Monday, November 30, 2015

IT'S CHRISTMAS ---AGAIN!

The countdown to  Christmas is on--in case you missed that announcement by every marketer in the Wide World of Retail!



COUNTDOWN-CLICK HERE

It may come as a shock to you--but not everyone is elated to know once again -  


How do you combat the "Seasonal Blues"?  What can I do when I am filled with dread instead of joyful anticipation?  For some--how do I survive another Christmas?  

Christmas has become the most frantic-over-worked--under funded and over budgeted--time of the year.  Others are faced with the reminder that all is not right with their world---the big happy family is a lost dream---or there is a hole left in the family circle---or Good Health has turned to Ill Health---or there is no way to meet all the expectations we perceive must be fulfilled--

IN SHORT--MAN MADE EXPECTATIONS
HAVE ROBBED US OF OUR JOY!

It is truly amazing to see new things added year after year to an already long list of --"Must's".  Those days of working full time, trying to keep the family going, AND adding in Christmas have not escaped my memory.  It was daunting and lead to sheer exhaustion and terminal frustration when trying to keep all the balls in the air.  At my ripe old age--I have learned a few things and among those few things are this short list-

1.  Decorations were not present at the first Christmas--and while nice- not necessary to enjoy the season.  Don't try to keep up with The Joneses and savor those things which are meaningful to you and yours.

2.  It is not necessary to buy the biggest and the best for everyone on your list.  Some of my favorite gifts are the pictures with Santa and the grands or the plate with their hand prints made into a reindeer and lots of small things I would never buy myself.  Make a budget and stick to it.

3.  Family is wonderful--but you do not have to see the entire extended family over forty-eight hours.  Spread your visits out over the two week period of the holidays.

4.  Parties are wonderful--but it is no crime in declining invitations when it takes time away from the family or you are just over-whelmed.  And NO--you do not have to reciprocate every invitation.  A small hostess gift is thank you enough.

5.  Christmas cards are wonderful---but costly and time consuming--you can send an email or text and say Merry Christmas.  

6.  Don't become prisoner to the expectations of others--do what you can--what is important to your immediate family--and respectfully decline the rest.  There are 365 days in the year---plenty of opportunity to make the rounds.

These are a few short recommendations to help take the stress out of the holidays--and to make them joyful---remember the reason for the season.  Don't get so caught up in the hubbub that you forget whose birthday we are celebrating.  Take time everyday to look with thankfulness to the greatest gift ever given.  

And for those who are alone---those who dread the day---those who feel as if they are on a deserted island of dismay in the midst of an ocean of glad tidings---it is one day out of the year---you will survive and the day after Christmas will come.  Instead of dwelling on the sadness which overwhelms you--find someone to help---ring a bell---feed a hungry stranger---shop for an angel tree gift---look for others who are alone and share the day or a simple meal or a movie. Find joy in service--happiness in sharing--comfort in The Word made flesh.

And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause.
II Corinthians 9:8

Sunday, November 29, 2015

COME, LORD JESUS, COME

AS WE ENTER

THE SEASON

OF ADVENT

I PRAY

WE REMEMBER

WHOSE BIRTH

WE CELEBRATE




BLESSED SABBATH-

BLESSED ADVENT-

DEAR FRIENDS!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

DOWN IN THE CANYON AND UP ON THE RIDGE

HAD A GREAT ADVENTURE
IN THE PALO DURO CANYON-
THE TEXAS GRAND CANYON
LAST WEEKEND


ONLY A 5 HOUR DRIVE 
FROM MY HOUSE
IT IS QUITE A 
WONDER OF CREATION


WE HIKED
TO THE LIGHTHOUSE
THE FIRST DAY


70 MILES LONG
800 FEET DEEP
AND AS MUCH AS TWENTY MILES WIDE
AS YOU TRAVEL THE FLAT PANHANDLE
IT SUDDENLY APPEARS
A WONDER TO BEHOLD!



