Sunday, November 30, 2014

Psalm 136

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
4 to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
5 who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
6 who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
7 who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
8 the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
9 the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

23 He remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
24 and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever.
25 He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.
(New International Version)

For the month of November, I have been blogging about 30 things I am thankful for. Last time you joined me here, I was up to number 25. Each verse of beautiful Psalm 136 gives us ideas of more things we should be thankful for. Here are the five remaining things I’d like to give thanks for, all of which I have pulled from this chapter of the Bible.

Number 26 I am thankful there is One True God and that His goodness and mercy endures forever.

Number 27 I am thankful that my One True God has made the heavens and the earth. He made these for all mankind, for our survival and our enjoyment.

Number 28 I am thankful that my One True God has made the sun to shine down on this earth during the day, to keep us warm and to grow our plants. And I am thankful that He placed a moon and the stars in the nighttime sky, to guide us when we are lost and alone in the still darkness of the night.  

Number 29 I am thankful that my One True God has made food and drink to sustain us. I am thankful that He has granted me such a wealth of items to pick from, from healthy to decadent.

Number 30 I am thankful that my One True God sent His only begotten Son to die for my sins so that I will not suffer eternal death, but instead will one day join Him in my eternal home in paradise.

And so we head into the Christmas season. 25 days from now we celebrate the night the world welcomed this Savior. Give thanks for that event today and every day.   

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Six More Things to Give Thanks For

It is the last week of November and I last posted the number 18 and 19 things which I am thankful for. That leaves me 11 things and since I have only been writing about this topic on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I better get going.

Number 20 – I am thankful that my parents took us on vacation every summer and that I got to see so much of our country.
Number 21 – I am thankful that back in 2005, God put it in my heart and in my head that I should travel to other countries. I am thankful that I had the chance to volunteer in Kenya twice and in Peru once.
Number 22 – I am thankful that the hubby gives in to my wanderlust, and that he even at times is willing to join me on my travels. I always have such a good time when he comes along.  
 Number 23 – I am thankful that God gave me such an active imagination. Sometimes, it gets me in trouble such as when I can’t stay focused or when I find humor in something very serious, but overall, the crazy things which pop into my head are the things which keep me going.
Number 24 – I’m thankful for my health. Hah! Have you seen me in the last three days? My back went out on Saturday morning and I have not been able to straighten up and at random times my back goes into spasms which drop me to my knees if I am not hanging onto something (so I try to always hang onto something coz I do not want to end up on the floor. “I’ve fallen down and I can’t get up.” I do not have Lifeline.). But at the beginning of the month, I wrote up a rough draft of things I am thankful for so I wouldn’t forget anything. I am still thankful that overall I am very healthy. When my back isn’t out, I can still walk, run, exercise, do crazy stuff my fifty-something year-old body maybe shouldn’t do. I don’t have high blood pressure, my cholesterol and blood sugar are excellent (hard to believe when you see what I eat). So I really can’t complain, but this did cause me to think of one more thing that I am thankful for.
 Number 25 – I am thankful for technology. Some of the technology out there is scary (please don’t ever let them put a micro-chip in you), and some of it is dumb (exactly why do kids text their friends who are in the same room with them). But a lot of technology is really improving our lives, even saving lives. Example: Over the last few days I have been so thankful for my Kindle. When I am lying flat on my back in bed on the heating pad, it is so much easier to hold a Kindle and keep my place when I drop it when I am trying to shift my position than to hold a book, which is heavier, really hard to hold open with one hand, harder to turn the pages with one hand and if I drop it, I don’t know what page I am on. I also gotta love my laptop today coz it is not painful at all to sit in my office chair with my fingers on the keyboard.  
(As a side note, I am thankful that I had all of these pictures already in the computer and that they all belong to me so I never have to worry about copyright infringement. Number 23 is very helpful. And by the way, that is a picture of cookie dough.)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Psalm 28

1 I pray to you, O Lord, my rock.
    Do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you are silent,
    I might as well give up and die.
2 Listen to my prayer for mercy
    as I cry out to you for help,
    as I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary.
3 Do not drag me away with the wicked—
    with those who do evil—
those who speak friendly words to their neighbors
    while planning evil in their hearts.
4 Give them the punishment they so richly deserve!
    Measure it out in proportion to their wickedness.
Pay them back for all their evil deeds!
    Give them a taste of what they have done to others.
5 They care nothing for what the Lord has done
    or for what his hands have made.
So he will tear them down,
    and they will never be rebuilt!
6 Praise the Lord!
    For he has heard my cry for mercy.
7 The Lord is my strength and shield.
    I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
    I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
8 The Lord gives his people strength.
    He is a safe fortress for his anointed king.
9 Save your people!
    Bless Israel, your special possession.
Lead them like a shepherd,
    and carry them in your arms forever.
(New Living Translation)

Sometimes there is just nothing more to say. 
Have a great week and a happy Thanksgiving. 
And praise God for all the blessings we have received

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful for puppies and kitties

I would be remiss if I didn’t share how thankful I am for the namesake of this blog.

