In the still quiet, do you allow your thoughts to run wild? Or do you take that opportunity to talk to God?
Do you sink back into your favorite plush lazy chair, kick your feet up and take advantage of the quiet time to relax? Or do you stay so busy that you do not allow yourself any down time?
All of these questions are definitely something to consider. If thoughts are running through your mind consuming you, and they are negative in nature, that leads to potential problems of stewing over situations where people have “done you wrong.” Does this bring you joy doing this or change the outcome of the situation? Surely neither one of these, so why allow something like this to zap your energy and take up space in your head? When negative thoughts try to creep into your quiet space, take that opportunity right then and talk to God about it. God is the only one that can make peace in those quiet moments you have alone with your thoughts. Turn it over to Him, and watch Him work wonders in your life over these hurtful situations you’ve endured.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking advantage of some leisure time to relax and rejuvenate your body and soul. However, if you stay so busy running from here or there, ask yourself what you are running from with all of your busyness. Perhaps it IS your quiet thoughts you’re trying to silence so they don’t consume you. Again, take it to God and leave it at His feet.
It’s now 20 years later. Do you still remember what happened on September 11, 2001? Have you forgotten what you vowed never to forget?
Where were you when the world stopped turning?
I was driving down the road delivering a bid for my employer when the news came over the radio. It was as if everything started moving in slow motion as I heard the announcement. I called my fiancé to see if he heard anything because maybe, just maybe the voice on the radio was mistaken. Much to my horror, I listened as the second tower was struck and up in flames.
It WAS the day the world stopped turning due to violence, terrorism, and an attack on the United States of America!
Twenty years later, we might have flashbacks of that day, or we might have to educate the young ones of the significance of this day. Maybe they learned about it in history class, or maybe they saw the look on their parent’s or grandparent’s faces as they re-lived the moment.
Now 20 years later, we’re dealing with emotions after President Biden pulled out of Afghanistan leaving a lot of our military equipment behind. We fear there will be another attack on the United States, some even fearing it would be today with the nation in mourning once again. Others feel it would be too predictable, though.
One thing is for sure, we all need prayer. The families and friends are still mourning the loss of their loved ones from the attack on this day, and although it has been 20 years, the hurt is no less felt than the day it all happened. At this time in 2001, I was dealing with the loss of my sister in July, only to have this act of terrorism occur two months and two days later. What a devastating time for our family and for our nation. We felt some comfort from those that rallied around us and others in their state of mourning, for our personal loss and the loss that shook the United States of America. One thing these tragedies had in common is they brought out the compassionate and caring nature of others. These tragedies allowed for more love to be shown, and this entire world needs more love!
Today, the world is more divided than ever. With controversy on both sides regarding the vaccines – whether to take it for the preventative nature it is intended for or whether it’s a conspiracy from the government – we are bickering and fighting each other over our individual beliefs. Race is also still a hot topic – with racism on both sides.
What if we brought back the love from 20 years ago? The compassion that was felt back then needs to be resurrected today. There needs to be more caring individuals and less fighting amongst each other. United we stand … divided we fall! Don’t we remember that, too?!
As the nation remembers, let us be the change we wish to see in the world …
This year marked 20 years since my sister died by suicide. July 9, 2001 was one of the hardest days of my entire life. It was during that time God carried me, just like the Footprints In The Sand poem says.
When the community learns of such a tragic death, there are so many questions. Believe me, the family has tons more questions they would like to ask, but the ones that hold the answers are in Heaven (God & their loved ones). No one knows quite what to say or do. I thought I would offer some guidance, just as another friend did today. She lost her daughter in January of this year, and she and her husband are still trying to cope. We continue to rally around them and pray, knowing firsthand only God can comfort their hurting hearts. My friend shared this with a plea on her Facebook page, and I now share it with you:
One night I dreamed a dream.
I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord.
When the last scene of my life shot before me I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
There was only one set of footprints.
I realized that this was at the lowest and saddest times of my life.
This always bothered me and I questioned the Lord about my dilemma.
“Lord, You told me when I decided to follow You, You would walk and talk with me all the way.
