Good Morning Beloved


And to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you; so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.
I Thessalonians  4:11-12 (NASB)

     The Great Depression went on for 10 years (1929-1939). Those were desperate times. My Grandpa Smith would tell me the story of how he managed to keep food on the table for his wife and young son (my dad). Dad was born in 1932 in the midst of it all and then they would bring a daughter in to the world in 1937. My grandmother fell down a flight of stairs which caused her water to break. My aunt was born 2.5 months early and, in those days, was not expected to live. She beat the odds and they brought her home in a shoebox to a tiny guest house on Georgia street in San Diego. This little house was on the back of my great-grandparent’s property. It was made of plywood and had no insulation at all. My aunt was born in December and they brought her home in late January to a very cold atmosphere. 35 years later I would live in that same little house with my husband and baby son. Grandpa put in a wall heater for us so in the cold months we all huddled in the living room to sleep. The nights got so cold my Prell shampoo tube would freeze in the bathroom. Andy and I used to sit on the couch in the morning and watch the birds skate across the frozen bird bath! Yep, it was pretty darn cold.
     During that depression time grandpa was a 19 year old man with a wife and infant son. There was no work to be had. He would do odd jobs for people around town as he was well known as a hard worker, reliable and strong. Everyone knew that Sid Smith was a man of his word just like his father Samuel. My great grandmother Sally took in ironing and would bake for the wealthier folks living around her. Fortunately they were able to keep that house on Georgia St. as all of the 12 children chipped in to help.
     Grandpa and grandma as well as my great grandparents were faithful members of the First Baptist Church that was just behind their house. They all lived a quiet life, took in strangers, provided hospitality with “such as they had”, attended to their own business, worked with their hands and dearly loved the Lord.
     Grandpa told me that every day he went out in his thread bare slacks that grandma had repaired too many times, a shirt that she tried to keep as white as possible, a tie and his dress shoes with cardboard stuffed inside to keep his feet dry from the holes worn in the sole. He always said to look your best you never know what God will give you that day. Any given day could bring a job in a bank or digging a ditch. Either way dress up. You can always dress down if need be. He showed up at his usual spot to be a day worker kind of like the men we see today at Home Depot waiting to do an honest day’s work.
     Day after day he waited and he could see the jobs drying up right before his eyes. Men were getting angry, frustrated, mean. Grandpa stood his ground as folks tried to cut their way in line to be next up to work. There was no work for days. As he walked home he saw men digging ditches. He walked over and asked how he could get a job. The man in charge told him he had enough workers. Grandpa thought that if the supervisor could see his hard work and fast, accurate digging that surely he would give him a job. He saw his opportunity as a shovel became available. Jumping in the ditch he removed his tie and went to work digging. The pay was $1 per day cash and a soup lunch.
     He did not get paid that first day because the supervisor told him there was no more room on the payroll but that did not discourage him at all. He showed up early the next morning only this time dressed in jeans and a tee shirt but still had on his dress shoes because he did not own any other shoes. He dug hard and fast causing blisters on his hands. The foreman walked over and asked him what the heck (my word not his) he was doing! Grandpa said he was working to provide for his wife and young son and his parents. He said “looks like there is a job to he done, I am young, strong and reliable and I can dig rings around all of these other fellas. If you give me a chance I will show you. I worked yesterday for no money and didn’t even ask at the end of the day. I wanted you to see my work and know I was a man of my word.” Grandpa was hired on the spot. That started a lifetime of hard work for this man of ethics. His example to us was my plumb line for hard work and diligence in anything I ever did. If I said yes to a project I would always think of Grandpa Smith if I wanted to give up. He never did give up.
     Paul is telling the Thessalonians to “make it your ambition” to lead a quiet life. Some of the Thessalonians had made it their business to stir up controversy. Satan is hard at work to bother us. He wants us to be discontent to work quietly. His ambition is for us to be dissatisfied, gossips, take from others, be the victim, hoard what we have and not share, always expect a hand out not a hand up. As humans we, in our old sin nature, are prone to that behavior as were the Thessalonians. That is why Paul used the word ambition meaning a strong desire to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work. It’s a job to live a quiet life! They were so used to their former ways of living that he implored them to work hard at minding their own business, providing for themselves and being a good example to outsiders.
     Are you a good example to those watching you? My prayer is that I would learn over the years to live that quiet life, work hard and be a godly example to those around me. That is my prayer for you precious one reading this today. God bless you as you strive to be that person God meant for you to be. ❤

Good Morning Beloved

And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21 (NASB)

