Saturday, November 26, 2011

Giving Thanks with a Grateful Heart

What a great time of the year!  Even the calendar reminds us that Thanksgiving is a day to express and give thanks.  This week, I recalled the Sunday School and school writing assignments and pictures drawn that depicted that for which I was grateful.  I remember tracing my hand on paper, making it into a turkey and then writing on the “feathers” the things I was thankful for.  The boys did that as well.  I asked Mom if she ever drew the turkey when she was in school and she commented, “Yes, and I can see my hand on the paper right now.”  Whether it is on a drawn hand turkey, in a note of appreciation, in words or music, the practice of expressing thanks is definitely worth passing down from generation to generation.

When Brad and Chad were in 2nd grade, they learned about the Pilgrims and Indians at Thanksgiving and even learned a song in sign language.  They assured me that they could sing it much better at home than at school if they looked more like real Indians.  They spent quite a bit of time “painting” each other for the presentation.  What a treasure!

I’ve already decided that I would have to have more “fingers” on my turkey to list my blessings today and this year…God’s faithfulness and love…Jesus’ sacrifice… salvation…family…friends…answered prayers…hope…home…church…food… medical possibilities…doctors…walkers… infusion of stem cells…gym……

 I pray that my personal calendar will show every day as Thanksgiving and that it will express itself in Thanksliving.

Psalm 100
A psalm. For giving thanks.
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
   come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
   It is he who made us, and we are his;
   we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
   and his courts with praise;
   give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
   his faithfulness continues through all generations.

I Chronicles 16:8
Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.

Psalm 106:1
Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Ephesians 5:19-20
19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Thessalonians 5:18
18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:32
32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Revelation 7:12
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Rejoicing with Those who Rejoice

We have had two special family events to celebrate this week.  This past weekend, we went to Lubbock to attend the festivities honoring my brother-in-law, Kirk Lewis.  He was recognized as one of four Texas Tech Distinguished Alumni for 2011.  Kirk is the Superintendent for Pasadena Independent School District.  Because of his commitment and contributions, he is making a difference for students, faculty, staff, families, and the community. 
My mother and 17 members of our family were in Lubbock to celebrate the event.  Randi, our niece from Albuquerque, is a Texas Tech graduate and is now in her third year of pursuing a Doctorate in Audiology and Balance.  We loved getting to visit with her again.  The minister of music and his wife, from South Main Baptist Church in Pasadena, were also there to help honor Kirk.
Mom and the grandchildren who could attend

Kevin, Adam, Sarah, Randi, Andrew, Jordan
Adam made sure Texas A&M was represented
at the Texas Tech event with his Gig 'em!

There was a dinner on Friday night at the Merket Alumni Center.  When we arrived, we met in the reception area to visit.  My sister noticed a yearboook on one of the tables and discovered that it was the 1951 La Ventana, the year my parents graduated from Tech!  It was fun to look through the annual and find Mom’s and Dad’s pictures. 
Dad's picture lower left
Carl W. Schoeffler, La Marque

Mom's picture on bottom
Glenna Hackney, Lubbock

After the meal, words of tribute were spoken about each honoree and a video was shown; they were awarded a medallion and plaque.  Then each recipient was given the opportunity to speak.  Kirk’s speech was outstanding and from the heart.  What a proud moment for all of us.

Kirk giving his speech

Kirk and Robin Lewis

We went to the Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma football game on Saturday or rather we visited the stadium.  It was the worst Tech football game is history.  The recognition of the four Distinguished Alumni at halftime was definitely the highlight of the game, but again it would have been the highlight for us even if it had been the best game in Red Raider history.
Halftime Recognition
Kirk is on the far right

Kirk clapping

Kirk and Robin's grandson, Eli, with cousin Sarah
Adam, Eli's Aggie dad, allowed him to wear the
Texas Tech outfit for this event ONLY!

After the game, we visited with my cousin’s family.  It was so good to see Bill, Donna, Tyler, and Justin again.  We also went to see another cousin, Elizabeth and her husband Kirby.

On Tuesday night, we attended a dinner honoring my youngest sister, Micki.

