The Blessing of Beginnings and Endings

cropped-champagne-glasses.jpgHappy almost New Year! In some parts of the world, it is already 2017.  We have hours left where we live.  Tonight will be a low-key night at home with good food and some time to relax and celebrate.  We will ring in the new year before midnight since school will be starting back soon.

One year will be ending and another beginning.  2016 was a good one since I had a high school reunion, caught up with several friends, served half the year as PTO president and look forward to the second half, spent lots of time with family, took many pictures, celebrated 18 years of marriage, celebrated Ian’s 9th birthday, remembered some loved ones that we lost and were sad to say goodbye to, sang and danced, and so much more.

I look forward to 2017 and what is in store.  I hope that all of the upcoming changes will be good.  And, I hope that we can begin to be kind to each other again and find ways to work together.  I also hope for peace, kindness, health, love, and blessings for my loved ones.

During our winter holiday break, we watched Rudolph and the Red Nosed Reindeer and the lesser known Rudolph and the Shiny New Year.  Ian enjoyed both movies very much.  Each were fun.  And each had some good messages about being kind and loving to others.  And the value of friendship and support.

Here are a few New Year quotes:

  • Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~ Oprah Winfrey
  • Hope and faith flower from the cheerful seeds of the old year to the sprouting garden of the new year’s dawn. ~ Terri Guillemets
  • A Happy New Year! There is a glow of cheer and optimism in the very words “New Year.” The old year, with its anxieties and worries, is over. It too brought happy days and sunshine, and in memory we must cherish the bright places. ~ May Louise Crane
  • A new year is simply the turn of a calendar page — and a beautiful chance for us to turn over a new leaf. ~ Terri Guillemets
  • May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions. ~ Arnold Glasow
  • We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day. ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce
  • Lord, as the New Year dawns today,
    Help me to put my faults away.
    Let me be big in little things;
    Grant me the joy which friendship brings;
    Keep me from selfishness and spite,
    Let me be wise to what is right.
    A Happy New Year! grant that I
    May cause no tear to any eye.
    When this new year in time shall end,
    Let it be said: “I’ve played the friend,
    Have lived and loved and labored here
    And made of it a happy year.”
    ~Edgar Guest (1881–1959), “Prayer for the New Year”
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The Blessing of The Dash

Clouds_POD_8-15-14During the holiday season, several of my loved ones have lost those who are very dear to them.  Five of my friends have had family members or friends pass away.  And a few famous people who meant a lot to me have also died.  So this holiday time is very bittersweet.

I have been sad and it has had me thinking about the dash.  In all of our lives there is a date we are born, then the dash, and the year that we die. None of us knows when that second date will be, but we can make the most of our dash.

We can make the most of our life, enjoy the time with our friends and family, try new things, and take risks.  And, we can be blessings to one another, spend time with those we love, tell them that we love them, and live our lives to the fullest.  We can exercise, eat those foods we enjoy, walk in the rain, sing to a favorite song, hug each other, and so much more.

As my friend Gordon D. used to say, never be a grave hugger.  I learned this in my early twenties and it has stuck with me all of these years. His point was to never leave something unsaid, and to be sure to resolve arguments and problems as much as you possibly can.  He didn’t want his friends to have regrets when someone they love passes away.

I try to live this way and make the most of my time with friends and family.  But, I cannot do everything and sometimes have to say no.  And, I am not the best at keeping in touch with people or finishing every task.  For example, I have finished writing the Christmas cards but still have to buy stamps and mail them.  Tomorrow, we will do that.

May we find a way to enjoy our dash and have a great life.  May we help those we love to also have a great life.  May we love, forgive, and actually be involved in life.  We are not spectators after all, but active participants.

May we not wish our lives away or wish we could go back.  May we savor each moment and keep going.  May we help those grieving and realize they need time and lots of love.  There is no right way to grieve or no right time frame.  May we be there for one another.

Quotes about making the most of our life:

  • “Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of.” ~ Charles Richards
  • “Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.” ~ Wayne Dyer
  • “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.” ~ Braveheart
  • “You may delay, but time will not.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
  • “Dream as if you’ll live forever.  Live as if you’ll die today.” ~ James Dean
  • “The important thing is not how many years in your life but how much life in your years.” ~ Edward J. Stieglitz

To those dealing with grief, may you be comforted and have fond memories.  And, may we remember to be there as needed and to always love.

The Blessing of Prayer Support

praying. handsIt is hard to believe we are five days from Christmas.  Wow!  This month has flown and I have hardly written anything.  Things have been busy and I haven’t been inspired.  I hope to be again soon.

I have a lot of loved ones on my mind and heart who are suffering, are in pain, or have recently lost loved ones.  The holidays are supposed to be fun but are also hard for many.  So, I appreciate the blessing of prayer support.

There is nothing like the support of friends and family who pray in times of need.  We can do so much by lifting up one another in our thoughts and prayers.  May we remember to do that throughout the year, and not just at the holidays.  And may we remember to always be kind.

There are loved ones who are having a Heavenly Christmas.  These are my friends and family and those of some of my loved ones — Malachi, Wayne, Erika, Kelly, Glada, my grandparents Dick, Artha, Fran, and Crawford, Uncle Claude, Michael, Diggy, Uncle Davey, Uncle Danny, Judy, Joel, Mike, another friend Wayne, other friends, and other family members.

