Wednesday, September 30, 2009

THIS DAY'S ....

"This Day's . . ." is all about hope.  With a life lived with God and His Son, HOPE, FAITH, and LOVE will always exist, every moment of every day.  It can't possibly get any better than this!

~*~

Jesus has made the life of his people as eternal as his own.

~Charles H. Spurgeon

~*~

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;


~2 Corinthians 4:8-9, The King James Version

SEARS CATALOG


Two rednecks were looking at a Sears catalog and admiring the models.

One says to the other, 'Have you seen the beautiful girls in this catalog?'

The second one replies, 'Yes, they are very beautiful And look at the price!'

The first one says, with wide eyes, 'Wow, they aren't very expensive. At this price, I'm buying one.'

The second one smiles and pats him on the back. 'Good idea! Order one and if she's as beautiful as she is in the catalog, I will get one too.'

Three weeks later, the youngest redneck asks his friend, 'Did you ever receive the girl you ordered from the Sears catalog?'

The second redneck replies......

SCROLL DOWN . YOU'LL LOVE IT!

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"No, but it shouldn't be long now. I got her clothes yesterday! "

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Waiting For The Doc

There's nothing worse than "health issues", and God knows, I have had my share and then some.  My cousin is an orthopedic surgeon and I called on him for the purpose of finding the source of my knee pain and some excrutiating pain in the back of my left hip.  He's a good egg, his name is Tom.  Tom was very thorough in his examination, taking and reading x-rays right there in his office.  But, he said, "you need an MRI so I can see what's going on in there."  He also took x-rays of my lower spine because of that pain, and again, he suggested an MRI.

In the last two weeks, I have had both an MRI on my left knee and one on my lower spine.  You may (or should because I've wailed about it enough) recall that I had a double lumbar fusion in 2005.  The onset of the recent pain was upsetting.  I tried muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory medications, and pain pills - nothing touches the pain in my hip.

I arrived at Dr. Tom's office at 9:45 this morning to see him, first, for the results of the MRI on my knee.  I was then scheduled to see his "spine doc" at 10:30.  As far as the knee, I have a torn meniscus and it can be fixed with arthroscopic surgery, not too big of a deal and that's fine.  His office has outgrown itself and the spine doc was located down on the 1st floor.  I arrive there about 10:20 a.m.  After a two-hour wait, I was called behind the famous door and escorted to an examining room.  Thank goodness that it was on the first floor, and there were windows, because I was there nearly an hour before the doctor appeared.

I say I'm not calling any favoritism, but I guess there's no other reason in my letting them know that "I am Dr. Johnson's cousin".  I don't want to be put ahead of anyone else, but to be seen according to my appointment.  However, you would think that this little statement would make people stand up and perform to their best abilities, right?  Well, two hours in a waiting room, and then another 45 minutes or so gazing out the window of the small 10x10 examining room, and I need to pee so bad, but after pondering feel that I can hold it a bit longer.

The doctor FINALLY makes his appearance.  He introduces himself while extending his soft, clean hand for a little shake. "Nice to meet you.  I'm Dr. Johnson's cousin."  And I'm thinking, "okay, the light should be on now, so let's get this done."  Well, the doc asks a couple of questions, turns a couple of pages of my file, throws me a pair of paper shorts and says, "put these on, I'll be right back."  As I change from my jeans to the paper shorts that were made for the Green Giant, I hear the good doc enter another examining room and greet yet another patient.  I sit in those big, baggy shorts for about twenty minutes before he returns.

I'm asked a couple of questions, some physician examination ensues, and suddenly he says, "I think I'm gonna get an MRI."  His face was contorted in all seriousness, when I blurted out, "THAT'S why I am here! I've already had an MRI, you're supposed to read it."  "OHHHHH!", he says.  "Okay, that's right, hold on, I'll be right back."  I'm dumbfounded.  I took off the big paper shorts, throw my jeans back on and I hear my doctor in yet another examining room on the other side of mine, with yet another patient.  I'm beyond those big SIGHS that have been coming from me every two or three minutes.  So I open the door, and the doc's PA is standing there, at my door, drinking coffee.  He looks, smiles as if questioning (as in, "can I help you?"), and I ask where the good doc might be; you see, "I've been here three hours and I'm about to bust to go to the restroom!"  "OHHHHHH, go right here ...." and he points to an unmarked door.

I do my business, come out and I tell the PA, "he said he was going to schedule a myelogram ... ".  "Oh, what's your name?" He looks for and finds my file and says that the nurse will schedule it soon as she comes back to the desk.  She comes, she calls the place, we agree on Thursday at 9:00 a.m.  She hangs up the phone and begins to fill out the paperwork for the myelogram. 

"Okay, be there at 10:00 on Thursday!"  "Didn't you say 9:00?", I asked.  "Did I? Oh, uh ...." and picks up the phone to dial back to the x-ray people.  "Did you say 9 or 10"  OH, okay."  She hangs up and looks at me, "you were right, it was 9:00 ... I don't know where my head is today."

Uh, roger that! You and the rest of the crew!  The doctor is standing there looking at someone else's chart and looks up and laughs at his own mistake, and I'm thinking "My confidence level here is zero."

On the way home I cannot decide if I should alert my cousin or not.  I don't want him to think that I don't appreciate him (he has my filed coded as a "do not collect co-pay", which I can pay my co-pay but he is extending a privilege and I really appreciate it.  Which is why I don't want him to think I'm complaining.  I've concluded that I should tell him because this man is a new part of my cousin's practice.  My cousin is the senior doctor in the partnership and he needs to know that there was a waiting room full of people just like me who were irritated about waiting so long, some even making another appointment for another time and leaving.  Do I trust this man to operate on my spine? Around the central nervous system?  What if he cuts a nerve, for heaven sake?

I just can't do this.  I think I will call him.  And I think I will cancel the myelogram that the spine doc scheduled and just go to my neuro-surgeon .... they're at the same hospital and that's their specialty.  I don't have any confidence in a doctor who did not take the time to look at page 1 of my file which would have told him why I was there.  In fact, I overheard one of the staff mention that I was "the one" that my cousin had talked to them about, so I know Tom had called to alert them I was coming.

