Category Archives: GRATITUDE

Side Tracks


I took my youngest (by a minute) G.son to school this morning. I haven’t counted but there are probably 20 or more traffic lights between here and there and back. About two thirds of the way to school I realized I had stopped at only one red light!! We continued on to school, I dropped him off and on the way back it continued – Green light after Green light after Green light! WOW!! What a wonderful day this is going to be!”

  • Then, it happened! I did it! It was my fault! I wasn’t paying attention (too busy congratulating myself, I think) to where I was and I made a wrong right turn.  About two blocks down that road, I realized where I was and at the first opportunity made a U-turn.

I’ve been in Recovery a bit more than 8 years. This path I’m on is MUCH smoother now than before. There are days I hit “Green light after Green light after Green light.” It’s real tempting on those days to not pay close enough attention to where I’m going. Some days, before I know it, I’ve made a wrong turn. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about the consequences that await me at the end of that side track. I’m now much quicker to realize I’m headed the wrong way and I make that U-turn at the first chance I get.

This morning, when I realized where I was and what I’d done, all I did was say: “Oh, Ratz!” I didn’t reach into my “backpack” and grab my favorite tool to beat myself up. (like I used to) In the past, I would become so wrapped up in condemning myself for my mistake, I could be MILES down the road, and it would be a LONG way back. Sometimes, I’d get lost down that side track and wonder if I’d EVER make it back.

My WW and I love taking Road Trips. When I’m driving, she usually pays pretty close attention to what’s going on around us. I’ve told her “If U see something U think I need to be aware of, feel free to speak up.” It’s always better for her to speak and tell me something I already know than to keep silent and then we’re both sorry later. I needed her in the car with me this morning.

I need somebody walking with me as I travel this road of life.
I need someone who can speak up when it’s needed. 

There have been times she’ll speak up and my thought (or words) will be: “Honey, sometimes I wonder how I managed to drive that huge bucket truck for ATT all over three counties for 40 years without your help!” She often replies (nicely): “I wonder the same thing sometimes!”

I have learned give her the freedom to speak up when it’s needed. It’s become a two-way street. There are things, there are times that I need to speak into her life as well. (though it’s hardly ever about her driving)

Do you have someone in your life with the freedom to speak up when it’s needed?
It’s a lot more important than U might realize.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But he who heeds counsel is wise.
  Proverbs 12:15 (NKJV)

SATURDAY GRATITUDEs #4

You can read part #1 HERE

Part #2 HERE Part #3 HERE

There’s this guy that likes to live in my head. In AA they call him “The Committee of one” I call him Sir James. I introduced y’all to him HERE. And HERE

One of the favorite tricks of Sir James is to get me to Compare. I’ve said it before, and I come to believe it more as time passes: 

Comparison is a Thief of Joy! 

AND Gratitude. 

Comparison is such a part of our natural way. It’s what makes us feel better (or worse) than others. It’s what drives us to build bigger, buy more, to plan ahead for greater tomorrows. It’s also a huge part of the reason I occasionally find myself in a pit. Fortunately, not as often nor as deep as in past times. 

I doubt that I have ever felt grateful because of comparison. Oh, I’d be glad that didn’t have “problems like other people.” But, I’ve discovered that feeling was usually based more on PRIDE than GRATITUDE. The major problem with being glad you have a better life than someone else is because none of us are at the top. There’s always someone else that’s “glad they don’t have a life/troubles like mine”. 

So… How/Why am I grateful? To a large degree, it’s a matter of choice. It’s a choice that I can CHOOSE to make. I do not have to listen to The  Voice of Sir James.  

My friend Matt once told me: “Jim, you need to write a book about Sir James, because EVERYBODY has a Sir James in their life.”

Q for YOU – What’s the name of the man / woman that lives in YOUR head? Does {S}He bring you to a place of peace and gratitude? 

This prayer is one of the thngs that helps me cope with Sir James:

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. 

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen


THE BATTLE GROUND


“There is a war between guilt and GRACE!” 

