There are two sides to every coin. We come to Christ “Just as we are.” But, somewhere beyond redemption, 12 changes are transacted by the ultimate price paid on Calvary. Three bodies were hung up on trees, three bodies were brought down and buried, and one body rose up out of the earth. From one side of the Cross to the other a colossal change took place in the lives of millions of followers in the 20 centuries since.
Yes, twelve changes take place in the lives of those who lift Jesus up today. From the moment we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we experience a turn-around in the elements of our spirit man. All of us have spirits; some just haven’t flipped the coins that were paid and accepted the “change.” One man threw the coins on the ground… at the feet of the judges who condemned Jesus… Judas. Another, Peter, accepted the change that would be transacted in his life and turned over the coins to a new existence. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 4, outlined a dozen of these two-sided coins Christians have turned over since redemption.
1. Hidden Things/ Things Manifested (2 Corinthians 4:2)
We exchange craftiness and deceit for truth. We walk in the truth of God’s Word.
2. Blinded Minds/ Enlightened Minds (2 Corinthians 4:4)
The lost are hid in the darkness while the Christian walks in light.
3. Proud Boasting/ Servanthood (2 Corinthians 4:5)
We no longer live our lives for ourselves, but become servants of God,
living for Him.
4. Frail Bodies/ Mighty Power (2 Corinthians 4:7)
Our spirits walk in unity with the spirit of God, though we are just human.
5. Trials/ Triumph (2 Corinthians 4:10)
We go through trials like Jesus, so we can have the victory like He did.
6. Death/ Life (2 Corinthians 4:11)
We carry the cross of Jesus, manifest His death in our lives, and receive
the rewards of eternal life with Him.
7. Past/ Future (2 Corinthians 4:14)
Jesus was raised up in the past; you and I will be raised up in the future with Him.
8. Grace/ Thanksgiving (2 Corinthians 4:15)
His grace operates through our thanksgiving.
9. Outward Man/ Inward Man (2 Corinthians 4:16)
Even if our body is failing us physically, He breathes life into us day by day.
10. Affliction/ Glory (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Our afflictions will lead us to an unimaginable glory to come.
11. Seen/ Unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18)
We know that there is more to this life than meets the eye. There are things unseen.
12. Temporal/ Eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18)
We don’t place our hope in the physical life now, but in the ethereal life in eternity.
Now, it sounds like we came just as we were, and put on the wedding garments. Matthew 22:11-14 All that remains is for us to accept the change. Allowing the spirit of God to work in our lives completes the transaction. This is the reason that we do not need to wait until we “get our lives straightened out” to come to church. We come just as we are, and Jesus will make us just like He is. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Philippians 1:6 He who began a good work… will perform it!
God has blessed America, and our State, with some hard working leaders. I am thankful to the Almighty for His love for our country, and the gift of leaders to take care of our needs. Most of us elect our leaders based on our positions on the issues. For me, the overriding issue is that I am pro-life. Therefore, please allow me to acknowledge that my thanks will be given to men and women who support my belief in life. I know that some of my readers may have different views, but I am sure they will allow me to speak to God on behalf of whomsoever I choose. I am thankful for each of the following leaders.
1)Sonny Perdue- God blessed Georgia and the schools with Perdue's oversight. I am thankful that 8 of the 21 years I taught were under his oversight. His father was a farmer and his mother was a teacher. His policies towards education advanced education in Georgia. I remember well that his administration marked a turning point in the habit of spending money out of my own pocket for classroom supplies each year. He provided the gift cards which came to be known by teachers as "Sonny Money." This definitely eased the financial burden on teachers who paid to teach. I was glad to see him take office from Roy Barnes, and sad to see him go in 2010.
2)Nathan Deal- It felt great to me to have Nathan Deal succeed Perdue. Both of his parents were teachers. I have had personal experience with Nathan Deal when he was a Congressman for District 9, (later renamed as district 10,) much of the NorthWest Georgia mountain area. It was sometime around the time Deal changed from the Democrat Party to the Republican ticket in the nineties, that I met him. I filed a complaint with him because of the difficulty in working with state agencies to collect my children's child support. He allowed me to talk to him in person, and solved the problem with a phone call to the state agencies involved. The boys had a check so fast it made my head spin, thanks to Nathan Deal.
