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SHHHHH!

So thankful the words continue to trickle in to write blog posts about.  Believe it or not, it helps tremendously to have a subject to begin the wheels turning.


My sweet neighbor in the hood and dear friend sent me a word yesterday.  I IMMEDIATELY knew where I was headed with it--including a verse from The Word to end the post.  WHY had I not thought of this subject before?


I have been know to hide food/candy so I can enjoy a planned snack when the urge hits me.  If I do not hide the candy, it would not be there when the snack attack hit.  When I goggled this topic looking for an image, I could not believe how many photos there were.  It would seem I am NOT the only one guilty of this.












Now that I live alone, I still hide candy ~to keep me out of it.  This tactic has not worked.  I cannot always remember why I walked into a room, but I NEVER forget where I have hidden the candy!


I MIGHT be guilty of hiding my treasures anytime I am going to be away from home for a few days.  NOT that they would be treasure for anyone else, but they are dear to me.  The problem sometimes is remembering exactly where I put them.



I have a box filled with keepsakes, picture, and letters from my past.  Someday my children are going to chunk these in the trash pile.  They are important to me and I keep them in a box put away in the top of a closet for my eyes only because I hold them dear.  



There are secrets which I keep hidden in my heart.  Secrets which I feel would change how you feel about me.  Secrets which might harm a loved one if told. Secrets of desires, hopes, dreams which are still unfulfilled.  Secrets of good deeds and misdeeds which are best untold.  Secrets from my childhood, young adult years, middle age, and old age which will disappear when I leave this terrestrial ball.  Deep secrets of my heart and soul which I hold close.



Have you guess the word yet?



If you go back and think of everything I wrote about which I have hidden, they all hold intrinsic value to me.  Each and every thing will touch some emotion deep within me.  They are so dear ~ so valuable that I protect them and keep them close which sometimes means they are hidden.

The Word of God is precious and dear to me.  I keep it hidden deep within my heart and it always comes to the surface at exactly the right time.  Today's verse from the Word is a perfect example.  It immediately popped in my head when I read the word submitted.  What a gift God has given us--a gift to be read and studied and then hidden deep within our heart for those times when we are struggling, lost, in pain or overcome with joy.  A reminder of Who God Is and What He says for each and every occasion.  I am so thankful He has given us this gift---a guide to living life in abundance--filled with His Word.  A treasure to be hidden deep within our heart and soul.

"I will give you hidden treasures,

riches stored in secret places,

so that you may know that

I am the Lord, the God of Israel,

who summons you by name.

Isaiah 45:3

HE WILL HOLD ME FAST

 

For My Savior Loves Me So



BLESSED SABBATH,

DEAR FRIENDS

WHAT AM I READING?

 


For all you lovers of psycho thrillers, this is a great book.  A page turner.  I read this over a year ago and I have not forgotten how good it is.

I only like these when you cannot figure them out until the bitter end.  This book did not disappoint.

You can find it HERE

AIMING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION

 Recently I heard a heartbreaking story of the estrangement of a child and parent.  As we talked over what had happened to bring about this separation, it became apparent there was no reason for the break.  When there is seemingly no outward cause, I strongly suspect there is much more to the story than what we see on the surface.  At times our deep-seeded anger is vented toward one who has nothing to do with the cause for our anger.  We are aiming our vitriol in the wrong direction.


In this particular case, I strongly suspect the anger is caused by frustration over lack of control over distressing circumstances.   There is seemingly nothing that can be done to head off the inevitable.  Lack of control has festered into anger and that anger has been aimed toward an innocent party.




I found this while researching and think it sums up exactly what I am trying to say.  We are fighting a battle within ourselves which we cannot find an answer for, so we take out our frustration on some unexpecting target.  We lash out at the innocent with displaced anger.




I thought back to those years I was raising a family and working full time.  Often my children would have my anger over the day's events aimed toward  them when they made some small misstep.  I would totally over react to some small misdemeanor.  It would be the straw that broke the camel's back.  What had  been dammed up all day would come spewing forth at the poor unsuspecting child.


WHY?  Subconsciously I knew I had to keep it together with the aggravating client, or whoever else had stepped on my toes.   There was a real possibility of losing their business or getting into a brawl if I lashed out at their behavior.  I had to be an adult.  When I came home, it was never my intention to jump down my child's throat, but I was also on the ragged edge.    It happens before you even realize how strongly you are over-reacting.  It happens because you KNOW your child will still love you, even when you are acting like a jerk.  We know they will forgive us with the first kindness we show toward them.  Our



will be forgiven ~ even when we do not deserve forgiveness.  

As the conversation progressed about the estrangement between the parent and child, we both agreed there was a need to address what was going on.  If we are unwilling to confront our problems and broken lines of communication, there is little hope to correct the problem.  The line of least resistance is always the path we are on until we are forced to discuss what is happening and the cause for our reaction.

I am SO thankful God faithfully forgives me, even when my anger overflows toward Him.  I once had a friend tell me that God has a strong broad chest and can take my pounding away at Him in anger over life.   Our children's willingness to forgive us  can be a small example of how He loves us--even when we are jerks.   He is willing to forgive us and is standing at ready for us to return to Him.  What a gracious and amazing God we serve!  Even when we are jerks.

