Category Archives: Caring

The Rest of the Story

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.  Proverbs 11:25

After posting yesterday, I quickly set about cleaning up our thermos. At that moment it occurred to me that we didn’t have any milk.  I had spoken to my husband the evening before about needing to pick up milk for Our grandson.  How would I make hot cocoa without milk? I searched the pantry for dry hot cocoa packets. Having found none, I paused for a moment to make a cup of coffee.  That’s when I saw  some k-cups of hot cocoa pushed to the back of the shelf.  So, I began filling the thermos.  Then, I packed up my car and headed out.

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In my type of work it’s easy to know where to find those in need of assistance.  I’ve seen people living in deplorable conditions, and every year at Christmas I’m reminded of how blessed I truly am.  I’ve done the best I could to eliminate the worst dilapidated buildings in town and provide opportunities for affordable housing, but realize at the same time some of the worst buildings provide shelter from the elements for people who are down and out.  So, I figure it won’t be so difficult to help someone.  I found the opposite to be true.

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There was little traffic.  I drove from one place to another, and didn’t see as much as a construction worker or police officer to warm up.  I drove by the churches and other locations where the down-trodden go for assistance.  I drove behind shopping centers and grocery stores, but I couldn’t find anyone to help.  Then, I drove up on an area of town where a group of men hang out.  There were two or three out there smoking, huddled by a fire.  I stopped, rolled down my window and reached for the thermos, which had rolled under the passenger seat in my car.  One of the men came over to me.  He called me by name.  I didn’t know him personally, but had driven by many times.  I handed him thermos and simply said, “I see ya’ll out here when I drive by, and thought you might enjoy some hot cocoa this morning.”  He replied, “yes we could” as he leaned in the window and checked out my car.  With those words I was stunned by the stench of alcohol from his breath at 7:30 in the morning.   I wished him a good day and drove away.  Then, when I turned the corner, I saw a homeless person walking on the sidewalk.

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So, what can be learned from my experience?  Trust God, but use common sense and don’t put your life in unnecessary danger.  Was I in danger?  I don’t think so, but I feel like I need to remind you to be cautious.  As I reached down to pickup the thermos in the car, I realized that one action could have been confused with reaching for a weapon, which wasn’t very smart.  Second, trust God.  When I saw the homeless person, I questioned whether I helped the right one.  Remember, I said I couldn’t find anyone to help.  God clearly led me there.  I think the homeless person was just a reminder that there are many who need different types of assistance.  Which brings me to number three.  Helping others isn’t for just one day in your life.  Finally, be careful not to complain or brag about your actions.  Jesus taught in Matthew 6:3, to keep the amount of your giving between you and God.

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I hope you have a wonderful Saturday. Please share your experiences and keep blessing those around you.  God bless you.

 

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Forgiveness Thursday – Be the Miracle

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

It seems like we were just talking about Thursday and here we are again.  Recently I have discovered that the less judgemental I am about others, the more time I spend asking for forgiveness and the less time I spend forgiving others.  That just proves that forgiveness is really for us, not the person we are forgiving.

Last week I was listening to a group of people in our community talk about “how this person should do this, and this person should do that” to make the community better.  Have you ever participated in a similar discussion? Of course, the answer is if everyone did their part, there probably wouldn’t be an issue.  These poor people being discussed were most likely stretched too thin. Later, when I reflected on the conversation, I began to think about how this is a problem in many churches (in general terms).  I must admit I have been guilty of this.  Sometimes it seems like “everyone” has the answers, but “no one” really wants to be burdened with the work. It could be that only certain tasks are wanted, leaving many others undone.  This must make life very difficult for the pastor, who truly cares for the sheep.  Then, there are others who constantly call with prayer requests, always looking for a miracle, but never showing up.

I like Natalie Grant’s answer to this problem “it’s time to get our hands dirty . . . why sit around waiting for a miracle to come, when you could be one.”  On the way to work this morning I heard this song.  It is so true. If there are hungry people in your church or community, help feed them.  If your neighbor is sick, ask if it’s okay to help with yard work.  Visit friends, church members and family who are sick or in the hospital.  Offer to help people who have lost a family member.  If you have a neighbor who has financial problems, bring them dinner or pay a bill for them without telling them.  Does anyone really need to know?  God knows.  Isn’t that REALLY enough?   If you don’t work outside the home and notice children wandering around the neighborhood being a target for trouble, reach out to them.  Don’t wait for your pastor or your government to take care of everything.  There are so many little things everyone can do that will make a huge difference for someone else.   Sometimes we all just need to know someone cares.  You will find that you will feel more blessed than the person you are helping.

