First before my post, I want to share a picture for my friend at justbacon.home.blog I love her quirky sense of humor, so I want to dedicate this salad photo to her. 🙂
One of the blessings of teaching English Second Language is sometimes my students give me food they cooked from their culture. I love food from other cultures. When a student brings me food, I feel like God smiled down at me. 🙂
So this past Wednesday, a student left a food container at my desk. It was my student from Iraq. I thanked her in her language and looked forward to getting home. Sometimes she gives me kebab and sometimes she gives me dohlma. I love both.
When I picked up the container, it felt too heavy to be either of those. When I got home and opened it, I found FRUIT. She gave me some fruit.
You might be thinking I was disappointed. But I wasn’t. I was encouraged. I had just prayed that day that I need some fruit. It has been a long difficult summer due to 2 classes being canceled. I haven’t been eating very healthy.
I have fruit to last me until Sunday. With it being soft fruit season, I have felt I was missing out.
It happened on the same day that started with me struggling with depression. Wednesday morning was a rough morning. Summer has been rough and Wednesday morning, I woke up feeling down. Chronic illness has that effect on me at times. I had physical pain, the summer has been hard financially, and I didn’t have the energy to do anything. I did turn on some worship music.
While I was listening to the worship music, the passage in the bible when God talks with Elijah the prophet saying- “What are you doing here Elijah” when Elijah was depressed. Then my stomach started to growl and I felt the Lord tell me- EAT.
The passage in 1 Kings 19 where the angel comes to Elijah came to mind:
“All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” ...
My stomach growled even more. I went to the kitchen, scary thought me in a kitchen, and microwaved some oatmeal. I ate and felt a little better.
That was when I said to God, “I wish I had some fruit.”
So when I came home and saw my student had given me fruit not a cooked meal, I realized God had just smiled down at me.
A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop when I noticed two young women playing chess. One seemed to be teaching the other one how to play. I walked by and asked who won. The one who was learning said, “she did.” I found out they are cousins. We talked for a little bit and I found out the one teaching chess has lived in India and in Germany and has experience with learning language and a little experience teaching. She is a recent college grad who wants to be a Fullbright Scholar to teach English in a university in another country. The light went off in my head 🙂
I needed a new assistant for my morning class that will start September 3rd. I had just prayed about it earlier that morning. I told her about it. She was interested, so I explained how to apply. I already knew I wanted her to be my assistant, but she still had to go through the process. Yesterday we interviewed her and hired her. I am so excited. I enjoy mentoring young people and seeing them gain new skills.
Sometimes God answers prayer quickly and sometimes it can seem like a slow boat. I am grateful he answered this one quickly.
This experience was a great reminder for me of how God connects the dots for us. I went to the coffee shop at the same time my new assistant was there with her cousin. She was looking to get experience with teaching ESL because she wants to be a Fullbright Scholar teaching English in a university in August 2020. I enjoy mentoring young people. It is a good fit.
With God there is no such thing as coincidence. 🙂
A follow up to my question yesterday- Most popular was picture #2 of me with a short beard. No beard was second. However, I still think I will let it grow long for Christmas for the Santa look. Maybe I should do a drawing for which follower to embarrass by sitting next to them at their church for Christmas Eve service with a long white beard with Christmas ornaments attached. 🙂
Sunday afternoons I am part of a Life Group at church. We meet for bible study, prayer, and fellowship. One Sunday afternoon my friend Tim was talking about cooking in a microwave. I shared my profound cooking wisdom with him. I told him, “Just press popcorn. That’s what I do for everything in the microwave.”
My friends in my Life Group burst out laughing. They didn’t see the wisdom in my cooking advice. 🙂
It seems funny that I can speak three languages, I can meet people from diverse cultures, learn about them, and form friendships with them. I can write drama scripts, act, and direct. But there are things in life that seem to elude me.
When I step into a kitchen, it is foreign to me. Recipe is not one of the languages I know. Strange things happen when I am in a kitchen.
So I have found the best thing to do is to keep it simple. That is why I use the popcorn setting for everything I cook in the microwave. It is simple and if the food isn’t done yet, I just push popcorn again.
We all have our different gifts, talents, and abilities. Jesus gives everyone who comes to faith in him spiritual gifts to serve others. He has given me an ability to teach and share his love with people from diverse cultures. He has given wonderful gifts to all of his children. Those gifts are not for us to selfishly enjoy for ourselves. They are given to us to bless others.
