Gratitude Archive

Knowing the Peace of God

Jesus said in John 14:27:

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.”

Yesterday, I spoke to a retirement community on practicing gratitude to know God’s love. I told them stories of how my first marriage was destroyed by drugs and alcohol, my daughter’s bout with OCD and anxiety, and how I walked through my dad dying as my granddaughter was is intrauterine with a serious birth defect. I spoke of how the only way I was able to walk through each of these struggles was not only with gratitude, but with God’s peace. The peace that Jesus gifts us. The group made repeated comment about me smiling and being so pleasant after such difficult walks. I confirmed for them that it is the peace Jesus left and gave to me as a Believer.

I was asked by one of the residents, “What does God’s peace feel like?”. I thought about that for a minute before answering. “God’s peace,” I said, “is like being in a warm therapeutic bath. The water is just the perfect temperature, your muscles are relaxed, your heartbeat is calm, and your mind is serene. You lose sense of what’s happening outside that moment and just feel calm.” To me, that is how God’s peace feels.

The next question I received was, “What can I do for my friend that suffers with anxiety?” Again, I gave myself a moment before speaking. “Does your friend have a relationship with God?” I asked gently. “I don’t know,” he said.” I encouraged him to have her breath deeply when she feel anxious and think of things that make her grateful. When we understand that deep breathing oxygenates the brain and gratitude fills the heart, we become calmer. I also told the group that it is impossible to have a negative and positive thought exist in the brain at the same time. If she can remove the negative anxiety with the positive thoughts of gratitude she would begin to calm herself.

After the group discussion and I was packing up my things, the man brought the woman to me. “This is my friend” he shared with me. I looked up to see a lady with very nervous eyes and restless movements. “Hi,” I smiled at her and said “do you suffer with anxiety?” I of course knew the answer by her movements. She proceeded to tell me she has panic attacks, worries constantly, and never sleeps at night. I could feel her pain in my heart. I knew the struggle well as I was the same many years ago.

I first questioned her about her faith and relationship with God. She said she struggles with faith. She grew up in a Catholic church and never felt she was allowed to be close to God. She said she had to follow the rules of the Catholic church that included praying to saints and confessing to a human man in confessional booth. Please know I am relating what she said and not condemning the Catholic church.

I took a deep breath and chose my words carefully as this can be interpreted by some as incorrect doctrine in many churches. “My friend,” I softly spoke to her, “God wants you to talk directly to Him. He is your Heavenly Father and He wants peace in your life. God doesn’t give fear and anxiety, He comforts these emotions. I know it’s hard for you to hear, but please know you are His and He is yours. You have full access to Him any time you need Him.”

I reached into my bag and pulled out a HOPE prayer stone and handed it to her. “This is a prayer stone. You will see your thumb fits into the curve of the heart. You can hold this prayer stone and pray or just find comfort by rubbing it between your thumb and forefinger. Ask God to ease your worries as you hold it and carry it in your pocket to always have with you when you need it.”

The HOPE hearts are custom made here in Texas by a nonprofit named Coventry Reserve. Adult special needs friends make them out of pottery clay. I share them in our community when I meet someone like this new friend.

Before leaving the community, I prayed over her. I ask God to show her that His presence is with her and gave her permission to call on Him personally in her own words of fear and worry.

Last night as I slept, I woke up about every 45-60 minutes. Each time I was awakened and feeling my peace, I asked God to please let my new friend sleep quietly through the night. I think this happened 6 or 7 times and each time I repeated my request. “Please Father, may (friend’s name) be sleeping and resting without worry. May she wake up in peace and feeling Your love for her just like I do.”

It’s now morning and I don’t know how my new friend slept, but I do know Our loving God and I trust He has this handled.

Thank you for reading my blog post and I pray you are feeling God’s love for you this very day. My love and gratitude-LoLo.

2 Thessalonians 3:16
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

I am What I Eat, Drink, Sleep, and so on…..

There is an old saying, “You are what you eat.”. I find this saying to be so true. I personally can tell if I am eating in a way to care for my body. If I eat luscious foods like berries and citrus, leafy greens, lean meat, and grains I run on full energy. If I indulge in cookies, chips, white bread, or a fatty steak, I feel the inflammation in my body.

