Neighborly Love

When I was a kid every evening after dinner everyone in our neighborhood would come outside to the front of their homes. Most of the adults would be hanging out on their porches visiting with one another and us kids would be riding our bikes or playing games like wiffle ball or tag in the middle of the street.  Everyone seemed to know and like each.

Nowadays, people seem to be a lot busier and don’t tend to hang out on their front porches like they used to but, no matter where I’ve lived I have always managed to get to know most of my neighbors and I realize that though they have all been different they still always have two things in common –Neighbors are an important part of one another’s lives and neighborly love is something that I have always been a part of.

Neighbors are the familiar that surrounds you when you go outside of your home and somehow they make you feel secure when you’re on the inside your home too.

Neighbors watch over one another’s children and homes, keep an eye on packages delivered, and help one another fix things. I’ve had neighbors borrow eggs, butter, and sugar and they’ve returned the favor back to me also.  I even had a neighbor once who text messaged me pictures of a family of turkeys that she saw hanging out in my front yard. I would have missed them had she not messaged me!

Neighbors somehow feel like an extension of my own family.

About a year and a half ago, after living in the same neighborhood for 18 years, my husband and I moved.  Though I was excited about our new adventure I was also a little sad about leaving our old neighborhood behind.  Our first summer here our next door neighbor started bringing us homegrown tomatoes from their garden. Their kindness continued all summer long.  They then went away on vacation toward the end of the summer and told us we could come over and pick all the tomatoes we wanted while they were gone!  Those homegrown tomatoes were not only yummy but most importantly they were a gesture of kindness that made us feel welcomed and also let us know that we were also a part of our new neighborhood family.

Jesus told us to –“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31 NIV)

My whole life I have been a part of neighborly love even before I knew Jesus told us to love them.

I really can’t imagine going through my life without having a neighborhood family.

How about you?  Do you have a neighborhood family? How have you experienced neighborly love?  Do you have a special neighbor or what is so special about your neighborhood?  Share a line or two about your neighbors in the comment section below… or better yet if you have written a blog post about neighbors go ahead and share the link.

Since this post today is about sharing neighborly love I would like to invite you to leave via -> this link to Compassion International’s website.  When you click the link you will find out how you can share neighborly love with a child in a neighboring country by helping to protect them from Malaria. There is no obligation so please on your way out go check it out!

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

Don’t forget to leave a comment I am looking forward to hearing your stories!

 

 

Never Ending Winter

 

This Winter season has been extra long for me this year.  As many of you know I had a weird illness since September that caused me to be dizzy and to have to stay home and not able to do much of anything. On top of the illness our winter in Missouri, this year was brutally cold with lots of snow, ice, and long dreary gray days.  Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was beginning to think I may never see warm sunny weather again!

To catch those up who don’t know about my life over the past year here is a quick run-down : In February 2017 my husband and I paid a large sum of money as a down payment to a roofing company to put a new roof on our home. The roof was supposed to be put on in March of that year.  March came and went but there was no roof put on and the company was ignoring our calls and if they did answer they would put us off.  In May I finally canceled the roof because I felt like they were scamming us and never going to put the roof on.  June, July, and August were spent trying to get our money back from the company and then paying ANOTHER roofing company in August to put on the roof.  The first company never gave us our money back and in August the new company installed our roof. Also in August – my husband filed in small claims court against the first roofing company to try to get our money back. September – my husband and I went to small claims court and were met at the judge by an attorney for the roofing company who asked to have the case moved to trial by jury and filed a third-party petition against me for slander against the roofing company because I had contacted the Better Business Bureau, the state Attorney General, and wrote review about them on Angie’s list in the attempt to get our money back.  The roofing company took our money, never gave us a roof, but now they were suing me for $25,000.00!  It was around that time that I one day while I was at work I was suddenly hit with dizziness that felt as if the whole room was spinning so bad I may fall off the Earth.  From that day on I was dizzy almost every day of my life and spent several months going to doctor after doctor trying to figure out what was wrong with me.  What had started as dizziness soon progressed to sound and light sensitivity, and I could not do anything with a screen such as computers or TV. I had memory issues, panic attacks, and soon even depression. If you can name it, I pretty much had it.  I ended up having to quit my job because I was too sick to do it plus my husband had to drive me everywhere, I went because I couldn’t drive because I was dizzy. If I had a good day and did go anywhere then I would get carsick or if not carsick I’d be worrying that I might become dizzy.  It got a point that I couldn’t even go to church on Sunday’s because the music and the stage lighting caused me to be dizzy.  I will stop here because it just suddenly dawned on me that my ‘brief rundown’ has turned into a full-blown story in itself.  If you’d like to read the much longer version, I did write a few blog posts about my illness this past winter which can be found hereVertigo, Panic, and Feelings of Insanity, When the Struggle is Real Keep Going Even if You Have to Do it with Your Eyes Closed, My Plans Aren’t Your Plans But Are Your Plans Mine Even Though They Don’t Make Sense?