I think perhaps I will not try to share food I cook with anyone, That is my gift to others.
That word decisions can bring up varied responses. For me it depends on what the decision is about. One thing I have noticed as my experience living with chronic illness has progressed, some decisions are automatically done for me, some decisions are easy, and some are complicated.
Because I have Celiacs Disease, when it comes to food, my decisions are simple. If it is gluten free, yes. If it is not gluten free, no.
A bit of an aside, but I tend to get in a routine when it comes to what I order at restaurants or buy at the store. I like to keep it simple, so when I go to one restaurant, for example, I always order the same thing- Bison Burger on a gluten free bun. 🙂
But also being a spoonie, having to think about energy level, some decisions mean taking into account how it will affect my energy level. It has been humbling when I pray to admit to Jesus that I am not the man I used to be and ask for strength.
A few years ago, I began to experience panic attacks. I didn’t know what was happening. Anxiety would hit full force and thoughts would battle in my mind. I found out that due to two of my chronic illnesses, Fibromyalgia and Celiacs, I also have depression/anxiety disorders. I got the help I needed and most days are back to normal. But when presented with a major decision, it is like hundreds of possibilities flood my mind. I am so thankful for prayer and meditation on the word and on Jesus to quiet my thoughts.
In a few weeks, I might be presented with a major decision. Yikes. But I will pray and seek the Lord. 🙂
When it comes to decisions involving serving the Lord and showing his love, it comes automatic. I gladly accept opportunities to share Jesus and his love.
The one decision that I made that I will never regret was the decision to dedicate my life to Jesus in July 1989. I was already a Christian. I believed in Jesus. But at that moment, I gave my life to serve Jesus. There have been ups and downs, twists and turns in the path, hardships and struggles. But they all led to my present life and ministry. Because of that decision, I can have moments like last Saturday evening visiting a Yazidi family for the first time and sharing with them about Jesus having been a refugee during his early earthly life.
For a fun ending to my post today, I am trying to decide which look is better concerning a beard. I will post pictures and you can comment 1, 2, 3 or 4for what you like. 🙂
Picture 1- No Beard
Picture 2- Short Beard
Picture 3- Full Beard
or #4- Short Beard most of the time but a Santa look for Christma
Thank you to Mr, Holliman of A Happy Life at greathappyliving.wordpress.com for thinking of me for this. In his blog he shares his faith and also some recipes that I wish I could make 🙂
The Random Acts Of Kindness Awards Rules:
Tell who nominated and why
Copy and share the picture that shows the award, posted above
Share a paragraph of something that impacted your own life in the way of receiving kindness or how you extended kindness to someone else
Nominate anyone or share to your own page. If you choose to participate. Tag or pingback to the original person who nominated you, or the original post
In 1994 I had returned to my city from the school where I was studying for ministry because I was sick. I had also changed denominations due to not being able to agree with a few major teachings in the denomination I had been in. It was a time in my life of thinking I was going to die, leaving behind what I had thought I was called to, and a time of upheaval in my life.
One Sunday morning, one of the first Sundays, at my home church I went up to thank the pastor for his message. I didn’t plan on anything but saying thank you. He looked at me and said, “Let’s have lunch, Call my secretary and schedule lunch.” He took me out for lunch that week. God worked through that lunch to give my a lifeline so to speak.
Taking time out of our day for simple things such as a lunch or meeting for a cup of coffee can mean so much to others. Pastor Mark gave me the gift of time out of his busy schedule. It was because of that one hour that I stayed at the church Jesus had shown me he wanted me to go to, which led to me having a ministry reaching out to show Christ’s love to people from many cultures.
One hour out our lives can make a difference in the lives of others. Follow Pastor Mark’s example and give the gift of time 🙂
Vanessa of Living in Grace at gracefulfilledblog.com shared a touching post today. It is a wonderful post to read and will leave you wanting to pray for this precious sister in Jesus. I recommend reading her post and following her. 🙂
When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through When You don’t give the answers As I cry out to You I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You
Yesterday was thinking about my dear little sister in Jesus, Dawn of drawingclosertochrist.com. She will have some changes in her life, which will be positive changes, but even positive ones can be stressful.
Jesus has impressed upon me that many of my fellow bloggers are experiencing seasons of change at this.time. Some are enduring difficult ones and some positive ones.
