2013 in Review on A Story By Me

This morning I opened my email to find that WordPress had made a nifty little year in review of my blog.  As I was looking it over I realized that my blog is kind of like a review of the last year of my life. So much has happened this year and a lot of it I have written about in the blog.

As I start each new year I always reflect on the past year and look to the new year as a fresh start. When I look over this past year I am amazed at how many blessings and huge life changes happened to me in 2013. This was the year I started seeing more and more of God’s plan for my life revealed as I have watched myself embark on a path I never dreamed I would be on, seeing more and more exciting parts of the journey unfolding before me each day.

This past year I watched as God seemed to help me step out of my comfort zone more and more. This year I started a new job at my church. This time last year I was not even looking for a job and I really never dreamed that if I did get a new job it would be at a church. I still find that kinda cool a little scary for me but I do love the job and it’s been such a blessing for me.

In March I went to Haiti with Compassion, which I do have to say was probably the highlight of my year. While there in Haiti I met my sponsored child Thierry which was really really awesome. Not only did I get to meet Thierry while there but I also had a huge attitude adjustment and found out that I would never be the same person ever again. I also met Rose  while in Haiti and sponsored her.  I just recently found out that Thierry’s family is doing much better so he no longer in need of my sponsorship. I am so very thankful I was able to meet him before he moved on to a better life.

This year I also I had 2 knee surgeries which did not go as well as I had hoped and I have yet another eye issue going on.  Those things threw me into a bit of a fog but with the help of my family, friends and most of all God I am getting through it quite well and I have learned that God will give us the strength we need to get through whatever comes our way.

I could go on and on here talking about all the events of this past year but really you have probably heard them all before and if you haven’t and you really want to know all those stories there is a row over to the right of this page with every blog post ever posted on this blog. Though the year has had a few downs I really do have to say it’s been a good year full of mostly ups, God is always good and I am so very thankful for this place he has put me in. No matter how old we get we always are still learning and I do know that I have learned a whole lot this year.

This year I learned that no matter how tough life can be…God is always tougher.

If God asks you to do it,..he will equip you to do it.

Bad things do happen… but I also learned that no matter how bad things are there is always a blessing to be had in the midst of it all.  

And the biggest thing I have found this year is if you look for joy you will always find it…even if places that you may think it could never be found..

Two years ago I set out to write a blog because God told me to do it, I did not have a clue as to what I would ever write about but yet there always seems to be a story and always a reader somewhere in the world who reads it.  For whatever reason he continues to keep it going and I have to say I have been extremely blessed by it all and also by those of you I have gotten to know here, and also on your own blogs.  As I close out the year 2013, I would like to say thank you to all of you who continue to come by my blog and read it. Some of you leave a like or a comment and some just silently stop by and never say a word. Every single one of you are part of this blog and a part this blessing. It is WAY WAY more than I ever could have imagined or expected could happen,Thank YOU. God is really awesome isn’t he??  🙂

Thanks once again for reading and I hope you see many blessings in the coming year.  Happy New Year to you!

P.S.  Below is the year in review that WordPress put together for ‘A Story By Me’

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,000 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Eye of the Beholder

20130325_105300-1Today I met a young man, he is the chef in the resort I am staying at here in Jamaica.  He had a huge smile and kind eyes and seemed very pleased that I had searched out the Jerk chicken for dinner which is a specialty in Jamaica and one of the things the locals here are quite proud of.

As the chef was helping me with my food he asked me where I was from to which I replied that I was from Missouri which is in the United States.  He then asked me what is it like where I live.  I replied “It’s hot like it is here in Jamaica but not nearly as beautiful. We have no beach or ocean just a lot of trees and mosquito.”   He looked puzzled for a moment then he then asked, “Do you have snow where you live?”   I told him yes we do have snow but not this time of year.   He got a wistful look in his eyes and then he said “I want to see the snow so very much! I can only see snow in pictures or on the television.  Snow looks to be very beautiful, do you not think snow is beautiful?” And then he added “I think it is probably very beautiful in your country and I am sure you think so too.”

Oh man…I sure did feel ashamed of myself.

I actually love snow and think it is very beautiful!  I also love my town and my country, though I always seem to be telling others lately how I someday want to get out of Missouri and move somewhere with a beach.   I am sad to say I realized that I had painted a picture to this young man that looked like I did not like where I live and that I did not appreciate it’s beauty.

This man is working in what I consider to be an island paradise which I could tell he loved and was proud of, yet he was longing to see  snow which is something I take for granted.

