My Favorite Verses

In looking back at my “Memories” on facebook, I noticed a number of scriptures that I had shared on this day over the last few years. Some of these have become favorites of mine. Which got me to thinking… Just exactly what makes one scripture more special to me over another one, anyway? I suppose my favorites are verses that stood out to me; verses that I clung to during an especially trying or difficult time; or even verses that just make me happy – they paint a picture in my mind – they give me something visual that I can revisit whenever I need to do so.

The verses in my memories today were these that were shared on March 9, 2013:

Psalm 30-5I love this verse, not because of the picture here, because that would just make me sneeze and make my eyes water. I love it though because it reminds me of Easter weekend. Weeping may endure for the night but HIS joy cometh in the morning!! It’s like that little phrase that you hear on Friday during Easter week… “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’!!” It was Friday and Jesus was placed in a tomb… but come Sunday morning, that tomb opened and there He was!! Bright and shining in all His glory!! Don’t you just LOVE that? Well, I do!!

Romans 5-8I love this verse because it reminds me where I was and what Jesus brought me out of when He took me back in July of 2009. I was deeply depressed. And I mean DEEPLY depressed. I had heard people say that they were in a ‘dark’ place at one point of their life without really understanding. Well, I know exactly what they mean now. I was in a very deep, dark pit. I would never have been able to climb out of that pit if it hadn’t been for Jesus Christ and the Grace and Mercy He offered me. I saw something one day that said, “Jesus loved me when I couldn’t love myself.” That was so very, very true in my case. I was totally incapable of even caring about myself – – or anybody else as far as that goes. I was in such a dark place that I saw no way out other than taking my own life and I thought everybody that knew me would be better off with me gone. But Jesus loved me anyway. He LOVED me at my darkest! So, of course, this verse is special to me.

Colossians 1-27Colossians 1:26-27 – “The mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” There are a couple reasons why I like this verse so well. One reason is because, according to my study Bible, it was Christ’s fulfillment of a plan of God that He would be the Hope of Glory and would be able to be known by everybody and not just a elite few like the false teachers were claiming. God’s plan was that His Son, Jesus Christ, would be able to live in the hearts of all that believed in Him, confessed their sins and walked with Him daily. The other reason I like this verse is that I heard somebody say one day that it didn’t matter what the vessel was (what we looked like, how our lives had been lived) but it mattered what the vessel contained… “Christ, in you, the Hope of Glory. It mattered that we allowed Him in our life and allowed Him to change our life. Isn’t that wonderful, that He takes our old battered, used-up ‘vessels’ and turns them in to the Hope of Glory? It is to me! It truly is to me!!

On March 9, 2011, I shared this verse that I have come to love. Max Lucado shared this. His comments after the verse sort of sums it up for me…

It’s Not What You Do:

Romans 8-1“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ.” Romans 8:1 NIV And Max said, “There is never a point at which you are any less saved than you were the first moment Christ saved you. Just because you were grumpy at breakfast doesn’t mean you were condemned at breakfast. When you lost your temper yesterday, you didn’t lose your salvation. Your name doesn’t disappear and reappear in the book of life according to your moods and actions . . . You are saved, not because of what you do, but because of what Christ did.

There are many other verses that are favorites of mine – and I have shared them many times.

Sistine Chapel handsThe first verse I think of is Isaiah 41:13 – “For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’” Talk about a verse that is a visual!! Doesn’t that remind you of the painting Michelangelo did on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? It shows God’s hand reaching for Adam’s hand, representing God breathing life into Adam in the Garden in the book of Genesis. This was one of the first verses that really caught my attention when I started reading my Bible again after 20 years away from God. Since then, I have often prayed to Him, “I am afraid, God, reach down and hold my right hand. Please? It makes me feel safe and secure. I keep a bookmark in my Bible for this verse because I still go back to it so often. And even though I know the words, I like reading them and like reading in my Bible what I wrote about the verse.

Psalms 46-10 v2Another favorite of mine is Psalms 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God.” I was praying for a verse to be ‘my’ verse at the beginning of one year and this was the verse I felt like He put in my mind. I didn’t exactly ‘hear’ it the way it was written in Psalms, but I heard it like this – in four very short sentences…

Be still.
And know.
That I.
Am God.

Zephaniah-3-17The last one I am going to talk about is Zephaniah 3:17 – “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” This verse just makes me happy to think that God is with me, takes delight in me and rejoices over me with singing. Think about how a Mother will sing to her baby, even after the baby has gone to sleep. She loves that baby so very much that her heart is bursting open and she sings over her baby even while the baby is sleeping. Well, God loves us so much more and He sings over us – even while we might be sleeping! I just LOVE that!

There are also a couple verses in John that a very dear to my heart… not because of what they say, but because of what they taught me. It was a hard lesson but a very sweet lesson at the same time. Maybe one day I will feel led to write about them. I will save that for another day, though. It is late and I need my sleep… Goodnight friends… God bless!!

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Grace

Grace filled the gap

Some people have a verse, and/or a word, for each year that they believe God has placed upon their heart – something they are supposed to dwell on, to learn from, to teach others, etc. I think God has given me the word “GRACE” as my life’s word. Why do I think this? I’m not sure… But that word has been on my mind and has appeared to me – almost jumped out at me – from articles, quotes, songs, scripture.

Grace… It is what I CLING to on a bad day or those days when I seem to be slipping back down that slope into depression. It is in some of my favorite songs (some of which I provided a link to in my last post).

Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace – My Chains Are Gone
Isn’t it Amazing (Grace)
Grace That is Greater (Grace, Grace, God’s Grace)
Except for Grace

Sinner Saved by Grace

Grace isn’t a word found a lot in the Bible. I went to Biblegateway.com to find all the verses the word “grace” appears but only found 26 verses in the NIV. Some of those verses are really good verses and I am claiming those verses as my life verses.

In the book of Luke, we read that Jesus had the grace of God on him.
Luke 2:40
And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

In the book of John, we read that Jesus was full of grace and truth.
John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

We also read that we have all received grace – all of us.
John 1:16
Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.

And we read that grace comes to us through Jesus Christ
John 1:17
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

One of my favorites is this one in Ephesians. It is by His grace that I have been saved. (Just think on that a minute… It is by HIS GRACE that I – that WE – have been saved. No grace, no salvation. No salvation, no eternal life with God, with His Son, Jesus. No eternity with our loved ones. Without grace, we would have nothing to look forward to… it would all end with our death – our lives would have less meaning…
Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

And in Acts, these two verses stood out. I do consider my life nothing without Him; without the privilege of telling others about His grace.
Acts 20:24
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

If we commit ourselves to Him, His grace can build us up – I can use some building up… can’t you?
Acts 20:32
“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Dear Father, I come to You tonight, at the beginning of this new year, with Your Grace on my mind and the words of these songs running through my mind. I am so thankful for Your Grace, even though I feel so unworthy. I would be nowhere without You, Father, and I would be nothing. You are so good to me. Thank You, for all You are and for all You are making me to be. I ask that You continue to guide and lead me in all that I do. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14) Amen

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Welcome 2016

Well, 2016 is here in WV. I am a little excited to see what the New Year will bring. I am also rather happy that 2015 is being put to rest. I don’t really know why, but this just didn’t seem to be a good year for me. Probably something I did made it that way – – something like not spending enough time in my Bible and talking to God. But the last couple months were particularly difficult.

