Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving at Grandma's


November, then and now, signals just one thing to me, Thanksgiving at Grandma’s.  Thanksgiving at her house was paradise!  The atmosphere of food, laughter and love was wonderful and unforgettable. 

Thanksgiving morning at our house was busy.  Mom would prepare a salad or pie; we kids would dress up in our good clothes and then go outside to play. We had to be careful not to get dirty.  Good clothes in our family didn’t come easy.  We weren’t poor but we were very frugal with money and food.  Meanwhile, Dad stayed busy in the garage checking out the old Chevy.  He’d check the oil, water and the battery and then give the tires a kick, for readiness. 

Often, I would go into the garage from time to time to see how he was doing.  Often, he found things for me to do-such as checking the oil and water and inspecting the car battery to see if was clean and water filled to the proper level. I always felt important helping Dad, especially on holidays, when there was much to do. 

Later, around 12 we all piled into the Chevy, eager for Thanksgiving dinner. We would arrive at Grandma’s, all dressed up, gifts in hand, with offerings of a waldorf salad and pie. As we walked through her door the aroma of turkey and onions would fill our senses with the joy of delicious food to come.  That first whiff of turkey and steamed vegetables was delicious!  We walked through the house into her kitchen and put our donations of food and small gifts, (often a bottle of Rum) onto the kitchen table, kiss Grandma and then go into the living room where we would sit and talk.  Later, Mom and I would return to the kitchen and help Grandma with the meal. 

It was my job to help Grandma prepare the dressing, with ingredients of butter, celery, bread, milk, and onion, then help with the progress of the turkey.  Mom would put her donations of food into the already crammed refrigerator and then prepare green beans or another salad for dinner. Inside the oven the turkey was roasting, and occasionally Grandma would let me use her large ladling spoon to baste the turkey.    Later, Grandma and I would finish preparing a pie—often apple or cherry.  I would round out the crust while she prepared the filling.  After that was done, we’d check on the vegetables and then I would set the table.   

I loved that job because she had beautiful crystal and China, with delicate pink and blue patterns on the dishes and matching pink crystal for glasses. She also had beautiful silverware that was kept in a special drawer in the living room.  I would carefully remove the dinnerware from the old ornate cabinet in the dining room and tenderly place each piece in the proper setting.  I loved how it all sparkled on the table.

The meal of Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes; real green beans, cranberries and pie filled us up till we could eat no more.  We would all sit at the large table, enjoy her traditional Thanksgiving meal and talk about the latest “Uncle Millie” or “Jackie Gleason” shows.  We all loved those shows and each of us tried to “out do” each other, with our imitations of “Uncle Miltie” or “Jackie Gleason.” The adults would later have wine or brandy and we kids would go out and play in the small backyard.  Sometimes I would deliver food Grandma prepared for an old lady across the street.  The old lady lived alone and was often too ill to prepare food for herself.  I loved doing this for Grandma, and the old lady was always happy to receive it. I took pride running this errand because I helped Grandma prepare much of the meal.

Today, I continue Grandma’s Thanksgiving meal.  I have altered some of the foods but I try to prepare most of the foods she prepared; homemade  dressing, mashed potatoes 

and pie.  Many in my family can’t attend because they live too far away.  But, those who do enjoy a Thanksgiving meal of the 50’s.  You see, Grandma’s gone, but her traditions live on in a woman from the 50’s.
Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a blessed day with family!
Copyright Toni Star 2015
During the holidays, check out my revision edition of Maria's Final Days! End Times are upon us and this book will help! Here is the link   http://www.lulu.com/shop/toni-star/marias-final-days-second-edition/hardcover/product-22462347.html 

 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Willfulness or Willful: The Choice is Yours!


I was talking with a friend several years ago and we began talking about people and how some are focused on Christ and are willing to do His will; while others are willful and want to do only what is best for them. The more we discussed the many examples of willfulness and willingness, we came to the conclusion that it is the choices we make each that define and illustrate our willingness or willfulness toward Christ and His message.

