CHOICES

CHOICES

*** DISCLAIMER: This post is not about pointing fingers at anyone for past  mistakes. It is about life lessons. And integrity. If anyone happens to recognize any of the people involved, please refrain from commenting. This happened a very long time ago and it is just an example. All of the people concerned are people who, I’m sure, mean well. ***

Many years ago, I was in charge of all of the Wednesday night classes for the children at what was then my church. The Sunday School department was a separate department. My elementary school aged daughter came home from Sunday school one day and was excited to report that her teacher, who I will call Miss Lisa (not her real name) was going to host a class party in a few weeks, I am out on an upcoming Saturday. After granting her permission to go, she RSVPed to this teacher, who is new to that congregation, and I wrote the event down in my daily planner.

A week or so later, my daughter came home with the news that her Wednesday night teacher, who I will call Miss Sandra, (not her real name), had planned a class party on the exact same day and time. Sandra’s home was much more beautiful and bigger than the other woman’s modest house was, and my daughter reported to me that all of the girls at church in her age group we’re going to go to that party instead. Sandra was a long time member of the church, her husband was a deacon, so she was very well-known and respected in the community. She was also of the reputation of having an extraordinarily kind heart.

As the Director of the Wednesday night programs, which Sandra’s class fell under, I Felt compelled to approach her and ask her nicely if she would move her party to the following week or later in the summer. I did not hesitate, because I knew she had a spirit of cooperation. I was sure that she would understand my concern, that the other woman, a relatively new church member, might get her feelings hurt if all of the class members went to the other party.

Unfortunately, Sandra did not see it that way. She informed me that she had plans the next few weeks that would conflict with her throwing a party and she insisted on giving it the exact same day as Lisa’s party. So my daughter told me that she wanted to go to Sandra’s party with her friends instead of honoring her original commitment. I was in a quandary. My heart felt for my daughter.  

I wanted her to be able to go to the bigger party and enjoy pool time with her friends. But I also decided to use this as a teaching moment to try to instill into her a life lesson. So we sat down and I asked her if she thought that was the right thing to do? Unhesitatingly she said yes, because that is what all of her friends were doing. Then I asked her how she thought she wouldfeel if no one showed up at her party? I then talked to her about the importance of honoring her word. I asked her how she would feel, if someone canceled plans with her, just because something better came up?

We did not debate this for long. My daughter has the ability to empathize with others, and though I had presented the case in such a manner that I hopedthat she would do the right thing, I left the decision as to which party to attend entirely up to her, though she was only about nine years old at the time. She said to me this, “Momma, I am going to go to Miss Lisa’s party. I don’t want to hurt her feelings.”

When the day of the do parties arrived, I dropped my daughter off at the very modest home of Lisa, and said a prayer as I was leaving that someone else would show up, because my daughter was the only one there at that time, other than a handful of Lisa’s family members. On the ride home after the party, my daughter told me that she was so glad that she had gone to Lisa’s party, because only one other person from church had attended. It was just my daughter, another student, and the teacher’s family. The other party had been jampacked with almost every other class member. I was very proud of my daughter and hoped that this would be a life lesson that would stick with her throughout her lifetime. As an unexpected bonus, because my daughter and the other young lady were the only two students there, they got a lot of attention and one on one personal time with the teacher that they would not have gotten that the other party.

Fast forward many years, to when I was going through my divorce. My ex-husband and I had long since left that particular church and had started attending a different one. Lisa no longer went to church anywhere. But I ran into her at some functions with friends, and she said that she was also going through a bad divorce. We then met together for dinner a few times to compare notes and commiserate. I had known Lisa for many years, but had  never been good friends with her. Nonetheless, I was hurt, disappointed, and shocked when she betrayed my confidencesto some of our mutual friends and literally stabbed me in the back to boot. Instantly, my mind flashed back to that incident so long ago when I have persuaded my daughter to go to her party instead of the other one. I wanted to scream at her and fling that in her face. That is the human side of me.

