Category Archives: Blessings

A Joyful Saturday before Christmas

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:10-11‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Christmas Eve is only three days away and I’m cuddled under a blanket with a warm cup of coffee. Sitting here surrounded by my pets, I’m making a mental list of things that need to be done. It will be a busy week with many great moments. Yet, my mind drifts and my focus blurs as I recall years gone by and Christmas celebrations in my life.

As a child I loved helping my mother decorate and bake Christmas goodies. Not only do the scents of Christmas treats fill my mind, but also the strong odors of wood chopped by my father on those cold days we gathered firewood, and of the smell of a fresh Christmas tree harvested from “back forty” of my paternal grandmother’s farm. Christmas at church included going door-to-door singing Christmas carols in scarves and mittens made by mom. I sat in church with my maternal grandmother and listened by her side about what Christmas really meant. Christmas Eve was always celebrated with my paternal grandparents. My father’s four sisters lived away, so most Christmas Eve celebrations were at our home. We were allowed to open one gift and after dinner enjoyed fireworks bought by my parents. On the years that my aunts were in town, the celebration was larger and more exciting with cousins. The evening always ended with a ride around town to enjoy decorations and Christmas lights. Christmas morning was so exciting. After we opened our presents, we traveled all the way across the street to my maternal grandmother’s home for Christmas lunch and presents. When the day was over, I remember my mother feeling melancholy that Christmas was over until the next year.

As a teen Christmas was a little different, but still exciting. There were dances and parties to attend, and boyfriends that stole Christmas kisses under the mistletoe. One Christmas I went to the Blue-Grey Game with my high school band, where music my band director had helped me arrange was played on national television. Unknown to me at the time, this would be a transition into my adult life.

As a young adults Christmas meant juggling four sets of grandparents and two sets of parents. It was exhausting. Yet, today I wish I had that problem. It would be nice to spend time with each person who is no longer with us. From our very first Christmas together, we collected a special ornament each year related to where we were in our lives. Once our children were born, we kept some traditions and started some of our own. The traditions would continue to change with time. My husband and I had so much fun shopping for gifts for the children, and watching their faces as they opened their presents. Every year we watched Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and counted our blessings. When the children grew older they were involved in Christmas pageants, handbells and acolyte activities at church. During their teen years we changed our tradition at home to opening presents after midnight mass at church. It made the kids happy, and we were able to get a little rest. Two of my fondest memories were of our son being Crucifer on Christmas Eve during his senior year of high school and our daughter playing the role of Mary in the Christmas pageant, when she was a little girl.

When our children left home, we celebrated college graduations, engagements, weddings and pregnancies. Hanging the Christmas ornaments became a nostalgic walk into the season. As grandparents with an empty nest, we still enjoy midnight mass on Christmas Eve. What better way to celebrate! We also look forward to our parents, children and grandchildren joining us on Christmas Day.

Last year, Christmas followed Hurricane Michael and celebrating was among the ruins. Despite the obvious, we celebrated. This year I have fallen behind. Less than a week to prepare and all I have accomplished is shopping, wrapping and attending parties. My husband is struggling, as well. He took the day off to finish putting a swing set together for the grandchildren. While we plan to attend midnight mass, it will be in the Parish Hall, because our House of Worship is still uninhabitable.

The angel of the Lord said “I bring you good tidings of great joy.” Have you ever thought about what “great joy” means? It’s not just happiness and fond memories. Despite the fact that it was a gift from the angel, we have to choose joy to enjoy it. Then, with the happiness we experience a peace that is far beyond our imaginations.

Our church recognizes the Liturgical Calendar. The season that we are in now is called Advent. The Christmas season actually starts with Christmas. Advent is a time of self exploration and penitence, but it also a time of joyful expectation. Christ is the “Prince of Peace” and his coming joy is a choice that we all need to accept. Even when we may have sorrow in hearts about people who are no longer here, or those who will be leaving us soon, and even when we long for carefree days gone by, we have the choice. As the seasons in our lives change, so does the peace that comes with the choice of joy.