When you think about these two words—willing and willful—you will see how each word describes clearly Christian acts while the other one describe unchristian acts. As Christians, we’re all guilty from time to time doing things our way but it takes insight and a desire to change in order to get back on track with Christ. Think of times when you wanted to do something and then did it willingly and then recall when you did something in a willful way.

Now, think about when you didn’t want to do something but did it anyway and did it your way, and only when you wanted to do it. You were being willful, right? And, didn’t you most likely, cause problems wanting to do it your way? I know I can remember times when I was willful, like not wanting to help with chores at home and the problems and turmoil that came with it. Actually, when I was willful, it made the project or projects more difficult and time-consuming.

Then there are examples of pop stars, politicians and others who sometimes act willfully, even spitefully –just so they could have it their way! An example might be acting in a movie where they know the message is dark and offending to many but they do it anyway or being unkind or unruly to another actor or actress, when what they need to do is cooperate and help. Family members, myself included, have acted at times, willfully and have caused great frustration and anguish. There have been times when a family member has asked me to do something and willfully, I turned them down simply because I didn’t want to take time out of my life to do so.

When I think about how one acts when being willful I think of several adjectives/body languages that describe that emotion—selfish, self-centered, mean, negative, cruel come to mind--but mostly selfish. The body language would be folded hands in front of the chest, mean look, loud talking, and walking away from a conversation and others.

On the other hand, when one thinks of someone acting willingly to help out, to give to others, much different adjectives and behaviors come to mind—kind, helpful, happy, positive, giving and loving. The body language when someone is willing is a happy countenance, a smile on one’s face, opened arms, soft conversation and an agreeable and helpful attitude. What a difference in behavior, isn’t it?

The Bible presents many examples of “willingness” and “willfulness.” An example of willfulness from the Bible is when Moses was dealing with the Pharaoh, pleading to let the Israelites leave Egypt. The Pharaoh would not let the Israelites go, and so He and his country endured the plagues which God allowed, hoping to soften his heart and let the people go. .Eventually, he did –after his son died. The Pharaoh, because of his stubbornness allowed himself and his people go through many afflictions—covering of the land with frogs, dust becoming gnats and covering the ground, swarms of flies, swarm of locusts covering the land, venomous snakes and other afflictions.

In contrast examples of willingness show a different way of thinking and acting. Such an example can be found from Genesis 23:8 “He said to them, “If you are willing to let me bury my dead, then listen to me and intercede with Ephron son of Zohar on my behalf.”

And from Exodus 35:21: “and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the LORD for the work on the Tent of Meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments.”

And from Exodus 35:29 : “All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the LORD freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do.

Lastly, from Judges 5:2: “when the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves—praise the Lord!

What a difference there is in behavior when it comes to willing and willful. We see with the Pharaoh what happened as a result of his willfullness---death and destruction; while from the Israelites we see a desire and willingness to follow God and do what was right-- but only after they were willful for 40 years—wandering in the wilderness….Too bad it took so long! And in each case, look at the results and aftermath of willfulness….

Then I often think about how I could make my life better and how better to deal with people who are negative and willful. I made up a small list on how I could achieve this. This is what I came up with:

  1. When God wants me to do something, even though I don’t want to do it, I need to be open-minded and willing to do what He wants, for He cares about me and wants the best.
  2. Be aware of areas in my life where I’m willful—such as overeating, wanting to do thinks my own way, being selfish, not giving to others when they need it.
  3. Be more willing—not willful—to pray more, read the Bible more and be aware of areas where the “enemy” might attack—most likely in areas where I’ve had problems/fears before…
  4. Lastly, be willing and eager to love God more than anyone or any “thing” on earth. Keep Him #1 always. By doing that I will stay willing to follow God’s plan and this will keep me free and positive!
So, what can you and I glean from all of this? You might think that it’s “hip” to be willful or cruel; that your friends might find it “cool” to be willful.