But I did not do so. Instead I held my tongue. I simply cut ties with her and started avoiding her altogether. For she had also confided in me, and I knew that she was also suffering. It would’ve been so easy for me to turn around and breach her  confidences, as she had done to me. But I do not have a vengeful nature. So I did no such thing. And while we all sit around and laugh about the possibilities of revenge at some point or another in our lives,that is something I leave to God. I don’t know if He will ever enlighten Lisa as to the fact that breaching confidentiality is not a good thing to do. But that is between her and God.

Instead, I simply walked away with my head held high. If I had it to do over again, knowing that she would betray me on down the road, would I still have gently persuaded my daughter to go to her party, rather than the other woman’s party? Absolutely! I do not hesitate in saying that. For my grandmother instilled into me the importance of honoring one’s word. Even if it is it is inconvenient. Even if it is uncomfortable. Even if something better comes along. She taught me the value of looking at things from the other person’s perspective. From being considerate to making sacrifices, to donating her time and resources, the way she lived was a witness to me that reminds me every day of my life to this day, though she has been long gone from this earth for many years.

To me, honor is of utmost importance. There is no substitute for integrity. But having a tender heart, I know what it’s like to have my own feelings hurt, and I try never to intentionally do that to someone else. Please don’t misunderstand: I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I can sit around and plot revenge with the best of them, then sit around and laugh about those things with friends over dinner. Like when my friends used to tell me I should put Ex-Lax in my soon to be ex-husband’s food supply. We had many laughs over that – though I never did any such thing – it was great comedic relief from the pain of divorce to consider it. I recognize that this is sinful behavior, and I’ve had many long talks with God about it. For though I didn’t act upon it, it is probably not the best witness. I’m pretty sure everyone knows that I would never do such a thing. And I’m sure hoping that if my ex-husband had any gastrointestinal distress during our divorce process, that he knows I would never do that. 

The point is, that we don’t have to act upon every thought or impulse. Life is about choices! We get to choose whether or not to honor our word. We get to choose whether or not to be spiteful or execute revenge. We get to choose whether or not to consider someone else’s feelings. We get to choose to be considerate or inconsiderate. 

I hope and pray that, with God’s help, I will continue to make good choices. I am an imperfect human being, and I have made my fair share of mistakes. But I do always try to honor my word.

When I was in the seventh grade, my English teacher gave us an assignment of making a slogan out of our last names.  I remember a young man whom I did not think was particularly attractive in terms of the boy girl crush thing, whose last name was bond. He came up with, or borrowed, the slogan, “My word is my bond!” I just love that! After I heard him say that, he suddenly became much more attractive to me, because he said it was such sincerity.And though it is not my last name, I have tried to adopt that slogan, as well.

I am quite sure that I will mess up again soon. I will make a mistake. I will inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings. I will miss the time on an appointment. I will think up a way of getting back at someone who has been unkind to me. I will do something that is not right. It is guaranteed, because I am, like the other women in this story, a human being. I may even do one of those things later today, though I pray I will have the presence of mind not to do so. But I am sharing this story as a reminder that every choice we make does count, somehow, someway, to someone. Let’s try to make them good ones!

“But whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him.”

 – I John 2:5

– Lou Lehman Sams

10 THINGS I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT THE HOLIDAYS

1O THINGS I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT THE HOLIDAYS

1.) Being alone is no excuse for not celebrating the gift of life which you have been given.
2.) There is no such thing as too many ornaments on a Christmas tree.
3.) The smile on someone’s face is priceless, compared to the cost of the gift that you give them.
4.) An invitation is the single best gift that you can give to someone who is alone for the holidays.
5.) Calories which you consume in holiday goodies are especially stubborn, but are worth every ounce.
6.) It is not the number of parties in your life, but the life in the parties you attend that makes them fun.
7.) The best presents are sometimes disguised in the worst wrapping paper.
8.) Disappointments in people & events during the holidays can only happen if you do not manage your own expectations of them.
9.) It is not how you spend them, nor even who you spend them with, but the amount of love that you share with others that is what counts the most.
10.) Leaving Christ out of Christmas is like leaving the groom out of the wedding.