The more we talked the more I realized how much I have to be thankful for.  I told him  how lovely the snow is and then I told him about the changing seasons and how in the fall the trees change colors and spring time how the new flowers begin blooming.  He listened intently seeming very excited to hear all this.  I also realize though I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to travel to this beautiful country and experience it, I do truly love my own Country and there is also no place like home.

Each day I am where God has put me, today it is Jamaica, tomorrow it will be at home.  No matter where I am God always seems to give me blessings and gifts.  Thankfully he does this even if I do sometimes act like a spoiled brat.

I guess you know the rest of the story….tonight I had a lot of apologizing and thanking to do.

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Today I am blessed.

Today I am thankful.

Every day I am blessed.

Every day I should always be thankful.

Thank you for reading,

T

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Journal entry 7/19/2013 – Montego Bay Jamaica

The Tale of Two Mothers

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Photo by Leslie Ponder

Missouri, USA

I wake up to the sound of my baby crying in the middle of the night, hurrying down the hall to his room I find him burning up with fever and coughing and I know he is sick with another cold.  I give him a dose of Tylenol and I rock him until the medicine starts to work and he falls back asleep.  I lay him in his crib  touching his little face relieved because his fever has dropped and he is cool now.  In the morning I will take him to the doctor.

A few hours later my alarm buzzes letting me know it is time to get up and start the day.  I check on the baby he is still sleeping, I touch his forehead and feel he is warm again.  I plan to call the doctor as soon as I get the other kids off to school.  I stop by their rooms to wake them up and then head to the kitchen to cook breakfast.  As I prepare breakfast I feel a bit overwhelmed with the tasks of the day.  I have a list a mile long of laundry, grocery shopping, my daughter has girl scouts and then dance class after school and the baby now needs a trip to the doctor.  My girls come into the kitchen, I put their breakfast in front of them, and we begin to talk and laugh as they eat their pancakes.  After breakfast is finished we all pile into the car and I drop them off at school, my day has begun.

Les Cayes, Haiti

I wake to the sound of my baby crying. I reach over and touch him he is burning up with fever and coughing, I know he is sick, though I am not sure how to help him. I do not have the money for a doctor or any medicine to give him. I rock him back to sleep listening to the coughs hoping he will be better soon.

A few hours later I wake to the sound of my baby crying, I reach over and touch his forehead, he is still burning with fever.  I sigh as the other children begin to wake up, I know they are going to be hungry and I have nothing to feed them again today. I wish I had more to give my children.  I do the best I can and am thankful for our home made of scraps of tin.   We have no electricity or running water, I worry my children will get sick from Cholera or Typhoid, and at night I cover them with mosquito nets to keep them from getting bitten by mosquitos which could bring them sicknesses such as Dengue fever and Malaria. I don’t really know how to help my children get out of this life we live.  Our day has just begun, I feel so tired and overwhelmed…

It’s Compassion Blogger assignment time again and since this Sunday is Mother’s Day the assignment today was to write from the perspective of a mother living in extreme poverty.  Because I do not live in poverty I really do not know how that would feel but that was my feeble attempt to compare my life when my children were still small and living at home to a mother living in poverty.

This past March I went on a Compassion Sponsor Tour to Haiti.  While there, we visited a mother at her home, the mother I described to you was the lady pictured at the top of this blog and that is her home she is standing in front of.   She had a family of 7 people who lived in that tiny home and she was HIV positive. Her eyes were tired and told a story of a hard life.  I will never forget her for long as I live.  Haiti is a poverty stricken country where 1 in 11 children usually die before the age of 5  and sadly most die from preventable causes.

Now I want to tell you about Compassion International’s Child Survival Program.

Compassion’s Child Survival Program works with mothers and expectant mothers to help them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  The program teaches them how to take care of their babies and how to make a safe home for them.  The Child Survival Program is based through the local church where they present the mothers with the gospel and also encourage their spiritual development by teaching them how to apply Christian values and how to share God’s love with their children.

While on our visit one of the places we visited was the HA-303 Child Survival program, while there I had the privilege to meet the mothers and children who attend and see first hand how the program is working.  The mothers and babies who were in the program were happy, healthy and thriving.

This is not the end of today’s story, I want to show you how you can help mothers in poverty change their story.  By clicking here you will be taken to Compassion’s Child Survival Program website there you can get more information and also make a one time donation to help save mothers and babies in need.  Thank you so much for reading my blog and also for making a difference in a life today.  Enjoy the video below of the mothers we visited at CSP HA-303 as they sing to us.