A Year of Gratitude: All of You

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Hello Everyone and welcome back to MyWhateverBlogsite. I am so glad you are here.

Today I am celebrating. I did it! I began this year with the goal of making gratitude more of a priority in my life. I have tried very hard all year long to put into words the things I am thankful for. It is not hard to feel appreciative of things; I am always thankful for the blessing the Lord provides. But this past year has also made me more mindful of a million little things that are wonderful and helpful — things like sunny days, rainy days, happy people sharing smiles, sad people that I get to cheer up, good coffee, dinner with family, and all the desserts! You get it, don’t you?

I have kept notes about all the things I am grateful for in my journal this year. And for the past eleven months, I have shared with you specific things I have been grateful for. I hope you scroll through my feed and check them out if you haven’t read them yet. This post wraps up my series on gratitude, but I want to share one more with you…

Finally this year I want to express my gratitude to all of you – the readers on this platform that tune in and take time to find out what’s on my mind. Sharing my thoughts and seeing people respond gives a tangible quality to all the hours I spend thinking and writing. So thank you, and I hope you’ll stick with me for another year. I plan on sharing some great stuff in the months to come and I don’t want any of you to miss it.

As always, thanks for stopping by MyWhateverBlogsite. This is the place I share whatever happens to be on my mind. I’d love for you to comment with whatever is on your mind. And click here to subscribe for more great content.

A Year of Gratitude: My Husband

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Hi Everyone. I am back with another message of gratitude. November in America is a time when gratitude is easy to find. With the Thanksgiving holiday on everyone’s mind, people are more cheerful, helpful, and overall thankful than the rest of the year. I have been racking my brain looking for a new spin to put on gratitude for this month’s post. I was at a loss.

Mainly my mind has been distracted and fuzzy all month long. It’s been a season of quiet anxiety for me this month, and I finally realized the thing I was most thankful for these past few weeks is my husband.

I had a routine screening mammogram on November 2nd. No big deal. Until the next day when my doctor called and said I needed more imaging – a diagnostic mammogram. So I returned to the medical center the following week. I was there for several hours and ended up having a mammogram and an ultrasound. They found a lump.

My heart sank as I told my husband the news, but he was a pillar of strength for me. He wrapped his arms around me and told me he loved me.

The biopsy was scheduled – close to two weeks later. There were no earlier appointments available. So we waited, day after day. We worked, we lived life, and avoided the elephant that was always in the room and on our minds. No sense stressing until we had more information. But how was I supposed to keep from thinking about the possibilities?

My husband was there keeping my mind occupied every day. We talked. We watched Christmas movies. We played with our puppies. And we tried not to worry.

I cried after the biopsy was done, suddenly terrified of what the results might be. And as always my husband held me and let me work through the moment. He reassured me that most biopsies are negative for cancer. He calmed me down and kept my spirits up through our Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. I had told no one. I didn’t want anyone worrying if it turned out to be nothing.

Current technology is so great for keeping up with medical records, isn’t it? The nurse at the biopsy said she’d call as soon as she got the results. But technology beat her to it. Once the test results were uploaded to my file, I received a text message alert. I opened my laptop to view them, heart racing and prayers running through my mind. My husband stood behind me with his hands on my shoulders, a wordless reassurance that no matter the outcome, he would be here for me.

Benign. The word jumped off the screen and we breathed a sigh of relief. He hugged me as tears of relief trickled down my cheeks. I am ever so thankful for this man who loves me, supports me, and cares for me.

I know a lot of women have gone through the anxiety I recently endured, and too many of them found the word malignant in their test results. I was lucky. This time. I pray for anyone and everyone who has to go through this testing and waiting, that you will have someone with you, holding your hand, being there to hold you while you cry and worry. And I pray that no matter the outcome, you find healing for your body and your soul.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

A Year of Gratitude: Better Late than Never

Photo by Jordan Benton from Pexel

Hello all! I am a few days late sharing my October gratitude post, but I have a very good reason. I have been super busy this past month with something I am so thankful for that I can barely contain my excitement.

So, what’s the big deal? What have I been so happy about all through October?

Love and Marriage

No, it wasn’t me that got married. One of my stepsons finally married the lovely woman he has been dating for YEARS!
And the best part – his fiance (my new daughter-in-law) invited me to help with all the wedding planning. It’s been such an exciting and fun-filled six months, but this last month was just a whirlwind of activity. We have been selecting vendors, picking out decorations, and making flower arrangements. I even got to join the fun of choosing the perfect wedding gown.

