Archives For November 2012

  1. Clean water
  2. Education
  3. Shelter
  4. Food
  5. Friends
  6. Family
  7. Health
  8. Medical Care
  9. Experiences
  10. Entertainment
  11. Birthdays
  12. Chocolate
  13. Diet Coke
  14. Laughter
  15. Shoes
  16. Coats
  17. Furniture
  18. Clothes
  19. Washer and dryer
  20. Volunteers
  21. The Bible
  22. Diversity
  23. Leaders
  24. Desserts
  25. Forgiveness
  26. Memories
  27. Donors
  28. Love
  29. Hope
  30. Faith

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Developing an Attitude of Gratitude Challenge 3

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude Challenge 2

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude Challenge 1

©2012 Connie Davis Johnson

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The Unacknowledged

November 29, 2012 — 2 Comments

Many people work hard each and every day in occupations that get very little recognition.  Some of these positions have been acknowledged each Thursday during November to show appreciation for their endeavors.  Today is the last day of this series.  Therefore, many more occupations have yet to be thanked.  My hope is this series has opened our eyes to those who are often overlooked so we can acknowledge their work and say thank you.  Meanwhile, I want to express my gratitude to those featured in this post.

Factory workers manufacture goods and chemicals every day.  Hard, continuous work that is never done.  We thank them for providing goods we enjoy and those that are necessary.  We may not always think about the person behind the making of the product but we thank you for everything you do that adds so much to our lives.

Many of us relocate ourselves from house to house but there are many working in the moving industry that help pack and transport our things, making life a bit easier.  They also assist companies when they relocate.  It is a stressful, busy, laborious job.  Thank you to everyone working in this industry.

Judges and lawyers are often teased for their chosen profession.  But we thank them for administering justice and defending the innocent.  There are many others in the legal field that are often unacknowledged:  paralegals, legal support professionals, mediators, legal secretaries, consultants, court reporters, compliance specialists, probation and parole officers, court officers, corrections officers, private investigators, forensic scientists, law clerks, and bailiffs.  Thank you for what you do in keeping the wheels of justice turning.

School principals and superintendents play a vital role in our children’s education.  They ensure sound fiscal planning, take responsibility for instructional leadership, establish legal compliance for the schools, create and execute policies, monitor teaching methods and perform reviews, develop relationships with students and their parents, and deal with day-to-day operations of the schools and district.  Thank you for the work you do that provides a quality education to our kids.

All those who work in Homeland Security, FBI, CIA, TSA, and other organizations that keep us safe.  A lot of work is done behind the scenes that the public is never made aware of for security purposes.  Many potential detrimental plans have been thwarted because of the work you do each day.  We may grumble when we are inconvenienced but we truly appreciate the safety you provide.

You may also like the other posts in this series:

Are You Noticeable?

Overlooked

The Ignored

Taken for Granted

©2012 Connie Davis Johnson

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”

~ Willie Nelson

Counting Blessings

These are my family’s favorite cookies.  If you love chocolate and peanut butter, you’re sure to love them too.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened                         2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup sugar                                       3 cups flour

1 cup packed brown sugar                  1 cup baking cocoa

2 cup creamy peanut butter, divided     1 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs, lightly beaten                         1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Directions:

1.  In large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugars, and 1/2 cup peanut butter.

2.  Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.

3.  Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda; add to creamed mixture and mix well.

4.  Put this mixture in the fridge to chill for about an hour.

5.  Blend confectioners sugar with remaining 1 1/2 cups peanut butter until smooth.

6.  Divide and roll peanut butter mixture into 48 balls.

7.  Remove chocolate dough from fridge and divide into 48 pieces; flatten each into a 3 inch circle.

8.  Place 1 peanut butter ball on each circle; bring edges over to completely cover it.  Dough will probably crack.

9.  Place cookies with seam down on ungreased cookie sheets.

10.  Flatten each cookie slightly with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped in sugar.

11.  Bake in preheated 375° oven for 7-9 minutes.  Do not over-bake.

Note:  If using a cookie scoop, 1 level scoop of chocolate to 1/3 level scoop of peanut butter mixture comes out about right.

Makes 48 cookies

 

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Savory Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Christmas Organization Tip

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude Challenge 4

©2012 Connie Davis Johnson

 

 

On a complaining fast last Friday, I also took the opportunity to be thankful in all circumstances.  That meant approaching each and every situation with gratitude.

Disclaimer:  If you plan to “try this at home,” I propose NOT doing it on Black Friday when you’ve been up until 4 am rubbernecking with the masses for a good deal.  Sleep deprivation and thankfulness are not friends.  But I live dangerously.  So even though I was still suffering from tired turkey syndrome, I gave it a shot.

Okay, another disclaimer.  Since my day didn’t technically end on Thanksgiving before going shopping, I didn’t start until after our middle of the night shopping extravaganza.  I’m not completely loony.

