Wednesday, December 30, 2015

And…. It's Over

It’s almost over, another year completed. I don’t like New Year’s Eve. I find it depressing and sad. Even as child I can remember going into the bathroom at the Moose Lodge and crying. Auld Lang Syne makes me cry every time I hear it.

The sadness that comes with the end of the year, as with the end of anything, is bitter sweet. Remembering the events of the past year can depressing, things that didn’t go as you may have hoped they would, dear ones that have passed away, time just flying by and not accomplishing those goals that were set in the beginning of the year when it was new and fresh. Then the sweet – remembering the fun times, the beautiful events of the year, weddings, births, a new job or keeping those goals that were set in the beginning of the year. Have you ever really listened to the words of the song Auld (Old) Lang Syne?

This one night holds so much emotion, I find it hard to face, so normally I don’t.

Lying on the couch watching anything that doesn’t remind me of New Years Eve is normally how I spend mine. I wait until the ball drops in Time Square, shed a tear for whatever needs to be cried over, then go to bed.

January 1st comes a long and I am a different person. It is a fresh new beginning to life. I wake up happy, get my new calendar out and start updating all the birthdays and anniversaries of my family and friends. Do whatever I would like to do that day because I can conquer the world with my new frame of mind.

How can one night of sleep change me so much? Attitude – it’s all in the attitude. I know that inside of me but I still have to go through my crazy sad ritual. It is what gets me through that time of year. Just one nights worth of sleep. Eight hours (maybe) of one day of my year can change everything.

You know what else can change quickly?

Eternity. The Bible tells us Jesus will come like a thief in the night (fast and unexpected):

I Thessalonians 5:2
For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.

Or like the twinkling of an eye:

I Corinthians 15:52
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 

Imagine what that will be like. In a second life will be over as we know it. Will you spend eternity in Heaven or Hell. It’s your choice.

Have a great New Years Eve, be careful and I’ll see you next year.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Giving Life.

It is that time of year that most people are in the giving mood. We are happily running around getting gifts for those we love. Baking tons of cookies and breads that will be given as gifts and consumed. Decorating our homes, offices and cars in holiday themes. Making everything merry and bright.

Along the way we may drop a few coins in the Red Kettles send a check to a local charity or buy a gift for a child in need. Everywhere we turn we are being asked to give, give some more, then dig deeper and give again.

If you are like me you enjoy giving and you want to help every cause you can, but you can’t. Those dollars only stretch so far.

Giving make us feel good. We enjoy making people happy and the act of presenting someone with gift and watching them open it brings us joy. Why is it better to give than receive? The Bible tells us so.

Acts 20:35
I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 

Jesus was a giver. He gave to the poor, He healed the sick, He raised some from their death but most of all, He gave His life for us. Yes, Jesus was a giver.

Being a giver is a matter of the heart.

2 Corinthians 9:6
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written:

“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”

All this giving and doing for others sometimes leaves us exhausted, financially broke and emotionally tired, especially this time of year. We have so much to do and it all comes at once. No matter how much we prepare for it and do what we can ahead of time, when crunch time comes, it comes with a vengeance.

God gives us hope and encourages us not to grow weary.

Galatians 6:9-10
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. 

  Let’s talk about the one person that sometimes we don’t give to. . . ourselves. Now I’m not telling you to go buy yourself a gift, although that isn’t a bad idea sometimes. But how about giving yourself the gift of eternal life. After this worldly life is over, you can live a life of bliss with Jesus in Heaven.

This holiday season, give yourself the gift of Christ – it doesn’t cost a dime, just your obedience and commitment.

Read the plan of salvation that Jesus has for you.

May God bless you.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

What's your Purpose?

Have you found your purpose in life? Can a person have more than one purpose at a time? Can your purpose in life change with the different seasons of your life?

I’ve been a little lost the past few years; have had a hard time determining what my purpose in life is. Yes, I’m a Christian, a wife, a mother . . . but what’s my purpose? How do I define myself?

God has a purpose for His children. We are to live a Christ like life. Praise God and serve others. If we live by God’s word, then we have a purpose.

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Knowing that I live my life in a Christ like manner gives me comfort, but I still find myself looking for a worldly purpose to define myself.

During my teen years and early 20’s it was all about me. Then I had my children and it was all about them. Making sure all their needs and desires were met and being the best I could as a single mom. I worked outside the home while I raised my daughters because I had to. My job defined who I was. As my career changed from job to job and I advanced in the working world, my position in the work placed defined who I was in my mind.

About 6 yrs ago we decided it was OK for me to stay home. I have less stress in my life and am able to enjoy my freedom now. However now that my daughters are grown and have blessed me with grand children and it is just my husband and I, how do I define myself now?

