother’s birthday.  Sam Phillips recorded Elvis singing “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin, ” and told his business partner Marion Kreisler something that made her write down “Good ballad singer.  Hold” in her notes.

Elvis would leave Sun for the big leagues of RCA Records by the end of 1955. But Phillips secured his place in musical history, and made a tidy profit even if it wasn’t $1 billion.

That was the beginning of an amazing singing career.  Elvis loved his mama and because he honored her, his life was blessed.

Elvis_with_parents_1958
Elvis with his parents. Army induction. March 24, 1958

There are literally dozens of You Tube videos of Elvis songs and tributes.  I invite you to visit You Tube today and listen to “That’s Alright Mama”.  What if Elvis had not wanted to honor his mother and make that recording for her birthday?  How different would his life had been?

What does the Bible tell us about honoring our father and mother?  It’s FOR it!  Pro-honor and pro-love of the parents:

 Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.   – Deuteronomy 5:16

I think Elvis honored his mother in part because he felt bad about being the twin that survived.  His twin, Jesse Garon died at birth and Elvis often wondered why he was spared.  He never wanted to disappoint either of his parents, but particularly his mama.

The Bible instructs us to honor our parents.  It does not say obey.  We are to obey them when we are young, but when we are older we are to honor.  This is a wonderful example of honor:

THANK YOU MOM

To honor is to respect with patience and as much love as possible.  That is what makes our Lord smile and makes us good children.