Thursday, March 30, 2017

WAKE UP CALL!

I keep my cell phone by my bed and do not turn it off at night for several reasons.  At 2:00 AM Tuesday night (that would be in the VERY early morning hours of Wednesday), the alert alarm jerks me out of a deep sleep induced by a Melatonin at 11 PM.  Let's see---I had slept approximately three hours---JUST getting to the good part of a deep sleep.  Thinking it is an Amber alert, I  fumble for and slap at the phone three or four times before getting it to stop.  Why there is NO WAY I can help look for an abducted child or lost senior citizen when I can't see squat at night, and besides I am too sleepy to drive.  Settling down again and studying the back of my eyelids, I hear the tornado sirens going off all around me.  At this point, the lady in the burglar alarm box begins to send her alarming alarm signal.  FINALLY--it occurs to me---PERHAPS---I should get out of bed and check things out.  


Note-not the actual warning
I was not thinking of making pictures
in the midst of all the action.

Already I have heard the winds howling, but as I go to look out toward the street light it becomes a roar.  Across the way, I see my neighbor on his front porch and we both turn around at the same time to head for cover when we see what is happening. I actually love a good storm, and am usually not frightened, but instead watch the light show with wonder.  For one of the few times in my life, it seems prudent to act upon the warning.   I take Hero and head for the closet with pillow, phone, and flashlight in hand.  




As I sat for thirty minutes in the deep dark of my interior closet, surrounded by shoes, slacks and dresses, it occurs to me the iron is in the closet-hung on an ironing board rack--just over my head.  In the same closet are shelves of framed portraits and my luggage and somewhere in the mix is my handy dandy protection piece---HIGH over my head.  Here I am alone--with an eight pound trembling ball of fur and the winds are roaring all around.  It dawns on me, I am living a reenactment of Dorothy and Toto and hope I am not headed to Oz.



I settle down and begin to pray not only for my protection, my kids and grands protection, but all those in the Hood and the hospitals which are adjacent to the Hood.  The minutes drag by and the sound is deafening, but I have no control over the outcome.  I do have the sure and present knowledge, no matter the outcome---even if I am blown away to Oz--God is present with me.  In the midst of the deafening roar of the storm, His presence is real and tangible while huddled on the floor of the closet.  NOW, I truly understand the concept of a prayer closet.  My closet was anointed with the prayers of appeal.  The peace which passes all understanding settled in a tangible way over me and I knew that I know His plan is always best.  There is no need for fright, no need for panic, for He has me under His wing.  My God and my protector Who is the center of all my hope called me from a deep sleep and reminded me to WAKE UP!  and KNOW I am God.


 Yet when they cried out to the Lord in their troublethe Lord brought them out of their distress. He calmed the storm and its waves quieted down
Psalm 107:28-31


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

LESSONS FROM HERO


I was totally against adding any fur balls to my life.  Then Hero the grands' wonder dog needed rehab and a new home without stairs.  I now have eight pounds of adoration following my every move.

Hero loves me---WHY, you might ask?  Well to begin with I provide all of his basic needs--without being asked or begging.  The food appears in the bowl, there is a soft doggie bed -in case he decides to ever get out of my chair, and I follow him around the great outdoors on a leash as he sniffs EVERY blade of grass and leaf for our half mile stroll--make that a crawl.

I allow Hero to bark, snarl, and growl at all the big dogs from the safety of my arms, I chip up his joint supplement and hide it within his gourmet dog food, I even give him a treat after our thrice a day walks for doing his business outdoors--NOT on my rugs!  And then---when I sit---Hero gets picked up by walking over and giving me the above look of "SURELY?".  The thing I said I would NEVER do---allow a dog in my bed--happens every night.  It was nice to have him curl up by me in the cold winter months--but not so nice now that it has gotten warm.  I take Hero to the Pet Spa once a month for his spa day and make sure he has had his once a month medication for fleas and ticks (WHO wants fleas and ticks in their house?).  Hero LOVES me---and with good reason!  I am his protector, provider, and petter.  Hero loves me because he knows by my actions I care for him.