I thought the year was off to a pretty good start. Notice, I said, I thought!! By Sept. of 2014, I had allowed my ever-present struggle with depression to drag me back down deep into that black pit again. By the time I said anything to anybody about it, all I could do was cry. I went to the church one Tuesday, sat down at the altar and just began to weep and pray; and weep and pray. The pastor snuck in and just about scared me to death when he said my name. We sat and talked for a while and I just told him the truth… I had allowed my depression to get way out of hand and hadn’t wanted to reach out for help. He prayed with me before we left the sanctuary.

On Wednesday evening, at our mid-week service, he did something that not many preachers would do – and he did it for me. He knows how much I think of Chonda Pierce and he played a small part of here DVD, “Staying Alive, Laughing” where she talks about her struggle with depression, after having spent some time in a psych ward because she was suicidal. Now, I have been suicidal before. I wasn’t quite there this time, but I was getting there… After that part of the video played, I stood up and said that, since the pastor thought Chonda was my best friend, and had played that video, I wanted to tell them a few things about depression in my life. And I proceeded to spill my guts! I told them about not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to get dressed, not wanting to eat, not wanting to open the curtains so I could see outside or let the sunshine in, and either not able to sleep or sleeping all the time. I painted as accurate a picture for them as I could with the words that I could come up with. And I cried and I cried and, yes, I even snotted a little bit. It wasn’t pretty. But you know what that pastor did? He asked the women of the church; and the men, too if they wanted, to gather round me, lay hands on me, and pray for me. I had never had anybody do anything like that for me before. Before I left that service that night, I already felt like half the world had been lifted off my shoulders. And something miraculous happened! I made it through the winter without a major depression episode. It was wonderful!

But then spring rolled around and I started sliding down that slope again… I could see that pit in front of me. During the summer, I did better and kept my curtains opened all the time. One lady in my church said that when she drove by my apartment, she always looked to see if my curtains were open or not. And if they weren’t, she prayed for me and my depression. If I missed church, she prayed for me and my depression. So! Very! Sweet!

But then fall came… And with the fall season comes Thanksgiving…

Let me just begin this part of this post by saying, “I Miss My Mom!!” It was 16 years ago on the 29th of November that she left me and went to Heaven to be with Jesus. Would I want her to leave Heaven and come back to this world? Not really. Maybe for a few hours, just so I could talk to her for a while; ask her some questions; tell her that I finally got my act together and my life right with God; listen to her call me her ‘baby girl’ a few dozen more times; and tell her how very much I really do love her about a million times!! Thanksgiving is always hard for me. The year that Mom died, Thanksgiving was on 11/25. I spent the day at the hospital with her and she seemed to be doing really well. We had Thanksgiving dinner together and just talked the afternoon away. She had been in the hospital for several days by this time and for the first time, on Friday morning, I didn’t feel it necessary that I go to the hospital before I went to work. THAT didn’t last long!! One of my sisters called me – she couldn’t get Mom to wake up. She wouldn’t answer the phone and the nurses went into her room and couldn’t get her awake. I turned my computer off – without even taking a minute to shut it down – and ran out the door, making my way to the hospital. It was all downhill after that. On Sunday, she started having one little stroke after another and couldn’t open her eyes, couldn’t respond in any way. We didn’t know if she knew we were there with her or not. Family members were in and out of her room all weekend. I really hope she somehow knew that they were there. We were in and out of her room again all night Sunday night. At 6:00am Monday morning, she drew her last breath on this earth and her first breath in Heaven and she met her Lord, Jesus Christ himself, face to face!

Yeah, so Thanksgiving is usually a little hard for me. I have learned one lesson the hard way from all this. Time does NOT heal all wounds. It may help you to learn to live with the scars, but it doesn’t heal them. There are just some things in life that cannot be healed. Losing my Mother, is one of those things. I tried to feel better after Thanksgiving passed. I helped out at the church more just to get out of the house. The church secretary was so good to listen to me and wanted so badly to help me but this is something I have to get through on my own every year. Nobody can deal with this for me. As I usually do, I “hibernated” over Thanksgiving. Didn’t talk to anyone, didn’t go anywhere, didn’t get dressed, and didn’t even get on the computer for more than two days! (That is highly unusual for me!) And I hoped that after Thanksgiving I would, once again, start to get better. But that didn’t happen, either. Unfortunately, my depression just kept getting worse all the way through Christmas. But!! Christmas is over now. The decorations are already down at my church. They are coming down all over town. Now, don’t get me wrong – I love Christmas for its real reason. The birth of our Savior. I love the holiness of the holiday. The rest of it, I could have just lived without.

It is now January 1, 2016!!! Yippee, Skippee! Praise the Lord! When I get up later this morning, the first thing I am going to do is to open my curtains!! Let the sun shine (or lack thereof) in! It is a new year and I am ready to get back to a lot of Bible reading and spending time with my Lord. My New Years resolution? To ready the Bible through again! I have done this twice – two different years – but intend to do it again this year. I have a couple Bible study books I want to read, or read again. And there is no time like the present to do so.

As I was sitting in the church office late this afternoon, folding bulletins for Sundays service, I was watching some youtube video’s.

Amazing Grace by Wintley Phipps

Amazing Grace – My Chains are Gone by Chris Tomlin

Isn’t It Amazing by Mark Lowry

Except for Grace/Grace Greater Than Our Sin by The Martins with Gaither Homecoming Friends

Starting to see a pattern here? The word Grace has been showing up all over the place for me in the last 2-3 months. My friend, Patti, posted on facebook that her word for 2016 was “GRACE”. I told her that I thought my Life’s Word was GRACE. If there is anything God has been teaching me since July 28, 2009, it is that His GRACE is sufficient for ME. (HA! Another song!)

The day – New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day – is cause for retrospection (is that the right word?) enough, but sitting there in the quiet listening to those songs that mean so very much to me, had me almost in tears and the hairs on my arms standing up. And it made me realize that I needed more of the quiet times. No TV – No Social Media – Just music that I love that brings me into the presence of God. If you just happen to stumble upon this and you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, might I suggest that you find a Bible-believing church and let somebody introduce you to Him? He is a wonderful friend and a mighty fine Father.

Happy New Year to all my friends and family.

My prayer for the New Year is this:
Dear God,
Thank you that you make all things new. Thank you for all that you've allowed into our lives this past year, the good along with the hard things, which have reminded us how much we need you and rely on your presence filling us every single day.

