My Graphics

Just a short quick blog (I hope).

Praying everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving. Ours was small and quiet but still nice. We’ve lost so many the last few years.

I love to create, the graphics I do bring me much joy, and I feel they help illustrate my blog thoughts.

I have recently had what I count as constructive (won’t believe it was destructive!) criticism on my use of graphics.

The comments have ranged from “Cute, love them,” to “Cheesy-distracting!” and just about everything in between.

I try to make them relevant and color match them to my blog. A lot of them have frames and I have no idea how they get there or how to remove them!

If they are too distracting, I want to stop using them but if they’re not I want to continue. Any help with this dilemma will be appreciated.

Computer

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Giving Thanks or Do We Deserve It?

It’s hard to believe this is the Monday before Thanksgiving. The year seems to have flown out the window somehow and left me behind in its dust.

Window days

 

I haven’t done a Thankful Journal this year. Truth be told, I haven’t done one in several years.

As I reflect over all I have to be thankful for, I realize I am really good at saying (or printing it) but not so good at really believing it. Somehow I feel we all fall into this trap.

In this free country of ours, it is easy to lose sight of all we genuinely have to be thankful for.

I have noticed people, myself included, tend to add qualifiers to their thankfulness.

Not really surprising when one thinks of how the last few generations have been raised.  Or more accurately, what the last few generations have absorbed when the message that everything is all about us has bombarded them through the media, school, government . . . you name it.

“You deserve a break today!” goes a popular jingle. “What about ME?” one song says. “You deserve brighter eyes!” “You deserve affordable housing!” “You deserve a better job, or car, or whatever!”

Everywhere you look, everywhere you go there is a sign with the message, “You deserve . . . : And we all fall prey to this insidious message.

            New Car DeserveNew House

Nothing seems to be enough. The government even declares that people can be impoverished AND still have a car, air conditioning and TV. How do you think the poor homeless veteran living on the street feels about this, or the poor child that has no food, a cold house, no shoes and no hope for a change? Do they “deserve” what they have just like we “deserve” what we have?

In truth, no one deserves anything (except eternal death and damnation). We’re all only here by God’s good mercy and grace.

I really didn’t mean to have a sermon but this is what I have been led to say.

God loves each and every one of us.

Bible 2

 Luke 12:7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

 He doesn’t desire that one of us be hungry or cold or any of the other realities of this fallen, sin filled world.

Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Luke 12:24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

He’s provided a way for us to come to Him.

Ephesians 2:8-9  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

It’s simple to come to Him. Just pray and ask Him into your heart. Then find a good church to help in your new life and to continue with following His commandments and fellowshipping with other believers.

I leave you with these verses on thanks and thanksgiving; there are hundreds of examples of verses citing thanks and thanksgiving.

1 Chronicles 16:34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Ephesians 5:20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Bible

Doctor, Doctor, Doctor!!

I consulted with the Dr. today. He is only in town on Wednesdays, so today’s the day.

I’ll be having a minor procedure done before Thanksgiving so I can enjoy the Christmas holidays in semi-pain instead of excruciating pain, so starting just after Thanksgiving for a week or so I won’t be posting blogs much, if at all.

I will be going in sometime after the New Year for more major work. They will start with my feet, work up to my lower back, hips, then upper back and then back down to my knees.  Some of the work will involve major surgery, i.e. replacement, some steroid shots and some corrective surgery for multiple breaks.

I have needed work done for years and kept putting it off due to circumstances occurring, which I felt I needed to help with ( parents’ illnesses, injuries, etc).  I am now in a position where I really can’t put it off much longer. Plus, I can now take a somewhat extended time to have the procedures, the subsequent rehab and all that is associated with the work.

Drs

                                                

Heart Piercing Conviction

Our home church, as many others have told about, also has Operation Christmas.

G’daughter started saving her money to buy a bicycle when she was around five years old. At the time, there were numerous great-aunts, cousins, and various other relatives alive that were more than happy to “help” her. Most of them just gave her a dollar here and there and others, like her mean old g’parents, made her earn the money.

By the time the Christmas season had rolled around, she had an impressive $40 and change.

We knew that year (like this year) would be very, very lean and for the holidays, we had to be especially frugal to avoid the situation of more month at the end of the money.

During this time frame, our church kicked off Operation Christmas. I’m not sure, why that year she was interested more than usual, but she was.

She campaigned for more money until she had $50 and at that point wanted us to take her to the different discount stores so she could see what was available and where the lowest prices were. We visited umpteen stores that touted themselves as having the lowest prices in town. We live in a small town so there were not a lot of options. She also wanted to sponsor boys because she felt most people had less trouble thinking of gifts for girls.

After we visited all the stores, she consulted her notes and we went back and got the gifts she wanted at the different stores with the lowest prices.

The last store on our list was a large store with “lowest prices” that everyone would recognize. As we got in line and she was checking off the gift list, she looked up at us and announced, “You need to sponsor some children, too.”

We quietly explained that we were helping by giving her money to make up the difference in the $40 plus and the taxes.

By this time, we were at the conveyor belt and began unloading the gifts. She very solemnly looked at us, put her hands on her hips and declared, “You always say, God provides. He will this time, too.” Then she turned to the cashier and said, “Right? Right.”

