December Devotionals

The Lord is My Rock – Day 5

Who Holds Your Hand?
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.” -Psalm 37:23-24

What a beautiful and encouraging portion of Scripture! When I fall, it will not be as bad as it could be because the Lord holds my hand. Wow! It doesn’t say we won’t fall, but we will not be hurled headlong when the Lord establishes our steps. Is your Heavenly Father holding your hand today? Do you allow the Creator of the universe to establish your steps? If not, here’s your chance to ask Him to. If so, write a prayer of praise and thanksgiving for His protection over you.

Father, what an awesome picture of Your protection – You holding my hand as I walk through this life. Thank You for not leaving me to face this world alone! You are so amazing to love one so unworthy so much as to not only sacrifice Your life for mine, but to continue to bless me with even more of Your love and grace in my daily life. I praise You, Father and give You all glory and honor, in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen!

December Devotions

The Lord is My Rock – Day 3

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” -Psalm 23:1

Another way of saying this verse is, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be discontent”. Wanting is a disease that has only one cure; contentment. Being content with what God has blessed us with for this day is total freedom. When you have a God who hears you, you have all you need.

What is causing you discontentment in your life? Write it down and give it to God, and choose the freedom of contentment.

Thank You, Lord, for being my Good Shepherd. You are Jehovah Jireh, my Provider, and with You there is no discontentment. Father, cure me of the disease of wanting and help me find contentment in You. In the name of Jesus I ask, amen!

December Devotions

The Lord is My Rock – Day Two

Love His Name

“But let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy, and may You shelter them, that those who love Your name may exult in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O’ Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.” -Psalm 5:11

Do you love the name of Jesus? Does the name of your Abba Father, Jehovah, give you goose bumps? Jehovah in Hebrew is “Yahweh” and the Jews consider it so holy and sacred that they will not even say The Name out loud. I believe the Father enjoys when we say His name with love and reverence, and there is power in the name of Jesus? In your journal, list the different names of God that you are familiar with, and highlight your favorite. My favorite is Jehovah Shammah which means “The Lord is there”.

Father You ARE my shelter and my refuge, O’ Lord, my strong tower. You are my Yahweh Shammah, The Lord who is there; my El Roi, The God who sees; and Oedosh Yisrael, The Holy One of Israel! I sing Your praises and give You all glory and honor, in the powerful name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; the Rose of Sharon; the Lion of Judah; the Lamb of God who rules my life. Amen!

Devotional for December

I’m going to share a devotional with you this month, that I wrote years ago. It’s 30-days long, so we’ll do one each day up to New Year’s Eve. Most of the devotionals are fairly short, so you can take as much or as little time as you like. I pray that this will be a blessing to you and draw you closer to your Heavenly Father who is your Rock and your Salvation! So, grab a journal or notebook and let’s dive into Day One!

The Lord is My Rock – Day One

Dwell in Safety

Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And trust in the LORD. Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?” Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O LORD! You have put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭4:4-8‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

Do you trust only what you see, the circumstances of your life, or do you trust the Lord? When you lay your head on your pillow at night, do you dwell in His safety? If you have trouble trusting Him completely with every aspect of your life, what holds you back? Write your thoughts in your journal or notebook.

Heavenly Father, work in my heart the ability to trust You completely, to rest in Your sovereignty and be okay with not understanding everything. I thank and praise You for being my safe dwelling place. In the precious name of Jesus, amen!
🙏🏻💕

Big Birthday, Little Freak-Out!

Today is Monday, my birthday is on Thursday. Not just any birthday though, my 60th birthday! That’s a milestone, right? It definitely feels like a milestone! I thought turning 40 was hard! That was a cake walk compared to this! Turning 50 was fun! I celebrated all month and had several parties! This year . . . not so much.

Aside from the pandemic that has plagued all special days this year for a majority of us, my health has put a damper on the celebratory spirit. My quality of life is very different from when I turned 50. Having a movement disorder puts a very different spin on things.

All is not lost, however! I am married to the most generous, big-hearted guy I’ve ever known. His positive attitude has been a lifesaver for me! He makes me laugh every day! He’s my best friend, my biggest fan, and the love of my life! He has been celebrating my birthday all month with little gifts and big gestures.

Under normal circumstances we would probably be taking a trip of some kind. We love to travel and often celebrate special occasions with at least a weekend trip somewhere. Things are very different this year and a hotel stay is not something we’d prefer right now. Which may actually turn out to be a good thing!

Like many are doing this year, we’re turning to the great outdoors. Rich has taken a week of vacation and we’re planning several day trips to national parks around us. I’m excited about it! I was once an avid hiker/backpacker and I’m willing to give it a go with my new “normal”. I’m eager to see just what I can do out there. It will be different, but Rich and I share an adventurous spirit and the ability to go with the flow. We also enjoy just being together. It’s going to be a birthday to remember whatever happens.

