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Posts Tagged ‘gift’

Imagine you are at the end of your life. Today is your last day. What legacy will you leave behind?

It’s not exactly a cheerful thought, thinking about our own end. And for the young, it may seem a long way off. But then again, we never know when our time will come. So what do you want to be remembered for?

If today was your last day, what would you do with it?

Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older (I’m not quite ancient yet, but…) I sometimes ponder these things. Perhaps it’s because I wonder what the future will be like for my children. I do not fear my own death, because I know where I’ll be going. But I sometimes wonder what my family and friends will remember of me. Have I made any difference to them?

I have never chased after fame and fortune, although a little more fortune in the financial area would be much appreciated. But when I look back over my life, I realize the majority of my time and efforts have been centered around relationships with others. But do those relationships matter? Will they be remembered? I hope so.

My family and friends have always been important to me. So after the loss of several members of my family over this past year, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on those relationships. I ask myself, “Did they know how much I loved them?” “Did I make them feel like they were important and treasured”?

I think about the people I will leave behind when I am gone. What imprint will I leave on their heart? And I ask myself, “What do I want them to remember about me?”

There are times when I look at the world around me and think about what I like or don’t like. I think about the things I would like to change. I would put an end to things like hate, oppression, poverty, and hunger. But how? I am only one person, what difference can I make?

I cannot change the world. But I can teach my children how to love others, by showing them my love. I can teach my children how to be just and fair, by how I treat them and those around us. I can teach my children how to be generous and giving, by my own examples. And I can teach them how to share hope and encouragement by sharing it myself.

The world doesn’t know my name, and I may be forgotten entirely in the years to come. But what I leave in the hearts of my children, my family and friends, will be remembered, at least for a while.

The memories I leave may not be a huge thing by themselves, but if they are shared, they can grow.

So if today is my last day, I will spend it loving my family and friends. I will help with whatever needs to be done. I will encourage love and hope in Jesus. These are the things I am spending my time on today. And tomorrow, if it comes.

There is a saying, to “Live each moment as if it were your last”. That is the way I want to live today. I want to give all of my energy, time and love to those around me. I want to make their lives more joyful in any way I can. I will love God with all my heart, and do my best to glorify Him.

Will the world remember me tomorrow? Probably not. But perhaps it will come to know my children, my family, or my friends.

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Good morning fellow bloggers! It’s Friday, and I almost have my voice back. I think I’m on the mend finally, praise God! With Christmas just around the corner, life has gone into the busy mode now. But I did manage to find some humor this week, and I wanted to share it with you.

I pray that I will age as gracefully (and with such a sense of humor about it) as the lady in this video! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. 🙂

A hilarious prayer

As promised, I have added a few more sites to my #TBSU (The Blog Scratchers Union) list. I hope you will pass them along to your friends, and thank you for helping to spread the word! Don’t forget to “like” and “follow” the ones you enjoy and find helpful!

Happy blogging & have a very Merry Christmas & blessed New Year! 🙂

Blogs to follow: #TBSU

http://ruthninawelsh.com/

http://cutterlight.com/

http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/category/introduction/

http://healthadvocation.wordpress.com/

http://www.faithwriters.com/

http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/

Note: Some of the above sites are not actual blogs, but sites for writers with lots of resources you might find helpful, so I wanted to include them. Also, I have had some trouble with the actual links not working. If that is the case, you can copy & paste the addresses into your browser. (I’m still learning about building the links, so I appreciate your patience with me!)

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The Secret Christmas Wish

By Amber Leggette-Aldrich

It was early Christmas morning in 1968. I rushed out to the living room to see if my father was there. I had made a secret Christmas wish that Santa would bring him home that year. It had been so long since I had seen him and I was afraid that he had forgotten me. To know that he still loved me was the only thing I truly wanted for Christmas.

I tried my best not to show my disappointment. My mother did her absolute best to get a few nice gifts for me. But I didn’t tell her about my secret wish. It always made her cry to see how much I missed my father.

Thirty four years went by before my broken heart was healed after a caring soul taught me about Jesus. I was finally able to forgive my father for not being there for me. It was truly one of the most precious gifts I could have received. Without Jesus and the Gospel, that would never have happened.

One of the first things I learned after my own heart was healed was about reaching out to others that are hurting. The book of James has become one of my favorite books of the Bible. James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Angel Tree is an organization that applies this biblical truth through reaching out to children of inmates and their parents. They help these inmates to reach out to their children, helping them to stay connected through providing a Christmas gift. Without their help, many of these children will experience a lonely and painful time, instead of sharing in the wonderful love that Christmas is all about.

Angel Tree is a part of the Prison Fellowship Organization. It was started 30 years ago by an ex-inmate, Mary Kay Beard. She started with 1 tree and 100 paper angels. Each angel represented a child of an inmate with a desired gift for that child. People took the angels from the tree and bought the gifts listed on them for the children and gave them on behalf of the incarcerated parent. Today over 9 million children have received an Angel Tree gift.

