Thankful for Over 2,000 Followers-What I Have Learned

I am thankful that this past week my blog went over 2,000 followers. I appreciate all of you who have followed my blog, read my posts, liked and especially the ones who have commented on my posts. I wish I could follow everyone back but realistically that would be impossible.

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I thought I would share a few things I have learned in regards to blogging. I hope they are helpful for you in your blogging journey.

Be Patient

It takes time for a blog to grow. It took four years for my blog to go over 2,000 followers. It is extremely rare for a blogger to be an instant success. Give it time.

Be Consistent

If you blog once a week, do it on the same day. If you blog twice a week, do it on the same days. By being consistent, you help your followers know when to expect a post from you.

Be Communal

Interact with other bloggers through comments. Comments that connect to the content of their posts not just a quick spammy type comment like great post, Comments that connect to content and being consistent with them are a great way to get the attention of a blogger.

Be Open to experiment

Give yourself permission to try new ideas in your blog. When I first started sharing about chronic illness, I was hesitant but felt Jesus wanted me to do so. I started a series Wellness Wednesdays where I share about chronic illness and mental health. Some of those posts have been some of my highest viewed ones.

Be True to Yourself

If I tried to write lifestyle type posts, it would not go over well. I am a single guy who lives cheaply. I share what I know about or have truly experienced. That is my voice.

Be Kind

Yes some bloggers grow their blogs by being part of the debate society seeking to argue points. It can work. But for me, I would much rather be remembered as someone who encourages others and seeks to build up. There have been bloggers try to engage me in negativity and I simply delete their comment and block them.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to share tips in the comments.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

July 4th- Thank Day in the UK

Hannah joins blogger chat with us most Saturday mornings, afternoons her time. She has a bright smile and beautiful heart for Jesus. Her blog is at hannahmvandi.com

She shared with us in blogger chat that July 4th in the UK this year is Thank You Day if you click on it you can read about it. It sounds like a wonderful celebration.

So I want to thank my followers in the UK and wish them a Happy Thank You Day. I enjoy your blog posts and appreciate you following and reading my blog. I hope this day is special and meaningful for you.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

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Thankful for an Injection?

One thing I am thankful for is having an injection in my knee yesterday. That may sound a bit crazy but my hope is it delays surgery. I will have two more injections one each of the following Tuesdays.

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They even gave me an early Christmas present too. I now have a brace to wear. Not one of those cheap ones a person buys at Walmart. This one is a serious brace. But it was not wrapped with a bow on it. 🙂

I had the opportunity to tell some jokes to the women working the front desk, the P.A. who gave me the injection, and the young woman who fitted me with the brace. As they read this, bloggers who join me for blogger chat on Saturdays might be rolling their eyes. They have been blessed with my jokes every Saturday morning. 🙂

All in all it has not been too bad of a year when it comes to doctors. I only saw two specialists and of course appointments with my GP. Any spoonie will tell you that a year almost free of seeing specialists is a good year.

So today I am thankful for injections in my knee. What are you thankful for?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Thankful For A Day of Writing

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Yesterday my team lost again. It is a long slow rebuild for what was once one of the most dominant college football teams.

Each time I checked my Facebook yesterday there were posts by people about the election. I ended up either unfollowing them or snoozing them for 30 days because that is not what I want to see on Facebook which is only about socializing for me, NOT politics.

So one would think it was a dismal day for me.

O Contraire!!!

I spent most of my time writing while listening to worship music. I wrote my notes for John chapter 12 for my Life Group which took about 2 hours. I wrote some more in my book. And of course, I wrote this post.

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Writing notes for bible study, writing a book that my hope is will help combat trafficking of children and young women, and writing my blog, all while listening to worship music, is an act of worship for me. My hope for writing is to glorify Jesus. When I write, I feel a connection with Jesus.

I am thankful Jesus wired me this way. He created me to be a creative person. It is expressed through writing, acting, and directing. Not artwork. I can barely draw stick figures 🙂

I am thankful for time for writing.

What are you thankful for today?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Finding Gratitude in the Midst of Hardship

The past several weeks have certainly seen upheaval in life. It could be a depressing time for me if I did not have God helping me. In my prayers the past few weeks I have been thanking Jesus for how he has helped me during this COVID-19 crisis. I thought I would share some things I am grateful for in the midst of hardship.

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Hardship- class canceled for a few weeks and starting again online.

I am grateful that I have work and can still have income. I am thankful for being able to help my students learn new skills studying online that can help them with their futures. Yes, I miss seeing them in person, but I can see them in online class and stay connected.

Hardship- I am in 3 at risk groups so going to the store is not for me.

I am thankful for friends who bring me food. They have been a blessing. I can also order food for pick up curbside at some supermarkets here who have set aside time only for people in high risk groups.

