A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (3)UNCONDITIONAL LOVEWe’re mourning a loss in our family.  Our precious fur baby passed away on the 22nd of January and our lives are so different without him.  He had diabetes and cancer that was very aggressive.  He was 91 years old in people years, and had a wonderful long life with us.  The 13 years he was with us were the happiest of our lives – that’s for sure.

I hate disease…  just flat hate it! 

What a beautiful prayer my friend Mark wrote:

Dear Jesus, Divine Physician, Healer of the Sick.
We call upon You and ask Your help for our loved ones
Who are suffering from cancer.
We entrust them to Your loving care.
They are Your children and they are in pain.
Give them the ability to know in their hearts
that You are with them in this difficult time.

Give them strength and healing.
Comfort them in their fears,
soothe their anxiety,
and let them rest securely in Your arms.

Help those who care for them.
Give insight to researchers that they may discover cures.
Give patience and energy to doctors and nurses so that
they will care for them with grace and love.

For us, their families, their friends and their community,
we need Your courage and strength,
to be with them and help them bear their burdens.
Give us joy, peace and confidence in You
so that like Mary, Your mother,
we may stand with them in faith and trust,
witnessing to Your healing love.
For you are blessed, for ever and ever.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen    – Mark Farouk

I received a sweet poem from Lucinda Berry Hill and it brings me comfort – thinking of God’s heaven and eternal life always brings me comfort.  Thank you, my sweet friend!

HEAVEN'S GIFTWe don’t have children, therefore, we don’t have grandchildren.  I like to think that Casey is in heaven playing with all the little children there!  If you’ve read the book, “Heaven is For Real” or seen the movie, you know that little Colton saw his family in heaven – but they were young, not old.  All the residents there are free of pain and the burdens of this world.  It’s selfish to want them back here, isn’t it?

I’ll miss my furbaby – I won’t lie.  He had the sweetest disposition (like his mama – lol).  He loved everyone and never growled at anybody.  When people came to the house, Casey was just sure they were there to see him, not us!  Such a funny little fella…  I’m gonna miss him, but he’s not in pain and is at peace.  God will take care of him… and He will take care of us too.  🙂

 

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PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORDHow are your preparations going?  We’re not finished yet!  Today, let’s do something to serve the ones in our home.  I hear you saying you do that every day – lol!  You may feel as though you serve those in your own household every day, but I want to invite you to take a look at the chores assigned to each member of your family.

Who usually feeds the pets?  Who usually gathers the garbage to go out to the curb every week?  Who is the one that cleans the toilets?  Ugh…  lovely chore there! 

Today I want you to do a chore that you don’t usually do – just take over and do it – no pomp or circumstance – and no announcement.  Just do it.  When you are asked WHY you did it – then you can let your family member know how much you appreciate them – and their faithfulness in doing that chore on a regular basis.  In my family, that would be followed by “Don’t expect it all the time, but…” 

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Do we tend to take our family members for granted?  Well of course we do!  When the trash gets taken out to the curb – it just magically takes itself out, right?  Stuff just happens – we each have our chores and that’s how life works smoothly.  This is just a little exercise to let your family members know they are appreciated.

As we take in the life and light of our Lord, may it shine forth in our attitudes and actions toward others, but especially in our own homes…  that’s where our mission should always begin – inside the walls of our own residence.

WRAPPED GIFTSGOD WITH US…  EMMANUEL.  He is our gift of hope in these uncertain and divisive days.  He loves every life – every soul is precious to Him – every one of us matter to Him.  We need to show appreciation for one another in our homes to begin with – then others around us – and finally to those who are a little further away – then we need to show the respect and honor to others that we want them to show to us.  Wrap a gift for other people and call it respect.  It sounds so very simple – why is it such a challenge?  :-/

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (23)

I believe the trend toward pitching a tent in front of an electronics store on Thanksgiving just to save your place in the ridiculously long line the next morning when the store opens – is finally waning – at least I hope it is.  Let’s just look at this thing logically for a minute.  We just spent a day around a table with loved ones, giving thanks to God for all of our many blessings – OH – but wait – we gotta pitch a tent so we can sleep on the sidewalk because there is a piece of technology I still need to possess.  WHAT???