I had to get this off my chest mainly because we are in the midst of this huge healthcare issue in this country, and people are being treated carelessly, being left in waiting rooms for hours on end.  There's just no reason for this.  Do you believe it will be better with socialized medicine?  I think I'll talk to Dr. Tom and see from a doctor's point of view just how they feel about Obama's agenda in this area.

Bitch session over.  As you were ...... and thanks for listening.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

St. Therese ~ Daily Reflection



I find happiness only in suffering without consolation.

~St. Therese

HEARTLIGHT

Today's HEARTLIGHT seems to be intended just for me ... I say the "wrong" thing all the time. I don't set out to do it, it just happens and I am left digging my hole deeper by trying to explain my way out of it. I needed this today!



VERSE
:


The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.

~Proverbs 10:32

THOUGHT:

How many times have you said just the "wrong" thing? For me, it is more often than I would like to recall. Jesus' words on this topic are indeed convicting to me: "Out of the abundance of the heart does the mouth speak." In other words, poor words and bad timing in our speech are more issues of our heart than issues of
social skills and decorum. Let's ask God to purify, mend, and re-focus our heart on his will and passions.

PRAYER:

Almighty God, loving and merciful Father, please purify my heart of all evil, hate, duplicity, prejudice, malice, lust and greed. By the powerful name of Jesus, please drive away any evil power or enticing temptation that would corrupt my heart and wound my soul. Fill my heart with love, grace, righteousness, holy passion,
gentleness, forbearance, sensitivity, courage, conviction, and forgiveness. Give me discernment to know which of these qualities are needed at any given moment. Sanctify me -- body, soul, and spirit -- with your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

St. Therese of Lisieux

St. Therese of Lisieux has been for several years my patron Saint. I know people choose different ones every year, but St. Therese's works and life story became known to me at a difficult time.  A friend at my parish who was 10 years younger than me had been diagnosed with a Grade III Astrocytoma brain tumor. That was in June 2003.  She battled courageously for 2 1/2 years before she lost her battle and went on to her eternal reward.  Her name was Cathy, by the way.  Cathy was an individual whose Christian life I longed to mirror.  Her faith never waivered, and in fact, only grew stronger over the many months of one setback after another positive step forward.

Cathy and her husband had three children.  Her husband, Jim, is now raising them alone.  I remember hearing that the children and Jim kneeled by her sick bed every evening and prayed the Rosary together before going to bed.  She always smiled, through even the worst of her suffering.  She kept the Blessed Mother's statue on the hearth with candles going 24/7.  She loved her faith, the Catholic faith, and she loved St. Therese.
And so I found a book written by St. Therese and I read about her childhood and the life she longed to live as a nun, even as a young girl who was too young to be accepted into the convent.  She has written some of the most amazing reflections you can imagine.  Her love of God is so pure that my words do not adequately describe it.  I love her, and I count on her intercessions on my behalf; and, she sends me roses whenever I have called upon her to pray for me.  To go to the official website, click here.  There, you will find daily reflections and prayers, a place to write your own requests, along with this short prayer that you may recite prior there to:
St. Therese, beloved friend, you promised to spend your heaven doing good upon earth. We come before you in our need. We believe that you listen to us and approach God for and with us. You are love in the heart of the Church. You are love in the heart of God. Please accept these petitions, hopes, needs, and dreams I list below. Please present them to our Loving Father so that God may do what is best for us, for our loved ones, and for the fulfillment of God's Kingdom. Continue your shower of roses in our lives. We ask you, dear friend, with the bold confidence and loving surrender you taught us. We make this prayerful petition in the name of Jesus and through the power of His Spirit.

THIS DAY'S ....

In considering the second and final story of The Road to My Conversion last night, today's verse seems to have been crafted especially for me and the story that I had to tell.  Blessings, everyone!

~~~ * ~~~


Our desires must not only be offered up to God, but they must all terminate in him, desiring nothing more than God, but still more and more of him.

~Matthew Henry

~~~ * ~~~



For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

~Psalm 91:11, The New International Version

POSITIVE THOUGHT


I am not what has happened to me.
I am what I choose to become.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Road to My Conversion II

I want to digress a bit because I don't feel I detailed a few things sufficiently.  Again, I was raised in a Pentecostal faith, namely, Assembly of God Church.  My Granny attended church at First Assembly of God in Madison, Tennessee ALL of her life.  My mother was raised attending there also.  My Granny was a fine lady.  She and my grandfather divorced sometime around my mother's age of 16 years.  My mother won't hardly speak of it.  It hurt her deeply, they made her testify against each other.  So I don't pry for her to talk about it.  My point is that my Granny went by "Mrs. [first and last name]" for the remainder of her life (she passed in 2003 shortly before what would have been her 92nd birthday), AND I never saw her in anything but a dress.  She adhered to the old practice of her church that women wore dresses, never wore make-up, didn't swim with the opposite sex, or even wear a bathing suit, for that matter.  She was also a divorced woman before she was forty years old, but you know what?  She never dated, she never married.  And when she died, my mama gave me one of the many Holy Bibles that were in Granny's apartment.  It is worn, tattered and the spine is held togeter with packing tape. My Granny read her Bible, and she read them a lot.  You could tell they were used, they were read, not just a fixture on her table.  I'm proud of that Bible.

My mother, being raised in Assembly of God, married a man who was divorced, and thus, she was "cast out" of her church.  This was the second big hurt of my mother's young life.  It wasn't enough that she was chaste, sang in choir and never missed church if the doors were open.  It hurt her so bad that to this day, and she is nearly 78 years old, she has never officially "joined" another congregation in all the churches she has worshipped.  She told me just a few years ago that she had a fear of something bad happening and being shunned all over again.  She said it hurt her so much that she didn't think she could ever take that chance with human beings judging her, it was too painful.

