Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More Thanksgiving Thoughts

(Rabbi Harold Kushner) "Can you see the holiness in everything you take for granted--a paved road or the washing machine? (and I, Donna would add--the microwave, the telephone or refrigerator?) If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul."

(Unknown) The beautiful thing about gratitude is that it can be acquired. It is something that can be developed, built, worked on, practiced and obtained. It is a choice we make.

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they won't unravel. (Unknown)

I know I've used this quote from Melodie Beattie before, but it certainly is worth repeating during this Thanksgiving season:
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity...It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day and have an attitude of gratitude.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Something To Be Thankful For

There are so many things that I am thankful for. Even on days when I think there is very little to give thanks for, I still have many blessings.

A wonderful christian heritage ( God-fearing parents)
A great husband who is loving, honest, has a great work ethic, loves the Lord
My family--son, step-daughter, mother-in-law, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins
A Bible-believing church and pastor--my church family
Faithful friends
A warm home and plenty of food (maybe too much!)
Beauty in nature-ocean, flowers, trees, warm sunshine, even snow!
Relatively good health, especially my eyesight (I have macular degeneration)
The Word of God, good books, ability to read.
The air I breathe, daylight, night time with the moon & stars, gentle breezes

There are many more that I experience on daily basis, and often I don't recognize them as blessings at the time. One that comes to mind is safety and protection when driving or traveling.

I want to be sure to express my gratitude. I came across a quote by William ArthurWard that says, Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.

Psalm 95: 1-6 O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the stength of the hills s His also. The sea is His and He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. O come, letus worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What is Thankfulness?

I have decided that I just really want to focus for this next several days on being thankful. I know that an attitude of thankfulness is pleasing to the Lord. I have so much to be thankful for! I found some quotes that seem to express it better than I can.

The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.
(Henry Ward Beecher)

Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart, as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.
(Theodore Roosevelt)

If I have enjoyed the hospitality of the Host of this universe, Who daily spreads a table in my sight, surely I cannot do less than acknowledge my dependence. (G. A. Johnston Ross)

Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings that I enjoy on a daily basis!

Finally--A Real Home!

Almost 3 years ago now, I started writing to a young woman, Nichole, who was in prison. Those of you who have followed my blog have seen posts about her from time to time. I got in contact with her grandma, Colleen, and we became good friends. I also was in contact with her 2 kids, R.J. and Nyla. Over those years, I not only wrote, but I started going to visit her about every 2-3 months. After I got to know her grandma she would go with me to see her. In the last several months before her release, I began to think of her as my "adopted daughter" and she started calling me her "adopted mom". (Her own mother has chosen to have no contact with her for over 5 years.)

Nichole was released in August, and had been staying at a sort of "half-way house" the last couple months. However, she now has a job, and as of November 7th she is now in her own apartment. She is so excited, and it's so good to see her finally getting established in her own place.

The picture above is of her living/dining area. When I first saw the empty apartment, I thought it wasn't going to be very big! But this room is actually nice size, and has good lighting, and holds all the furniture that she needs. The beautiful dining table was given to her by a friend of mine. The dining chairs (which go with the table beautifully!), along with some lamps were given to her by my sister. Four other small tables, including the bedside table by her bed were donated.
This just shows one corner of her living area with the lamp and table. That closet that you see has some wonderful shelving, so she's been able to set up a pantry in there.
Behind this partition you can see her kitchen; it is very small, but will be adequate for her. She has a stove and frig, and does have a microwave also.
I couldn't really get a good pic of the bedroom. On the wall at the foot of her bed is a really large closet with shelves. The door to the room is on the left hand side and then to the right of the door is a little alcove where she has a dresser.

She has custody of her 2 children, but they are not with her full time right now. She has them on her days off from work. But she will need to figure out child care, etc and sort of get on her feet. They are with their father the rest of the time, which is where they had been prior to her release. (I went to her place yesterday; the kids were there and Nyla was sleeping, but R.J. was so excited! He said "Grandma Donna, we have a new house!)

I could not be more proud of her, and excited for her. I don't think any of us (unless we've been there) can understand what a big adjustment it is to get used to living on the "outside" after having been in prison for so long. She has done extremely well. She goes to church with us when she's not working, and she spends a lot of time with her grandma.

It has been a blessing for me to see her progress, both in getting established with a job and a place to live, as well as seeing her growth spiritually. She has a bubbly, out-going personality, and has endeared herself to almost everyone she's met. I'm happy to be able to call her my "daughter".

Monday, November 14, 2011

Of Dolphins and Discovery

While at Hilton Head, we decided to take a boat tour to see dolphins. They guaranteed that we would definitely see dolphins. It was a cool morning, and we enjoyed sitting in this restaurant area while we waited for our boat "captain".

We boarded the "Gypsy" and it was almost an exclusive tour, except for one other family with 3 kids. They were a very nice family and we enjoyed visiting with them during the boat ride.

Look! There are 2 dolphins right out there! (Don't try enlarging the picture, because it was almost impossible to catch them on film.) We did see several, but they came up only briefly and right back under the water. Still it was very enjoyable.

On Friday, our last full day there, we went to see the Discovery Museum. It wasn't exactly what you would think of as a museum. We got there just in time to take the guided tour. It was actually more like a botanical garden atmosphere. The real purpose of the tour was to explain the importance of the marsh lands, and the various kinds of fish, etc that live in them.

