Friday, December 31, 2010

Goals

I have decided that New Year’s resolutions don’t normally pan out. I normally take the last week of the year to clear out closets, my mind, my calendar, get a new calendar put in my brief case, go over the goals that I’d set for myself at the end of last year – see what worked and what didn’t – if it’s still a goal – see what can be done to remedy the task.

Notice I said “goals”. For a long time I got up each day and said “Ok what’s up with today?” I don’t “map” my life in the sense that it isn’t subject to change.

I do a lot of praying – about the things I put down as goals. I believe when I add a goal to a list that it is something that is attainable, in my best interest, and something that God has led me to do.

I missed 3 of my goals this year. One is to get out of debt. That is going to be added to next year’s goals. Second, I want to learn sign language as a third language. And, thirdly, I want to become even better with my Spanish. All three of these take time.

This year I will add to finish my renovations to my from the hurricanes and to refurbish the old – New – Langham house. I envision the place being finished in time to decorate for Christmas next year. And, I am also hoping to get my barn built.

My barn will have a classroom, bathroom, storage and a commercial kitchen.

I’m hoping for walkways throughout the yard. And, lights that light the paths.

All of this is going to take hard-work and dedication to make it come to fruition.

I also want to walk with Christ more and join a few Bible study groups – even if I study at home alone.

I hope that you will find the time for you and God to make your “goals” Post them where you can see them everyday. And, work hard at achieving them.

Philippians 3:13-14 


13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Friendships

Friends come and go in our lives. Many times we may wonder "where so and so is." I've recently heard it said many times, "I've found a lot of my old friends on FaceBook!"

Well, so have I. Some, I realize why they were left in the past. And, others, I wonder why we were separated to begin with.

A recent coffee in Lake Jackson with several friends got me to thinking about others and wondering where they were or are in life.

Some were strange to begin with - and in their older years - they are even stranger. Some were trouble makers back when and are even more so now.

It's wonderful to be able to go back in time and think of friends and memories. I have so many wonderful memories - and then - there are some not so wonderful. I prefer to live for today.

God has blessed us all with hope for tomorrow and victory for today. Why would I want to cheat myself of those blessings by constantly living in the past? I am grateful for friends of the past who have now come back into my life. But I am also very aware of people who are wolves in sheep clothing.

Friends are like the tide - the relationships ebb and they flow. But God in my life, is a certain. A factor that withstands all friendships. Without Him, I would be nothing. And, without Him, I would surely fail.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Depression

Depression

Beginning with Thanksgiving through after the first of the year, many people suffer from depression. The reasons are many. To name a few, they are alone; they are short on money and want to purchase gifts; they spend too much money; holidays remind them of Christmas’ past – the litany could go on – but I’m sure you get the picture.

We have all balanced some form of depression in our lives – from grief of losing a loved one or a pet – perhaps we didn’t consider it depression – but to a point, that’s what it was.

Many people battle depression on a regular basis. They fail to eat properly. Many even forget to get up or they drink or they smoke or they forget to take baths. Many forget to even comb their hair or brush their teeth. Many do not care about their appearance. And, there are some who dress to the “nines” put on a fa├žade face and are still depressed.

Psalms 46:1 tells us “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

Psalms 34: 17 says “The righteous cry out and the LORD hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.”

Isn’t it wonderful to know that when we do feel down and depressed that we can give our troubles to God? Depression can be cured – not only on the physical end – but the spiritual as well. Many of us have deprived ourselves of the joy of going to God and laying our troubles on him.

Give it to God – whatever it is – and leave it there. He can do much more with your depression than you can. Hold fast to your prayers and fasting. And, never – ever – give up. Call upon His name.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Away from Home

Away From Home

I have often wondered how a soldier may feel – miles and miles from home during Christmas. Easter, Fourth of July, and other holidays do not seem to have the sentimental feeling that Christmas has for many. And, I have thought of young men and women in prison – missing their families for the first or 40th time during Christmas.

Christmas was never a “big thing” in my home growing up. When I became an adult, I made sure there was a tree. I also started my own traditions – things that I wanted to share and do each year. One of the things we do is adopt a family. We buy or make for each of the children and then do a little something for the parent(s).

I do not always go home for Christmas – in fact, I’ve not had Christmas at my Dad’s in a very long time. There are reasons. Not everyone can go home for Christmas, like the soldiers or the inmates, or people with “reasons”.

I’ve learned to open my home to people who are alone during Christmas. I try to share my joy and spirit of Christmas with others. Others, who for some reason or another “can’t go home”,

But, I, too, have spent a lot of “alone” Christmas’. During that time, I did find a peace. A peace in knowing that our baby Jesus was born. A peace in knowing that God loved us enough that He gave His only begotten son to save us from our sins. And, a peace in knowing that all is well in my home. I count the blessings that I have each day. And, maybe for a moment, like the soldiers or an inmate away from family, there is a tingle of hurt or pain, but there are far too many things to be blessed with than to allow hurt to overcome the day –

So, wherever you are celebrate the birth of Christ and don’t flutter about who isn’t with you – because one thing is certain – God will never leave you nor forsake you!

Pass a great Christmas spirit on to others! And, if you could take the time, think of a veteran or someone else who is away from their family this holiday season.

Friday, December 10, 2010

December Birthdays

December Birthdays

December seems to be the month of a lot of birthdays. My nephew’s, Jess’, my aunt’s, my cousins’, several girlfriends and a few male friends all share December as their birth month.

My cousin Sandy’s birthday was always December 10. She died several years ago. Prior to that we would always celebrate our birthdays together. She was 13 years older than me. It’s hard to believe that she would have been 70 this year.

A dear friend, Jean, and I share the same date. She is quick to let everyone know that she is TWO years younger than me! And, then she is quick to say, “but you are so much like my mother I think we may have been switched at birth.”

The best birthday of all is the birth of Jesus. I love the song, “Jesus, Oh Jesus, do you know him today? Oh don’t turn him away……..”

