Thursday, November 26, 2015

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 118:1

From Jesus Calling page 343 "Thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity. That is why I have instructed you to give thanks for everything. There is an element of mystery in this transaction: You give Me thanks (regardless of your feelings), and I give you Joy (regardless of your circumstances). This is a spiritual act of obedience- at times, blind obedience."

I could not have said it better. Even in times of adversity it is so important to be grateful for the blessings that still abound.

These past few days of escaping to Key Largo and Isla Morada in the Florida Keys with my family and much extended family was an absolute blessing in the midst of our storm. My goal was to simply enjoy every little encounter and thing we experienced. I wanted to forget about my reality just for a few days. IT WORKED!!! I truly felt like I was in heaven, staying in a gorgeous home on the water provided by my cousin Manny Becerra and his lovely wife Ana. Then having three days of talking and being with cousins, aunts, uncles as well as my own family. There were hours at a time when I was able to totally forget about my health reality and was able to focus on my reality of love!

People who know me know that I am all about people and relationships. So, being with family for several days of happiness and love was exactly what I needed. Celebrating the wedding of Cristina (my cousin) and Hans was an amazing blessing. To see new love celebrating life is so uplifting and naturally fills me with much hope for the future. To see our family coming together to support the newlyweds and to celebrate filled me with great joy and much gratitude for the life God has blessed me with. I am grateful to provide my boys with that taste of heaven!

As I took my turn driving on our way home yesterday I had time to reflect on the beautiful encounters I had with so many family members. I couldn't help but cry as I realized that each person I saw hugged me a little longer and stronger than usual. As we would say good bye, we would hug again and they would say things like, "I'm praying for you", "God bless you", and "I love you." I absolutely treasure those moments and blessings! I will carry them with me in my heart in the months to come and for the rest of my life.

I'll never forget the dance I had with my honey by the water and the dance I shared with my dad on the dance floor at the reception. I won't forget the time spent with mom in the pool and with my boys on the boat. I cherish the time spent with my brothers and the time spent with my cousins, aunts and uncles. Thank God for pictures that have helped me capture some very special moments. But as always I regret not having taken pictures with each family member. I'm sure some will surface as we all share pictures.

My cousin Cristina and her new husband Hans had planned this wedding as a three day event. They wanted to provide their family and friends with memories and times full of happiness and life. They completely accomplished their mission! We were all there to witness their commitment to each other and to promise our support. They in turn gave us a life time of memories and three days full of happiness and love. Thank you Hans and Cristina!

On the final night of our stay Cristina's siblings put on a fabulous Bernardo family concert. How beautiful it was to see her 9 siblings, who are all very musically talented, singing her favorite songs. We were missing their mom, my aunt Teresa, who passed away just a few months ago. They had a moment of prayer and a special song dedicated to her which was so very special. I looked around and thanked God for the amazing family I am a part of. I would not have all of these blessings if my aunts and uncles had not been open to life! Even amidst the challenges of having a large family LOVE always prevails. Love always shines through. That is how God ordained it. God is love!

On this Thanksgiving day, I thank God for those who made amazing sacrifices to establish this country that gave a safe haven to my family when they fled Cuba. I thank God for the amazing family that I am blessed to be a part of on both sides of my family and in Pete's family! I thank God for each one of you who are part of our support system and our prayer team. Please be assured of our prayers for each one of you and your families. May you each experience a glimpse of heaven through the love of your family and friends today. May you realize how loved you are and may you take time to be thankful for all of your blessings.
Much love,

P.S. Health update: please pray for me on Monday as I receive my 3rd treatment. This week before the treatment is always full of great days of feeling like my old self. So, it makes it hard to know that the treatment will send me back to dealing with side effects. With each treatment I get better at assisting my body through the side effects. Thank you all for your prayers and support!

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