Monday, January 30, 2012

The Providence of God

There was a discussion in a Sunday School class I was a part of recently about The Providence of God.  Different people shared how at different times in their lives things have happened and how at the time they didn't always see God's plan in what was going on around them.  Some mentioned things that seemed at the time to be impossible, however after the fact, it was evident that God had been working.  

As I sat and listened, I thought of several times when I questioned my path and my decisions and even at times questioned God's Will for a certain set of circumstances I was going through.   I realize more and more each day that God does not need my help!   He is in control and capable of handling everything.  I am human and not in control and not able to handle everything! 

There have been events in recent months that have shaken me a bit.  At times I feel badly for being shaken, however I feel like it's at that point that I have a choice to make.  I can either dwell in the shaken state and worry and wonder and try to figure out and handle the situation OR I can take it to God and rest assured that when I am shaken & unsure, He WILL carry me. 

I think that in those times I have the opportunity to learn and grow IF I make the right choice.  I am praying that whatever the lessons are that God is working through circumstances to teach me, that I will be willing to learn! 

I can already look back and see God's hand in things and how even when I was feeling unsure and broken hearted, God was working.  He loves me THAT much!

~Bonnie

 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Integrity

Definition of INTEGRITY

1
: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility
2
: an unimpaired condition : soundness
3
: the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness
 
Integrity is something that I learned from my Daddy.  I don't remember him ever saying the word to me or giving me the definition or expressing to me the importance of possessing that trait.  What I do remember is that his words matched his actions.  I know that when he gave his word, you could depend on it.  I know that he did not intentionally deceive or mislead people.  I know that if he made a mistake he was willing to admit it.  I know that if he hurt someone with his words or actions, he was willing to admit it and apologize.   I saw in him the quality of integrity.  I learned what it meant to live a life of integrity.  
 
We are human.  Humans are imperfect.  Humans mess up.   I believe though that as a human who has entrusted my life to God, I have an added responsibility to live a life of integrity.   I am not only representing myself by my words and actions, I am representing God.  I must be cautious to be the best representative I can be, as well as being willing to admit AND change behaviors or words that don't represent the integrity that God wants in my life.  
 
~Bonnie  

Monday, December 19, 2011

December, Past & Present

December.   Just that one word brings to mind a whole realm of thoughts and emotions.

I think of the times as a child, we would all (5 kids, Mother & Daddy) load up in the car on Christmas Eve and go drive around town and look at Christmas lights.  When we would arrive back home, we would find that gifts had been left under the tree!  We would open them and of course, enjoy what we received!

As an adult and parent our family usually opened gifts on Christmas morning.  Most of the time we would have a meal there at home, but on occasion we went to spend time with family or friends.

Since my daughter is grown and has a family of her own, we now spend a couple days together before Christmas.  My way of thinking is that the date on the calendar isn't what makes it "Christmas" it's being able to spend time with those you love, so it's Christmas when they are here!  They have a tradition of spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day together as a family.  I look forward to the time when they are here.  We have many traditions that we have put in place through the years and look forward to sharing each year.

Among the traditions are the "Bonnie cookies" that I make and decorate each year.  This year again, I baked 22 dozen and put them in the freezer, so I would have them ready to frost as I needed them for various Christmas happenings.  Week before last, my grandson, Caleb got to come spend some time with me and for the first time, he and I baked and frosted some together!  It was so much fun to watch him rolling out the dough, deciding which cutter to use, holding the frosting bag just right and frosting the cookies.  I must say that they are probably the most beautiful (and filled with love) cookies that I've ever made for Christmas!   (Caleb calls them "cookie cutters")

I have always (through my childhood & adult life) had a live tree.  In the past couple of years I have thought that I might watch the after Christmas sales and get an artificial tree, however each year I decide against that and again in December I go "twirl" a tree around and pick out the right one, take it home, put it in the stand and take it in the house to decorate!  I  even think having the pine needles all over the carpet to clean up is part of the tradition!

