Thankful Thursdays

For the furry ones.

It is going on 9 years that we’ve had Nervous Nelly. Rather, I should say, that Nervous Nelly has had us…because she is untouchable. This feral kitten we rescued that summer of 2011 is content with being fed and having a porch, or a planter, or a house to chill on. Never mind her neurotic personality and aloof attitude. This cat’s presence and mystique is enough to (unexplainably) win anyone over.

And now, after years and years of not wanting to take on a dog (for various reasons I will not enumerate here), we have welcomed the newest addition to our household — Beni Heinz — an electrifying ball of energy and 24/7 entertainment with a larger-than-life personality. Needless to say, Beni certainly grabbed our attention and our hearts.

Pets! Because apparently our kids are not handful enough. For the special furry blessings that enrich our lives, I am grateful.

Do you have a furry friend? And what are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.*

“Dogs have owners, cats have staff.”
-Unknown

“Cats never strike a pose that isn’t photogenic.”
-Lillian Jackson Braun

“In a dog’s life, some plaster would fall, some cushions would open, some rugs would shred. Like any relationship, this one had its costs. They were costs we came to accept and balance against the joy and amusement and protection and companionship he gave us.”
– John Grogan

“We who choose to surround ourselves
with lives even more temporary than our
own, live within a fragile circle;
easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps,
we would still live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only
certain immortality, never fully
understanding the necessary plan.”
-Irving Townsend

Nervous Nelly and Beni Heinz

Thankful Thursdays

For love with a capital L.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. A day for celebrating love. And what is love?

Well, let me share with you what I believe to be love with a capital L:

“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.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Could this virtue be life’s greatest blessing? I don’t know. But I do know I wouldn’t want to live without it.

For the love I feel in my life, today and always I am thankful.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends and family! Let’s celebrate Love every day.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.*

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
-Lao Tzu

“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”
-Paulo Coelho

*Note: By the way, in case you’re not Spanglish-speaking, “si Dios quiere” means God-willing. Mom finished most of her sentences with that phrase. I added it to my sendoff in her honor after her passing.

Thankful Thursdays

For the tools He provides.

Wow, what a start to 2020. Don’t know about you, but for my family this year has been quite eventful so far. Brings to mind the fact that adversity, like death (and taxes), is an unavoidable part of life. The struggles, the setbacks, the obstacles, it can all really suck. Life is ups and life is downs, ups and downs. There’s no escaping that. No one is immune.

Thankfully, we have help from an almighty source. Yup, I think right about now is a good time to remind myself, and anyone reading this, that God has equipped each and every one of us with tools to overcome hardships. Here’s what some of those tools look like to me:

Wisdom – the smarts to see that “it is what it is.”
Strength – the heart to confront it.
Courage – the nerve to do what must be done.
Patience – because adversity, as it turns out, is time-consuming.

In case you’re wondering if it’s easy to turn to these tools when troubles come, the answer is a big NO. I find it easier after I’ve had my temper/doubt/fear tantrums. Then I can ease into these gifts. If you’ve employed this method in the past to get through crappy times, you know it works. If you haven’t, go ahead, try it, reach faithfully for God’s tools and experience what you’ll be able to get through. I mean, really, what couldn’t we overcome if we could hear God whispering to us, ‘I am with you’? Well, God’s tools are His whisper. And for that, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
-Matthew 17:20

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
-Philippians 4:12-13

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
-E. Kübler-Ross

Note: By the way, in case you’re not Spanglish-speaking, “si Dios quiere” means God-willing. Mom finished most of her sentences with that phrase. I added it to my sendoff in her honor after her passing].

Thankful Thursdays

Thankful for those golden genes.

For her, family, faith and friendship were at the forefront of life. And she showed us that every day.

As some of you know, on Tuesday we lost my aunt, Ofelia, after a hard-fought battle post-surgery. Although she was old and a bit frail, her passing was unexpected. We really didn’t think she would go the way she did. But, what do we know? We place the fragility of our lives in God’s hands, never, ever asking why, and keep going. Period. Needless to say, the loss was quite a jolt of mortal awareness, reminding us that our seconds here are ticking, and that we better make them count.

Yeya, as many of us lovingly called her, made them count. She was part of a trio of ladies whose genetic makeup consisted of family values. My Mom and my aunts were all about that.

Fortunately for us, their life lessons and those golden genes, we believe, are embedded in the rest of us. This was evident in the amount of family members by her bedside on Tuesday as we all said our goodbyes. For each of us she was leaving behind, our family served as the ultimate life support. As it should be.

