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Believe in your nuts!

photo (3)

Have you ever had one of those days where you’re feeling so bad you just don’t ever want to get up again?

For the past several weeks I’ve been under the “instructions” of a physician on what I can eat and what I need to stay away from,  and it seems that my new frequent favorites are “nuts”.  All I have to do is pick a nut: a walnut, peanut almond, brazilian! As long as it’s a nut. I’m free to eat.

Anyway, last week I was having a really bad day and as I went to reach for a walnut, for some reason my heart really missed my grandfather, so within the simplicity of how my heart works, I looked up to heaven and asked God to simply tell my grandfather I said hello and that I love him.

A few hours later my friend, Gina Aponte, sent me an instant message on Facebook asking  if she could send me some shelled walnuts, and I knew… God was letting me know that my grandfather was saying hello and that he loved me too.

How did I know that?

Because… when I was in high school my grandmother used to paint pictures and then each weekend she would take her paintings down to the park and she would erect them on easels and wait for someone to come along and appreciate them. Now, while she was waiting for customers, my grandfather was waiting for her, and he would take his newspaper and sit in the park and read. Then one day he noticed  a woman had set up a booth and  was selling something unusual:  painted walnuts that looked like strawberries. She wasn’t selling any so my grandfather walked up to her, purchased one, and tried to tell her how to sale them. But, when the woman didn’t care to listen to what he had to say,  my grandfather decided he would go home and make his own. The following weekend he would return with his painted nuts and show the woman how it was done.

Strawberry Nut Ornament

And, “done” he did. Within 10 minutes my grandfather had sold every one of his “red” creations, and when the woman saw that he sold them so quickly she immediately came running to his table and asked, “What’s your secret? How did you do that?”

His reply…

“Lady, you’ve got to believe in your nuts!”

I never in my life thought I would be sharing that “I believe in my nuts”,  but I do! Because if God can go so far out of his way to put it on Gina’s  heart to send me a box of nuts… Can you imagine what He’ll do for YOU!

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14)

Gina Aponte, “And you thought you were just sending me a box of nuts!”

L.B.
Onward with a SMile!

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Thinking Outside My Box!

Empty Box

Today I Googled the phrase, Think outside the box, and wasn’t surprised that within 0.24 seconds my search had resulted in 104,000,000 different thoughts on how to do that.

I even found its definition  which reads: Fig. to think freely, not bound by old, nonfunctional, or limiting structures, rules, or practices. (As if thinking or creativity were confined in or limited by a figurative box. Compare this with think inside the box.)

WikiHow actually gives 10 steps on how to think outside the box, and Facebook has a page with 74,664 followers and 6,905 people who (each day)  are thinking about the outside of their box!

It’s interesting to me how each person is looking for that something different , and the other day I found myself doing the same thing. I have been working on a creative project that no matter how hard I worked, I wasn’t finding the results in which I was looking for, so I started looking elsewhere.  I got online and looked for the inspiration of others, I phoned  friends! I went to the library looking for the right box to pull out a book  that would share information that would make me want to skip home, and when I didn’t find what I was seeking, I came home and started going through all my books, magazines, notes,  and that is when I found NOTHING!

I HAD NOTHING!

I can honestly share that at that moment I asked God to help me think outside the box and within a moment God gave my heart a visual of my box that  had the following inside:

A computer (that allowed me to Google the inspiration of others).

The friends (all the faces of those whom I called).

100 books (all the books I had rummaged through at the library).

And all my books and notes that I went through when I got home!

One by one (in a visual) I had pulled all the things that I had done out of my box, and when none of them worked what did I have?

AN EMPTY BOX!

I had run out of ideas!

It was at that moment I began thinking about what my heart and seen, and a few minutes ago I understood it!

What God was showing me was to think outside the box meant that I exhausted everything logical that I had known how to do, and therefore my box was now empty. It was at this point I realized He was the inspiration within my heart that couldn’t be placed within a box, and therefore it would be good  idea to look to Him and ask for help. The interesting part is I realized my true definition of what I read:  to think freely,( God gave me free will so I could think freely!)  not bound by old, (I’m not bound by the Old, but by the New.) nonfunctional,  or limiting structures,(God didn’t create me to be nonfunctional or limit me)  rules, or practices… (A reminder to me that I only have one ruler, and to simply practice my faith) in knowing that on the days when my box gets empty (if I simply ask for help) He will gladly put only what I need within my box to complete my task.

So, today I put an empty box on my desk that reads: Matthew 7:7  (Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you…) and I’m going to think outside the box in prayer and then fill it with all the things He inspires within my heart to finish my task at hand!