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It’s insane…  and we all know the definition of insanity…  it’s doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result or outcome.  Look, there are two schools of thought about Black Friday – some people say we need to frequent the stores and the sales because the folks who are working need their job and don’t mind working on Thanksgiving and the day after.  Others, like me, believe that stores have no business being open on Thanksgiving at all – and should be closed the day after as well.  Those employees deserve a 4-day weekend before the Christmas nightmare begins!  I’m just one person with an opinion.  Will anyone listen?  Probably not – but that doesn’t stop me from speaking my mind.

RRiWcz1EgPbn7gcKacIg7nZTqgUYou know, God did not create us to kneel in front of the BEST BUY store.  God created us to praise and worship HIM.  He wants us to take time to sit and reflect on His Word and be quiet before Him so we can hear Him speak to our hearts.  Put your feet up by the fires of God’s Holy Spirit.  When we get so wrapped up in retail therapy that we can’t focus on anything except which stores we want to get to and when, then we are the ones who lose out.  I’m not saying that retail therapy is a bad thing, but I don’t think it’s so important to participate in Black Friday.

I’m not opposed to online shopping, and frankly I think most people would rather stay home and shop in their pajamas.  If consumers would resist the temptation to shop on the Friday after Thanksgiving, eventually the stores would not see the need to be open and employees could have the 4 day weekend they need – and more time with friends and family.  When did we stop thinking of others?  Wouldn’t you rather spend 4 days off than just one – and some don’t even get Thanksgiving off because stores are feeling like they need to be open on Thanksgiving.  It’s sad because everyone should be with family and friends – not co-workers – on Thanksgiving – and the day after and the weekend after that.  🙂

 

 

OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

TL OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go.  – Unknown

I had a unique opportunity to interview our favorite Christian poet, Lucinda Berry Hill about a very painful time in her life.  This post is a lesson for us because we never know the struggles that others have faced and overcome.  We don’t know why these circumstances have to be, but we most definitely know that God can and will work in our lives to help us through.  I appreciate Lucinda being so candid and opening up about this part of her life.  It’s our hope that someone will be helped or at least be assured that they are not traveling this road alone.

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SURVIVOR FIRE

Whether you think you CAN or think you CAN’T – you’re probably RIGHT!  – Unknown

ME TOO

Q: When did you first realize your situation was not good?

A:  Well, of course he didn’t start hitting me until he had me far away from family and friends.  I was barely 18 when we started seeing each other.  I was too naïve to even notice the emotional and mental abuse.

Q:  Did he ever apologize after he hit you?

A:  Oh my gosh, no!

Q:  Did you notice any particular triggers that would set him off?

A:  My “long face”.  One time we were cleaning a machine shop.  I was sweeping the floor and I wasn’t smiling while doing it, so he put my arm in a vice grip attached to a work table.

Q:  Do you believe you ended up with Stockholm’s Syndrome?

A:  Absolutely!

Q:  Could you see the hand of God working in your life along the way at that time?

A:  Only in the fact that he didn’t kill me like he threatened so many times.  He used to tell me he’d chop me up and put me in the river.  No body…  no crime.

Q:  You were away from family and friends.  Were you allowed to make phone calls or write letters to them?

A:  Yes.  He never actually told me I couldn’t.

Q:  Can you pinpoint anything that helped you through this time?

A:  Nope.  I’d say my innocence, maybe.

Q:  In the ten years of domestic violence, did you ever leave and then come back?

A:  Yup!  Twice.  But I was trapped.  When I left, I went to my mom’s.

Q:  Did he ever come to your mom’s house to take you back?

A:  Sort of.  One time he was in the area stalking me.  He left a present in my car while I was working.  I guess that was his way of letting me know he was still in charge.  The second time he came, I’m not sure what his intentions were, but I wasn’t there.

Q:  Did your mom say anything to you that made you rethink the situation?

A:  Nope.  My mom didn’t believe me when I finally told her.  We were in counseling after the fact, and she told them she thought I was the crazy one.  That’s how charming abusers can be.  No one would ever know.

Q:  What finally made you decide to get away?

A:  When I started envisioning me killing myself or him.

Q:  Would more support from friends and family have made much of a difference?

A:  Probably not much because he had me under his control.

Q:  Describe the day you escaped from him.

A:  I don’t remember the first time.  Isn’t that odd?  The second one, he was literally holding me hostage!  His sister came to pick me up while he was gone and met my step-dad halfway where she dropped me off.

Q:  At that point you were finally free from him once and for all?

A:  Yup!  Because he ended up in jail!  I’m not sure what I would have done if that had not happened.

Q:  What would you say to a woman in similar circumstances?

