Encouragement

Gems

Down through the centuries there have been many precious elements in this world that we have heard tales spoken of.

  • King Midas and his thirst for gold comes to mind.
  • At times they have been used for their monetary power.
  • The status of gold, silver, and precious GEMS often has been alluring to men and women down through the ages.

All GEMS wether precious or semi precious are found disguised by the common things of earth.

  • They are crystals.
  • Most, before their inner beauty is revealed look like rocks: ie diamonds, rubies, and emeralds.
  • Sapphires are found in the sediment surrounding rocks.
  • Pressure is the key to forming the beautiful GEMS we all admire.

Real rubies and emeralds will have a flaw or flaws in them called inclusions. 

  • An emerald that doesn’t have a flaw in it is considered to be of lesser value.
  • An inclusion also is the cause of the star shape that is seen inside a ruby or sapphire.

Diamonds are the hardest element known to man.

  • They are carbon and are formed in the deepest parts of earth.
  • When cut properly, a diamond will shine brilliantly and maximize the light within through it’s facets.
  • Traditionally diamonds are the “go-to” choice for engagement and wedding rings.

My husband and myself were high school sweethearts.

  • We laugh at ourselves about being sixteen and seventeen years old and putting a set of wedding rings in lay-a-way.
  • We regularly went into the jewelry store to look at “our rings” and sometimes upgraded to another set.
  • It’s a wonder that the owners had so much patience with this “pair of kids,” but they did.
  • Two years later the engagement ring was paid for, and in another year the wedding ring.

We all at one time or another have passed by a jewelry store and stopped to admire the valuable items on display.

  • A skilled artisan makes numerous beautiful items of jewelry that brings enjoyment to the eye.
  • Perhaps you have looked at a specific piece of jewelry and eventually decided to purchase it.
  • Ladies, we must all confess to a certain amount of personal pleasure in wearing a beautiful piece of jewelry, set with precious GEMS.

For each one of us there are principles and applications to our individual lives seen in the works of nature.

  • A GEM must be cut, shaped and polished by a master workman, to reveal the beauty within.
  • It takes much time, external forces and patience to create a precious GEM.
  • How true that is of our personal lives also.
  • The Master molds, cuts and refines us to be of valuable use to Him.
  • Always keep in mind, others are touched by the way we live our lives and respond to the circumstances we experience.

There are the well known; along with the lives of those who are never in the spotlight that teach many lessons about being a beautiful GEM.

  • Where they are today is due to the “cards they were dealt” in life.
  • Struggles, experiences, broken hearts, pain, loss are all some of the pressures that many times are designed to erode the core of selfishness; which we all have.

The truths we practice in life display to the world who we are and what we believe.

  • There are so many adages to apply to this post.
  • Do I see the rose or the thorns?
  • Do I make lemonade when life deals me lemons?
  • Do I see the forest or the trees?
  • Am I looking at just this moment or do I have the bigger picture?

IT’S ALL ABOUT ATTITUDE.

“When we long for life without difficulties,

remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds

and diamonds are made under pressure.”

–Peter Marshall

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Encouragement

Read The Constructions

Today we are treasuring the life of a very unique little boy.

  • He was five years old this past Wednesday, but today is the BIG celebration of the GIFT of his arrival to a special family.
  • He has brought joy, laughter and so much fun to those who love him.
  • He was such a happy baby and is now a happy little boy.

Why is he so happy?

  • Because so many people love him.
  • Starting with Mom and Dad….adding Grandparents, Great-Grandparents, an Uncle and soon to be Aunt, a Great-Aunt, Second-Cousins, Friends and an adoring Little Sister.
  • The list could go on and on.
  • He is an infectious little man.

He is smart, clever, adventurous, tough and at the same time tender-hearted and affectionate.

  • He tackles life full force; there’s no such thing as holding back with him.
  • Whenever I think of him….I smile and chuckle to myself.
  • I don’t believe I’ll ever forget or cease to laugh at the first time I heard one of his word phrases: “Read The Constructions.”   