We pray for your Spirit to lead us each step of this New Year. We ask that you will guide our decisions and turn our hearts to deeply desire you above all else. We ask that you will open doors needing to be opened and close the ones needing to be shut tight. We ask that you would help us release our grip on the things to which you’ve said “no,” “not yet,” or “wait.” We ask for help to pursue you first, above every dream and desire you’ve put within our hearts.

We ask for your wisdom, for your strength and power to be constantly present within us. We pray you would make us strong and courageous for the road ahead. Give us ability beyond what we feel able, let your gifts flow freely through us, so that you would be honored by our lives, and others would be drawn to you.

We pray that you’d keep us far from the snares and traps of temptations. That you would whisper in our ear when we need to run, and whisper in our heart when we need to stand our ground.

We pray for your protection over our families and friends. We ask for your hand to cover us and keep us distanced from the evil intent of the enemy; that you would be a barrier to surround us, that we’d be safe in your hands. We pray that you would give us discernment and insight beyond our years, to understand your will, hear your voice, and know your ways.

We ask that you would keep our footsteps firm, on solid ground, helping us to be consistent and faithful. Give us supernatural endurance to stay the course, not swerving to the right or to the left, or being too easily distracted by other things that would seek to call us away from a close walk with you.

Forgive us for the times we have worked so hard to be self-sufficient, forgetting our need for you, living independent of your spirit. Forgive us for letting fear and worry control our minds, and for allowing pride and selfishness wreak havoc over our lives. Forgive us for not following your ways and for living distant from your presence.

We confess our need for you…fresh…new…again. We ask that you make all things new, in our hearts, in our minds, in our lives, for this coming year. We pray for your refreshing over us.

Keep your words of truth planted firm within us, help us to keep focused on what is pure and right, give us the power to be obedient to your word. And when the enemy reminds us where we have been, hissing his lies and attacks our way, we trust that your voice speaks louder and stronger, as you remind us we are safe with you and your purposes and plans will not fail. We ask that you will be our defense and rear guard, keeping our way clear, removing the obstacles, and covering the pitfalls. Lord, lead us on your level ground.

We ask that you would provide for our needs, we ask for your grace and favor. We pray for your blessings to cover us, we pray that you would help us to prosper and make every plan that you have birthed in our heart to succeed. We pray that others would take notice of your goodness and could not help but to say, “These are the ones that the Lord has blessed.”

Help us to be known as great givers, help us to be generous and kind, help us to look to the needs of others and not be consumed by only our own.

May we be lovers of truth, may the fruits of your spirit be evident in our lives – your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Shine your light in us, through us, over us. May we make a difference in this world, for your glory and purposes. Set you way before us. May all your plans succeed. We may reflect your peace and hope to a world that so desperately needs your presence and healing.

To you be glory and honor, in this New Year, and forever.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Prayer was copied from a Crosswalk devotion, "Prayer to Keep God First this New Year" by Debbie McDaniel.

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Mother’s Day 2014

Mom 8

This picture was taken a few years before she left us. It is one of my favorites.

Mom 4

My Mom with her Mother. Mom always called her, “Mother.”

Mom 1

Mom was the baby of her family so she is the baby in the middle. Aunt Ruth on Mom’s right; Aunt Katie on the left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am going to start by saying this, “I MISS my Mom!” It doesn’t matter whether it is Mother’s Day or even Father’s Day (since she was both Mother and Father to me), I miss her something terrible. And it seems that the older I get, the more I miss her. I will remember the morning she died until I draw my last breath, I guess. I remember, just a few minutes after she left this earth, I heard her saying these words to me when my Grandmother (my Mom’s Mother) died, “Short of losing your own child, there is nothing that hurts like losing your Mother.” She knew this because she lost a 19-yr old son in 1960. My Grandmother died in 1973.

Mom 3

Mom liked to label her pictures by writing on the fronts of them. This is Mom, her sisters and their Mother

Mom 5

This is Mom, Grandma, Aunt Katie. The picture was taken when Aunt Ruth died of breast cancer in the late 60’s.

Mom 6

This is my Mommy – surrounded by all her daughters. She was so proud of us! This was taken when Grandma died and is the only picture we have of all of us together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was reading a random blog with this quote:

As Jerry Sitter offers in A Grace Disguised, in grieving a loss beyond comprehension;

“The experience of loss does not have to be the defining moment of our lives. Instead the defining moment can be our response to the loss. It is not what happens to us that matters as much as what happens in us.”

The experience of loss does not HAVE to be a defining moment in our lives, but in those cases when it is someone you love and are closely related to, it often is a defining moment. Losing my Mom was a defining moment for me. Sometimes my ‘timeline’ is before Mom died… or after Mom died. It has been almost 15 years; sometimes it feels like it was just 15 days ago, and sometimes it feels like it was 15 life-times ago. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t realize what I had until it was too late.

Mom 2

Another one of those pictures Mom labeled with her two sisters and their Mother.

Mom 10

This is my Mom as a young woman. Doesn’t really look like her.

 

Mom and I had never been close. I think it was as much because of the years between us as anything else. She was almost 44 years old when I was born, and being the youngest of 11 children, I was still basically raised as an only child. By the time that I was old enough to NEED that parental supervision, Mom wanted to spend all her time with her friends. I was with a sitter a lot until I was old enough to stay by myself. Oh… I don’t blame Mom – a lot of the time I was with a sitter, she was at work – trying to make enough money to support us. My Dad was one of those ‘absentee parents’ and wasn’t good with paying child support. He passed away on Father’s Day in 1972. I had just turned 16 years old. I thought that losing a parent was terrible at that time. I found out just how terrible it REALLY was when Mom died in 1999. There was NO comparison!

Mom 7

My Mom – the clown! She collected clowns and probably made this clown costume. She’s the only clown I have ever seen dressed in flowers…

I wasn’t a good daughter. I neglected her, told her to get off my back, and did my best to steer clear of her for the most part. I am so ashamed of myself for treating her that way. I can remember her asking me one day, “Bunny, why are you always so angry with me? You are always angry.” I don’t know how I answered her but I was always angry. Not just with Mom – I think I was that way with everyone. But… in all honesty, I was probably worse with her than with most. Why? I am not sure. After a few years with a counselor, I finally told her about things that happened to me when I was a little girl, between the ages of 8 and 12. She asked me one day… “Wilma, do you think your anger with your mother could be connected to that 8 year old little girl whose Mother did not protect her?” We talked about it and talked about it and talked about it some more. In all likelihood, a large percentage of that anger did stem from that first incident when a neighbor tried to take advantage of an innocent little girl. It didn’t matter that I didn’t tell her when I went home that day. It only mattered that she didn’t protect me. And although it could have been much worse, I was hurt – emotionally and mentally. I didn’t tell Mom about that incident, or the others, until I was at least 30 years old – maybe older. She was devastated and wanted to know why I hadn’t told her when they happened. I couldn’t answer that question then, and I can’t answer it now.

