Hello January!

Playground.2Hello and welcome to January.  I cannot believe that we are now 18 days into the new year.  My that time has flown. Hope you are having a great week.  Mine has been pretty good but our unseasonably warm weather is wreaking havoc on my allergies and sinuses.

I have missed writing and hope to be back to it soon on a more regular basis.  The holidays were a whirlwind and I enjoyed down time and family time.  Now that school is back in session, we are busy again.  We are back to the routine of busy mornings, homework, and all of the rest.

I haven’t been inspired this week to write and that is frustrating.  I have many things and people on my mind and am stressed.  Sadly when I get stressed, my body and my stomach are affected.  So, I am trying to do things to help with my stress — watching what I eat today, relax and do some fun things, take a walk later today, do some coloring and a word find, and perhaps I will start meditation.  That would certainly help.

Life is pretty good but every once in a while I think about loved ones who have passed away, loved ones who are now suffering with loss, pain or health issues, loss of jobs, loss of homes and community, and so much more.  I am having one of those days today.  I will do my best, may have a cry, listen to some music, and try to focus on all of the positives.  And, I may go to bed early and hope for a better day tomorrow.

I have a book entitled, The Daily Writer.  Today’s writing is on The Art of Concentration. How is that for irony?  Concentrating on writing has been a challenge in recent weeks as I have mentioned. I hope to be able to concentrate again soon and find new topics that inspire me. I certainly didn’t mean to start on such a downer for my first writing of this new year.  But, it always helps me work through it when I write about it and what I am thinking.

Here are a few quotes about and from the amazing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose life we celebrated on Monday.  He is an inspiration in how he lived his life, fighting for what he believed in, his speeches and his writings.

  • “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope… and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” ~ “Robert F. Kennedy
  • The time is always right to do what is right.”  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “Everybody can be great.  Because anybody can serve.  You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.  You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.  You only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love.”  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.”  ~ Franklin Thomas
  • “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”  ~ Anne Frank
  • “Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.”  ~ William James
  • “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”  ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

May we remember it is okay to have some down days.  May we live each day with kindness, empathy and peace.  May we learn from others different than ourselves and respect each other.  May we fight for what we believe without harm to others.  And, may we remember to always, always love.

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.

Love One Another

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA“Love is all you need.”  “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” “I will always love you.” “Love one another as I have loved you.” 

Love comes in many shapes and sizes.  There are many types of love and many things that define love.  As you know, we just celebrated the big love day of the year, Valentines’ Day. Well, it is a day that stores and restaurants try to make the big day.  We are encouraged to spend a marked up amount on flowers, eat out, and spend a lot on cards.

That is fine but why not enjoy a home cooked meal with our mate and children?  Why not enjoy our own tradition of handwriting a special card?  Why not have both of you sign the same card as Kirk and I did this year? And, why not remember to love and show our love each and every day?

Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed the fun of Valentine’s Day, the fancy dinners out, and the dozen red roses. There is nothing like that in the early stages of a relationship. But, more importantly, I like when Kirk gives me flowers just because, or has asked if I’d like to eat out after a tiring day at work, or wants to have a date night in the middle of the week.

I also like to do special things for him just because. And I like that we tell each other I love you every day.  And, we tell our son that as well. We also regularly demonstrate love to one other by the things we help with around the house, the projects, and the teamwork.

Before meeting Kirk, I had many years without a special someone. it could be tough at times but I did my best to enjoy time with my friends and family. I also learned to love myself and figure out what I wanted in a relationship. That was a blessing and helped me appreciate my relationship even more.

At the top of the blog, I listed a few quotes about love.  Here are my thoughts on them.

