A Thanksgiving Prayer

img116Happy Thanksgiving.  Here is a prayer that my grandfather wrote and was published in November 1951.

Here I am pictured with him in 1990.  He was and still is my favorite storyteller and an amazing writer, educator, father, and grandfather.

He wrote a newspaper column for many years called “Parent’s Corner.”  It sums up the perfect Parent’s Thanksgiving Prayer to me. Each time I read it I am in awe of the pictures that his words so vividly describe and I tear up over them.

“Our Father-God we thank thee

  • For the ringing laughter of our children playing, for their giggles, and the moist throaty chuckles of our babies
  • For the tender weight of a sleeping child in our arms, and the trust of a tired son who rests his head upon our shoulder, and sleeps
  • For the joy we feel in baby’s first tooth, first word, first step, and the thrill of the grown-up child who marries
  • For the exultant communion with our teen ones when we dive together into the clean cold surf at dawn, and stand with them silently at sunset drinking glory from the cloud-studded sky
  • For small boys on tricycles, or on hands and knees in the sandbox pushing toy trucks and making man-noises
  • For tomboy girls streaking across the lawn, swinging on rings, or whirling like pinwheels on turning bars
  • For the wonder on the sensitive face of a half-grown child as she listens to a great organ for the first time, or watches a symphony orchestra
  • For the fun of family picnics, and vacation trips, and going fishing together
  • For the thrill we feel when a daughter stands before us in her first formal gown, and we realize that she is beautiful
  • For the joy of a child’s recovery from illness, and the relief we feel when we see an accident almost happen, but not quite
  • For the pressure of a timid child’s hand in ours as we walk together in the dark
  • For parenthood we thank thee.
  • And, our Father-God, to thee we pray for peace.  If it be thy will, grant that we may continue our lives together in the precious years to come.

Amen.”

May you have a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving!  And, may you be thankful for those special to you.

Prayers and Praises

graceBe still and know that I am God.   I so need that comfort today.  I have so many loved ones on my mind right now who need prayers and love and support. I can’t help but tear up when thinking about some of them and what they are going through.

And, I know that God is there with me and my loved ones every step of the way.  He promised to be with us through everything.  I take comfort in that incredible fact.

The son of a family friend had a stroke a few weeks ago and wasn’t expected to make it.  This young man is only 47 years old.  Since we found out the news, quite a few people have been praying for him. This afternoon we found out that he was able to move his finger and his feet.  And, the report is that he will be okay.    So I must say,  Praise the Lord!!

Another friend from high school said today that her 10-year-old daughter Lily has bone cancer.  I cannot even imagine how my friend is feeling right now.  I would be an absolute wreck.  I read this in her posting asking for prayers for Lily of family and friends.  Wow, what an amazing mother she is.  She is doing the best thing for her daughter — putting her in the Lord’s hands.

A relative is struggling with some major health issues and her family is trying to figure out what to do to help her.  Another friend’s child is recovering from surgery, a dear pastor’s wife is battling her second round of breast cancer, and several other friends just finished chemo treatments.

It is so easy to get almost overwhelmed by all of these needs of prayer.  Yet, by placing them in the Lord’s hand and asking for His protection, guidance, comfort, answers, and support, we are doing the best thing for them and their struggles.  We don’t always know the answers of why or the outcome, but praying is still the best thing to do, in my opinion.  Also, I think it is important to let those loved ones know we are praying for them and that we can help them if they need us to.

In addition to all of the sadness and hardships, there are also things to praise the Lord for.  One relative just received a clean bill of health after cancer treatments, another had a baby shower for her daughter who is due soon, and another is expecting her first child and will find out the sex when the baby is delivered.

I also want to praise the Lord for traveling mercies, for special times with family and friends, and for celebrations of life and our relationships, and that my son prays regularly. Praise also for two friends who suffered major losses and are now healing and discovering new relationships and friendships.  And, praise for the ability to laugh with our friends and family and the chances to share funny stories.

There is an amazing hymn that is coming to mind today — “It Is Well With My Soul.”

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Refrain

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

Refrain

And Lord haste the day, when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Refrain

Isn’t that song amazing?  It was written by a man named Horatio Spafford who suffered some great losses in his life.  The fact he was able to craft these words still amazes me today.And, it is so comforting and inspirational as well.

