Say Cheese!

Good morning!

Some of my earliest recollections as a child were having to say “cheese” as I posed for a photograph.  There’s something about that word that makes one’s face contort into a smile that resembles nothing short of the Joker on Batman.  Quite forced, I might add.  But it’s what we did back then.

Fast forward fifty years and the best way to still bring a smile to my face is to once again mention cheese.  This time in the form of CHEESEcake!  Yum!  One of my favorites!

And guess where I went for dinner last night?  You guessed it!  The Cheesecake Factory!

As we waited for our table, we inspected the magnificent display case that held the sweet delectables captive.  It was almost intoxicating to imagine the various flavors I witnessed tantilizing my tastebuds.  The creamy, sugary concoction would soon be mine for the taking.  Oh, such decisions to pick just one!  I truly had food envy.  Oops, sorry God.

Wild blueberry white chocolate cheesecake was as delightful to the palate as it was pleasing to the eye.  A fine choice if you are in the market.  I smiled with every bite.  Just say Cheese!  It works every time!  🙂

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I feel confident that if there is food in heaven, cheesecake will be on our Father’s table.  It truly is divine!

All joking aside, we must all always be on guard against the temptations of this world.  It is all too easy for any one of us to be consumed by our selfish desires.  To let our flesh rather than the Holy Spirit lead us.  Sharing a piece of cheesecake is harmless.  Putting our focus on earthly treasures is not.  Whether it be food or drink or people or things, always seek God first.  Thank Him for the gifts He gives us, like cheesecake, for everything comes from Him.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1Corinthians 10:31

Love and laughter,

Sandy

 

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Take Me Home to Aunt Em

Good morning!

We are all familiar with L. Frank Baum’s, childhood tale, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  Dorothy Gale is our protagonist. The entire plot of this classic adventure revolves around Dorothy’s desire to return to the safety and security of her home and her beloved Auntie Em.

Aunts. Gotta love them!  And check your spelling here.  Not the creepy, crawly kind. But your mother or father’s sister.  The ones that could be your mother, but are way cooler because they let you get away with way more. They love you. They spoil you. They keep your deepest secret from your mom if necessary because they know her better than even you do because they are her sister.

It has been said that aunts give hugs like a mother, keep secrets like a sister, and love like a friend.

Today I’d like to introduce you to my Aunt Barb.

She is my mother’s older sister. We have always been very close, but since the loss of my mother several years ago, she has become my earthly mother.♡  She is the dearest lady I know! Her love for the Lord is like none other. Since the death of her one and only true love and husband, I have had the awesome privilege of watching her love affair with Jesus flourish.   He truly has fulfilled her every need. She is the most godly woman I know.  She is 87 years old.  Her schedule is busier than mine. As I list some of her activities,  I’m sure I’ll miss something because there are so many I can’t keep track of them all.  But Aunt Barb and God can. 🙂  She lives alone. She still drives. She’s the biggest Oklahoma City Thunder fan there is!  She loves Peeps marshmallow candy. She bakes cookies and cakes for every holiday, meeting or event, or ill friend within a 50 mile radius.  She participates with Meals on Wheels.   She volunteers at St. Francis Hospital delivering baby photos and working in the Children’s Hospital gift shop.  She is active in the Ladies Oriental Shrine. She has more friends than Carter’s has liver pills. And by the way, what exactly does that mean? Another day.  Another blog. 🙂  She is beyond active in her church.  Her latest endeavor in her spare time is she is taking Spanish.  She seemed a little discouraged yesterday when I spoke with her because she felt she was just learning words and at her age was worried she wouldn’t be able to speak it. She is absolutely precious!

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One evening I was sent home from work due to too much staff, not enough patients.  A common hospital scenario. I had slept during the day in preparation for my night shift, so I knew going home and to bed was out of the question.   It was 7pm and I was feeling a bit despondent because of my current circumstances in life. I knew just where to go to fix that.

Aunt Barb’ s house!

I surprised her at her door.  She did not say what are you doing here. She said come in with welcoming arms and a big smile!  We sat on her couch and talked for hours. She got out her bible and read me scripture after scripture to minister to my soul.  She wouldn’t be Aunt Barb if she didn’t break bread with me with some sort of drink and treat. It was already into the wee hours of the night. She finally said why don’t you just spend the night?  We headed to the bedrooms. She offered me her guest room or to crawl in with her.  I wanted the comfort as a small child of my aunt’s loving presence. I slipped into the nightgown she offered me and went to climb into bed.

