Sunday, November 24, 2013

My November of Thanks ... One Word

Is it just me or does the month of November seem to be passing by at break-neck speed?  Oh my -- what a very busy month we've had around our household.  I've been reading through my Facebook newsfeed and blog roll as some of my friends have been participating in giving thanks every day this month for something in their lives.  I had every intention of doing this myself, but ... well, sometimes there's just not enough minutes in a day.

But, I've been really giving my thankfulness some deep thought. Yes, I'm thankful for my husband, my grandbabies, my family ... I'm most thankful for God sending His Only Son to come to earth die for my sins.  It almost seems sacrilegious for me to want to dig a little deeper.  But I wanted to ...

So I asked myself "what more? ... if I could be thankful for just ONE thing --?"


(Yeah ... that's what I thought at first too.)

Choices???  Why on this earth would I be thankful for just choices????

And that's when I began to break it all down ... 
and to reflect on that one word ... 
and to be thankful for choices.

So, I decided to make somewhat of a list of just a few things that I am thankful that 
no one else can decide for me:
  • No one else can decide the clothes I wear everyday (although I have been known to get opinions from others, it is always my choice)
  • No one else can decide how much hairspray I use (although Dan has told me that we may need a separate line item in our monthly budget -- that's supposed to be a little "haha" moment)
  • No one else can decide how I use my time during the day (although there's certain things I need to get accomplished for my family, I get to decide my priorities)
  • No one else can decide my attitude .......... oh my .......... I'm actually thankful for this?  Yes ... yes I am.  And here's why --- 

No matter what the day brings ---
I have Jesus

No matter what the circumstance ---
I have Jesus

No matter --- no matter --- no matter ---
I always have Jesus

And for Him ...
I am always thankful

And for Him ...
I have choices that I am in control

And for Him ...
I don't have to be perfect
because I'm forgiven

So yes, I am thankful for choices this Thanksgiving ... and always.  Keeping the things that are of this earth in perspective with the things of eternity -- well, that's the key in my choice of my attitude.  And my attitude is basically one of the few choices I actually control on this earth.  A book I read long ago summed this concept up the best as 
"I can't control every aspect that comes my way in life, 
but the one thing I can control is my attitude" 

And my thankfulness for my choices goes for many more days and months than our Thanksgiving holiday in November ... 

I am always thankful that God has given me full control of my attitude -- 
not even close to a perfect attitude ... but an attitude that I always have a second chance to adjust and look to the One who has given me the choice to begin with.  
For now {and always} ... 
may my focus be on a heart filled with the attitude of gratitude. 

From Granny & Grandad 
along with Lucy & Tag ...

May you & your family have a wonderfully blessed
Happy Thanksgiving
filled with the attitude of gratitude for all that our 
Heavenly Father has given

(And even grateful for the choices we are given)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Am I Grateful? {Or Entitled}

Have you ever had one of those epiphanies that you think  
"Wow -- this has been in front of me this whole time and I'm just now realizing it?"  
... well, this is exactly what has happened to me over the past couple of days. But instead of looking at it and beating myself up that I'm "just now getting it" -- I'm telling myself that God's revealing timing is always perfect.  Maybe I need this epiphany more now than I ever have before.  
So, on to my revelation ... 
{well, maybe a little background first}

I've mentioned before that I can be a very negative person -- I truly don't mean to be, but ... I can be.  So I decided to "Like" some women's devotional/inspirational sites on Facebook -- you know, to reinforce God's words anytime I hop on my page.  And I think -- hope -- believe that I am receiving blessings as well as challenges during my time on Facebook.  I focus on these sites and spend much less time on the mindless things that go on.  One of the blessings and challenges I have read has been this picture from 
Time-Warp Wife's Darlene Schacht: 

Now, as a disclaimer -- I know I should have done my own research on this pastor, but I have not.  It's not the person that spoke to me, but the quote itself had its own lesson (psssstttttt .... that lesson was really from God Himself!)

Yes Lord ... I sure hear you speaking straight to my heart on this one.  Sometimes I admit that I get this crazy notion that I am owed something -- not that I have loaned someone something & they need to return it -- but that I'm entitled.  I'm even having a hard time connecting my words to this keyboard because I sure do not like to own up to this. So, let me give another example of someone who lived many years ago and wrote several books ... in the Bible.

The Apostle Paul was a persecutor of Christians before he was literally blinded by the Truth.  He writes in his letter to the church of Philippi "I thank God upon every remembrance of you" ... I will admit that this gives my heart a smile. 
I know that Paul was directing his words to the Philippians, but this statement alone gives me hope that when someone remembers me,  maybe they thank God for me too.  
But alas ... that was not my epiphany.  

