Happy Birthday to Me

We have a running joke in our house when it comes to birthdays.

Instead of just one day for your birthday, instead, you get a whole week, which by the end of the month has actually become a whole birthday month.

During birthday month the person with the birthday usually to tries their best to get the other people in our family to buy them gifts or to do things with them that we normally wouldn’t ask for or do.

For instance, when it’s my birthday week I know that it’s a given that my husband will take me out to dinner on the big day, BUT for the whole week I usually try my best to get out of cooking and every chance I get I will drop hints like, “have you seen the new birthday pancakes at Ihop” Or,  “wow you sure can smell the Mexican restaurant down the street today!”  I also throw in the fact that many of the restaurant’s reward clubs I belong to have sent us coupons for free birthday meals and somebody has to use them so it may as well be us 😀

Even though I truly don’t expect my husband to have to take me out to eat all week, A girls still gotta try, right?

And try try try I have because guess what October is for me?

October my Birthday month!

This is how Birthday month went down for me this year….

First, my husband gave me a new fitness tracker that I have been really, really REALLY wanting, AND I managed to talk him into letting me have it about 3 weeks early.  And then fast forward to Birthday week in which I managed to talk him into taking me to Ihop for free pancakes, we tried out a new Mexican restaurant that some friends suggested, We went to 54th Street Bar & Grill & Dairy Queen on my actual birthday, and then two days after my birthday, we went to another Mexican restaurant which just moved in at the end of our street. We also went on a ton of walks, Sunday drives, and shopping.

As I write this I realize how spoiled I am because even if it weren’t my birthday month he would still do all that stuff with me.  Thankfully we don’t do all of that eating on a regular basis or we’d both weight 5000 pounds!

Now fast forward to a little bit ago…

Last night I was writing letters to the kids I sponsor through Compassion. As I was answering the questions one of them had asked I realized that one of the questions was – When is my birthday month?.  The cool thing about that question is that the child who asked it just so happens to have her birthday in October too and it was really kind of cool to tell her that we share the same Birthday month.

As I was writing her letter I began wondering how she had spent her birthday. I started to write the question asking her if she had done anything special for her birthday but then I  stopped.  I stopped because I wasn’t sure if that were an appropriate question to ask because she lives in extreme poverty. The more I thought about the question the more I realized that she most likely doesn’t eat dinner out or get extravagant gifts for her birthday like I do.

As a sponsor, I am always offered the opportunity to send a donation towards a birthday gift for her and several times when I have done this I’ve received pictures back of what she bought with the money. What I’ve noticed is this – Every time she used her birthday money to buy practical gifts such as clothing or cooking supplies such as flour or sugar. While those are good gifts,  and she seems to be very excited to get those things I know they would not be my first choice of how to spend my own birthday money.  I realized now that her birthday and my birthday are probably very different.

I ended up never asking the question about her special day, but I did tell her how special she is and that God made her special by creating her on her birthday day.  I also wished her a Happy Birthday.

I think birthdays should be special for everyone, but especially for children.

I know my birthday was a little very extravagant, but the truth is even if I’d never gone out to eat dinner or received a gift it would have still been a great birthday.  It’s not about the eating or the gifts, it’s just knowing that people love me so much that they took the time from their own days to wish me a happy birthday, or to just hang out with me. Those are the things that really make birthdays special for me.

How about you? What makes your birthday special for you?

How do you like to make birthdays special for the people you love?


Today is the last day of my birthday month and in honor of birthdays of everyone everywhere, I’d like to try to squeeze in just one more gift. But this time the gift is not for me. This gift will be a special birthday opportunity for a child who may not normally have a special birthday. If you follow the link below you will go to Compassion International’s child sponsorship page.  On that page you can use the birthday search filter to choose a child that has a birthday coming up, or if you’d like you can even choose a child who shares the same birthday as you.  when you sponsor a child he or she will receive the news just in time for their birthday that they have been sponsored by YOU!

Wouldn’t that be an amazing birthday gift for that child to receive?!

If you’d like give the gift of sponsorship to a child for their birthday just click this picture and it will take you to Compassion Internationa’s website.  If you are unsure or just want more information this link will take you to that too.  

 

Double Drive-Thru Cheater

Let me set the stage –It’s 8:30 am – There are about 8 to 10 cars in the McDonald’s drive-thru line and the line is so long it’s partially sticking out into the street.

The line is a single file line with everyone heading towards the order speakers.  Right before you get to the speaker is the split, which is the place where the next car in lines driver gets to make the decision of whether they are going to take the left speaker or the right speaker to place their order.