L.B.

Onward to thinking outside my box!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY KENN!

Kenn's Picture from His Facebook Page

I’m not sure who introduced me to Kenn, but a few years ago I was introduced to him through a friend on  Facebook.  From the moment I clicked “Accept Friend Request” our relationship began, and through the years I have been blessed to  get to know him on a personal level.

What makes Kenn so special?

His  love for others.

Kenn is not one of those men you would find working on Wall Street, or within the Corporate world. You won’t find Kenn working an 8 to 5 job, or studying to finish his degree. No, Kenn is not “that” guy. Where you will find Kenn is getting up each day with thankfulness in his heart. You will find him praying that God blesses him with a day in which he can get up and move around his home. On the days where God has blessed him with just a little more energy you will find him cleaning his home, shopping for food and grateful that he was able to move without shaking. Kenn lives with ailments that keep him from doing the many things in life that most of us take for granted, but there is something special that Kenn does that no one else I know does.

Kenn wakes up each day and personally sends prayers to those he considers his friends. He sits silently at his computer and I know he truly thinks about which verse he’s going to send. When his heart knows what those he’s praying for needs to hear he then goes to his Bible and places the names of those he’s praying for within the prayer.  This morning when I logged on to Facebook, this was the prayer in which Kenn sent—

Heavenly Father, may Gina love the Lord with her whole heart, soul, mind and strength; yea Father, and may she love her neighbor as herself; and Lord, show her Your ways and teach her Your paths; yea Lord; and guide her in your truth and teach her; for You O Lord, are her God and Savior; and may her hope be in You alone O Lord, and pour out Your great mercy and love upon her all the days of her life; and according to Your everlasting love, remember her; and Father, may she purify herself by obeying the truth of Your Word with all diligence; and Lord, may she rejoice with unspeakable joy awaiting Your return; and Father, may she be guided, directed and led in all the paths of righteousness; and Father, may You hide her in the wings of Your love; and Lord, may You give her peace at all times and in every way; and Father, may Your perfect plans be accomplished in her life this day; and Father, may she be strong in the Lord, yea Father, and may she walk boldly, confidently and victoriously in the power of His might; and Father, sanctify her through your truth: for Your word is truth. In Christ’s name I pray Amen and Amen

When I finished reading his prayer for me  I sent him a “thank you” and continued on with my morning. This is how I always respond to the prayers that he sends. I read them and thank him, but this morning was different. Today, God put him on my heart to add Kenn’s prayer to my Appointments with God, and I thought, Well of course I would want to forever remember the man who sends his heart out daily to those he loves! As I was getting ready to write this appointment I went to Facebook to collect my prayer so I could cut-and-paste it, and it was then I noticed that today is Kenn’s birthday. At that moment I SMiled and realized that was the reason why God prompted me to share Kenn today. Today is his turn to receive words of love and kindness from me.

So, in celebration of your birthday Kenn, my prayer for you is that you know how important you are to God and those who call you friend. You are unselfish and kind. Loving and faithful. You have a heart which beats beyond measure and the gift that God has given you is to understand what’s important about being given the gift of life, and that is the importance of loving others.

And, God shared with my heart today that He is celebrating the day you were born, and wants you to know…  “Well done Kenn. YOU ARE my good and faithful servant. YOU HAVE been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I WILL give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ Matthew 25:23  And… the more responsibilities God  is talking about is you will receive more friends to pray for, because friendships are our true gifts and treasurers.

Happy Birthday Kenn. What a blessing you are to my life.

L.B.

ONWARD TO THE CELEBRATION!

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TRUSTING THROUGH THE STRUGGLES!

 

Last week a friend of mine, Richard Norris, posed this question on Facebook,  What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

It only took me a moment to reply, “Never give advice unless someone asks for it, because they won’t listen unless they ask!”

Yesterday I received a phone call from a young woman who was seeking advice, and I had to SMile when I realized that my favorite quote had been turned into my reality. Someone “actually” wanted to know what it was that I had to say.

It’s interesting how God always sends hearts our way when He knows that our heart understands the hurts of those we are talking to. I learned long ago, that I can’t give advice to anyone unless I understand the “why” of what it is that  I am sharing.  We talked for several hours and as our phone conversation came to a close, I knew that she already knew what it was that she had to do, but sometimes we need to know that others have had to do the same things, and I believe that it’s always easier when we’ve talked to someone who made the same choices, and came out stronger because of them!

