In honor of Sesame Street's 40th anniversary, I was thinking about those days and Timmy especially loving to watch the show and learning his letters. By the time he was a teenager, one of things that would crack us up was his impression of Grover. It would be hard explaining it here on this blog so you just have to trust me, he did a great job of imitating Grover explaining "Near and Far" and it was funny!
C. Corey of course, my son of almost 24 years. He has been steadfast in his studies and more successful than I could have ever imagined (high school drop-out to honor roll in college, that said with his permission) and in his own unique style, has been ever so helpful in moving this family forward. Corey and I have "our days", but we have come an awful long way.
trick or treat?
(Tim in Relapse).
K. Is for kidneys. Do you have both of them? Do they work well? Do you drink enough water? Sometimes we take some of our other organs for granted. I watched my son suffer many years when his filters inside his kidneys would swell, open up and allow his nutrients, specifically protein to leave his body. He would retain water, sometimes gaining at least 20 lbs. in fluids. When his meds would kick in after about a 10 day run, he would start to urinate and it was like opening up the floodgates. This was hard on him as well. He would look sunken-in and emaciated. I hated that "look." The medicines were non-stop, the stunting of his growth, the side affects of steroids after many years on his teeth and his back were obvious, the "moon-face" of steroid use, the headaches and moodiness, the voracious hunger, the lack of appetite...and this was just Nephrotic Syndrome, later rediagnosed to FSGS (focal segmental glomural scelorosis). Tim would be diagnosed with many more difficult side effects including peritonitis at one time and the most devastating, a blood clot in his lung (pulmonary embollus). The P.E. would eventually lead to the destruction of one lung, severe anxiety and dependence on pain medication.
L. is also for Liberty. Today is Veteran's Day. We may criticize, grumble, protest...but Hallelujah! We can! This is still the greatest country in which to live. Thank you to all our Vet's who sacrificed to gain our liberty and maintain it. I pray for those whom God has placed in authority, that humbleness to ask for wisdom from above will never be beneath them.
M. is for Michigan. It is there in Livonia, a suburb of
Detroit where I had the opportunity to attend the
Faithwriters.com conference held for two days. While visiting Michigan,
I also enjoyed sightseeing and more photo ops.
N. Is for Newsletter Ministry.
It started out as a simple "change of address" newsletter, and ended up to be something much more. I just finished publishing my 8th edition, "Creature Feature". I am thankful to my great old friend Lynn, for spending a few hours with me one day and teaching me how to use the publisher program. Corey has taught me a few things as well, and I look forward to creating and writing my quarterly newsletters with prayer and hopefulness. It is something I do to bring Glory to God, positive memories of Timmy, scripture and fun facts, some family news and whatever comes to mind. When I know it is about time to write a new one, it is just a blank slate. I put it to prayer and within a few weeks, God will reveal to me what the subject will be and even the name of the newsletter. I cannot really explain it other than it is totally God and I am thankful to be able to have this ministry. When I attended to conference this summer, one thing they encouraged us to do was to write newsletters and have a blog, well, I was already doing both of those, so I feel I am on track to becoming what God wants me to be through my writing ministry. My mailing list is now over 200 and many get handed out! If you are reading my blog and would like to be on my mailing list for my newsletter, let me know in the comment section. The next one should be in January sometime.
O. Is For Oranges. When we first moved here, the only living thing in the backyard was a large orange tree, obviously neglected, in the corner. Our landlord said it produced very good oranges at one time. He said he would take it out if I wanted it gone...no way! "We will get this tree back into shape. It just needs some TLC." With a little watering, a little pruning and attention...This year the tree is so full, one branch is lowered to the grass full of oranges weighing it down. We are watching the fruit turn every day towards the ripeness of Orange. There will be so many oranges...I am going to be giving a lot away. So who has a recipe for orange marmalade?
My prayer for you: ..."that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. " Colossians 1:9-10
James 3:18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
P. Is for The "Potter's House" Sunday school class I have been attending faithfully the last four or more years. My teacher is Tom Matlock, his wife is Judi. They have four grown sons and several grandchildren. All four of their sons are in the ministry. Jeremy, one of the twins, is a missionary with Interns International serving in Saransk Russia, Tom serves on several boards, Wycliffe Bible Translators for one, and has a passion for the Word of God unlike no one I have known, literally working towards seeing God's Word translated and to be in the hands of all people groups and languages in the uttermost parts of the world.
"Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message."
I have attended church all my life, but I can say with so much gratitude, in these later years of my life, I have never grown so much in the Lord and truly come to a greater love of God's Word myself, then I have in Tom's class. For example, we just completed the book of James; it took us a over a year, 16 months I think. (James is only five chapters.) Verse by verse we studied God's powerful message to us and connected it to our lives and to other passages that support God's consistent Truth.
"But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him."