Hardship- I live alone and can’t see friends at church, see my students, see people at my coffee shop hangout.

I am grateful for online services from my church. I can also see my students online. I have had video chats with friends in Brazil.

Corrie Ten Boom was in a Nazi concentration camp. She saw her sister die in the camp. Her story reminds me that what we are living through now is not as severe as what she endured. One of her quotes is one of my favorites.

“There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”

I am so grateful that because of Jesus I can have a relationship with God. I am thankful for Jesus waking me up with a song in my spirit.

What are you thankful for at this time?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- I Am Not Going to Kick the Bucket

I started going to my home church in April 1994 after having to leave Minneapolis where I was studying for ministry. I had to leave because of my health. I never told anyone at my home church how bad off I was because I thought God was calling me to pray for the church while I died.

Pastor Scott was one of my first friends at the church. He had a prayer meeting before the worship services at that time. I went to the prayer group when I was able to get up and get to church during the year of June 1994 to July 1995. In July 1995, the doctor finally diagnosed my problem and got me started on the medication I needed. In August 1995, he told me I was coming out of it.

The following Sunday, I went to the prayer group and said, “I am not going to kick the bucket” meaning I am not going to die. I had not told them how bad off I was, but they probably guessed it by looking at me.

Pastor Scott and I have been friends since that time. We went on a mission trip to Romania in June 1997. I have watched his children grow and now his son is a pastor and his daughter is married and helps lead worship.

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We are polar opposites in personality. Pastor Scott is a planner. He has overseen many things for the church over the years. He likes to bring order to what is unorganized.

My personality is that of one who likes adventure, the unknown, and who likes to step out in faith to see what God wants to do. When a new people group comes to my city that no one knows much about, I love to spend time with them and learn about them to see what God is doing.

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Over the years as I have been out among the new people groups. Pastor Scott has been a person I could count on to kind of be a lifeline or anchor. He has been the recipient of many emails from me that are- “I have an idea” emails.

Pastor Scott is changing to part-time status which essentially means semi retired. When I think about our friendship, I think about how each of us is gifted differently, but Jesus is the one who blesses.

In the church, we are not all gifted the same and I am thankful for that. If everyone was an adventurer like me, there would be no organization. If everyone was an organizer like Pastor Scott, there would be no new ideas or efforts. Jesus gifts us differently and brings balance to it all.

As 1st Corinthians 12 says:

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work”

I am so thankful that God has blessed me with friendships, like my friendship with Pastor Scott, that are friendships with people who are different than I am. There is no need for competition in the church. We have different callings but the same Lord.

So this story time post is my way of saying thank you to Pastor Scott as he transitions to a new role.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time-Thanksgiving Day Edition- Grandpa Had to Cut My Food

Thanksgiving when I was 12 years old was something I looked forward to because it meant my Grandpa Charles and Grandma Eve were coming. The only downside was that it was the year I injured my elbow playing football. The injury first happened in the third game of the season. After a few weeks, I pretended that it was better because I wanted to play in the last game that was for the city championship in my little league. In that game, I made several tackles but aggravated the injury.

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So when Thanksgiving Day came, I couldn’t even hold and use a knife to cut my food. 12 old boys don’t want moms doting over them. Grandpa Charles sat next to me and since he was Grandpa, it was okay if he cut my food since I couldn’t. He cut my turkey for me, so I could eat one handed.

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Interesting side note, Grandpa Charles and Grandma Eve were Christians and prayed for a grandchild to be in ministry. It still amazes me that God answered their prayers through me.

As we sat at Thanksgiving Dinner, it felt like everything fit together just right to have Grandpa Charles sitting next to me and that he cut my food for me since I was injured and could not do a simple little thing like cut my food.

We have a Heavenly Father who is always sitting with us, walking with us, and is eager to share his kingdom with us. With our Heavenly Father, everything fits together just right. It pleases God to share his kingdom with us. In Luke 12 we read:

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”

Just as Grandpa Charles saw me as his little grandson when I was 12, Jesus and our Heavenly Father see us as their beloved family, sons and daughters of God. They are pleased, happy, to share the kingdom of God with us.

The only question is if we want Jesus and our Heavenly Father to share their kingdom with us. Jesus shared about it in John 3:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

On this Thanksgiving, I am grateful foremost for the gift of eternal life that God our Father provides for those who trust, believe in, Jesus. I am also grateful for two grandparents who prayed for me, my brothers and sister, and my cousins.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my readers in the USA.

By the way, Deborah was lead the votes last Thursday for someone that I should cook for. Congrats Deborah. This week’s vote, who should I cook Thanksgiving Dinner for next year? The nominees are; Dawn of drawingclosertochrist.com, Rene of hearttokens.home.blog, and Beverly of becomingtheoilandthewine.com

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Why Gratitude? Spotlight on a Fellow Blogger

In the play Peter Pan, the fairy Tinkerbell was dying because she drank a poisoned drink meant for Peter. She tells Peter if the children believed in fairies she could get better. Peter tells the boys to clap if they believed in fairies.They clap and Tinkerbell recovers.