But I’m aware that during the most troublesome times of my life there is only one set of footprints.
I just don’t understand why, when I need You most, You leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you, never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.” ― Margaret Fishback Powers
This movie was an interesting one, for sure. It began with a very successful youth pastor capturing his audience and delivering messages of scripture from the Word of God. Touring all over the country, he became very much a positive influence to anyone that would take the time to listen.
During one sermon, someone threw him a beach ball on stage asking for him to sign it. He wasn’t sure what that was about but signed it anyway and threw it back into the audience. The crowd absolutely loved this so much, and upon seeing this, the marketing manager decided this would be a new promotional tool to gain further success. However, as it turned out, the beach ball ended up becoming a huge distraction from the actual sermon!
The main preacher started to become more and more successful with his audience and with his antics, even wearing a superhero outfit. All of these things began to distract even more from the actual Word of God! Sadly, because the youth pastor was not in agreement to this new marketing plan, he was asked to leave and subsequently got laid off. As you can imagine, the frustration mounted with this outcome.
We won’t spoil the movie for you, and it DOES get better … so we encourage you, instead, to watch Church People! The outcome was amazing!
Disclosure: Many thanks to Collide Distribution for providing this product/product information for review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
My husband and I just recently watched Faith Under Fire. Dean Cain not only stars in this very powerful movie, but he is a co-producer along with Kevin Sorbo.
The movie begins with a lot of action as firefighters go into a burning building to rescue a little girl. They were successful in locating her, and one firefighter emerges from the building, that is almost engulfed in flames at this point, carrying the little girl in his arms. The crowd that had started to gather began to cheer, and the mother was moved to tears that her daughter was saved from a horrible death.
Sadly, in this movie, another firefighter’s wife is stricken with cancer and passes away. Shortly thereafter, his only child, a daughter, is also diagnosed with cancer. It was a hard movie to watch, as you can imagine. However, the message in this movie is so incredibly powerful and worth putting yourself through the emotional turmoil one is bound to feel when watching a movie like this.
When things of this nature happen, people either turn TO God or turn AWAY from God. It is sad to think of anyone turning away from God when He is the only one that can help them through such a horrible life event. For the non-believers, how do they even have hope to carry on without knowing our Lord and Savior?
Personally, I know someone very close to me that endured a horrifically tragic event in their life, one that resulted in them losing their own daughter. This individual turned away from God because he was mad. He said he asked God to take care of his little girl, but he didn’t mean THIS way. It took a few years before this individual recognized that the only way He would see his beloved daughter again is if he turned back to God, as He gave us all the gift of eternal life through His son, Jesus Christ. This story had somewhat of a happy ending in that this father returned to God and his faith, and He will be reunited in Heaven one sweet day with his daughter.
Sadly, this holiday season, a boating friend of ours just endured the tragic loss of his son. Just as equally horrific was the fact that he took his own life. At only 22 years old, with seemingly having his whole life ahead of him, he chose to end his life. No one knows the emotional turmoil one must feel inside to take such drastic measures. We can only know that their suffering was more than they felt they could handle. The father of this young man has surprised us in that before this tragedy occurred, he wasn’t one to talk about his faith. However, the days following his son’s death, he has spoken of finding peace in the knowledge that he will be reunited with his son one day in Glory. This father is clinging to his faith to see him through one of the hardest times in his life.
THAT is what this movie is all about.
We can surely understand, as much as humanly possible without having endured a loss such as this, both father’s reactions above. The father that grew angry with God for allowing his daughter to pass is no less of a man than the father that was clinging to his faith to get him through losing his son. Both men are justified in their reactions, and it isn’t a sin to be mad at God. He can take it! He knows the heartbreak that this father felt, same as in the movie. Both fathers were hurting right down to the very core of their beings. And in the end, both fathers returned to their faith and to Jesus.
I encourage you to not only watch this movie but pray for those that have lost loved ones. This holiday season is really hard for those facing it without their precious loved ones. Hold them close to your hearts and pray for them at this time. May GOD comfort as only He can!
