Thankful Thursdays

For honor, gratitude, and a little common sense. We can protest all we want. We certainly live in the right country for that. I wish, however, a different form of solidarity would have been chosen for these days’ renewed and most passionate protest, because this one really has me baffled. It’s even, I think, doing more harm than good for its cause, as it is often the case with controversial methods. It’s difficult, you know, to hear the message when the delivery is objectionable and/or offensive. And this one’s carrying so much passion on both sides, that now words have turned nasty. That’s why some are finding it challenging to demand respect for this country’s symbols, when respect for each other has gone out the window. What a dilemma!

For me, this particular predicament is not about political parties, or sports, or, even less, about presidents. It’s about honor and gratitude, and a little common sense. Maybe because my family and I fled from an oppressive communist regime and I grew up seeing that this country’s flag and anthem meant more than freedom. They meant life. And so I grew up learning for what to stand, and for Whom to kneel. And today, for that, I’m thankful.

Whatever your stance, what are you thankful for today?

“It’s important the people should know what you stand for. It’s equally important that they know what you won’t stand for.”
-M.H. Waldrip

“The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both *may* be, and one *must* be, wrong. God cannot be *for* and *against* the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party – and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaption to effect His purpose.”
-Abraham Lincoln

What is the essence of America?  Finding and maintaining that perfect, delicate balance between freedom “to” and freedom “from.” 
– M. vos Savant

“America is a tune. It must be sung together.”
-G.S. Lee


Thankful Thursdays

For electricity, ice, and lighted mirrors. Rough couple of weeks for many of us. But now, as normalcy has begun for most of us, we are reminded of how blessed we are to have some of the things we so often take for granted. I must say, these last few days, I was taken back to my missionary work days. It felt D.R.-hot! ¡Qué calor!  Even the ice, when we found some, was melting at warp speed. I don’t know about you, but for some reason, getting power back this time around felt more joyous than when we got it back after two and a half weeks without it post Andrew. I guess I’ve had more years to get even more spoiled. I was even happy to switch on that dreadful lighted makeup mirror that never lies. It meant we had electricity! So, rough days, yes, but not nearly as difficult as for those who have been devastated by these storms and this earthquake. Prayers continue for them.

Meanwhile, thank heavens for family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers, who kept us sane. My friends and family, Mother Nature tests us, human nature prevails. And for that, most of all, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

“It is to the credit of human nature, that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves more readily than it hates.”
-N. Hawthorne

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.”
-M.J. Irion

Thankful Thursdays

Feeling very fortunate after that mad storm! We still don’t have power and the inconveniences have been many, but we are safe and sound. Neighbors, family, and friends, all coming together to lend a helping hand. How awesome to experience that.

Our hearts and prayers go out to all those who were not as fortunate. The road ahead will be tough, but God will give them strength.

We are very grateful to our kids for their help with the clean-up, which has been quite a project, and also with taking care of their Abuela. Perez Team rocks!

Stay strong, Floridians!

What are you thankful for today?

“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.”
-S.L. Alder

Thankful Thursdays

Coming at you late this morning, as we prepare for and deal with this little interruption called Hurricane Irma. Grateful to have one another to lean on while we weather this storm. And thanking God, in advance, for watching over us before, during, and after this hurricane. Stay safe everybody!

What are you thankful for today?

“Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.”

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”
Thomas Merton

rainbow over ocean


Thankful Thursdays

For helping hands. It’s been heartbreaking seeing the images coming out of Texas this week. Harvey surely made its presence known. But it’s been heartwarming to see so many people reach out to help those in need. That’s the spirit, planet Earth!

Lots of prayers going out to all the victims. And many thanks to all those helping out.

What are you thankful for today?

“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little — do what you can.”
-S. Smith

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”
-Mother Teresa

“How you treat:
-the mailman
-the cashier
-the garbage man
-the usher
-the custodian
-the receptionist
-the uber driver
says A LOT about you.”
-G. Kent

Thankful Thursdays

For a welcome reprieve. Last Monday felt like a normal day from some time ago even though we had a rare event taking place. The Great American Eclipse, which a lot of us were fortunate to view, lightened up our usually crappy news day and gave us some much needed relief from the dark issues looming over us these days. News coverage and social media rantings about Russia, nukes, emails, political correctness, riots, and race, were temporarily shaded with cool talk of trajectory, the moon and the sun, safety glasses, and viewing parties (like the one I enjoyed with my co-workers). Even if you weren’t into astronomy, you got into astronomy, if only for the sake of sanity.

Monday, gazillion people gathered together across this nation, looked skyward and forgot for a while about skin color, background, political party, and the rest of those all-consuming issues clouding our existence today. But…now it’s back to crazy. Oh, eclipse, how I miss thee.