– Lou Lehman Sams

PRAYING FOR TROLLS

PRAYING FOR TROLLS

Today I am praying for a Troll. Not just a Troll, but a Troll whose identity I do not know. Last year, I temporarily took down my blog due to malicious comments from an admitted Atheistic professor at a University in the State of Tennessee. I had already blocked him on FB. It seems that he had nothing better to do in life than mock my comments about God. He also tried to make me feel bad by posting comments on my blog that no one is interested in reading it, except him, and things like that. A GOOGLE search showed that particular professor is known for being an Internet Troll, and that he has apparently made hateful and disturbing comments on some of his own students’ and former students’ blogs. But after some prayer, I decided not to be intimidated by him into not posting my writings.

Now, I have another Troll. This one is presumably named Karen. I say presumably, because there is not a photo attached to “her” avatar, and if I click on it, I do not get directed to her blog. She has made multiple disparaging comments about my blog. Regarding Two Dinner Dates, she posted that my first date obviously ditched me intentionally due to my weight problem. Sorry to disappoint, Karen, but while I definitely want to lose some weight, I am a size 6/small, and I do not think that classifies me in that category. And that man which I wrote about took me on a lovely dinner date the next week. So there! Nanny nanny boo boo, LOL. 

 

Regarding Enough is Enough, she said the post made her feel melancholy and hopeless, because no one should depend on god to do things for them. Then she told me that I need to get some hobbies. And then that I need to go to the gym, so that I can lose that weight and maybe get a quality fit date for a change. Let’s see: God does things for me every single day of my life. I have more hobbies than most people do, and I do not think my schedule will accommodate another one at this time. I already go to the gym. And obviously she did not see the last guy I dated for 3 months, who most definitely is, without a doubt, one of the fittest men in his age group that I know, LOL. 

I am posting this because there will be other people who are targeted by trolls such as these who will not have the strength of spirit to shield them from the poisonous arrows that they shoot towards them. I logically and rationally reasoned out that this person obviously does not know me, because everything she attacked was so blatantly and obviously false.

But what if? What if I was grossly overweight, and struggling to lose it? What if I had not had a dinner date that was physically fit? What if I had no hobbies, and did not know how to begin a new one? Most importantly, what if I was doubting my faith in God?

Trolls such as these are dangerous people. I do not understand their motivation. They are unhappy, lost souls who seek to destroy other’s happiness and peace of mind. My best advice: Do not let them!! Remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous and very sage words that are often quoted: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent!” No one. That’s right, Professor, I do not have to give you the power to make me feel inferior. And Karen, (if that is your real name), no “offense”, but your lack of logic is just laughable. No, you do not get my consent, either! 

So both of you should move on down the road. Preferably you will do so silently, but if you must regurgitate such negativity into the atmosphere, please do so on your own blogs. Then again, perhaps you have to post such distasteful things such as refuting God’s existence, attacking people’s physical appearance, and trying to undermine people’s self-esteem on other people’s blogs because you are so vile in your behaviors that no one would read yours?

Please, don’t get me wrong, people. I know atheists and agnostics that are moral, kind, law abiding citizens who do not feel the need to randomly attack other people or their efforts to inspire others. But these Trolls? Well, there is a reason that the trolls of fairy tales were of small stature, and lived beneath bridges. (NOT a reflection on homeless people who live beneath them in modern times!)

So why on earth would I pray for these Trolls? First, I pray that they will find the Light, for I do believe that they are lost souls. Next, I pray for all of their targets, that God will shield them and protect them from their efforts at belittling, demeaning, and discouraging them. Last, I pray that God will, by this post, somehow redeem the harm that they sought to inflict by helping someone else be strong. “The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer, my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my Shield and the horn of my salvation, my Stronghold.” – Psalm 18:2. Amen.