     “What’s in a name?” A famous quote from a very famous William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. What IS in a name? A tradition carried down through generations becomes a good family name. Ernest becomes Ernest Jr. becomes Ernest lll (nicknamed Trey) and so on. Some where though the years that name may even get moved to the middle just to keep it in the family lineage.
     It’s interesting in my family that my grandpa’s name is William Sidney and he went by Sid, my dad’s name is Sidney Richard and he goes by Rick, my brother’s name is Rikki Timothy and he goes by Tim. A tradition in our family. Picking out the names for my own two children I flipped their names at the last minute on the birth certificate and their already chosen middle names became their first names. I was so nervous to pick out what they would be called forever! Jarrod Andrew became Andrew Jarrod and Colleen Michele became Michele Colleen.
     Picking out a baby’s name has become an industry. There are many books written on the subject, even websites. What does the name mean? What is it’s origin? When a new pop star comes on the horizon you will see an upsurge of babies named after that star. Remember Axel Rose from Guns’N Roses? During their popularity we had little boys named Axl running around my preschool.
     Joseph was to give Jesus a simple and common name. It was an everyday name that was easy to say. Can you imagine if the angel told Joseph “and his name shall be Maher-shalal-hash-baz”? That was the name given to the second son of Isaiah. It means “hurry to spoil” or “he has made way to the plunder”. What would our hymns and Christmas songs sound like? Different that’s for sure!
     The name Jesus means “Savior”. It is the same as the name Joshua in the old testament. It is a sweet precious name and the only name by which we must be saved. In Acts 4:12 we read “and there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” (NASB) It is not politically correct these days to say there is no other way to heaven but it is biblically true. I would much rather be biblically true than politically correct!
     Watching an old episode of the TV sitcom Maude this morning I was quite surprised to hear the topic of conversation between outspoken Maude and her next door neighbor Arthur. He was incredulous that the boy sitting on Maude’s couch had the name Jesus. She let him know the boy was from Venezuela and it was an honored tradition to name your boy after Jesus. It was a strong solid name. She pondered why we in America did not take up that tradition. She said we would have been better off for it. This was extreme dialogue coming from a politically incorrect for it’s time sitcom!  There is no other name like Jesus. Wonderful, Counselor, Prince of Peace. Just saying the name bring power, peace, calm and joy. At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and tongue will confess that He is Lord.
     It always breaks my heart to hear the name of Jesus taken in vain. When people do that they have no idea what they are doing and how they are maligning the greatest name ever uttered. Jesus is an exalted name. Even when we hear people pray in any given foreign language we can usually pick out the name Jesus. Jezuz, Isus, Isa, Yesu, Xesus, Gesu, Iosa, Yeshua all the honored name of Jesus. It is unmistakeable.
     I will leave you with the lyrics of one of the sweetest songs composed about that name. Written by Bill & Gloria Gaither in 1970 this simple chorus has been my theme song.

Jesus Jesus Jesus there’s just something about that name. Master Savior Jesus like the fragrance after the rain. Jesus Jesus Jesus let all heaven and earth proclaim. Kings and kingdoms shall all pass away but there’s something about that name.


Good Morning Beloved
Merry Christmas!
Happy Birthday Jesus

And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David.
Luke 2:3-4 (NASB)

     Tradition. Gingerbread houses, Christmas Eve church services, making tamales, last minute shopping, Christmas caroling, stocking stuffers, watching White Christmas (or Holiday Inn or Charley Brown Christmas or Grinch or Elf or the Hallmark Channel), decorating your home, your church, your yard, going to see Christmas lights, the white elephant game, cut out cookies, Secret Santa, too many to name. Christmas tradition is whatever you and your family make it.
     This year in our home it was a Christmas of non-tradition all the way around. It started when we made the decision for me to have my right knee replaced on December 10. That would definitely put a kink in my energy level which is at full tilt on Christmas! That meant the tree had to be up 2 weeks early and all shopping had to be done and wrapped by December 8. A tall order for sure. I scheduled a date with my nieces and granddaughter to come bake cookies with me on the 20th thinking I would certainly be up to it by then. The cookies would be scaled down and just enough made to take to our family Christmas Eve brunch. No overflowing plates delivered to our dear friends on the 24th this year. Also only made one batch of my famous angel food candy which had to stretch over 9 families. Mission accomplished in part.
     My kids had decided to visit their spouse’s families this year. One went to Oklahoma and one to South Dakota. Our dear friend Bill who always spends Christmas with us would be here so all was not lost. We would still have our Christmas morning waffles lovingly made from scratch by Bill. They are the best waffles made with cheese, bacon and pecans. Authentic maple syrup would accompany the hot waffles. These have been in the menu for 20 years! Bill’s parents live in Colorado and his dear mother had a stroke. Bill made the wise decision to go to Colorado for Christmas. No waffles. One more tradition foregone.
     When the kids were little I started putting silly string in their stockings. It seemed like a fun idea so it stuck. We went out in to the back yard after our waffle breakfast and would go crazy getting each other with silly string. The fights didn’t last long but boy were they fun! We would run around the back yard laying in wait to ambush the target and let them have it. The beauty of silly string is that we live in San Diego and the weather cooperates and silly string dries on hard so it peels right off! No silly string this year. Can you just see me schlepping around the back yard  in my walker trying to get away from Steve massacring me with mounds of colored string from a can?
     So no waffles, no torrent of wrapping paper on Christmas morning, no overflowing Christmas cookie plates, no silly string fight, traditions out the window! Christmas Eve we were lovingly surrounded by our extended family and had lots of food, games and fun. That tradition remains solid. The one thing that always remains the same is the reason we have those traditions, the birth of Jesus. Jesus being born in culture steeped in tradition. That culture was upended when Rome demanded a census of the people. Each had to travel back to the town of his family origin to be counted. Families had to leave their homes, villages, jobs and businesses to make the trek to register. This was totally against tradition and as I was reading the Bible this morning that story struck a personal cord with me. Retelling this story never gets old. We can always find something fresh to celebrate about the birth of our Savior. Thank you dear Father for the gift that unwraps anew in our hearts every year; the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ the Lord. O, come let us afore Him.

