Friday, January 27, 2017

Counting My Blessings

I enjoy reading Christian genres, watching YouTube uploads by the common man, and hearing other people’s stories. It helps me to better enjoy the world and the wide variety of inhabitants.

Just this evening, I went on one of my email accounts and found a very fascinating story. It was the story of a Middle Eastern immigrant who had heard and accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, in his particular country, Christianity is not accepted or even tolerated.

He went on to say that somehow, the government learned of his conversion to Christianity, so they arrested him. They insisted that he recant and when he didn’t, he was tortured for several weeks, in an effort to make him change his mind; however, he never did. He escaped from the prison and left his country.

He is now working as a missionary in another country where Christianity is not only tolerated, but encouraged. The country realizes that true Christians tend to make better citizens.

As I mulled over his unfortunate set of circumstances, I began to think about all of the things that too often, I’ve taken for granted living in a country, which has religious freedoms. Oh how blessed I truly am!

Sure, I don’t live in a big fancy house, but I do live in a house that is mortgage free and comfortable.
I don’t drive the latest and greatest automobile on the road, but thank God he has given me, not one, but a choice of three different vehicles to ride in or to drive, all of which is without monthly payments.

My refrigerator is not stocked with prime rib, T-bone steaks or caviar, but it is filled with wholesome, edible foods that don’t clog up my arteries or raise my blood sugar.

Although, I don’t sleep in a huge canopied bed, with silk sheets and heating timers, I do have a very comfortable king sized bed, in which to rest my aching body.

I could go on about the lack of a huge bank account; the lack of my own personal airplane or helicopter; or even my failure to own beachfront property. But I’ll not complain regarding the lack of those things, for I have no need of them.

When I continue to look around at all of my many blessings, I begin with thanking God for a heart to love Him. I thank Him for mobility of limbs, for there are so many, much younger than me who don’t have that. I’m grateful for a good clear mind and a desire to help and bless others.

Now, when I take my eyes off of me, I thank God for my awesome husband; one of the kindest, most gentle souls you could ever meet. I’m grateful for each of my children, both biological and step, which includes all of the grands, as well.

I’m grateful for good neighbors; gracious church members; awesome social media friends and business acquaintances; wonderful readers of my blog and countless other things. Yes, I am truly thankful.

I have learned that it is so easy to take things for granted; to complain and belly ache about any and everything and to gripe about nothing. But among the greatest joys that one can experience is the joy of gratitude. It gets the serotonin flowing and you just feel good all over.

Therefore, today, I am going to challenge you to go one full day, without complaining about anything, and being grateful for everything. Go on, count your blessings. I just did and it was awesome!

More: Lessons About God

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Earth is Round

The earlier in life each of us learns, psychologically, that the earth is round; the easier life will be for everyone. The reason I say that is, because “What goes around comes back around.” Whatever you do, will be done unto you.

Too often children are made to think that the world revolves around them; that they are the center of the universe; that if they are not happy, it is someone else’s fault – never their own. This is one of the worst things that parents can do with regard to their children. They, too often, will learn, the hard way that the world will not accept this attitude from them.

I have observed, in my many years of living that quite often, when children come from a “well to do” family, meaning a family where a child has never “wanted” for anything that a child tends to become selfish, self-centered and egocentric, far faster than poorer children. Most often, the parents will go to great lengths to cause that child to believe that he/she is “better” than others and that they only should be #1 in life; that losing at anything is beneath them and even if they must cheat or lie to be first, then cheat or lie.

Just the other day, I witnessed an example of someone who falls in the category of a person, who has been reared as someone around whom the world has revolved, for when the world began to respond to him as “not being #1, he began, in every venue, to whine and complain ‘foul’. I’m speaking of none other than our newly elected president of the U.S.A.

I found it interesting to listen to the president’s press secretary complain about how the press was not reporting only the positive things about the new president and how it was discouraging to the president and his staff to hear reporters report truth, contrary to their truth; to compare him to our former president and speak of the challenges that the new president has faced.