THERE WERE CAVES



HUGE ROCKS



BEAUTIFUL ROCK FORMATIONS



RIDGES TO CLIMB TO



HORSES TO RIDE




ZIP LINES--YES I DID!



video




AND IN TEXAS
THEY BURY THEIR CADILLACS!
THE WIND CHILL THIS DAY WAS AROUND 10 DEGREES!

STILL LIVING LIFE LARGE 
HERE IN THE HOOD!

Friday, November 27, 2015

BLACK FRIDAY

For many of you this is one of your favorite days of the year--a day to shop until you drop or get knocked down--whichever comes first.  Thanks but no thanks---if you gave it away--I still have no desire to be caught in the madness called Black Friday.



Today is the official beginning of the Season of Christmas.  During the Advent Season, I will post  several blogs hovering around the Spirit of Christmas- again with the liberty of an author's loose association--and slightly twisted thinking at times---but in my mind--all wrapped around the theme of the Gift of Jesus.

Our world is in turmoil today---the very name Isis can evoke a dichotomy of response from all of us.  We are fearful for our personal safety--as these madmen strike death and destruction on the entire world.  We have become consumed with how to protect our own borders--how to keep the enemy out---withdrawing into a protective shell with no room in our inn.  I confess--my initial reaction is exactly  this---how can we be safe and enjoy our freedoms without fear of sneak attack?


Photo Credit-Fox News

And then I read this post--by a sweet friend who is serving as a missionary among those who have become refugees --been displaced-hounded-targeted by this force of evil.


We sat on their floor & ate chicken. They served us graciously and hospitably. We were laughing now & enjoying each others' company, but half an hour earlier we were looking at pictures of home: Syria. We saw weddings & newborn babies, we saw fathers and cousins. As casual as if she were telling me he lost his job, she said "That's my dad. ISIS took him for a week, but he got away." They told about trying to take the boat to Greece. "It sank. We were holding babies & children above the water so they wouldn't drown," she explained. Children played with my hair, rolled into my lap,

We drank coffee, we danced, we laughed.

And it felt natural. It felt like there was no reason to be afraid. It was fun!

Refugees, Syrians, Iraqis - they may not have names & faces to you. But they do to me & I promise you, they are just as human as you are. I've eaten at their table.

To protect their safety, I cannot give you the name of this brave young servant of Jesus, but they have my deepest admiration and prayers.  As I told them when we dialogued about the things they are seeing, while we must protect you and not give a name to the face of courage and service, it is no secret from God what you are doing--how you have become the face and hands of Jesus to the least of these.


Photo Credit-BBC

As I rolled this conversation around, I was struck by the similarities of the oppression of the Jewish people during World War II.  Evil men use the innocents--the least of these --to further their cause and we tend to turn our heads - in an effort to protect ourselves.  It is a diversionary tactic and one that is aimed at causing a fear reaction  Yes--I recognize all the controversy that goes with this--but this is a first hand account--it is not all young men who are refugees---there are women and children caught in this holocaust.  For them---everyday is a Black Friday of fear-loss of home--loss of loved ones--displacement--and uncertainty of the future.  The blackness of do I live through this day--or is this my last day--what hope do I have?  

Reading the words of this brave servant of Jesus, brought to my attention my own response.  My tendency to take care of me and mine--to hide in the cave of my imagined safety.  The truth is---we could be the ones fleeing for our life--we could be attacked---we could be displaced--and then who will step up to help us?  God has allowed evil to roam freely about the earth--and make no mistake he is a formidable opponent.  He seeks to kill and destroy all and especially those who claim the name of Jesus.  So what is our response going to be to those who are fleeing the face of evil?  What God given responsibility do we have to our fellow human being?

I have no good answers.  Open our borders---somehow I think these refugees had much rather be in their own homes again.  But what are we going to do about the least of these?  Search your heart---ask God for the answer---and pray--pray--pray for my dear young friend who is giving their life to serve these whom God loves---just as He loves us.  The gift of Jesus was given to us and to them---to all who will accept it--He came that we might have life--life eternal.  What is our response to His gift?  How would He have us serve "The Least of These"?


Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:11-13




Thursday, November 26, 2015

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

A LITTLE REMINDER

OF THE STORY

IN SHORT FORM






HAPPY THANKSGIVING,

DEAR FRIENDS!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

MAKE A LIST

Anne VosKamp authored the best selling book--





which chronicled 1000 gifts in her life.  She consciously sought the gifts she was blessed with and wrote it all down in a prose like book of praise and thanksgiving.  The book was a national best-seller---an eye opener to many of the need to remember the gifts and blessings our lives are filled with.

So my suggestion is---write them down.  It is not necessary to come up with a poetic sonnet describing each and every one--just make the simple list.  Start today---and keep the list handy--write everyday--perhaps several times in a day---but begin to keep a written account of all you have to be thankful for.

We take far too much for granted and seldom slow down enough, much less pause for reflection on all the gifts in our life.  Begin the overt act of remembering your gifts and as you list them---read back over them--see if your attitude of thankfulness doesn't grow--blossom--and bear the fruit of a thankful heart.  

I begin my list today with you, Readers.  I am thankful for you stopping in your busy day and reading my blog, I am thankful for your comments, I am thankful for your encouragement, I am thankful for old friendships renewed, current friendships affirmed, and new friendships gained by your willingness to read my thoughts.  You bless me and I pray that
  God Blesses Each Of You!

I am thankful for our time of speaking of thanksgiving and thankfulness and pray each of you will enjoy a holiday of friends, family & feast.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


I thank my God, every time I remember you.  
Phillippians 1:3

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

SOFTENING THE HARDNESS


The spirit of true thanksgiving comes from a thankful heart.  A heart made soft and pliable by Jesus.  



Hardened hearts --rigid hearts filled with narcissistic worship of self do not understand the true feeling of thankfulness because they are unable to recognize the source of EVERYTHING in their life.  When you stare into the eyes of a hardened heart, the reflection is permanently etched in your memory.  The glare of hatred and disdain for anything and anyone who stands between them and their desires is cold and distant-with only contempt as you dare to look into their face.  A sad thing to behold is one whose heart have been hardened to truth.  The hard shell is impenetrable to tears--suffering--pain--and refuses to acknowledge any complicity. A hard heart--is just that--stone cold and devoid of thanks.

How do we ensure our hearts are soft and pliable?  If true thankfulness can only come to a heart in this condition, what must we do to obtain and maintain this soft heart?  

Give Your Heart to Jesus---

     --daily--hourly--moment by moment give Him your heart.  The most beautiful heart I have ever seen was filled with selfless servanthood and always searching for "What Would Jesus Do".  A person with a soft heart is one after God's own heart.

BUT--the good news---the best news---even those with hardened hearts can be turned into hearts of sweet softness.  Heart Hardness is not terminal--if you make the changes to improve the condition of your heart.

So as we wind down to Thanksgiving--I encourage us all to look at our hearts--examine and measure the level of thanks in our lives.  And then--take the steps to grow and strengthen that soft heart filled with love and thankfulness to the One who is the giver of all things--


THE GREAT I AM

“Search me O God, and know my heart…see if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”
Psalms 139:23-24









Monday, November 23, 2015

THE GOOD AND THE BAD

I cannot write "The Good and The Bad" and not think about that old movie "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly".  One of a series of "Spaghetti Westerns" made during the late 60's starring Clint Eastwood--it is a classic.

As my collection of posts on Thanksgiving draws to a close this week, I am asking myself the question--


Am I thankful for the good and the bad--why even the ugly?

This slapped me right between the eyes---and has almost lead to brain freeze.  How easy thankfulness rolls off my tongue when it comes to the good.  

     Three Wonderful Children---Thank You, Lord!
     Six Precious Grandchildren---Thank You, Lord!
     A Wonderful Extended Family---Thank You, Lord!
     More Sweet Friends Than I Can Count---Thank You, Lord!
     A Lovely Bungalow--Food On My Table--Clothes On My Back---
          Thank You, Lord!
     Good Health---Thank You, Lord!
     JESUS---Thank You, Lord!

And this is only the beginning of the list of all the good I am thankful for.  Countless times in a day--I lift a small prayer of thanks for all the blessings of life.  It rolls off my tongue with ease--and has become an automatic response.