As for those she is on her way up to meet, I am so sure of it, they are already waiting with open arms. This once inseparable group here on  Earth is at last back together again in Heaven. How they must be rejoicing!

My aunt was a remarkable woman. Strong, loving, and faith-filled – – golden genes. She will be missed. Rest in peace, Yeya. Put in a good word for us. Te queremos, y nos veremos, …to quote Mom, “si Dios quiere.”

Very often people come to me and say: “Mr. Moody, do you think we shall know each other in Heaven?” Very often it is a mother who has lost a dear child, and who wishes to see it again. Sometimes it is a child who has lost a mother, a father; and who wants to recognize them in Heaven. There is a verse in Scripture in answer to this, and that is: “We shall be satisfied” (Psalm 17:15). It is all I want to know. My brother who went up there the other day I shall see, because I shall be satisfied. We will see all those we loved on Earth up there, and if we loved them here, we will love them ten thousand times more when we meet them there.” -Dwight L. Moody

“Even in our best shape we are a brittle piece of mortality. Your life is a breath, don’t waste it.” -Lecrae

“We are afraid of losing what we have,
whether it’s our life or our possessions and property.
But this fear evaporates when we understand
that our life stories and the history of the world
were written by the same hand.”
-Paulo Coelho

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

 

Thankful Thursdays

For 11,689 days.

Yesterday, my hubby and I celebrated 32 years of marriage. For youngsters like us, that’s a lifetime. Okay, we’re not youngsters, but seriously, that’s a lot of days married. Fortunately for us, the good days have outweighed the bad.

As with most couples making this commitment, the two of us set out not at all sure of what life would bring us. We had hopes and dreams and a slight idea, and that’s it. As it turns out, life’s brought us plenty. Plenty to teach us lesson after lesson, that’s for sure. For the benefit of my young readers, I’ll share the two that stand out above the rest.

The first big lesson we learned very early on was that love was not going to be enough. That we would need mutual respect, sacrifice, compassion, patience, a lot of prayer, and some comedic relief to push through the rough and tough. You know, the “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health” stuff.

The second big lesson came by way of Lauren and Danny. That’s when we really learned the overall meaning of “to love and to cherish, till death do us part.” Kids tug at the heart like nothing else does.

Fast forward 32 years and I’m not sure what new lessons life can teach at us at this point, but I do know Ray and I would like to learn them together. We thank God for these 11,689 days. May there be many more. Happy Anniversary, babe.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”
-Rita Rudner

“Some of the freckles I once loved are now closer to liver spots. But it’s still the eyes we look at, isn’t it? That’s where we found the other person, and find them still.”
-J. Barnes

“Marriage is not a word — it is a sentence.”
-Author Unknown

 

 

 

Thankful Thursdays

For family reunions.

It was long overdue, but this past Saturday, thankfully, we were able to gather for a family reunion, albeit minus a handful of members. I will tell you that those not there in body where most definitely there in spirit, as their presence was strongly felt.

Getting a big group together for one of these is not a simple task. Especially one that includes three or four generations, and lots (and lots) of cousins. In our busy and increasingly semi-impersonal world, it can be hard to pull that off. The closest we get is during Thanksgiving and/or Nochebuena when we manage to group together throughout town with the immediate members of our clans. Of course, today’s tech world allows us to stay in touch via social media, but digital photos and posts do not come close to warming the heart like an embrace does. And indeed, many hugs were exchanged on Saturday, along with tons of old photographs and plenty of stories to go along with them. Needless to say, we had a lot of good laughs.

I think given the barrage of digital distraction surrounding us, a genuine connection with family (related or chosen) is more important than ever. As for our clan, because we’ve all grown up in close-knit families, I’m pretty sure the younger members of our group already understand the benefits of “face-to-face” over “screen-to-screen” interaction. Nonetheless, I sure hope events like Saturday’s inject in them an everlasting craving to connect in person with those we cherish.

Saturday’s super-getty was special, and we look forward to the next one. Many thanks to those who organized it. For family reunions, today and always, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future.”
-G.L. Buckley

“The family – that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to.”
-D. Smith

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”
-J. Howard

 

Thankful Thursdays

For goals we can be proud of.

It’s a brand new year, so do you have any new goals? Or maybe you’re continuing to work on a prior one? I’ve never been much of a resolutions person myself. Most of the time it’s a wish that’s too vague and so I easily tire. That’s why they say setting a goal that is S.M.A.R.T. (Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-sensitive), may be easier to stick to and achieve. I don’t know, I haven’t tried that yet. I know atop my list right now is fitness. I feel a bit of rusting going on, if you know what I mean, and I want to do something about that. So I might try this SMART method.

