Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Father-in-Law

My father-in-law is a gem of a man. This year he has witnessed his 91st Christmas. In March, he will turn 92. I was fortunate enough to get to have him over for Christmas Day dinner. I enjoyed the twinkle in his eyes as he still teased my dad! And the excitement he showed as he opened our Christmas gift of a new shirt. I watched him struggle to unsnap each of the buttons and rub his fingers against the soft material. He was determined to try it on right then and there and as Grandma Veda patiently helped him out of his old shirt and into the new, I witnessed an enduring love between the two of them. How tenderly she treated him...proving a love that had weathered sixty odd years of marriage. Four children had been born of this love and now many great grandchildren later...the love still endures. He no longer is the strong farmer/rancher I remember when I entered the family thirty-five years ago....the fraility of ninety years has taken it's toll. Hands shake and tears form easily in the corner of cloudy, distant eyes. Yet, I can still see the loving father...the providing husband....the patriotic World War II veteran...the bible believing Gideon....the proud cattle rancher....the faithful Sunday School teacher....He wore many hats in his 90 years, yet he very seldom ventured more than a hundred miles away from home.....he could toss a mean horseshoe in his day...could milk cows with fewer fingers than most (due to an accident), he was honest, a good neighbor, and would loan you the shirt off of his back. If he ever had need to borrow anything, he would return it better than he received it. His door was always open for a visiting evangelist or company on Sundays. In his day, he could work circles around men much younger than himself. He was proud of his Danish heritage and prouder still of his Lord and Savior. When Wednesdays and Sundays would roll around, you would find him in church. And that is where you would still find him if he were strong enough to attend. It is with the greatest honor and respect that I give homage to this wonderful man and patriarch. How fortunate I have been to get to know him. What a gift to us all. God bless you, Jimmie H. Raben. We love you!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

10 Things I Love About Me!

Okay...this may be an interesting title for a blog. It may even sound a little conceited or boastful. But I can ensure you...it is far from that. Actually, I use to have a problem with liking myself...until I met Jesus, that is. I struggled with understanding unconditional love. Everyone places conditions on our love...right? I went to a church for a very long time that beat me up with the notion that if I didn't watch my p's and q's...or hold my mouth just right....God would be displeased and boot my sorry bottom out of His presence. I tried hard to please Him....tried "doing" all the right things...but it was never done with right motives...I could never "do" enough for a "perfect holy God". I intellectually "knew Jesus" for many years...but when I really got to know Him....and the grace that He came to bring us....well, then...I fell in love with Him!!! And I learned how much He loved me! And accepted me....warts and all! WOW! After awhile, I began to see what He saw in me! I was a pretty amazing creation of His! And so are YOU! When you get a hold of that information.....it will change your life....like it has mine!!! Oh, I am not perfect...far from it....and I still need to fix a few things....but amazingly....He finds me irresistable! So...I decided to list 10 things about myself that both He and I find uniquely appealing!

1. My sense of humor! He often laughs at some of the things I say and finds me witty, funny, and creative! I appreciate that one of my gifts is my humor! I love making people laugh! And it is uniquely my own...Thank you for my amazing humor!

2. Flexibility! I may seem stressed out sometimes...but I've discovered that I do my best work when I can "go with the flow". I do it well and I thank Him for flexibility as one of my unique "Cathy" gifts.

3. My compassionate heart! I may appear to be cold and uptight on the outside....but oh...what a beautiful heart God has put in me!! Thank you, Father.

4. My generous/giving spirit! I LOVE to give gifts to people! I would say I love to lavish gifts on my family! If I had more money.....wow....I just want to give things to people! Thank you God, that you poured so much of this spirit into me.

5. The Ability to Cry! I cry so easily....but it comes from such a sensitive heart. How cleansing and freeing to not be afraid to share your emotions with others and allow them to catch a glimpse of my heart! It makes me cry just thinking about it. lol.

6. My desire to right the wrong! I have a keen desire to protect the underdog....to fight for causes....to take a stand against evil! I love that about me!!

7. My Passion! I'm passionate about everything and have an opinion about everything! I love the color red! I hate alcohol! Everything is always black or white to me! I love that God gave me passion about things! I just need to learn how to redirect some of this passion and tame down the strong opionions.

8. I'm patriotic! Somehow, I picked up the importance of country....and freedom....and our great American roots! I love America and the National Anthem and the fact that we are still "One Nation Under God". I am in awe of our military who is willing to lay down their lives for me...and my right to have freedom!

9. I Love that I see potential in Everyone....and want to bring out the best in everyone! If I can contribute to someone becoming the best that they can be...then I have met my goal on earth! Everyone has something beautiful to offer to this world...and it makes me happy when I can draw that out of people! What a wonderful gift God has given me when I get an opportunity to make this happen.

But what I most love about me is this........10. That I accepted the best gift God has ever given me.....Jesus Christ! He loves me unconditionally....He made all these wonderful traits in me...it is just my job to fine tune them and hone those traits and skills to represent Him to others in a real and untarnished way! When I abide in Him...His life flows from me in a natural way....not me trying to "do" things on my own!

And you know what? As I began listing the 10 things I love about me.....I started thinking of more than ten. I've come a long way from not even liking myself very much....to loving myself!!