I want to close with a prayer:

“Lord, please watch over my loved ones in all that they do. Please stretch out your healing hands on those who are sick and suffering.  Please give us comfort and help us as only you can. Please help to us be there for one another and show the love that you have taught us.

“Praise and thanks to You for all of the gifts You provide for us. Praise to you and thanks so much for your love that You shower down on us. Praise also for our friendships and relationships we have. Praise to you for giving us the ability to love, laugh, and forgive.

“Thanks so much for life and liberty and freedoms. Amen.”

Prayers

prayingToday I wanted to share some prayers.  I have several dear friends and family on my heart to lift up in prayer. They are dealing with a lot of things.  I hope they know they are loved and that friends and family are there to lift them up and help them through their tough times.

I also want to pray for people in DC in the aftermath of the shooting this week, and the people being affected by horrendous weather in Colorado and New Mexico.

There are also the fires in New Jersey, the hurricanes in Mexico, and many other things going on as well all over the world.

There are a lot of things to be concerned about but also much to be thankful for.  Although at times, it is difficult to see that.

Lord, please stretch our your loving arms around those in pain and dealing with loss of loved ones, homes, lives, and livelihoods.   In your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, thank you for your love and devotion and being there for us always, if only we will ask.  This is a great comfort.  In your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.

And, I wanted to add a prayer that my son often says before we eat, “Apples are big, grapes are small, Thank you Lord for making them all.  Amen.”

Here are a few quotes about prayer:

  • “Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” — Mother Teresa
  • “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” — Abraham Lincoln
  • “Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” — Mahatma Ghandi
  • “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” — Soren Kierkegard
  • “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
    Where there is injury, pardon;
    Where there is doubt, faith;
    Where there is despair, hope;
    Where there is darkness, light;
    And where there is sadness, joy.  O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
    to be consoled as to console,
    to be understood as to understand,
    to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive,
    It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”  — St. Francis of Assisi

Prayer for Texas too

graceThis morning I heard about the terrible explosion in West, Texas.

I want to lift up the residents of this town as well in my prayers.

It is so sad to think that so much of the town was leveled and so many people killed and injured.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, stretch out your healing hand upon the people and community of West, Texas.

May they be comforted by you and each other.

May injuries heal quickly.

May you guide them as they grieve their losses.

May we help those around us.

Amen.

A Prayer for Boston

prayingIn light of the bombings during the Boston marathon, I wanted to post a prayer.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Please protect all of those impacted by the events this week in Boston, Mass. 

May those who sustained loss be covered by your love and care. 

May the injured be healed. 

May the city and its residents also heal – physically and mentally.

May the city of Boston come back from this stronger than ever.

May we not be afraid to gather at events such as the marathon because of fear.

May things such as this not happen again.

May time, love, and friends and family help in the healing process.

In your mercy Lord, please hear our prayer.

Amen.

This prayer isn’t just for those affected by this event but for all who are dealing with loss, pain and suffering.

Amazing Strength

handsI heard an amazing quote in the sermon at church yesterday.

This was a quote by a man named who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor: “I don’t know why God has me on this path, but I am looking forward to the journey.”

What? How can you look forward to a journey of a tumor in your head?  I was floored at this comment.  What a man of amazing faith!!

This comment truly did give me pause.  Is my faith that strong?  I like to think so, but am not totally sure.  Do I truly know that my Lord and Savior could get my through something like this?  I have to admit it would take a lot of prayers and support.

I do know that God works in mysterious ways and can make all things good.  But knowing in my head and living it are two different things.  Lord, help me have a strong faith in you and know that you will always provide for me.  Amen.

There are many people dealing with cancer, chemotherapy, treatments, surgery, and major pain.  I do, however, admire them and their strength to deal with and live through these trials in their lives.

One person who has been an inspiration is Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America.”  She recently returned from a 5-month medical leave.  She had a bone marrow transplant and now has the immune system of a child.  From what I understand, it is improving but will take time.

It has been so good to see her back on the air.  She looks different since she lost all of her hair and she has lost some weight from all she’s been through.  But she is still beautiful — both inside and out.

Robin was very frank with her illness and treatment and agreed to have the journey recorded to show on ABC.  It was amazing to see her at her most vulnerable, yet also comforting.

