Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BULLY FOR YOU

I recently woke up smack dab in the middle of the night--thinking about bullying.  We tend to isolate bullying to children and teens, but as I thought over what a bully is---I quickly realized I know adult sized bullies as well.  

Looking up the definition of bullying we find this short & sweet (?) description-

1. to inflict physical or emotion harm upon

2.  to make timid or fearful by or as if by threats

What really intrigued me were the synonyms-

 brutalizebullyill-treatill-usekick aroundmaltreatmanhandlemess over [slang],mishandlemistreatmisuse

 blackjackbogartbrowbeatbulldozebullybullyragcowhectormau-maustrong-arm

Think I might know them all!  We have all heard those words, "If you, then I"; "What were you thinking"; or the all popular listing of your faults and downfalls--where you come up short.  The emotional wrangling to create submission of will--as evidenced in even small ways.




Being bullied begins early in life---well if you have siblings.  There is a definite hierarchy of mistreatment among the grands.  I have come to the conclusion our sinful bullying begins at an early age.  Why I am guilty myself of some bullying when it came to my own children.  I am afraid on occasion my empty threats turned into sure bets when I was driven to the edge by willful disobedience and the long arm of physical harm and the rod of correction were called upon to intimidate the troops back into line.  It seemed prudent in the moment.



When exploring why we are bullied, I discovered a whole multitude of reasons people bully---too many to list them all.  As I read through the list, it dawned upon me it was all about power---power and control over another.  A way to establish dominance over another human being--by any and all means possible.  

I have experienced physical bullying in my life a few times (sibling love taps for instance).  Yes, it was painful in the moment, but it does not begin to compare to the emotional damage of verbal bullying.  If we are given a message enough times--we begin to believe the messenger.

While exploring levels of bullying, I remembered a story which I thought funny at the time--but it is an excellent example of inadvertent bullying.  Someone asks you to lunch and asks where you would like to go.  You really do not care--and tell them so--you ask them to select.  They insist--will not take no for an answer--they demand you select--as you continue to insist it does not matter.  Finally--you give in and make a decision.  They immediately tell you what is wrong with your selection and begin to pout because you did not guess where they really wanted to go from the get go.  You beg and coerce and finally they divulge where they wanted to eat.  Do you see the pattern--the emotional control of the moment--the seizing of power?  Over something as mundane as where to eat lunch, the bully showed its face. 

Digging deeper into the topic and how we as Believers should react, I thought of the bullies in the Bible--OH YES--they are there!  Let's don't forget Saul---read David's Psalms--I am pretty sure he considered Saul a bully.  The pharisees might have been guilty of mistreating the less learned.  Why even beautiful Delilah was guilty of using her bag of tricks to have power over Samson.  Bullying is never limited to one gender and crosses the lines of all types of relationships.   Bullies have been around a LONG time----check out Cain & Able.

How does God instruct us to handle bullies---He tells us to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us----WHAT????  You have got to be kidding me.   NOPE--that's what The Book says!  How about this non-Biblical adage-"You can't fight fire with fire"; or in the wise words of that lost as a goose, Lulu---"Everybody gets wet in a spitting contest."  SO God wants us to love the bully!

Love away--smother them with love, but I don't believe God requires us to step up to the plate repeatedly for another round of dehumanization.  Love them from afar---remove yourself from the situation, put distance between you and the bully.  Pray for them--and pray for wisdom on how to handle the situation--but do not become the doormat.  Walk away from the abuse and allow God to be the judge.


Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. "BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD." -
Romans 12:19-20



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

ONTOGENESIS OF SCHOOL LUNCHES

I've been reading a book by Anne Lamont, Bird By Bird.  The subject is writing---the broad spectrum of subjects woven throughout the tapestry of her writing is amazing.  As I was reading today, she talked about school lunches--and writing about those lunches.  It started the wheels turning as I took a whirlwind trip down Memory Lane from over 50 years ago.




