Another Week of Thanks

This has been another week of items to be thankful for and for enjoying the little things.  Not to say the week has been great the entire time, because it hasn’t been.

I have been worried about and praying for several friends and family members dealing with a variety of health issues.  A few are very serious and others are less so, but still worrisome and in need of prayer.  Dear Lord, please wrap your love around them and stretch out your healing hand upon them.  Amen!

Note: This photo was taken on Easter morning 2011 at the sunrise service.

I hope that you too have had some time to enjoy your week!  Please share some of the moments that have meant so much to you!  I would love to hear from you.

My blessings/items to be thankful for are:

  • Seeing Ian’s excitement over learning how beans turn into sprouts.  My mom started the experiment last week and we have been checking each morning on the changes.
  • Sleeping over at my parent’s house and hearing my father play with Ian.
  • Listening to a sermon that God will never abandon us.  “I will never leave you nor will I forsake you.”  What an incredible promise.
  • Enjoying an old song by Don Francisco during the church service.
  • Eating blueberries with my oatmeal.  This is a treat that I haven’t had for a while since blueberries are so expensive.
  • Finding out that I had the highest likes ever on one of my blogs.
  • Gaining several new followers for my blog. I truly appreciate your interest!!
  • Beaming with pride while Ian tells two stories during a family dinner and another one right before bed.  I am truly moved that we have another storyteller in the family and so love his creativity.
  • Cuddles in the morning with my son.
  • Starting and finishing the book, “150 Pounds,” by Karen Rockland, a book of waists and measures as it says on the cover.
  • Losing 3 pounds after feeling I was getting no where in my weight loss journey.
  • Savoring the perfect blend of coffee and creamer in the morning.
  • Watching the sun rise after a day of heavy rain, lightening, and hail.
  • Having a house with a garage during two bouts of hail.
  • Praying for my family and friends and knowing I can talk to the Lord anytime that I want and He will listen.
  • Being entertained as Ian sings part of an Abba song “how can I resist ya…”
  • Reuniting with my husband after his business trip.

May the Lord bless you this week!  I hope that you too can have some time to stop and smell the roses and be thankful for the amazing things in your life.

I Love To Write

Good morning and Happy Wednesday!  I was just on Facebook and wrote in response to some e-mails back and forth to my sister that I love to write and can’t imagine not writing.  And that is the truth. So I decided to expand on that in my blog.

I remember in high school and the first years of college trying to decide what my major would be and what I’d do for my life’s work.  Nothing really seemed like the right fit for me except for writing.  While in high school, I wrote a column for teens that appeared in the local newspaper once a week.  That was a lot of fun and gave me a taste of what was to be a lifelong love of writing.

I decided to pursue writing and had some great opportunities in college to continue this love.  I was the editor of the college paper my senior year.   That was an amazing experience.  After 4 years of amazing experiences, I received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism.

Then it was time to find a job.  I applied all over the country and after a few months of frustration, received a job offer from a small weekly newspaper in our county seat.  I started as a very green general assignment reporter for The Courier-News.  I felt so blessed to start at a small paper so I was able to cover some amazing things — criminal trials, the county commission, the building of a new jail, and a day in the life of a paramedic.

The most amazing thing was learning first hand how to be a fair and accurate reporter from the man who founded this newspaper in 1930.  His name was Horace V. Wells and he was incredible.  For example, when the city’s high school was integrated, it was the first in the state to do so.  He was in favor of integration and told people if they didn’t like what he said about it, they should start their own paper.

For a person starting out her career, this advice and mentoring was amazing and something I will never forgot.  When Mr. Wells passed away, it was difficult to say goodbye to this man of such great integrity in a business where that is sometimes hard to find.

After three years of very little pay but amazing skills now under my belt, I went on to technical writing.  This type of writing could be boring at times but provided me with new opportunities and many new and lasting relationships.

My favorite tech writing job was in a communications office where I edited news releases, posted them to the web site, interviewed and wrote stories for the employee newsletter, and helped prepare presentations and speeches. There was never a dull moment, that’s for sure.

After years of doing that, I became pregnant.  So a new chapter of my life and my writing was to begin.  I went back to work at the end of my maternity leave and decided I couldn’t be away from our son all day and miss out on his young life.  So, my husband and I decided that I would be a stay-at-home mom and I turned in my resignation.

After I’d been home with Ian for a while, I realized that I had worked in the field of my major for nearly 18 years.  I felt so humbled and truly blessed at that idea!  It was amazing to think of since I never expected that.