Good Morning Beloved


Let love of the brethren continue. Hebrews 13:1 (NASB)

     It is my habit each day to spend time with the Lord first thing in the morning when I am at my best. I get a cup of coffee and sit down in my “spot” to read the word and pray asking Him to guide my thoughts to what He would like me to write about that day. I read my daily devotion and then start reading scripture. As I am reading and praying God brings to mind my blog topic for the day.
     Today I am sitting here on my big comfy couch looking out my french doors at the much needed rain listening to it’s familiar patter on the patio roof. As I am praying and watching I wondered where the phrase “under the weather” came from. I woke up this morning feeling sore all over and kind of sickish. Dealing with knee replacement recovery on top of it all made me feel worse.
     So back to my thought of the catch phrase many of us use to describe our state of health. Looking out at the rain and cold wind blowing I realized that I definitely felt “under” whatever was going on out my window. Google to the rescue. By the way I loved Google’s headliner today. It’s a snow globe with ice skaters celebrating the first day of winter. I love snow globes so much. Thank you Google (but, I digress).
     Google says “under the weather is to be unwell. Thus comes again from a maritime source. In the old days, when a sailor was unwell, he was sent down below to help his recovery, under the deck and away from the weather.” It goes on to say “originally it meant to feel seasick or to be adversely affected by bad weather. The term is correctly ‘under the weather bow’ which is a gloomy prospect; the weather bow is the side upon which all the rotten weather is blowing.”
     So there we have it. I was feeling below deck. The bad weather was happening outside and I was feeling it. Immediately I started praying and asking others to pray. I texted my son who is with his wife’s family in South Dakota. He texted back “Brody (his 5 year old son) is in the car with me and I wish you could have heard his prayer for you. He said ‘God, now you can make Grandma Terrie better and it really better be today.'” Brody always starts his prayers out by saying “God”. He goes straight to the top, no fooling around. He states his request and says Amen. I love that he knows God is there and will listen to him. That is the “come boldly to the throne of grace” we read about in Hebrews 4:16.
     I then texted a few family members to ask God to have mercy on me and heal me as I am really looking forward to our Christmas celebration gatherings. I also texted some sisters in Christ I knew would pray. The responses were immediate.  I was experiencing the love of the brethren. The love of the brethren continues. I have experienced that love throughout my life. The writer of Hebrews continues on to say not to neglect to show hospitality to strangers you never know when you might be entertaining an angel, also remember the prisoners and those who are ill treated. These 3 verses encompass mercy, love, charity and living like Jesus did.  Today let love for one another continue. Say an extra prayer for someone you don’t always think to pray for today. Pray for those imprisoned and the ones who serve them, be hospitable. Let Jesus’ love shine through you today.

Good Morning Beloved

“Now Lord, Thou doest let Thy bond-servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for my eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.” Luke 2:29-32 (NASB)