In my day---we all ate in the cafeteria.  I am sure some lucky souls brought their lunch, but my mother was not of the persuasion to spoil the child by preparing something I might eat.  Picky would be a gross understatement concerning what I would eat pre age 18.  The ladies in the cafeteria were so sweet---and let's face it they did their best with what they were given to work with---but many-many a day I would literally eat my roll and that was it. I cannot tell you how unappetizing canned Brussels sprouts were to an elementary age student.   Oh--there were those days the food gods smiled and I would have one---and BONANZA DAY-two items I would eat--but those were rare indeed.  I am certain my mother held to the philosophy when I got hungry enough--I would eat.  She was wrong.  I did not like milk either--and those were the days of no chocolate milk--which I would drink---and no water offered.  So lunch could resemble a lot of sand and an oasis mirage in the Sarah Desert--LOTS of days.




When I was finally old enough to drive and my older brother went off to college--leaving the keys to the Ford station wagon behind,  I began leaving school and going home for a peanut butter sandwich.  Later this evolved into a car load going to the local Dairy Etta for a quickie burger.  How I managed to talk Momma into money for that treat, I am not sure--but my days of starvation ended with the advent of car keys.



Fast forward to my own children and their journey through school lunches.  #1 son is pickier than I ever thought about being--and still to this day--pretty picky.  I on the other hand have slipped into the philosophy---if it is edible--eat it!  At any rate---he would have loved for me to prepare his lunch.  Unfortunately I had swallowed Momma's rule of you will eat the school lunch.  Unlike my childhood, I did keep plenty of snacks and food available for after school--so his starvation ended immediately after school everyday.  By the time the third child went to school, I had relaxed a great deal.   My memory is of all three eating from the concessions during high school and only gracing the cafeteria with their presence on the days it was something they liked.  I remember one of them telling me--"I am not eating from a salad bar that has been man handled for an hour before I go through the line."  That totally changed my ability to EVER eat from a salad bar again.  They all survived and appear healthy today--with very few lunches every prepared by me.




Fast forward to the present generation.  #1 Daughter prepares lunches for her children every school day--even the two who have the option of eating in the school cafeteria.  Was it so bad that she is permanently scared?  Probably not--but in all fairness--cooking for the masses is not an easy task.  Go for a stay in the hospital and try their food.  Compare your home cooking to eating in a cafeteria.  Cooking small amounts is almost always better--with the exception of soup and gumbo.  Not only does she prepare lunches for the three school boys--but she customizes each lunch to personal preference.  REALLY!  Three totally different lunches--the pandered to generation has emerged.  NO MORE--you will eat this---instead--"What would you like?"  What happened to parental toughness?  She also draws a picture on their napkins for them.  Over the top--Super MOM!  Puts my mothering to shame!




Of these three scenarios which would you prefer?  It takes no geniuses to figure out we want the personalized menu with the hand drawn picture.  Why?  Because it shows the care and love of the one preparing the lunch.  Everyone looks on and sees you enjoying your lunch and knows it was prepared with care and concern for what you would enjoy.  We all desire to be pampered and know the love shown by the effort of the pamper- er.  We have a deep need to be loved--and this effort is evidence of the love we desire.

Where could I possibly be going with all of this?  I made a full circle to the best table I ever had set for me.  The table lovingly offered me.  The table filled with the bounty of love that will nourish my soul and satisfy all my longings. The cup filled with living water which will forever satisfy my thirst sits at my right hand.   The perfect feast--offered at The Table Of God.  The blessing of sitting with Him and partaking of all He offers--the most bounteous feast--the most lavish service--the most satisfying communion--I have ever known-and all prepared for me.