Now, in the simplicity of my sharing this Appointment with God, I wanted the young woman to know today how proud I am of her, because she could continue to do the things the world says is okay to do, but she is choosing to do the things God wants her to do so that He can give her the blessings of the life that He promises each of us.

And, as a reminder to anyone who wonders what things we should be doing each day… If we can remember to count to ten… all things are possible!

  1. You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
  5. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20: 1-17

ONWARD TO COUNTING!

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THE IMPORTANCE OF REBOOTING THOSE WHO SERVE!

Each day I take a moment and try to scroll through my friend’s on Facebook. I’m very fortunate to have many friends, but the disadvantage to having many friends is it’s hard to read the thoughts of each person.

Today I happened to catch a “scroll” from a friend who had just posted that a Veteran Marine who served with his son, took his life. His post read:

Yesterday a young USMC veteran took his own life. He was having trouble dealing with what he had experienced 7 years ago in Iraq. My son served with this young man and today, found this article posted on the young mans FB page. (See Link below) http://www.esquire.com/features/essay/ESQ0307ESSAY-3?src=soc_fcbks

We take them at 18, strip them of self, turn them into warriors and when done with them, send them away and wonder why they have trouble coping. I am sharing this NOT to start a political battle but as a concerned father of one of those warriors. A young man whom could have been helped died needlessly and that sickens me.

When I finished reading his post, I turned off Facebook, and spent the rest of today thinking about that. My son was a Marine, and he too served in Iraq. We were lucky to have him come home, and he was lucky to have family to come home too. I’ve met many who have joined the different branches of service because they had no family and wanted to become a part of one.

What I’ve been seeing is that these young men and women become so attached to each other when they serve. They are taught to protect the freedom of my country, but the reality is when they each go off to war, they are fighting for the protection of each other.

My favorite movie of all time is White Christmas. It’s about a general who retires, and after he’s been out of the Army for a while he realizes that he misses his “family.” He no longer feels useful carrying in firewood, but wants to go and protect the men he was leading into battle. The general tries to enlist again, but then is told that he’s too old and no longer needed, and there is where the general questions his worth.

Within the movie they sing the song: What Can You Do With A General, Written by: Irving Berlin, and it goes…

When the war was over, why, there were jobs galore
For the G.I. Josephs who were in the war
But for generals things were not so grand
And it’s not so hard to understand

What can you do with a general
When he stops being a general?
Oh, what can you do with a general who retires?

Who’s got a job for a general
When he stops being a general?
They all get a job but a general no one hires

They fill his chest with medals while he’s across the foam
And they spread the crimson carpet when he comes marching home
The next day someone hollers when he comes into view
“Here comes the general” and they all say “General who?”
They’re delighted that he came
But they can’t recall his name

Nobody thinks of assigning him
When they stop wining and dining him
It seems this country never has enjoyed
So many one and two and three and four star generals
Unemployed!

Whenever I hear of a young man committing suicide after serving my country I immediately think of the song. There’s nothing worse than someone not knowing what to do next, when they’ve been trained to do something they can no longer do. Then I started thinking about when my son enlisted he went to Boot Camp to be trained to go and serve his country, but when he got out, he was thanked for his service. I believe what needs to happen is each person who serves, needs to be REBOOTED back. I know they will never be the same again, for each experience changes our lives forever, but the military could take these young men and women and not let them return home, until they’ve graduated from REBOOT CAMP!

The interesting part of today was since I kept thinking about the word “REBOOT” God put it on my heart to google it, and I was so happy when I saw that there are those who understand the importance of: REBOOTING!

Here’s one: http://www.military-missions.org/2011/07/21/reboot-refresh-support-for-families-living-with-ptsd/

There are many more organizations that seem to be trying to REBOOT all those we love. The trick now, is we all need to make sure that those we know, who are returning from the service, know that help is out there, and they are not forgotten.

GOD BLESS THOSE WHO SERVE. MAY THEIR HEARTS KNOW THEY ARE LOVED AND NOT FORGOTTEN!

And always remember that one doesn’t have to be in prison to be… in prison.

Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3

ONWARD BY FAITH!

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MY EULOGY!

This morning I got an email from a friend sharing that she read a column on writing her own eulogy for Facebook and her social networks. Immediately I wrote back and asked if she was okay. She confirmed that she was fine, but thought it might be something I would like to do. I wrote her back and told her that I was busy working, doing laundry, and waiting for my dog to bring back the ball I had thrown.

A few minutes ago she sent me this link: http://www.myowneulogy.com

Of course I had to check it out.

I was amazed at all the people who took the time to write their eulogy. For some reason I thought that  defeated the purpose of a funeral. If funerals are for other people than why would I want to write my own.