Pray. Kick those Trolls back beneath those bridges. Be strong, my friends!

 

– Lou Lehman Sams 

HIDE AND SEEK MOON

HIDE & SEEK MOON

The air felt unfamiliar, yet familiar all at once. Being one of the first cold nights of Autumn, the chilly breeze hit my skin with an unexpected fervor that I had not felt in many months due to the unexpectedly pleasant, mild months of September & October. I could have let the puppy out of the door & gone back inside while he attended to his business, but the pull of the glow from luminescent clouds illuminated by a large Harvest moon beckoned me out into the back yard. I did not stop to get a jacket, but stood out on the back steps & looked up, mesmerized by the lacy cloud pattern of dark clouds that were racing overhead.

Not a single blanket of cloud cover, but it appeared as if there were many clouds in a jigsaw puzzle pattern, as if the master Puzzle Solver were up in Heaven slowly piecing together a puzzle. You know what I mean – a half completed jigsaw puzzle often has many holes in it.

There, through that hole the moon peeked out & shone her alabaster face down on the yard before slowly receding behind one of the puzzle piece clouds. The clouds varied in density. You could see the moon as if through gauze as it began to hide beneath another cloud, then POOF! As if by sleight of His majestic hand, it was completely hidden beneath a very dark, dense & brooding cloud. Over & over this scene unfolded in front of me, as I stood rooted in spot, paralyzed by awe at the way the moon was there one minute, gone the next!

  
I was so enthralled by what I saw that I no longer felt the chill in the night air, though I know that the temperature had not improved at all since I went outside. I could have camped out there all night long, as this was as pretty of a display as I have ever witnessed. As I stood silently before my Maker & His moon, clouds, & the occasional star, I felt so grateful that He would invite me to the show! And front row seats, to boot!

And it hit me then: the Hide & Seek Moon was a little like God Himself. There are times that we can see His Glory faintly, as when the “man-in-the-moon” can be observed during a full moon on a clear night. Then there are times when we can see Him vaguely, as if He is partially hidden beneath a gauzy veil. At other times, we can only see His reflection in others, such as when I could only see the bright “silvery lining” framing the clouds. Yet at still other times, all we can see is darkness – there is no visible sign of our Lord in our lives. Yet in each of these instances, He is there, up above, watching us as He is carefully placing the puzzle pieces of our lives into place in order that we will eventually have a complete & beautiful life.

Why does God play Hide & Seek with us? There are times that He hides so that we will seek Him – He wants to see the joy & pleasure on our faces when He momentarily allows us to see His face, sort of like playing Peek-A-Boo with a toddler. Sometimes, He retreats from us to express His displeasure at our actions. He is still there, yet we are not in communion with Him, as our sins are separating us from His presence. There are times that we are not prepared to behold His glory, such as the way that we cannot look into the sun without protection, & even then, we can never look directly at it. Like a jealous lover, He wants us to chase after Him, & so He will sometimes tease us with a tiny glimpse so that we will wait on Him to appear in all of His splendor. And like any other performer, He Himself takes pleasure in putting on a show. 

Whether you like to appear on stage or not, everyone likes applause & recognition, & God is no different. If you are a parent, there may have been times when you showed your child how to do something that they themselves were not yet able to accomplish: giving a speech, woodworking, quilting, magic tricks, telling jokes, shooting hoops, hitting a baseball, or whatever, your child probably watched on in awe, & then clapped with delight – just as I did (REALLY!) at the show He gave me with the moon.

At those times when you feel as if all you can see is darkness, keep looking up, for He WILL show His face again before too long. He will shine His face upon You. He will look at you with kindness again. He is still there, even if He is hidden for a moment. But you do have to seek Him if you want to find Him. Look up! He is always there. Always!!