Well, I have to tell you,  what transpired from that moment on will always hold one of the most precious memories in my life!  This 87 year old lady puts the R in routine!  Her nightly routine is to get ready for bed then she does her exercises on the bed. I had agreed to join her in her nightly ritual.  Come on, she’s 87. I’m 55. How hard can this be? We had a 30 minute workout with rolled towels for resistance and everything! It wasn’t a few senior exercises to stay nimble, it was boot camp! I was beyond impressed with her stamina and agility. Next we read our devotionals. Note that word is plural. There were many. And I do mean many. To see the love and devotion she exemplified to her Lord and savior as she read each one aloud for my benefit was priceless.  And then, we finished off her routine by getting down on our knees and saying our prayers out loud. On your knees is crucial she gently reminded me.  Not a church prayer request was missed.  Every political office was included.  Every branch of the military was represented.  Not a stone was left unturned. Now that lady can pray!  At 5 am we crawled into bed. 🙂

So if you ever doubt the elderly can teach the young a thing or two, go spend a night with my Aunt Barb!
I love you, Aunt Barb! ♡

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Titus2:3-5

Love and laughter,

Sandy

I Got a Crown, But I’m No Princess

Good morning!

Monday was fun day!  I got to go to the dentist.  I had to have a crown redone. $ 582.00 later (Yes, I do have dental insurance.), I left with a crown, but no prince to go with it.  😦

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We are all drawn to royalty. What little girl doesn’t grow up dreaming of being a  Disney princess?  Or dress up at least one time in a princess costume at some time in her life?

How many people watched as Diana, Princess of Wales wed Charles, Prince of Wales on July 29, 1981?  There were some 750 million TV viewers.  Her death on August 31, 1997 was equally sensationalized.

Their son, Prince William,  Duke of Cambridge married Catherine “Kate” Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge on April 29, 2011 and drew viewers just under that of his parents’ wedding.

What is it about wearing a crown that is so enchanting?

I believe it is due to the fact that it is a symbol of rank. We all want to be somebody. To have worth and value above others.

Don’t ever forget the crown of thorns worn on our behalf by Jesus!  His life and death were the ultimate sacrifice to give us worth and value for eternity if we just believe.

He tells us in His word that we, too, will receive a crown, a crown of life,  as reward for remaining steadfast in our earthly trials.

Let us continually uplift one another so we can remain steadfast and receive our heavenly crown.  And this crown comes with a  prince!  Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will be our prince for eternity.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
James 1 :12

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Manna From Heaven

Good morning!

Since i began writing this blog, God has given me fresh subject matter every morning. I don’t write for days and have weeks worth of material saved up.  Then it wouldn’t be God’s daily provision.

I wake up, usually in the wee hours of the morning, pour myself a cup of coffee, and sit down with my “phablet”(phone/tablet).  My Samsung  Galaxy Note II. It’s big. No need for my laptop.

It’s me and God.  Our special time.  He gives me my daily provision.  One day at a time. I look forward to my time with the Lord just sitting there peacefully in the quiet hours before the rest of the world has awaken. I try to begin by praying for God to inspire me with words of wisdom.  These words usually are drawn from my short term memory bank.  Something that has recently occurred in my life.  And some are totally random. Then I just listen to what He has to tell me and where He chooses to take me that day.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m human. You will see alot of me in these blogs.  My personality. And you’ll surely recognize some  raw mortal emotion.    And typos.  A typo or grammatical error would definitely not be of God.

I’ve already grown dependent on my morning meetings with the Lord. I crave His message flowing from my fingers to the keyboard to your internet. I trust God to provide it.  And I depend on it.  Just as the Israelites depended daily on the manna God provided for them as they journeyed across the desert for 40 years.  It fed their bodies. It sustained them, just as God’s daily meeting with me feeds my soul and sustains me.

Let him provide nourishment for your soul, too.  I’m confident He will meet you where your passion lies just as He has done for me.

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4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will testthem and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”
Exodus 16:4-5

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Angels Walk Amongst Us

Good morning!

There is nothing more uplifting than being in the company of God loving people.  And I firmly believe many of them are angels God sends to walk amongst us.

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Just this past weekend I was blessed with such myriad Christians that ministered to my soul.

My closest friend, my college roommate, came into town for her mother’s birthday.   But little did she know that God had a much greater purpose for her visit.  He brought her here especially for me to be a shining light of what the Proverbs 31 woman truly is in flesh and blood. God’s precise timing just happened to collaborate her mother’s birthday celebration with my need for my BFF.  He’s considerate that way.  Only one airline ticket needed to be purchased. Only one weekend taken away from her husband. He fit my time with her neatly around her time with her mother and family.