When I first heard about Angel Tree and what they do, I knew in my heart that God was giving me an opportunity to reach out with His love to help someone else that was hurting. To be able to give a child a simple gift and let them know they are loved is its own reward. To be able to share God’s Truth with them and their family is a priceless treasure. It could very well be the key to changing lives and healing broken hearts.

I now have a new Christmas wish. My wish is that no child will wake up wondering if their father or mother has forgotten them or if they are still loved. Won’t you join me by partnering with Angel Tree to help make this wish come true? Together we can make a difference. Donate now and give a gift of true love.

For more information on Angel Tree and how you can help visit http://www.prisonfellowship.org/programs/angel-tree/

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The Trials of Life

By Amber Leggette-Aldrich

 

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

“…May your character not be a writing upon the sand, but an inscription upon the rock! May your faith be no “baseless fabric of a vision,” but may it be builded of material able to endure that awful fire which shall consume the wood, hay, and stubble of the hypocrite… May your whole life be so settled and established, that all the blasts of hell, and all the storms of earth shall never be able to remove you. But notice how this blessing of being “stablished in the faith” is gained. The apostle’s words point us to suffering as the means employed–“After that ye have suffered awhile.” It is of no use to hope that we shall be well rooted if no rough winds pass over us. Those old gnarlings on the root of the oak tree, and those strange twistings of the branches, all tell of the many storms that have swept over it, and they are also indicators of the depth into which the roots have forced their way. So the Christian is made strong, and firmly rooted by all the trials and storms of life. Shrink not then from the tempestuous winds of trial, but take comfort, believing that by their rough discipline God is fulfilling this benediction to you.” (Spurgeon’s Devotionals)

Suffering. Not so pleasant a thought. Certainly it is not something that anyone would desire. Yet it is through the suffering that we, as Christians, are made strong. Think about a chunk of coal. After many years of tremendous pressure, it becomes a beautiful diamond. It is from the pressure put on us during our times of trials and suffering that we are being perfected for God’s Kingdom. It is through our faith and trust in God that we have the strength to go through the storms, knowing that there is victory on the other side.

In my book, “Faith, Hope & Miracles”, I shared some of the toughest trials a person could go through. But my faith gave me the strength to go through it all. I endured the suffering because God gave me hope in the knowledge of His eternal love. There were times when I said, “In spite of the storm, I am strong”. But now I know that it is because of the storm that I am stronger.

After the storm comes the rainbow. God gave me the privilege of witnessing and sharing in a precious miracle. It has been a privilege and joy for me to see the impact in people’s heart in sharing that miracle. What a blessing it is for me to share God’s love and goodness, not only when life is good, but even more during the trials!

“Faith, Hope & Miracles” is available at  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008J0Z2FQ

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For Jason

By Amber Leggette-Aldrich

The temperature outside was in the 90’s, something I was not accustomed to. The air inside was much cooler, but I did not want to go in. I remember the room was filled with so many people, ranging in age from 7 to 70 plus. They were all very kind and most seemed very caring and friendly. Some I knew, others I did not. Music was playing softly, but I did not hear it. My eyes were focused on the floor as I was led to my seat, I didn’t want to look.

A man began to speak, but I couldn’t focus on what he was saying at first. My thoughts were drifting somewhere else. A flood of memories was filling my head, memories of the first time I saw you, and the last. It seemed like it had been forever, so many things had happened. My head began to clear a little and I began to look around. The faces were all very somber now.

The man speaking was the youth pastor. He was talking about what a treasure you were to the youth group, and how your smile would light up a whole room. He spoke about how enthusiastic you were, not only in the group, but in the services too. He said your dedication to serving the Lord, the church and the community was inspiring to all who knew you.

Next, the pastor got up to speak. He was an older man with a soft and gentle way about him. He talked about how it had always touched his heart to see you at the door greeting the congregation as they entered. He said you were always one of the first to arrive, and one of the last to leave. He shared a story from just a few weeks earlier, when you told him you were looking forward to going home. He said it was apparent you were speaking about Heaven, but he said he smiled and told you that you still had many years to come. Tears began to fill his eyes as he said, “but looking back, I think Jason knew”. He couldn’t speak anymore, and the choir was asked to sing.

A short while later we were all gathered outside. It was a beautiful setting, and there were lots of flowers. One arrangement that caught my attention had been made in the shape of a saxophone, your instrument of choice. I remembered the private “concert” you and Daniel had put on for the family when you were first learning to play. As hard as I tried, I could not swallow the lump I felt in my throat.

Standing there beside your final resting place, I could not fully absorb the fact that my firstborn son was gone. I was consoling myself with knowing that you were in Heaven, but it still felt as though I was in a bad dream and I kept waiting to wake up.