Well, I did not know all of this when I was going through my own life and searching for myself as a young girl.  I felt very uncomfortable, as I've told you, because of our infrequency in going.  Mama had good intentions and she would set us down and say, "Now we're going to start back to church and we're going every week."  It was like a death sentence.  I dreaded it.  Especially when I was small and one of the ladies in the church would throw her hands in the air and start hollering in this strange language.  It was scary.  I'd lift my eyes from where I was supposed to be in prayer and look and Mama would look over and frown, which meant "turn your eyes down and stop staring!"  I didn't understand "speaking in tongues".  I still don't.

I left off the first story where I had married an Italian man whose family worshipped in the Catholic Church.  I started attending Mass with him.  I guess I was "marked"  like my mother because I had been married before and had a small child.  But the more I went to Mass, the more drawn to it I became.  I learned how to follow the missel, when to kneel, genuflect, stand, sing and eventually memorized all the prayers.  I fell in love with the Holy Catholic Church from the first time I set foot inside as a child attending a wedding.  It lasted the longest time, more than the 15 minute ceremony of most other churches where I'd attended weddings, but it was the most beautiful wedding I'd ever seen.  It seemed so grand with all the regal qualities and sufficient reverence paid to this Holy Union.

After being married for two years, I started RCIA at our parish with my husband as my sponsor.  Going through RCIA I met and am still friendss with several of the people who were converted into the faith with me.  I have never looked back, my children were baptized and raised in the Church, and my daughter married a cradle Catholic and her children have been in Catholic school and church since they were born.

It was not enough that I was baptized, confirmed and brought into the Holy Cathiolic Church.  As much as I loved it, I was not doing a very good job as a faithful follower.  Years passed and life changes occurred.  Things I don't need to explain, except to say that I was brought to a place and time when my life was set down before my eyes, a suffering that I never thought of facing, much less enduring for four months.  What started as sincere and quiet prayer for healing turned into a battle between me and God Almighty.  I went to crying aloud, holding my outstretched arms to heaven, "Dear God! Why won't you help me?"  I was brought to the depths of despair and to the edge of death and back again.  Upon recovering from this health issue, I realized that I had gone through an enormous transformation and this very clear epiphany appeared in my mind.  It went something like this:

The Lord brought me Home,
But not before He brought me to my knees.

I realized that God had been in control, and I don't just mean during that time.  God has been with me all of my life.  He has sent heavenly angels to protect me on very specific occasions that I could recite to you where I was near extreme evil and He saved my life, literally.  If God Almighty had not been with me on those four occasions, I would have been brutalized and possibly even dead.  I had put myself in those situations, but something pulled me back, something told me this was not safe and it saved me.  I know this was The Holy Spirit.  And for all the years that I denied Him?  What did He do, but love me even more, hold onto me tighter, ever stubborn to not give up on not even this girl and let Satan have her. 

People, precious friends, I know and I know that the Lord has forgiven me each and every time I have cried and poured my heart out to Him in apology for my mistakes.  The problem that I have is forgiving myself.  That's the tough one.  However, I have learned for the most part how to be forgiving of others and I pray that forgiving myself will eventually find it's way to a conclusion.

I love our Heavenly Father with every breath I take, to the very core of my being; I love His Son, Jesus Christ, and my contemplation of what His sacrafice was, as a human man, the suffering, brings me to tears.  I don't know why He loves me so, but He does. Now that I am in full accordance with the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit, I live a life that I did not know existed, and it took me to age 50 to find it.  Happiness is where you seek it, inside yourself.  And it is there if you also find God there, for He is all love, all forgiveness, all happiness, the alpha and the omega.  I've learned the extreme power of prayer and I believe in this power with all of my heart.

Mama and Dad come out from Texas for Christmas now because there are too many of us and our extended families to go there, and they attend Christmas Eve Mass with us.  I know they don't understand what is going on, and Dad has "let his hair down" enough that when Father went down the aisle giving the sign of peace and shaking hands, Dad turned to me and said, "was I supposed to kiss his ring?" and then he kinda giggled.  That's all right Daddy; you're much more accepting than you were 30 years ago, and I am much more blessed than I ever knew.  Where would I be now if God did not keep his waring angels by my side?  No doubt about it, I'd have died in my 20's and be long forgotten for the most part; my son wouldn't even exist.  But that's all sad stuff and this is a happy story, so LET'S CELEBRATE! 

Celebrate your lives, whether you're Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, Jew, whatever ... we all know there is but one God and we all want to be with Him in Heaven.  Can't wall just get along?

Thank you for reading.  I've come a very long, long way, but I am not tired.  Oh no! I'm just beginning to live and I have so much more that needs doing before I go, and I'm doing it in His service!

Blessings and PEACE ....

SENIOR MOMENT

See what we have to look forward to?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

THE TURKEY RAP

This is too hilarious!  Thanks to my friend, Renae, for sending it to me.  In case you don't get it ... southen boys do a lotta huntin ... turkey huntin ... therefore, they got the language down!  Enjoy!

THIS DAY'S ....

This is so beautiful, I don't know what else to say .....
~~~~*~~~~

Late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new; late have I loved you! For behold you were within me, and I outside; and I sought you outside and in my unloveliness fell upon those things that you have made. You were with me and I was not with you. I was kept from you by those things, yet had they not been in you, they would not have been at all. You called and cried to me and broke open my deafness; you sent your shafts of light to shine on me and chase away my blindness; you breathed your fragrant breath on me, and I took a breath and now pant for you; I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst for you; you touched me and I have burned for your peace.

~Augustine of Hippo

~~~~*~~~~

But there is a spirit in man; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.


Job 32:8, The King James Version

SORRY, PEOPLE ....



Thanks to Aussie Therese for letting me know through another medium that she had been unable to post comments on Abbey's Road.  I've checked the settings, and sent a "test" comment to my blog, and it seems to be working fine.  If ever there is a problem with my blog, I appreciate you letting me know via the following email address:


Thanks, and again, apologies for the little mix-up ....

BLESSINGS!