A couple of Christmas’s ago our family group had gathered around a table to play a board game.

  • It had been a year since we had all been together and had a great time learning a new game.
  • It was a crazy and silly game.
  • All of us laughed a lot as we enjoyed each others company.
  • There was a loud debate as we were trying to refresh our minds on the rules of said game.
  • None of us had the method of play quite right.
  • I was vocally remembering some rules of the game.
  • Suddenly, this precious toddler who had quite a vocabulary said: “Nana, Read The Constructions.”

That simple phrase has stayed with me since that day. 

  • It’s good advice to each one of us.
  • Life gets complicated.
  • The times in which we now live seem to be all about ME and I.
  • How many times do we hear these two words from our top leadership on down to our homes.
  • Do you ever think that maybe it’s time to get outside of ourselves and get back to the basics?

READ THE CONSTRUCTIONS is good advice for all of us.

  • Be a faithful friend to those who have a need, and expect nothing in return.
  • Every day do a good deed anonymously.
  • Keep a smile on your face and a song in your heart
  • Challenge yourself and try something new.
  • Forgive those who have angered or hurt you; make an effort to be of help to them.
  • Seek your passion.
  • Be kind to those who serve you whether in private or public places.
  • Practice good driving habits. In Texas we say: “Drive Friendly.”
  • Don’t be so quick to judge another individual. You don’t know what they are going through.
  • Stop and think before you rashly open your mouth.
  • If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all.
  • Always be open to learning.
  • Do more than is expected of you.
  • Learn to accept yourself and like who you are.
  • Practice good manners…..say please and thank you.
  • Find your purpose in life. You will then feel fulfilled
  • Laugh a lot, especially at yourself.

Most of us as children learned the Golden Rule. 

  • “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
  • Those few words define a life style that works for everyone.
  • The best Book of Constructions is Scripture.
  • Read it, practice it’s principles for they are the keys of life.

Life goes by fast. 

  • In this day and age it seems so hectic and full of stress.
  • People get impatient, irritated and sometimes discouraged.
  • Remember it isn’t only about you. In the words of a very smart now five year old…
  • “READ THE CONSTRUCTIONS.”

“There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding,

and that which is lost by not trying.”

(Anonymous)

    FYI: Today’s fortunate Birthday Boy is the son of “A Memorable Mom.”

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Encouragement

Lest We Forget

 

This past Monday our nation celebrated MEMORIAL DAY.

  • It is observed in many different ways.
  • It is a day to reflect, to remember those who sacrificed.
  • So that we may celebrate the privileges they have provided for us with gatherings of neighbors, friends and families.

The history of this day was started on May 30, 1868.

  • It was called Decoration Day and originally set aside to remember those who died during the Civil War.
  • The name and the date remained the same through the years until 1966 when it was renamed Memorial Day and moved to the fourth Monday of May.

For several years we lived near our Nation’s Capitol.

  • Many times we visited the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.
  • All of these places move the heart; speak of those who have gone on before and gave to us a challenge, a spirit of thankfulness.

THESE PLACES OF HONOR ALL HAVE A STORY TO TELL.

  • I have read the names on the wall, walked up and down the black granite and touched those names. 
  • I have see the incredibly beautiful statue of three brothers from different ethnic groups, arms entwined helping each other through battle. 
  • I have seen the rows upon rows of thousands of crosses at Arlington National Cemetery; all in a straight line in any direction you choose to look. 
  • I have visited the tomb of the Unknowns and watched the respectful changing of the guard many times. 
  • I have been to Valley Forge, the scene of suffering and sometimes desperation of those who fought to establish a new nation of individual freedom and respect. 
  • I remember an uncle who never really recovered from “shell shock” after World War II. 
  • I am in awe of the men, women and their families who gave themselves for our country.

We love the hearts of the young men and women who continue to serve today.

  • Our family has a thankful sense of pride for a nephew, now retired, who had deployments both to Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • And…for two grandsons who are now in the Military.
  • One in the Marines and one in the Navy.