In spite of looking forward to our vacation, I seem to be freaking out a little bit about turning 60. I freaked out a little at 40 and it turned out to not be that big of a deal. I’m hoping this will be the same. Things are just SO different. I still had kids at home at 40 and even at 50, and was not encumbered by a movement disorder. I also became a grandma for the first time at 40, that distracted me a little. 😊. I guess I feel more alone this birthday; no kids at home, semi-isolation due to the pandemic AND my health, just a very different picture from turning 40 and 50. Not one I’m ecstatic with.

Life is full of hills and valleys, I know this. Attitude is everything and focusing on the positive is key to maintaining a healthy one, as is acknowledging the negative and moving on. It’s funny though, how you can know things in your head and yet your emotions don’t seem to get it.

I am a melancholy personality and naturally gravitate toward the little black clouds. I am Eeyore in the Hundred Acre Wood. I’d rather be Tigger, he’s my favorite, and I sometimes try to act like Tigger, but it doesn’t stick. That’s probably why I’m having this little freak-out over my birthday. I’m being true to my inner Eeyore.

I just need to remind myself that God is in control and He has a plan. It’s okay to be aware of my own mortality (which is what I really think this is all about) because it’s an opportunity to remember that life doesn’t end for me after I leave this mortal shell. I don’t HAVE to be anxious about getting older. I have a choice. I can believe that my best days are behind me or I can remember that His mercies are new every morning, and believe that the best is yet to come. I prefer the latter. I also prefer to be thankful that The Lord has allowed me to be here this long. I prefer to celebrate His grace, mercy, love, and generosity!

So, damn the high cholesterol, diabetes, and anything else that may be lurking and bring on the birthday cake! (at least for one day). 😂 There has to be some wisdom to go along with the “maturity”, right? Sigh! The joys of an aging body!
A sense of humor is very helpful also. 😉

Happy Birthday to all of my fellow 60-somethings! May we look to the future with hope and joy, and believe that the best is yet to come!

🎉🎂🎈🎁🎊💕 (I like emojis)

Stories For My Children

Grandpa Miller a.k.a. My Dad

Me & Dad at the Fallingleaf house in Garden Grove

My dad is on my mind a lot right now. This past Tuesday would have been his 81st birthday. And just days before that, I started seeing a commercial on T.V. Featuring the song “Hey Good Lookin'” by Hank Williams, Jr. Dad used to sing that all the time, and would often greet me with an Elvisesque “Hey good lookin’, whatcha got cookin’?” Especially if I was in the kitchen.

Your grandpa was quite the showman. He loved to dance and sing, and could do a mean Elvis impression. I know why Grandma fell for him. Despite all the stories of what a terrible father he was (and he certainly never won Father of the Year), he had his moments and definite good qualities. He was also an awesome grandpa!

Our house in Santa Ana (where we lived from the time I was in 4th grade until my sophomore year of high school) had a built-in pool. I even remember the address; 2321 W. Monte Vista. Every now and then dad would play in the pool with us. He would let us stand on his shoulders then dunk himself under water and spring back up, catapulting us into the water. We loved it! He taught me how to dive in that pool.

I’ll never forget it. I was terrified, standing on the edge of the shallow end staring at the two glass dolphins on the bottom, listening to dad’s instructions. I couldn’t do it for the longest time. It was one of the rare occasions that dad actually displayed patience. He promised me everything from a new doll to a new wardrobe if I would just dive in. I don’t remember what finally did it (I was 9-years old), but I mustered the courage and finally dove in just like he told me. The bribe window had already closed, but I felt pretty proud of myself and have basically been a fish ever since. We spent many fun-filled hours in that pool!

Dad with Shelly, Lissy, Josh, and Matt at our Fitzpatrick house in Concord.

Dad liked to entertain too. Pool parties were common occurrences in our Santa Ana house. Grilled hot dogs for the kids and steaks for the grownups. I remember that because I always wanted the steak. Dad had regular Friday night poker parties too. He let us watch as long as we fetched beers for them. The mornings after were our favorite. The poker table was still set up and us four older kids would sit and play with the cards and chips (poker chips). Eventually, dad taught me how to play a few poker games; 5 & 7 card draw and stud, Mexican sweat, 21. He taught me how to shuffle the cards and ante up. I haven’t played in decades and don’t remember a lot of it, but I can still shuffle a deck of cards pretty well.

Dad was actually a pretty talented guy. He was an amazing pool player and won lots of trophies. We even had a pool table for awhile and he seemed to really enjoy teaching us kids how to play. When I was seven or so, we lived in an apartment in Fountain Valley, Ca. Across the street was a Stater Brothers shopping center (apparently they’re still around. ) complete with a bar called The Sundown (also still around!) where my dad spent quite a bit of time hustling for beer money.

