Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Sweetest Name

Incredible sadness... tears... heartache... disbelief... emotional overload.  I told my husband on the way to church this morning that I was about to break from the weight of sorrow. 

Free African American religious clipart of Christian black church.Shortly after getting to church, my husband took me aside privately and told me he had just gotten the news that our dear friend had died.  I collapsed in his arms and fell apart.  After a few minutes, by God's strength, I pulled it together.  We immediately left church and went to the hospital.  When I saw Carolyn, I hugged her, and we cried together.  I had been sitting with her in the Critical Care waiting room for the past three weeks.   I so desperately wanted Jesus to heal her husband.  When things weren't looking good, I prayed, Lord, help my unbelief.  But God knows best. He has numbered our days.  His servant finished his work here and God called him home.

Back home from the hospital, I prepared dinner.  After eating, I tried to sleep.  (After visiting with Carolyn and her family yesterday, I hadn't gone to bed until 1:30 am and got up at 5:30 am.)  However, sleep wouldn't come.  I called my prayer partner and got her voice mail.  I called my sister and got her answering machine.  So I turned to for gospel music to console me.  While typing this, Rance Allen and Kirk Franklin sung "How I love the Name's the Sweetest Name I know... Something about the Name Jesus, it's the Sweetest Name, I know."  Cece Winans sang Jesus, You're Beautiful.

Our neighbor passed away in December.  My sister's sister-in-law passed away in February.  On Tuesday, I went to a friend's sister's funeral.  It just seems like I can't catch my breath between deaths since my brother-in-law's passing on May 6, 2009 - later that same month, my cousin passed away and so it goes.  BUT, there's something about that Name -- it's still the Sweetest Name, I know.  I can't make it without Jesus.  With Him, I can go on.  I will attend my friend's funeral.  With Him, I will be available to his wife to encourage her and help in whatever way I can.  For Galatians 6:9-10 says: And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.  Romans 12:15 says we are to mourn with those who mourn.  My spirit is singing these words:

Something About The Name Jesus, Something About The Name Jesus
It Is The Sweetest Name, I Know

Oh, How I Love The Name Jesus, Oh, How I Love The Name Jesus
It Is The Sweetest Name, I Know
[Verse 1:]
Some People Say I'm Crazy But
I Can't Explain The Power That I Feel
When I Call Your Name (When I Call Your Name)
Said It's Just Like Fire Shut Up In My Bones
The Holy Ghost Is Moving And It Just Won't Leave Me Alone

[Verse 2:]
Said It's Sweeter Than Honey From The Honeycomb
I Can Feel The Holy Ghost Moving
It Won't Leave Me Alone
At The Name Jesus
Every Knee Has Got To Bow (Got To Bow)
So You Don't Have To Wait Til The Fire Come
You Go On Shout And Praise Him, Do It Now

Friday, May 27, 2011

Let Us Not Forget

On Thursday, May 26, 2011, seven U.S. troops died when a powerful bomb exploded in a field where they were patrolling on foot.  Total Fatalities: Operation Iraqi Freedom: 4,442, Operation Enduring Freedom: 1,571 (updated May 26, 2011, source: which includes pictures of the fallen).

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country (source: ). 

I have a nephew and cousin serving in Afghanistan.  My son will be going to Kuwait in July for a year-long tour.  My son-in-law just graduated from his advanced Air Force training yesterday.  I have a host of relatives, including in-laws, who have served or are serving in the the U.S. military.  I confess that even with my many family service members, I haven't done much on Memorial Day to commemorate their service.  I've sent care packages to my family members and to soldiers who I don't personally know.  But this Memorial Day will be different for me.  From attending the Military Support Group meetings, I know our soldiers feel forgotten.  I'm appealing to you to do something different this Memorial Day - something that honors our veterans.

I asked you in my April 15 blog (Two Soldiers) to pray for our soldiers.  I hope you're including them in your daily prayers.  Before saying grace for your meal of spareribs, baked beans, potato salad, etc. on Monday, I specifically ask you to pray for Damian, Raylee, Wilbur, and Ugo for the sacrifice they are making on our behalf.  Thank you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

But for His Grace

I have watched the weather reporters talking about the tornadoes that swept through Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, and Oklahoma yesterday and today.  Over 100 people lost their lives in Missouri, and many are missing.  The pictures looked eerily similar to the pictures of the devastation from the Tuscaloosa tornado last month that killed over 30 people.