When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, "Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God." 
Luke 14:15

Monday, September 28, 2015

NO MORE TEARS

The past few years---the tears finally overflowed the dam--and I cried rivers of tears.  I cried without provocation--with provocation--and sometimes without realizing--the tears flowed and flowed.  Thankfully---I am past that now---the tears have dried up---I cry no more--

EXCEPT--


When I see an amazing sunrise

When I see the sun slip away for the day

When I am reunited with a dear friend

When I must leave a sweet friend 

When I hear a baby cry

When I hear a baby laugh

When I see  the glory of God's creation

When the dark of the night surrounds me

When someone sings "Great is Thy Faithfulness"

When someone sings "Amazing Grace"

When a baby is born

When a dear one dies


Yes--except for these few exceptions---my tears have all dried up--I cry no more.

WELL EXCEPT--

In a moment of worship

In the beauty of a song

In the thrill of adventure

In the glory of the mountaintop
.
In the rush of the tides

In the memory of sweet times

In the promise of eternity

In the warmth of home

In the beauty of nature

In the arms of a sweet grand

In a moment of perfect peace

In the presence of Jesus


THOSE--are the only times I cry now

Perhaps there are more tears than I suspect--but there is a difference-
a stark difference in the tears of today and the tears of yesterday.  
Yesterday's tears came from a broken heart--the death of something precious--the end of a season.  Today's tears---thankfully--mostly come from a deep joy---a profound peace---a sure knowledge---of The One who has held every tear--counted them--and faithfully holds me as I cry.

Praise Him--for my tears.


You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
Psalm 56:8







Sunday, September 27, 2015

A NEW ME

THIS SABBATH

I REVEAL THE TOE TAPPING SIDE OF ME

THE PART OF ME WHICH IS NEW

CHANGED

THANK GOD ALMIGHTY!











BLESSED SABBATH,

DEAR FRIENDS!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

CITIZENS ARREST!!!---HERE IN THE HOOD

I LOVE living on the edge of the downtown--an old neighborhood--front porches--swings--big trees--neighbors so close you know when their bathroom light goes on.  Watching the comings & goings---watching the children growing--hearing all the neighborhood drama.  IT IS ALL GOOD!



photo credit: Rodger Mallison

BUT--with close proximity to downtown--comes questionable characters wandering The Hood at times.  What these characters don't seem to realize is someone is always awake---and someone is ALWAYS watching.  We live on the edge of the Trinity Trail--but you have to take a path leading through questionable territory to enter the trail.  I NEVER walk alone at night down this path--and have even had questionable encounters in broad daylight.  This path seems to attract the local drug salesman--and I am NOT referring to our favorite pharmaceutical sales people.  These shady business deals are not the only dark activity in The Hood.  It seems our homes are being cased for the possibility of robbery quite frequently.. They like to steal really valuable stuff like your plants and lawn furniture---

ALL this clandestine activity, leads to an active self deputized "Citizens Posse", who consider it their DUTY to protect The Hood .  A flurry of emails began flying recently.  A car "which did not belong" was spotted with dented and prime painted fenders and no driver visible--only a passenger slunk down low.  OH--it was LATE at night--I had already gone to bed.  One neighbor spots them, another neighbor makes the block to get the license number, and still another neighbor here in Mayberry  The Hood gives pursuit to the perpetrators and chases them out of the area.  The police were called---but the suspects got away.




Fast forward to the next night---OH YES---I have already gone to bed (HEY I HAVE BEEN GETTING UP AT 4-5 AM)---and the car is spotted on my street--a few doors down.  OBVIOUSLY these characters are NOT geniuses since they come back the next night and only move over a couple of streets.  The emails fly--the police are called, Andy & Barney  the neighborhood patrol car arrests the perps, search the car, and tow the vehicle, while the posse neighbors stand on their porches watching.  Said neighbors then report by email to the entire citizenry of The Hood the satisfactory result of the arrest.

Moral of the story--

DONTCHA BE MESSEN ROUND IN THE HOOD!