In the past, I had an “off” day where I ate a big hamburger with a side of fries for dinner. It was about one hour later when I felt bloated and tired. I laid around like a slug and didn’t get the laundry done that was sorted and piled up on the floor to complete. My body was struggling to be energetic. I was what I ate.

I have been sober for six years now. I never drink alcohol because I don’t want to fall back into the 4:30 bottle of wine syndrome. The syndrome that ends up with me pouring out 750mls of sweet wine into a glass and getting nothing done. I also rarely drink a soda, sweet tea, or other sugary drinks. My body just doesn’t process sugar well and it drags me down after a sugar crash. I was what I drank.

I have always been a person that needs at least 8-9 hours of sleep a night. I suffered from insomnia for several years. I would toss and turn all night long. I would only have short periods of sleep for 45 minutes to an hour at a time. This sleep pattern started as a result of constant anxiety. I would wake up as if I was a zombie. I would blunder through the day unfocused, tired, and foggy. I was how I slept.

I didn’t like the way I was living; what I ate, drank, and slept. I remembered the Scripture about my body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20  Do you not know that your body is a house of God where the Holy Spirit lives? God gave you His Holy Spirit. Now you belong to God. You do not belong to yourselves.  God bought you with a great price. So honor God with your body. You belong to Him.

I read this Scripture over and over. So honor God with your body. You belong to Him.

I belong to Him, honor Him. I have been obese, an alcoholic, lazy, and sick. All of these descriptions came from me honoring me and what I wanted. None of these honored God.

There is so much science that proves that caring for your body offers you less mental stress, less illness, and better sleep patterns. I know many people need the science to change, but I only needed the Scriptures.

1 Corinthians 3:17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

This verse talks about God’s temple and community in the church. Although it references a physical temple building, we are all walking temples that need to be holy and righteous. Caring for ourselves and His word through our treatment of our bodies. A temple building needs maintenance and care. It needs the foundation watered so it doesn’t settle and crack. It needs repair and corrections immediately and not left undone for deterioration. We need the same maintenance, health checkup, devoted time for prayer, serving others in need, exercising, eating a nutritious diet. This is how we keep our temple sound and righteous.

Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

What does it mean when Paul says to be a living sacrifice and do not conform to this world? Animals were sacrificed as atonement and as an offering to God. We have many ways of offering ourselves to God as a sacrifice. The first way of course is by living a righteous life. We do this by being in the Bible as we enrich our hearts and minds to God’s Word. The other way Paul is telling us to honor God is by not conforming to the world’s beliefs. Do not drink to excess, do not offer your body to many people for pleasure over God’s purpose for sex, and be honest and truthful. There are many things we may be enticed and tempted to do with our bodies because it feels good or may alleviate pain or trauma. We should deal with anything we are tempted with by going first to God and asking Him to help us. Simple prayer can change your heart.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

One of the greatest gifts that God offers us is that even when we fall down by overeating, drinking too much, or by not honoring our bodies as God’s temple is His gift to make us new. If today is a day that you may not be proud of what you’ve done or who you have become, turn to God. Let Him refresh your temple and start anew. You may do this by eating healthy, nutritious foods, putting down that wine or beer, taking a brisk walk, and opening up the Bible. Breathe in the goodness of being a temple that honors God. Care for His temple that you are and rejoice.

May God bless you on this day. My love and gratitude-LoLo

Are We Quiet Quitting Our Faith?

Quiet quitting refers to doing the minimum requirements of one’s job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than is absolutely necessary. The employee doesn’t actually quit and still collects their salary.

I wonder if this is true as well when it comes to our faith. Do we put in just what is required to be called a Christian? Do we attend church and pray every now and then, yet consider ourselves true Christians?

I know I am different than many people because I read or study something about Christianity every day. I set aside at least one hour to watch a sermon, read the Bible, or research something I don’t understand about Christianity. Honestly, I could spend all day studying and still not scratch the surface of what I need to know.

I am surprised that 8 out of 10 people I ask the question, “How often do you read the Bible? The response is, “A few times a year,” or “Not at all.” I know the Bible can be difficult to understand, especially the King James version with all the “thees” and “thous.” I think people forget many versions of the Bible are easier to read. I have recommended many times that people start with a daily devotional that will give a Bible scripture and narrative of how to apply the Scripture to one’s life. It’s much easier and palatable to do one verse at a time. This is an example of the easiness of reading a devotional tied to a Bible verse.