  • Love is all you need.  This is from a great Beatles song that I really like.  To me, we need more than love to have relationships work.  We also need trust, honesty, forgiveness, and patience.  Clearly love needs to be part of it since without it, it is very hard to have the rest.
  • Love means never having to say you’re sorry.  This was made famous in The Love Story movie.  I totally disagree with this sentiment.  To me, love means saying sorry often and as needed. Not so much that it means nothing, but enough to show we realize when we made mistakes.
  • I will always love you. This is from one of my favorite Celine Dion songs and is lovely. I agree that you can always love someone. However, you may not always like them and can get frustrated with them. True love means sticking with them through it all and always being there for each other. And loving unconditionally.
  • Love one another as I have loved you.  Christ told us to do this and I think we are lacking with this at times.  We seem to be a society of mistrust, gossip, and a lot of negativity.  I hope and pray that we can get back to truly loving others and wanting the best for each other.  People often try to take credit for another’s accomplishments or blame people when something doesn’t work out.  None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. My hope is that we can find a way to be more loving and kind.

Love is an amazing gift and something that is rare and precious.  It is to be treasured and respected.  It is to be given freely and without expecting anything in return.  And, it is to be given without condition.

The loves in my life are:

  • My husband who I cherish
  • Our son who is a gift from the Lord and a blessing each day
  • My parents who taught me what love means
  • My siblings and their spouses who I adore
  • My nieces and nephews who I am fascinated by
  • My cousins who I have shared so much with
  • My aunts and uncles who love me like their own
  • My grandparents who I miss each day and loved talking with
  • My in-laws who welcomed me into their family
  • My lifetime friends who I have laughed and cried with
  • My newer friends who I am enjoying getting to know
  • My friends from work, school, and church who are so special
  • My loved ones who have passed and are still missed

I wonder if I will truly remember to love as Christ loved me.  I am going to do my best to do just that.  My prayer is that we all have love and can truly love others.

Remembering 9/11

Twin.Towers_1986Where were you when the world stopped turning?  So says the song by Alan Jackson about the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Even though these events happened 14 years old, I remember that morning as if it was yesterday.

Never before had I felt such chills while watching the news.  Seeing the second airplane fly into the tower was a shock and I instinctively knew something was very wrong.  Little did I or others know that in many ways life would never be the same again. The entire day was then a blur of emotions, sadness, and shock.

I was one of the lucky ones though.  I didn’t know anyone killed in the towers or at the Pentagon, or on the airplane.  I instead mourned for those who did, and held my husband,  family, and friends a little bit tighter.

As a result of this tragedy, we saw the both the best and worst of people.  We also saw a lot of love and appreciation for helping others.  My prayer is that we can remember to help one another, be kind to one another, and continue to love one another.

This photo is one that I posted last year on the anniversary of 9/11.  I took it during one of two chorus trips to New York City in the 1980s.  The first was in the early 1980s and the second trip was in 1986.  Both trips were fantastic.

We saw amazing sights — the United Nations Building, The Statue of Liberty, Macy’s, the Twin Towers, Central Park, and “Cats” on Broadway.  I bought some I Love NY souvenirs and was happy to be there.  It is a great city that I hope to visit again.

I recently read a fascinating book by a man who worked in one of the towers.  He is blind and was there on 9/11 with his guide dog.  They both made it out with several other people from his office and from other offices.  They walked down 1,463 stairs to get out.  At the time, they didn’t know what was happening.  He just knew that they needed to leave the building.

The man’s name is Michael Hingson, the book is “Thunder Dog” and the guide dog was Roselle.  She helped him remain calm enough to keep walking and not panic.  This is an amazing book that I recommend reading.  This experience was part of their story but there has been so much more for both of them since.

And, there has been so much more for all of the survivors.  People continued on with their lives.  This chapter on the stairs mentions a quote from a New York Times editorial from September 12, 2001, “It was one of those moments in which history splits, and we define the world as ‘before’ and ‘after.'”

I hope and pray for those who lived to see after.  May we make the most of our lives and savor each and every moment.  May we appreciate those who worked to protect us and died in the process.  May we appreciate and be thankful for our military who have fought for our nation both before and after.

