Sunday, July 31, 2016

THE BROKEN BEAUTIFUL

HE HAS MET ME

IN MY DEEPEST PAIN

THOUGH I AM BROKEN

HE TAKES ME

AND MAKES ME BEAUTIFUL





THERE IS HEALING

IN HIS NAME!

BLESSED SABBATH,
DEAR FRIENDS!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

I APOLOGIZE

FOR THE PROFANE PICTURES--

BUT

NOT SMART(BEING KIND HERE) IS ALIVE

AND WELL

HERE IN THE HOOD


THE DRUMS OF THE HOOD

WERE BEATING THIS WEEK

WITH A REPORT

OF A CAR BURGLARY

IT SEEMS AN I PHONE WAS STOLEN

THIS I PHONE IS CONNECTED

TO ALL THE OWNER'S

OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICES

VIA "THE CLOUD"

THE BRILLIANT THIEVES

MADE SELFIES

I KID YOU NOT!!






I SMELL COOKED GOOSES!

Friday, July 29, 2016

MARY POPPINS WISDOM - FEED THE BIRDS

Mary is busy preparing her charges for bedtime in anticipation of a visit
to the bank with their father the next day. They are so excited, and delighted
to think of all the sights their father will show them in the city.

Mary's response while showing them the snow globe of St Paul's:

" Well, most things he can. But sometimes a person we love through no
fault of his own, can't see past the end of his nose. "


Photo Credit:emgn



Mary then sings the beautiful song about the little old lady who sits by
the cathedral selling crumbs for the birds-

Early each day to the steps of St. Paul's
The little old bird woman comes
In her own special way to the people she calls
Come buy my bags full of crumbs
Come feed the little birds show them you care
And you'll be glad if you do
Their young ones are hungry
Their nests are so bare
All it takes is tuppence from you

They are following their father to the bank the next day--when GLORY
BE!---there sits the little old bird woman on the steps of St. Paul's.

Photo Credit:stpaulsuk

Young Michael has listened to Mary's lesson well--and will have nothing
to do with depositing his tuppence in Mr. Dawes' bank--instead wanting
to only feed the birds.

Photo Credit:Brianrxm

Mr. Dawes is outraged and responds to Michael, " Fiddlesticks, boy! Feed the birds and what have you got? Fat birds!"

Michael's eyes had been opened, but the image of greed portrayed in Mr. Dawes wants it all.  They had vaults full of money and yet--they wanted the little tuppence Michael only wanted to share.

A sad but true picture of mankind--as we sit and wait for others to feed the poor, the needy, those without--while we hold tight our treasure to keep it safe.  We walk blindly by in our haste of the day and fail to notice the sorrow all around.  And when we happen to see--we quickly respond,  my tuppence wouldn't help much and others are so rich-I will let them help--I need to save for--or buy myself---.  But if we all gave tuppence---if we all would share what we could--would those in need--ever need anymore?

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.
Proverbs 19:17


Thursday, July 28, 2016

MARY POPPINS WISDOM - DOORWAY TO ENCHANTMENT

Photo Credit:LondonChimneySweeps

Today, the multi-talented Bert is a chimney sweep and has been roped in to cleaning the chimney & babysitting--we women call that multi tasking.  He has solicited the help of Michael and Jane to cover the furniture in the parlor while he prepares his brooms.  The scene then changes as they all look up the chimney.

Jane looks up and with a hesitant voice of doom announces,

"It's awful dark and gloomy up there."

And ever the positive spin artist, Bert replies-

" There now. You see how wrong people can be? That there is what you

might call a doorway to a place of enchantment. "

And thus begins one of the best scenes from the movie as they P O P up the
chimney to enjoy the view so few ever see---the rooftops and skylines of
the beautiful city. And then---the lowly chimney sweeps--the winner of the
"World's Nastiest Jobs" award for the year--entertain us with a
rousing round of song and dance. Their lively rendition leaves us all tapping our toes and with
a smile on our face. They are happy with where they are and have found the
joy in what they do.


