Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Sunny, warm Saturday, in a past season; but, the season of thankfulness never changes.

Blue birds and red cardinals are soaring across the pale blue sky, alight on branches of the oak trees that form a leafy green canopy.

Wet red and blue wings splash in the little white birdbath next to my lavender rose bush; warm breeze rustles the brown leaves.

God has been so good to me; I can see the kaleidoscope of colors, hear the melody of birds chirping and skittering in the branches swaying high above me; I can feel the warmth of sunlight touch my skin.

I can taste the sweetness of strawberries in the oatmeal I had for breakfast; I can stand in this ordinary moment and raise my hands in thankfulness to my God who has been so good to me.

To my God who has blessed me with breath, who has held me in the palm of his hand, who has lifted me up and let me see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Jenny W. Andrew copyright 2022

Everything That We Need. . .

“A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit, and a violin. What else does a man need to be happy?”- Albert Einstein (brainyquotes.com)

I am looking out my window at my rose garden, alive with red, yellow, pink, and lavender roses, the sun brilliantly shining on the oak branches, and my heart is bursting with thankfulness to God for this moment in time, for these blessings. I choose not to look back to those dark, sad days when there weren’t roses outside my window blooming in a glorious garden, when I had struggles that could have defeated me. Rather, I choose to lift my hands up in gratitude to God who has protected me and who has led me to the beauty and peacefulness of this space.

Hardships come and go; life is a cycle just like the seasons, our lives have seasons. We just have to wait on God and trust that He and He alone will lead us out of the darkness and into the light.

Never lose sight of that path before you; continue to look forward with uplifted hands and thankfulness to God. I never gave up; I never lost sight of knowing in my soul that God would one day lead me to this space. I knew that despite the suffering and the loss that one day I would look out my window at a glorious garden of roses.

Thank you God for all your blessings. Thank you for showing me that no matter how dark the night, you and you alone could lead me out into the brilliant sunlight. Amen.

In fun, Einstein spoke of all that we really need to be happy is a table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin. In his words, I think he was talking about simplicity. And before someone inevitably notes that he said “man,” rather than being “inclusive” please remember that “man” applies to humanity. In his day, it was a more common use.

Needless to say, I feel that as a society, the world has become way too serious. So serious in fact to the point that we have lost the ability to see humor and as a result society has become somewhat joyless. Life is beautiful; God has given us a beautiful world.

Let’s be kind; let’s be thankful for our blessings.

Let’s spend time on this path listening to the music of birdsongs, to the music of violins (or guitars, et cetera).

Have a joyful, beautiful day.

I plan sit in my rose garden and drink a cup of hot green tea.

And thank God for His blessings.

Have a blessed day.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

American Irony

As of late, I have noticed the increasing number of homeless standing in the shadow of recently constructed million dollar condominiums in the downtown riverfront area of my city. It is a cruel juxtaposition of wealth and poverty in this land of alleged riches and opportunity; a land where people from other lands are risking life and limb to set foot into this mirage, this smoke and mirrors, this illusion, this sleight of hand. Poverty is real and it is increasing by leaps and bounds in this land. It is ironic that the land known for its wealth and opportunity is fraught with poverty and lack of opportunity. There is a face, an American face, that the world would never recognize if all it depends on are the images of the wealth of Hollywood stars and movies, the Big Tech executives with their massive wealth, and the nearly complete lack of coverage of the American homeless crisis.

Why am I writing about this?

Well, for the last few months, I have driven past several homeless men and women who have increasingly began to gather at the intersections that I travel to get to work. I have noticed that the county’s downtown library parking garage is now becoming a homeless encampment with tents, blankets, boxes, shopping carts, and a growing group of homeless. I have witnessed homeless sprawled out on park benches along the sidewalks. With them, they hold duffle bags and other bags that indicate that they are carrying all their worldly possessions with them.

Why is this happening?

How could this happen when billions of dollars are being wasted on other nations when Americans need the help here in this very city that I live in?

This is a crisis of epic proportions. It is growing and I am witnessing it first hand. I have seen women with small children, and on several occasions I have seen men with signs indicating that they are veterans and will work for food.

