Happy Thanksgiving Day

It had been several days since I last went to the coffee shop due to having bronchitis. With my lungs clearing up and feeling somewhat recovered from cardioversion this week, it was time to go.

With it being the day before Thanksgiving yesterday, as expected, they were not very busy. But still just getting out and about felt good. The coffee mug was appropriate for the occasion with a picture of a cello etched into it. The sound of coffee brewing is the music of my people. 🙂

So many things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, my classes that I teach, my students, my Ukrainian friends. my Sunday morning Hispanic friends, a good car, opportunities even in the hospital to share Jesus, and much more. God has been good to me.

I would like to wish my blogging friends a Happy Thanksgiving Day. May it be filled with blessings.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Special Deliveries Yesterday

Sitting at home is boring. It is funny how when life is going normal for me, I am so busy that I wish to have a day at home. But now freshly out of a hospital stay and with Thanksgiving Break, staying home is the last thing I want to do. 🙂

I am thankful for two special deliveries yesterday. The first was a drop off by the director of the Family Literacy Program I teach in. The students in my morning class made me get well cards. One of the students also made a plate of food for me. The director stopped by to drop them off for me along with a gift card to my favorite burger place in town.

Yesterday evening my new friends from Ukraine, Alexey and Ruslana, dropped off some food for me. I only told them I was sick without going into details. It was great to see them even if only for a few minutes. They are new grandparents with their first grandson being born last week here in my city. I am not sure if I will let my Ukrainian friends know I was in the hospital to have my heart shocked back into rhythm.

Cards made by hand, food so I don’t need to cook, and friendly faces are nice. However, I think I am feeling good enough for a visit to the coffee shop today. I had my day at home. It is time to get out for a little while. 🙂

Tomorrow I am invited over to a friend’s home for Thanksgiving. I like the start time of 4pm I can sleep late. If you are in the USA, what are your Thanksgiving Day plans?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Grateful for A Car with Heat

The past four winters my old van had a problem. The heat did not work. Not a big deal, it was more a nuisance. This morning I turned the heat on in my new vehicle and was grateful it works. It is interesting how a small thing like that can change a person’s mood.

I was already looking forward to seeing my Ukrainian friends this morning, but as the heat warmed me up, the realization hit me that for the first time in years winter will not be an issue. Driving around in temps below zero at times in the winter can be a fun adventure.

I realize that having heat in the car is a first world problem and does not compare to the hardships people experience in many countries, but as 1st Thessalonians 5:16 to 18 says:

Rejoice always,  pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

So I rejoice my car has heat now.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Grateful Jesus Continues to Give Me Opportunities

Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of his faithful servants. Psalm 116:15

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! Philippians 1:20-21

On Sunday after my morning class at my church, I visited the Ukrainian church for their special service and lunch. During their worship service, Psalm 116 was on the screen for a scripture reading. It sparked a thought for me.

I am at the age that maybe I have five years, ten years, or up to twenty years left in this life before Jesus takes me home to heaven. Being in heaven is definitely something to look forward to but the whole death thing not so much. I would prefer to be taken up in the Rapture. 🙂

The thought that sparked in me was gratitude that Jesus continues to bless me with opportunities to share his love with people from diverse cultures like my new friend Alexey and his family from Ukraine.

It has been a blessing for me to help new refugees from Ukraine and also my Hispanic friends in my Sunday morning group at my church. In my morning class at the school, it has been a blessing to help new refugees from Afghanistan. In my afternoon class at a high school, it has been a blessing to help my Yazidi students and Ukrainian students. In my evening classes at the college, it has been a blessing to help students from diverse countries.

So in my later years, I am grateful that Jesus continues to bless me with opportunities to show and share his love with the nations right here in my city.

What is something you are grateful for?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Only Because of Jesus

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10

How wonderfully humbling these verses are for us. There is no room for boasting, bragging, about anything as a Christian. Our salvation is a free gift that we cannot earn. It has already been paid for by Jesus.

Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

When I think about that, I also realize that when I walk into church this morning, that even that act is a gift of grace. I only belong in the church because Jesus died for me and I have trusted in him. There is no room for ego for any of us as we walk into our churches today. We enter because of Jesus and his work for us. We belong only because of Jesus.

It is only because of Jesus that we can serve in the church. I never discovered my ability to teach, my ability for languages, and my ability to connect with people from other cultures/countries until Jesus led me to go on my first ministry trips to Romania in 1997 and 1998.

We enter into an eternal relationship with God because of Jesus and only because of Jesus. We enter into fellowship with other Christians only because of Jesus. We enter heaven only because of Jesus. So let’s enter with gratitude for our Savior.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

She Has A Laptop Now

A friend of mine receives slightly used laptops from people and works on them. Then he gives the laptops to ministries or people in ministry. I emailed him about a single mom from Venezuela I wanted to get a laptop for. Carmin came here with her son in August 2021.. She works hard at a Kawasaki plant here but has a thirteen year old son to provide for and also sends money to her parents. She could not have bought a laptop, but I knew it would help her practice English at home, make it better for her to video chat with her parents, and connect with her son’s school, so I wanted to see her have a laptop.

Photo by Life Of Pix on Pexels.com

My friend had a laptop for her. I picked it up early last week, It cost me nothing and cost him only the time he spent refreshing it. I went a Walmart. Yes, for such a worthy purpose I walked in quickly to such a place. I got a violet backpack to put her laptop in.

To have a little fun with it, last Tuesday I told her I had a surprise for her but I could not tell her the surprise because then it would not be a surprise. That gave her most of the week to wonder what the surprise was. Sunday morning in our group, I gave her the backpack and told her to open it. The look on her face was priceless. Then I showed her how to access things for her son’s school.

It feels like a Christmas morning for me when I can see my friends blessed like a few months ago when Samuel was given a guitar by an older couple from church. Seeing the joy on the faces of my friends is wonderful.

Tomorrow my young friend from Ukraine will receive a violin. My friend from church who is the Youth Symphony Director/Conductor will visit my class to bring her the violin. I am SO looking forward to see my young friend Ester’s reaction.

Seeing others blessed is a huge blessing. When someone blesses one of my refugee/immigrant friends, I view it as them also blessing me.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Welcome Autumn/Fall

Today is the last day of summer on the calendar and tomorrow will be the first day of autumn. Yesterday we had 100f/38c and today we will be at 70f/21c. The rest of the week will be nice and cool in the mornings and perfect weather in the afternoons. Almost like clockwork, our weather is following the change of seasons, well at least for the next three days.

Fall is my favorite season of the year with the cooler temperatures, college football-America football, the leaves changing color later next month, and Thanksgiving Day. Fall brings the two changes I welcome with the temperature and the leaves.

Change is a constant in life and is unavoidable. Some changes are welcomed like getting an increase in pay, having a new baby, making a new friend. Some changes are not welcomed like a diagnosis from a doctor, the loss of a job, financial problems.

The greatest constant in life that I am so very grateful for is Jesus. He is the great I AM the eternally present Son of God. Hebrews 13:8 says:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Whatever changes come in life, positive or negative, we can look to Jesus, who never changes, to anchor us in this life. We can look to him in good times and bad times knowing he is always with us and at work in our lives.

Tomorrow I will celebrate the first day of fall by drinking a cup of coffee, black coffee, at the coffee shop. I will leave the pumpkin spice lattes to the sugar addicts. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Prayers Were Needed/Prayers Were Answered

About a month ago, I shared a post- Prayers Needed that was about an email I received letting me know my current position would not have enough hours to keep my benefits and then my van died beyond repair. The past four weeks have been a valley time.

This week in a span of two days, it turned around. On Thursday thanks to generous donors, I bought a Hyundai Tuscon. Then yesterday I found out I did not get the position I applied for but my hours were expanded so I can keep my benefits. Even better, my current position pays two dollars an hour more and is what I actually enjoy doing. I had only applied for the position to keep benefits.