From the moment I had received the news of your death until after the funeral, everyone around me seemed so concerned about the possibility of my grief causing me to lose the unborn child I was carrying. For their sake, your brother Daniel’s, and your unborn brother’s, I tried to be strong. I even managed to smile as people came up to me to give their condolences. But in truth, I had just gone numb inside, and I wanted to stay that way. I didn’t want to think about anything.

After the funeral I was kept busy. There were still unfinished projects to get ready for the new baby, and the salmon runs were beginning. That meant it was time to get all the smoking and canning stuff out and ready. Even though I hate salmon, I looked forward to filling the jars and the smoker. It kept my mind occupied. I worked until I was too exhausted to stand anymore, and then stayed up half the night on the computer. I didn’t want to sleep because I didn’t want to dream.

Just over a month after your funeral, your brother Christian was born. And when I looked at his shining little face the first time, I saw you. The last words you had said to me the day before you died were, “I’m really looking forward to meeting my new little brother”. As I was thinking about those words, a feeling came over me and it was like you were there with us. I felt peaceful for a moment, filled with such a strong love. It was overwhelming.

I never told anyone but the night Christian was born, when no one else was around, I cried for you even harder than I had when you died. And part of me felt guilty. I was being torn between the extreme sadness of missing you, and the extreme joy of having this precious new baby. I didn’t know what I was supposed to feel, but my insides felt scrambled. I thought about some things that I regretted not doing with you or not saying to you when I had the chance. It taught me to never miss an opportunity to say “I love you”.

Ten years have passed as of today, and I still miss you. But I know I will see you again. When Christian died and came back, he told me he met you in Heaven. I have no words to describe how that made me feel, but something tells me you already know. God has given me strength when I didn’t know how to go on, and He’s given me comfort and a peace that only He can give.

God blessed me with 3 beautiful boys, and I am thankful to have had the gift of being your mom, even if only for a little while. I am glad beyond words that you found Jesus and hung on to Him in faith, and that you are there with Him now. I know that you are alright, and it helps make me alright. You brought so much joy to so many, and inspired many more with your love for Jesus. I will treasure that always.

Jason, you were my precious firstborn, and you will always be in my heart. Not one day in 10 years has gone by that I haven’t thought of you, and loved you and missed you. It took a while for me to see it, but God has taught me that you have always belonged to Him. He only let me borrow you for a time. He sent you here for a purpose, and then He called you home. While I may wish that you could have stayed longer, I have come to accept that things must be in God’s time and in His ways. I believe His ways are perfect, even if I can’t always see it. In your own way, you helped me to learn about what real faith and real love means. And I am thankful for that. And I am doing the best I can, with God’s guidance, to help pass that faith and love on to your brothers. I will love you always Jason! – Mom

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Are You Prepared

by Amber Leggette-Aldrich

Have you ever been in a situation where you were planning for a very special occasion, something like a first date or a special anniversary? Or perhaps a long awaited vacation or weekend getaway? Did you plan and spend time preparing, desiring that everything be just right? Most of us would try our very best to be prepared, to look just right and have everything in it’s place, ready for the event, wanting everything to be just perfect. In fact, we make plans and preparations for many things in our daily lives. And most of us have at least on a few occasions gone through a good deal of time and effort, preparing to look and be our best for someone. But do we do that for Jesus? Are we prepared to meet Him?

The bible gives us pretty clear instructions on what we must do in order to prepare ourselves (our hearts and souls) for Him:

In Acts 2:38 it says, “…Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost“. (KJV)

Ephesians 2:8 tell us, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: ” (KJV)

And Acts 4:12 says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (KJV)

Of course this is only a small part of the bible’s instructions for our preparation. The bible also makes it very clear what will happen to us if we are not ready.

The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Psalms 9:16 & 17 (KJV)

Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.” Psalms 55:15 (KJV)

Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” Matthew 23:33 (KJV)

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:15 (KJV)

All too often the thought of where our souls will spend eternity is put off, not taken seriously, or just not thought about at all. We use excuses of being too busy with everyday life, saying things like, “I’ve got more important things to do right now; I’ll take care of it later, when I have time”. But this is something that simply cannot wait until later! What if there is no “later”?

We have all heard stories of how things can happen in “the blink of an eye”. Think about that phrase for a moment. See how long it takes to blink; it doesn’t even take a full second of time. But that is how fast life can end! And most of the time we never see it coming. My son Jason was young, strong and healthy, but was struck without warning with a massive heart attack and died instantly. One minute Christian was an active 8 year old boy having a good time riding his snowmobile, a minute later he was pinned under the tire of a truck being crushed. A while back a friend of mine was killed when the engine of a car he was working under fell on him. Another man recently died suddenly in Big Lake of an embolism. We hear stories like these all the time, but somehow still manage to deceive ourselves into thinking, “that won’t happen to me”. But I ask you, why not? I don’t mean to be morbid or a doomsayer, but the truth is we will all die, sooner or later! And none of us knows the day or the hour, or the where or how of it.

