Pain, problems, suffering, tears…I am so blessed.

Music to my ears…

 

I am grateful for Rhonda Miller, because she has a plethora of really good wisdom like this:

Before you pray: BELIEVE
Before you speak: LISTEN
Before you spend: EARN
Before you write: THINK
Before you quit: TRY
Before you die: LIVE

 

I am grateful for a phone call with Katrina and the pictures they sent of their spring break trip to Seattle.

I am grateful for Ginny’s email and Deb’s daily devotions.

I am grateful for Linda’s stories that should be compiled into a book and grateful for phone calls from Barb.

I am grateful for memories of Curtis whistling to country music.

I am grateful for memories of Jeanine, Curtis and Darren cracking jokes back and forth.

I miss my PLP friends.

 

From Deb’s devotions:  “For The Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.” Isaiah 49:13 NIV

“Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as adversity has done. Out of pain and problems have come the sweetest songs, the most poignant poems, the most gripping stories. Out of suffering and tears have come the greatest spirits and the most blessed lives.”

 

I am grateful for time spent with Dwight and Dad this weekend.

I am grateful for Scotty and Dwight, for their help painting the house on Saturday.

I am grateful for the overwhelming blessing of having my daughter back in my life on a daily basis.

I am grateful for videos of my grandchildren to make me smile.

We miss you, Ama.

I am grateful for a refrigerator full of fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy lean meat, all ready for the next 23 days.

I am grateful for overdraft protection.

I am grateful for Sam. He makes me laugh and enjoy the ridiculousness of life.

 

And I am grateful for an excellent message yesterday about Jesus and the prostitute – another nobody who was somebody, just like me.

The Gospel of the Nobodies – The book of Luke.

 

I wish I were as fat as I was when I FIRST realized I was fat.

 

I am grateful that I’m learning to not give or make up excuses any longer. I am who I am. I am who I want to be. And if I don’t like me, it’s up to me to do something about it and change.

I am grateful for an email from Uncle Charlie and Aunt Patsy.

I am grateful for a good counseling session last night, and for some excellent advice.

I am grateful for haricort vert, otherwise known as green beans. Wrapped in bacon, drizzled with brown sugar, deep fried, or straight out of the can. Mmmmm.

I am grateful for a new challenge to lose weight again. It’s a never-ending challenge, but I’m still excited. Besides, it’s one more way to reconnect with my daughter, and that makes it all the more worth it.

I am grateful for potential thunderstorms – I love thunderstorms.

I am grateful for a good umbrella.

I am grateful that we didn’t have a dishwasher when I was young. I appreciate those memories of having to stand at that sink and use the Palmolive and spend time with my sister. These days, you rarely see a dish strainer unless you are in my Dad’s apartment. I like washing and drying dishes immediately after making them dirty and putting them back away in their place, rather than letting them sit in the sink to spoil a pretty kitchen or soak in nasty cold water or hang out in an appliance box, sometimes for days, and then realizing the pan or knife you need is hidden inside, coated with stuck on, dried on food. I am grateful for squeaky clean, sparkling glasses and dishes and silverware, and grateful for clean dishwater. Okay, I’m done with this topic now. 

I am grateful for my corner of the office, now decorated with pictures of all six of my grandchildren.

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I am grateful for trash bags – the ones that are impenetrable, the ones that smell like Febreze, the ones that are elastic at the top, the ones with the built in ties – and trash bags in general.

And I’m grateful for trash cans that are clean because of trash bags. Someone should invent microwave bags that keep the inside of the microwave clean, so that when my egg explodes and blows the carefully placed and tucked paper towel up/off, my half-radiated egg wouldn’t go everywhere.

I am grateful for made-from-scratch German chocolate cake.

I am grateful for a savings account.

I am grateful for the color purple. Not the movie, although it’s probably a perfectly fine movie – just the color.

I am grateful that I haven’t had to deal with a flat tire yet. My day is coming, I’m sure.

And finally, I am grateful for this wonderful story that was part of my devotions this morning:

 “Janelle, can you unload the dishwasher?” my mom once yelled from the other room when I was young. As soon as I heard this, I realized that I had somehow slipped up. I had spent years perfecting my ability to know where the dishwasher was in its cycle so as to conveniently be in my room when it came time to unload.

Panicked, I froze when I heard the request. How could I have let down my guard?! What was I going to do?! With nothing better to do than to sit there and continue to watch television, I felt as if defeat was inevitable.

But before I threw up the white flag and helped my mom, I just had to try something, anything that would get me out doing this chore. From out of my mouth, with very little hope of success, came the words, “But mom, I’m too cute to unload the dishwasher.”

Once I had given the outrageously stupid argument, I did the only thing I knew to do next – nothing. I sat there waiting to hear, “Janelle Yvonne Baker,” (because being in trouble meant using my full name), “you get in here and unload this dishwasher. RIGHT. NOW.”