But, you know what? Willfulness might be cool and work to your advantage for awhile but in the end, you’ll be all alone, unhappy and without anyone to share your life with. It is wise, I think, to be “willing” to be agreeable, “willing” to help, “willing” to make a difference; for all of this will lead to a better, longer and happier life. And, you will also find that by being willing to help and assist others at home or at work, you will find your life to be more fulfilling, interesting and a life that will consistently more productive, refreshing and Christ-like.

The choice is yours….Which will you choose?

Copyright Toni Star 2015
 
 
 

 

 

 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What to do when you feel that your life is out of Control?

Every one on this earth, be they woman or man, has times in their life when their lives feel out of control. Feeling out of control or feeling that no one cares, is terrible; however, there are steps you can take that will help get you back on track such as: taking time to read the Bible every day, praying throughout the day, talking with someone you trust. But, more than anything, one of the very first steps to take is to talk with God.

You see, some of us are not sure that there is a God or if He is listening. Of course, this can be dispelled by reading the Bible, particularly the book of John. God word is especially meaningful in the New Testament. His love for us is clear and His love goes deeper than any love you will find on earth.

There is a section in Rick Warren's book, "The Purpose Driven Life," that I would like to share with you. I read this passage every night; especially when I feel alone, fearful and needing God's help. The passage goes like this: "Regardless of circumstances and how you feel, hang on to God's unchanging character. Remind yourself what you know to be eternally true about God: He is good, he loves me, he is with me, he knows what I'm going through, he cares, and he has a good plan for my life." Another passage in the book is about Job and how his life fell apart. Job still found things he could praise God for:

"That he is good and loving.
That he is all-powerful.
That he notices every detail of my life.
That he is in control.
That he has a plan for my life.
That he will save me."

So whenever you feel fearful that your life is out of control, turn to God first, pray to Him and confide in someone you can trust but always remember, you are never alone!

Copyright 2015 Toni Star

Sunday, August 30, 2015

God will take you Through the Twists and Turns


I  got this in my email from Mountain Wings not long ago and wanted to share it on my blog. It is called the Twisty Path. Everyone on this earth has "twisty paths" and sometimes we wonder why are we going through such trying times. I often wonder, especially when I go through medical situations that try my soul and I'm sure at times, tries the patience of my husband and close friends. But like the characters illustrated in the below story, I know deep in my heart that God will reveal to me the lessons of these trials and be with me no matter what happens. I know this because I have felt His presence every time.

So, as this article states, "stay on the straight and narrow" and He will bring you  through. It may get darn right hard and scary but you won't go through the difficult times alone!

God Bless and enjoy the following story from Mountain Wings:





The Twisty Path
======================

"Name one person in the Bible who had a simple life without
twists," I asked Puddin (my wife).

Puddin was responding to a major change that we were making in
buying a house. We were moving to an entirely different
neighborhood and not building on the property that we bought.

It was a Divine direction that I was absolutely sure about.

"Why does life have to be so twisty and why can't God just make
it simple?" was Puddin's question. It was a very good question.

I had already asked God that question.

Thus, my response, name one person whose life had any written
detail in the Bible where it was simple and clear-cut.

"John," Puddin said.

"John!!!" I replied.

John lived in the wilderness eating bugs and honey.
Puddin would have undoubtedly considered locusts bugs.

"How many grasshoppers could you eat?" I asked Puddin.
I am sure many considered John crazy because his behavior and
lifestyle were so far from the norm.

Then there was John's father Zacharias whom God made unable to
speak because he didn't believe the angel about John.
Both Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth were old,
and he just didn't believe.

Finally, John was imprisoned then he had his head cut off.
Yet Jesus said there had been none greater than John.
Don't you think John thought his path was twisty at times?

I often wonder why couldn't life be simpler.
Why couldn't all revelation be straightforward.
Why does stuff have to be cryptic?
Why the twists and turns.

Although I wonder, God has always brought us through.
Right on time, in right order, and learning the right lessons.

God will take you through the twists and turns,
if you stay on the straight and narrow.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Lord's Promises and our Expectations


The Lord has promised many things to you and me. Here are some of His promises:

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and hope." Jeremiah 29:11.

