Friday, November 9, 2012

GRATITUDE

November 8,'12

This being one of the coldest mornings so far this year, I turned on the gas logs, poured my coffee and while waiting for my waffles to heat in the toaster oven, turned on the tv to get the weather forecast.  A typical start to the day - but not to those in the northeast who, while trying to recover from the worst hurricane ever in that area, were hit again with a n'oreaster bringing more wind, rain and snow. Those who had power restored, which were very few so far, lost it again after just enough time to heat the cold walls and beds, which I'm sure was appreciated if only briefly.

The scene was one of destruction, despair and the death toll is still uncertain.  A reporter was interviewing a woman who had been displaced by the storm. 'This was my home,' she said tearfully.  'I've lived here 30 years and I have nothing left. I have nowhere to go and no idea what I'm going to do.'  The clothes she was wearing were given to her at one of the donation centers.  I cried with her,  trying to imagine what I would do in her place - how does one start over?  Where does one begin? 

The importance of my weather forecast immediately went way down the list of priorities.  Rising on my list at the moment was how can I help?  If I could share my hot coffee, warm waffles, clean water and heat, of course I would in a heartbeat. This obviously is not physically possible, but I can give, if only in a small way - perhaps enough to supply water, blankets and/or food for a few - possibly a bag of dog or cat food for those whose animals are suffering and hungry. And I can pray.........

I looked at Maggie lying close to my feet contentedly chewing on her morning treat.  I began to notice, in a deeper and more appreciative way, my surroundings - one by one things took on new meaning. The glow of the gas logs - the aroma from the kitchen  - a sense of comfort and well-being came over me as would a warm blanket. Things normally taken for granted - the gas and electric coming on with the flick of a switch, the coffee pot beginning to brew when turned on, hot water streaming from the shower head - things that provide one's needs are not usually something we think about in the course of everyday life - unless they aren't there when we need them. 

The Lord has blessed my family and me abundantly through the years - sometimes with far more than we needed or deserved - but never was there not enough.  As I pray, not only for those who are victims of the storms, but all who are suffering from job loss, broken homes and all the ills of our society today, I pray also for those of us who have been blessed with enough and spared from the storms - that we may greet each day with an attitude of gratitude and always be mindful of the needs of others - 'there, but for the Grace of God, go I...'
                                               
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests.....but the interest of others." Philippians 2:3~4
                                         **************

Bobbie 



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

DIVINE APPOINTMENTS

We have all had divine appointments at some time in our lives - but do we always recognize them?  Those meetings, detours and/or extraordinary happenings - that small voice that says ' turn this way' - or 'open that door and see what lies beyond.'
I have not always paid attention to 'my inner voice' - too rushed, too tired or too whatever. I do not believe in 'chance' or 'coincidence' therefore, I must believe everything is ordered by divine power for reasons beyond my comprehension - therefore, I have come to believe that what I thought was an inner voice is the nudging and instruction of God.  Now that I know this, things and happenings make more sense.  
For example, my most recent experience was Sunday, July 8 - in addition to the Lord practically pushing me out the door that morning - I was running late and almost had decided not to go - the message was one that I really needed to hear - it was on 'What are you Focusing On?'  - after that came a totally unexpected meeting - the divine appointment that was to introduce me to Wilson Mugambi M'Arimi from Kenya. 
I cannot tell in simple words what this meeting has meant to me. He and his family live in Ohio not far from Vicki's and he is completing his doctorate at the seminary. He speaks with such wisdom - encourages - asks the meaning of all sorts of things - my name, Jesus' name - scriptures he's given me to read - this all questions my knowledge, I realize I don't know as much as I thought I did.  As I said, words cannot convey what all of this has meant. I hope to visit him and his family next month while in Ohio. Just think - I could have missed all this had it been solely up to me. I don't believe you've heard the last of Wilson M'Arimi. 
                                   >>>>>>  <<<<<<<

This meeting with a stranger from half way round the world has inspired me to look with a closer eye, to think what I'm about to say, to pay more attention to the scriptures and apply them to my life - and to listen to that small voice that will guide us from one step to another - always close, always with our best interest at heart.  I am reminded of a scripture written on an index card that's been in my Bible for years - I don't recall why I wrote it down - what the significance was at that time - maybe it was just that it was to be remembered today  and passed along to you:

" Pay attention to what I say, Listen closely to my words.  Do not let them out of your sight. Keep them within your heart for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."  Proverbs 4:20-23

One of the scriptures I was given this morning is
Isaiah 43:18-19.  "See I am doing a new thing!" God says. Words of encouragement and hope in the days to come.

Be Blest and Be Encouraged -

Bobbie


Friday, March 30, 2012

WELCOME SPRING!

Greetings....

