Spread the Love Friday – Forgiveness and Love

All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:20-22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Good Morning and Happy Friday.  I haven’t posted as much lately, but I did attempt to post yesterday.  Unfortunately, my post was not published and appears to be lost.  So, today I will enjoy the opportunity to reshare yesterday’s post with the inclusion of some additional blessings.  Maybe, it was a sign from God that I needed to wait.

We have been very busy this week with work and family.  I once heard Joel Osteen say that we are the most productive when we have balance in our lives.  I can honestly say that I need to make balance a priority today.

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Tuesday our church celebrated Shrove Tuesday, or as many people call it, Fat Tuesday.  Our tradition is for the children to sell tickets for a pancake supper, which the youth are involved in preparing and serving.  All the money raised goes to the youth program.  Our guest was my daddy.  We also met my husband’s parents at church.  Church fellowship is good for the soul.  If you are feeling down and out, make yourself go, and enjoy the opportunity to spend time with others, who also love the Lord.  I have come to think of the church congregation as my family.

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Ash Wednesday follows Shrove Tuesday.  It is the first day of Lent and is a time for prayer, penitence, time with God, fasting, and thoughtful preparation for Easter.  Many people give up something they enjoy during Lent.  I often hear chocolate or meat. I’m laughing at the thought of giving up chocolate this year with Ash Wednesday falling on Valentine’s Day.  I like to give up something (i.e. clutter, gossip, or possibly a food) and add something (i.e. a special prayer book, extra time with God, etc.).  It’s not about being perfect.  It’s about being mindful.

On Ash Wednesday our church has a special service that includes “the imposition of the ashes.”  It is one of my favorite services.  The ashes are the burned down palm branches from Palm Sunday of the previous year.  The minister makes the mark of the cross on each participant’s forehead and reminds us that we have come from ashes and to ashes we will return. Before we leave the building, we wipe the ashes off because it is not for public display.  It’s a wonderful service, but this year the service was held at noon and I was unable to attend because of a work obligation.  I did notice that there were many cars at the church. This is one of my favorite services because it make me mindful that none of us are promised tomorrow.

 

God didn’t forget me.  I received a call about 3:00 from my husband on Wednesday afternoon.  My sweet little dog Freckles died.  I have had many pets over the years, and all of them were special.  I am especially thankful to have had Freckles in my life.  Before Freckles I had a black Shih Tzu, Long Hei who had gone missing within seconds.  When my husband opened the door to let him out, my daughter showed him a bracelet she had made.  It couldn’t have taken more than 60 seconds.  Then, Long Hei was gone.  That was close to 20 years ago, and I still look for him today.  I often think of how hard it must be for parents whose children go missing.

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So, we purchased Freckles, this cute little Shih Tzu puppy, a short time later.  I sometimes talk in my sleep. Whenever my grandmother died, my husband relayed a funny story.  He said I asked him where “Freckle Man” was.  He questioned me again and I said “you know that cute little black and white boy.”  From that day on Freckles was called “”Freckle man”, “Freckman”, “Freckle boy” and Freckles.  Freckles was the cutest puppy.  He played and jumped through the yard like a cartoon character.  He was easy to train and the best snuggler I’ve ever known.  He even got mad with me when I didn’t snuggle with him.  He loved to go bye-bye and never ran away.

When he was about four years old, my daughter called me at work and said something was wrong with Freckles.  I have to admit that I was aggravated and didn’t believe anything was wrong with him.  I was wrong.  I took Freckles to our local vet, Dr. Kelly, who I am so thankful to have in my life.  After Freckles had gone through 8-9 surgeries for what Dr. Kelly diagnosed as Portal Shunt Disorder, Dr. Kelly was able to obtain an appointment at Auburn University for Freckles.

We knew in advance that the surgery would cost us several thousand dollars and a large portion had to be paid upfront.  Dr. Kelly had told me he understood if I wanted to put Freckles down.  I had people coming up to me saying, “just put him down and buy another puppy.”  I remember talking to my husband and him suggesting that the decision might be a test of my character.  Even though I knew there was a possibility that I might pay the money and Freckles might not make it, it wasn’t a difficult test for me.  I borrowed from my retirement to take care of Freckles.

