No exceptions.

Everybody Always

I am grateful today for this book.

I am grateful for the beginning to my days this week that included chapters from this book.

I am grateful for the reminders this week of the hard people in our life – hard to love people in our life.

I am grateful for conviction.

I am grateful for the ones who are on the other side politically that drive me a little batty. I don’t even have a side these days, but I am grateful for those who do and are so opinionated – they are my challenge to love everybody, always.

I am grateful for the ones who hurt me deeply with their rejection and their silence. They are my challenge to love everybody, always.

I am grateful for the ones who make wrong decisions and come to us to bail them out – they are my challenge to love everybody, always.

I am grateful for the ones I do not understand, the ones who cannot see the forest through the trees, the ones who do not ask for advice but go headstrong and think they know all – they are my challenge to love everybody, always.

I am grateful for the ones who make me feel very uncomfortable and awkward, the ones who make me feel inferior and unworthy, the ones who make me feel like I do not know anything – they are my challenge to love everybody, always.

I am grateful for the ones who cannot keep their opinions to themselves, who only talk about themselves, who are “takers” – they are my challenge to love everybody, always.

I am grateful for the ones who do not say “Thank you.” They are my challenge to love everybody, always.

Everybody Always 5

I am grateful for the ones who are not like me. They do not dress like me, they do not worship like me, they do not live like me, they do not speak like me. They are my challenge to love everybody, always.

I am grateful for the ones who do not drive right, do not use correct English, do not wash their hands before they leave a bathroom, clip their fingernails in public or in my presence, do not brush their teeth, scream at their little ones in public, mistreat their animals – they are my challenge to love everybody, always.

I am grateful for the ones on MY side of the fence – the ones who sinned, the ones who harmed unknowingly, the ones who have been shamed, the ones whose sins are still being held against them long after the offenses. They are my challenge to love and accept everybody, ALWAYS.

Everybody Always 4

 

 

Ridiculous I say.

Tucked shirt

I was shopping online for a polo shirt for Sam. He has a tendency to spill, and I have a tendency to throw clothes in the washing machine without checking for spills, thus, I was shopping online for a polo shirt for Sam and saw this model modeling. And yes, the actual picture cut off the poor guy’s head.

Who, for heaven’s sake, since that is where Mom is at and I am sure she agrees with me, WHO had the idiotic idea that it is stylish to tuck in the front and untuck in the back?

I like to let people be. I like to take the stance these days that I have not walked in their shoes, therefore, I have no place to judge.

But seriously.

That looks ridiculous.

I would ask the photographer to cut off my head too if I was that model. How embarrassing. All he needs is a pair of high heels with a big maxi-pad inserted for comfort to complete his outfit. (see previous post if that seemed completely inappropriate and random)

*****

On to the important things in life.

Last night, Sam and I took an evening drive, a favorite pastime, since it was 124% humidity outside, too hot to walk, and the mosquitoes are on the hunt. We love the countryside views, and harvest has just begun all around, so we decided to sit in the comfort of the truck and AC blowing in our faces to see what we could see.

I am grateful for combines everywhere, working hard to get the fields done.

I am grateful for fields of fireflies, twinkling like it’s the land of Tinkerbell.

I am grateful for beautiful sunsets and strawberry moons.

I am grateful for deer, bounding across a field after we disturb their peace.

I am grateful for a skunk running the other way.

I am grateful for the sounds of meadowlarks and red-winged blackbirds on fence posts and frogs in ponds.

I am grateful for a husband who is happy to stop and back up so I can get a picture of the full moon through a barbed-wire fence.

I am grateful for the inventor of air conditioning in vehicles.

I am grateful for the beauty of ripe wheat fields and healthy corn fields.

I am grateful for bats in the front yard, eating all the mosquitoes.

I am grateful for the farmer wave.

And I am grateful for a beautiful ending to a hot day – it’s ridiculous how I never realized how glorious and praise-worthy a quiet drive on a boring country road should be. God has given us such an incredible gift…

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The things you learn when you work from home.

Sanitary-Pads

I was knee-deep in a spreadsheet this morning, updating information on Vice Presidents of Marketing at major pharmaceutical companies. The fan was blowing, Natia was sleeping at my feet, and the TV in the bedroom was white noise for my work.

HOWEVER.

I heard a familiar voice on that TV – two women on a morning talk show, talking about all the important things, like shoes that don’t fit correctly. That was the important topic of the segment.

DID YOU KNOW? A sanitary napkin/maxi pad is a perfect shoe cushion that makes you feel like you are walking on a cloud when you insert it into your 4-inch high heels that don’t exactly fit perfectly.

I can go about my day now.

I am grateful my job involves finding important people who are discovering and bringing life-changing drugs to market. I am grateful my job is not informing the world how cushion-y soft a sanitary napkin is in a shoe.

Annistan High Heels

Cooooooold mornings in June

Early morning

We spent the weekend in our favorite place. It was one of the few times I have seen Sam stop and smell the fresh air without his mind spinning out projects. There were so many things about the weekend that made us say, “Thank you, God.” I will attempt to name them one. by. one.