Dino the Wonder Dog came into our lives in April 2007. We had lost Pepper and Shadow just three months before and at the time said to ourselves, as many dog owners do, we won’t get another dog. Isn’t it nice to not be tied down and have to worry about someone being home to let the dog out? Isn’t it nice to not have another mouth to feed, another critter to run up vet bills, another responsibility?

But that April things weren’t going so hot for the family. We spent the weekend in the hubby’s hometown and when he went for a walk one morning, he stopped at the humane society just a few blocks away. They had a few mixed breed dogs up for adoption and had just been told they would be getting St Bernard mix puppies soon. Maybe we wanted a puppy instead? (Or a pony, do you mean?)

One dog caught the hubby’s eye. They thought he was part Australian shepherd and was about six months old. He’d been abandoned with several other dogs, perhaps his brothers and sisters, and all of them had found homes. But no one had taken an interest in this dog for some reason, and one of the boys who volunteered there had nicknamed him Demon, because he was so wild.

The hubby walked back to the house and told me about the dog, said that we could return to the shelter later that afternoon if I wanted to see what they had. It was close to our daughter’s birthday, and she had been having a rough year. Maybe we should get her a dog.

My living room, the morning after Dino's first night with us.
 He spent that first night in his kennel and did this in the hour
after we let him out and went back to bed. 
We drove to the shelter that afternoon, and even though we looked at the other dogs, I knew this one was the one. Yes, he was a little wild, but that was just the pent-up energy from spending too many hours in a cage in a cement building. I wanted to take him home right then.

We had to fill out an application and they wanted to check our references. They would call us once all the paperwork was in order and we could pick him up then. It was a long weekend. I was off of work that week and willing to drive over to get him as soon as I got the call on Monday.

Since we already had cats with the names Fred, Pebbles, and Bam-Bam, it seemed we could stick with the Flintstone’s theme and name the new dog Dino.

I’ve been thankful for him ever since (ok, except maybe that first morning).

Let me just sneak the cats in here too, coz even though the brains in cats’ heads function on a totally different level from a dog’s, I still have to respect who they are. Coz if I don’t, they will retaliate.   

Here are the cats who have shared my adult life with me:

Keisha – October 1986 to February 2005

Pebbles – July 31, 1993 to January 28, 2008; Bam-Bam – July 31, 1993 to July 24, 2010

Fred – September 2004 to present

Barney – June 30, 2008 to March 20, 2009; Betty – June 30, 2008 to present

Alice – July 31, 2010 to present; Cheshire – July 31, 2010 to present

I’m thankful for the joy each of these cats have brought into my life.

And I should mention Muffins too. May 1991 to June 1995

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thankful for Family

Hard to believe that we are this far into November. I have been writing about what I am thankful for this month, and I better get serious about my list as I was only up to number 12 last time!

#13 Ok, since it is lucky thirteen, she will understand. I am thankful every day of my life that God sent my sister Pat to be my best friend for 39 years. But actually since she was here first, I guess I should be thankful that God sent me into my particular family when Pat was two and a half years old and totally ready to be a devoted big sister. Not a day passes that I don’t miss her, but I know we will be together again someday and I am just as thankful that I will have that opportunity to again be her baby sister.

#14 My other big sister, Judy. Because she is quite a bit older than me, I don’t remember her living with us. But I do remember her wedding, when I was six years old. I thought it was pretty cool. I’m thankful though that now that we are older, we have more things in common, and we can be friends in addition to being sisters.

#15 My brother Tom. I can’t tell you why I am thankful for him. Judy knows why, and my hubby too. Family secrets, don’t you just hate them? I can tell you that I am thankful that he has a family picnic every summer. It brings out the whole family, kids, grandkids and cousins. It is always a good time.