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So, I set out alone with my puppy to Auburn, which was several hours away.  Freckles had never traveled a long distance before, but he was a great traveler.  He had never been taken out on a leash, but he was great at that too.  God was with me on this journey.  I got lost and one of the students at Auburn called me and talked me through the directions on how to get to the University Veterinarian Hospital.  As if that wasn’t enough, a student met me at the door and helped me and my puppy into the hospital.  Freckles underwent several tests and we made a couple of visits before the specialist found the problem.  Dr. Kelly was right.  Before it was over, I left my puppy for a surgery that could cause the end of his life.  Freckles would have to stay for two weeks of observation after the surgery, should everything go well.  He had never been left for two weeks anywhere.  I tearfully said goodbye to Freckles and paid the very large bill before heading home.

On the day of the surgery, I sat by the phone at work waiting eagerly for good news. I prayed that God would take care of my puppy.  By the middle of the afternoon I received a call from one of the students.  The surgery was successful.  Every day a student would call me and give me an update on Freckles.  I never attended Auburn University, but I highly recommend them for pets.  One day a student called with the funniest statement.  He said “you didn’t tell me Freckles was a cage jumper.”  Of course, we didn’t know because he had never been in a cage.  So, now Freckles was also known as the “cage jumper.”

I was so glad to bring my little cage jumper home and life was mostly normal after that.  Freckles did have to stay on a low protein diet, which is hard to manage with a dog.  For a while we had our own dog treat business, where we sold healthy dog treats.  Freckles was at the center of this activity.  I’m very thankful for Dr. Kelly and the students and doctors at Auburn University.  They were able to extend Freckles life by about 12 years.

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Over time Freckles slowed down.  He became the drill sergeant of the house, keeping all of us in order.  Last year Freckles began having seizures that increased over time.  Most of his teeth fell out and his cataracts preventing him from seeing well.  He was still the best cuddler right until the end.  During the last couple of weeks Freckles health declined even more.  He seemed to be in a great deal of pain.  About a week ago, I tearfully asked God to not let my Freckle Boy suffer.  Ash Wednesday he died peacefully in his sleep.  My heart is a little bigger because of a little dog.  Today, my house is empty and my heart also has an empty spot. No one is promised tomorrow.  Be sure to tell everyone you love them and make every moment count.

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Life goes on and as I pause to think of that little cage jumper throughout the day.  God knows our hearts and the weight that is on our shoulders.  I have been overwhelmed at work.  Long stressful hours fill my days.  This morning I came to work to find some of God’s blessings waiting to help.  A local church had sent me some helpers to “pay it backwards.”  Wow!  How blessed could I be!  Life is like that.  Just at what seems like the lowest moment, something amazing happens.  God knows what I need before I even ask.

Take time to spread the love to everyone you see today.  God bless you.

 

 

Try Something New Tuesday – Weekend and Early Week Adventures

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.  Proverbs 30:5

Good morning.  It’s Try Something New Tuesday!  What will you try today? I’ve been under the weather the last few days, but the blessings continue to flow.

My first adventure involved visiting a church.  Every six months our church and our sister church, an AME church in our town, combine services.  Sunday we did that in the middle of what seemed to be a deluge.  Not many from either church showed up, probably due to the weather, but boy did they miss out.  It’s such a joy to worship the Lord, and you never know when God needs you to be there for other people.  The worship service was amazing.  Afterwards we enjoyed Christian fellowship, while eating some of the most delicious food I’ve ever enjoyed.

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My next adventure involved finances.  Last weekend my husband conveyed a story about buying a powerball ticket.  He prayed about it, and then looked up to see a cross in the sky above the powerball sign.  He didn’t win powerball, but the good news is three times in the last couple of days I received money I wasn’t expecting.  First, I received a reimbursement check from the Minute Clinic I went to in October.  Then, when I was paying a different doctor yesterday, the receptionist told me that I had a credit I needed to use.  It was half of my bill.  Finally, I went to a meeting and paid for my guest’s meal.  This is a practice I’ve always observed.  The president approached me and said that I didn’t have to pay, because the club paid for guests.  They issued me a refund.  Altogether I received $50 unexpectedly.  I share this experience because I often hear people say that when they tithe and help others, their money works out the same and they can’t figure out how.  Our Lord is wonderful.

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My final adventure to share involves taking my grandson to preschool.  Today, Landon and I tried something new.  We put out fires on the way to preschool.  Then, we flew like “big jets” into the daycare.  Whew!  All unhappiness averted!