Many thanks to Universal Pictures Home Entertainment for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Momentum Influencers in the last 30 days, from the same blog, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
A small slip of paper fell from her bag, and my heart sank as I walked over to pick it up and read those words.
Who among us has NOT ever felt lonely? Chances are that every single reader has experience this at one point in their lives or another.
Sitting alone in your room with your iPhone could be a comfort, but not for long. You were created to be social. Your soul craves this interaction from others around you, and yet when it is limited, that sinking feeling returns.
Loneliness is not just a problem for the elderly after losing their husband or wife. Although I can recall my grandmother speaking of how lonely her house was after my grandfather’s death, it affects the young alike. The young lady’s note is a prime example of this.
Going back to the iPhone reference I made earlier brings me to the subject of social media. It has its place, and at times it is fun to jump on Facebook to see what your friends have been up to. Tik Tok is another app that fills your afternoon with laughter at the antics of others. However, neither one of these social media apps can ever take the place of looking someone in the eye and having a meaningful conversation with them.
We crave this connect with another human being!
With Covid-19, or the Coronavirus, ramping up again, those that already felt isolated working at home feel that there is no end in sight. While there is a vaccine on the horizon, and many are hopeful, there are others that are struggling and losing hope daily due to the loneliness they are feeling inside.
Jack Eason, a resident of South Carolina, provides humor and advice in his book entitled The Loneliness Solution. Not only that, but Jack invites you to enjoy all of the wondrous benefits of doing life together with your brothers and sisters in Christ! The message of his book is grounded in Scripture, and what he shares within the pages of this book is bound to help you!
While it is so easy to become discouraged, don’t lose hope. Once this mess with the Coronavirus is all behind us (and I have faith that it will be soon), you can begin to put into practice a lot of the encouraging advise Jack provides.
Who wouldn’t want a sense of TRUE belonging?!
Want to overcome the obstacles to real community outside of Facebook and other social media?
Then pick up a copy of Jack’s book to equip yourself with the knowledge and re-imagine what real friendship looks like … and more!
Many thanks to Revel Publishers for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
With all of the things going on in the world today, one could predict that we are living in the end of times. Based on the scriptures in the book of Revelations, we can also see the signs as was prophesied years ago. The current events in the news today should be enough to get your attention so you can get your heart and life right with our Lord and Savior.
When I was a little girl growing up in the Pentecostal Holiness church, someone made reference to a book entitled The Rapture. I can remember reading every word, often times with wide eyes feeling a stir of fear in my heart based on what I was reading. This book talked about what would happen after the rapture takes place. The torture the individuals endured in this book horrified me, and yet the words written were not in an effort to scare you. Instead, it was to prepare you for what was ahead should you choose not to give your life to the Lord.
Recently, I was afforded the opportunity to watch a movie entitled Before The Wrath. This movie also made reference to the book of Revelations in the bible. The movie was produced to wake up the church!
The fact remains that no one here on earth knows the day or the hour that our Lord, Jesus Christ will return for His bride. Angels in Heaven do not know, even the Son of God does not know, but the one and only that does know is God, our Heavenly Father. While we may know the season is approaching due to events in the news and shocking things that are happening, there needs to be urgency within the people of the church to get the word out so lives will not be lost.
The problem we are facing today is that often times preachers don’t want to preach about fire and brimstone. Instead, they want to sugar coat the message and offer positive words of encouragement. This certainly leaves a feel good type of message with you long after the sermon has been heard. However, what we need to carry with us is the knowledge of what will happen should we choose NOT to accept the gift that has been offered to us all; the gift of Eternal Life through Jesus Christ. Yes, the feel good type of messages are important, but it is more important to make an impression upon people so they can choose to accept Jesus into their Hearts. No matter how hard you try, you cannot remove the prophesy that is written in the bible. Therefore, you should not be selective in what you pick and choose to share about the gospel. Instead, all parts need to be shared so that one can make an informed decision about where they will spend eternity.
They need to know what is coming!
