Do You Think Your Rich?

Christmas

It’s been a quiet and productive Sunday morning for me so far. I still have much to do today but I want to take the time today to ask my WordPress family a very simple question, “Do you think you are rich?” Most probably answered NO immediately without giving the question much thought. Let me help you answer this question with a resounding YES!
If you have a job and work 5 days a week and can buy 7 days worth of food…your rich.
If you have a roof over your head 7 nights a week…your rich.
If you have heat and never fret about having it shut off this winter due to non-payment…your rich.
If you have family and friends that love you and will be there for you when your in need…..your rich.
If your days are filled with love and laughter….you are incredibly RICH!

My point, we are richer than we think because we take these things and many more for granted. We are sometimes blind to the fact that there are so many out there that do not have the things I have listed.

I learned today that 127 households, (this includes small children, the elderly and people with disabilities) are right now, today, homeless in my community. That’s a big problem. I’m sitting in a warm home with a hot cup of coffee enjoying surfing the net, they are not. I’m awaiting the return of my beautiful family from up north, they are not. I’m going out to buy Christmas gifts today, they are not. I’m rich, they are not.

I’ll share one other tidbit with you. I had the floors at my store waxed and buffed over night and I came in at about 6am to let the floor crew out. As they are loading their equipment into their trailer I notice in the dark, over in a corner by the dumpster, an elderly man wrapping up his blankets into a trash bag, picking up his walking cane and called to his dog, “It’s time to go Buddy”. It was 17 degrees out. I AM RICH!

I have always believed that when the day comes that I stand before God, he will not reward me for what I left behind, but what I gave away when I had the chance, the blessing I bestowed on others rather than blessing myself with more and more.

My eyes are open to the needs of other now more than ever before. I will step up and help those in my community that are sleeping without the warmth and shelter that they deserve. I look around to what I have, and it may not be much to some peoples standings, but it is more than enough to allow me to help someone without.

This Christmas season, the present I want most of all, and I truly mean this, is for you to really look at others, see a need, and fulfill it. If you don’t see a need, ask! Start with your own family. Do you really know what your spouse needs? Your children?  Do you know what they are really in need of right now? It could be time spent together, a shoulder to cry on, understanding in a difficult situation they are going through, a bill paid, a car repair, a hug, or the need to hear you say “I Love You”. It is that simple. Be the blessing God made you to be.

What a joyous Christmas this would be if we all could do this!

Be The Message of Thanksgiving!

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A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: “I am blind, please help.”

There were only a few coins in the hat.

A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were.

The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?”

The man said, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.” I wrote: “Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it.”

Both signs told people that the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people that they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?

Moral of the Story: Be thankful for what you have. Be creative. Be innovative. Think differently and positively. When life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile. Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear. Keep the faith and drop the fear.

The most beautiful thing is to see a person smiling. And even more beautiful, is knowing that you are the reason behind it!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Marriage Isn’t For You

If your married, about to marry, or thinking about marriage, you need to read this.

Seth Adam Smith

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. 🙂 I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each…

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Sandpipers

This is a beautiful story that you really must read. Thanks to Coach Muller for sharing.

My Good Time Stories

This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson. It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy life, living, and each other.

“The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.” Life is so complicated. The hustle and bustle of everyday traumas can make us lose focus about what is truly important and what is only a momentary setback or crisis. Today, tomorrow, be sure to give your loved ones an extra hug, and by all means, take a moment….even if it is only ten seconds, to stop and smell the roses.

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something…

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It was like God was telling me

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Stranger gives man a new car in a random act of kindness

The kindness of a stranger paid off in a big way for a Ringgold, GA man. The man was down on his luck and needed a new car. He says his prayers were answered when a new one was given to him Thursday.

Cody Abercrombie has been working at the same Ringgold restaurant for the past 4 years. Before that, he worked in Tiftonia and would make the four hour, one-way trip on his bike to get to work on time. He is a very dedicated worker and it is that dedication that a complete stranger recognized.

The sound if his new Explorer starting up is music to Cody Abercrombie’s ears. It beats the 30 minute bike ride or the one hour walk to his job in Ringgold.

“It’s good. It’s a blessing,” says Abercrombie.

Cody is a quiet guy and was down on his luck when his old car bit the dust. Enter Mark Sexton, a frequent customer of Cody’s.

“He was in a great mood. He was just sharing his story with me, didn’t ask for anything, didn’t complain about riding the bike. It just kind of hit me about how dedicated you’d have to be to work to ride a bicycle everyday,” says Sexton.

And that is when Mark decided to take action.

“It didn’t really hit me until I got out in the parking lot. I couldn’t leave. It was like God was telling me that I needed to try and help the kid out. I didn’t go back in. I just made a post on Facebook basically as a prayer request,” says Sexton.

And it snowballed from there. People started donating money to help buy Cody a new car.

“I really didn’t think anything about it and then he shows up and everything and helps me out and them I’m like, miracles do happen,” says Abercrombie.

