This just happens to be a Thursday so I thought I’d celebrate that by sharing a “Thankful Thursday” post from almost two years ago, titled “Thank You Challenge.” I love what the image above states about gratitude. It really ties into my blog tagline:
gratitude turns what we have into more than enough
How about you, Beloved? Look around you. Do you view even the tiniest of blessings with thankfulness and gratitude?
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I am so blessed and thankful for my close friends who know me so well and love me anyway. You know who you are!
Most of them live near me and I consider them as my local “family.” I also have a friend who lives all the way across the country in Maine and we have yet to meet in person, yet our online friendship is so sweet. Then there is that special lady who once lived near me, moved halfway across the country, and then moved back several years later. Although we now live about 130 miles apart, we love it that when we get together, we pick up our conversation just as if we lived next door to each other.
What would we do without the blessing of our close friends?
Friendship isn’t a big thing–it’s a million little things. —Author Unknown
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same. —Elbert Hubbard
A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself. —Jim Morrison
I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun. —Charles R. Swindoll
Something for all of us to ponder,
not only on this Thankful Thursday,
but every single day…
I read this saying recently and have been mulling it over. I know I’ve shared this with you before but I always want to remember all of these below for which I am thankful each and every day.
My Lord and Savior: Jesus Christ
I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.—Isaiah 43:11
My sweet husband: Rick
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. –Ephesians 5:31-33
My precious children: Kathy, Alan and Denise (my daughter-in-love)
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. –Proverbs 22:6
Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me. –Mark 9:37
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. –3 John 1:4
My loving parents: Mom (now home with the Lord) and Dad
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. –Exodus 20:12
My four wacky and wonderful sisters
In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips. –Author Unknown
To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time. –Clara Ortega
All my close and special friends
[Too many to display photos or mention by name but you know who you are!]
A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked. –Bernard Meltzer
A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails. –Donna Roberts
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’ –C. S. Lewis
A caring and supportive church family:
Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers. –Acts 9:31
A snug and cozy home in a beautiful part of the country
My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. –Isaiah 32:18
For you will go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. —Isaiah 55:12
Enough food, clothing and everything else I need to be comfortable
He enjoys much who is thankful for little; a grateful mind is both a great and happy mind. –Unknown
My precious Bible
[with tons of hand-written margin notes, highlighted passages and sticky notes marking certain pages]
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart. –Psalm 119:2
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. –2 Peter 3:18
I have been so blessed by all my bloggy friends and today I want to share with you several blog awards I recently received:
These awards are such fun to receive and share with you!
I need to thank Ginger from Daily Life with Fibromyalgia and Peter from PJ Grace Community: Identifying Evidences of God’s Grace .
THANK YOU BOTH!
Peter nominated me for the Lovely Blog Award, the Shine On Award, and the Very Versatile Blogger Award.
Interestingly, both Ginger and Peter nominated me for the Blog of the Year 2012 award so I get to display the image that includes 2 brightly shining stars. [See explanation of this below.]
Peter, I know I am supposed to share 7 things about myself here, but I’ll save that for a few future Tidbit Tuesdays. I only have so much energy these days, and most people would probably be able to just dash off this post quickly, but it literally takes me hours to prepare, compose and schedule this kind of post.
Ginger, I am following your ‘rules’ for the Blog of the Year 2012 because it basically only entails my copying from your post where you listed your nominees. Now that I can manage, so here it is!
Here are my blog nominees for the Blog of the Year 2012:
The ‘rules’ for this award are simple:
- Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award
- Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.
- Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/ and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
- Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.
- You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience
- As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…
Yes – that’s right – there are stars to collect!
Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once – this award is different!
When you begin you will receive the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star!
There are a total of 6 stars to collect.
Which means that you can check out your favourite blogs – and even if they have already been given the award by someone else – you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!
‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Badges
Here are the six badges for you to collect – you can either ‘swop’ your badge for the next one each time you are given the award – or even proudly display all six badges if you are lucky enough to be presented with the award six times!
Need to know more? Check out our FAQ page.
And Congratulations! on being chosen for the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award
‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – thumbnails
Here are the 6 awards in thumbnail size for your sidebar – feel free to Right Click and save any of the images on this page:
Please visit the blogs I’ve nominated to show your support. You never know—you might be inspired to follow one of them too!
I guess 2013 started without my help but I’m here to let you know that I’m still alive and kicking… somewhat.
The last few months have been more difficult than usual as I have felt myself getting worse and worse. As I shared with you before, I am on a new supplement/med that causes you to feel worse before you start to feel better. Let me just say that, true to past experience with most meds, I not only feel worse…I feel WORSE!
