Monday, February 23, 2009

Life - Variety

Life sure takes some interesting twists and turns. I enjoy variety, and don’t care much for monotony. Over the last week, we have had times full of mixed emotions - happy, sad, hurtful, joyful.

My 6 year old and my 3 old both were sick with a nasty cold. I got sick as well. The 3 year old refuses to take his medication, hence, to date he is still having a cold and a low grade fever. My 6 year old, on the other hand, does not like to be sick. He demands his medication! He is the better off for so doing.

Here’s the lesson I get from this situation with my two children. When we are feeling low and life gets the better of us, we ought to make use of the resources that God provides to help us feel better. Take our medication, use natural remedies, call on friend/confidante, talk about the problem, seek solutions, be hopeful, trusting, and, don’t be surprised when things get better. Things will get better! We need to always comfort ourselves by being convinced that “weeping endures for a moment, but joy cometh in the morning”. [We know the lesson we can learn from the attitude of my 3 year old; and as my intent is to encourage, I will not detail what will happen if we choose to behave like my sweet angel, and refuse help!. Did I tell you he has been sick for over a week now!! He spread it all around the house and now Daddy is down with the cold!!] Let us focus on spreading joy, being hopeful, live in peace, and show much love!!

On Saturday, I had three functions that I attended. My day started at 6 a.m. and ended at midnight. First, we went to Hilltop Church of Christ in Winter Haven to support our Minister’s wife who was the keynote speaker at their Ladies Day Program. Who would come to sit in front of me in the auditorium, but an old friend? I didn’t even recognize her at first, and her way of greeting me, was a hard slap on the leg! She had matured and it wasn’t long before I remembered her. That was such a blessing! Seeing her after all these years, reminded me that you never know when God have a wonderful surprise for you. It could be an unexpected cash windfall (or maybe a $20 in your pocket), a visit from an old friend, or meeting up with an old friend like I did! That was truly a blessing, and I was extremely grateful, and full of joy!

After my Minister’s wife made a powerful, encouraging presentation on the story of Esther in keeping with the theme, “A Moment in Time”, we left to attend a funeral in a neighboring city. The person being buried was the sister of our Minister’s Mother, Founder and Coordinator of our Tuesday Bible Class, and an awesome woman of the Word. We had to support her. We had to let her see that we care. We had to be there for her. In good times and in bad times, we need each other. We will cross over the hurdles faster and with more confidence when we know that someone is beside us. We can always be hopeful when we believe that God is with us and will “never leave us, nor forsake us”. What a comfort to know that “God is just a prayer away”.

My day is not over yet. Later in the evening my husband and I went to a 50th birthday celebration. What a party!!! A good friend of ours full of life and vigor, you would not guess she turned 50 on Sunday!. She is from a large family of 14 and I believe they all were present at the party. Can you imagine 14 (16 with parents) children in one house (and it is not a mansion with several wings)? I can't imagine!! Listening to the tributes paid to our friend, we could tell that, as siblings, they enjoyed each other’s company (and still do). In the Lord, we have an even larger family, and we need to enjoy each other’s company more. The whole party atmosphere was one of fun, laughter, and having a good time, celebrating and giving thanks for a life that is committed to serving God with joy, gladness, thankfulness, and praise! It was good for me to be there. I enjoyed myself and was happy to be able to share with someone who has lived for half a century on this earth. We never know how long we have on this earth, and it is entirely up to us to live, to love, to laugh, to hope, to endure! We really do need to celebrate with each other more!

From now on, let us try to make every moment in time a happy, hopeful one!!


[My boys had a party in our absence as they had other 4 other kids who came over – yes, my home was the day care center for several of us who went to the party!]

Monday, February 16, 2009

Thankful Heart

I am a firm believer that "encouragement sweetens labor". I do try to live a thankful life and to teach that to my children. Even when we are in the midst of despair, there is something we can be thankful that we possess. Hope springs from a thankful heart. No matter the circumstances, a thankful heart will look for that silver lining and be even more thankful!

The Apostle Paul in his letters never grew tire of giving thanks for the Christians he was writing to encourage.

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now"
Philippians 1:3-5.

"We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel."
Colossians 1:3-6

"We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father."
1 Thessalonians 1: 2-3

"We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure."
2 Thessalonians 1:3-4
Those are but a few of the thankful verses in the scriptures. Are we living thankful lives? Do we express thanks for others and for what we have? Let us try to be a more thankful people, no matter our circumstances in life.
God bless

Friday, February 6, 2009

Warmth From My Heart

Which of the four seasons are you in love with? Mine would be summer. (One reason is that I don’t have to wear a lot of clothes!) Surveys have shown that most people prefer either spring or summer over winter and autumn. This winter has been rough for many of us, especially those living up North. I live in the South, which is usually unbearably hot - even in the wintertime. Not so this winter! We have had to resort to using heat in our homes and vehicles; and whenever I think to complain about how cold it is here in Orlando, I am nudged by “conscience” and reminded that I really have nothing to complain about. I am not driving on icy roads; I am not without electric and heat because a snowstorm swept through my neighborhood. I am not freezing. I am not apprehensive about crashing or falling on the ice. Putting it all in perspective, dear friends, forty-five degrees is nothing for me to complain about!