Everyone has been waiting a long time but still, everything seems to be going smoothly the cars are moving slowly forward with each driver taking their turn filtering through the speaker split and working their way through the line to the prize of their morning cup of coffee.

And then she happens….

I’m pretty sure you’ve met her before – The double drive-thru cheater seems to magically appear out of nowhere.  Like a thief in the night, she slides her car down the side of the line and with perfect timing she slips right in front of the person at the split, stealing the outside speaker lane and making herself the next person in line to place her order.

Did I mention its early and that nobody in line has had coffee or breakfast yet?!

By now we can all see what she has done and I’m pretty sure we all want to honk our horns and roll down our windows and let her know that she isn’t supposed to be next in line!

I personally had a million things going through my head that I wanted to share with her.

“Lady can’t you see this long line of people hanging out in the road???… are you blind???… or maybe we are all invisible??”

But I didn’t say anything but I do think for a few moments I may have seen steam billowing out of my ears.

Was she really so naive that she didn’t realize she had butted in line or worse yet was she really just that rude??

I know to you this probably sounds like a pretty minor frustration and you are right it is pretty minor, but for some reason, the double drive-thru cheating thing is one of those things that really…really get under my skin and it seems to happen to me a LOT.

In the whole scope of things, I do know that it’s really not that important that I get my coffee 2 seconds sooner (though it did give me something to write a blog about today  😀 ).   And Yes, the drive-thru cheater was still rude to butt in line, but it would have been a whole lot worse if I’d have made the choice to make a total idiot out of myself by saying something rude to her.

So, for that day the choice of a great day was chosen!

As far as the double drive-thru cheater goes – she will probably always get under my skin in some way BUT, thankfully I get to be the one to choose how things go from there.

So how about you? What gets under your skin? When it happens what will you choose?

Chose to make today a great day! 😊

Thanks for reading!

Terri

P.S.  I drew a little picture at the beginning to help you get a visual of all of this … If your eyes are hurting now please remember I never claimed to be an artist  😊😊 😊

Niagara Falls

Wowed Once again – Niagara Falls

If you haven’t been to Niagara Falls yet you need to be sure to add this one to your bucket list!

I can’t even begin to explain the beauty and power that I could see and feel in this place and all I can say is, “WOW! God sure did an amazing job on this one!”

Check out these video’s I took

The United States view:

The Canada view:

Here are just a few of the hundreds of pictures I took –

These pictures don’t even compare to actually being there.

Of all of the places I’ve been to so far, Niagara Falls is at the top of my list in the beauty and power category, so if you can go there – then go! 🙂

 

Connected 24-7 Isn’t Good for Me

Connected 24-7 Isn't Good for Me astorybyme.comA few weeks ago my husband and I were in a restaurant and one of us asked the other if we were ‘checked-in’ yet.

A couple of seconds later I found myself taking a picture of our food and checking us in on Facebook and also on Instagram. It was only a couple seconds after the ‘check-in’ that we had our first ‘like’ and also a few comments.  We then ate our dinner and I spent the next hour or so replying to the comments on our check-in via my cell phone.

In the middle of all this, the thought suddenly occurred to me that something felt really wrong with this scenario.

That thought seemed to plague me for the rest of the week.

The more I thought about it the more perplexed I became. I found it strange that 9 years ago checking into a restaurant meant something totally different to me.  Back in those days (gosh I think I may be sounding old now) checking in at a restaurant meant that we would have told the host or hostess we had arrived so that we could be seated.

How did we go from checking in to be seated to checking in on social media and sharing our date with the world?!

And why on earth am I sharing a picture of my food with people?!!

My ‘check-in’ now seemed kind of silly and it also felt as if it were nothing more than a big giant brag.

“Oh look at what I am having for dinner!… its too bad you can’t be here with us…oh but wait, you are sorta-kinda here now!…well only virtually… and guess what?…now we’re texting with you on Facebook instead of talking to each other.”

Wouldn’t it have been much more fun had we had just kept our date to ourselves or better yet – how about if we’d had a bunch of our friends with us in-person around the table enjoying that dinner with us?!!

Over the last week, I’ve also compiled a list of what I have observed about social media that bugs me:
-We can soft focus our wrinkles and shave off 10 pounds.
-The sky can be a little bluer and the flowers a little brighter.
-We can crop out the stuff we think is not so attractive
-And we can always put on our happy faces.

But the truth is all the happy faces in the world on social media has nothing on a good old fashioned face to face conversation.