3)Johnny Isakson- Isakson is a Senator from Georgia, and previously served as a Representative in the Republican party. He is often seen as a "a libertarian-leaning conservative" because of his policies to promote free enterprise and an anti big-government sentiment. He was instrumental in getting the Honda Plant built in Georgia, where my husband works. And, of course, he is pro-life.
4)Rep. Tom Price (R-GA 6th District) 4th term Republican from Georgia 6th District. He was a surgeon prior to his senate position. He earned both his degrees from the University of Michigan. He serves on the Budget and Ways and Means committees. And he is pro-life.
5)Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA 8th District) 1st term Republican from Georgia 8th District. He serves on the agricultural and Armed Services Committees. He graduated from the University of Georgia. And he is pro-life.
6)Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA 9th District) 2nd term Republican from Georgia 9th District. He was a real estate developer and a landscaper before going into politics. He works on the Appropriations committee. He was a UGA graduate. And he is pro-life.
7)Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA 10th District) 3rd term Republican from Georgia 10th District. He was also a Family Doctor before going into politics. He knows firsthand about medical procedures such as abortion, having been trained in the medical field. He is against abortion across the board. He graduated from the University of Georgia. He serves on the Homeland Security, the Natural Resources, and the Science, Space, and Technology Committees.
8)Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA 3rd District) 4th term Republican from Georgia 3rd District. He was previously a builder, and graduated from Georgia State. And he is pro-life, as well.
9)Michele Bachmann- Bachmann's position on life is that "Life is the first right; I'm 100% pro-life from conception." I am thankful for candidates that will stand for life, as it is an unpopular choice at this time, like at other times in history. (The Romans allowed abortion. So, it is definitely not a "modern" idea.)
10)Herman Cain- Cain has been open about his plan for the economy and his stance on life. The other candidates don't really have a clue about what to do with the economy. I am thankful the guy has been thinking. Some of the facts on Herman Cain:
*Don't blame Wall Street; don't blame bankers; Blame yourself. (Oct 2011)
*Make sure that revenues equals spending. (Oct 2011)
*Wall St bailout was a win-win; but administered poorly. (Oct 2011)
*Audit the Federal Reserve; but fix it, don't end it. (Sep 2011)
*This economy is on life support; we need a bold solution. (Sep 2011)
*9-9-9 economic growth: stop picking winners & losers. (Sep 2011)
*Block proposals for more spending and debt. (Sep 2011)
*Don't raise debt ceiling; that doesn't solve problem. (Aug 2011)
+++"The Founding Fathers got it right. The Founding Fathers got it right because
of those fundamental principles: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
They also got it in the right order. That wasn't an accident. Their vision
meant that you could pursue happiness in America as long as you don't infringe
upon the liberties of somebody else. And you can pursue all the liberties that
you want as long as you don't infringe upon the life of anybody else. And that
starts with the life of the unborn." +++"I absolutely would defund Planned
Parenthood--not because I don't believe in planning parenthood, [but because]
Planned Parenthood as an organization is an absolute farce on the American
people. People who know the history of Margaret Sanger, who started Planned
Parenthood, they know that the intention was not to help young women who get
pregnant to plan their parenthood. No--it was a sham to be able to kill black
Our leaders are definitely in a bold spot. Each of our daily lives depend on the decisions that these leaders make. I believe that when we choose our leaders, we are operating under the chosen blessings of God. For whichever leaders you vote, please vote. Facts alone on the position of each candidate on each point is available at the website: http://www.issues2000.org/default.htm When you say a blessing over the food this Thanks giving, remember to say a prayer for our leaders. And, give thanks to God above, for He alone is the Omnipotent One.
Our world is either shrinking at an incredible rate, or our neighborhood is growing alarmingly. No, it's not a population explosion, but a social expansion. Now, it is so much easier to have internet friends, people I play games with like Judy Marie Chandley-Adkison, Toni Visage, Wanda Shaddix, and Adam Justice. And, people I chat with, like Darlina Sakamoto, Minna Mäkinen, Dyan Prine, Indra Penyayang, Dayan Ruz, and Mac Witsell -now there is a funny story. I knew his Aunt Melissa Booth Witsell in Rome, and then ran into him on Facebook because he lives here in Tallapoosa, immediately noticing the moniker and that he had pics of him with Melissa and her children. After striking up a convo, I found he was her nephew. Funny how quickly the neighborhood shrinks... or stretches.