Sadly, there has been a great fall from truth. More than 80% that do know still choose not to believe all that is in the bible. The movie goes on to talk about how one out of four people don’t feel they belong to any religion. Only about 18% believe Jesus is coming back and that the world will end. There is a small portion of people looking at the headlines in the news and current events, taking notice of signs of the end times.
The scriptures have foretold what will happen.
In the last days, there will be a diminishing of believers, and there will even be those that mock the bible.
We have failed as a church, (and in church I do not mean a building but the believers in Christ). We have not been telling the world about Jesus as we should, nor have we been busy with doing our Father’s business here on earth! There are those that choose, instead, to detach from the Word of God. However,there is physical evidence to almost all that is written in the bible.
He will come as a thief in the night.
When the Father is ready for the Son’s return, on the Day of the Lord, He will come without warning! No one will know the day nor the hour, and His return will catch everyone by surprise.
When we all get bogged down in the cares of this life, it is easy to forget the job we have to do here on earth. We need to be sharing the gospel and news of His return to the unprepared world. We need to be deliberate and have an active part in the “wedding” when Jesus returns for His bride.
Don’t fall asleep as others have!
The bible makes reference to 10 bridesmaids waiting in the night with oils and lamps; however, only five had enough oil to sustain. Don’t be like those five with little oils in their lamps.
Only those that are prepared will quickly rise up to join Jesus when He returns. When the rapture takes place, when Jesus returns to collect His bride or His believers to join Him, will YOU be ready?
When the rapture takes place, believers in Christ will always be with Him. We will never be separated from Him. Let us be glad and rejoice, giving Him honor!
Yes, we are on this earth and traveling through, but this world is not our destination. We have all been chosen as the Bride of Jesus Christ, if we only accept the gift of eternal life and accept Him into our hearts!
The wrath that will come will be horrendous to those that will be left behind. There will be extreme torture once the righteous have been removed from the earth. God will pour out His wrath on those that have chosen NOT to accept the gift of eternal life.
Please, tell those that you love so they can get their hearts and lives right with God! It is our obligation as parents to tell our children about God!!
Pastors, tell your congregation!
Even the media should speak out and tell others what is to come to pass, should they not accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
As followers of Christ, we should NOT remain quiet, especially now. Make the choice, then tell others so they can, too! We are the family of God!
Before the day of the wrath, before the feast begins, before the rapture takes place … before the thief comes in the night … you have a choice to make.
His cup has been offered to YOU.
Will you accept it?
I am praying for every one that will stumble upon my blog and read this post. I am praying that YOU will accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. All it takes is a simple prayer. Please … ask him into your heart! Believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again on the third day so we may have eternal life. Confess your sins and turn from them. And feel the joy of the Lord fill your life!
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonial in Advertising”):
Many thanks to Ingenuity Films for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, from the same blog, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
Recently, I was afforded the opportunity to receive two Beautiful Word Coloring Bibles. Since I have two daughters, this was perfect so that one didn’t feel slighted by the other receiving a gift and them not having one, too. Even though they are older now, I still consider their feelings, of course, and if I do for one, I do for the other as well.
My girls enjoy doodling and coloring, so I knew this would be the perfect fit for them. I gave one to my youngest daughter as we headed out on a trip this past weekend. She isn’t one for long car rides, but she didn’t seem to mind once I handed her this bible. She loved the stickers that came with it, and pretty soon, all we could hear was her coloring in the back seat.
Two nights ago, our oldest daughter received her bible, and almost immediately, she commented on the presentation of the bible. Yes, it is for younger girls, but it is still the Word of God, which we could all benefit from reading and carrying with us no matter our ages.
With my youngest daughter attending a Christian school, she can carry this bible to class with her if she desires. My oldest daughter attends a church in Summerville now, and she, too, can carry it with her to the services. If their minds begin to wander, they can doodle or color in their favorite scriptures in this bible, as there are over 600 illustrated in ready-to-color line art. Since it is the New International Version (NIV), it is written in terms they can both grasp without having to figure out what the verses mean, unlike the King James Version. I’m not knocking that version at all, but for me, it does help when it’s easier to read and interpret the message behind the scriptures.