Spring is upon us once again - the only difference, it started about 3 weeks early!  I, for one, am glad in a way - the pesky yellow pine pollen is gone that much sooner.  Amazing, but due to the mild winter, I have trailing verbena that survived and is  covered with deep purple blooms. For some reason, I have developed a love of lavender and purple. Maybe something to do with the book, 'When I am Old I will Wear Purple.'  Have been meaning to read that, but haven't as yet gotten around to it.

Dates have a real significance for me; maybe I should clarify - I'm talking the calendar kind, not the other - of which it's been a long, long time for me:))  Which, by the way, is okay - I have left that up to God and am happy with whatever He decides.  But that's another story for another time. As I was saying, about dates ... we all know how important birthdays are, as well as anniversaries of one sort or another.  A memorable date is coming up for me tomorrow - March 31.  On this date, 21 years ago, it was not a happy occasion, not an event marked by a photo album on my shelf of special memories. Instead, it was a life-changing experience I call ''the crossroads" - the time when my life as I knew it, changed forever.  
   
We rarely know the meaning, blessing or consequence of an event until much later - until we've gained perspective through the years and begin to understand that the pain and comfort, joy and sadness that occurs in our lives is important - and necessary.  Looking back at this dark time in my life, I see how God used it to bring me into the light of today.  Each step, each turn in the road, even each detour was in His Plan.

Tomorrow will be a day of reflection and of gratitude.  I will go back briefly to that time of depression and confusion, but only to measure how far I have come. Was that really me back then?  Yes, it was me, but not the 'real' me. I wore the mask of pretense, which, if worn long enough, will eventually suffocate and stifle the true person within. Today, my 'true' person has emerged thanks to the grace of God. Without His love and faithfulness, as well as that of so many others He's brought into my life, I can't imagine where I would be. What a journey it has been! 

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite authors:  "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."  RW Emerson

Be Blest and Be Encouraged.....

Saturday, February 11, 2012

VALENTINE'S DAY & OTHER THOUGHTS

This should be about Valentine's Day since it's coming up next week, but as oft happens, I'm not sure what it will be about until the words come onto the page. 

Has been a while since my last blog - excuses, reasons?  There are many that come to mind - and by the way, what is the difference in an excuse and a reason?  I must check that out so as to be sure I'm using the right one in any given situation. 

My last blog was in December and talked about putting away the Christmas decorations.  How long ago that seems now - so much has happened in that relatively short span of time.  The New Year has come and gone - the January bills have come in - we vow to do better next year, cut down a bit on gifts - after all, how much does anyone really need?  If it comes down to someone 'really' being in need, we will be there, won't we? 

Now, into February, the Super Bowl has been decided, Valentine's Day is upon us and all in between is life happening.  And as I mentioned earlier, a lot has happened so far in this new year of 2012.  You can all breathe easier knowing I'm not going to bore you with all the details - maybe just point out a couple of things that have been meaningful - not drastic or life-changing (although sometimes the simplest, most insignificant things have been known to change a life). 

On New Year's Day, I started back to Mt Paran church - had been probably 16 or 17 years since I had last attended there. One of my goals for the year was to find a church home, and with that in mind, I had a mental list of a few churches to visit - but without any hesitation or doubt, upon entering the sanctuary of MPN, I knew - this was where I was supposed to be.  I arrived early and after taking my place in the pew, the voices of the praise team were 'warming up' for the worship service soon to begin, and the sounds surrounded me as if to say 'welcome home.'  Such a sense of peace and belonging were felt as I sat alone listening and just taking in the moment.  Tears filled my eyes and I silently said a prayer of thanks for bringing me to this place.  Needless to say, there would be no church-shopping after this - sometimes you just know - and that Sunday, I knew - this was it.

Secondly, in the 'meaningful' column of events this year, is our Writer's Group held once a month in Jasper.  What a blessing it has been!  Each month I learn something new, about a member of the group - about writing, the phrasing and use of words to express one's self - and sometimes I learn something new about myself.  It's a 2-hour session we look forward to each month - a time and place of sharing, learning, making new friends, laughing and sometimes - healing. Again, it's God that brought these special people together - to what end we don't know yet, but whatever the purpose, it will be revealed in His time - and it will be good.

Not all that's happened has been happy and positive, not by a long shot - if that were the case, we would all be living a fairy-tale existence.  But, in my humble opinion, life as we know it is normally a good balance - we can't get to the mountaintop without walking the valley, and isn't the challenge of the climb what makes it all worthwhile?  Standing like Rocky Balboa at the top of those steps - with arms raised to the sky and shouting, "Thank you, Lord - I made it!"   Can't you hear that music now??
(I had better add, just in case someone may question if Rocky had spoken those words, but I think we all know he didn't - guess I just thought it would've been great if he had.)

Among  other things that go in the 'meaningful' column, a reconnection in one area of the family  -  some fun times with friends - new writing opportunities have arisen - a new chorale season has begun - and who knows what's next?  One thing for sure, I'll be hanging around to see......... and I know it'll be good :)

May God Bless you and yours .......
Oh, and by the way, Happy Valentine's Day :))  

Bobbie