Real life just isn’t as perfect as it may seem on social media but the truth is I actually think I like it better not so perfect and with real live people close beside me.

I know it sounds as if I hate social media, which isn’t at all true.

Social media can be a good thing too. I love the fact that I am able to connect with friends and relatives that live far away that I may have never connected with again or have never even met if not for social media.  I love that I can have a glimpse into the lives of my cousins and old school friends and I absolutely love seeing pictures of their kids, grandbabies, and vacations.

The truth is I even enjoy the check-ins of my friends and yes even their foodie pictures!

I think what I discovered is that for me personally, I don’t think its so good to have that connection going 24-7.

About a week ago I made the decision to take a few social media apps off of my PHONE.  Not all of them, mostly just the ones that I feel the urge to look at all day long or post to when I am out enjoying real life. I then decided that when I use those forms of social media I will just sign in online via my computer or tablet for a few minutes each day so that I can catch up with those people I can’t see in my everyday life.  From now on I am going to put away my phone so I can give my full attention to those people who are here with me in-person.  I also want to call more and text less and invite people to lunch or dinner with me instead of scrolling through Facebook while I eat lunch alone.

Real-live-up-close-in-person experiences are what I am aiming for and hopefully, that’s what those people I’m closest to will want also.

Just for Today

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5‭-‬6 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/pro.3.5-6.NLT

Mr. KB’s Sticky Situation

This is the face you make when you are a cat and you are angry with your person for not warning you that they had changed up the morning routine.

Anyone who has a cat knows that cats are pretty routine and most of them don’t really like it when you mess with the schedule.

My cat Mr. KB loves routine and today I realized that he and I have a routine that I guess I never really thought much about until now.

The usual routine is that when I go into my office to work or study he runs ahead of me and jumps up on top of the desk.  At precisely the exact moment that my rear end hits the chair is when his feet hit the desktop. He then usually settles in beside me until I’m finished with whatever I’m doing.

If it’s morning time I will bring a cup of coffee to my desk so when he sees me with the coffee he knows it time to go in the office.

But today what Mr. KB didn’t know was that I had already made a buttered and jellied bagel and had put it on the desk before I went for my coffee.

Seeing me with coffee in hand heading for the office he knew it was time but because I didn’t think about his routine of diving on to the desk, and Mr. KB wasn’t expecting me to change my routine and have breakfast waiting on the desk, Mr. KB to landed right in the middle of my bagel!

Needless to say, Mr. KB’s whole routine was immediately thrown out of whack.

If you want to see something funny and not so funny all rolled into one… just imagine a butter and jelly-covered cat and a woman with a cup of coffee in her hand trying to catch the butter and jelly-covered cat and a plate of food before any of them land on the carpet.

Success!!  😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Mr. KB is all cleaned up now and my life is back to a normal routine, but from the way he’s been glaring at me all morning, I think this routine change thing may have totally ruined Mr. KB’s whole day.

 

The Time I was Given Salvation, but Decided to Give it Back

 

I never went to church as a child or adult other than occasional visits. When I was in my late 20’s I had been attending a church for a few months and one day I found myself walking down the aisle during a church service because I had just given my life to Jesus. I didn’t really understand the whole, ‘give your life to Jesus’ thing other than I knew that I had just been ‘saved’ and I was excited and happy about it!

Shortly after I was saved I was informed that because I was now saved, I could also become a member of the church. I hadn’t even realized until that moment that I wasn’t already a ‘member’ of the church.  I also soon found out that but there was a catch to being a member of the church.

To be a member of the church I had to be baptized.

I was still pretty new to all of this, and getting dunked underwater in front of everyone seemed horrifying to me. I really wanted to be a member of the church but did NOT want to get baptized!

And to make matters worse someone told me that if I didn’t get baptized then I couldn’t get into heaven!

Being saved by Jesus had somehow now turned into me freaking out about church membership, baptisms, and getting into Heaven.  None of this stuff had even been on my mind when I had asked Jesus to come into my life.

If this was what being saved felt like, I didn’t want to be saved anymore. I had felt a whole lot safer before the whole saving ordeal had happened!

Oh and also now added to the pot was this — my 7-year-old daughter had also been saved in Sunday school and she was scheduled to get baptized with me. The pressure was on and there was no way I could back out!

So the baptism happened and the joy I had felt at the beginning about being saved by Jesus was now lost under a huge weight.