For a little “teaser,” I’d like to share with you the following links:
With Christmas two months away, now is the perfect time to consider the little girls in your life that might enjoy this Beautiful Word Coloring Bible as well! Click here for more information or click here to buy directly from the retailer.
“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):
Many thanks to Telling Ministries LLC and HCCP for providing this product/product information for review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
My oldest daughter was on her way to work this morning when her vehicle spun around, completely out of her control. One minute she was traveling along not even thinking about her commute to work, and the next minute she was in a ditch!
In the blink of an eye …
That is how fast our entire world could have been turned upside down.
My husband and I were getting ready for work when I heard the phone ring. “I’m okay … but I need help. I was getting on the interstate, and I don’t even know what happened. But I ended up in a ditch. ”
Imagine those words first thing in the morning and the fear that would well up inside of you!
I can’t possibly remain calm when I hear those words … out of the mouth of MY CHILD!! Now, I don’t get all emotional and start screaming and crying, but I do have a sense of urgency in my voice as I loudly exclaim to my husband, “She needs help … she’s in a ditch … go … this is where she is … help her …”
And so he did, and in the end, he was able to use our Suburban to pull her Tahoe out of the ditch.
The long and short of it is that it rained all night long, she applied the brakes as she was going around a curve, and then discovered exactly what I meant by the word “hydroplaning.” I know my children grow weary every time they hear me go into a “story” of what happened to me at various times in my life. I hope they know by now that I don’t do it so they have to suffer through my boring stories as they fight back their yawns. I do it because life taught me a lesson, and I didn’t want them to have to learn that same lesson the hard way like I did. Insert story about how Shirley was going to work one rainy morning as a 20-something year old also, applied the brakes, and slid right into the back of a car. I told this story so she, and her younger sister that just started driving, will see the importance of not slamming on brakes or pressing the brakes hard in rainy conditions. She found out exactly what I was referring to when I said that I had no control over the vehicle at that point when it started hydroplaning, I could only hold on for the ride at that point.
Today’s event has a happy ending, THANK GOD! She escaped with no physical injuries, and much to our surprise, the Tahoe she was driving did not sustain any damage as well. Lucky? No … my child was BLESSED by God above and the angels that were riding with her!
She did gain something from my stories after all, as I have also told them not to snatch the wheel of the vehicle. Thankfully, she held it steady, as if she had snatched the wheel and over corrected, I would not want to even begin to imagine what else could have happened.
In the blink of an eye …
Our entire world could have been shattered. But I thank God that tonight I will still be able to have my daughters gathered around the dinner table as we tell each other about our day.
The point I’m trying to make is not only to drive safely, especially in wet conditions. More importantly, love the people in our lives that God has given to us. Hold them close to our hearts! Make sure we tell them OFTEN and show them even MORE how much they mean to us and how important they truly are to us! They give our lives meaning and purpose, and they need to know that! If you haven’t told those close to you, now is the perfect time to do so.
The year 2020 has been challenging for a LOT of people, our family included, but thankfully, God has protected our family – not just from the Coronavirus – but from what could have been a very bad accident. My heart is forever grateful to God above!
There has been so much in the news this past month about the COVID-19 Virus, a lot of which is down right scary! I had to step away from social media and news stations early in April due to becoming consumed by the negativity. With each “breaking news” alert or every news conference by the governor in our state or the presidential task force, anxiety began to well up inside of me. Having gone three weeks with very little sleep, I sought the help of my physician via a videoconference. Finally, I am so grateful to be sleeping a little bit better these days, with all things considered.
If news of this pandemic is affecting us this way, imagine the impact it is having on our children. I have a 23 year old and a 15 year old, and my heart worries and prays over them daily. Right now, my adult daughter is in the direct line of fire while working in the emergency department at our local hospital. When personal protective equipment was scarce, my anxiety grew by leaps and bounds. Now, over a month into this, she is sheltered behind a glass in what she describes as a “box” as her workstation. She still wears her mask, and my heart is thankful for improvements to her working conditions.
