The Magic of Ordinary: A Memoir

The Magic of Ordinary: A Memoir is a loving tribute from author Melissa (Missi) Johnson Gouty to her amazing father, Melford (Mel) Johnson. This nostalgic look of family and life in a small Midwestern town had me turning page after page. It was a bright, sunshiny smile on the face of a dark dreary day. You must read it and have your spirits lifted, too.

Author Gouty and I went to school together. She was one of my sweetest friends. So many of her memories mirrored my own. Even though our lives were vastly different, they were extremely similar. That’s what happens in small towns. They bring people together and give them common threads. I found myself nodding in agreement as I read this love letter. It is nothing less than beautiful.

I enjoyed the style that talented wordsmith Gouty uses in writing. Her story is transparent and brutally honest. There is a warmth to it. Readers will feel like they are chatting over a cup of coffee or at least, I did. It brought tears to my eyes at times, many of them from laughing.

There is a plethora of life and spiritual lessons woven throughout these exceptional stories. It reveals the working of a Christian family, a man of faith, how to appreciate nature, and how to simply enjoy life. The author proudly announces that she never recalls her father swearing or using rough language in situations when most men would. Can you do the same?

It is difficult to choose a favorite tale. I enjoyed them all for various reasons. There is just one place that I found myself uncomfortable. In one of the stories the author uses the crass term for feces. (Yes, I am a prude.) It is one of the words that my Southern Grandmother instilled in me (obviously) that a lady never says. I realize I am the exception now and not the rule, but it still bothered me.

I highly recommend this charming memoir to everyone. Baby Boomers will certainly relate to the references made. There are discussion questions in the back so it would make a nice book club selection. I give this a 5 out of 5 star rating.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve

Roving through Facebook posts, I have noticed many families are downsizing or canceling Thanksgiving gatherings. This is another hit from Covid. It is rough. Our normal forty to fifty person extended family celebration has been called off leaving everyone to fend for themselves.

It is our choice on how we allow this to to affect us. First instinct is to organize a pity party. You know those one person, “poor me” cry-fests. Obviously that is a poor choice. An alternative is to consider our loved ones safe at home. I bet their phones work and a Thanksgiving dinner plate would bring a smile on a face or two.

With that thought, what are you cooking? I am a Pampered Chef and have a kitchen filled with tools and recipes to make life in the kitchen easier. Flipping through some recipes, I found a few that made my mouth water. Would you like those for your file?

Our family usually fixes ham and turkey. My mother glazes the ham and everyone raves over it. This is a general recipe that gets changed often.

This salad is on the border of being a dessert. When placed in a glass bowl the presentation is striking especially when garnished with a mint leaf. It is really delicious so don’t expect left overs.

This year has presented a plethora of challenges, but we have survived. Humans need each other so let’s help one another. Kindness is under-rated. We all need to practice.

You know what else we need? Well, besides food. Yes, we need our Creator. We were made by Him and need Him. He is so good to us.

Wherever you celebrate and with whomever, I hope you take time to give thanks for all of your many blessings. Say a pray for those less fortunate and those that have an empty seat at their table.

Happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget to season with love.

Thanksgiving, a Time for Family, Food, and Thanks, or is it?

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. What comes to mind when you think about Thanksgiving? The obvious is giving thanks. Right? We are blessed in so many ways that most of them often are overlooked. We can not give thanks for blessings we do not realize came our way. Even this year, I am certain we have all had a plethora of things for which to be thankful.

Family comes to my mind. Thanksgiving is usually a big deal in our family. We have an abundance of people, food, laughter, and noise. Everyone brings a dish or two, and sometimes more. Games are played, football watched, shopping lists made, and family catches up on what is going on in everyone’s life. I love it!

This year a few beloved members left us for their eternal home. While we are rejoicing that they are pain free and reunited with loved ones, we are saddened that they will be missed at our table this November. Others will not be able to join us due to the pandemic and quarantine. What historically is a gathering of fifty-ish family members has dwindled to considerably less than half that number. My sister is hosting, and I am going to make a cranberry salad. Do you like cranberries? I do!