A:  You’ve got to leave before something happens that can’t be fixed!  He doesn’t deserve that kind of control of your life!  There is nothing out there in the world…  not loneliness, not lack of job or education, nothing that can hurt you more than he can!

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Did you catch the common word throughout the interview?  I caught it as I was asking questions…  CONTROL.  It may begin with small things.  If a man will not let you leave the house, for instance.  If he is a control freak by nature, then the tendency to want to hold you on a tight lead may come naturally.  Don’t be afraid to let him know you are uncomfortable with it.

A couple should be a team – equal partners.  Both need to feel free to speak, to think for his / herself.  When one begins to exude CONTROL – either mentally, emotionally or physically – it’s time to reassess the situation.

We love Lucinda, and we are so thankful for her testimony!  She loves God with her whole heart and writes of His faithfulness, His goodness and His grace every day!  We’re thankful that God gave her survivor fire along with His Holy Spirit.

HE MADE ME TOUGHER

I want to post a couple of websites for you today.  If you or someone you know needs help, please call these fine folks.

http://www.thehotline.org/

http://www.wordoflifecounselingcenter.com/

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Paint your ring finger purple.
Paint your ring finger purple.

What can you do to help?

By painting your left ring fingernail purple, the color of the anti-domestic violence movement, you will show the world your vow to end domestic violence and support Safe Horizon and the survivors it serves. In addition to painting your left ring fingernail purple, you can also show your support by spreading the word on social media with #PutTheNailinIt or, most importantly, by donating at safehorizon.org to help victims safely become survivors.

Be blessed and well today – and peace be unto you and your household.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)

https://youtu.be/EwcbYDcjZGg

I know I’m not supposed to question God’s plan, but I see others with their children this time of year and think, “You know, if I had children, we’d go to the pumpkin patch and we’d rent the big inflatable things for them to play on once in a while.”  I watch the neighbors with their children – and they throw the coolest birthday parties!  October would be the coolest time to be a parent.  How fun to take them to pick out just the right pumpkin – or at Halloween to go to the Field of Screams or some other fun place.

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.  – John 1:16

You’ve seen the images – the children tug at my heartstrings!  These are photos that are just too precious not to share.  I really love fall – especially where kids are concerned.  I could imagine myself taking these kinds of photos with my kids…  if I had them.

Little Apple Cheeks
Little Apple Cheeks

If I had a child, I imagine I would dress them in orange at this time of year.  I tend to wear orange and brown more, I suppose because of the colorful leaves falling all around.  I think I would be a frequent flyer at Zulily.com and be on the lookout for the newest and cutest clothing and shoes for my child.

Such a sweet face
Such a sweet face

When I was a kid, we had a big maple tree in the back yard and I loved to play in the leaves.  I was supposed to be raking them, but mostly I played in them!  I imagine if I had kids we would play in leaves – every day of autumn!  What a wonderful motivator to remain active children must be.  The desire to keep up with them is surely strong.

Playtime would be every day
Playtime would be every day

I would be more enthusiastic about decorating if I had children.  Most of what adults do are for their kids.  I would decorate with hay bales and potted mums and pumpkins – if it mattered.  I’m not excited about doing those things for myself necessarily.  If I had kids I know I’d want to surround them with beauty and give the very best I could.

Everyday Autumn Moments
Everyday Autumn Moments

If you have a child, do me a favor and enjoy every moment you have with him / her.  You are blessed beyond measure to have that charge.  🙂

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

TL I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE (2)

What was happening in America on Saturday, September 18, 1909???

The largest crowd to ever watch a baseball game, up to that time, turned out in Shibe Park as 35,409 spectators watched the Philadelphia Athletics beat the visiting Detroit Tigers, 2–0, on the pitching of future Hall of Famer Charles “Chief” Bender. The A’s were second to the Tigers in the American League pennant race.

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SEPTEMBER 18, 1909

Guess what else happened???  My Grandpa married my Granny!  I don’t have wedding photos – I’m not even sure there are any – this plate is my precious possession to remind me of my Grandpa Frank & Granny LaVella’s wedding day.  Mama told me that it was hand painted by a family friend and neighbor.  It’s not valuable – but it sure means a lot to me.  Granny kept this plate hanging in their bedroom on the farm.

People really do get married at an older age these days.  These two crazy kids were married at 16 years of age!  I think they were married at a judge’s house, if I remember the story correctly.

They had a piece of farmland willed to them, built a little house on it and started growing wheat, horses, cattle and children – by the time it was said and done – EIGHT kids!

