The Sweet Stuff Ministry

Thursday, May 30, 2013

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

  “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices wit the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.  Love never fails”.

I have always thought of this passage as describing what “TRUE” love is, whether it is between us and God, husband and wife, parent and child, siblings or friends.  It is somewhat of a checklist for loving someone.  In today’s post I wish to honor and example of “TRUE” love that I have in my life.  A heritage that I am blessed to be a part of.

My 94 year old grandfather passed away last night.  Most all of his family was there around his bed.  It was peaceful-that peculiar peace that only God can bestow amidst the times of grief and sorrow.  My Nana, his bride of 75 years, was holding his hand.  As I watched the tears flow down her face, I knew (not that I ever doubted) that there was “TRUE” love between them.  I could see that her flesh was ripping apart as he passed because such a part of her went along.  I know that he loved her as much.  There was not a single visit that I made to the hospital or nursing home in the few months he has been there that he did not ask about her; how she was doing that day, if I had talked to her.  He called her most everyday that he did not see her.

He was a man that truly loved.   He loved God.   He loved his church.  He dearly loved his family.   To write all the things that I will hold on to about him would require writing a book.  I do want to list some of the thoughts and memories that stand out to me. 

            -He tended to his family in every way.
-He always showed up:  weddings, funerals, graduations, births, surgeries, church functions.  He even came to help me decorate for my wedding ( how precious is that!).
-He was always interested in all our comings and goings- all 40 of us plus his siblings and their children.
            -He enjoyed his friendships.
            -He knew how to have fun and play with all of us.
            -He had high ethics and morals and he stuck to them.
            -He was straightforward.
-He could offer encouragement, sympathy, how-to’s, political advice, and jokes whenever appropriate.
-He was my friend and confidant and I know he was to all of us.

I am honored to have known him and thankful that God chose me to be a part of this family.  I am blessed to know what “TRUE” love feels and looks like!  #TSS



Monday, May 27, 2013

Philemon 1:7     “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”
My heart was refreshed this weekend.  It was refreshed by encouragement, not for me, but for my youngest daughter.   Stage fright, or any type of fear, is a terrible thing and when you are eleven years old, it can seem as if the world might end. 
It was her first “Big” horse show.  She is not new to riding and at 23 years old, neither is her horse.  However, she is new to showing horses and this was a BIG deal, big arena, and big jumps-BIG deal.  She breezed through the first of her classes in the show with multiple awards and ribbons.  Then came the jumping class.   It consisted of a series of four consecutive jumps to be repeated for a total of eight jumps.
Outside the arena as she waited to go in for a “practice” session, stage fright mounted the horse.  Discouragement crept in. 
Tears began to roll.
The horse sensed her fear and became antsy.
“I’m not doing it”, she said and she meant it.  “I can’t she exclaimed!”  “The horse is acting up, I’m getting off.”   “Tell them to scratch me from the show.”  She said all this without drawing a breath.  In a matter of seconds, she had gone from total confidence and a huge smile to falling apart and being invaded by fear.   

I felt for her.  Been scared before myself, many times.  However, I wanted her to work past this fear.  To overcome.  To regain her confidence.   I knew she could do it and the horse, totally capable since he has jumped with a child on his back all his life.  I talked her into staying in the saddle and going into the ring.   She was still afraid.  

Keep in mind that all the aforementioned happened out of sight of the ring stewards and fans in the crowd.  They had no idea that she wanted to back out.  When she entered the ring, the horse balked.  Again.  Again.  And again.   I saw it on her face-that “I knew this was going to happen” look.  All of a sudden there were two teens beside her in the ring.  Veteran riders.  Both girls have ridden for several years with my older daughter.  Instantly, they were coaching my daughter, encouraging her to keep pushing through the situation, instructing her step-by-step.   My oldest daughter came from the grandstands to coach her from the rail.  Spectators were encouraging her from their seats.  It seemed that God had whispered to everyone there, “Hey, she needs some encouragement.”  After several tries, horse and rider were over the jumps.  She was smiling again.   

