Tuesday, July 18, 2017

God's Hand In My Life

I’ve noticed that even though I may not immediately recognize it, God has a hand in my life on a daily basis.  Yes, I know that God is in my life all the time but I don't always see it.  Sometimes things happen that seem so ordinary, so small that it seems they are not important enough to be the result of the hand of God.  However, during one of my morning "sit-downs" (as I like to call them) with God, I focused on recent events that I could see had God's hand in them.

My husband's sister died about 3 weeks ago.  His brother went to Chicago to handle arrangements and clean her townhouse to be ready for sale.  When he returned he told horror stories of what he found in the house.  He said that it was a mess.  It was dirty, stinky and had cat feces all over one level.  This was a surprise to me as I always thought of my sister-in-law as a very organized neat person.  My husband was also upset about this because he felt that just wasn't the kind of person his sister was.  My husband and his brother went to Chicago about 2 weeks ago to do final paperwork as well as look over the property.  When he returned, he told me that although there was a lower level of the house that reeked of cat, the rest of the house was extremely organized and neat.  The clothes in all her drawers were clean and folded, her closets were organized.  Everything looked like the sister he knew.  He was quite relieved.  Losing a loved one is very difficult but finding out they are different than the person you remember only adds to the grief.  I am glad that God had a hand in easing some of my husband's pain.

God's Hand was evident when my husband had gone to Chicago with his brother and left me home alone.  I have not been by myself in a long time but I was not overly concerned.  In fact, I made a point of telling my husband and son that I would be quite all right and looking forward to the quiet time.  The first night my husband was gone, I was surprised when my youngest son showed up.  He said he had just gotten off work and thought he would come home and spend the night.  He knew that I didn't sleep well when I was alone (he remembered when his father worked midnight shifts and I had a difficult time sleeping) and felt his presence would be calming.  It was and I did sleep quite well.  I did tell him in the morning he didn't need to come again because I would be ok.  However, the second night, we had a very intense although brief storm.  The power went out and I was left in the dark.  I have been in the house without power before but never without my husband.  Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck.  I had a lot of conversations with God that night.  Then about 11:30pm, my son showed up again.  He said that he felt he had to come home after work because I needed him.  The relief in my heart when He came in was overwhelming and at that point, I knew that God had made sure I was not alone to face the dark that night.

I believe that God communicates with us in any way He can. He speaks through His word, He sings through His songs, He whispers in His wind and He works through His messengers in the common events of our days. If we look and really see, we will see His clues that let us know He is there.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Inspiration for Monday, July 17

My children are adults now and they still do this.  Often my son shows up at the house after work.  He makes himself a snack, takes a shower and stays the night.  His comment to me is "I just wanted to be home tonight."  I like that alot.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

I Love America because of...

1.  The beauty.  I am sure that many people think their country is the most beautiful.  I think America is beautiful.  The mountains, hills, valleys, deserts, plains, forests, lakes, rivers, everything about it just yells, "Look at me!!  I am beautiful!"  Yet, the most beautiful parts of America is not its landscape but its people.  People who came to this "new world" from so many other places and created a country so unique that it cannot be duplicated.  That is the true beauty of this country.

2.  The people.  Yes, I love the American people.  We are a people who argue, fight, and debate but we are also a people of fun, laughter, kindness, support, hopes and dreams.  Yes, we divide ourselves thru politics, religion, color, gender and beliefs but we also come together as one country when we need to.  Just look at 9/11 if you don't agree with me.  We are a people who volunteer to serve in the armed forces to protect not only our country but other countries as well.  We are a people who take care of those who need help with food and shelter, protect those who are too young, too old or unable to care for themselves.

3.  The freedoms.  We are a nation who have rights to speak, live, pray and believe without persecution.  Yes, we do...even when there are some or many who don't agree with any of it. We are a country who believes in the words of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and our National Anthem.  We believe in the American flag which just the sight of can bring tears to the eyes of many people whether they are American or not.

4.  The imperfections.  No, we are not a perfect country made up of perfect people.  Humans are imperfect and because of that, mistakes great and small are made.  We do not do everything right all the time but we are also a country where we have the opportunities and abilities to change what is wrong.  These changes can come in the forms of the right to protest, the right to vote and the right to voice our opinions.

Today many say that America is going downhill and that it no longer is the beacon it used to be.  Yes, it seems that this country is in a deep, deep hole but she has been there in the past and has always risen up from it.  I believe she will do that again.  You can say I am wrong or looking thru rose-colored glasses and that is your right in this country. 