If you do not know Jesus as your personal Savior, I pray, that you will take the time. A simple prayer, “Lord come into my life, save me from my sins, and accept me as I am.” is all that it takes.

I love my Jesus – and I can hardly wait to see Him when I get to heaven – and I want to see you too!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Peace in Chaos

Peace in Chaos

A story was shared with me – and I would like to share it with you –

“This being the season for hope and being thankful for our many blessing this story came to my mind. I thought I would share with you and whom ever you deem to share it with. As in your line of work, you have come upon situations that you thought were dangerous and “well this is it. It's mine time to go.

When I was working in nightclubs, as a bouncer I had an occasional thing that I thought might be dangerous but never feared for my life. This story I’m about to share is a near death experience that was so near death I recall it with vivid memory.

My family had gone crabbing. We were crabbing in Freeport in the Brazos River off of a pier. I guess you would say we were really in Velasco. We had decided to leave and everyone had gone over the levee back to the car. I decided to go back and check one more time to see if I had anything biting on my line, since we’d just left the line in the water with the chicken neck still tied to it. I was about 7 years old I think .As I got onto the pier I slipped and fell into the water. I did not know how to swim. I remember fighting and struggling and gasping for air. I was calling out but know one could hear me because they had gone over the levee to the car. After a while, I became tired. I have no idea what the time frame was. I was exhausted and I realized I was sinking and drowning. All of a sudden a calm came over me and I knew it was my time to die. I wasn't scared any more it was all right. There was a peace about me. All of a sudden there was a body reaching for me - it was my sister she had come back over the levee jumped in to save me. The real kicker was, she couldn't swim either. We are both alive today because God has a purpose for us all. My life should have ended that day, but God had a purpose for me and I think the purpose is to let everyone know that when our time comes as long as we have faith the transition will be just fine. I have never shared this story with anyone but it just feels like the right time with the right person.”

Isn’t it wonderful to know that God brings peace to us in the midst of chaos?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Count Your Blessings

I woke this morning with the song going on in my head, "Count your blessings name them one by one... count your blessings see what God hath done."

Everyday there are woes - we may feel an ache or a pain. We may feel down and disheartened. We may feel that we are the only persons in the world going through any thing like this.

We waller in our own self-pities without looking around us for others who may be in worse shape than we are.

I'm learning on days when I am feeling like a freight train rolled over me - or that I'm not carrying enough self-pity - I take a drive. A simple drive. Not far from my house. I drive by a place at lunch time - Henry's Place - that serves lunches to the homeless.

The lines are significantly longer now, it seems. I make myself sit there and watch the people. As poor as church mice, they have smiles. Many have ragged clothes. I look at what I am wearing. I look at what I'm driving.

I leave counting my blessings. And, on the drive home - I count my blessings - naming them one by one.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's My Birthday!

It’s My Birthday!

Yes, today in 1953 I was born. I love my birthday; not only for the gifts I may receive but also for the gift I’ve been given! God gave me the gift of life! And, I LOVE life!

I love the Psalms 139. I love knowing that God knew me before I was even conceived, He knew me when I was in my mother’s womb, He prepared my way…

As an infant, I was abused by my natural mother, who, while my dad was in Korea tried to kill me, and later sold me to my paternal grandparents for $20 and a bus ticket out of town. I later lived with a stepparent and my dad. Sue was not always good to me either – but the one thing (among others) I do give her credit for – was making sure I went to Church.

Church was my “get-away” from the things that may have been going on at home. It was the place where I could go be with friends. It was a place where I had some of the most wonderful Sunday school teachers that God could’ve ever put into my life. Mrs. Rasco, Mrs. Williams, Mr. & Mrs. Kelley – to name a few – were always there – always ready to listen, always ready to teach all of us kids about the rights and wrongs of growing up.

I don’t count my birthday in years – it’s not the amount of breaths I take but it’s the moments that take my breaths away. I love life, and I live it to it’s fullest.

I am very grateful for my biological mother, Margie (for giving me life and loving me enough to give me to my grandparents who she knew would take care of me), both sets of my grandparents (Little Granny/Pappaw who taught me it’s okay to be poor, how to live off the land, how to work hard, and just be a good person) (Maw/Paw who taught me how to live, love, quilt, can, clean), Sue and my dad (for giving me a roof over my head) – but most of all I thank God for giving me the opportunity to be a blessing to someone each day, for giving me breath and life! I hope I am not a failure to Him, though at times, I am sure I have been.

So, Happy Birthday To Me!

Friday, December 3, 2010

My New Old House

New Old House

I am buying a new – but very old house. It was built in 1898. The house was home to the Langham family of Beaumont. One of the more prominent families – even founders of many things here in Beaumont.

I love the old houses. My home was built in 1892. When I found that this house was going to be destroyed so that FEMA could build the lady a new house – I cringed! So many things in our area have been destroyed – for the sake of “progress”.

When I bought my house, I had come off of a horrible marriage – and my refurbishing the old place was therapy. I also found furniture on the side of the road – discarded and not too pretty – that I would refurbish and reupholster.

When refurbishing these old houses – I think of how God never gives up on us – no matter how old we become – He forgives us, He loves us, and He is always there to make us shine.

So, perhaps like the old houses that I’m working on, I, too, am a work in progress – always trying to refurbish my old ways and make myself new in Christ.

Now, where’s that hammer?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Workers

Workers

I’ve decided to add on to the back of my house, not that I’ve out grown my house nor that I really needed the additional space. I am adding on because it will then connect my old house to the old servants quarters. My house was built in 1892 and the old servants quarters later housed the daughter of the people who built this house.

Finding good contractors who aren’t going to try to shaft you has been a real undertaking. Who can you trust to do the job and do the job in a manner that I am pleased with or know it is going to pass inspection the first round?

The concrete workers did a fabulous job. At the time they came, I wasn’t told they were “sub-contractors”. Had I known that – I could have hired them myself. So, I got “stung” a little on the contract amount. I hope that he enjoys that extra $1000.