Some have passed away this year or in recent years, and others a few years ago.  All of them are loved and missed and thought of fondly.   All were amazing people and lit up everyone around them.  All meant a great deal to those who loved them.

Other friends are sick — Bob, Roland, Warren, George, Megan, Ralph, Marilyn, several parents of high school friends, and other friends and family members.  I am lifting them up as well.  I am praying for healing.  If that is not to be, I pray that people have a chance to say goodbye.  I pray that they and their families can enjoy the Christmas season.

May we remember one another with love and kindness and always be there to support each other.  May we also enjoy our times together and take the time to be with our loved ones.  May we remember those who we have lost and celebrate those we still know.  And may we tell our loved ones that we do love them and how special they are to us.

God’s blessings to you.  And, may prayer support bless you as well.

The Blessing of Giving

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERALast night, we watched an amazing telethon to raise money for those displaced in the recent wildfires in the mountains of Tennessee.  The money was being raised for the Dolly Parton Foundation in order to help those who lost their homes.

This foundation is giving $1,000.00 per month for 6 months to these families.  Amazing generosity isn’t it?  And many people stepped up to help her raise this money — Dollar General, Belmont University,  Taylor Swift, CMT, Academy of Country Music, Kenny Chesney, and many more.

There were comments and calls-in by Paul Simon, Keifer Sutherland, Steve Harvey, and others.  And, the talent was fantastic — Cyndi Lauper, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Reba McEntire, Alison Krause, Chris Stapleton, and many others in acoustic performances.

So much generosity and giving and it was a treat to watch and be a part of.  This is what Christmas and the season of giving is all about.  I just hope that we remember to live this kindness throughout the year.

As Dolly said, these are her people and she wants to help them.  During the telethon she even said this isn’t about me, it’s about them.  She has always remembered where she came from and gives back.  A fine example of the blessing of giving.

Another recent story of giving is of a Santa who was there when a terminally ill boy was dying.  The hospital called him to say this boy had one last wish to see Santa before he died.  He had to go so fast that he just had his Santa suspenders on.

So this man went and talked to this boy.  He told him, “You are my number one elf.”  The boy said, “I am?”  Santa then held him as he died in his arms.  Cue the water works.  So much sad about this story but also so much positive and loving.  Thanks to Sam Venable for this amazing story.

Again, giving with all of someone’s heart.  Something to strive for and to practice each day. Sometimes giving is money and other times it is our time and attention.  May we discern when the giving is needed and what others do need.  And then may we give.

A few quotes about giving:

  • “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” — Mother Teresa
  • “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill
  • “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”– Kahlil Gibran
  • “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”– Steve Maraboli
  • “Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.”– Roy T. Bennett

I wonder when the next chance for giving will be?  I will be on the lookout and ready to do what I can. God’s blessings to you!!

December Blessings – Family and Friends

Giggle.4-18-2016December is a month of celebration, fun, festivities, family, and friends.  It is also a month of amazing blessings.  So, I plan to write this month about the many blessings I have in my life.  Today’s blessing is family and friends.

I have an amazing family and a terrific circle of friends.  I was born into a wonderful family on both my mother’s side and my father’s side.  And, I married into a great family.  I was also blessed to start my own family.  I have always been surrounded by love and that is an incredible blessing.

My friends are equally awesome.  Some of them I have known for my entire life, a few through various phases of my life, and some much more recently.  Each one has enriched me beyond measure.  They have come into my life when needed and are cherished.

This photo was taken last Christmas of me with my brother and sister, and my nephew’s arms are behind the tree.  As you can see, we love to be hams for the camera.  We all grew up acting in plays, singing in musicals, choirs, and at church.

My siblings were my first friends and have been supports to me throughout my entire life. I love to spend time with them, their spouses, and children.  We always have a great time and laugh until our sides ache.  We also have fun with our parents and all of us together.

Today is the birthday of my childhood and life-long friend Tammy.  We have had so much fun over the years. It was hard for me when she moved away in junior high but we stayed in touch over the years. Now, it is fun to spend time together with our spouses and children.

A few quotes about family and friends:

  • “The truth is maybe we are just average. But the way I see it — families where parents get up every morning and go to jobs that are hard so they can get their kids through school and through life, and struggle to make it all work and manage to do it with dignity and a little humor — well, that’s not average. That’s extraordinary.” ~DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler, The Middle
  • “Families are like fudge — mostly sweet with a few nuts.” ~ Author unknown
  • “To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.” ~ Barbara Bush
  • “Across the range of diverse experiences and traditions that have been written into our Nation’s story, family has remained a steadfast and common foundation. Every day, families offer comfort and support to one another with enduring and unconditional love and they contribute to their communities and our country.”  ~President Barack Obama
  • “A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.” ~ Douglas Pagels
  • “Friendship is like a rainbow between two hearts.” ~ Author unknown
  • “A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad.” ~ Arnold H. Glasgow
  • “A true friend is forever a friend.” ~ George MacDonald

Thank you Lord for my wonderful family and friends.  Please bless each and every one of them.  And may you be blessed as well.