Lift Off

Lift Off

Lift Off

 

My friend Charlie lifted off from this planet and universe in the very early morning hours November 17th, in the arms of his wife.

By all indications, from the telemetry, the launch went smoothly without a hitch.

He soon touched down into another set of arms that were patiently waiting for him.

That touchdown also went without a problem, after all, he was caught by the Creator of the Universe.

This Creator, who so carefully designed time and space, in His infinite wisdom, made our universe so vast in size, that all the grains of sand on all the beaches on planet earth would not add up to all the sun’s in our Milky Way Galaxy. 

To top that off, He made more galaxy’s in this cosmos that we live in, than all the grains of sand on our little blue planet’s beaches.

Wrap your head around that!

 

I would say, Charlie, is in very good arms and hands indeed.

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

A very proud Charley as he walks down the aisle with his daughter Mary. 

Lift Off

 

Charlie knew this was the location he wanted to end up in when he took his last breath and many breaths in-between.

He has moved on from this boot camp called life, leaving behind a legacy of life that touched many people.

A wonderful wife and three precious children and grandchildren were his main contribution to this legacy.

 

Charlie was the Star Wars Mandalorian when it came to the Christian faith.

 

He was always ready to defend this faith and to spread the hope he had within himself when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

He knew where his treasures were stored.

Charlie was a huge success in this life by the mere fact of accepting Christ.

That alone is something that heaven celebrated beyond all measure.

I can just imagine when he touched down in his new existence, what he must have felt and seen with all his new senses.

All the things he read about and studied from church and the Bible came to life in an instant.

I wish I could have been there to see his face and soul upon meeting Jesus face to face.

I will soon enough in my own time, and most of all, in God’s time.

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

Charley presenting his daughter Mary to his new son-in-law, Josh, at wedding. 

Lift Off

 

For the time being, I have been reflecting on the times, my family shared with the Atwell family.

What a historic life we celebrated together.

“Papa, papa, please help me” Charlie’s oldest son, Jimmy would cry out with a big smile on his face when he was small. “Shaun and Jason are picking on me.” Charlie would laugh as he watched his son fly through the air from one of my boys to the other, and always reply “I am not getting in the middle of those two. You’re on your own”

I imagine, my two sons picked on Mary and Jack the same way.

 

Mr. Atwell, was how I would address Charlie from time to time, loved to fish and he loved taking his family on these adventures to different lakes.

I took my small boat one time to one of these adventures, with my son Shaun and my wife, Monica, to Lake Mary in Northern, Arizona.

We wanted to catch something bigger from what you could hook into from shore. We left our wives sitting onshore waving at us.

After fishing for a period of time, a storm started to move in. The waves started to grow large and were lapping at the edges at the top of the boat.

Out of safety and concern, we dropped my son off on the other side of the lake to lessen the load in the boat.

Charlie and I were NOT small people, so this baby road low in the water, even in calm conditions.

By the time we made it halfway across the lake, Charlie and I were in some serious prayer and having a conversation with the Almighty.

To this day I still do not know how we made it with only a trolling motor for propulsion.

When we landed on shore, I thought I could see Charlie’s hand impressions of where he had squeezed the front of the boat on each side.

When he placed both feet on the rocky shore, he bent down and kissed the ground.

 

Big, bad, fisherman we both were.

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

Charley dancing his daughter Mary with his wife Susan dancing with Jack in the background. 

Lift Off

 

There were many stories like that we all have replayed in our heads in our time with this interesting, creative, and funny individual called Charles August Atwell.

One of the best memories for me, was sharing his daughter Mary’s wedding with the Atwell family, friends, and relatives.

What a blast that was for my whole family, including grandchildren.

My daughter-in-law, Candace, and my son, Jason, took the wedding photographs that you see here on this blog.

My grandson, Zeke was the ring bearer and my granddaughter Fran Cesca was the flower girl.

It was a weekend we will never forget! 