I have heard that the senior generation is the glue that holds families together. There is truth to that, but our family has plenty of glue left in its bottle. My cousins are like siblings to me and their children like nieces and nephews. We always get together for holidays. Things are not normal this year which adds a new twist. Our crowd is dwindling. The rise in Covid cases makes even healthy people want to stay home and away from possible germs.

Do not allow Covid to control your family relationships. Like all relationships, family needs to be nourished. Young children need to know extended members. Adults need to continue feeding and strengthening the bond that began years ago. We need to explain why we gather as a family and why we are thankful.

Scripture says in Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Children will remember going to family gatherings and having fun with everyone. It will become a way of like for them that will get passed on to each generation.

Let’s pray the pandemic is over soon. Hopefully we will learn from what it tried to teach us. It taught me never to take family for granted. I miss seeing my family and hugging. Oh how I miss hugging.

I hope you are able to spend Thanksgiving with at least part of your family this year. Remember all of the many things that we do have even in a year that has not been the kindest to us. I am thankful for my family, friends, and especially for Jesus. What is on your list of things for which you are thankful?

Let’s Agree to Disagree Nicely

Friends. We all have them and want to be one. Do you know what the definition of a friend is? Let me ask our buddy Webster:

“…definition of friend: 1: a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another person. 2 : a person who is not an enemy or foe.”

That sounds correct. Don’t you think? It is fairly cut and dried. Friends are people you really like, trust, and that are not enemies.

The Bible has something to say about friendship, too. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17)” Isn’t it comforting to know that a true friend loves at all times? Not just in good times, but also bad? Friends are supposed to always be friends, even during election year. So what is happening?


Are we allowing someone or something to come between us and our friends? Friendship takes work. Each friend needs to be respectful and considerate of the other. For me, friendship is like a safe haven in a storm. A place where I can always go to feel happy and unthreatened. True, we will not always agree on everything, but our tone will be respectful and loving. There will not be any degrading remarks. We will just agree to disagree and go on.

Unfortunately of late, I have noticed friends that are normally respectful and sweet take on a different persona. Snide comments are left on Facebook posts, hateful things are said about others, including friends, and the need to respond viciously overtakes normal caution. Is that because we can type a response without looking the commenter in the eyes? Our comment may “yell” back in all caps or contain offensive words our lips never speak. Our words cut deep without us having to witness the pain we inflicted.

It breaks my heart to see friend pitted against friend and family member against family member. I still choose to love each one, but their behavior troubles me. Are they succumbing to a plan that has blinded them? Why would these naturally loving and caring people become so callus and cold?

Maybe we should all think about what our words and actions are saying about our souls. Are they in line with the teachings of Jesus? When someone looks at me will they see a member of a political party or a member of the family of God? Will I be a friendly safe haven or a downgrading place of battle for my friends?

The solution? First, take inventory of yourself. Are you proud of how you are representing Jesus? Second, pray. Pray for our friends, our nation, and ourselves. Romans 3:11-12 says: “None is righteous, no, not one;
11     no one understands; no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good, not even one.”

Someday this world will all be over. It will not matter which political party was our preference, only that Jesus was our King. Are we living as peacemakers and beacons for Him? I hope I am.


The best news is that we all have a friend that will be there for us. He died on the cross so that we might have eternal life. Scripture says in John 15:13-24 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”

Using His example, let’s pray for each other and be kind. Let’s be good friends and agree to disagree.

Happy Fathers Day to my Dad

Do you ever think that fathers are a bit overlooked on holidays?  Fathers Day doesn’t seem to be as big of a celebration as Mothers Day always is.  My husband told me earlier this week that he didn’t need nor want anything and for me not to buy him a gift for today.  Even some fathers don’t feel the need to celebrate Fathers Day.

That actually was me for years.  I was angry, bitter, and hurt.  When I was just twelve years old my Daddy died.  Not only did he did, but he died at home in front of me.  I did not want to go to church on Father’s Day after that.  Thankfully, I have gotten through that horrible experience but not without scars.

16794583-6526-4EBC-86BB-B3A0E3789542

A decade or so after Daddy died a blessing was given to our family.  I call him, Dad.  For forty years this remarkable, selfless man has been the leader of our family.  He is a devoted, loving husband to Mom and the best Dad that my sister and I could ever hope to have.  On top of that, he is a grandfather that is beyond compare, just ask anyone that calls him Pappaw.