As I look at these pictures, my heart goes out to those affected by these traumatic events.  To see mangled cars, flattened homes, blown out windows, personal effects scattered for miles...I just can't fully fathom what it must be like to lose everything in a matter of minutes.

Rescue workers and neighbors search for victims and survivors the day after a killer tornado ravaged parts of Joplin, Missouri, USA 23 May 2011. With the death toll at 116, and over 1,000 injured in the deadliest single tornado since 1953, Missouri braces for more tornadoes. According to the National Weather Service the tornado has been classified as an FE4 with maximum winds of 198 miles per hour (319 KPH).  EPA/TANNEN MAURY
I walk through my undisturbed home and try to picture what it would look like if a tornado struck my neighborhood.  What would it be like to look across and down the street and not see my neighbors' homes, wondering if they are ok?  How panicked would I be to not be able to call my family to determine if they had survived?  I wonder how I would react if my clothes, files, pictures, furniture, etc. were strewn around the neighborhood.  I rarely carry cash, so how would I purchase necessities without access to my debit and credit cards or prove who we are to the bank without our ID's?  Without policy information, how could we inform our insurance companies (home, car) about our loss?  How would I get around if our cars were smashed or tossed about (there's no bus service in my neighborhood)?  Where would we stay?  I'm sure our families would let us stay with them, but that doesn't answer the question of where we would stay, especially if their homes were damaged, too.

Lord, but for Your grace, I don't have to answer these questions because my neighborhood was spared, again.  My family and friends have been spared from this devastation.  But for Your grace, I've not lived through a Hurricane Katrina, a tsunami, an earthquake, a flood nor a fire.  I've been spared from sooooo much!  I'm grateful, Lord.  Please Father, have mercy on those who have been in harm's way, who even now in Joplin, MO are facing dangerous conditions with the threat of another tornado.  Lord, place it on the hearts of those of us who have been spared to help by sending donations to the Red Cross.

How You Can Help
The Red Cross estimates that it will spend as much as $41 million responding to the disasters that have affected the country since March 31, and to date, about $33.6 million has been raised in donations for these responses.  Those who want to help can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. This gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS; you can also text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. 

I'm placing our check in the mail tomorrow with the hopes that my husband's company matching fund will match our donation.  Pray and ask God what you can do to help.  But for His grace, it could be us in need!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Answered Prayer

In the morning I have many things for which to praise my Lord and Savior: waking me with my 5 senses and physical mobility intact, watching over my home through the night, no phone calls with bad news, protecting and keeping my husband, children, parents, siblings, and grandchildren, for my friends, my church family, the fact that I live in the United States of America where I can freely worship and move about, for my home, vehicle, and the many tangible blessings He's given me. 

Beyond these daily praises, I thank Him for answered prayer.  I have a relative who was diagnosed with cancer in November.  He had surgery followed by radiation and chemotherapy.  In February, he told me he would have chemotherapy for five straight days and then have three weeks off.  I called him a few days ago to check on him and learned he returned to his job.  He He said he had been back to work for three weeks and had only missed one day!  Father, I praise You for my cousin being well enough to return to work.

Over the past few months, I've been praying for the Lord to give my brother a decent job with benefits.  Hallelujah, he starts his new job on Monday with a very good rate of pay!  His 2.5 hour interview was so successful that he was the only person interviewed!  Inspite of lots of obstacles, God ordained this job for my brother, proving what God has for you, it is for you.  Father, I praise You for how you answered prayer.

My husband has been battling a back problem since December.  He tried physical therapy; yet his back problem worsened.  He had a facet injection - no relief.  Today, he completed his third epidural injection.  After his second injection, his back improved tremendously.  In fact, he wanted to hit some golf balls this past Sunday.  I tried to convince him not to do this.  On his way out the door, I told him, "you said I'm not your mother, but you make me mother you!"  A short time later he was back.  The golf course was CLOSED!!!  Yes, God answers prayer sometimes in mysterious ways!  Thank You, Lord for healing my husband through medical intervention and not allowing him to injure his back.

