Loving people the way Jesus did means constantly taking cuts to the back of the line. – Love Does

 

Today, I am grateful for Jared, who shared this on Facebook:

Not only that, he shared 14,000,000 pictures with an Ama/Mom who otherwise would not have had any of those pictures of a beautiful weekend in Texas. 

I am grateful for my CASA girl who has planted roots in my heart and is another reason to smile deep down. Spending an hour with her each week is never enough for this Mom-who-misses-her-girls.

I am grateful for rain showers this morning.

I am grateful that the 10th inning didn’t last forever. Talk about a roller coaster ride that didn’t end well…

I am grateful for disposable containers that aren’t disposable in my cupboards and work just fine without spending mucho money on the expensive stuff.

I am grateful for a new CD given to me by my foster parents and CASA girl. I felt very special last night.

I am grateful that I will see Fabien after work.

I am grateful for that feeling I rarely get when I pull that shirt out of the washing machine after treating the stain and it pre-treatment actually worked.

I am grateful for the loudest choir of locusts who are all singing at the top of their locust lungs which they probably don’t have but I have no idea what causes them to be able to sing…so locust lungs it is.

I am grateful for the smell of meat on the grill. Grilling. Smoking. You know, when the grill is hot hot hot. A cold grill and raw meat…not so much.

I am grateful for the automated “ATM” postage/shipping machine at the USPS. The office wasn’t open when I arrived this morning and I wasn’t about to sit in the parking lot for another 20 minutes, and then I noticed the banner about the automated machine inside the lobby that does packages, too! It was so un-government-like and technologically wonderful and perfect and easy to figure out! And Geri’s box is outa here!

I am grateful that the bathroom is close by because I’d NEVER make it on this gallon of water a day habit otherwise.

I am grateful for Fanny Crosby and the impact her work has had on my life.

And I am grateful that it is Friday and Labor Day weekend.

Photo: Happy Weekend! ☀️

 

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Someone else is happy with less than what I have.

 

So it is my responsibility and privilege to appreciate everything and not take anything for granted.

Therefore, today, I am grateful for:

  • The sound of acorn shells being crunched underfoot
  • The feeling of a shower when I’m drenched in sweat after an early morning walk in the stifling humidity
  • The fun surprise of receiving a little puffy package from China with a very pretty, unique bracelet inside, compliments of my daughter who thought of me
  • Real dishes to eat from instead of paper plates
  • The privilege of dialing my Dad’s phone number and being able to talk to him whenever I want
  • The sound of Anjalie’s giggle in the background as her mom is sharing her day on the phone with me
  • The excitement of a baseball game when the crowd is electrified
  • Tiger balm on a sore shoulder and neck
  • Elyria’s cheesy turkey or chicken tetrazzini, Central Christian’s chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes, and CBA’s verenika with ham and onion gravy. Yes, I am hungry. Yes, for carbs.
  • Strangers who wave “hi”
  • The feeling a set of pruning shears gives as I snip
  • Silly pictures

  • The sound of quiet as soon as a chainsaw stops or a lawnmower is shut off or jake brakes stop grinding
  • Nice responses to my posts
  • Hearing about a first day at nursing school
  • Tart apples
  • This season of life
  • Sharing my favorite books with a good friend and the feeling of satisfaction when walking out of the post office and knowing another thing can be crossed off the list – they’re on their way.
  • Being told every morning how fortunate he is that I am his wife
  • A brother who sends me a funny story
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Being on the sidelines of the office drama, not in the middle of it
  • Wasp and hornet spray
  • Memories of Friday night high school football games
  • And memories of seeing Mom’s Fostoria pudding cups in the refrigerator filled with chocolate pudding

A message for a Mom from a mom, even if it is overdue.

 

God’s love never ceases. Never… Our faith does not earn it anymore than our stupidity jeopardizes it. God doesn’t love us less if we fail or more if we succeed. God’s love never ceases. – Max Lucado

I am grateful for my emotions, good and bad, because they are me and I gotta own them.

I am grateful for the lessons I am learning this week about the power of words.

 

I am grateful for my counselor.

I am grateful that my church provides daily devotions to go along with the message.

I am grateful for my pastor.

I am grateful for the way God orchestrates little lessons through a thought, a word someone says, a phrase on a daily calendar at my desk…it’s like He’s hammering it in this woman-hear-me-squeak brain.