IMG_3806

Dad is loving and caring, a good example for all fathers.  His faith and Jesus are essential in his life.  Whenever I need prayer or have a question about scripture, Dad is the first one I seek.  He is also generous.  I have watched him anonymously pay for a young family’s meal and ask the waitress to add ice cream for dessert.

Today, I miss him immensely.  We can’t celebrate Father’s Day together because he is in Rehab working to recover and come home.  I have sent flowers and am saving his presents to give him when I can see him in person.  Covid19 restrictions at the Rehab facility only allow one person each day to see Dad for an hour or so.  One person.

Until he is released I will draw on the many happy memories I have.  We have had so many good times, and there will be more to come.  Dad is a giant among ordinary men.  He will work hard to get back home where he belongs with his booming voice, quick laugh, and twinkling eyes.

2EC306FD-7174-44F8-A543-D335C6118729

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!  You are missed at home and loved beyond what words can express.  I hope you are working hard now, because when you come home we plan on spoiling you.

No one can ever take the place of my Daddy.  Dad made his own place.  He has been a strong, loving, guiding parent to me for forty years.  Did I mention that he is selfless, too?  I owe him so much.  I love my Dad and miss him today.

My Heavenly Father gave me a couple of great men for earthly fathers.  I am fortunate to come from a Christian family.  This scripture and my fathers go perfectly together.  Abba took a bad time in my life and in the end He used it for good. Our family is so much better because of Dad.  My Dad.

155F4116-D18B-4F97-8EDB-9F63F80EDF59

Readers, I hope you are spending today celebrating with your fathers.  As cliche as it sounds, do not take your father for granted for one minute.  Take it from someone who lost her Daddy when she was young and is now not able to see her Dad because of new visitation regulations.  I would love to be able to kiss Dad’s sweet cheek and tell him how much I love and appreciate him today.  Hopefully he knows that already.

0A7609B5-A60F-48FB-A7EC-DEBCA7CECA1A

 

 

 

 

Prayers vs. Good Thoughts

Pet peeves.  We all have them.  Most of us have a long list of them.  I know I do.  Incorrect grammar drives me crazy.  Younger people being disrespectful always makes me want to correct them on the spot.  One of the biggies for me though is people saying “I am sending good (or positive) thoughts.”  What is that?  Explain it to me.

704144FF-B024-448C-89A6-07057C20E5FA

 

How does one send a thought?  Do you put it in a box and send it?  No, that wouldn’t work.   I suppose in lieu of praying people believe this is the next best thing.  Perhaps for them it even is the best thing, but it is not for me.  I would much rather have and offer prayer.  In fact, scripture tells us to “Pray without ceasing.” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

Do you believe a person’s thoughts are powerful enough to change someone else’s life?  I don’t.  Do I believe prayer is that powerful?  Pull up a chair and let me tell you some first hand experiences.  Yes, prayer is absolutely that powerful and effective.  Why, because God is powerful.

DCF6FCEB-8316-4747-90A6-5E5B2C05AC44

Several years ago I had a stroke.  The doctors said there was damage done to my eyes and I would always see bright flashing lights, like strobe lights.  Always meaning every minute of every day for the rest of my life.  To the doctors’ baffling surprise my eyesight improved almost back to normal.  I had an army of faithful prayer warriors praying for me.  God heard and answered our prayers.  No positive thoughts or vibes sent my way could have healed me.

Family members have had cancer literally disappear thanks to our healing Heavenly Father answering our prayers.  Lives have been saved, jobs secured, and babies added to our family all because we prayed and God answered.   Money miraculously became available to pay for food or important bills, all because of answered prayers.  Accidents were avoided, injuries not as severe, and diagnoses not fatal where first thought, all due to faithful praying family and friends.  God heard and answered.  Prayer makes a difference, a big difference.

312D0ABA-1137-461C-AFF9-102FA2F56015

I encourage you to pray for one another instead of merely saying you are sending thoughts.  It is not difficult.  There is no special way to pray.  It is a conversation between you and your Creator.  He knows everything about you already, even what you are going to say.  Open your heart and just talk to God.  The more you pray, the more you will want to pray and the easier it will become.