Photo Credit:Hollywood Reporter

In order to get to the rooftop experience, they all had to go through the
dark and dirty chimney---I HAD REALLY RATHER NOT! Life can be filled
with wonderful surprises on the rooftop, but we can only experience
them if we have the courage to go through the dark tunnel first.

As I have traveled through some of the dark tunnels in life, keeping my
eye upon the light shining at the end of the tunnel has seen me through
the worst of times-the darkest and gloomiest of times. The day always
comes when I P O P out onto the rooftop. And OH, how I appreciate the
view and the joy--of the rooftop experiences---especially after the
dirt-dark-and gloom of the tunnel.

So I remind you today--if you are headed through the gloom of the tunnel,
the door to enchantment will surely be at the end of the tunnel--AND OH
the glory of the rooftop experience!



 And the light shines in darkness;
 and the darkness comprehended it not. 
John 1:5

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

MARY POPPINS WISDOM-PIECRUST PROMISES

I survived a week of baby sitting this little cutie--I think.  It may take me a week to recover!  HOW did I EVER work full time and raise three children?  

Two days of the week---sadly--the little darling was really sick--some "Baby Virus".  When I contacted Dr. Daddy and we went over the lack of symptoms other than high fever, he told me not to worry---EASY FOR HIM TO SAY!  She was the "Don't Put Me Down" brand of sick and miserable.  I discovered a rather remarkable thing during this 48 hours---she will watch "Mary Poppins" OVER AND OVER AND OVER.  I am thankful for Walt Disney's masterpiece of music and dance---it helped me survive my moment of extreme need.  It also gave me a few blog ideas---IMAGINE!

A brief side note--Dr. Daddy came home with Montezuma's revenge--I have no sympathy--told him I was not worried.



Moving on--Mary Poppins is tucking Michael into bed one night when he promises to be good if only Mary Poppins will stay with them.  Her brilliant response:



For those of you who are not cooks, a piecrust is a very simple item to make.  It does not take a rocket scientist to mix flour with a little sugar, salt, butter, shortening, and ice water.  Mix--roll it out--pat into the pan and  cut--presto--a pie crust.  A pie crust, though simple to make, is a fragile thing---it will break easily--for any number of reasons.  Only if you are careful to respect the integrity and fragile nature of the crust, will you keep from breaking it.

So it goes with promises---easily made.  I promise to come see you, I promise to do my best, I promise to rake the yard (sweep the kitchen, clean the bathroom, make my bed--insert your promise here), I promise to eat right and exercise daily----and the list could go on for ever.  Then there are the more important promises of life, the promise to pray for you, the promise to be honest and upright while doing the right thing, the promise to love and cherish, the promise till death parts us, the promise to love God and obey His commandments.  An entire list of promises which are the backbone--the very fabric of who we are---our integrity---our character.  

Promises we make--with the intent to keep---and then life gets in our eyes--life and our wayward will.  We forget the fragile nature of the promise and it is often easily broken with a large dose of rationalization.  Then what do we have---a broken piecrust--or life--or reputation or relationship.  

The moral--be careful of the promises you make--they are fragile--and easily broken with lasting consequence.  Perhaps it is better to keep quiet and still--than break a promise we should have never made.


But whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:
I John 2:5

Sunday, July 24, 2016

ANCHOR OF HOPE

MY PRAYER

WE ALL

HOLD TO THE 

ANCHOR OF HOPE




BLESSED SABBATH,

DEAR FRIENDS!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

FOLLOW THE LEADER



What in the world could this be?





The farmers of Gimmewald have these giant cowbells made to put on the "Leader of the Pack" or Herd as may be.  Costing upwards of $1000,
these seem to be the Swiss Farmer's status symbol for how well he is doing.  


Bossy #1 is allowed the privilege of wearing the status symbol as she leads her herd up the mountain to fresh grazing.  From my reading, it seems Bossy #1 does not particularly like wearing the heavy bell--who could blame her.  Those other cows would follow her with or without the bell.  She has established her status as the one to follow and the others trace her footsteps--sometimes to their demise.  The farmer's ego is stroked when other farmers see his latest bell---the cows could care less.  They need a leader---the leader has been determined---they will follow the leader without question or wandering off the path--without exception.  This has been bred into their very DNA to follow the leader of the herd.