10:00 am – The day starts well.  I wake up!  So I’m alive.  That’s a plus.  Things are going well.  This is going to be a cinch.

10:00:03 am – I hear a shrill voice on a tirade in the hallway.  My loving daughter is bellowing through a closed bathroom door, “Get out Poobrain!  You always take forever!  You better not be using my razor.  What are you doing in there?  You better not have smelled it up!”  And then a voice from the bathroom, who no doubt spent countless minutes crafting her comeback said, “Shut up!”

I feel the need to share my plan to be thankful in all circumstances with the other occupants in my house.  So I say (somewhat emphatically), “Hey!  I’m trying to be thankful here!”

This may be harder than I thought.  But I can do this.  I think quickly.  Ah, I’ve got it!  I’m thankful for an indoor, heated bathroom where we can linger over hot showers and ample mirror time.  And with 3 women in the house, mirror time is vital!

Crisis averted.  I can totally do this!

10:15 am – I get out of bed.

10:20 am – Enjoying my shower, shedding the cooties gained while others invaded my personal space while shopping, I reach out for my hair conditioner and am met with a big barren space.  My daughter had taken it.  Foiled again!  God must be testing me.

Okay, I’m irked but I must be thankful so, I’m thankful for…….for…….hair.  I have hair that can get tangled and messy.  There, I did it!

10:30 am – As I brush the monstrosity on my head, I realize thankfulness is not painless.

11:30 am – In my sleep-deprived, agonized hair, state of insanity, my daughters talk me into taking them Black Friday shopping.  God must be checking my rationality.  I’m questioning it myself about now.

11:45 am – As my newly permitted 15 year old ricochets the car through traffic as if we are a ball in a pinball machine, I’m thankful I have a strong voice that allows me to scream and a sturdy door handle to grab.

4:15 pm – At the end of our shopping trip, I’m thankful there was no hair-pulling, elbowing, or scratching while procuring the last of the doorbuster deals.  See?  I knew I could be nice.

5:00 pm – We quickly clean house for my siblings who are coming over for pizza and games.  This is when I give thanks for having a room that could have easily been confused with the local landfill while growing up.  I could only go “up” in my brother and sister’s eyes.  So shoving everything in the closet and oven was the perfect solution.

10:00 pm – Heading to bed, I’m grateful for laughter, stories, and shared memories.

10:05 pm – Bone-weary, I take my cootie-covered, scraggly-haired, disheveled self and fall into bed.

10:05:03 pm – Suddenly from beside me, I hear, “How YOU doin?”  I turn to see a twinkle in my hubby’s eye.  I look at the clock.  Curses, it’s not midnight yet.  This thankfulness thing is not for the faint of heart.

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

 

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Finishing Last

Missing Extraordinary

Taken For Granted

©2012 Connie Davis Johnson

Today is the last day of four Friday challenges to develop an Attitude of Gratitude.  Seven challenges for seven days that can be done in any order.  Please feel free to bless all of us by sharing how you chose to meet the challenges and the results.

  1. Choose a day and consciously listen more than talk.
  2. Take baked goods to your meeting or to a friend.
  3. Hide love notes around the house for a loved one.
  4. Allow your child or spouse to overhear you brag about them.
  5. Go out of your way to say hi to an enemy and ask how they have been.
  6. Buy one or more $5 gift cards for a coffeehouse or fast food restaurant and give to frazzled store clerks or wait staff.
  7. Allow someone to go ahead of you in line at the store.

Check out the other challenges:

Developing an attitude of gratitude challenge 3

Developing an attitude of gratitude challenge 2

Developing an attitude of gratitude challenge 1

©2012 Connie Davis Johnson

The Ignored

November 22, 2012 — 1 Comment

Many people work hard every day at jobs that are often ignored.  In honor of the month of giving thanks, some of these occupations have been featured on this blog each Thursday.  If you work in any of these positions, please know you are appreciated.

CNA’s are rewarded for working long hours by being given a lot of grunt work.  They may have to do less desirable jobs but they do invaluable work.  Thanks to CNA’s who work at hospitals, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, and other places.

People in the janitorial field are often ignored as they go about their business.  They keep our environments clean and safe.  Make sure to say thank you next time you pass someone who is hard at work cleaning.

School, city, and long-distance bus drivers provide a significant service.  They take us where we need to go safely.  We thank all bus drivers for the wonderful work you do daily.

If it wasn’t for all those who work behind the scenes at airports around the world, we would not be able to fly places quickly and safely.  These amazing people include: baggage handlers, ground crews, refueling persons, airport maintenance, cargo agents, air traffic controllers, traffic managers, flight dispatchers, sky caps, food services personnel, ramp agents, equipment operators, TSA agents, sky marshals, mechanics, and more.  Thank you for all the hard work you do that is rarely seen by the public.

Chefs and cooks who work in hotels, restaurants, schools, grocery stores, food trucks, and many other places and keep us well-fed.  They have developed skills and most work in uncomfortable conditions but provide us with a much-needed service.  Thank you for caring for each of us through our stomachs.