However, on this 4th of July, I am proud to stand up and voice my love for this country and to proudly call myself an American.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

44 Years of Mountains and Valleys

Marriage is a series of mountains and valleys. There are ups and downs, highs and lows, events that we could not have foreseen when we first started. In the beginning, you have an idea of what marriage will be like and then reality hits you in the head and you find that it isn't even close to what you thought it would be.  There are those times when everything is going the way it's supposed to go.  Life is filled with romance, laughter and good times.  Then suddenly you hit a rough patch...inlaws, money, jobs, responsibilities or just those tiny habits that annoy you.  And with every rough patch, you are faced with a choice..do you ride it out until the high comes back or do you give up and walk away?  Now days, it seems many find it easier to throw in the towel and hit the road.  Now I am not saying that every rough patch requires staying power.  Sometimes the rough patch is more than that and leaving is the best choice.  No, I am saying that just because life has led you into a valley, it might not be bad enough to throw the marriage away.

In 44 years, my husband and I have encountered our fair share of mountains and valleys.  We have seen friends and family end their marriages for one reason or another.  We have, in the heat of the moment, threatened to leave the other and go it alone.  But in the end, we always start climbing the mountain again...together.

I remember something my mom told me the morning of my wedding day when, in my nervous state, I asked her how she and dad had stayed together so long.  She said, "When those times come and you are not sure you are on the right path with the right one, think about tomorrow or next week or next month or next year.  How do you see it...alone or with him?  That will be your answer."

In 44 years of mountains and valleys, I have never been able to picture my life without him.

Happy 44th Anniversary, Butch....Love, Ellen.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"5 Things I Am Glad Were Invented"

There have been many things invented in the world over the years that I like very much and there are some that I scratch my head and say, "What was the purpose of inventing that?" However, there are 5 things that are my very favorite inventions and I thought I would share those with you today.

1.  Sticky Notes.   These are a super invention.  When I was teaching, these were an important item on my school supply list.  They identified papers, were mini notes to myself and others, became part of lessons and activities, super organizational tools and so much more.  At home, they were great for attaching notes for husband, sons and myself onto mirrors, tv screens, refrigerator doors, telephones and the occasional backpack and or child.

2.  Caller ID.  This is such a simple but great invention.  No more answering the phone thinking its friend or family but instead finding out it's a telemarketer (and yes, I am on the "do not call" list but still get calls). 

3.  Mute Button on TV Remote.  I love this button.  Press it and the most annoying commercials (which are most of them) become just a picture of moving mouths and politicians become automated robots that are easier to look at without hearing all the empty promises.

4.  Slo Cookers.  This is one of my favorite kitchen appliances.  Put the ingredients in the slo cooker in the morning and by dinner time you have a meal.  This is an especially great alternative to turning on the oven in the summmer and turning the kitchen into a sauna.

5.  Coffeemaker.  I adore coffee.  My day starts with coffee and keeps going thru the day and into the evening with coffee.  I love being able to set the timer and wake to the sensual smell of coffee first thing in the morning.  I love how I can make a new pot of coffee in less than 15 minutes.  Growing up my mom had one of those coffee pots you used on the stove.  Many a time, it was forgotten and then there was boiled over coffee all over the stove.

Your 5 inventions might be entirely different from mine and that's ok.  Sometimes progress brings good things in the midst of all the negatives.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Fathers' Day

To my dad, Joaquin Gomez, who has been gone 25 years.  You taught me that there is nothing I cannot do if I set my mind to it.  You taught me the importance of family.  You taught me to judge people not by their race, religion, gender or lifestyle but by their words and actions.  Even though you are not here in body, I know you are with me in spirit.

To my husband, Butch Fassbender, who has been my partner for over 40 years.  You are the most wonderful father to our sons.  You have given them your time, love and guidance throughout the years.  You have been there as the backer for their dreams, the shoulder for their questions, the laugh when they are down and the heart when they feel alone.  No matter the circumstance, they know they can count on you always.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

God's Reminder

It was one of those quiet Mondays.  My husband and I had finished dinner and I was watching the tv news with disappointment in the behavior of some of the humans on this planet.  My husband was outside finishing up some yardwork.  There was a knock at the door and who should be there but the little girl who lives across the road.  In her arms was a bouquet of beautiful flowers that I knew had come from her property.  She handed me the bouquet and said, "these are for you because you love flowers."  I smiled so big and hugged her, telling her "she had brightened my whole day with her thoughtful gift."

Sometimes in the midst of disappointment in some, God sends a reminder that there are good examples of His creation.