Look closely at Hero's side.  Collin showed me this recently--a heart.  Hero hearts me!

Love is a verb---it requires action.  Hero is confident of my love for him by my actions for his benefit.  He makes every move I make--follows me from room to room.  He listens intently when I talk to him and has learned key words such as "Are you ready for your WALK?"  "Do you need to EAT?"  "Let's go to BED."  He picks up my signals when I am leaving and tucks his tail when I tell him, "I'll be back."  Hero would like to be with me every minute of every day.  Hero is confident in my love and care for him.

So it is with our human loved ones, they pick up our signals and know from our actions our care for them.  My grands come running with open arms when I see them.  They know by my actions how much I love them.  I seldom cook for myself, but let any of the children and grands come by and I am all about cooking their favorite meal.  I get in the floor to play games and listen intently to their tales of glee or woe.  My actions show my love.

So it is with our Father, His actions shows His love for us.  He is our provider and protector.  All good things come from Him.  And when--the unthinkable occurs--the unbearable is thrust upon us--He is our Great Comforter.  The love we show to others is a small fraction of God's great love shown to us.  The greatest gift--grace---to ensure eternity in His presence is beyond man's ability to comprehend.  Jesus loves me--this I know--for the Bible tells me so!


But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, evenwhen we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—
Ephesians 2:4-5

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

BIG BROTHER

We all looked forward with great anticipation to the day when someone is no longer looking over our shoulder.  The first two decades of our life our parents or guardians were peering over our shoulder.  And then there was the community filled with believers in "It Takes A Village"!  Even when out of Momma's eyesight, a town filled with tattle tales stood ready and waiting for even the smallest infraction.  Recently my cousin told me of calling Momma about my younger brother's speedy driving.  I laughed because the grumpy old man at the gas station told the same tale on me.


Photo Credit-Daily Mall

It seems we move from this monitoring of our every breath to a boss who demands accountability of every second at work.  Accounting is a billable hours driven occupation.  Multiple time sheets were required--one for the payroll department and one for the billing department.  It never ceased to puzzle me how you were supposed to make every hour of your day billable to a client.  For some reason I found it difficult to bill a client for the 15 minute coffee and bathroom break.


Then there were the work papers for client engagements which had to be reviewed and signed off on for the project.  Boss person was always watching over your shoulder and expecting timely and correct results.  His approval was required on each engagement.


Life seems to be filled with others looking over our shoulder and scrutinizing all we have done.  The IRS and Social Security Service are examples of governmental scrutiny of our work lives.  You do not want to get cross ways with either of these two bureaucracies.

The intrusion into my life has reached an apex with computers and I Phones.  If I dare to scan a site looking for a new adventure, within moments an ad will pop up on Facebook of the site I was perusing.  Dare I look at new underwear to order knowing scantily clad women in their undergarments will be on my Facebook page when I thoughtlessly click on it to show the grands something?  Perhaps the most intrusive is the I phone who knows my habits and patterns.  When I get in my car at 7:30 AM, it tells me the time it will take to get to the grands' home and how the traffic is.  It knows I am on a run for school drop off. On Tuesday nights, it tells me how long it will take to get to the shelter and the best route based upon the traffic.  When I leave to go tutor, it does the same.  My phone has learned my patterns and is more than happy to give me directions to where I need to be.  If I dare to head to Austin or Ruston, as soon as I get to a certain point early in the trip, it starts giving me a traffic update.  Am I the only one who finds this a little alarming?



It seems Orson Welles's BIG BROTHER in 1984 was not science fiction after all.  We have chips in our phones and our pets who identify them and where they are.  Who is to say we won't be next?  Why thinking it over, it would be an easy sale for Alzheimer's patients.  Then who is next?  Already our medical records and prescription medications are accessible across the WWW to other medical professionals (OF COURSE--with permission).  WHO is to say this cannot be hacked--although why anyone would want this information is beyond me!  We have finally reached the point where the WWW may well be an instrument of The Beast referred to in The Word.  Far fetched---loony tunes---maybe, but maybe not.


