Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving and My Life

Yes, today's sermon veered from the Four Blood Moons to the subject of "Thanksgiving".  I couldn't agree with the message more.  I feel like young people today are SO UNTHANKFUL.

Ps. 100 was the text.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Hagee talked about the 102 Pilgrims who first arrived here in 1620 and how 47 died the first year of sickness, starvation and Indian Wars.  God had made special preparation for this event, however, long before it happened.

An Indian named Squanto was born near Plymouth Rock, and as a child he saw white men.  Somehow he was able to learn the English language from those men.  He also was able to go to England where he also learned the English language and became a devout Christian.  When he returned to America, he was well prepared for his God-given calling which was to be a peacemaker between the Indians and the Pilgrims.  He made a 50-year Peace Treaty, and there were no Indian wars during those 50 years.  There was peace.  Squanto also taught the Pilgrims how to plant and fertilize corn.  This kept them from starving to death.

Hagee said that as it was then, it is now.  God already knows everything you are going to encounter.  He is preparing a way right now for whatever it is you are going to need in your future.  That is VERY comforting, don't you agree???

Just think about it.  Where did you use to be, and where are you now?

What was your first car?  I can tell you what mine was.  It was a big black 4-door Chrysler that had been my parents' car for many years.  They gave it to me when I got married.  It had something called a "rotor" that was always breaking.  Daddy had taught me and my sisters how to stop the car -- open the hood -- remove some part and find the broken rotor.  We took the rotor out -- which, as I recall, was like a little black donut -- and we had to match up the broken parts and hold them together and put them back into the receptacle they came out of.  Then we covered that up with whatever part we had unscrewed, and the car would start and run until the rotor broke again.

I drove the car for quite awhile until the driver-side door decided to stay permanently shut and never open, and the car was broken more than it was fixed.  My husband and I decided to trade it in on something else, which at that time probably wasn't a whole lot better.  We drove into the car lot.  We decided we would park away from the windows of the building so the salesmen inside would not see one of us climbing out the window because the door wouldn't open.

What was your first house like?  I can tell you what mine was like.  It was on Colfax Place here in Oklahoma City.  It was a pink wooden house with no bricks that we rented.  It had one bedroom that we used for our baby daughter, and our room was what was supposed to be a den or something.  The washer and dryer were out in the cold carport.  We could not afford curtains, so I had towels tacked above the windows.  If a towel wasn't big enough, then a sheet or blanket had to do.  If I was in Kingston, I would show you a picture.  In the living room there was a HUGE metal furnace and there were metal grates in the floor that got very hot.  I had to lift my daughter off of them one time.  I caught her right away, so she wasn't burned. 

One very cold winter day before we had switched to heat (air was from a unit in the bedroom window), I had to figure out how to light the furnace.  I don't know why I had to do it other than I was married to Phillip then, and he was NOT a "Mr. Fixit".  He stayed in bed, and I got up to light the furnace.  The Landlord had probably told me what to do.  I knew it involved two things:  gas and a match.  I figured out how to turn on the gas, but I could not figure out WHERE to put the lit match.  I was just holding the lit match in my hand while staring into the guts of the furnace that was spewing out gas.  In just a few seconds, the gas reached the match and BANG!!!!!  It was the loudest noise and it threw me back against the wall and onto my bottom.  Phillip suddenly appeared and wanted to know what happened.  I, of course, had no clue.  The heater was lit, however!  My eyelashes and eyebrows were short and curly and looked like burned rope.  I smelled like fire, and I was trembling.  Phillip started laughing hysterically.  I NEVER touched that furnace again!  

Phillip and I were married only two years as he decided to make friends with a bunch of druggies and become their Chief.  I had no idea he was involved in that until I came home from work one day, and there were several police cars in the front yard of our rent house.  They took Phillip's car and they took Phillip.  Our daughter was two years old.  I was in shock!  I cried a thousand rivers, and I prayed my guts out for years.  At first, I prayed constantly that Phillip would change and come home and be the Godly man I had married.  It never happened.  He got worse and worse and worse.  He died a drug addict about 10 years ago. 

I used to dream about having a real house someday that wasn't rented and wasn't an apartment.  Some of the girls I worked with at General Electric had married and bought homes, and I had been invited to them.  I used to think they were the LUCKIEST, RICHEST girls in the whole world.  I remember standing in the hall of one of their homes where I was attending a Tupperware party, and thinking, "I cannot IMAGINE being this rich!"  I made about $350 a month.  I never got any child support at all because Phillip moved out of State so I could not find him.  I never got any help from the government either!  I was told I made too much money.  Tammy had no father at all.  He had told me that he decided he wasn't ready to be a "Dad".   Tammy never got a birthday card or a Christmas present or anything from him -- ever. 

How did my daughter take all of that?  She IDOLIZED him, and she still does.  She blamed me for being so mean, he had to get on drugs, although she had not seen him since she was 4.  He came back to Oklahoma when she was 18 because child support years were over.  She ran into his arms, and they were best buds from thereon.  She nursed him -- and joined in some of his activities that I will not expand on -- the last few years of his life.