“Me and my wife dropped it off around 3 o’clock and he came out and looked at it and he was beyond excited. He couldn’t believe it,” says Sexton.

For Cody, it is not only a new car, but also a better assurance for providing for his family.

When asked why he is so dedicated, Abercrombie says, “I guess you’ve got to be dedicated to work and everything to prove that you do want to keep your job.”

“Maybe the story will touch somebody and they’ll try to go out and do the same thing,” says Sexton.

“I just thank God for Him blessing Mark and Mark helping me out,” says Abercrombie.

About 15 people total helped raise the money to buy the car.

Mark can not emphasize enough that any employer would be lucky to have Cody’s work-ethic and positivity. He hopes that his act of kindness is contagious and others open their eyes to how they can help strangers in their communities.

Story via Suspended Coffee Facebook

The Miracle Baby

Hope

This story comes to us from www.facebook.com/SuspendedCoffeess

When Carolyn Isbister put her 20oz baby on her chest for a cuddle, she thought that it would be the ONLY CHANCE she would ever have to hold her. Doctors had told the parents that baby Rachel only had only MINUTES TO LIVE because her heart was beating once every ten seconds and she was not breathing.

“I didn’t want her to die being cold,” Carolyn says, “so I lifted her out of her blanket and put her against my skin to warm her up. Her feet were so cold. It was the only cuddle I was going to have with her, so I wanted to remember the moment.”

Then something remarkable happened: the warmth of her mother’s skin kick started Rachael’s heart into beating properly, which allowed her to take little breaths of her own.

“We couldn’t believe it – and neither could the doctors. She let out a tiny cry. The doctors came in and said there was still no hope – but I wasn’t letting go of her. We had her blessed by the hospital chaplain, and waited for her to slip away. But she still hung on.”

And then amazingly the pink color began to return to her cheeks. She literally was turning from gray to pink before our eyes, and she began to warm up too.

The sad part is that when the baby was born, doctors took one look at her and said ‘no’. They didn’t even try to help her with her breathing as they said it would just prolong her dying.

“Everyone just gave up on her,” says Carolyn.

At 24 weeks a womb infection had led to her premature labor and birth. Says Carolyn (who also has two children Samuel, 10, and Kirsten, 8 ): “We were terrified we were going to lose her. I had suffered three miscarriages before, so we didn’t think there was much hope.”

When Rachael was born she was grey and lifeless. Ian Laing, a consultant neonatologist at the hospital, said: “All the signs were that the little one was not going to make it and we took the decision to let mum have a cuddle as it was all we could do.
Two hours later the wee thing was crying.”

“This is indeed a miracle baby,” adds the doctor, “and I have seen nothing like it in my 27 years of practice. I have not the slightest doubt that mother’s love saved her daughter.”

Rachael was moved onto a ventilator where she continued to make steady progress and was tube and syringe fed her mother’s pumped breastmilk.

“The doctors said that she had proved she was a fighter and that she now deserved some intensive care as there was some hope,” says Carolyn. “Rachael did it all on her own – without any medical intervention or drugs. She had clung on to life – and it was all because of that cuddle.”

The cuddle had warmed up her body and regulated her heart and breathing enough for her to start fighting. At 5 weeks she was taken off the ventilator and began breastfeeding on her own. At four months Rachel went home with her parents, weighing 8lbs – the same as any other healthy newborn.

Because Rachel had suffered from a lack of oxygen doctors said there was a high risk of damage to her brain. But a scan showed no evidence of any problems and today Rachel is on par with her peers.

“She is doing so well,” says Carolyn, smiling. “When we brought her home, the doctors told us that she was a remarkable little girl. And most of all, she just loves her cuddles. She will sleep for hours, just curled into my chest. It was that first cuddle which saved her life – and I’m just so glad I trusted my instinct and picked her up when I did. Otherwise she wouldn’t be here today.” Rachael is now a happy, healthy 6 years old, and sibling to Samuel, 16, and Kirsten, 14.

I shared this to offer hope for others.

This story shows us: Let’s have faith, and hope, and believe in the best outcomes – whether it’s about health and a medical diagnosis, or our own lives, careers, aspirations. We DON’T know what’s going to happen – so let’s not project the fatalism of our past experiences – or others’ words – onto a future that hasn’t happened yet. Things can change for the better, and BE BRIGHT.

Faith, Cancer and Prayers

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Over the past few months I have been absent for long periods of time on 52 Sundays and my other blog Lincoln & Puppa and I want to take the time today to apologize and explain.  First a little backstory, the following is a letter I wrote to my grandson Lincoln last year on Lincoln & Puppa.