My 15 year old once loved the thought of homeschooling. Now, however, she has come to realize that socialization found in a school setting is not only desired but necessary and essential to her wellbeing. After six weeks, it feels like she has been in isolation. We are under “stay at home or work” orders from the governor, so my husband and I only leave the house to go to work, go to the grocery store, or the pharmacy. We are thankful that we have a big yard for my daughter to get out and play volley ball with us in the evenings, but the days are long for her with limited social interactions when we are not here.
My husband and I are both considered essential employees, so we have continued with our routine of going into work. I am so thankful that my employer has allowed us to alternate days that we are in the office. This prevents my coworker and I from being in the office at the same time, so that if one of us gets it, the other will be safe. That is the theory at least. The times I am working from home enable me to be present for my daughter, even if we can’t go any where like we are used to doing. We are together, and that matters so much more now with the isolation she has felt on days we are away at work.
Early on, I was not able to see my oldest daughter due to both of us working on the front lines. That was hard. Extremely hard. Finally, we decided we had to see each other, and we took steps to ensure social distancing. Close knit families are impacted when they are not able to see other family members who do not reside in the same household. When you’re used to hugging your children, and now you’re not able to … it really tears at your heart.
My parents are in their early 70s, and extra precautions are being taken to ensure their safety during this pandemic. A part of that is limiting contact with them, which absolutely rips my heart out. My mom is actually celebrating her birthday TODAY! We should all be gathered around her over a delicious meal, purposely singing off-key to get a smile out of her. Yet, last night when I took her a freshly baked homemade pound cake, I could not get close to her. She and my daddy stepped out on the front porch, and I stood in front of my vehicle at their chain link fence which seemed like miles and miles between us. We talked for a few minutes, and I was thankful to see her and my dad in person. But, we didn’t dare go inside and visit with them like we used to do. She wanted us to, and she insisted several times. However, I could not live with myself if something happened to either of my parents due to my exposure to them, if I was an unknown carrier.
Covid-19 has closed businesses and placed hundreds of thousands on unemployment across the United States. We are lucky in that our employers have continued right on, so our paychecks have not stopped. However, it’s not entirely “fair” that people on the front lines are working for the same pay; meanwhile, those on unemployment receive their unemployment benefits PLUS an extra $600.00 a week. There is no hazard pay being received from my employer, nor any other perks for being an essential employee working on the front lines. Our paychecks have not stopped, so for that I am thankful even if we aren’t receiving any more like those that are on unemployment.
As I write this, the governor of our state is on television once again … he says things are clearing up, so we are hopeful. As for my family and I, we will continue with social distancing, even as they talk of opening up beaches, state parks, stores, and even restaurants. Until we know it’s entirely safe, our family will continue to take precautions.
Throughout all of this, I can say that God has not left our side. He has been looking out for each of us, and I believe He will continue to do so. He knows how this pandemic will turn out and when it will all end. So we trust in Him. This isn’t the first time the world has been struck with a pandemic, although it is the first we’ve lived through. I hope we can all live to a ripe old age and tell our great-grandchildren all about it with firsthand accounts, instead of what they will read later on from a History book.
It’s Christmastime, and what better time for reflecting on 2019 than right this minute before we usher it out the door and welcome in a brand new year!
My mom had back surgery in February, which really upset our entire world. Fear creeps in, even though you try to beat it back with all that is in you. She had a little complication after the surgery, and her hospital stay was extended. My very devoted dad stayed by her side the entire time through it all. Thankfully, my mom was soon on the mend and headed home to recover. It’s been months now, and she’s getting along much better than before. Thank you, Lord!
The year 2019 brought about new beginnings for us. While searching for land to ride our horses on, a realtor showed us one of her friend’s homes “just for kicks.” Wishing to move back to Maryland to be closer to their family, they were days away from putting their house on the market. A new house really was not on our list, as we had a home with six acres that we loved. However, upon seeing this house, we reconsidered. My oldest daughter was beginning to want to leave the nest for her independence, but instead, we switched! She stayed in the home she grew up in, and we moved in March to a two-story house on 32 acres for our new beginning!