Then, Travis dropped his High School ring outside Crossroads Restaurant one Sunday last summer before we moved here, and it wound up at his school, because someone ate there and knew the secretary from his school in Rome. (It is only the best food in the whole Tallapoosa River Basin! So, folks from all over eat there.) The secretary then called my friend and neighbor Diane, who called me. The internet definitely expands your friend circles. But, I want to give thanks tonight for 10 special friends, people who I have known in "real time" who make my world more interesting.
1)Michael Clark- I can say we go back a long way Mike, at least a milenia ago. :) We've traveled to Kenya on the A-Team together, where we rode in a safari and learned about a different culture, while teaching the Gospel. We've coached kids in Bible Quizzing together. You also spoke at a Singles Ministry dinner for me, which I appreciated the inspiring words. You and Susan have had me over to your house numerous times, where I learned you were a great chef! You always treated my children well too, and I will never forget it. Thanks for being an awesome friend Mike!
2)Sandi Caldwell- Thanks for helping us fit right in at church. You have been so much fun to work with. I enjoy the dramas as well. Thanks for including me in all the inspired ideas Sandi.
3)Robert Caldwell- Robert, you are always very kind. Thanks for letting me be a part of the Children's Ministry. You do a wonderful work in Children's Church. Thanks for all the help you gave cutting the plywood for my set up in the Pirate VBS. You and Sandi are wonderful friends and you make me feel like a welcome part of the church. Though we know we are always welcome to Jesus, it is great to feel like we have friends who want us there too. :)
4)Janet Dotson Collins- Thanks for being my friend for the last thirty years Janet. There is nothing like time to cement a friendship. I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving, full of the love of family. Those are wonderful children you have. And, your husband Vick has a great name. And, so does your daughter Victoria. Lol. 5)Kimberly Howard Terry- You were a lot of fun to hang out with at Ci Ci's and camp meeting. And, thanks for providing me info on the Ladies Retreat. But, now we mostly see each other online. I enjoy reading your posts, and especially seeing your husband's photography. It would be nice if we could get together sometime in real time, maybe for a cup of coffee or lunch somewhere between here and there, if you can't come down my way. Give my love to Lizzy as well and I hope you have a blessed Thanks giving!
6)Richard Langston-Thanks for all the conversation at the Family Day dinners and beyond Richard. I enjoyed the Couples' Nights activities, too. And, thanks for taking the guys to the Falcon games. Travis certainly enjoys talking to you. You and Kim are great neighbors in the sense that Jesus used the word. And, I really appreciate all your comments in Bible Class. I always learn something when you guys speak up.
7)Carol Ann Reece- Two words, Road Trip! Carol, thanks so much for taking me on the trip with you to Kentucky and Indiana a couple of Christmases ago. I will never forget that night at the truckstop diner. Lol!@ That was a blast! You are much fun to travel with. You are a lot of fun, and I enjoyed working with you in VBS too. Have a wonderful holiday week with your family!
8)Tammy Johnson- It has been a pleasure getting to know you Tammy. Your daughter Jessica is a sweetheart. I would have only liked her more if I could have given birth to her myself. Thanks for all the fun. Our ladies group has the most fun of any in the world! Bowling, Mexican food...keep this up and you ladies will never get rid of me. Jessica has me addicted to those pizzas at Subway. Thanks for all the humor and inspirational posts on facebook as well. I hope Joel gets to be home for Thanksgiving and that you guys have the best holiday weekend ever.
9)Keith Turner- Keith, I really appreciate the incredible prize package you put together for the Fitness Contest. That was unbelievable. You sure made it worth all the effort. What were the words you used? I had "reached my lactate threshhold." That sure made me feel less like an idiot for puking in class, and more like a hard worker. If you hadn't said that, I was so embarrassed, I may have never went back. :) I really miss your Body Flow class, especially. Thanks for helping me overcome my fear of being a Klutz and helping me with Body Jam. You are the best Fitness Manager a gym could have. I am glad but not surprised in the least at the way you held everybody together after the gym closed with the Street Fitness classes. That was an incredible community service! And, it is wonderful to see that all your hard work paid off with the opening of the new Velocity Gym. Thanks for the messages you've sent, and keep me in your prayers that I may be able to ride my bike and workout again one day. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
10)Freddie Hunt- Yes, you are my Mother-in-Law, but I have you listed with friends, because we hang out together like I do with my friends. I loved it when you took me to play Bingo, though I felt like a complete novice. Thanks for helping me keep up with the cards. I wish we could have gone out more often before I got stuck in the house too much. See you Thanks giving though, and hope to have a blast then.