This weekend we had the time to eat sushi and drink wine and coffee and shop and talk and do all the things that girlfriends do. But for the first time in the 38 years I’ve known her, I saw her in a new light. I saw her in her entirety, not just my friend.

I saw her as a daughter.
She flew in to celebrate her mother.  To shower her with her time and her love. I’ve lost my own mother, so I thoroughly enjoyed her sharing hers with me this weekend.
I saw her as a mother.
Her son also came to town to celebrate his Mimi.  I tagged along on a shopping excursion with the two.  I saw that she taught him the value of money.  I saw she had raised the finest of young men. I saw his values as we sat at the kitchen table and he shared sermons for me to watch online that had ministered to his soul!  What a blessing to spend time with him!
I saw her as a wife.
I saw her speak ever so lovingly to her husband on a phone call. I saw her smile at a text of her beloved canine her husband sent her.
And most importantly,  I saw her as a friend.
The best of the best!  We spent hours this weekend talking and laughing and crying together over our past, our present, and our future. You see.  She’s my longest companion that truly knows ME. She knows every boyfriend, every breakup, every marriage, every divorce, every birth, every joy, and every grief.  She knows my deepest, darkest secrets. She knows every desire of my heart.  My triumphs and my failures. Yet she still loves me. That’s what Christian friends do! They are God’s messengers here on earth.

Thank you,  Brenda, from the bottom of my heart.  I know God is smiling down on you saying, “well done my good and faithful servant”.♡

Then the man standing among the myrtle trees explained, “They are the ones the LORD has sent to go throughout the earth.”
Zechariah 1:10

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lordis to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Proverbs 31

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Chinese Food

Good morning!

I went out for chinese food for dinner Saturday night.   An all you can eat buffet no less.

I perused the colossal selection and feasted on all my favorites. I ate sushi.  Yes, with chopsticks!  I ate egg drop soup. With a spoon.  I’m not THAT good with chopsticks!   I ate broccoli. I ate green beans.  I ate jalepeno pepper chicken, honey chicken, snd sesame chicken.  I ate a cream cheese wonton succulently immersed in sweet and sour sauce.  (I wanted more of these!)  I ate alot!

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Then after dinner went to Braums for a dip of ice cream!

What is it about chinese food that leaves you hungry?

That’s how it is without Christ in your life. You are always walking around hungry. Hungry for love.  Hungry for joy. Hungry for peace.

Only He can fill you.  We were created with a void in our souls that only God can fill.  No person or place or thing or chinese food buffet is ever going to fill you.  Seek God in His Word.  Seek God in prayer.  Seek God in worship.  Ask Him to fill you.

Where do you look to be filled?
If it’s anywhere, anyone or anything besides Jesus, I can guarantee, you will still be hungry.  I know these things! I have all too often been there! That is my Achilles heel.  Come feast with me at the Lord’s table.  We’ll hunger no more!

“For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”
John 6:33-35

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Run Forrest, Run!

Good morning!

April 11th is The Color Run.  I ran my 1st 5K last year with my youngest daughter.  We are doing it again this year with my middle daughter joining us.  It was one of my goals for 2014.  A bucket list desire that I got to check off my list as completed.

I’m not a runner.  I’m a sitter.  I sit at a desk for 12 hour shifts three nights a week.   Many of the nurses in my unit were runners.  It was the cool thing to do.  I’m not so sure if I was all that excited about running or the cute little tutu I was going to get to wear, but I was in. I’d mastered a 6 week boot camp earlier in the year so I had attempted some type of exercise prior to embarking on this maiden voyage. My daughter,  a former SEC college soccer player, was my coach.  LaFortune Park became our training course.  It was close to home and was a 5K track.  I loaded the Couch to 5K app on my phone to keep me on schedule when we weren’t running LaFortune. 

The day of the race finally  arrived. We joined the entire population of Tulsa at the starting line.  Or so it felt.  It was such a fun experience.   The crowd.  The color.  The invigorating sensation of accomplishing a 5K at 54 years old. I’m ready to do it again.

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It’s time to train. To get in shape.  To run past the donut box at work.:)  To discipline myself to finish something that I have started.  Just like Forrest, in the movie, Forrest Gump, it’s time to run.  Start out with small, baby steps and before I know it, I’ll be running miles. 

That’s how it is with God’s plan.  We start off small and before we realize it, we see we’re growing spiritually.  We’re in a personal relationship with Christ, perhaps doing daily bible readings or memorizing scriptures or serving in our community.  We’re sharing God’s love with others.  I encourage each of you to run the race with the prize in sight.  Jesus Christ.  He is our heavenly prize.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:24

Love and laughter,

Sandy