"And may you have the power to understand,

as all God's people should,

how wide, how long, how high, and how deep

His love is.

May you experience the love of Christ, 

though it is too great to understand fully.

Ephesians 3:18-19

SWALLOW YOUR PRIDE

 The counselor challenged the ladies at The Well this week with how we should apologize and why.  OH MY  ~  the hornets' nest was disturbed!





One of the ladies IMMEDIATELY said, "OH NO NO NO!"  We all laughed as the counselor told her, "I KNEW before I came in here you would have a problem with this topic. "  Can you say unresolved anger?


Another of the ladies said, "But what about the time I apologized, but never received an apology in response and I definitely was owed one?"  She went back to this same theme several times in the session.


The final response to stick with me was, " I am always apologizing even when I do not think I owe anyone an apology.  I just want peace."  


"I am sorry." may be the three words which are the most difficult to learn.  I did not really learn this lesson until I was challenged about NEVER saying I was sorry.  HUMBLING!  WHAT comes between us and a needed apology?





Our reluctance to admit fault or wrong is usually the culprit for withholding a needed apology.  The root emotion behind our response may be  anger.  Anger can eat you alive if you allow it to grow.


As the discussion progressed, I gave the ladies a few pearls of hard earned  wisdom from Lulu 


My anger ALWAYS hurt me MUCH WORSE

 than it did whomever I was angry with.


When I explained to them that sometimes the other person is not even aware we are angry or may not care we are angry, the light bulb came on.  How much energy do we waste on anger?  My mother was so right when she told me, "You can get glad in those same pants you got mad in."

Side note- I have had to admit plenty of times over the years, Momma was right.  



Our anger gives the person we are angry with

 control over our limited resource of time and energy.



So, how does that sit with you?  Right, wrong or indifferent admitting our part in a disagreement and apologizing for it is a "Get out of jail free" card for any part we might have had in the problem.  There are ALWAYS two sides to every story---we see things through different eyes and with different histories.  Our perceptions are not going to be the same.  All we can do is examine ourselves and apologize for any part we might have played in the disagreement.  We are ONLY responsible for our response and actions.


The words, "I am sorry" 

become easier and easier

 to say with practice.  


Once we learn how small the cost really is of admitting fault and apologizing for our actions, responses, or misdeeds, we learn an important life lesson.  Our sense of self (pride) will not be dealt a fatal blow by admitting our error.  The fact is our sense of self will be strengthened and bolstered by our willingness to recognize who we are ~ A Child of God who has feet of clay

.

Finally I am called to remember these beautiful words of confession from the  liturgy for communion ~


 “We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, by thought, word and deed, against thy Divine Majesty, provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, and are heartily sorry for these misdoings. The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; the burden of them is intolerable.”


Have we stopped to apologize to God for our sinful behavior in the midst of His lavish blessings on us?  Do we owe God an apology and what is keeping us from going to Him in apology?  Perhaps starting with apologizing to Almighty God will lead us to other apologies?  I am heartily sorry, Lord.




WORDS--WORDS- WORDS

 This word is the third word this dear friend has submitted.  What I really love about these submissions is the conversation that ensues after the submission.  I think you will be surprised where this one goes.


I think we are all naturally curious, I know I am.  I recently had someone tell me there was more to a story than I had heard, but they could not tell me the rest of it.  They made a promise to not repeat the details and I did not press for those details  ~ though I am very curious.  I respect promises and try to never make it any more difficult to keep a promise.   When I hear curious, I always think of 


curiosity kills the cat.  I must admit my own curiosity has sometimes gotten me into a heap of trouble.   I have opened  a door out of curiosity and jumped straight up and squealed when  a BIG surprise was revealed.  I have also taken things completely apart out of curiosity over how they worked.  Why are there ALWAYS screws and parts left over when I reassemble them?

With this word, "curious", I was also sent a quote.  THANK YOU! Keep going and you will write the blog for me-I LOVE IT!   This Walt Whitman quote was recently heard on a television series , "Ted Lasso".  WARNING!  I really like this series and it has some great dialogue and philosophy BUT the language is ROUGH.  Do not come back complaining if you watch it---I warned you.  


I often am curious about where an action or reaction of someone came from.  My hours of introspection has come from this curiosity.  How much nicer and kinder this world would be if we approached disagreements with curiosity over the other view point.  In my mind it would be so much more civil, so much kinder if we could ask the question and then hush and listen to the explanation.  

When I feel like I am being attacked in a verbal altercation, I automatically turn my hearing aid off.  I NO LONGER listen to what is being said.  If the other party has become aggressive, loud, and over-bearing I have stopped listening.  BUT, if an explanation comes of why they feel as they do in a civil tone, normal volume, and disarming stance, I am all ears.  I am always curious why you stand behind your beliefs.  I was given this question ~

I wonder how the dialogue around all disagreements would be

altered by curiosity versus judgment or certainty?