Mom 9

Not the best picture, but… it was taken at Mom’s 85th surprise birthday party and it shows the 5 generations we had at the time. Seated is my Mom, my sister, Sally, her daughter Carol, Carol’s daughter, Tessa, and Tessa’s son, Jaimey. September 27, 1997

I wish I could go back and do better by her. I wish I hadn’t let a friend’s influence keep me away from her. I wish I had spent more time with her – more holidays and birthdays with her. I wish I had listened to stories about when she was growing up. I wish she could tell me who all these people are in the box of old pictures that I have. I just wish I had my Mommy back. I miss you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day. I LOVE YOU!!

 

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May 4 – May 10 – Joy Dares #370 – #390

May 4 – May 10 – Joy Dares #370 – #390

May 4 – 3 Gifts Before 9 AM

#370    Sleep! The alarm went off at 9 so before 9 I was still asleep today

#371    On those days I am awake, scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese tortilla – my typical breakfast

#372    Phone call from friends far away – always makes me smile!

Oh, the joys of sleeping at NIGHT! At least I think there are joys found there. I seem to want to stay up all night and sleep all day… There’s something wrong with this picture!! I would like to be awake when the majority of people are awake… please??

May 5 – A Gift in a Sign, a Smile, a Snack

#373    Don’t make me come down there… God

#374    Riley Jane… little girl at church – adorable!

#375    Ice cream!!! My favorite food group

I love those signs that you sometimes see along the interstate. They have just a black background with white letters and are always ‘signed, “-God”’ This is one of my favorites… Don’t make me come down there. -God” Sounds so ominous… A gift of a smile. There is a little girl at church that is just the cutest little thing. Her name is Riley and she has the kinkiest curly hair! She is a doll and her little smile lights up the room. A gift of a snack? If you have read much of my joy dare on here this year, you know I am going to say ice cream! Yummy!!

May 6 – 3 Gifts Found in Christ

#376    Love – even when I feel unloved

#377    Security – especially when I feel insecure

#379    He tells wonderful stories in His Book

When looking for gifts found in Christ, it is a little bit difficult to come up with just 3 specific things. I pretty much summed it up above. He shows me love, even when I feel so very unloved and unlovable; which is a lot of the time. He shows me security, even when I feel so insecure, which is almost as much as I feel unloved. And He does tell wonderful stories in His Word. Next year my project is to really dig into those red letter words and learn what they mean for me.

May 7 – 3 Gifts About Your Home

#379    I can pay the rent

#380    I can run downstairs to do laundry in shorts – even in the winter

#381    I have never really felt that I was not safe here

Since becoming disabled, I have had to move into an apartment complex for Sr. Citizen’s and the disabled. I don’t mind it so much. I don’t bother my neighbor’s and my neighbor’s don’t bother me. (That is the way I have always been, though.) I went without an income for about 2 years so it is a huge blessing just to be able to pay the rent every month. And I love the fact that, even if there is 6” of ice and a foot of snow, I can run downstairs (well, use the elevator) and do a load or two of laundry in a pair of shorts if I want. And that is my ‘lounge attire’ so that is usually what I do. I have never really felt like I needed to be concerned about my safety here. Oh, there have been a couple little instances but they are taken care of very swiftly!!

May 8 – 3 Gifts Inside a Closet

#382    I have plenty of clothes to wear – no matter the season

#383    My tote bag ‘collection’!

#384    All my flip flops

Gifts inside a closet? I think I have way too many gifts inside my closets! I have gotten rid of so much but it seems my clothes closet is always full. And, yes, there is my tote bag collection. I do love my tote bags. And there are all the flip flops… ‘Nuff said! (I love flip flops more than tote bags!!)

May 9 – 3 Gifts Found in the Dark

#385    A flashlight

#386    A book flashlight

#387    Sleep (have you noticed that is a major topic with me?

The electric goes off here periodically. It is normally out for just a short while. June or July 2012, it was out for about 10 days! I thought I was going to die in the heat! But I try to always know where flashlights are in case the electric goes out and stays out for very long. I also keep one of the little flashlights that will clip onto a book close by. What else can you do but read – and when you can’t read in the dark, those little flashlights come in handy. And what is the best gift found in the dark? Sleep? And lots of it!! HA!

May 10 – A Gift Outside, Inside, Upside Down

#388    Beautiful spring weather

#389    Cooler air and a fan

#390    It’s not upside down but I am thankful for my friend, Bonnie.

This beautiful spring weather has be thankful for the gift it is outside. We had a long, cold winter and everybody was glad to see it go. Along with that beautiful weather comes the humidity, though, and while I am downstairs in the laundry room, my AC is running upstairs. I get over-heated very easy so that cool air and the little fan blowing on me with feel so good when I get back up there. I couldn’t think of anything upside down, but… I have a good friend that I am so very thankful for! Bonnie and I were in a Bible study together for a couple years. She’s a Nazarene – I’m a used to be Nazarene, now a Baptist, but will probably return to my Nazarene roots one day. Did that make sense? Well, it would to Bonnie! She is such a good friend. Takes me places that I can’t drive to get there (like to TN!), we go to concerts together, dinner together… and that good ole’ gal pal stuff. Bonnie’s husband died a number of years back – before I ever met her and she prayed that God would send her a friend – just somebody to run around with. She’s probably sorry she ever said that prayer. She has been so good to me!

Father, I look over these things and even though I miss my Mom and I am kind of down in the dumps, I have so much to be thankful for. Most of all, I am thankful that You loved me enough to send Your Son to shed His blood so I could have life – and have it more abundantly. Dear Jesus, please keep me focused on You. Don’t let the little things drag me down. Remind me – OFTEN – of what I have to look forward to when I get to Heaven. I can’t wait to feel Your arms around me, for real, like I felt them around me here in the apt. one day. Never let me forget that day. Help me to get over all the regrets that I have about the time I wasted away from You. I can’t help but wonder what You would have done with me over those 20 years, but I can’t dwell on it either. That is a waste of time and effort. Let me life my life in a way that somebody will see You in me the way I saw You in friends of mine. Let me run the race that you have set before me with my eyes on the finish line where You are waiting. I love You, Lord. For these and all the little things in life, I am truly thankful. Amen…

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April 27 – May 3 – Joy Dares #349 – #369

April 27 – May 3 – Joy Dares #349 – #369

Apr 27 – 3 Gifts Ugly-Beautiful

 #349 I am reminded of an article I read on the internet recently about a little boy – about 2 – who was a down’s syndrome baby. His mother often posts pics of him and somebody chose to comment “Ugly” under one of them. He is nothing but a beautiful baby boy!!
#350 I just read this, “Everyone is born beautiful. Some people just let the world turn them into something ugly.” So true. I have NEVER seen an ugly baby. They are all precious!
#351 I can’t help but think about Susan Boyle. Simon Cowel may have thought she was a very unattractive middle-aged woman but when she started singing, he sure changed his tune! It’s like a fairy tale come true for her. And what a beautiful voice!