Additionally, when called on the carpet for reporting error regarding the inauguration attendance and/or media coverage, and how it exceeded former President Obama’s and all other presidents, they offered “alternative information”, to the press to make it appear true. What kind of thinking is that?

It took a great deal out of me to listen to the whining and complaining, by these people. I thought to myself, “This new president was one of the most disrespectful citizens in America, to our former President Obama. He rose to the height of his political acceptance by disclaiming Barack Obama’s citizenship, and yet, he wishes to complain about the fact that someone does not see him as a ‘savior to America’, or that his inauguration wasn’t a record breaker!” I found it pitifully laughable.

He spent countless hours berating the first and only African American president, when he could have helped so many young Black children feel good about themselves by pointing out how Obama had beaten the odds; but no, he would rather point fingers. Well, it seems that three of those fingers are pointing right at him, and he can’t handle the pressure. He has to have Twitter rages. How infantile!

The press secretary, Spicer also talked about how disheartening it was to hear every day that you can’t do this, or you’ll never accomplish that; and I thought about how African Americans hear that verbiage from society every day of their lives, in one way or another and yet society wonders why there is so much depression, hopelessness and violence in their neighborhoods, and why don’t they accomplish more with their lives?

 I have learned that we need to be very careful how we treat others and how we speak of them. With the same judgment that we judge, said Jesus, we will be judged.

My prayers are for and with our new president. I truly wish him well; however, he has much to learn, psychologically, about the shape of the earth. It appears that he missed that one vital human lesson. I pray that he learns it soon, for America’s sake.

More: Lessons About God

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Language of Love

When it comes to interacting with children, I am quite a disciplinarian. Many children, who do not wish to be obedient, tend to avoid close relationships with me; I’m okay with that, because I really don’t have great patience for uncooperative, undisciplined children.

My lack of interaction with the children of my local church has been observed by many; however, no one has ever confronted me about it. The children speak kindly to me, as we pass, and on rare occasions, we will chat briefly and continue on, in our separate directions.

That having been said, several of the women my age, in the congregation where I attend, have been taken aback at the warm and adoring relationship that has developed between me and two little girls (ages 4 and 7), of a different ethnicity. Since they began attending our congregation, they have clung to my husband and me like glue.

Just this past weekend, on three different occasions, women in my age group, commented to me about my relationship to the girls, what might be our possible kinship and even their envy concerning the attention the youngest one seems to bestow upon me, quite unashamedly.

Over the holidays, I had invited them, along with their parent and grandparent to our home for a family night gathering, which originally was only supposed to be for our daughters, their spouses and our grandchildren. Theirs was the only attendance that was not tied by blood kinship on either side of the family. We had a very good time. At the end of the evening, I gave both of the girls’ aprons and instructions for those aprons. They were to bring them back to my house, at a set time and just the three of us would bake cookies together.

Finally, cookie day arrived – it was today. Their father brought them down, right on time. Then he began to chat with me (which normally would be okay), but after a while, when the girls began to get that bored look, I kindly explained to him that he and my husband would have to hang out together today, this was the girls’ time and we had work to do. He understood and immediately, he and my husband left the premises.

The plan was that the girls and I would make the cookies, then we would watch video clips as they baked and return home with them for supper. Of course, we would carry the cookies for dessert.

Their grandmother, who speaks very little English, had made a delicious dinner for us. So we ate and drank together; the girls shared with me their personal picture albums that centered on their birth experiences, their toddler years and the time they had spent with their now deceased mother. We had a lovely evening together.

As I sit here reminiscing about the beauty of the day, I am reminded of how awe-filled the language of love truly is. Despite the age differences; despite the ethnic differences; despite the language differences, we all communicated beautifully and thoughtfully together.  There were no un-pleasantries; no misunderstandings; no ill-will of any kind. In a world, where racial differences are still so prominent, we were able to completely lose sight of that difference and all others of any kind.  Again, I am reminded that we could do it because we all spoke the same spiritual language – the language of love.