Friday, September 25, 2015

THE OTHER ME

If you know me--but not really the deep complex me--you probably think I am this sweet little old lady.  Always smiling--hugging you--wishing you the best--praying for you----and all that is true--BUT




it seems I may be suffering from MPD-you know-Multiple Personality Disorder-AND--the older I get the quicker the other me can spring to the surface--sadly.  The other me--she is not so sweet---in fact can be a little tart!  I call her--that other me---


THE GROUCHY OLD LADY-
My Inner Ouiser



I am pretty good at keeping her behind the curtains--but with provocation---she throws those curtains aside and comes roaring forth. And once she gets going---it is difficult to slam on the brakes and get her back behind closed doors.

My new tenants--bless their hearts--have provoked The Grouchy Old Lady out of hiding.  It would seem the garage apartment has not been satisfactory for them.  This is the first time in my life as a landlord I have had to deal with unhappy tenants---the first two sets were wonderful.  I like for my tenants to be happy and when they have a complaint or a request--I am quick to remedy the situation.  I look at the apartment and always think--could I live here?   In all fairness, the new tenants have had some legitimate complaints--and I have tried to deal with those.  When it came to the mess the squirrel filled pecan tree was making, I began to wonder if they would be happy.  After all---it is the neighbor's tree and as I told him---it is a short term problem.  There is the option to park on the street until the pecans disappear and no I cannot cut the neighbor's tree.

This is not a slam the tenant post--but rather--how I handle it post.  I am afraid after the first few calls---I began to get a slight bit testy--in fact you might say rather belligerent.  My mode of reaction when I am less than happy or shall we say not pleased with someone is PA ---oh you know I have told you about my long line of passive aggressive kin!  I stop being so sweet--in fact --start absolutely ignoring you--turning my back.  When I was busy complaining to #1 Daughter about the unfolding drama, she looked at me and said, "Mom!  You're getting to be a grouchy old lady."  Nothing else needed to be said--I got the message.

Her short statement made me back up and examine my attitude and responses and question how Godly my behavior was.  Now--I am happy to report---I am going to the source and asking His help in being a Godly landlord and responding in the manner He would have me.  Not always easy--but so much more satisfying to walk away knowing I have gone above and beyond to be a good landlord and neighbor.   The last step in the process is to quit sticking out my tongue when they walk by--and I just may have Ouiser back where she belongs--behind closed doors.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 
Colossians 3:17

Thursday, September 24, 2015

BURNING DESIRE

Speak the words, "Burning Desire" and I am immediately transported to a torrid love story---James Deanish good looks and steamy looks of love---NO-fraid not!   My burning desires revolve more around ice cream  (WHERE ARE YOU BLUE BELL?) and good food these days. The desires of my heart have morphed into an al la carte menu with white table cloth, bone china, shimmering crystal stemware, and the best silverware.  The closest I come to hot and steamy is working in the yard in the afternoon sauna called September in Texas. 


Where are my burning desires these days?  As the old commercial once advertised, "They have come a LONG WAY, Baby!"  


In a moment of true confession, I still have the desire to be desired.  The problem with my want (certainly not a need) is the few times I have allowed myself to be placed in the company of a man--it literally knocked me for a loop.  I quickly ran for the hills and never looked back.  There was nothing wrong with the men--the problem stands with me.  My heart goes into overdrive with even the thought of any replay of the past.  Being alone is not all bad--and certainly better than ever enduring heartbreak again.


What fuels our need to be desired?  Simply stated--we were created to be in a relationship.  We begin jumping through hoops at a young age in an effort to draw the attention of the opposite sex.  Created to pro-create--we start the search for the perfect mate not long after passing the mark in maturity called puberty.   Remembering and laughing over my teenage years, the quest to have a "boyfriend" was all about popularity--seeking the highest possible strata on the social ladder.  The games really ramped up about the time I hit college.  Today's world does not even slightly resemble my early years.  One thing remains the same--inside of or outside of marriage---we want to be desired.