I wrote her back and thanked her for sharing her heart, but told her that I had already planned my funeral and there would be no eulogy.

The phone rang shortly after, “No eulogy? Who does that?” she asked.

“I do. Everyone close to me knows what I want when I die. I want my family and friends to gather somewhere that has a big screen television, and then everyone will be handed a bag of popcorn. When everyone is quietly seated someone will pop in the movie, “White Christmas” and everyone will enjoy my holiday favorite.”

“WHAT? You’re not going to have your funeral at a church?” she asked.

“No!” I replied.

“WHY?” She asked loudly.

“Because… my family and everyone who is truly my friend has heard me share God stories, and if they didn’t want to listen to me when I was alive, they are not going to want to listen just because I’m dead! And, it’s my funeral. I want everyone to enjoy a few hours of remembering that life is better with friends, the best things happen when you’re dancing, and there really is a Knight on a White Horse!”

She thought I was nuts, but then I shared this… Funerals truly are about the people who are left behind, and by having a “movie” night, my children will be able to enjoy the one movie I played over and over again. Each of my children can recite the movie by heart, and in some ways it’s symbolic.  It’s my way of reminding them that when they miss me they can  remember the stories I shared with them, over and over, because each story had Jesus within it. And if they remember nothing more, I want them to remember how blessed I was to be given the life that I was given. Through all the good and bad, there is a “White Christmas” waiting for each of us.

Of course I had to look up what Jesus said for his eulogy. I’m thinking that since he was hanging on a Cross, and knew the outcome,  he chose his words that he wanted to be remembered…

Here they are:

First thing he said: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34

Second thing he said: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43

Third thing he said:  “Jesus said to his mother: “Woman, this is your son.” Then he said to the disciple: “This is your mother.” John 19:26-27

Fourth thing he said: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46

Fifth thing he said: “I thirst.” John 19:29

Sixth thing he said: When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and handed over the spirit. John 19:30

The last thing he said:  Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Luke 23:46

I’m so glad my friend asked me if I wanted to write my eulogy today because I learned something.  I learned that “one” must know Jesus to understand those seven things he said and “why” he said them. If we don’t know the person before their death, we will never truly understand who they were by attending their funeral.

ONWARD BY FAITH!


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THE 4 A.M. EPIPHANY!

This morning I popped out of bed, excited. I finally get it!

For the past (going on) seven years, I have been working full-time on a stuff, plush toy, that God inspired my heart to create for hospitalized children. For the past (going on) seven years, I have shared Owie with thousands and thousands of people.  KABC News in Los Angeles runs a 30 second segment on him, and has for over a year now. I send out newsletters to thousands of people each month. I go and speak about him.  I write about him on my Facebook page. Owie even has his own Facebook and Twitter page. Yes, I tell everyone I know about Owie and the need for comfort, and all because I believe with all my heart that love changes everything!

When I first started Owie I thought everyone would want to give a gift of comfort to a child who had a terminal illness. What I quickly learned was not everyone does. Not everyone understands what’s it’s like to be ill and alone, or what it’s like to have a child, or what it’s like to even take a moment to think about a child who is hospitalized. If I had a dime for every time someone said, “I don’t want to think about a child who is ill. That makes me sad!” I would have enough money to comfort at least 1,000 children.

I now understand why God called me to do what I do. My whole life I’ve been an archaeologist digging up the truths that are written within the Bible. The one thing I’ve learned is that sometimes people dig within the wrong place to find proof that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are real.

Each morning I wake up and I read my Bible. I’m always looking for that next clue of what God is trying to show me, and this morning I found a monumental find!

But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 

But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Yet faith comes from listening to this message of good news— the Good News about Christ.

But what about the Jews? Have they actually heard the message? Yes, they have:

“The message of God’s creation has gone out to everyone, and its words to all the world.” Romans 10: 14-18

This morning when I read: “The message of God’s creation has gone out to everyone…” I completely understood what was being said. I completely understand why God has allowed Owie to be such a hard message to share…  had it been easy I would not have understood what I just read.

There’s proof within this passage that Jesus truly existed. Why? Because God DID create him.

Just as God allowed me to create Owie, I too love the creation of my heart, and the message that he brings. Because of that, I share him with everyone, but just like Jesus… Owie isn’t received by everyone!

When God introduces Himself to us, He does so in a way that we can understand. I’ve come to believe that the Bible is called the Living Bible because it must come alive within us. I just experienced Romans 10, and I have to share that it only took me seven years to get here. What a quick lesson that was!

ONWARD TO THE NEXT LESSON!

 

 

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