Although Miami was not in the path of totality, the partial one we saw was pretty majestic. I plan to put myself somewhere along the path of totality for the next one, on April 8, 2024. Maybe Texas. Get those cowboy boots ready guys! (@Lauren @Danny @Ray).
But I must say, the coolest thing for me about the eclipse was that when viewed through the lense of faith, one could see God’s hand all over this great spectacle. For His gracious alignment of the Sun and the Moon in our celestial skies, and giving us something in common to collectively celebrate, I am so grateful.

How ‘bout you, what kind of lenses did your glasses have? And what are you thankful for today?

“Do you think the universe fights for souls to be together?
Some things are too strange and strong to be coincidences.”
-E. Allen

“There are two kinds of light – the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.”
-J. Thurber

“Always when judging
Who people are,
Remember to footnote
The words ‘So far.’”
-R. Brault

Thankful Thursdays

Wow, what the heck? People are being crazy and cruel. Some are ruining whatever they’re passionate about with negative and hurtful behavior, instead of turning all that energy into right action. Who or what are they letting rule their inner voice? You know, the voice – conscience – that God-given gift that guides us and motivates us to do [albeit sometimes reluctantly] what is right and good. For me, sometimes a soft whisper is all I need. Other times, depending on my thoughts, a loud scream that I just can’t ignore. But watching the crazies these days, it seems like they are tuned in to a different frequency all together. What a shame.

I admit that it [my conscience] can be a little confusing, and that can weaken me. But the Holy Spirit, in which I so strongly believe, is what keeps my Jiminy Cricket in check. And for that, I am so thankful.

Who or what are you letting rule your conscience? And what are you thankful for today?

“You can spend your time arguing about national politics or getting involved in your local government. One pleases the ego, the other makes a difference.”
K. Eschenroeder

“Don’t cut your conscience to fit this year’s fashions.”
-L. Hellman

“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
– Romans 12:2

Thankful Thursdays

For water.  Today, around 289,000 children under five die every year from diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That’s almost 800 children per day, or one child every two minutes. [ Statistics]. Even sadder, is that I start to feel deprived if I think I have to go without a shower for a morning. Then I recall the images of those days I spent among some of the less fortunate, but richest people I’ve known, and it snaps me right out of it. I wrote about them, and those missionary trips, in Once Upon a Time I Was a Princess – And Then I Woke Up. That was perspective on steroids, my friends.

From those life-changing experiences, LIFO (Living Instruments For Others) was born. In 1985, my friend, Albert Perez, with whom I shared some of these experiences, founded LIFO, a grassroots,  non-profit organization based in Miami that helps some of the poorest people in the Dominican Republic improve their living conditions, education, and health. For over 30 years, LIFO volunteers have been bringing these communities access to clean drinking water, sanitation resources, and healthcare. I encourage you to read about LIFO, and donate to support its great mission.

Water is a blessing most of us take for granted, especially clean drinking water. Here in the U.S., we don’t have to walk miles to get muddy water from a river for a drink on a hot day. And for that, I am profoundly grateful.

What are you thankful for today?

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”
-W.H. Auden

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
-Anne Frank

Thankful Thursdays

For friends. This Sunday is Friendship Day. A day when we celebrate old friends, new friends, long distance friends, close friends, those friends we see often, and those we see once in a blue moon. We celebrate, especially, those characters in our lives who stir our ambition, those who snap us back to reality, those who share our faith, those who test us and in turn teach us, and those who always have our backs.

I’ve been fortunate to have been blessed with all of the above. And today, as I reflect on my connections and the quality of our interactions, I thank God for each of YOU.

Who are you thankful for today?

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
-Henri J.M. Nouwen

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
-C.S. Lewis

“How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it. How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it. How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.” –
-Shel Silverstein

[Friendship day was originally founded by Hallmark in 1919. In 1998 Winnie the Pooh was named the world’s Ambassador of Friendship at the United Nations (believe it or not!), and in April 2011 the United Nations officially recognized July 30th as International Friendship Day; although most countries celebrate it on the first Sunday of August!]

Thankful Thursdays

For those who nurture my faith. Especially, my husband. When all hell breaks loose and the struggles get real, there is nothing like having people in your life who will step up and reassure you that things will be alright because someone is watching over you. If you’re a person of faith, whatever your religion, then you know the importance of being surrounded by people who help nurture that faith so you can get through life’s struggles. People who pray with you, even when all is okay, and make you feel grateful.

To be able to share my life with those who keep God at the center of theirs, is one of my biggest blessings. From my family, especially Ray, who, thirty-three years ago, joined me in my Christian walk and now lights our path, to my circle of friends, whose godly connection I feel in my heart. For all of them, each an integral part of my survival, I thank you, Lord.

May you find yourself surrounded by those who carry God in their hearts and wear their faith on their sleeves.

What are you thankful for today?

“Hide yourself in God, so when a man wants to find you he will have to go there first.”
-S.L. Alder

“And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them.”
-M.W. Smith