Another promise comes from Matthew 11: 28-29: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

The next one is wonderful and one we all need: "And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

Romans 8:37-39 is especially wonderful, "No despite all these things, overwhelming victory is our through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death or life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below--indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Savior."

Recently, I underwent surgery and like many, I was frightened but I knew that God would be there for me and of course, He was. A friend of mind also underwent a scary time and had to have a pacemaker put in. She was, of course, frightened but she was not alone. She is now recuperating and her prognosis looks wonderful.
Both of us have learned once again, that no matter what happens in our life--good or bad--God is with us! And, like the picture above, God's light is always available--not matter how dark everything may look. Look always for His light!

So, always keep in mind God's promises for you because unlike politicians and others who say one thing and mean another, He will never let you down! He is real, powerful and truthful!

Copyright Toni Star 2015
 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Caleb--One who Followed the Lord with all his Heart

I don't know about you but there are some people of the Bible that I don't know much about and Caleb is one. However, after reading a short article about him online, I know and understand him a bit better. Caleb was a man who lived his life by putting his total faith in God. Caleb's story is in the book of Numbers once the Israelites escaped Egypt and came to the border of the Promised Land. Moses sent 12 spies into the Canaan area to look over the area; Caleb and Joshua were two of the spies.

All of the spies except for Caleb and Joshua said that the land was rich but they felt that the inhabitants of the land were too powerful for the Israelites. Caleb spoke up and said before Moses and the people, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." (Numbers 13:30).

God was so angry with the Israelites because they showed no faith in God that he forced them to wander in the desert for 40 years. All of the Israelites died except for Joshua and Caleb. Later, after the Israelite returned and conquered the land, Joshua, as the new leader, gave Caleb the area around Hebron, which belonged to giants, known as Anakites. These giants had terrified the original spies earlier
but they were no match for God's people.

Interestingly, Caleb's name means "raging with canine madness." Most importantly, he represented the tribe of Judah, from which came our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

So, what can we learn from Caleb? Caleb knew that God would supply him with what he needed to finish the mission. Even when he was the minority, he spoke up for the truth. We can also learn from Caleb that that the weaknesses we have, and we all have some kind of weakness, brings a great deal of strength to us from God to handle anything that comes our way! Caleb also teaches us that we must be loyal to God and in return, He will be loyal to us!

In life, we all face situations similar to Caleb where we are the minority and everyone tells us we can't do this or we can't do that but in reality, we "can do all things through Christ." Not just something here and there but "all things through Christ." Sure we have days when we don't feel well or we have doubts about our abilities or run across people who are blocking our way but those are the times when we must not give up or cave in because Christ is with us--always!

Prayer: Dear God, whoever reads these words, let him or her feel strength and encouragement; knowing that no matter what we face this day or any day, that you will be right there with us! Amen

Copyright Toni Star 2015

Sunday, May 24, 2015

After all is Said and Done....


I JUST GOT THROUGH READING ONE OF HOLLEY GERTH'S PIECES AND WANTED TO SHARE IT WITH YOU. SHE WRITES ON HOW SHE FELT WHEN SHE CAME HOME ONE DAY AFTER DRIVING THROUGH A STORM. IT WAS AFTER A HARD DAY AND SHE JUST WANTED TO HAVE A CUP OF TEA AND BE WITH GOD AND SHE WRITES "WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE SHE WAS ABLE TO GO HOME TO JESUS."
 
YOU KNOW, I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS AND I SAID TO MYSELF, HOW TRUE! nO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS TO US ON A DAILY BASIS--BE IT GOOD OR BAD, WE GET TO GO HOME TO JESUS.
 
AND, AT THE END OF OUR LIVES, IT IS NOT THE END AS SOME WOULD THINK. oH NO! AS CHRISTIANS WE CONTINUE TO GO ON TO BE WITH JESUS OUR LORD. WE  HAVE A FUTURE ONCE WE DIE; WE GET TO BE WITH HIM AND DO WHAT WE ARE PREPARED TO DO ON EARTH AND THAT IS WONDERFUL!
 