Maybe this doesn’t seem like a big deal to many of you, but to me, it has been great fun. I don’t have any daughters, so I really did not expect to be planning any more weddings after my own.

The big day finally arrived last week, and it was the fairy tale wedding we had hoped for.
I love weddings.
I love the promise of forever.
I love the scriptures of 1st Corinthians.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV)

A wedding is the celebration of a man and woman committing their lives to each other, promising to love one another through good times and bad. I am so grateful for our growing family – two families joined by the love of this young couple as they promise each other forever. I am thankful for the wonderful and caring young man that my stepson has grown to be. I am grateful for the lovely and kind young woman he has brought into our lives.

This month, I am thankful for love and marriage.

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A Year of Gratitude: All the Small Things

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As I sit pondering this last month, trying to figure out the thing I am most thankful for and share it with the world, I realize there is no single thing. Instead, I am thankful for all the little things. I am truly blessed in more ways than I can count, and I have not taken time to express my gratitude to the fullest. So here goes my humble attempt.

Fall came dancing in this month with cool mornings and mildly warm afternoons. Perfect for sittin on the porch, a good book in my hands and a cup of coffee at my side.

Our kids are doing well. One is finishing his last semester of college at this very moment. Another is planning a wedding. The other two are living life, maturing each day with new experiences.

My husband and I have had dinner with friends and family visits that include long, winding conversations about nothing and everything – the kind that restore a sense of love and connectedness in your heart.

We’ve had lazy days and busy days, moments of stress and moments of peace. I’ve also had lots of quiet moments spent in prayer while watching the sun float up and over the horizon. You see, it’s all these little things – every day moments that seem like nothing in particular at the time, but they add up to a life overflowing with love, blessed by God above, and poured out to the world around me.

Thank you for sharing this moment of gratitude with me. And if you like poetry, click this link to read a short free verse poem about all the little wonderful things in life.

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A Year of Gratitude: Figuring Things Out

I captured this rainbow stretching across the sky near my home one morning.

We have come to the end of August. As I sit down with my journal to write this evening, I still do not have anything prepared for this gratitude series. It’s not that I am ungrateful; I am just stuck in the doldrums. August has been a very trying month, and I feel like a sense of heaviness has settled over me.

There are many things I can tell you I am thankful for, but I think it would be the same list we all have – family, food, shelter, etc. I would like to specifically thank all hospital staff. They put so much time and effort into caring for strangers, and they are tremendously stressed these days. I spent quite a bit of time in two different hospitals this month with sick family members, and the staff was wonderful at both.

Overall, I just don’t have an overwhelming sense of gratitude for any particular thing or person. I woke up this morning feeling exhausted, and then the morning turned into a typical Monday. On top of that, I have been reprimanding myself all day for not having this blog post at least outlined. I just have not been able to get in a gratitude groove at all this month.

Thankfully, God has a way of correcting my path when my mind tries to detour into depression. He put me in my car at a non-typical time today to run an errand for work, and I found myself listening to David Jeremiah on the radio. It was an encouraging message about loving and leaning in to the work we are to do as Christians. It got me through the rough middle of the day.

Later this afternoon I listened to the Honest Conversations podcast. This episode was about finding joy, and Rebecca Carrell said joy is not the absence of pain, but rather the presence of Christ the help us through our pain. I absolutely needed this message today and God knew it. He truly does provide for all of our needs.

So I guess what I have figured out is this: I am most thankful for the presence of God in my life, every moment of every day.

This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9 NLT)

It took some quiet time and some journaling to get back in my gratitude groove. Thank you for coming along on this rambling journey. I hope I have given you a bit of inspiration and hope to make your tough days a bit easier to navigate. If you’ve never listened to the Honest Conversations podcast, I really hope you’ll hop over and give it a try.

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Book Review: The Eagle by Cynthia Rylant

Hello everyone. I am back again with another children’s book review. I recently picked up The Eagle by Cynthia Rylant at my local library. This book is part of The Lighthouse Family series. Whistler and Lila are two little mice children that live in an old lighthouse with their little brother Tiny, Pandora the cat and Seabold the dog.