On a personal note, a dear friend recently informed me that they are potentially facing homelessness in the northern city they had moved to for work. Life has a way of falling apart in mid-step; oftentimes, homelessness occurs through a series of events that just go terribly wrong, so never think it cannot happen to you.

It most certainly can, and especially in this land of smoke and mirrors, sleight of hand, financial waste, and lack of compassion and care for its own citizens, and apathy from the rest of the world. The world sees the United States through a distorted rose colored lens much like a toy kaleidoscope with all the pretty, pretty colors swirling inside it.

Maybe it wasn’t always like this.

But, in 2021, it is painful to watch this decline. Truth is housing is way too expensive, wages way too low, and health care costs criminally excessive.

The real United States should be shown to the world. The homeless camps, the grinding poverty, the abandoned storefronts, et cetera, et cetera.

The American dream has devolved into the American nightmare; it is painful for me to witness it. In the past 40 years since I was a college student, I can truthfully say that I have never seen such decline.

Just a few days from Thanksgiving Day, I ask that you join me in praying for the homeless Americans who at this moment are sleeping in tents beneath overpasses, huddled in doorways in sleeping bags, digging in garbage bins behind restaurants in search for food, and living in tents in wooded areas on the outskirts of any number of American cities.

The stark reality is that there is no “American dream.” That is an illusion.

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, please be thankful if you have a roof over your head and food in your refrigerator.

Not everyone has food and shelter, including in the United States of America.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2021

Giving Thanks Daily

This year hasn’t been easy for any of us.

2020 has been a year of shocking ugliness and profound fear.

We can only pray that 2021 will be an extreme improvement.

Still, I give thanks daily for so many personal blessings.

God is still in control. God is still faithful. God is still with us. No matter how dark the road or how heavy the burden, God will never abandon his children.

I am God’s child and I firmly believe that he will never forsake me nor abandon me. This is his promise. God always keeps his promises.

Thanksgiving day is on this Thursday. Please make a concerted effort to reach out to a person who might be suffering alone due to this Covid-19 isolation. Pick up the phone and actually talk rather than text. Make that human connection.

We all yearn for that human connection. We are hardwired for human connection.

Community is absolutely essential for mental, spiritual and emotional health. Pick up that phone and call someone you know that might be depressed, lonely or frustrated.

If you are depressed, lonely or just having a difficult time, reach out. Reach out to God. Know that he loves you; know that you are never alone.

Pray for healing. Pray for tomorrow to be better than today.

There is always tomorrow to try again.

Thank God daily for the gift of life. Thank God daily for the chance to try again.

May God bless each of you this Thanksgiving.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2020

Can We Please Just Be Thankful?

This has been a very, very difficult year. The truth is, unfortunately, I am not altogether sure if it has had to be this difficult. Follow me on this for a second. I am baffled by all the conflicting news reports that have joyfully dwelt on darkness, death and destruction. There I said it, joyfully dwelt on darkness, death and destruction. Media outlets, news pundits, politicians, activists, actors, et cetera, et cetera have worked overtime to scare the living daylights out of us. Anxiety, depression, suicide, domestic violence, increased substance abuse have been the results of all this terror we have been subjected to on a 24/7 basis. To listen to news feeds and the talking heads one would think that we are on the brink of destruction. Are we really? Who profits from all this mass hysteria? I call it hysteria. And after almost a year of it, I call it what it is and I declare that I will not listen to any of it anymore.

Life is way too short; we are all living on borrowed time. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, nor is the next breath promised to anyone.

That sobering thought inspires me to cherish each moment, to cherish each sunrise and sunset that God blesses me with. That sobering thought inspires me to call family and friends I haven’t spoken with in years so that I can reconnect. That sobering thought inspires me to stop and enjoy the cool ocean breezes and the warmth of the sun on my skin. That sobering thought inspires me to live each moment with thankfulness. Any moment could be my last, no matter how socially isolated I am, no matter how safe I am by staying home. And no we are not alone together as the slogan goes that is being touted in my community. Truth is, I hunger for community, in person, not on a virtual screen. Truth is, nothing can stop the inevitableness of life’s ending. Nothing at all.