#16 My dad. What can I say about Dad? Too much to list here. I can’t believe he’s been gone 21 years!

 #17 My mom. Ok if I can’t think of anything quick and witty about Dad, I sure can’t come up with something about Mom. I’m thankful that I had two parents who managed to turn out four pretty decent kids. I can’t in all honesty say they were always there for us, but they were always there when we really needed them. I guess that’s what’s important.

Ok, whew, I got through the immediate family. What’s next? 

(Disclosure: Because there may be someone in my family with an aversion to having their picture taken, you only get to see pictures of those who are no longer with us.)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Psalm 26

1 Lord, you be the judge and prove that I have lived a pure life.
    I have depended on you, Lord, to keep me from falling.
2 Look closely at me, Lord, and test me.
    Judge my deepest thoughts and emotions.
3 I always remember your faithful love.
    I depend on your faithfulness.
4 I don’t run around with troublemakers.
    I have nothing to do with hypocrites.
5 I hate being around evil people.
    I refuse to join those gangs of crooks.
6 Lord, I wash my hands to make myself pure,
    so that I can come to your altar.
7 I sing a song to give you thanks,
    and I tell about all the wonderful things you have done.
8 Lord, I love the house where you live,
    the place where your glory is.
9 Lord, don’t treat me like one of those sinners.
    Don’t kill me with those murderers.
10 They are guilty of cheating people.
    They take bribes to do wrong.
11 But I am innocent,
    so be kind to me and save me.
12 I am safe from all danger
    as I stand here praising you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
(Easy-to-Read Version)

For the month of November I am sharing Psalms which contain the word thanks or thanksgiving. Psalm 26 is called a psalm of vindication, as David pleads his case before God. Yet David was as big a sinner as anyone, as you may recall from the whole Bethsheba story (2 Samuel 11).

But I don’t think we should read this Psalm thinking of these as David’s words. They should be our words. If we have committed any of these sins (or any other sins, of which we each have a long list), all we have to do is ask for God’s forgiveness and those sins are washed away. Then all that is left is for us to thank and praise God for His goodness.  
After you read 2 Samuel 11, you'll know why I thought of this picture, even though there is no one on this roof top. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Running the gamut of thanks

The weather forecast for this past Monday morning through Tuesday night called for up to 20 inches of snow. By four p.m. Monday, when there was maybe four to six inches of new snow on the ground, and nothing seemed to be coming out of the sky, I thought that once again those weathermen were just pulling our leg.

February 29, 2012, 8:00 am, on the main drag of town
Then I woke up Tuesday morning and thought, “oh, nuts.” I haven’t been able to take many pictures of this new snow, but here is the blizzard of Leap Day 2012. This week’s snow wasn’t that bad but this is the kind of snowfall potential we can look forward to in the Northwoods.

For the month of November I am writing about the 30 things I am thankful for. Right now, I am thankful for snowblowers, snowplows, graders, tractors and anything else which moves the snow out of my way making it easier for me and all the people around me to get where they are going in a safe manner.
Found a picture of hubby snowblowing that day.

But that is only the ninth item on my list. I seem to be running behind as it is the 13th of November already.

I am also thankful that I have a warm house to live in on these snowy days. I shouldn’t even mention this for fear of jinxing myself, but when we first moved into this house, it had an old oil burning furnace. Our first major investment was getting a new furnace, but that one never seemed to run right. For a couple of years, it felt as if I was calling the furnace repair guy a couple times each winter. I don’t remember what happened, but the furnace finally started working reliably and the house has stayed warm. Or it would stay warm if I wasn’t too cheap to turn the thermostat up past 66 degrees (that’s warm enough outside in the summer and besides, I am also thankful for sweatshirts and blankies. But I will stick with just the warm house as item number 10).
My house all snug in winter. And thankful for snow-rakes too.

I’m going to throw out to you two more things and call it a day. Number 11 would be the best well water anywhere. One of the reasons that hubby never wants to move is because he is afraid he will never find water this good. He’s probably right, but I would still like to at least try the water at other houses that have newer kitchens or – never mind, my kitchen is the only thing I would change about my house.

I digress. Last of all I am thankful today for where all that delicious water goes after we are done with it. We had to replace our septic in 2008. The yard looked like a mine-field a week before our daughter’s graduation party, but hey, once the new septic was in all was well. And I don’t have to worry about the waste backing up into my bathtub. (Have you been THERE? Yuck!)
The view outside my office window, with the septic cover visible on Sunday.
Oops, septic cover no longer visible Tuesday morning. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thankful for Freedom

Today is Veteran’s Day. As I write my 30 days of thanks this month, it is a no-brainer what I am thankful for today.

