January 16, 2012 by Lillie
Religious Freedom Day is observed on January 16th, which is the anniversary of the passage of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom in 1786. That statute, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, was the basis for the First Amendment to the Constitution.
We are so blessed to have freedom of religion in this country. In many parts of the world, people do not have the right to worship as they choose. Christian pastor Youcef Nedarkhani is facing execution in Iran because he was raised in a Muslim home and converted to Christianity. In the United States, we can be raised in a Muslim home and convert to Christianity or raised in a Christian home and convert to Islam. In matters of faith, we answer only to our God, not to our country or to anyone else.
MOST gracious God who gives us more than we deserve, we yield thee unfeigned thanks and praise for the freedom to worship thee without fear and for all the other blessings of thy merciful providence bestowed upon this nation and people. And, we beseech thee, show thy mercy upon thy servants who live where they lack the same freedom; give them strength to stand fast in their faith in the face of adversity; protect them and give them thy peace that passes understanding; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all glory and honour, world without end. Amen.
January 1, 2012 by Lillie
May 2012 bring joy, peace, love, health, and happiness to you and your loved ones.
May God bless all those who love and serve Him throughout the coming year.
ALMIGHTY God, who alone gavest us the breath of life, and alone canst keep alive in us the holy desires thou dost impart; We come to You at the beginning of this year to beseech thee, for thy compassion’s sake, to sanctify all our thoughts and endeavours; that we may neither begin an action without a pure intention nor continue it without thy blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of the mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, we may in heart be inspired by thy wisdom, and in work be upheld by thy strength, and in the end be accepted of thee as thy faithful servants; through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen. (adapted from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer)
November 24, 2011 by Lillie
TO our prayers, O Lord, we join our unfeigned thanks for all thy mercies; for our being, our reason, and all other endowments and faculties of soul and body; for our health, friends, food, and raiment, and all the other comforts and conveniences of life. Above all, we adore thy mercy in sending thy only Son into the world, to redeem us from sin and eternal death, and in giving us the knowledge and sense of our duty towards thee. We bless thee for thy patience with us, notwithstanding our many and great provocations; for all the directions, assistances, and comforts of thy Holy Spirit; for thy continual care and watchful providence over us through the whole course of our lives; and particularly for the mercies and benefits of this day; beseeching thee to continue these thy blessings to us, and to give us grace to show our thankfulness in a sincere obedience to his laws, through whose merits and intercession we received them all, thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. ~ Family Evening Prayer, 1928 Book of Common Prayer
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Psalm 100:4, KJV
October 16, 2011 by Lillie
There are so many things that can be said about food. It is essential to our survival. In the developed world, we eat too much and have serious health problems with obesity (and I’m one of the guilty ones). In developing countries, people die from starvation and malnutrition every day.
Yet even here in the US, the land of plenty, not everyone has enough food. So I’ve decided to talk about one small local project to feed the hungry. My church, All Saints Anglican Church of San Antonio, Texas, operates a Food Pantry.
The church receives donated food from Daily Bread Ministries, a San Antonio Christian food bank that “rescues” food that would otherwise be thrown away by restaurants, markets, caterers, hospital and business cafeterias, and wholesalers. Dedicated volunteers pick up the food and take to Daily Bread’s warehouse, where more volunteers sort and pack the food for distribution to ministries throughout San Antonio. Twice a week, volunteers from All Saints visit the Daily Bread warehouse to pick up food.
Since most of the food received from Daily Bread is perishable, All Saints runs a food drive for a specific staple (such as cereal, peanut butter, and canned goods) on the first Sunday of each month.
Every Saturday morning, All Saints parishioners show up at the Food Pantry to prepare the food for distribution to individuals and families. The Food Pantry is open Saturday afternoon, and food is distributed to anyone who shows up, no questions asked. We don’t always wait for someone to come to us—volunteers have even gone out into the neighborhood to offer food to people in the area. We take seriously Jesus’ words:
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40, NIV)
All Saints offers food for the body with no strings attached, but we also provide food for the soul for those who desire it. Volunteers frequently pray with food recipients, give them Bibles, and even arrange to provide transportation for children to Sunday School. One week a lady asked volunteers to pray with her for a desperately needed job; the next week she returned with a big smile to announce that she had found a job. Recently a man no one knew showed up with a donation of bread. Sometimes children in the families receiving food ask to help distribute food. They enjoy serving others as their families are being served.