The question then is 

Am I thankful for the bad--why even the ugly?



When bad things happen--how can I be thankful?  It sometimes seems as if others lead a charmed life---with nothing bad ever happening.  My distorted vision notices all the good in the lives of others and applies blinders to seeing the bad.  The truth is---if you live long enough--and get your head out of the sand---there will be bad things---sometimes perhaps even ugly things which occur.  And then the question begs to be answered---how can I be thankful for this?

This is when faith comes to play.  Faith in what our Great God has given us--faith in Who He is--Faith in His promises.  When children die--when disasters occur--when families are torn apart--when we see abuse--when we experience loss--when our pain is beyond our ability to bear--when illness becomes our life--when we are handicapped by any form of disability---when the world seems to be filled with evil---when any of life's unbearables occur---how can we be thankful?



By remembering who God is---what He has promised---clinging to the hope found in Him---trusting Him---acknowledging His great love for us--holding on for all you are worth---and knowing---trusting--hoping--believing---all things work for good for those that love the Lord.  THEN--oh yes--then---we can be thankful for it all---because HE WILL BE GLORIFIED in the good, the bad, and even the ugly---and HE IS GOD!

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
I Thessolians 5:18

Sunday, November 22, 2015

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

AS WE PAUSE THIS WEEK

TO GIVE THANKS

WHETHER YOUR TABLE

BE FEW OR MANY

MAY YOU FEEL

THE PRESENCE OF HIM

TO WHOM WE GIVE THANKS!






BLESSED SABBATH

AS WE BEGIN THIS WEEK
OF THANKSGIVING!

DEAR FRIENDS!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

WHILE AWAY FROM THE HOOD--

I MADE A FLYING TRIP
TO LOUISIANA
FOR A WEDDING


THE ASPENS WERE BEAUTIFUL
WHEN I WENT TO COLORADO
IN OCTOBER


BUT THE FALL HARDWOOD FORESTS
IN THE MIDST OF THE EVERGREENS
IS ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING
IN NORTH LOUISIANA



THE WEDDING WAS IN THE DELTA 
WHERE THE HOUSES ARE RAISED
THIS FARM WAS THE BRIDE'S 
FATHER'S CHILDHOOD HOME 



IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL
AND SWEET WEDDING
IN THE MIDST OF THE
BEAUTIFUL OLD OAK TREES





COMPLETE WITH
BOUDIN BALLS
AND WEDDING CAKE
YUMMY!


AND THE UN-INVITED GUESTS
THE STATE BIRD OF LOUISIANA
WERE NOT DETERRED
BY THE COOL TEMPERATURES
WHILE WE FEASTED--SO DID THEY



ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE IDEAS
AN ARTIST CAPTURING
THE MOMENT WITH PAINT
TRULY AN INSPIRED IDEA!

A BEAUTIFUL GOD HONORING WEDDING
IN MY OLD STOMPING GROUND

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

AND FINALLY FOR ALL YOU PEOPLE
WHO DOUBT MY CRAFTINESS
I MADE THESE WITH
THE SWEET CHILD I MENTOR
THIS WEEK




STILL LIVING LIFE LARGE
HERE IN THE HOOD!

Friday, November 20, 2015

FAITH

God must grow weary of my shaky faith and lack of patience.  I give great lip service to believing Him and trusting His Word---but my memory is VERY short term and I suffer faith amnesia at times.




It never fails to amaze me when He sends me a word.  Why I am surprised, when it has happened over and over--I cannot tell you. I listened to a sermon podcast today that hit me squarely between the eyes---He was once again reminding me of Who He Is!

Many of us have circumstances or occurrences in our lives that leave us wondering "What possible good can be done for The Kingdom in this?"  It is no secret---I have asked the question over and over in my own circumstance.  BUT GOD---




The sermon came from the story of Joseph as told in Genesis.  We all know the story--by heart.  Joseph's brothers sold him to traders and he ended up in Egypt.  Things are going great and BAM--he is thrown into prison under false accusations.  (A woman spurned is a dangerous thing)  But THEN Joseph gains favor with Pharaoh by interpreting dreams.  All for the eventual purpose of feeding God's chosen people during a famine.  What man intended for evil---God used for good!  