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Over the past few months I have learned that we don’t have to petition God constantly, and I rarely do anymore, unless someone asks for as special prayer request. All we have to do is love God with all our hearts, and be thankful every day.  He will take care of the rest.  God bless you.

 

 

Spread the Love Friday – More Experiences, More Great Stories

 

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭51:11‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Good afternoon.  I’m resting at home today with a cold.  I’ve been pushing hard the last few weeks.  Many mornings I’ve been getting up at 3ish am, and working from 7 am to 9pm.   Well, sometimes life requires us to step it up, but after a while, this type of schedule will wear us down.  The good news is I have had some wonderful experiences and heard some awesome stories that I am pleased to share with you. The bad news is I will be continuing with this schedule until the beginning of March.  Please forgive me if I miss posting and I’m not able to keep up with your posts as much.

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Over the past few weeks, I have spoken before countless groups.  All have been wonderful experiences.  One person told me a story that really touched me.  I don’t want to reveal his identity, so I’m going to refer to him as Richard.  Richard works as a professional first responder.  He has also taught classes at a local college.  Richard was driving from out-of-town one day when he saw a little old lady on the side of the road with her broken down car.  Seconds after he passed the car, he heard a voice that said “you wouldn’t have kept driving if that had been your grandmother.”  Richard looked around and of course, no one was there.  So he traveled back to help the lady.  She hugged him tightly and cried, “I had just asked God to send someone who could help me.”  Richard looked down and his shirt was covered with makeup.  He feared his wife wouldn’t understand.  Then, someone else stopped with tools to help.  It was one of Richard’s former students.  What were the chances of this happening with Richard being out-of-town?  Even with a helping hand, the group needed water for car.  They had a bottle, but no water nearby.  That’s when they noticed an old dilapidated house that was falling down a few hundred feet away.  Richard walked over and was able to get water from an old well.  The lady, Richard and his student were soon on their way.  Yes, if you wish, you can explain this away.  Folks, it’s the fact that God in his perfect timing worked out the details.  I was touched by this story and I hope you will find it comforting.

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Yesterday, I was afforded an unique opportunity.  One of the people I was recently able to get to know, allowed me to sit in on a sermon review.  I had never heard of this, so I was intrigued.  This particular minister has multiple churches spread over many miles. What he does is rehearse and film his sermons at the same time.  So, if there is a problem with streaming on Sunday morning, he has a backup plan.  Also, he has a group of people in the audience who work in his churches critiquing his sermons to ensure he reaches and communicates effectively with everyone – teens, families, older adults, etc.  He invites others to sit in, as well.  That’s what I did.  The minister and his staff were very welcoming.  The sermon was wonderful. I loved it! He had great ideas.  Afterwards, he came over and spoke with me.  He even invited my critique.  I backed out of that part, but I may make this my late lunch time on Thursdays because it was refreshing.  You see, even when we are in our busiest seasons, God continues to open doors.

I pray your Friday will be amazing!  God bless you.

I hope you enjoy these cute videos I found.

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – The Annointing is Wonderful!

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:31‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Good Morning from Tallahassee.  I traveled to Tallahassee this morning to attend a work related class.  I’m excited to see business friends and learn about legislative changes that are being considered.  It’s a good day to spread God’s love wherever you go.

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This will be a short post.  I worked until 9 p.m. and left the house at 4:30 this morning.  Our class is about to start, but I did want to share that the anointing is still with me and it is WONDERFUL.  Praise God!  I have had several speaking engagements over the last week, and everything was perfect.  Last night I spoke before the City Council in a packed out house – standing room only.  After I spoke I received applause.  That’s something I have never seen at a City Council meeting before.  So, if you are struggling with anything, get right with God!

Have a wonderful day.  God bless you.

Try Something New Tuesday – Strength in Weakness

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday!  Please forgive me for not being as diligent about posting and reading your posts over the next couple of weeks.  I’ve had a few responsibilities added to my already full plate, and I’m struggling to keep up.

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Isn’t it great to know that no matter what is going on in the world, we can rest in God’s love!  Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that Christ told Paul His grace was enough.  That means no matter what we go through, we will be okay.  As a matter of fact, we will be better than okay.  Jesus said his “strength is made perfect in weakness.”   What does perfect strength mean to you?  Does it mean that you will be able to lift the weight of the world?  Does it mean that you can battle the flu or other  illnesses, or does it mean that you can face your demons?  Perfect strength is all of these things.  You may think you are weak, but in our weakness He is strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9 is our verse for the week and can be found on the ScriptureTyper app under Hisperfecttiming.