If I had to sum up what I have learned from this class, it would be impossibe without writing a book. (I hope Tom will some day for he is very wise). We have studied God's character qualities and how to have those same qualities in our own life and thus reflect that "light" in our life and to others. We are either two things, a new fresh lump of clay ready and willing to be shaped and formed on the Potter's Wheel, or we are a cracked and broken pot that God needs to reshape for His purpose, either way, there is submission, a yielding process that has to take place in order for God to form us into the vessel He desires for us to be. We were made in His image to manifest His glory, only through humble confession can we restore the Grace Jesus Christ wants to lavish us in.
Thank you Tom (and Judi) for your faithful dedication and love for our class, for all the support you personally have given to me, your friendship and hospitality.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
And by the way, Tom's hobby? ... Throwing and creating pots on a potter's wheel.
Q. Is for Quarters. Yep, I know what you are thinking, this is a stretch, and maybe you are right. Last night my husband and I were taking turns naming "Q" words...I told him I can't just make up any "q" word, it has to be something I am thankful for. So, getting in the car to come home from school today, I saw them...the change tray, filled with nickels, pennies, dimes and a few quarters. Why am I thankful for quarters? Well, first, four of them make one dollar and twelve of them pay for 1 gallon of gas. All last year we have had one car and three adults, two working and one going to school. When Ted was laid off, things became even tighter. There were many days the change cup in the car and the one I have hidden somewhere in my bedroom have paid for a few gallons of gas to get Corey to school or dinner the night before payday. I do not take spare change for granted; thankful that the change in the bottom of my purse or in the folds of the couch, count me, when measured against the world, as very rich.
R. Is for Roses. Roses are my absolute favorite flower. I have endeavored to have a rose garden again. This one is growing strong, beautiful blooms now, as I try to keep up with the deadheading. Bareroot season is coming up, so I hope to get a couple more added. I had "Sunset Celebration" at the Verdugo house, in a tree rose form. I really loved that rose. A few months after we moved here and dead grass and weeds were cleared from the front side yard, finding a new Sunset, was the first rose I wanted to plant. The blooms right now are spectacular. My dad taught me how to prune them correctly and every Super Bowl Sunday, is the day I start to trim them back. I hope to add a "Mr. Lincoln" and an "Angel Face" next season. This is a "Double Delight" which has the most fragrant smell. A new color I truly enjoy is "Hot Chocolate," pictured here. It is just as it says, a chocolaty crimson, with smaller heads and less petals but profuse in the amount of blooms.
S. Is for Scripture. I am ever so thankful for my Bible, the Word of God. The apostle Paul writes to the church in Thessalonica:
"4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,5because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction."
God's Word has power still today, to change lives, to change minds, to redirect a soul headed on a journey towards darkness, to one bathed in light and love.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
God's word does not change; is not "politically correct" for the times, yet it is spiritually correct for a man's sinful heart, no matter the sin. It is the same, yesterday, today and forever. God's word is Love.
but the word of our God stands forever."
God tells us to study it, memorize it and "hide it in our hearts." Hide does not mean here that we do not share it, it means to me that we should be thankful we have the written word and to absorb God's teachings into our very being. For if we are to be used by Him for His purposes, we need to be equipped. God's Holy Word is our instruction manual telling us how to live an abundant, eternal life.
II Timothy 2:15 " Be diligent to present yourself approved by God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth."
II Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness."
Many of us probably have several Bibles in our homes. Taken from the latest board meeting, my friend (mentioned earlier in "P") Tom Matlock returned from, here is the latest goal of Wycliffe Bible Translators whose ministry is to reach all people groups with the Bible in their own native language.
- There are 2,479 languages that have at least one book of the Bible.
- There are 1,990 languages "in progress" with at least one book and/or the New Testament.
- There are 2,252 languages with no translating work yet to be done, many of which do not have a written language.
- The average over a 10 year period, is 75 new starts at translating one book from the Bible.
- There were 109 new starts last year.
God is moving in hearts to make Himself known to the utmost places on Earth.
T. I think I am going to have to put two things for "T" here. I am thankful for my treadmill. We sort of have a "love-hate" relationship. I have never been a fan of exercise...(obviously). After Ted's heart attack last summer (08), my good friend Deanne found it very easy to give us her treadmill. Ted used it for awhile, along with a stationary bike and another contraption called a "Sport Ryder." When school started though, I figured it was time I got serious. Really, it is my stamina I want to improve the most and if some weight comes off too, then that's good. I have gone now from doing 1 mile to 3 1/2 and I have lost about 10 pounds. So, I guess I am thankful for the ability to exercise and it is true; I do not like starting out on the treadmill but after I have finished doing my 3 miles plus, boy, do I feel good.
The second thing I am thankful for, (and I am going to cheat here a little), is Corey's school, ITT Tech. I figure it has enough T's in it to qualify. Corey is in his very last class, graduating on December 10th, and will have his AA degree in Architectural Drafting and Design. He has done very well, making the honor roll several times. This last twelve weeks, he has been working on his final project, designing a house, blueprints, specs, computer design, and an actual scale model, which is due and ready for presentation tonight. He has not been working on this alone, it is a group effort. The three others in his group of been here all week building the model. They finished at the last second tonight, loading up the model and headed out to school. As I type this, he is still at school and I will be anxious to here how the presentation went. Here are some pictures I took of the work in progress.