My second group – the guys who’ve dried in the building have been more than awesome. I heard one say that they work as if they were working for their wife or God. How great can that be?

I found a Christian honest contractor – and I firmly believe it was through patience and prayer. I’m pleased with his work. I’m pleased with them being on my job each day. And, I even look forward to their smiling faces each morning.

I’m grateful for folks who do their jobs, do them well, and do them above anyone’s expectations. I’ve been blessed. Coffee pot is on – let’s get to work!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holiday Traditions

Holiday Traditions

I have always, at least in my adult years, strived to have my Christmas “gifts” done, wrapped and stored by the end of March. Crazy? Yes, probably – but in doing this – I am not in the maddening crowds of craft or quilt shops where people are grabbing and wanting this and that – and a lot of times – RUDE.

Getting my “gifts” done and assorted and wrapped – gives me the time during Christmas to go to plays, ballets, cantatas, and to drive to look at the Christmas lights.

I love going to the Galleria on my birthday. I don’t shop – I go, get to the second floor over the ice skating arena, purchase me a good cup of java and watch the kids and adults skate. I people watch. Not far away is the Salvation Army choir singing outside that expensive jewelry store.

I see the rush of people with packages. I see the smiles of the children. I hear the plans for giving the gifts.

It’s funny how when you just sit – and open your ears – the things that you can learn.

Christmas is for enjoying – for laughing – for finding peace – for being able to be a child and seeing the lights, sights and sounds through a child’s eyes. I’m glad that I am finished with the gifts early – this way – I know I can treat myself to some wonderful sights and sounds – and I can enjoy my Christmas without any frustrations or hassles!

Merry CHRISTmas!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Canning

Canning

This last weekend we spent the entire time preparing foods and canning them. We put up green beans, soup, peas, and turkey meat, just to name a few items.

I read and read the manual on how to do it. I asked cousins who have been canning all their lives questions. I didn’t just start peeling and cleaning the vegetables and sticking them into jars. I had to prepare – reading, gathering the vegetables, purchasing the canner, reading how to work it – to be able to perform my duties.

During the process I thought, “This is what learning to be a Christian is all about!”

We have to do Bible studies; we have to read our Bibles we have to ask those with wisdom and knowledge of the Bible questions to be able to learn.

Anything we do in life takes time. We don’t become perfect just because we are born again Christians. We are a process in works. An art form that God created. Some of us, it may take years to master or complete, others catch on very quickly.

Just like anything we do – whether it is canning or learning to speak a foreign language – we also have to study and listen and learn to become better Christians.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gift Giving

Gift Giving

We decided several years ago to make our gifts. Many of the “little” receiver’s think our gifts are “boring” and haven’t been taught the manners that any gift is just that “a gift” and should be accepted with kindness in the manner it was given.

We haven’t always had the funds to go out and purchase. Thus, our decision to make our gifts. We want to give, we enjoy giving.

Gift giving is Biblical, I believe. When our baby Jesus was born, the wise men came with gold, incense and myrrh. (Mathew 2:10-11) These gifts didn’t come from the local Wal-mart. These were treasures that had been stored up.

We give gifts to glorify God. Mathew 6:1-4 “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. …… But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.” See, even the act of sharing food with a neighbor is giving a gift!

In 2 Corinthians 8:7-9 Paul spoke to the churches who were giving him financial gifts so that he could continue his ministering about Jesus. Even though we are in tough economic times right now, we can still give to others – our time, volunteering, lending a helping hand, praying for someone, or just being a friend. Those are gifts that cost nothing.

I think we have allowed our society to tell us what all we should be “buying”. If you “make” that gift then it truly comes from your heart – you decided on that special gift for that special person. We shouldn’t think of Christmas as the only time to “gift”. I think the media has taken the true meaning out of Christmas – the celebrating that “God gave us his only begotten son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16) THAT is the greatest gift of all!

So, if we keep Christ in Christmas at all times, then we give to others, it would just be a natural thing to show love and gratitude all year long. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…”

I love to give a gift – and I think I will stick with making them – because those come more from me and my heart – than anything that could be purchased at a store

Tis the season – Merry CHRISTmas – ya’ll!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Holidays

Holidays

Thanksgiving has come and gone. And, we are all gearing up for Christmas. So many stores were open on Thanksgiving for a pre-Black Friday. I didn’t like that.

I think that we should enjoy each holiday separately. There is a reason we are given the holidays. There is a reason for those days being set aside. Many people do not stop and be grateful for what they have, for who they are, for all their many blessings – but once a year.

It’s sort of like many don’t go to church except Easter Sunday when they can go out and purchase a new dress, shoes, bag, and/or hat and strut into Church like they’ve been there every Sunday.

I think of the 4th of July and the thing most look forward to doing is popping firecrackers.

I look at Labor Day – how many folks really stop and think what that day was set aside for?

I think we all are like children – when we were young we foolishly wanted to grow up so fast – now that we are older I think we should take one holiday at a time, enjoy it – the company it brings and what it stands for – before worrying about the next.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

25th Day of Thanksgiving

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I am thankful for you who've kept up with my blog! Love ya!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

24th Day of Thanksgiving

I am thankful for my adopted son, Travis, who is somewhere in the Marine Corp.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

21st day of Thanksgiving

Today I am most grateful for my Mother. She loved me - in her own way.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

20th Day of Thanksgiving

I am grateful for my cat. I didn't want a cat. She was dumped on me. But she has caught mice and kept me company.

Friday, November 19, 2010

19th day of Thanksgiving

I am grateful for my talents. I can sew, quilt, embroidery, make jewelry and sometimes play the piano.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

17th day of Thanksgiving

I am thankful to attorneys -Steve Taylor and Calvin Garvie - for teaching me so much about my trade and allowing me to do the job I know I am capable of.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

16th day of Thanksgiving

I am thankful for the men working on my addition - their skills and hard work.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

14th day of Thanksgiving

I am thankful to have the freedom to be able to go wherever I wish without having to ask permission.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Saving the Best

Saving the Best

My grandmother grew up and even as an adult was poor as a church mouse monetarily. She “saved” everything. She used to get beautiful gowns and sheets for birthdays and Christmas. She’d never use them. “I’m saving them for a special occasion.” Her special occasion never came. She was put into a nursing home, then the hospital, then in a coffin.

