What makes a person rise above their circumstances?

Never underestimate the power of the human spirit!  There are those who, when burdened with an overwhelming life event come through it stronger and more able to stand against the next crazy life event that could have them crawling on their knees. Then there are others who, when dealt a crushing blow, are devastated to the point of immobility and can’t rise above the situation.

When a person has a life-threatening health crisis, like latter stage cancer, does that person stand up and fight it with their last breath or do they resign themselves to their bed to die?

For the health crisis, we never see those who have lost their battle to cancer without a fight.  Some retreat into themselves to waste away and die with their family and friends dismayed they wouldn’t fight to live…not only for their family and friends but for themselves.  Some give up when their friends and family never wanted them to give up.  Others fight until their last breath. Even though they lose the battle, they have fought.  Even through death, they have risen above their circumstances. If you’re suffering with cancer, fight the good fight, be strong and give your family hope!

A couple of great examples of high-profile individuals who had fought the fight to their last breath.  Farrah Fawcett looked for every known cure and Patrick Swayze continued to work throughout his treatment.  Both lost their battle with cancer but did so with dignity and strength.

What about when a kid is bullied?  Does he constructively fight back or does he retreat into himself possibly committing suicide?

We often hear about kids committing suicide because they were bullied.  Sometimes it’s a genuine wish to shed light on bullying and how awful it is for the kid’s family and friends.  But oftentimes, it’s a political entreaty to advance someone’s agenda which is totally not cool.

But what about the kids who rise above the bullying?  Why don’t we hear about those kids?  Today I watched a video of an 11-year-old kid who took free violin lessons because the kids at school bullied him because he had cancer.  Kids can be cruel and merciless.  They have no filters or have not been taught any filters.  But this boy made my heart sing.  He appeared on America’s Got Talent and blew everyone away with his violin playing.  He made it to the television show.  What an example of how the human spirit can overcome.  This boy chose music to overcome his heartache over being bullied. Other’s may choose sports or some other positive way to overcome.

What about when a person has lost every possession to hurricane, tornado or flooding? Does the person retreat to a homeless shelter never to be heard from again or does he take action and rebuild his home and his life?

When a person loses everything, it is total defeat. They have nothing.  No clothing, no memorabilia, no means of personal identification.  They become lost.  How do they come back from such a devastating life event?

Personally, I trust in the Lord when some life event brings me lower than dirt.  I know it works.  It gives me peace and strength.  God gives us what we need when we need it if we call on Him to help in our time of need.

Several years ago, my 61-year-old husband lost his job.  I was afraid at first then I realized God had it all in the palm of His hand.  I told my husband we’d pray about it and let God lead us.  And lead us, He did.  My husband got a job offer not three weeks later.  To say it was a miracle is an understatement.  Who hires a 61-year-old man who is almost ready to retire in a few years? God can do anything, even heal the sick and restore a home.

I don’t know if any of the people described here trusted in the Lord but I believe the Lord gives us strength and power to overcome.  It comes from within.  It comes from Him.



Reading Romances

When I look back at all the romances I’ve read over the years, it seems to me they have changed.  No longer do readers want “just” a romantic movie or book where the central theme is a love story and there’s a satisfying end to the story.  Most of the time that means “lives happily ever after”.

No, today’s reader wants something extra.  Whether it be the amount of heat, that’s in a book or a movie or something suspenseful, today’s romance has a secondary and sometimes a tertiary plot running through the novel.  Then there are sub-genre: paranormal, western, Amish, inspirational, contemporary, historical, young adult, erotic or suspense.  A veritable smorgasbord to choose from!  And each person who romance has a different perspective on what they like or don’t like.

These days the category or series romances are popular.  Personally, I love them because some of the same beloved characters show up again in another story!  Or sometimes it’s the setting where all the stories take place. It doesn’t matter, readers love them.

While researching what surprised me was the number of men who read them.  A whopping 18% of all readers are men.  The men I know wouldn’t touch them unless they were being forced to as is the case with my husband who gives me feedback on dialogue.  Perhaps men who read them are secure in their own masculinity to do so.