The other day, as I walked into our bedroom, I noticed these words written on the notepad next to the dual recliner where my WW sits. They come from the song by Matthew West, “GRACE WINS

Lately, I’ve been pondering the effects of GRACE in my life. I’m beginning to realize that I have greatly undervalued what GRACE DID, what GRACE does, what God wants GRACE to do in, for and through me.

Matthew West continues his song with these words; “GRACE WINS!! Every Time!! For the woman at the well, GRACE WINS!! For the beggar on the street, GRACE WINS!! For the prodigal son, GRACE WINS!!

This morning’s “Daily Verse” from “YouVersion” was Psalms 139:23,24

‭‭“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” ‭NLT‬‬

This morning, I’m saddened to think how many times I’ve prayed that from a place of guilt and shame, standing (or kneeling, as the case may be) before God but seeing him as my Judge. It makes me want to run away. Sometimes I do.

This is not the prayer of a guilty man waiting to hear sentence passed for his guilt and shame. It’s the Q posed by the prodigal son to his Faithful Father at the breakfast table the morning after the party as they enjoy steaks leftover from the fattened calf and eggs  the servants gathered that morning from the free-range hens in the yard. (Luke 15:11-32)

It’s the Q from the heart of a recovering, wandering son who has once again been embraced by “Abba-Daddy”

Let me see if I can put this in my own words as I picture myself sitting at that table:

Dad, I came back yesterday because I knew you are a man of compassion. All my life I’ve seen how you treat your servants. You’ve always treated the men and women who work for you better than most of my friends were treated by their fathers. 

Last month, I remembered that about you. Someday, maybe I’ll tell you where I was and what I was doing when I remembered, but I think I’d rather just forget about it. But let me simply say that I woke up in the blackest, darkest hole of my life. 

Then I remembered!

YOU!

Dad, I came back to be your servant. I came back to sweep the dung out of your stables. I came back to clean the hen house on my hands and knees. I came back to… 

YOU!!

NEVER in my wildest thoughts did I think I would come back and be your son!! I fully expected to grovel. I fully expected to spend the rest of my days trying to pay penance for the way I hurt you. But you… You!!!  Dad, You put the family robe around my shoulders. You embraced me!! You put your ring on my finger. You brought out the finest wine, and Oh! Wow!! This steak…!!!

Dad, (by the way, it feels strange to call you ‘Dad’)…  Let me take this moment to ask you, from the depth my heart, with all the gratitude I can manage; “Teach me. This morning, Dad, search my heart; test me and show me my hurtful ways. Daddy, I want to spend the rest my life letting you teach me how to be your son.”

THAT is the war between guilt and GRACE. The battle in my life between guilt and GRACE is fought at the gateway to the homestead. Because of my guilt, I hesitate to respond when He calls. The Father beckons me forward. I hesitate. The Father says: “Come, my son, all is ready. For you. I’ve been waiting. For you. Too often, I’ve turned away. In shame.  “I’ve been watching every day. For you. But… I’ve done all can can do. For you. Unless you come home. The Choice is yours. I chose you, but I cannot make that choice FOR you.”

BECAUSE OF MY GRACE, THE DOOR IS WIDE OPEN FOR YOU, MY SON! COME HOME!!

RELATED POSTS

Broken ‘n Unworthy

HIS PRESENCE! – HOW?

I KEPT COMING BACK

But What about my sin?

My Judge? or “Father”!

https://itreallyisjustthatsimple.com/50shadesofgrace

JimmyCat’s MondayMrng Musings

My sister Millye, my WW Nelda and I are driving to Carmichael this morning to spend the day with my brother Cliff, along with my other sisters, Naomi and Betty. 

Doyle, we will miss U!

Cliff’s wife Susan recently “won” her battle with ALS. I must say it that way, because the disease did not!!! defeat her. Yes, it stole her body, but EVERYTHING ELSE that Susan was remained intact. 

Nelda and I agree, (as we do with most things) – Susan was the most amazing woman we know. Her journey through ALS served to expose and strengthen her core of deep faith, humor and loving care for others. 