William Wimp, who heads All Saints’ outreach program, keeps folks informed about the Food Pantry and other activities on the All Saints Anglican Church Outreach Facebook page. Thanks be to God for the dedication of Bill and Arlene Wimp, Father Chip Harper, and dozens of All Saints volunteers to the hurting and needy as well as for the generous parishioners who donate food. I am unable to participate in food preparation and distribution because of family caregiving responsibilities, so my tiny contribution is simply to tell people about this ministry and encourage their support.
I’m sure today we’ll read many blog posts about organizations and individuals making huge contributions to the problem of hunger in the world. Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by the needs in the world that we think we can’t do anything. Perhaps we can’t individually end famine in Africa, but we can make a donation to help. Maybe we can’t put all the unemployed people back to work, but we can donate a jar of peanut butter or a box of cereal to help one family through the jobless crisis. We can’t end hunger in our city alone, but we can pick up donated food or prepare it for distribution. If each of us does a little, a lot can be accomplished.
As you sit down to a hearty meal or grab a sandwich on the run for lunch, I hope you will think about those who don’t have enough to eat and take some small action to help.
O MERCIFUL God, and heavenly Father, who hast taught us in thy holy Word that thou dost not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men; Look with pity, we beseech thee, upon the sorrows of all in this world who lack food. Remember them, O Lord, in mercy; endue their souls with patience; comfort them with a sense of thy goodness; send relief for their needs; lift up thy countenance upon them, and give them peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Adapted from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer)
O LORD, our heavenly Father, whose blessed Son came not to be ministered unto, but to minister; We beseech thee to bless all who, following in his steps, give themselves to the service of their fellow men. Endue them with wisdom, patience, and courage to strengthen the weak and raise up those who fall; that, being inspired by thy love, they may worthily minister in thy Name to the suffering, the friendless, and the needy; for the sake of him who laid down his life for us, the same thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. (1928 Book of Common Prayer)
September 11, 2011 by Lillie
That Tuesday morning, I was headed out for an interview for a part-time job. My husband Jack was driving a school bus, and he called me moments before I left the house and told me to turn on the TV. I was flabbergasted to see that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center, but, like most people, I assumed it was a terrible, tragic accident.
I turned off the television and went to the coffee shop where I was to meet my prospective employer. We chatted for about an hour. In retrospect, I am amazed to recall that no one in the almost-full restaurant seemed to be aware of what was happening in New York and Washington. People ate breakfast and drank coffee and discussed business. I commented on the horrific accident at the beginning of our conversation, but then we continued with our discussion with no further thought of planes and towers and New York.
It was only when I got home a couple of hours later that I realized our country was under attack by terrorists. I sat in front the television the rest of the day, mesmerized and horrified by the scenes unfolding on the screen. I wondered then and I still wonder today how everyone in the coffee shop, including me, could have been so oblivious. The part-time job that turned into a failed business is long gone, but the legacy of 9/11 lives on in the memories of the heroism of the first responders, the passengers on Flight 93, the men and women who joined the military to defend our freedom, and the unknown ordinary citizens who risked their own lives for others.
I thank God for them and ask His blessings on our country, our heroes, our fallen, and those who love them.
The following prayers are taken or adapted from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O LORD God of Hosts, stretch forth, we pray thee, thine almighty arm to strengthen and protect the heroes of our country—first responders, firefighters, police officers, security personnel, and military members. Support them in the day of trouble, and in the time of peace keep them safe from all evil; endue them with courage and loyalty; and grant that in all things they may serve without reproach; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead; We give thee thanks for all those thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country or their fellow man. Grant to them thy mercy and the light of thy presence, that the good work which thou hast begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen.
O MERCIFUL God, and heavenly Father, who hast taught us in thy holy Word that thou dost not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men; Look with pity, we beseech thee, upon the mourning of thy servants who lost loved ones in 9/11 or its aftermath. Remember them, O Lord, in mercy; comfort them with a sense of thy goodness; lift up thy countenance upon them, and give them peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Learn more about 9/11 heroes.
Learn more about the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
The following video is a tribute on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
September 5, 2011 by Lillie
The first Monday in September has been officially designated as Labor Day since 1892. Originally set aside as a day to honor organized labor, it has grown to a day for all workers—union laborers, nonunion workers, entrepreneurs, corporate employees, retail workers, small business owners and employees, and even freelancers—to enjoy a day of relaxation and fun.
This year, unfortunately, many people in the US who would like to be among those workers are unemployed, and the bleak jobs report that just came out shows it will not be easy for them to get back to work. Today, if you have a job, thank God for it and celebrate your blessings. If you among the many looking for work, thank God that you live in a land of opportunity and vow to get back on your feet. Maybe you will update your resume and renew your efforts to find a job. Or maybe you will decide to take charge of your own future—become a freelancer, start a small business, or come up creative new ways to earn a living.
