Does it sometimes feel as if it would kill you to forgive? No, we never feel that way. Or at least I don't. Most of the time, we just feel as if it would be so unjust to forgive an offense against us, or our loved ones. We think of it in terms of justice, as if holding the grudge is a punishment held against the offender, and they deserve it. In reality, the grudge is a malfunction of our own hearts... a mechanical breakdown... a fear of loving. The human heart was never made to hold a grudge. We were made to love and praise God. Nothing in the original Creation was made to frustrate or upset man. He was given all his heart could desire, yet something in his heart misfired... at a mere suggestion made by a serpent. After the Fall of Adam & Eve, man began to feel the emotion of unforgiveness. But, this mechanical breakdown of the heart can be remedied. After I explain, I will share with you 7 ways to forgive your brother.
Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
HEART from the Hebrew:
לֵב leb #3820 a form of 3824; the heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the centre of anything:—+ care for, comfortably, consent, X considered, courag(-eous), friend(-ly), ((broken-), (hard-), (merry-), (stiff-), (stout-), double) heart((-ed)), X heed, X I, kindly, midst, mind(-ed), X regard((-ed)), X themselves, X unawares, understanding, X well, willingly, wisdom.
There is more on the landscape of the human mind than the physical geography of the brain.
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Our thought processes are so much more than the wheels, cogs and gears of a clock.
Today, as well as in Bible, the words "feelings" and "thoughts" are used interchangeably as functions of both the mind and heart. The fact is, the human brain is a fluid thing, and is affected by the things we see, hear, touch, smell, and taste. Our life experiences alter us and shape us, as an ongoing process. The heart itself is assigned functions of emotions by many. The brain is seen as the "thinker." But, realistically, the thinking brain has a filtering system of values that we use to make cognitive decisions on every topic. There is, after all, a reason most men like bacon. Why do men like bacon? Think about that for a moment. The brain does not just think rationally without input from emotions.
And, where do your emotions come from? They are partly influenced by hormones secreted from glands, which have nothing to do with the brain or logical thought. Yet, no one could deny that emotions influence our decisions. Look back at the bacon question. A strip of bacon has very little actual meat. Bacon is a huge percentage fat, and will not provide the protein that would fill us up. Compare a slice of bacon, or two, or three, to a ribeye steak. There really is no comparison, is there? Which one is more filling? Yet, you do not see the media craze for steak that you do for bacon. Bacon is portrayed as meat for a hearty appetite. This is illogical, to say the least. I would choose steak over bacon any day, logically! Yet, many value bacon. Their mental value filters tell them to think of the bacon as good.
The heart functions mechanically by a series of valves that circulate blood; which issues life throughout the body, (if we don't eat too much bacon.) The brain functions mechanically in a similar way; in that neurons fire off electrical impulses, which travel along synapses through the nervous system of the body. This dual fluid and charge system makes up our life force. Blood and neuronal impulses are constantly regenerated throughout the body. What the heart and brain receive,they have already sent out. They get nothing they haven't already given. What they give, they will get in return.
Likewise, when dealing with sociological concerns like mercy and forgiveness, we can not physically receive what we do not give. If we criticize those around us, we will "feel" condemnation in return.
Judge not, and you shall not be judged: condemn not, and you shall not be condemned: forgive, and you shall be forgiven: Luke 6:37
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Though the mind seems like a highly specialized robot, with intelligent programming, the human mind is said to have a will: the power to choose and change outcome and output. This is so unlike a droid or robot.
Have you ever met someone who seems to be on an emotional roller coaster? Every time you speak to them, they are either screaming in excitement, or howling in tears about their next big problem. They seem to be functioning like a robot, without power to choose or change their output. And, they seem to get stuck on the same recordings, like the robot on Lost in Space. "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger, Will Robinson!"
Emotions are operating states of mind. Since we are endowed with will, which is the power to choose and change; we are able to choose and change our emotions.
Will itself will not change our emotions, but rather will gives us the power to change our emotions. Changes in emotion are made by changing our actions and thoughts. Thoughts are themselves exchangeable by changing actions. Therefore, most emotions are exchangeable by changing our mode of action.
Likewise, we can choose as a matter of will to forgive others. That is usually the way it is done, since God does not rescind our human will, and coerce forgiveness. There are many good ways to help yourself forgive someone, short of dying on a cross. Below are 7 ways I have tried myself, and they always seem to work for me. If you find them useful, feel free to drop me a note to let me know.