Matthew 4:4 ESV But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

People often tell me, “I don’t have good reading comprehension, so I just can’t read and focus on what I am reading.” That’s fine; many videos are out there to help us visual learners. I first started out watching short sermons. I would pick a topic or book in the Bible, maybe James. I would look up sermons that were around 30 minutes in the book of James and watch one a day. I have journals I would take notes in. I am one of those people that can forget something quickly after learning it if I don’t write it down. I would watch a different pastor for 3-4 days speaking on the same passages in James. This simple practice helped me better understand the meaning and theology of the Bible. I would put a Bible chapter tab at the beginning of my notes, in this case, a tab that says James, so I could easily find my notes.

2 Timothy 3:15 ESV And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Over the past four and a half years, I have compiled about ten journals with my notes in them. I love it because I teach many classes and have my own references.

I have another way of learning that help me learn verse by verse: watching Pastor Gary Hamrick of Cornerstone Chapel. He has put together a complete teaching library on the Cornerstone Chapel website that teaches each book of the Bible verse by verse. Go to and click on TEACHINGS.

Romans 10:17 ESV
So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.

Something new I started this year was to have a faith partner. I bought two writing journals that were handcrafted in India and were offered through a fairtrade company. These journals were very unique, and there were carvings in the leather. They also have a long tie to wrap around to close the journal.

I gave one of the journals to my good friend, Tunya, who wanted to take this journey with me. She would write in her journal, and I would write in mine. We would trade the journals weekly and read the other person’s writing. The only stipulations were we had to do this for one full year and write about an experience or time in each day when we felt God’s presence. It could be a Bible verse we read and expanded our thoughts on it or possibly a random act of kindness we witnessed. This was a growth opportunity for each of us in our faith. We would be bearing our hearts and our relationship with God to another person. This will draw us together as friends and closer to God.

The last thing I personally do is every day, I try to expand my prayer life. For years I have set my alarm to wake me at 5:30 am just so I can lay in bed and pray. I always say, “Good morning, Father. Good morning, Jesus, my Lord and Savior. Good morning, Holy Spirit.” and begin my conversation and prayers. I always start my day in gratitude, thanking God for the opportunities He will present to me that day. Gratitude changes my prayers and my heart.

I often feel that I may be starting to “quiet quit” my faith. I may skip church. I may not pick up my Bible for a few days. I may speed through my prayers instead of breathing and reflecting on what I need to pray about. I don’t want to just do what I need to and just get by in my faith. I want to exude God’s love when others see me. I want people to say they want to know the blessing of having the Holy Spirit within them like I do.

If we all would make one extra effort to be a better Christian, I feel the world would be a much better place. Are you “quiet quitting” on God? I pray not. My love and gratitude-LoLo

I Am Digging A Well

I recently heard the phrase “digging a well.” The person speaking said they would dig a well in the New Year. I thought this meant an actual well for the purpose of irrigation until I thought deeper.

A well, in most instances, is dug to provide a water source for a community. The process includes digging deep into the ground until a water source appears. Water is necessary for survival, and most of us have access to it simply by turning on our faucets. I learned this in fourth grade. I am learning today the importance of digging a well in our life. Jesus is the Living Water, and He is a freely available source to us. I changed my outlook on digging a well.

In the Bible, we read many stories of people being at a well, digging a well, and the significance of a well. The first story I think of is with Hagar. If you don’t know the story of Hagar, she was an Egyptian maidservant of Abraham and Sarah. Sarah was barren, so she took Hagar to Abraham to conceive a child. This was very much against God’s Will. Hagar conceived a son and soon treated Sarah very poorly and unkindly. Sarah then began mistreating and abusing Hagar, so Hagar fled to the wilderness.

In the wilderness, Hagar encountered God at a well. The angel of the LORD appeared to her by a spring (well) and instructed her to “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”

Genesis 16:9 The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.”

The conversation between God and Hagar took place at a place of water. The well, figuratively, is a place where God will draw close to you and heal your pain. Hagar had no right to her baby or her life as a maidservant, yet God spoke to her and comforted her in her suffering. God is always with us, He is an untapped source of grace. The well in the story is an actual place, yet in our lives, it is in our hearts. It’s knowing that God sees us when we suffer.