As Christians we are not immune to life’s problems, but how we handle them can be a testimony. If we give things to God and seek him through the down times, God works through us.

I am grateful I had more time with my friend Luis from El Salvador. He gave me rides home on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and rides to church on Sundays. Because of the extra time, he opened up about what happened to him in El Salvador when a drug gang tried to force him to join. That led to sharing about how Jesus understands trauma. That is one example from the past four weeks.

But now it is on to new adventures like the English conversation group that is starting at the Ukrainian church today. We will have many Saturdays together of having lessons and sharing life. I love helping refugees with their new lives in America and this group will be at a church that will share Jesus with them.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Thanks to Generous People- I Have A Car

I feel so blessed to be able to say that I have a new to me vehicle. Jesus worked through his people in a wonderful way. People I have never met before in person, but who know Jesus were so generous to donate for me to be able to buy this vehicle. I really don’t know how to say THANK YOU!!!

I looked online at the various dealerships in Lincoln and what they had in used vehicles and kept coming back to the one I bought. I asked some friends about the type of vehicle I was looking at and they told me they were good vehicles. So I prayed and asked Jesus to keep the Hyundai Tuscon there for me. I spotted it last week online.

When I went into the dealership, they took good care of me. They saw my teacher ID for the school system here. More than one person told me they had a teacher in the family. They asked me about teaching during COVID. They gave me a good deal and when I went to finalize the papers, the guy I spoke with told me I had a 3 year warranty which I did not anticipate.

One of the first things I did was to call Pastor Oleg at the Ukrainian church to let him know I had a car now, so there would definitely be no problem for me to teach the refugees at his church. I also called a few Hispanic friends to let them know if they need a ride on Sunday mornings, to let me know.

Then I enjoyed the fact that my Hyundai Tuscon is easy to get in and out of. That is HUGE for someone living with psoriatic arthritis.

For everyone who donated, in God’s eyes, you have partnered with me in my ministry. Every time I drive to teach, visit, help, refugees and immigrants sharing the love of Jesus, you have partnered with me. THANK YOU!!!

It reminds me of what Paul wrote in Philippians chapter 4:

They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

By donating, by praying, you have greatly blessed me. I pray God blesses you as well.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Labor Day Weekend and Update on Books and Vehicle

Labor Day weekend is here. For my international readers, Labor Day is the first Monday in September in the USA. In our minds here, it represents the end of summer because it is our last three day weekend with warm weather. When I was a child, it was a sad day because it was the day the neighborhood swimming pool was drained and closed until the next summer.

Photo by Juan Salamanca on Pexels.com

One Labor Day stands out in my mind. Over a period of about seven years I mentored/tutored a group of young people from Vietnam. One year they were excited to invite me to a picnic/barbecue they were having in a park. Fortunately for them, I showed up. The reason I say fortunately is because they were grilling pork ribs. They took them off the grill too soon. The meat was not cooked thoroughly. I told them, “don’t eat them and put them back on the grill.” They asked why and I explained about what can happen if pork is not cooked properly.

Photo by pascal claivaz on Pexels.com

My Labor Day this year is going to be spent online making sure I have all of the details about publishing my book on Amazon researched. Well unless I receive an invite to a picnic. 🙂 Now that my books are wrapping up, I have an idea for another one. So writing might commence tomorrow. My pastor is halfway through my draft of Jesus Understands Trauma. He told me he is “LOVING IT.”

Speaking of my book Jesus Understands Trauma, I chatted with a friend who is fluent in English and Spanish about translating my book into Spanish. She has agreed. After I publish it in English, we will work on the Spanish version.

I am blown away by the generosity of people donating for me to have a different vehicle. I will see my friend Doug this morning at church and talk with him about when to go look. As I sat at a bus stop yesterday, I took note of vehicles driving by. My one thought each time whether they would be easy to get in and out of. As someone living with Psoriatic Arthritis, that is a factor for me.

For my friends in the USA, I hope your Labor Day weekend is blessed and relaxing. For all of my readers, I hope you have a blessed Sunday.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.