December also has some bittersweet memories for me.  My Daddy was sick and passed away on December 22, 2005.  It was his deepest wish that he not "mess up everyone's Christmas" that year.  And in reference to him saying that, we waited and had the memorial service on December 30th, rather than during the Christmas festivities.  From Thanksgiving till the end of December each year since, I have a varied range of emotions.  I miss Daddy every single day.  I miss him calling just to say hi and I especially miss the "Merry Christmas" call he would always give my family at 10 a.m. on Christmas morning.   I miss him calling and asking me if I wanted to take him to lunch (which I joyfully always agreed to).  I miss seeing him walk up EVERY Valentine's Day with a rose in a bud vase for me.  I miss hearing the silly little sayings he said.  I miss the bags of shelled pecans in my freezer that he shelled and brought to me.  I miss the times when I would hear a mower running and look out the door and he would be outside mowing our yard, just because he noticed it needed to be mowed.   I miss the times he would call me from Sliger's and ask how many bushels of tomatoes I would make into juice for him!   I miss him telling me that he saved the last quart of tomato juice each year until I made him more!  I miss the talks he and I had about anything and everything.

I have so many precious memories of the holiday season.  I have many, many blessings that fill my heart and life.   I know that the grief is a natural part of life.   I feel that it's part of what God instilled in us to deal with loss and change.  This year I have had an unusually tough time dealing with some things past and present.   I have been seeking to find the balance so that I learn and grow through the things that are going on.  I am thankful for so many things and am so blessed. 

My prayer during this holiday season is a peaceful, enjoyable time to reflect on memories of the past and make memories that can be put in place to reflect upon next year and for years to come!

 ~ Bonnie

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I am Thankful!

During the month of November I listed something for which I am thankful each day.  I realized this morning that it's a good thing to be thankful each morning, not just in November and am going to continue to do so throughout the year!

1 - God's patience with me, 2 - my grandson, who is my pride and joy! , 3 - my children, my daughter and son in love are amazing examples of God's greatness! 4 - My friends, God has blessed me with friends who love me unconditionally - what a precious gift! 5 - My sister, Happy Birthday Sis! 6 - Having the freedom to worship God! 7 - Life, I was reminded again this weekend how things can change in an instant. 8 - My job, I am blessed to have a job that I love, doing what I feel God intends for me to do! 9 - My home! 10 - Cool, crisp fall mornings and the sun peeking up behind the trees! 11 - Freedom, thank you to all who have given their all for my freedoms. 12 - Today I am thankful for my son in love. Yes I did mention him on the 3rd, however today I have an even greater appreciation for him after learning that my "forever friend's" son in love was killed in a wreck last night. JMP I Love you! 13 - The beauty in nature this time of year! 14 - My sister in law - Happy Birthday Millie! 15 - I am thankful for my parents. 16 - Friends who love and support me, always! 17 - Memories! 18 - I am thankful to get to go to a Joyce Meyer conference! I am so excited! 19 - The amazing blessings I received at the conference! 20 - Safe travel! 21 - My friend Mark - Happy Birthday! 22 - My nieces and nephews ! I am so thankful for each of them and grateful to get to be an active part in their lives! 23 - A day filled with lots of "wow" with my grandson! 24 - A wonderful day with family and friends! 25 - Leftovers! 26 - Safe travel getting Mother home from her visit! 27 - The blessing of rest! 28 - Joy in the midst of uncertainty! 29 - The warm sunshine shining through the window on me! 30 - Abundant Grace!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Shoulds"

A friend has brought to my attention how often in life the word "should" is used.  I have taken notice and am surprised not only how often I hear it used, but how often I use it. 
It seems that the word is used in reference to expectations placed on ourselves or others.  In reality it's not my job to put should's on anyone.  I have my view and opinion based on me, but it is only that, not a guide by which anyone is to think or act or be.
I take the "shoulds" of my life experience and the "shoulds" of my mind and the "shoulds" of people in my life and use them as guides to decide how I live my life, how I think and how I act.  Wow!  That is not God's plan and yet I let myself listen and be influenced by them.   I have a responsibility to be what God intended for me to be, period.  When I achieve and when I fail, I have the same responsibility. 
When I look at others and put in my "shoulds" concerning how they "should" act, what they "should" say, where they "should" go, who their friends "should" be, what course they "should" take, I am not only being judgmental, but I am also limiting my influence and impact in their lives.  By making a choice to put "shoulds" on myself or others I am in essence saying, I am in control and know what is best.  This could not be farther from the truth, however often it's how we live our lives.  The word of God tells me that my responsibility is to love
"Above all, love each other deeply (earnestly)"  ~1 Peter 4:8  

"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other."      ~ John 13:34

~Bonnie