Genesis 16:13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

I also think of the Samaritan woman at the well. This story tells of a woman that had been married multiple times and lived a life of shame. She went to the well at the hottest point of the day because she was an outcast. It would have been the heat of the day, and most people would have rested during that time. Most women would come early in the morning or late in the evening to collect water in groups. She went when she would have to see no one, yet Jesus was at the well on one particular day.

Jesus asks the woman for a drink of water, and she questions why he would talk to her? She was a woman that was looked down on as having multiple marriages and unrepented sins. She was also a Samaritan, and He was a Jew. The hatred between Jews and Samaritans was fierce. She didn’t understand.

That day, Jesus was at the well to show her He is the Living Water.

John 4:10-14 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as also did his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

This well of Living Water never runs dry. Jesus replenishes us every time we become parched. The well is a promise of God’s Love for us.

A well in the Bible represents supply. God is Our Provider, His supply never ends. Just like when you look down the depth of a well, you only see the top of the water. You have no idea how much water there is or if other sources of water are connected to it. It’s unknown. God as Our Provider is known and faithful. This well is always flourishing, in the past, today, and in the future.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

A well that has been used before, even when it has been filled up, can be accessed again. Deep underground, a supply of water continues to exist. This is the same as God. You may have dried up in your faith, but you can be dug up again and replenished anew. He is the Healer, the Redeemer, the Advocate, and so much more.

2 Chronicles 15:4 But in their distress, they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and they sought Him, and He let them find Him.

Allow God to be your well. Dig your well in 2023 if your well has run dry. Trust Him in all things, allow Him to quench your thirsts, and pour the Living Water over you. I pray for each of you and offer you my gratitude for reading my blog-LoLo

My Prayer for 2023 and You

Heavenly Father,

I come to you in gratitude for all You have done for me. I give thanks and praise for my trials and blessings in 2022. As I prayerfully come to You, I have many requests.

First, I would like to pray in advance for all the people that will be diagnosed with a new illness this year. My family has been through multiple cancer diagnoses for the past six years. Father, I know these unexpected medical trials puts such stress and worry on families. I pray, Father, for Your peace and strength in all these families. May they feel Your presence and comfort on every telemedicine call, office visit, lab blood draw, and imaging or scan, and You comfort my family.

Next, Father, I would like to pray for all who may see relationships fall apart. I hope they will always turn to You for the light that You provide in dark times. Just as I walked through my divorce constantly praying to You for answers, I pray these people also do the same. I ask, Father, that You strengthen their hearts for the difficult conversations with children on separation, their feelings of failure and inadequacy, and when they sit in the mediation rooms.

Father, many struggle with mental unwellness. For those with anxiety, depression, bipolar illness, panic attacks, ADHD, or any other struggle with their mind, I ask for balance and peace. These conditions are each an illness that works daily against the mind. My prayer for these struggling is healing and contentment. As I struggled, Lord, with severe anxiety, I called Your name, and you calmed my mind. Please offer this calmness to them as well.

I also know God, that many will lose a loved one this upcoming year, maybe expected, maybe not. Still grieving the loss of my own father, I know the pain death will bring. May I pray that these people have a strong relationship with You and faith in You to have peace in a difficult walk? I also pray, Father, that they know and understand the realm of Heaven and the beauty You have promised us in eternal life. May they know Your promise of reuniting us with our loved ones and the gift of salvation. I know my father is with You, waiting for my arrival one day, which offers me the HOPE I need to stay here on this earth.

Father, there are people I know personally struggling with secrets they have hidden and now have come to light in society. Secrets of hidden homosexuality, adultery, lying and cheating, coveting improper images and pornography, some that have denounced You and walked away. I pray that these people will repent and return to You. May they see the forgiveness You offer and recognize that they can and will be forgiven when they ask You. Shame is a worldly emotion Father that only You can wipe away and make white again. May their temptation and downfall be their revival and testimony.

My final prayer is for myself. I feel You holding me tight right now, pulling me into You. I see a deeper relationship with You and intense service in Your name in 2023. I pray, Father, that I hear your words in my heart and mind to fulfill every opportunity You have planned for me. May I not feel fear, but only the call to be Your servant. I love You, Father, and in Jesus’ holy and precious name, I offer this prayer. Amen