Chapter 4 verse 11 of Philippians reads like this (Paul's words) ...

Not that I speak in respect of want: 
for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Ouch ... Ouch ... Ouch ...
Why this verse, God?  Why not just let Paul stop with the words that give me 
the warm feeling that someone is actually thankful when they think of me?  

Paul was persecuted ... Paul was imprisoned ... Paul was beaten ... Paul was hungry ... 
yet whatever came his way -- Paul was content.

So, what's the epiphany that God revealed to me through these connections? 
It's simply this ...

If I am content and give God the glory with wherever I am in life ...
then I am simply grateful for what God allows me to have ...
and if that's true in my life, then I realize that I am not entitled to anything ...
but through God's grace and mercy I have everything.

Does my epiphany mean that my lesson is learned and I just move on from here?
I know better.

But here's a few ways that I can express my gratitude to God in my everyday living --
... show others that I am grateful for them and what they do for me
... stop complaining and grumbling about things that may not "go my way"
... think of the many ways God has blessed me in my lifetime
... keep rooted in God's Word
... pray for God to keep working on my heart

 For me, I know this will mean that I will be working day by day to completely grasp the true meaning of gratitude ...
and even if I have to learn moment by moment on how to be content, 
I am assured that God's grace will be right there for me.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Why I'm "Granny"

In February 2008, my husband & I learned that we were going to be grandparents!  To say that we were excited would be an understatement -- we were completely over-the-moon ... and already in love with our first grandchild!!!  Soon after our daughter shared the "grandparenting" news with us, Dan & I began thinking of names that we would like our grandchild to call us.  For him it was pretty easy -- and our daughter offered the suggestion -- "Grandad".  Yes, being "Grandad" suited my husband perfectly!  And he still grins from ear to ear to hear his grandchildren say "Grandad" (he completely melts for these 2 little angels-on-earth we call our "grands").  But, for me it was a little bit different.  Names were presented to me, but I just really didn't "take" to any of them.
I knew then that only one name really suited me.

You see, my "grandparenting" moment did not begin with the announcement from our daughter.  My moment began at my birth on August 24, 1964 ... no, I take even that back.  My "Granny" moment began on January 11, 1906 ... at the birth of my Granny.

To say that she was an extraordinary woman would be the understatement of a lifetime.  I can't even choose just one word to describe her ... 
Granny was the WYSIWYG of our family -- "what you see is what you get" -- 
So many people talk about being "authentic" ... well, that was my Granny.  

My parents & I lived with my Granny until I began the 2nd grade.  Then we just moved up on the hill from her, so I still spent many many nights walking down the hill to stay with Granny.  You know, I've learned over the years that God never does anything by chance or by accident.  I firmly believe that my childhood of living with my Granny actually prepared me for my grandchildren who live with me.  
Coincidence?  Not at all.  
It's all God.

So, here's a little glimpse of who my Granny was ...

She loved God and she loved her family. 
She loved having her grandkids all around her.  
She was a hard-worker and never complained about anything.  
She was a pillar in our small community.  
She kept her word.  
She never met a stranger.  
She always helped anybody who needed anything no matter what time of day or night. 
She loved life and she loved learning.  
She didn't have to be right but she knew when to speak her mind.  
She enjoyed sitting on her back porch swing and talking of days gone by.  
She respected everyone -- yes, even the young people.
She loved people.  
She loved to laugh but she would cry of heartbreak.  
1986:  Granny with my daughter -- her first great-granddaughter

1964 -- several months before I was born

We always loved to celebrate Granny's birthdays

One of our family vacations in the '60s

Having fun with her daughters & granddaughter

One of my favorite pictures of my Granny

I believe that I can speak for my cousins in that all of us can say that we lived a privileged childhood ... we were all very close -- age, proximity & relationship-wise.  And although some of us have moved away from "back home", our relationships are still close.  That's what our Granny instilled in each of us.
 And we all are thankful for our closeness even now.

There are numerous fond memories & comments of my Granny from our life-long friends.  Everyone who knew Granny ... loved her.  She was just that type of person.  And her legacy lives on.  My Granny was "Lucy" ... and my granddaughter is "Lucy".  Not only in name, but I do see the beginnings of another wonderful person even at this young age.  I believe my Granny would be honored at her namesake.    

I know that I could never live up to what my Granny meant to our family and 
to her grandchildren.  But I pray daily that God will guide my words, actions and thoughts so that one day my grandchildren will tell their future generations about their Granny.

