Learning to Be Thankful


(It Can Always Be Worse)

      As Thanksgiving approaches, I feel God is teaching me to be more thankful and I realize I have overlooked many opportunities to do so.   My philosophy is, “It can always be worse.”   I have a good friend in his 90’s who says, “Don’t worry, it will get worse.” He always laughs and has a positive outlook (thru faith) although he and his wife have had many physical challenges and even lost a son recently

We are told to do all things without grumbling and complaining.   In recent years, I’ve had more physical pain.   When I walk into the rest home every week to visit and play games with the residents, I am thankful for the physical abilities I still have. Sometimes I feel alone and sad, but when I see so many of those precious people just sitting at the table nodding off with no one to talk to or do things with, it makes me so thankful for all I still have. The time I spend with those residents always lifts me up and makes my day.   They are full of knowledge, wisdom and kindness even though they must at times feel forgotten and face so many physical challenges. I have nothing to complain about.

Sometimes as married couples we argue and become angry when our spouse doesn’t see things as we do. Not thankful for your spouse? Wait until they have a heart attack. As one of the few on his side of the family who survived a heart attack recently, it makes me very thankful my husband is still here. . Now that I’m dealing with cancer, maybe he’s more thankful I’m still here. (You’d have to ask him.) But I am grateful he is here to help me get through this.

My sweet neighbor recently lost her husband to cancer and now she has it herself.   Another kind-hearted neighbor not only lost her husband to cancer, but has been tending her daughter who’s been fighting it for seven years. It breaks my heart to see her suffering from all the treatments. I’m in perfect health compared to her.   It makes me thankful that I have it instead of my husband, children or grandchildren. I really am not fearful, but I would be if they had it. So it COULD be worse.

You may have family members or grown children who don’t want to be family. That is painful to deal with. But when you look at Israel, people in the Mideast, and Paris and even our country being murdered by terrorists, it makes me thank God every day my children and grandchildren are still alive and well. There is always hope for mended relationships when there is still life.

My grandchildren live in another state and I seldom get to see them. My friend has grandchildren in New Zealand–a lot further than Colorado, so it could be worse.

Do you find yourself yelling at news shows or some editorial or something the government has done, restricting our freedom? Yes, it does seem that this country is going downhill. But when I look at other countries where women can go to jail for being raped or even driving a car, and hear of people being beheaded with no one to rescue them, we should be so thankful for where we live.

I have always been terrified of snakes. Recently I have encountered 4 snakes, one, a four foot black snake as I walked in the bathroom. I’m still screaming as my husband picks it up, while laughing and lets it go outside. I begged him to kill it, but he said it wasn’t dangerous. Well, I think they are since I COULD have had a heart attack. Then three times I found a bull-snake in the basement. Suddenly, I remembered my brother, who does mission work in Ghana, Africa. He has found numerous cobras in his front yard and one time found a mamba in his house.   So what am I complaining about? It could be worse. I’m not quite to the point of being thankful for the snakes I found in my house, but I AM thankful they weren’t cobras and mambas. And I’m VERY thankful those didn’t harm my brother.

As my friend says, “It WILL get worse.”   He is right, but my answer is, “Yes, but after that, it will get better.” I’ve read the Book, and I know the end. So, as we approach Thanksgiving, let’s remember to be thankful to our heavenly Father for all He has given us.


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Home Again

Just a quick post to let everyone who has been following that we did arrive home late the 1st after quite a challenging trip home.  After two hour delay going thru the Ben Gurion airport trying to figure out why they said we would be on a “waiting list” to fly home in NY (we weren’t) –then running to try & catch the plane, we did the same thing once we hit the states.  Hit the ground running at every airport.  The amazing thing is that we made it to Kansas City on time and our checked luggage was ready for pick-up as soon as we got there!!

We did somehow arrive home without one of the sacks of souvenirs we bought to share with friends and family.  That was very disappointing, but could have been worse.   We have been non-stop busy with catching up on business (damaged properties from hail damage, etc.)  Delighted to have my step parents visit for a couple of nights & since then company every day for Feast of Tabernacles.  So more cooking and feasting & some great fellowship.

We are so glad we made the trip and saw and experienced so much.  Still, it is good to be home & makes us very thankful to live where we live—until we turn on the news and hear what is going on.  Sort of makes us want to go back.

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Yad Vashem

“These words are taken from the words of Isaiah:1 “For so says the Lord to the eunuchs who will keep My Sabbaths and will choose what I desire and hold fast to My covenant, ‘I will give them in My house and in My walls a “Yad vaShem” (place and a name), better than sons and daughters; an everlasting name I will give him, which will not be discontinued.’”  Yad = a place; Shem = a name. “A place and a name,” for those who were not given the dignity of a Jewish burial, or any burial at all in millions of cases.”

The Monday before we left, we went back to Jerusalem to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.  The gentleman at the information desk was a holocaust survivor himself, also his brother, the only ones to survive in their entire family.  Pictures are not allowed in the historical museum.  You wouldn’t want to photograph what we saw anyway.  The pictures below are of the memorials to survivors, children and those who fought back against the Nazis.  We had been to the Holocaust  Memorial in Washington D.C., which impacted me greatly.  This was even more devastating.  Every politician and world leader should be required to go through this museum and every school child should be taught the truth about what happened to the Jewish people throughout the centuries, beginning with the crusades and up through  World War II.

