The Funniest Thing Happened

So there I was at my favorite west coast swing venue this past friday enjoying some welcome exercise and relaxation. The music was pulsating, the bodies moving fluidly on the floor, and all the stress of the week just melted away in the mindlessness of it all.

A friend whom I haven’t seen in over a year asks me to dance. “Well, hello there,” I said with a smile. “Long time no see.” Now I have to explain that this fellow was a “potential”. You know what I mean. The chemistry was there. The dancing was there. Except for one major issue: the belief system was not there. End of story.

So, knowing that I am a firm “believer”, he asks me a question I’ve never been asked before.

“How’s Jesus?” he says with a straight face.

Now what does one say to that? It took me a moment to think.

“He’s fine,” I replied. “He was at my house for Thanksgiving.” And He truly was. Jesus is peace, love, joy, light, and abundance. Jesus is unity, grace, forgiveness, and compassion. Jesus is life. There is no substitute.

It’s like this: when you have a deep relationship with Jesus, you don’t need anything else. Really. You have it all. I am at a loss to explain this here but all I can say is that you just have to experience Him for yourself to understand what I mean.

So now I ask you, dear one, how is Jesus in your life? Do you know Him? Is he a casual acquaintance or a close and trusted friend? Do you spend time together on a regular basis? You know that excitement you feel when you meet someone new and you feel that certain spark? Getting to know Jesus is like that. Except that the spark is more like a flame. And the more you get to know Him, the brighter it gets.

Well, I pray that this season, if you do know him, you spend a little more time together. And if you don’t, then my prayer for you is that you invite him over for a bit. He’s the best company in the world!

Until next time, I wish you peace and joy and as always, keep looking up!

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Every Year a Little Better

Today is Black Friday. Does anyone know why they call it that? Seems a bit morbid to me, but anyway, I digress. It’s the day after Thanksgiving. As many are out and about shopping, I’m cooking up some turkey barley soup and taking time to reflect on the Thanksgiving holiday.

The morning was peaceful as I prepared the bird for his oven roast. The chestnut stuffing prepared the day before. Gentle melodies from my laptop made a nice background ambience. There was even time to fold sailboat napkin decorations for each place setting and go for a walk in the morning sunshine.

The meal was ready – ahead of time, actually. As I savored the first bites of turkey, baked yams, and homemade gravy, I said to my youngest son who is wise beyond his years, “Somehow the food tastes especially good this year.” To which he replied, “When there’s less stress, you enjoy things more.” Isn’t that the truth?

The main reason I think I enjoyed the day so much was this: I decided to take a proactive stance this year and announced to my family that I was declaring my home a “DFZ”! You’ve heard of DMZ right? Demilitarized zone? Well, this was along those lines – Drama Free Zone. I instructed everyone to leave their dramas at home and invited them to come and be stuffed with peace and joy instead.

There will always be drama in life and in the lives of our loved ones, but the holidays are not the time to vent everything that’s built up inside for the past however long. It takes the focus away from the true meaning of the day which, in this case, is to BE THANKFUL!

Now please don’t misunderstand, I am all for communication and clearing the air. But I think there is a time and a place for doing that and it is not on a holiday! Everyone wants to enjoy the time with family, good food, and relax. There will be always be issues, but I have to ask myself “What’s more important today?” As Matthew 5:9 says “Blessed are the peacemakers” and sometimes that means setting firmer boundaries.

How was your Thanksgiving Day? I hope you were able to enjoy and relax. If not, I encourage you to reflect and find out what can be done differently next year to make the day a little bit better next year. Until next time, keep the faith and as always, keep looking up!

Much to Be Thankful For

Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and I feel so thankful today I can scarcely contain myself. I am overflowing with gratitude.

Yesterday, a close friend treated me to lunch yesterday to celebrate my birthday and lavished me with all sorts of thoughtful gifts. Now, being a gift-giver myself, I can tell you, thinking of what to buy someone is no easy task. She really put a lot of thought and effort into her gifts and each was a treasure, tailor made for moi!
She is a perfect example of God’s love for each of us – extravagant and overflowing!

As I look around me this morning,I am in awe of my many blessings: the glorious colors of the fall leaves, the sunshine streaming into my home in the early morning, the quiet presence of the Lord, and the smells of fresh-baked muffins coming from my oven. My pantry is full of Thanksgiving items and the turkey awaits his great performance in my fridge. Truly God is gracious to me!

I just had to write again to encourage you to be grateful for the many blessings in your life, dear one. Good friends, good health, nice homes, and the peace we enjoy are priceless. Won’t you take time today to offer up praise to God, the giver of all good gifts? 1 Thessalonians 5:18 exhorts us to give thanks. “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”

Yes, dear friends, it is the will of God to give thanks. What are you thankful for today? Can you list 10 things? Will you give thanks and praise to God? And finally, as we give thanks, let’s remember those who are less fortunate and show the love of God to them this season. “To whom who much has been given, much is required.” (Luke 12:48).

Until next time, keep looking up!

Time to Give Thanks

Each November, here in the United States we celebrate a holiday called Thanksgiving. It is a time to reflect on all that we have been blessed with and to give thanks and gratitude for each and every good thing in our lives. It is also a time to reach out to others less fortunate and bring a blessing into their lives as well.

After having returned from a recent trip to South America, I have seen first hand how others live and the struggles human beings everywhere face. The challenges facing other countries are much like the ones the United States faces. I have been touched by the little girl, perhaps 4 yrs old, begging on the subway and the blind man standing in the shopping district holding his cup for coins. Poverty and drugs plague the world.

Yes, the United States has its problems, but we are not alone in our struggles. People everywhere are desperately seeking peace, provision for their families and protection of their freedom.

No matter what your situation, please don’t let this holiday pass by without taking some time to reflect on all your blessings and to reach out to someone else with a helping hand. Gratitude is a powerful attitude. Practice it today and share it with the world. It needs it!

Until next time, keep the faith and keep looking up!

How Big is Your Faith?

We all have a measure of faith. Think about it for a moment. In order to succeed in this life we must have faith – in ourselves, in others, and ultimately, in God. Whatever we choose to call him (the Universe, the Divine,our higher power) there is no denying the fact that a power greater than ourselves does exist. The bottom line is EVERYBODY has FAITH!

My question for you, friend, today is this: how big is your faith?
Jesus said that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. Do you know how small a mustard seed is? Pretty small. So if we have even the tiniest bit of faith, we can do great things.

Now I have to admit, I didn’t always have a lot of faith. Children learn faith from having loving parents that are there for them. Growing up in a dysfunctional alcoholic home, my dad was not exactly an example of security or safety. Sadly many parents are not trustworthy. They hurt their children: emotionally and sometimes even physically. After a painful childhood or adult experience, many turn their backs on God.

But the Lord never turns his back on us. He is always there waiting with open arms for us to come back to him.

So, back to my question for today. How big is your faith? Do you have faith in yourself? Do you know the miraculous things you can achieve in this life? The changes you can make? The things you can accomplish? Do you realize that you have a GREAT power inside of you that can help you climb mountains? It is the power of FAITH.

What mountain are you facing today, dear one? Are you feeling alone in this world? Like nobody cares about you? Perhaps you may be a single parent, like I was? Raising teens on your own? Or maybe you’ve received a bad report from your doctor and the diagnosis looks grim.

Whatever the mountain is in your life, remember these words. “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). It is only our faith that limits us. Today, will you choose to have faith? Will you believe?

Until next time, keep looking up!