They had this cage under the water and our guide pulled it up to show us these blue crabs. I made certain I wasn't within reach of their claws.

We also saw some beautiful trees, most of them were live oaks, and they had this beautiful spanish moss. We also learned about spanish moss, that it is neither spanish nor moss. It is also not a fungus. It is called an epiphyte plant, which is a plant that lives on another host plant or tree, but doesn't depend on the host plant for it nutrients. It is seen mostly on the live oak trees in the southern states. ( the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida).

The above picture shows some of the marsh grasses. I also happened to get a pic of this white herron. The guide was very informative and we learned a lot.

They had a lot of different and unique plants all along the pathways. However, I took the above picture to show my friend Rebecca, so that she can possibly avoid it in the future! (LoL).

These were just a couple examples of the many plants that were there. I've always said that everyne should learn at least one new thing every day; I definitely learned some new things at this very interesting museum.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Scenes from Savannah

While we were at Hilton Head, we spent a day in Savannah. We took an on/off trolley tour, so we could get on or off at any of the stops. It was even more interesting to me, because I had started reading the book Savannah, by Eugenia Price and the book talks about how the city was originally laid out in squares, and mentions all of the streets we were on in the historical district.

There is a movie called Something to Talk about with Julia Roberts. One of the scenes from the movie is at this Six Pence Pub. (We rented the movie while we were at HH, but we were not impressed! We actually didn't even finish watching the movie).

Above is the Savannah College of Art and Design. There are many buildings throughout the city that are a part of the college. I can't remember how many student are there, but it's huge! Our nephew, Micah, is there, but of course we had no idea how to find him or contact him.

At one of the stops on the trolley we had a visit from Forest Gump. He was suppose to meet someone, so he had to "run". He would have shared his chocolates, but alas, he'd eaten all of them.

The Pirate's house has been there since the late 1800's and there is now a restaurant in it. I believe the other house is the Foley house. Most of them are named for their owners and most in the historical district were built in the late 1800's.

The fountain above is in one of the "squares" (most of them now are beautiful parks). This particular location is used a lot for weddings because of the "ambiance". The house above is called the Owen Thomas House. I would have liked to tour this one and a couple others. (Also there was at least one beautiful church that is open to the public, but they were having a service there when we were at that location.)

This Scottish Pub is where we had lunch, right in the historical district. The food was delicious--it was hard to choose what to have. These 4 lovely ladies are waiting to get back on the trolley after lunch.

Our last stop was at the river front. This bridge is
very impressive. (I can't figure out why I was frowning on so many pictures!)

The trolley on the river front stopped right in front of this store. We just had to have a picture here, as we do (did) have an Aunt Fannie.

The other picture below shows the row of shops along the river. We found some wonderful shops, including a candy shop where we could watch them making salt water taffy.

This was a very interesting story. Apparently, from the time she was a young girl, this lady would welcome the ships as they came in and wave to them as they left. It is said that she did this for 30 years,and never missed welcoming or waving to any of the ships. (I'm not sure it was exactly 30 years, but it was a long time!).

Apparently it is not going to let me type under these 2 pictures, so I will take that as a sign that I am to end this Savannah Saga. It really was very interesting, and we had a great day!

(When I previewed this, I see that it once again decided on it's own order and arrangement. Maybe I should have lived in the 1800's and worn beautiful dresses, and not had to deal with all this technology!)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fun and Sun in South Carolina

(Disclaimer: This totally got messed up as to order and placement, but I just couldn't spend any more time trying to fix it. I think I kept making it worse!)

I can't believe it's been a week since my two sisters, my sister-i-law, and I spent a week at beautiful Hilton Head Island. The weather was perfect (mid to high 70's).

As you can see, with 4 of us, the car was packed. We somehow managed to take everything we needed.

There's no way to actually show in pictures or describe how beautiful the scenery was, driving through Kentucky, Tenessee, and South Carolina! We had mostly sunny days for driving and we totally enjoyed all the beauty.

We were blessed to have the use of a beautiful condo in Palmetto Dunes. It had 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a spacious living room, kitchen dining area and a patio overlooking a pond.

We were only about a 5-10 minute walk from the beach. The ocean was beautiful! My SIL, Sheila, especially enjoyed the beach, the sound of the waves etc. All of us took some walks on the beach, and were able to find a few sand dollars to bring home.

Brenda, Sheila and I went out to observe the sunrise one morning. It was cloudy at first, and we thought it wouldn't really be exceptional, but we were wrong. (I really should have included a couple more pics of the sunrise--it was hard to choose just a couple.)

We also enjoyed the use of the pool, which was also just a few minutes walk from the condo. Even though it is an outside pool, it is heated, so with the sunshine, and warmth it was restful and relaxing.


We watched a couple movies while we were there; also the world series and dancing with the stars. ( I know I shouldn't get hooked on that program, but I am--what can I say.) They enjoyed it with me.

I felt like a princess, with the spacious master bedroom all to
myself. A queen-size bed, a TV, a door going out to the patio. It was great! During the week, we often said we were enjoying paradise. It almost seemed that way, with the beautiful palm trees everywhere, and a great place to stay.

Besides the pool and the beach, we also took some day trips, but I think I will need to save that for another post. I was overwhelmed when I saw all the pics I had taken! We spent a day in Savannah, took a boat trip, and went to a Discovery Museum. But, that will be another day!

Psalm 8:3-4 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him?

Psalm 19:1 The Heavens declare the glory of God; th skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!