Monday, March 31, 2014

YOUR STARRING ROLE

Once again the Oscars rolled around with all the glitz and glitter that go along with those awards.  I am reminded of all the great quest movies Hollywood has produced over the years.  "Indiana Jones", "Star Wars", "The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe", "Rocky" and the list goes on and on.  One of my personal favorites "The Wizard of Oz."




All good stories begin with "Once upon a time" and the ending is known even before setting out on the quest.  Quests are NEVER easy--there is always an enemy--it is difficult to stay on the path--they take great courage-which can be difficult to find--there is a cost, and sometimes they lack clarity.  The price of following our quest can be illusive and it may call for something bigger than us-but the end is always worth the cost.  It also is really not about the end--but more about the journey.



OH--how I crave a great quest!  Don't we all?  We ALL have value, meaning and purpose and God HAS a great quest for us.  In the economy of God, there are NO accidents and discovering His implications of our purpose is transforming.  There is a tension as we travel along our quest path--a tension He wants us to live with.  God has our quest planned out for us-He has written the story--but we have the choice and responsibility of how we follow His story.  "God creates us with a purpose and plans to be involved.  Our circumstances don't choose our ending.  Your choices choose your ending."  We can be victims of our circumstances or choose to live for eternity.  "The end isn't worth trading for the moment."




Our quest study all revolves around the life of Jacob.  One of the questions for small group is who are you most like---Esau or Jacob?  I knew immediately--I am a Jacob--taking things into my own hands.  Lacking faith and trust at times and relying upon my own devices, even knowing God's promises to me.  SAD!  And then WHO would do something like Esau--trade his life's blessing for a bowl of stew.  Who of us wants immediate gratification--what we deserve--what makes us happy in the moment.  Would you sell out for something temporary and loose sight of the eternal?  If presented with the "Right Temporary Thing"--I suspect we all would have to plead guilty.

The GOOD NEWS--no matter what you have done in the past---it has NOT disqualified you.  You are still capable of rejoining the path and continuing your quest.  It is NOT too late to see your quest end well and when your story is told---you will have proved true to your story---and the quest will be yours.


"So Esau despised his birthright."
Genesis 25:34b
Complete Text 25:19-34

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I NEED YOU---YES INDEED!

DISENGAGE THAT BLOG MUSIC BY CLICKING ON THE DOUBLE BLUE BARS ARE THE TOP OF THIS PAGE.




Sweet daughter shared this with me--knowing how I love Blue Grass--and how it  would speak to me.

BLESSED SABBATH, DEAR FRIENDS!




Saturday, March 29, 2014

A WEEK OF DIETS & POOP IN THE HOOD

The cat fight from last week was on-going this week.  An avalanche of emails continued ---the pros and cons of letting your cats run loose.  Here is what I learned from all the hurrah---

In their defense---cats cover their poop up--unlike disgusting dogs

BUT---this makes it difficult to know you are about to step in a big pile of it when it has 1/4 " dirt covering

Some dogs seem to like to ingest cat poop---others just like to roll around in it.

Cats are pets--not feral animals and should not be allowed to roam around for fear of what could happen to them

Cats are natural hunters and are intended to roam freely.

At one point I thought it best to de-claw the entire hood.  It got TESTY---
and then there was the mother who once again asked "Why are you people so quick to defend a cat or rescue a dog, when you virtually ignore the neighborhood children?"   

WOW---so much for a peaceful existence!




THE NEXT topic of e mail conversation was the "Road Diet".  SILLY ME---I had NO IDEA a road could go on a diet!!!

Turns out they took the four lane thoroughfare that runs through the middle of the hood and turned it into a two lane with a turning lane.  GET IT---they decreased the size of the road.  It was done in a concern for the speed of the traffic through the middle of the hood.  There was MUCH discussion about this--via email---but the majority seemed satisfied it has helped.  There was a smidgen of discussion about "The Idiots" who speed down the turn lane at 45 MPH.



TODAY is the "HOOD WIDE GARAGE SALE".   All those neighbors interested in hosting a garage sale do it on the same day.  The NHA advertises and it attracts hordes of people.  Unfortunately since I have down sized to 2 pairs of socks and underwear and one of everything else---I will not be participating!



The news at the cottage---is the irrigation system and landscaping are being done.  It is feeling more and more like home---with my personal touches.  The plants and grass and oh yes---the foundation should be happy this summer with this change.