One of the most powerful places to visit in this country is Gettysburg National Battlefield and Cemetery. 

  • There is an overwhelming sense of history and dedication at Gettysburg.
  • An individual cannot help but be moved by the aura which permeates the area.
  • You cannot go there, follow the three day development of the battle, feel it’s atmosphere and not be moved.

On November 19, 1863; Abraham Lincoln rode through the battlefield on horseback to the official dedication of the new National Cemetery there. 

  • His brief but heartfelt speech still echos down to today.
  • As I reread it, I was challenged, especially by the end.
  • May these words become fresh in our hearts today: 

“ It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”   To some these days are times of confusion.

  • Much has happened to our Nation in a few short years.
  • We must remember our heritage, our foundation, those who have given everything so that we may have security and prosper.
  • Many still have a desire to serve.
  • They have a sense of honor, dedication and a willingness to be of benefit to others.

On May 16th, one of those young men gave the commencement address at the University of New Hampshire: Medal of Honor recipient, Staff Sargent, Ryan Pitts. In front of graduates and their families, he talked about his past. “I understand that this is a celebration, but I felt the best advice I can offer you comes from the most challenging, tragic day of my life.” He described July 13, 2008, the day he fought off attackers during the war in Afghanistan. “I had taken grenade shrapnel to my left heel and calf, my entire right leg — hip to foot, left arm and forehead.”  Despite his injuries, Pitts continued to fight and guided air strikes that helped ward off the attack. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions that day, a day he lost nine members of his platoon. “I crawled around and it was at that time I discovered I was the only man left alive at the position. My brothers did not abandon me. They saw their duties through to the very end.”  Pitts said it was the most terrifying moment of his life, but as he looks back now, he knows he learned so much from his fellow soldiers who risked their lives. “Be courageous and appreciate courage in others who take action in the face of fear. Courage cannot exist without fear, and fear is everywhere in life — fear of failure, loss, rejection. The key is to deny fear’s purpose, which is to hold us back.” He also encouraged graduates to celebrate even the smallest steps they take in life. “You must pay attention and appreciate these sometimes seemingly insignificant accomplishments. Treasure the fact that you have just exceeded your horizon. Search for the next one and never back down.”        ** Words for us to etch in our minds as we go forward in this journey called LIFE.

  • Words lived out by those to whom we owe dignity, respect and lives that strive to reach their full potential.
  • Not just once a year on Memorial day, but frequently pause and remember those to whom we owe so much.

LEST WE FORGET !

“And I’m proud to be an American,

Where at least I know I’m free.

And I won’t forget the men who died,

Who gave that right to me.”

              (– Lee Greenwood) 

  ** WMUR News, Channel 9, New Hampshire

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Fun Stuff

Monday, Monday **

 

There is a saying I have shared many times with our children and acquaintances: “You never know what a day will bring forth.”

  • The unexpected happens.
  • Sometimes an event that never even entered your thoughts suddenly faces you.
  • That happened to us in our home on Monday morning of this week.

Around our house the past couple of weeks, Mondays have been very much out of the norm.

  • Last week I wrote about an early Monday morning storm that shook our home.
  • Little did we realize that a small tornado had cut a path through the area near where we live.
  • A couple of roofs were torn off, trees were toppled and a home down our street had a patio torn off.

These events happened to the individuals who were effected, but thankfully no one was hurt and property damage was minimal.

  • For some of our neighbors this storm created havoc which they were not expecting.
  • Last Monday had a very realistic start and many plans people made for the day in our community were quickly changed.
  • That’s the way life goes.
  • We think we’ve got it all figured out, make decisions about our day, our week, our future only to find that we need to change direction.

This past Monday in our home will ALWAYS be remembered as: THAT MONDAY!

  • It started as a simple, regular, get the week started morning.
  • My other half was eating breakfast and on (as usual) his iPad.
  • I had just finished running the washer and put the laundry into the dryer.
  • To my dismay the dryer would only make a clicking sound, but would not start.
  • Like Charlie Brown my thoughts said: “good grief, what do I do now?”