"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

Genesis 50:20


It has been very difficult to see what possible good would come from the breaking apart of my family.  I clung to the promises--but begged for an explanation.  I moved to Texas---to be near family--and away from the daily reminder of all I had lost.  What good could possibly come?  BUT GOD---

I have slowly established a relationship with a young friend who is seeking answers and has been wandering in the spiritual wilderness most of her life.  She is beginning to open up to the possibility of reading The Word together.  We are not there yet---but pray with me she becomes open to the dialogue.  

I was reminded by a dear friend yesterday---perhaps the reason I am in Texas is for this dear young woman.  Perhaps God will use me to draw her to Him.  To quote my friend, "All your pain and suffering---are they not worth it if this one soul is saved?"  I looked at her as I thought this over and responded, "Was I worth all the pain and suffering Jesus suffered so that I might be saved?"  My answer is a resounding YES!  Yes--I have endured great sorrow---BUT GOD---can use that to lead one more precious soul to Jesus---

So to close out what I am thankful for with---FAITH.  Faith that all things are used by Him to further His Kingdom--even those things which man intends for evil--even those things which make absolutely no sense--even when I never see a reason.  BUT GOD---can use all things.

I am thankful for the reminders and especially for the Faith--to KNOW AS I KNOW----ALL THINGS!

28 We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him,[a]those whom he has called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28





Thursday, November 19, 2015

MERCY

It has been an interesting search for what I am thankful for---God has provided them one at a time--out of the blue--mostly when I was not even thinking about it.  When I first came up with the idea of spending a week writing about what I am most thankful for--the idea of family--freedom--provision--nature--was my answer.  God had other things in mind and reminded me daily--when I was away from the screen--with my thoughts elsewhere-He would gently nudge me and remind me of the great elements of the faith---and I was thankful.

As the week is waning---I could not let it pass without expressing my thanks for mercy.  Mercy flows from my lips quite a bit-one of my favorite exclamations, "MERCY!" slips from my lips several times a day.  I must admit---it is not always directed to The Father--or as a prayer--I have been known to ask for mercy from the taskmasters in my life.




And NO--Grace and Mercy are not the same--I found this excellent explanation-

 "Mercy is God not punishing us as our sins deserve, and grace is God blessing us despite the fact that we do not deserve it. Mercy is deliverance from judgment. Grace is extending kindness to the unworthy."



I would bet money most of you think I am a great Christian, wonderful example of a Godly woman.  Here is the truth-I fail miserably day in day out.  As Paul so poignantly put it,

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Roman 7:15

That pretty much sums up my day---messing up-over and over.  And yet He has mercy on me---a sinner.  The Greek Orthodox monks repeat two prayers over and over in the course of a day-

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have favor on me, a son."

Through His mercy---I have found favor.  

A righteous judge calls me before the judgement seat---I am accused and convicted and Jesus steps forward with a Get Out Of Jail card--setting me free.  Even better---it is forgotten---my sin is expunged from my record.  Now that, My Friends, is mercy!  To not only be forgiven---but for my sin to be forgotten.

I have forgiven those who have sinned against me, but find it impossible to forget.  Our Holy God---forgets--wipes the slate clean--bathes us in mercy--and sets us free.

So how could I not be thankful for mercy---
YES, LORD---HAVE MERCY ON ME!

He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
Psalms 103:12







Wednesday, November 18, 2015

AND FINALLY WE HAVE LOVE

The natural order of things brings up love in the list of those things I am thankful for-



There is no one special in my life anymore--but I have loved and lost--and even in the pain of the loss---it was all worth it.  As I took the Little Man to school this morning, I witnessed a couple dropping their child off together.  Walking out of the school, the dad stopped and kissed the mom and told her he loved her---and they went their separate ways--headed in opposite directions.  As I walked away from this sweet sight, I thought of how many times I had been kissed and told I was loved over the life of a long marriage.  What a wonderful way to start your day!  I especially miss the warmth of a touch--whether lips, hands, or a gentle caress that sends the message of love.