How do I forgive you? Let me count the ways: (Or, 7 Ways to Forgive your Brother!)
#1: Forgive Vicariously!
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then you have received forgiveness by being washed, metaphorically, in the blood of the cross. What this means, is that since Jesus died in your place, the blood He shed was an act that covers your sins. If you have received this forgiveness, then you have already directly been exposed to forgiveness, first hand. He has basically given us a figurative "blood transfusion;" replacing the unforgiveness and evil nature inside of man with His own goodness, through the cleansing power of the blood. This forgiveness for our sins killed Jesus. It may kill you, figuratively to forgive some offenses. But, you have an example. You can forgive those who offend you vicariously, that is through the actions of someone else, Jesus Christ.
#2: Forgive as an Example!
If someone is always being critical of you, try forgiving them for a mistake they make. If you can't find something to forgive them for, forgive someone else in their presence. Criticism is a physical problem that can be remedied by repeated exposure to forgiveness. Seeing examples of forgiveness cures a condemning spirit. Choosing to forgive others is a way that we can demonstrate the power and forgiveness of Jesus to the world.
#3: Forgive in Proxy!
If you no longer have contact with the person who has hurt you, because of death or distance, choose a person who has the same problems or vices that the offender had, and forgive them. Remember, forgive is a verb -an action word. Physically doing something for this person to help them with a problem their vice has caused will result in an internal release of forgiveness. For example, if a parent was an alcoholic, and caused you anguish throughout your life, but they are no longer living for you to practice the action of forgiving, help someone with a drinking problem, or volunteer at a rehab clinic. Actively helping someone stop an offense that has hurt you in the past, will allow them to receive your forgiveness as a stand-in. You benefit by releasing forgiveness out of your own heart for the person who is gone, into the life of another person who will live better because of your gift of forgiveness.
#4: Forgive in Increments!
If what someone has done hurt you too deeply and traumatically for forgiveness, then choose a small part of their mistake to forgive for starters. By chipping away the unforgivable bit by bit, you will find you have no grudges left. Bitterness drains your heart's reserves. Forgiveness gives you power.
#5: Forgive early; Forgive often!
Forgiveness is accumulative. Practice forgiveness by forgiving "little crimes." Repeat as often as necessary, until you find your heart is overflowing with forgiveness. The most difficult time to forgive is when we are "running on empty" and feeling like we are drained. Store up forgiveness, because you never know when the hard years will come, and you may have to hurt for awhile. When that happens, you will be thankful that your heart is full of forgiveness, and you find it easy to release the pain into forgiving someone else, because you have been learning to forgive all along.
#6: Forgive Yourself!
Offenses hurt the offender, too. Sometimes you were punished for those things you did wrong, and that hurt. So, you need to forgive yourself for hurting yourself like that. Spend one week listing everything you've done in your life that was wrong, mean, or painful for anyone else. It will take at least a week, because we often block our own offenses out of our memory. Write it down even if you weren't caught, because you suffered mentally, and emotionally in some way for having done it: guilt, shame, bad dreams, fear of discovery. You can keep a running list in a note-taking app like Evernote. After 7 days, mark the offenses off your list one at a time as you tell yourself you are forgiven. This may sound like faulty logic for a moment, unless you realize, you really are being forgiven, because you are forgiven by yourself. You may not be forgiven by the person you wronged, but you forgive yourself.
#7: Forgive like Jesus!
The mercy you get is the mercy you give from your own heart. It works like the circulatory sstem I mentioned at the beginning. Forgiveness pumped out; forgiveness pumped in! Bitterness out; bitterness in! Mercy out; mercy in! This flow chart assures us that we get what we give. Jesus forgave us of all the sins and offenses we have ever committed. If you are yet unforgiven, you can repent, or turn from your sins right this very moment, and be converted to the Gospel of Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate forgiver. He gives, and He forgives, and He keeps on giving. His heart works! If we close our hearts up, and refuse to allow mercy and forgiveness to flow through us, then we will be unable to receive forgiveness ourselves. If we are already forgiven, then the same forgiveness that flows into our heart, can flow out of our hearts by an act of will, just as Jesus willed Himself to forgive on the cross. Remember, the mercy you get is the mercy you give from your own heart. Choose to forgive! Forgive like Jesus!