Between the illness, being sued, and all the dull grey days of Winter this was probably one of the coldest, darkest, and longest seasons in my life I remember ever having.

Before all of this craziness happened, I led a pretty busy life and I always considered myself a pretty happy person but now looking back I can see that I was probably not as happy as I led myself to believe I was.  I was always rushing here and there and was always feeling overwhelmed with all the things I had to do but never doing much of the things I wanted to do.  I now can see that the things I wanted to do were things that I had been putting on the back burner that those things were truly important for my own well-being.  My job for instance – I was in the church building every day but I know now that I was actually pretty far away from the church on other aspects. Meaning my relationship with God. I know that sounds weird to say but now looking back I can see that needed to step back away from church in order to actually see just how far away from God I had moved.

Before I was ‘stuck’ at home I never had time to just calmly sit and read my Bible. My prayers were rushed more like a checklist and I barely journaled anymore because I just didn’t have the time. It was like my spiritual life only happened when I could fit it in.  Ya I know you can read my blog post where I always mention that but oddly even though I figured it out several times I never actually followed through with what I had learned until I was ‘forced’ into having the time to follow through. Bad… I know but now I do follow through … most of the time.

This past Fall and Winter has probably been one of the longest, coldest, darkest seasons I’ve been through physically and mentally in a very long time but all seasons do come to an end and even though I had small glimpses of sunshine here and there throughout the winter it wasn’t until about February that I started seeing the large rays beginning to shine through and this time they actually began staying.

My time stuck at home had given me a whole lot of time to begin connecting with God on a deeper level and also I was feeling a little better physically.  The dizzy spells were becoming less and less and I know my triggers that set off the dizziness now with stress being one of my big ones. Looking back, I can connect the whole roof scam and being sued by them as probably my breaking point and what set this whole illness off.  I have always been a stuffer of my feelings most of my life. Never telling people when I’m sad or upset and I usually just go about my days clinging to the good stuff and not paying much attention to the bad.  Now I can see that the bad I’d been stuffing finally caught up with me.  A person can’t stuff those feelings down inside without finally running out of room inside to stuff them and I think maybe I just broke because I was too full.  Through all of this, every doctor kept telling me I needed to get the stress out of my life but really how do you do that when it’s coming in from places you can’t stop??

I think it’s more in how you deal with stress is how you remove it from your life. Don’t stuff it inside where it can’t be dealt with or it will eventually end up eating you alive.

From where I sit now I can finally see that good stuff can be found even on a bad day but it is okay to acknowledge when things aren’t going so great. I realized now that it really is okay to be not okay.

During this season of my life, I have also learned to say no.  I have learned that if someone gets upset with me for saying no then that’s their problem, not mine. Also, now that I have said no a couple of times, I have realized nobody was upset with me anyway. HA 😊

I can see now that quitting my job was a good thing too.  I still love my church and of all the jobs I’ve had in my life being the church secretary was my all-time favorite.  So, when I say that quitting the job was a good thing, I know it probably makes no sense to anyone else except for me. But the best thing I have noticed is that now when I am at church, I am there for one thing only and that is God 😊

Also, I’ve realized that I’d been neglecting the things God called me to do.  Write my blog, finish the book I started and rekindle family and friend relationships that I’d let drift away because I didn’t have time.

Over the past month, my new neurologist has started weaning me off the medicine that another neurologist had given me for the brain stem migraine diagnosis. His plan was to start me on a different medication that has fewer side effects but as time has gone on, I’ve started feeling like my old self again so I haven’t had to take the new medication. I feel like I am finally waking up from this nightmare I’ve been stuck in and now that I am waking up when I look back and can see that October through January is one giant blur to me.  I never realized when I was traveling through it all just how dark my winter season really was and to be honest, I was worried that it was never going to end but the best thing in all of this was Jesus. He was always with me the whole time and no matter how bad I’d feel he kept pushing me forward. Making me get up out of bed in the morning when I didn’t want to get up. Sending close friends to check on me at just the right moments. He kept nudging me to read my Bible and he was the one with me on the nights I couldn’t sleep.  He pushed me forward toward springtime and on those days when I thought I couldn’t go on anymore he carried me.

