It seems impossible that eight years could have passed since my dad left us for Heaven, but that is exactly what today brings to my memory. I can still vividly picture my dad in every area of their home. I can hear his voice…his sense of humor…his teasing….and his words of wisdom over the years of my life. Dad was always the head of our family, and his girls looked to him in so many situations. Dad was very outnumbered, since our family consisted of Dad, Mom, and five daughters, but while he may have had to wait for us to get ready to go somewhere, or to get into the bathroom, or live with our drama, and have to be the rescuer from the millers and other bugs, dad took it all in stride. Looking back now, I realize what a saint my dad was. He took everything in stride, and we always felt like Daddy’s little princesses. He always made his girls feel so special.
In reality, my dad was one of the most patient men I have ever known. When Mom would get frustrated with our bickering, a bad progress report, or some other offence her daughters had managed to frustrate her with, she would finally tell us to “Wait until your dad gets home!!” The funny thing about that threat is that in all the years of my life, I can only recall a few spankings from my dad…in fact I can probably count them on one hand. Dad usually chose to discuss the matter with us and explain the reasons why we did not want to do that again. The spanking was a last resort, and one we didn’t want to repeat. Nevertheless, in frustration, the threat of the “wrath of Dad” was the threat of choice for Mom…and we were always very wary of it too. You didn’t know if this particular infraction of the rules might be the one that got you that spanking, or if you would be met with Dad’s infinite mercy…you alwys prayed for that mercy.
Looking back now, I think what a blessing it would be today to hear those words from Mom…”Wait until your dad gets home!!” I would even be ok with the fact that Mom was furious, and with the possibility of that dreaded spanking from dad…if only I could hear those words and know that Dad would be home that evening. Of course, I would be too old to spank these days…not that he couldn’t do it if necessary, but I might even be so inclined to irritate my mom, if I could hear her voice again, and if it would bring Dad home again, but that is not to be. They are both in Heaven now, without the naughty things their daughters did as children. Nevertheless, I have to wonder if every once in a while, their memory files bring some of those crazy moments of life that having five daughters brought. I wish they were both here now, but I am thankful to know where they are, and that I will see them again. I suppose now that they say, “Wait until our girls come home!!” And we are waiting too. I love and miss you both, Mom and Dad!!
Every Easter families gather together to eat a big meal and enjoy each other’s company. Most of us use just about any excuse to have a huge meal filled with all the best dishes we can think of. The meal often consists of ham and brisket at our house. And of course, what Easter dinner would be complete without eggs in some form…usually for breakfast and dinner. All those eggs the kids colored had to be used in some way, after all. In our family, the eggs are called angel eggs, because for obvious reasons, we don’t like the term deviled eggs. I really don’t want the devil involved in anything in my family…even the eggs.
But, more importantly, as Christians, we come together to remember the sacrifice our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ made to save us from our sins. We were in a horrible mess. We had all sinned, and there was no way out of going to Hell…not that we could manage anyway. Nevertheless, God is a loving God, and His children really are His life. He devised a plan to save us from the mess we were in. He sent his son, Jesus, who left His home in Heaven to come to earth, as a man, to live a sinless life, and then to die on the cross anyway, because it was the only way out for us. A sinless man had to die to pay the price for a world of sinners.
I saw a post yesterday on Facebook with the message, “Friday happened, but Sunday is coming.” That is so true. There is nothing we can do about the fact that our sins caused the need for a Saviour, Jesus to come and die to save us. That is in the past, but our future is eternal in Heaven, because of the selfless act of our Saviour. It is God’s love, grace and mercy toward his children that allows us to walk away from the punishment we all deserved, and live forever with Him. We can never thank Him enough for sending His Son. We can never thank Jesus enough for choosing to come and die in our place. All we can do now is rejoice!! Friday happened, but Sunday came three days later, because God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son!! Jesus willingly paid the price, defeated the devil, and the rose again to proclaim that victory!! Sunday is here!! He is risen!!! Jesus is alive!! Rejoice!!
Today, I give thanks to God for all of the wonderful family and friends he has blessed me with. What would life be without all of the wonderful people in my life. This day is not about the turkey and stuffing, or the days off from work, but about all the ways God has blessed and enriched my life. The blessings He has bestowed on me are too numerous to list here, but be assured that they are to the level of overflowing. My extended family has grown exponentially this year, and that has been a blessing beyond words. To all my cousins, the new ones we have found, and those who we have known all along…you are a greater blessing than you will ever know…I love you all.
I am especially thankful that all of my family members are healthy again, and those who haven’t been are getting better and better every day. Being in good health is vital to life, and so I give thanks to God for good health for me and all my loved ones.
I thank God that in a time of recession, all of my family members have jobs. We don’t think too much about jobs, until the economy goes bad, and then that is a very important part of our thoughts, but God has protected our jobs, and blessed us all financially.
On this wonderful holiday, it is my hope that all of my friends and family are as blessed as my family and I have been. Praise God for all His goodness, grace, and mercy in our lives. Happy Thanksgiving to all!!
So often, we don’t realize what our parents did for us until they are gone. It isn’t the big, notable things that hit us that way, but rather the subtle things they did. And when you think about it, you realize that it was the subtle things that mattered the most. My dad was the kind of person who held himself to a standard all his life. It was a standard that he imposed on himself. It involved things like kindness, decency, morality, and honesty. Dad was a gentleman, and you always knew he would be. You could count on it, even when you felt that it wasn’t warranted or deserved by the receiver. That’s just how Dad was. He chose to be kind and understanding even when the receiver should have been chewed out without mercy. I know this is all true, because I have been on the receiving end of his acts of kindness, and I have been told that I needed to act that way toward others…which wasn’t something that usually excited me much. It rubbed me the wrong way to give mercy for injustice, but through the years Dad’s lessons soaked in a little, and I think I do find it easier now to be forgiving, whether people deserve it or not. I can tell you, however, the journey to that place has not always been without a few rocky places in the road. Nevertheless, my dad mellowed my temper with his ways, and while I’m not as successful at the mercy for injustice thing, I try to follow his example to this day.