See also: Luke 6:37 Luke 11:4 Luke 17:3 Luke 17:4 Luke 23:34
Jesus called Himself the way, the truth, and the life. These were not plural, but notice that he added that there was no other way or truth or life to get to the Father.
John 14:6 Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me.
We know that He was called light as well. But, I can't stop comparing these three characteristics of God's nature to the three keys to Spirituality highlighted by Paul in the love chapter. And, don't forget to notice where the LOVE chapter is in the New Testament... it's sandwiched in the middle of a bunch of doctrinal issues and the Spiritual gifts. After you have paused for a moment to listen to the aged old man insist that he is going to show you the best way to be Spiritual, with a wave of his arm, then we will skip right through the chapter to the last word on love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Here we see the three keys a Christian should strive for: faith, hope, and love... if we want to be so Spiritual. I see a correlation between the two sets of three. I believe a case can be made to match them up. We could do that here and now on the spot. But, I want you to make the match yourself. I've made mine. And, I have posted it on another of my websites for you to take a peek at... once you've done your homework. It's over on a new page
of Go-Minister that I am working up as a resource for unlocking our gifts and talents. After you compare your thoughts to mine, feel free to comment, tweet, email, or inbox me your thoughts, and what you make of the two verses together as interlocking puzzle pieces. My choices can be found at http://www.go-minister.com/puzzling-gifts.html
Be sure to check back on that page soon to see how the resource is going, and email me any contribution ideas you have, as always. God bless you!
Darkness descends early enough that you have ample time to long for the return of the sun before daylight. But, the time is about to change. Come sit in today's extra hour of light with me, & meet a few of Jesus' friends. Tonight's podcast and the Scripture references and notes are available on the podcast page: Light Changer
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"I Choose to Praise You"
Used by permission from Mark Snyder
Written by Mark Snyder of Tree Hill Collective
Vocals by Helene Immel
Tree Hill Collective’s music may be purchased at:
"Can't we all just get along?" I remember using those words; wistfully, plaintively, in the early years of my teaching career. I've never been much of a fighter; never had the heart for fighting myself. It's not that I am not stubborn, or passionate enough to stand my ground on an argument. It is really quite the contrary. I usually have chosen one of two routes of defense when attacked. 1. Say something they'll listen to, or 2. Walk away. I don't usually engage in a physical fight.
The few fights I have engaged in were rash moments of insanity where I became enraged enough by pride to say something completely antagonistic enough to someone mean enough to make me regret it. One such fight was in Job Corps, when I was 18 years old. I was a quiet person, and really only interested in graduating with a trade at that time. I left people alone. But, on that one evening, I was not feeling well. It was a Saturday, and I had spent the day in bed curled up under the covers. I got up in a sleepy fog in time for dinner and made my way upstairs to the dining hall, where the line wasn't its usual length, since many students were on leave and off the base for the weekend. As I climbed the stairs, I passed Saundra, a person I only recognized as having seen around. Afterwards, I noticed her looking in my direction in the hallway. Finally, she demanded to know what I was looking at, in language laced with profanity.
I diverted my glance, because I could see she was irate. Really I had not been looking at her at all anyways. But, she continued to hurl the barrage of insults and curse words. I used to have an achilles heel of sorts for being cursed when I was young. I couldn't take it well. (How stupid of me!) And, I was feeling ill anyways. I snapped. I snapped at the only thing I knew about her. "I don't have to take this coming from no 'dyke!'" I snarled. It sounded like it came from someone else's mouth. I was just as shocked as everyone around me. Saundra lifted weights. She looked stronger than most of the guys I knew. But, I wasn't thinking at all... just insulted by the profanity. So, I had stricken back verbally. She suggested we step outside and take care of it. Not to be one to drop an ounce of dignity on the floor in the heat of the moment, I followed her quickly out on the external metal landing and stairway.
Fortunately, someone in the crowd that followed us had the presence of mind to insist we go to the ground floor. My friends and roommates were pleading with me to forget it, and let it go. Saundra took the boxing stance that she knew so well, and waited for me to take the first swing... like a gentleman. I didn't know how to fight. I just knew how to be mad at that moment. I swung my arm wildly, missing by a mile, and then the beating began. Repeatedly, she hammered my face, ears, head, stomach. I kept getting back up, thinking I was going to be able to hit her, but I never touched her. My friends were begging me by this point to just stay on the ground. Finally, my eyes were too swollen to see at all, and San Thomas, a big black girl who I had become friends with on day one at Job Corps picked me up kicking and flailing, and physically carried me to our dorm room. (I was one of only a few white girls there.)