FOR THOSE WHO CHOOSE NOT TO BELIEVE IN JESUS, THEIR END IS DIFFERENT. THEY WILL NOT BE WITH GOD AND THEY WILL HAVE A FUTURE OF NEGATIVITY, DESTRUCTION AND A DEAD END!
 
ALL AROUND US WE SEE PEOPLE IN THE LIMELIGHT SUPPOSEDLY HAPPY AND AMAASSING GREAT FORTUNES BUT AS THE SCRIPTURE SAYS, "WHAT DOES IT PROFIT A MAN OR WOMAN IF HE OR SHE GAINS THE WORLD AND LOSES THEIR SOUL?
 
TIME TO CHOOSE! Which AVENUE WILL YOU CHOOSE? FOR ME, I CHOOSE JESUS AND AFTER ALL IS SAID AND DONE, I GET TO BE WITH JESUS!

COPYRIGHT TONI STAR 2015
(FORGIVE THE CAPITALIZATION; HAD PROBLEMS WITH THE TYPING)
 
 
 

 
    
 
 
 
 


 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

For Those who Suffer from Fear

Be Not Afraid of Anything or Anyone!

There are things in life that when you look or think about them, dispel all thoughts of fear. For me, it is thinking and praying to Jesus and God and looking at this picture. Read on for more information and help on fear:

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”
Matthew 6: 25 KJV

How many times I have read this passage and didn’t understand the full meaning of the message. The first time I read this—many years ago—I just didn’t appreciate those words about life—that I shouldn’t think too much about my life, what I should eat or drink or worry about my body and so forth. I mean, for years I have worried, struggled, pondered and sometimes didn’t know what to eat, what to put on or sometimes what to say. And, there are times, when I still don’t know. But, when you really think about this----really think about these words-- there is a truth here that takes away the meaningless worry and stress we often have about our daily lives. How many times have you and I worried about what to prepare for a meal, or what to wear at work or what to say to a rude or disinterested person? If you’re like me, many times!

However, in almost every case of deciding what to eat, what to wear, how to handle a difficult person, didn’t you and I get through these situations as they occurred? Maybe not well, but we got through them and made decisions. And, how many times when you worried about something, did anything bad actually happen? If you’re like me, very few times! For example, there are several people in my family who are divisive and who show little concern for me, my husband and other family members. This attitude from them used to bother me because like some, I wanted the best for my family and have worked hard to cooperate so that those in my family are well and happy. However, like others who are divisive and self-oriented, they continued to be divisive and cruel; without compassion for those in pain. For a long time it bothered me and sometimes it still does. But, instead of getting angry and upset, I do what I can to solve the problems at hand and then give Christ the rest. I help them when I can and when I feel I have done enough, I give the rest of the problem to Him. He is the answer to all problems and He knows what should be done. I now feel much better and know that Christ will intervene and bring a peaceful solution—no matter what the problem or crisis I face because He has a plan for me, my family and friends and for you.

As I get older and read and pray more often, I find that I worry less about what to eat, what to wear or what to say. Lately, I say to myself, “I will give my best in whatever situation faces me and give the rest to Jesus!” And you know what? When I give my very best and then pray to God for His guidance and help, He takes away the worry and wonder and I am left with a more peaceful mind—a mind that Christ and his Father want for me. God didn’t create us so that we would worry and fret about life situations. No indeed! He created us to be happy, fulfilled and to live a life of abundance and most importantly, to be free from fear.

So, if you have ever felt like me or are feeling this way now, know that your Heavenly Father cares for you and always will. Don’t worry about what you will eat, what you will wear or what to say to a relative who is crass or uncaring. Your Father in Heaven will provide for you and give you what you need. I can say this because after many years I have finally found the peace that He’s been wanting for me since the day I was born!

Thank you, Father, for revealing to me that I have no need to worry or be afraid about  what to do, what to say, what to think or eat and or how to handle difficult people and situations. You know exactly what I need before I do! Thank you Jesus and thank you  for revealing your words to me and let my faith in you always be strong so that I can reach up to you, give thanks and know that I am never alone!