But I never heard those words. Nor did I hear any other words from my mom. The only thing I heard was the sound of the plates clapping together and silverware jingling as my mom put away each and every dish all by herself.

A song of victory echoed in my heart. I couldn’t believe that I had managed to pull that off! I was a genius!!

But looking back now, I can’t seem to see anything really smart about what I did to my mom that day. And I wish I could say that it only happened that one time, but unfortunately I used this free-ticket phrase to get out of anything undesirable so often that my parents still call me “Cute Girl” to this day.

I don’t feel justified in my actions. In fact, I feel far removed from it. I’m ashamed that I was so lazy and inconsiderate that I continually talked my way out of doing what was right and helpful to someone I deeply care about.

But excuses are so easy to throw out there, aren’t they? I keep a stocked arsenal ready for every occasion. “I’ve got a deadline I have to meet.” “I think I might have plans that weekend.” “It’s just too cold out.”

There are times that these excuses are legitimate when it comes to not attending an event or missing a meeting, but when it is a matter of following Jesus, I’m guessing they sound a lot more like, “I’m too cute to unload the dishwasher.” And not just in the sense of following Jesus as it refers to becoming a Christian, but in really following the instructions he’s given us to love, to forgive, and obey.

It’s that day-to-day following where the excuses flow more easily. “I would give more, but I am saving for retirement.” “I would be more regular in worship, but our lives are so busy right now with the kids.” “If I tell her that I’m sorry, she will think that I’m weak.” Let’s face it… those are all just really “I’m too cute” statements.

I fight a constant battle to not go into excuse mode when it comes to my spiritual life. But I have to remind myself of my priorities – what is really important to me. Because I don’t want to get to the end of my life and look back to see I had given up opportunities for joy and blessings because I had told Jesus that I was just too cute to follow him.  – Janelle Gregory (serves on the Resurrection staff as a Human Resources Specialist)

 

Hanna-Barbera cartoon sound effects are awesome.

 

I am grateful for pleasant memories of this cartoon:

Captain CA-A-A-A-AVE MA-A-A-A-A-AN!!

 

I am grateful for my devotion this morning about Gideon that included these two wonderful phrases of wisdom:

God plus one equals a majority.

We never test the resources of God until we attempt the impossible. – F. B. Meyer

 

I am grateful for Olive Garden salad dressing that is available at Sam’s Club now and goes so well on my free bag of lettuce today.

And I am grateful for two of the strongest women I know, two women who have been my support system, my friends, and my sisters. I am so fortunate to have them in my life, and because I was surrounded by grandchildren last Friday and kind of had my hands full, I was not able to write my grateful and honor them on their shared birthday as I should have done. Angela and Michelle, I love you. The world is a better place because of both of you. I am a better person because of both of you. You live what you believe. You both walk the walk. And you make life an adventure on a daily basis. I am very, very blessed to have you in my life and call you my sisters.

   Angela FergusonMichelle Cline Johnson

The only Superman I know is my Dad.

 

Let thankfulness temper all your thoughts. A thankful mind-set keeps you in touch with Me. I hate it when My children grumble, casually despising My sovereignty. Thankfulness is a safeguard against this deadly sin. Furthermore, a grateful attitude becomes a grid through which you perceive life. Gratitude enables you to see the Light of My Presence shining on all your circumstances. Cultivate a thankful heart, for this glorifies Me and fills you with Joy.


Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s continue to express our gratitude.
 With this gratitude, let’s serve in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe, because our God really is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12:28-29 (Common English Translation)

 

I am grateful for my Dad today. I am grateful for my Dad every day, but today is his birthday, and I am so grateful that I am privileged enough to have him at this point in my life, privileged to be a daughter of the best Dad in the whole world.

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I am grateful for the pictures I have, and I realize I do not have many of my Dad. I wish I had more. (Take advantage of the camera on your phone, Rhonda. If you have a camera, USE IT.) If I’ve learned anything from my brother, it is that pictures are memories, tell stories, and a picture is what we have to hold on to when our loved ones are not nearby.

Some lessons learned from my Dad:

Flowers are important. Dad realizes the beauty of God’s creation and brightens his apartment every week with fresh flowers. It was just one way he showed Mom that he loved her and was thinking about her, and he has continued to keep them in the apartment, even though Mom is not sitting in her chair to enjoy them every day. She is sitting in a new chair, enjoying them from a new vantage point, knowing that Dad is still thinking about her and still loves her.

 

Eat potato chips and macaroni and cheese, but exercise, too. I share this love of these foods with my Dad. You just can’t eat enough potato chips and macaroni and cheese. But I love that my Dad also walks alot and still plays golf. He lives on the 9th floor and sometimes walks the stairs just for exercise. He walks to work on good weather days. (Yes, he works a full time job.) He walks the golf course and carries his bag instead of riding in a cart. Did I mention that my Dad is 83 today and is pretty much amazing?