Bossy on the Right
Has the Bell



We humans tend toward running in packs or herds.  These people will often lead me down some really difficult trails---and still I follow along.


Why I even ran off the side of a mountain, following along with the crowd--who always has a leader---with all between me and sure death was a nylon table cloth.  It seemed like a good idea at the time!

As I have watched this summer of chaos develop, I wonder--who is leading and who is following?  Do we have our eyes on "The Leader" who can be trusted--who has our best interest at heart?  Are we allowing the emotion of the mob to lead us---are we willing participants in mob mentality?  Are we looking to the only One we should ever allow to lead us or are we listening to the broadcast and social media and heading for the edge of the cliff?

I am praying--we all open our eyes and hearts to the only answer and the One True Leader.  



Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."
John 8:24

Monday, July 18, 2016

TENDER LOVING CARE

One of the many fascinating aspects of the Swiss Alps was the story behind the dairy herds.  It seems in the summer, the farmer brings his animals high up on the mountain to graze on the lush green grass.



The cows are kept in a contained area by electrified fences built by the farmer-as shown above.  A lifetime of training has resulted in the cows knowing that one strand of wire should not be touched--or Z A P--it got you.  How would we know that--someone--of course--HAD to try it.



We continued seeing these small log cabins as we explored the trails high up the mountain.  They seemed unoccupied and were very small.  Someone finally told us the story, that they are used by the farmers  during the summer months for storage of the hay he cuts from the adjacent fields in anticipation of the coming winter snows. 



Since dairy cows and goats must be milked twice a day, someone has to be near enough to do this milking and to tend the herd.  Some of these small cabins seemed more occupied than the ones which only store hay.



They all served the same purpose of providing for the herd.  At the end of the short summer season, the herds are fed with the abundant hay gathered during the brief yet prolific growing season.  The farmer's one concern is the provision and care of his herd.



While we were in Gimmewald two cows walked off the ledge and fell to their death.  If you understand herd animals, you know they will follow a leader--even to their death unless protected.  

This paints a perfect picture of how God cares and provides for us throughout all seasons of our life.  The danger always lies in getting too close to the dangerous edge or following our peer without thinking for ourselves into danger.  We are promised in The Word--He will provide--ALL our needs---He will protect us--He will guide us--and all we have to do is keep our eyes upon Him---


The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Psalm 23:1



Sunday, July 17, 2016

THY WILL

YOU ARE GOD

I AM NOT





PRAY FOR OUR WORLD

TO KNOW

HIS WILL

WILL BE DONE



BLESSED SABBATH,

DEAR FRIENDS

Saturday, July 16, 2016

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD


IT IS HOT

HERE IN TEXAS


WE STILL HAVE

PARADES IN THE HOOD

ON THE 4TH


AND DRIVE OUR LULU

CRAZY

BY WEARING DIFFERENT SOCKS


SO HOT

YOU NEED TO BE

IN THE WATER


OR IN THE BOAT

EATING CHEETOS


OR EATING

ICE CREAM

IN THE AC!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

AND FINALLY

A FREAK WIND STORM

LEFT A HUGE LIMB

ON MY ROOF


WHERE'S A GOOD MAN

WHEN I NEED ONE?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

PLENTY GOING ON

HERE IN THE HOOD

IN THE MIDST OF 

ANOTHER HOT SUMMER!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

THOUGHTS WHILE TRAVELING-WE SAY AUF WIEDERSEHEN

Our final full day is spent taking a fast paced tour of Berlin--via subway and feet.  The guide for the day is the best guide we have the entire trip.  Lee is an ex-pat who has been in Europe since his late high school years.  Now married and with a 16 year old daughter, he has been here a long time--including before the wall came down and was a wealth of information presented with a dramatic flair.    His insight into the feelings of the Europeans toward Americans, the aftermath of World War II, the fall of Communism, and the European love affair with soceer are highly entertaining.  Add to this a history, geography, economics, and culture lesson and my brain goes into overload.