Friday, March 28, 2014

WORTH PURSUING

In my conversations with other singles, the subject of "On Line Dating Sites" has come up.  Some of these brave friends have dared to put themselves out there and explore this foreign territory.  I have heard some fascinating and interesting stories.  There are success stories---I know of two married couples that met on-line---BUT there are also many disasters.




The cause of the disasters almost always was failure to tell and live the truth.  In an attempt to extend grace, perhaps the perception one has of themselves is in fact far from reality.  I am NOT certain how you can look in the mirror and think you are 6 feet tall when in reality if you stretch you are 5'6"---BUT.  Then there are those that post a picture that is 10+years old---and those that list there occupation as chef and work at Micky D's flipping burgers--and those that are athletic but only exercise is stroll to the frig.  Mis-representation of whom you really are is risky business.


I find myself lonesome at times, but NOT lonesome enough to dare and risk this adventure.  Sorting through the responses, establishing communication, and eventually meeting face to face with a stranger does not sound like a great deal of fun.  As I talked this over with a good friend last week, I was doubled over in laughter in one moment and mouth wide in dis-belief and shock in the next.  




While thinking this over, it occurred to me that I/we are worthy of pursuit.  There is much to offer and a nice/neat little package that it all is wrapped up in.  Above average intelligence,  belly laughing, good listening, hard working,  not too old to stroll, toe tapping, people loving, hard hugging, soul baring, adventure seeking, and passable cook---I am worthy of pursuing.




This conclusion dawned when I remembered "The Great I Am" Himself has seen me as worthy and pursued me.  He finds me lovable and lovely and He seeks my companionship and desires a relationship with me.  The King of Kings and Lord of Lords loves me faithfully--completely--and comes after me with great intent.  He knows me for who I am--and still He desires me---
I AM WORTHY OF PURSUIT!

"The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."
Jeremiah 31:3


Thursday, March 27, 2014

BAA---BAA !!!!!

The Word is filled with references to sheep.  Why does God/Jesus use this lowly earthly animal over and over in His teachings?




Most of you do not know  my brother and I raised sheep for years as a 4-H project.  For all of you city dwellers---look 4-H up---a club of youth who take on projects each year which encourage growth, responsibility, and education.  I took it for granted all these years--that Daddy wanted us to do it--so we raised sheep.  It has finally dawned on me--that God was teaching me---a LONG time ago---all about sheep.




The similarities between sheep and us is striking----

They are not smart animals--and that is being generous.  

They are easily led astray

Often in trouble by wandering where they should not be

Unaware of the wolves all around them


They will literally eat themselves to death




And then while we were raising sheep there was the sheep mommy (ewe) who backed her lamb into a corner to protect it when the hay caught fire.  She was horribly burned, but she saved her lamb.



And then we had a sheep bully (ram) who delighted in head butting you if you came near his little harem of girls (ewes).




For the most part--sheep are very docile animals--who  seem to put not much or perhaps any thought into their next move--they spend their time eating what is in front of them and wandering around looking for the next blade of green grass with no thought to the danger around.

Put a bell on the lead sheep and the rest will follow him anywhere--even off the nearest cliff.  They have little or no way to protect themselves from the dangers all around them.  They are totally reliant upon the shepherd for protection, care, and leadership.




Do you notice any collieries?  All these years later--the light has dawned why He taught me all about sheep.  I am totally dependent upon My Shepherd--for I am not very smart--and live in a land filled with danger-- to supply my every need.  


"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father-
and I lay down my life for the sheep."
John 10:14-15

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

LEADERSHIP 101

My church participated in "Cowtown Clean Up" this past Saturday.  As we were picking up the trash in a park in the far northern area of the city, neighbors saw what we were doing---stopped inquired---and brought their entire families to contribute to the clean up of their neighborhood park.



I have a great small group I am a part of in my new church.  It is such an important part of our walk to be in fellowship with other believers.  The church began an initiative to get those who were not a member of a group to try one by having a short term seven week trail in a group of others who are not part of a group.  I volunteered to head one of those groups---knowing by sharing how important my Believer friends have been in my life would perhaps convince others of the benefits.  I have already identified a future potential leader for a group of her own.



My friends The Boersma's took their family to Africa on a short term mission trip when their children were young.  Their son grew up--became a doctor--and he and his family served in Africa for an extended period of time as a medical missionary.


There is a really large group of volunteers at church who mentor children in the local schools.  There are more than 70 mentor/tutors and another entire group who work with the children in an after school club.  When you see the video of all those volunteers and hear their reports of how they have been blessed--invariably more step forward to help.

