Blessed & Loved

Today is our mother’s 72nd Birthday. I called to wish her a Happy Birthday earlier in the evening; wanted to be the first to officially recognize it. It’s an older child kind of thing and my mom said, thank you but it’s just another day, nothing special.

But it is special, because it is the day the Lord gave her life, and without her in existence, none of us would be here today.

She is a woman of great strength and love. She has always shown us and our families unconditional love no matter the circumstances, no matter if she agreed with our choices or decisions we made. She has ALWAYS loved us. As I become older, and perhaps a bit wiser, just a tiny bit, I realize that I wouldn’t have made it as far as I had without her wisdom and blessings in my life. She taught me to be tactful, which I was never really good at, and sometime’s I still need work on. She taught me to look through the lens of love and not through my eyes. She taught me that sometime’s what we see isn’t what is truly going on. People have a way of closing down to protect themselves when they are tired of being hurt and sometimes you have to look past the anger and fear, and be willing to be patient with them until they trust you enough to let you in.

Her life as a child wasn’t easy, she went through a whole lot of changes before she reached the age of 10; but instead of having the mentality, life will always be hard, she chose to make her life better. No matter how old I get, I think of the hard things she has gone through and I realize that she is who I so want to be like, when I grow up. Yeah, yeah, I’m 50, I should be all grown up by now, but there are days I still need my mom.  She challenges me to be a better person by reminding me that I can’t do things on my own. That I need to turn ALL my worries and troubles over to God. I remember one Christmas, she gave each of us a neatly decorated box, our God Box. When we had worries or struggles, we were to write them on a piece of paper, say a prayer and give them to God. I don’t have the box anymore, too many moves, and the Lord is the only one that knows where that box is….truly. But that selfless act of love, taught me to give my worries and cares to our Father in Heaven and wait for His reply.

She camped with me during our Campfire Girl Outings, took me to many a marching band practice, showed me how to sew on a button, or cook a meal, do laundry so my whites didn’t turn out gray or pink and always was laughing and full of love. Even though I speak to her almost daily, either through voice, or text or Skype, I can never convey how much I truly love this woman.  She gave me life. I don’t recall hearing the saying, “wait til your father gets home” because I knew that she could dish out discipline, just as well as he could. She taught me about respecting my elders and being respectful. She taught me that once trust is broken, it is very hard to gain back. She taught me that working and earning a wage, wasn’t just about a paycheck with dollar signs, it meant something. She taught me the difference between “wants” and “needs”. She taught me that even though you may have very little, as long as you have family and love, you are pretty darn rich. Friendships are bonuses!

Over my last 50 years, she has taught me so many things, I could not possibly list them all, but the one thing I know for sure is today is not just another day. It’s a day to celebrate her! I can’t be with her on this special day, so I am writing this love letter of sorts.

Mom,

You have always been someone who has amazed me in so many ways. Your selfless acts of love that go unseen by many, have not been forgotten by me. You have been my strength when giving up seemed like the only option. You have loved so immeasurably by putting your life on hold, when I didn’t understand what love was. You showed me tough love at times, but the one thing that stands true is you have always loved me, with no strings attached. So, regardless of whether you think it’s just another day, it’s no big deal, I am going to have to disagree. I wish you the happiness and peace on your birthday. I know it is hard with daddy not being here, but I know he would not want your day to go unnoticed.

Happy 72nd Birthday to my best friend, I love you mom!

Love always,

Carlene

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Seasons

Bucket Trip to the Mountains 027

As I get older, I realize that we all go through seasons in our lives; bends in the road and the realization that sometimes we are fearful for what might be around the bend, because we cannot foresee it, until we have followed it through, but God can. It says in his Word that he knows everything about me. All my hairs are numbered and he knows each one!

For me, having a Savior, Jesus Christ, that knows such intimate details about me and knowing that HE is always with me, is very comforting. Knowing that even when I can’t see beyond the bend in the road, HE can. The biggest challenge all of us face from time to time, isn’t fearing the bend in the road or the season in life we are in, but remembering to TRUST HIM.

It’s easy to say that to others, don’t worry, don’t fear, but sometimes following our own advice isn’t nearly as easy. If you are like me, I still want to be in control. And if I can’t let go of something and truly turn it over to God, then it’s like me saying, God, I know you got this, but………………….There’s the crux of the whole thing. Either I trust Him with everything in my life or I don’t.