When we cleared out her house – there were at least 3 dozen sheet sets still in packages – gowns with tags still on them – never worn or used.

I have had ladies who got china when they were married and never used it - waiting on the “special occasion”.

I think life is a special occasion – each and every day. If we have it – we should use it. If it’s given to us – we use it. If it’s too small – give it to someone who can wear it or take it back for a different size.

Our families are special enough to use that china on – or those fancy placemats – or to use the new quilts. If family and friends aren’t the special folks in our lives on a daily basis then who is? Who are we “saving for the special occasion” for?

God isn’t going to let us bring our worldly goods to Heaven. Hopefully we’ve earned our Heavenly home and all it’s glory. I think I’m going to start using the china and anything else I have – if it’s still good when I’m gone – then the kids can enjoy it too!

12th day of Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for the blessings I receive each and every day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

11th day of Thanksgiving

I am thankful for the food in storage for this winter & for the hands who prepared it

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

10th day of Thanksgiving

I am thankful for the weather. It could be much worse. I think of those who have to stay in because of the inclement weather.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Doris

Doris

I took Doris to the grocery store. Dropped her off and we went down the street for breakfast. We came back to do our little shopping to find her checking out. When we’d gotten through the entire store – she was still checking out. She was “having problems” with her debit card. Her food stamp card was for only $50.00

She had to return everything – and they had to re-ring her groceries up. She picked what all she really needed and the bill came to 50.13. The store covered the .13.

That pretty much broke my heart, to think that we live in America and have so many taking advantage of the “system” yet; people like Doris needs and cannot have.

“Doris, I’m not being nosey, but what do you get a month?” I asked

“I get $674 including food stamps and I pay rent, gas, water, lights, phone and my groceries and it don’t leave much for anything else.”

Friday we had boxed up 2 boxes of food for the food bank. When we got to the food bank – it was closed. Today the 2 boxes went to Doris. I figure there is a rhyme and reason to everything that happens and with everything closed – Doris was the winner.

God did take care of Doris – she may not have gotten all the food that she wanted at the store – but He saw a way for her.

Poor as a church mouse – with a heart and smile bigger than Texas. She doesn’t worry. She takes life in stride. Today, Doris taught me a lesson in relying more on GOD for my needs than on myself.

“So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

9th day of Thanksgiving

I am thankful for new friends and people I meet each day.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Worry

Worry

There just seems to be so much unsteadiness around us – folks are sick, folks are dying off, the financial crisis of the world, kids have turned against parents – so many things that can keep us in turmoil.

I think of the stories my grandmother told me of the Great Depression – they had many of the same fears then as we do now. They worried about feeding the kids, keeping a roof over their heads, paying taxes and just surviving.

I think many times our problems are not so much from a corrupt nation, but corrupt leaders. And, perhaps that is because we didn’t pray and earnestly ask God to guide our votes.

Or perhaps our fears are compounded because of all of the media attention to the negative.

In comparison to the Great depression or the woes of the past compared to today’s life’s strife there is one thing that is ever lasting in it all – God’s mercy, grace and blessings.

I’m learning not to fear tomorrow – but to live for today and make it the best I can possibly make it.

Isaiah 41: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

And Proverbs 3:5 tells me to trust in the Lord “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

Wow, between those two God tells me – I don’t have to worry – HE is going to handle it all for me!

8th day of Thanksgiving

I am thankful for Jess and all the things he does around and for me.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Beauty

So many of us look for the beauty from the outside. We worry that our make-up isn’t just right – oh – let’s make sure all that hair is perfectly in place and use the best of the hairspray to keep it that way. Ah, did my lipstick smear? I can’t have allergies today, the tears make my eyeliner run!

We worry about the clothes that we wear. Does it make my rump look too big? Oh does this sweater enhance the boobs?

Surely you’ve asked yourselves a few of those questions or even thought of others and made statements similar.

We get so wrapped up in what other people think of us that we forget the real deal!

I’ve told my son, “Remember, beauty is only skin deep but ugly goes all the way to the bone!”

“Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:4

Perhaps it is time we all look at our inner selves because the greatest beauty is what God sees and not our outside appearances.

7th day of Thanksgiving

I'm thankful I have a decent vehicle to drive that doesn't break down on me all the time.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

6th day of Thanksgiving

I am thankful for my home. I see the homeless and realize how very very fortunate I am.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Common Sense

Common Sense

I have often wondered about common sense. Is it something that we learn as we grow; is it something that we are bestowed when we are born; is it something that just happens?

I have seen a lot of folks with all sorts of degrees and book learning, as I call it – which has not a lick of common sense. They can’t come out of the rain even if it is pouring outside. They have no sense of direction.

I have wondered which was the best to have lots of common sense or lots of degrees and book learning.

I am thinking it’d be nice if we all had a little of each – but if I had to chose between the two – I’d take common sense. I consider common sense part of wisdom.

I think it is best for us to follow leaders with good common sense or wisdom. The Bible says, “The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just.” Psalms 37:30 and in Proverbs 1:2 “For attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight…”

I believe I will take common sense over book learning any day.

5th day of Thanksgiving

I am thankful for my job. Even though I have to work 2 and there are peaks and valleys - I'm grateful for the attorneys and Judges who give me the opportunity to work.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Making Potholders

Making Potholders

I’ve been quilting for quite sometime. Well over 50 years to be exact. I’m going to be teaching a class next week, so decided to make a sample of each step of the project.

About halfway finished I stood there looking and realized I had forgotten a step. An important step to making the certain block that I am teaching.