Grandpa Frank also drove a truck to supplement their income.  Granny did some sewing and took in washing to help out.  They didn’t have to buy stainless for the kitchen or even entertain the notion of indoor plumbing…  but they were two of the happiest people ever!  They had the same beliefs and the same dreams for their family.  They embraced faith in God above all and were faithful to each other until the end.

I get to thinking about that sometimes.  In their life, they were so firmly rooted in family and values, the fancy stuff wasn’t important.  I loved everything about staying at the farmhouse when I was little because something as simple as snuggling down in one of Granny’s quilts meant more to me than anything fancy and showy.  That squeaky bed was the best, and using homemade soap every morning and eating farm fresh eggs…  well those are memories that will never fade from my memory!

You have to have a dream so you can get up in the morning.  – Billy Wilder

In our day, it seems like we place so much importance on possessing the best of things and less emphasis on growing a strong family.  In the end, what difference does it make if we have a hardwood floor or linoleum?  I wouldn’t want to have an outhouse…  let’s not get nuts!

I miss that farm in Oklahoma…  I felt so safe and secure there in that squeaky bed with Granny’s quilt tucked around me.  It gives me such comfort to know that Grandpa, Granny, mom and dad are in heaven waiting for me.

Happy Anniversary in heaven, Grandpa & Granny!!!

They are with Jesus, and one day I’ll join them.  Maybe I could have that squeaky bed and one of Granny’s quilts in my mansion.  I may not need it since there is no night there and I won’t get tired.  Hmm…  I have to re-think that, don’t I?  Wink!  😉

 

 

IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

IRON SHARPENS IRON

I don’t pay attention to how many people follow this blog, but if you are reading this post today, I humbly ask for your prayers on behalf of my talented friend, Lucinda Berry Hill.  We don’t know what the problem is, but we most definitely know WHO the Great Physician is…  Amen!

I want to share this bit of writing with you today.  I read it and had two thoughts:

(1) This is a long piece, and (2) I must share this even if it’s not in the form of a design.

Please read and pray.  Thank you!

MY FIRST NIGHT IN THE HOSPITAL

Lucinda Berry Hill, author of “Coffee with Jesus”& “A Second Cup with Jesus” © 2015

I’m sitting in this hospital bed looking for a pen.

I asked for my phone, some number, and oh yes,

My glasses.

But how could I forget a pen and some paper?

I am a writer, after all!

So I pray.

I pray that God will help my daughter sleep.

That she won’t feel tears in her eyes like I am,

And wonder where they’re coming from.

But that He’ll give her peace and help her sleep.

I pray that my husband will be comforted.

I know being in this hospital must bring back memories

Of the last time he saw his beautiful mother.

I pray for the person out in the hall.

Whoever works a mop at 12:00 at night needs prayers.

How do I know it’s a mop?

I’ve been professional cleaning for over 27 years.

I know a mop when I hear one.

And oh, those trash bags!!!

So, I pray for them.

Maybe they’re paying for college,

Maybe their little ones are home in bed.

Maybe they like the night shift.

Praying for all possibilities out in the hallway.

I hear someone nearby faintly crying.

I pray for their comfort

And the comfort of their loved ones at home.

I pray for my mom, 400 miles away;

I know as a mom now myself, she’s hurting.

I pray for her comfort.

I pray that maybe my night in the hospital

Will reunite some estranged family members.

I wonder what’s going on with me.

Is God gonna make me better than I was when I came in?

Will I have my strength back,

Being able to live a better and more vibrant life than before?

And then I wonder,

If it were my time to go,

(I’m sitting by myself in a hospital bed, of course I’m gonna go there)…

And I say yes!

My daughter is my main concern,

And if I don’t have her covered,

I can rest assured my God does!

She couldn’t be in better hands.

I know she will have a beautiful life.

Maybe not with beautiful things and people,

But with God’s beautiful,

With love, joy, peace and hope!

And then “she” enters;

A pretty young girl coming to draw more blood,

Part of an every 2 hour cycle.

And she asks,

“Do you need anything while I’m here?”

I said, with a giggle, “Do you have a pen?”

She did and said I could keep it.

Good thing, because I had a lot to write about and then

I prayed the Lord would keep her in His hands also.

I did a lot of praying that night

For so many people I didn’t even know;

And when in pain

I sang with Jesus.

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Lucinda, this is my favorite writing to date!  You are in my prayers, sweet friend!  May God richly bless you!  ❤