One thing about my dad that has always stayed in my head, and I’m quite certain that is because he had to pound it in there, is forgiveness. Dad was one to say that you should “never let the sun go down on your wrath” and he took that very literally. We were allowed to argue with each other pretty much to our hearts content, provided it didn’t get to the point of driving our parents insane. We were even allowed to argue, or as I called it, debate with our parents to a degree…one which my sisters will tell you, I took much further than they ever dared. No matter how the fight ended, you always knew that at some point Dad was going to come to you and say that you had to make up with your sister or mom. You didn’t have to say the other was right…just that you loved them too much to let those differences of opinion come between you and carry into the next day. And, Dad held himself to that same standard. It never failed. After he finally got done with my…debating…and finally told me that was enough…and I knew it was, too, he would still come to me after he had cooled down, and told me that he loved me and didn’t want us to “let the sun go down on our wrath” so we needed to make up. It was very comforting to know that no matter what you did, or how mad it made him, before the day was over, things would be ok again, and always before bedtime. That is something that has stayed with me all my life, although I can’t say that I have been as perfect at it as my dad was. It is a process, and you just have to work at it. No one is perfect at policing themselves all the time.
The lessons my dad taught to his girls, are what have formed us into the people we are today. And yes, my mom taught us many lessons over the years too that have stayed with us throughout our lives, but that is a story for another day. When I think of my dad, I see a soft spoken man, who never promoted himself, but rather lifted up those around him. He was a man who assured you that everything was going to be ok. You knew that no matter what the problem was, Dad would always love you. You couldn’t do anything bad enough to change that. To him, that was just being a dad. And that knowledge has made all the difference. If Dad were still with us, he would be 89 years old today. Happy birthday in Heaven Dad. While we miss you terribly, we are so thankful that we know where you are, and that you are having the time of your life. We will see you again someday. We love you more than words can ever express.
For most people, Christmas is a time of family, friends, and gifts. It’s about showing our loved ones how we feel about them. We gather together and make a big meal, open our gifts, laugh and talk, and in general, enjoy a day off, and all that is great, but sometimes we let ourselves get too caught up in all that, and we forget what Christmas really is about. This day is the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. So many people have politicized this. You aren’t supposed to say Merry Christmas even, because someone might be upset…it might offend them and their religion. But, the reality is that my faith has nothing to do with their religion. I believe in the God of Israel, Jehovah God, because I have seen His grace, mercy, and power at work in my life. It isn’t about my God is bigger than yours, it is about me and my family, and what He has done for us.
As a kid, growing up, I had heard of Christians being persecuted. I thought that must have been something that happened many years ago, because I never experienced anything like that…until the past few years. Suddenly, almost as if I just woke up one day, and found out that Christians and Jews are public enemy number 1. I didn’t change anything. I didn’t throw my faith in anyone’s face, but suddenly they are trying their best to force me out. That is something I just don’t understand. The Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and even the Atheists are allowed to display their symbols, just not people of Christian or Jewish faiths. I don’t understand that. Don’t we have freedom of religion here? Don’t we have the right to practice our faith as we see fit? It is still our Constitutional right…like it or not.
So, today, Christmas Day, I will not give in to political correctness, but I will use my Constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion to practice my faith and celebrate Christmas both with my family and the giving and receiving of gifts, but more importantly with a grateful heart. Grateful to my wonderful God, who saw that I would need a Savior, Jesus, because the wages of sin is death and a price had to be paid. Jesus came to Earth, lived a sinless life, and paid that price on the cross, so that I could be saved and have eternal life. There was nothing I had to do but believe in Jesus as my Savior, and there was nothing I could do to get to Heaven on my own. The cross was enough. The debt was paid. How can I not celebrate Christmas, and how can I call it anything but Christmas? I simply can’t. It is not about politics, or whether or not others believe as I do. It is what I believe. Merry Christmas to All, and thank you Jesus, for coming to Earth to save us.
Have you ever wished you could go back and change the mistakes of the past? We all have, of course, but we can’t. Even if we go to the person and ask forgiveness, it doesn’t change the past. People can’t forget what you did, or who you were, even if you change into someone wonderful…nor can you. You will always have to live with the mistakes of your past. You can never go back and change the things you regret. That moment is gone forever, and we are left with one thing…regret.
When we were needed, did we help out? When we had the chance to show mercy, did we? When we had the chance to lift someone up and give them a better day, did we? When we had the chance to forgive, did we? There are so many opportunities to do the right thing, but so often we are so self absorbed that we can’t see anything but what we want. We think, “Let someone else do it. I’m busy.” The problem with being self absorbed is that all to often when the person is gone, we are left with…regret.
All around us people are saying you should be able to say or do whatever you want. It’s a free country, right? And the reality is that they are right…it is a free country, but there are consequences for your actions, good or bad. So someone made you mad. You feel slighted. And now, you are going to get even, right? Be careful because “getting even” has it’s price and it is called…regret.
Why is it so important that we get even with other people? Why is it always someone elses job to be there when needed? Why…because we have become a people whose only priority is self. We think, “I’m busy. I am important. I have things to do. I refuse to put up with that. I can say whatever I want to. I can do whatever I want to.” And the list goes on. The reality is that, while we can do all of the above, all too often these actions will ultimately leave us with one thing…regret.
So the next time you feel like being selfish and want to say or do something that you might regret, remember that you will have many opportunities to say or do the mean thing you are thinking about, but only one chance to stop the cycle of…regret.