I am exhausted by the restrictions of 2020. I feel as if something precious from my life has been stolen. I am now trying to regain the ground that I felt I lost. I refuse to enter 2021 with fear and trembling.

I rely completely on the words of my Lord Jesus Christ:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

I refuse to be troubled; I refuse to be afraid.

I place my soul in the comforting and protecting hands of God. He keeps his promises. He never fails.

Romans 15:13 says: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Isaiah 26:3-4 says: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (4) Trust ye in the Lord for ever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.”

Perfect peace. Hope. Joy.

Joy. Hope. Perfect peace.

These are guarantees from God.

As I look towards 2021, I encourage you to join me in turning your heart, mind and soul completely over to the loving, unfailing protection of God.

Switch off the media’s hysterical histrionics and enjoy time with family and friends. Enjoy time outdoors in this beautiful world that God has given to us. Enjoy this brief life, make every precious moment count.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, shine his face upon you, and be gracious to you, lift up your countenance, and give you peace (Numbers 6: 24-26).

God’s peace,


Copyright 2020 Jenny W. Andrews

Island Plans: Looking to the Future

WIN_20200405_15_20_02_Pro (2)

This morning, I sat down under an oak tree in my back yard and watched a squirrel skitter high up in the branches to its nest. A green lizard puffed himself up and dashed along the length of the fence before disappearing on the other side. My beagle ran across the yard and burrowed his nose into the rich dark earth in search of something that must have burrowed itself there.

Warm sunshine,  birds in song, and the absolute calmness of this Sunday morning reminded me of thankfulness. I am thankful for another day to sit under this oak tree, to listen to the birds, to watch squirrels and lizards and my beagle playing in the beauty of the morning.

I drew this picture with water color pencils and thought about an island with flowers and calm blue water. I reminded myself that it is necessary to the happiness of my soul to be forward thinking, to plan for my future, to not give into momentary despair and fear.

I refuse to listen to the news anymore. I refuse to be paralyze by the incessant bombardment of the worst case scenarios. I will change those things that I have power to change. I will ask Jesus to hold my hand; his is the only hand I need. I will let go of those things I am powerless to change.

Yes, I will stick my  head in the sand (well, not literally). Let me rethink that-I will stick my toes in the sand on  a beautiful island. I have a few years yet before retirement, but I am planning for it.

I have even drawn this picture. I want to have lots and lots of flowers around it. I want a hacienda style house with telavera tile throughout the kitchen. I want a massive flower garden with Calla lilies, roses, irises, sunflowers, and fruit trees and a vegetable garden.

Here’s looking towards the future and thankfulness to my Lord Jesus Christ through whom all things are possible.

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020


Surviving Cancer: My Brother


Many of you might remember that last fall I posted that my brother Harold had been diagnosed with Stage Three lung cancer. He underwent chemo and radiation which was, of course, not easy. My brother is twenty-one years older than I am. I am the seventh and final child in my family and interestingly I was born on my parents’ twenty-fourth wedding anniversary. My brother has always been a second father to me. I have depended on him throughout my life; the thought of losing him last year was devastating to me. I begged God not to take him from me.

Today, my brother celebrated his seventy-ninth birthday. For this birthday blessing, I praise God. Each day is a blessing because none of us are promised tomorrow. Each day is God’s gift to us. Cancer makes that fact abundantly clear.

My cousin Libby, pictured between my brother and me, is also a cancer survivor. She had a rare form of uterine cancer when she was twenty-eight years old; she just turned seventy-six in November.  Birthdays are blessings, indeed.

Of course, one day we all leave this earth and go back to God from whence we came. That is inevitable. It is just the cycle of life. This reality should motivate us rather than depress us. In the limited time that we have on this earth, we should be motivated to do good, show compassion, love fully, forgive, and be thankful for the gifts and the life that God has blessed each of us with. It is not easy, of course, to always feel happiness. Sometimes the darkness falls heavily on each us and we dwell in a dank and bottomless abyss from which we fear that we will never escape. But, we will because there is God who loves us and is never far from us. God is with us in our struggles; God is with us when we are down in the abyss. He is with us in the sunlight and in the dark of night.