Have a blessed day!  May God richly bless your life.

 

Feel God’s Love at All Times

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.  Isaiah 12:2

Good afternoon.  I pray that you are enjoying your weekend.  My week was super busy.  This morning I have become aware of some friends who are very sick.  Sometimes our world seems bleak and hopeless.  We find ourselves searching for answers with our minds that we couldn’t possibly understand.  That is when we need to trust the Lord instead of trying to make sense with our brains (Proverbs 3:5).

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Always remember to count your blessings.  There are so many things we take for granted every day.   Look around you and make mental notes.  There is always someone worse off than you.  Just by being able to read this post, you doing better than a large portion of the world’s population who are unable to read and do not have access to electricity, computers, WiFi, Internet, and other technology that we take for granted.

If you are feeling hopeless, ask God to heal you.  Then, thank him.  He is such an amazing God.  If you have any prayer requests, respond to this post.  God bless you.

Spread the Love Friday – God is with Us

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Happy Friday!  It has been a particularly busy week. I have had several speaking engagements and public speaking has never been my favorite thing to do.  In the past, I have experienced anxiety attacks, where I would have a physical reaction that was completely embarrassing.  All of those days are over now that I’m following God’s call.

Wednesday I had a doctor’s appointment about an hour away.  I usually listen to Serius XM’s station The Message while driving, but for some reason I decided to listen to some other ministry stations where there was preaching.  I changed back and forth and unfortunately I cannot tell you the name of the stations.  The first minister’s name was Jeremiah and he spoke on stewardship.  He made mention of David Green, owner of Hobby Lobby.  I thought that was interesting because the minister of my church is David Green.  His sermon was amazing. Then, I listened to a sermon by Joel Osteen, who just has the most loving and calming sermons that I have ever heard.

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On the way home I continued to listen to Joel Osteen.  His sermon was about how God “supersizes” our lives, much like how a fast food restaurant supersizes our food.  One particular story stood out to me, and believe me when I say that I don’t remember it word for word.  The story went something like this.  There was a young lady, who was either getting into or getting out of her car, when she realized that there were two men ready to attack her.  They were armed with weapons and close enough in approximity that she knew she couldn’t run.  Of course, she called on the Lord.  She watched closely as the men started to approach her.  All of sudden, they stopped dead in their tracks and looked terrified.  Then, they ran away.  She reported the attack to authorities.  When the police apprehended the men, the officer asked why they ran.  One of the men said they had seen a huge glowing giant with a sword that must have been ten feet tall standing in front of the young lady.  The giant was so tall, that the top of her head only went up to the giant’s waist.  I thought this was an amazing story.

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Yesterday, I was scheduled to speak before a civic group. Satan was working on me and I was nervous two hours in advance.  I even told my colleague that was speaking with me, that she might have to help me out.  As I drove to the venue, I prayed for courage and for God to put his words in my mouth.  I stood before the club without notes and spoke for several minutes.   Everything was great.  Afterwards one of the members wanted to take a photograph for the newspaper.  The club president, my colleague and I posed.  The photographer kept asking us to turn.  Then, he shut the blinds.  A little frustrated he said, referring to me, “her head is a glowing like a white blur everywhere I go”.  I looked down.  I was wearing a black sweater with a white collar.  My colleague was wearing something similar.  Finally, he said he was able to take the photograph.

Last night I had another speaking engagement.  This time I was alone.  Again, I prayed for God to help me and to put his words in my mouth.  I spoke without any problems or notes.  During my presentation, another photographer attempted to take my photograph.  Again, he the photographs did not turn out.  Afterwards, we were able to get a group photo.

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I didn’t think of this anymore until this morning.  I called my colleague and she said “I thought that was weird because we were dressed alike.”  Now, if you like to explain things away, you can probably explain this away too.  I  don’t believe in coincidences.  I’ve never had this happen before, and I know that since I dedicated my life to God’s ministry, many aspects of my life have changed and are better than I could have ever imagined. This is just one example.  Just like God supersized the young lady’s protection.  He supersized my ability to speak publicly.  He was there with me the entire time keeping Satan away.  He can be there for you too.

If you want to learn more, respond to this post and I will pray with you.  If you are a Christian and nothing seems to be going right, you are either growing or you are on the wrong path.  Examine your life and ask God what he wants you to do.  God bless you.