A Little Fire


I know you're out there, don't be afraid, speak up .... I love reading visitor comments ... geez, now I sound desperate.  Not desperate, just trying to figure out how to light a little fire under all those visitors that I see on my activity meter and get you to speak to me. So, I know you're out there, why not leave me a an itsy bitsy comment and put a smile on this girl's face, hmm?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Road to My Conversion

Just curious .... have you ever done an Image Google of "God"? I have and it pulled an interesting aray of pictures.

I've wanted for some time to talk of my conversion to Catholicism. I wrote it a few years ago and gave away all of the copies . . . can you believe I don''t have one of my own writings, and nobody gifted with this essay has theirs either. Hm. I don't know how to interpret that . . . there I go, over-analyzing again.

I don't think I went to church until I was adopted at the age of three. My sister and I were adopted together, which was a blessing. My mother had been raised in the Assembly of God church and my dad in Church of God, both being "Pentecostal". In case you don't know much of this faith, I Googled "pentecostal defined" with these results:

Of, relating to, or being any of various Christian religious congregations whose members seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit, in emulation of the Apostles at Pentecost.

Reference from Ask: When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4)
I have home movies from the mid-1950's of our new family coming out of the house in our best Sunday dress and walking to the car. Home movies had just hit and it was a very popular thing to take 8mm film which had no sound. I treasure them now and have had them all transferred to DVD (all 300+). Mom always dressed my sister and I in the most frilly of dresses, lots of ruffles, nice little hats and littl purses fashioned in the shape of a lace parasol.

When we moved to Texas, our church-going was sporadic. Dad stopped going after he got a job that was six days a week. Mom to this day defends his right to rest and sleep late on Sunday's after working hard and providing for his family all week. Dad is a Christian; he loves gospel music and he knows his Bible. He just doesn't attend church except on special occasions.

The spurts of time that my mother, sister and I would attend church were nerve-racking. Mom always made my sister and I go to "Sunday School", and we were always in different classes, thereby leaving the both of us to tread water by ourselves. Oh, the people were always so friendly. And I remember getting those little Lesson Books where we were supposed to read the scripture and answer questions, all of which would be discussed in Sunday School the following Sunday. I didn't "get" it. As a young girl, I didn't understand much of the verbiage of The Holy Bible. I just couldn't follow it, and I was quickly bored trying. To be honest, I was more concerned with the fact that, because of the sporadic attendance at church and Sunday school, I didn't know anyone and I always wanted to fit in, to know them like they knew each other, to have them talk to me and be able to talk back to them, basically, I longed for Sunday School Friends. The older I got, I remember lying in bed on Sunday mornings, waiting, listening for movement in the house, being quiet as a mouse: if I don't make any noise, then maybe mama will sleep too late and we won't have to go to Sunday School.  That's awful, I know.  But I was a child and I had a lot to learn.

I always felt pressured and suffocated by the people of the Pentecostal faith. They meant well, they wanted me to join them, be saved and share in the joy of knowing Christ.  Someone was always smiling with glee and pressuring me to become a part of their group, this church family where I knew no one. The constant pressuring only made me withdraw further.  I was not going forward; I was digressing in matters of faith.

I had twin aunts who lived in Decatur all of their lives. They carried their Bibles everywhere they went, tucked secured under their elbows with one hand holding it tightly. They were ready with their "amunition" everywhere they went. I don't know how many times I was asked, "have you been saved my the Living Blood", or "have you given your life to Christ?"

Well, that just puts me in a place where I feel VERY awkward. It's like, is there a "wrong" answer and if I give the "wrong" answer, what then? Have I failed; am I doomed to hades?

I am not mocking the pentecostal faith. I was a part of it, in a very basic way, for all of my years growing up in my parents' home. To be clear, I do not, as a rule, discuss matters of religion publicly. And so why am I doing it here on a blog? Well, because this is MY BLOG, and I'm telling MY STORY .... I respect all faiths, except those that believe that killing is going to send you to some glorious place with "72 women" as your reward. But back to where I was ....

My poor Aunt Pearline; the last time I saw her, I was in my 20's. I flew from California to Alabama to meet my folks and the rest of our family for a big family reunion at Joe Wheeler Park, which is on the Tennessee River. Dad towed his boat the whole way and had friend who towed theirs. To be honest, that was the best part for me, being on the water .....right, another story. Anyway, I wore my skimpy string bikini (yes, I looked great, but that was THEN and THIS is now). Aunt Pearline seemed to be following me around with her Bible tucked under her arm, and God love her, I didn't want to get into religion and listen to her go on and on. It made me very uncomfortable. At this point, I'm in my 20's, I'm living in sin with my first love, I'm California living life in the fast lane .... gee, wonder why I felt uncomfortable being faced with the Word of God? She asked my mother if she had doneanything to me, that I wouldn't talk to her. It made me feel awful later. She died and I never saw her again, so I'll never be able to make that up to her.

When I was grown and moved to California, I was living in a place where there was NO ONE in my family or history of friends who lived around me and I felt so free from judgment. I did what I wanted, when I wanted and led what I thought was a really fun and adventurous lifestyle. My boyfriend/roommate convinced me that I didn't have to be an atheist, but I could be an "agnostic", which he said meant that I knew there was "something" out there, but I wasn't sure about it. Okay, that sounded good, I'll go with that. Dear ones, I lived there for 9 years never saying a prayer, never gracing the doors of a church, never acknowledging Him and His love and grace. I look back now and I can't believe I did that. Trust that I have straightened that all out with Him and I have been forgiven; however, forgiving oneself is the hardest part. Not sure that I have, but where was I?

My sister convinced me that I needed to move to Alabama, "get married and have babies" just like her and I'd then be a happy camper. My company was moving to Greenwich, Connecticut and even though I received an offer to go, I couldn't go there with my daughter, who was 7, and start completely over knowing absolutely no one. So I moved to Alabama. My sister and her family were big in the Baptist faith and I went to church with them a few times, but again, I never felt that I had truly experienced the Holy Spirit; I left feeling empty. I was floundering on the issue of religion. I wanted to find Him; I had a lot that I needed to talk to Him about, but I didn't find it in the Assembly of God nor the Baptist Church.