When change comes in our lives,.they are moments that stretch us. We can feel out of sorts, uncertain, and anxious. I love the lyrics in Lauren Daigle’s song-I Will Trust in You. The chorus I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you are an expression of trusting Jesus when answers don’t seem to come right away.
There are lyrics that remind me of a simple, yet profound and solid truth. Jesus already knows the future.
Your ways are always higher Your plans are always good There’s not a place where I’ll go You’ve not already stood
Think about it. Every place we will go in our lives, Jesus has already been there. Our steps of faith are steps of following his voice while he guides us.
So yes I am dedicating my post to my little sister Dawn. If you haven’t checked out her blog, please do and you will be blessed.
But my post is for all of my fellow bloggers and my readers going through a season of changes. Jesus knows where the change is leading. I hope this song encourages you. 🙂
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa
I love this quote by Mother Teresa. It is inspiring to think of a small woman who ended up becoming famous because of her life of showing love in small ways such as providing comfort to the poorest of the poor in India. It was in the every day moments of her life there that she showed love through giving someone a bowl of soup, a blanket and a bed etc. Her goal was not to become famous. Her goal was to show Christ’s love.
I was reminded of that this week when I was at the open house at the Elementary School where my Family Literacy Class meets. A Yazidi woman walked by with her American friend. She told her American friend, “He is the teacher who loves Yazidi people.”
After the genocide in August 2014, the Yazidis were on my mind and my prayers. I read a book in June 2015 titled They Say We Are Infidels by Mary Belz. In her book she shares about the oppression Christians have faced over the centuries in Iraq and the Middle East. She also shared about the oppression of the Yazidis and how the Christians and Yazidis helpd each other. When I read the book, I felt even more love for Yazidi people.
I learned how to say- Hello, how are you my friend- in their language. I have made it my practice to greet Yazidi students in their language as they sit in the lobby at the college where I teach in the evenings. I want them to feel welcome.
We can overlook how meaningful the small things done with love are to others. My desire has been to show my Yazidi friends and other refugee friends the love of Jesus. I want to help my friends from other countries feel welcome in my city. I haven’t thought about what reputation I am developing. I merely want to show love.
But the little things done consistently over a period of time add up to how others perceive us.
Another quote by Mother Teresa I love is:
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.“
In these days of turmoil around us, it is even more needed to spread love, the love of Jesus.
Let’s pray about, think about, and seek out the small things we can do with love. 🙂
My little sister in Jesus, Fay Ann Swearing, nominated me the Sunshine Blogger Award a while back, but then she needed to take a break from blogging, so I waited for her return. Her blog is The Inspirational Room at fayannswearing.wordpress.com where she shares about her faith.
Mrs. Holliman of GOD’S LOVE at godscourage.wordpress.com also nominated me a few weeks ago. She also shares about her faith in her blog.
And this week alimw of forhispurpose.blog nominated me. She is my fellow Nebraskan 🙂 She also shares about her life and faith in her blog.
I want to thank Fay Ann, Mrs. Holliman, and Alim for nominating me 🙂 I will answer the 11 questions from all 3.
The Rules for Sunshine Blogger
Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to him/her.
Answer the 11 questions provided by the blogger who nominated you.
Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts.
List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post.
Fay Ann’s questions for me
Questions for my nominees:
What inspires your writing?
My faith in Jesus inspires me to write. Also my refugee and immigrant friends inspire me.
2.How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
My life is for Jesus and serving others, but I could say I am both a complex person and a simple person. If anyone wants clarification on that, let me know. 🙂
3.What are you most grateful for this moment?
I am most grateful for Jesus giving me strength as I live with chronic illness.
4. What is one thing you learned in childhood that totally changed your life?
That’s a long time ago lol. When I was in 7th grade, my best friend at school was the only African American kid at school. My grandfather was a racist. I chose my friend over my grandfather. I learned to value love over hate from that.
5. Can you tell me some of your strengths that really helped you in blogging?
I tend to have an overactive imagination which helps me try different ideas.
6.What do you think is the best strategy that worked well for you to get more traffic to your blog?
Interacting with other bloggers helps a lot. But if you comment, say something meaningful if you want to get someone’s attention. Also using other social media like facebook, twitter, and instagram brings traffic to my blog
7. What was the most challenging moment in your blogging journey so far?
I first started my blog in 2009 to share bible stories with friends in other countries. I hit a huge down time with my blog due to foggy brain from Celiacs Disease. I got started again in March 2018 and my blog has grown from 30 followers to over 540.