Here is my bottom line--my take away---as long as I am living my life righteously--what does it matter if some computer knows I am going to the Shelter?  As long as I am living the truth, what difference does it make if others know my comings and goings.  As long as I am looking at G sites on the computer, so what if those annoying ads pop up?  NOT to say I am perfect--BUT I am trying to live as He has instructed!  And YES--He is getting calls from some nosy angel updating Him on my backsliding!

There is One who knows ALL our comings and goings, what we say or write--even what we think.  There is One we who knows ALL the truth about us--there is no hiding place beyond His vision or hearing.  He knows it all!    Not our Big Brother, but our Heavenly Father is truly watching over us.

Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
Luke 12:2-3

Monday, March 27, 2017

WHY THE UNDERDOG?

Let's hear it for the Underdog!  Although I am a great fan of the game of basketball, I no longer watch the tournament leading up to the National Championship.  I had to ask Google to determine this year's underdog.




It seems Xavier had made it to the elite eight with the underdog status.  A small (6200 enrollment) private university.  It is quite the accomplishment to arrive at this pinnacle of success when playing against the giants (enrollment wise as well as height).  In those good old days when I did sit and enjoy March madness, I usually pulled for the underdogs--especially when I had no dog in the fight.  Sadly Xavier was defeated yesterday, but what an accomplishment for this small school to make it to the final eight!

I have a soft side that loves to pull for the underdog.  Take the English version of the popular television show "Britain's Got Talent".  When this lady walked on the stage, we all were holding our breath for how horrible her performance would be.  She was in extreme need of a makeover--a little soft around the middle--and her hair even made my bad hair look good.  From the outside it appeared there was no possible way she could WOW us.  I was satisfied with hoping she would not embarrass herself, and didn't think for a minute  she could do more.




WHAT a marvelous unexpected surprise when she rang out that very first note!  My heart began pulling for the underdog--the unexpected--the unlikely after her first performance.  She excelled--she succeeded--she was a winner!  The underdog--was the hit of the show!



We all love movies depicting underdogs winning and winning big!  Take that huge box office serial winner "Rocky".  Barely able to speak in mono-syllables, Rocky managed to defeat the greats in professional boxing.  Being beat to a proverbial pulp seemed to make the story even better!  The men especially could not get enough of it--there were EIGHT movies chronicling Rocky and his story.  Why this even won an Academy Award for Best Picture!  We ALL love an underdog story!

Why even in the cartoon and story book world we pull for the underdogs--The Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, Snow White, Alice in Wonderland--and the list goes on and on.  The very one that has the least chance of winning--surviving--marrying the prince---that is the one we want to see win-succeed-save the day-wear the crown.


Where does our fascination of rooting for the underdog come from?  Why do we feel the need to support the unlikely?  As I thought it over, I realized it all centers around HOPE.  If Susan Boyle can sing like a lark, if Rocky can defeat Apollo, if the Three Little Pigs can outsmart the Big Bad Wolf, if Cinderella can get the prince--why there is hope for me!  We all need, want, desire to have hope.  Hope there will be a better day, hope to finally reach our goals, hope to recover, hope that we can overcome the obstacles in our path and step into the light of success.  Hope is the elixir of life--the boost to reach for a better tomorrow.  The human spirit is an amazing thing--even when faced with insurmountable obstacles--we still hold on to hope.  Thus we root for the underdog--pull for the least likely--because if there is hope for them---then we certainly can also have hope!

As I wrote this post, I though of the old hymn--

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness.

Our true hope in a world which can appear hopeless.  The solid rock upon which we stand.  The fountain--the well spring--of all hope--Jesus.


They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.
Psalm 78:35


Sunday, March 26, 2017

SURRENDER

SOME THINGS

ARE EASY

BUT OTHERS

SO HARD

TO SURRENDER




IT OFTEN

TAKES

ABSOLUTE DESPERATION

TO GIVE IT ALL UP


SABBATH BLESSINGS,
MY DEAR FRIENDS

Friday, March 24, 2017

AT THE BUS STOP

While traveling, you begin to notice most places with a high concentration of tourists also have public transit.  When visiting large cities, the train or subway may be the preferred mode of shuttling travelers around.  In smaller areas, buses are more frequently used to shuttle the tourist and the dollars in their pockets from place to place.