Not only was the robe they made me wear to be baptized in heavy material that when wet made me feel as if I were coming out of the water with a couple of bags of rocks attached to my back.  But it added to the fact that I now felt weighed down with the overwhelming task I had in front of me to keep it together. I felt like a fake and knew I had to be good so as not disappoint God or anyone in the church.

After I was baptized I barely went church anymore. I felt like a huge failure and I eventually walked completely away from church.

The worst thing of all is that I also walked away from God. I felt like somehow I had been part of some crazy bate and switch scam and I decided that God wasn’t real.

I stayed that way many years but then I saw my father-in-law die and that was the day I met the real Jesus once again.

As my father-in-law took his last breath his face suddenly became peaceful, I can never begin to explain what happened, except that God let me see my father-in-law as he was entering his new home in heaven and the peace surrounding him felt as if it were surrounding me. There was this overwhelming feeling of peace and love and it felt like it was all put there just for me to grab hold of.  I remember going home that night with the loss of a loved one, yet I felt like I had gained something huge I knew at that moment that God was real and that He truly loved ME! Unconditionally.

I had been told by well-meaning Christians my whole life that I should go to church and somehow I had grasped on to the idea that if I didn’t go to church I wasn’t good enough for God.  I also thought I had to be good when just being who I was was good enough.

A hospital room at one of the darkest times of my life is where Jesus came and got me. For no other reason than because, He loved me… just as I was. There wasn’t a church building or baptism required to be a member of his family and the only strings attached were for me to believe in him and come into his arms.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Being saved by Jesus means that Jesus loves me so much that he gave up his life for me so I don’t have to be perfect.

The gift of Salvation is a God’s gift to ALL of us.

His gift is for any of us to take no matter who we are or where we are in life. It doesn’t have to be opened in a church building and we don’t have to be a member of anything to receive it. Once we accept it we are part of the family and will live in Heaven with him one day

I did eventually find a church that I now call my church home and I did even get re-baptized when I felt led by Jesus to do it not because I was forced to do it.

I love Jesus and the family of believers he has placed in my life and it’s good to have those people in my life because they help make that connection to Him even stronger. We worship together and learn about him together. We even help lift each other up in our times of struggle. So a church family is a good thing to have.

I did not share this story to condemn any church or denomination,  I shared it because I have met up with several people now who have had this same experience as me. I want others who read this to know that no matter who you are or where you are at you can come to Jesus just because He loves you and wants YOU right where you are.

If you already have accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation that is awesome! If you want to share it with others and you are attaching strings to it, please stop doing that!

‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.’ John 3:17

 

I Still See

Hey all,

Can you believe it’s already Monday again?!!!

The older I get the faster time seems to fly by.

Speaking of time flying by, sometimes I think its good to slow down not only during the moments we have right now but also to slow down and take a look back at how far we have come.  I find it amazing at how things that once were hard have actually helped me to become the more secure in who I am today.   Today before I share the song I want to share something I wrote in August of 2014.

Before we get started here is a little background on what was going on the day I wrote it –  I was on vacation in Mexico and had suddenly discovered a black hole directly in the center of my vision in one of my eyes.  At that time I also already had a blind spot in my other eye that hadn’t been very noticeable with both eyes open. Now with blindness in both eyes, I was in a full-blown panic.  I was laying in a beach chair beside the ocean, real live storm clouds looming over the water but a larger storm was going on inside my mind.  I could not bear to open my eyes because I didn’t want to see the blind spots. In the middle of it all God spoke peace to me.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the peace of God and how he can totally give peace in the middle of some of our hardest moments in life.  This was one of my hardest moments and God made it peaceful.  Sometimes in life we really can’t do anything about our situation except give it to God.

Okay so much for sharing an old blog post I seem to not be able to stop typing and it now looks as if I am writing a new one…

Here is the post form Aug. 2014…

I Still See

 

20140829_130352

The wind is raging, storm clouds looming over the waves and in my mind.

I see where I don’t see and it frightens me.

The waves crash the shore and inside my mind they crash my sanity.

Fear overwhelming, the roar of the ocean matching the roar in my mind

Threatening dark clouds in the distance much like the dark blur obscuring my vision of the beauty before me.

The beauty…you are so big you created this

I feel so small right now,

I know you are so much bigger than me and even more bigger than the small blur.

I feel the breeze starting to cool as the storm in the distance calms the storm that is raging inside calms too.

The blur still threatens to get in the way but you won’t let it.

Even if I can’t see… I still see YOU perfectly.

