Thursday, November 27, 2008

Blessed, to be a blessing
I have received much in life and that has led me to be all the more grateful. I was born into a family with 4 other children, that was a blessing in itself. I have siblings of all ages and stages and each adds something to my life, makes me more 'me' than if I was raised without them. 

I'm richer for having grown up with kids of all ages.
Blessed to be in the family whose parents took us to church and to a church that valued God's Word. 
I have that heritage that so few have these days.
Grateful to have met and married someone who likewise was raised in church, his father's church, as a missionary in Japan. 
Blessed to have children - a boy AND a girl! Now adults who love and respect us. (we are SO blessed by that fact)
Blessed by the addition of a son-in-love who was raised in the faith, who is a leader in their family, protector, and the father of our first and favorite granddaughter.
Blessed to be grandparents to Avery - what a sweetie she is!
Blessed with health, a good home, and friends.
Grateful for work - good places to work, work that satisfies and doesn't always 'feel' like work
Blessed to be a part of a Bible study - with women who desire to mature in their faith
For these things and many more I am grateful to God, and blessed, I pray I am a blessing to my family, friends, co-workers, patients, and others.

I pray you are enjoying this day with loved ones, enjoying good food, sharing life and love together. 
We will be doing so - we are blessed.

Truth for Life
. . . in the presence of the LORD  your God, you and your families shall eat and rejoice 
in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you.
Deuteronomy 12:7b

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My thoughts on Thanksgiving expressed creatively thanks to, 
click below, then come back!

In the USA we are celebrating thanksgiving this week. It is a time that is often hurried past in order to watch the latest sports event on t.v., hit the stores as early as possible, begin the decorating for Christmas. How very like us Americans, to rush through life, to rarely stop to experience today, to consider how blessed we are in our country. We have been given much.

I read a quote in an email / blog I receive daily. . . it stopped me dead in my tracks today.

"If tomorrow's supply depended on today's thanksgiving,
how much would I have tomorrow?"

Think on this.

I am grateful today for sounds, yes, sounds. For using Skype I was able to hear with my ears (and thus my heart) the voice of my granddaughter and daughter. I hadn't 'heard' them since their leaving the country last week. I was able to ask her questions, hear her answers, listen to her update, and know what are their current plans and prayer requests. It was music to my ears to hear the sound of Skype indicating an active connection on her end and a symphony when I heard her voice. 
It lasted 5 minutes but was precious!

We'll be spending our Thanksgiving meal with my step-mom and her family. We are SO grateful for their invitation; it was timely! They are warm welcoming people. They are truly family to us. I'll be baking rolls, taking a cranberry salad, and perhaps something else, I'm waiting to decide. We'll share not only the meal but love and celebrate with grateful hearts what God has done for us, what He is doing in us, what He will do in the days ahead. Having them to share this holiday with means a lot to our family as things have changed in recent years and we are seeking direction for how to celebrate, with whom to celebrate, etc. 

The baton has been handed to us and God is leading.

I'll be working Thanksgiving and the rest of the week.  I'm praying to provide encouragement and loving touches to the patients and fellow staff members I'll contact. I pray for a thankful heart that is demonstrated by my words, attitude, and actions. I know that its not the usual to choose to have elective surgery during Thanksgiving week - so I'm sensitive to that fact. Some come because they have no one to be with this holiday and 'might as well get the surgery over'; they get through it and get the attention of the staff. 

Today I choose to be thankful and to consider what I am thankful for, who I am thankful for, 
and to express my gratitude to God and people to whom it is due.

Truth For Life
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:
compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of God - the Message - have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives - words, actions, whatever - be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
Colossians 3:12-17

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It is time to consider having others into our homes for holiday decorating, gift wrapping, cooking baking, meals, caroling, etc. What is your style of connecting with your family, friends, and neighbors 
before Christmas day arrives?

I usually host a Thanksgiving afternoon tea for the women on our "S" shaped block but we have had many weekend trips so our November became too full for it this year. 
I have decided to change my 'usual' and host a Christmas tea - easy for me 
as I do have holiday china that I will be so happy to use. 
I'm preparing my invitations this afternoon and will also deliver them personally. I'm told the neighbors love this once-a-year opportunity to sit face to face with one another and share lives around cups of tea and treats. Its a means of hospitality that 'fits' my family well. My husband will assist as our butler, complete with a cloth draped over his arm as he serves tea, clears plates, and brings in the various courses of foods we'll prepare together and serve. I'm also hoping to get a friend to help as well.
I am looking forward to the decorating, menu preparation, tidying the house, preparing the foods, and welcoming the guests. It is our gift to the neighborhood, one that is warm and welcoming. 
That is truly a blessing! I'm thankful that we live where we do. Are you?

Truth For Life
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; 
give thanks to him and praise his name. 
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; 
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:4-5

Friday, November 21, 2008

A holiday we celebrate to reflect on all God has blessed us with this past year. 
 This song says it well, its an old hymn but a good one. The lyrics are worth reading.

Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in, 
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God's own temple, come;
Raise the song of harvest home!

We ourselves are God's own field,
fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear;
Grant, O harvest Lord, that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come,
And shall take the harvest home;
From His field shall in that day
All offences purge away,
Giving angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
in the garner evermore.

Then, thou Church triumphant come,
Raise the song of harvest home!
All be safely gathered in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
in God's garner to abide;
Come, ten thousand angels, come,
Raise the glorious harvest Home!

Written by Henry Alford, 1844, often sung to the tune of St. George's, Windsor by George Job Elvey

May your have family and friends at table this year, blessing God together, sharing life and love.