In my walk with the Lord, I am learning, sometime’s ever so slowly, that when I put my faith and trust in Him, I have peace that I cannot gain from the world. Jesus knows that we struggle, he knows the struggles, because he too faced those humanly struggles while he was here on earth, but the difference is, Jesus always trusted in the Father to be the one to turn to. It doesn’t take but a moment, to pray and ask for help; it’s in the moments when you are faced with a life changing decision (sometimes it’s only in your mind, that it’s life changing) (or it may truly be a life changing moment) what kind of reaction will you have and how will you handle it. Who will you turn to???

Recently, during a season in my life, I could hear and see all the chaos around me, but I chose that I would trust in the Lord. I prayed for discernment and wisdom, clarity to make the right decision; knowing that when I reached that scary bend in the road, I still wasn’t sure what was best, but I knew with all my heart, he would grant me peace about the decision I was facing or he wouldn’t. And one thing, I have learned in the many years, He and I have been together, is if I don’t feel His peace, than I know I need to think of other ways to handle something or make decisions.

No matter, where you are in your journey with Jesus, even if you’re not sure you are on a journey yet, know this:

Jesus loves you! He will meet you whenever and  in whatever condition you are in. He longs to have that one on one relationship with you. He longs to be the one you turn to when you are happy; when you are sad; when you are down right scared; when you don’t know if you can take just one more step or hang on one more minute; HE is there. Waiting with open arms-waiting to engulf you in HIS arms and welcome you into HIS flock.

Luke 12:6-7 New Living Translation (NLT)

“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins[a]? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

So the next time, you try to do it on your own, remember there is a Savior, who knows the worst and the best about you and HE just wants to get to know you better. He will guide you through everything you are facing or will face. He already knows what’s around the bend; HE is waiting to be invited by you to take the journey.

Deuteronomy 31:6 New Living Translation (NLT)

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

No matter, where you are, remember always Jesus Loves You!

The Ripple Effect

Today was supposed to be the day that we buried my father and said our final earthly goodbyes. Supposed to be. But due to an error on the part of one person, or maybe many persons, it didn’t happen. So we wait. On the car ride home, I thought about the what a ripple effect is and what happens,.

I have been thinking a lot since my father became ill and his death, how much of an affect he had on so many people and his ripples extend farther than probably even I can fathom. You’ve seen it and probably even done it, a time or two. Toss the little pebble into a body of water and if it bounces just right, it creates ripples, beautiful ripples, that only can happen because of that first majestic bounce on the water.

My father, in my eyes, was a great man. And most people would think that I am biased in my opinion, but when hundreds of other people share stores about him and the lasting effects of teaching and training and learning from him over his 73 years here on earth, I know that he was a great man. He touched so many lives. What is amazing to me, is he truly had no idea he was this man. Near the end of his life, he asked if he had done enough? And I thought it quite strange that he would ask such a question, but he was humble, always. He had no idea that living his life and doing the things he loved to do was actually creating a legacy to leave behind.

We all have the ability to leave a ripple effect in our lives. It is our choice to decide and determine, if the ripples we leave will be ones full of laughter and joy or sadness and sorrow. If we are lucky enough, and we need to make changes or look at life from a different perspective, we still have the time to make lasting ripples. They can be small or huge; it’s ultimately your choice.

God gives us free will. It is for us to choose how to use that free will that we are given. I think the best type of ripple I can leave is that I love.  I do the best I can, daily, to try to stay focused and look through the lens of Jesus when I am facing struggles.  Years ago, WWJD seemed to be everywhere.  Can you imagine, how different your live would be if you actually practiced WWJD(What Would Jesus Do)?

I can tell you this for sure, I am NOT perfect. I am broken in this sin filled world. But I am LOVED by our Heavenly Father and I am FORGIVEN.  There is nothing I can do to earn that. I chose to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior and follow him since I was 11 years old. I do not belong to a religion, but to the body of Christ. I am the church. What I say, what I do and how I respond to those around me; hopefully, people see glimpses of the Savior.  There are many days, I must bow on these arthritic knees and pray for forgiveness, because I too, can be thoughtless and selfish at times. That is not the type of ripple I want to create.

In closing, the reason my father was such a great man, is many tidbits and stories, that are personal and can’t be shared, because I am not ready to do that, but the reason is because he taught me about Jesus when I was young and he modeled his life after the Lord. He was a very compassionate and forgiving man. He tried to see the good in everything and he loved unconditionally.

Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)

Direct your children onto the right path,
    and when they are older, they will not leave it.

His ripples will continue through those he has left behind. What will your ripples look like at the end of your life?

Blessings to all who have taken the time to read this.