T.G.I.F. – On Saturday

Gratitude

I’m a little late but didn’t want to let this post slip through the cracks. There’s so much to be grateful for that it seems a shame not to express it openly.

My top three for the past week:

3.)¬† Being a Minnesota girl, now living in Colorado for 17 years, going to the Minnesota Twins vs Colorado Rockies baseball game, sporting my Kirby Puckett jersey and cheering for both teams. It was a win-win. ūüôā

2.)¬† My son’s “Good night Madre” in his own special tone as I call good night to him when turning in for the night. And the bonus when he comes out and gives me a hug. Is there anything sweeter?

1.)¬† God revealing to me that when others are irritating me, it’s usually not them, but rather a reflection of where I am and my own mental state at that moment.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ¬†John F. Kennedy

I would love to hear the top of your list for the week.

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All is Grace.

 

 

T.G.I.F. – Gratitude Friday

gratitude

My Top Three This Week:

3.)¬† Publishing a blog post and seeing the pop-up box that says no errors have been found! ūüôā

2.)  My novel, The Inheritance, completed and available on Amazon, and that sweet feeling of thankfulness as I held that first copy in my hands.

1.)¬† An early morning walk with my dog, Roxie, a cup of coffee,¬†the fresh coolness of morning on my face, a light breeze tousling my hair, inhaling the scent of pure freshness. Ahhhhh…..summer. ūüôā

What are you grateful for this week?

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Peace

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful Thursday – My Sponsor Kiddos

Compassion International

As far back as I can remember, volunteering in some capacity has played an important role in my life.¬† The latest is one that has enlarged my heart’s capacity to truly love, empathize, and want to give in a way I’ve never known was possible.

Several years ago I felt a stirring in my heart to sponsor a child from a third world country.¬† My love of children and desire to make a difference, even to just one, and to step outside of my “circle” and¬†comfort zone, fueled¬†that desire even more.

Having a tendency to be somewhat of a skeptic–not always a bad thing–led me to do some thorough research on organizations available.¬† That research led me to sponsor through Compassion International whose focus is on the spiritual, physical, social and educational needs of a child.

I could speak volumes on how wonderful the program is, but what I want to focus on here, on Thankful Thursday, is how grateful I am to participate in this program and in the lives of these precious children. What began as sponsoring one child has progressed into sponsoring three.

The financial contributions each month are a very small price to pay for what I get in return.  And it makes my heart swell with gratitude to have the means to be able to reach out and help others.   However, it is the written correspondence with the kids that enriches my life beyond my wildest dreams.

To receive a letter with a school report card enclosed, the pictures their little hands took the time to draw for me, to hear how they spent their birthday and receive a photo of them with the presents they bought with their birthday money  (usually beans, rice, flour, and shoes or pants) makes me realize not only how financially blessed we are here, but how spiritually rich these children are.

And when they tell me what they’re learning through their Compassion studies, their favorite Bible verse and that they are praying for me… Wow!¬† They’re praying for me?!¬† It brings tears to my eyes.¬† And I close my eyes and give them a hug in my mind.¬† Circling them in arms of love and joy. And immense gratitude.

Here is a brief overview of the children who have changed not only my life, but my heart. Who have taught me the meaning of true richness.

The first child I sponsored is Amede from Togo, Africa.  This sweet boy is now 7 years old and in first grade.  Homes in his vicinity are typically made with dirt floors, mud/earth/clay/adobe walls, and roofs of leaves, grass or thatch.  Amede loves to play soccer.  39% of the families in Togo live on less than $1.25/day.

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The second child I added to our family is Alex who lives in Tanzania, Africa.¬† Alex is 13 years old and in 6th grade.¬† He lives only with his mother, as his father has died.¬† Life expectancy is low due to HIV/AIDS and malaria. Homes in Alex’s area have floors made from brick, block, or cement, walls of mud, and roofs of tin or corrugated iron. Alex loves to play soccer and draw cars.¬† Here, 58% of the population live below $1.00/day.

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Then there is my latest addition, my sweet Mamounata from Burkina Faso, Africa, who is 8 years old, in second grade, and loves to draw.  Homes where this precious child is from typically have floors of dirt, walls of mud, and roofs of tin or corrugated iron.  57% of the families live on less than $1.25/day. Every 30 seconds a child in Burkina Faso dies of malaria.

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I truly believe God led me to these beautiful children not only to help them get the food and water, medical help and vaccinations, and education I can help provide, but to teach me the real meaning of love and wealth. Of what it means to truly give of oneself.  Because these children give me more than I could have ever imagined.

I truly am so thankful.  And beyond blessed.

All is Grace.

Thankful Thursday

Cover of "Thank You (Gift Books)"

So I’ve decided to make Thursday’s one of my two posts each week, each one highlighting something I’m especially grateful for.¬† ¬†“Thankful Thursday” may sound cheesy–or even like a clich√© …but being thankful is anything but cheesy or ¬†clich√©.¬† Being thankful promotes optimism and joy and reduces stress and keeps us connected with God.¬† It’s¬†a natural medicine.

With that said, today I’m especially thankful for unanswered prayers.

If God had answered every one of my prayers along my life’s journey, I would be in one heaping pile of trouble, much too deep to ever dig my way out.¬† One hot mess.

I have learned that some of the most powerful God-speak is in the unanswered prayers.¬† In fact, I’ve come to realize it’s not that they haven’t been answered, just not in the way I had hoped for at the time.

Thank God.  Literally.

Gratitude Tag

If any one of those relationships I had prayed so fervently for as a young adult would have come to be, I shiver at the thought of where I would be today.

My unhealthy mind was not capable of making a wise choice back then, too hazed by numbing agents, to even know what it was I wanted.  God, however, not only knew what I wanted, but more importantly, He knew what I needed.  And that was to let go of those abusive relationships.  He made sure that happened by not answering my prayers according to my desires.

Again, thank God.

I remember praying to have knowledge of how long I would live on this earth, how much time I would have to spend with loved ones.  God knew better than to give me that answer.  If it were to be a short time, I would have done nothing but worry and mourn until that day arrived.  Worry robs us of life.

On the other hand, if He answered by telling me I would have a long life, I may not live each day as if it were my last. As the gift it truly is.

Thank God.

If God had chosen to answer my prayers to make my life easy, conflict-free, and always full of sunshine, I would miss the rainbow after the rain, the calm after the storm.  I would wither from weakness rather than grow in strength and perseverance through trials.

Yet again, thank God.photo (16)

Now when I pray, I’ve learned to end all with, “Not mine, but Thy will be done.”¬† That takes me out of God’s way to work His miracles in my life.¬† Rather than give me everything I want as a spoiled child, He loves me enough to give me what I need.

And thank God for that.

All is Grace.