Kevin, Micki, Sarah, Mark
Micki retired from a 30 year career in education.  She taught math for 2 years in Arlington, 1 year in Pasadena, and 27 at Deer Park High School.  She was the High School Math Instructional Specialist the last 3 years.  Micki has also taught math at San Jacinto College and will continue to do that.  Since she retired during the summer, she thought she got by without a big party.  Even though teachers at her school had celebrated with her, some church friends wanted to honor her as well.

Micki visiting after dinner

Micki opening gifts and cards

Micki is one of those people that God has gifted with the ability to teach and make a difference.  Whether it’s math, lessons for life, Sunday School or as a sponsor for church youth camp, youth choir, or a mission trip, she challenges, encourages, and helps kids (and adults) reach their potential.  She is such a joy and blessing to all of us.  What a great week of celebrating and rejoicing with family and friends.

Romans 12:15a
Rejoice with those who rejoice;…

I Corinthians 12:26b
if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Reflection

On October 8th, Texas Tech and Texas A&M played their final college football game, at least for the foreseeable future. The night before the game, some of the A&M busses were vandalized at the team hotel. There have been several versions of what was done to the inside of one bus, as well as what was written on the outside of the busses and with what it was written. Unfortunately, that will probably not be the last case of inappropriate sportsmanship for a college team.

As far as I know, they have not “Caught” the person or people involved in the incident. Even though it has not been confirmed that it was Tech students or someone else from Lubbock, it is assumed that it was a Tech fan. Whether that is true or not, the incident still reflected on Texas Tech. And the reason that bothers me is that I am a Texas Tech graduate. My grandfather, parents, 4 siblings, 3 brothers-in-law, a nephew, a niece, and several other relatives are also Tech graduates. But I also have a son, nephew, and niece who are Texas A&M graduates.

The weekend of the game, I felt like I needed to apologize to anyone who was an A&M fan, especially if they knew I went to Tech. In a way, someone else’s actions were a reflection on my school. While I was lamenting that fact to Larry, it was as if the Lord said, “And that is why it is so important that you choose your words and actions carefully. Since you belong to me, your words, actions, and deeds are a reflection of our relationship.” Whereas I have no control over what others do, I do have a choice about my decisions.  Sounds like another good reminder of the importance of practicing the "Golden Rule".

Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Proverbs 27:19
As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Infusion #3 and a Season of Waiting

Infusion #3 was on November 1, 2011.  I even made a chocolate chip cake to help us all celebrate the day.  This week it was Dr. Lotfi, Dr. Daneshmand, and Donna Lee and Jennifer, RN from Celltex, Larry and me.  We started the afternoon by holding hands and Larry praying for the procedure and offering thanks for the incredible team that God has used to bless us during this process.  This week, I was reminded, once again, that having Multiple Sclerosis has its blessings.  I doubt I would have ever met these four people otherwise.  Spending 3 hours each week, and even more time with Donna and Jennifer before this, has made these people more than just medical personnel.  They have become cherished friends.  Each one has changed plans and work schedules to add on the stem cell procedure.  All are passionate about the potential and offering of hope this can provide for so many.  My life has been enriched by each one as well as the team in Mexico.

In Houston, 2011

          Dr Lotfi
    Donna Lee                         Derbbie
Dr. Daneshmand            Dr. Lotfi                Debbie     
In Mexico, 2010
Dr. Andrade       Debbie       Larry

Debbie              Antonio                Marilee      
Physical Therapist  

Debbie                     Angelina

Debbie              Cristina              Marilee     
Driver and Helper
This week, I am reading in the book of Jeremiah.  I don’t think that it is just a coincidence that chapter 29 is on the schedule for this week.  This chapter has the same “Verse for the Day” that we read and claimed when I had the stem cell procedure in Mexico.  Now I am treasuring and claiming it during the process here in Houston.

Isaiah 29:11
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.”

And now we have a season of waiting…on the Lord and the stem cells.  It will take up to four months for the cells to fully function.  And while we wait, we’ll continue with the diet I have been on the past few years along with exercising at home and the gym.  The past three times at the gym I have been able to ride the stationary bicycle for 10 minutes at a time.  It has also been somewhat easier to back up off of the equipment, while keeping my balance.  I am by no means graceful, but progress is being made.  We exercised for over an hour on Thursday and added a new machine to the routine.

So with thanksgiving and joy, we will wait with hope. 

Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.