     Have you ever been just gobsmacked by a moment? Something in a church service, a song, a movie, a play, TV show where tears immediately well up in your eyes and you are powerless to do anything but bow your head and cry? Sometimes I will hear a song on the car radio or in the playlist on my iphone and just have to pull over the emotion is so strong.
     That is exactly what happened when our church decided to undertake a huge Christmas musical. We had never done anything like this before, or at least since I had been a member. The title was Fire of Hope and we were pumped! This wasn’t just going to be a choir presentation as always before. Our music director was casting people from the congregation to participate as well as kids from ages 18 to my newborn nephew in his debut as baby Jesus.
     There were committees for production design, scenery, costuming, publicity, kid wranglers, baptist bites (our version of Kraft services), sound, lighting, choreography, just like the big time only on a much smaller budget. We borrowed costumes from a larger church, rented a camel outfit from a local theater group, upgraded our sound and lighting and turned our auditorium in to a little Israeli village circa “when Quirinius was governor of Syria” (Luke 2:2). Bethlehem had come to Lemon Grove.
     My niece was selected to play the part of Mary. This girl sings like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. She just has “that voice”. She was also about 15 years old which would have been the same age the original Mary was, give or take.  At one point in the play when Herod’s soldiers were killing the babies we needed a screamer. That person would be standing off stage delivering a blood curdling “oh my baby is being killed before my eyes” kind of scream. My niece was recruited and she delivered! It scared us all. Through all of the performances, even though you knew it was coming, you were just never quite prepared for the severity. It always made me quiver.
     Between all of the baptists learning a Jewish dance (2 left feet), missing cues, Herod’s beard slipping down his chin at a pivotal part of his solo (try to stay in character during that fiasco), seeing our beloved pastor dressed as a spitting camel schmoozing with the audience, my husband dressed as a sword wielding Roman baby killer and baby Jesus crying during the entire lullaby it went very well for our small town performance.
     The first night we were all so nervous. We had rehearsed and rehearsed until we knew it in our sleep. It was a bonding time for so many of us. Dress rehearsal went as planned. Not a hitch or a dropped line. Then came opening night. My friend and I were cast as the town busy bodies wanting to know about all of the strange things going on in the area. I had to be very animated (honestly not a stretch for me). The song encompassed talk of a king being born, shepherds telling of angels announcing His birth, too many people crowded in to Bethlehem to be counted. It was a “show stopper” song. Right smack in the middle of the show right where it counted. Fortunately it came before my defining moment or no telling what would have happened, thank you merciful God!
     Nerves, no sleep, little to eat because of neves I as spent! We had prayed over this offering; that it would be a light and a path to faith in Jesus for those who did not know Him. My mother and her husband Howard were sitting in the balcony that night. She NEVER came to anything in which I performed as we were still somewhat estranged. I was surprised to look up and see her there. More nerves.
     My part came and went as seamless as it did in dress rehearsal. My friend and I were a little more “on” that night and really played it up. Then came the heart stopper for me. One of our young men who had never been in a play in his life was performing as Simeon the man the bible says was “righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel.” He took this part very seriously growing a beard and working to make his costume authentic. He was a pretty big guy, tall and filled out.
     Since the play went beyond Jesus’ birth we got to the part in the show where Joseph and Mary took their infant son to be circumcised at the temple on the eighth day. As my niece approached holding my infant nephew, “Simeon” took baby Jesus in to his arms, loving looked at him and held him up kind of like Mufasa holding up Simba in the Lion King. Actually maybe not that dramatic but it was memorable. I was sitting right almost under his raised arms. The spotlight was on him. He began to recite Simeon’s prayer.  That moment was all too much for me to take. I burst in to tears trying so hard not to go in to the ugly cry with all of the extra mascara and foundation on my face.
     I have never to this day witnessed such a powerful performance. Our Simeon was spot on. He believed everything he was saying. That made me believe him too! I could just picture the real Simeon standing in the temple holding baby Jesus at that moment so many years ago. When he got to the part “a light of revelation to the Gentiles” I lost it. I wanted to run, I wanted to lay on the floor and sob, I wanted to grab that baby and say “thank you thank you”. Jesus came to earth for me. He came as the glory of His people Israel and as a light to the Gentiles to show the way of salvation. I was overwhelmed with joy, gratitude and an astounding awareness of what God had done for me. Something in me changed that instant. God came near. He used all of the events leading up to that moment to show me His love for me and His mercy for His people.
     As this was happening one of our young ladies saw my despair and took my hand. The spotlight was not just on Simeon but I was caught in it’s glow as well. I guess a sobbing busy body was in order because after the play someone approached me and told me I was so believable during that scene. Thank you was my response because there was no way to explain what had just happened to me.
     Still today when I read that portion in Luke or I hear it preached in a sermon my heart goes back those many years ago when God used a church production to further me in my walk with Him. Surely Simeon did see God’s salvation that day; the Salvation God prepared in the presence of all peoples. A light of revelation to the Gentiles, the glory of His people Israel. Jesus came for you and for me. “Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light. The hope and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” Joy to the world!❤

Good Morning Beloved

The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness You restore him to full health. Psalm 41:3 (NASB)