The move came just in time for a new addition to our family, too! Our great-nephew was born in May, and we were thrilled when they chose to stay with us for a week and a half after coming home from the hospital. We were allowed a lot of bonding time, which I will always treasure! This dark haired and dark eyed little boy stole my heart!
Things weren’t all smooth sailing this year, though. We’ve had some setbacks and times that caused us great sadness as we’ve learned of health issues with those we hold so dear to our heart. We have faith in God and are hopeful that their health will be renewed, although they will be required to go through a few things before that can happen. We pray and put it in God’s hands.
Lessons are another thing that 2019 offered us as well. We’ve all done the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” over situations in our lives. However, I have learned that no amount of dwelling on it will change what happened. I can want with all of my might for things to have been different, but it won’t change the situation no matter what. Beating myself up over a mistake also does more harm than good. We talk to ourselves more during the course of the day than anyone else, so we need to extend kindness. The saying, “It is what it is” rings true. We can wish things were different and if we had the opportunity to go back and do things over again, I know we would have chosen differently. However, there is NO going back in time. What’s done is done. We just have to live with what IS.
Another lesson learned … let GO of ill feelings. They serve absolutely NO purpose. If you are holding a grudge, who do you really think you are hurting? There might be a misunderstanding that occurred, and maybe you aren’t talking to someone you once were close to. Perhaps it hurts them just as much as it hurts you that there was this division between you two. Or, maybe it’s really eating at you while they’ve gone on about their lives. Who is to know how this is affecting them if you two aren’t on speaking terms. While it is great to set up boundaries, you do have to think about the result you want in the end. Do you want to never speak to these people ever again? Or are you hopeful that at some point fences can be mended and you see each other again? If children are involved, it hurts them, too. They are not allowed to be a part of your life if there is a division some where between the parents. And you lose all that bonding time with them. Is it worth it? To me, no. I’d much rather have time with those I love, especially children. They grow up way too fast, and honestly, they should not be used as a weapon against another. They should be allowed to see all of their family members, no matter what is going on with everyone else in the family. Precious time is lost when you’re not allowed to be a part of their little lives. I, for one, am not willing to allow any more time to be wasted. I have a seven month old great-nephew that lights up my life, and I intend to spend as much time with him as I possibly can!
My daughters are my heart and soul. They have grown into two beautiful young ladies, and my heart is so grateful! I know that in this life, I have done a good job raising these young ladies. They have good morals and values, and they are the kindest souls with big hearts that would do anything in their power to help others. This was proven when my youngest daughter raised money to send to the children’s hospital, and it was further proven when my oldest daughter purchased items for a homeless man just this past week. My heart beams with pride and joy for these two.
My oldest daughter is pursing her dream of special effects makeup and had the opportunity to go to Wisconsin this year to participate in their haunted house. She’s getting ready to explore new things in the hair industry this coming year as well.
My youngest daughter is a Freshman in High School! Y’all, she’s 15 years old with hair just about as long as her legs!!! She is so incredibly tall and extremely smart!
Can you see me beaming all the way over there? I’m probably beaming brighter than your Christmas tree lights right now!
Let’s not forget my son-in-law-to-be. I prayed for a Christian young man to come into my oldest daughter’s life to show her what it is to be treasured and cherished. God brought him to us three years ago, and they are talking of a future together. It makes my heart dance to see them together and then to hear of their plans! My heart is so full.
This past weekend, we hosted a Christmas party. We love to have the walls of our new home filled with love and laughter, and this party did not disappoint. My dear friend, Greg, drove all the way from Illinois to be with us JUST for that evening. Never in all of my life have I had anyone drive 11 hours to be present for a Christmas party we were having, and yet, he did. That is a true friend … a friend of a lifetime!
Ah, 2019, you have been a good one … all things considered. We are truly blessed, and we thank God for it all.
Our family couldn’t wait to decorate for Christmas this year. We had only been in our new home for eight months when my youngest daughter exclaimed, “I want to go all out for Christmas.” And so the decorating began in November. Usually the rule in my house is to decorate the day AFTER Thanksgiving, but this year, we were in the holiday spirit weeks prior to Thanksgiving.