Don’t get me wrong.  Positive thinking is important.  It makes a huge difference in a person’s day.  We all awake each day with the choice to be happy and see life with the glass half full or we could be grumpy and negatively say the glass is half empty.  I do believe in positive thinking, but I just don’t believe in sending positive thoughts.

65FC4FA8-1434-471F-BD6B-B70DEC934EC5

Speaking of thoughts, I hope this has given you something to ponder if you ask for or offer good or positive thoughts.  Honestly, I would rather not have someone say that to me except for the fact that I can pray for them.   If they aren’t praying, they are missing such a blessing.  We all need blessings and prayers.  We all need God.

648A4C5D-C1FD-4388-8581-34963BE5B582

 

 

Covid19: What it Has Taken and Given

In the matter of days our lives were turned upside down.  Normal ceased to exist.  Our daily routines changed.  Spring Break plans were disrupted.  Schools let scholars go home for the remainder of the year.  Seniors were cheated out of their final semester of High School or College.  People were quarantined at home.  Why?  A nasty extremely contagious, life threatening virus named Covid19.
E1343460-A30D-4525-9358-E6E22D358E57

Parks were closed.  Sporting events were cancelled.  Businesses were shut down 
and only essential workers were employed.  Companies had employees work from home.  Grocery store shelves were bare.  Toilet paper became a rare item. Yes, stores were sold out of it everywhere.  Hand sanitizer disappeared along with it.  Health officials found it necessary to reteach us how to wash our hands.

311063B3-84F5-4111-8869-6B1C8C4478A9
Since groceries were out of meat, groceries were selling their raw protein along with prepared menu items.  Delivery or curbside pick up were the only options since dining in had been banned. Gatherings were limited to ten people.  Weddings were rescheduled and funerals kept private.  Church doors were closed.  Masks were worn in public for protection.  Our world had completely changed.
Covid19 has taken our normal from us.  Our secure, everyday life is now gone. Healthcare and grocery workers are exhausted.  Parents are homeschooling and frustrated.  Family and friends are missing each other.  Children are frightened and do not understand.  Adults are, too.  This is a worldwide pandemic. What is a pandemic?  Webster’s dictionary says “Pandemic definition is – occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population.”

DA7F9EC7-50DD-47EC-A5F9-411D0D424808
Oh, but wait.  It is not all gloom and doom. Covid19 has also given to us.  Our priorities have been forced into perspective.  Family has risen to the top.  Those concerts and sporting events that we believed were essential have been replaced with family time.  Family dinners have made a huge comeback.  People are returning to the kitchen to prepare meals that will be eaten around a table with family.  The weather has turned nice and families are going outside.  We are rediscovering the treasure we have been taking for granted.
168224F6-5BCF-47D1-9110-18EF3E070ED8

Communities and the entire nation have joined together.  Meals are given to children
out of school and to healthcare workers. Restaurants are pitching where they can.   Protective masks are being made at home to help. Many are giving them away.  Neighbors are checking on each other.  Teenagers are doing yard work to help elderly.  Groceries are picked up for friends.  Kindness is manifesting itself through people across this nation. We are thinking of others and their needs.  America and mankind are pulling together to help win this war on Covid19.  We are standing together to assist others.  
5AE829D0-E432-4BAE-AE50-A6FF2606F6CF
With so much time spent in self quarantine parents are spending quality time with their children.  Hiking, playing games, grilling or working in the kitchen, are just a few of the ways families are enjoying their time together.  They are becoming reacquainted with each other.  Families are doing more activities together and making lasting memories.  For the most part, this is a great thing.  Unfortunately there will be some children not blessed with a happy home.

FDAEE82F-AE22-4EFD-8294-91AD9E41303F
The best thing to come out of this is that people have turned their hearts and minds back to God.  Children are witnessing a revival in their homes.  Prayers are said at mealtime and bedtime now more than ever.  Bibles are being dusted off and opened.  God’s Word is being read.  We have more time now to begin our day with God’s Word and in prayer.  That excuse has been taken away.  Parents are able to set good examples for their children and teach them God’s Word.