The next few years after that, I didn’t write much at all.  I was so busy with adjusting to life with a new baby and very little sleep that I didn’t miss it.  Then one day, all of that changed, and I woke up and thought something is missing.  I hadn’t had my outlet of writing in ages.  So, I decided to make a change.

Last fall I started this blog and I am loving the chance to write again.  I truly appreciate my readers and followers and friends and family who have been so supportive. You all rock!

And, about a month ago now, I attended a Writer’s Conference which was another amazing experience.  This was all about creative writing and giving ideas to people for help in writing poems, fiction, memoirs, and other items.

I met some kindred spirits who will be friends for a long time I think.  It was great to meet people who have the same interests as me but a totally different experience and facet of their life. Now I am working on the first aspects of a novel, a variety of stories, and continue writing two to three times a week on this blog.

Again it is humbling and incredible to realize that for so many years, I was able to work in the field I truly had a passion for.  And, frankly couldn’t have imagined doing things any differently.  Thank you Lord for this blessing!!  I truly do appreciate it.

I would love to hear from you about what has been a passion or something you have enjoyed doing.  Please post them!

The Importance of Art

This morning I saw a great quote on Facebook.

“Earth without “art” is just “eh.”

I have always loved and been involved in the arts.  My niche was always music and musical theater.  All through junior high and high school, I was in the chorus, chorale, and show choir.  I had a blast and am so thankful for that opportunity.

My high school also had a drama club and each year we’d practice after school and then perform two shows a year.  The ones that I was in were: “Around the World in 80 Days,” “Our Town,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” and “Pillow Talk.”

My high school was three years at that time with 9th grade still in junior high (a while ago).  We also had a newspaper staff and a yearbook staff.  I wasn’t involved in those but had several friends who were and had a blast with it.  Student writers, advertisers, and photographers were all involved in these publications.

My school had an art class as well and the students would display their works throughout the school. I am terrible at drawing and painting but am loving watching my son and nieces and nephews with their amazing work.  And, I have friends who are very talented as well.

I was fortunate to go grow up in a neighborhood that valued the arts both at school and in the community. We had a community theater, community band, community chorus, community orchestra, and community ballet.  Volunteers with a director or conductor or leader would work together to create amazing performances for the general public to enjoy.

But, the sad fact now is that many schools no longer have these programs.  A lot of them had to do away with them due to budget cuts. To me this is heartbreaking.  For talented students to lose this outlet is truly sad and in need of correction.

This morning on Good Morning America, I was thrilled to hear Sarah Jessica Parker talking about her involvement in a new initiative to adopt failing schools and incorporate arts education back into them.  She is involved in the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

According to the Associated Press, Parker, Kerry Washington, Yo-Yo Ma, Damian Woetzel, Chuck Close, Alfre Woodard, and Forest Whitaker are adopting schools to help in this initiative.

Thumbs up to all of them as well as President Obama for realizing the importance of this and doing something about it.

I wonder if we will continue to appreciate the value of the arts.  I certainly hope we do.

A Week of Thanks

Hi!  Have you had a good week?  I hope so.

You may have noticed my new picture.  These are Ian’s feet when he was 2 years old.  Please see the page called “Two Feet” for more.  Rediscovering this picture was one of the blessings of my week as it brought back such great memories of when he was still little.

My week has been full of new blessings and items to remember.  I wrote them down in a journal so I wouldn’t forget.

Here are some of the blessings:

  • Listening to Ian sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”
  • Ian making his own breakfast
  • Starting and finishing “The Help.” (see post about my thoughts on this book)
  • Cooking with our son in the kitchen: “Let me stir Mommy.”
  • Celebrating the first communion of friends’ children
  • An unexpected visit with former co-workers
  • Having a fun and positive visit with a friend who has an inoperable brain tumor
  • Receiving a diagnosis from “Dr. Ian” of an elephant playing a flute in my heart (this was one among several)
  • Making orange juice pops for a snack and then Ian’s excitement in watching them turn from liquid to ice
  • Hearing my husband’s excitement about features on his new car
  • Making and savoring dinners before hubby’s busy schedule starts
  • Lunches out with family
  • Relearning the enjoyment of a good workout and trying to stick with it
  • Watching Ian learn the miracle of the body’s healing after falling and getting scrapes on his knees
  • My mother reaching a goal in her physical therapy
  • Watching the 7 kids from Sound of Music movie talk about their scrapbook (I will have to buy this)
  • Discovering a friend’s blog
  • Looking at old pictures of friends, family, and places where I enjoyed spending special times

These are just a few of my wonderful blessings from the week.  Please share some of your blessings with me and the other readers.