I met and married within two months of my arrival. Boy, I must have been on a mission - what was I thinking? I got married, but it took a while to have that baby - about three years. I married a man of Italian descent and who was of the Catholic faith.

I stop now to leave you hanging. The final part of this story will come in the next few days.  I hope you come back and read it.  It's the very best part!

Blessings and PEACE ...

REV. 3:8



One Door Closes...Another Opens


Revelations 3:8

When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust Him fully and let go, only 1 of 2 things will happen - either He'll catch you when you fall, or He'll teach you how to fly! The power of one sentence! If you believe, send it. If you don't believe, delete it. God closes doors no man can open & God opens doors no man can close.. If you need God to open some doors for you...only ask. Have a blessed day and remember to be a blessing...

Deep Thoughts


First, WHERE IS EVERYBODY?

Okay, now that I got that out, I received the following from my dear Aunt Mil today.  She is a very spry 80 years old, and also the same aunt who lost her son, and my cousin Audie, last April.  She has so much strength.  She is one of the women whom I refer to as "Biblical".  She draws all her strength from scripture and her faith.  Just a little about her before I posted the humor she sent today.  Hope you get a little kick out of it.

I dialed a number and got the following recording:

'I am not available right now, but Thank you for caring enough to call. I am making some changes in my life. Please leave a message after the Beep. If I do not return your call, You are one of the changes'

~~~~~

Aspire to inspire before you expire. 

~~~~~

My wife and I had words, But I didn't get to use mine.

~~~~~

Frustration is trying to find your glasses without your glasses.

~~~~~

Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting..

~~~~~

The irony of life is that, by the time you're old enough to know your way around, you're not going anywhere.

~~~~~

God made man before woman so as to give him time to think of an answer for her first question.

~~~~~

I was always taught to respect my elders, but it keeps getting harder to find one.