The statistics on the age of readers today were also surprising.  I would have thought it would be more baby boomers, but it wasn’t.  Very frequent readers were under the age of 34!  And only 64% were e-book reader which also surprised me.  Personally, I use a service with my iPad mini to read as many as I can in a month for a small monthly fee.

There are other statistics regarding romance readership but these were the most interesting.

Are you surprised by the statistics?


When God Answers Prayer

Prayer is a Faith builder.

When I first learned how to pray effectively, I was (and still am) in awe of how God answered prayer.  Sometimes it happened immediately and sometimes He was still working out the answer.  Many times God answered the prayer in an unexpected way.  Not bad, just different from what I had expected.

I learned early on there are only three answers to prayer: Yes, No and Wait.  While we rejoice in the yes answers, the no answers don’t keep me down because it only means He has something better for me and my family or He was protecting me from something I didn’t know about regarding that prayer. And the wait…well, that’s the hardest answer to bear, particularly if it’s crucial like a physical, financial or emotional need.  And our family has had them over the years.  Big time.

What’s exciting about it is that I’m in an expectant mood to see how He will answer it.

Some people think prayer is private and often it should be.  Each person should sit with their creator and work out the details of their lives with Him.  God loves us and He wants to hear from us.  Whether it’s just a few words telling Him about your day or if it’s a more in-depth conversation about life events or personal issues. He wants to hear every detail of our lives, no matter how small.  Remember He has the hairs on your head counted so if that isn’t detailed enough, I don’t know what is.

Over the years, my husband and I have prayed hundreds of thousands of prayers.  Some corporately and some individually.  But we try to make it a priority every day.  It doesn’t always work out that way but we try.

Most of the time my prayers begin by giving Him glory. I move on to asking for forgiveness because I know I need it every day.   The prayer then turns to the needs of my family and friends, then my own needs and finally for global issues.  God has been faithful over the years to answer my prayers so I will continue to pray to Him.  Sometimes it’s daunting but I know God has called me to be a prayer warrior so that is what I will do.

Just this past Sunday we prayed for an individual who had severed a tendon and needed surgery. My husband and I prayed, and we were specific in our prayer: the surgeon would be a believer in Christ, that the surgery would be scheduled quickly and that the recuperation period would be minimal.  The next day, I received an excited call. The surgeon who would do the surgery is, in fact, a believer along with his physician’s assistant and the surgery would happen today.  Specific answers to specific prayers. This morning we prayed for God’s own hands to guide the doctor’s hands and that the surgery would go well without issue.

I could fill thousands of pages talking about how God answered prayer, sometimes, unbelievable answers!  I try to remind myself on occasions of all the times He was faithful even when I was not.

These answers to prayer are what I call God Stories.  I pray you have an abundance of your own God Stories.

How to deal with disappointment

Disappointment. We’ve all experienced it. Sometimes daily!

Whether it’s that job you wanted and was filled or that friend, spouse or child who let you down, it won’t be the last time you experience that sinking, awful feeling in the pit of your stomach. Disappointment will happen again.

The question is, how do you handle it? Do you hide in your room buried under the bedcovers curled into a ball until the feeling goes away or do you stand tall, smile and face disappointment head on?

It’s easy to hide but much more difficult to face disappointment. Why? Because we fear what we cannot control. Many times we can’t control circumstances or how others behave but we can control how we react to situations and people.

How you react to life’s disappointments shapes your character. Reactions make or break you as a person.
Recently I had several disappointments, but I realized that my need to overcome them far exceeded my need to retreat. It is in that moment of disappointment that having faith in One who is greater than me makes the road to overcoming it easier. That isn’t always the case.