The GREAT thing about the bus service in Sun Valley--it is free!  The not so great thing--it would take an engineer to figure the schedule out!



They named their bus routes for colors --NOT to be mistaken with the buses being the color of the routes.  The buses all looked alike!  The secret code was contained on the lighted sign on the front top of the bus.  It turned out you could take the Blue Route or the Silver Route to get to the slopes and all the fun filled snow activities.  I never saw the difference in the two routes, but the drivers were quick to point on when you dared to step on the incorrect bus.  



Each bus stop has a small sign to further confuse the novice rider.  We have seen this frequently in our travels.  All buses stop at the same point---the danger or fun is getting on the wrong bus and ending up in Outer Mongolia by mistake.  The bus stop at the Sun Valley resort where we went snow shoeing and cross country skiing had FOUR different bus stop signs in a semi circle the size of a tight car turn around in your drive.  You need to be standing by the correct sign--or you could be headed up the line to the next town.  We stood by at least two of those signs trying to decide which was the right one.  As a last resort, we asked the bus driver was he/she headed where we were going.  Of course, this could be disastrous if you are standing on the wrong side of the street or the bus you needed left five minutes ago.



There was a time in Europe we almost missed the last bus of the day after
hiking several miles up a mountain.  THAT is not the time to miss your bus!  We are always thankful for the kindness of strangers!



Once we got over the fear of missing the correct bus, we began to look around and notice the wonders of the bus stop.  You can meet the nicest people while waiting on the bus.  Don't let the funny hats fool you--these were delightful riding partners.  And don't miss the beautiful church in the background by the bus stop, nor the mountains forming the backdrop.



And best of all--the sights you are blessed to see---at the end of the ride---BEYOND COMPARE!



 So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 8:15

Thursday, March 23, 2017

YESTERDAY

Facebook gives us a blast from the past occasionally and shows us a post from our yesterday's.  Yesterday, THIS came across my feed.  I was intrigued enough from the title to go back and read the words I had placed upon the page five years ago.  A blog with a different name--I am on my third or is it fourth blog name--I felt as if it was written by another me.  A me still in the fields of all consuming grief, one year after I began my solo journey.  The best thing about journals or blogs--is we have physical evidence of our emerging self.  I for one am delighted to realize I am NOT stuck in a rut.  The me I am morphing in to--is a much better version--one of which I have grown extremely fond.  A much better friend to others, someone who looks beyond the tip of her nose, and I pray, one recognized by God as seeking Him and His will.



I then read the comments from readers of that post.  Today's blogs only bring a few comments on the blog--most of my comments are on Facebook.  Back in those days, the ANONYMOUS comments could sometimes be vicious and brutal.  There will always be Haters and how easy it is to hide behind the name Anonymous.  It comes with the territory of blogging--if you are brave enough to allow comments from anonymous sources.  I chose to allow those nameless comments in an effort to get feedback---even feedback I did not want or need.



The really great thing about going back and reading this is knowing how far I have come and I am not finished yet.   It is a wonderful blessing to know God loves me enough to continue to teach me, continue to seek me, and continue to love me beyond even my greatest expectations.  



One of the many lessons I have learned over the past six ears---God knows best.  There is a reason I am alone--God allowed my marriage to end for His good reason.  He answered my pleas with a resounding "NO".  There has never been a time since that sad day that I for one minute thought it could all be fixed.  Some things are not fixable--some things are broken beyond repair.  Though As I stated the day it all began to unravel, God desires us to stay in our marriages----He does allow some to end.  Though the marriage has ended, the fruits of those decades as one is the living legacy of that which once was.  

For once, I am pleased Facebook gave me a glimpse of yesterday.  Yesterday is gone--and the future is unknown--but for today---I live life to the fullest and with the joy of knowing His grace, mercy, and love.  What a trip it has been!


Come near to God and he will come near to you.
James 4:8