With a grateful smile, she tossed imaginary bouquets to Jesus. The scenario: I asked her permission to share this story. She reminded me that I wasn’t supposed to know that it was her. I reminded her right back how I anonymously thanked her on that Sunday a few years back.
Recalling the sweet moment, she lifted her hands and offered Jesus ALL the glory. Another friend snapped this photo; and no, neither of us recall a memo to wear lime green.
It all began when he delivered the news with an I-told-you-so attitude, and it smacked like the blow of a high-powered sledge hammer. I completed training from one of the most highly acclaimed reflexology schools in the country at the time. Our state denied my application for board certification. Crucial for me to supplement our family income, I invested a year of life in this. One more time the voices in my head hollered loud and clear – you’re not good enough – you’ll never be able to do that. Were those voices right?
Redeeming the situation meant attending another school in my state, and paying their full tuition. That $1800 (AGAIN!) loomed more like $18,000,000. After draining a measly savings left from a small inheritance I still needed several hundred dollars to make this happen.
Craft sales and dollars scraped from every pot available secured my way the first time. Overwhelmed by the thought of a redo and unable to wiggle one more penny from our tight family budget, the chains of hopelessness and helplessness strangled me. A few friends aware of my plight contributed generously, but the fund remained impossibly short. How awesome God loves impossible situations!
Meant to be anonymous, the envelope arrived with only the church’s return address. It contained a gift card that filled the gap for the rest. With immediate realization of who sent it, I thanked God for her generous spirit. I didn’t know her well at the time, but she’s one of those people who makes you feel comfortable bearing your heart and burdens right from the start, confident she’ll never tell another soul.
Nearly ten years gone by now, I’m so thankful for the friendship we share. Getting to know the heart of this beautiful lady revealed how she stands in the gap for so many. Continuously making herself aware of the needs around her and madly in love with Jesus, acts of kindness flow freely from Miss Bonnie’s life. To her it simply represented a monetary gift she gladly offered in Jesus Name, but He orchestrated the act of kindness that allowed me to break free from those chains and began to bring restoration to my weary soul.
Of special note, my devotional, The Essence of Courage, features fictional characters whose life stories are based on the lives of real women. A little piece of Miss Bonnie’s story became a part of who Cinnamah-Brosia’s “Gram” is in the book.
Pulled reluctantly into women’s ministry nearly four decades ago, Lynn Watson now treasures the opportunities that were provided to lead, encourage and mentor women through relationships and Bible studies. She wrote a few of the studies, too.
Drawing from those experiences, along with years serving others professionally in the complementary healthcare field and her love for essential oils, Lynn delights in bringing her readers freshly inspired insights drawn from and focused on the many fruits, plants, oils, and spices mentioned in God’s Word. Married since 1973, Lynn and Steve call Bartlett, Tennessee home. Their home is filled with handmade treasures and lots of love for family, especially their five beautiful (of course) grandchildren.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lynnuwatson writer
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-U-Watson/e/B01N4NH1OA/
The Essence of Courage: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit in Solomon’s Locked Garden and in Your Heart (Cinnamah-Brosia’s Inspirational Collection for Women) (Volume 1)
Fresh & Unique! Explores spices & essential oils in the Bible. Ties those in King Solomon’s Locked Garden to the fruit of the Spirit. Visits women in the Bible & fictionalized contemporary characters who encourage you to cultivate the fruit in your heart. Icing on the cake: fun facts and activities to bring the spices & essential oils into your life.
The alarm goes off and my husband is up, out of bed, into the living room to do his sit ups and push ups, out the door for his 2 mile walk and back home again to unload the dishwasher.
Just after he puts the coffee on he comes into the bedroom, kisses me and asks me what I want for breakfast. We’re going on 3-plus years now and this is how it has been.
I think about the days when I had to get up and get the kids dressed and fix their lunches and put a load of laundry in and start dinner and drive to work and work 8 hours and then stop at the grocery store on my way home — you know (or remember) the drill — and now I’m in this kind of fairlyland, dream-world life.
I look out the sliding glass door as my husband heads back out to the kitchen. A dove flies into the glass door with a thud. Startled, she lands on her feet, shakes her head a few times and takes off, sailing over the fence as if nothing had happened.
How grateful I am on behalf of the little bird. And then, as I lay there in my soft, warm bed, I think of all the living beings in the world who have hard knocks every single morning of their lives and of people who don’t have sweethearts to kiss them awake let alone to ask them what they want for breakfast. Refugees. Prisoners. Slum-dwellers. Orphans. Maybe even the guy down the street.
I am awash with gratitude for the plenty and abundance in my life, for the more-than-enough-to-go-around and for the simple peace of mind and the time in which to enjoy it.