You need to understand we live in the middle of nowhere.

  • It’s a little complicated to get a repair man who is willing to come this far.
  • The last time we had an appliance break down it took two weeks to get parts ordered and repairs made.
  • Plus, there is an extra surcharge to cover the additional miles traveled.
  • I had visions of wearing certain items of clothing over and over.
  • And of trips into town to use a broken down Laundromat for no telling how long.
  • I admit to being a spoiled American home maker.
  • I’m thankful for my daily “helpers”

So, here I am with this load of wet sheets; making plans to drape them all over my house.

  • I decided I was not going to let this Monday morning irritate or discourage me.
  • There’s just too many good things to focus on….not this bump in the road.

After the wet laundry was dispersed around our home, I approached my husband and said: “I think the dryer went out.”  

  • Since he has that typical male gene, (the one that keeps men from finding anything without your help), I was given a puzzled look and asked: “What do you mean the dryer went out?”
  • I replied very clearly: “The dryer is broken.”
  • He then proceeded to locate the dryer manuel, look it over for a while, then decided to check a couple of recommendations out.
  • He got the flashlight, removed the lint filter to see if a coin or something had become lodged in the filter slot.
  • Boy!! did we get an unexpected surprise.

You’ve heard of the movie “Snakes on a Plane.”

  • In our home the title has been changed to “Snakes in the Dryer.”
  • How’s that for a Monday morning experience!
  • Immediately he put the filter back into the slot and shut the door.
  • We both were un-nerved, decided not to panic and paused to collect our thoughts.
  • We didn’t know what slithering species was lodged in our dryer.
  • Neither of us had the “know how” or the tools to fix the problem.

A couple of men we knew were called for help, but they were not home.

  • In a louder than norm voice I started giving directions:
  • “Call the community office, call the maintenance department, call the sheriff’s department, call the fire department, CALL SOMEONE.” 
  • As Daffy Duck used to say: “What a revolting development this is.”

Shortly thereafter the sheriff showed up.

  • He looked the situation over and said : “Yep, that’s a snake in your dryer.”
  • He didn’t know what to do, but went to get some help.
  • He quickly returned with and EMT on duty from our fire department.
  • Due to the goodness of God, we got more than what we needed.
  • In addition to being an EMT this man sent our way was an Ophidiologist (an individual who studies the natural history and behavior of snakes).
  • Can you believe it….this man went to school to learn about snakes.

He checked the situation out, decided it was a non-poisonous snake.

  • By now the said snake was mad, hissing and not about to be removed from his cozy spot with a wire coat hanger.
  • My husband gave him his leather gloves and he then proceeded to try to pull the snake out.
  • That didn’t work either.
  • By now, one of the community board members had arrived with a dolly.
  • They moved the dryer out and our expert removed the snake from the newly opened back of the dryer.

We had not only one, but two Texas Rat Snakes in the dryer; a male and female.

  • Before the back was put back on, both the dryer and vent hose were checked to be sure there were no other snakes present.
  • We have had a month of daily rain, storms and downpours with a week or more still predicted.
  • Every critter that lives outside is looking for shelter.
  • To these two snakes, our home was both dry and inviting.
  • Needless to say….we are installing a new outside cover to our dryer vent.
  • After all the excitement, our dryer was healed and started working again.

In your life, remember the unexpected is going to happen. In our family life we’ve come through unexpected loss, many wonderful unexpected surprises, and as happened to us this week: unexpected “Snakes in the Dryer.” We now have one more story to add to our collection of….things to laugh about.      

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Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day;

Monday, Monday, sometimes it turns out that way.

Oh, Monday morning —

You gave me no warning of what was to be.”

**Composed by John Phillips & Recorded by the Mamas and Papas

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Encouragement, Life's Journey

Storms

It is now shortly after 4:00 a.m. and a STORM is raging outside of the security of my home. 