     Pain. Physical pain, emotional pain, mental pain, spiritual pain. There is certainly enough to go around. On December 10 I had my right knee replaced. I was geared up for it, ready to go, so I thought. My mind had lulled me in to believing that it was not going to be that bad. I had been through it before surely it would not be worse than before. My attitude was good. I was prayed up, people were praying for me, I had an excellent surgeon and the best most loving caregiver a girl could ask for. I was ready.
     The reality of it all hit me when the feeling came back in to my lower limbs and they could not get my pain under control for 4.5 hours. This was going to be nothing like before. Just like the doctor said, all surgeries are unique. Just like every childbirth has it’s nuances, no two are a like. The only prayer I could mutter was “God help me”. I said that out loud over and over so many times. Reflections of my prayer life came flooding to me. I have never been one to pray for myself much. Recruiting prayer warriors to  go to war for me has been more my style. I go to spiritual battle for others too. So here I lay; just the severe pain, me and a merciful God who is much more powerful than any dose of torodol, Vicodin, morphine or pecocet.
     Pain can be isolating. Surely you are alone in your pain in terms of others experiencing it with you.  You feel it, you experience it, you live in it, walk in it, sleep in it. Trying to get away from it is futile so I decided just to give in and go with it asking God to guide me through the fog and mire of the path. Heck, I had just basically had my leg amputated and put back together. Miraculous! Looking for a deeper spiritual meaning in the pain I could find none. It was just part of life. You just go through it. A voice in my head that sounded a lot like Chuck Swindoll said  “Life is 10%  what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. We are in charge of our attitudes.” He is famous for that  saying. Attitude is key I decided. Have a positive attitude Miss Pollyanna. This too shall pass, remember?
     I threw myself a few pity parties sans evites. Party for one please. Not fun or attractive. Life goes on around you. God walks with you. He is always there no matter what. Remembering that in the midst of searing pain is a tall order.
     Searching my spiritual closet looking for a cloak or jacket of something that looked like “Onward Christian Soldier” was hard to find. Then just in the nick of time God gave me a shawl of comfort in a well placed phone call, a card made by a precious little girl, enjoying a funny movie with a friend, an unscheduled knock at the door where stands a dear saint bearing hot soup, a text at 4:00AM reminding me others are praying. He showed me that the world going on outside of my door was still turning and I was NOT isolated unless I chose to be.  God brought unexpected comfort on many fronts.
     I was not really alone in my pain. God was showing me touches of His mercy and teaching me that He had provided for me in every respect. I am in a class titled Learn From This 101. I used to tell the high schoolers I taught to take every experience God GAVE to them and experience it to the fullest so that they would be able to say “I know how you feel.” Learning never stops. What did my grandma used to say? “You learn something new every day” she would remind me. She would tell me to keep my eyes open for every opportunity to learn, ask questions, be present, be active, be positive, always help others, love your family and hone your cooking skills. Those cooking skills will take you a long way Terrie Lynn, she would say coating her zillionth batch of chicken to be fried. No one, and I mean no one, beat my Grandma Smith’s fried chicken!
     God sustains us in our sickbeds. In Psalm 41:1 King David says how blessed we are when we consider the helpless; the Lord will deliver us in our day of trouble. He will sustain us. Praising Him today for His mercy, care, love and instruction. Thank you Lord for your continued watch care today. Who needs a tender touch from Him today? My prayer is that you will receive an A+ in Learn From This 101 as you experience life with a God who sustains. ❤

Good Morning Beloved

To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:8-9 (NASB)

     ‘Tis the season to be jolly. We hear that in overhead speakers walking through the mall, from the lilting voices of well meaning carolers strolling through downtown streets, at school and church holiday programs, on all Christmas music all the time radio stations, it just seems to be the order of the day this time of year. It seems to say “let’s put all of our daily grind lives aside and be jolly because it is the season after all”.
     As I go about my day during this time of year I see anything but folks being jolly.  According to Webster’s dictionary jolly means happy, cheerful, good-humored, jovial. Instead I see people rushing around, being short tempered, standing in long lines, spending way over budget and feeling pressured to out do the previous year. Sad. I get caught up in it myself.
     The apostle Peter tells us here that we should all be harmonious, brotherly, kindhearted, humble, sympathetic, being a blessing; not just at this season but as a way of life. Looking at the first three words of verse 8 “to sum up” Peter had just spent verses 1-7 giving advice on how women with unsaved spouses should live so that those spouses might be won to the Lord. He also gave advice to men reminding them to love their wives giving them honor as fellow heirs in Christ. So summing up those previous verses Peter tells us to live in harmony, being kind so that we may inherit a blessing. Not at just one time of year but as a way of life.
     I would like to give you a challenge and I am going to take this challenge myself. I am calling it my “365 Days of Joy” challenge. Every day for the 365 days of 2016 I want to be a spreader of joy.  Join me in a quest to live in harmony, be sympathetic, be brotherly, kindhearted and humble in spirit. When someone wrongs you do not wish them ill but bless them instead. At the end of every day write down what you accomplished. Did you call a person who cannot get out of the house? Did you see the perfect parking place and drive past only to park a bit further away so that someone else might enjoy it? Did you pray for a person in front of or behind you in line at the grocery store? Maybe you prayed for the cashier helping you. You know a couple that needs a date night but cannot afford a babysitter so volunteer to babysit so they can spend some alone time. During this year someone you know will have major surgery. Take time to give them a call checking on their welfare. As someone who has been there those phone calls mean the world! Let someone go ahead of you in line anywhere you are in line. The possibilities are endless. The kindnesses are limitless. Choose to live a kinder gentler life. Pray and ask God to give you your marching orders for that day. How can you be a blessing?
     At the end of the year go over the 365 opportunities God gave you to be a blessing and how you were blessed in return.  Reflect on how your life changed by having a new mindset. Even on the days you are alone or didn’t go anywhere you can still be a blessing. You can pray for a missionary then send them an email telling them you prayed. I would LOVE to see your journal at the end of the year. Please pray and ask God to help you to live out these verses.
     If you accept this challenge let me know. I will encourage you all the way! Every day is the day to be jolly, happy, cheerful, jovial, good-natured. In the words of King David “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous.” (Psalm 34:13a NASB). God bless you as you are striving to live a life for Jesus in a world who desperately needs Him. Spread joy everywhere you go. Jesus Only You.  JOY ❤