“How long, oh Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?” ~ Psalm 13:1

“Restore us, oh God of Hosts, cause Your face to shine, & we shall be saved!” ~ Psalm 80:7

“For but a small moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. In a little wrath I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.” ~ Isaiah 54:7,8

~ Lou L. Sams

Waiting in the Presence of Saints

Back in the day when I was a Dental Hygienist & managed a dental office, people would sometimes schedule appointments for cosmetic dentistry. Perhaps they needed a crown or veneers on one or more teeth. They wanted these things in order to protect their teeth or to improve their appearance, & self-esteem. The dentist I worked for did a good job with cosmetic issues such as this, & the end results were usually very esthetically pleasing, with the patients being happier & more content. They were able to chew their food better, or smile more easily, or express themselves in a more confident manner, or sometimes, all of these. However, there was a PROCESS involved in getting to this place of satisfaction. That entailed getting a shot – ouch – did I say that word out loud?!? To re-phrase, they had an injection of anesthesia to numb the affected area, so that they could not feel the pain that was about to ensue as a result of drilling out tooth decay, removing bits of tooth, or filing & smoothing rough surfaces. They had to lie prone in an uncomfortable position, & be totally still for a time that was undetermined by them. They could not even get up to go to the restroom unless the dentist was at an appropriate stopping place, for fear of messing up the procedure. They had a bright light shining down onto their faces, so that, while the dental professionals could see everything going on with them very clearly, they could not see very well themselves. And since they could not turn their heads without being instructed to do so, they could not even see everything that was going on in the room around them. Sometimes they had to make 2 or 3 visits in order to get everything done. At those times, they were given temporary crowns, ones which were only a facsimile of what the real crown would look like. The patients would get tired of holding their mouths open in such an awkward, uncomfortable & unusual manner for such an extended time. Some of them were so very fearful of the entire process that they were given nitrous oxide, a.k.a. laughing gas to help ease their anxieties.

But the choice to have the procedures done was always theirs – they were not forced into the chairs, tied down, or held down by chains. They could have, if they really wanted to do so, gotten up & walked out at any time. But they made a choice, these adult patients, to be still, & let the doctor do his work. They trusted him to do a good job, in as short a time possible & that they would be pleased with the end result. And sometimes they had to wait for extended periods of time in the outer waiting room, just to get in & have the procedure begin in the first place. But they did wait. For they wanted what the doctor had to offer them. They wanted to look & feel better. Once in a great while, there would be a patient with an abscessed tooth or something who did not follow the doctor’s prescribed treatment. What right did that patient, who refused the antibiotics, who refused to have the decay removed, who refused to allow the doctor’s hand to work on him, what right did that patient have to complain when they eventually lost that tooth? In my eyes, they had no right to complain at all.

No patient in their right mind would have squirmed, wiggled, or otherwise wrestle while the doctor had his drill actively engaged inside their mouth, for they knew that to do so might cause him to slip & cause them further harm. And I had occasion to act as the doctor’s assistant on procedures ranging from cosmetic improvements to oral surgery. No one ever enjoyed any of these uncomfortable experiences. And I hated that for them, but I tried to be as reassuring as possible to them while they were being worked on. No one ever begged to get onto the calendar, wished for a cavity, or volunteered for surgery unnecessarily. Going to the dentist was, for most people, considered to be an unpleasant experience that they would just as soon avoid at all costs. Yet still they came.

They sat as still as possible & allowed the dentist to do his work. Most of them did not speak unless spoken to, for that meant further delay in getting through the procedure. They were never left unattended, as either the dentist or his assistant or both were in the room with them at all times. One of the jobs of the assistant was to reassure the patients, & for those who were really anxious, sometimes this meant literally holding their hand while they were being worked on. The patients could not see everything going on around them – the times the assistant turned her back on them to mix a bonding compound, or when the drill bits were being changed out, or when an x-ray was being developed. But they could hear sounds, were cognizant of activity, & knew things were being worked out on their behalf. They simply trusted that the doctor knew exactly what he was doing. They listen for his directions about what to do next – which way to turn, when to rinse, how wide to open, etc. And they followed his directives without question.