One of the most fascinating things about Berlin---it was almost entirely destroyed during World War II--but it has been restored with great attention to historical detail.  



We stood on this very avenue-and there is no evidence of any destruction today.  The Brandenberg Gate is now surrounded by embassy row.  


The day included a trip to museums, castles, Berlin Wall Memorial, and Check Point Charlie to list only a few.  


I got a great laugh out of the KFC being the first thing you come to when crossing into West Berlin from the East.  Lee told us during the years of the Wall you were allowed to enter on a day pass to the East for $15.  If you were not back at midnight--you were in BIG trouble.  He relayed a story of a citizen from the West married to one from the East.  It seems he walked, sometimes in his bathrobe, across to the West every night just before midnight and crossed back into the East just after.  This seemed to be pretty bizarre, but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.  



I leave you with this last picture -"Central Memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Victims of War and Dictatorship"  It spoke legions of the horrors of hatred and war.

On the long 24 hour -Berlin to Paris- Paris to JFK- JFK to DFW-trip getting back to the Good Old USA, I had plenty of time to reflect on all I had seen and heard.   I thought of the wonder of God's inspired creation, the indomitable spirit of endurance in mankind, the beauty of grace and forgiveness when faced with the horrors of evil and hatred, and the hope for a better tomorrow which springs eternal in man.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime.

My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him.
Psalm 62:5


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

THOUGHTS WHILE TRAVELING-ONE LAST TRAIN RIDE


We are headed to Berlin -- our final train ride of the trip.  If you look at the map above, you will see how close we will be to Amsterdam--where it all began three weeks ago.  It somehow seems fitting that we have made a big circle as we zig zagged through the 5 European countries of Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Czech Republic.  What an adventure!


In our final days of Europe, we decide to breakfast on coffee/tea and muffins at the great American institution, Starbucks.  I could claim we were re-introducing ourselves to American culture, if not for the fact that there was a Starbucks in almost every stop along the way.  Today's Starbuck's in directly in front of the infamous clock in the Old Town Square of Prague---somehow this seems WRONG!

Today turns out to be our final long walk with suitcases and packs in tow.  As I read over my journal, the question seems to be---why is it always uphill--when we head out with our luggage.  My inexpensive bag has held up well-but I must say ALL luggage should be tested on cobblestone streets to prove its mettle.



You enter the Prague train station and are immediately thrown back to a golden time of opulence and beauty in architecture.  Then you discover you must go down stairs to find your platform.


Welcome to the 21st Century!  The concourse could well be any modern airport.  We find out that in a sick attempt at humor, you are not allowed to know your platform until 10 minutes before you train's departure.  The stampede resembles a Black Friday rush into Wal Mart once the number is posted.  We HURRY down the concourse--finally find our car and seats and plop down.  THEN they announce, their is a mechanical issue with the train and we will be delayed.  LIFE IS FILLED WITH HURRY UP AND WAITS!  Somehow this strikes a memory chord of the same occurrences in airports around the world.


Photo Credit:Worldharmonyrun.org

One of my favorite parts of the trip has been the train rides.  It has given me the opportunity to watch the countryside as we clicky-clack by the fields.  This is NOT the way to see the cities since the train usually goes through the less scenic parts of the cities, but the countryside is best viewed while sitting in your train seat.  I spent hours staring out the window and enjoying the beautiful scenery including the poppy fields on the way to Berlin.


We pass by villages trapped in time and filled with the memories of the ages and we pass by villages all rebuilt since World War II with no thought to aesthetics.


Arriving in Berlin late afternoon, after 3 weeks of refusing to take a taxi, we break down and hail our first taxi.  ENOUGH of dragging the bags around!  Arriving at our hotel, we immediately notice across the street there is building going on behind a crumbled wall still left from World War II.  We have arrived in East Berlin!