8. How do you motivate yourself to keep the blog up and running?
I love to write. I find inspiration in every day moments, interaction with people, memories, and my prayer time
9. What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from that?
My greatest failure. So many to choose from.
10. Tell me about your proudest achievement?
It is not my achievement. I am most proud of knowing Jesus because of who he is and what he has done for me.But that has nothing to do with anything I have done.
11. Who has impacted you most in blogging and how?
I have learned from a variety of bloggers as far as style and ideas. The ones who have impacted me most are the ones who let me know they are praying for me.
Mrs. Holliman’s questions for me
My 11 questions to my nominees:
What is you favorite thing about life?
My favorite thing about life is knowing Jesus and sharing time with friends from other countries.
2. How do you feel about how the world is becoming?
I feel the world is getting worse which is a sign that Jesus might return soon.
3. Do you love the beach?
Yes, I love the beach.
4. Have your heart ever been broken before?
Yes, but that is a long story lol.
5. What makes you happy?
My faith in Jesus, time with friends, good food, movies, my little sister bloggers, church, being in class with my students………
6. What is your favorite movie?
Two favorites- Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit series and Star Wars.
7. If you had to choose between Hawaii and Bahamas! which one would you pick?why
Bahamas because I have fellow bloggers there that I could visit.
8. Are you an outdoor person or indoor person?why
Not so much anymore mostly because of allergies and I don’t like bugs. But I do like the park.
9. Where do you find inspiration for your blog posts?
Answered in previous questions 🙂
10.If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you be?
Oh my gosh. No way. I would die lol.
11.What is one way you relieve stress at the end of the day?
Listen to worship music.
And here are my 11 questions for those I’ve nominated:
1) Why do you write?
I write for an audience of one hoping it blesses others. The one is Jesus. The others are anyone who reads my blog.
2) Who do you admire and why? (sorry I know I’m sneaking two questions)
I admire people who have been through a struggle and made it or are making it with the help of God.
3) What has been your best vacation?
Brazil in 2015- I went to teach English in the evenings for five weeks in a university there. I was the only American in the small city and I loved it.
4) Where would you love to visit one day?
I would love to go back to Brazil to see friend
5) Why is your best friend, your best friend?
Jesus is my best friend He died for me. He is everything to me.
6) What is your biggest concern (about anything)?
My health and finances which is like a broken record for anyone in ministry I think.
7) When did you last owe someone an apology?
This week I apologized for needing to change an appointment time.
8) What’s the best movie you’ve ever watch
LORD OF THE RINGS and STAR WARS 🙂 🙂 🙂
9) What’s your most favorite childhood memory?
My dog Taffy
10) What do you love most about yourself?
I don’t love much about myself I love knowing Jesus.
11) If you could ask Jesus a question what would it be?
This week was rough with a flare up of my Fibromyalgia. Tuesday, Wednesday and yesterday were particularly rough days with pain and fatigue. But there were blessings especially Thursday evening.
Living with chronic illness presents me with a choice. I can choose to focus on the chronic illnesses I have or I can focus on Jesus. By focusing on Jesus, it holds off the darkness of depression that can accompany chronic illness. I love the passage in Hebrews 12 that says:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart”.
The last part- so that you will not grow weary and lose heart- means so much to me. If we lose heart, we can lose so much more. The pain that accompanies Fibromyalgia varies from day to day but it is ALWAYS there. That would make it easy to lose heart, but Jesus is also ALWAYS there for us.
By pushing through the flare up and not letting it keep me down, I experienced wonderful blessings yesterday evening. I went to the school where my morning Family Literacy class meets for open house. I was able to meet new prospective students and see current and former students. Just seeing them gave me a huge boost. Seeing my colleagues at the school was encouraging too. 🙂
This a photo of me in my classroom in early April. 😉
Wednesday evening it was seeing my students in my evening class. I love the energy of a classroom with students who want to learn English.
But the greatest blessing was Tuesday evening. During some time with the Lord, I felt his presence so deeply. As I prayed, it was one of those moments that he showed me many things. It reminded me of the passage in John 15:
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
Jesus lets us know his business. He show us things. What a blessing to have Jesus call us friend and let us know things.
The choice is ours as to what we focus on. My desire is to focus on Jesus even in the midst of a flare up.