She is a strong woman of faith and despite all of her pain and trials, she is positive.  She knows that if you let the negative get in, it can take over.  Robin, you are truly an inspiration!!

If you are dealing with this kind of pain, please know that the Lord is there to comfort and help you through it!  And, friends and family can help you as well.

I know that people often question God when something like this happens.  I think that is only natural and we can’t help but ask “Why Me?”  I heard someone who had breast cancer say, “Why Not Me?”

That was another profound statement that made me do a lot of thinking and soul-searching.  I do know that Jesus is with me not matter what.  He didn’t promise that life would be easy, but did promise to always be there.  That is an amazing blessing.

I think it’s also great to have support of our loved ones.  Marriage vows include “in sickness and in health.”  May we truly be able to live that vow and be there for one another!

My prayer for you is that if you are dealing with this pain or diagnosis that you will be comforted to know that Jesus loves you and always will.  And, that your family and friends can help you through this painful time.  God Bless!!

Say What?!!

questionHave you ever been told something by someone who so floored you, you were speechless?

I had that experience recently.  And, boy was it a surprise.

A week or so ago I mentioned that I have a negative person in my life.   Well, this person recently told me during a heated argument that I am an extremely selfish person and all I think about is myself.  The person didn’t say this to me, but instead yelled it to me.

My first thought was “that sure is the pot calling the kettle black” since this person is borderline narcissistic.  After that comment, I was so stunned, I honestly didn’t have anything to say in return.  I did think to myself, I often put my husband and son ahead of others in my life.  Is that being selfish or being a good wife and mother?  That in itself is something to ponder.

My next thought was, am I selfish? I have never thought of myself as being selfish.  By no means am I perfect, but this was a shocking thing to hear.

I am bad about sending out thank you notes in a timely manner, I don’t keep in touch with friends and family as much as I would like to, I get busy and often forget to contact loved ones, I procrastinate about things, I am messy, and sometimes lazy, and the list goes on.  But, I have always tried to be kind to and considerate of others.

Prior to this argument, I had been worried about the health and well-being of several family members and friends and have been praying for them.  My mind was focused on them but my actions and words apparently did come across as I wanted them to during this heated discussion.

Having been yelled at, I was livid, as you can imagine.  But you know what my third thought was?  A person like this is the very one that I am called as a Christian to love and pray for.  Jesus told us to love all people, including those who frustrate and anger us.

I have to admit how hard that is to do with this particular person.  The more you keep hearing something negative from someone, the harder it is to like and even talk to the other person.

I do know, without a doubt, that I need to try to do just that.  I will only be able to with the love and heart of Jesus.

There are some extenuating circumstances at work here.  This particular person eats a lot of carbs and sugars, drinks wine regularly, and very little protein.  And, there seems to be stress and other health problems at work for this person.

I have been praying for the person for a long time now and will continue to do so.  Lord, please give me the strength to do that and keep trying to love this person.  Amen.

How about you?  Do you have someone in your life who is difficult?  How do you deal with it?  I’d love to hear from you and hear about some suggestions.

On Happiness and Sadness

In the movie Steel Magnolias, Truvy says, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”

That is a bit how the weekend was.  We had the celebration of my grandmother’s life and the following day found out we lost one of our dear sweet family members.

How does one’s mind get around such extremes — of happiness and then sadness?  I don’t know the exact answer and so wish that I did!!

Grams’ party was a lot of fun and she loved my blog that I’d written.  My cousin read a really nice poem and then a funny one, gifts were opened, and great food and cake were enjoyed as well.  It was a great evening.

Then the news of the loss.  Losing a loved one is always difficult.  Crying and prayers and hugs and love are about all I know of to do in times like this.

I saw a picture this morning on Facebook that resulted in some tears — “I wish there were visiting hours in Heaven.”  How I wish that were true!  And, how I wish I could visit our loved one.

There is an expression, “time heals all wounds.”  How much time?  With some losses it feels like that will take a very long time to be true, if ever.  Another is “take it a day at a time.”  On some days, that could be changed to “take it a minute at a time.”