Good Morning Beloved

By Thee I have been sustained from my birth; Thou art He who took me from my mother’s womb; my praise is continually of Thee.
Psalm 71:6 (NASB)

     Grandpa Smith was the man with the movie camera. Back in the day before iphone and android, even before VHS there were 16mm and 8mm film cameras. Grandpa had both! He was the family historian and went very few places without those cameras. All of we cousins loved to be in the reach of that camera lens. When the films were developed we were all anxious to see who got the most screen time.
      As grandpa got older and we all grew up, got married and had kids of our own the films made their way in to a plastic storage bin in the garage. In 2003 grandpa went to be with Jesus and all of his earthly possessions were divided between whomever wanted them. In all of the shock of him being gone I never gave those film treasures another thought.
     One day I was on the Costco website and I saw the advertisement to have your old films and videotapes made in to DVDs. My sister had become the family historian at that time and was “on it” taking advantage of that technology.  I caught my breath and said “grandpa’s movies”! Not knowing whatever happened to them I began to call around the family. I do not recall how the communication broke down but I never got a good answer so we all thought they were stollen or lost. My grandpa’s garage had been vandalized at one point so my thought was that the perps took the bin not realizing that what they had taken was worth a million dollars to the Smith family.
     Many years passed and I was over at my sister’s one day. I was waxing philosophical about how I wish we still had grandpa’s movies and how we could have them made in to DVDs. I was willing to take that project on if only they hadn’t been stolen. She walked over to the buffet in her dining room, pulled the drawer out and said “you mean these?” I had a fit! There they were all 25 of them.
     As she pulled them out one by one tears welled in my eyes as I saw the titles written in grandpa’s familiar script. Titles like NYC 1952 Niagra Falls, Grandkids at various times, Sid & Kris wedding, mom & dad 65th wedding anniversary, Tim’s baseball playoff and Palm Springs flooded my mind with memories. I could not wait to begin the transformation of these priceless gems from film reel to my DVD player. Apparently when grandpa moved from Lake Morena Village to El Cajon my sister rescued the bin that had inadvertently been marked for trash. She stored them in her garage and as time went by she had forgotten I was looking for them.
     I brought the films home and looked lovingly at each one trying to decide which one would be first. I had never tried this Costco service and just wanted to start small. After I found out it would cost almost $60 per film I knew this would be a slow process.
     The first film was processed and ready to view. Bringing it home I couldn’t wait to see the finished product.  My goodness it was rough viewing. We are so used to beautiful clear pictures. These were shaky, grainy, silent and I was in love. There was my feisty redheaded grandma looking fashionable as usual. I had forgotten that she had a gap in her front teeth. Auntie Pam was about 9 years old and they were in New York City visiting my Aunt Iva Rhea and Uncle Bob Elliott. Uncle Bob played baseball for the New York Giants in 1952 and this film was a moving picture album of that trip.
     There they were on the Staten Island Ferry going over to see Lady Liberty, walking down 5th Avenue looking a lot classier then Carrie Bradshaw and her 3 comrades ever could,  picnicking in Central Park, standing in front of Niagra Falls and lots of footage of Uncle Bob playing baseball.
     At the very end of the film there was a short break then I saw a man walking out of a house holding what looked like a newborn baby dressed in a sweet white outfit and bonnet. He was smiling from ear to ear. Following behind him was my grandma then out comes this beautiful Elizabeth Taylor looking young woman wearing a pencil skirt, short sleeved sweater and a scarf pinned to her black hair. She looked to be about 17. I put my hand up to my mouth and gasped as I realized that baby was me and those were my teenage parents!  My dad looked down at me and I loving looked up at him. Prying my hand from my mouth I said “that little girl loves her daddy.” Tears streamed down my face. Next thing I see is my parents exchange a loving look and then mom looks in to the camera and says “that’s my baby.” The end.
     I sat there in stunned silence. A feeling came over me of profound gratitude to an almighty God who let me see this love between my parents. When I was 6 my dad left my mom. It is a long story from there with redemption as the theme. God had me in His hand my entire life. This verse shot through my mind as I reflected on what He had just done for me at that very moment. God had sustained me from my birth, took me from my teenage mother’s womb, made a way for me to know Him and grow in His love. He showed me proof of what I always thought I knew but really didn’t. In that moment captured on film for posterity I saw a dad, a mom and a baby all very much in love. My life came at me like a rushing river. Overwhelmed with gratitude I could not stop saying “thank you God.” I must have watched that brief segment 20 times crying afresh at each viewing. To know that God knew I needed to see that specific piece of history at that precise moment amazed me.
     My praise was and ever will be continually of God. He knew me then and knows me now. King David knew that when he wrote the Psalm. God knows when we need to be reassured of His love for us, even when we are 63 years old! I will never forget the look in that little baby girl’s eyes as she looked up at her big strong daddy holding her as he was smiling from ear to ear. That look is still in my eyes as I gaze at my big strong heavenly Father knowing He is holding me, smiling from ear to ear. He has always had me dear friend. He has always had you too. His love never fails. ❤