After all, those who died that day didn’t know it would be their last morning with their families.  May we never take one another for granted.  May we make the most of each and every moment that we are blessed with.  And, may we never forget.

February 14 – Love

POD_3-7-2014_FlyHi and Happy Valentine’s Day.  Today’s Photo Challenge is Love.  How fitting for a day all about love.  My photos are of my two greatest loves — my wonderful husband and our amazing son. These two men mean the world to me and I am so glad to have them as my family.  I love them very differently yet both fully and with all that I am.

So it got me to thinking, how can you illustrate or define love? As you know, there are many types of love and definitions. We love our mates and children differently, we love our families and friends in other ways, we love our pets in a different way, and there is our love of God and our faith.  All of these loves are valid and real to us.

To me love is — given every day, compassion, forgiveness, honesty, kindness, generosity, patience, partnership, unconditional, raw and messy at times, beautiful, passion, being there for the good and bad in life, support, and forever.

There is a line in the movie “Love Story” that has always bothered me.  “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  I totally disagree.  To me, love means you should say you are sorry.  Not too much that it means nothing, but when needed it should be said.

We all make mistakes and hurt one another.  Yet, because of love we can say we are sorry, change our behavior, and forgive one another.  And then you can move past the problem and continue to love.

One of the best descriptions of love is in 1st Corinthians 13: 4-8. Kirk and I had this read on our wedding day.  It meant the world to both of us.  This is from the New International Version of the Bible:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Isn’t that beautiful?  If only we could love others that way.  We are called by Christ to love others — including our enemies and those who seem the least lovable.  All of us need to be loved by someone.  My hope and prayer is that we can be more loving to those around us.

Today I am thankful for:

  • My husband for loving me as I am and being an amazing partner in all things
  • Our son who is the light of our life and an amazing gift
  • My parents who taught me what love is all about
  • My siblings (and in-laws) who I love to be with and admire so very much
  • My cousins who are true and real friends
  • My in-laws who are a wonderful addition to my family
  • My aunts and uncles who have taught me so much
  • My friends who I treasure — both old and new
  • My grandparents who demonstrated their love for one another
  • My nieces and nephews who enrich my world and are great friends to Ian
  • Our school and church friends who mean so much to the three of and who are teaching Ian so many things
  • Our community and neighbors who make us feel truly at home

May you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day full of love!  Whether or not you have a special someone, I hope and pray that you will know that you are loved.

A Rainy Day

rainHi and Happy Wednesday!  Our weather today is rainy and windy with the temperature dropping throughout the day.  However, there are breaks in between the rain that we can enjoy. Right now as I look out my window, I can see the sun peaking through the clouds and it is lovely.

Today I am sad yet happy at the same time so this weather is perfect for my mood.  The health of someone dear to me is deteriorating quickly.  I have had a chance to see this person two days ago and that meant the world to me.  I hope to again very soon, but am not sure if that will be possible.  I just hope and pray that it is.

Like the sun through the clouds, there is some light with the darkness of how I am feeling. I will miss this person terribly, yet I have happiness in my heart.  You see, I know where this person is headed – to Heaven!!   That is an amazing comfort and helps me to see happiness beyond my tears.

Not that this person won’t be missed, quite the contrary.  The fact is that an amazing, long, and wonderful life has been lived.  That is wonderful and something I am learning from, and a real blessing. It is just hard to say goodbye.

Yesterday, I thought of the song, “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me.  These words made me tear up, but also made me smile.  It is a song about meeting the Lord face to face and being curious about what we’d do.  Here are most of the lyrics:

“…I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me
I can only imagine

[Chorus:]
Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the Son

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine.”

Aren’t those words amazing?  Knowing someone will be in the Lord’s presence soon is almost overwhelming, yet such an amazing comfort. This is helping more than I can imagine.

I wonder what my loved one will do when meeting the Lord?  It makes me truly happy to think about since there will be no more pain or suffering, but instead pure and amazing joy.