I remember at the beginning, her thought was “How can this struggle be used to help others?” I saw her embrace this new fight in the same way she approached every facet of her life. Through it all, her favorite phrase remained: “It is well with my soul!” (take note of the tagline in the cover picture on her blog)

As an expression of her concern for others, she started a blog called “SusansSteps”. 

We who followed her blog have been blessed, challenged, saddened, amused, loved, enriched and encouraged. 

It is totally appropriate, and so much “Just like Susan” that in this last post, she declares that this is her GRADUATION. 

SUSAN, You did it with the highest honors!!!

Susan’s Steps

P.S. To read her blog from the beginning, start HERE

Monday Morng Musings II

It was an amazing day when I discovered I could trust God beyond my capacity to understand Him. 

My ego says: “God, I need to understand You before I trust You.”
Truth says: “Because He’s God, He’s beyond my understanding.”
Faith says: “I can have a relationship with Him that is Beyond my Understanding.That allows me trust Him more.
GOD says: “Jim, if U understood, U would not need to trust.”

Rick Warren tweet – Nov 9, 2013:  “If God was small enough for me to completely understand him, he wouldn’t be big enough for me to completely trust Him.”

It was about 8 years ago when I wrote in my journal; “God, I’m beginning to realize that I don’t trust U in the way I know U want me to.”

Please teach me to TRUST YOU MORE!”   

I had NO IDEA what I was praying for. My life turned upside down and inside out in ways I did not know was possible.

Today, I still have to say: “God, I’m beginning to realize that I don’t trust U in the way I know U want me to.”

“Please teach me to TRUST YOU MORE!”   

The thing is, today I better understand the “danger” of that prayer – kinda like praying for patience, there might be only one way to learn it!

T.B.T. #10

THROW.BACK.THURSDAY. #10

2 years’n a week ago I made my first post on this blog. As I’ve read and re-read it this week, I continue to be amazed at what God can do.

One of the treasures I find in this writer thingy I’ve been doing is the ability it gives me to remember. (The older I get, the more important it… but I digress…)

It’s been almost 7 years since my “Heart Attack.” It wasn’t a 911 occasion, but it changed me. U can read about that here.

The process continues. Usually in spite of me, although the path has fewer twists, turns, ups and downs.

For that I am grateful.

Here’s that first post:

https://itreallyisjustthatsimple.com/2013/07/22/it-really-is-just-that-simple/

WEDNESDAY MORNING MENTATIONS

  Today’s FB post: Blog Version

     Been up since 5:45. Why? I have absolutely no idea. When I was working, I’d wake up’n get up “with barely enough time to get there.” Now that I could sleep till noon…, here I am, bright-eyed’n rarin’ to go! …well, I’m up!!

It’s a thoughtful morning. Quiet. The twin stormz are still asleep! There’s a cool breeze blowing through the open window onto my (bald) head. Hopefully, the breeze is blowing away the heat for the day. I’m wrapped in a blanket sitting in my morning chair. I’m listening to Kenny G. play the sax. The birds are chirping (’cause the feeders are empty) Life is good. (except for the birds) God Loves me, my wife likes me, and I’m content to be me.  

It hasn’t always been like this:

Somehow, for most of my life, “I” was not OK. With me. 

      But – I’ve stopped trying to figure out how/why that happened. I’ve stopped blaming the people I thought had a part in making me that way. I’ve stopped trying to be who and what I thought others wanted me to be. I’ve stopped comparing (as much) my faults with the strengths I see in others. (D’ya know U always lose?) I’ve stopped trying to get God to love me – more! (He already does) and… His Son’n I are BFFs

     It’s been a journey, into some deep valleys, in which I found myself standing at the edge of a cliff, and to majestic mountain tops. (Why can’t I stay here all the time?) But I’m finally walking a level(er) path. (most days)

For Today, Just For Today, I’m content to be who and where I am!

But! I’m still on my journey! And will be – for the rest of my life. There will still be ups’n downs. ‘n That’s OK! That’s life!