The problem with this desire to be desired--is where it eventually will lead.  Divorce happens---death happens---old age and infirmities happen--boredom can happen---desire will fade with time in most cases.  We have placed significance in another of the fleeting things of this earth.  Not unlike wealth, fame, importance, beauty, notoriety---they are all subject to vanishing in the blink of an eye---and then what do you have?  The distant memory of a flame long since cooled by the ravages of time.  Not to say our love lives become extinct with age--but to recognize the transformation from lust to love which is a beautiful thing.  Like a fine wine---love is at its best with aging and tender care.

The World strives to convince us we only have worth if someone desires us.  We live in bondage to the desire to be desired and it becomes a narcisstic quest of validating who we are and an endless search necessitated by  the fear of aloneness.  As Solemn so wisely tells us, "Vanity-all is vanity".  All things of this world are fleeting and temporary--gone in a poof of smoke.  The only thing eternal is Jesus and those He calls His Own. "The only way out of this bondage is fairly well known; desire being desired less, and desire God more. "  Turn to the One who desires us--at all times--under all circumstances--faithfully and eternally.  Turn to Jesus.


"Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
Psalm 73:25



Wednesday, September 23, 2015

THE IMAGE OF FORGIVENESS

I have spent a great deal of time mulling over forgiveness.  We are instructed in The Word to forgive--so that we may be forgiven.  The thoughts that whirl around in my head have lead me to question my truly forgiving those who have wronged me.

While recently visiting my other home-Ruston, I asked the question of a room full of Godly women--

"How do you know you have forgiven someone, if you unable to leave the thoughts of your betrayal behind-does that mean you have failed in your endeavor?"  

I have always heard you will forget if you truly forgive--but I am unable to forget---thus the questioning.

One of these dear friends sent me this site today---it is only 7 minutes long--AND contains a valuable lesson.




I listened to these wise words---and came away with a new appreciation for the image of forgiveness.  

Forgiveness does not hinge upon an apology which may never come nor any other attempt by man of "making it right."  How we all desire to be vindicated with the admittance of the wrong we perceive we have been done.  While listening to this video, I realized even when confronted with her tormentor and the one who helped murder her sister--Corrie was unable to forgive--in her own strength.  The suffering she endured--the pain and anguish and humiliation---the literal attempt to wipe millions from the face of the earth---is there any greater wrong?  And then--insult upon injury---one of the perpetrators comes and asks for forgiveness.  Was she thinking, "Surely you don't expect me to forgive him, Lord?"   

I noticed with great interest, she had not forgotten.  Her sister's memory is permanently etched in her mind and heart.  The horrors she endured were not left behind.  They became part of her history--they made up an integral part of who she is.  We are unable--even with forgiveness to wipe away our past and our memory.

She was able to forgive--when looking upon the cross and the One who first forgave us.  Through the unthinkable pain and anguish endured so that we could be forgiven---she was able to forgive.  She forgave because she had been forgiven and instructed to forgive.  Our forgiveness breaks the final strand of control those who have wronged us have over us.  It frees us from the anger and hatred which becomes a barrier to the joy and peace God promises.  It does not erase the past--the past is in the past--it does allow us to move forward.

So with this discussion in Godly community, I have the answer to my question.  Yes, I have forgiven--with no need for anything more--than turning to God and asking for His help---I have forgiven.  The past has made me who I am today---and everything about the past--good and bad---had worked to shape me--grow me--and move me one step closer to Jesus.  

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you
Colossians 3:13

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

IT'S ALL IN YOUR MONIKER

I always thought I would like to hike the entire Appalachian Trail--UNTIL I read the book, Stumbling Thru, which changed my other mind.  The thought of sleeping in a shelter filled with dirty, stinky, snoring, wet, and obnoxious me and a whole host of others just like me- mostly men every night for a few months quickly killed that burning desire.  The author's descriptions of those nights would only leave the truly crazy chomping at the bits to hit that trail-especially the entire thing.





