Happy Birthday, Bart!

Happy Birthday, Bart!

 

Balloons going up into the sky 

 

 

 

 

In honor of my son’s birthday, I awoke this morning teary-eyed as I faced another day without Bart. The idea came to me to write him a letter…

 

 

Dear Bart, 

 

I miss you so much! As I wake up this morning thinking about you, on the one hand, my heart cries out that I want to see you, ruffle your hair, hug you, and tell you how much I love and miss you! On the other hand, I am grateful that you are in Heaven where joy and peace are not dependent on circumstances…you get the chance to praise and worship, where the focus is on God’s love and grace and where Jesus is the star! 

 

 

 

 

I do have some questions for you… 

 

  • Do you celebrate human birthdays in Heaven?
  • Do you get a glimpse of our happy and loving
    moments here on earth?
  • Do you know that your sister, Amy, has a wonderful husband, Patrick,  and four beautiful children who know so much about you…as if they have known you here on earth?
  • Do you know that week before last when we were in Crested Butte with Amy, Patrick, Sam, Jackson, Lila, Neal, and Patrick’s parents that Lila and Neal choreographed a dance to the song “I Can Only Imagine” in honor of you?
  • Do you know that your friends still stay in touch with me on Facebook to let me know how much they miss you?
  • Do you know that I failed to write everyone a thank you note for their love, support, and gifts when you died?
  • Do you know that Paschal High School still sponsors the Bart Granger Memorial Golf Tournament every September, and Coach Herb Stephens won’t let the 200+ boys start playing until he talks about you?
  • Do you know that Bradley Boyd is getting married?
  • Do you know that your Dad and I divorced and that we are still friends who share an unbreakable bond of love for you, Amy, and her family?
  • Do you know that I wrote a book about you, your death, and how many treasures I have received from God and how grateful I am?
  • Do you know that every year around the time of your birthday, the day you went to Heaven, and sometimes around Christmas, I get personal “heavenly emails” which let me know that you are well and God
    understands I need an “update” on how happy you are?
  • And lastly, will I remember these questions when I see you in person?

 

______________________________

 

In light of today being your birthday, let me share today’s heavenly “emails” with you. You have already heard how I awoke thinking of you. Wait till you hear the rest!

 

 

 

Email #1

 

When I had breast cancer, a close friend gave me a little black box of daily uplifting Bible verses. They sit on our breakfast table, and this morning, I pulled out the one in front (I always file each one we read in the back). The verse this morning was from: 

 

2 Thessalonians 3:16. 

 

“May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”

 

I keyed in on “peace at all times in every way”, because I need His peace, especially today.

 

 

Email #2

 

Then Albert and I went to church, and the chorus of one of the songs was: 

 

 

“We exalt Thee, 

 We exalt Thee

 

 We exalt Thee, O Lord.”

 

 

 

Tears welled up and spilled down my cheeks as I remembered visiting the place where your ashes were strewn and listening to my tape of Christian music that nourished my soul. I would sing along (when I could) through my tears. This chorus was in one of those songs. As I listened, I was praying, “God, even though I am in excruciating pain and sorrow, I trust and exalt you. It comforts me to know that Bart is with YOU, and I know YOU will continue to love and comfort our family.” 

 

 

 

Email #3 

 

This one was Amy’s.

 

 

When I talked to her on the phone and shared my story of the song in church, she shared a story of her own. Jackson, age 11, had four basketball games yesterday…his team played in a double elimination tournament.
She said he reminded her of you because he sticks out his tongue when he plays.
She told me that at one point she felt she was watching YOU because his
facial expressions reminded her of yo

 

 

I commented, “That was your email from heaven.”

 

 

 

 

Email #4 

 

This one was your Dad’s. 

 

 

After dinner with friends at one of our Mexican restaurants, I received a group text (that also went to Amy) from your Dad. He played golf today and sunk a twelve-foot putt on hole #13!!! His text started with
“unbelievable” and ended with “go figure.”smile

 

  

_____________________________

 

 

 

Isn’t it amazing that after these 22 years of missing you, God faithfully sends “messages” to reassure those who love you that you are alive and well, and that, as believers, we will join you and get to experience no more suffering…”

 

 

I love you so much, and my heart is breaking. Perhaps that
is a positive thing…without love, it wouldn’t break.

 

 

See you soon,

 

 

 

 

Mom

 

 

 

 

______________________________  

 

 

 

 

 

 

This verse says it all!

 

 

 

Revelation 21:4

 

4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” NKJV

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________

 

Here is a video I created today that I shared on Facebook…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Do You See?