Apr 28 – 3 Gifts Orange

 #352 Oranges
#353 Orange purse
#354 Orange t-shirt
Orange is one of my favorite colors. It is a “happy” color to me! I love both orange and coral!

orange things

Apr 29 – 3 Gifts in Dirt

 #355 Wild violets
#356 Crocuses
#357 Tulips

I am not a flower grower, but I appreciate these flowers… Love day lilies, too. My Mom could grow anything. She must have had about 6 African violets that were always blooming. Her flowers in the front of her little apartment were always beautiful – full and bushy. Mine? Nah… Not so much. A green thumb I do not have. The pictures say it all… Aren’t they pretty??

Grows in dirt

Apr 30 – A Gift Given, Made, Sacrificed

#358 The last important gift I gave away was Breanna’s scrapbooks that I make her for graduation.
#359 I guess the last big thing I made was Breanna’s scrapbooks for her graduation last year.
#360 I don’t think I have made a gift sacrificed – other than the time I spend in Bre’s scrapbooks.

I know that I used Bre’s scrapbooks for all three of these gifts, and believe me it was with JOYFUL THANKSGIVING that I made them. I spent hours and hours and hours on them, and I love every minute of it. It was one l-o-n-g trip down memory lane. There were 3 scrapbooks by the time I got done and I still have another one to do with her volleyball and track pictures. It was definitely a gift of love!

Bre growing up

May 1 – 3 Gifts Tasted

#361 Shrimp! I love shrimp and am thankful every time I get some that is good!
#362 Fresh Strawberries
#363 Cinnamon Pancakes

My taste buds are in overdrive just thinking about all this!! I. Love. Shrimp!! HA! I love to get shrimp right off the boats at a little place on Topsail Island – jumbo shrimp and they will de-head it so it is ready to cook! Yummy!! I think I could eat seafood almost every day. And if I did, I would probably be healthier!! But there are those sweet things too! Like… strawberries and cinnamon pancakes!! Another two of my favorites! Love strawberries cut up with sugar sprinkled on them. They are really good on pancakes with a little Cook Whip. I don’t know which is best the strawberries on pancakes or just cinnamon pancakes… I-Hop!!! I gotta quit thinking about food!! Let’s move on! LOL

May 2 – 3 Gifts Flat

 #364 Flip flops! Thank heavens that flip flop weather is here again!
#365 Greeting card – I know it is only a card but they feel like a ‘gift’ when they arrive
#366 New Bible study books

My favorite shoes will always be flip flops! I put them on as soon as the sun starts shining in the spring and wear them after the first frost in the fall. Thank You, Jesus, for comfy flip flops!!

flip flops
You know… since the internet got so big and since everybody has at least one e-mail account (I have at least THREE!!) we have forgotten how to write letters and send cards to people. Occasionally, I just like to sit down and send a few cards to people – reminding them that I love them. They are not necessarily for a special occasion, except to let them know I am thinking of them. I know that when I get a card or a letter, it always puts a smile on my face so I am hoping that ones that I send do the same thing…

May 3 – 3 Gifts Found in Difficult People

 #367 The gift of patience – both FOR me and FROM me
#368 Forgiveness – I have been told that I am one of those difficult people
#369 Humility – again, I have been told I am one of those difficult people

This days gifts were a little difficult for me. I have been told so many times that I AM one of those difficult people. The gifts that I have so appreciated are patience and forgiveness. I have become a much more patient person with the on-set of these tremors. (Of course, it could be all the meds I am on…) and people that know and love me have been very patient with me. Especially when I am having trouble talking. I have asked people to forgive me for the person I used to be – or when I slip back into that state of mind. And I have learned humility and asking for that forgiveness. I am thankful for all three of these things.

Father, there are so many things to be thankful for that sometimes, I don’t know where to begin. But this journey I am taking this year, with One Thousand Gifts, has me looking for the little things that bring me joy – things that I am thankful for. It is so easy for me to go from “down in the dumps” to being depressed. Looking for things to be thankful for every day helps me to look for positive things instead of dwelling on negative things. I need Your help. I can’t do this thing called life by myself. Thank You… for always being there – even when I don’t spend much time with You. For these and all the little things in life, I am thankful. Amen…

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April 20 – April 26 – Joy Dares #328 – #348

April 20 – April 26 – Joy Dares #328 – #348

Apr 20 – A Gift Stacked, Stashed, Stilled

#328 I am thankful for the LACK of evidence they had stacked up against You. You were an innocent man, and yet You died so that I could have the gift of life in eternity – with You. Blows my mind!
#329 The piece of cloth You left folded in your tomb indicating You were alive!
#330 The stillness of the women that arrived at Your tomb, found the stone rolled away and You gone!

It is RESURRECTION SUNDAY!!! Jesus Christ rose from the dead this day so many years ago – came out of that tomb to walk among His followers for another 40 days! What is not to get excited about?? (And wouldn’t it have been cool to have been there when He came out of the tomb?) For some reason, I was excited for this day to get here this year; more so than in the recent past years. I am in awe of your sacrifice… for me. Maybe it was seeing “Son of God,” and the reaction I had to the movie. I wanted to stand up a scream – a deep, guttural scream – telling them to stop! You were innocent! I kept wondering why You would do that; why You would take on the sin of the world in such a cruel manner – for me? Love that deep is incomprehensible to me – probably to all humans. Oh, Lord, I don’t know why You did it – but I am “joyfully thankful” that You obeyed Your Father.

Apr 21 – 3 Gifts Found in Christ

#331 Salvation
#332 Hope
#333 Eternal Life

After yesterday’s gifts, today’s are a piece of cake! I find salvation in Christ; not only spiritual salvation, but physical salvation as well. He saved my life. There is not a doubt in my mind. I find hope in Christ; the kind of hope that comes from a place inside of me that I haven’t really known before, the kind that, if I allow it, will lift my spirits into places it rarely ever goes. I find eternal life in Christ; not an ‘earthly eternal life’, but the eternal life where I will shed all things that will drag me down into depression; where my tremors will be no more (and neither will my arthritis!! YAY!). I can’t wait to get there… walk on streets of gold with priceless gems lining them… sing His praises all day long. (I trust that I will have a decent singing voice by then… I surely don’t have one now!!)

Apr 22 – 3 Gifts Close

 #334 My Bible – it is my companion and friend
#335 My computer – listen, I would go crazy without a computer!
#336 Chocolate!!

I never let my Bible or my computer get very far from me. Wherever I go, they go. When I first got my Life App. Study Bible, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. Now, I use it for everything. My computer is my lifeline to the outside world. If you are thinking that I need to get a life… you are right! But in the meantime, I communicate mainly by computer with a number of friends that don’t live in this area. It just makes it easier for us to keep in touch. Now… about that chocolate… the brakes are out on my van and there is not a bit of chocolate in this apartment. Somebody tell me what’s wrong with this picture?!?!