The overwhelming fatigue has been the worst of my symptoms and I struggle to get even one “thing” done each day. Definition of “thing”: laundry, cooking, dusting, washing floors. In other words, taking care of my home and my man, two things I value a lot! Then there is this blog. I woke up this morning and remembered I hadn’t written anything in a couple of weeks, because my brief New Year’s post was written and scheduled about a week ahead of time.
The one thing I have not let go of is my alone time with the Lord but that took some doing. My daughter and I were discussing this very thing in emails earlier today. I used to be able to get up at what I call the crack of dark and sit down in my comfy chaise lounge with a cup of coffee and my Bible. It was the quietest and most serene time of day for me, something I looked forward to. These days, however, my brain does not fully come to life until I’ve been up for at least a couple of hours, and then I am struggling with what “thing” I can accomplish that day. As I prayed before falling asleep each night I would inevitably think Oh no! I missed reading my Bible again today!
A couple of months ago I decided to turn things around. I normally read for awhile before going to sleep at night but now I read my Bible first. And this time, I am reading intentionally. What do I mean by that? Well, I finally realized that I used to rush through my Bible reading so that I could cross it off my mental to-do list. There. Finished. I’ve read through many versions of the Bible over the years but how much have I retained of what I’ve read?
This image is an example of what my own Bible looks like. There are tons of handwritten notes, highlighted and underlined passages, and sticky notes all through my favorite NAS Bible. It was a birthday gift many years ago from Donna and I love the wide margins for all those notes. In spite of the other versions of the Bible I’ve read over the years, this is the one I keep coming back to for everyday reading, the one I always take to church and on trips.
So a couple of months ago, as I got ready to read through my NASB again, I decided to read it in chronological order, something I had never done. There are many web sites with schedules for different Bible reading methods, but I chose Back to the Bible. I copied and pasted the chronological list into a Word file because it is separated by month on the BTTB site, and then printed it out to keep in my Bible for daily reference.
I know there are a lot of you out there who have smart phones and use them to keep up with your Bible reading and I think that’s great. I do have a couple of Bible versions on my Nook Color, but I’m still old school (or should I just say old?) so that I prefer to read the paper version of the Bible—my trusty and beloved NASB—mostly because it’s easier for me to write notes in the margins.
I am so thankful for the Lord’s patience and grace in my life. If there is one thing I can always count on, it is that He is always ready and waiting for me to sit down with Him, read and contemplate His Word, and then talk to Him about it.
Beloved, I’ll be praying for all of us to enjoy a closer relationship with Jesus in 2013…
So many of us are hurting, mostly in ways not easily understood by our friends and family because we put on a good front. We don’t want to bother our loved ones with the details of how much pain we endure each day. Or we’re so busy caring for others in dire physical circumstances that we don’t have the time or inclination to think about how much we go through as we care for these dear ones. Perhaps we don’t know how we’ll pay the bills this month. When or how will we get our next paycheck—or meal?
Oh, we may have a deep and abiding faith in God because we know He loves us and cares about every single little detail of our lives…but these days we are clinging to that faith by our fingernails.
We are understandably so focused on our own pain and suffering or that of our loved ones that we’re afraid to confront our frustrations about a situation that never seems to end. How do we get through this Christmas season of joy when everything around us is in shambles?
Beloved, I’ll be writing more about this in the next days before Christmas, but today I want to share something with you that arrived in my inbox this morning. I pray you will be blessed by this as much as I am, and I will be praying for each and every hurting heart who reads this.
To Those Hurting This Christmas
by John Knight | December 9, 2012
I know some of you are praying you’ll make it through Christmas—just make it through—not anticipating anything good will come from gathering with extended family and friends. It has become a cliche—right next to the article on what second-graders are excited about for Christmas is the article on the rise in depression during this last month of the year.
You know the sadness is real. While you change the diaper of a teenager, or administer complicated medications, or prevent your non-verbal ten-year-old from hurting himself again, or explain yet again the complicated life of your five-year-old without a diagnosis for her disability, your nieces and nephews and young friends are playing and running and eating, happily talking about the toys they want or travel they’re excited about or things they are doing in school. They easily do things your child will never do, no matter how many therapies or medications or prayers are offered.
Or maybe the disability in your family member means you can’t gather with other loved ones, and the heartache is almost more than you can stand.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15, italics added)
More than that, he endured and is victorious!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1–2, italics added)
And there are some of you who can’t see it. There is still hope!
From Pastor John’s book, When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy,
It is utterly crucial that in our darkness we affirm the wise, strong hand of God to hold us, even when we have no strength to hold him. This is the way Paul thought of his own strivings. He said, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Philippians 3:12). The key thing to see in this verse is that all Paul’s efforts to grasp the fullness of joy in Christ are secured by Christ’s grasp of him. Never forget that your security rests on Christ’s faithfulness ﬁrst.