We are born with a need to be loved.  I have held enough babies in my lifetime to know they respond to our touch and love.  Watching the grands vie for attention gives me clear evidence of their need for approval and love.  We are not meant to be solitary creatures.  God created Eve so that Adam would have a partner---for it was not good for man to be alone.  



And then the apple was pulled from the tree---and the perfect love of the first couple was no more.  Jealousy, discontent, narcissism, and on and on were born with that first nibble.  Love that had been easy and natural then became more of a struggle.  For when man decided he knew better than the Creator God and placed himself on the throne---the perfect love God designed for man became distorted.

The love between a man and a woman is beautiful--but it is only one example of love.  Love comes in many varieties--but always is a choice we make.  The secret to a true and whole love is always putting the other first.  When you do unto others--always do more for the other and the fruit to be reaped is a pure and perfect example of love.

God is the very definition of love---one of His attributes is love--and He always chooses to love us.  The most perfect example of selfless love was allowing the death of Jesus upon the cross--so we may enjoy eternity with Him.  He did for us---He chose to provide a way to reconcile us to Him---He did more than we could ever deserve--without thought of what He would gain---but instead freely sacrificed His Son- in order that we might be redeemed.

So I am thankful for love---in every shape and form it comes in---I praise Him and bless Him for showing us how to love--for sending us the perfect example of love---and loving us in spite of who we are.


Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.
I John 4:8

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

AND THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE

And I am thankful for---

As I strolled through the hood, a whisper in my ear reminded me of perhaps the thing I am most thankful for-



The candle of hope burns brightly in the midst of the darkest nights.  No matter the circumstances--no matter my dismay--no matter how bleak things look---I cling to the knowledge of hope.

In the midst of family and friends in declining health---in the sure and certain knowledge--there is only one way to leave this earth---I know hope.  Hope for tomorrow--hope for peace--hope for joy--hope for restoration--hope for healing--hope for eternity.  I cling with all my might to the lifeline Jesus threw me ---mercy and grace and love braided together --intertwined with the promise of eternity at the other end.

When life has seemed ---unfair---there is the promise of eternal fairness.  When I have felt utterly alone--abandoned--rejected--I remember - He is right by my side---covering me with His blanket of love and hope.  

Even if all is stripped away--and I stand destitute and hungry---He is my hope.  And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor 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  the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39  Words of hope---God given promises of His love--no matter what.  I live by these words--I cling to their promise---I thank God for who He is and what He has done for me.

I give praise and thanksgiving---for the promise of hope.


For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth
Psalms 71:5

Monday, November 16, 2015

THE ALPHA

Grace-the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. Can I get an Amen and we will close today's discourse.  There is nothing I could possibly add!  

The alpha and omega of what I am thankful for--GRACE.




And yet--this gift--can fly in our face.  We think we need to earn it--deserve it---by our good character and great works.  I love the words in the communion ritual used in the Methodist Church and they have stuck with me all these years---


"I am not worthy to gather up the crumbs under thy table."


We allow the dog to eat the crumbs under our table---but we are not worthy enough to eat the leavings on the floor at the table The Lord has prepared.  In other words--we are lower than the dogs sniffing around for scrapes.  OH--YEAH--smacks me where it hurts.



After all I write a check every month and I volunteer my time and I treat people with love and respect and I read The Word and I seek Christian fellowship.  I looked up the rules and I am trying to follow them all.  YIKES--it is impossible---I REALLY come up short when it comes to dotting all those i's and crossing all those t's.

God has given me the greatest gift and I thump my nose and remind Him of all I HAVE DONE!  I could never do enough--could never follow enough rules--there is nothing I can do to deserve what He has freely given me.  

SO---Alpha---I am thankful for His grace.  Which He gave knowing I would still whine and complain and bemoan all the other things I want--think I need---am sure I deserve.  He supplied the key to eternity and the map to the door and I am complaining about hiking the path to get there.

AH--and then there is His Grace--

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 
Romans 3:23-24