I laid on the bed for about 3 days, with my ears bleeding and my eyes black and blue. By the time I was coherent again, I learned that Saundra was gone; had been expelled because it turned out she had a problem with thinking people were "looking at her." I was not the first one she had fought for the same reason. I was lucky to have a friend like San who carried me away when I got carried away.
I remember the incident like it was yesterday. For the most part, I try to stay away from people who hurt me. So, I can't really understand why some people fight so much. It just strikes me that sometimes you get the idea that there is this list of people you are expected to hate. And, at times, it is easy to forget who is on the list. It shouldn't be that way. In my book, it is all I can do to hate the people who have wronged me. In most cases, I have forgotten why I didn't like them to start with, since my memory is not what it used to be. I can't keep up with the ones who have wronged someone else. So, to make it easier, awhile back I erased my 'list.' Then I wadded the list up and threw it away. Inadvertently, I have befriended some people who were on the 'lists' of other people I care about. So, when the protests started, I handed them a blank piece of paper, and asked them to give me a list of the people I should hate now, since I no longer have a list. Needless to say, the paper lay there blank and the complaints were silenced.
Is love a topic you can write about? Sure, you can write about love, it's just that most people don't. The media is full of death & dying, rage & hatred, and even sex & divorce. But love, the action of the heart, mind, and body to deeply care for another human being, is often absent in mainstream media, for whatever reasons.
My husband and I just spent four days in Panama City, on the Gulf for our second anniversary. We didn't get home til about 2am last night. It is an awesome place to get away. The first night we arrived a pool party was happening outside below our balcony overlooking both the Gulf and the pool. The music from the band was a nice welcome. And, on the last night we could hear fireworks outside our window. In between we mostly were serenaded with the calling of the seagulls and the dashing of the waves against the sandbar running along the miracle strip.
The Song of Songs in the Bible, Canticles, are filled with sweet allusions to love and married happiness. But, much of it refers to external beauty, and the book doesn't really go into the selfless giving that love usually entails in a marriage. It doesn't even speak of loyalty or fidelity. But, then neither do most popular love songs or books today. For that matter, we're not even sure which of Solomon's concubines the book of Song of Solomon was written about. Notice that she was not one of his many wives, but one of many many concubines. So, what's the point, you are left to wonder.
I believe the point is in the forever. Marriage is meant to be a little taste of eternity here on earth. I know Larry is the man I want to spend an eternity with here on earth. And, it is this aspect of marriage that much of love in the media is missing.
While in Panama City, we went to a theater to see the new release of Spiderman. Since it was sold out, Larry wanted to see the animated movie, Brave. It was a touching story of the relationship between a daughter and her Father, her Mother, and her brothers. I loved the way it dealt with a child's stubborn refusal to follow her Mother's plans, a Mother's stubborn insistence on her own plans, and the later realization of how both fit into the family.
Cranking up the laptop late this evening for the first time in almost a week, I found my email is backed up, my scheduled Tweets ran out while I was gone and had to be refilled, I am all out of scheduled blogs, I lost about 9 games of Words With Friends when the game automatically forfeited me while away, and I have much more I should be doing, such as laundry. But, I'm sleepy, and too tired to really get into much online or in the house. Larry cooked up a huge dinner, and I think that did me in, attention wise, for this day. Good night, and I pray God blesses you and yours, and me and mine, with happiness, warmth, and the forever kind of love that eternity is for.
Have you ever noticed the shadow of a plane on the ground? I have a picture I took of my plane's shadow on the first flight I ever took, in a small Cessna craft. It struck me as touching that I was casting a shadow down below. And, it has been equally inspiring when I have stood on earth, and seen the shadow of a plane above cast about near by. The light has this power, this power to dispel all darkness that it can reach, but not hidden darkness. Similarly, if you want God to shed light on your darkness, then you must bring it to the Light. A shadow is hidden darkness.