My mother Gracie Lee died of spinal cancer in 1993 at seventy-two years old and my sister Sara Jo died of brain cancer in 1991 at forty-nine years old. Trust me with I say that those were the darkest days of my life losing my precious mother and my beautifully amazing sister. Cancer is cruel; it is ugly and it is unrelenting in its devastation. I begged God back then to spare my mother and my sister. I blamed God when they died. I told Him that I wasn’t going to speak to Him ever again. Like a good father, God  let me rant and He waited with open arms when I ran back to Him. His love is unfathomable, it knows no boundaries. His love and His forgiveness is all-encompassing.

Today, I sat across the table from brother at his favorite restaurant and watched him enjoy his Chicken Tortilla soup. I remember him when his hair was black and now it is white like snow. I remember when he used to drop me off at my elementary school over fifty years ago, now. Time doesn’t wait for any us. Today, I lingered in the precious moments of this day, my brother’s seventy-ninth birthday, and thought just how blessed we are on this earth to have life, to be able to survive the suffering, to be able to laugh in spite of the pain.

Tomorrow is not guaranteed to any of us. There will always be that inevitable ending looming in the distance. I choose to let that fact motivate me to celebrate each rising sun as a blessing.

I turn my heart toward God, lift up hands, bow my head and praise Him for this day and for all the days to come. I give Him my fears and my hopes and trust that no matter what is to come He will be with me, that He will lead me and those whom I love Home to that place where there will no longer be any suffering. I believe that one day I will see my family again in that place beyond this plane of existence.

My heart is filled with thankfulness.


Copyright 2019, Jenny W. Andrews



Thanksgiving, Everyday






variety of vegetables
Photo by Ella Olsson on Pexels.com

Outside my window,  leaves of the pear trees and the oak trees have changed to brilliant hues of orange, gold, and crimson. Robin’s egg blue skies streaked with cottony white clouds remind me of the absolute beauty and wonder of this life. God has made us a perfect world with splendor beyond our comprehension if only we would take the time to just be still and open our eyes and look at what He has created. From the ancient oak branches in my back yard, red cardinals, eastern bluebirds, and clay colored sparrows alight and then wing across the vast expanse of this late November horizon. Cool winds waft through my open window, I watch a gray squirrel scurry down the gray bark of the water oak. The squirrel, like a chameleon, blended almost perfectly with the shades and shadows of the water oak’s bark. Such beauty! Such splendor on this calm morning. For too many years, I failed to take the time to just rest and to just be.

Life presents us with a myriad of twists and turns, wounds and sorrows, joys and victories. A truth that I have learned is that there will always be sorrow, there will always be wounds, but time moves forward and if I just keep moving along with my eyes firmly fixed toward God I will have victory and I will have joy. I have accepted the truth that the world is already perfect; I have accepted the truth that God in His infinite wisdom has placed me exactly where I am supposed to be. I am His child and I am perfect just as I am.

On this Thanksgiving week, I am thankful for another day to sit at my window and watch the splendor and majesty of God’s world unfurl in crimson, gold, and robin’s egg blue. I am thankful that I can feel the sunshine on my skin and that I can feel the coolness of the November winds wafting through my open window. I am thankful that God loves me and that I am never alone.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and it is a disturbing fact that the holidays are a time of sadness and depression for many people. There is an unrealistic expectation that everyone will be seated around the dinner table with family and friends. Unfortunately this is not always the case. There are plenty of people for whom  the holidays are just a reminder of bad memories. Not everyone has joyous memories of “family.” This is a sad fact, but it is a true one.

This holiday season if you are feeling depressed, please trust that God is forever with you. If your sadness is overwhelming, please reach out to others. Other people do care. Family isn’t necessarily those with whom you share a bloodline. Take a walk in nature. Look up at the blueness of the sky, listen to the song of birds in the tree branches, write down your feelings. Remember that God loves you beyond measure and that you are never alone. You are here in this world for a purpose that God has designed. You are valuable; you are God’s child.

I am thankful everyday for another day to see the beauty of the world around me.

It is a beautiful day.

Copyright 2019, Jenny W. Andrews