So why then is it that we have such a difficult time sitting still & letting the Great Physician perform His work in our lives? Perhaps there are times when He must make us lie still, be uncomfortable, or be temporarily blinded by something external in order that He can remove decay, transform something ugly into something beautiful, or smooth off rough spots within us? Perhaps we are made to feel numb about something that has transpired in our lives because otherwise the pain would be far too great for us to bear? Perhaps we are not supposed to see every little movement that is occurring around us on our behalf? Perhaps …

I have always been a very good patient – in the physical realm. I guess that is because not only was I a dental health professional, but so was my aunt & my mother, so I was trained at a very early age that things will go a lot more smoothly & quickly & comfortably if you will lie still when needed & just relax & trust the doctor. Why then, do I have such a problem with this in my spiritual life? Why do I have such a difficult time when I feel God working on me? I KNOW that the end result will be a new, improved, & better me. Yet I squirm. I wiggle. I protest. I get impatient with waiting. At times I even get up out of that chair & start to head out the door before the procedure is completed.

I hate that bright light shining down on me, exposing all of my flaws! I abhor being confined. I detest being still for extended periods. I dislike not knowing what is going on around me. I deny that I have decay that needs to be removed.

But I know that I will not be happy with the end results if I do not allow him to finish. I know that, if the decay is not removed, excessive pain will result that will eventually cause a part of me to die. So I endure that discomfort. I listen for directions.

Yes, sometimes I misunderstand those directions. Sometimes the anesthetic wears off enough that the pain brings tears. Sometimes I get really, really frustrated with having to lie there for so long, thinking about all of the other things that I want to be doing. At those times, a soothing voice calms my spirit, or a warm hand clasps mine, or I feel a gentle squeeze on my shoulder. Sometimes those things are from the Master Himself. But when He is busy preparing things on my behalf, sometimes it is His “assistants” that help me through.

I am so very thankful for all of the Godly men & women that God has sent to me to help me be still, keep calm, & be quiet when I was having a hard time doing so by myself. For the ones that dried my tears & reassured me that everything was going to be all right. For the ones who sat in that Waiting Room with me, until it was my time to be seen, & for the ones who were assigned the task of helping me through the procedure.

Yes, waiting is very hard, especially for someone as active & hyper as me! My best advice for waiting? Surround yourself with the presence of Godly people who will wait with you as you trust in God to make the restorations you need in your life. But wait on the Lord – He knows what He is doing. Trust Him. The end result is worth the wait.

And if you know someone that is being told to lie still while God is working? Perhaps you can be the one that waits with them. Pray with them. Talk to them. Listen to them. Pray for them. Reassure them. Soothe them. Distract them. Most of all, just be there to wait with them! Be present for them!!

“But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the mercy of God forever & ever.
I will praise You forever,
because You have done it:
And in the presence of Your saints
I will wait on Your name, for it is good.”
-Psalm 52:8-9

~ Lou Lehman Sams

RICH IN HIS ARMS

RICH IN HIS ARMS

I went to a Women’s Conference
I was looking for You there –
And as soon as the lady began to speak
I thought, “This just isn’t fair.”

I only wanted a closer glimpse of You
Instead, the images mirrored myself to me.
Boy, were they accurate –
My sins were right there for me to see.

As I’ve been hurt through pain & fire,
Back to the world I’ve made a hasty retreat,
When all You’ve ever wanted from me
Was to lay it all at YOUR feet.

Yet I’ve been tested, & I’ve come up short,
All the while searching around,
Looking for someone to understand –
Someone with feet firmly planted on the ground.

At times, I’d half turn to You,
Yet the other half I turned still away.
Hearing Your answers, but not listening,
Afraid of the words You might say.