Dear Lincoln,

I recently wrote to you and explained how in that past few months we experienced 2 great losses in our family, great grandpa Buck passed away on June 28 and great great grandma Laurel passed away on August 7.  Now, just as most family members are beginning to adjust and move on with their daily lives, we found out yesterday that great grandma Boo has advanced cancer.  The doctors tell us that the cancer has filled 2/3 of her left lung and that the rest of her lung has collapsed.  She is only breathing with her right lung.  The cancer has also spread to her brain.  There is nothing that can be done for her, it’s too far advanced.  Next week after some more tests we find out how long she has left.

Great grandma Boo has spent the last few years caring for great grandpa Buck and she may have ignored how she left and probably didn’t go to the doctor when she should have.  The news was devastating to your Nana.  Her mommy and daddy mean the world to her.  It just seems so unfair right now and everyone’s questioning “Why God Why?”.  For some in the family, their faith is beginning to waiver.

In the Bible Paul tells us: “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength but with your testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Over time that promise has become abbreviated to “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Like many others, I’ve derived comfort from these words, though I know God does not “give” me loss, pain and grief.

Let me stress that this verse does not imply that God won’t let you be stressed beyond what you can bear.
Or challenged beyond your ability.
Or pushed beyond your threshold.In reality, God gives you more than you can bear all the time. On purpose.
It’s only when you can’t bear the load that the strength of Christ kicks in…
and He becomes everything you need and more.

Count your blessings, we’re told, but it’s just not in our nature. We’d rather count our problems. Our species survived by reacting instantly to threats, and the ancient humans who stopped to smell the roses made easier targets for predators.

Today, the predators are mostly gone, but we’re still so primed to pay attention to bad news that we tend to ignore what’s going well. As soon as we solve one problem, we take the progress for granted and find a new cause for alarm. Every now and again it doesn’t hurt to take stock of just how good we have it.  I urge you to always count your blessings.

I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that there will be good times and there will be bad times in your life.  It will be up to you how you deal with the bad times.  For me I have learned to be thankful for what I have and not worry about what I don’t have.  I’m thankful for every minute I had with great grandpa Buck and great great grandma Laurel.  As I have told you before great grandpa Buck was the most influential person in my life, I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for him.  We will concentrate on the time we still have with great grandma Boo instead of dwelling on losing her soon.

You have been such a joy in all our lives, I treasure every minute I have with you.  Bear with us as we go down this path together again.  We will get through this as a family, with much love, understanding, and faith that we will all be together again.

I love you Lincoln, Puppa

UPDATE:

After Grandma Boo ( my mother in-law ) went through all the testing and countless doctor appointments, we were told that she had about 3 months left to live, and that treatments would not prolong her life but would make her time left more comfortable.  What the doctors didn’t take into account is that Boo is a fighter.  She smiled at the doctors and stated that cancer better be ready for a fight, she wasn’t going down easy.

Boo wasn’t supposed to be with us at Christmas;

Boo enjoying every minute of Christmas Eve 2012
Boo enjoying every minute of Christmas Eve 2012

 

Boo wasn’t supposed to be with us at St. Patty’s Day;

Great Grandson Lincoln, Grand Daughter Haley and Great Grandma Boo.  St Patty's Day 2012
Great Grandson Lincoln, Grand Daughter Haley and Great Grandma Boo. St Patty’s Day 2012

Easter….not suppose to be there:

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Mom and Daughter out to eat on Easter Sunday, 2012

 

Since then there has been other great moments, cookouts, trips to the casino, and lots of family around.  Since last year my wife has spent a lot of time up north caring for her mom ( we live 2 1/2 hours away ).  Unfortunately in the past few months Boo’s health has steadily declined, cancer is starting to win the battle.  My lovely wife travels back and forth constantly, a day or two here to watch our grandson when our daughter has to work.  But other than that she is lovingly caring for her mom.  Boo, (mom) has told me more than once that Carol is her “Guardian Angel”.  I couldn’t agree more.

When I can get away from work I make the 5 hour round trip, even if it’s just for the day, so that I can help comfort her.  Mom and I have spent many early mornings in her little kitchen enjoying coffee, talking, and praying together.  She knows God has a plan and she is ready for what God has in store for her.  She is, and always has been, a strong and brave woman.

So, our days have been quite full the last year and especially the last few months.  My plan was to write every other day, to my grandson and on this blog, but God, as always, had a better plan, and that was to care for my family through this difficult time, comfort Boo, and love and support my incredible wife.

We know that time is slipping away and soon God will call Boo home.  Until then I pray every day for mom, my family and my wife.  Today I share my prayer for my wife;

Lord, when we are infants, you partner with our parents in loving and caring for us. Our loving Boo is now elderly and is fighting a losing battle with cancer and I ask that you partner with your daughter Carol in giving her the same tender loving care. Give her the strength to be fully present for her mother and lovingly tend to her needs and give her the wisdom to take time out to tend to own physical, emotional and spiritual needs as she cares for her. Amen.

“Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you.  Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness”.

Isaiah 41:10

I now look to you, my friends, I ask for your prayers, an encouraging word and understanding during this difficult time.

May God bless you, Jay