1CD659A4-0A44-412C-BBAE-6FF2EC6BE42A
God’s children have hit the reset button on their lives.  We are putting things in proper order starting with Jesus, then others, and finally ourselves.  We will come through this battle victorious.  Always we need our Heavenly Father, but we need Him especially now.  This is an epic battle we are fighting with Covid19.  Fear not.  Nothing is impossible with God.  He is more powerful than anything, even this pandemic.  I hope the lessons that we learned during this time will stay with us.  I hope our world remains changed for the better.  Don’t you?
E6AA3BE3-0412-4F8D-A8F5-72B35EE3BD1A

Grandparenting with a Purpose Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway

My Thoughts

Grandparenting with a Purpose, Effective Ways to Pray for Your Grandchildren by author Lillian Penner is a must read for all grandparents.   Actually it is a great book for parents and others that love and pray for children.  Aunts and uncles, Sunday school teachers, and friends will benefit from this book on praying for children.

The author provides practical tips and tools for praying for children as well as scripture.  Her view is that praying for them and their parents is the best thing we can do for them.  As a mother of two, Gram of four, and aunt to many, I readily agreed.  I have been praying for mine since before they were born.

This book had me nodding my head in agreement and at times stopping my reading to pray.  It is easy to read and understand, and it will move you.  Scripture is freely used with examples of good parents and prayers.  The questions at the end of the chapters are for personal study.

There three sections in this book:  Grandparents Standing in the Gap with Prayer, Standing in the Gap with Intercessory Prayer, and Standing in the Gap for Grandchildren.  Each section has relevant lessons.  The end of the book is filled with a plethora of valuable information, worksheets, and reference material.  Do not miss it.

A small group of grandparents or soon-to-be ones would richly benefit from this inspiring book.  I will be purchasing it for shower gifts for grandparents.  This fills a void that in today’s world cannot afford to remain empty.  We must pray for our children and theirs.

I highly recommend this book.  It gets a 5 out of 5 star rating from me.  Every church library should have one in it.  Anyone that loves a child should read it.  If you do not know how to pray for someone, this is a great tool.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book:  Grandparenting with a Purpose

Author: Lillian Penner

Genre: Non-fiction / Christian family and relationships

Release Date: June 6, 2015

Front cover Grandparenting With a PurposeCulture tends to shape our grandchildren by what it presents as normal, which is very different from the normal in which we grew up. But through prayer and godly counsel, grandparents who love the Lord can stand in the gap and help their grandchildren and their parents navigate their world and cultural influences.

Being a grandparent is a blessing—the grandchildren are so sweet, and we love the hugs and pictures. But these days, many grandparents have the added responsibility of raising their grandchildren, while others are restrained from seeing their grandkids. Grandparenting: Effective Ways to Pray for Your Grandchildren will share some insight into these difficult issues. And no matter your situation, God gives grandparents a sacred trust—an opportunity to imprint another generation with the message of His faithfulness.

From cell phones to photo prayer journals, you’ll find tools and Scriptures to pray intentionally for your grandchildren and their parents. Regardless of how far they live from you, your prayers can bridge the distance between you and leave your grandchildren with an inheritance more precious than gold.

 

Click here for your copy!

 

About the Author

Lillian Penner PicLillian Ann Penner is an author, speaker, and grandmother residing with her husband, John, in Portland, Oregon. They have been married for more than fifty years and have three married sons and nine grandchildren.

Penner is the national prayer coordinator for Christian Grandparenting Network (CGN), and she writes about her passion of intentional praying grandparents for CGN’s website. She is involved in leadership in the women’s Bible study, the fifty-five plus group in her church, and leads a Grandparents@Prayer group.

She has been active in church ministry for over fifty years, led an outreach ministry for young mothers, a mentoring ministry for women, and various other church ministries. She has participated in short term missions in Ukraine and volunteered with several Christian ministries.

She and her husband enjoy traveling, but most of all, enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.

 

More from Lillian

Finding Joy in Praying for my Grandchildren

What a joy it is to have that precious little grandchild come running into your arm with hugs and kisses. The six-year-old calling to tell you she lost her first tooth or your seven-year-old grandson excited about making his first goal in his soccer game.