Hugs from my heart to your hearth,

Thursday, November 20, 2008

On occasion I get in a baking mood - its best to do so when I can bake for a crowd and tomorrow is just such a day. We are having a Thanksgiving meal at work with a dessert contest to follow so I decided on the following. 

Brownie Truffles!
Yummy goodness that will please chocolate lovers!
Easy and fun to make.

Bake a batch of brownies. . . let cool until warm but not hot.
Cut into 32 portions. With clean & dry hands, roll each portion into a ball. Chill until firm.
Melt chocolate bark and dip chilled balls one at a time using toothpicks or bamboo skewers.
Loosen toothpick or skewer from ball after setting them onto wax paper or silicone baking liner. Fill in hole with more chocolate drizzled on it or with sprinkles or chopped nuts.
Allow to set up, then place on serving platter.

Truth For Life
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:103

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My daughter/son-in-love and granddaughter have left the U.S. of A.!

Yesterday our family and our son-in-loves family gathered at DFWs international terminal to see them off. They should just now be headed to their apartment in Nairobi - weary, loaded down with all the material goods they need for their work ahead. We covet your prayers as they settle in, begin language school, and begin working towards helping others in southern Sudan.

We already miss them and look forward to hearing from them.

We are back home and spending our afternoon quietly, tears occasionally come, but I am happy for them. 

Visit this site and view this video my son-in-love's sister put together for them:

To them I pray: God be with you until we meet again! Love, Mom

Truth For Life
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, 
who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, 
who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
Isaiah 52:7

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The cutest punkin' in the patch
Meet our granddaughter - she's moving places soon! Isn't she darling? 
She was about 9 1/2 months in this photo. We love the stuffin' out of her. 
She's a wonderful blend of our daughter and son-in-love.
A granddaughter is a gift from above . . . one to cherish and to love.


I have admired the many t-shirts that feature places around the globe, winding my way through a Walmart SuperCenter a few weeks ago I happened upon one that wasn't a location but a state of mind, a favorite beverage- TEA! 
It had the popular sequins attached in a few spots to add a tiny bit of bling - and it was just subtle enough for me. I know my friends will be sitting across from me and suddenly notice that my favorite beverage, hobby, and hospitality means is spelled out before them. . . . . I don't know if your Walmart has these still and I was too busy the week I bought it to post - forgive me! Now it inspires me to be hospitable in jeans, casual, a "why don't you come on in, it won't take but a moment. I'll put the kettle on and see what cookies I have to share. . . . "
Truth For Life
Share with God's people. Practice hospitality.
Romans 12:13

Saturday, November 08, 2008

How do you view life?
I've learned by the examples of older men and women, who I've observed as a younger woman, that giving, serving, caring heals US. It gives us purpose, meaning, and richness to our lives. If we lose our lives, we gain them. Its not just serving to serve, but serving as Christ leads us to serve. Its caring because we know by experience, His caring for us. Its living with a view that life is so much wider, deeper, and colorful than just 'me, myself, and I' or "me and those who are mine'. 
This video clip speaks it well. . . in this thanksgiving season, consider this:
Truth for Life
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Matthew 10:39

Where in the world has she been?
Well, busy for one. And I have been places: Dallas, Italy, Oklahoma City, you no, 'been places'.  Work has been nearly full time, home life - yard work continues, Bible study has been so practical it has taken time to take it in and live it out, family life - visits to see our precious grandbaby and daughter and son-in-love.  Life has been rich and full.
At such seasons I made the decision to use my time and energy for what are my highest priorities. I missed preparing blog posts; I didn't forget I had this blogspot, really. I just knew I had to keep pressing on.
Next weekend we say a precious goodbye - which means truly "God be with you!" to our daughter, son-in-love, and granddaughter. They are flying out of DFW to London and then onto Nairobi, Kenya. Their mission? Southern Sudan. When the new year dawns they will enter Sudan and begin the work that God will lead them into. If you pray, pray for them, pray us parents/grandparents as we give our blessing in words and deed so they are free to follow our Lord. Thank you!
As I study the gospel of John, I am reminded of how Jesus truly loved and thus understood the needs of His disciples. He patiently gave them a heads-up on what was about to develop as He walked into His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. He gave them an awareness of the time He would be dead and then alive. He prepared them with hope of a future with the presence of His Spirit; He would send them God's Spirit to comfort, remind them, and direct them into the greater work, work greater than even Jesus did - they would take the truth into the world, from close to home to far places.  We are never alone in this life, we are never orphans. He is within us, resident, available, willing to lead us into the abundant life, deep joy, and true peace.
What 'bit of earth' do you tred each day? What area of this earth has God given you to reach with His message of truth and hope? I ask myself this question, too. Am I aware of His-opportunities in my heartaches, heart breaks, joys, delights, and basic everyday life? Am I living in the present so I am available to listen to those with whom I sit? work with or for? serve? am served by? pass by? assist? 
Lord, make me mindful of Your voice, Your leading, Your nudges to re-present you to this world that is lost, to my fellow believers who need re-minders of Your truth. To review Who you are - and to be grateful . . . . grateful for all we received from the hands of God. 
Rambling on, but its a beginning of being back in the seat of the writer of this blog.
Enjoy the photos, a variety of the past weeks. . . . knitting scarves for loved ones, a prayer shawl for a new friend undergoing recovery from cancer surgery, etc. 
This posts scripture verse is for my daughter and son-in-love, its a small part of my blessing for their work on the mission field that begins in a week.
Truth for Life
I thank God every time I remember you. In my prayers for all of you, I always pray for joy.
Philippians 1:3-4