Monday, February 29, 2016

SANDWICHED

I made a flying trip to Ruston this weekend with #1 Daughter and the two littles.  We went with the specific purpose of seeing her grandmother and the woman whom I have loved dearly for well over 40 years.  Something told me Lulu would need to assist with the one and three year old, so I threw together a bag and off we went.    And more last minute decisions, the two brothers decided to meet us ----SO---a RARE and delightful treat---all three of my best accomplishments together---be it ever so brief!


Somehow we got pictures made at our first stop with the Conville Clan, but never got pictures with the James Gang later that day.



As I sat sandwiched between my two brothers and visited, it was a beautiful moment of reflection of how important all these people are and have been over the years. We have spent a lifetime creating this family sandwich.     Say what you want, but for our families to love us when they know us better than anyone else, is a gift of grace beyond measure.  They have seen us at our very worst---physically, emotionally, and spiritually---and still love us.  They love us in spite of it all.

To have my brothers tell me they miss me and ask when am I coming home, left me longing for the daily presence of dear extended family in my life.  The love of our family--with nothing expected in return--is a bond beyond description.

This is a perfect reflection of God's love for us---His desire to be in a living relationship with us.  His great love sandwiched around us---in spite of how undeserving we are.  God knows it all--has seen it all--heard even our deepest thoughts---and yet He loves us!  A beautiful picture of grace!

To know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:19


Sunday, February 28, 2016

HOLD MY HAND

SO GLAD

THERE IS ONE

WHO WILL ALWAYS

HOLD MY HAND






BLESSED SABBATH,

DEAR FRIENDS!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

ALTHOUGH I WILL ALWAYS

BE A TRUE BLUE

BULLDOG




INSTEAD OF KISSING A FROG

AND IT BECOMING A PRINCE

I JOINED THE CLUB AND




 BECOME

A SILVER FROG




TCU OFFERS EXTENDED EDUCATION 

COURSES FOR ALL OF US MATURE-WELL SEASONED ADULTS



I ATTENDED A RIVETING LECTURE

ON MEDICARE & THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

THIS WEEK




AND THE NEXT ONE TIME LECTURE
WILL BE
BIBLICAL DREAM INTERPRETATION


THEN I HAVE 3 FOUR WEEK CLASSES




BUILDING SPIRITUAL MUSCLES



UNDERSTANDING PUBLIC PRE K-12 EDUCATION
GOOD LUCK WITH EXPLAINING
THE MAZE OF EDUCATION

AND THE END ALL SHOW STOPPER



EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE



TRYING TO KEEP THE GRAY MATTER ACTIVE

HERE IN THE HOOD!


Friday, February 26, 2016

LISTEN

A subject so rich in meaning that two songs immediately come to mind--"Listen" by The Beatles -this one popped to the surface and immediately dates me and "Listen" by Beyonce--I will refrain from commenting about her beyond this a a beautiful song.



We live in a world that has evolved into a noisy, busy, hubbub of constant noise bombardment.  At any one time when the grands are around my television could be blaring, the music could be on in the back, there could be noise from the i pad game roaring, and someone is invariably trying to make a point, arguing, or crying.  To say the very least--it could well rival mass pandemonium.  Couple this with the railroad track being a block away, living in the flight pattern for the medivac helicopters, and a very busy six lane city street two blocks away and the noise become deafening.




A pin dropping does not stand a chance in all this noise pollution--it would take a steel girder falling from a multi story crane to have a glimmer of a chance of being heard.  The only prayer for quiet time is early in the morning, since the helicopters, trains, ambulances, and police never take a break but the world is more peaceful in the pre dawn hours.  Thankfully there is a little window of quiet very early in the AM---before 6:30 when the cars begin flying by on their way to the first shift at the hospital district--one block away

Listening with intent is a learned art---and I make every effort to focus on what is being said when someone is talking to me.  Purposefully tuning out the constant distractions and looking at the one who is talking to me helps in hearing what they are saying.  Silencing all the noise around and muting or ignoring my phone are at a minimum good manners and at the most an indication of how important the conversation is to me.    Often the conversation has much deeper meaning than what you hear on the surface, and the only way to understand what is being communicated is to give your full attention to the one sitting in front of you.  One of the large draw backs in the WWW is the absence of inflection when we are writing or posting---a great deal is lost in the flatness of the written word.  My love for you and your importance to me are directly related to how well I listen to you.

