Category Archives: Scriptures

Author: God

Why Give Thanks?

IMG_0424I have written about this many times and it seems to be a life’s mission for me.  We are supposed to be thankful for everything.  Last year, I attended a seminar where the presenter suggested that people write down at least 3 things to be thankful for each day.  One woman spoke up and said, “But what if we don’t have anything that day?”  Are you serious?!  Uh, you’re breathing! That counts for one! There is always something to be thankful for!

So, we’ve all seen articles and heard interviews where people share why it is important for us to give thanks.  In the United States we believe we even have a holiday to celebrate: Thanksgiving, so regardless of religion or faith, our nation is to be a thankful nation.  Other cultures and countries also celebrate festivals to express gratitude during the harvest season. It seems this is a great time to be thankful.

Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., the author of Gratitude Works!: A 21-day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity suggests 5 reasons why giving thanks is actually good for you.

  1. Counting blessings boosts your health by lessening depression and lowering blood pressure and creating more optimism.
  2. A daily practice of gratitude even slows down some of the effects of neurodegeneration that occurs as we age.
  3. Positive emotions like appreciation significantly lowered levels of cortisol which is the “stress hormone.”
  4. Being thankful increases oxytocin, the “bonding hormone” so it helps you in your relationships.
  5. Gratefulness is good for the heart and the waistline and may achieve a 10% reduction in systolic blood pressure and decrease dietary fat intake by up to 20%.

These are all great benefits of being grateful, but I’d like to add one more reason we should give thanks. In 52 A.D. the apostle Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I think he may have been on to something.  It seems this concept of gratitude has been around a long time. Why give thanks? There are many reasons and benefits, but I do because the Bible tells me to.

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Can I Help You?

IMG_0169Jesus said to me “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. — Matthew 11:28

As a church member entered the building with her cane in one hand and her purse in the other, I offered her help.  She handed me her purse, grabbed my elbow and said, “I never refuse help.” It was such a refreshing response. Many times when we offer help, we are met with rejection. “No, I’ve got it.” “No thanks, I’m good.” And, many times we respond that way when we are asked. Now I understand that sometimes when we are holding things just so, handing one item off would upset our balance, but many times we simply could accept the help and don’t.  So why don’t we?

Most of us would ask for help if we were lifting a refrigerator, but we avoid getting help with the smaller things.  The same may hold true when we are talking about our spiritual burdens. If a real crisis hits, we go to God, but these little pesky everyday burdens we choose to handle on our own.  We all know that if you keep adding pebbles to a bucket, the bucket eventually gets too heavy to carry and I believe the same holds true for our pesky burdens. They will keep adding up until they become too heavy to carry and then we will turn them over to the Lord.  We don’t have to do that. We can share our little burdens with God, just as we can accept help with some of the little tasks we face in our lives. Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

So, for your spiritual burdens, give even the little ones to God and for your physical burdens, share them with your friends and family. That way we all get to participate in God’s plan for us.

Thanks, friend, for accepting the offer of my help.  I think it actually helped us both.

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Filed under Devotionals, family, Inspirational, Life, Scriptures

Want to Make a Difference?

IMG_0225While cleaning out my closet this past week, I came across a piece of paper with “If I really wanted to make a difference, I would ________”  written on it. The blank wasn’t filled in, and I have no idea when it was written, but I wonder what I would’ve filled in during that time.  If I had written it when I was a child, it might’ve said, “If I really wanted to make a difference, I would clean my room or study more.”  Maybe when I was mothering younger children, it would’ve read, “If I really wanted to make a difference, I would make my kids turn off the TV and play outside more.” But how should I answer it today?  What should I write in the blank?

If I really wanted to make a difference, I would _______.  Wait.  This time around, I realize I don’t have to include the blank.  It can be a complete sentence and a complete thought. “If I really wanted to make a difference, I would.”  I know how to make a difference and I have opportunities to do it every day.  If I really wanted to make a difference, I would raise funds for Haiti.  If I really wanted to make a difference, I would bake bread for my father in law. If I really wanted to make a difference I would organize a Salvation Army red kettle drive for our community. If I really wanted to make a difference, I would donate clothes to our local clothing drive or food for our local food cupboard.  If I really wanted to make a difference, I would help someone carry their groceries to the car. If I really wanted to make a difference, I would.

The season is upon us when we have the opportunity to make a difference in a variety of ways.  Instead of waiting to fill in the blank and consider what you would do to make a difference, just do it.  If you really wanted to make a difference, you would.  And, if you need any ideas on how just give me a call!