We find more everyday how true the words of Jesus were, when he told the story of the Good Samaritan. I would find it difficult to answer which of my friends was the best neighbor, in the sense of the word as Jesus used neighbor. But, the key is, that Jesus was instructing believers to love their neighbor as much as they love themselves. Luke 10:33 I'm thankful that I have been blessed with so many friends. Come back tomorrow night for the final in the set of ten thanks giving blogs.
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.
Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him, according to Albert Schweitzer. It's always nice to have a helping hand, or two! I made cookie dough and was about to put on cookies before my husband got off work on night shift. But, my cookie pan is missing. ??? Imagine that. The dough is sitting on the counter waiting... and he will be home soon. How do you lose a cookie pan. That's human frailty, like the extra sock in the wash and the missing spoons. :) If we had 4 hands instead of 2, imagine how much more we might lose.
No, we all need help now and then. I have needed quite a bit in my life. Tonight, I want to give thanks to a few people who have given me a helping hand. We really should be thankful for friends like these you know.
1)Justin Joseph Alley Irvin- Justin, I appreciated you helping us out when we moved. You are strong and it was great to have an extra pair of hands. I sure was glad David brought you along. Thanks for the help!
2)Cynthia Bailey Tallman- It's amazing how much one person can do, Cynthia. You organized the entire reception for our wedding. I can't tell you enough how great a job you did. It is great to have friends like you. Thanks for being there for us!
3)Terry Hunt Jones- Thanks for being my brides maid. I really appreciated you helping out with everything and going shopping with me. Thanks a million!
4)Tiffany Dillard- Tiffany, I love the flowers you did for my wedding. You are very creative. You single handedly made the bouquet and all just as I wanted them. You should do this professionally. You are a crafty lady, and I am lucky to have you as a niece. Thanks for everything!
5)Sherry Dobbs- Sherry, you not only was my Maid of Honor, but you helped plan the wedding. You helped me pick out my wedding dress. You took on the job as a "new" friend. I was glad to spend the night at your house, instead of having to drive so far for the wedding on my wedding day. You made everything convienent. I couldn't have had any more help. Thanks for being there for me Sherry. I don't know what I would have done without you for a best friend.
6)Raleigh Hussman- Thanks for visiting me in the hospital Raleigh. You remembered my son's graduation, too. You sent flowers to the hospital. You sent gifts. And, most of all, you gave me your teaching expertise for 5 years. Thanks for being a part of my life and an encouragement. I will miss you.
7)Jeremiah Hunt- You are a handy guy to have around. I have never seen anyone with so many tools. You certainly have skills. Thanks for fixing my microwave cart, and several other things around the house. And, my car headlight. It sure was nice to come home and find you standing there with something repaired Jeremiah.
8)Schulyer Davis- Schulyer, you have helped me out in so many ways! You are like a
second pair of hands. Thanks for helping me unload that Uhaul. Thanks for all
the times you brought the deliverys in from your grandmother when I was
homebound after each surgery. Thanks for being a great neighbor!
9)Barbara Justice- You are a great coteacher! I will never forget the times we had teaching together. Thanks for planning with me and working together side by side. I have never found a better EIP teacher than you! I sure do miss you. I still watch the videos of you teaching with me, and I love the cameo shots of you stopping by for coffee before class. Hahaha. I can share that with you if you don't have a copy, some day.
10)Dana Tarter- You are the greatest teacher my son ever had! I really appreciated how you were there for Travis when I ended up in the hospital for weeks at a time, after expecting outpatient. You helped out in so many ways. Travis will never forget you. And, I will never forget the way you changed his life. Thanks Mrs. Tarter.
Now that I have my husband home, his extra pair of hands found the cookie pan. It was hiding "under" the drawer under the stove, instead of in the drawer. So, it is time to make the hard working guy some cookies. I am looking forward to sharing thanks in memory tomorrow night of ten special people who have gone on to heaven before me.
Faith is the stuff of which hope is made. Our life experiences build up, or tear down our faith. Two people can be facing the same devastation, yet one has hope and the other doesn't. If the pieces of faith haven't been built up, hope is empty. Likewise, I find that my faith has been built up by people over the years. Jude 1:20 says we are building up each other in the faith. Tonight I am giving thanks to ten of the people who have influenced my faith in God.