Good Morning Beloved

“You have heard that it was said ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies….” 
Matthew 5:43-44 (NASB)

     Written in red. The Red Letter Bible. Many versions of the bible have every word that Jesus actually said written in red type. Have you ever done a red letter study? It is interesting. What I have done in the past is start with Matthew reading only those passages that Jesus said, outline them and compare them across all 4 gospels. There are also a few published bible studies that you can purchase to guide you through the words, instructions, parables and sayings of Jesus but I enjoyed just going through them myself.
     Funny what you hear laying awake at 2:44AM awaiting the next dose of pain medication. Steve set me up on our big comfy couch so I would be closer to the kitchen and have less of an obstacle course getting to the bigger bathroom. He fashioned a bed for himself on the accompanying love seat so he could be close by to help me up and get my meds on time. Steve is giving me 110%. I am comforted as I hear him breathing in and out accompanied by an occasional snore or two.
     Creaks come from odd places in my almost 60 year old house. The corner of the wall where the couch sits, the ceiling over head, in the kitchen as the refrigerator goes through another cycle and the french doors directly across from my feet let off sounds that only occur in the wee small hours of the morning. The chimes on the patio are tinkling as the wind whips the screens on the windows over my head. Suddenly I hear voices. It’s an odd time for voices. I look at the bright screen on my phone that reads 3:01AM. My neighbors next door are talking outside on their patio. Insomnia strikes Braddock St. 
      That isn’t the first time I have heard weird sounds at an odd time this week. My mother-in-law told me that she awakened during the surgery for her mastectomy. It was a hard situation to deal with for her as she could not speak to tell them she was awake. Almost instantly the doctor noticed her vitals spiking and put her back under but she was awake long enough to remember. That really got to me so each time I had surgery I would always tell the anesthesiologist her story.  They always made sure I stayed asleep through an emergency gall bladder surgery, left & right knee arthroscope and total left knee replacement. So far so good!
     Going in for this total right knee replacement I was excited to get it over with and move on with my life. Once again I told the good doctor in charge of keeping me asleep the story. He assured me that I could count on him to keep me out. He would administer a spinal block first so I would be numb from the waist down then give me drugs through my IV. No tube down my throat this time which was a relief since each time my vocal chords would take a beating. 
     As I was wheeled in to the OR I was fully awake. They had not given me anything to relax. That was OK with me because I found it interesting to see all of the tools my doctor would use to fashion my new knee joint. I also got to meet the chief OR nurse already decked out in her space suit. Scooting over to the operating table a weird dread came over me. That is when I met Marie. I described our meeting in yesterday’s blog. She truly was an angel.
     Bending me forward I was told I would feel a pinch in my lower back and most certainly I did. Everything went black as I felt the flooding effects of the drugs. A period of time had gone by when  I opened my eyes wide and looked around. Above me I saw a blue surgical curtain. The fabric was not touching my face; it was like they made a tent for my head. I could see the drape criss crossed as light was coming through making some parts seem deeper blue than others. 
     Realizing I was wide awake I listened for voices. There were no voices but what I did hear was a tap tap tap sound. I was pretty sure I was hearing the doctor taping the steel rod down in to my fibula. Boy did that sound strange. No voices,  just taping. Around me I could make out ambient noises like rustling around and foot steps. In hindsight I wish these next words would not have come out of my mouth because it would have been so fascinating  to see the surgical team’s faces when they pulled the screen away from my face and saw my big brown eyes wide awake saying “Are we all finished here?”
     “Hey, I can hear you tap tap tap. Now that’s interesting” I said quite enthusiastically. Oh to be a “fly on the wall”,  as it were, in that OR as I am sure they probably all gave the anesthesiologist the hairy eyeball because I was awake! I specifically told him, the OR nurse, my own doctor and my angel Marie that I did not want to wake up during the surgery and here I was chatting away. Fortunately I could not feel a thing because of the spinal block which definitely was a plus. After those words left my mouth the next thing I remember was waking up looking at the clock in the recovery room feeling extremely woozy. 
     Our precious Lord took care of me all the way through that surgery. Perhaps that doctor needed to learn a lesson to pay closer attention, I don’t know. Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew “you have heard it said” He then goes on to tell them what they had heard in the law and now what He is saying that they must follow. They had heard it said love your neighbors and hate your enemies but Jesus now says love your enemies. Reading through that entire chapter you will see many more places that Jesus says you have heard it said but I say. Being under the new testament covenant we must now follow the words of Jesus. That doctor heard me say I didn’t want to wake up. That was not God’s plan for me for whatever reason. I could have been angry and held it against that physician because of my explicit request. He assured me rather smugly that it would not happen on his watch. Well, I chose to give God the glory and hope it never happens to anyone else. It certainly makes for an interesting story that I will never forget thanking God all of the way for His gracious provision.  
     Take time today to read a verse or two of Jesus’ words written in red. Ask Him to help you follow all of His instructions. Make it a goal to love those around you, forgive those who wrong you, even your enemies. Be blessed today by the blessings you will bring to others. ❤