The most effective leaders in my life---have lead by example.  By watching and observing, I have identified those I desire to emulate----based upon their actions.
When I finally figured out my actions spoke volumes over my words,  THEN I became a leader.


"The greatest among you shall be your servant. "
Matthew 23:11 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I FORGOT

My heart has no malice and declares forgiveness



but the world has told me that if you have forgiven
then you will forget---I have been struggling with that--
The scripture tell us that He has removed our sin
as far as the east from the west and He remembers our sin no more.



God views us through grace 
and the stain of our sin is taken away


Why then am I not able to forget?
I have a mind---and it is impossible to erase any one thing from it 
with my efforts.  


I found no problem in forgetting where I put something,
what you name is,
to pay the light bill,
a multitude of mundane daily things---I forget daily

We do not forget--the birth of our children
the loss of a loved one
our great adventures
or any other profound moment in our life---good or bad

This week---while searching for answers---I read an explanation
I can embrace

"What does it mean that God remembers their sin no more? It means that God chooses not to interact with us based upon what we’ve done, but instead interact with us based upon what Christ has done." (excerpt from here)

God is omnipotent---he knows everything---including our sin---but he looks at us through the lens of grace.

So it is with that same lens that I peer while gazing.

"I--yes, I alone--will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again."
Isaiah 43:25


Monday, March 24, 2014

OH, MR DARCY !!!!!!


I just finished watching "Pride and Prejudice"-----BBC series----six of them-telling the wonderful story--and closely following the book.  OH how I dislike Mr. Darcy in those early days! He gives new meaning to SNOTTY!  Condescending--self-righteous--bigoted--a long list of haughty adjectives can be used to describe his demeanor.  His manners come across as a vulgar display of superiority.  NO ONE can be quite as nose in the air as the Brits!



Then the story begins to unfold---and --SHOCK--we discover Mr. Darcy has a heart.  His early attempts at winning Lizzy are a icy declaration filled with contempt for his stooping emotionally by becoming enthralled with her--with roots in a lower caste.  Ever so slowly we are lead down the path to discover a softer side of the contemptuous Mr. Darcy.  A Knight to the Rescue while maintaining anonymity is eventually revealed. A loving brother protecting and cherishing a younger sister who has been left in his charge by the loss of their parents brings us to find him not so repelling.  Finally every girl's dream of the frog turning into Prince Charming precipitates at long last an alliance between the two  and thus beautifully ends the tale.






ONE QUESTION---WHERE IS MY MR. DARCY????




I pray that God will take away the desire for a Mr. Darcy and that I will be content in His company only.  We are created to be in relationships and the need to share life with another is extremely strong.  Through the circumstances of life, many of us find ourselves alone--and with only one arm filling a two armed jacket.  It can be difficult to be alone--but I ask daily for His perfect love to fill any other void.

We girls all want a Mr. Darcy in our life.  We want to be Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" (without practicing her occupation).  We want Prince Charming to come riding in to rescue us from this world.  We have been lead to believe that we are all entitled to Mr. Darcy.  We take on the same superior, self-righteous attitude of entitlement which we hated in Mr. Darcy.  The truth is--there are not many Handsome and Gallant Princes out there and we are not the beautiful princess of untarnished and pure virtue.




Yes--we live in a fallen world.  None of us can live up to the expectations we have been spoon fed by fiction.  There is only ONE perfect love---and I am not discounting the fact that you are or have been in a wonderful relationship--but the only perfect love comes from above.  For this love accepts us warts, faults, and all.   He loves us without contempt---and with only acceptance and gave his very life for us.

Until God shows me differently--there is no Mr. Darcy in my life---and instead of a Prince----a Mighty King alone to love me.  





"Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God's Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God."
I John 4:16
The Message

Sunday, March 23, 2014

RESTING

DISENGAGE THE BLOG MUSIC BY CLICKING ON THE DOUBLE BLUE BARS ON THE TOP  OF THE PAGE.

THANKFUL FOR A REMINDER TODAY BY A DEAR FRIEND
OF WHERE I AM RESTING:

BLESSED SABBATH, DEAR FRIENDS




Saturday, March 22, 2014

CAT FIGHT IN THE HOOD


This little fellow broke out of the joint this week.  His frantic owners put out an APB including getting the PRESIDENT of the HOOD to email everyone.  There were signs ALL over the hood and his master's owner put a magnetic sign on his car door---SERIOUSLY!  Not to worry--he showed up --I saw the happy master gathering his signs tonight with a big smile on his face.