Be still my heart… His love for his children is a love like nothing else. I was the one in one hundred and he came looking for me.

The roof stuff is still happening but, as far as my health goes I feel like I’m on the upside. I can feel the warmth of Springtime outside but most importantly I feel the warmth inside of me once again.   I know that this long dark Winter season is finally coming to an end and like the rays of sunshine in Springtime make the flowers bloom, I can feel God’s love for me cracking away at the icy chill of this long winter season so that I to can now bloom once again.

The Time I was Given Salvation, but Decided to Give it Back

 

I never went to church as a child or adult other than occasional visits. When I was in my late 20’s I had been attending a church for a few months and one day I found myself walking down the aisle during a church service because I had just given my life to Jesus. I didn’t really understand the whole, ‘give your life to Jesus’ thing other than I knew that I had just been ‘saved’ and I was excited and happy about it!

Shortly after I was saved I was informed that because I was now saved, I could also become a member of the church. I hadn’t even realized until that moment that I wasn’t already a ‘member’ of the church.  I also soon found out that but there was a catch to being a member of the church.

To be a member of the church I had to be baptized.

I was still pretty new to all of this, and getting dunked underwater in front of everyone seemed horrifying to me. I really wanted to be a member of the church but did NOT want to get baptized!

And to make matters worse someone told me that if I didn’t get baptized then I couldn’t get into heaven!

Being saved by Jesus had somehow now turned into me freaking out about church membership, baptisms, and getting into Heaven.  None of this stuff had even been on my mind when I had asked Jesus to come into my life.

If this was what being saved felt like, I didn’t want to be saved anymore. I had felt a whole lot safer before the whole saving ordeal had happened!

Oh and also now added to the pot was this — my 7-year-old daughter had also been saved in Sunday school and she was scheduled to get baptized with me. The pressure was on and there was no way I could back out!

So the baptism happened and the joy I had felt at the beginning about being saved by Jesus was now lost under a huge weight.

Not only was the robe they made me wear to be baptized in heavy material that when wet made me feel as if I were coming out of the water with a couple of bags of rocks attached to my back.  But it added to the fact that I now felt weighed down with the overwhelming task I had in front of me to keep it together. I felt like a fake and knew I had to be good so as not disappoint God or anyone in the church.

After I was baptized I barely went church anymore. I felt like a huge failure and I eventually walked completely away from church.

The worst thing of all is that I also walked away from God. I felt like somehow I had been part of some crazy bate and switch scam and I decided that God wasn’t real.

I stayed that way many years but then I saw my father-in-law die and that was the day I met the real Jesus once again.

As my father-in-law took his last breath his face suddenly became peaceful, I can never begin to explain what happened, except that God let me see my father-in-law as he was entering his new home in heaven and the peace surrounding him felt as if it were surrounding me. There was this overwhelming feeling of peace and love and it felt like it was all put there just for me to grab hold of.  I remember going home that night with the loss of a loved one, yet I felt like I had gained something huge I knew at that moment that God was real and that He truly loved ME! Unconditionally.

I had been told by well-meaning Christians my whole life that I should go to church and somehow I had grasped on to the idea that if I didn’t go to church I wasn’t good enough for God.  I also thought I had to be good when just being who I was was good enough.

A hospital room at one of the darkest times of my life is where Jesus came and got me. For no other reason than because, He loved me… just as I was. There wasn’t a church building or baptism required to be a member of his family and the only strings attached were for me to believe in him and come into his arms.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Being saved by Jesus means that Jesus loves me so much that he gave up his life for me so I don’t have to be perfect.

The gift of Salvation is a God’s gift to ALL of us.

His gift is for any of us to take no matter who we are or where we are in life. It doesn’t have to be opened in a church building and we don’t have to be a member of anything to receive it. Once we accept it we are part of the family and will live in Heaven with him one day

I did eventually find a church that I now call my church home and I did even get re-baptized when I felt led by Jesus to do it not because I was forced to do it.

I love Jesus and the family of believers he has placed in my life and it’s good to have those people in my life because they help make that connection to Him even stronger. We worship together and learn about him together. We even help lift each other up in our times of struggle. So a church family is a good thing to have.

I did not share this story to condemn any church or denomination,  I shared it because I have met up with several people now who have had this same experience as me. I want others who read this to know that no matter who you are or where you are at you can come to Jesus just because He loves you and wants YOU right where you are.

If you already have accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation that is awesome! If you want to share it with others and you are attaching strings to it, please stop doing that!

‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.’ John 3:17

 

Jesus Loves Me

Jesus loves me

He loves ME

ME

JESUS loves ME

JESUS LOVES ME!

Now you say it

Jesus loves me

Now believe it

Jesus loves ME

Say it again

Jesus loves ME

And again

Jesus loves ME

And again

JESUS LOVES ME

HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME!

Now keep that thought in your head because its TRUE

JESUS LOVES YOU ❤

Turn Signals are Optional

So yesterday on our way to church my husband was driving and we had a police car not too far behind us. In this area of town, the speed limit is so low that it is easy to accidentally go over. I then ‘reminded’ my husband of the low-speed limit and of the police car behind us, just as he suddenly switched lanes without using his turn signal.

I sarcastically added to my reminder the words, ‘Oh wonderful! While you are getting your speeding ticket the policeman can go ahead and add another ticket for changing lanes without signaling!”

My husband then informed me that when nobody was driving close to him that a turn signal was ‘optional’.

We then continued to ‘discuss’ (argue) about who was right or wrong on this matter. A couple of minutes later the signaling discussion was over and we passed a church. As we drove by I said, “wouldn’t it be nice if our church was this close to our house?” and then added, “but that is one church I will never go to,” and then we began talking about the beliefs of that churches denomination and how they followed a bunch of rules that were not actually in the bible. I then said something to the effect of I did not want to go to a church where I could not just be who I am.

Fast forward – We get to church, and the message is titled… ‘Judging Others’… I’m sure you can guess where this story is going… 😊

The Pastor starts right off with a joke about signaling when changing lanes while driving a car and something about signaling being optional. He then moves right into talking about how people who don’t go to a church will sometimes say they won’t come to this church or that church because of they think they are full hypocrites.

He wasn’t even into the message 2 minutes and my husband was elbowing me whispering, “what are the chances of that?”

The scripture used that day was John 8:1-11 – the one about the woman caught in adultery and how the teachers and Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus into saying something they could use against him. But instead of answering Jesus just wrote in the dust and then he said, “he who has never sinned may cast the first stone”. And then instead of stoning her everyone then turned and walked away. The pastor said one thing this made him think about how when someone asks us a question we are not obligated to answer and the next thing I know I am getting elbowed by my husband again because I am always accusing my husband of not directly answering my questions when he knows the answer will get him into hot water with me. I soon found myself whispering to my husband “You are just like Jesus!” my husband said “thankyou” and we both started laughing.

Enough said…

My lesson was learned big time today and God has a really great sense of humor too.

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all have a great week!

Oh and before you leave check out this song by Lauren Daigle about the woman from John 8:1-11.

How God Sent Me a Message in a Pile of Yuk

terrisiebert.com

Warning… This post is kind of weird and maybe a little yukky…

A couple of weeks ago I was standing at the bathroom sink brushing my teeth when suddenly I heard this gurgling noise coming from the toilet.

It didn’t sound like a good sound and as I lifted to lid to investigate I realized that I was correct. The water in the bowl was bubbling and rising quickly to the top.  I turned off the faucet at the sink but the toilet continued to bubble up. I ran for a plunger and began yelling for my husband to come help save the bathroom from what I knew was most likely going to be a flood.

We were able to save the bathroom but after a lot of effort to unclog it, my husband realized that it was not gonna happen so he was going to have to call a plumber. Later that day the plumber came and spent 2 hours at our house unclogging the pipes.

Fast forward to today….

I was standing at the sink brushing my teeth when….

You guessed it! REPEAT of two weeks ago happened again!

Seriously??   I have been brushing my teeth all my life and have never seen a sink cause a toilet to overflow!…and now this was 2 times in 2 weeks!

My Husband came to the rescue again

He tried everything AGAIN

Nothing worked AGAIN

He called the Plumber AGAIN

But this time the plumber’s magic plumbing tools didn’t work. After about 2 hours of slinging nasty water all over my bathroom and hallway, the plumber said he couldn’t fix it and said he was going to have to call his boss who I guess must be his plumber…???

BTW who do plumbers call when they need a plumber??

Later that day the boss plumber came with some fancy water-jet-blaster-truck which sprayed from the outside of the house in…Ya… this story just keeps getting messier and messier! By the time he was finished I had to declare the bathroom as a hazardous waste contamination area (just my sarcasm but it sure felt like it) and there was a lovely pile of what looked like brown paper mache’ all over the basement floor. Gag… barf…  😦

That may sound like the worst of it but nope… the worst news of all is that the boss plumber put a camera in our pipes to see if he could find the problem and it was a big one. We live in a very old house and the verdict is that the pipes in our house are so old that they have disintegrated in places causing nothing to be able to get through.