~~~~~

Every morning is the dawn of a new error.

~~~~~

The quote of the month is by Jay Leno:

'With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, 'Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?'

HEARTLIGHT

Hello everybody! I apologize for not posting regularly .... life spins at its own speed and we cannot control it sometimes.  I've had a full plate, but more than that, I am working on a very special post, so I hope you will hang loose and look forward to something new and wonderful.  I love you all and wish you many blessings, a joyful heart, and a peace-filled life.




VERSE:

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

~Luke 9:23

THOUGHT:

Offering ourselves to God isn't easy because it means we must first die to our own selfish will. Like Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane, we face our own cross and must cry out, "Not my will, dear Father, but your will be done!"

PRAYER:

Dear Father, thank you for sending Jesus as my Savior. Lord Jesus, I want to follow you. I don't want it to be half-hearted or hypocritical. I want your life to be seen in me. So please, gently show me the areas where my heart needs to be softened and my character needs to be shaped by the Spirit so that I can more
perfectly reflect your glory, grace, and character to those around me. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

HEARTLIGHT

I personally attest to the truths of this verse and the following thought. With every passing day, as I seek to be closer to Him and to live according to His will, He becomes more clear, which results in more trust, faith, hope and LOVE by me.




VERSE:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

~ Romans 12:1-2

THOUGHT:
The motivation for our holiness is God's incredible mercy and grace. We offer ourselves to him because he has already shown us his love through the sacrifice of Jesus. As we offer ourselves to honor him, we are worshipping him. As we refuse to be molded into the lifestyle of the world, we offer him praise. As we consistently do these things with our lives, God's will becomes even clearer. With the Spirit's help, we are daily being transformed to be more like Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18) as we display more of the character of God (Gal. 5:22-23).

PRAYER:
Father, as the old hymn says, "Have thine own way Lord ... mold me and make me after thy will!" I gladly offer you my heart, my life, and my future to be used to your glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Monday, September 21, 2009

THIS DAY'S . . .



One midnight, deep in starlight still,
I dreamed that I received this bill:
“( . . . . . . . in account with Life);
Five thousand breathless dawns all new;
Five thousand flowers fresh in dew;
Five thousand sunsets wrapped in gold;
One million snow-flakes served ice-cold;
Five quiet friends; one baby’s love;
One white-mad sea with clouds above;
One hundred music-haunted dreams;
Of moon-drenched roads and hurrying streams;
Of prophesying winds, and trees;
Of silent stars and browsing bees;
One still night in a fragrant wood;
One heart that loved and understood.”
I wondered when I waked at day,
How - how in God’s name- I could pay!

~Cortland Sayres

~~*~~

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

~Isaiah 54:10, The King James Version

~~*~~

I have never heard anything about the resolutions of the apostles, but a great deal about their acts.

~Horace Mann

Saturday, September 19, 2009

40 DAYS FOR LIFE


The 40 Days for Life campaign kicks off next week. It is 40 days of prayer and fasting to end abortion. Below are the words of Pope John Paul II calling out to anyone who has experienced abortion in their life.

"With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can become the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life."

~ Pope John Paul II

DEEP THOUGHTS . . .

The coin of health has illness on the other side. The currency of joy has sorrow on the reverse. Turn the coin of serenity and there is the stamp of worry. You always have to take what is underneath and reckon with that too. Happiness rests on sorrow, life upon death, calm upon turmoil. Each day has its night.

~ Jacob Rudin

A MINOR FRIAR

I invite those of you who visit me to also visit A Minor Friar. He has a wonderful homily for this weekend entitled "Humility Against Fear" . I hope all will visit and read this message of truth.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Obama Plan for Catholics

As you recall, I joined with thousands of other Catholic in signing the petition against Notre Dame's invitation to Obama to speak at the commencement ceremonies last May. As Catholics, we must continue to be pro-active against his evil platform. MY Number One cause is the protection of the unborn. I received the following today from http://www.catholicvote.org/ and post it for your consideration. God bless the children, and God bless you for your prayers against all that threatens our Church and the Word.

~~*~~


Dear Friend,

Five months ago you spoke out against the decision by Notre Dame to honor President Obama.

Thank you for your courage and witness.

Our organization joined you in that protest, by proudly partnering with the Cardinal Newman Society in promoting NotreDameScandal.com. Over 350,000 people signed the petition urging the leadership of Notre Dame to reconsider bestowing such an honor on anyone who proudly defends the Culture of Death.

But much more is at stake.

Let’s face the facts. The elites in this country are aiming to minimize our influence. That’s why President Obama and others are working hard to re-define what it means to be a Catholic voter.

Don’t believe me? Consider this…

President Obama is filling his administration with prominent pro-abortion Catholics, including Kathleen Sebelius, Ken Salazar, and Leon Panetta. Catholics Tom Daschle and Bill Richardson were also nominated, but backed out. And don’t forget Vice President Joe Biden!

The Obama team is working closely with George Soros funded “Catholic” dissident groups such as Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. And President Obama recently named Alexia Kelley from Catholics in Alliance to a plum position in his faith-based office.

Obama has named anti-Catholic bigot Henry Knox to his faith-based advisory council. Knox has called the Pope a “discredited leader,” and claimed that members of the Knights of Columbus who helped pass the CA marriage amendment were “foot soldiers of a discredited army of oppression.”

When speaking earlier this year at Georgetown, Obama staffers demanded that the monogram ‘IHS’ on the pediment over the stage be covered up. IHS is a traditional abbreviation for the name of Christ.

Meanwhile, President Obama took the stage at Notre Dame last May, and elsewhere, to call for common ground, open minds, and respect for those who disagree on the fundamental issue of the right to life.

But the problem is that Obama's so-called ‘common ground’ is a one-way street!

Those who opposed his presence at Notre Dame, or his policies on funding abortion and embryo-killing research with tax dollars are depicted as wackos, or part of the problem.

Obama's strategy on common ground requires our silence. Sure, he's willing to "dialogue." As long as we keep quiet. So long as you keep quiet.

We intend to fight this double-speak with powerful messages of real hope. But our aim is to be a different kind of voice. The image of the cranky, hopeless Catholic is not us. Far from it. Our goal is to speak the truth – with joy. And in doing so, show the world the glory of the truth, and invite others to think.

We aren’t na├»ve. We know Barack Obama won the election in November. There are areas in we can work together, like promoting fatherhood. But that doesn’t mean this President can dictate what it means to be a faithful Catholic voter.

What happened at Notre Dame only confirmed the need for a strong, authentic Catholic voice engaged in the public debate. That’s what CatholicVote.org is all about. We will never back down. We will never surrender. We will always be a strong voice for Catholics.

The time has come to proudly defend our beliefs – on our terms! But we need to fight in a different way. That’s why we are using the latest online technologies available to deliver provocative, yet appealing programming that speaks directly to the hearts and minds of Americans.

Our election ad last year had 3 million views – one of the most watched online videos of the entire campaign! Our Obama “Super Bowl” ad was seen 2 million times. It’s clear that our videos are having a profound impact. Click the video above and see for yourself.

If you like what we are doing, we’ll keep you updated on our work a few times a month.

We think the “Catholic vote” is worth fighting for. Politicians know it. The media knows it. But most importantly, our faith requires it.

There is too much at stake to stay quiet.

Sincerely,
Brian Burch
President, CatholicVote.org

Thursday, September 17, 2009

THIS DAY'S . . .

I'm late posting today .... it's been very busy around here, but when I FINALLY got around to opening "This Day's ....", the "Thought" was exceptionally poingnant. Is it as simple as it sounds? Perhaps it is we who make it so difficult. Ahh, how life used to be less complicated. But now that it has spun forward, at times out of control, I feel today's Thought is one that I should save and reference often to remind me that we have more control, and that there is always a bright side to everything. Bless and PEACE, Abbey