I was recently sent a survey to evaluate a lecture I heard.  It began me thinking about asking your opinion of this blog.  The survey will all be for naught if you are not honest and I promise I am listening to what you say.  Your opinion is important to me and what I say tomorrow will be greatly influenced by your willingness to honestly comment.

SO--here it is---fire away---PLEASE!




Create your own user feedback survey



I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”
Psalm 16:2

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A MINUTE OF YOUR TIME

INDULGE ME

WITH A MOMENT

OF YOUR TIME

TO COMPLETE

THIS SURVEY


Create your own user feedback survey

A HUGE

THANK YOU!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

MIRROR-MIRROR---

There was a comment on yesterday's blog concerning soul searching--self examination.  Always a good thing to slow down and consider who we are and what we stand for---how the world views us.


Heavens!!!  Hope this is not the response we get when others look at us.

As I thought over how we look to others, it occurred to me a sure and certain indicator would be those we are surrounded by.  The true reflection of the person we are and how we look to the world is our reflection in their eyes.

The person we see when staring at the mirror is not who we are.  We are made up, styled up, nipped and tucked up, and all other forms of fix it up until the reflection is a mere mask.  If you want to see who you really are---think about your friends and your family---and how they perceive you--how they treat you.  THAT is a true reflection of how you look---a reflection of your heart and soul not the superficial--but the very core of your being.  

How do I desire to be remembered as a great beauty or a beautiful soul-

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious
I Peter 3:3-4


Monday, February 22, 2016

PRAYING FOR WEAKNESS

Why would I ever pray for weakness?  Somehow along life's road, I have been given the description of being a strong woman.  What could possibly be wrong with being know for strength and endurance?  Not one thing--unless along the path lined with the stones of I Can Do This, my heart slowly becomes as hard as the stones I walk upon.  



If while trekking along the rocky path of survival, my vision narrows with the slow loss of peripheral vision until the ultimate consequence of tunnel vision, is being strong good.  While concentrating on staying the path, I have lost sight of the crowds surrounding me -on the same path for a multitude of reasons---all trying to be strong and survive.



It sadly would become much like a hike to the top of the mountain where I had my eyes always down--just trying to reach the mountain peak---and missing the glory of the trek.  As with much in life, the beauty is often in the journey, not in obtaining the ultimate destination.



I can become so consumed with surviving the difficult, that I fail to look around and see others who have suffered far greater pain and trails.   As our hearts physically harden with insufficient blood supply, they become lifeless without compassion for our fellow sojourners.



If I walk by a homeless stranger without a glance, unwilling to help without explanation of why he is there, my heart will harden.



If I leave it to the teachers to help every struggling child, for after all--they are being paid for this, my heart will harden.



If I turn the other way, when I see a tear falling, for someone is better equipped than me to help, my heart will harden.



If I ignore the stranger in the crowd and assume another will walk their way, my heart will harden.



If I fail to pray for those with great loss, those with illness, those with financial distress, those with family strife, those who are alone, those who can't get along, those who are lost, my heart will harden.

If walking by and ignoring the obvious I become strong, then, Lord, I pray for weakness.


2 LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.
Isaiah 33:2

Sunday, February 21, 2016

PENSIVE, DOUBTING, FEARFUL HEART

This hymn was written by former slave ship captain

 John Newton (1725-1807)

 who also wrote "Amazing Grace".




BLESSED SABBATH &

MUCH LOVE,

DEAR FRIENDS!