Psalms 68:13 Though you have slept among the sheepfolds, yet shall you be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. (NKJV)
Psalms 68:13 Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. (KJV)
It doesn't really matter how your troubles are translated, whether you are lying in darkness or sleeping with sheep. What matters is that the Spirit of God will lift you up on wings of a dove; a dove soaring in the sunlight of God's love. Watch the light flickering and shimmering off of the wings of the dove as he coasts and banks in the Spirit. First in silver and then in rays of gold, the afternoon sun reflects off his wings. Oh, but we are so lucky to fly high above our troubles on the wings of a snow white dove! The peace of God is such a richness that astounds even those of us who are wrapped in His arms.
Now, I will bid you goodnight, so you can close your eyes and dream of the Spirit of God, the sweet Holy Spirit, who will soar through your dreams, and coast in your waking hours, to fill your heart with the love and peace of God... on the wings of a dove.
“Why should I believe him? Who is he to me?” This was my thought as a preteen, living with a step-dad who in all fairness thought very poorly of me, or at least professed to have a low opinion of me. Looking honestly at his ratings, and at my own life, I reflected his assessment backwards. I looked back to the natural father who had abandoned my pregnant mother and I when I was just two. What could his abandonment reflect on me when I had been too young for him to dislike? All two year olds are cute. No, this man, much like the first was unbelievable. He had a problem, and clearly it wasn’t me.
Later experiences with my first husband, who was physically abusive, and held approximately 30 jobs in the six years we were together, but was unemployed for over 20 of those months, taught me I couldn’t trust him either. In a book called Daddy Loves His Girls, T. D. Jakes says that a child often projects his or her experience with their earthly father on the Heavenly Father. If they had a domineering dad, they see God as domineering, and so on. I can see where this can happen for most people. But, in my case, I had rejected my father as an image of a father. I had rejected my step-dad’s treatment of me as a father’s treatment. I instead chose God as my Father, the only father I had really ever had. I can’t explain how this came to be. But, I saw clearly that He loved me, and wanted me, and that he was believable.
Fortunately, during the intervening years, I had the opportunity to meet and know a number of wonderful fathers. I watched them with their children, and learned that I had just happened to have my early life filled with some prime examples of the few that are not trust-worthy. I remember one of the earlier such experiences was in driving down the road in my early divorced years, and noticing a little girl sitting in the middle of the seat of a pickup truck. She was sitting right up next to her father, I presumed. It was such a surprising picture that I cried. Her Daddy loved her and she loved him. It was such a shocking, unfamiliar image in my experience. She loved and trusted this man, I could see that clearly.
It was the fact of the love of my Father, God that taught me that I didn’t have to accept less than good treatment from the men in my life. I realized that many women in my situation often accept bad treatment, because that is all they ever knew. My situation was different, though. Because I could see that I could trust Jesus, and my step-dad didn’t give me this type of fatherly love, I left my hometown at the age of 17, just after I graduated from High School, on a Greyhound bus. It was because I knew from my 12 years as a Christian that God had not treated me like my husband did, that I left my husband at the age of 26, despite the fact that I didn’t “believe in” divorce. I wasn’t going to accept that type of treatment. I knew I didn’t have to accept it. Despite the fact that I had met him at church, he did not treat me in a way that was very “godly.”
I never wanted to be one of those women who thought they couldn’t trust any man, simply because they had met a few bad examples. I was very fortunate to have experienced the love of God in my life. I remember protesting to my pastor once that I did not believe that women should just have to accept what society hands them. I had been handed a raw deal, and didn’t have to accept it. Despite these early and prolonged problems with a few men, God led me to a man who is trust-worthy. I met my husband almost three years ago, and learned that I could believe him. If he said he would do something, it was as good as done. He is an honest man. I have no problems trusting him, even though I know him, and his faults well, (and he knows my faults too.) But then, I have every reason to believe him. He has shown himself believable. He is so much like my son, Travis, (who still lives at home with us) despite the difference in height, and a few other differences. Travis is a person of integrity. I like that. I taught him to be that way. I taught him to hold doors open for others, and to be courteous. I believe that both of my sons learned that well, one way or another. I always taught them to treat me well. I was always concerned about how they grew up feeling that they needed to treat women and children.
I chose the online handle “Reason2BelieveHim” in 2002, and associated it with a yahoo email account first. Before that I had been using “childofonegod,” and the email was overran with spam, so I dumped it. From there, I have moved to the point today where I have built a website, blog, and app with the title, as well as using it on various online message boards and social media. I like the title, because it makes it possible to describe my relationship with this "Him" God I refer to euphemistically as a pronoun. My goal is simple...I want to share my reasons for believing in this one I share my life and being with. So, my websites and my writing are about relationship and trust.