  • The winds are howling, the thunder clouds clashing, the lightning flashing, the rain assaulting the four walls that provide shelter for myself and my husband.
  • For about an hour now; this Storm has raged on and on.
  • It started with a loud clash of thunder, brilliant lightning and the sound of wind chimes working overtime.
  • Our power has jumped on and off a couple of times.
  • We’ve already had two inches of rain.
  • This Storm is coming in waves; sort of like the tides.
  • It loudly announces it’s presence, after a while it seems to silently fade away only to return again with more force.

Many times I sleep through a Storm in the night, but this one said; “not tonight, I have things to say to you.” 

  • It spoke of the security of my home….of my life, and of Storms passed.
  • I was reminded, again, of a Stormy night many years ago when I thought my heart would literally break in two….a night I might not even survive.

This Storm of nature, just like the Storms that come into our lives, arrived on the heels of a good day, a day of blessings. 

  • When we’re on the mountain top, we must be aware that the trip down can bring us into a valley.
  • Storms can do that.
  • They effect our lives for the good, and if we let it we will be influenced for the worst.
  • The out come is determined by our personal perspective.
  • Will you let your spirit drown in the Storm, or will you rise above it?
  • Your times and choices are in your hands.

This Storm reminded me of something I observed one time as I was making a drive up into the Rocky Mountains. 

  • Before our destination was reached a strong Storm erupted.
  • We hadn’t been in the rain very long when I noticed a corral with about eight horses in it.
  • What caught my attention was the fact all of these horses were tightly huddled together in one corner of the pen and every one of them had their noses pointed in the same direction.
  • This group of horses were all facing directly into the wind….they were all turned into the Storm.

That’s what a ship at sea will do…..turn into a Storm.

  • The bow of a ship is designed to cut through the waves, to give it more strength.
  • The strong forces of the waves are more easily dispersed along the sides of the ship.
  • When the stern faces a Storm the craft itself is more exposed and may take a damaging blow to itself and makes all who occupy it more venerable to harm.
  • We too have more strength when we choose to turn and stand in the face of the Storms that come into our lives.

Sometimes, as with the Storm outside of my home tonight, we have a warning of it’s approach. 

  • Yesterday the air was hot and heavy….you knew something was going to break in order to clear things out.
  • But, at other times, we are hit with a Storm we were not expecting and possibly not prepared for.
  • It can come from an unexpected phone call or just about any other avenue that you have experienced.

Tonight’s Storm told me “I was safe and secure, that I had nothing to fear. My home and my life has a strong foundation. All this uproar will pass. Tomorrow will come. The air will be fresher and the sun will once more make an appearance. There will be more Storms to come, but you have grown in strength with each one that crosses your life. You can make it through the Storms of tomorrow because you depended upon ME to make it through the Storms of yesterday.”  In Scripture there is a well known account of a Storm. 

  • I have applied this story many times to my life experiences, and shared it with others when they were in the midst of their Storms.
  • As Jesus and His disciples were on the sea, a great Storm raged.
  • Most of the time the emphasis of this account is on Jesus sleeping, His disciples’ fear, Him calling for peace and calming the Storm.
  • What encourages me is the beginning of this story.
  • In Mark 4:35 Jesus has a journey to make to the other side of the sea.
  • He says to his followers: “Let US go to the other side.” 
  • In Matthew 8:23 the Word says “When He entered into a ship, His disciples followed Him.” 

Take time to reflect on this:

  • He knew there would be a Storm.
  • He entered the boat first.
  • He was with the disciples (US).
  • There was a purpose to be fulfilled across the sea and He knew that all would arrive safely.
  • If you have a personal relationship with the Savior, you can depend upon the fact that He is with you in your Storms.

Last night’s Storm is now over. 

  • The air is cool, clean and fresh.
  • As you read these words, know that you too can have a freshness and renewal in your life.
  • If you would like to know more about surviving and growing through the Storms, please thoughtfully read my blog of this past February entitled “OPPORTUNITIES.”

“In fierce storms,” said an old seaman,

“we must do one thing; there is only one way:

we must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there.”