Since the Revolutionary War, tens of thousands of men and women have fought for our freedom, have fought so that we can retain our God-given rights, have fought so that we can sleep easy at night, can earn a decent living doing work that we enjoy, can spend leisure time with family and friends, can practice the religion we choose. I think of all the things we have in the United States the one thing we take most for granted is our freedoms.

Then I look at all the things going on in this world, the things happening right here at home, and I feel there are those who are deliberately trying to take our freedoms away from us. They are devious and cunning, they aren’t bold and in our faces. Instead they are insidious, silent, predatory. I don’t think they plan on waging the kind of war we are prepared for. Our Service men and women prepare for physical battle, with physical weapons, weapons that kill and maim bodies, not weapons that kill and maim souls.

And so, I’m thankful for what I have right now. I won’t take it for granted. I’ll try to be strong, try to defend my personal freedoms and the freedoms of those I love. I’ll support our troops in the battles that they wage, but the rest I will just have to turn over to God.

In the meantime, semper fi.
Last I must also share Ben's story one more time. Click here. 
I also want to tell you about a book two of our friends wrote, "Dear Laura" by Dave Baltes and Gordon Lovsletten. It is going on sale today here in Tomahawk, or you can send for a copy. Read the article in today's Tomahawk Leader. 
(which wasn't on line when I posted this, but keep checking.)  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Psalm 9

1 I will give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart.
    I will tell about all the miracles you have done.
2 I will find joy and be glad about you.
    I will make music to praise your name, O Most High.
3 When my enemies retreat, they will stumble and die in your presence.
4 You have defended my just cause:
    You sat down on your throne as a fair judge.
5         You condemned nations.
        You destroyed wicked people.
        You wiped out their names forever and ever.
6 The enemy is finished—in ruins forever.
    You have uprooted their cities.
        Even the memory of them has faded.
7 Yet, the Lord is enthroned forever.
    He has set up his throne for judgment.
8 He alone judges the world with righteousness.
    He judges its people fairly.
9 The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust you, O Lord,
    because you have never deserted those who seek your help.

Psalm 9:1-10 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

Looking at the world around us today, listening to the news, one wonders if God is still thumping our enemies like He used to. Maybe that is because we aren’t living out verse 10. I will continue to be thankful that God is in my personal life and will continue to pray that He keeps me and my loved ones safe from the wicked. 
Lest we forget the Holocaust 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Thankful for Trees

For the month of November I am blogging about all of the things I am thankful for. I hope that no one minds that today I am also blogging for A Personal Photo Challenge. Yes, I am multitasking.

The Photo Challenge for November was “Trees”. How can I not be thankful for the beautiful trees in my yard.

(I played with the colors on this one.)
I took all of these pictures one October morning with my Nikon Coolpix S8100. I must admit that I am thankful for this great little camera. Easy to use, small, and I have beat it up pretty bad over the years, even forgot it in my pocket when I went in wadding up to my waist in Lake Superior. I am pretty sure the instructions said not to submerse it. Then there was the day I blogged about here, yet it keeps working for me. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Childhood and a Small Town

I thought that for the month of November I would blog about everything that I am thankful for. 30 things in 30 days, but not in 30 blog posts. I will be lumping a few things together so I only have to write here two or three times a week. As the month goes on, I am not going to be able to recap all those things, so you are going to have to take my word for it that today I am thankful for thing number 4 and thing number 5. (Sounds like Dr. Suess.)

Looking back on my childhood I would have to say that I had no complaints (at the time I think I complained a lot, but looking back it was pretty idyllic). I had the perfect childhood – parents who were there when I needed them but not there all the time, a sister who was my best friend and partner in crime (click here for one such memory), a house in the country with acres of woods as a blank canvass for our adventures. I can’t imagine having been raised any differently. I’m thankful that I had such a good childhood.

In a similar vein, I am also thankful that I was born, raised and still live in a small Midwestern town. Sure, they say that when you live in a small town, if you don’t know what you’re doing, someone else will. Maybe that means we are all nosy, but it also means that most of us care. We left our doors unlocked, we talked to strangers on the party line (do any of you young kids know what that was? our version of social media), we trick-or-treated after dark!