Friday, February 19, 2016

SEARCHING FOR THE SACRED

As I swept the porch on this fine and beautiful day, I began to ponder the sacred in my life.  Don't ask---I live in a word of loose association.  What do I consider sacred and what does this sacred determination mean?

As always I need to begin with, the definition of sacred -I found various thoughts on this  but the one I liked best was "Connected with God".  The truth of the matter is we have broadened the meaning of sacred in the secular world to encompass anything which we deem of great importance.  We consider many of our activities to be sacred--

Friday Night Football
Hunting Season
Date Night
Girls' Night Out
Christmas With The Family
A Week At The Beach/Mountains

On and on goes that list of anything which we feel is set in stone and not to be tampered with.  Don't you go messing with my regularly scheduled night out with the girls!

I have good friends who hold their exercise regime to be in the realm of sacred.  We all laugh at their inability to demonstrate any flexibility with their work outs for the week.  Thankfully--this has never been a problem for me---any little excuse and I am on the couch.  They are dedicated to their bike rides, swims, and run/walks and like the postman---nothing short of a natural disaster gets in the way. 

I have great admiration for those who have established their "Quiet Time" as sacred and always begin their day with this time set apart.  Unfortunately, my quiet time tends to revolve around the other activities of the day.  If I have early morning "Lulu Duty" and happen to not jump out of the bed when the alarm goes off, I tend to miss my quiet time for the day.  My dedication of the sacred can be fleeting.

What do I consider sacred---and what in my life is connected with God?  For the most part---it is the intangibles of life.   The emotions--feelings which are evoked when experiencing the sacred -those things which connect us and remind us of God


Seeing the Breaking Dawn or
The Last Glimmer of the Sunset




The Joy of Family 
All Gathered Together



The Sweet Hug
Of Family & Friend



The Colors Of
The Changing Seasons




The Quiet of Snow
As It Falls



Waves Rolling In
With The Coming Tide



Gentle Breezes Caressing
My Cheeks




The Feel of Grass
Underneath My Toes




The Pitter Patter of
Raindrops Upon My Roof



The Laughter
of a Child




A Smile




Art Which Speaks
To My Soul




A Song
Touching My Heart




My Prayers
Rising To The Heavens




The Sure Certainty
Of God's Presence




So much to remind me of my sacred connection with God

Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence

Psalm 139:7








Thursday, February 18, 2016

DO OVER'S

I recently had a  blog comment stating,


"If only I could have a 'Do Over' "

My reply was 

"There are no Do Over's in life, the past is in the past, and there is no guarantee of the future, so we only have today."

I have spent a great deal of time thinking about all of this.  Perhaps I answered too hastily---while there are no Do Over's in life---there are second chances.  


 While exploring this on the WWW (and we ALL know EVERYTHING on the WWW is true), I found numerous examples of  possibilities for second chances-


Tattoos, Relationships, Jobs, Neighborhoods,
Friends, Roads Not Taken, Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda's



We can’t go back in time to correct our past actions, but we can make new decisions that move us forward in a way that gives us the sense of a fresh redo.  Experience is the best teacher and if we repeat past mistakes and failures over and over---we have squandered our education.  

As I read article after article on Do Overs, I found two distinct camps--those who believe in second chances and those who loudly proclaim what is done is done.  I will agree we cannot go back and undo the past---it is history.  I firmly believe we have the opportunity for a second chance based upon experience and our desire to redeem the past.  We have the ability to change the ending of our story.

Where did I come up with this crazy notion?  The Word---it is filled with examples of Second Chances--Redemption--Do Over's.  Our God is a God of Second Chances---Praise Him!

So take heart---you can turn it around and do it better---you have a second chance!