I wondered what would be different about me if God had forgotten to take a step in making me. I laughed and thought when I had my cesarean birth of my son, that God forgot to put a zipper in me so I wouldn’t have to be cut on. I was only jesting.

I’m not perfect in my eyes – just as some of my quilt blocks aren’t perfect – and I know I’m not perfect in others’ opinions either. But isn’t it wonderful to know that our maker made us JUST the way He wanted us – and that no two of us are alike? Think how dull the world would be if we all looked alike, same color hair, same size, etc.

I love to read Psalms 139. That tells me that God knew me when I was still in my mother’s womb. He knew the most intricate parts about me….. and He had a plan for me before I was even ever born.

I’m not perfect – but I’m perfectly made in God’s eyes and he never missed a step in forming me.

4th day Of Thanksgiving

I am thankful for our country and the ladies, who 90 years ago paved the way for me to be able to vote.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Praying for Caregivers

Someone I know and love has the beginnings of Alzheimer’s. I started seeing tale tail signs a few years back. Of late, I am seeing more issues.

One of the first things I noticed out of place was my deodorant in the refrigerator a few times. He doesn’t remember saying things or doing things. He has to be reminded several times regarding tasks. He can’t be given a list or that confuses him and only partial parts of each item on the list will be done – not anything that would finalize a task before he goes on to the next one. He gets confused to the days of the week. He forgets places we have gone. He forgets.

To cover his “disability” he sticks close to me. He will order exactly what I order so that he doesn’t have to make a decision. Sometimes, I will have to say “Oh I thought you were going to get the lasagna instead of the manicotti!” And, then he will change his mind and say, “Oh yea I was.”

I am trying to learn to take on a new role. I am learning to be a caregiver in many ways. I have to learn to assist without being angry or getting upsets. I have to learn a new line of patience. I have to learn to juggle issues for him, me, and my company and clients. I have to learn to be independent and strong.

Many people go through caring for someone with an illness. Many go through years of worrying about someone with Alzheimer’s. Yesterday, broke my heart when he asked, “if I get real bad will you just get rid of me?” Lord knows that question almost buckled my knees. We have foggy days and not so foggy days.

I’m working toward the goal of the most High… and in doing so; I garner my strength from Him. Pray for the caregivers of those who are ill, they need prayer as much as the one who is sick sometimes. I know God isn’t going to put any more on my shoulders than what I can’t handle – and I know God has a purpose in all of this – there is always a rhyme and a reason.

3rd day of Thanksgiving

3rd day of Thanksgiving

I am grateful for family and friends. I have learned over life that we are born into a family – but family is really what you end up with in the end.

Many of my friends – I consider family. I love them unconditionally. And, that feeling is reciprocated. Many know me better than the majority in my family. Many of my friends understand me – and even if they don’t – I’m still loved.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Henry Seale

I rarely meet a stranger, especially when it seems we have something in common. Met a couple this evening at the Chinese place. The lady and I were giving the fried crabs a run for the owner’s money. I asked her, “how come you are so neat and I have a huge mess over here?” She laughed and said, “No I have a mess too!”

We cut up back and forth like that for almost an hour as if we were old friends. I learned that they live in Jasper, Texas. I mentioned that’s where my grandfather used to be a gunsmith. Henry knew exactly where the place was.

We talked about fishing. Henry likes saltwater fishing. I told him about our last fishing at the island – where we’d been fishing all day long – and a motor home pulled up – the kids got out and second cast scored a 40lb drum. We all laughed.

Nancy said he had to take things easy because Henry had 4 heart attacks. I asked, without even thinking, “what ‘s making your heart bad?” He said, “I’ve been moved up to the top of the list for a heart transplant.”

Without batting an eye – I said, “well hold that thought and let me get you on a prayer warrior’s list.” I called my prayer warrior, Willie Mae and gave her the information.

We all exchanged names and email addresses before they left. It was as if we had made new friends. I got hugs from both of them when they left.

I figure life is about helping and praying for others. Tonight I met some new folks and during this time I was able to pray for them. I think that is what we are all supposed to do for each other. Color, race – none of that is suppose to matter.

So, tonight and until I hear differently, I’m going to pray for Henry Seale. I’m going to pray to the Great Physician and hope that God’s will be done. I just feel it in my bones that if Henry is given another heart – that he will do great things. As I told him, “God ain’t through with you yet – and there is a purpose for your life. “

2nd Day of Thanksgiving

2nd day of Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for health. I may be overweight, have a few dark spots that could probably be burned off – but all in all for 57 years old – I’m in relatively good health compared to others. I’ve not had anything that was life threatening happen to me. I’ve had a few bumps in the road – allergies and asthma – but nothing to be alarmed about.

Without our health, where would we be – besides miserable?

Thank you God for my health.

Monday, November 1, 2010

First Thirty things I'm Thankful for

November

November is the month that everyone thinks about turkeys and dressing and time off from work or school. I’d like to take each day in November and think of things that I am truly grateful for. Will you join me?

Today is November 1 – first and foremost – I’m grateful that Jesus loved me enough to die for me on the cross and save me from my sins.

In saying that, Christians are not perfect. They are flawed. We are human. We make mistakes. We allow our emotions to over take us at times. A saying I use is, “we allow our alligator mouths to overload our hummingbird butts” a lot of times.

Jesus was the only perfect person who walked on this earth. I’m far from perfect and far from the person I’d like to be. I am a work in progress. And, I am grateful that I am forgiven and I am loved and I am watched over by the one who loves me the most.

Teach our Children

Had a parent at my garage sale wishing she could purchase an antique wrought iron bed for $125.00 for her daughter. The mom’s nails were manicured with artificial nails, she carried a new iPhone 4, and was driving a decent- but not new – vehicle.

She said, “I want to buy my kids everything they want, but I’m not working right now.”

She didn’t buy the bed. I did sell it for $200 to someone who knew the worth of the antique.

I thought about the things the lady had said. She was an unemployed schoolteacher. Yet, when I asked her 4 year old “can you write your name?” She shook her head “no”.