Let THAT sink in!  We are repeatedly shown on all media sources the screaming, fighting, ugly side of disagreements.  We are NEVER shown civil discourse.  How different our world would be if we learned to be curious about the reasons behind philosophies instead of immediately jumping on the "YOU ARE WRONG" team.  If only we could learn to ALL (Both sides of any question) push the 


and lend an ear out of curiosity.  

I am always seeking and looking for a more peaceful world.  Perhaps until Jesus comes again, it will never be.  I am just curious enough to pause and listen--in hopes of a better world.  I wonder would Jesus listen to the explanation of a difference of opinion or would He scream us down getting His point across.  He always seemed to have an ear to hear and a soft reply.  Perhaps He was curious.

"Remind them of these things,

 and charge them before God not to quarrel about words,

 which does no good, 

but only ruins the hearers.

II Timothy 2:14


ANOTHER WORD FOR TUESDAY

 You guys are keeping me on my toes!  I announce I have finished writing about the words sent in after five weeks of blogs and here come some more.  I LOVE IT!

My sweet niece, who has stepped up to take over the chore of helping me on multiple fronts sent today's word.  (Love that girl!)  Leave it to a James to do their best to make me think.  There is nothing we like better than a round of verbal ball.  (No shouting in our clan---we prefer the volume down but intensity up)  What could be more fun than to have a round of verbal jousting, take a break to think it over, and come back for the second half.  WHERE in the world did this come from and what in the world was she thinking when she sent ~




To explain how complex this word can be, let me give you the first FOUR definitions~  (there are more that deal with science)

1athe act of associating
bthe state of being associated COMBINATIONRELATIONSHIPhad a long association with the firm
2an organization of persons having a common interest SOCIETYan alumni association
3something linked in memory or imagination with a thing or personHis former school has only negative associations for him.
4: the process of forming mental connections or bonds between sensations, ideas, or memories

In all honesty, the first thing I thought of was the pop group from the 60's-70's ~ The Association.  NOW if you are in my peer group, you will remember "Cherish", "Along Comes Mary",  "Windy" ...  I spent many an hour singing along with their tunes (not to mention dancing).  GOOD MEMORIES!  I am certain this is NOT what my niece was thinking!
My mother drilled home the message, "You are known by those you associate with."  (I am pretty sure there were other mothers who were telling their offspring the same thing about me).  Of course I belong to a number of associations and I associate certain sights, sounds, smells with various people.  (I associate the beach with wonderful friends we vacationed at the beach with for over 30 years).
I am writing this on September 9th. (you all know my process of writing involves writing ahead and re-reading and more thinking) .  I clearly remember the events of watching 9/11 unfold before my eyes on television that very day.  I was watching the morning news after a run getting ready to head out for the day.  They interrupted the broadcast to show a video of the first plane crash and we all know how the remainder of the day played out.  I sat glued to the television in utter disbelief as the day unfolded.  I remember the details, order, and events as well as my horrified  reaction in vivid detail.  

It was a day I will never forget and I associate the anniversary of that date every year with those horrific memories.  It seems many have forgotten the change this day brought to America.  We went from a trusting laissez faire attitude to a securely  sewed up tight country.  My generation lost their innocence and our ability to trust so easily with the events of that day.  It will forever be associated with the first terrorist attack on US soil.

My parent's generation will forever associate December 7, 1941 with the beginning of America's participation in WW II.  Perhaps because my father fought in this war, I have always associated the date with the war.  It is not the same for me as my parents, though, for I was not alive to see the events unfold.  I did not live with husbands, sons, fathers, brothers being thousands of miles away in harms way.  It was personal for me--but it had one degree of separation.   The war forever changed the world and to us Americans this date will forever be associated with that change.
Points in time are often associated with life altering events.  I mark the date of my parents' births and deaths on those anniversaries; I mark the date of the births of my children, grandchildren, other family and friends;  I mark beginnings and endings of importance to me with the date on a calendar.  These points in time will always be associated with those important events and always bring back the memories associated with those events.  Mankind has the unique trait of marking time and time becomes a point of association for us.
God is omnipresent--without time---He is everywhere at the same time.  We have talked about how difficult this is for man to grasp. God obviously created time as detailed in Genesis and the associations related to it for a reason.  His Word is filled with annual festivals, years of wandering, time of fasting, and time for creation.  God created this measurement for the benefit of man.  BUT there will come a day when we will no longer need this measurement and the corresponding associations with points in time.   How do you measure eternity--how do you mark infinity?  God's gift of time helps us to mark points in time to remember for the benefit of man.   Every morning upon first awakening I repeat the same scripture.  I associate my eyes opening with repeating that scripture.  Every night as I wind my day down, I pray.  I associate the dark of the evening after clicking off that bedside lamp with that final prayer before sleep.   God's gift of time has given us the measurement necessary to mark a point in time with an associated  corresponding event.  OH, but there will come a day--a point in time when time will be irrelevant for eternity is without measure.  Eternity will infinitely be associated with being in the presence of God.  What a glorious and endless point in time that will be.
"As long as the earth remains,
there will be planting and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night."
Genesis 8:22