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Why am I writing about Tinkerbell? To draw a contrast.

Throughout the bible we are instructed to Praise God, to express our gratitude to God, to worship God, clap our hands, raise our hands etc.

Why?

God created the heavens and the earth. He created all of the stars we see in the sky, all living things on earth, and us. God defeated death for us through the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus has all power, God has all power. If God wants something, he can simply make it happen. God does not need our praise, our worship, our gratitude. God does not need us to clap our hands for him.

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The reason we praise him, worship him. thank him, clap and raise our hands to him. is because WE need it. When we praise God, it helps us to remember how great he is. When we thank God, we remember what he has done for us. We need to praise him and thank him because we are living in a fallen world full of difficulties. When we praise God and worship him, it focuses our attention on the one who can help us. Praising God and worshiping God strengthens us in our faith, it does strengthen God. God does not need to be strengthened.

In Isaiah 61 we read:

“and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor”

Hannah is a blogger I follow. Her blog is Grace to be Imperfect at gracetobeimperfect.com She has shared about her struggles with anxiety. She shared a wonderful post yesterday – The Power of Remembrance. It is a wonderful post to read and be encouraged by. In the post she shares about what helps her overcome anxiety.

God calls us to worship, praise, and gratitude for our benefit. He is not egotistical like people tend to be. He knows that we need worship, praise, and gratitude to help us stay connected to him.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

1 Grateful Person Tag

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How often do you lift up your arms to heaven just to say to God- Thank you? This has been on my mind for a while. I have been thinking about if I show enough gratitude to God. This week I have been thanking him for the meaning and purpose he has given my life.

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Jesus expressed his dismay over the lack of gratitude by 9 lepers he healed in Luke 17:

“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

“When he saw them, he said, â€œGo, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.”

“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan”

“Jesus asked, â€œWere not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, â€œRise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Of the ten, 1 was a Samaritan. We can assume the others were Jews from the response of Jesus when he said-“except this foreigner?”

Perhaps the other felt entitled to being healed. Perhaps they were excited to get back to their families. We don’t know why they failed to come back and at least say thank you.

Samaritans were outcasts even when healthy. That might explain why the Samaritan felt overwhelmed with gratitude to throw himself at the feet of Jesus to thank him.

Imagine being healed of a disease that meant being totally ostracized from family and society. One would think that gratitude and a thank you would not be difficult to express, but only one person returned to thank Jesus.

When I think about what Jesus did for me, it is overwhelming. First of all, he died for me. No way did I deserve that. He has completely changed me and my life. He has blessed me with a ministry of showing his love to refugee and immigrants from all over the world.

He gives me strength to teach and spend time in ministry even though I live with chronic illness. On my bad days, I can feel his presence.

So today I would like to introduce the 1 Grateful Person Tag. Here are the rules:

The 1 Grateful Person Tag is based on Luke 19 and the account of Jesus with the 1 out ten lepers he healed who came back thank him. Let us aspire to be like the 1 who thanked Jesus and not the 9 who did not.

1- Share what you are grateful to Jesus for.

2-Share a passage from the bible about gratitude that means something to you.

3- Tag whoever you wish to.

4- Please share a link to my original post. 1 Grateful Person

5- Use any picture in your post that expresses gratitude.

6. Share the intro

I am tagging:

Dawn of drawingclosertochrist.com

Jenny of progressinbloom.com

Beverley of becomingtheoilandthewine.com

Herry of herrychiccounsels.com

Amanda of wildandwingingit.home.blog

Gail of gaillovesgod.blog

Yonnie of yonnieinhiscare.wordpress.com

Elisha of africaboy.home.blog

Joy of joycottage.blog

Happy Thanksgiving Day Tomorrow in Canada/Gratitude

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Tomorrow will be Thanksgiving Day in Canada. I have followers in Canada, so I would like to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving Day.

In Honor of Thanksgiving Day in Canada, I would like to share a gratitude list.

1- I am grateful first and foremost for my Savior Jesus. I would be nothing without him. He is my reason to keep going.

2- I am grateful for the classes I teach and for my students. It is a joy to watch them learn and advance in life.

3- I am thankful for all of you who read, like and especially comment on my blog.

4- I am thankful for the ministry the Lord has given me to share his love with people from all over the world.

5- I am grateful that I can encourage others who suffer with chronic illness and depression through my blog.

6- I am thankful for recent opportunities to practice Spanish.

7- I am thankful for my microwave because I would be lost in the kitchen without it. 🙂

What are you thankful for? Especially my followers in Canada 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.