Today, I challenge you to make a difference in the world by getting your hands a little dirty being someone’s miracle.  God bless you.

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Keep a Thankful Heart

I love you Lord, my strength.  Psalm 18:1

Happy Wednesday!

Is your praise and thanksgiving to God truly heartfelt, or are you just going through the motions of prayer?  Do you have a routine and a rote prayer you say at certain hours to do your duty, so to speak?  It’s easy to get into a routine when we are attempting to keep from forgetting that there is something we need to do.  However, it’s sad that we need a reminder in our busy world to be thankful when we see food on our table.  It should be enough to know that people are starving every day, but it isn’t because we are removed from the hunger.  We all know what it is like to be hungry for a few minutes or a couple of hours, but occasionally at meal time we should multiply that feeling by days in our minds to understand how blessed we are.  Having the opportunity to get up and go to work is such a blessing, too.  How many times do we grumble and groan about going to work?  What if we had no work or way to take care of our families?  I’m not saying that we should make ourselves miserable every day thinking about people who have less, but sometimes we should stop and think about how truly  blessed we are.  Even when we think things are at the very worst, we are still so much more blessed than many throughout the world.  Then, we should pray with sincere thanksgiving and praise to God.  God knows your heart.  Show him the adoration that he deserves.

Today, I encourage you to be truly thankful and praise God throughout your day.  Then, do one thing to make one person’s life a little better.  God bless you.

 

Liebster Award – 2nd Nomination

I am truly honored to have been nominated a second time for the Liebster Award.  This time I was nominated by When I’m with You . . . Whitney Ibe Blog.  The author (Whitney) of the Whitney Ibe Blog is upbeat and full of sunshine.  Whitney’s positive outlook is inspiring and I love to read her posts.  If you haven’t checked out her blog, I encourage you to do so soon, because her inward and outward beauty sparkles through in her writing.  Thank you for thinking of me Whitney.

The Liebster Award is an Internet Award given to bloggers by other bloggers.  The German word “liebster” means: dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, welcome, and sweetheart.  The Award is a nice way to recognize and welcome new bloggers, while allowing others to discover them, as well.

The rules of the Liebster Award are as follows:

1) Acknowledge the blog who nominated you for this award.
2) Answer 11 questions the blogger gave you.
3) Give 11 random facts about yourself.
4) Nominate 11 blogs.
5) Notify them.
6) Give them 11 questions to answer

My Answers

What made you start blogging?  I love to read and write.  I’ve always wanted to write books.  I love the Lord above all.   When I was growing up I was taught to share God’s love with others.  The church I attended called the sharing I’m referring to “witnessing”.  I was taught that witnessing was wonderful and that we should share the gospel through our lives and words everywhere we go.  The Bible talks about spreading the gospel.  That is what I did.

Over time witnessing has become politically incorrect.  As a supervisor at work I was told that I had to be careful about what I said because my workplace and I could be sued.  I could lose my home if I mentioned God at work.  I heard others say it wasn’t appropriate to say “Merry Christmas”.  “Happy Holidays” was the correct holiday greeting.  Well, if you have ever had God’s love inside you like I do, you will understand when I say I was about to explode.  The funny thing is, I didn’t have to say anything because God’s love just radiates out of me.  Over time I just became miserable.  So, I sought out another way to spread God’s love, blogging.  It helped me to feel more fulfilled.  I felt a little like Jesus must have felt when he traveled home and his hometown rejected him, because most of my friends and family refused to look at my blog.  I have been told “that was a coincidence, not a miracle,” “you are to legalistic,” and last week “you’re a fanatic”.  This doesn’t bother me too much.  I feel like it’s their loss.  I pray that I will have the opportunity to write and publish books in the future?

If you could visit any country in the world, which would you visit? I love to travel.  If I could go anywhere, I’d visit the Holy Lands first.  Books, Maps, Photography and Internet information is wonderful and I’m thankful, but nothing is quite like seeing and experiencing places first hand.  I want to go to the places we read about in our Bibles.  