My prayer ...

Dear Lord,  I cannot begin to thank You enough for my Granny.  The values she instilled in her family & our community will forever live for generations to come.  I'm asking You today and everyday to direct everything I do, say and think to first of all bring honor & glory to You.  Guide me daily to become the woman You have intended me to be ... in all aspects of my life.  Lord, above all, lead me in Your light to be the Granny to Lucy & Tag that I need to be.  Day by day, moment by moment ... showing them Your love and Your promises.  Help me to be the living proof of the importance of our relationships so that my grandchildren will carry this through to the generations that follow them.  Thank You, dear Lord, for giving me the responsibility as well as the privilege of being "Granny" ... 
may my words, my actions and my thoughts always be directed to You.
For it's in Your Loving Name I pray ...

Missing some family in this pic, but these were happy times at my Granny's.

Monday, November 4, 2013

30 By Our 30th ... Yes I Can!

After making every excuse in my head for the past 2 weeks, I returned to the gym this morning.  
My 82 year old war veteran "trainer" thought I had either disappeared or moved across country!  No, no ... just excuses --- I could elaborate and divulge some of my reasons  excuses ... but I won't.  Just suffice it to say that I returned this morning to owning my responsibility to my own health --
no more excuses.

Yes, I know ... why "pay" for a gym membership when we could save that money for other things?  Well, this Granny has made MORE excuses for not exercising at home than I have for not going to the gym.  
(Yeah -- I'm pretty much the Queen of Excuses)

And it occurred to me this morning as I was finishing up on the treadmill that I actually had a goal a few months ago that I simply did not reach -- for whatever excuse I can come up with.  So, for the first time, I am making a public goal and I plan to stick with it.  If any of my readers want to join me, just let me know -- you can even comment on this post & tell me that you want it unpublished
 & I will respect that. We can still be in this thing silently together.  
So, here's my thought process ...

There's 28 more weeks until mine & my husband's 30th anniversary (May 16) ...
My goal is to lose 30 lbs by our anniversary ...
Just over a pound a week ...
I can do it.

Healthier ...
More energy ...
Better focus ...

 Not to deprive myself because that always sets me up for failure -- 
moderation is where I can see better results.

Anybody else want to come along on this journey?  
No, I'm not posting my current weight nor will I post my goal weight.  
Maybe I should, but that's just not me.  
We can keep those numbers to ourselves yet still be there to encourage & support each other 
on our healthier journey!

(yes, even get healthier & lose a bit of weight in the process)

{{{ PS ........ The clock has ticked away many many MANY minutes since I completed this post ---- wonder if I have the nerve to hit the "publish" button???? }}}


Friday, November 1, 2013

A Season of Harvest ... My Friend's Giveaway

A few years ago I decided to start blogging ... not quite sure how I "got the nerve" to, but I did.  One evening as I was just learning some things on Blogger, I hit the "NEXT BLOG" button.  That click led me straight to A Season of Harvest blog written by a preacher's wife.  So I began reading some of her posts and just knew that I needed to read more.  

However, as my novice fingers hit the "NEXT BLOG" button again --- A Season of Harvest blog was lost to me.  I felt really bummed out about it.  So for a few weeks I tried and tried to recreate what I had done on that one night, but to no avail. Then it happened ... I really don't even remember the timeframe, but on this particular evening, I hit the "NEXT BLOG" button again ... 
can you guess what blog appeared?

Oh yeah ... it was all God!!!   
A Season of Harvest
and so I began following this blog because I sure did not want to lose the site again.  
And now, throughout these past few years, Sheila and I have become friends.  Her words resonate her love of Christ and her love of people.  She has finished up an October blogging series of celebrating "The Middle" ... as in the age frame of our lives.  This series is so worth your time to hop over & learn how we all can celebrate being in "The Middle" times of our lives.  

And a bonus ... 

Sheila is an awesomely talented artist who actually created this piece that I get to see 
everyday in my own home ---- 

Youth and old age met in the middle and crowned her efforts with success ...

AND ...

Sheila is having a special giveaway on her blog that includes the following:

 Every print from Sheila Atchley Designs featured in this {31 Days of Celebrating Middle Age}!
Every book featured, in the whole {31 Days} project!
One piece of jewelry, your choice, from my shop!
One free spot in the online class entitled "Let's Play Dress Up" taught by Paige Knudsen!

So, I encourage you to hop on over to  
and be blessed as I have to know this wonderful woman of God. 

(And if you want, tell her that "Granny" sent you -- I know that you two will become friends too).