“My child, it’s been too long,
Since we walked alone, just you & I.
And I want us to fellowship
But not just when you cry!”

Then I looked down deep inside myself
Grasping for the strength to smile.
Instead, I found a Father’s love,
Reserved just for a special child.

I thank You, Lord for helping me,
Holding me in Your arms so secure
When no one else was there for me,

In YOU, I was rich, instead of poor.

~ Lou Lehman Sams
02/14/1997

Footnote: I ran across this from many years ago, & while it is not a great piece of work, I hope that it’s message comes across – sometimes God leads us into places where it seems that no one understands or cares for us, just so we can grow in our relationship with Him. And this is not just a one time thing: sort of like parents let their children go out & play with their friends, but still insist on spending one on one time with them. I wish that the day I attended that conference & wrote this piece was the last time I neglected one on one time with my Father – but that would be a sin of another type. I hope that whoever reads this will take some one on one time today to spend with God – He misses You when you forget to do so! ~ L.L.S.

HOLIDAY & EVERYDAY MIRACLES

HOLIDAY & EVERYDAY MIRACLES

I have posted a couple of things about believing in miracles on my social media in the past few weeks, & without disclosing any details, I must give credit where credit is due: I have had the pleasure of witnessing one of those this holiday season!! Please do not misunderstand, I do have some prayer requests that I am still awaiting answers on, & I will continue to lift my those things that concern my family & friends up in prayer until we get answers one way or another. But as this year comes to a close – a year fraught with many smiles, but many tears as well for me personally – I must THANK GOD for this thing that He has done. And though at times I have had sorrow so intense that it flooded my entire being with sadness so scathing that I thought my heart would break for real, I have had the blessings of good friends & loving family members who have been there to dry my tears, make me laugh, feed me, go on adventures with me, shop with me, & help me pick up the pieces yet again.

Friends, God has sent me who & what I have needed at just the exact times that I needed them, & He will do so for you, if you will just ask Him to help. Most importantly, I have spent MUCH time with Him – watching His masterful hand as it painted some of the most astounding sunsets I have ever seen, listening to His voice in the bluebird & cardinals songs, feeling His touch as a gentle breeze caressed my cheeks & my puppy’s cold nose nuzzled against my hand, smelled His presence in wild honeysuckle vines, & tasted His goodness in meals prepared by fine chefs & fond friends.

Yes, in ways it has been one of my least favorite years, but tucked inside the pages of that book called 2014, I also find some of my fondest memories, as well. As we celebrate the new beginning that comes with tomorrow, Lord willing, I hope that you will join me in setting aside those tough spots, rough places, disappointments & heartaches & reflect instead upon those miracles that God wrought in your life & those of your loved ones during 2014.

I know that some of you will say that there were none – if you feel that way, please go look outside your window & see the sun shining down; or go & hold your baby, grand baby, puppy, or kitten & feel their touch on against your arms; or savor the taste of a juicy orange, a sweet Krispy Kreme doughnut, or some your favorite health food; or listen to the sound of a violin, guitar, piano, or voice of an artist in your favorite musical selection; or maybe just smell the scent of that cologne you got for Christmas, or an apple cinnamon candle as it burns, or the crips cool air of Winter time – for there are miracles both big & small around you, if you will just be cognizant of their taste, smell, sight, sound & feel.

Most importantly, pause for a moment or two to experience whatever & whomever God places in your path this New Year’s Eve – for this day, though designated as a special holiday, is really just a day like all others, & that is one in which is intended to be lived with all of your senses. Let us remember the good & the bad as needed, knowing that the painful moments make us appreciate the pleasurable ones. If there were no crises in our lives, we would have no need of miracles, & it is in the miracles that we truly feel His touch. Yet, lest we forget, He sends His miracles shining down on us every single day, in both small & large ways, whether we realize that we need them or not. Happy New Year!!!

~ Lou Lehman Sams