With our country being so divided, I think we can all agree that this year has been our most challenging one. We have all been rocked to the core by unimaginable loss of life and months of quarantine. I would like to spread love and gratitude to all of you reading these words and turn our focus to positivity and hope in the coming months.
I am extremely grateful for this time to spend on reading, practicing yoga, hiking and exploring the great outdoors, rekindling my relationships, being of service to others, and resting when I am weary and tired.
I challenge you to start each morning praising God for every breath and to speak healing over our country, our loved ones, and focus on all the blessings in your life. Spend more of your day listening to uplifting music and less hours on social media. We are all in this chaotic world together and our souls are craving peace and unity now more than ever.
Last Tuesday evening my nephew and I discussed the power of prayer in our conversation. I shared my morning and evening ritual of talking to God and saying prayers. He desires to have a stronger relationship with the Father and I encouraged him to meditate on His word and pray daily. He’s been actively looking for a new job and asked if I could start praying for God to lead him to that position. I was elated that he asked me to pray for him and promised him to do so.
When I hung up the phone, I had a missed call. I was amazed while listening to the voicemail message. It was from the Assistant Principal of a school in our area with a job opening for me! This was a school that I’d intended to transfer to last year but the position fell through. I accepted that job offer and transferred the next day. I phoned my nephew to tell him that God was working on our behalf already and hearing our prayers. His response was, “My job is coming next! I know that God will work it out in his perfect timing!” AMEN!
Last night I made a quick run to RedBox to return a movie while my husband and granddaughter, Olivia relaxed at home. As I drove out of the parking lot I saw a young homeless man sitting on a blanket with all of his belongings propped up next to him. God nudged my heart open and placed this thought in my head; if I was sleeping outside I would want a nice, hot meal!
When I arrived home, Derrick was asleep on the couch and I motioned for Olivia to come into the kitchen. I told her of the plan that God had given to me and she smiled excitedly. I reheated some homemade black-eyed peas with smoked turkey legs over rice with a portion of collard greens leftover from dinner. We packed it up and drove back to the parking area to deliver the food.
We introduced ourselves to the young man and I handed him the food describing what Derrick had prepared. He said, “God bless you” and I told him it was a blessing for me as well. We chatted and he wished us both a happy holiday. Olivia, at age six was witness to a true act of kindness and obedience to God’s special request. I’ve learned not to question any of my Father’s instructions and am always rewarded when I follow through with them. Have a blessed and giving season!
When I received the news that my friend’s son Jacob was in a coma, my immediate response was to start praying fervently for his complete recovery. I knew in my spirit that this was not in accordance with God’s plan and purpose for this gifted young man. As the days passed I prayed day and night for healing to Jacob’s body and envisioned him waking up, with his family gathered around him.
Jacob Tyler Thureson aka Hella Sketchy passed away on June 27, 2019 from an apparent opioid overdose. He was a musical genius and created more in his 18 years of life than most artists accomplish in a lifetime. His legacy will live on through the hearts of the thousands of people he touched and inspired; always encouraging others to follow their dreams. His family has received an outpouring of love and support from all over the world. Several of the messages have revealed that Jacob’s impact on their life was so profound, it had prevented them from a suicide attempt. He connected with so many young people and offered them hope for their future, even when he was in distress. Jacob was a selfless and giving soul. He will not be forgotten and his legacy will live on through his music, his fans, and his unforgettable story. Rest in peace knowing that you made a positive change in this troubled world. We love you!
With each step that I took on my morning hike
The uphill path seemed endless but I persisted
Knowing that I was not alone on this climb
My Father is always with me in my spirit,
I can hear His voice guiding me on my path;
Whispering in my ear, "You are never alone".
As I reflected on the past few years,
I was comforted as His arms wrapped around me
Like a warm coat of honey in the afternoon sun
I praised Him for rehabilitating my body
Also for giving me the strength and faith
To believe my husband has been healed from cancer.
Derrick and I are so thankful for all of your prayers!
Have a blessed and healthy New Year!
We all have an endless number of childhood memories. I was blessed to grow up in Riverside, a small community designed in 1869! This unique suburb of Chicago has winding roads and majestic homes designed by architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright. To this day, it resembles a modern day Mayberry R.F.D., a quaint town with a lot of history.
My best friend from the age of 5 was Ginny and only one house separated us. We grew up together and were adopted by each other’s families. We spent our summers playing on tire swings, building forts and sleeping outdoors in the field behind my house, riding bikes to Swan Pond, or swimming at the local pool. In the evenings, all the kids in our neighborhood would gather in our backyard for a game of Kick The Can or Ghost!
When we reached our teenage years, we attended different high schools. We gravitated toward new friends and moved in separate circles. Once I graduated high school and left for The University of Illinois, I don’t recall seeing Ginny again. Fast forward to last September when I attended my 40th high school reunion… I was speaking to Janice, another close friend of ours from Riverside and she inquired if I was in touch with Ginny. At that moment, I made a mental note to start searching for my long lost friend. I located one of her nephews on FaceBook and asked him to pass on my contact info but didn’t hear from her. Little did I know that God had also placed it on her heart to find me as well.