Now it was time for the real ride, the jumps would be judged this time.  As they entered the ring, my daughter rode with the confidence of an Olympic champion.  She sat high in the saddle.  Game on!!!  As she circled and headed toward the first jump, the horse, without a hitch, leaped over the first jump.  The fans in the stands erupted in cheer and encouragement, which is highly unusual at a horse show (the crowd is expected to stay quiet to keep from spooking horses).  My heart swelled!   When the awards were announced, my daughter won the Olympics (ok, so it was a red ribbon at a district horse show).  She was not interested in the ribbon she won.   For her this was a personal “WIN”.  She won over her fear and discouragement.  She won in her own mind!  She TOTALLY won in my opinion. A huge part of winning is in the eye of the beholder.   

She wasn’t the only winner in that ring.  The teens that showed up and took the time to offer her encouragement were also winners.  They won because they showed love and in God’s eyes, that is what matters. My heart was refreshed, filled with joy and Sweet Stuff.  I challenge you to offer love and encouragement when you are shown that it is needed, and there are times when we all need it.   Love and encouragement have the potential to produce great winners!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Philippians 4:7        And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

My prayer this morning is Philippians 4:7:  may the people in Oklahoma find that peace that passes any understanding of the tragedy that they experienced yesterday.  We feel helpless from several states away but we can pray that God will protect their hearts and comfort them like no one else can.  This is my prayer for all victims, whether it is the tornado or any other tragedy that anyone else, anywhere else might have experienced yesterday. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

 Joshua 1:6-8

6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.

8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Once upon a time (actually this is a true story) many years ago, there was a Radiologic Technologist (me) working in a hospital.  I had just begun working in this particular hospital, although I had worked several years in other medical facilities.

 A doctor ordered a STAT (to be done immediately) portable chest x-ray on a patient in the ICU.  The patient’s condition was deteriorating as she had multiple medical problems.  I arrive at the ICU to perform the exam.  The patient had many monitors, IV lines, ventilator, etc. and in the places that I had previously worked, the ICU nurses always assisted us with the patients in order to prevent pulling out any of the lines, tubes and monitor leads. 

I approached the nurse’s station and asked for the nurse taking care of this particular patient and asked her for help in lifting the patient for the chest x-ray.  Well, the nurse looked at me as if I had ten heads, took her i.d. tag and moved it toward me saying, “Do you see this?”   I assumed she meant her name, which didn’t ring any bells with me as the old saying goes.  Then as she pointed to her title she said, “I have a Bachelor’s degree, therefore, I do not lift patients”.    While I could appreciate her hard work in obtaining her degree it was completely irrelevant to the fact that this patient still needed a chest x-ray.   As I chuckled to myself I thought that with all that education, she should be extra qualified to lift the patient with me!  LOL! 

My point to this story is that the nurse was focused on her personal successes, title and education which seemed to empower her in rank.  She felt offended that I had requested a task of her that she felt overqualified to do.   However, with that attitude, the doctor’s orders and the needs of the patient were not met.  Many people feel that success in life comes in the form of titles, possessions, power and high salaries.   God tells us in Joshua 1:6-8 that success comes from courage, strength and obeying God’s orders.  Let us put his orders in the STAT category and be successful in His kingdom.




Thursday, May 9, 2013

Matthew 11:28  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

         Bitterness and unforgiveness can feel like a mountain is on top of you instead of you being on top of the mountain.   Some of you are probably stronger than I but it is hard for me to carry a mountain around everywhere I go, not to mention the fact that it is difficult to breathe when something is crushing my chest.  I want to share with you this song that talks about moving the mountain and telling it to fall off you.  We do not have to find our way around those mountains in our lives, God will move them out of the way, however, we do have to ask and trust in Him.  If you have bitterness and unforgiveness, there is no time like the present to climb and stand on top of that mountain where the air is crisper and the view is magnificent.  You do not have to climb it alone; God will carry you and send folks to hold your hand during the ascent.  If you have ever climbed literal mountains or watched the expedition shows on television, you know that it is always wise to seek assistance from others and to have a life line in case you lose your footing or direction.  Start the expedition, there is no time like the present to begin enjoying “The Sweet Stuff  (TSS)”!

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Hebrews 12:15 “….Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”

Allowing bitterness to grow within us is a decision. Yes, others will do us wrong and that it is not our decision. We are not able to control what others say and do but we are able to control how we allow those actions to affect us. When bitterness is allowed to take root, it becomes as a most stubborn weed in any garden. Just as weeds will damage the fruits and vegetables in our garden, bitterness will turn sour the sweet stuff in our lives. Bitterness will corrupt relationships, our work environment and the peace within us.

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