Our faith rises and falls. It has degrees. But our security does not rise and fall. It has no degrees. We must persevere in faith. That’s true. But there are times when our faith is the size of a mustard seed and barely visible. In fact, the darkest experience for the child of God is when his faith sinks out of his own sight. Not out of God’s sight, but his. Yes, it is possible to be so overwhelmed with darkness that you do not know if you are a Christian — and yet still be one. (216, italics added)
Jesus understands. Jesus is victorious. Jesus is the answer. May you find him, and in finding him, find hope and peace in these hard days.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
John Knight is Director of Development at Desiring God. He is married to Dianne and together they parent their four children: Paul, Hannah, Daniel, and Johnny. Paul lives with multiple disabilities including blindness, autism, cognitive impairments and a seizure disorder. John blogs on issues of disability, the Bible, and the church at The Works of God.
Thank you for cruising these 13 days of being thankful with me. In hindsight, I wish I had started this on November 1st, but sometimes it takes a while for an idea to gel in my mind.
I am always thankful for:
- my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ
- my sweet hubby
- my wonderful children (including my daughter-in-love)
- my father and 4 sisters
- my local “family” of close friends
- long-distance friends, some of whom I have not yet met
- my church family
- my cozy home, warm in the winter and cool in the summer
- plenty of food
- enough clothes
- a reliable vehicle
- “thorns” to keep me grounded and closely relying on God
- laughter to lighten up a rough day
- overflowing joy in the midst of even the worst of trials
- the supreme comfort in knowing that my God is always with me
- that all-encompassing “peace of God, which transcends all understanding,” that “will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
This list looks long but I’m sure there are many more things I could add. Sometimes I feel like my view of the outside world is about the size of a quarter because I’m housebound so much, but when I take the time to count my blessings, I am always overwhelmed with thankfulness and praise to my God for providing so abundantly.
Beloved, may we never forget to be thankful for the seemingly tiniest of blessings in our lives!
Today’s Thankful Thursday is dedicated to a very special friend, Johnny Harkins. To some, the way we met could be considered coincidental but Johnny and I both know it was a God-incidence.
Travel with me back in time to April 2007. Rick and I were shopping for a camper at a dealer in Phoenix. When we went back to close the deal and pick up our new camper, we were also scheduled for a walk-thru to familiarize us with all the systems in the camper. Upon our arrival, we were told that the person originally scheduled to take us on our walk-thru was not able to be there that morning. Instead they assigned another of their employees to do the honors.
Rick and I spent the next hour or so being educated on the systems and idiosyncrasies of our new camper. Johnny was very knowledgeable and gracious in explaining everything to us and easily answered all of our questions. As I listened to him speak, I was struck by his quiet yet friendly manner.
For some reason, I felt the need to ask Johnny if he was a Christian. [Johnny, we both know Who gave me that urge, huh?] When he replied, “Yes,” I shared with him that I was a devotional writer. You cannot imagine the surprise on both of our faces as he told me he had an online devotional ministry and was looking for writers. Was I interested? Ummm… YES!!!
That was the beginning of a wonderful, God-ordained friendship: our God-incidence. If the other technician had been there to give us our tour, Rick and I would never have met Johnny, and I wouldn’t be sitting here right now sharing this all with you.
Through Johnny’s ministry—GEM Ministries—I have had the opportunity to virtually meet his other writers and have formed a close bond with some of them. Even though Johnny and I only live a couple of hours apart, I never had the opportunity to spend more time with him until two years ago. I was in Phoenix visiting my children and Johnny invited me to go to church with him. Here’s a photo of that visit:
Johnny, I am truly blessed to have you in my life and am so thankful for you and your special ministry. I love the way God works in our lives in such obvious and special ways!
This is how I see my friendship with Johnny:
You are my friends if you do what I command.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
Again, thank you, Johnny, for the gift of your friendship. May God continue to bless you and Sylvia (and your family) and your work. And may He continue to use you in so many lives to advance His kingdom here on earth!
Today, May 12th, is designated as Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. There are too many people who live with this disease. I have had to count myself among them since 1999, when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) plus Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS)—also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
“Fibromyalgia (pronounced fy-bro-my-AL-ja) is a complex chronic pain disorder that affects an estimated 10 million Americans. While it occurs most often in women, it strikes men and children, and all ethnic backgrounds. For those with severe symptoms, fibromyalgia (FM) can be extremely debilitating and interfere with basic daily activities.
- The FM diagnostic criteria, established by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) in 1990, includes a history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of three months, and pain in at least 11 of the 18 designated tender points when a specified amount of pressure is applied.
- Since people with FM tend to look healthy and conventional tests are typically normal, a physician knowledgeable about the disorder is necessary to make a diagnosis.
- Physicians should rule out other causes of the symptoms before making a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.”