1)Paul Bolenbaucher - He was a church builder. He planted the church in my hometown, then left it in the hands of a young Pastor, after a few years, to build more churches. I was 13, and listening to him speak from the platform, I was caught on every word. He would talk about angels and demons in such a way that I could see he believed they were real. When I came to his church I was trying to find God. I had only weeks before decided that if there WAS a God, He was so far away that I would never know Him. But, listening to Him call God by name...Jesus, I knew He knew God personally. The light of the Spirit in his eyes lit the fire of my faith. Thanks to Paul Bolenbaucher.
2)Myrtice Daniels - Thanks Mrs. Myrtice for all your testimonies, and faith in God. You strengthen and encourage those around you. I love the faith you have in God's Word.
3)Ray Miller - You have always been a paragon of faith to me, from my teenage years to the present when I see you at Camp Meetings. You have always worked for God. I still remember you teaching in Children's Church in Dalton in the Sunday School Building with the Dixons. Some of the things you said really struck home with me. And, you are a soft spoken person with a firm faith in God. As long as I have known you, you always demonstrated that faith. And, you always were working in one ministry or another. No man works for a mission he doesn't believe in. When I saw you working, it built my faith from a young age. You were intent on the Lord's Work. Thanks for showing me you served a real God Ray Miller.
4)Jimmy Van Winkle - You gave me faith to withstand a storm. You spoke truth and not condemnation. You pointed in the direction of truth, and told me where I could find it. Thanks for your messages on faith Jimmy Van Winkle. You are a true man of God!
5)Burl Meek - Your comments in Bible Study are really faith building. You have a firm grasp on the Word, and can build faith when it is needed most. Thanks for speaking up in class Burl.
6)Vickey Davis - I heard you speak at a ladies meeting. You spoke about God's stars. It was just a few weeks after my first surgery, after the doctor had accidentally cut the wrong internal organs. I was devastated with the changes that had been made in my body. But, you talked about how beautiful we were to God. I was reminded that, though I had been hurt, I still belonged to God. You spoke and renewed faith in my heart. Thanks for the words of God... the words of life.
7)Mr. Tom Honeycutt - I was extremely shy in High School. Tom Honeycutt taught me American Lit. He assigned books for the class to read and write about. He called on me to read aloud my paper in class one week. It had been about the book, "A Seperate Peace." I had identified well with the story, and was stuttering through trying to read my paper. He took my paper, and read it aloud for me. Then a big smile spread across his face and the whole class just looked at me shocked that I had actually written that. He made me feel like I cold write. And, he also accepted my faith in God. He never criticized my objections to reading certain topics, and my refusal to study evolution. Instead, he would tell me ahead of time if I would find a book objectionable, and allow me to read and write on a different book he had selected. I did have teachers who became outraged over religious objections. But, he always made me feel as if my faith in God was a good thing. Thanks for encouraging my faith Mr. Honeycutt.
8)Steve Waldron - Not long after I moved to Stockbridge, I fell asleep on my front porch and had a dream. I dreamed that God told me you had a letter with a message for me. I had "tried out" all of the pentecostal churches in the area before I chose one. I had prayed for God to lead me to a good church for me and my children. After I had the dream, I just came out and asked you directly at church did you have a message for me. You looked like you had no idea and like the question floored you, but then told me to sign up for the Excel Bible College classes. I believe the classes moved me in the direction that I needed to go to have my faith built. I was still young in the faith before then. I learned so much about the Bible in those classes, and it sparked the desire to learn more. Years later, I was caught up by a question and a situation that someone had thrown at me that almost wiped out my faith. I couldn't find the answer. I called you and you asked me a couple of questions and then gave me the answer just like that. You kept me from deceit and false teaching. You kept me in the Word. Thanks for building my faith in the Word Steve Waldron.
9)Sam Latta - Your messages were always inspiring, and I found so many pieces to build my faith from you. I knew of your missionary work, and knew that you practiced what you preached. You taught me through your word and work that God is real and God is real in us. Thanks for the faith lessons Sam Latta.