Enjoy your Saturday and choose joy! May God bless you!

Spread the Love Friday – Enjoy and Let God’s Word Shape Your Perspective

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭1:10-11‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Isn’t it great to wake up and realize it’s Friday! I woke up today dancing a jig right out the door. Yes, I have a lot of work to do at home and the office. Yet, there is a little bit of happiness knowing a break is ahead for some fun and relaxation. This weekend I have my list of things to do, but plan to go outside a bit and breathe in the air, while I admire my surroundings. If you haven’t tried it before, even five minutes outside can improve your mood and outlook. Bring a friend and spread the love.

This morning as I was thinking about how wonderful Fridays are, I realized that I was letting events decide my perspective. How many times have I started the day happy, and something kind of spoiled the rest of the day? Of course, I know the old saying that “it’s not what happens but how you react” that’s important. However, today I was reminded of Colossians 1:10-11.

Colossae was a City located about 100 miles from Ephesus and near Laodicea. In Paul’s letter to the early Christians in the church of Colossae, they instructed them to be strengthened in God’s word. We can look to scripture for every occasion, but today I would like to encourage you to instead of letting what happens around you affect your attitude, pause and think of what God’s word says. Find your strength there. Joy is an action and choice we all have regardless of what’s happening around us. When we express joy we are also able to be more patient, kind and loving.

Have a wonderful Friday! May God continue to bless you!

Forgiveness Thursday – On Those Trying Days

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:14‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Happy Thursday. The week is flying by and Christmas is almost here.

Starting early this morning, I have seen one upset person after another. It sometimes seems that no one is happy. Like you, I listened and empathized and made my way through the endless line of individuals. Then, the day was over. You might think this is good, but my work was not completed and my mood suffered slightly.

It is a burden when others are constantly complaining. However, providing a good ear for listening and understanding goes a long way towards relationship building and anger calming. It often saves time down the road too. Jesus taught to forgive others as God has forgiven us. When we are able to follow this simple guideline, we reap benefits beyond measure.

May God bless you on your forgiveness journey.

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Remember Others

“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭KJV‬‬

It’s Use Your Gifts to Change Your World Wednesday! What will you do? Making a difference doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. It can be something as simple as a hug.

Today, a lady I worked with shared how she took her mother to the hospital late last night, because her mom was very ill. On the way home after her mother was discharged, she met up with her niece and the niece’s friend. They asked for a ride home. After my colleague agreed, she wound up driving to another town to take the niece’s friend home. Rather than becoming angry, she made conversation with the young man, who was 17 and supporting his entire family. The young man was working and attending high school. He was excited to share that he will be the first person in his family to graduate from high school. While my colleague was tired, she made a difference in this young man’s life, as well as, providing help to her mother and an example for her children.

Never forget to help others. May God bless you.

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Tell Me Something Good Monday – Joy during Sorrow

“As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭6:10‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Good Morning and Happy Monday!  Recently, our family received some bad news.  Actually, it was more along the lines of devastating.  Despite this news, we put on faces of happiness to hide the sorrow.  Even when you pretend to laugh, it can be uplifting and before we knew it everyone one was full of joy, despite the sorrow.  This reminded me of when my cousin died unexpectedly.  We were all extremely sorrowful.  My mother was unable to attend the funeral, because it was across the country.  When she saw the photographs, she thought we were being disrespectful and having too much fun.  The truth is we were comforting one another with stories from the past.

Can you be joyful during times of sorrow?  As Christians joy is not determined by our circumstances, but in our faith in our destiny.  While joy is mentioned throughout the Bible, at Christmas we are reminded that when Jesus was born there was great joy.  While Paul was in prison, he expressed sorrow regarding his situation, but still rejoiced in Christ.  Jesus said “[r]ejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you”
(‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:12‬ ‭KJV).  So, even if you are being mistreated and are saddened by the situation, you can rejoice in knowing the future is bright.