September 2, 2011 by Lillie
Take a look at any calendar of events that lists the special days and months, and you’ll discover that September is a very busy month.
In addition to several special days that I will recognize when they occur, September is the “National X Month” or “World Y Month” for a number of causes and activities.
Three of these national/world months have special meaning for me:
- National Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month: Now I have to admit that most people are kind to this writer/editor, and I appreciate their kindness. However, this is a good opportunity for me to say thank you to the writers and editors in my life. I would like to publicly thank all the writers who are my clients. Each one is talented and delightful to work with. I also want to publicly thank all the writers whose works I love to read. You can find great writers and great books in my reviews on Goodreads. Thanks to my many friends, both online and offline, who are writers and editors. I learn from them and share the ups and downs of the publishing world with them. Happy “Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month” to every writer and editor!
- International Update Your Resume Month: Career Directors International, an organization for professionals in career services, sponsors this event. With the current economy and the latest job report showing new jobs aren’t being created, an effective resume is more important than ever. If you’ve lost your job or just entering the labor market, the need is obvious. However, even if you are employed today, you may face job loss tomorrow, or you may encounter an opportunity for a move upward. In either case, you don’t want to be caught unprepared—always have your resume ready to present to an employer. Even if you’re a freelancer, your resume is an excellent marketing tool, so everyone can benefit from learning how to how to write an interview-winning resume
- World Alzheimer’s Month: I’ve written before about my experiences as a caregiver for my father and another family member with Alzheimer’s. My associate Beverly Ellison has written here about caring for her mother with Alzheimer’s as well as sharing Alzheimer’s do’s and don’ts. I certainly have good memories of my father in the early stages of the disease, but I have also had painful experiences when people made fun of my loved ones or were ugly to them because the people didn’t understand Alzheimer’s. My dream, of course, is for the eradication of this disease—or at least effective treatment, and there is hope for the future. But for the present and immediate future, my dream is that the public will treat those who have this disease with respect and courtesy. My sister, a social worker who works with Alzheimer’s patients, has written a wonderful little book for caregivers. Help! What Do I Do Now?: Caring for Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s just won the Parenting/Family – Nonfiction category of the Global eBook Awards. This short, easy-to-read book is great not only for caregivers but also for anyone who knows an Alzheimer’s patient or anyone who wants to have a better understanding of how the disease affects those who have it and those who care for them.
September is National Chicken Month, National Coupon Month, National Self Improvement Month, and about four dozen other national months. But the three I’ve highlighted above merit special attention, and I hope you will take action as you find appropriate.
April 11, 2011 by Lillie
April 10-16, 2011 is National Library Week, sponsored by the American Library Association.
Here’s John Grisham talking about the importance of libraries.
March 2, 2011 by Lillie
Today is Dr. Seuss’s birthday and to celebrate Random House and the National Education Association are sponsoring Read Across America.
Schools and libraries are participating in special reading events, but one of the best ways to observe the day is for parents to read to children, grandparents to read to grandchildren, big brothers and sisters to read to little brothers and sisters, and friends and neighbors to read to kids they know and care about.
The National Education Assocation website says:
On March 2, the National Education Association calls for every child to be reading in the company of a caring adult.
Reading is so important for children that anything to make it fun and important is a good thing. And what could make reading more fun than Dr. Seuss!
February 14, 2011 by Lillie
Recently, I’ve been hearing all kinds of advertisements for Valentine’s Day gifts. They all say something like, “Give your girlfriend or wife this <whatever the ad is selling>, and you’ll have a great Valentine’s Day because you’re going to like the way she shows her appreciation.”
Is Valentine’s Day only about romantic love? Why can’t we express our love to family and friends?
Even if the day is only about romantic love, why are girlfriends and wives the only ones to receive gifts on this special day about love? Shouldn’t women let their boyfriends and husbands know how much they love them?
Is a gift of love supposed to be given to receive something in return? Shouldn’t we give gifts to show our love without consideration for how much the recipient will appreciate the gift and show that appreciation?
I don’t expect my husband to send me roses or chocolates or cuddly toys—or anything else. I don’t measure love by material gifts. Just hearing “I love you” (which I do several times a day every day) is the only valentine I need.
I’ll send my husband a mushy e-card and tell him privately and publicly here on my blog, “I love you!”
And I’ll tell you, my readers, that I love having you as part of my blog family. I appreciate your comments, and even if you don’t comment, I appreciate your reading my words. Today, I’ll say, “Thank you! Happy Valentine’s Day!”