I learned years ago that love and trust mean more than roses from a man. In the past, I had a box of collected love letters and pressed roses from old boyfriends. I finally threw them away in the year 2000, simply because I wanted to move on. I wanted to move away from a box of dead, faded promises, and move on to a life with someone who kept his word. I didn’t meet this man until 2009 (oops changed date :) I knew that when I found him, I wouldn’t want to have all those broken promises lying around. I wanted to be able to have open arms to love him, without carrying all that past around in my heart. It was a smart thing to do. I believe that loving Him taught me how to love him.
You know, God's been thinking about you, and He's got a plan. The Bible says so in Jeremiah 29:11. I was reminded of that when I heard my Pastor preach a sermon about Rahab, a Prostitute in the Old Testament, who received redemption with God's people. I won't tell you any more than that about the sermon, other than the fact that I was anxious to see it show up on the podcast to share. I am linking to it below so you can listen for yourself. If you like what you hear, just head on over to his podcast page, and "there's more where this came from" as they say.
Pastor Scott talks about God’s improbable plan for mishaps. He shows from the Bible how God had a plan and a destiny for prostitutes, serial divorcees, and uneducated fisherman. He reminds us that God wants believers to have a passion to reach the lost.
Texts: Joshua 2:21 Psalms 37:23
Vocals: Cindy Benefield
Music: by the Tallapoosa Assembly of God Praise Team, under the direction of Scott's wife Cindy.
The Online Ministries of Scott Benefield, of Ranburne, Alabama. He and his wife Cindy pastor the Tallapoosa Assembly of God, in Tallapoosa, Georgia. He preaches Pentecostal Messages on Faith, Saving Grace, and the Love of God.
We speak of love in terms of perfection, not because we are not human, but because the match between the lovers is perfect. Love is indeed a verb. You are all fair, my love; there is no spot in you. Song of Solomon 4:7 I look at my husband and I feel perfect happiness, perfect companionship, perfect friendship, perfect passion, a perfect bond, not because we are perfect, but because we love without reservation. He is perfect for me.
We watched the movie, "The Vow" Saturday morning. Actually, we watched a double feature; "Safe House" and then "The Vow" as a sort of compromise. He wanted to watch an action movie. But, he did not want me to be disappointed. I enjoyed the first one tremendously, but had been waiting to see The Vow. And, likewise, Larry was not sure he would enjoy that one as much as me, so we watched both. He was surprised to enjoy The Vow too. It was based on a true story, about a young married couple in a car accident. She wakes up from a coma with no memory of him. The past couple years are erased and she remembers only her family back home. He tries to make her fall in love with him again, because he is like a stranger to her. He had vowed to never forget his love for her, and he fought to fulfill that vow. I won't spoil the ending for you, but it was a good movie.
Love is an action rooted in decision. I love my husband. There is no part kept back. Nothing left over. No mad money. I subscribe to making him happy. I do not study his flaws, but how I can meet his needs. I love him for all the good he has brought into my life. I do not take that for granted. And, I am pleased to see that he does not take me for granted. I love the eagerness with which he tries to right a wrong when I mention some small complaint or we argue. He wants to please me. It is evident. Likewise, he instantly lightens up at my apology. He knows how much I respect and admire him.
But, then again, we've only been married a year and a half. I haven't yet begun to love him. I hope your Valentine is a spotless love.
Thanksgiving is the best week of the year. No presents to buy, and plenty of food to eat, and family. And, I always feel happy thinking about how blessed we are. Family is our biggest blessing, if we have family. We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers," 1 Thessalonians 1:2 I want to give thanks tonight for some of the family God has blessed me with, old family and new family alike.
1)Joe Hunt- Thanks for being part of the wedding Joe. I appreciate you for driving
all the way from Tampa for our wedding. It was special too having Joclyn as our
flower girl. She did a beautiful job and all three girls are so sweet. I only wish we could see them more often.
2)Becky Hunt (Cydney Daemon)- Becky, I am very blessed to have been given a step-daughter. I am proud to share you, and to be married to your Dad. Thanks for spending time with us, and letting me be a part of your life. Your Mom is a lucky person to have such a beautiful, smart daughter.
