beginnings, blessings and answered prayers
story was originally published on December 31, 2016...)
31, 2016. It's New Year's Eve. Many
of you are probably thinking about the exciting plans you made for ringing in
the New Year at midnight. Not me...
don't need fireworks, loud music, or champagne to usher in 2017.
I have everything I need right here, at home...
It has been an extremely busy year and I'm cherishing the moments of
you're going out tonight, my wish is for you to have a good time as you
celebrate with friends or with those you love. My prayer is that 2016 ended the
way you wanted it to and that 2017 will bring the fulfillment of unrealized
hopes and dreams.
people, not everything went the way they had hoped or expected in 2016.
Some of my friends have lost loved ones... parents, siblings or pets;
some are struggling with illnesses or are grieving for their family members who
In spite of my own difficulties,
I'd like to
think that I have a servant's heart... helping those in need and in doing so,
giving glory to God. I've
witnessed and been the recipient of the generosity and friendship of kindhearted
friends and strangers. I believe in
paying it forward... accept the blessings, and be a blessing to others.
That's where true happiness lies, in my opinion.
easy to think sometimes that "I need it just as much as (or more than) the
next person". But we are meant to be a blessing to others. My friend Carolyn
told me how she once gave her last $20 at church. Sometimes I give what I don't
even have to give. Even though to
the world it may seem impractical or irresponsible, God sees and is pleased.
not always about money. We can be a blessing by recognizing the needs of others,
then fulfilling that need. Jesus
wants us to love one another. And
that love begins with friendship.
prayer today is that you will take YOUR prayers to God. One woman lamented to me
that God doesn't listen to her prayers because of her past. "That's not
true," I assured her. "He hears
your prayers. He heard your prayers for me!"
her of my own past "mistakes" (and sins).
And yet in spite of it all, God has blessed me immensely.
He has remained close to me. There
may have been times when He was silent. But
every single thing... the heartaches, the wrong choices, the random events of
life... they all contribute to make me what I am today... which is grateful.
It's never too late to begin again, to banish the wounds and regrets;
to start a new day with new purpose. The
past does not matter. Only what you do from this day forward.
so many blessings that we take for granted. We may not find them gift wrapped,
but they are there. Imagine those who don't have a warm bed, a roof over their
heads, a car, a job, even a family. I start every day giving thanks to God for
all my blessings, which I have, in spite of the challenges. Even the challenges
this year, I resigned myself to having to sell my beloved home.
However, I prayed that God would allow me to remain here one last summer.
I called the contractor. He
sent someone to paint and do some minor repairs, such as fixing a couple of the water-damaged ceilings. I found out that one of the water stains was not from
the roof as I thought, but due to a cracked water pipe.
This led to a delay in my plans to put my house on the market, which
allowed me to stay through the summer, through the fall, and now through the
God for the cracked pipe.
November 30, I received a call from a friend at church.
"Are you still looking for a roommate?" she asked me.
She has a friend who is looking for a place to live.
I'd been on the lookout for a roommate for the last four years, and I'd given up hope.
short, I met her friend. She is a lovely woman, and she is now going to
become my roommate! And best of all,
she is exactly what I was looking for!
God for sending me a roommate.
snowed the week before Christmas. There wasn't much, but it mixed with sleet
and freezing rain and it was a heavy, wet snow.
I grumbled to myself as I was out there, shoveling my six-car driveway.
Then I looked at the statue of the Assumption of Mary on my front lawn.
So I changed my focus from grumbling to praying the Rosary.
I also prayed that God would allow me to see a cardinal. Not just see
one, but to be able to take a picture. After
I was finished, I went inside, had lunch, then sat down at the computer.
I looked up and there, just outside the window, was a cardinal!
I grabbed my camera, but pictures never come out as well when you're
taking them through the window. He
flew away. I went upstairs, and opened the window in my hall. Within just a
couple minutes, there were FOUR cardinals and I was able to take dozens of
God for the birds in my yard, and for my neighbor who feeds them.
hears our prayers. He gives us what
we don't want. He sends us what we
need. And once in a while, He will
give us the little desires of our hearts.
Year's Eve, I challenge everybody to name three things you're grateful for.
thankful for each one of my friends. For new beginnings, blessings, and answered
New Year and God bless you!