Story Time- A Phone Call and Hedgehogs

I surprised my little sister in Jesus, Alicia, with a phone call yesterday. The call took place from the coffee area at my church where I was meeting with a person from the church office staff who I have nicknamed young computer genius friend. SADLY no coffee but I did order some delivery food. The purpose of the meeting was to take a look at my blog and possible other themes.

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That is where the phone call fits in. As we looked at Alicia’s blog, I called her to ask some questions. When we looked at Alicia’s post yesterday, Lessons From My Hedgehog, my young computer genius friend Ellen told me that she too has a hedgehog. So Ellen also talked a little with Alicia about hedgehogs.

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Hedgehog is a strange name for an animal that makes me wonder if said animal lives in hedges of bushes, if I look under bushes can I find said animal, and if said animal is related to hogs that we get bacon from. Sorry I got off point. 🙂

So where were we? Oh yes. Alicia is a dear little sister in Jesus and I do hope to get out to her neck of the woods to visit her and meet her husband and family someday. I did have a chance to speak with her daughter Paige briefly as well.

One of the things I enjoy most about blogging is connecting with people from all over the world or even only a four drive way in my state like Alicia, three hour drive if one drives like Alicia perhaps.

Hope you have a blessed weekend.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Updates on Books and Possible New Look for My Blog

Sitting in my office, aka the coffee shop, this afternoon and writing, there are two books I have finished the first draft for. I woke up this morning not feeling very motivated, but Alicia of messaged me that she had read the first draft of the book I am working on Jesus Understands Trauma. Her positive input motivated me to come to my office, aka coffee shop, and write.

The book I am writing about my journey with Jesus I am thinking about the title- Lifted From The Pit, Called To The Nations. My hope is that Jesus will use the two books to bring people to know him and to edify those who already know him.

After getting them published, my attention will then turn to Christian fiction books that I had started but got sidetracked. To say I am enjoying this summer break from teaching would be an understatement.

Then a thought occurred to me about my blog. I have been using the same theme for years. It is now called a legacy theme. I thought perhaps a new theme would be good, so I called the young woman at my church office, real office not a coffee shop, and asked if she would help me look over the themes. We will meet Friday afternoon.

Just an update.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Nostalgia Time At The Coffee Shop

This morning I was blessed to have coffee with my childhood best friend Todd. The coffee mug they gave me to use was fitting even though the date on it is many years before I was born. It gave a nostalgic feeling to the morning.

We talked about many things including childhood memories, our families, our shared faith in Jesus etc. So even though the heat wave is on, it was a nice way to start my weekend sitting in an air conditioned coffee shop having coffee with my friend.

After he left, I stayed and got a lot of writing done. Currently I am working on two books, one about my life journey including my testimony of Jesus lifting me out of the mire in life, and one about trauma/depression/anxiety. It is gratifying to be able to say I finished the first draft of the book about my life journey.

Normally if I have two posts in a day, the second one is to give another blogger some promotion. But because David of told me in a comment to post a picture from the coffee shop, today’s second post is from the coffee shop. You can blame him. 🙂

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Unexpected Blessings

Yesterday we had an oasis kind of day with the weather here. It only got up to 80f.26c. When I stepped outside to go to the coffee shop, it was a very welcome unexpected blessing after some very hot days.

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Unexpected blessings are what I call blessings that seem to come out of nowhere. Ones that there is no way to anticipate them. Like a seeming chance encounter with someone we have not seen in a long time that happens just when we need it.

Sunday morning a friend at church I had not interacted with for a while stopped by the room I teach in and said hi. That was nice but what happened about an hour later was something I did not see coming. He came up to me before worship service and handed me a check because with the way the economy is going, he wanted to make sure I would be okay. It was a huge blessing for me because as per usual for me, I hit the deductible on my insurance in March which means I have already paid a few thousand in healthcare costs.

Last week a niece I have not heard from in a long time messaged me on Facebook. We have started connecting again. I did not see that one coming either.

Last week a friend I had not heard from for a few years messaged me and wanted to meet for dinner. We had dinner and a chance to catch up. I found out that she, in her words, is really a Christian again. She also shared with me that she remembered some things I shared with her while she was in Brazil during the pandemic.

What’s behind all three? God at work. The blessings were expected by God because he was at work in all three. What is unexpected by us is planned on by God. They are ones that God gets our attention and we can stop and thank him for what he has done and appreciate that Abba Father has once again shown us He is with us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Compassion and Appreciation

While having lunch with my pastor the other day, we talked about a change that will happen in our church. A staff member will be leaving to move back home to her hometown. It will be announced tomorrow morning during worship service.

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I shared with my pastor that I had two thoughts which were compassion and appreciation. Compassion because as someone who has lived with chronic pain for over thirty years, I understand what the staff person has been going through. She has had health struggles, one with her kidney for several months and the other a bad disc in her beck. I shared that I felt God would want us to respond with compassion understanding her desire to be back home where her mom can help her with her children.

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Appreciation was the other thought. She stepped into a role and did wonderful things refocusing her area of ministry to be focused on Jesus. She did so during a pandemic with all that entails. She served even though she lived with pain. I believe she will hear, “Well Done My Good and Faithful Servant” from Jesus.

It made me wonder how often do I show compassion and appreciation. Though they may seem unrelated, there is a connection. Both of them have to do with healthy relationships and encouraging each other.