After breakfast I will take a hot shower under clean water that washes over me from a spray nozzle, I will use shampoo designed especially for “color damaged” hair. When I dry off I will put lotion on my skin and clean clothes on my body.
Appreciation and wonder.
How did this happen? Why me?
The lesson however, is not to ask “Why me?”
The lesson instead is to practice opening my heart wide enough to allow all the wonder and gratitude in without diminishing it with guilt or with comparisons or with self-doubt or questions like “Why me?”
Guilt and self-doubt push gratitude away. They are ways of saying “No thank you.”
“Just be grateful,” I tell myself.
That is your calling now, at this time of your life. That is what brings balance to a world in which there is so much suffering.
“Balance the suffering with gratitude. That is your practice.”
It is a simple and yet so difficult thing to be grateful. It requires stretching and allowing and receiving and acceptance and it requires that you be … happy.
I remind myself again.
“Just say ‘thank you.’
It’s my morning mantra.
This article originally appeared in Elephant Journal.com.
Author Bio: Carmelene Melanie Siani
Carmelene writes stories from every day life and how life itself offers lessons to help us grow, expand, and put our feet on higher ground.
By Sherrie Giddens
I must admit, there are days, or even weeks, when I wonder if I am doing as much as I was created to do. I have read about people who dig wells in areas where water is not readily available. There are others who build tiny homes for those who have no homes. Some people gather up the leftover from families like mine, and feed the hungry. Then, there are those who clothe the naked and cold. There are foster parents who open their homes to children who have no home. There are also people who travel to the ends of the earth to share the Gospel.
I could go on and on. When I ask myself what I have done, I have no answers that would even stand up to this kind of love for humanity. I have said, from the time I can remember, I want to make a difference. My whole life, I have just wanted to make a difference. Ask me how and I would never be able to give you a concise answer.
Why? I have never been able to nail down a plan of any kind. I have no idea how or where to even begin. All I know is that this life was given to me as a gift and a blessing, and I know that when it is over, I want to have left behind gifts and blessings that have an impact on others.
To spend my life in a way that only serves me and mine, is not the way I want to live. But, I know that God puts us into the body in a way that is best for Him. If we were all eyes, there would be no feet. If we were all feet, there would be no ears.
There are a few causes that are near and dear to my heart. There is the Arthritis Foundation, and its programs for children with arthritis, along with the services it provides to others. There are the homeless who stand on corners, asking for help. Yes, I know they might use the money in a way that I would not like, but that isn’t my concern. If they say they are hungry, if they say they are in need, I am going to give them enough to get something to eat. The money is God’s anyway, He just lends it to me. If they choose to spend it in other ways, that is there choice. There are the young and single moms who carried their babies to term and now are struggling to make it all work. If I could just make life easier for those who struggle, if I could make a difference, a real difference.
I do my best, and then I hope that my best is good enough. It isn’t digging a well, building a home, being a missionary, or changing the lives of those living in small villages on the other side of the world. It doesn’t even change the life of one person. But, it can make a difference in that one day, at that one moment, of that one person. I hope and pray that is enough. When I compare the love that Jesus showed to those around Him when he walked this earth, I hope and pray that I can show even a fraction of the love that He had. Sometimes, I am blown away by the many struggles around us and how little power we have to make the changes that we would like to see. But, when you break it down to simple acts of love, things look a little brighter.
Simple acts of love, they are like taking a piece of your heart and using it to patch a hole in the heart of someone else.
Sherrie Giddens is your family friendly author, offering titles in various genres. While many of her children’s books are not Christian in theme, they do offer a moral compass, or educational experience.
Her adult titles delve into fiction and nonfiction themes that span the charming side of Christian Romance to the domestic side of life.
She brings her life experiences to the written word in a way that celebrates an individual’s many facets. We are all people of various interests and as an author, she shares those varied interests with her readers.
Member of ACFW
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Sherrie-Giddens/e/B006MW3Y6M/
Wildflowers and Toadstools: When God Seems Silent
Have you ever felt as if God was not listening? Maybe you wondered if God was even hearing you. Sherrie Giddens recounts a personal experience from on top of a mountain, where she learns that not only does He listen, He also answers in ways we might not readily recognize.
This title includes photos of the Alaskan landscape.
Reading time is approximately 45 minutes.
By Bonita Y. McCoy
In Lysa Terkeurst’s book The Best Yes, she tells us that two of the most important words in the English language are yes and no. Why? Because they guide the direction of our lives.
How we use these two words and when we use them can change us forever. These words seem so little, but if you think about it, it’s true. These two words are potent.
I would like, however, to add a third set of words.
This month, my focus is on thankfulness, so today, I wanted to unpack the importance of saying “Thank You.”
I believe that when we say thank you to others we are doing several things. We’re admitting that we needed help: we are acknowledging their talents or expertise in an area, and we are showing gratitude for their willingness to come to our aid.