Pierced, broken and convicted heart!

We didn’t have $5, much less $50, but she kept on along with enlisting the cashier until we finally said, “OK, we’ll put these in the car then come back and get gifts for another child.”

So, we did. I’d love to say we reaped a multitude of HUGE blessings but we didn’t. But we did have a nice holiday season and had as much money as there was month left.

Philippians 4:19

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Big boy presentGirl presentChild and present
Girl gift

 

Do It Afraid!

At the g’daughter’s graduation, a young girl had volunteered to speak in order to encourage others in the audience.

Her story was riveting, mind-boggling, sad and very encouraging.

She started her speech by telling us all she became pregnant at 14, and apparently again at 16. She looked to be about 19 or 20, and her kids didn’t look over four to five years old.

As she spoke, she relayed very short stories of her struggle as an unwed mother, but she felt extremely fortunate because she had a lot of support from family and friends.

She then told of a conversation with her best friend that went something like this:

“I’m so scared and afraid to go back to school and finish. I mean, look at all I’ve been through, I can’t relate to them, and they can’t relate to me.

“So, is it something you want to do?

“Yes, very much so but I am so afraid!

“Listen to me friend of mine. Just do it. Do it and do it afraid.  BUT DO IT”.

SO, she did and did it afraid plus gave a speech while quaking in her shoes, but-SHE DID IT!

What a great lesson for all of us who are facing situations that will not harm us. In fact, they are probably helpful, and after the event(s) is over we’re stronger, better and much happier for having “done it afraid.”

I know in my life I have been afraid of doing things and most of the time fear has won out. Then later, I would think, “I wish I had done whatever and now it’s too late (or I am too old or a myriad of other reasons-some valid and some not so valid).”

Friends, if you’re like me and the young lady relating the story, then let’s make a promise to ourselves:  A promise to “DO IT, AND DO IT AFRAID.”

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

P.S. Skye, I thought of you and your post: http://ohthethingsweshallsee.com/2013/11/15/quick-roll-up-the-window/         as I was writing this. The speech made a profound impact on me, especially coming from someone so young. So this is for you! (And of course, me and anyone else facing this struggle.) Love and hugs, dear friend!

scared

SHE DID IT!!!!

Well, she didn’t look like either picture I envisioned. She looked more like this one:After GradVery solemn and sedate on the outside, a trembling bundle of nerves on the inside.

She didn’t get the scholarship. The kid who got it apparently attained the highest score they’d ever had there (and I know hers was high).

We still have time for more scholarship searching, though.

Poor thing was so very nervous. She has extreme anxiety and wasn’t really wanting to go.

We found out it was one of the smallest graduating classes, so we thought, “Great, she would be fine and no major worries.”

OH, WOW, was that the WRONG answer.

There were 99 graduates, of which she was the very youngest. And ONLY about 400 to 500 family members, no biggie for someone with anxiety and panic attacks, right?

She nearly hit her panic button, which would cause her to run when she saw how many people were there to enjoy the ceremony.  To top it off, they wouldn’t let us go back and help with her gown and cap. But, she persevered plus made a couple of friends that kept her laughing until they lined up for the march across the stage. Now she is very, very proud of herself. (None of the rest of us are very proud of her, course I’ve got an oceanview property for sale in Arizona, too!)

She told us we owed her a meal at Olive Garden for her working up the nerve to go and for following through with the whole ceremony. I’d say that’s probably the least we can do!

 

Graduation!

The 16 year old G’daughter graduates tonight.

I guess we “done” good home schooling her.

She has a partial scholarship already and we’ll find out tonight if she gets a full 2 year scholarship.

I don’t know which she of these she will be but I do know she won’t be wearing a dress!!

 

Grad2

 

Grad 1

 

Pumpkin Cupcakes and Complacency

We made pumpkin cupcakes the other day. I needed help with the frosting and asked for he who shall remain unnamed to help me.

Problem was, I was mixing and stirring the ingredients diligently but the frosting wasn’t coming together. I added a little more butter and still nothing but sugar-it just wouldn’t turn into frosting. I questioned several times if that was all the directions said and though assured, most vehemently the last time, that “Yes that was all!” it was NOT WORKING!

I decided to skip the never-ending stirring of powdered sugar in the quest of frosting and read the directions myself. You guessed it, there was more, only not in line with the first part. I added the 2 teaspoons of waster and lo and behold-pumpkin frosting appeared! I completed the frosting, frosted the cupcakes and though they were very buttery flavored they were still good.

This reminded me of our Christian life in so many ways.

We have the basics of what to do and how to lead our life and we go on day by day trying to get it to come together. We think perhaps if we add a little more kindness to the mix it will work. (Or humility, or love or whatever else we struggle with.) Very seldom thinking of the instruction book God gave us in the form of the Bible.

I’m not saying we don’t read our Bible or pray over what we have read. Instead, I am saying that in our normal day-to-day living we seldom consider making true adjustments to what we are doing incorrectly. Because let’s face it, slightly powdery frosting is still sweet, right? It’s just not quite, what we or anyone else was expecting.

mixing