During‬ the holiday season many people are sad, because of family situations or loved ones who have passed.  That’s okay, but find your joy in Jesus!  God bless you.‬

Praise the Lord Sunday – I’m Back!

“And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭8:17‬ ‭KJV‬

Hello friends!  It’s good to be back.  Last Spring I somehow found myself locked out of my account, and wasn’t able to sign back in until today.

While I was away, I wrote a book about Hurricane Michael.  So please take a few moments to look at my amazon author page at http://www.amazon.com/author/kaykeeldennisaicp.

Surviving Hurricane Michael is a conglomeration of more than 100 stories from people in our community, retold by me.  You will laugh, cry and enjoy the feel good ending.

Again, it’s good to be back, and I look forward to catching up with everyone!

God bless you!

 

Forgiveness Thursday – Let Go of the Past

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Happy Thursday!  It’s a rainy day, but the sun is shining within me.

Have you ever felt like your heart was hard from bad circumstances and rumors?  In my line of work I have to take an unpopular position more often than not.  After 20 years of hearing people say that I wanted to destroy the City that I love very much, I felt very bitter toward many people.  I had seen their ugly side.  I would hear others speak wonderfully about different people I had seen behave with disrespect and insolence.  I couldn’t understand.  I wanted to warn my friends, but you and I both know that never works.  Plus, my friends didn’t have the same experiences for obvious reasons.  So, guess who looked even worse. One night I hit the bottom and went to our church after a late City Commission public meeting where someone I called a friend spoke horribly about me.  I cried and prayed for understanding.

8B3BAD58-DE32-4FB5-8318-A6934FAFC7A9God works in mysterious ways.  As I grew closer to God, studying His word and taking theology classes, he opened opportunities for me.  It’s funny how we think it’s our idea, but it is Him working in our lives.  While many adventures were and still are awaiting, one of the opportunities was to write articles for a local newspaper about businesses in our city.  I would be interviewing some of the same people who had spoken to me with strong language, contempt and anger.  These were the same people who had spread untrue rumors in the community.

When God opens a door, we need to take advantage of the opportunity.  Not long after I began writing weekly articles about local businesses, another newspaper requested my articles.  I even had an opportunity to submit an article to two larger city newspapers.  With my position of not working for the newspaper as a paid writer, I was able to take a different perspective.  My articles are about the people owning and managing the businesses.

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As each person shared their story, my hardened heart understood and felt what they were sharing.  Be careful what you pray for, because some of the stories you simply can’t forget.  I sometimes want to share the stories that are not confidential, but I realize that it might drag down someone else’s heart.  This was my request and I am so thankful.  However, there is another side to understanding and it can be painful.  I also realized I’m really not that much different.  I sin too.

The good news is Paul explains to the people in Phillipi in Phillipians 4:7 that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  How did Paul know this?  Paul knew from personal experience of persecuting Christians and having an encounter with Christ.

The same holds true today.  We need to forgive ourselves and others.  Ask God to forgive you.  His peace is amazing!

Have a wonderful Thursday.  God bless you.

 

 

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Sin Can Keep You from Your Gifts

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
‭‭James‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Happy Wednesday!  It seems a little more like hectic Wednesday here.  We have the hustle and bustle of Christmas combined with people frantic to build roofs on their homes with more rain in the forecast.  Nearly every building still standing in our town is without a roof or has a huge blue tarp.

 

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Last week a friend and I went to see Natalie Grant and Danny Gokey in concert.  We had VIP tickets, which made the event even more special.  In the Q&A session, the two told of how they hadn’t realized how severe the destruction and damage associated with Hurricane Michael had been.  It’s almost like we’ve been swept under the rug due to all the political events taking place.  The concert was absolutely amazing!  The singers collected gifts for children and visited an elementary school while in the area.  I was surprised to learn yesterday that a friend of mine, who is from Milwaukee, went to school with Danny Gokey.  It really is a small world if you think about it.