I found some quotes about sadness, loss, and happiness:

  • Tears are God’s gift to us. Our holy water. They heal us as they flow.” ~Rita Schiano”
  • “I don’t know why they call it heartbreak.  It feels like every other part of my body is broken too.”  ~Missy Altijd
  • “If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in my garden.”  ~Claudia Ghandi
  • “I dropped a tear in the ocean.  The day you find it is the day I will stop missing you.”  ~Author Unknown
  • “Happiness is never stopping to think if you are.”  ~Palmer Sondreal
  • The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”  ~Mark Twain

Lord, please hold my family close and watch over us.  Hugs and love to my family.

After the Storm

“Rainbows apologize for angry skies.”  ~Sylvia Voirol

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” — Dolly Parton

These quotes came to mind yesterday when I saw this picture of a rainbow over the dark New York skyline. This picture was posted on ABC News Online.  Thanks to them for sharing this image with us!

The promise of a new and better day was very fitting for those who have lost so much.

Hurricane Sandy has affected so many people and will be around for a while it seems.  There will be much to clean up and it will take a while before life gets back to normal for millions of families.

I have been watching the coverage on the television and have been stunned and brought to tears by the devastation in so many places.  Wrapping my mind around entire towns under water or sand is hard to do, as is realizing an entire neighborhood was wiped out in a fire.  And, there are the tourist places where ferris wheels, roller coasters, and boardwalks will never be the same.

My prayers go out for all of those who have lost so much — their homes, their towns, their favorite vacation spot, and maybe the life of a dear one.  I can’t even imagine what they are dealing with.

The strength of the people dealing with the aftermath has been amazing to behold.  I salute all of the first responders, the firemen, police officers, members of the coast guard, paramedics, nurses, doctors, electricians, lineman, all utility workers, and so many more people.  These people are running to help others and try to restore normalcy to people and their communities.

Thanks also to the Red Cross for their quick response, FEMA, and the various state emergency response agencies, the National Guard, all volunteer agencies, governors and mayors who have been working with the President in response to this disaster and helping get aid to those who need it.  Collecting items for people has been a great thing to see.  In addition, I have been pleased to see politics put aside, however briefly, to help our citizens rebuild their lives and homes.

Most of the coverage I have been watching has been on ABC News.  These journalists and meteorologists have done a great job in reporting what has been happening.  They have looked defeated and frustrated at times and that is to be understood.  They were out in the worst of this storm to let us know how serious things were.  Thanks to this crew and others who have kept us informed.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, I wanted to thank God for the simple things in my life that I sometimes take for granted.  I realize this week, however, how precious these are.

I am thankful for:

  • Running water
  • Heat to stay warm on a cold night
  • A refrigerator keeping milk and cheese cold
  • A telephone to talk with a loved one far away
  • E-mail for updates from others
  • A cup of hot coffee in the morning
  • A yard full of standing trees
  • A hot shower
  • Lights to read my books and Bible
  • The hug of my son and him saying, “Good Morning Mommy”
  • The kiss of my hubby before bed and in the morning
  • A house with no damage
  • A television to track the storms
  • Friends who are well and healthy

If you were directly impacted by this storm, may the Lord be with you as you heal and move on with your life.

I hope that we can all get back to normal and remember to appreciate how truly special normal really is!  God Bless!

Remembering 9/11

I remember exactly where I was 11 years ago today.  I am sure that you do as well.

This was a day that I never thought I would see.  And, even as I watched it unfold, it was hard to imagine.

I was at work when the events began to unfold.  I remember being stunned when the second plane hit the tower.  It was clearly not an accident and done purposely.  Then we heard about the Pentagon and also those brave people who crashed an airplane to save it from more destruction.

That day we learned about bravery, sacrifice, love of others and country, and how important it is to let our loved ones know that we truly do love them.  And, we learned that not everyone likes our way of life in America. It was an end to an innocence in a way.

The odd thing is that I don’t remember what I was doing on September 10 since it was a day like any other.  What this tragedy made me realize is that days aren’t to be taken for granted.  Each one is important and so full of possibility.  And, since this happened, I have tried to make the most of each day and appreciate all that I am given.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families who were directly impacted by the tragedy we know as 9/11.  For all of those who lost loved ones in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, my heart goes out to you.

I wasn’t directly affected, but all of us were in some way.  I pray for our continued healing.

May the Lord bless you on this day and each day.  I hope you can remember your loved ones and thank the Lord for those you still have in your life.  I will be doing just that!