One of the things done by thru hikers on the trail is everyone is given a "Trail Name".  A moniker indicative or your personality, your hiking style, your psychosis, and on and on.  One of the main characters in the book is "Flutterby"--so named because she fluttered by on the trail with seemingly no effort.  It is the hiker's "hash tag" while on the trail.

My own little secret is I give nicknames or Monikers to  loads of people in my life.  There is "Mother Earth", "Perky Pants", "Jet Setter",  "The Whiz", and "Whipper-Snapper" to name just a few.  Usually done in love---it always describes something about the person.  NOW---in my defense, I recently told "Mother Earth" what my nickname was for her and she was thrilled.  SO it's NOT necessarily a negative thing.  

While reading the book, I began to think of the hash-tags, trail names, and nicknames I would give myself.  It was quite eye-opening!  The need to examine the monikers I might be hung with came rushing to the surface.  The fear of hash tags such as #lamebrain, #dimwit, #paranoid, #mentallydeficient, #brickshortofaload, #multiplementaldiagnosis, and on and on caused a dam in the thinking cycle.  I was stuck on Who am I?  And I began to carefully examine what others would name me.




"Turtle"---I seem to always be at the back of the pack.  We have nicknamed one of my little grands, "Ferdinand" after the Disney character, "Ferdinand the Bull".  He takes his sweet time when out for a walk.  We both like to smell the flowers.  That's not always a bad thing--unless you are walking for exercise or under time constraints.  During my running days I laughed and told my running bunch, "I know more about your rear end than you do!".  I analyzed every gait and freely gave unsolicited and unwanted advice.  The fact remains I tend to trail the pack.

"Sister"---yes, I am an earthly sister, and my two brothers LOVE to tell Sister stories---I am pretty sure they distort the truth.  That's okay, because I am prone to doing the same to them when telling "Brother" stories.  I also am a Sistah to the vast army of believers.  We are members of the family--adopted into the clan---"Brothers & Sisters in Christ."



"Sleeping Beauty"--I like to sleep---such a waste of time--but I enjoy a good night's sleep and get put out when I don't get my 8 hours.  With advanced years, the inability to sleep those 8 hours has increased.  I am extremely irritated when my eyes pop open at 2:00 AM and I spend the next few hours staring at the ceiling.

"Dreamer"--not night time dreams--but dreams of the "What If's".  Dreams of adventures, travel, relationships, good times, a better world---with my love for reading has come the ability to place myself in the life of the characters I read about.  My dreams many times turn into my writing.  The page is an extension of what is going through my mind.


AND there are the names I can claim which I am not proud of--





"Procrastinator"-I must be the world's worst at putting off until tomorrow!  My procrastination creates a cess pool of obsessive thinking on that which I am putting off.  Invariably when I finally am backed into a corner and get the chore done--I think WHY didn't I just do it to start with?  I could go to the head of the line of the put-ter off-er's--but I will wait until tomorrow and the line has already formed.

"Cynic"-to avoid the pain of disappointment, I usually do not expect the best from people.  I prepare myself for the let down before it is even a possibility on the horizon.  This is probably a familial trait--on my mother's side.  People will disappoint us at times, but we expect the worst and are surprised with the best.




"Sloth"-I have a lazy streak a mile wide.  OH--I LOOK busy--but the truth is I am puttering and NOT making forward progress.  Sitting and thinking is my strong suit---in case you have not noticed---it also leads to nothing getting done.

"CAVE DWELLER"--I LOVE the safety of my cave.  The sad thing is I am alone in the cave and that is not good.  I need an automatic spring which pushes me out the door everyday and into the world.  It is one thing to enjoy your own company, but quite another to become an exclusive club of one with a closed door policy.