Who Do You See?

Your Image

Photo by Matt McNulty on Unsplash

In The Busyness of Life, Who Do You See?

“…that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”–John 6:40

As I read this scripture, my eyes rest on “sees the Son.” I ask myself, how often do I see Jesus? How often do my daily activities distract me and keep me from seeing the Son? Do I care that He is standing in front of me? Do I walk past Him not even noticing His presence?


Picture This!

First, picture yourself walking down a busy sidewalk with strangers coming and going. Next, you spot a close friend approaching. She/He hasn’t looked up because of reading text messages.

Therefore, you get to decide. Are you going to look at her/him and walk on past? Or are you going to make eye contact and greet your friend with a warm hug?

Will you enjoy as much conversation as you both have time for? If you choose to stop and visit, will you carry the vision of your friend and pieces of your conversation with you as you “tackle” your day?

As I read, “…who sees the Son and believes in Him…”, I ask how many times I SEE HIM during my regular day.

Or

Do I walk on by because I am too busy to acknowledge His presence, talk to Him, and take part of Him with me?


Jesus Gives Us What We Need

In John 6, Jesus tells his disciples that God gives the true bread from Heaven. They jump on that, and ask Him to give them that bread ALWAYS!

He replies,

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.” John 6:35,36

Rushing Past

How many times do I rush past Jesus during by “busyness” not recognizing what He wants to offer me?

No wonder I get stressed over my “to do” list, fret over silly challenges, and close myself off to others’ needs!

My intentions are good I want to spend more quality time SEEING Jesus every day.

Therefore, when I realize I am slipping, I have to recommit myself to start my day with Him. Only then can I see Him, recognize His grace, and share His grace with others.

[bctt tweet=”When the fire of prayer goes out, the barrenness of busyness takes over. –George Carey” username=”karynalmendarez”]

So, when I don’t start my day with Jesus in prayer, empty busyness takes control. I take my eyes off of Him, and I forget to call on Him for help.for big or little things!

Not Alone

I’m not the only one…

In Matthew 14:29–30 Jesus called to Peter asking him to walk on water to join Him. Peter got nervous watching the waves caused by the strong winds. He began to sink when he took his eyes off of Jesus. He immediately called to Jesus to save him.

What was Jesus’s response?

“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.” Matthew 14:31

Amazing Grace

Isn’t that amazing? Jesus didn’t chastise him focusing on his circumstances. He immediately reached out His had to catch Peter. He is waiting for us to call out to Him to save us in ANY situation.

Above all, I know I need to try harder to SEE Jesus each day spending time with Him in prayer and in His Word. Only then will I focus on His power and love.


Prayer:

“God, thank you for reminding me that Jesus is my friend worth seeing and listening to. Please give me the drive to start my day with Him. Forgive me when I am so busy and distracted that I take my eyes off of Jesus and forget to call on Him for help.”

Humble Disclaimer: The ideas for this blog came after I read one of the Our Daily Bread devotionals. Each devotional has corresponding scriptures which complement the writer’s story.

Some of the devotionals speak louder to me than others. When I am convicted, the act of sharing my thoughts helps me act on what I write. I guess you could say I am writing to myself!

I never want to sound “preachy” or self-righteous. The “cracks” in my “pot” are wide and deep.

I am living proof that “a cracked pot” can survive traumatic challenges. But, being a retired baby boomer causes me to consider how much time I may have left. Thriving, not surviving, is my passion. Spending time with Jesus is my lifeline.

What are some ways Jesus helps you thrive? Comment below!

Please share this article with anyone you know who is suffering!

Where is My Safe Place?

Where is My Safe Place?

How are you celebrating July 4? As we join family and friends to honor our country and the process that made us free, ask yourself…

Where is My Safe Place?

Is it a cozy, comfortable chair? How about under your favorite tree?

Our Forefathers and their families shed blood, sweat, and tears to make sure our United States of America was free from Great Britain’s rule. They formed the thirteen colonies and paved the way for our government to be “by the people” and “for the people.”

Today our country’s government officials and citizens are at odds on several issues. The news media loves to focus on those differences and make us feel that our Constitution and Declaration of Independence are being ignored.

Is the state of the Union our sole source of feeling safe and secure?

As we celebrate our country, our families, and our freedom, can we remember where our refuge comes from?

Where Does Our Refuge Come From?

 

Psalms 46:1 assures us:

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.

Refuge can be defined as a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.

  • God is our safe place
  • God shelters us from danger and trouble through His strength
  • God is ALWAYS present

What Does Having God as Our Refuge Do for Us?