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope
Because of the Lord's great love
We are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:21-23

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

EXPECTING A MIRACLE

I have fought a life long battle of jumping on and off the exercise wagon and this is not my first time to write about this sad state of affairs.   My recent jump was more like a plunge into the Deep Cesspool of Sloth.  I was mired in the quicksand of doing little or nothing for almost five months.  With the new year came a new commitment to getting back into shape.   Combine that with a temptation recently waved under my nose for an excellent but extremely physically challenging adventure and I am back in the gym!  



It obviously was not soon enough as things had begun to go south as evidenced above!

So I have been hard at it since the beginning of January---now let's see---according to my calculations that is six whole weeks. OH--but I did take that week off while sunning on the beach---HEY but I kayaked and swam AGAINST the current while there.  (We won't say anything about all I ate!)   I AM NOT SEEING THE RESULTS I SHOULD!


I walked into that gym expecting a miracle after a few days of semi-dedicated work---and what have I gotten for all that hard work---sore muscles, aches and pains and the humiliation of standing by every young hard body in Fort Worth while wearing tights.  Hey I've put in the time---five whole weeks of dedication--well except for the weekends and those days I tutor and any other special occasion I could not possibly miss.  BUT surely everything should be firm and back in its proper place after FIVE WHOLE WEEKS!



THIS IS NOT FAIR!!  Why, yes, I did spend five months getting into this pitiful shape---but---I HAVE spent a few days a week---exercising some--OK a little---for FIVE WHOLE WEEKS!!!  WHERE ARE THE RESULTS!

Thus you have the human condition---expecting a miracle---and wanting to put out little or no effort on our part.  We can be a sorry lot!

Reminds me of my spiritual shape---I spend a little time almost everyday in The Word---and I pray--especially when I have my tail between a rock and a hard place.  Why aren't I experiencing the euphoria of God's presence 24/7?  With all this minimal effort--surely our relationship should be growing closer?  I just don't understand it---


I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.
Proverbs 8:17

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

THOU SHALL NOT'S

I remember as a child all the rules imposed upon me.  Bedtimes, clean your plate, mind your manners, don't hit your brother, rest after lunch, don't swim with a full stomach, don't swim alone, do your homework, make your bed...on and on---life was filled with do's and don't's.  My occasional -well perhaps frequent---bending and out right breaking of the rules lead to swift reprisal.  Momma did not tolerate breaking the rules!




Turn around and I am grown and have my own family to raise.  The rules began appearing about the time they were two.  Anyone who has ever dealt with a willful two year old understands the necessity of rules. And as the children got older---the rule list grew---for they seemed to find more dangerous things to get involved in.  Finally as a parent, I realized the rules were mostly to protect the children and not some random list created to stifle all fun activities.



Rules do not go away when we become adults--we are surrounded by rules and laws.  Rules of good etiquette, rules for ethical business practices, laws for traffic--laws for fair play--laws for taxes--laws for almost every interaction between parties.  Fortunately---the rules and most of the laws were not created to stifle us or restrict our freedoms---but instead are for the well being of society.  They are not punishment--but instead protection.

I began thinking about this when discussing sin.  God has a list of laws and rules in His Book.  As we talked this over, we talked about the freedom from the law we are given by the redemption Christ provides for us when we proclaim our faith in Him. "The law was given to us to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith."  We are all sinful and unable to keep the law.

Does this mean the law is bad?  The rules and laws in The Word were created for man's good and protection, not to punish us.  When we do not follow the rules and laws---we suffer the consequences of our sin.  So God---as any good parent---set down a set of rules for our own good.  Yes, we are free from the law, but we are told to not use this freedom as an excuse to indulge in living in sinful behavior.  If instead, we live by the Spirit, we will not pursue actions which are contrary to the nature of God.  If we allow the Spirit to lead us, while we are not under the law, we will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.

THIS, My Friends, is a Complex---yet ---SIMPLE topic!  Plant yourself in Galatians for a while and dive in to the beauty of God's redemption!


"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."
Galatians 5:16

Monday, February 15, 2016

DANGEROUS CURRENTS

The stay at the beach included a snorkeling trip.  Since a couple of our group are expert swimmers but had not snorkeled, we began by snorkeling in a blue hole.