The list goes on--I only hit a few of my monikers--but the point is---I have the ability to be remembered as "Friend", "Faithful", "Joyful", "Servant", "Child of God"---the monikers I am known by will be determined by how I live---and THAT, Dear Friends---is entirely up to me!



For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. 
Romans 14:8

Monday, September 21, 2015

KEEP LOOKING FOR THE SMOKE

Am I the only one who wonders at time, "Do you hear me, God?"  There seems to be a huge wall of deafening silence surrounding me as I cry out to Him.  I keep searching for the "Burning Bush" or the "Mountain of Thunder"--why even the "soft whisper of a voice" seems to evade me.  




Reflecting back, I have been visited by God's soft whisper--and there was not one doubt in my mind--it WAS HIM!  But unfortunately, I am not easily content with the blessings from the past.  Instead, I find myself wondering, "Are you not speaking to me today?"  It never occurs to me, perhaps the finger should be turned around and pointed right back --squarely in my own face.  Perhaps I forget to search for the smoke--and listen for the whisper while frantically complaining about the bush not burning.  

We all have heard God speaks to us through His Word--and YES--He certainly does.  The Word is filled with truth and God uses it for us-

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;  2 Timothy 3:16

God used preachers, teachers, and writers to reveal Himself to us.  All this is good and well, but is God my personal God.  Is God real to me only through second person revelation?  

NO--but my short term memory becomes a long term problem when I am wondering WHY? He is not speaking with me--One on One at this moment in time.  Where are you, God, when I am crying out?

He reminded me recently, He is right here.  I had forgotten all the ways He uses to speak tome---in His, "soft whisper of a voice."  And then BAM! He reveals Himself to me once again and I am struck with the wonder of the Greatness of God.

The Story Began

I am wide awake and it is 3:00 AM.  The same thoughts which often whirl around in my head are once again waltzing  round and round.  It is enough to drive the sanest crazy.  WHERE is the switch to turn off this reoccurring---unbroken---forever skipping record?  I am SO SICK of replaying these thoughts--and yet--the tape keeps rolling around the reel---the player is stuck on repeat---and I CANNOT get this out of my head.  I CRY OUT TO GOD---"HELP ME"---asking--no begging Him to take this from me--help me leave the past behind and move forward.  Finally exhaustion wins out and I sleep.

Fast Forward it is the next morning---after breakfast--and I am checking my email and messages.  I have a message from an old friend--I went to high school with him.  I occasionally hear from him--but it has been months since we had any contact.  He tells me this:

"Hope this finds you well.  You've been on my mind since you took your blog break, but this morning in my quiet time the Spirit really put you to the front for prayer.  I know you already know this so, I have no idea why but I am to remind you---The past is in the past.  We only have this moment in life.  Our past is what makes us who we are today.  God knows it all, He allowed us to go through it and stood near us while we did.  Start from where you are and go forward.  I guess no matter how close we are to Him once in a while we need a reminder.  Prayers and prayers my friend and Sister in Christ."

I could leave you with an Amen---but will add this--I cried out in anguish---he used my Godly friend who had NO idea what was going on to answer my prayer and without knowing why-he obeyed---

AND YES THE BUSH IS STILL BURNING!--PRAISE, GOD!



11 “Go out and stand before me on top of the mountain,” the Lord said to him. Then the Lord passed by and sent a furious wind that split the hills and shattered the rocks—but the Lord was not in the wind. The wind stopped blowing, and then there was an earthquake—but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake there was a fire—but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the soft whisper of a voice.

I Kings 19:11-12

Sunday, September 20, 2015

PRESS ON

I DON'T GET IT ALL

BUT I BELIEVE

ALL YOUR WORDS ARE TRUE

I PRESS ON





BLESSED SABBATH-

DEAR FRIENDS!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

TOP TO BOTTOM AND LOTS IN BETWEEN

THIS PAST SUMMER HAS BEEN ONE OF THOSE WHICH WILL GO DOWN IN THE BOOK AS 


"ONE OF THE BEST"


WITH THE BLESSING OF GOOD FRIENDS---SWEET FAMILY--AND 

PLENTY OF FUN AND FELLOWSHIP



The summer began with a bang

and a visit to the Florida Beach

with old friends and new.