Read more here.
One of the most distressing things that people with FMS experience is disbelief from family and friends because we mostly look normal, that is, like there’s nothing out-of-the-ordinary wrong with us. The common phrase we hear is, “But you look so good!” I have often replied, “Thank God for makeup!”
The truth is this: My hair may be nicely fixed and I have taken the time to do my eyebrows and apply some lip color. I may even put in some earrings if I feel up to it. My hubby frequently compliments me on how good I look. But most days when I look in the mirror what I see is a tired and wrinkled old hag. Really. Because that’s how I feel inside.
A typical day for me begins with my daily migraine (usually with nausea) and includes extreme pain in joints and ligaments. I often have pain in my chest similar to what a heart attack feels like. But it’s not a heart attack. It’s called Costochondritis. Even though I am used to these episodes, I still wonder every time if this is the day I am having a heart attack.
Stressful? You betcha!
And I haven’t even touched on the debilitating fatigue that is part of both FMS and CFIDS. No matter how much sleep I get, I always—and I mean always—feel like I haven’t slept at all.
I normally wake up between 6:00 and 7:30 a.m. but a couple of hours later I’m already thinking it’s time to get back into bed. Some days I do. Other times I keep pushing myself to get a few household chores done until lunch time. After lunch I either get back into bed or slide into my recliner for a snooze in front of the TV. Even though Rick is always volunteering to do things for me, I thank him and reply that I need to do as much as I am physically capable of doing, for as long as I am able to. It is important to me to at least try to keep things up around the house.
When Rick and I have planned activities such as going out for a meal, meeting up with friends, going to church or even just shopping, I have to prepare myself beforehand with plenty of rest. That doesn’t guarantee that I’ll actually be able to get to any of these planned events, but I at least try. And if I do make it, there’s the payback afterwards—sometimes for days (or weeks), especially if some traveling was part of the activity.
I happen to be blessed with a family and many close friends who do their best to understand all of this. I have had to cancel or reschedule countless activities with them, yet they still stand by me. And for that I am truly blessed.
As a matter of fact, I almost was not able to travel to Phoenix to be with my children on this Mother’s Day weekend. I have been struggling with bronchitis and a sinus infection that just wouldn’t let up. And the antibiotics have wreaked havoc on my digestive system. It has been a very difficult time for me and I often wondered if I would have to cancel this trip. So I handed it all over to my Lord and as I prayed about it I decided to just pack anyway. I figured it wouldn’t take that long to unpack if need be.
And the Lord was gracious to me so here I am with my children as I had hoped.
The Family & Friends Pledge to Care below is meant to be shared with others who may not “get it” and that is very understandable. There is way too much about FMS and CFIDS that even the medical profession doesn’t understand. And if they don’t see these as real diseases, how can we hope for some kind of a cure? Or at least find out what the cause is.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and visit The National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association’s site for more information.
God bless you all!
“Therefore I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me.” —Micah 7:7
Micah was one man who not only showed great personal faith in God, but who also had enormous faith that God would bring His people through the tough times. His faith portrayed a great confidence that God would not abandon His people or give them over to the enemy.
This is a faith we can share with Micah today.
Years ago when we lived in California, Marge was our next-door neighbor. She was in her mid-70′s and couldn’t see or hear well at all. Unless you were almost on top of her, she could not see or hear who was calling her name. And if you weren’t close enough for her to read your lips, you might as well be talking to yourself.
But Marge possessed a great sense of humor that got her through those tough times. She regularly laughed at her inability to see or hear well, and accepted her situation without murmuring. She had trouble reading without the aid of a magnifying glass and mostly just listened to her TV unless she pulled a chair up close to the screen. Sometimes she would sweep her sidewalk just to stave off boredom. But she always held on to her keen sense of humor.
Isn’t humor wonderful?
I’m so thankful God gives us this way of looking at ourselves and our problems, because humor can help diffuse stressful feelings about our own frustrating situations. How many times are we so concentrated on our problems that we lose sight of the Lord? When that happens, we give ourselves over to satan, our ultimate enemy. He longs for us to get discouraged and grumble to God about our circumstances.
Don’t give him the satisfaction! Hold on to your faith in God, be thankful for what you do have… and don’t forget to air out that sense of humor about yourself.
Marge may not have been able to see or hear very well, but she had the confidence that God could see and hear her just as she was. She was one gal who knew the meaning of using what you’ve got. Just because she had impaired vision and hearing difficulties didn’t mean she was not able to make a great lemon meringue pie! And Rick and I were the blessed recipients of the extras she would purposely make to bring over to us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, it’s so hard sometimes to be patient in our trials. Please help us remember that You’re always there waiting for us and that You always hear our cries. Thank you for being the God of our salvation. Amen.