Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Unopened Gift

As we come to the end of another year, I would like to thank you, my faithful readers, for taking the time to read my work and for the encouragement you have given me along the way. With this being the last blog of the year, I would like to share with you a special tradition we have when we celebrate Christmas at my mom's house. For the past 15 years my mother has written a story about events, circumstances, or people that have impacted her life in some way and given it to each of us to add to our Christmas folder. My folder has now become a book full of wisdom, memories, and humor that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Thank you Mom for reminding us what Christmas is all about. Here is the 2011 entry into my Christmas folder written by my beautiful Mom, Karlyn Fedora.

The Unopened Gift
There once lived a man who had a sour disposition concerning everything about life. I met this person when he was old, and thought he was probably just miserable because he was at the end of his life. I learned, however, that he had always been crotchety and mean to his wife, children, and family. My first exposure to him was at Christmas when the family gathered to celebrate that wonderful time of the year.
There was much excitement as the children and older folk went to the living room to exchange gifts for that year. The old man (Grandpa to some of the kids there) sat in the easy chair and waited. Gifts were distributed, and people tore into their presents to see what they had gotten. Oooh’s and ahhh’s were heard from all around. But, not from Grandpa! He let each present lie right where it was and never even picked one up. He never said thank you to the person giving the gift. He never opened the boxes wrapped in such pretty paper. I thought that quite odd and wondered how he could not accept his gifts. How could he just reject the gift which meant he rejected the person giving the gift? How could he just not care at all about the gift or the giver?
Years later, the old man died. In his bedroom closet, on the top two shelves were unopened presents wrapped in pretty paper. In those boxes were shirts, ties, socks... simple gestures of love from someone. The foolish old man died never knowing what he missed by not opening and enjoying his gifts.
At Christmas, this story reminds me of another Gift that has been given. God has given his only Son as a gift because he loves us so much. Jesus is a gift to you and to me. How wonderful it is to receive this special gift, to open it up, to enjoy it everyday for the rest of your life. How loved we feel as we read the Bible, Gods love letter to you and to me. How special it is to go to him in prayer and to tell him things and to ask him what to do about our daily problems.
How sad it is to know that there are many like the foolish, old man. They never unwrap and enjoy the gift. They reject the Gift and the Giver. They knowaboutJesus, but never get to intimately know him. The love letter from God sits on the table and they never read the wonderful words of life written there. The best Gift we can ever receive is the Gift offered to us through Jesus Christ. It is the gift that keeps on giving as we will continue to enjoy it throughout eternity.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Like Sands through the Hourglass...


When I was a child I spent many summer days in the living room with my Granny watching her “show” Days of our Lives. What I remember most about the soap opera is the opening credits where there is a huge hourglass with sand quickly running though it and this deep magnificent voice saying...
”Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of our Lives!”
I remember thinking about the hourglass and how it can only hold so many granules of sand and when those granules are through, that’s it. So from the simple opening of this program I learned that our days are numbered. There are only so many days God has allotted for my life, so I better not waste one of them...because when it’s gone...it’s gone with no way of getting it back. This fact drives deeper within me the older I get because I realize how quickly time passes. When the sun sets on one day of my life, that’s it, I don’t ever get that day back! Therefore, I better learn what I can, experience what I can, and do all that I can because in this lifetime I won’t get a “do over!” Here are just a few lessons I’ve learned along the way!
What a difference a day makes It’s kind of like Texas weather...if you don’t like it one day, just wait, the next day will be totally different. It amazes me how quickly things can change in your life. You are cruising down the road traveling in a certain direction and WHAM...in an instant...your direction has changed. If you are in the “mountaintop” time of life where things are running smoothly, enjoy and soak up every minute because at some point there will be another valley. And that’s just the way it is...you can’t get to another mountaintop without going through the valley. So thank God daily for the peace, tranquility and beauty of the mountaintop. And go ahead and thank Him for the valley that will surely come and the fact that He will be with you on the other side of it. Then when the valley comes, don’t be surprised by it, be ready and equipped knowing there will be lessons learned, blessings in the midst of, and strength gained from walking through the valley. Remember one good thing about the valley - no matter how long it lasts, right around the corner there’s another mountaintop waiting for you! So hangeth thou in there!
It is what it is This is something I have to remind myself of daily. There are many things that are out of my control, things I have no way of changing. The only thing I can change in these circumstances is the way I react to it. There have been several events this past year that I have had to walk through, telling myself every moment...it is what it is, chill, breathe, and let go because God can do a much better job of it than you can! Why is it that we think we can do a better job of fixing things ourselves only to find out we’ve made a bigger mess of it all. Why is it so hard to get out of the drivers seat and just be the passenger! It’s actually more enjoyable to be the passenger. You get to let go of all the worries and stress of navigation. All you have to do is trust the driver, sit back and enjoy the ride! Letting go and letting God is so freeing...you give it to Him and let him think about it all night long...He’s gonna be up anyway!
Two words can change your life...Thank You! Two words...that’s it...can change your life. Try it! One day make it a point to spend the whole day saying thank you and see how you feel at the end of the day. Look around you...what are you thankful for? How about the roof over your head, a coat, family, green grass, the valley (because that means there will be another mountaintop someday), a job, a friend, sunshine that warms you, birds that sing a song to you each morning, second chances, family...etc!!!! There is ALWAYS...ALWAYS something to be thankful for. When you are grateful for what you DO have and concentrate on that, it not only lifts your spirits but also those around you. Even in the midst of deep pain and hurt, find something to be thankful for and concentrate on that one thing. Do it even when you don’t FEEL like it. That is what is called the sacrifice of praise and what will help you with the doldrums and “gloomies” that come in the valley. Remember to also say “thank you” to those around you that are helping you through your day...your spouse, parents, friends, grocery store clerk, bank teller, janitor cleaning the public bathroom, waitress...they are doing what they can to make your life better so be thankful for them by letting them know how much you appreciate them. You have no idea what that simple gesture of thanks can mean to someone. Try it...You’ll like it...live in the Attitude of Gratitude!
Go BIG or Go Home I love this! The other day I was in a jewelry store shopping for Christmas presents and trying to refrain from buying myself more treasures. When I went to pay for my goodies I looked at the young lady helping me and she was covered with big, gaudy, blinging jewelry...my kind of girl!!! She had huge bracelet size earrings, both arms filled to the elbow with lots of bling, and a ring on almost every finger. I commented to her about ALL her bling and she said...Well I learned this from my Big Momma! Big Momma always told me...Go BIG or go Home!!! I laughed and told her that was great and what a life lesson that is to remember. Do it up large...dream big dreams...reach for the stars. Why not aim high, take risks, and live your passion! Use the good china, burn the decorative candles, say “I love you” while you can, learn more, laugh more, keep moving and groovin! You only have so many grains in your hourglass so live it up large, make the most of every day and by all means...Go BIG or go home because...
Like sands through the hourglass...So are the days of our lives!!!