3)Tami Ash- Do You Remember all the years we spent together growing up; the summers in Tennessee at Mamaw & Papaw Nix's farm? Papaw called me Cooniemunk and you were Cooniemae. You were my best friend since you were only two years younger. Thanks for all the games you played with me, and the Barbie Dolls, and the movies, and the Mall. Thanks for the sisterness Tammy. By the way, I checked and those names were originals. I haven't found those words anywhere, even on Google. That's definitely unique.
4)Jessica Ash- Thanks for being my first niece or nephew Jessica. You were so smart, too. I spent weeks propping Matt up until bit by bit he could sit up on his own. Then we came to visit, and you took one look at him sitting up, and you sat up all at once. It was like you hadn't realized before that it was possible for you, until you saw him do it. But, you were 12 weeks younger. I miss those years when we lived in Chatsworth, watching you grow up. Thanks for being sweet, and sitting in my lap, and giving me the big kisses when I came to visit with Matt. I am glad he didn't have to spend his childhood without you around. You were more like brother and sister.
5)Dwayne Jones- You are one of my "newer relatives," but also one of the friendliest. Thanks for being so easy to talk to, and always having something funny to say. I really appreciated you giving us a ride home after the accident, when it was too late/ weekend to get a rental car. You and Terry have been there for me and Larry all the way. Thanks! :)
6)Chad Bruce- Thanks for the online gaming, and for bringing the family to visit us last Christmas, and again this coming Christmas. We are looking forward to Thanksgiving at your house again. It's great to have a new nephew-in-law. You guys have expanded my family. I have been blessed double! Literally... double kids, double sister/brother in laws, double nieces and nephews. And, Larry is double sweet. So, I really expanded my "family," and not just in Mafia Wars. But, you are better than me in Mafia, and have helped me out alot. Thanks for the "connections" Chad lol. :)
7)Randi Bruce- Randi, you are a wonderful Mom, and have been so blessed to have children like Kierston and Braydon! I know that it has been a struggle for you and Chad with the chemo, and everything. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to see you overcome the challenges. You inspire me with the way you deal with everything. It takes a special couple to come through so much and still be strong. Thanks for welcoming me into the family.
8)Roy Hooker- Uncle Roy, you were there from the time I was born. You helped take
care of me. You were like a Father. You taught me all the "important stuff,"
like how to count money and play poker lol. You were proud of how fast
I learned. You thought it was a good thing. You laughed when I beat you and
Ronnie out of your paychecks. You only laughed because I was in Kindergarden and
cooperated by giving the cash back when the game was over. I don't imagine you
would have laughed if I had refused to give it back, now would you? I learned
two things from that lesson. First, Ronnie would never play with me again
because I beat him, and some men don't like to lose to a woman. Second, I should
find a husband who was a good sport about winning and losing, one like you who
would keep playing win or lose. Thanks for that lesson and for playing games
with me, and teaching me to be a good sport.
9)Billie Walden- You are changing a lot now, but for years after I met you, I could see you in Walmart and think you were my Mom before I walked up to you. Thanks for always making me feel welcome and for giving my Mom a bigger family to love. You are a wonderful Aunt, and I am sure Anna misses you. I love you too.
10)Serephia Morrison- Sissy, you have had such a long road to travel this year. I know Anna is looking down from heaven, proud of how you have taken care of your Daddy and nursed him back to health for her. I know I am proud of you. I know where you got that strength, too. Sure it came from God, but He didn't have to go far to deliver it. Your Mother was always strong like that, too. You remind me so much of Anna. Thanks for holding on to your faith and your Daddy. I love you and may God hold your hand and give you and your husband rest.
Rest, that's a wonderful gift, and what family is all about. I feel like I have been blessed with a family that just keeps multiplying. It is a not-so-traditional family; with my Mother's maternal half siblings, and then years later meeting her huge paternal half siblings. Then after marriage and divorce two decades ago, my inlaws kept right on loving me, and including me in their life. Now, I have Larry and my family has increased again. You see, I am blessed! Even Job wasn't this lucky. He only had his children replaced. I've had my family doubled. I have much to be thankful for this year. Happy Thanks Giving! I hope your holiday week is filled with rest. Come back tomorrow night when I will share thanks for ten wonderful friends.