Apr 23 – 3 Gifts Reflecting

#337 Book: not a fan
#338 Book: The Storm Inside
#339 Movie: The Grace Card

My small group is doing the “not a fan” study. That book will step on your toes! It has been enlightening and I now know the difference between a fan and a follow. I choose to be a follower. If I don’t sleep for days because I have my nose in my Bible or a Bible study, then so be it. Right now, I am in the middle of reading Sheila Walsh’s latest book, “The Storm Inside. I love Sheila. Love to hear her speak and love her books. When reading one, I can hear Sheila’s Scottish brogue in my head saying the words. And she has such a wonderful sense of humor!! For me, chapter 7 of The Storm Inside left me with a lot of reflection. As Sheila talked about words that emotionally or mentally harm a child, I thought of things that we said to me as a child from siblings and school mates. I will say this. I have been working on not letting those words hurt me any longer, so Sheila just gave me some more ammunition for that task! I LOVED the movie, “The Grace Card.” I think it came out about the same time that Courageous came out. They were both good movies, but the forgiveness required of the main character in The Grace Card was… I can’t even think of a word for it… well, it was a gift! Forgiveness is a gift, after all!

 

fragile items

Apr 24 – 3 Gifts Fragile

#340 The part of my heart that I sometimes give to others as a gift is fragile. I don’t give it very often.
#341 The rose from my Mom’s casket spray – it is under glass but is still falling apart.
#342 Glass Cross Christmas ornament from Bonnie – I LOVE it!

I am not a person that forms relationships with people very easily. It takes me a while and the person has to earn my trust before there is a friendship of any kind. My heart has been hurt so many times that I am leery of giving a part of it to someone that can easily hurt me. But when I give it, I give it completely. It is fragile, though, so please don’t break it.

A Gift Cloth-Steel-Wood

Apr 25 – A Gift Cloth, Steel, Wood

#343 Cross-stitched piece from Nancy from many years ago!
#344 I don’t know if it is steel but it is a metal cross on my Mom’s grave – thank you Friend!
#345 Wooden crosses to hang over bookcase

I have a little framed piece of cross stitch that Nancy made for me many years ago. It has some hearts on it, that, I believe, are attached to strings, like balloons. The hearts have their names in them, Nancy, Clifford, Cassie and Thomas. It says, “You have a very special place in our hearts.” She did this for me about 30 years ago. Throughout many of those years we were not in contact at all, but we talk weekly now. Nancy and Clifford are very dear friends and I love them deeply. I have a beautiful Celtic type of cross, made out of metal, that a dear friend of mine bought for me to put on my Mother’s grave. When I first laid eyes on it, I turned to her and said something about, either the cross was crying to be put on my Mommy’s grave or my Mommy was crying to have that cross put there. And this gracious person bought it for me to adorn my mother’s grave. I miss my Mommy so much…

Apr 26 – 3 Gifts Moving

#346 My head… ha!!
#347 Lighthouse clock from the Kids – always thankful for things from them
#348 CD Stereo – love my music!!

I know it sounds strange to consider your head as a moving gift but… mine moves all the time. And if it hadn’t been for that, I don’t know if I would have found my way back to God or not. For that reason alone, I can tolerate the constant movement. Oh, yes, there are times that it gets on my nerves – especially when the tremors move into another part of my body… but I have never asked God to take them away because they serve as a reminder of where my life was prior to July 28, 2009. Much like Paul (in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 [NIV]) where he says,

 “…7 Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

So I accept these tremors as part of my life – my story – my journey. They keep me humble. Most of all, they remind me of where God had to take me to get my attention. I have said many times, and I still believe that God had pursued me for so long when I first turned my back on Him that he had stopped the pursuit. I had not felt the ‘tug’ of the Holy Spirit on my heart for a long time. When I did make that decision to come back to Him, there had been a number of things that ‘cropped up’ in my life during the time when I was so deeply depressed that I believe had been God-ordained. In other words, He put these things there in my path, not only to save my life, but to get my attention so He could save my soul as well.

Before he starts singing, Wintley Phipps tells the story of how his amazing voice came to the attention of Cliff Barrows which resulted in Wintley singing with the Billy Graham Crusade. Wintley also said this, “It is in the quiet crucible of your personal private suffering that your noblest dreams are born and God’s greatest gifts are given in compensation for what you’ve been through.” I love that… Here’s Wintley Phipps singing It Is Well With My Soul…

Thank You, Jesus, for all the things You bless me with. It is so much more than what I put on this Joy Dare List. Right now, I am just overwhelmed with thinking of the things I can be joyfully thankful for. I will let you make sense of all the things running through my head that I cannot straighten out enough to put on paper. I will say that I am most thankful for the sacrifice made by Your Son, for my salvation, for the work You have done in my life. Thank you. For these and all the little things in life, I am thankful… Amen

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April 13 – April 19 – Joy Dares #307 – #327

April 13 – April 19 – Joy Dares #307 – #327

Apr 13 – 3 Gifts Bright

#307    The bright sun – winter was very long this year – we are loving the good weather!!

#308    Orange! I have fallen in love with the color orange – I say that it’s a happy color!

#309    Bright blue – another color I love!

Oh, the warmer weather is such a blessing!! Now to get the cold to go away and stay!! Winter has worn out his welcome – it is time for him to L E A V E !!

Apr 14 – 3 Gifts Found Looking Up

#310    Stars – I love looking up at a sky filled with stars

#311    A full moon

#312    A hot-air balloon

Even though I can put my head back very far, I always have to look up at the stars. On a clear night, when you are away from cities and towns – away from lights – and can look up at the night sky and see all the stars… you have to KNOW that there is a God that has ordained all this. If there weren’t all those stars would be crashing into each other all that kind of mess. A beautiful full moon would not appear every month. Our solar system would not revolve around the sun the way it does without somebody  putting it in place to do so. Thank You, Lord, for all the stars and the sun and moon that fill our night sky and give us light in the day.

Apr 15 – A Gift in a Bag, in a Box, in a Book

#313    Groceries!! God is supplying all my needs

#314    Old family pictures I have in a box in the closet

#315    Mom’s old family Bible – full of her handwriting to each of her kids.

I have my Mom’s family Bible. It isn’t a good Bible. It just has an imitation leather cover that is falling to pieces, but it was hers. She gave it to me several years before she passed away and I keep it wrapped in blank newsprint paper with other things of hers that I have kept. It has her handwriting where she wrote all her kids names and birthdates and a few deaths and marriages. There is a little note to each of her kids in the Bible. I just cherish it because it belonged to her and has her handwriting in it. I have no idea who to pass it on to when it is my time to go.

Apr 16 – 3 Hard Eucharisteos

#316    Praying for and loving on a person when I still have hard feelings toward them.