What is your favorite food?  Anything my husband cooks is my favorite food!  He’s an amazing chef!  I am especially fond of fish.

What is your favorite sport?  I’m not a big sports fan.  I enjoying watching my college alma mater football team play (Florida State).  I also enjoy watching figure skating, and swimming and diving teams.  During warmer months I swim and I walk year round.

Do you prefer digital or physical books?  Both.  It’s a wonderful convenience to be able to bring hundreds of books on a phone or tablet with you everywhere you go.  It’s awesome.  However, I still like to hold a book in my hands.  I make notes in my Bible, so that I can pass them down.  Likewise, I have a digital and physical planner.  To me it sometimes seems like the digital world is fragile.  I often think of the loss of information in the library of Alexandria.

What is the biggest problem you encounter while writing?  I want my writing to be perfect grammatically, and inspirationally.  The days I feel my writing falls short, seem to be the days I have the most positive comments.

What color are your eyes?  Green.  Most of the time the whites of my eyes are red from Sjogren’s Syndrome, which makes them look even greener.  I’ve had people tell me that my eyes look like they are bleeding sometimes.

Recount a brief childhood story. What happened?  When I was a teenager I worked for the County School Board one summer giving swimming lessons.  Five days a week my parents would drop me off at 6:30 in the morning to catch a bus that would take me and a few other brave teens to Blue Springs.  Blue Springs has ice-cold water in the middle of the day.  When we arrived the sun wasn’t high in the sky yet, and the trees shaded the edges of the swimming area.  So, most days we spent half of the time trying to get wet above the knees.  

The children we were teaching varied in size from kindergarten to I haven’t been able to graduate yet.  So, some of my students were larger in stature than I was.  In the middle of the swimming area was a floating dock about fifty to seventy-five feet from the surrounding three shorelines.  All the experienced swimmers would hang out in the middle.  So, it was my goal to have my students swimming to the dock and back by the end of the summer.  The problem was most of the students couldn’t put their face in the crystal clear water when they started lessons, and the shorelines dropped to about twenty-five feet deep about ten feet away from the shore.

All summer I worked with the students until the last week of lessons had arrived.  I was determined that I would have at least one student swimming to the dock successfully.  However, I only had one who could dog paddle a few feet.  On the last day of lessons I looked up into the eyes of my six-foot tall most successful student and proudly proclaimed  “today you will graduate because you are going to swim to the dock!  Isn’t that great!”  He shook and looked worried.  So I reassured him by saying “don’t worry, I’ll be right beside you and I can save you if you can’t make it.”  I was about five foot three and weighed a little less than a hundred pounds.  My student looked to be about three hundred pounds.  I wasn’t worried at all though.  He could dog paddle now.

We made our way side by side toward the floating dock.  I was glowing with pride.  After all, I had taught this football player to swim.  As soon as we were about waist deep, he began to panic.  So, I told him to just stand up.  That should have been my sign to turn back, but I was convinced he could do it, and I was a “good” swimmer who had mastered life saving techniques.  We continued across.  It wasn’t long before the water was deep and my student knew it.  He was on top of me like I was a floating log.  It’s times like these that you realize the lifeguard’s are also students, who in this case were obviously not paying attention because they would have seen me bobbing up and down with a football player on my back.  I’m guessing he wasn’t as popular as he thought either, because no one was trying to save him.  Finally, I slapped him as hard as I could and said, “get a hold of yourself, the water is only a foot deeper than your height.  If you go down, you can jump up off the bottom.”  I don’t really know why he believed this, because if you looked down, the water was clear enough to see that it was easily twenty feet deep where we were swimming.

So, we kept inching towards the dock, with my student trying to drown me.  I was thinking that I probably needed to ask for assistance to get him back to the shore, if we survived the trip over.  Suddenly, he began to swim with great vigor.  I looked at him and realized he was looking at a beautiful face on the dock.  The girl waved and smiled.  I guess you could say he didn’t want to seem embarrassed, because he pointed at me and said, “hey, I’m teaching this girl how to swim.  I’ll be there in a minute.  She’s having trouble.”  I couldn’t believe my ears.  I started to speak and he said “shut up.  Just get me there and I will find my own way back.”  That day I learned that love will find a way.  He made it to the dock and spent the remainder of the time with this young lady.  Then, he swam back to the shore.  The best part of this story is the two later married and are still married today.