Well, Corey just got home and said that his presentation went well and the four judges, the Dean, a CAD instructor, a college overseerer and a career services rep. told their group they did well and were very impressed. He doesn't know his grade yet.
Now I want to know who is going to clean up that mess in my back patio?
U. Is God paying any attention to my silly blog? Does He really care about my little world and my random thoughts, (Even if they are considerable)?
I am driving to school this morning, radio on...but thinking that it is Friday and "U" day. What am I thankful for that starts with U? Umbrellas? no, never rains enough, Umpires? Baseball season is over. Ukelele? Well of course, if I was on a beach somewhere in Hawaii. Then I thought of the book of Acts and the new Church and their leaders and new believers. Unity. Every believer is worshipping the same God, believing the same Gospel, worshiping together, struggling together, confessing together, sharing together, being blessed together, moving forward together.
I look over at the truck next to me and painted on the door is a big letter "U", "United Delivery".
God does care about my little blog, and He wanted to tell me just that.
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 133: 1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!
Ephesians 4: 1-2 ...walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of Peace.
V. Is for vehicle(s). I think this is the first year in a long time that we have not had major car repair problems. I admit, some of our car repairs in the past have been caused by our negligence, and all the freeway driving Ted does. Even now I am going to say we usually don't have the extra cash to maintain our cars at 100% all the time. I guess it is what you call a "catch-22". You need to spend the money so you don't have major problems, but you don't have the money and then there is a major problem...and you have to spend the money. That has always been our story with cars. Ted is very hard on our vehicles, always has been. Most of this year we have had one vehicle for jobs and Corey's school. That car was donated to us by Ted's parents, a mercury mini-van. We recently acquired a second vehicle, this time we purchased it, again from Ted's parents, a Ford SUV (the smaller one). Both cars are late models but both run very well and once we get all the registration and tags current, it will be a relief to actually have two vehicles.
I am ever so thankful to my friends who have helped transport me around this last year. For Ronda, my neighbor who took me to school everyday, for Cathy who is ever so faithful in picking me up (we have Monday prayer time, too), several times during the week this year, my friend Linda on Thursdays, my new friend Annette, and sister in the Lord, who got both of us to summer school this last summer, and my friend Yolanda who sometimes helps shuttle us over to our small group fellowship, and Diane and Scott, Gary and Paula, and Roger and Trudy who have helped out as well. Thanks, all of you.
With all the freeway driving Ted does, we have been protected. Thank You Lord. Thank you for my in-laws, John and Henny VanTilburg, another "V", for helping us out. I don't enjoy driving as much as I used to. There are so many big tractor-trailers on the road now and of course cell phone users and texters. Even with the new laws in place, I see them all the time. I long for those days when you could get down to the beach in 40 minutes.
Peter and Thomas
The scripture that ends this book is from Psalm 118:24, a reminder to be thankful everyday, for every day God gives us to bring Him Glory.
This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
XXXs and OOOs from Heaven
Y. It's all about You! You, who read my blog: old friend, brand new blogging friend, church friend, cousin, fellow faith writer, co-worker, ex-boss, ...anonymous person...You know who You are. I write for myself and for God of course, I truly enjoy it, no surprise, but what good would it do if my words just echoed off the back side of my brain and hung here in cyber space? There are times when we are doing the work we have been called to do, we will not even know whom we have ministered to.
Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
You have been used of God to give me strength and I pray my words, God's Word you read here will brighten your day and/or encourage you as well. Your stories, your courage, your walk with God through this sometimes very difficult life have inspired me daily. Several of You have asked me to write their stories. Wow, what a privilege, to be trusted, to be honored by You to bring glory to the Most High. Thank you all again and I love You!
And Corey is doing great!
Jordan with our banana splits we made one summer night!
But actually I wanted to share that Raul to me, is like the brother I never had. He makes me laugh, he tells me the truth...sometimes when it's not easy to hear, his is very generous, he is a good listener, and he likes to have a lot of fun. Sometimes he is just a big kid out tossing the football in the street, and other times he is sharing his own poetry with me. Raul had a very difficult childhood, but he will tell you he was blessed because God saw him through and protected him and he ended up with a family who loved him and today he is able to have love for his own family and others. While no one is perfect, living so close to each other, sharing this townhouse, we have seen the good days and the bad days of each other. We have both laughed and cried together and shared our stories and poems. Yes, Raul writes poems too and with his permission, I am sharing one here:
So, I hope you all enjoyed this blog, (as long as it was)...and "Count" all your blessings, name then one by one. ahahahaha.... It is sure good way to bring you out of a "feel sorry for yourself" mood and bring Praise to God foremost.