Stater Bro’s. back in the day.

He had a day job, but most nights he could be found at The Sundown. Sometimes on the weekends I was allowed to go with him during the day, when it was quiet. He participated in his share of bar fights back then too. I remember him coming home one night, his face a little bloodied and his shirt inside out. He was the sweetest drunk, very loving and affectionate. Quite the opposite of his sober self. He could be and more often was, a bit of a tyrant. I grew up with welts and bruises from his belt, mostly out of anger or frustration. He was not a level-headed disciplinarian.

In spite of the fact that I grew up terrified of him most of the time, I loved my dad and grew to appreciate him and his perspective as we both got older. I have a lot more stories to share about him, but this is getting lengthy. I’ll do a part two next week, so stay tuned! Until next time!

I love you bunches!
Mom

August, 2009

Three Little Words

There are three words that my children say that I really don’t like and they’re not, “I love you”. Can’t hear that enough. No, the three little words I’m speaking of are, “Don’t tell Mom”. Really?!

First off, my kids are all grown so what do they think I’m going to do? Ground them? I think we’re a little past that. Maybe they don’t want to upset me. They’re being protective. Again, we’re all adults here. We get upset sometimes and we get over it. In my case, I probably won’t even remember by next week so they should take advantage of THAT. Unless they’re planning a surprise of some kind I don’t see a reason for keeping things from me. Doing that probably upsets me more than whatever it is they think they need to keep from me. It makes me feel excluded from their lives and that just makes me sad.

There were plenty of things I kept from my parents when I was a kid because A: I didn’t want to get in trouble and B: I didn’t think they’d understand and . . . I didn’t want to get in trouble. That changed when I became an adult because I couldn’t be punished by them anymore. Also, I came to understand that they understood a lot more than I gave them credit for. Granted, I still didn’t want their disapproval, and that was something I had to get over.

So, to my children who say those three little words even now that they’re grown – get over yourself! I understand that; you’re human, you’re not me and don’t share all of my opinions and beliefs, and that I’m not always going to be happy about every decision you ever make. That’s okay. You’re a grownup now and get to make your own choices and live with your own consequences.

You don’t need to keep anything from me or worry about whether I will disapprove or be upset. I’m a big girl with a big God on my side, not to mention your extremely loving and supportive dad. I can handle anything you can throw at me (some things may require more time than others, but I will eventually always be okay). Never forget that regardless of your choices, actions, and attitudes my three little words to you forever are, “I love you”.

👩‍👧‍👦💕

Adventures in the Dirt

I love to garden, but since moving to Texas and attempting several summer gardens with minimal success, I gave up. I realized that I was failing because I don’t like to go outside during a typical Texas summer. It’s my hibernation season. Inside with the air conditioning is where you’ll find me. I come out of my cave at the first sign of fall. Fall, winter, and early spring are when I do my vacationing, daytripping, and anything else I can find to do outside. Including fall gardening.

Things have changed in the past year, however. Due to health issues, I can no longer pursue some of the indoor hobbies I enjoyed during the summer months like crocheting and scrapbooking. I discovered I COULD still do the gardening thing. So, I decided to brave the heat and give it another go. I go out early in the morning, and I mean just after daybreak as much as possible. I don’t spend anymore than thirty minutes at a time (even though the temp. isn’t too high this time of day the humidity often is) and I focus on just one or two chores. So far it’s been manageable and fall is just around the corner. I think I’ll make it.

I actually only planted two summer crops. Baby steps and all. The first was green beans. I had some issues with them in the beginning. The leaves weren’t looking healthy and the beans would show up then immediately dry up and turn brown on the plant. After some research I realized the plant was lacking nitrogen. I cut all the unhealthy leaves off and cut the plant back quite a bit. I’ve been fertilizing it for several weeks now and this is what it looks like today.

The summers are long here in Central Texas and even though it’s September it’s basically still summer. I’m hoping for at least a small yield before it’s all said and done.
I also planted some cucumbers, a little late, so not sure what’s going to happen there. My garden this year is basically one big experiment. Next to the cucumbers I have some sweet potatoes. These were actually a couple of potatoes that were sprouting in my kitchen. Just for fun, I stuck them in the ground to see what would happen.

The other day I went digging around to see what was going on. One potato was just sprouting more leaves, buuut the second one had little baby sweet potatoes on the ends of some of the roots that had sprouted. I stuck them back in the dirt and the picture directly above this paragraph is where we are right now. I also planted some Kale seeds for the winter garden and they’re doing well so far (pictured below).