Whole Lotta Love

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAThis week I have felt very loved!   And, that is something I am very thankful for!

I hope that you too have a whole lotta love in your life!

Here is a picture of my family at the restaurant where we had lunch on Valentine’s Day.  We all wore red and enjoyed our lunch and our afternoon out.  A change in the routine was just what we needed.  It was fun to enjoy a relaxed lunch, talk a walk, shop, and enjoy being together.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAMy husband gave me the teddy bear with a rose that Ian is holding in the above photo and a card.  We will go on a date sometime soon but decided on Valentine’s Day that it would fun for our family unit to be together.

We enjoyed our special time out, but I like even better the fact that we always tell each other we love one another.  This morning, Ian woke me up and gave me a big hug and said, “Mommy, I love you so much.”  What a great way to start the day!

From Ian I received a sweet card and these three items that he made at preschool. He had fun making all of them.

About the picture he painted, he said, “Look Mommy I included some flowers for you.”  Isn’t that the sweetest?  I also like the puzzle heart that he made and the beads and design on the other heart.

Ian decided to name my new bear “Chocolate.”  I told him that sounds good to me. After all, we all like chocolate.  Dark chocolate with mint is my favorite and peanut butter with chocolate is Kirk and Ian’s favorite.  How about you?!

We regularly tell each other throughout the year, not just on special days as we celebrated this week.   Special days are great but more importantly is just living a certain way.

All in all it was a great day full of love and spending time with two of my favorite guys!

Thank you Lord for the blessings you have given to me!!

The Greatest of These is Love

Our Wedding DayHappy Valentine’s Day to you!

There are many things I could write about Valentine’s Day, but the main one is that the day is all about love.  Love is a beautiful and wonderful thing.

I love the people in my life.  They include my husband, my son, my parents, siblings, in-laws, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends.  All of these people are dear to me and well loved.  Each one holds a special place in my heart!!

The best definition of love to me is the Love Chapter in the Bible — 1st Corinthians 13.  At my wedding to Kirk, this chapter was read.  It was meaningful then as it is now.  The picture is from our wedding.  As you can see we look like kids.

This chapter is quoted below from the New International Version——-

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

“If I give all that I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.

“But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; and where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

“For we know in part and we prophecy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When  I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”

I especially like the part that says — love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Think about that — always loving like that can be tough at times but that is exactly what love is.

On this Valentine’s Day, I hope you can appreciate this kind of love if you have it in your life.  If not, I hope and pray that you will find it one day.  God Bless!!

Merry Christmas to You!

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAI wanted to wish my friends, family, blogs followers and readers a very Merry Christmas!  Hope you have a very blessed holiday!

A few Sundays ago, our Pastor told a story in his sermon that is what I think the holiday is all about.  An autistic boy had a part in the Christmas play.

He played the inn keeper and was supposed to tell Joseph and Mary that there was no room for them in the inn.

Instead this boy said, “I know what I am supposed to say, but Mary and Joe, there is room.  Why don’t you take my room?”

Isn’t that the sweetest? This boy knew that Christmas and Christ are about love and helping others!  May we all live that kind of life!!

This Christmas Eve and Christmas, I look forward to time with family and dear friends, good food, baking cookies, going to church tonight with my family, cookies and hot chocolate after the service, watching Ian open his gifts and stocking on Christmas morning, and the love of the Christ Child!

Here are a few quotes about Christmas:

  • “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”– Burton Hillis
  • “From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas brings us closer to each other.” — Emily Matthews
  • “The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.” — WC Jones
  • “For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home.”– W. J. Tucker
  • “At Christmas, all roads lead home.”– Marjorie Holmes
  • “Christmas is the season of joy, of holiday greetings exchanged, of gift-giving, and of families united.” –Norman Vincent Peale
  • “Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”– Laura Ingalls Wilder

May you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas!  Remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season!!!