The Help

Last night I finished reading one of the most thought-provoking books that I have read in a while — “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett.

As you probably know, it was turned into an award-winning movie, which I haven’t yet seen.  I wanted to read the story first before seeing the movie.

And yet, I almost didn’t finish reading it.  The material was hard to read.  I was raised to believe that all people are created equal — no matter the color of their skin — so to read so much about people being treated poorly and like less of a person because they looked different was disturbing.

But, the sad fact is that this was a terrible part of our country’s history.  As much as I don’t like it, it did happen.  I suppose the best thing to do is to learn from mistakes like this so we don’t repeat them.

And, the other thing is to teach the next generation — like my son and his cousins — that all people are created equal and can be your friend. And, more importantly that all people have value and are worth knowing and spending time with.

I have been fortunate in my life to have friends of a variety of races, religions, and walks of life.  It has been amazing to learn the different things about them, but to also realize that we are very similar in the things that truly matter.

I did like seeing the strong female characters in this book.  And, ones who were willing to stand up for something that mattered to them.  That is something encouraging and interesting and did allow me to become truly engrossed in this novel.

Another thing is that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things.  A new concept does matter and can make amazing changes in people’s lives.

I am curious if you read this book or have seen the movie, what your thoughts were about it.  Please share them with me and the other readers.

I can’t help but wonder what Minny, Aibilene, the other maids in this story, Skeeter, and the real maids who lived at this time would think about our current president.  Definitely something to think about.

Nearer My God To Thee

The church service today concluded with “Nearer My God To Thee” being played on the organ in honor of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic.

It is amazing to imagine that 1,500 died after the ship collided with the iceberg.  The unsinkable ship as it was called at the time did in fact sink — very quickly.

When the James Cameron movie was released in the last 1990s, I went to see it at the theater and wept.  I knew what was going to happen but seeing it played out so dramatically was hard to watch.  I can’t imagine living it.

Knowing that some people didn’t even stand a chance since they were locked in part of the ship is heartbreaking.  Many third class passengers couldn’t even try to get to a deck of the ship.  They were treated so poorly and people acted like they were not worth saving.  That is so very wrong.

It is heartbreaking that there weren’t enough lifeboats or jackets and the ones that did leave the ship weren’t full of passengers.  It was one disaster after another.  I suppose the best we can hope for is to learn from these mistakes.  And hope and pray that something like this never, ever happens again.

Another thing I want to remember is to try to treat all people as equals.  Just because you have more money to be able to stay in a better class on a ship or an airplane doesn’t make you a better person.  All people from CEOs to janitors deserve respect and to be treated as equals.

When I was a teenager, I was involved in Camp Fire, which is similar to Girl Scouts.  Anyway, I remember a few summers during day camp, we would sing a song about the Titanic.  It was a fun song about such a terrible event and was eventually banned, but it did sum up what happened so I will never forgot it.

On this anniversary, we can honor those who were so tragically lost as well as those generations of people who have direct ties to this amazing ship.

Here are the first, second and last verses of “Nearer My God To Thee” that was played by the ship’s orchestra as the ship went down.  I truly hope that it helped people with some comfort as they went to meet the Lord.

  • Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
  • E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me; 
  • Still all my song would be nearer, my God, to Thee,
  • Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
  • Though like a wanderer, the sun gone down,
  • Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
  • Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee,
  • Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
  • Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,
  • Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upwards I fly,
  • Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee,
  • Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

The Simple Things

You may have heard the quote, “The best things in life aren’t things.”  I totally agree with that sentiment.

Over the next few weeks, each Friday, I am going to write about simple things, blessings, or moments that made a difference in my week.   I hope that you will post items from your week as well.

My hope is that we can stop to think about our blessings and those moments that mean so much.

Here are some of my special moments from the week:

  • Having coffee with family after a moving Good Friday service
  • Visiting with family and friends at an Easter luncheon
  • A family circle of prayer
  • The joy of children during and after an Easter Egg hunt
  • The funny faces made in a picture of cousins
  • Singing, “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” at the church where I met my husband
  • Meeting a new friend and renewing an old friendship
  • Laughing at a joke my son told me
  • Sharing the excitement of a new office
  • My son making a special princess picture for me
  • Looking at photos from my childhood
  • Choosing library books
  • Making dinner at home
  • A sincere thank you for a job well done
  • My husband saying I love you

**”Life is made up of small pleasures. Happiness is made up of those tiny successes. The big ones come too infrequently. And if you don’t collect all these tiny successes, the big ones don’t really mean anything.” – Norman Lear

I wonder if we can take time to notice these precious moments.  I will do my best to do just that.

