Thankfulness in forward motion

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On this third day of November, I have already noticed all of the “what I’m thankful for” posts on Facebook.  I surmise that because November is the month of Thanksgiving, we are reminded of all the things that we sometimes take for granted.  It’s encouraging and uplifting to see so many people thoughtfully posting their thanks throughout the month of November.

We are a blessed nation, even in the midst of some of our circumstances.  However, I want to encourage all of you, my friends, that as we are thankful, as we express our gratefulness we would be mindful that this is a difficult month for many.  As the holidays approach, there are those without family, those who are estranged from their families and those who aren’t feeling too particularly thankful at this time in their life.

I pray that we make it our business to search out, to find out who these people are in our neighborhoods. My hope is that as part of the demonstration of our thankfulness, we would reach out and somehow provide that feeling of home and comfort to the aged, the lonely and the downcast.

Many of us will bake and decorate, and our homes will smell of cinnamon and spices; we will surround ourselves with family and friends and feel that “thankful” spirit for our fellowship.  Let’s spread it around; let’s be mindful of those less fortunate.

We can do this by our prayers and by giving, but it’s also in the simple knock on the door of a shut-in or a hot apple pie delivered to someone who might not be able to see well enough to do all the baking they once enjoyed.

Please feel free to share what your plans are to give back or things that you and your family have done in years past to share the love.

If we all just reach one, there would be hundreds of smiles that might not be possible otherwise.

Love, Prayers and Happy November!

Mistaken identity

English: A typical Snellen chart. Originally d...I was about half a mile through my walk when I saw them in the distance.  There were three of them, rather large, down a darkened path on the corner I was approaching.  One was definitely black and another appeared to be a black and white mottled color.  This was strange because I didn’t know anyone who had dogs fitting this description in my neighborhood.

My heart began to race and I knew the smartest thing to do was turn around as quietly as I could and head for home, hoping they hadn’t noticed me.  One unknown dog is bad enough, but three could have dire consequences.  I turned around and walked quickly toward home, glancing back a time or two to make sure I wasn’t being pursued by a pack of dogs.

All the while I was getting angrier and angrier.  How dare people let their big dogs out to run around without any supervision when I was trying to get my daily exercise?  This walk was my sanity and now it was getting cut short due to someone’s negligence.  I planned and plotted in my head what I would say to the owner, the heated post I could make on Facebook.  So much for the calming effects this walk usually affords.

Whenever I got home, I explained to my husband why I was back so quickly.  He, being my protector and all, said he would find out who they belonged to and talk to them.  Later that day, after he had spoken with the closest neighbor to where I had spotted the dogs, we still knew nothing.  She didn’t have big dogs and didn’t know who they might have belonged to.

The next day, my desire to walk won over my fear of encountering them again, and thankfully, I haven’t.  All I could surmise was that perhaps they were just visiting with someone or lost and they were long gone.

Imagine my surprise today when my husband comes in the house with a big smile on his face and asked me if it were possible that the “dogs” were goats?  He saw the neighbor again and she said there were some goats nearby that had been getting out of the fence.  The animals that I saw were on the outside of the fence looking in, almost like they wanted to get back in.  I had no idea anyone nearby even owned goats, so never would have considered that a possibility.

One thing I have to admit is that my eyesight isn’t what it used to be.  As I’ve said many times, I love my forties and yes, I even love that I can laugh at myself and share embarrassing moments.  However, I do miss my 20/20 vision and looking back on that day, it infuriates me that I lost so much peace over goats!

They hurt, so we love

Teardrop on Fire

Teardrop on Fire (Photo credit: tj.blackwell)

Why can’t we see that people are hurting?  Why do some people rush to spread bad news, but don’t bother to take the time to clear up a nasty rumor?

We are all touched by pain, turmoil and tragedy, are we not?  We all suffer so how do we forget what that feels like.  How do we forget what would have made us feel better and then not offer that instead of judgment and gossip?

Please know that I am searching my own heart as I share.  I hate gossip and try to stay far from it, but don’t we all get roped in sometimes?  Aren’t we also partakers even if we just listen?  Isn’t that just as bad?  And how does that help, what does it accomplish?

When I think on the times that I have felt ravished and torn by life’s trials and troubles, I quickly remember the friends who showed up, who covered me in prayer; the ones who stood up for me and my family.  I think of those who quickly discerned that it wasn’t a time for observation and speculation, but a time to show love and concern.  They realized that it was a time to love and hold and listen.