The Eagle is an early reader chapter book that shares the story of Whistler and Lila making their first exploration into the forest. It is a heart-warming story with beautiful illustrations by Preston McDaniels.

I feel like this book would be good for advanced early readers or story time for children whose attention span lasts longer than typical picture books. The characters are intriguing and the story moves at a very even pace. There are five other books in the Lighthouse Family series; all of them are being added to my TBR list as we speak.

If you have some elementary school kiddos looking for something to read, check out The Eagle by Cynthia Rylant. I am sure they won’t be disappointed.

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Thanks for visiting MyWhateverBlogsite. I hope you have enjoyed this book review. I would love to know what you have been reading. Please share in the comments below. Please also check out my medium page to read devotionals and poetry. Happy reading!

A Year of Gratitude: Christian Radio

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This month I want to share how thankful I am for Christian radio stations. I found my favorite station by chance one day. I was scanning through the dial when I heard a familiar voice. It was a DJ that in the past was on one of my favorite local country stations. She had been gone for a long time, and I vaguely remember thinking she was leaving radio to go to seminary.

Suddenly her voice was coming through my speakers again, and this time she was talking about her love for Jesus Christ. The station is 90.9 KCBI. They play a great mix of contemporary Christian music along with teaching/preaching programs.

I had never listened to Christian radio before this day that I heard the voice of my long-lost favorite DJ, Rebecca Carrell. The music spoke to me in ways I cannot describe. Since then, so many of my friends have expressed the same sentiment about Christian radio – you turn it on and it’s like the Lord is directing the playlist JUST FOR YOU! He is giving you exactly what you need to hear at precisely the moment you need to hear it – whether it be a song, a sermon, or a personal testimony.

Any time of day or night, I can tune my radio into one of the many Christian stations available and know I will hear something wonderful. There are several station options available to me, but my favorite is definitely KCBI. I believe the writers and performers of worship music are led in a special way by the Holy Spirit. It’s a gift to be able to create music that shares the gospel in such a tangible way – a way that millions of people can relate to.

Several years ago I stumbled across KCBI while driving to work and it changed my life. The next time you are scanning through stations in search of something to listen to, I hope you’ll stop on 90.9 KCBI. You’ll hear uplifting music from Mandisa, TobyMac, Zach Williams, and many more. It might even change your life.

Note: The links in this post are not affiliate links. I do not earn any money from this blog; I only wish to share wonderful things with other people.

Thanks again for stopping by MyWhateverBlogsite. I hope you have enjoyed this post. If you’d like to learn more about making Jesus Christ the center of your life, click here. Have a fantastic day!

A Year of Gratitude: Sunshine & Books

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

Hello, Hello! Welcome to the June 2021 Installment of A Year of Gratitude. Talk about pushing my deadlines to the wire. I am swiping my forehead and breathing a sigh of relief as I type up this post. My goal for this year is to celebrate something I am grateful for every month with all of you in the WordPress world.

This month I am thanking God for sunshine and books – more specifically, summer weather and audio books.

Everyone knows that spending time in the sun is great medicine for cheering your mood. We’ve had some crazy weather in my region of Texas this year. First the freak winter storm, and then it felt like the spring rains were never going to end. So these past few days I have been reveling in the warmth of our typical Texas summer heat.

You know what else sunny summer time is great for? Road trips! I recently had occasion to take a little day trip, so in preparation, I headed over to my local library to pick up a couple of audio books for the road.

Today I am going to share my thoughts on Happy, Happy, Happy by Phil Robertson and “A” is for Alibi by Sue Grafton.

Photo by Andrea Cannon

Duck Dynasty is a fun TV show to watch, and I have enjoyed watching Phil Robertson speak at various places via the magic of YouTube. I picked up this audio book for the road trip, but I have to be honest. I started losing interest about half way through the book. I think my main disappointment was the reader. No offense to Al Roberston, but I had hoped to hear the story in Phil’s distinctive voice.

The first part of the book was really interesting. Hearing about the way Phil grew up and the hardships his family faced kept my attention. But later when the narration moved to describing duck calls and duck sounds and hunting laws, I felt my mind drifting off to other things. It almost felt like the publisher said, “Hey Phil, great book but it needs to be longer,”…. so the only thing he could think to add was a bunch of random facts about ducks.

Anyway, the meat of the book was good. You just have to power through the long descriptions of quacking sounds and duck breeds.