I haven’t done a whole lot of flowers in the past. Mostly herbs and veggies. I have a little seating area on my back deck that I thought could benefit from a little color though. I prefer perennials and wanted some color that would carry through at least the beginning of fall. I chose several different colors of mums and put them in pots around the deck.

Along with my already present asparagus fern, I also added a Coneflower.

I have two of these Asparagus ferns and two Fountain Grass plants on the deck as well.

As much as I love putting things in the ground and watching them flourish, my knowledge is very limited. I think that’s going to change now that gardening has taken a priority on my list of hobbies. Who knows, maybe next summer I’ll actually have enough of something to put some up for winter! Stay tuned. If I get any kind of yield from what I presently have planted, I’ll post pics. Until then, happy gardening!

😊🌱🌻

Monday Mug Shot

We’re baack! I halted Monday Mug Shot for awhile as I adjusted to my new normal with Cervical Dystonia. I’m still adjusting a little, but decided it was time to continue the mug shots. I thought it might be getting boring, but I’ve been told by a few that they enjoyed it. So, for those lovely souls who actually like my little stories – the return of Monday Mug Shot.

Our story continues with a new acquisition. This one, again, is from Branson. My hubs and I took a week- long trip this past April for our 25th wedding anniversary. We spent a few days on our own and a few days with our besties. On one of our solo days we found a beautiful shop called the Crystal Fish. On our first visit, I spotted a ceramic collection that included some unique and beautiful mugs that caught my eye. I resisted, however, reminding myself that I have plenty of mugs at the moment and we didn’t need to spend the money even though we could.

The next day my love decided that he wanted another of the candles that we had purchased the previous day so as to have a matching set. So, back we went to the Crystal Fish. This time we visited with the owners for quite awhile and the ceramic collection called to me again. The owner of the shop gave us a little history into the artist and her work. My hubby and I were both convinced – this mug was coming home with us.

We actually fell in love with the entire collection, but that would have been more than a pretty penny and just a little crazy. That was several months ago and this one has become a favorite to both of us. I love the design and my sweetie loves the functionality and how comfortably the handle fits his hand. Not to mention that it doesn’t get the least bit hot to the touch in the microwave. Beautiful and functional. What more could you want?

I love this mug for so many reasons; the unique and beautiful design, the fact that someone created this by hand, it’s big enough for a latte’ . . . but, more importantly than all of that. This mug reminds me of a beautiful time spent with the love of my life, celebrating 25-years of making amazing memories together by making more wonderful memories! I am a very blessed woman!

💍 2️⃣5️⃣🎊🥂😊💕

C.D. Journals – July 18, 2019

“Physical frailties may cause you to miss earthly fun and fellowship, but spiritual resources will enable you to grow stronger on the bed of affliction.” I read this in my devotional this morning and found it very encouraging. Something I dearly needed after the events of yesterday.

I was all packed for a three-day visit at my sister’s. The car was loaded and I was heading out – in my husband Rich’s Chevy Cruze, which I have not driven in months. Normally I drive a Tahoe with great visibility and a head rest that accommodates my C.D. quite well. Unfortunately, we discovered the other day that my Tahoe had become home to a family of mice. So, my vehicle was at work with Rich (who works at a Chevy dealer) where the mice would hopefully be eradicated.

I got most of the way out of my neighborhood, unable to situate my head comfortably enough for a two-hour drive. I drove around the neighborhood a little more, trying unsuccessfully to work it out. The head rest hit me in the wrong place and actually pushed my head forward a bit. Even with my brace on, I couldn’t get it situated. I drove back home and aborted my trip. My C.D. has gotten a little worse since the last time I drove the Cruze and even then I was not entirely comfortable.

My son unloaded the car for me and helped me unpack with tears in my eyes. Yet another limitation caused by this nightmare of a disease. I was frustrated and depressed, not only about not getting to visit with my sister as scheduled, but over the entire situation. It took me hours to pack when it used to take me half that much time. By the time I was done packing I was so sore and tired that I had to rest before I faced the drive. Then, I was thwarted by my inability to get situated in the car – an obstacle I could not overcome.

I feel like anytime I get behind the wheel is even more dangerous than normal now. I even fear having my license taken away, although I’ve not heard of that happening to someone with C.D. As a result, I don’t drive nearly as much as I used to – probably how we ended up with mice in the Tahoe, it sat too much. I hate feeling limited like that. I keep trying to look on the bright side. The quote above reminded me that God has used the “bed of affliction” in my life before. We wrote a Bible study during one such season. I had to stay off my feet for three months. Talk about limiting and frustrating, but God had a purpose in that and He has a purpose now. I just need to stay focused on that and keep believing that He is in control. I love how He sends me little bits of encouragement just when I need it most. Even though very little goes the way I want it to these days, Jesus is good and He is with me. We will get through this and be stronger for it. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.” -Psalm 28:7a

😊💕