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!