Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Feeling so thankful for.......blessings.

 I recently found this picture of Gwen and I with my mom taken in 2005.  I just love - LOVE - this picture for so many reasons.  What a wonderful mom and grandma my mom was.  Of course with Mother's Day a few days ago I have been thinking about and missing my mom.  She has been gone now for 5 years and I still catch myself thinking about calling her.  Isn't it funny how our brains work?  My mom prayed for her children and grandchildren every day.  She was a rather "stoic" German, and didn't talk much about her faith.  But in the last years of her life, she passed her strong faith on to me.  She daily read her Bible and always did a daily devotion of some kind.  Christian music was her favorite and she would listen to anything that I would send to her.  She loved the Christian Book store and would find just the right gifts for those around her.  Oh how she doted on ALL of her 9 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren.  Her very favorite thing was holding those sweet little babies.  I know that if you talked to each of her grandchildren you would hear different stories about mom.  Gwen and Doug had a chance to really build a relationship with her after my dad died.  She would come and spend several weeks with us and because we talked on the phone all the time (when long distance wasn't cheap!) my kids felt like she really knew them.  Gwen had a particularly close relationship with her and from the time she was little would talk about Grandma Nona being at her wedding.  Thankfully, Gwen was married in 2001 and my mom was front and center for that big day.  Gwen and Tim made many trips to visit with her and Tim will always remember Yahtzee games at her dining room table.  When Lia and Ellie came along, Great Grandma Nona hugged and loved on them at every visit.  They still talk about her all the time.  They love to tell Zeke all about her, since he was born just after she died.  I am just feeling so incredibly thankful for my mom and the impact she had not only on me, but on my children and grandchildren.   My life was shaped by her faith and trust in the constant care of Jesus for her family.

As you may know from reading my previous blogs, we as a family have not been without our ups and downs. But we are very blessed indeed.  There have been many different kinds of struggles and trials, as I am sure that most families face - each in their own way.  But how can we not feel thankful when we live in a country that has freedom to worship and pray and sing about Jesus.  We have clean water at the touch of our hand.  Most of us have a roof over our heads and dry and comfortable places to sleep and eat.  And most of us have food to eat each day.  When you watch the news from around the world, you know just how blessed we are in the United States.

Today I am thankful for this little boy and being able to connect with him.
His name is Stephene and he is 9 years old.  He lives in a village in western Uganda.  You can read about the village and the great needs that they are facing at this web page Ayera Transformation Project.  Stephene goes to the Ayera Royal Academy and is in third grade.  He has not been well physically but is better now that he is going to school. A very small donation helps pay for not only his schooling but also provides food for him and a chance to learn about Jesus.  I am so thankful today for the people that Jesus has put into my life that bring these kind of connections.  Sometimes the needs around the world look so big that you feel like you can't do anything about them.  But today, I am feeling blessed to be able to touch Stephene and share out of the bounty that Jesus has given to my family.  

Yes, this feeling thankful blog comes right after my blog about not being afraid to fail.  Isn't it true that most of us would like to do SOMETHING to help, but are afraid to step out.  Today I am reminded that each one of us just needs to do their part.  None of us have to do it all.  If we all just touch one person, that is enough.  I have high hopes for Stephene!  I believe that Jesus has a plan and a purpose for his life that will have a ripple effect and touch many.  Just imagine what a difference we could make if each one of you just found one person to impact for Jesus today.  Maybe it is a neighbor or friend of even a family member or maybe it is a little boy in Uganda.  Let's all do this.  We can't fail because Jesus is in this! We can change the world - one person at a time!

Jesus, thank you for the many blessings you have poured into my life.  Thank you for my family - especially my wonderful mom.  What a great privilege it is to live in the United States.  Help us all to find the one that needs our help and encouragement.  Thank you for Pam and Okaka Dokotum and their work in Uganda.  Holy Spirit, continue to provide all that is needed in their ministry.  Jesus, thank you for the blessing of children and grandchildren.  Amen 

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