Typically, the goals we consider most have to do with improving our health, creating and sticking to a budget, getting a better job, and organizing our lives. These are great goals to take on, but while health, financial, career, and organizational goals can help improve our physical and material lives, they do tend to lack in the spirituality department. For that, I say why not consider some soul-centered goals? The type that can help us grow spiritually and live in line with our values (and probably keep us sane). We can start a gratitude journal, for example. Pray. Practice patience. Live compassion towards others. Serve. Share our faith. Spend quality time with others. And so on. Just ideas.

Anyway, whatever goals we decide to start, or find ourselves in the middle of, we must keep in mind that God will help us through our goal journey. So let’s pray for focus and willpower so we can achieve goals we can be proud of.

Have you set any goals? What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“If you are bored with life, if you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals.”
Lou Holtz

“The most important thing is this: to sacrifice what you are now for what you can become tomorrow.”
-Shannon Alder

Thankful Thursdays

Happy New Year!

Family and friends, I hope all of you had a wonderful end to 2019. So now a new year begins and, as usual, we start this one ready and willing to live it out. Let’s keep a grateful heart, shall we? With that in mind, I challenge us to zero-in on what is most important, and make the best of what comes our way. And folks (specifically the older crowd reading this), please, as you reflect on all of the things you would like to accomplish throughout the year, keep this in mind:

Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better,
To paint a picture or write a letter,
Bake a cake or plant a seed,
Ponder the difference between want and need?
Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim and mountains to climb,
Music to hear and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.
Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come ’round again.
Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not always kind.
And when you go and go you must,
You, yourself, will make more dust.
-Unknown

May God grant us health, guide us, and bless us with grace, patience, and love.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us….”
-Hebrews 12:1

“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.”
-G.K. Chesterton

“Lord, as the New Year dawns today,
Help me to put my faults away.
Let me be big in little things;
Grant me the joy which friendship brings;
Keep me from selfishness and spite,
Let me be wise to what is right.
A Happy New Year! grant that I
May cause no tear to any eye.
When this new year in time shall end,
Let it be said: “I’ve played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here
And made of it a happy year.”
-Edgar Guest

 

Thankful Thursdays

For another year with those I love.

So far, 2019 has brought everything but the kitchen sink (that’s too bad since I’ve been wanting to replace mine). I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted! Certainly, if Baby Yoda could talk, he’d say “this a boring year, was not.”

While I am thankful that God helped me overcome this year’s challenges and also accomplish some goals, what I am most grateful for is His gift of more time with those I love. Because, without a doubt, there is nothing better or more important than that. Don’t you agree?

So, are you ready to ring in a new decade? I guess that would depend on which almanac you follow (let’s not overthink this, people). I go by the Year of the Lord calendar – Year 1. So yup, I’m ready. I say, bring it on!

To my gang: As always, dale, ready up the traditions! Wherever midnight finds us on the 31st, let’s bring out las uvas, la maleta, y el cubo de agua. Let’s do this! And cheers to many more.

What are you thankful for today?

Signing out for 2019, until next year’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go.”
-Brooks Atkinson

“The chief beauty about time
is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour
if you choose.”
-A. Bennet

“Here’s to the ones that we got
Cheers to the wish you were here but you’re not
‘Cause the drinks bring back all the memories
Of everything we’ve been through
Toast to the ones here today
Toast to the ones that we lost on the way
‘Cause the drinks bring back all the memories
And the memories bring back
Memories bring back you.”
-Maroon 5

 

Thankful Thursdays

For time off…and the spirit of Christmas.

I’m on holiday, which means I’m off from work. Lovely. [And binge-watching “The Crown”]. Holiday, vacation, break, whatever term we use for it, it’s always nice to have one. And for that, I’m grateful.

I want to take this Thankful Thursday opportunity to wish you and your families a wonderful Nochebuena and a very merry Christmas. Although missing like crazy those no longer with us, we rejoice and celebrate with those who are. And what a blessing that is.

From our home to yours, may the presence and love of Christ, and the spirit of Christmas, always fill your hearts.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere. Cheerio!

“Take time off…The world will not fall apart without you.”
-M. Sephodi

“I realized that tradition is priceless, whether you have a small family, a large family, or no family. Tradition doesn’t have to be logical; it only has to emphasize the light of Christ and his everlasting love.”
-L. Copeland

“Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.”
-C.S. Lewis