I have been studying the book of Job, and just like everything else God does, this was divine timing, because it has been helpful to apply some of what I have learned to hurting people.  It is teaching me to be a better friend.  One who understands that there is a big picture and I can’t figure it all out and I don’t have all the answers.  Sometimes the most helpful thing I can do is to pray for them and listen.  Notice I said “listen”, not always speaking, not always thinking I have all the answers.

Most of us, by the time we have reached my age, have experienced the death of a loved one, severe illness in ourselves or others, financial difficulty or even ruin, marital discord and sometimes divorce, problems with children and grandchildren, and the list goes on and on.

God help us to remember some of those times; the way we felt, the people who cared and the things that counted.  What made us feel better, what caused a smile to tug at the corners of our mouth and what made us feel loved and warm inside?  May we remember and pay it forward.

Facebook – friend or foe, or just annoying friend ;)

facebook logo

facebook logo (Photo credit: marcopako )

Some days I sit and ponder the strangest things.  Today I was on facebook and there was a post that grossed me out.  I thought, “hmm, I could gripe about it”, or do what I ended up doing, which was hide it so it didn’t show up on my wall.

This caused me to think about how so many people don’t know that much about some of the options they have when using facebook, so they join, friend anyone who asks them to and are soon inundated with topics, pictures, quotes, novellas and game invites.  That’s when the complaining begins.

I will be honest.  I joined facebook to stalk my children.  I continue to use facebook to stalk my children but have enjoyed the ease of staying in touch with friends and family, finding and reconnecting with people, viewing pictures of my friends and their children and I hope they feel the same.

When I searched my heart over the time it can rob from you if you aren’t careful, I personally found that the pros outweight the cons, if used wisely.  I also want to encourage others, so I try to find scriptures, quotes and pictures that lift up, bring a smile, or cause people to think.  Many enjoy it for the same or similar reasons.

However, if you don’t, I want those who feel like they are stuck in a soap opera, or if they are feeling offended by certain posts or beliefs, or if they just feel like they will scream if they have to see one more picture of Aunt Jane’s beloved shitzu…..there is hope.

I have found several things to be true.  If I do not know someone, I probably should not accept their friend request because I have no idea of their motive.  In the event that you don’t want to offend someone because that nice man might be someone you dated in high school, but you just can’t recollect, send them a message first and ask them.  A simple, “Who are you and why do you want to be my friend?” works every time.

Secondly, if you have “friend”, who you regret ever “friending”, you can delete them.  If you are a nice person and you don’t want to offend your neighbor by completely deleting them, you can hide them where you are still “friends”, but you don’t ever have to see a thing they post unless you really want to.

You may also select what types of posts you receive from people.  I find this particularly effective when dealing with those who constantly post spam or offensive pictures.    Sometimes there just may be that one post that you don’t want to ever see again….Yes, you’re getting it, you may hide it!

On the other side of the topic…..Facebook is a social networking site.  My facebook account is mine.  I can put whatever I want on it, because it is mine.  I’m free to post 1,000 pictures of my granddaughter a week if I get the urge and I can express my political opinions, my religious opinions, my love for whatever I love.  And the thing is, if you don’t like it, don’t want to see it, or are just tired of me altogether, you have options.

And lastly, please remember that there are many levels of users – Some people have to look at their entire newsfeed from the last time they were on facebook, so they do not miss a thing – Others don’t go on for days or weeks or even months.  The point being, everyone may not see your post so please do not be offended if they do not read/like/comment/share.

In a way, this feels like one of the most ridiculous posts, I’ve ever made.  However, if it helps someone to navigate and enjoy their social networking a little more, I guess my time was well spent.  Besides, I got it off my chest.  To find out how to do all that I mention above, go to Help in Facebook, or get used to hovering your mouse around areas where you see arrows or drop-downs, and check things out…..or if you want to ask me here, I will be glad to try and help.  Just be advised, I am by no means an expert!

The day I became a Nana

Stop and smell the flowers

Stop and smell the flowers

 

Yesterday I was mom, aunt, daughter

A friend, cousin and wife.

Today I became a Nana

I never could have guessed the way I would feel

You changed my life on February 28th, 2010

The day I became a Nana

Those other grandparents tried to warn me

They spoke of a new and different kind of love

About how hearts turn to mush

But I just didn’t get it

Until the day I became a Nana

 

Happy 3rd Birthday to my baby girl 🙂

For me?