#317    The brakes died on the van today. I AM thankful that I didn’t wreck or anything, other than that, it is hard to be thankful that I now have no vehicle

#318    I am thankful for my church – I may not agree with everything they believe, but, for now, I truly believe that is where God wants me to be and they are VERY GOOD to me.

Yeah, it is a little hard for me to love on that person when I still have hard feelings for them because of all the trouble they caused. I pray for them because they have cancer and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. God is still working on the rest of it, though.

The brakes went completely out on the van today. I was on my way to church. I got there – barely! I did a lot of coasting to stop, but I did arrive. I went in to ask Steven if he was going to have a lesson that night or just an AWANA meeting. I was going to stay but was too nervous. I wanted to get home as soon as possible. I explained to him why I was leaving and went the back streets all the way home – pulled in a parking place here at the building, breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Thank You, God!!” And the Lord has already provided a way to get the brakes fixed. Thank You again, Lord, for taking care of me!

Apr 17 – 3 Gifts Woven Together

#319    Cross-stitched bookmark from Beth

#320    Warm blankies, as we call them (throws)

#321    My Lighthouse quilts. LOVE my lighthouse quilts!

Apr 18 – 3 Gifts Inheirited

#322    A table cloth of Mom’s

#323    A few hankies of Mom’s

#324    A few little dishes of Mom’s

I cherish the things I have that were Mom’s. I don’t know who else would want them, other than Desi but I cherish them just the same. I am hoping Allie will take one of the little Bibles and a hankie that I kept for her (I have another of each for Bre). But that will be up to her. I want to have the table cloth made into a small quilt. It has a couple tears in it but they aren’t as big as I thought they were and I think I can patch them easy enough. Mom always had a tablecloth on her table. ALWAYS!!

Apr 19– 3 Gifts Square

#325    I am thankful that I was able to get scrapbook paper last year – surely can’t get it this yr.

#326    Little frames out of beach fencing Penny made me for my Lighthouse pictures

#327    Little pictures of me and Mom

Dear Lord, all of these things are so trivial when I know that in just a few days time, all those years ago, You rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey with people waving palm fronds at you singing, “Hosanna”. Then, many of those same people would be found shaking their fists at you; calling out, “Crucify him!” You were tried and even Pilate said he could find no crime that you had committed but he still turned you over to them to be crucified. You were beaten so severely that You could barely walk but they expected You to carry Your cross up Golgotha’s Hill where You were nailed to that cross. That cross was righted and You stayed there until You died.

 Lord, You supply my every need. You even supply things I don’t really need at all. Tomorrow is Easter Sunday… the BEST day of the year because it is so full of promises from YOU!! Thank You is so inadequate but it is all I can say. Help me to live up to Your expectations. Help me to be a true follower and not just a fan of Jesus. I want to be all that You want me to be. For these and all the little things in life, I am thankful. I ask these things in Your Name, Amen…

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April 6 – April 12 – Joy Dares #286 – #306

April 6 – April 12 – Joy Dares #286 – #306

Apr 6 – 3 Gifts Nailed Together

#286    The sacrifice Jesus made – being nailed to a cross

#287    The snowmen that Ellen made me for the kids for Christmas

#288    Storage chest my brother made for me

The Easter Season is upon us, I can’t think of a nailed gift without thinking about Jesus being nailed to the cross. That was the ultimate gift and the ultimate sacrifice – all rolled into one. He did not have to do that. He could have called for His Father to end it and take Him back to heaven… But if he had, where would we be today. We think our world is bad enough, but what if we had no hope – – no hope whatsoever. I don’t understand why He did it. Why He CHOSE to do it. Why He chose to do it for ME. And for YOU. He carried that cross, was nailed to the cross and died on that cross. But, THANK YOU GOD!! HIS story didn’t end there! 3 days later, He was ALIVE!! And THAT’s what give us HOPE. THAT’s what gives us the promise of ETERNAL LIFE. Aren’t you glad He did that?? Oh, I am SOOO glad HE did!!

Apr 7 – 3 gifts Waited For

#289    Allie

#290    Breanna

#291    Easter Sunday – I am excited for Easter this year

I waited in anticipation for Allie to be born in Florida. I was ready to get in the car and drive down there I was so excited. But I got that phone call about 6 am from a very happy Momma telling me all about this baby that I could not wait to see!! I didn’t get to see her in person until she was almost 2 but I got as many pictures as I could get Lorie to send to me. She was worth the wait!!

Then, four years later, I waited in anticipation for Breanna’s arrival. There was a big difference this time, I was waiting right out in the hall – right outside the delivery room door so I could hear this baby’s cry. Scot came carrying her out of the door on his way to the nursery. She was beautiful! And she was also worth the wait!!

Apr 8 – 3 Gifts Rising Up

#292    Rising sun

#293    Yeast bread – smells yummy!!

#294    Fog lifting on a fall morning

I love to watch the sun come up – when I am at the beach that is. I always think, “God’s in His Heaven and all’s right with the world.” I have no idea why that runs through my mind, but it does. I just love a beautiful sunrise sitting on the steps going down over the dunes to the beach. Who doesn’t like the small of yeast bread when it is rising?? Oh my, I can smell it now! Sometimes I like to get rolls at a couple restaurants and just sniff them a couple times… they smell so g-o-o-o-o-d! And fog… it makes everything ordinary look mysterious. You know what is behind that tree – nothing. But you can’t see what is behind the tree for the fog so you have to wonder what is lurking there…

Apr 9 – A Gift Hiding, Held, Heard

#295    I used to hide my eyes from Allie so she wouldn’t know I was awake and I could listen to her talking, then waking me up

#296    First time I held Breanna – she was about an hour old – I fell in love

#297    Breanna’s first cry when she was born… (I am melancholy this evening)

Those two girls give me so much happiness – that is why I find myself being so thankful for them. Love both of them so much! I did like to hide my eyes so Allie would think I was asleep. She was so funny trying to pick up my eyelid to see if I was awake. By that time I was almost cracking up. Oh, but she was SUCH a precious child! And getting to be right outside the room when Bre was born – what a privilege!! I will be forever thankful for both of them and all the joy they have given me!

Apr 10 – 3 Gifts Opened Up

#298    Presents from the kids – doesn’t matter what it is, if it from them, I like it!

#299    My Bible – it is always a gift because I have the freedom to read it anytime/place

#300    Mom’s recipe box – it is so full of her handwriting

I don’t get in Mom’s recipe box very often. It is almost like it is sacred. There is so much of her in there. Her recipes. Her handwriting. She owned or ran a little restaurant at one time but even when she left there, she cooked for years. She was a good cook, too!! I wish I had taken the time to learn from her! She loved to cook when there was people there to eat! We spent a few weeks in CA where my brother, Johnny, was living at one time. He lived in a single’s apartment complex. Mom would cook a great big dinner every Sunday and here they would all come – little by little – asking, “Miss Libby, are you cooking today?” The guys would all stuff themselves, lay down on the floor to watch a ball game, and promptly to right to sleep. I think that was the best compliment they could give her. And she LOVED it!!