Good Morning Beloved

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (ESV)

     The alarm went off at 4:00AM. I had to get up and take one more Hiba cleanse shower to make sure there were no hitch hiking germs on me before my total right knee replacement at 7:30AM. Clean body, clean hair, no makeup (yikes), fresh pedicure thanks to my sweet niece Hope who came to my house and lovingly washed my feet paying careful attention to my broken toe. As she was drying my feet she remarked that Jesus had done this very thing for His disciples which gave both of us immediate goose bumps! We had a “moment”. Making sure I didnt by rote make coffee we headed to the hospital following directions of no food or drink after midnight. 
     April 15, 2013 my left knee had been replaced so I knew what was coming, or  so I thought. Total knee replacement is a major surgery. According to my orthopedist (who, I might add, is the finest in the nation), it is the most difficult and painful of all of the joint replacements. The key is to do your physical therapy religiously and you will be very successful. That was the story with my left knee. 
    From the moment we walked in to the lobby I felt ill at ease. I knew there were many people praying for me. Even my sweet friend Mary Louise who I had visited in the skilled nursing facility had prayed for me. She had her knees replaced in the 80’s and she was still walking strong! Nevertheless I could not shake that feeling. Everyone we came in contact with was very pleasant and professional. Steve & I were having the “Sharp Experience”, so says the commercials on TV. 
     Next stop for me was pre-op. Steve had to wait in the lobby and as I kissed him goodbye I started to cry. Have you ever had emotion come on you so strong in weird times that you wonder from where it came? I was embarrassed but couldn’t stop the tears. It wasn’t a boo hoo Steele Magnolias cry just a gentle “tears in my eyes” weeping. Like I said, it was strange.
     Getting me settled in the pre-op area my nurse asked me all of the required questions and told me my weight in kilograms. I can’t calculate kilos in to pounds so I felt pretty light hearted about the number! I told her about the broken toe on my left foot so she took a sock and made a sign that said “Broken Toe Do Not Touch” and taped it on to my foot should anyone feel a need to pull on my toes. Very clever on her part I might add.  As we talked about her job, my job and life in general I asked her if she was a Christian and she said yes. We found out that we went to similar churches, had friends in common and were about the same age. God puts people in our path to comfort and soothe us. My tears were still flowing but I knew I was in good hands. 
     Ready, prepped, IV in place, funky shower cap thing on my head they wheeled me in to the OR. A lovely lady came over and touched my shoulder. Immediately I felt a warm sensation flow through my body. I could not explain it. I could only see her beautiful brown eyes as she was covered in surgical gear. Since I would be getting a spinal for the surgery I was fully aware of my surroundings. They had not given me any IV drugs yet. Tears streamed out of the corners of my eyes. I could not shake that of dread. 
     As the surgical team was talking over by the rows of tools to be used for my procedure Marie looked directly in my eyes. There was just something so soothing about her that I asked if she was a Christian. She said yes and I told her I was too. She grabbed my hand right then and there and prayed for me, the doctors, nurses, machinery, my family, and my emotions. Her prayer permeated my heart, soul and spirit. I felt the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit and sensed angels all over that operating room. Her prayer was powerful. I will never forget her kind gentle eyes and meaningful touch. Ending the prayer in the mighty name if Jesus I knew that she was sent by God to be there just for me. All of the apprehension left me. My body totally relaxed; my mind was at ease.  You see Marie was a substitute nurse that day. This wasn’t her regular shift. She was on assignment to be there for me, I just knew it. Was she an angel? In my book she was.  Oh certainly she was  not one of the angelic beings created by God but she surely held angelic qualities. 
     We never know when God will place people in our lives to bring us comfort when we need it. Showing hospitality is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Opening our homes, our hearts and our lives to others in hospitality is precious in God’s sight. I was in Marie’s “house” of sorts. I was in the OR where she was working. She opened her heart to me in hospitality. She was my “angel” used by God to give me peace. I was a stranger to her and she took the initiative to pray with me in the presence of doctors and nurses. My prayer is that this angel in surgical scrubs named Marie will experience the same comfort that she gave me. Tears gone, heart beat slowing, body relaxed, mind focused on God I was ready for a new knee. Thanking God for Marie I went to sleep. ❤