In the same way, I believe when we say thank you to our Father we are humbling ourselves and acknowledging that we can’t do life without him. As King David said it is in him that we live, and move, and have our being.
The Lord loves a contrite and humble heart. Through thanksgiving, we keep our hearts tender before him. Showing gratitude, allows us to be aware of the goodness and kindness of our God, giving him the glory for all the good things he does.
Today, I challenge you to look for God’s goodness and take a moment to give thanks. It will lift your heart and remind you how much he loves you.
Hello! I’m Bonita Y. McCoy. I hail from the Great State of Alabama where I live on a five-acre farm with three horses, two dogs, two cats, and one husband who I’ve had for over twenty-five years. I am a mother to three mostly grown sons and one beautiful daughter-in-law who joined us from Japan. I love God, and I love to write. My blog is an expression of both these passions. Drop by and visit. www.beautifulpiecesofgrace.blogspot.com
I’d just completed the first leg of my flight to my first writer’s conference. I chose to go to one offered in Colorado because of an online writer’s course I was taking. The flight from Chicago to Denver had been uneventful and lonely. Anxiety over this new venture creeped into my thoughts. My resolve to go to the conference was fraught with doubts and anxiety. “Who did I think I was anyway?” God knew my heart. The short trip from Denver to Colorado Springs was a game changer for me.
I introduced myself to the woman sitting next to me. She was a published author attending the same conference. To this day, I don’t recall her name. But I do recall the advice she gave me. “Take out some paper.” She instructed when I explained it was my first conference and I didn’t have a clue. She gave me a list of tips on pitching and talking to editors and publishers. My nerves settled by the time I got to the conference destination.
My first appointment was less than stellar. But my second with Susan King, from the Upper Room more than made up for it. After she looked at my devotional things and explained how to change them to submit to her. She took the time to share how I could approach publishers with my fiction idea. The next appointments went so much better.
God provided me with two women willing to share their knowledge with me. It set me on a course to do likewise As I continued to learn the craft and gain experience I pass those nuggets on to newbie writers through my blog. When I attend my annual writer’s conference in Illinois I find those lost and confused attendees to encourage.
Think of your work, school, or family. Can you show kindness to someone who’s having a tough time?
Cindy Ervin Huff, a multi-published writer and 2014 Editor’s Choice winner for her first novel Secrets and Charades has a passion to encourage other writers on their journey. Check out her blog Jubilee Writer www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com or visit with her on social media.
Amazon Author page:https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946016144/
Facebook Author page: https ://www.facebook.com/author.huff11/
Secrets & Charades
Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.
Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.
Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage?
By Jennifer Hallmark
Our newest grandchild, Rozlyn Claire, arrived early. Almost four weeks early. I received the call one morning that I had an hour to get to the hospital if I wanted to see my son’s first baby arrive in the world. He and his wife had been at the hospital all night while they tried to stop her labor. But to no avail.
At eleven in the morning, Rozlyn made her big entrance. She looked perfect in every way, weighing in at 8 lbs. 10 oz. We thought everything was okay. But we soon learned her oxygen and breathing weren’t good and within a few hours, she boarded a pediatric ambulance and began the seventy mile ride to Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children. Once there, she was placed in the NICU. As north Alabama’s only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the state-of-the-art facility is designed to care for critically ill babies, premature newborns, and infants requiring close observation.
From the moment, Rozlyn arrived she received top-level care. In her section, one nurse is provided for each child. Each baby is monitored and charted. Parents were allowed to call at any time to check on their child which proved invaluable since my daughter-in-law was still in the hospital. The majority of the nurses were kind, caring, and considerate of the stressed parents, grandparents, friends, and family who came to visit.
During Rozlyn’s twenty-five day hospital stay, we were encouraged by the hospital staff, other parents and grandparents, and our friends and family from back home. So many prayed for Rozlyn and our family. People called, facebooked, and texted to check on how we were all doing. Some sent money and food which came in handy with the long treks back and forth to Huntsville.
I appreciated each and every small act of kindness my family received during this time. Whenever we would start to get down, someone was there to encourage us to not give up. It really is true.
Here’s some news from my friend Betty and some updates on our other blog ☺
Near the end of March, things get really busy around here. I’m busy judging various writing contests and acting like I know something. I’m an officer of a couple of organizations, one of which requires several hours of work per month.
My house is in dire need of a good Spring cleaning, and my yard…don’t even get me started. I need to schedule my schedule. So my blog posts have been a little skimpy lately. I doubt anyone really noticed, because everyone is so very busy. After all, it’s Spring.
So, since I really need to be cleaning and reading and writing, etc., this post will end with a couple of announcements and a meme. Well, maybe not a meme, because I forgot to make one. Anyway, I hope you’ll bear with me through all this busy-ness, because in a short few weeks, I have another book coming out. I’m…
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