Since August is my Birth-Month, it’s a good time to begin each day thanking the Lord for all the blessings He has showered me with throughout my life. As I reflect and meditate on what God has done for me and my family, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for such an awesome God my Heavenly Father is. I cannot thank Him enough for sending His Only Son Jesus to die for my sins and be raised from the dead, so that I can live for Him, and with Him forever, in the freedom of His grace and through the power of the Holy Spirit. I do not know where I would be without the Holy Spirit as my “Life Coach”, my Counselor, Comforter, Helper and Friend. Hear are some of the things I am thankful for on my 59th Birth-Month:
My mom would do anything for her children and her sacrificial love continued to be poured out for her grandchildren. Both my dad and mom took care of my nephew Luke, my sister Jane’s first born son. There wasn’t anything they wouldn’t do for their first grandson, especially Bacci (Polish for Grandmother). Once my mom let Luke eat ALL four servings of the chocolate pudding she had made for him. “Luke really likes chocolate pudding.” she said. “How could I say no?” Luke and Bacci played all sorts of make-believe games with guns and football helmets and other toys. I think both of them liked playing these imaginary games.
(Mr. and Mrs. Luke Truehart and my sister Jane moving the pictures of our parents and Trish’s sister to the table with the other pictures and guest book)
Luke got married on July 4th of this year. My mom passed away in 2010, but a photo of my mom and dad, at Jane and Mark’s wedding, and a photo of Trish’s (Luke’s wife) sister who passed away, were placed on front-row seats, at the wedding, to honor them for the loving roles they played in Luke and Trish’s lives. It was such a joyful wedding. It was supposed to be on the beach, in Narragansett, R.I., but Tropical Storm “Arthur” forced it inside “The Towers” Reception Room. But that did not ruin the party. If anything, it made the wedding more meaningful. Both Luke and Trish had gone through very tough times in their childhood. Luke almost lost his life, at the age of fourteen, when he was struck by a drunk driver, which would leave physical and emotional scars for years to come.. Trish lost her sister, whom she looked up to and loved greatly, to cancer. It was poetically symbolic to have a storm raging during their wedding ceremony. God was saying, “Your marriage is stronger than any storm that comes in your life’s journey together.” (At least, that was what I heard.) It was such a blessing to see both my nephew Luke and my “new” niece Trish so happy. I thank the Lord for both of them. They are both blessings in my life.
By the time Noel, Jane and Mark’s second son, was born, my mom was beginning to have trouble getting around, due to complications from her diabetes. Dziadzius (Polish for Grandfather) took over most of the baby-sitting duties. Although Bacci still could whip up delicious chocolate pudding when Noel and Dziadius came in from playing outside. Just as when I was a kid and my dad would play baseball with me by throwing balls to me to hit with a big wooden bat (even though he really didn’t like baseball), he would play with Noel outside, even in the cold New England winter days.
(Noel and Jane, Pam and me)
Noel was one of two Best Men at Luke’s wedding. He did such a great job giving the toast. He had written it out about twenty different ways, but I think he picked the best one. In his toast Noel talked about Luke being his best friend (there is an eleven-year difference in age between the two brothers) and how he could talk about anything, from cars to girls, with Luke and he would always give him good advice. Noel ended his speech by asking, “So, when am I going to be an uncle?” It is such a blessing to see Luke and Noel so grown up. I thank the Lord that they are both part of my life and blessings from God.
(Sophie and me at the Bridge of Flowers)
My sister Sophie came from Oregon to attend Luke and Trish’s wedding. My friend Pam and I were able to share a hotel room with Sophie. Sophie’s best friend from childhood, Terry, and Terry’s husband Leo also came to the wedding and stayed at the same hotel. It’s hard to have my baby sister live so far away, but we do see each other once a year. After the wedding, Sophie was able to stay for a few days longer. Pam, Sophie and I were able to visit the Bridge of Flowers and Glacier Potholes, in Shelburne Falls. Pam is one of my “helpers”, along with Luke and my sister Jane. Pam is also one of my closest friends and sister in the Lord. We have known each other for decades! I thank the Lord for my sisters Jane and Sophie, as well as my sisters and brothers in the Lord – Pam, Fran, Kathie, Wendy, Lynda and Rich, Priscilla and Jack, Holly and Mark and so many others who are part of my church family and who have blessed my life with their prayers and their friendship.. I thank the Lord for my two families He has given me and for the ways each have touched my life in special ways.
(Jane and Mark and me at Luke’s wedding)
(My sister Jane and her husband Mark have provided an apartment for me, on the first floor of their two-family house, which is also a humungous blessing for me. I have lived “under” them for about twenty years. Being so near is the reason I am so close to Luke and Noel. In a way, I do think of them and love them as “my own“.)
My mom and dad have been gone for a long time now (my dad, 11 years; my mom, 4 years). There isn’t a day that goes by without me thanking God for my parents. My mom tirelessly fought for me to have an education, back in the 1960s, when having a physically disabled child in a regular classroom was a brand new idea. First, she arranged for a home tutor and Mrs. Holt taught me what I needed to know to finally attend regular junior high school. While my mom fought for my education, my dad taught me about God, and he also helped me with my math. Because of my mom and dad, I was able to graduate high school and go on to college and graduate school. Because of my mom and dad, I always knew that God existed and I grew to know my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I chose a different church to worship God and not the one my parents raised me in, but they were the ones who started my journey to know God. I will always be thankful to the Lord for my parents. They are the reason we are the strong family we are. When I look at my nephews Luke and Noel, I see my parents’ love shining inside them.
(Sleeping in class with Mrs Holt! and Preparing for Bible study at Hopetown)
Last, but not least, I thank the Lord for Mrs. Holt, Miss Stack, Professor Wilke and other teachers who saw the potential in me and helped me grow. Because of them, I became a teacher myself and taught at a small Christian residential school for disabled children and adults called Hopetown, in New York State. For six years there, I taught independent living skills to teens and had Bible studies with the adults. Later, I became a “House Dean Supervisor.” The school is no longer in existence, but I thank God for my time there. I grew as a Christian as I served others and met a lot of godly men and women who have influenced me to this day. I also helped teach the Bible at summer camps and weekend retreats with my friend Gail, from New York, my friend Linda, from Boston, and my friend Patti, from Pennsylvania. Because of my friendship with Linda, I met my friend Carol the Poet and Diane who works with Joni and Friends (a world-wide ministry with people with disabilities). I thank God for these godly women whom God has used in my life to help me grow and become more like Christ, through their examples of serving others in Christ’s Name.
Even though I no longer work to get paid, I’m still working and teaching for the Lord and His people. I was a deacon at my church for six years, where God taught me how to use my spiritual gifts. I am no longer a deacon, but I still teach Bible studies in my home and I write long Bible study posts as a Christian Woman Blogger. I thank the Lord for the ability to use my spiritual gifts sitting in a wheelchair. I thank the Lord that He is not limited by my physical disability.
This is not even half of what I am thankful for. Now, do you see why I celebrate for the whole month?
Peace and Joy!
“The LORD is my strength and my song; He has become my Salvation…I will enter and give thanks to the LORD” (Psalm 118:14 and 19b).