Think of someone who is working through heavy issues. What they want is a listening ear, not quick clichés, What they need is compassion such as Jesus would show them.

Think of how good it feels when someone shows appreciation. Jesus made note of it after healing ten lepers and yet only one came back to thank him.

It brings to mind Colossians 3 verses 12 and 14:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

By showing compassion and appreciation, we can be a blessing, we can protect each other, and we can enjoy healthy relationships.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Burgers with Fabi- “Really A Dream Come True”

Yesterday evening I had the privilege of having dinner with my filha Fabi. Filha is daughter in Portuguese. She was my assistant in my morning class five years ago and we have kept our friendship over the years. She calls me Papa Bear.

We had not seen each other for quite a while because of the pandemic. She went to Brazil early in the pandemic to be with her family. She is back in my city working on her Phd. We had a great time catching up and eating burgers.

The quote in the title is from Fabi. After sharing about her grandmother dying while she was in Brazil, she commented that she remembered me saying I did not want to be too old to do anything and that I would rather go to be with Jesus before I got to that point. Then I shared that perhaps the best way to go would be in my sleep and waking up in heaven. That was when she said, “that would really be a dream come true.”

Waking up in heaven would be awesome. But for now, Jesus has a purpose for me in this life. The older I get, the more I appreciate what Paul said in Philippians 1:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;  but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

Burgers and friendship are a wonderful combination.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

So Important to Pray for Families/In Jesus Name by Katy Nicole

I watched the following video by Katy Nicole yesterday. For me it is a powerful reminder of the importance of praying for families at this time. There is so much turmoil in our world what with the pandemic, wars, gun violence etc.

It is so important to cover families with prayer. Not just our own families, but also families of people we know. Whatever their lives are like, prayer is so important. I have seen the look of appreciation when I ask people how they are doing and let them know I have been praying for them.

One example is a young mother who teaches at the school where I taught in the mornings. She has myocarditis as a side effect of something due to a previously unknown genetic predisposition. After she confided in me, I would ask her a couple times a week how she was doing and let her know I am praying for her. We developed a friendship over the school year. She had a positive report from the Mayo Clinic a few weeks ago when she went up there with her husband. My continued prayer is for her to fully recover and be able to see her baby boy grow up and have children of his own. My friend is in her mid twenties, so I think it would be wonderful for her to live to be a 75 year old grandmother.

Let’s be praying for families. They need now more than ever.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Perfectly Timed Rain

Five of the students from my morning class have birthdays within 5 weeks of each other, so we decided to have a picnic before one of them leaves for a visit with family in Mexico. We chose yesterday and had planned on the picnic to start 11am. but rain came through from 10am to 11:30 am, so we changed the time to 12:30.

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Because of the rain, the people who reserved the best shelter in the park did not show up. That meant we could use it for our picnic. The rain was perfectly timed. We enjoyed the best spot in the park because of the rain. The rain left in time for us to have a picnic and a nice sunny afternoon.

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We had A LOT of food, fortunately none cooked by me, a lot of good conversation, and the children played in the playground. It was a perfect early June Saturday afternoon.

Funny thing was that I prayed it would not rain, so it would not interfere with the picnic. But God already had it planned out. By having the rain come and leave at the times it did, it allowed for us to have a wonderful time.

Oh and by the way, I was sent home with leftovers. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Be Jesus’s Representatives

Twenty years ago a young woman from Vietnam asked me a question that I shared more fully in- I Hear You Help People, Will You Help Me? She asked other students about me because I greeted her in her language. She wanted help to prepare to go to college which was monumental in her mind because no one in her family had ever gone to college.

That encounter is a constant reminder for me that people know us either by how we treat them or how others talk about us with them. My desire is that any refugee or immigrant in my city would feel they could approach me to ask for help.

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That encounter also serves as a reminder that we are the hands of Jesus in this life. We are his representatives in this life. Our reputation reflects not only on us but also on Jesus in the eyes of those around us.

That thought alone makes me want to seek Jesus in prayer because there is no way I can be a positive representative of Jesus on my own. It is a simple prayer, but one I pray almost daily, of-“please help me to be a blessing to….” During the school year I pray for help to be a blessing to my students and colleagues. During summer break it is my prayer as I meet with people.

2 Corinthians 5:20 says:

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

In these troubled times we live in, so many people need us to live like Christ’s ambassadors. They need a safe landing place of friendship. They need those who follow Jesus to be a blessing because we have been blessed.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Burgers With A Friend

The doctor appointment went well yesterday. My blood tests were good, which was a relief because I did not study for them. 🙂

After the appointment, my friend who drove me up to Omaha and I went to lunch. What could have been better after a doctor appointment than cheeseburgers?

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On the way to Omaha, on the way back, and during lunch, we had time for some good conversation. My friend oversees missions and outreach for our church, so as someone with a ministry for refugees and immigrants my friend and I had a lot to talk about.

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One of those topics was helping new arrival Ukrainian families in my city. We have 25 new arrival families so far. I anticipate more will come. One of the things will be partnering with the Ukrainian church to offer English classes for the families. Another is coordinating with medical and dental providers for care for them.

About the doctor’s appointment, I knew he would look at my feet as part of the exam, So when he said he wanted to look at them, I told him that he didn’t need to worry because I wore clean socks. 🙂

So I survived yet another doctor appointment. The adventures of this spoonie, person with chronic illness, shall continue.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.