Read. Dad is a reader, and he keeps his mind so sharp because he reads A LOT. You can be entertained anywhere with a book. You are never too old to learn something new, and a book opens up your world to adventure and insight. AND, if you read a great book, pass it on to someone else. Dad shares his books, and I love that he buys “Love Does” by Bob Goff and gives it away to so many people.

Be a good friend. Dad has been a friend to Bill for many, many years. Bill began to lose his eyesight several years ago, and now he is blind. Dad is Bill’s ride around town, buys his groceries, takes him to the airport, cleans his house, takes him to church, and remains a good coffee buddy and all-around support.

Treat your customers well. If you were/are a customer of Dad’s, you knew you would receive the best service in town. His philosophy was to treat customers with respect and give them great service, and they will return, even if the price is a little higher than the competition. That philosophy creates loyal customers and good friends who know they can always count on Dad.

You don’t need much to be happy, but take care of what you DO have. Dad isn’t wealthy. Dad doesn’t have a lot. But he is abundantly rich, because he has what he needs and appreciates it all. I love that he keeps his apartment clean, he likes his car to be clean, and he always dresses so nice. He doesn’t spend money foolishly, but he is generous and thoughtful with his money and his possessions.

Serve where you can, when you can, with all you have. Dad and Mom cleaned the church, mowed the church lawn, served on committees, taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, Dad maintained and repaired the church van for years, and now Dad faithfully supplies the church with donuts every Sunday.

Be faithful to spend time each morning in prayer and reading devotions. Dad and Mom have done this for years, and it was and is the best way to start the day. I am so grateful that my Dad loves God and is an example to his family of Christ-likeness.

And finally, listen more than you speak. Dad has always been well-known for only speaking when he has something important to say. This character quality made his children sit up and pay attention and we respected him all the more for his example of James 1:19: “Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry.”

 

Every day at work, home, school, and play, God presents us with opportunities to be a blessing to people who may not be as nice to us as we deserve or desire. In the middle of these opportunities, He strengthens us and enables us to pay back good for evil. – Thelma Wells

 

I love you, Daddy. Cape or no cape, you’re my Superman.

A grandchild is God’s opinion that the world should go on.

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I am grateful that I am a grandma.

I am grateful that I have been blessed with the most beautiful, well-behaved, sweetest grandchildren in the world.

I am grateful for the time off from work to take a short trip to Texas last week.

I am grateful for a husband who is so supportive and loving and rearranged our plans and his plans so that I could spend time with my daughter and family.

I am grateful for fat little cheeks and a healthy little baby. Anjalie feels so good to hold and is such a happy little girl.

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I am grateful for the added blessing of taking the two oldest grandkids to Austin on the train with me.

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I am grateful for a little guy who constantly said in a very excited voice with a very excited brow: “I tole’ you so!”

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I am grateful for the sound of two little voices lying next to me in the bed, saying, “Now I lay me down to sweep, I pway the Lohd my soul to keep, angels watch me thwew the night and wake me wif the mohning light. Ay-men!”

I am grateful for sleep. Grandmas get really tired. Apparently, so do little ones:

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I am grateful for little hugs and the feeling of tiny fingers curled around mine.

I am grateful for a beautiful Annistan who is going to be a handful – always giggling and wanting to play “Catch me if you can!”

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I am grateful for grandchildren who say, “I love you!” at the lunch table, ornery grins and all.

I am grateful for Anissa’s tight curls that are so gorgeous and soft.

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I am grateful for a shower.

I am grateful for Sam’s great-nephews who ended up being AWESOME babysitters and new friends for Anissa and Andrae, giving piggyback rides, playing in the park, playing football/basketball/soccer/baseball with Andrae, playing “chase” with Anissa, making playdough creations, sharing waffles at breakfast, and showing the kids all of their toys.

I am grateful for two little rugrats who constantly say, “That’s nasty!” when they don’t like something.

I am grateful for a notebook in my purse that is full of this now:

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I am grateful for silly kids with mischievous grins who eat ice cream and make us laugh. Sam was teasing them both, and Anissa looked at him with a sparkle in her eye, trying to be all serious, and said, “Don’t play with me. Just eat.”

I am grateful for a little guy who loves anything and everything basketball!

I am grateful for Taco Cabana breakfast tacos and fresh tortillas to eat on the way home.

 

I am grateful to have heard “with a sheep sheep here and a sheep sheep there” in the backseat on the way home yesterday.

I am grateful for safety on the trip to Texas, on the train ride to Austin, for the trip back to Fort Worth, and for the trip home last night.

And today, I am most grateful for my daughter and the Mom she is. I am so very proud of her.

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