 

Our families were not perfect by any means, and if it were not for forgiveness that our Christian Faith believed in, and Jesus made the forefront of His message, I have no idea how our families would have survived.

I think the restoration of the rebellious human spirit is God’s greatest miracle He can perform.

With everything else in the universe, God can just breathe into existence, material things out of nothing.

 

He is the Word!

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

The Atwell Family. (from left to right) Charley and Susan in front. Along the back, Jack, Jimmy and Mary.  

Lift Off

 

When it comes to us humans, it’s a different story when you consider freewill in the mix of our existence.

God is the perfect gentlemen and will not go unless He is invited.

What patience He has for the human race and us as individuals.

He keeps setting up scenarios for us to connect with Him over and over again.

Some are very hard scenarios that are absolutely heartbreaking in the human mindset, but God will use everything in our lives to bring us to Him.

 

Eternity is in the balance.

 

Most people will not embrace God throughout their lifetime which is very sad, and I can only imagine how God Himself must feel.

We did not have this problem where Charlie, me, and our families are concerned.

As it says in John 14:6, our families have all embraced The Word, The Way, The Truth, and The Life.

See you soon my brother, save a spot for me.

Do not forget the lunch date we made to have in heaven, out on one of many planets in the universe, and we can watch as a distant sun goes supernova.

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

Charley with his wife Susan, my wife Monica and me (John) after one of the many photo shoots we shared every year at the Salvation Army Christmas event in Phoenix.

He loved doing this event and got so much joy bringing happiness to people less fortunate with the gift of a family portrait.

Lift Off


 

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By the Grace of God I’ve Tried to Make the Best Of It

By the Grace of God I’ve Tried to Make the Best Of It

By the Grace of God I’ve Tried to Make the Best Of It

 

“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.” — Psalms 25:16

 

Due to various childhood trauma and circumstances, and the unique way I responded to them, I (and I’m not going to say it was some cruel trick or predestination of God) my 66 years of life have predominantly been of longing, loneliness and affliction. 

It is what it is and by the grace of God I’ve tried to make the best of it, like a person with a handicap. I did blame God from the very beginning, even as young boy at the age of 5, but over the years realized that He, My heavenly Father, was not to blame.

I can’t blame anyone for my responses to being wronged here on earth.

They are my free will choice. 

So, loneliness is feeling unhappy about being socially isolated or for some, the false perception of not being loved. Perhaps their needs, expectations or extra capacities disappoint or let them down.

Almost any woman in the world can relate to the letdown of their idea of a Prince Charming and the actual relationship in the flesh.

Perhaps some of the loneliest people are in a loveless marriage?

For me, I’ve identified that I want love, perhaps a perfect relationship.

Why not?

Who wants a mediocrity?

I think the Bible defines the ultimate, perfect relationship as that between God the Father and God the Son; perfect love, perfect harmony and perfect union from eternity past, broken only once on the cross when Christ took my sin upon Himself, my sin nature.

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

It seems engrained in humans to know and understand a concept of a higher eternal laws.

Even children respond to “happily ever after” with that rare, unique union and love of their one and only prince or princess.

The idea is that they will never be alone ever again.

There are a lot of things associated with loneliness but there is a loneliness that, at the core, is an unmet or unrealized or partially realized or undeveloped need.

It can be a need for the idea of perfect love, intimacy, unity, harmony of spirit, commonality, total acceptance, approval, understanding, closeness affection or expressions of love in everyday things. 

It’s the communication of love or on many levels, the giving of one’s self. The trust, risk, the enjoyment of that person, and if you are lucky, the whole person. 

You may benefit from their intelligence, creativity, attributes, talents, personality, temperament and other things.

The degree that they choose to love you, their pursuit,  the passion, the commitment,  the exclusivity,  self-sacrifice and their ability to believe in and accept the live offered is all a part of the thing that erases loneliness. 

So, I believe that with each human there is a soul loneliness, a longing for God, a longing to be one with your Creator.