In addition to senior discounts, grandchildren are one of the rewards of growing older. Mary H. Waldrip says it well, “Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old.”

I now have nine grandchildren, ages ranging from sixteen years to thirty-eight years, four are married, and we have five great-granddaughters. As a long-distance grandmother for many years, I was not fully aware of my grandchildren’s immediate needs. I prayed that God would bless them, give them good health and protection. Ultimately, I became frustrated and felt something was lacking with my vague and general prayers. I asked God to show me how to become more deliberate in praying for them.

After reading books about grandparenting and prayer full of practical advice, I was encouraged to use specific Scriptures in praying for my grandchildren. The books motivated me to pray regularly for their emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.

Best of all, praying God’s Word has enabled me to pray with His power, direction, and wisdom. As their grandparent, I can have a significant role in influencing their lives by praying for them during these turbulent years has given me fulfillment and satisfaction in praying for them.

The faith of our children is weakened in the classrooms; young adults raised in our hostile environment are walking away from God in record numbers. Hopelessness is prevalent, and our society is reeling from the opioid crisis, mass shootings, fatherlessness, divorce, and so much more.

Recognizing the urgent need for my grandchildren’s spiritual needs God gave me a passion of praying Scripture for my grandchildren. I felt God wanted me to share my passion with other grandparents so I wrote the book Grandparenting with a Purpose: Effective Ways to Pray for your Grandchildren about ten years ago. It has blessed and encouraged many grandparents. This past year I felt God wanted me to revise and expand the book, so I added the following chapters with a study guide for each chapter.

 

  • I have found there are many hurting estranged grandparents today with heavy hearts, so I am addressing that issue in a chapter. Is your grandparenting Painful or a blessing?
  • I include a section looking at a view of the culture our grandchildren and their parents are navigating today.
  • God’s Design for grandparenting plus several additional chapters and Scriptures to Pray for Teens and Scriptures for Grandparents to pray for themselves.

The book retails for $14.99. However, it is available for a discounted price of $15.00, including shipping and handling costs in the U. S. for a limited time.  A bonus of a Scriptural Prayer resource will be included with your purchase. The book is available in EBook format for $3.99 for those who would prefer the EBook format or live outside the U. S. to save on shipping costs.

This book will challenge you and give you resources for the spiritual battle with the enemy. It will show you how to be an intentional disciple-maker and prayer warrior to impact the next generation.

Blog Stops

Wishful Endings, February 10 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 11

Artistic Nobody, February 12 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 13

Texas Book-aholic, February 14

Older & Smarter?, February 15

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 16

Blossoms and Blessings, February 17 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, February 18

deb’s Book Review, February 19

SusanK. Beatty, Author, February 20 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, February 21

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 22 (Author Interview)

Vicky Sluiter, February 23

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lillian is giving away the grand prize of a signed copy of her book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f5bd/grandparenting-with-a-purpose-celebration-tour-giveaway

What is love?

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching.  Our hearts and minds are turning to love.  How do you celebrate?  Is it a time for just you and your sweetheart?  Perhaps you include your children in the holiday and make it truly about love.

In our family it is a day centered around love for everyone. We send cards to family and buy presents for our grandkids besides spending time for ourselves.  It is not just a romantic holiday for me and my hubby.  Our pets even get a new toy.

7E58E1DA-2D29-4021-BE4F-0B79015D3530

When our kiddos were still at home we included them.  I remember making a red heart shaped cake or a red velvet cake to have for dessert.  They would get cards and a gift or money.  Sure the hubby and I carved out time for each other to remember our love, too.

Love should be lived, spoken, and shared everyday.  Do you agree?  I am talking about true, unblemished love.  Everyone flourishes when loved, even plants.  Where do we begin to find out just what love is if we want to do this right? The Bible in First Corinthians gives us the best answer.

DE35D2CC-0A4C-453F-88CD-107F1D75344A

In I Corinthians 13 we are provided a guideline about love.  This scripture explains all about what it is and isn’t.  As we read what love is, think about the people you love.  Is your love in line with the definition?  Are you patient with them and not easily angered?

“Love is patient.

Love is kind.

It does not envy.

It does not boast.

It is not proud.

It is not rude.

It is not self-seeking.

It is not easily angered.