The evening of June 22nd, my husband and I attended the Glory Concert in Santa Clarita. In route to the venue, I received a text message from my sister Lyn in Chicago saying, “Guess who I talked to from our past?” We exchanged several texts and then she revealed that the mystery person was in fact, Ginny! I could not believe my eyes! After 40+ years, we reconnected the following day and had a lengthy phone conversation. It was as if there was no lapse in time with our friendship. What a blessing for both of us!
This past Sunday morning Derrick awoke early to prepare for a bike ride with a friend. As he planned to leave at 7:30 a.m., he leaned his road bike against the fence in our driveway while he grabbed his water bottle and snack from the kitchen. About three minutes passed before he walked outside and yelled, “Someone stole my bike!” I came running outside to find him distraught and both of us were trying to wrap our heads around what had happened. We were shocked that someone was bold enough to walk up the long driveway and grab his bicycle! He then jumped into his car to drive through the neighborhood and search for the person who had taken the bike.
As he drove off, I started messaging all of my friends to start a prayer chain. Although my mind was telling me there was little chance of him locating the bike, my spirit was saying that God could reveal the location to us. During those moments when fear and doubt would creep in, I would claim that God could turn this situation around. Derrick returned home with a heavy heart and we tried our best to make sense of the whole situation. The only answer we could agree upon was that God had protected him from a serious cycling accident.
About an hour passed and my husband received a call from his boss asking if he could come into the office for a couple hours. I think Derrick was relieved because his focus turned to getting dressed and moving past the unpleasant events of the morning. In the meantime, I called my dear Brazilian friend, Nazira to pray with me. After Derrick left for work, I dialed another prayer warrior friend of mine, Kimberly. She began praying with me and proclaimed that God would restore everything we had lost and more! At that very moment, Derrick was trying to call me so I placed her on hold. He sounded out of breath and blurted out, “I am walking toward the house with my bike and will be there in two minutes!” I told Kim that God had answered our prayers and I would call her right back. Then I ran outside to meet Derrick with his bike and cried out with joy! I grabbed him by the neck and hugged him, unable to control my emotions.
He proceeded to tell me the miraculous story of how he’d spotted his bike. He had driven only a few blocks from our home and was looking down one of the side streets. He’d noticed a woman walking with a backpack and she was wheeling a bicycle next to her on the sidewalk. He flipped the car around and pulled up to the curb. He asked her, “Where did you get that bike?” and she answered, “I just bought it for $20.” Derrick said, “That’s my bike; it was stolen this morning.” She did not offer any resistance and told him to take the bike.
This is our wonderful testimony of how God answers prayers when your faith is stronger than your doubts. Within the past 24 hours, we have shared this powerful story with our family, friends and co-workers. Please continue to share it as well with those you love and continue to spread His love.
My first encounter with my angel named Steven was on the night of the car collision. The driver’s side door was blocked so I hoisted myself over to the passenger seat and opened that door. I reached down to the floor to retrieve my phone and dialed my husband. Steven then appeared and knelt down to comfort me and hold my hand. Then he kindly offered to give Derrick the directions to our location. As I was hoisted out of the car by the EMT’s and placed in an ambulance, my husband arrived at the scene. A young man stepped out of the crowd to ask him if he needed any assistance (a true angel of mercy).
After ten days in the I.C.U, I was transferred to a nursing care facility for the next phase of my recovery. When I reflected back to that traumatic night, I determined that Steven was heaven sent to console me in my time of need. He had programmed his number in my phone and I called him to give an update on my condition. This angel came to visit me during my second week at the facility. When Derrick shook Steven’s hand, he recognized him as the young man who’d approached him that night to lend his support.
Last month on Thanksgiving morning, I received a message from Steven asking for our mailing address as he wanted to send us something. To our surprise, he wanted to invite us to his wedding and his fiancee was arriving from Brazil in a couple days. Derrick invited the two of them to join us for a post Thanksgiving dinner after he picked her up from the airport. Steven and Nathaly spent the entire afternoon with us and we learned they had met four years prior when he was on a missionary trip in Brazil. What a lovely couple and to think that God had brought them together in His perfect timing.
We attended their intimate wedding on Saturday, December 16 at a church in Pasadena. Their personal vows brought tears to our eyes and I whispered to Derrick, “God can bring good out of any situation.” We celebrated this blissful union with his loving family and friends. We just might fly to Sao Paolo next year to attend the second wedding ceremony in Brazil. God has revealed to me that there are angels on earth! Have an incredibly blessed Christmas season.
I want to clarify a misconception that a lot of religious people have; that yoga practice is not acceptable as a Christian. Actually yoga and religion are classically different. Meditating on the word of God or breathing deeply through a yoga pose brings peace and calmness to your mind and soul. I find that some of my deepest connections with prayer occurs during yoga classes.
During the past 15 months of recovery from my car accident, I’ve come to realize how yoga has promoted healing to my broken femur and spine. The stretching, twisting, and static poses have strengthened my body in ways that physical therapy could not. Many corporations offer yoga to their employees at their work location to improve physical health while decreasing stress and anxiety. One of my favorite instructors brings his guitar to play at the end of class and anyone can join in with the singing.
I have been practicing yoga for over fifteen years and recommend it for anyone wanting more mobility. It will open and stretch you physically while releasing toxins and deep emotions. Incorporating essential oils into your daily regime is truly beneficial and healing as well. I am so thankful for yoga!