The coin of health has illness on the other side. The currency of joy has sorrow on the reverse. Turn the coin of serenity and there is the stamp of worry. You always have to take what is underneath and reckon with that too. Happiness rests on sorrow, life upon death, calm upon turmoil. Each day has its night.

~Jacob Rudin
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

~Habakkuk 3:17-18, The New International Version

CHEESE!

THE PERFECT HUSBAND
Several men are in the locker room of a golf club.. A cell phone on a bench rings and a man engages the hands free speaker function and begins to talk. Everyone else in the room stops to listen. MAN: "Hello"

WOMAN: "Honey, it's me. Are you at the club?"

MAN: "Yes"

WOMAN: "I am at the mall now and found this beautiful leather coat. It's
only $1,000. Is it OK if I buy it?"

MAN: "Sure, go ahead if you like it that much."

WOMAN: "I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the new 2009 models. I saw one I really liked."

MAN: "How much?"

WOMAN: "$90,000"

MAN: "OK, but for that price I want it with all the options."

WOMAN: "Great! Oh, and one more thing...the house I wanted last year is back on the market. They're asking $950,000"

MAN: "Well, then go ahead and give them an offer of $900,000. They will probably take it. If not, we can go the extra 50 thousand if it's really a pretty good price."

WOMAN: "OK. I'll see you later! I love you so much!"

MAN: "Bye! I love you, too."

The man hangs up. The other men in the locker room are staring at him in astonishment, mouths agape. He turns and asks:

"Anyone know who this phone belongs to?"

Proper Flag Burning Ceremony

In response to the comment by "Anonymous" to my post "You Might Be A Redneck If" back in November, I don't believe he got the joke. In any case, Anonymous is correct in that the only way to dispose of an old and tattered American flag is by burning it in a proper flag burning ceremony. I post below the steps of one proper ceremony for this.

Flag Burning Service And Ceremony
The National Flag Foundation provides the following guide for conducting a patriotic flag burning ceremony. (Source: Air Force Wives)

Ceremony of Final Tribute:

Only one flag should be used in the ceremony, which is representative of all the flags to be burned in the service. The remainder of the flags collected should be incinerated. A corporate, government, or military incinerator or furnace can usually be found for this purpose.

The ceremony should be conducted out-of-doors, preferably in conjunction with a campfire program, and it should be very special.

The ceremony involves two color guards, one for the flag currently in use and a special color guard for the flag to be retired from service. Of course, this may be adapted if conditions necessitate.

Just before sunset the flag which has been flying all day is retired in the normal ceremonial procedure for that location or group.

The color guard responsible for the flag receiving the final tribute moves to front and center. The leader should present this color guard with the flag which has been selected for its final tribute and subsequent destruction. The leader should instruct the color guard to "hoist the colors."

Leader comments: (when the flag has been secured at the top of the pole)

"This flag has served its nation well and long. It has worn to a condition in which it should no longer be used to represent the nation."

"This flag represents all of the flags collected and being retired from service today. The honor we show here this evening for this one flag, we are showing for all of the flags, even those not physically here."

The leader should:

Call the group to attention;

Order a salute;

Lead the entire group in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag; and

Order the flag retired by the color guard.

Slowly and ceremoniously lower and then respectfully fold the flag in the customary triangle. Deliver the flag to the leader and then dismiss the group.

This concludes the Ceremony of Final Tribute "Ceremonial Burning".

Fire Preparation:

It is important that the fire be sizable -- preferably having burnt down to a bed of red hot coals to avoid bits of the flag being carried off by a roaring fire -- yet be of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag.

Flag Preparation:

The color guard assigned to the flag opens up it tri-corner fold and then refolds the flag in a coffin-shaped rectangle.

When all is ready:

Assemble around the fire. The leader calls the group to attention. The color guard comes forward and places the flag on the fire. All briskly salute. After the salute, but while still at attention, the leader should conduct a respectful memorial service as the flag burns. National Flag Foundation recommends singing "God Bless America" followed by an inspiring message of the flag's meaning followed by he "Pledge of Allegiance" and then silence.

When the flag is basically consumed, those assembled, with the exception of the leader and the color guard, should be dismissed single file and depart in silence.
The leader and the color guard remain until the flag is completely consumed.

The fire should then be safely extinguished and the ashes buried.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Uh Oh! Little Johnny Again!


Johnny's Mother looked out the window and noticed him "playing church" with their cat. He had the cat sitting quietly and he was preaching to it. She smiled and went about her work.

A while later she heard loud meowing and hissing and ran back to the open window to see Johnny baptizing the cat in a tub of water. She called out, "Johnny, stop that! The cat is afraid of water!"

Johnny looked up at her and said, "He should have thought about that before he joined my church."

HEARTLIGHT

It is a really busy Monday morning. I just read today's Heartlight aloud to myself and my daughter. I had goose bumps all the way down to my toes as I read this. Mondays always seem like a new beginning - for diets, promises to oneself, etc., and this was the most wonderful verse and thought to begin anew. God bless you all ..... Abbey



VERSE: For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

~Romans 6:14

THOUGHT:
As we called on Jesus' name in baptism and trusted him to be our Savior, we died to sin. In this death, we die to dying and pass from death to life because of our faith in Jesus and in God's power (John 5:24; Col. 2:12). Our life is joined to Jesus, and his glorious future becomes our own (Col. 3:1-4). We are not under law, but grace. Let's respond to the gift of grace with passion and with zeal to be holy. Let's open ourselves to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, who changes us to be like Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18). We are grace-children. We are not in bondage to sin, but liberated by grace to be all that God has made us to be -- his craftmanship (Eph. 2:1-10). Sin will not be our master!

PRAYER: Purify my heart, dear LORD and Father, and make it new and alive to your grace and dead to the sin that once entangled me. In Jesus 'name. Amen.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

THIS WEEK'S SERMON

Ephesians: Lessons In Grace
Lesson 16: Overcome Your Enemies With Grace


by: Eric Elder
www.theranch.org
One of the best ways to overcome your enemies is to make them your friends.

I made a friend like this back in college. When we were taking an English Literature class together, it seemed like we were always at odds. I was always defending King Arthur as the hero of the books, and she was always defending Queen Guinevere. In class, it seemed like we’d never agree on anything.

But one day we both showed up for tryouts at a college musical. We realized we had more in common than we thought, and both of us softened up in our approach. That softening had such an effect on our friendship, that a few years after college was over, she even agreed to sing at my wedding.

There are times when God calls you to overcome your enemies by destroying them so completely that they no longer have an effect on your life. But there are other times when God calls you to overcome your enemies by winning them over with your love, realizing that the battle may not be against them, but against spiritual forces that may be turning them against you.

The Apostle Paul talks about these battles in his letter to the Ephesians, and the kinds of weapons that God gave them to fight these battles. You might call these “weapons of grace,” weapons that can turn your enemies into your friends!

Listen to these words as Paul describes this spiritual “armor of God.”

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18).

The next time someone comes against you, speaks against you, or tries to overpower you, go ahead and put on your battle gear. But instead of gearing up with all your usual defenses, try some of God’s. To paraphrase the Apostle Paul:

Be truthful. Be righteous. Be eager to share the gospel of peace. Keep up your faith. Keep in mind that Jesus has already saved you. Speak the truth in love. And keep on praying, continually.