What type of music do you like to listen to?  This is a tough question for me.  I love praise, gospel, hymns, pop, 70’s and 80’s tunes, and classical music.  I like some country music.

Do you collect anything? If so, what is it?  Yes.  I love books.

Where do you see yourself in five years?  I see myself writing books, teaching and comforting others.  In my free time, I will spend time with my family.

My nominees are:

M.K. Aneal

Kristi Anne’s Haven

Charles Earl Harrel

The Beauty of Words

The Godly Chic Diaries

Anna Waldherr

Camie’s Cozy Corner

Brandon J. Adams

Plucking Of My Heartstrings

Wizzymedpower

Inside Cup

Questions For My Nominees:

  1.  What inspired you start blogging?
  2. If you could visit any country in the world, which would you visit
  3. What is your favorite hobby?
  4. What is your favorite holiday?
  5. Do you prefer digital or physical books?
  6. What is the biggest problem you encounter while writing?
  7. What color are your eyes?
  8. Recount a brief childhood story. What happened?
  9. What type of music do you like to listen to?
  10. Do you collect anything? If so, what is it?
  11. Where do you see yourself in five years?
    Congratulations everyone. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Ask the Lord to Stand with You

But the LORD  stood with me and gave me strength.                                  2 Timothy 4:17

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful Saturday.  My sweet grandson has spent the day with me while his mom sleeps. She’s a working nurse on midnight shift.  I wasn’t sure if I could keep up with him all day, but the LORD gave me strength.

A few days ago I was provided an opportunity to do something I have wanted to do and prayed about for many years, teach Sunday School.  Isn’t that great?  I feel like this opportunity is something God is providing me, and conversely I think I might be an answer to someone else’s prayer.  So, what’s holding me back?  Only one thing, am I able to make the commitment physically?  I know it sounds like virtually no exertion is involved, but for me just getting there takes a great deal of effort, and I want to honor my commitments.  I know the answer, but hesitate because I know I have limitations. I also know that God will let me run around in circles like the Israelites in the desert as long as I can, but avoiding the opportunity only hurts me.   So, I will ask God to stand with me and give me strength.   Have you ever been in a similar situation?  Please share.

God bless you.

Forgiveness Thursday – God Fulfills

He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.  Psalm 107.9

Happy Thursday!  It’s  a great time to practice forgiveness.

Have you ever felt empty?  Have you felt like no matter what you do, you can’t find happiness?  Is being content something you can’t seem to wrap your mind around?  Are you an overachiever, a workaholic, a perfectionist or something similar?  Do you feel you have to fill every moment of the day with an activity?  Do you dread quietness?  I know how you feel.  There is only one thing that can fill that hole,  God.  You can try everything you can think of, but I promise nothing will fill that hole but God.  Start your day with God and put God first all day long, and he will fill the emptiness in your soul.

God bless you,

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Radiate God’s Love

We can’t always see where the road leads, but God promises there is something better up ahead we just have to trust him.  Psalm 56:3

Happy Wednesday!  It’s a great day to Use Your Gifts to Change the World!  So, what will you do?

Do you ever feel like you are unable to make positive change?  Do you feel like the world is too big?  Then, I have good news.  The smallest of changes are viral in the scheme of changing the world.  Whenever you do something as simple as smiling at someone having a bad day, the results are beneficial, and that’s not all.  Positive changes grow exponentially.  Yesterday, I actually heard a very nice lady, who collects items for children in need, say that she had so many people donate that she had to create a new list of items to prevent sending volunteer donors away.  She was also taking overflow donations to other agencies.  Isn’t that great!  That’s how it should be.  When we work together to help society, government doesn’t have to.  As I’ve said so many times before, changing the world doesn’t have to involve donations or money.  You can smile, give a friend a hug, tell the manager of a restaurant or store about an employee who is doing a good job, leave a note, and the list goes on and on. There is no limit to what YOU can do.

As you go out into the world today, start at home and radiate.  Make a difference everywhere you go.  God bless you.