Two of my dear girlfriends have been sick over the past couple of weeks.  I talked to God about them, and they are both doing so much better.  Thank You, Lord, for touching the bodies of these wonderful women of God!

I have another friend who is hospitalized in critical condition.  I've been talking to the Lord about him, too.  And while the Lord has not healed him, He is keeping him and I praise God for that. 

THANK YOU, Lord for hearing and answering prayers.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Family Time

I laughed so much that my jaws were hurting!  What a good time we (my brother, youngest sister, and I) had celebrating my father's 77th birthday tonight at Red Lobster (dad's restaurant choice).  Part of our laughter stemmed from a remark from a friend of my brother who was at the restaurant.  When my brother introduced my dad to her, she commented about how much my brother resembles my dad.  When my dad told me and my sister his version of her comment, the emphasis was that my brother looked as old as my dad!  I think as my one and only brother has gotten older, he has morphed into my dad.  At least they agree that they do look alike.  I look like my brother, but I haven't 'morphed' into my dad!  What do you think? 

We also reminisced about how much Dad's parenting style was like Bill Cosby ... our childhood friends said 'your dad is just like Bill Cosby!'  If you've ever watched the Cosby Show, then you can imagine what our childhood with one boy and three girls was like.  Our dad has so many Cosby mannerisms including Bill's raised eyebrow that I feel I know Mr. Cosby personally!   

Over the years we've joked about how easily Dad cries (the saying 'real men don't cry' never applied to him).  Dad used to cry when watching Marcus Welby, MD, for goodness sake!  So you know he choked up when he read the very sentimental birthday card my brother gave him. Some things never change.

My dad has fought some serious health battles and overcome so much over the past few years.  I grew up as a daddy's girl.  I know I'm truly blessed and extremely fortunate to have had this wonderful family time with him tonight.  

My parents raised us to believe in God.  I'm grateful that my earthly father instilled in me the knowledge that I need a Heavenly Father.  I praise God for who He is, and I thank Him for blessing me with my dad AND my mom.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Don't Take Today For Granted

I've been at the hospital every day this week since Monday.  A friend who was at church on Easter Sunday is in critical condition and fighting for his life.  In two weeks, he's gone from being a fun-loving character who models Christianity in all his actions to lying sedated in a hospital bed.  When he was admitted to the hospital, he was placed in a regular room.  Two days later, he was sent to intensive care.  Now he's on a ventilator and receiving dialysis.  As prayers are being sent up all over the country on his behalf, I'm reminded that tomorrow is not promised to us.  His Word says in Psalm 39:4-5:  Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath. We're told in Job14:1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.

In February, my sister's sister-in-law passed away after being diagnosed with a serious illness this past December.  My sister has another sister-in-law who died in 2006 one week after having an aneurysm.  One of my first cousins was murdered in 1998.  No one in our family would have predicted on April 23, 1998 that she would be dead on April 24, 1998.  A couple weeks later on May 9, the day my husband walked across the stage with his bachelor's degree, my father-in-law died suddenly.  Although he was 80 when he passed, we were caught off guard, as he had planned to attend the graduation service but felt ill that morning.  I'm sure you could add your own experiences that serve as reminders we cannot take one day for granted. 

I'm trusting God to pull my friend through.  I know God can do it because He performs miracles every day, not just in my life, but also in yours.  Didn't He wake you up this morning, start you on your way, keep you from dangers seen AND unseen!  I don't take today for granted.  I know my life is just a breath away from me passing on to glory.  I hope you're not taking today for granted.  Why don't you pause and thank Him for today - then rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24)!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Every Day Is A Day To Praise HIM!

Crying Eye clipartI looked at the couple next to me.  She was trying not to cry.  He put his arm around her and patted her shoulder.  We made eye contact.  I'm not sure if she could tell that I was also struggling not to cry.  I said to her, "mothers shouldn't have their children flying away from them on Mother's Day."   