So to my friends up north, I want to offer you some warmth from my heart (and I invite others to do the same). You are uncomfortable, you are cold, you are frustrated, you are anxious about driving in icy conditions, you are really not very happy, and you wish you were in Orlando! I hasten to remind you of something you already know - “This too shall pass”. You know it will warm up soon. The ice will melt, the electric will be on soon, and the best part is that when the warmth comes upon, we would have forgotten how cold it was. Let’s try to start now. Our mind is so powerful - you can use it right now to make yourself feel warm. Try it!! Concentrate on what needs to be done, dress properly, and try very hard to ignore the cold! I did say to try VERY HARD! It is not going to be easy, but with concerted effort, you will succeed. Don’t for one moment think that God is not there with you. He is right there with you, hugging you, keeping you warm. Warm your spirits, warm your hearts, love more, hug more, do good, and I guarantee you that your warmth will spill over and fill the whole room. Hope springs eternal – it will keep on overflowing if we consistently feed it with positive thoughts and actions.

By the way, Wednesday night we experienced temperatures of about twenty-nine degrees, and today we were up to sixty-two degrees, tomorrow they promise us seventy to seventy-two, and next week we should feel the heat at eighty degrees. It’s already getting warmer by the minute. Keep hope alive!!


Thanks for the kind responses by email. I'm touched that so many of you visited the site. Elton and Percival, I appreciate you for commenting! I'm encouraged!! I praise God for you always!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

After The Sabbathical

It is almost a year since I started this blog, and I must apologize for dropping off the blog scene. A number of unforeseen, painful events happened shortly thereafter, and I was unable to keep up a good thing. (Thanks Steven for taking the time to comment on my first post. I was looking forward to seeing you in Orlando in July.)

Many of us have been raised by family members other than our birth parents. I was raised by my paternal Grandmother, and Aunt. I spent holidays with my parents, so my Aunt was the Mother I knew. She is a wonderful, strong, caring, disciplined woman. All that I am today is due largely in part to her training and direction. Going to church (The Church of England) was a priority for her and we were compelled to go, even if she did not! I am so indebted to her for her love and guidance.

In February of 2008, returning home from Bible class, I got a call to say my Aunt/Mom had a major stroke on the 20th. I did not lose hope! I expressed all the human emotions, tears, agony, torment, then there were the endless phone calls back and forth to determine her condition. I could only pray, and called on all the God-fearing family I have in the church to pray with me. Prayers were outpouring! And the blessings came pouring down. I traveled to Jamaica to see her and upon my arrival was elated to see her walking and talking. She recovered quickly and at her follow-up visit, the doctor, gapingly said, "I can't belive that this is you who had a stroke 6 weeks ago walking into my office". My response, "God be praised! She had a lot of people praying for her".

In April of 2008, an early morning call awoken us. My husband's father had kidney failure and other complications from diabetes, and is hospitalized. He is not expected to live! Again, all the human emotions were expressed. That was a Sunday morning. In comforting my husband, I had no other recourse but to tell him bluntly, "The doctors are not God! We have seen what God can do, let's keep on praying." Again, we did not lose hope. We mobilized the praying crew. During the response segment at worship, our minister called on the elders, fellow deacons, and the entire congregation to join hands and pray. We claimed the victory on Dad's behalf. My husband traveled home, and Dad got out of the hospital, praising God, and making plans for his next trip overseas.

In October of 2008, my husband's father died. It was difficult. It was sad. It was painful. But we rejoiced. We rejoiced because we knew he died in the Lord. We rejoiced because we were thankful that God prepared us from April. We took great comfort in the knowledge that God gave us a good many months before the final blow of death. We did not have a funeral service, we had a service of thanksgiving for the life of Leonard Williams. We did not lose hope!!

One week before Christmas 2008, my aunt (airline ticket in hand with a Christmas eve travel date to spend some time with us) had a second stroke. I was in the hairdresser's chair when I received the news. I was distraught, but I did what we have grown accustomed to doing - calling on the prayer crew. I did not lose hope. I could not lose hope. I have witnessed first hand what God is able to do if only we trust him and believe in his faithfulness. I believe in the power of prayer, and I am confident that God is able. My aunt is still unable to walk or speak today, her progress is slow, but I am still hoping that God will see her through. Financially, I am not yet able to travel to visit with her, but I am not letting go of my hope and trust in God.

Friends, when all else fails - and we see from our current economic state, that so much CAN fail and HAVE failed - GOD WILL NEVER FAIL. Believe the words of Psalm 37:23-25 ... "If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand." Visualize God's hand holding you up! Isn't that a comforting feeling? Wow!! Keep hope alive in a God who is faithful in all that He promised! Be encouraged!