And I am grateful for my Mom.  This is why.

Sometimes, emotions take over. It’s funny how easy my emotions can swing from being fairly carefree and I find it so easy to be happy and show true joy, and then words are spoken to me that send me into a tailspin and I’m consumed with pain. Actually, it’s not funny at all. And the sad thing is, it doesn’t take much. Those words may not mean a thing. I may misinterpret them to be much more devastating than they were intended. I am woman, hear me…squeak.

 

 

My counselor always has great advice for me. She says, “I want you to feel what you feel. We just need to work through the emotions and not act out of them.”

I’ve been thinking about my Mom and being a mom and some conversations recently about her expectations and disappointments that have now come to fruition in my life, as well. It has given me many moments of reflection as the messages at church these last two weeks have been focused on the power of words and how they can build or destroy, spread grace, forgiveness, and love, or spread anger, bitterness, and a spirit of unforgiven condemnation and judgment.

This morning in my church devotions, Angela LaVallie wrote about the scripture for today and correlated it to the way she treats her mom:

It can be so easy for us to settle into old habits in close relationships. One relationship I have begun to see differently in the last year is the one I have with my mom. I love her more than almost anyone else. But I also say things – not good things – to her that I would never say to anyone else… On Labor Day weekend last year, my mom came to visit me. As I introduced her to friends and watched the ways they interacted with her, I had an epiphany-like moment. She is my mom, and I have always known her, but I didn’t really know her in any other capacity than as my mom. I have been more critical of her and judgmental toward her than I would ever even think about being with anyone else.

15 The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people. 16 The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians, Chapter 3

 

There’s a song that has been recorded many times over the years, titled, “You Always Hurt the Ones You Love.” Why is that? Why did I sometimes treat the one who loved me the most on this earth with such disdain? Oh, if only I could take back some of the things I said to my Mom, some of my attitudes towards her. 

NOW I get it. Now when it’s too late. I get that my Mom was human, too. I get that my Mom had feelings that she kept to herself. I get that my Mom made mistakes but was doing the best she could with the resources and knowledge she had and circumstances she found herself in. I get that my Mom felt unloved and unappreciated at times, many times. I get that I didn’t really know my Mom as a person with real feelings and didn’t really know her heart and her story, at least, not until the end. I was not the best daughter. And I have not been the best Mom. But now I get it.

Our pastor said this yesterday:

Last weekend I mentioned four things that must be regularly said or done to create healthy relationships in our families:

1. Express your love often, 2. Listen carefully, devoting your full attention. 3. Say “I am sorry” and “I forgive you” regularly, 4. Express gratitude frequently.

Have you expressed your love for your family members yet this week? Take a few moments before you head to bed tonight to drop them a note, a text, a Facebook message or wall post or give them a call saying, “I love you because…” Or maybe you simply need to thank them, or give them the gift of your full attention.

I hope that somewhere in Heaven, there is a computer station and Mom checks her “email” each day so that she will get this message loud and clear. I LOVE YOU, MOM. I am so sorry for the things I said, the way I treated you, the times when I didn’t call or answer the phone, the times when I should have sent a thank you note for your beautiful kindness and sacrifice. Thank you for the years of piano lessons even when I didn’t practice. Thank you for not letting me quit except for the time when Mrs. Good, who wasn’t very good to me, made me cry and you knew it might be best to take a break for awhile and look for a new teacher. Thank you for adoring me and being so proud of me. Thank you for all of the cards and letters you would send without receiving a response from me because I was selfish and didn’t consider your feelings. Thank you for showing me love even when I was pretty unlovable. Thank you for not kicking me out when other parents would have. Thank you for not turning your back on me during my darkest of days. Thank you for accepting me as I was, for forgiving me and loving me even more when I was so broken. Thank you for your sometimes good and sometimes not so good example that words matter. Thank you for your example as a human being with faults that God loves us no matter what.

I love you, I miss you, and I wish you were still here, but I am looking forward to the day when I see you again so that I can wrap my arms around you and not let go for a really, really long time. Just so you finally know how grateful I am.