Author: Bagande

Okay ladies, let’s get real.  It’s almost Valentines Day.  For those of us who are married or involved with someone, a large percentage of us must admit that yes, in fact, we do want something.

Granted, some of us are easier to please than others.  There are those who say, “I really don’t want anything” who really mean it.  I don’t understand these people at all, so I’m not going to spend any more time exploring that.

You have those who are perfectly content to receive a romantic card.  These will tend to be the same people who like to give cards.  Then, you have what I believe to be the largest group of all, those of us who want gifts.  I belong to this group so it’s the one I’m most familiar with.

The thing I wanted to explore is why it isn’t enough just to receive from our “loves”.  We must also share, post, tweet, call a friend and dish out our good fortune with as many as possible.  So, it seems just the gift isn’t quite enough, we need pictures and at least a little fanfare.  Perhaps the chocolate is a little bit sweeter once we brag about it to our friends.  Oh, we don’t call it bragging.  We share.

I must grudgingly admit that I have done this – Bragging, masquerading like sharing, that is.  This is embarrassing to admit because I feel like it makes me look adolescent.  But, as I’ve said again and again, many personal secrets just don’t seem that sacred anymore; I’m way happier being transparent, partly because I know without a shadow of a doubt, I am not alone.

It’s funny how sometimes either our pride or some deep-rooted insecurity causes us to think we need approval from others.  We need to make sure, especially with our closest friends, that they love him too and that they realize he really does love us.

However, to cover all the bases we don’t always have the wrong motive and often we really are just sharing something wonderful that happened in our lives with people who we love, who love us back.  This is the good kind of sharing; nothing to be ashamed of here at all.

Truth be told, I love my husband and I don’t need a gift from him to prove his love; he shows it every day.  It’s bigger than the biggest card or heart he could buy.  This should be enough for me and my motives should be remain pure in all of my conversations, pictures and posting about it.

Hopefully as the day set aside for all things romantic approaches, we will remember this and think about our knight in shining armor who took his time to make the day a little more special for us and not worry so much about what others need to know or think about it.

Also, there are a lot of hurting people out there who have either lost someone by death, or recently divorced, even recently broke up who just might not need to hear our sap.  Let’s be thoughtful regarding this as well.

And if you do get a gift, even if it’s a light up plastic flower from the corner convenience store, be thankful.

I’m hoping my love remembers the dark chocolate 🙂

A little thought before the words might do wonders

“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.”
Emily Dickinson

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In my morning devotions, I was reading in the book of James about the tongue and how difficult it is to bridle, how it’s so small, yet can set a forest to blaze, so to speak.  Since I try to not only read, but meditate on these truths, I started pondering some daily scenarios regarding our speech.  Our words really are so powerful and the minute they leave our mouths, can set forth producing good or evil.

Think about your morning.  If you were kind, encouraging, kissed your spouse or children goodbye covering them with words of love and blessing, you set the course for a good day.  On the other hand, if you grumbled and complained, argued or belittled, and didn’t bother to say goodbyes because you were just being stubborn (or whatever the case may be), the day started on a sour note. I remember back in the days when I actually had to take a child to school and they would get out of the car angry with me, I would always say, “I love you” anyway, whether they responded or not.  I wanted them to know my love was unconditional. I’m very blessed that my husband will not leave in the morning without kisses, hugs and “I love you”.

I’m not saying any of this is easy; we all have our bad days, the mornings when we wish the house was quiet and we could drink our coffee all by ourselves.  Maybe you don’t feel well (which I’ve struggled with the past few mornings), or you couldn’t sleep or you have worries that are plaguing your heart.  However, the first step to making things better is realizing there is a problem.  Maybe we can all reflect on our words this morning and set out to produce change.

We can look at Facebook posts and see how people set the tone for their day and those around them by their words.  We can be positive and try to say something useful, or we can offer negativity, hatefulness and bitterness.  I cringe when I read some of the posts because I know the power that words have to bless and heal, but also to hurt and destroy.  I love the saying of Thumper in the Disney movie, Bambi; “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuthin at all”.  My kids heard that over and over again growing up.

I also believe that if we sit and listen to the gossip and ill-will that is spoken against others, we become partakers.  People might stop talking so much trash if we simply refused to listen to it.  Let’s think about our words before they pour forth from our mouths.  Are they daggers or arrows, headed off our tongues to offend or hurt?  Or are they more like honey?  Do they soothe and comfort, bringing happiness and peace?

Blessings on this beautiful Friday morning!

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