I think it is real sad that parents have lost sight of what is important in the lives of children. I wonder, if that school-teacher mom had spent at least 2 hours a day with her child teaching her math, writing, reading, alphabet (she also couldn’t even do her ABCs) how much the brain of that child would have absorbed!

When I asked, “what do you do during the day?” The child said, “Play outside.”

There’s a scripture in the Bible that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” I’m sorely afraid for our children this day. Many parents aren’t making good memories, instilling knowledge in their children – simple knowledge like baking cookies or making kool-aide together – but instead – they choose to let the television be their babysitter and someone else to teach their children.

My clients are defendants in the criminal justice system. Pretty much each has told me, and it’s been confirmed, that they raised themselves – had to learn things on their own - about life – living – and surviving – and in the end – many will only come out of prison in a box.

I pray for the children of today. I prayed for this child the entire time I saw her and even, now, 2 days later – that somehow this mother will see the injustice she is doing to the child – not only in making memories and helping her grow – but putting her behind other children and her peers in the classroom.

Pray for the children of our Nation.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Relying on a Master

I’ve told you about Munchkin – that she was one of 4 feral kittens dropped off here about a year or so ago. I wasn’t impressed with any of them. But, I do not have the heart to kill them or not feed them.

Three died from one cause or another. The runt, which got named Munchkin, has survived. She doesn’t want to be picked up. She doesn’t let you hold her. She is obstinate to a huge degree. She has the markings of a Siamese cat. All in all – she is still beautiful.

Last night we decided to camp out in the back yard again. We had cots put into our screened in gazebo. Munchkin wanted in too. So I brought a blanket that I’d given her and put it on the floor. She was content.

I rolled over and to my back I felt something. “Jess, is that the cat behind me on my bed?” He looked, “Wow, it sure is.”

With her paw, she slapped at my back – she wanted me to roll over. I didn’t make a move away from her last night. When I moved to give her room – she only moved closer. At one point, I awoke to find her paws – one on each side of my face and her face within inches of mine – purring and in complete ecstasy of sleep.

In reflection, I see a wild unruly kitten, turning into a loving wanting attention and petting and massaging cat. I think of those unsaved and how God takes the worse of the worse, and turns them into something special. I think the patience I’ve shown her has taught her not to be afraid. I think the patience God shows us, gives us more and more opportunities to turn to Him and do his good works.

So, maybe like a feral cat, we can all learn to trust our Master – He feeds us, He clothes us, He watches over us – and what better Master to have than Jesus!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Clutter

The Clutter

I keep telling myself “you have all this stuff for this garage sale because you closed down two stores”. Hmmm – yes that is all true. But, I must admit, I’m totally surprised at the “clutter”, even if it is for a garage sale. I’m totally blown away at how much we’ve cleared out and yet – what all remains.

As I sat taking a break this afternoon (pedometer says I’ve walked 12.8 miles this morning) I looked at the clutter in my driveway and studied the clutter. I’m praying it will bring in money – at least a little – perhaps enough to replace the carpet upstairs from the damages of Hurricane Ike. I don’t think I am asking for much.

I thought about how cluttered our lives can get. I thought about all the activities that most of us have going on – especially parents and grandparents with children to run after.

I think sometimes it is necessary to “de-clutter” our lives. I think we have to let go of the hurts, the damages done to us; we have to redress ourselves. We have to put on the whole armor of Christ – to survive – and to do that – we have to let go of the clutter – the clutter that keeps us from reading God’s word or the clutter that keeps us from diligently praying or the clutter that keeps us from singing God’s praises.

I’m really working at de-cluttering my home. I want a simplistic life at home. I want a more organized life. I want to have a place for everything and everything in its place. And, in my personal life, I want to rid myself of the hurts of the past, the anger I may still be carrying for one cause or another, and anything that keeps me from being better. I want to shout and sing without worrying about the clutter or who helped put it there.

I think we all carry our own clutter. And, when the clutter manifests into pure garbage, then we lose sight of who we are, what God’s purpose for us is and how to accomplish the task.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Anthony Graves

Anthony Graves was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death eighteen years ago. Yesterday, after appeal and appeal and appeal, Bill Parham, the District Attorney for Washington and Brazos Counties of Texas, after many hours of investigating by his staff and the ex-Assistant Harris County District attorney, Kelly Seigler, declared Anthony an “innocent man”.

Anthony walked out of the jail at 5:30pm. A free man. The first thing he wanted to do was go to his mama. He had not had a hug from her in over eighteen years. He just wanted to see his mama. He has grandchildren he’s never touched.

Calvin Garvie and Lydia Clay-Jackson were his trial attorneys. Calvin is a hard working attorney. He is smart. He is diligent. Anthony’s case and one other, Rodney Reed’s case, has haunted Calvin and in fact, as great a capital trial lawyer as Calvin is, he stopped doing death penalty cases.

I thought of Paul being placed in prison – simply for preaching and teaching God’s word. Paul was stoned and placed into prison at least three times.

I am not comparing Anthony to Paul – but am using Paul’s false imprisonment as an analogy of what Anthony and others can learn. We can all ask, when put into bad situations, “how does this apply to me?” Paul, though persecuted, continued to preach and emphasize to study and practice God’s word. Paul believed in the power of prayer. And, in the end, Paul grew from the imprisonment. He grew in strength, knowledge, and wisdom and had a much stronger faith.

When we, like Anthony and Paul, are faced with tough times, we can grow from them. I believe that is when we have to read our Bible’s more, pray more and become listeners of God.

I’m proud to work for attorneys like Calvin Garvie. I’m proud to know that District Attorneys like Bill Parham have the courage to face the rebuttal of a decision to free and state the “man is innocent” a man who has spent eighteen years of his life in prison.