It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects,

Always hopes,

Always perseveres.

Love never fails.”

How did you do on your check list.  Me, I could stand some improving.  For one thing, patience is something that I am constantly honing.  Certainly I have failed in many of the other areas, but after writing this blog it has given me a wake up call. I need to love others better, and I will.

74AB2DEE-C0ED-4962-8194-A13490486B4A

Jesus commands us (not suggests) to love one another as He has loved us in John 13:34.  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  Wow.  That is a high standard.  No, let me change it to the highest standard.  The gold standard.  Even though we are mere humans we can still strive for it.

God has always loved us and always will.  He has plans for each one of us and sent Jesus to redeem us.  Scripture says He loves with an everlasting love.  That is unending, pure, powerful love.  That verse is so sweet to my spirit that I drink my coffee out of this cup.

2F8A77E1-1F33-4053-B80F-147044BD78DE

Please join me in pondering this scripture and how we truly love others, even family.  As I ask these questions of myself, you could search for your own answers.  Am I patient, kind, hopeful, protective, and does my love persevere?  I’m not proud, envious, boastful, easily angered, rude or self-seeking, am I?  Do I keep track of when people do me wrong?  Has my love ever failed someone?  How can I improve and love others as Jesus did.

Enjoy this season of love and remember how loved you are.

A680A73C-694A-4032-8A2F-A7172765422A

Simple Things Bring Joy

The night before I needed to run some errands my sweet daughter messaged me.  She volunteered to chauffeur me in case there were no parking places or just to spend time together.  Wow!  What an unexpected blessing for this mama.

CF52376D-970E-4FAB-BEAE-B68929313A68

Sure enough at stop number one, there were no parking places at the doctor’s office.  After dropping me off at the front door my daughter proceeded to look for one farther away in where we dubbed “The South Forty.” By the time she sauntered through the door  I had signed in and was talking insurance.

The wait for the Lab took longer than usual.  Today it did not matter as mother and daughter chattered away.  She told me tales of her family and how a stranger praised my grandson for his manners and character.  The stranger went on to reaffirm my daughter was doing a good job in her mothering.  Even though I knew this it was a beautiful thing to hear someone else noticed it, too.

906A6A7F-CA1D-4CB0-B919-B7BC53D8540A

Finally I was called back and my daughter adjusted her long stride to match that of my short one.  I dread having bloodwork done because I am what they call “a hard stick.”  Cheerful conversation helped take my mind off of this.  My usually temperamental veins were cooperative and yielded blood easily.  Prayers answered.  Leaving my daughter hurried to deliver her van right to the door.  What a thoughtful daughter.

The remaining errands were routine but still much nicer because they were shared.  I even felt better physically.  Since I was required to fast, she decided a trip through the coffee shop drive through as well as another was in order.  We couldn’t go inside because groceries filled the back of her van.

4CF95C88-83EB-4666-9BEE-97517729C118

All morning we laughed, giggled, shared, and had a lovely time.  Ending in my driveway we settled in the van, talked, drank coffee, and ate miniature biscuits which we dipped in gravy.  My daughter said “you know what would make this perfect? If a deer came into the yard.”  That happens often.  She loves seeing all of the wildlife that grace our land, but I believe deer are her favorite.

It was already perfect for me.  I was happy, peaceful, joyful, and felt loved by my daughter and my Heavenly Father.  He provided this day and time which I really needed.  It was hard to leave the sanctuary of her van and our quality time.

Joy can be found in so many places and things.  For me, joy is spending time with my daughter.  Apparently it was spending time with me for her.  Later that night she texted me to say how much she needed our time together.

She has no way of knowing that while we sipped our coffee that I traveled back in time.  I recalled how close we have always been, my hopes and prayers for her, and realized she is the extraordinary woman I wanted her to be.  She is a wonderful Christian woman and mother.

58A46504-E470-4602-A661-740F703B627B

Please think about who needs you to bring joy into their lives.  Bless them today.  It doesn’t need to cost you much or anything.  A phone call, offering to chauffeur them on errands, a coffee date, or even sitting in a car chatting might bring them much joy.  It did me.  I am thankful for my daughter everyday.  God is so good.  Isn’t He?