 

The answers are in Psalm 46:2-10.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+46%3A1-10&version=NIV

Knowing God is our Refuge:
  • Drives our fears away (v.2)
  • Shifts our focus away from the world’s problems knowing that God is in control (v.6)
  • Assures us that no matter how chaotic things get, we can find quietness and strength in our Father’s love (v.10)

 

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
    for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
    until the disaster has passed. Psalms 57:1

 

On July 4th as we celebrate freedom and patriotism, let us also give praise for…

God is our refuge…safe, secure, loving, forgiving, ever-present, and just

 

How will you spend your July 4th? What are you thankful for?

Leave your comments below:)

 

Cancer Survivors Day is Today!

Cancer Survivors Day is Today!

 

 

Celebrate Cancer Survivors Day

Today is Cancer Survivors Day!

 

June 3rd is National Cancer Survivors Day. It was created to honor all who have fought the cancer dragon and WON, and to give hope to those currently fighting this disease.

There are around 14.5 million people in the U.S. who have beat cancer or are currently fighting the battle. Every year 450 men and women out of 100,000 are diagnosed with some form of cancer, and 171 die from it (per 100k). 

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women. One out of eight women in the U.S. could develop invasive breast cancer.

If you haven’t been personally affected by cancer, I bet you know friends or family members who have been.

My Experience With Cancer

 😥 I am ashamed to admit it, but before I heard, “You need a biopsy. This could be breast cancer”…

 🙂 I had compassion for so many I have known (friends and relatives).

 😕  I offered to pray for them, but after a few days, I forgot to lift them up.

 🙂 Perhaps I would visit them, listen, and pray with them.

But…

 😥 I did NOT take them meals after surgery or when they were ill from treatments.

  😥 I did NOT send cards or notes to let them know I cared.

 

Now that I have had breast cancer and mastectomies, I KNOW exactly how to comfort those who get this life-changing diagnosis!


I wrote this poem to  express my feelings after I heard the scary and life-changing words, “You have breast cancer…”

It is dedicated to my friends (Lisa McDaniel) and relatives (my dad and aunt) who have died from cancer and my survivor friends (I won’t list them…I might leave out someone’s name).

Hearing the News

Hearing the news

Changed attitudes

Calls not made

Prayers not prayed

Cards not sent

Time not spent

Letting you know

You won’t fly solo

Through your disease

And its horrors, Oh please

Forgive me, I pray

For looking away!

To not let you know

I love you so!

–Karyn Almendarez, January 2018

Cancer Survivor Day

How Do We Celebrate and Honor Cancer Warriors?

  • Remember those who have fought and lost and what they mean to you
  • Call a cancer warrior/survivor today and tell them you care
  • Send an encouragement card
  • Start a written or digital prayer list and pray for one person each day
  • Take dinner to a cancer victim

**Here is an excellent resource for anyone diagnosed with breast cancer!

http://openyourtreasures.com/7bby

As always, the best resource is God’s Word!

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 New International Version (NIV) 


PLEASE share this post with anyone you know who has cancer or is a cancer survivor!

Until next time… Blessings and Health!

“Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong.” — James Bryce
–Brainy Quote

Read more
5 Prayers For Our Children

5 Prayers For Our Children

There are more than 5 ways to pray for our children and grandchildren!

How can we pray for them as they go back to school?

Teachers are stressed…I know because I was one!

Parents are thrilled…I know because I am one!

Do we forget how stressful school can be for our loved ones?

This is the third blog post dedicated to all children and teachers who are

GOING BACK TO SCHOOL

I cannot take credit for creating the 5 P’s, as you can tell if you clicked on the above link. Prayers for PEACE, PROTECTION, PURITY, PASSION, AND PERSPECTIVE are so applicable to children and adults.

That is why I researched scripture to find Bible verses that align with these five prayer requests.

Peace 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 NIV

Protection

“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” Thessalonians 3:3 NIV

Purity

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 NIV

Passion

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15;7 NIV

Perspective

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthinians 4:18 NIV

How can we apply these verses?

  • We can pray these very words for the children we love.
  • We can read these scriptures to them and let them know specifically why we are praying for them.
  • We can ask them what the words peace, protection, purity, passion, and perspective mean to them.

I hope these scriptures and prayers comfort and bless you!

If so, please share this post with your loved ones and friends and encourage them to sign up to receive newsletters and updates!

 

Please feel free to leave any special prayer requests you might have in the Comments section below. Or, if you prefer, you can email me at karyn@openyourtreasures.com.