These are God’s weapons of grace, weapons that you can use to defend yourselves, and disarm your opponents, oftentimes with a greater impact than physical weapons could have.

It was through Jesus’ love and grace that He turned you from being His enemy to being His friend (see Romans 5:10 and John 15:15). So it shouldn’t be surprising that God wants you to use these same weapons to overcome your enemies, making them your friends as well. It may not happen overnight, but over time you may just find their hearts softening towards you, as the real enemy, the power of darkness, has to flee when the light turns on.

Remember that your battle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces in the heavenly realm. In a spiritual battle, you need spiritual armor, which is much softer and more gracious than physical armor, but in the end, is much stronger and more powerful.

Put on your spiritual armor today. Clothe yourself with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, God’s Word and prayer. Let God’s love flow through you to those around you and watch what happens.

Let’s pray...

Father, thank You for reminding me that the battles I face aren’t always against an enemy I can see, but against spiritual forces in the heavenly realm. Help me to put on my spiritual armor of love and grace today so that I can overcome those who are against me--and even make them my friends. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God Has An Answer for Everything


HANDY LITTLE CHART - GOD HAS A POSITIVE ANSWER:

YOU SAY / GOD SAYS BIBLE VERSES

You say: 'It's impossible' God says: All things are possible (Luke 18:27)

You say: 'I'm too tired' God says: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)

You say: 'Nobody really loves me' God says: I love you (John 3:1 6 & John 3:34 )

You say: 'I can't go on' God says: My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

You say: 'I can't figure things out' God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5- 6)

You say: 'I can't do it' God says: You can do all things ( Phil ippians 4:13)

You say: 'I'm not able' God says: I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)

You say: 'It's not worth it' God says: It will be worth it (Roman 8:28 )

You say: 'I can't forgive my self' God says: I Forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

You say: 'I can't manage' God says: I will supply all your needs ( Phil ippians 4:19)

You say: 'I'm afraid' God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)

You say: 'I'm always worried and frustrated' God says: Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7)

You say: 'I'm not smart enough' God says: I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)

You say: 'I feel all alone' God says: I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

POSITIVE THOUGHT

Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things.

HEARTLIGHT

VERSE:

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world…

~Titus 2:11-12

THOUGHT:

Grace is not about excuses for our sins, but about a deep-seated thanksgiving for pardon and a life-changing commitment to say "No!" to all that is evil, corrupt, and wicked no matter how alluring or how pervasive they may be in our culture.

PRAYER:

LORD, God of Jesus, my Abba Father, I praise you for your costly grace and love demonstrated to me in Jesus. Now galvanize my commitment to say "No!" to all those sins that required my Savior's pain and humiliation. Through your Spirit, form in me a righteous lifestyle that is self-controlled and is reflective of your righteousness. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

SIGNS FOR LIBERALS



Braggin Rights


My youngest grand, Riley, was Team Captain for last Tuesday's football game. Here he is (above - on the left and below, on the right) as they ready themselves to run to center field for the coin toss. Riley plays for the "85lb. and under" team ... he is 58 pounds ... imagine how much that little tike on the right weighs! LOL! You gotta love it .... they won, by the way.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A MESSAGE FROM GOD


To: YOU
Date: TODAY
From: GOD
Subject: YOURSELF
Reference: LIFE

Now, you have a nice day.

God

Thursday, September 10, 2009

THREE TREES

Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when The first tree said, 'Someday I hope to be a great treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver And precious gems. I could be decorated with an intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.'

Then the second tree said, 'Someday I will be a Mighty ship. I will take Kings and Queens across the Waters and sail to the corners of the world. People will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.'

Finally the third tree said, 'I want to grow to be The tallest and straightest Tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill, look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.'

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, 'This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter, and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the second tree the woodsman said, 'This looks like a strong tree. I will be able to sell it to the shipyard.' The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the men said,'I don't need anything special from my tree, I'll take this one,' and he cut it down.

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.

The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying Kings had come to an end.

The third tree was cut into large pieces, and left alone in the dark.

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and he stood and said 'Peace' and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.

The moral of this story is that when things don't seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, God will give you great gifts.

Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined.

We don't always know what God's plans are for us.. We just know that His Ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best..

A Few Thoughts . . .

My daughter, Christie, had a hair appointment yesterday with my master stylist and colorist, Jan. Christie used to go to her, but it became too expensive when there were numerous other family needs, so she stopped. She finally decided that NOW she can afford to go and treat herself to a truly great haircut and coloring. Goodness gracious, I have the most exasperating way of getting to my point ... appreciate your patience!

I called her early yesterday from my bed where I still laid with a backache. "Do I really have to go with you today?" "Well, .... I really wanted you to .... but .... hm ...." "Okay, I'll pick you up at 9."

When she got into the car, she touched my hand and said, "Mom, there were so many years that we weren't that close, and now that we are, I just want to spend as much time with you as I can and make up for lost time."

That made me jointly, happy and sad. Yes, there were those years when my mind wasn't on the task of raising my children as much as it should have been, and I can't take it back or change it. Somehow, however, both of my children were not troubled youths and rose to be good and decent human beings. I guess I must have done SOMETHIHNG right. Then I was happy that I am SO BLESSED!!! I don't deserve it, but I am humbled by the fact that the Lord has forgiven my faults and human failings and brought me to this beautiful life that I am living.

My daughter is the most precious person, and I love her more than words can express. My son is now a man, a man expecting his first child, not my baby boy anymore. He, too, is a very special and precious person. I love him more than words can express.

In our conversation, I imparted these thoughts to Christie: My mother is the most Biblical woman I've ever known in my life. She has lived her life with dignity and grace, even in the face of adversity, she is stoic, as strong as a rock; she is dignified in that her presence is consistent, and her grace is that she keeps private all that should be private, she holds her hurts and bears them silently. I want to be like my mother, my mother is a perfect role model.

I spoke to my mother this morning and I told her that she is my role model, that she has lived with such grace and dignity even in the face of adversity, and that I loved her so, so much. I could hear her choking up on the on the other end as she said, "that is so sweet, thank you!"

It's the little things sometimes that really let a person know that they are special to someone, that their life has meaning, that they are thought of in such a very special way. My daughter touched me with a small expression of love, and I immediately knew that our day together would be wonderful, and it was! I made a small expression of sincere gratitude of sorts to my own mother and it touched her deeply.

Funny how life seems to go in a circle and you keep returning to a place where you used to be, but yet there are always new people and new circumstances where one can apply their special God given talent. By traveling in this circle that never ends, God gives us chances, over and over, to improve our lives, to improve on our faith in Him, to make things right, and to clean up and learn from our mistakes.

Isn't this life a beautiful thing? Keep going until you get it right. Live with Hope, Faith, Dignity and Grace.

LOVE, PEACE and BLESSINGS,
Abbey