So are you ready to meet Jesus? Is your heart right with Him? Have you been baptized in Jesus name and received the gift of the Holy Ghost? If so, halleleujah! Now what are you doing to reach out to others and helping them to get ready? And if you are not ready to meet Jesus, why not get ready right now? Don’t put it off any longer and risk finding yourself at His feet saying, “I want to do it now” and hearing Him say, “now it is too late”!

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Just One More Day

by Amber Leggette-Aldrich 2/10/2010

In the hustle and bustle of the modern day, we tend to rush along in the fast pace of what we call “life”. We hurry from here to there and through this and that. We dream and make plans for the future, and we say “someday”. We wear ourselves out trying to fulfill obligations and get everything done that needs doing. So we take vacations. But then we fill up the vacation with so many things to do in so little time, we end up even more exhausted when it’s over. No wonder life is referred to as a race! But is it a race that we really want to win? After all, when a race is won…it’s over.

When the race is over, how many of us will look back on our life and think “What an awesome race. I’m glad I finished!” How many of us instead will think “I wish I had done more of this and less of that” or “I wish I could have just one more day”.

What if you knew you had just one more day. What would you do with it? Would you spend it getting all your affairs in order? Perhaps you would spend more time with your loved ones, or calling all your friends. Would you spend time in the presence of God? Most of us would probably spend those last few hours on what was most important in our hearts.

The point is that none of us know exactly when our race will be over. We never know when it will be our last chance to tell someone we love them. We don’t know when it’s our last chance to share a kind gesture or word to a friend that’s feeling down. Perhaps it is their last day. Did they know that we cared? How many times are the funeral homes filled with flowers, but the body is unaware? Did they ever receive such adoration while they were still alive to enjoy it? When a parent dies, do they know that they were the greatest inspiration in their children’s lives? When a child dies, do they know that they were the greatest gift to their parents? If the world and people were perfect, they would know.

However, none of us are perfect. We forget. We stumble. We overlook. And at times we need to be reminded of what is truly important. So ask yourself, what is truly important to you? My personal answer is from the Bible:

“And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1Corinthians 13:13)

The majority of my life was spent going here and there and doing this and that. I accomplished many goals and tasks. But I never really thought about what was truly important to me…until I lost it.

On May 24, 2002 I received an email from a friend. She didn’t know it at the time, but my son Jason had just died the day before. The email contained a poem that was said to have been written in tribute to the victims of the September 11 attacks on the U.S. But 3 years later, I discovered the name of the author and that in fact, she had written the poem after losing her own son, which made this poem even more personal and special to me. It made me realize that the most valuable and important thing in my life is the love I have shared. And I learned not to take that love for granted. What is here today may be gone tomorrow.

So think on this question as you read the following poem, “what would you do if you had just one more day?”

“Tomorrow Never Comes”

If I knew it would be the last time
that I’d see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly
and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time
that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss
and call you back for one more.

If I knew this would be the last time
I’d hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word,
so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time,
I could spare an extra minute or two
to stop and say “I love you,”
instead of assuming you would KNOW I do.

If I knew it would be the last time,
I would be there to share your day,
well, I’m sure you’ll have so many more,
so I can let just this one slip away.

For surely there’s always tomorrow
to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance
to make everything right.

There will always be another day
to say our “I love you’s”,
and certainly there’s another chance
to say our “Anything I can do’s?”

But just in case I might be wrong,
and today is all I get,
I’d like to say how much I love you
and I hope we never forget.

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,
young or old alike,
and today may be the last chance
you get to hold your loved one tight.

So if tomorrow, why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes,
you’ll surely regret the day
that you didn’t take that extra time
for a smile, a hug, or a kiss,
and you were too busy to grant someone,
what turned out to be their one last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today,
whisper in their ear,
tell them how much you love them
and that you’ll always hold them dear.

Take time to say “I’m sorry”, “please forgive me”,
“thank you” or “it’s okay”.
And if tomorrow never comes,
you’ll have no regrets about today.

by Norma Cornett Marek
(March 10, 1940 – July 17, 2004)
Reprinted with permission.

*Written by Norma Cornett Marek in 1989 as, in her words, “a tribute to a beloved child I lost, in hopes it would cause people to never be careless or too busy to let our loved ones know we love them.” Norma Marek passed away July 18, 2004, after a prolonged battle with cancer. Before her death, she began working with singer/songwriter Ray Paquet to put her words to music. The song was completed in May 2004 and Norma got to hear it before she died. A book of her poetry & prose was published after her death: “Whispers From The Heart”.

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