10)Crissie Warren - Your grandsons Warren and Garrett built my faith more than you will ever know Crissie. When I taught them in Sunday School, you were always so kind and saying sweet things to me about the job I was doing. But, it wasn't me. God was speaking to those boys in Sunday School like I have never seen in my life. I would have my lesson prepared to the t. But, suddenly I would find words that God had put in my mouth to say directly to them, words that I knew weren't from my heart or my lesson plans. God wanted those boys. He was claiming them right in front of my eyes. This did something amazing to me and inside of me. This experience of seeing their big eyes listening to every word that I knew God wanted them to hear gave me faith in reverse. The way they listened intently on every word, for such little boys, built my faith. Isn't it amazing the way God works?! Thanks Crissie for telling me how God had worked in their hearts. This gave me more faith to keep teaching when I needed it most. I couldn't have done it without your encouragement.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is of what hope is made. If your faith is weak, look at the people you are around. Are they building your faith? If they are, God has blessed you. Remember these blessings this Thanks Giving. Tomorrow night, (well, tonight now :) look for ten of the people who have helped me out when I needed them. It's always nice to have a helping hand, or two!
I like to count my blessings... and recount them. How do objects become so important to us? To me, they signify the people who gave them. So I treasure a few things that were gifts because of the person and the thought behind them. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Tonight I am giving thanks to ten of the people who have given me gifts over the years, though there are many more gifts I could never list.
1)Susan Hemp- I met Susan in Brunswick, when I first went to Job Corps in early November 1982. My 18th birthday was on the 24th, and it was the first time I had ever been away from home. I felt alone, and I hadn't been there long enough to be granted leave off base yet. When I woke up the morning of my birthday in a pretty much empty dorm room, I felt something on top of the cover on my feet. The covers were tucked in tight because of the hospital corner enforced regulations. But, I raised up to see a stuffed dog laying there on my feet. It was a birthday gift from Susan. I can't describe how this made me feel, so far from family and home for the first time in my life, to have someone notice my birthday. I named the dog Hershel, and yes, I still have him sitting on a bookshelf in my bedroom to remind me of love that sneaks up on you when you least expect it. I lost contact with Susan after Job Corps, though I know she was from Kentucky and training to be a hospital lab/tech. Thanks Susan for this life-long memory, wherever you are...
2)Susan Clark- Some friendships that start quickly like that one, come to stay. Susan Clark, you are such a friend. I met you right away in the McDonnough Church and we became friends instantly. I can't lose you no matter where I go. When you were my houseguest last, New Years 2009, you gave me this large and lovely framed art piece that is still hanging in my living room. But, the real gift is your undying friendship. Yes, you texted me while I was in the middle of typing this blog tonight. Thanks for all the gifts you have given me over the years.
3)Glenda Welch- Mamma you gave me this prized doll collection. I guess I am getting soft in my forties, and I am sure you noticed I couldn't keep my eyes off of them for the past couple of years. I will treasure them forever knowing they were a gift from you. Thanks for giving me this part of your memories, Mamma.
4)Dawn Hunt- Dawn, I love the Wedding photo Book you gave me from our Wedding. It means so much to have the pictures. I appreciate you doing that for me. Thanks! You are an excellent photographer! I am proud to be a part of the family.
5)Diane Davis- Diane, you have given me much over the years I have known and worked with you. But the pouch covers you sewed me were the most treasured of all. I am glad I don't need them anymore, but I still have them for the memory of how your friendship got me through three of the toughest months of my life. Thanks Diane!
6)Celeste Parker- One year I pulled my mail out of my box at work early in the morning and found a lovely large Cross with the words to the Prayer of Saint Francis at Christmas time Celeste. I hang it on my Christmas tree every year. It says, Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.~ Thanks, Celeste.
7)Matt Mitchell- Matthew, I will never forget the year in Thomson that you gave me the Mother's Day Tape. You were only in Fifth Grade. But, you took a cassette tape and recorded over it, telling me in so many words Happy Mothers day and that you loved me. It was sweet, because you had to fill the tape, and you just kept talking and coming up with more ways to say it. Then you took a sharpie and marked out the original title, and wrote "Mom" on it. Yes, I still have that and I still cry everytime I listen. But, that is not as treasured as "the note." I found the note rolled up like a little football, tucked inside the tray in my desk drawer the year you were in sixth grade at the same school I taught . That note laid in that tray for 12 more years, and now it is still in the tray packed away carefully. You said simply, "I love you Ms. Mitchell" for no reason at all. Thanks for all the gifts you gave me over the years son.
8)Ryan Morrell- I still have the shadow box you gave me Ryan. You drew a picture of me hugging you and Shelby inside, in 2nd grade, and wrote that you loved me. You gave it to me for no reason at all and I will always treasure it. Thanks for thinking of me Ryan. You are a special person.