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In all things I have shown you how, working like this, you must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  — Acts 2035

Let every man give according to the purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. — 2 Corinthians 9:7

And whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, truly I tell you, he shall in no way lose his reward.  –Matthew 10:42

Give and it will be given to you: Good measure pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will men give unto you.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured unto you. –Luke 6;38

James 1:22 says ” Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” 

 

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Filed under family, Inspirational, Life, Scriptures, Uncategorized

Fall Foliage Prediction

It’s currently mid-October and I am looking out my window at some beautiful fall leaves. The colors are vibrant, the sun is shining and Autumn appears to be gorgeous. This fact is barely worth mentioning, except that I didn’t expect it. Every year I look forward to fall and October is one of my favorite months, but this year, I had a different attitude at the beginning of the month. You see, I was discussing the fall leaves with someone and they said that this year the leaves probably wouldn’t change colors and that as far as they could tell, this year it was going to be “Brown and Down.” WHAT?! Brown and Down? Who wants that? I want the reds, the yellows, the oranges! I don’t want the leaves to become brown and down!

But, when they made that statement, it was pretty much true. In our area, we had the Cicadas which caused many of our trees to lose big clumps of leaves. (Those dead leaves have been plaguing our lawns for a while.) And I must admit that I did see some leaves turning brown and falling, but this week we got a surprise. The warmer September temperatures made the leaves change colors later and it appears that in our area, we aren’t even at peak yet. This fall, I get to enjoy the changing leaves as I always have.

The noteworthy part of this story is that one person’s new clever phrase “Brown and Down” almost stole my joy. My mood instantly switched from looking forward expectantly towards the colors of autumn to dreading the leaves turning brown. Someone dashed my hope. With three words!

It makes me wonder how many times I dash someone’s hope with only a few words. Phrases like “I doubt it, probably not, and It’s always something” could impact someone more than I intend to. Someone could be looking forward to planning an event and they could ask me if I think others would be interested. I may answer, “I doubt it.” Do you think that is a big boost to their morale? What about, “Think this sunshine will last until the weekend?” “Probably not.” Yuck! Who wants to be that person? Not me. However, I find that I sometimes I am that person and sometimes even worse.

Just like weathermen that get the forecast wrong, Fall Foliage Predictions are just that….predictions. No one knows when or how vibrantly the leaves will change colors, but saying something negative doesn’t lift anyone’s spirits. I read a quote that says, “If you can’t be positive at least be quiet.” Scripture says, “There is a time to be silent and a time to speak.” So, to the people who were believing in the Brown and Down Fall, I will say nothing. I will go outside and stand quietly on this gorgeous day and watch the beautiful leaves fall.

Also, to these people, I really didn’t take much offense…I just needed something to write about. I found the new phrase rather clever and I wanted to share it, but I’m glad you were wrong!

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

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It’s my Anniversary…and yours too!

IMG_1444Last week my husband and I had an empty nest for about 36 hours.  Our daughter was going to a football game and then spending the night at a friend’s.  We decided to make the most of our time and plan a near-to-home getaway.  So, after she got on the school bus, we loaded our bikes, visited our parents and headed out for a beautiful autumn day.  We found a trail and admired the falling leaves and the creek and scenery along our 10-mile bike trip.  We then went to our river house and relaxed (I relaxed by reading, he relaxed by mowing the grass…but he says that’s how he relaxes!)  We decided to dress up and go out to dinner at a new restaurant.  I donned my black dress and we headed out.  We made a quick stop at the Widnoon Ice Cream stand to catch our last bit of ice cream before it closed for the season and then we went to the restaurant and had a lovely meal and some really fun conversation.  It was a really nice date.

The thing about the entire date though was that when we called for the reservations, the host at The Meredith Inn asked if we were celebrating anything special.  I thought about that a lot during the evening.  Were we?  Anything special?  This was definitely a date that felt like it should’ve been an anniversary.  (We’ve celebrated anniversaries before with very little fanfare.)  So, what were we celebrating?  Since it felt like an anniversary, I decided to call it that and in fact, it was my anniversary.  Since I journal daily, I can tell you exactly what it was the anniversary of!

In 2018, I was spending time with friends in Florida….so it was the anniversary of a wonderful trip. I could’ve also been celebrating the 9th anniversary of a day when I pitched a fit and I was in a bad mood (yep, I wrote that down too.)  Other years I attended college visitation with a child, hosted Godly Girls, watched George fix plumbing, listened to political banter (and prayed about it.) This date was the 2nd anniversary of a lunch date with a friend, the 8th anniversary of receiving the call giving us an adoption date and the 7th anniversary of the new porch at the Petroleum Valley Youth Center. So, I wonder, if we had responded to the host that yes, we were celebrating something special, would she have agreed?

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 
–Psalm 118:24
The fact that this actual day didn’t have any special meaning to us, did not mean that we shouldn’t have been celebrating something special.  Each day is a gift and we need to take some time to recognize it.  We should celebrate each day like it is something special…because it is.  Thank you host, for reminding me!