And that is why I am thankful that I still live in a small town. 

Especially a small town that is ready for snow. 

The other day at work we started talking about the Beatles (a long story), and I came home and looked up some of their songs on YouTube. What can I say? This is dedicated to those we have lost. Those we are thankful to have had the pleasure of knowing. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

My First Blog of Thanks

A while back someone challenged me to post a picture of a flower. I think it was a lily. I was willing to do that, but then went – what? What am I doing? And then I totally forgot about it.

All the challenges out on Facebook and other social media get away from me. I know that most of them are in good fun and are ways of getting people interacting. But like I said, I just get confused and lose track of what I’m supposed to be doing.

I was most recently challenged to post things I was thankful for. But I think there was more to it than that; like I said, I lose track. So in yet another way to keep life simple, I will write my November blog posts about all the things I am thankful for. 30 things to be exact for the 30 days in November. I won’t post one each and every day, but am shooting for posting on my usual three days a week schedule and add enough thankful-items each time so that I end up at 30. Got it? I sure hope that now I am not making things complicated.

Of course, I must begin my list by telling you how thankful I am for my hubby. He is my rock and my anchor (are those the same things?). I can count on him to always wash my dishes, do the yardwork, shop for groceries, clean the litter box, you name it. He always knows how to make me laugh, and I can see how much he cares about other people, that he is willing to always put others before himself. About the only thing he is sketchy on is making the bed, but I have learned to adapt to that.

The second and third items on my list would have to be my kids Nick and Val. Those couple years that I was raising them by myself, I never would have survived if they hadn’t both been such easy keepers. I also wouldn’t have survived raising them by myself when they became teen-agers, but I already thanked the hubby so I’m not going back there.

Nick is my computer-guy. He has talked me through most of my internet and technology snafus. (Such as this, I cannot believe that snafu was in this program’s dictionary; I think Nick snuck it in there.) As wound up as he gets about his own stuff, he is always there to calm me down and bring me back to earth when I am about to blow a gasket.

And what can I say about my daughter Val, except the one thing that my hubby always says about her. If I am Lucy, she is Ethel. My partner in crime. I’ve seen things on Facebook about what a true friend is, that if you are sitting in jail, a friend will bail you out, but a true friend will be sitting there next to you. That’s my Val. I am thankful that she is who she is.

That’s three things I’m thankful for tonight. Look for more in a few days.  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Psalm 7

Psalm 7

A Prayer for Justice
1 O Lord, my God, I come to you for protection;
    rescue me and save me from all who pursue me,
2 or else like a lion they will carry me off
    where no one can save me,
    and there they will tear me to pieces.
3-4 O Lord, my God, if I have wronged anyone,
    if I have betrayed a friend
    or without cause done violence to my enemy—
    if I have done any of these things—
5 then let my enemies pursue me and catch me,
    let them cut me down and kill me
    and leave me lifeless on the ground!
6 Rise in your anger, O Lord!
    Stand up against the fury of my enemies;
    rouse yourself and help me!
Justice is what you demand,
7     so bring together all the peoples around you,
    and rule over them from above.
8 You are the judge of all people.
    Judge in my favor, O Lord;
    you know that I am innocent.
9  You are a righteous God
    and judge our thoughts and desires.
Stop the wickedness of evildoers
    and reward those who are good.
10 God is my protector;
    he saves those who obey him.
11 God is a righteous judge
    and always condemns the wicked.
12 If they do not change their ways,
    God will sharpen his sword.
He bends his bow and makes it ready;
13     he takes up his deadly weapons
    and aims his burning arrows.
14 See how wicked people think up evil;
    they plan trouble and practice deception.
15 But in the traps they set for others,
    they themselves get caught.
16 So they are punished by their own evil
    and are hurt by their own violence.
17 I thank the Lord for his justice;
    I sing praises to the Lord, the Most High.

Good News Translation

Just three weeks ago I started going through the Book of Psalms, thinking that I would make my life easy for the next three years, and share a Psalm with you every Sunday. If you are observant and follow my blog faithfully, you may have noticed that I skipped a couple chapters. That is because I am concentrating on being thankful this month, so have jumped to chapters which include the word “thanks” or “thankfulness”. It is amazing how many times those words are in the Bible. And for good reason, don’t you think? 

(And doesn't that male lion look like a big baby, as if he would never harm a fly? His paws are the size of dinner plates. I think I will stay in the safari van, thank you very much.)