I hope we can all learn something from Paul and Anthony’s travesty of justice. And, in the end, when we all have our own injustices, we can become stronger than we ever were.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Listening to God Whispers

Since I began writing, I’ve received several emails telling me “”where is my post for today – it’s late!” or “I loved the story about…” or “this really hit home today.” These emails are my encouragement – they motivate me – they are my kick in the rump to get ‘er done when I haven’t written that day. I try to do at least one week’s worth of blogs ahead of time. Sometimes I don’t do it – I know I should – I’ve “gotten too busy”. Those are excuses.

I have to be real honest with everyone, when I started writing this blog I had pneumonia. The first 4 days were so bad that I was as limp as a noodle, hurt so badly, couldn’t breathe and didn’t and couldn’t muster the energy to even go to the doctor. I prayed fervently during intermittent sleeps. One prayer that stuck out in my head was “God if I’m not going to get any better, please take me home now.”

Yes I prayed to die. I was that desperate. What in reality was just a short time later, I was over the hump or the hurdle to getting well.

I remember waking in the middle of the night with God whispering – “you are going to write”. I said, “Why me? What have I got to say that someone else would want to hear? And, how?”

I slept so soundly after that – literally I slept for 2 days straight without getting up or even going to the bathroom. Had anyone been there with me, I’m sure they would have thought I was comatose.

The morning I woke, I went straight for the computer. I said, “Okay God – Your will – not mine – show me what to do.”

I wrote 9 blogs within 3 hours. I can only say it was strictly God’s doing.

I think that we all lose the concept that we are here for a purpose, a rhyme and a reason. God has a master plan for all of us. It isn’t up to us what it is, or for us to decide when or where but it is up to us to listen to those God whispers and follow His will.

I’m grateful everyday for life. I love life. I want to live life to it’s fullest. And, I’m awesomely blessed to be able to share a few thoughts each day with those that read this, and perhaps along life’s way, put a smile on someone else’s face, a song in their heart, a dance in their feet or even a memory in their mind. That’s what life is all about – J(Jesus) O(others) Y(you)!

Listen to your God whispers – He works through all of us – even this one who can be such a cutup. Pass a good one

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Humility

Humility

I have learned a lesson in humility today from a young friend. I was asked to make a Rodeo Queen Contestant dress for a friend named Hayley. Hayley is a senior this year, her last year to be able to ride in the arena, to try out for rodeo queen. Her grades are above any parent’s dream. She has a great disposition.

I learned today that after all the mistakes, a protest and recalculation of points, Hayley should have been awarded 2nd runner up in the rodeo queen contest. The officials would not do anything to change the status since the rodeo was already over with

I was upset. I was angry. I was disheartened knowing how hard Hayley had worked on her speech; the hours spent getting gussied up, working with her horse to be deprived of her rightful title.

Her mom asked me not to take any action. Hayley chose to not hurt the other girls who have the titles – even though they truly didn’t earn them. She didn’t want anyone else’s feelings hurt.

I think that takes a lot of guts to say, “it’s okay; it’s over and done with, and let’s move on.” Not a lot of seventeen year olds can do that.

Hayley showed me that having a title isn’t near as important as making the initiative to go out for the Rodeo Queen position. She showed me that she knew she had done her best and that was all she required of herself. Prior to the competition I told Hayley, that in my eyes, she was already a winner for what all she had accomplished, worked for, earned and had done.

Her attitude about the miscalculations and not wanting to hurt anyone shows me that she is more of a winner than I originally thought. She is a Queen among friends and peers. I tip my hat, to you Ms. Hayley; you have shown grace under fire, humility and compassion throughout all this. I still believe you are the best winner of all.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lost

Have you ever tried anything new? Gone to a foreign country and didn’t really know the laws or the rules? Have you ever been lost in a city or just lost in a shopping mall?

Those times can be trying; they can give us an uneasy feeling and even fits of anxieties at times.

We look for remedies. We search for maps. Perhaps, we even ask, “Do you speak English?” We get on our iPhones or iPads and search for information or directions. In trying a new recipe, we may even ask someone if they have tried it before.

No matter what the “new” was or the adventure may have been, it was an experience. Sometimes the experience isn’t something that we would have chosen to do, but, nonetheless, we have to do it.

I have a friend about to experience a period of time that I’m encouraging her to hold her head up like a woman and not with the grief of a child. I’ve shared 1 Corinthians 13:11 “when I was a child I spoke as a child, I acted as a child, but when I became an adult I put away childish things.”

No matter our circumstance – we have to act as adults. We have to see our way through the issue – the lostness – the darkness – the unknown. Many people thrive on the adventure of the unknown, many would rather shiver as a child – instead of like I say, “put your big girl panties on and just do it”.

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you always.” It’s times of the difficulty, the times of the fear, that we have the privilege of relying on God even more. Don’t be afraid to take that faith and rely on God – He will carry you through the tough times – and He will hold you even when you are alone.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Homecoming

Homecoming

Some folks say that you can’t go back home, that there’s never a returning point. John Grisham wrote Bleachers about a football player who returned home when his football coach died.

I went home yesterday – to a Football Homecoming. It was the first homecoming I’ve been too since I graduated high school in 1972. A group of us had planned to meet.

I was hesitant at first about even going. But, then I was depended upon to purchase tickets for eight folks. I didn’t want to let anyone down. And, I had to repay my brother who picked the tickets up for me.

As one friend at a time showed up, there were hugs and more hugs, laughter, a few tears, and pure joy.

I was not disappointed in going to the Homecoming.

Some folks say things aren’t the same as it was when we were kids. That’s okay, things aren’t supposed to be. We are supposed to be adult enough to go with the flow of things and discard the rubbish.

There’s a saying that you know who your friends are when there is a distance of time between the visits – but when you are together it’s as if there was no time lapse at all – and you can pick up right where you left off.

I was glad to see Milton, Ellen (who reminded me of a prank I played on one of the counselors at GA camp one year), Janice, Debbie, Lynda, David, Camille, Rhonda, Tommy, Scott, Kathy and others who were there.