 

 

I wish I could do this. I will one of these days:

 

 

I am grateful for a Herschel Thornburg morning. The morning sky just before sunrise was so beautiful with the pinks and purples coloring the world above. What is a Herschel Thornburg morning you ask? It’s kind of like this, but in MY world, it’s minus the mountain and the pines and the lake but adding rooftops and oak/maple trees and the distant sound of morning traffic on the freeway. Stunningly beautiful up above, no matter what the landscape is below…

IMG_0426

Thank you, Aunt Estalene and Uncle Floyd, for my Herschel Thornburg picture.

 

I am grateful for the discovery of how much better an egg tastes when the yolk is not completely hard.

I am grateful that I have enough willpower to resist Freddy’s french fries and custard as I sit inside the restaurant and watch someone else eat those best-french-fries-in-the-entire-world.

I am grateful that Anissa’s first day of preschool was so successful and grateful that she told me about it on the phone!

Anissa's First Day at Preschool

 

I am grateful for “my” foster parents who have given their lives to doing love, expanding their world to include more than 25 kids. So incredibly inspiring.

It is ironic that we try to impress people by saying clever or funny things, yet nothing binds one human being to another more than the sense that they have been deeply, carefully listened to. It is no accident that we speak of paying attention to people; attention is the most valuable currency we have. – John Ortberg

Today, my bosses’ dog passed away. He was with them for 11 years. I am grateful for the sad memories of the day Brandi died. Pets become family members and when they leave us, it is truly a death in the family. 

I am grateful that I have more “Interrupted” books to give away…hint hint.

I am grateful for time spent in Colossians today.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians, Chapter 3

 

 

I am grateful that I am not a woman with a manicure or one who has a manicure.

I am grateful for my husband who prayed for Anissa this morning, who takes extra care of me and gently removes my shoes when I sit on the couch after a long walk, who never leaves the house without telling me he loves me, who tells me to stay seated at the dinner table because he will clean up, who says thank you to me for every little thing, and who tells me about his day when he comes home.

And I am grateful for some REALLY COOL Bingo prizes tonight!  CVS had square kleenex facial tissue boxes that are designed with the Royals/KC logos all over them! 

 

 

When you really want to slap someone, do it and just say, “Mosquito!”

 

I am grateful for more lessons about the power of words.

I am grateful for time spent with my Dad this past weekend, just visiting and not doing much of anything.

I am grateful that our service started yesterday with “How Firm a Foundation.” I tried to sing Mom’s alto part as loud as I could.

I am grateful for chocolate chip pancakes.

I am grateful for one last scoop of ice cream last night before we began our second 24 Day Challenge. 

I am grateful for quiet classical music in the still of the morning before coming to work.

 

Talking comes by nature, silence by wisdom. – American Proverb

 

I am grateful for pictures of grandchildren and for the privilege of speaking to them on the phone, even if I can’t decipher their language sometimes.

I am grateful for Anjalie’s chuckle.

I am grateful for handwritten cards in the mail – thank you, Rick. Thank you, Julie.

I am grateful for sweet watermelon to enjoy on a really hot and humid day in Kansas City.

I am grateful for the reminder to appreciate family members and tell them so. As our pastor said yesterday, it’s easy to be nice and share grace with those we see every once in a while, but not so easy to be nice and share grace with whom we’ve shared life. It is so true. They should be the ones who receive the most kindness, the most outpouring of love, the most understanding and patience, the most grace…

I am grateful for Jarod’s growth that is evident. He smiles. He holds a conversation with adults now. He shares about his life. It was fun for this Aunt to watch last night.

I am grateful for an update from Katrina yesterday.

I am grateful that my Sunday afternoons are not scheduled any longer.

 

 

I am grateful to have heard my niece laugh at her mom talk about getting bit by “skeeters.” Gotta love generational gaps.

I am grateful to have experienced the club level at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday evening. It was worth it, even if the game was pathetic. Once in a lifetime. Experience, that is, not pathetic game.

I am grateful that I am not in charge of the world, just my own.

I am grateful for sadness, even though it hurts.

I am grateful for a sister-in-law who knows how to figure out what that tune is. Finlandia. Yeah. That’s it.

I am grateful that God has given me the sensitivity to care.

I am grateful for baked potatoes, chips, hotdogs, cookies, pancakes, chips, iced tea with five sugars, a little Dove chocolate at about 3:30 in the afternoon, Cheezits, corn on the cob, chips, rice in just about any flavor and form, and bread. And did I say chips? Because I won’t be seeing any of this food for the next 24 days and I will miss it, but not as much as I did the first time around. This time is definitely easier.