There are alley-ways behind ALL the houses in older neighborhoods.  I am not sure when they stopped this---but #1 daughter's home built in the 70-80's does not have one.  At one time they picked up the garbage by driving down these alleys---perhaps even in horse & buggy?  WELL at a minimum a LONG time ago!  Today this is the view of the alley behind my house---it is a little dis-concerting to have a utility person hanging on the pole looking in your backyard!



















These pictures are of the hospitals within a couple of blocks of my house.  I often hear the life lift helicopters over-head taking someone to the hospital--I always stop and say a prayer for them.  Good proximity in case of emergency!


 Behind the park--you see part of the beginning of downtown---I am VERY close--well a stones throw from "Downtown".


I have SO been wasting my time working out----this building a BLOCK away from my house is the "Body Garage" in case you cannot read the sign.  I can just take myself in for a tune up and forget all this hard work!  


AND NOW--"The Cat Fight"

Email from neighbor---A large yellow and white cat is roaming our street and fighting with all the other cats AND he is eating all of our cute little lizards---I PROMISE called the lizards cute!  If someone does not claim this cat, we are calling animal control and having it picked up.  
KILL THE CAT--SAVE THE LIZARDS--my sidenote

Reply from another neighbor---that sounds like our cat---but not to worry--he has been neutered and just likes to roam around

Reply from original emailer---WHEN we call Animal Control--they will kill your cat---call me and I will explain how having your cat fixed will stop this fighting and need to eat lizards

WELL I guess there is some difference in neutering and fixing--WHO KNEW!

SPIIIIITTTTT-----MEEEEOOOOWWWW!

Friday, March 21, 2014

GRACE AND DIGNITY

I have a life long fascination with the British.  That which draws me is their appearance of grace and dignity.  A well spring of refinement from a life learned pattern of deliberate caution in the face of all of life's circumstances.  Perhaps I was born in the wrong century--or at a minimum in the wrong half century and for certain on the wrong continent.




My love of fun and laughter---laughter at times which fills a room and spills over to the next--gives pause to my quest for the appearance of dignity.  My charade of culture and good manners quickly vanishes when I explode into deep --head rolled back---eye squinting---side splitting bursts of mirth. 




And then there are the tears---no bastion of dignity would ever allow tears to roll down their cheeks in the manner I now do.  Tears for my friends, tears for the lost, tears for those in pain, tears of joy and hope---they roll in deep troughs filled from the long dammed up ocean of salty water within my heart. 




Upon brief encounter--perhaps I am able to create the illusion of grace and dignity---but the "Real Me" always shows up---it is just a matter of time.

My dear friend is nursing her son through his final illness.  It is not the natural order of life--to see your precious off-spring go before you.  Death is not pretty--it can be painful and long--with the dawn of every day and the first conscious thought of every morning asking "What will today bring?".  Long hours spent in hospital rooms and waiting rooms, hours spent waiting for the appearance of a doctor in hope of any word of encouragement.  Longing for home---routine---normal---in a world filled with the grotesquely abnormal.




This sweet friend is facing it all with great grace and dignity.  She is drawing from the deep well-spring of memories from the past.  Great sorrows previously endured, doubts about the future, problems with no answers ---a history of faithful care and love from the Father-all supplying the trust to fill the deep well of grace and dignity.  It is still painful--it is still exhausting--it is still heart-breaking---but she is looking to the only hope of grace---and walking forth in great dignity--leaning in upon Him.




"Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
II Corinthians 12:8-9

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A GREAT MYSTERY--

The GREAT mysteries of life--

How did that fuzz get in your belly button?




Who decided what was right and left?




If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?



Dying of old age begins at what age?




One of the devotionals I read and listen to daily is "If"...Today's scripture and devotional from John concerned the passage where Jesus is writing in the sand.  WHAT was he writing?  A mystery---a mystery surrounded by many of the mysteries of faith.  There is no explanation and we will not know here on this earth---SO we accept it based upon faith.  Faith which comes from what we DO know.  What has been revealed to us about The Trinity through our personal experience.  My life today is a testimony of God's abiding faithfulness and love.  HE is my strength and portion---HE has brought me through a great grief.  


Yes--there are MANY mysteries of our faith---but we know enough to trust-and remember accept even when we do not have the answers of explanations.  I accept that which is unknown and unseen because of what I DO know and see.  TRUST AND FAITH!


"But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.'"
John 8:6-8