Sue Grafton’s novel, on the other hand, had no problem holding my attention. I believe “A” is for Alibi is book one of a 25-book set of Kinsey Milhone Mysteries. The reader / listener is immediately hooked with the main character’s admission that she just killed a person. And then we are taken back to the beginning of the whole case that lead to her revelation. The plot is moderately paced and the prose is tight. I had a suspicion of who the villian was about a third of the way in, but I wasn’t absolutely sure because Grafton kept throwing curve balls.

This is an older book, copyright 1982, and it takes a bit to acclimate to old school investigation techniques – you know, no cell phones, no computers, etc – but once you’re in the story, you’re in. I definitely recommend this book.

Now, what are all of you thankful for as this summer moves into it’s peak? I’d love to hear about it in the comments, or any good books you’ve read lately. Teaser…I just ordered the complete set of The Chronicles of Narnia, so be on the lookout for my reviews later in the year. Happy reading, everyone!

Thanks again for stopping by MyWhateverBlogsite. I hope it has been enjoyable. Be sure to click the link below to join my email list – I promise not to invade your inbox very often.

And please click here to read a short devotion inspired by Exodus 14:14.

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A Year of Gratitude: Reflecting on Memorial Day

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Beginning of summer
Three-day weekend
Road trip
Cookouts, parades & boating

These are all things we associate with Memorial Day – Americans anyway.
But I think perhaps I, and possibly many others, are missing the point.

Memorial Day is a time to remember and honor our fallen soldiers, brave men and women who have lost their lives while serving in the line of duty. I know, it sounds canned and cliche, but I cannot think of a better way to say it.

I feel a tinge guilty planning a barbecue with my family this weekend. I haven’t lost any family or friends to war. I suspect there are lots of people for which Memorial Day sparks sadness and reminders of loved one who gave all.

I do have several family members who have and/or are currently serving in the military. The ones that were deployed in wartime thankfully have returned safely. I am beyond grateful to still have them in my life. And I want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt sympathy for those of you mourning a loss not only this weekend, but every day.

I believe when you lose someone close to you, the grief never goes away. Instead it subsides, wanes for a season only to return later in cycles of ebb and flow. Grief becomes a companion that sometimes takes center stage and other times retreats to the shadows. You are not alone in your sorrow. I want you to feel proud of your friend or brother or sister or parent that gave their life fighting to defend America and protect not only our citizens, but our ideals and our way of life.

Soldiers serving in active-duty conflict face struggles that I can’t even begin to imagine. They deserve respect, honor and gratitude. I am grateful for every man and woman brave enough to answer the call and sign up for service. It takes a special person to be a soldier.

Thank you for doing what you do. And thank you to the families of all soldiers.
I hope everyone will take a moment this weekend to pray and give thanks for the men and women who have chosen to fight for and protect the rest of us.

Book Review: The Deadly Mystery of the Missing Diamonds by T.E. Kinsey

The Deadly Mystery of the Missing Diamonds: A Dizzy Heights Mystery, Book 1

Hi everyone. I am back with another book review. The Deadly Mystery of the Missing Diamonds is book 1 in the Dizzy Heights Mystery series. The Dizzy Heights is a jazz band whose members get caught up in hunting down a war deserter who is suspected of being a jewel thief. This is a cozy mystery set in London in 1925.

This book fell a bit flat for me. There are a lot of characters, but I never connected with any of them. There is also a huge amount of dialogue, and sometimes it was difficult to keep track of who was speaking. That being said, I might have been distracted by the London dialect and unfamiliar slang; it was definitely a distraction from the story flow for me. (I am from Texas, btw!)

Speaking of story, cozy mystery is also a new genre for me. I am always eager to broaden my horizons and read outside of my comfort zone. I had no idea what to expect when I started this book. I now realize that I prefer meatier characters and stronger emotion in the fictional worlds that I visit.

I don’t want to dissuade you from reading this book, as it was entertaining. If you are a fan of cozy mysteries, settings across the pond, and more fun than drama, then you will probably enjoy The Deadly Mystery of the Missing Diamonds. I am including the Amazon link for your convenience.

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Thanks for visiting MyWhateverBlogSite. I hope you find my book reviews and other random posts helpful and entertaining. Please take a moment to click over to my books page and check out what’s available. If you find something you like, please buy, read, review and share it – your reviews are like gold to indie artists like myself.
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