He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
Psalm 103:12

Monday, July 11, 2016

WHAT HAPPENED?

There are two more posts left from "The Trip", but they will have to come another day.  There are more important things to say today.

Photo Credit-ABC News

This photograph poignantly captures the feelings of the majority of our nation.  We have a black-female police officer sitting in the aftermath of the shooting in Dallas--with the body language of disbelief.  I would title it "What happened?".

Let us not begin today with last week-instead let us go back almost 80 years ago--to the 1930's.  The world is filled with injustice--dis-satisfaction--dis-contentment--and rage over circumstances.  Along comes an ideology which promises to correct the wrongs--provide justice for the suppressed--give power to the masses----and an entire nation jumps on board the train to the promised land.  A toehold is gained by evil with the guarantee of fixing what was broken.  With that toehold comes the willingness to ignore what is happening to entire classes of people--those who don't look or act like them.

When traveling through Europe--especially Germany--for the most part there is a deep shame for what happened during World War II.  We ask ourselves how could this have ever happened--what could have made wrong seem right?


When a nation only thinks of the promises of what we want and think we deserve, we begin to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the sufferings of those around us.  We become willing to ignore the destitute, the down trodden, and the persecuted--in a vain attempt to make our world right.  We become mired in the philosophy of every man controls their destiny and ignore those caught in the quicksand of generational poverty.  We turn away and refuse to listen to the cries of others and instead focus on what "They" should be doing to fix their problems.

Officers and a protester at Belo Garden Park in Dallas, before the ambush. Dallas Police Department

And then we are shocked, when they become so frustrated they protest, and some even snap and go over the edge of reason into the land of hatred.  As I have read and studied the Holocaust, one of the most alarming discoveries was the hate that continued for the Jews--even after the war had ended and the atrocities had been discovered.  Many Jews, who had already suffered the worst, were still pursued by those who had been taught to hate them.  They returned to their homes to find them ransacked and were denied the return of their property.  When you study this post-war era, you learn many-perhaps most Jews wanted to immigrate to Israel, but were denied by the British government due to the tension in the Mid-East.  Sound familiar?  All of this has been going on for a LONG time!  And then the scant remnant left of the Jewish nation are forced to leave their homelands and relocate and start over.  Forever denied by their fellow countrymen even the basic human right of reclaiming their homes and living in peace.



And now today, we have racial tension in our own great land-more than 150 years after the end of the Civil War--there is still hatred and discrimination.  My immediate response, "But I am NOT a prejudiced person!"  Perhaps not, BUT, my silence also can speak volumes.  Our discrimination comes from deep within us when we recognize someone is different--physically-philosophically-spiritually-culturally and become threatened by that which we do not understand.  It is a problem as old as man's fall in the garden.  Once Cain and Abel discovered their gifts to be different--they began to compete for dominance.  And here we are all these years later-still threatened by our differences.

What are we doing about the state of our nation?  Oh, we prayed in church yesterday---a really nice prayer--heart felt--imploring God to show us the way to justice and peace.  And--YES--prayer is the key--but as we read from I John--I was reminded our responsibility is admitting our sin---God then provides Our Advocate.  You see--we are expected to do something--make an effort--listen to others and hear what they are saying.  Work to correct the injustices and embrace the beauty of our differences.  This side of Heaven, there will always be strife--but SURELY we can do better than this?

So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness,  we are not practicing the truth.  BUT if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.
I John 1:6-7




Sunday, July 10, 2016

WHAT I REALLY NEED

WHEN THE WORLD

HAS GONE CRAZY

AND YOU QUESTION

IF THERE IS ANY HOPE

HE IS NEAR

CRY OUT

TO HIM

AND HE

WILL REVEAL

HIMSELF



MAY YOU KNOW

THE SURE PRESENCE

OF JESUS,

DEAR FRIENDS

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

Saturday, July 9, 2016

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

I am deeply saddened

and greatly concerned

for our country.


When we begin to destroy

ourselves from within,

the enemy gains yet

another victory.


BUT GOD

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
II Chronicles 7:14