And I am grateful for people who really listen, with both ears, both eyes, and their whole mind.

 

If you think you are too small to make an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.

I am grateful for friends who love the book as much as I do and let me know…

 

 

A while back, a friend of mine encouraged readers of her blog to read Bob Goff’s book “Love Does”.  She even offered to mail out free copies with the stipulation that once the book had been read that the recipient would pass the book on to another person.  After several months of her offering the challenge to read the book, I sent a request to her asking for a copy.  I could have purchased my own copy, I had the funds available, but I wanted her to know that her offer meant something,  that her message was heard, and I wanted to be held accountable to reading the book. Like the boxes full of unfinished craft projects, I also have a shelf of unread books, I needed that accountability. 

When I received the book, with a bookmark included, I immediately started reading.  At first I couldn’t read it fast enough, I anxiously awaited any free time to read another chapter.  But as I read, I also started learning and started to find that I wasn’t quite ready to read this book, and so it sat.  It sat for several months.  It moved from the upstairs to the downstairs always with the intention of getting it finished, but the spine never cracked and the pages never turned.  I still wasn’t ready. 

You see the book is about love.  It isn’t about how love is a wonderful thing and that Jesus wants us to love.  It doesn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy.  It doesn’t give you the “I’m a good Christian gal because I know Jesus and I pray every night and I do my devotions and I read my bible and I go to church and I donate to charity “ pat on the back.  Nope, if that is what you are looking for, this book isn’t for you.  This book challenges you to do love.  To get off your duff and go out into this messed up world and show love.  To bite your tongue when you want to lash out or prove an unnecessary point and speak words of encouragement and grace instead.  To forgive those who trespass against you. To love the unlovable.  To forgive unconditionally.  To do these things because that is what love does and that is what Jesus does. 

As I said before, I wasn’t ready for this message when I first received the book.  I was going through some tough times with my [child.]  I was going through some discouraging things at work.  The neighbor’s kids were riding their bikes through and tearing up my yard and the garden.  I was growing chin hairs.  I enjoyed telling telemarketers, clerks with poor customer service and people who let their dogs poop in my yard just what I thought.   I was restless, unhappy and I was spiritually dehydrated. 

But after several months, I picked the book back up and started re-reading it.  This time I was ready.  This time I got it.  This time I realized I can do love, even when my brain and tongue tell me otherwise.  Although the book isn’t large, I’ve taken my time reading it, because this time I’m absorbing it fully.  I want to know everything that love does.  I want to learn how I can do love every day, with everyone I encounter, and not to even have to think about it. 

I’m changing.  Little by little.  I still slip up, I’m human that way.  But I consciously make decisions every day to change the words that come out of my mouth and the actions that my mind and body perform.  Baby steps.  I have a ways to go but I know the changes I’m making are making changes in other people’s lives because that is what LOVE DOES.

I love you, friend. Thank you for blessing my weekend with this book review/personal story. I’ve missed your writing.

Atten-HUH!

 

 

 

I am grateful for a day to drive to Fort Leonard Wood in order to witness my nephew graduate from Army basic training yesterday. He went from this…

Adam

High school senior, four year state swimmer, all-around stud lifeguard,

…to this:

Private Ferguson, 1st in marksmanship, future Army Medic.

I am grateful for a very hot, humid weekend to enjoy with my Dad in Kansas City.

I am grateful for four club level Chief’s tickets, given to us by my boss who wanted to do something nice for my Dad this weekend.

I am grateful for a return to counseling because I need it.

I am grateful for conviction from the Holy Spirit. I have been convicted, once again, and was reminded yesterday that I have so much to work on in my life and the things I choose to say to others. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight…and let no evil talk come out of my mouth, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that my words may give grace to those who hear. Yep, so much to work on.

I am grateful for candy messages my Mom used to put together on special occasions, and grateful for Rachel who re-created a Grandma message with candy on our way yesterday, just for our graduate.  It went something like this:  Congratulations, Adam, you are no longer a member of the NERDS, and no one will SNICKER at you anymore. In fact, the girls will all think you are BUBBALICIOUS.  Are you excited for your PAYDAY? Soon you will be making 100 GRAND…and on and on.

I am grateful for the lesson of the shoes, and I am grateful that I continue to learn that I will never truly understand something unless and until it actually happens to me.