What can you do to mitigate disappointment in your life?
• Allow yourself time to absorb the loss or disappointment
• Pray. Find Bible verses that speak to your disappointment
• Search for something good that can either come out of such a disappointment or a result of that disappointment. For example, maybe you lost a job because of a communication issue. Perhaps God was protecting you from a situation that may not have been the right fit for you even though you wanted it. Not everything we want is good for us.
• Believe God has a plan for your life. He’s in control of everything and knows what’s best for us in our life

Here are three verses to help you through the disappointment. Read and print them out to keep around your house or on your desk. Better yet, memorize them so you have them in your heart when you need them.

Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Romans 8:28 NKJV And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

A Grateful Heart


      Russet, gold, and tangerine leaves blowing off trees in the crisp fall air mark the month of November along with my favorite holiday.  Thanksgiving. 

     Over the years, this holiday, wedged between two other holidays, is skipped in favor of the hustle bustle of the next holiday a month later.   I don’t want to talk about that holiday in this post other than to say it means a great deal to our family as the basis of our faith.

     Thanksgiving, an American holiday, is my favorite because it’s the least commercialized of the three that hit the end of the year.  Well, except for the grocery stores who provide all the wonderful food that grace so many tables.   Turkeys, whether frozen or fresh, appear in shopping carts along with stuffing, various types of potatoes and vegetables, not to mention pumpkin for that wonderful pumpkin pie. Family members transform these ingredients into a delightful meal for families.

     As I reflect on the reason for Thanksgiving, wonderful memories of Thanksgiving, float through my head. Traditions had been forged over the years.  My mom’s elegant table setting where we sat and shared what we were thankful for during the year to playing team board games with laughter and competitiveness after the big dinner. This Thanksgiving lasted for many years while our kids were in High School and College. Then the kids married, had children of their own and moved to other parts of the United States.  And while we don’t gather and spend the actual Thanksgiving Day together, we call one another.   

     After floundering for several years, my husband and I have forged a new tradition of spending our Thanksgiving with our niece’s family because she’s the closest to where we live.  It’s a pleasant holiday spent with forty to fifty people, most of them relatives of my niece’s husband.  It’s a smorgasbord of southern-style foods.  Everyone contributes to the meal, and they set up an impromptu football game.  And while it’s a four-hour drive to get there, we always have a good time. 

     I hope and pray your Thanksgiving is blessed with family and friends like ours. We look forward to this special holiday every year. 


Be Thankful

Children & Sports

I saw this on my Facebook page and thought every parent should read it.  It’s very true.
My children were involved in gymnastics and dance at very young ages and stuck through the gymnastics until High School and both danced until they graduated High School.
Today they are successful young women who set goals and achieve them.
The author is unknown and if you are the author, I salute you and your words of wisdom.
One of my friends asked, “Why do you pay so much money for your kids to do all their sports”? Well, I have a confession to make; I don’t pay for my kids to do sports. Personally, I couldn’t care less about what sport they do.

So, if I am not paying for sports what am I paying for?
– I pay for those moments when my kids become so tired they want to quit but don’t.
– I pay for those days when my kids come home from school and are “too tired” to go to their training but they go anyway.
– I pay for my kids to learn to be disciplined, focused and dedicated.
– I pay for my kids to learn to take care of their body and equipment.
– I pay for my kids to learn to work with others and to be good teammates, gracious in defeat and humble in success.
– I pay for my kids to learn to deal with disappointment when they don’t get that placing or title they’d hoped for, but still, they go back week after week giving it their best shot.
– I pay for my kids to learn to make and accomplish goals.
– I pay for my kids to respect, not only themselves but other athletes, officials, and coaches.
– I pay for my kids to learn that it takes hours and hours, years and years of hard work and practice to create a champion and that success does not happen overnight.
– I pay for my kids to be proud of small achievements, and to work towards long-term goals.
– I pay for the opportunity my kids have and will have to make life-long friendships, create lifelong memories, to be as proud of their achievements as I am.
– I pay so that my kids can be out on the field or in the gym instead of in front of a screen…
…I could go on but, to be short, I don’t pay for sports; I pay for the opportunities that sports provides my kids with to develop attributes that will serve them well throughout their lives and give them the opportunity to bless the lives of others. From what I have seen so far I think it is a great investment!