Sewing, cooking and crafting have been a pleasure for the last several years, and of course spending as much time as I can with my grand children. Although these are fun and great things to do, they didn’t give much definition or purpose. So I’ve felt a little lost for a title.

I was at my daughter’s house the other day and when I left my arms where full. A purple stuffed animal with a hole in the leg needed to be repaired, a karate Gi needed a patch sewn on it and one of the ties had come apart, and I had an order for a birthday cake decorated like a karate Gi. Not only were my arms full, but my heart was full. My purpose had been shown to me. I am my family’s support person.

Meme, grandma, mom, fixer, supporter and all around back up – that’s me and I like it. I’m happy with that title. There isn’t a group of people that report to me, the reports at the end of the month would show how my time was spent loving and caring for the ones I love, no yearly reviews and no amount of money in the world could give me this happiness.

Ecclesiastes 3:1
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.

Find your purpose for this time in your life. Enjoy it. It doesn’t matter what phase you are in, find a way to serve the Lord and the people around you, appreciate all that the Lord has done for you.

Be blessed my friends.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

No Words

I tried very had this week to find the words for my blog, nothing came. As I sat in front of a blank screen, still nothing came. Then another blog that I subscribe to showed me what was happening and how to handle it. So today's blog comes from Proverbs 31.

T. Suzanne Eller  I Don’t Know What to Say to God
"… the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." Romans 8:26 (NKJV)
We were sitting around the family table when my mom announced, "Suzie, you didn’t talk until you were four."
Um, what?
This was news to me. "So are you saying that I was quiet?"
"Nope, you didn’t talk at all. Not a word. In fact, if it hadn’t been for Vicci, we’d never have known what you needed."
My sister is four years older than I am. Evidently she became a student of her little sister who had no words. When I wanted a drink, she told Mom. When I was tired or hungry, she made certain to communicate my needs.
I eventually found my words, but may I be honest with you? There have been other times when I’ve lost my ability to know what to say, especially to God.
As a teenager, I didn’t know if things would ever change at home. I didn’t know how to ask God for help.
As a young mom, I held my precious baby in my arms who was born with a serious birth defect. I didn’t know what she needed or what impact this might have, or what to do with my feelings of fear.
When my husband was unhappy with his job and it changed his laid-back and fun personality to quiet sadness, I desperately wanted to help but I didn’t know where to begin or what to say.
For all of us, there are moments when words simply do not describe how we feel, what we need or what we so desperately desire from God.
Romans 8:26 reminds us there is someone who has studied us. The Holy Spirit knows us well. He is aware of our strengths, but He’s also keenly tuned in to our weaknesses. When we are unable to express in words what we hope for so desperately, the Spirit Himself steps in and clearly places our deepest needs before the Father.
I don’t know about you, but that removes pressure that would otherwise weigh this girl down.
We don’t have to have the right words. We don’t have to know the exact details of what is needed in a situation. We don’t have to try to explain how it makes us feel.
He already knows.
Today, if you have no words, be encouraged. When you step into that place of prayer, the Holy Spirit sees your heart. He understands what you want to say, even when it’s still a mystery to you. The moment you place your trust in God, your deepest needs are already being shared.
Perfectly. Succinctly. With all the right words.
Father, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I might have no words, or struggle to tell You what I need, but You already know. I’m so grateful the Holy Spirit knows my heart, and intercedes for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Ephesians 3:16, "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being." (NIV)
Micah 7:7, "But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me." (NIV)
If you are in a hard place, Suzie Eller’s book, The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places offers hope and help.
Join Suzie on her blog where she shares 10 Scriptures To Pray When There Are No Words.
We often stay away from prayer because we feel that our words are not adequate. Yet it’s exactly where we find what we need.
Today, walk into that sacred place of prayer. Simply sit in God’s presence. Take the pressure off as you thank Him that He already knows what you need.
© 2015 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Family, friends and material things are the usual items we hear. Thankful for our country and the freedoms that we have are not far behind on our list. These are all wonderful things to be thankful for, but let’s dig a little deeper.

Are you thankful for your “problems” and the “challenges” that are in your life? May I be bold enough to ask you to be appreciative of these items also? Having problems and challenges means you have options and choices. You have the ability to look at these issues with a variety of opinions and choices.

Here are some synonyms for “thankful”:

  • Contented
  • Grateful
  • Indebted
  • Overwhelmed
  • Pleased
  • Relieved
  • Satisfied
  • Beholden
  • Gratified
  • Much obliged 
I’ve never thought of being overwhelmed or indebted as thankful. Normally when I am overwhelmed it is because I have so many choices or because I have so much to do. When I put it that way I should be thankful. I love the words, beholden and much obliged. I guess if I am beholden to someone that means I am thankful to them for something they did for me.

Let’s go deeper and see what God has to say.