When Tammy was 4, I met Jerry Bernhardt in the craziest, most impossible way.  I had a friend, and he was her x-husband.  She introduced him to me one night when he showed up to get something from her for their 2-year old daughter who was staying with him for the weekend.  I hardly paid any attention to him, but he noticed me.  He called me about 6 weeks later, and asked me for a date.  I wasn't going to go out with him because of Jeannie (my friend and his x), but he said that Jeannie gave him my phone number.  Well, then I didn't want to hurt Jeannie's feelings, so I decided I could stand one date with him.

At that point -- on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being horrible and 10 being wonderful) -- men were a huge ZERO in my book.  I had had my fill of liars and losers, and I didn't want to know any more of them.  I was so rude to him, I can't imagine WHY ON EARTH he ever asked me out again.  I wasn't really rude.  More like "not there".  I practically slammed my apartment door in his face when he walked me to it.

I did go out with him a couple of times but was very cold to him.  I was renting a 3 br apartment because it was cheaper for me to have a female roommate pay 1/3rd of the rent than for me to have a 2 br apartment by myself.  ANYWAY, the day I woke up to find my roommate had left in the night with one month's rent due and some of my things, Jerry just happened to call me.  I fell apart and told him my woeful tale.  He said he wanted to pick me up at work and take me to lunch the next day.

This is when I first became attracted to Mr. Fixit.

We went to lunch and sat at a round table in the corner.  Jerry had brought a pad of paper and a pen and he had notes from our telephone conversation.  Jerry was working as a Pharmacist then, and I thought he must be a millionaire compared to me.  Actually, he made $1200 a month then.  He started asking me questions and writing down what I said.  I couldn't imagine what he was up to.  Finally, he told me that he would like to pay my month's rent for me, and then he would like to help me find a cheaper apartment for me and Tammy that I could afford by myself.  What did he want in return?  Nothing!  And he got nothing for quite awhile.

Now, can you understand why I married this man 3 months after our first date???  Yes.  Once I found out this guy was "for real", I didn't waste another minute ignoring him.  I got REAL friendly, REAL quick!  I could go on for days about all the sweet things he did for me back then.

AND MY WHOLE POINT IS THIS:  God was preparing Jerry Bernhardt FOR ME from the day I was born and he was born.  He KNEW EXACTLY that we were perfect for each other, and even though we both screwed up and married the wrong person the first time, God still allowed us to be together.  I am just as good for him as he is for me, but you will have to take my word on that.

Jerry and I TOGETHER, with God's help, have become very successful.  I not only have one beautiful home, I have TWO!  I never forget standing in the hall of that other girl's home though and wondering if I would ever be so blessed.  YES!  I am blessed -- beyond my wildest dreams back then, and I never cease to thank God for it.  I have walked around my wooded yard in Kingston and actually hugged the trees and thanked God for them.  I thank God daily as I do my chores in our homes for being so good to me and allowing me the immense privilege of being Jerry's wife.  I never forget where I was and where I am now.   

And Hagee's message was that THANKFULNESS makes your prayers effective.  We must always remember to give thanks in all things.  Even when it doesn't seem like it, God is there and working on our behalf.  Squanto for the Pilgrims, and Jerry for me! 

I better shut up for tonight.  Tomorrow, I'll show you my pretty new bracelet from Laurie, and my new camo fabric for MORE pants.

Hugs, Joy 


  1. What a great story you shared & strong message of how we DO need to be thankful for our MANY blessings. Can't wait to see more pants pictures. Keep up the good work; it's encouraging. I'm hoping to get back to my pants after Thanksgiving.
    p.s. I read your post about the duct tape dress form named "Tina." Hilarious. I have been wanting to make one for quite some time. However, I WON'T be using that foam stuff in my bra!!!!!!!!!

  2. LOL!!! That was just last Christmas when all that went on. It was quite a ride! I have really enjoyed having a dress form. It is pretty hard to get one exactly right for pants though. I think what is best for pants is to start with your own measurements, and draft your own pattern. I think you and I have both proven that.
    Hugs, Joy

  3. Hey grandma Joy! This is your grand daughter Hollie, I couldn't sleep so I decided to read your blogs, they always put me in a cheerful mood and never fail to put a smile on my face. This blog made me feel different though, and not in a bad way! It just made me very thankful... It's very easy to get caught up in your own world sometimes, you forget to thank god for all of the blessings in your life.. Sometimes I'm guilty of doing this! Your story made my cry! You are so strong and after reading this, you are definantly someone I would call a role model, I love you! Keep up the good work on your blogs and Desm diet! Miss you more than anything!

  4. Joy, your posts are always a joy to read. I'm glad you wrote that caution about your artwork, because it is always so perfect to the story that I wondered where you got it, and was sorely tempted to copy some, so now I know not to do that! But I love it all and it makes your blog extra funny. And of course I'm a fellow SFD fan, even though for now I've defected to StyleArc, lol.

  5. Oh Joy what a wonderful story, thank you for sharing. You are one heck of a girl after my own heart.
    Yes, our pathway in life is already determined by our Lord, he has shown me the way when I was sure I should be going another route.


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