(Streams in the Desert)

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A Mother’s Creed

 

I Believe in the eternal importance of the home

as the fundamental institution of society.

I Believe in the immeasurable possibilities

of every boy and girl

I Believe in the imagination, the trust, the hopes

and the ideals which dwell in the hearts of all children.

I Believe in the beauty of nature, of art, of books, and of friendship

I Believe in the satisfactions of duty.

I Believe in the little homely joys of everyday life.

I Believe in the goodness of the great design

which lives behind our complex world.

I Believe in the safety and peace which surround us all

through the over-brooding love of God.

Ozora Davis

(From the Book: A Little Girl is Something to Love)

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Seasonal

A Memorable Mom

Mothers come in all shapes, sizes, and speak different languages. 

  • The one language they all have in common is the love they have for their children.
  • Even the animal kingdom displays the devotion, care and tenderness that a Mom gives to her offspring.

I once read an account of forest fire fighters:

  • They were going through the burned out trees putting out embers.
  • The fire men came across the body of a dove.
  • She had placed her babies between the roots of a tree, and spread her wings across them for protection.
  • Mothers sacrifice themselves for their children.

I believe there is no higher calling than that of a Mother.

  • Her body protects and nourishes a new life for nine months.
  • At the birth of that baby there is love unbounded, and joy to those who surround this special newborn.
  • But, that is just the beginning.
  • There is much more to the journey of a Mother.
  • Many long days and nights, laughter and tears, teaching, learning experiences, hopes, dreams and sometimes disappointments lie ahead.
  • She is responsible to care for and guide this child all the days of her life.
  • It’s all a part of being a Mom.

Finally there comes a time, after much preparation of letting go.

  • Even then her job isn’t finished.
  • She will be a Mom until she takes her last breath.
  • Only her job description has changed; from a staring role to that of a supporting actress.
  • Mothers need to continue to be a teacher, an example, an encourager, a confidant, a prayer warrior and a friend to those who follow behind her.

These words come from my heart and are dedicated to one very special Mother that I know quite well. 

  • She quickly wormed herself into my heart when she was only three weeks old.
  • This baby was a gift sent to our lives when it was desperately needed.
  • She was adorable, precious and full of life.
  • As she grew, her parents will tell you, she presented herself to be quite a challenge.
  • She came from a line of strong-willed women and definitely made her mark on the world.
  • At a specific time of her life she decided that she knew it all, would do whatever she wanted……and would even say she wasn’t going to have children.
  • As we all do; she wanted her life to be HER LIFE!

That was yesterday. Today…..years later, the story is much different.

  • What happened?
  • A much loved blond hair, blue eyed little boy came into her life and she was changed.
  • She became a Mother.
  • On her personal journey she has become as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.
  • She has become A MEMORABLE MOM. 

In August 2013 a very perky and fun little girl was added to this young family.

  • One of the greatest joys and memories of my personal journey was to be present for the actual birth of……this new life.
  • I watched her enter the world and heard her first cry.
  • It was a day that will never be forgotten and will be treasured always.

This little girl who became a Mother continues to amaze me. 

  • Her creativity, patience, attitude, and fun loving spirit is a blessing to watch.
  • She reads to her children, teaches them, draws with them, lets the kids paint, cook, and make messes.
  • She knows this time is important, will pass quickly, and doesn’t waste her and their days on being a perfectionist house keeper.
  • She even plans adventurous date days with her almost five year old little boy.
  • How much fun is that?
  • As her children, grow up and spread their wings, they will most certainly have many special memories and much to laugh about.

The most important quality about this little girl is that she has grown as a person.

  • Her love for God has matured and is being passed on to her two little ones.
  • Bebe…you are a treasure and a gift.
  • I love you dearly. I’m proud of who you are and what you have become.
  • You are: A MEMORABLE MOM.

“My parents elected me president of the family when I was 4. 

We actually had an election every year and I always won. 

I’m an only child, and I could count on my mother’s vote.” 

(Condeleezza Rice)

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