I’m grateful for friends. I hope that you have the opportunity to reach out and find an old friend today. Friends know how to lift our hearts and make our wings flap when we forget how to fly. They are strength when we need it; laughter that can fill our souls; they are the salt of the earth; they are part of the threads that bind us. I’m so glad I went to that homecoming!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Friends on Facebook

Friends on Facebook

Me and another friend were recently chatting in private about facebook. He says, “I think we are all seeking attention in some manner by posting parts of our lives on Facebook.”

I differed in opinion to him. “Then what do you think it is?” he asked.

I said, “I think it is sharing the fun things and good parts of our lives with friends, without putting real personal stuff on there and then when we have woes our friends pick our spirits up and know when to pray for us.”

“Wow, I never looked at it like that before.” He said.

I read so many posts and wonder, “do these people really have a life?” Then I read the prayer requests. Then I read someone is a new grandparent or someone who has been looking for a job just found one or someone who is my age is going back to school. I read the good things that make me happy to read.

There are a few who are unhappy with life. No one can please them and if you dare state an opinion opposite to what their opinion is then you are blasted or cursed. I’ve decided, like in my normal life, to delete those persons who create drama or grief.

I deleted people I knew and even family members several years ago from my life – the ones who gave me grief or were not supportive of who I was and what I was making of myself. My life hasn’t been totally stress free, but I hear from others these people are the same way.

What a waste to go through life trying to please others and not be who we are suppose to be.

I love to read Psalms 139 when I feel this way. God knew me when I was still in my mother’s womb. He created me. He knew my most intricate parts. Why should I allow, even for a few moments, someone to steal my joy by reading their negative or being around negativity?

I’m not. There are delete buttons on a computer and in life! Enjoy your day – every day – all day – and just pass a good one!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Our Flappers

Our Flappers

I thought I was going to have to call a plumber because the toilet out in my old office was broke. I had been told that the toilet needed a new ring. Okay, I’m thinking that wax ring thing that goes between the commode and the flooring. Whatever is broke, just fix it, was all I was concerned about.

A friend came out and said, “it’s just the flapper that needs replacing.” Just a “flapper”.

While the repairs took place, I thought of our lives. I thought of how at times we get “broken” into pieces that we think are major. We hurt. We cry. We feel down. We feel we are broken beyond repair.

Funny thing, God doesn’t see us that way. Sometimes through prayer, fasting, and meditation, we realize the problem is only something minor or something in our minds; our “flapper” may need replacing or adjusting.

“Well, what is our flapper?” someone may ask. Our “flapper” may be something so slight as an attitude or mood adjustment. Our “flapper” may mean a type of surgery. I’ll just say our “flapper” is anything that can be repaired through seeking God.

“I am the truth and the way, no man shall come unto the Father, except by me.” Let God handle the “flappers” in your life and whatever is broke, just let Him fix it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Who Cares?

Who Cares?

That is one of the little things I say all the time about trivial things. “Who cares?” I’m talking about things that we really can’t do anything about. Things that just don’t go as we planned. Things that people do to us that make us angry.

“Who Cares?” With the important things of life – God cares. God is always there for us. He cares if we are happy/sad, fed/hungry, alone/safe – God cares.

He cares if we are grieving: Psalms 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

He cares if we are in fear: Proverbs 91:11 “For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”

He cares about our health: Job 12:10 “In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

He cares if we are lonely: Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

In life, we may think the things we are going through doesn’t matter and we say, “who cares?” But God cares … never forget .. We have one who is mightier than the universe that cares, who sees, who knows – and He cares.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Recipes

I’ve started collecting recipes. I plan to use them one day. One in particular is a watermelon rind pickle recipe. We recently purchased 4 melons (I gave one away). With the three remaining melons, I plan to juice them, and then attempt my first batch of watermelon rind pickles.

My grandmother used to make them all the time. I wish I would have be more aware back then and written down a lot of her recipes. I regret not having taken the time to do so.

Recently a cousin sent me a great-Aunt’s teacake recipe. They are to die for! I remember Aunt Ellie making these, after they cooled wrapping them in a clean tea towel (now there’s a difference in a tea towel and a drying towel) and putting them inside a tin coffee container with a lid on it that would seal them up tightly to keep them fresh as long as the teacake lasted.

I don’t want to just be a collector. I do collect other things like antiques, baseball stuff, dolls, and quilts. I want to make and share. I want to make and sell.

I’m thinking, “How will this younger generation ever know anything about “real” cooking except what they get out of the frozen food section of the stores?”

Perhaps it is time that we spend more time teaching our children than preparing for them. Maybe it’s time to get a group of children together and let them bake their own cookies. When was the last time you spent time with a child, teaching them something? Let's teach them the recipes of life.

Let’s not be collectors, let’s be doers….. and if you have an old recipe you want to share – send it to me!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

1Corinthians 13:11

1 Corinthians 13:11

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I acted as a child, but when I became an adult I put away childish ways.

I shared that scripture with a friend last night. She is about to have a huge challenge in life. She’s gone through “crying” her way through things – tragedies – disappointments – abuses – rather than working her way through them. She never examined the past to let go of it nor to learn so that the future was brighter.

I gave her that scripture because I want her to be strong and brave. I also gave her a scripture on “be not afraid, as I am with you always”.

I want her to learn for herself that childish ways do not make you a strong, good self-esteemed, and woman. It makes us weak. And, the weak are eaten up in this world.

I want her to teach that to her daughter. I want them both to be strong individuals so that no one can abuse them in any manner.

I think that we all have childish ways to a degree. I think that the “fun” kid inside of us keeps us young like the kid who loves to ride the merry-go-round, go to the parks and the zoos, one which experiments with explorations and adventures.

However, it’s when we let the childish negative ways overtake our lives that we become weak. The crying all the time over things that cannot be solved with tears is one example. The pouting is another. The getting angry when things don’t go our way is another.

There’s a song where a line goes, “I am weak but thou are strong, Jesus keep me from all wrong….” When I was a child …. I am now an adult… ready for the great adventure.