Ugh! This was really ‘crappy’ news. But the good news was that he was able to unclog pipes BUT unfortunately, it is only a matter of time until they are clogged again so we have to replace them ASAP.

Oddly during all this, my husband who is the one who usually gets upset about this sort of thing seemed really calm …. but me on the other hand, the one who is usually calm about this sort of thing, started worrying about all the what-ifs and the cost of fixing it.

The night of the clog I had a class at church and then the next day I had to work so my husband was the one who had to clean up most of the mess. While I was at work I kept thinking about the mess in the house and starting to self-doubt as to if we are doing the right thing by moving here… etc.. etc… etc…

I should have known I have nothing to worry about now here’s the good part of the story –

When I arrived home my husband met me outside with a huge grin on his face and said, “look at what I found while sweeping up in the basement?” Then he placed a silver ring in my hand.

I recognized it! This was my ring I had lost 7 years ago!

The story of the ring – The house we live in used to belong to my husband’s parents and not long before his mother passed away I lost my ring at her house. I thought I had lost it in the bathroom but I had searched every inch of it and never find it. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it must have dropped down the drain or into the toilet.  Now 7 years later my husband had found it in that mountain of yuk in the basement.

This may not sound like such a big deal to most people but to me, this is huge… and not like you would think. This is not an expensive ring but what was written on it was worth more to me than you can imagine.

It’s a twisted band and there is a message engraved on it. – 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

My husband and I had prayed a whole lot about the move to this house before we did it.  We both knew that moving here was what God wanted us to do.  It has been a lot of work getting here but also at the same time it has been fun and very rewarding to see how things have been coming out. We’ve had a few unexpected problems along the way but each one has turned out great and we really love living here. This house has felt like home to both of us since the moment we moved in.

I know that this life we are living is God’s plan and sometimes its hard to see the outcome of his plan when you are right in the middle of it.  But now (thanks to the reminder) I remember that as long this is God’s plan it will turn out good… because God is really really good ❤

“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

 

I’m Warrior, How About You? – Music Monday

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately but have been struggling to find the words to write about it so instead, I have remained silent. Today I have decided that I just can’t keep silent anymore and will let the words flow as they may… no corrections will be made so please forgive the typing errors.  Also – If you are alive and breathing then you’ve most likely seen or heard what I am getting ready to talk about and I have no idea what side of this you are on but hopefully you know me enough that what I write here comes from my heart and is said with love and that I am not trying to stir the pot in a bad way at all. Only love lives here on this blog ❤

Here goes….

Lately, the world seems to have gone a little crazy…make that a LOT crazy! People seem are so divided on everything and I’m really quite sick of it. Everywhere I turn I see people hurting others and making hate-filled comments on social media about everything you could ever imagine! I won’t bother listing them all here because I am sure you have already heard them all too.  If you can name it then I am pretty sure someone will most likely have a problem with it and say something negative.

Lately, it also seems like everyone is right… (according to themselves) And everyone who they think is wrong needs to be told publically about it in a mean way.

Am I right?… Or maybe I am wrong…

Does it really matter who is right or wrong?  We all have an opinion and we have a right to have that opinion, but is it really necessary to voice that opinion against one another all of the time?

What if we all just opened up our eyes one day and actually tried to really see the people we are around day in and day out as a fellow human being and then we just went ahead and loved them for who they are… no matter what they believe?!

Right now I have about 20 close people I know who are going through some very serious things in their lives. For them, there is a war going on right now and to them, it’s not against another person and it’s not about who’s right or wrong.  They have bigger fish to fry than that! So many are fighting very serious things right now, like the loss of a loved one, illnesses, drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness, seriously… I could list things forever and never end this list!  I’m sure you probably have a few of your own things that you could to add.

The struggle is real! and we all really need one another right now!

God didn’t put us here to go through things alone and he especially didn’t put us here to fight against each other!

What if we all just made the decision to become warriors FOR everyone else instead of only for our own agenda?

I’m not sure if today’s song goes with what I wrote today or not, but I really love this song and feel like no matter who we are…we all are… or we will be… warriors at one time or another in our lives. We all have struggles that we have to battle every single day.  I know I have been a warrior myself and hope I can say I am for others … No matter how hard we try there is always room for improvement.

Sooooo…..What do ya say, can we all be warriors for the same Team?

Let’s all give LOVE a try!

Here is the song, I hope you enjoy it and it makes you want to join me! – Warrior by Hannah Kerr

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Terri Siebert