It is such a special time of year, with a feeling of magic in the air. Everything seems so much brighter this time of year, with people seemingly more friendly and loving toward each other.
Why can’t we carry this feeling with us long after the holidays have gone?
For now, I’ll enjoy it while I can.
Sitting by the blazing fire, music playing softly, with Christmas lights twinkling all around me, I have to ask, “Does it get any better than this?”
Family and friends drew near on Thanksgiving day as we feasted together, truly thankful for all of our many blessings in this life. We are missing some this holiday season, but we keep them in our hearts … forever. Our memories bring them back to us any time we’d like … we just drift off into our own thoughts and find them there. What we wouldn’t do to have one more conversation with them, to tell them all the things we need to say to them. But, our hearts whisper them now and ask God to carry our message to our loved ones in Heaven.
I’m thankful for the man with white-as-cotton hair that I used to play in as I sat behind him in the car. “Papa,” as we all lovingly called him, even though he was my father-in-law and not my grandpa as so many thought when they saw us together. I’ll never forget this big, strong man sitting at the bar in the kitchen asking in this low tone, “Will you be my friend?” We’d laugh, as he was cutting up and fooling around. Oh, how I miss that man. “Tears In Heaven” was a favorite he would play, and it’s hard to listen to that Eric Clapton song today without thinking of his sad eyes upon learning he had lung cancer. We rallied around him, through the surgeries and treatments. He left this world way too soon, snatched from us before I could officially tell him that I was pregnant with his grandchild! She has had to learn of him through pictures and stories we tell … and that is my duty to make sure his memory lives on.
My heart is grateful for 33 years with my sister, although not all of them were full of happiness and joy. We fought, as all sisters do, and we had a falling out. But my heart is forever thankful for the time I had when our stubborn hearts were reunited. I’ll forever treasure the memory of her arriving at my workplace with a present for me. It wasn’t my birthday, holiday, or any special occasion that I knew of … yet she offered this present to me with a smirk upon her face. I took it from her hands, with a puzzled look on my face. She never said a word … just stood there grinning as I unwrapped the present to find a picture frame with her ultrasound inside. My heart leaped and did cartwheels at the thought of my sister having a baby. I’ll treasure that memory for all time. That special moment she shared with me.
I can’t help but think of the brown haired little boy looking up at me from his car seat as my daughter returned from a visit with her father years ago. Her brother, so innocent and sweet, sat there with skin of a porcelain doll. The face of an angel. He grew into this giant of a young man, towering over my daughter in her graduation picture. Yet another taken from us way too soon … he’s forever frozen at just 19 years of age.
I think of my grandparents that have gone on to be with the Lord. I was never their favorite, and I knew this. But toward the end, I felt I had some special time with my grandmother. We decorated her house and brought cake to welcome her home after an extended hospital stay. I knew the end was near after she suffered terribly for two years. Then, on her last Christmas with us, we took her a birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. I’ll forever remember this once strong woman, now in her weak, frail state, singing along with us, giving reverence to our Lord and Savior.
The last Christmas with my mother-in-law was extra special as well. She knew the end was drawing near after she could not tolerate any more chemo. And so she invited us over for an early Christmas meal. We gathered around, trying desperately not to acknowledge what the near future would hold and just enjoy the time we had together. We ate the feast prepared by a local caterer, as she was far too weak yet would not allow us to bring anything. We laughed together and exchanged gifts … then a few short months later, she passed away.
Pictures … and memories … are all we have left of these beautiful people. Our hearts miss them more than our mouths will ever speak of … and we shed silent tears for them. But they have shaped who we are today. None of us will go through life unchanged or unaffected by the time we shared with them. It’s carved in our minds and we are better people for having them touch our hearts as they have.
A lot of people balk or groan at the thought of holiday pictures, or pictures in general … yet they are treasured for those left to pick up the pieces long after you’re gone.
This holiday season, get in the pictures. Laugh that full on belly laugh with your loved ones and stop hiding when the camera gets pointed in your direction. One day someone will be sitting there thinking of you and re-living memories, as they rifle through their pictures searching with all their might for ones of you.