Apr 11 – 3 Gifts Budding/Blooming

#301    Marla Cottril’s weeping willow tree

#302    The tree across the road from Marla that is beautiful in bloom

#303    The Bradford pear trees that are blooming!

Ahhh… trees blooming in spring – aren’t they pretty?? That willow tree was just beautiful this year and I never did stop to take a picture of it. The one right up and across the road from it should be in full bloom by now. I don’t know what kind of tree it is but a few years ago, it was so full of blooms that they were weighing down the branches – some of them touched the ground. She had it trimmed that fall but it is just beautiful with all those little pink blooms. And when the blooms start falling – it looks like pink snow on the driveway – there are millions of little flower petals. One of God’s best examples of nature!

Apr 12 – 3 Gifts Worn

#304    The cross necklace my Mom got for me

#305    The sweater Tammy got for me

#306    The gold chain with the girls’ birthstones – it was a gift from myself!!

Dear Father, there is just so much to be thankful for this time of the year. There is so much in our world to bring us joy in the Springtime if we will just let the joy in. Open our hearts and our minds to that possibility. Help us to see the beauty in the world around us and to know that it is all there because of YOU! You created this world and all the good things in it. The trees in bloom, the daffodils and crocuses blooming… they are all there because we have a creator that wants to bless His children with nature. Thank You, Father, for the beauty we see in the Spring season. For these and all the little things in life, I am thankful… Amen

 

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March 30 – April 5 – Joy Dares #265 – #285

March 30 – April 5 – Joy Dares #265 – #285

Mar 30 – 3 Gifts Uncovered

#265    An answer to prayer found in God’s Word

#266    A seashell dug out of the sand

#267    A pot of fresh shrimp cooking on the stove

I am absolutely overwhelmed with the Holy Spirit when I am reading the word and find an answer to a prayer or a problem or something telling me how to respond to a particular situation. God is so good and I am not as faithful to reading His Word and spending time with His in payer as I should be. Forgive me, Father.

Mar 31 – A Gift Heard, Held, Hoped For

#268    Michael Phelps’ singing at a recent concert – a gift indeed!

#269    A newborn baby – they are always gifts to be thankful for

#270    I am hoping for a way to get the brakes on my van fixed. THAT would be a gift!!

Oh! Michael Phelps! That man can SANG!!! I think he one of the greatest male performers of all time. I love to hear him sing. His voice is certainly a gift from God! No More Night is one of my favorites!

And holding a newborn baby… what can be greater?? They are so soft and cuddly. There is no gift on this earth that is better than a new baby.

Apr 1 – 3 Gifts Round

#271    Round flat bread – it’s good stuff!

#272    Wheels – no matter who’s they are – if they take me to church

#273    Jar of peanut butter!!

Apr 2 – 3 Gifts White

#274    Milk – I don’t get it very often but I love it!!

#275    Nice big, fluffy, white bath towels are my preference

#276    White board – I can erase things from it – like God erases my sins

Don’t think I am crazy about the milk thing – I LOVE milk!! I just don’t buy it very often because of the carbohydrate thing… Milk has carbs but then I want cereal and cookies and stuff that is LOADED with carbs!! Ugh! I love it all but it is not healthy for me…

Big, fluffy, white bath towels are my favorite towels! I have some colored ones – they are for company. I use the white ones for me! I like them big and thick – I don’t care how long it takes them to dry – that is still my preference, so I am thankful for the ones that I have.

Apr 3 – 3 Gifts Surprisingly Found

#277    The Christmas Gifts for my small group that I finally found!

#278    Big shark’s tooth laying on the sand

#279    One Thousand Gifts book that I thought I had lost

I thought I had lost my One Thousand Gifts Book. I had looked everywhere for it. It wasn’t in my book basket by the couch, or my nightstand and I had gone through my bookshelves and still not found it. I had given up on finding it and was thinking about getting another one. I decided one night to clean off the bookshelves and re-organize the books. I had purchased quite a few since I did that and had not been able to get them on the shelves but had just laid them on top of other books. It was really starting to look bad. So, I started with one and worked my way across. Guess what I found? One Thousand Gifts!! It was tucked in with some things that I couldn’t see at all without cleaning off the bookshelf! Thank you, Father!

Apr 4 – 3 Gifts in His Word

#280    John 3:17 – For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

#281    Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

#282    Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

I love these three verses. I didn’t find them and get attached to them by myself. They were pointed out to me by others but they are beautiful verses. I like John 3:17 because it says that Jesus is not going to condemn me. I felt condemned over a good portion of my life and to know that Jesus didn’t come to condemn me but to save me was a gift indeed.

I like Zephaniah 3:17 because, as the person said that first brought the verse to my attention, “He will take great delight in you… but [HE] will rejoice over you with singing.” Can you imagine? The God of the universe is rejoicing over me with singing?? Now, you must tell me – – just how AWESOME is that?? Do you suppose He does this at night when I am sleeping? During the day when I am wasting time? Right now while I am working on the blog? I don’t know when He does it, but the fact remains that He does ‘rejoice over me with singing.’ That alone should put a smile on your face!

Apr 5 – 3 Gifts @ 11am, 2pm and 6pm

#283    I am always thankful that God gave me another chance

#284    I am always thankful for my friend, Beth, who never gave up

#285    I am always thankful for my friend, Nancy, who makes me a part of her family even if she is in TN

I am not very good to remember to look for gifts – things to be thankful for – during specific times of the day, but there are things that I am ALWAYS thankful for…

#1 – I am always thankful that God gave me another chance. I told my Bible study group last night that I felt like I had used up all my chances. It was as if Jesus had quit knocking on my heart’s door. He had been told no so many time that He walked away from me – just like I had walked away from Him. I hadn’t felt that little ‘tug’ on my heart for a long time. Then my tremors started in my head and got progressively worse… And it was downhill all the way… It was a series of events that happened and I found myself in the deepest, darkest pit of depression in which I had ever been. I saw no hope. No light at the end of the tunnel… no light at all. A neurosurgeon wanted to do a procedure on my brain and I fell to pieces. It took me 6 months to realize the shape I was in and how bad I needed Jesus before I called Beth and asked her to pray with me. I have never looked back. There is nothing back there for me. Beth had prayed for me to come back to God for 20 years. Thank You, Lord, that she didn’t stop praying for me at least occasionally. Most of all, Thank You for second chances…

Dear Lord, tonight I am humbled by all the things I have to be thankful for. I don’t always remember them, but they are there is I will just quiet myself, still my mind and focus on You… Thank You. Thank You not only for these things, but for all the things that You give to me or provide for me. Sometimes I don’t even think about it being a gift from You, but ALL things are a gift from You, aren’t they. Remind me Father, that you supply my every need and then some! I love You, Lord. For these and all the little things in life, I am thankful. Amen…

 

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