Pray Often, Laugh More, Love Much

Pray Often… Laugh More… Love Much

These six words are on the shower curtain at my brother-in-law’s and sister-in-law’s house.  I noticed it when we visited them last night and realized how much these words really mean.

Pray Often — the Bible says to pray without ceasing.  Now, clearly, you probably can’t pray all day every day without some strange looks from people, but the point is to be in the attitude of prayer. We are to regularly communicate with God.

We are teaching Ian about prayer and it is so beautiful to listen to his prayers.  He has a few great ones and my favorite is, “Dear Jesus, please help me stay out of trouble.”  I think we could all benefit from a prayer like that.

Laugh More — the medical community has been saying for a while now that laughter is good medicine.  And I must say, I love to laugh!  Whether it’s watching “I Love Lucy” or “Psych” or talking with a funny friend or family member, I have found some definite ways to laugh.

I think it’s important to be around people who make us happy and able to laugh.  I hope that you have people in your life who you can laugh with.  I am blessed to have several and even a code word with a few friends.  We have always loved to laugh or giggle.

Love Much — It is important to let your family and friends know that you love them.  At my first job as a reporter, I met a wise paramedic who advised me to never be a grave hugger.  His advice has stayed with me ever since.  He wanted me to be sure and remember to always tell my loved ones that I loved them and never to let the words go unsaid, since you don’t know if you’ll get the chance at a later time.

I am fortunate to love some dear family and friends and be loved in return.  I hope that you too have that blessing.

I wonder if we can truly remember to Pray Often, Laugh More, and Love Much.  I will certainly give it a try – how about you?

He is Risen Indeed!!

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed.

Hope you are having a wonderful Easter!  My family and I certainly have.  That is why my post is being made on Sunday afternoon.

Yesterday, we spent a wonderful afternoon at my parent’s house and enjoyed lunch, visiting with friends and family, desert, and wonderful fellowship.  Including children, there were 20 of us together.

It was great to see all of these wonderful people and wish the ones who couldn’t be there had been able to.  We also had an Easter Egg hunt for the children.  Ian is the youngest of the cousins and his older cousins helped him find eggs.  It was really quite nice and a wonderful day!

This morning was a brunch at church, another Easter Egg hunt with all the children at the church, and then a wonderful service.  We enjoyed catching up with friends who we haven’t seen in a while and meeting some new people as well.  Needless to say, Ian is now set with candy for a while.

The service started with one of my favorite hymns — “Jesus Christ is Risen Today.”  Here are the words of the first verse:

  • Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia! Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
  • Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia! Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia!

Can’t you just hear that hymn with the organ playing?!  I can and still enjoy singing this song throughout the day.

The sermon scripture was John 11: 25-26: “Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life.  The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.  Do you believe this?”

Amen and Amen and yes I do believe!! As Pastor mentioned in his sermon, this scripture is even more meaningful when you have suffered a death of someone close to you. As he was preaching, I was thinking of our friend Marlys who is celebrating her first Easter in Heaven.  What an amazing thing to think about!!

We also had communion and sang some beautiful songs during the service of the bread and wine.  And the service concluded with another one of my favorite hymns, “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.”

May the words of this song have meaning to you:

  • I know that my Redeemer lives; what comfort that sweet sentence gives!  He lives, He lives, who once was dead; He lives, my ever living head.
  • He lives triumphant from the grave, He lives eternally to save, He lives all glorious in the sky, He lives exalted there on high.
  • He lives and grants me daily breath; He lives, and I shall conquer death: He lives my mansion to prepare; He lives to bring me safely there.
  • He lives all glory to His Name!  He lives, My Jesus, still the same, Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives, I know that my redeemer lives!

This afternoon, we have had a lazy afternoon, watched some tv, had a wonderful lunch, and just have enjoyed our time together.

I hope that you too have enjoyed the real meaning of Easter.   

He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!

Good Friday

Happy Good Friday to you!

Good Friday is part of the most important three days in the Christian calendar.

Here are some scriptures about this day:

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.'” – John 11:25-26

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”- John 3:16

This evening we plan to go to church and remember this gift we were given.

Hope you have an amazing Good Friday and Easter weekend!