We were at the airport at 6:15 a.m. sending our children to different destinations - her daughter was on her way to London and would be gone until December.  After a three-week visit, my daughter and baby granddaughter were on their way back to Texas where her Air Force husband is stationed.  But at least I knew I would see them sooner than December.  They're moving at the end of the month to Virginia to Langley Air Force Base - just 9 hours away by car, much closer than Texas!

Mothers Day Clipart.Still, I could feel a pity party approaching.  After all, since my son has been in the military for approximately 15 years, I rarely see him on Mother's Day.   Now that my daughter is a military wife, there's a good possibility that I may not see her on future Mother's Days.  Her baby was born on Mother's Day last year, so celebrating the baby's birthday may cancel spending time with good ole mom!  I also know that because of our cold, snowy winters my daughter and her husband have no intention of returning here to live.  These were the thoughts swirling around my head as I got in my car to leave the airport. 

As I started the car, I turned on the CD player.  The New Jersey Mass Choir's song, Praise Him, began playing.  As I listened, I sensed His Spirit reminding me that Mother's Day is a man-made holiday.  Mother's Day began with good intentions, but now as stated in a recent Miss Manners column has transformed from children honoring their mothers to mothers demanding honor from their children, husbands and other relatives (Washington Post 5/8/2011).  Factoring in the people I know who are saddened by this day because their mothers have passed away made me sad as well. 

As I began to meditate on the song, my spirit began to lift.  I was reminded that this day was not all about me.  He is worthy to be praised because every day is ALL ABOUT HIM No matter where my children are, my Lord and Savior is worthy to be praised.  If you listen to the song on youtube, I'm sure you'll praise Him too, even today - Mother's Day - because no matter where your children might be or if you've experienced the loss of your mom, He will comfort and keep you! 

Chorus 1:  Praise HimJesus, blessed Savior, He's worthy to be praised.

Verse 1: 
From the rising of the sun, until the going down of the same;
He's worthy, Jesus is worthy, He's worthy to be praised.

Chorus 2: Glory (4x) In all things give Him glory; Jesus, blessed Savior,
He's worthy to be praised

Verse 2:
God is our rock, hope of salvation, a strong deliverer, in Him will I always trust.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Who Are You Following?

Follow Heaven Graphics on TwitterI'm attending Chick-fil-A's Leadercast on Friday.  I was given instructions to bring my phone, laptop or iPad to be a part of the conversation during the event and to make sure that I have Twitter, FourSquare, and a QR Code reader available before I arrive.  I was instructed to go to and log in if I have an account or create one on the homepage to BE A FOLLOWER (followers are people who are interested in what others have to say).

During my morning meditations, I study scriptures from my favorite bible, a 1995 Christmas gift pictured here from my mother-in-law.  The colored tabs help me quickly find some of the scriptures and devotions that spoke specifically to my heart when I read them.  This morning, I referenced one of those tabs.  In the 4th chapter of Judges, Deborah,  a prophetess and judge, sent for Barak and told him to take 10,000 men to Mount Tabor where Deborah was going to lure Sisera (an oppressor of the Israelites for years) and his troops and give them into Barak's hands.  But Barak said to her: If you go with me, I will go; but if you don't go with me, I won't go.  Deborah said to Barak: Go!  This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands.  Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?  Chapter 1 of Deuteronomy has a similar message.  Moses spoke to the nation of Israel in the desert.  He said: The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, "You have stayed long enough at this mountain...Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore he would give to your fathers -- to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- and to their descendants after them."  Moses reminded the Israelites how unwilling they were to take possession of the land because they were afraid.  He said to them: Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them.  The Lord, your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert.  There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.

As I read His Word today, the phrases "Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?" and "The Lord your God who is going before you" spoke volumes to me.  Deuteronomy 13:4 reminds me that it is the LORD my God I must follow, and Him I must revere.  Come, folldisciple 300x223 Christian Discipleship: Definition | Cost of Discipleshipow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people (Matthew 4:12).  If the Lord is going before me, then I must without question, follow Him. 

I haven't rejected all of social media, after all, I am a blogger!  Even though Twitter is used by people in nearly every country in the world, I don't have nor do I desire a Twitter account.  I'm just not interested in following anyone but God.  Who are you following?