As a Christian I believe that when I am in heaven with Christ that finally my loneliness will be erased for all eternity.

 

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By the Grace of God I’ve Tried to Make the Best Of It

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What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful? 

When I had set out to write this article, I already had some idea of my limitations about this subject of being grateful. Gratitude has not come easily to me.

I have never really had a mind set that would help me to think this way. You see, I was an atheist until I was 30 years old so being grateful was an abstract thought for most of my life. If I worked hard and fulfilled my dreams my accomplishments had nothing to do with anything or anyone else but me.

Once I became a Christian that changed but I was still not in a good mindset of being grateful. Maybe I expressed gratitude when I prayed but not in my daily dealings with life, and certainly not when I was angry, in a bad mood or depressed.

A very good friend of mine opened this bag of worms (bag of gratefulness) in a phone call a month ago. He said he suffered from sadness or depression most of his life and was trying to kick that habit.

As we talked, I think God spoke to me and said, “How can you be sad or depressed when you are grateful?” I told my friend this and we talked at some length about the subject.

A few weeks later my friend Randy was leading the Men’s Hope Group at our church that I belong to and his subject for the night was being grateful.

He opened the discussion for everyone to participate in.

Listening to the different men explain their thoughts was eye opening but one thing that was repeated many times was that the other men were also having the same problem of being grateful as I was.

My cousin Ellen said to me when I told her I was writing a blog on this topic.

“We think of our struggles as punishments. Could it be that God is trying to help us grow beyond our finite perspectives? Gratitude during our trials helps build character from God’s perspective.”  

We Think of Our Struggles As Punishments

That response from her was very powerful and hit the nail on the head.

I then decided to contact family and friends and find out their thoughts on being grateful. I wondered if, perhaps, we all could learn from each other.

Below are many of the comments they wrote me when I asked them What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful”

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

Blessing & being content!!!!” — Rosie

Gratitude makes you believe you have a responsibility to give back to the others. Entitlement makes you believe others have a responsibility to give back to you.”

AND

“You could also argue all worship is a form of gratitude for what God has done or is doing. At the very least, gratitude is one of if not the primary vehicle of worship.” Justin

Gratefulness is a gift from God. It rewires the human brain for good, lifts the spirits, cheers the heart, cancels greed and entitlement mentality and brings a sense of peace and well-being to one’s soul. Gratitude acknowledges the goodness of God.”Randy

Being grateful to GOD should in turn make you more humble and then turn into obedience to His will in your life.”Erik

Gratitude is an open awareness of our finite abilities and God’s ultimate authority and sovereignty. It is the recognition of God’s renewed mercies every day. Gratitude is also having the ability to pause and give thanks for all of God’s creation both large and small, and our interactions within it.  It is a form of surrender and appreciation of God’s influence and work in our lives. Gratitude means taking nothing for granted, or seeking from an entitlement perspective, as no living thing is worthy or deserving of God’s love and mercy, yet He gives it freely. Every day we have the opportunity to be grateful for each breathe of life we are given, and the fact that God sustains all things.”Ellen

The more grateful we are, the more people see Jesus shine in you. The more grateful we are, the joy of the Lord is in us. A grateful heart is a humble heart.”Connie

Gratefulness reflects appreciation. It reflects humility. It acknowledges the giver. It also reflects graciousness. Who doesn’t like the person who lives their life from a place of gratefulness?” — Lynwood

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

Gratitude promotes a feeling of kindness and love for the giver and receiver. In other words, when someone gives you a gift or shows you kindness, you both walk away with a warm fuzzy feeling in your tummy.”Tom

Being Grateful, helps keep you humble and thankful for everything and everyone in your life!”Shaun

Becoming grateful – or looking around for things to appreciate & be thankful for – brings incredible amounts of joy & peace & fulfillment, where there used to be misery, cynicism, restlessness.”Ariel

When you are feeling truly grateful, it pushes all sinful attitudes out. There’s no room for feeling bitterness, covetousness, anger, jealousy etc. —  It re-focuses our hearts on the gifts that God has blessed us with and helps us to truly love God and the people He has placed in our lives.”Candace

The main benefit of being grateful for me is to concentrate on something that is good in my life and not think so much of what is negative.”Kathy 

Being grateful….