  1. Smooth roads
  2. Good squeegees for clean windows
  3. Cool breezes
  4. Snacks in the car
  5. National parks
  6. Tight hugs and big smiles from our Macedonian daughters
  7. Friendly customers in line at the grocery store
  8. Dillons Plus cards that work at City Market
  9. Warm covers and an open cabin window to enjoy the very cold early morning
  10. Hummingbirds everywhere
  11. Empty rocking chairs waiting for us on the deck
  12. Mountain views
  13. Lake views
  14. Laughter with the girls as they described the possibility of Sam driving in Scopje
  15. Moose and elk and ground squirrels…and dogs on vacation
  16. Flower boxes with raninculus
  17. “Everybody Always” by Bob Goff, our latest road trip read
  18. Hearing soft sobs as I finished chapter 3 – I love that he cries
  19. Meeting even more Macedonian kids
  20. Seeing Craig and Marjorie, our Grand Lake friends
  21. Buffet breakfasts
  22. Really good pineapple
  23. A jacket and insulated wind pants
  24. Aspens
  25. Sailboats and sunshine
  26. Porch swings
  27. Conversation with other dinner guests sitting at tables nearby
  28. Being remembered, one year later
  29. Having the luxury of throwing NASTY TASTING popcorn away, just because it was NASTY TASTING – sorry Mom. We wasted, because we definitely didn’t want.
  30. Beautiful storm clouds to watch on our drive home
  31. Planning a summer party while the miles pass
  32. 75 MPH speed limits
  33. Hand holding to the quiet hum of tires
  34. Walking in the door to see little Natia wagging her tail after being alone all weekend
  35. Our own bed

 

Grand Lake mid morning

Sam relaxing

Porch swings

Flower boxes

Expanding the vocabulary, one term at a time.

IndianaJones

Weed whip.

I figured it was Cool Whip, just made with marijuana.

Or maybe it was an Indiana Jones kind of weapon, made from dandelions.

I was wrong.

Apparently, it is another term for a weed trimmer aka weed eater aka weed whacker.

Who knew.

I am grateful for the end of a long day and for the anticipation of a great weekend.

Junk drawer mind

 

Who is talking?

Immigration

I am not interested in the reasons. I am not interested in the arguments and opinions. I am not interested in the law.

I am interested in what is right in the eyes of Jesus.

I don’t have the answers to all the problems. But I do have the answers according to scripture. We should not be treating PEOPLE this way. PEOPLE. We did NOT walk in their shoes hundreds and thousands of miles to reach a better life. We have no clue of their story.

Immigration 1

I sit here this morning in my lovely home under construction and am grateful because I DO NOT DESERVE this favor.

I sit here this morning at my desk with a full stomach and clean clothes doing a job that stretches me but at the same time cushions me from hard times, and I am grateful because I DO NOT DESERVE this favor.

I sit here this morning in the quiet of the day with no noise, no crying, no trauma surrounding me, and I am grateful because I DO NOT DESERVE this favor.

Immigration 2

I sit here this morning with a sweet dog at my feet, a husband who kissed me goodbye and told me he loved me, a beautiful view of green out my window, a cool breeze coming in the window, and I am broken-hearted. I want to rescue these families. I want my President to make decisions based on being compassionate and kind rather than law and order rules like Pharisees. I want to be proud to live in America again.

I sit here this morning with information at my fingertips – information that is biased – let’s face it. No information these days comes without bias, does it? Everyone who conveys information puts their own slant on the information dispensed. Even when it comes to scripture – two people can look at the same scripture and use it for their own argument, their own benefit. It makes me want to turtle.

And while I hide in my shell at what is happening in my world, my sister is taking a stand and fighting for people who just want a better life and do not have the monetary means or the security and time that bureaucracy takes to enter our country via “law and order.” Most just want safety. Most just want a better life for their children and for themselves. After working in my sister’s immigration law office and hearing the stories, the arguments about healthcare and not paying taxes and taking our jobs away…just don’t hold water. I watch my sister fight and I feel a small sense of desperation compared to what I KNOW she feels.

I am grateful today for my sister. I am grateful that she is the HANDS AND FEET of Jesus. I am grateful for this sense of desperation. I am grateful that I have firsthand knowledge of the struggle on the border. I am grateful that we have friends who are undocumented. I am grateful that while I sit here in my cushioned office chair, I have a phone, I have my congressman’s phone number, and I will make calls. Every day.

Hebrews 13:2 (New Living Translation)

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!

Leviticus 19:33-34 (New Living Translation)

33 “Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. 34 Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

Matthew 25:31-40 (The Message)

31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth:

Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

Immigration 3

 

What blocks gratitude in your life?

Calmness in Gratitude

This is a question that was in the middle of my devotion this morning. What keeps me from being thankful for every last thing? Rejection and silence of family members and friends, a burned finger on a stove, chaos and disorder, being criticized for a decision made, bills unpaid, stepping in dog poop, feeling anxiety or the sadness of depression…lots of things attribute to a sense that there is nothing for which to be grateful.

But I am also reminded today:

Psalm 42:5

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
    Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God
    soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
    He’s my God.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

Philippians 4:6-7

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Colossians 4:2

Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.

2 Corinthians 2:14

In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life.

I am grateful today is Friday. I am grateful that my brother is visiting my Dad. I am grateful that Sam is coming to spend the weekend. I am grateful that Natia is sleeping at my feet. I am grateful for a full night of sleep. I am grateful for a happy workplace. I am grateful that my sister is having new experiences. I am grateful for my vitamins. I am grateful for Chinese food for dinner last night. I am grateful for emails from Geri and Elaine. I am grateful for Mama and Ama anticipation of a visit when Karissa and family come to stay with us. I am grateful for the smell of clean clothes. I am grateful for no humidity. I am grateful for bacon. I am grateful for the stability and sense of peace that God’s Word provides my troubled heart.

Zig Ziglar Gratitude