A blue hole is created by the ocean water being allowed into a small cove by a break between the rocks.  This provides a shallow pool full of fish, but without the danger of the deeper water.  Amazingly the end opposite of the rocks was an entrance into a series of underground caves which run under the island.  Some brave divers venture into these dark underground tunnels--but not this claustrophobic girl!



We then went to Paradise Cove and Deadman's Reef for the real adventure.    It all began with a short lecture from our guide--stressing the importance of staying together and the plan for the swim out to the reef.  Confident of our abilities, none of us wore any type of buoyancy device.



 There was a buoy about half way to the reef and then several around the reef.  This provided a place to stop--hold on--and get your bearings and rest.  The guide made the mistake of saying everyone should take off and we would all meet at the second buoy by the reef.  Somehow I managed to get in front of the others.  When I stopped at the first buoy, the others were not far behind so I started for the second buoy.

The current was very swift and it was impossible to know where you were going without pulling your head up and getting your bearings and with choppy water--that even proved difficult.  What I did not realize until I arrived at the second buoy was I had ended up at the wrong buoy.  As I held on and waited for the others, I finally noticed over the choppy water the other buoy---what seemed like a long way away.

Once it dawned on me what I had done and I started to just swim back to the shore, but then the others would have no idea what happened to me.  I had no choice but to swim against the current to the correct buoy.  I finally made it to the buoy to the relief of the guide--who had lost sight of me due to the breaking waves.  He was greatly relieved, but I only got a quick glimpse of the beautiful-but dangerous deep waters on the other side of the reef.  We all headed back to the shore--still fighting the current---and trying to swim a straight line.  It took swimming more strokes than normal since we were always having to fight the current which was taking us in the wrong direction.

NOW---if I had stayed with the group---followed the instructions---this would have never happened.  I became confident I knew where I was going and did not look up to see the goal often enough.  I also underestimated the pull of the dangerous current.  I ended up working a lot harder than necessary and swimming much more than the others--to reach the same goal.  And the sad part---I missed the beauty of some of the sights they saw while struggling to get to the point I should have gone to in the first place.  I was thankful for my fins and the buoyancy of the salt water ---without them I might not have made it.

Sounds a lot like my path in life---I grow over-confident--forget the instructions--and head into the deep water with dangerous currents. Finding my way back to the intended path can be like swimming against the current--NOT SO EASY!  SO---the lesson I learned--do not just listen and know the instructions, but follow them and keep your eye on the goal.  And avoid at all costs the swift current pulling you into dangerous waters.  


As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD's word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.
Psalm 18:30

Sunday, February 14, 2016

YOUR LOVE

ALL I EVER

REALLY NEEDED

IS YOUR LOVE


]

SABBATH BLESSINGS,

DEAR FRIENDS!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

MEANWHILE---FAR AWAY--FROM THE HOOD





OUR FRIEND, SUSAN,
HAS A VILLA
IN THE BAHAMAS
AND ASKED COULD I GET AWAY
FOR A LITTLE BEACH TIME-

YES---I BELIEVE I CAN!



SO THE FOUR RETIREES
JUMPED ON
A JET PLANE
AND LANDED ON THE BEACH



WITH A LITTLE KAYAKING
THROWN IN



AND A LITTLE SNORKELING
THIS IS IN THE BLUE HOLE
IMMEDIATELY BEFORE
THE DEEP BLUE SEA
STORY COMING NEXT WEEK


AND THE HORSE RIDE



AND SWINGING ON THE DESERTED BEACH


AND EATING


AND EATING
FRESH LOBSTER-
CRAB CLAWS-
CONCH-
FISH


AND A BEAUTIFUL SUNSET
ON THE CORAL ROCK JETTY

OH YES--
BACK TO THE REAL WORLD-
STILL LIVING LIFE LARGE
HERE IN THE HOOD