And the required stop

At My Own Little Place



Quick As A Snap

We Had Camp Lulu

With All But One Cousin

Who Has Sadly Grown

TOO OLD


Then OFF WE FLY

To The Top of This GREAT Nation

To Enjoy The Beauty &

Splendor of the 49th State


And the CLIMAX of the summer

I have lived LONG ENOUGH

For My Daughter To Plan 

And Invite The Family To

A Texas Beach Trip 


WHO COULD ASK FOR A BETTER SUMMER!!


Friday, September 18, 2015

IF ONLY

I must confess I swallowed the concept of-


IF ONLY

hook, line, and sinker a LONG time ago.  Life has dimmed the illusion, but subconsciously I still think ---IF ONLY I-----

You know of what I speak---those unwritten but well understood rules of cause and effect---

If only I--

study hard--I will do well in school and have a good job when I graduate

eat right and exercise daily--I will live a long and healthy life

obey the rules of the road--I will drive accident free

avoid over exposure to the sun--I will never wrinkle or have skin cancer

stay on my side of the fence--the neighbor will stay on his

be kind--I will be well thought of

work hard--I will be successful in my career

am honest with others--they will be honest with me

am a good wife--I will have a long and happy marriage

am a good mother--my children will respect and love me

am a good friend--I will have many friends

treat all with respect--they will treat me with respect

I could go on and on and then there are those IF ONLY'S of a spiritual nature-

If only I---

go to church at least twice weekly-

read my Bible daily-

sing in the church choir-

teach Sunday School and Vacation Bible School-

give my tithe-

support all local, national and international missionaries-

cook for the sick and those who are bereaved-

pray at all meals and to begin and end my day-

God will richly bless my life and I will live in plenty surrounded by love and admiration.

W R O N G

I found I could NOT do it-there were too many rules--too little time--and not enough of me to keep all the balls in the air.  I was a dismal failure at keeping all the If Only's--and that must be the reason My Happily Ever After dissolved into What The Heck Happened!  Truly--all things considered--I did a pretty good job of doing it all---and still--the deck of cards all came crashing down upon me because someone was always adding another ball and soon there were too many balls to keep it all going.

My guess is the "If Only's" become ingrained at an early age---with the attempt of our parents to civilize us and keep us on the straight and narrow.  Why certainly--this is all for our own good--in a desire to guarantee a long and successful life.  Somehow along the way, we begin to look around and become convinced if we only follow the rules---happiness is the guaranteed result.

AND THEN LIFE HAPPENS--

What happens when we follow all the rules---dot all the i's and cross all the t's--never waver--keep our nose to the grind stone and our feet on the path---AND YET---things go wrong---horribly wrong---tragically wrong---THEN WHAT???  Our illusion of success from rule following becomes a delusional nightmare of WHAT HAPPENED?

THEN---My Friends---THEN---I learned who God is---was---and always has been.  Then I learned it was not about following the 12 step program to a successful life---but a life long pursuit of a relationship with Him.  There is not one thing wrong with any of the things I listed--but when the rule following became my focus---disaster was sure to follow.  There are no guarantees in life and life can sometimes be a stinky--slimy--ugly mess.

A N D   THEN

I finally turned to Jesus---the one who came that we might be free from the rules---the one who loves us in spite of our inability to follow the rules---the one who forgives our every failure to obey all the rules---

and then the If Only  turns into  W H A T  I F--

What if--we trust Him---

we have faith in Him

we love Him

we turn to Him

we cry out for Him

we look to Him and Him only--

THEN AND ONLY THEN

will we understand joy and the true abundant life.

We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they sayis perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
James 3:2