Each of these jobs may be often ignored but they are very much appreciated.  Thanks for all you do.

Other articles in this series:

Overlooked

Are You Noticeable?

Taken for Granted

©2012 Connie Davis Johnson

“In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy.”

~ Albert Clarke

 

Happiness

Christmas Organization Tip

November 20, 2012 — 2 Comments

 

©2012 Connie Davis Johnson

Watching Someone Drown

November 19, 2012 — 5 Comments

Screaming hysterically, a mom followed the paramedics holding her 4-year-old little girl into the Emergency Room.  Mom and daughter had been enjoying a day at the lake.  As the mom’s back was turned the little girl ventured too far and found herself in deep water.  By the time mom turned back, the little girl was drowning.

Because I was a phlebotomist (someone who draws blood), I was not directly involved and could do little to help.  I often think back to this scene when I’m watching someone with whom I’m not directly involved, self-destruct.  It may be a friend’s husband or child struggling with drugs, having an affair, starving themselves, or performing any other destructive behavior.

Being a bystander makes me uncertain how to help or boundaries I should follow.  However, a story in the bible helps me understand the part I should play in these types of situations.

In midst of a terrible storm at sea, Jesus’ disciples become frightened.  Suddenly, they see Jesus walking on the water toward them.  Fear turns to courage and excitement for Peter, one of the disciples.  He jumps out of the boat and walks on the water toward Jesus.

Peter quickly realizes how horrifying it is being outside the safety of the boat.  The waves are tumultuous and the wind is relentless.  He also grasps the absurdity of walking on water so deep he can drown within seconds.  Understandably, his attention turns away from Jesus and is put on the ferocious waves.  As soon as his eyes are off the Man with the power to keep him on top of the water, he sinks and begins to drown.  He screams out “Lord, save me!”

Jesus immediately reaches down and catches Peter.  (Matthew 14:22-33.)

Okay wait.  That’s it?  That’s the story?  What does that have to do with being a bystander?

When Jesus and Peter take center stage in the story, the disciples become part of the background, the bystanders.  What are they doing as they watch this scene play out?  Are a few gossiping about Peter being reckless?  Is one yelling, “You’re a moron, Peter!”  Is another updating his Facebook status with this turn of events?  What were they doing?  What were they feeling?

Climb into the boat as we live out the scene as the bystanders.

Our peaceful, calm, middle-of-the-night boat ride is suddenly interrupted with a powerful storm.  The massive waves threaten to capsize us.  We’re tossed violently unable to stand.  We hold tightly to the side of the boat to avoid being thrown into the sea.

Trying to get our bearings, we see Jesus walking in the midst of the storm, on the water.  It’s baffling but beautiful.  We feel as if the Coast Guard has arrived.  There’s hope, excitement, relief.

However, one of our friends gets so excited he jumps out of the boat!  “What is he doing?  He’s lost his mind!”  As we strain to see over the waves, expecting to see him swallowed by the sea, we instead see he’s walking on the water toward Jesus.  But suddenly, he gets distracted by the powerful storm and fierce waves, sinks, and begins to drown.

We are helpless in the boat being beaten by waves and are of no help.

So we scream to Jesus, “Save him!”  We watch Jesus’ strong arm reach down into the water and we begin to yell to our friend, “Take His hand!”  But the choice is his whether to accept Jesus’ hand or try to save himself.

When his choice is to save himself, we are forced to watch helplessly as everyone hurts over his misguided decision.  What are we to do?

Here are 4 things we can do as a bystander:

  1.  Pray!!!!!!  The disciples did this as they yelled out to Jesus to save their friend.  We must pray for the drowning person’s family to hang on tightly to Jesus through this storm.  We must pray for the drowning to realize he can’t save himself and accept help.
  2. Don’t judge!  “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down…” (Luke 6:37 MSG).   All of us have made poor choices and hurt people we love.
  3. Love the drowning person.  Speaker and author Max Lucado was asked, “What does love say?”  He responded, “Love says nothing.  Love stays silent.  Love doesn’t expose.  It doesn’t gossip.  If love says anything, love speaks words of defense.  Words of kindness.  Words of protection.”  We can dislike the decisions and still show love to the person.
  4. Don’t leave the scene.  Relentless storms cause weariness which causes many bystanders to just walk away.  Want to make a difference?  Stay there.  Link arms with the family and surround them with love and support.  Keep praying.  Ecclesiastes 4:12, “….a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

In case you’re wondering, the little girl in the emergency room lived with no lasting negative effect.  As a bystander, I was able to comfort the mom as the doctors worked on the little girl.  We may be bystanders but we can still make a difference in the life of the drowning and their family.
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Finishing Last

My Daughter’s Birthday Reminder of Worst Mistake Ever Made

Burned!

©2012 Connie Davis Johnson