Romans 1:21
Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Have I become futile in my thoughts? Is my heart thinking foolish thoughts and being discontent? I hope not, but I am human and it happens sometimes.

Colossians 3:15
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

This Thanksgiving I am going to make a special effort to be more thankful for everything, my family, friends and challenges.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Roaring Lion

James 1:12-15

12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

I feel like I am constantly being tempted. When that happens I ask God “why are you doing this to me”, or “why are you letting this happen to me”? I suspect this is pretty normal for most of us, but when I am tempted, it feels like I am alone in this world. I know I’m not, but it sure feels that way.

These verses above, James 1:12-15 confirm that God is not responsible for my temptations. I am solely responsible. As always, the choice is ours to make. It is my sinful desires that tempt me and take me away from God.

Why am I tempted? Where do these desires come from? My understanding is they come from Satan. Satan is real and he knows my weaknesses. When I am weak mentally or physically, Satan is aware . . . then pounces.

The Bible says the devil goes about the earth like a roaring lion, 1 Peter 5:8. Like a lion in the wild, he roams, constantly moving and looking for weak pry. I am pry to Satan because I am a Christian. Satan isn’t interested in those that do not worship God; he already has them in his clutches.

It helps me to stop and think when I am being tempted. Consider the fact that something is off inside of me, just out of sorts. When I realize that and transfer that information to Satan stalking me, I know it is God that is missing. Not that my faith or beliefs have changed, I’m just weak at the moment. Maybe I hadn’t prayed yet that day, or maybe I am overwhelmed with something in life or just feeling blue.

Counting my blessings is a good place for me to start proactively fighting the temptation that I’m facing. Acknowledging that my God is bigger than any problem I have has a profound effect on me. It lifts my mood and gives me strength.

Share with me some of the ways you fight Satan off when temptation faces you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day Data Boot Camp

Today's blog is taken from "Data Mine". Please remember our veterans today. These numbers will amaze you.

Veterans Day is an official United States federal holiday that is observed annually on November 11, honoring people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I (major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect). The United States also originally observed Armistice Day; it then evolved into the current Veterans Day holiday in 1954.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who gave their lives and those who perished while in service.

How Many Veterans Are There?

There are 21.8 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces as of 2014, according the Census Bureau, approximately 10 percent of whom are women. To put that in context there are 319.2 million Americans, according to the bureau.

Vietnam and World War II:

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan tested the resolve of a generation with multiple deployments to those nations during the global war on terror since 2001. An estimated 2.5 million service members served in those wars, according to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America advocacy group, but they represent only a fraction of American veterans. Approximately 7,391,000 service members are still alive from serving during the Vietnam War era between 1964 and 1975, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The agency estimates that only 1.71 million Americans are alive today who served during World War II between 1941 and 1945. Elderly veterans place a heavy responsibility on the VA to provide for their health, welfare and employment needs.

Health Care and PTSD:

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers health and welfare services to veterans but has fallen short in its task of serving the mental and physical needs of generations of former troops. The Obama administration raised the VA budget from $100 billion in 2009 to $163.9 billion for 2014, but some critics including the IAVA advocacy group have said that money is not being efficiently spent to manage the agency’s 150 hospitals and 820 outpatient clinics.

Veteran Small Business:

Leadership skills and discipline gained in the military make troops more likely than civilians to become entrepreneurs or small business owners. Veterans accounted for 9.1 percent of U.S. business owners in 2012, which shrank from 10.7 percent in 2008, according to the Small Business Administration. That’s a pretty high rate considering that only about 9 percent of U.S. adults are veterans. The shrinking rate may be due to the aging and retirement of the veteran population

Veteran Employment:

Health problems and lack of nonmilitary job training can make finding a job after leaving the armed forces difficult despite partnerships between companies to hire veterans. There were 722,000 unemployed veterans in 2013, 60 percent of whom were older than age 45, while 35 percent were between the age of 25 to 44, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Veterans of past service eras may have a lower unemployment rate because retirement and health disability are lowering their labor participation rate. The jobless rate for veterans of all ages as of October was 4.5 percent, compared with the 5.8 percent for the overall civilian population.

Veteran Homelessness:

Because of a lack of affordable health treatment and job prospects, veterans represent about 12 percent of America’s homeless population, and approximately 50,000 veterans are homeless each night, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The number of homeless veterans has declined by 33 percent since the depths of the recession in 2010 in part because of treatment and welfare efforts, the department reports.

Was It Worth It?

After experiencing the personal and professional struggles of returning to civilian life 89 percent of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 said they made the right choice joining the military, according to a poll published in April by The Washington Post in association with the Kaiser Family Foundation. All veterans sacrificed something for the U.S. no matter where they served, so please honor their dedication this Veterans Day!

 Tom Risen is a technology and business reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at