9)Travis Mitchell- You've given me coffee mugs (including the huge, Big Boss mug,) a Soup Cup, a necklace, lapel pins, a punch bowl, various kitchen utensils, and the two wolfies :) But, more prized than any of those gifts is the birthday card with the big red rose colored on it that I found propped up on the coffee table when I woke up on the morning of my fortieth birthday, when you were 13. You always have known me well. Your gift that day is treasured above anything else you could have given. Thanks for that rose card son. And, thanks for always being there for me.
10)Larry Hunt- You have given me more gifts than anyone else I have ever known in the last two years. I couldn't list them all here, the laptop, camera, wrap, various clothing, among other things. But, my favorite is the tall Lighthouse Candle you bought me when we sat in the little shop on River Street in Savannah, on our 1st Anniversary, drinking coffee. It is so pretty, and it reminds me of how we found each other in this life. A lighthouse is a beacon of light, just like your love. Thanks for the lighthouse Sweetie!
As you can see, the real gifts that I have been given are friendships. James 1:17 says "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights..." That is the case with friends, as well. Friends come from God, because God is good and God is love. I am thankful to have been blessed with many good friends over the years. Remember to count your friends when you count your blessings this Thanks Giving. Tomorrow night, look for ten of the people who have influenced my faith in God.
It is too difficult for me to whittle down a thanks list each year. This year I am concentrating on the 100 people (more or less) who make my life alive, over the next ten days. Writing has been a large part of the way that I have connected with those around me for much of my life.
My Grandmother Emily Nix, from Copperhill, Tennessee used to send me birthday cards with a five dollar bill every year. But, my Mother always taught me to write her a thank you letter. This task was something I enjoyed, and I learned a sense of respecting someone else's needs from the fact that my Mother said that it was important.
When I was 14-15, I had a pen-pal before computers and internet. I never met her face-to-face, so Avie Stafford was a friend who never knew me outside my handwritten letters. But, her responses to my letters made me realize I could communicate with people on paper. Growing up in a small town, I am grateful for the experience I gained in being friends with a person in Paint Lick, Kentucky. This was much like corresponding with someone in Japan now. It opened my world to include more neighbors than my physical vicinity provided. It enriched and expanded my world. I lost contact with Avie a lifetime ago.
Luckily, there are people in my life now that I can give thanks for entering into the world of thinking with me via print. This is more important to me than ever, now that I don't leave the house as much. The following people were chosen because of the degree of impact they have on me by responding to my posts, blogs, etc. online. They are mostly not shy people, as you can see by the verbal and written comments they give to my writing.
My thanks giving tonight goes to:
1)Russell Snyder -Thanks for the times you have mentioned my blogs in sermons you have preached. When you read my blog aloud in church, you made me feel my words were valued. I appreciate the fact that you not only listen, but you speak back to me.
2)Angela Dillard - Thanks for thinking about and taking my words to heart. You have always been my top commentator, even when we were children.
3)Cindy Benefield- You inspire me not only with your comments, but with the example you give me of worship. Thanks for showing me what worship looks like.
4)Mary Huffman Weaver- You are the only one on this list that I've never met in person, but you always have something positive to say. Thanks for being a "cloud friend."
5)Robert Tippin- Man, you are so intelligent! Do you know your every comment makes me feel special to have been noticed by someone I admire? Thanks for interacting with my thoughts and words.
6)Jaime Kennedy- Thanks for being so friendly and for having an encouraging heart Jaime. I like the way you tell me you like my comments, even just the little things on Facebook.
7)Virginia Hunt Byers- Wow, Virginia. You show me with all of the many, many interactions on facebook, that you are really paying attention to me. I know what you meant when you mentioned not knowing if some people are listening. But, you are engaged with what your friends have to say. I am sure each of your friends feel the same way. Thanks for including me as one of them.
8)Jan Peppers - You are a good friend to have Jan. I can see that we share many of the same interests. Thanks for all your comments.
9)Melissa Booth Witsell- Not only do you keep up with me online, but you have called me on the phone, and met up with me in town to communicate. I like that about you. I like knowing that you respond to my posts. Thanks for being there Melissa.
10)Donzell Snyder- It just fills me with joy when you comment on something I have written. Thanks for paying attention. I think it is odd that I look up to you, when you are several years younger. But, I always have. I have always liked smart people. :)
Just like John, I feel blessed because "... I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." John 15:15 And, like true friends, you have responded. Many, many thanks friends! Tomorrow night look for ten of the people who have inspired me.