  • Feelings of dissatisfaction with what you have.
  • Lends to being a more forgiving person.
  • Improves appreciation for the blessings frequently taken for granted
  • Reduces stress and improves your health.
  • Grateful people are more cheerful.
  • Grateful people handled success better.
  • Being more concerned for others than yourself is a byproduct of gratefulness
  • Grateful persons are a joy to be around
  • Being grateful supports other fruits of the Spirit
  • Grateful people are less condemning of themselves and others
  • Grateful people are not bitter people”
  • Steve

Being grateful is one of the few times you get to understand the value of anything, if you are never grateful then you can never understand what it is you have or what someone else has done for you. It means your outlook on life will most likely be pitted against you instead of for you. Being grateful provides not only a happier moment but a much stronger and durable guide to happiness, don’t we all want to be happy? Then we should all also be grateful no matter how little we feel we have.”Jacob

Benefits of being grateful is that it helps you to be happy and content with what you have. If you are always looking at what somebody else has that is better than what you have, you will not be satisfied. It keeps you from allowing yourself to be happy.” — Jason 

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

I can’t see God clearly unless I am grateful. I am only truly grateful when I am humbled. I am only ever truly humbled when I recognize the depravity of my heart. I only see the depravity of my heart when I am transparent and in community. When I am transparent and in community, I see my need for God which brings me right back to being grateful!”Paul

Hope in the future is built on a foundation of recognizing our blessings and being grateful for them.”Pam 

One benefit of being grateful is an attitude change. If you are grateful your attitude is positive, and it will affect those around you.”Freya

Early in our marriage we sat under a much-loved pastor who constantly admonished his flock, “Have an attitude of gratitude,” and he consistently modeled that in his own life and speech. Another good friend speaks of the difference between an “abundance mentality” and a “scarcity mentality.” When we recognize that God’s provision for us really is enough, we will respond with gratitude, and that gratitude begets generosity.”Rhonda

Everything I have is a gift from God, my life, my family, my next breath. In living with this knowledge, I have peace that God provides.” Jim

Some of the benefits of being grateful: a more positive attitude and outlook, and helps my relationships go better too.”Jack

When thinking of this I was overwhelmed at the benefit of having a grateful heart. The first thing that came to mind was the overwhelming feeling of peace. A peace that only God can give and is the One to whom having a grateful heart belongs… His constant love and care in my life is only a portion of the gratefulness because the benefits are for me, too numerous to count. Hope being one of them. Joy and a sense of well-being. Sensing His constant care and concern for my life always keeps me in a mindset of gratitude on a daily basis, which for me, is life sustaining. I am so GRATEFUL for the benefits of GRATITUDE as it is also from the very Heart of God.” Monica

Being grateful stings the devil and takes him out of the equation.” — Keith

 

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

I personally thank each and every one of you that participated with this important question. I am Very Grateful (I knew I would get that in there at some point) that you took time out of your busy schedule to sit and reflect on this topic and then send me your answers.

I know many of the quotes are similar, but people did not have access to what others have said until now.

One last thought as I close.

I am personally grateful to the Christian God that created me and that He has the character qualities that He has, and that Jesus exhibited throughout His life. Loving, forgiving, humility, compassion, gentleness, self-control, patience, obedience, honesty and prayerful are just a few. 10 qualities of Jesus.

His amazing patience with me before I accepted Jesus into my heart and also the years afterward.

All my gratefulness radiates from Him.

If after reading this blog, if you would like to contribute to this discussion, please comment below so everyone can see what you have to say or maybe go to our Facebook page for a lively discussion once this blog is posted.

This is what Two Measures Foolish is all about—digging deeper into the things of God and our world that He made for us to live and grow in.

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What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

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