Thankful For. . .My Church Family

This is a story of how the church should roll. .  whenever there is a tangible need, we should love on our brothers and sisters in Christ and seek to fulfill that need. All because Jesus has made a difference in our lives. To Him be the glory. . . .

Al and I were present at a church family member’s house re-dedication recently.

Becky Woods, who lost her husband Danny to pancreatic cancer a few months ago, also faced major water damage a few weeks later to a large portion of her home. A couple of church members felt impressed to take this project on themselves for Becky. They used the insurance money Becky was issued to oversee and carry out the remodel, which had now grown to a whole-house project, while Becky was allowed to stay in town with daughter Kristy and son-in-law Mark.

Several drastic changes took place: Drywall and flooring were replaced. Wallpaper came down and fresh paint went up. Bathrooms were updated, along with a lot of other little niceties put in their place. Oh, Becky got a new flat-screen TV, replacing the outdated, water-damaged one in the den.

It was a new home for Becky! When she arrived, my husband Al prayed a prayer of dedication. He prayed that God would give Becky a new beginning and that God would use her and her “new” home to bless others through her in Jesus’ name. As Becky walked through and touched each lovely thing, Becky marveled at how God had provided for her, again and again.

I was thankful to witness in person, God’s faithfulness displayed through His people. We are never more like our heavenly Father than when we are giving . . .and are transformed through Holy Spirit’s power to literally become His hands of love, His feet in shoe leather.

We humbly praise God from Whom all blessings flow. . . !

Lookin’ up,


Thankful For. . . Second Chances

Everybody knows what a mulligan is. . . a do-over . . .also called a second chance. . . that God gives a person, just because. . .

I am thankful for second chances.

By far the second chance that has affected my life more than any other involves my teen and young adult years. I have Crohn’s disease, was diagnosed with this chronic inflammatory digestive disorder when I was 16 years old. In a nutshell, it means I can develop ulcer-like lesions  anywhere in my digestive tract, though mine tend to localize in the duodenum, the first part of the small bowel into the end of the stomach. Often these lesions can lead to pain, nausea/vomiting, obstruction, and a host of other unappealing conditions.

When a young person, I was frequently sick and/or hospitalized for complications arising from Crohn’s. My weight yo-yoed as I bounced between taking large amounts of  prednisone (with the typical “moon- face” appearance) or being off the meds and unintentionally dropping the pounds until I was rail-thin.

When Al and I were called to our second church ministry in Miami, Florida, God had prepared our pathway to a world-class doctor whom we would get to know very well. Dr. Arvey Rogers was listed in US News & World Report as a top U.S. gastroenterologist at the University of Miami Hospital in that first year we moved to Miami. As was typical, I had a flare-up soon after we moved to Miami and had to seek medical attention. Al let his fingers do the walking through the Miami/Dade yellow pages and he found Dr. Rogers  (imagine the probability of that?) Anyway, we scheduled an appointment. Dr. Rogers took a moment to stare into my face, at my fingernails. He told me how long I’d been on prednisone, he told me what other medicines I’d probably been on, and told me all kinds of other details about my particular illness. He was spot-on in his medical observations and we were amazed. He also predicted, in that first visit, I would probably need a special surgery to relieve the obstruction in the future.

As Dr. Rogers predicted and prepared me for, within the next year I had Roux-en-Y surgery (long before it became the norm for bariatric surgeons). This procedure created another ending to my stomach which allowed food to pass when the normal end became inflamed and closed off.

I am now considered in total remission, although most people suffer with Crohn’s disease all their lives. Crohn’s disease can be completely debilitating, and in the most serious cases lead to death. The gastric surgery not only saved my life, it gave me my life back. Al and I started the family we’d been dreaming about. . . I took on all sorts of new volunteer and creative endeavors, because now I was not ill all the time. . . I  asked that God would give me new ways to serve Him, and He has. And allowed me to do so much more for Him than I thought possible. To Him be all the glory!!

Has God ever given you a second chance?  Would you like to share it with others? Send it to me and I’ll include it in a future blog post.

Lookin’ up,


Thankful for. . .Our Veterans

Today is Veteran’s Day, when we stop to honor the 24.9 million living U.S. military veterans who have served or are serving on our behalf.

Some facts about Veteran’s Day you may not know:

  • November 11 was intended to observe the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, which marked the armistice of World War I. The first Armistice Day in the U.S. occurred on November 11, 1919.
  • Armistice Day was declared a legal holiday by Congress nearly 20 years later. In 1954 the name was changed to Veterans Day.
  • Veterans Day is still celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, including the United Kingdom and other past and present nations of the British Commonwealth.
  • Why the red poppies? World War I vets are remembered by the wearing of the real and artificial red flowers, like those found in Belgium, in reference to “In Flanders Fields,” the name of a popular World War I poem eulogizing fallen soldiers.
  • The difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day? Veterans Day is to honor and observe the sacrifices made by all veterans, whereas Memorial Day is to honor the fallen—those who have given their lives for the defense of this country. (Thanks to Ker Than, National Geographic News, for the fun facts above!)

We owe so much to the military men and women who unselfishly serve and we all need to say “thank you” whenever possible. . .to acknowledge their presence among us and their sacrifice. . .and to pray for their collective welfare, wherever God has them across the world.

They are our heroes, our vets. Let them know how you feel!!

Because of You, Unknown Soldier

By Courtney Tanabe



Because of you, I am here

Because of you, I am able to live freely


Yet I do not know you

And I have not done anything for you


But there you stand, ready to fight

And there you are prepared to die

For me


You’ve fought before

And you’ll fight again

For someone you don’t know


So thank you Unknown Soldier

Fighting for me


I’m here because of you

And I owe my future to you

Lookin’ up,