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Have you ever felt like your life was spinning out-of-control?  I felt that way recently.  Sin is a slippery slope. Satan takes advantage of our weaknesses, which are always changing.  Once we allow him to influence us, we grow further and further away from God.  One of the most painful things a married couple can experience is an affair outside the marriage relationship.  When we grow away from God, it’s like an affair with Satan.  It’s amazing how quickly he can slip into our lives and turn us upside down.  I couldn’t see it in my own life at first.  Then, I heard the song below by Natalie Grant.  “It’s hard to stand on shifting sand.  It’s hard to shine in the shadows of the night.”  For me the night was darkness.  Darkness can be so overwhelming.  Yet, before I allowed Satan to influence me, I was so happy.  Now, once again I feel “like my soul is flying when my feet are on the ground.”

Have you ever felt this way?  David struggled with darkness.  Yet, he always sought to make God happy in everything he did.  This is opposite of what the world teaches.  We are taught to fight for positions, titles, awards and jobs, when the most important thing for us to strive for is God’s love and making God happy.  You never have to be in the darkness.  The battle has already been won.  Just ask Christ to forgive you.  If you haven’t accepted him as your Lord and Savior, it’s never too late.

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When we are in the light with God, we can help more people.  We can share the light, instead of the shadows of darkness.  When you use your gifts to change the world today, share them in the light.  God bless you.

 

 

Tell Me Something Good Monday – Things Are Getting Better Slowly

“Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.”
‭‭John‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Good Morning and Happy Monday!  Today, it has been two months since Hurricane Michael came through our town.  My good news is we are slowly recovering.  It’s going to take a long time for life to get back to normal, but officials are meeting day after day, and constantly looking for ways to help businesses and people with housing issues.

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Have you ever felt so depressed that you didn’t care if Christmas just passed you by? I have felt that way at times.  Our minister shared a story that warmed my heart yesterday.  His wife wanted a live Christmas tree, which is their tradition.  The box stores in our town did not have any because their corporate offices decided we didn’t need them here after the hurricane.  He went on to explain how he traveled to find a live Christmas tree.  The best part of his story was how we are strong despite the setbacks we may face in life.  God made us that way.  We shouldn’t let the corporate offices of box stores determine how we are going to celebrate the birth of our savior.

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It’s normal to feel sorry for ourselves now and again, but we need to pick up our beds and walk.  We need to take the initiative to make things better.  Speak positive words.  Sing Christmas songs.  Get out of the house.  Give to others.  Do something fun and enjoy Christmas!  When we do our part, we’ll notice God stepping in to handle the rest.  Plus we will feel better.

In past years I have gone to see the Nutcracker and many other different things.  This year I plan to go with a friend to see Natalie Grant and Danny Gokey’s Christmas concert.  What better way to enjoy the holidays!

I hope you have a wonderful day and enjoy the holiday season.  God bless you.

Forgiveness Thursday – On Premeditated Sin

“And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.”
‭‭Joshua‬ ‭7:24-25‬ ‭KJV‬‬

It’s Forgiveness Thursday and a great time to forgive yourself and others.

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Have you ever known something was wrong and did it anyway?  Was the temptation just too much at the moment, even though you knew what the right thing to do was? It could be something as simple as not taking care of your body by overeating or choosing not to exercise.  After all your body is the temple of God.  Maybe it’s a temptation to have an affair or take something illegally?  We all have temptations and if you haven’t ever made the wrong decision on purpose at some point in your life, you are definitely in the minority.  Does that mean that it it’s okay?  No.

My husband and I were talking this morning about the story in Joshua, where Achan did not follow the instructions given to him and hid the silver.  His entire family was killed.  How much worse it would be to watch your family be killed, than to die?  This is the kind of crime we see in movies and real life.

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I’m so thankful that Jesus paid the price for us.  It is simple to ask for forgiveness.  Yet, how many times do we make the same mistake repeatedly?  Is that okay?  No.  We need to make a conscious effort to live a life that is pleasing to God.

I hope you have a wonderful Thursday.  God bless you.