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Filed under Inspirational, Life, Scriptures, Travels, Uncategorized

Shut the Window

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A few weeks ago, I had a very trying few days.  It seemed that everyone I knew was going through something that caused me concern.  I would talk to one person and hear about their struggles and wonder how I could help.  I talked to another and hear their worries and wondered how I could help.  I, myself, had a bunch of things going on and my mind was racing with how I was going to deal with each situation that needed to be addressed.  I spent my evening considering all the possibilities and had no clear answers on anything.

I dreaded bedtime, knowing that when it’s time for my body to shut down, it often signals my mind to wake up and worry.  Very frustrated, I went to bed, and couldn’t fall asleep.  The windows were open at our river house this warm evening and the songs of the crickets and frogs were not bringing me peace. As a matter of fact, the more I listened the louder they sounded and the more alert I became.  “What am I going to do about this noise?!  What am I going to do about these things I am worried about?!”  All of a sudden, an answer came to me….Shut the window.  Seriously?  Shut the window?  It’s that simple?  I got up and shut the window and the sound of silence filled my bedroom. The noise stopped.  I realized then that I could do the same thing with worries and concerns.  I could shut the window to the outside noises and problems that were confronting me.  Every time a worrying thought came to mind, I chose to shut it out.  I found that by “shutting the window” to those nagging concerns and thoughts, I could fall asleep.

I shared this story with my friend and the following week I got a T-Shirt in the mail and it had “Shut the Window” printed on the front.  Friends, it is that simple.  We can choose to shut the window to a lot of situations in our lives and we can give those concerns to God. “Do not let your hearts be troubled, You believe in God.”  It’s that simple…..Shut the window.

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John 14:1-4     Jesus Comforts His Disciples (The title could read “Jesus Comforts Insert your name.)

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

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Filed under Adoptive, Big Kids, Inspirational, Little Kids, Parenting, Scriptures, Trauma-mama, Uncategorized

Dear Person,

 

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Dear Person who was kind to my kid,                                                        I applaud you. I thank you. I am so grateful for all that you’ve done for him. You and I are a lot alike. We care deeply for Paul. We see the potential and the way he manages his disabilities and we are amazed at all he can accomplish with his limited IQ and other challenges. We see his charm and we love the way he can make us smile at times.

However, we also can be disappointed, resentful, and frustrated by him in a way we didn’t think was possible. We question his motives and exhaust ourselves trying to figure out why he does what he does.  Why would he not follow a simple rule? How could he take advantage of us like that? What does he expect from us? We give and give and give and he just takes. We try to teach him, we come up with plans, we motivate, coach and inspire and some days, he does things that make us wonder why we ever bothered.

Paul has Reactive Attachment Disorder and whether you have to deal with it for 9 months or a lifetime, you will never understand it. It is a maddening mental health diagnosis where because of early childhood trauma, he has difficulty forming bonds with others.  He can appear kind and caring on the surface, but in his heart, he protects himself from getting close to others who have the potential to reject him as his own biological parents did. He was denied the basic right as a baby to be cared for and nurtured, so he doesn’t value things the way we do.  His brain developed differently than ours and in instances when we would seek others, he pushes others away before they can reject him to “protect” himself.  He is in survival mode at all times and truly only trusts and relies on himself.  He is very uncomfortable being dependent on others.

I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around RAD for over 15 years and recognize that this is beyond my understanding. I will never understand why praise would make him uncomfortable. I will never understand why he self-sabotages the good things in his life, why he breaks his own belongings, why he hurts himself, why he can’t see how much others care for him and want him to be happy.  Why he can’t accept love.

As a person who was loved and cared for as an infant and toddler, as a person who had someone pick her up when she cried, who fed her when she was hungry & who sang to her and kissed her boo-boos, I am incapable of understanding and feeling his pain or understanding his brain.

Paul is an adult. He is minutes away from transitioning completely out of my home and the security of the school system. I’m sure he’s scared to death.  I must admit, I’m scared too. During his school years, he has met so many wonderful people who worked with him and wanted the best for him. He has had the opportunity to learn many skills and he even implements many of them, but he can’t be taught some of the things that are so basic to us.

So, friend, if you are hurt, disappointed or resentful, I’m sorry.  I validate your very real feelings. I encourage you to only give what you don’t expect back. I encourage you to take care of yourself and your feelings. I beg you to see your success in working with him from what you put into him and not what he’s given back. I can’t promise you, but it is my hope (and hope is what I cling to!) that those things that it seems like he isn’t quite getting right now, will surface later.  You may not get to see the success you are so hoping for in his life, but please feel success in your own about all you are teaching him. I am slowly learning to do that myself!

God Bless You!

Linda

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Some reminders: “His brain is broken. – It will never make sense to us. – Don’t allow his craziness to become your craziness. – He just doesn’t get it. – It’s not that he doesn’t want to, he just can’t. – We are only responsible for our own behaviors, not his. – Protect yourself. – He’s not losing sleep over it, you shouldn’t either.”

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There is surely a hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.  –Proverbs 23:18

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And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28

 

 

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