Now I realize why every shabbat and feast day is a priority for families in Israel to get together, unlike America, where so many families are falling apart and choosing to walk away from each other.  The Jewish families had no choice.  They were torn apart, tortured and exterminated.  Perhaps that’s why they value the families they have.

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Sunday we went to Shilo, where the Tabernacle was first placed after they came into the land.  There were many ancient ruins,  of what used to be a synagogue, then a mosque, a Byzentine church, also a film reenacting what happened there, and a beautiful view.  The young woman who gave us an overview of what happened at Shilo was four years old and living there in the new village when they discovered some of the ruins.  It is a very nice village, similar to the one we are staying in, all only about 36 years old, built since the 67 war.

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Rosh Hashana, Birthday, Tel Aviv

Just getting to come to Israel has been a wonderful experience.  We were invited to join a large family and many of their friends for Rosh Hashana, which happened to fall on my birthday.  Then on Friday, we drove to Tel Aviv, where we ate lunch, walked along the beach and visited a Messianic Congregation in the late afternoon before the beginning of Shabbat.  Thought we didn’t understand much of it since it was all in Hebrew, we did know one of the songs (in Hebrew, Sh’ma Israel), were able to follow some of the scriptures, enjoyed the shofar blowing for Yom Teruah, and joined them in a time of repentance looking forward to Yom Kippur.  Before and after the service, we visited with a few English-speaking people and were invited to join them all for a meal.  I just THOUGHT I knew what a feast was before coming here and joining people for Shabbat & Rosh Hashana/Yom Teruah.  I had know idea.  I have never seen so much food and preparations as they do for every Shabbat and Feast day.  Delicious, too, I might add.

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Israel Always the Aggressor??



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Tuesday we drove to the port of Jaffa and saw the harbor, beautiful sea, beach, old city and a large flea market.

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Useful Livestock

One of my goals is to get some good pictures of the donkey carts transporting people and goods and the shepherds with their goats or sheep that we see everywhere, in and around small towns and out in the valleys and hills.   It’s hard to get a picture as Neal is zooming by.  Depending on where we are driving, you have to keep going to keep up with or not delay traffic.  Here are some I took recently.  I did not take a picture I have seen twice of someone butchering sheep on the front porch of a business in an Arab village we drive thru coming and going from Samaria back into the main part of Israel.  I was surprised to see a few sheep just laying nearby with no fence or tie-down, waiting their turn to be butchered! I will add to this post as I get more related pictures.

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The black tents are Bedouin.



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We saw these as we were driving out of the Shomron yesterday.

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More pictures from Monday’s trip.


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Mt. of Olives, Gethsemane, and Old City

Monday we made our 3rd trek up to Jerusalem.  Thankfully, we were able to navigate by ourselves, using Waze app.  It is THE app to use while in Israel.  We made it to the top of Mt. of Olives, took some photos, drove down to Gethsemane, and then back to the Old City thru Jaffa Gate.  The first picture is the first thing we saw when we reached the top.  Then, view from the mount, Gethsemane, and the church there

Monday we made our 3rd trek up to Jerusalem.  Thankfully, we were able to navigate by ourselves, using Waze app.  It is THE app to use while in Israel.  We made it to the top of Mt. of Olives, took some photos, drove down to Gethsemane, and then back to the Old City thru Jaffa Gate.

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Jewish Quarter


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Glida (Hebrew for ice cream)–hmm, what kind do I want?  Our friend a the guest house, Rory, now calls me Glida, because that’s one of the things I alway look for.


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Below is the Via DoloRosa




Neal wanted to walk thru the Arab Quarter to see the Damascus Gate.  I was a little nervous about that since some of it was sparsely populated or empty hallways, not sure where they would lead, but we made it going out to the gate & back in down the road thru another part of the Arab quarter into the Jewish quarter and out Jaffa Gate.

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I’m amazed at how many shepherds we see out on the hills with their sheep or goats.  This guy even smiled at me & waved when I took his picture.  I’m always on the lookout for donkeys & carts, which we see every time we go somewhere, but Neal doesn’t slow down & it’s hard to get a picture.  We do see some unusual things, like butchering sheep & goats on the porch of an Arab business as we drive thru the village on our way out of the Shomron.



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Israel Museum & The Knesset

On Sunday we went back to Jerusalem to see the Israel Museum, which included the Shrine of the Book.  It included history, fragments and replicas of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Fascinating, but picture-taking wasn’t allowed.  In the rest of the museum, there was all kinds of ancient artifacts, including weapons, which of course, really got Neal’s attention.  So we have  a lot of pictures of ancient swords, daggers, knives and spears.


Ancient Altar




Ancient Hebrew Script


Replica of Ancient Tomb


Synagogues from foreign countries.

The script below was an interesting document on the wall in the museum near some sarcophagi from the time of Yeshua.

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Below is a ceiling of an old synagogue, someone in Germany was using for a barn.  It was taken apart and reconstructed at the museum.



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Below are pictures of the Jerusalem model as it was during the 2nd Temple period.

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Below is the Knesset and the giant menorah across the street from it.

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