20140829_124958Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

via I Still See

Now for today’s Music Monday song

“Even if” by MercyMe

Even if what we are praying for isn’t seeming to end, our hope is still in Jesus.  He will always be there for us and with Him we can move on. Even in the middle of the storm we can always find Jesus right beside us.

Thanks so much for coming by the blog today, I hope in some way what I’ve shared can inspire you or help you to find the peace you are looking for. Jesus is the only answer I really know of for perfect peace inside and I hope if that is what you are looking for you will know him too.  If you want more info about knowing Jesus you can click -> here.

T

The Resting Place

This is where I found my cat sleeping this morning.

Lately, I can’t seem to keep him off of my Bible.  It seems to have become his favorite resting place.

When I saw him so peacefully resting in my Bible it made me think of how it makes me feel when I open this book each day and read the special messages God has tucked inside for me.

No, it doesn’t make me fall asleep like Bart, but instead, HIs words fill me with peace.

The Bible is the place where I know I will always find my Jesus and the peace that only comes when I rest in HIm.

Where will you find your rest today?

Music Monday – How Great Thou Art

Don’t you sometimes wish God would just talk out loud?

A few nights ago, my husband and I were supposed to volunteer for the Compassion table at The Roadshow concert.  But I was thinking about not going.

I  am 3 weeks post surgery and I’m not supposed to be standing for long periods of time plus I feel pretty wiped out every night by evening. Add to that it had been a dreary cloudy day and they were calling for a lot of rain that would make driving an hour and a half to and from the concert miserable.

I decided to tell my husband about my thoughts on not going but before I could speak he said, “I sure am looking forward to going to the concert tonight!”

So you guessed it, I kept my thoughts to myself and we went to the concert.

Upon arriving we were met by a lot of our friends we’ve made over the years who also work these events and suddenly I was happy to be there.

We then had training and prayer and we were soon off to our assigned table… A table on the floor inside the concert. Most people only visit the table during intermission so that means we pretty much got to watch the whole concert in what I would consider some of the best seats in the house!

Now I want to get off subject for just a minute…. Hopefully, this will all come together and make sense soon.

For quite some time now I have this odd feeling that God is stripping me down bringing me back to the basics. I’ve been a little mixed up about why when I follow His lead things don’t go like I thought they would go.

Now add this – Volunteering with Compassion has always been something I feel very passionate about but for about a year God had been leading me in a different direction which felt strange to me. And then this past December I started feeling Him pulling me back toward Compassion.

Add to that the story about my blog I told you a few days ago and it’s a recipe for confusion

Now back to the concert…

I am sitting there watching the concert (they gave me a chair! Yay!), Natalie Grant comes on stage with a powerful message about wanting Jesus more than anything and then she sings the song ‘More than Anything.’  The words go – Help me want the Healer More than the healing, Help me want the Savior, More than the saving, Help me want the Giver, More than the giving, Oh help me want You Jesus.

I had never heard that song until that moment… Add this to the stuff I wrote earlier- A lot has been going on in my life for what seems like a really long time from all sides of life. I keep living my life for Jesus yet bad stuff just keeps happening and there is really nothing I can do about any of it except keep praying and stay close to Jesus.

Which I do do.

Natalie sang more songs all of which had God speaking to me through them and then she started singing ‘How Great Thou Art’ and I started to sing along.  I could totally feel God speaking to me about what I am supposed to do…the writing, Compassion… the junk in my life.

At that moment I was laying it all down and then I said to him,God, it would be so much easier if you would just speak out loud to me,” and I heard Him in my mind say, “It’s time to get to work and get some kids sponsored” and then at the same exact time I felt a tap on my shoulder and heard the words “it’s time to get back work and get some kids sponsored” coming out of my husbands mouth.

!!!!!!!!

I was suddenly jarred back into the room… strangely I never really realized that I had totally forgotten the rest of the people there.  For in the previous moments it had only been me and God.  The lights were coming on now and people were coming up to the table to sponsor kids.  I looked across the table and saw a woman who I had been talking to at the beginning of the concert who had been unsure about sponsoring as a child, she was now turning in a packet because she was sponsoring!!

I knew without a doubt this was where I was supposed to be.  I can’t even begin to explain the peace that washed over me.

The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

How Great God is!

Since my surgery, I haven’t been to a church service in 3 weeks. I was sick for 2 Sundays and then church was canceled another Sunday because of snow.

Today it felt so good to get to church and imagine my surprise (not) when we sang “How Great Thou Art

Happy Music Monday to you!

What song has moved you recently? Share it in the comments or on your blog and then link in the comments.