Monday, September 26, 2016

SHHHHH


I pass by this house when I walk in the neighborhood,  Frankly I find it lacks eye appeal and always wonder what were they thinking?  Someone told me this plain stone - rather ugly wall hides a secret.  A secret English garden which no one but the owners and those invited in can see.  A well kept secret --a beautiful garden kept behind a huge stone wall which hides the beauty from all who pass by.  One has to wonder why the need for secrecy?  Why hide all the beauty behind the drab shroud of a colorless wall? 


We all have had or do have secrets in our lives.  Secrets surrounding ourselves, our families, --or the very core of who we are.  Some secrets hide the beauty, but others hide our failures or the pain and suffering caused by the failures of others.    Secrets we have kept from everyone--and those who know---we charge to never speak of what others should not know.  For you see--if others know our secrets-



If others know the deep dark truth we hide from public view--we fear they will no longer respect us---avoid our company---retreat from the relationship.  Shame clouds our vision and reason flees the premises.  We think there could be nothing worse than the exposure of who we are--what we have done---our short comings or what we have endured.  



Here is the truth---we are at greater risk for loss of integrity--relationship--love of others by keeping our secrets than admitting them and acknowledging our human failings or those who have wounded us. There is not one among us who has not made mistakes--not wished for a do-over--for none of us are perfect.   Others will be more likely quick to forgive and forget if we confess--tell the truth than if they find out we are living behind a thin veil of secrecy.  As the emperor had no clothes and all could see his nudity---so our veil will become transparent when placed in the light of the truth.

So release the burden of your secrets--live the truth---and be the better person for it.  We punish ourselves far more when we cling to avoiding truth by pulling the sheet of shame over our head.  Those who hear our confession would never inflict the guilt and shame we place upon ourselves.  We do not realize this sheet we hide behind is transparent when the light shines on it, and our secrets are never really secret from Him who knows and sees all.



Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
Ephesians 4:25


Sunday, September 25, 2016

MYSTERIOUS

IF YOU ARE BENDING

UNDER THE STRAIN OF

WHY?

TRUST

IN HIS GRACE

AND REST IN HIS PLAN




BLESSED SABBATH,

DEAR FRIENDS

Saturday, September 24, 2016

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD


THE JUNGLE DRUMS

HAD A STEADY BEAT

THIS WEEK


LIVING ON THE EDGE

OF THE TRINITY RIVER

WE ARE CLOSE 

TO MANY ENTERTAINMENT VENUES


IT WOULD SEEM

ONE OF THE LOCAL

HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS

HAD A "DO"

AT THE FOOD PARK NOT FAR FROM THE HOOD

OH THE NEIGHBORS BY THE RIVER

WERE IN AN UPROAR!

CALL THE POLICE!!


HAVING LIVED ON THE EDGE OF THE TCU CAMPUS

I AM NOT VERY SYMPATHETIC

THE NOISE COMES

WHEN YOU LIVE BY

PRIME REAL ESTATE




THIS GIVES ME PEP IN MY STEP

WHILE OUT WALKING

THEY PUT THESE SIGNS UP

WHEN MOSQUITOES WITH THE

VIRUS ARE CAUGHT IN YOUR HOOD

DR. SON IN LAW TOLD ME TO NOT WORRY

IT IS ONLY DANGEROUS IF IT GET IN YOUR BRAIN

THAT HELPS MY FEELINGS--NOT!


A COUPLE OF THESE PEOPLE

HAVE BEEN SICK

WHICH LEADS TO FURTHER CONFUSION

IN THE COMINGS AND GOINGS



THIS ONE IS TAKING KARATE

SERIOUSLY--WHAT IS HIS MOTHER THINKING!!


AND THE REALLY GOOD NEWS

FALL IS FINALLY SNEAKING 

IN THE BACK DOOR

NOTICE--ONLY HITTING 90 ONCE NEXT WEEK!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

STILL LIVING LIFE LARGE

HERE IN THE HOOD!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

WHAT CAN SEPARATE US?

I have spent days going through boxes and albums of pictures looking for one special shot from long ago.  It has taken a long time for me to be able to open these boxes and look through a lifetime of memories.



This is the tip of the iceberg!  Before moving I separated all my children's photos and gave them to each of them.  These albums and several boxes still remain in my possession.




Pictures from long ago with a special cousin.


To this #1 grand fifteen years ago

Vacations, holidays, births, deaths, marriages, ballgames, adventures, special family and friends, momentous occasions, and the day to day of life---I looked at each and every one of them.  It was a wonderful trip down memory lane.

Through the peaks and the valleys, I have had a blessed and joy filled life.  Somehow I had let my grief cast a shadow on all the good--all the joy--the eternal presence of God in my life---every step of the way.  I had lost my sense of perspective of the truth- What a wonderful life I have had.  As The Word promises-
 that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So it is with our memories--no event, nor man, can take our memories from us, and those memories are entirely our own.  Though age or cerebral hemorrhage or traumatic brain injury may lock them behind a door, those memories are still in the storehouse.
As I reflected and smiled and laughed and even shed a tear or two while looking at those pictures, I remembered, the SAME GOD who was there then is still with me now.  The Same God who showered me with blessings, held me in my sorrow, and wanted only His Good for me is still present with me today.

Why then--would I not think  know He has more joy, more blessings, more evidence of His presence in the years to come?  How could I have possibly thought my life was dwindling away in the fog bank of "If Only"?  Looking through the pictures of the last few years--I realize--I still have joy--I still am blessed--HE IS STILL WITH ME.  Perhaps I have grown to know the greatest certainty of His presence in the hardest of times.

The Same God who has loved me for the first 59 years--has loved me the last 8 years.  My hope is built on nothing less.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12

By the way--I NEVER found the picture I was looking for--wonder WHO sent me on the wild goose chase---Smiles!

Monday, September 19, 2016

DANGLING ENDS

I have found myself at loose ends since I made a decision to not write as much.  I don't do loose ends well.  


I can stand to sit still only so much and then I am like the proverbial jack in the box jumping up and launching off into yet another project. I definitely see a tendency toward ADHD when it comes to these projects.  I begin by trimming a bush and see the weeds in the stone path need pulling and notice the dirt on the window by the path, which draws attention to the deck which needs sweeping, and this leads to the drive which is covered in squirrel thrown pecan hulls, which takes me to the front yard and a entire new pallet of jobs needing to be done.   With a good book--I can sit for hours--but little else can keep me quiet and still-so I tend to keep at least one book or maybe three or four going at a time.

I have arranged my volunteering this school year to all fall on one day.  The remaining six days need to be filled.  I have been arranging flowers, cooking up a storm, cleaning out closets and drawers,--why I even broke down and cleaned the stove and refrigerator.  All my pondering is done while in motion--not sitting on the porch swinging and staring off into the horizon.  Annie Oakley said it so well-



Perhaps this comes from my childhood.  My mother was a firm believer in children are seen and not heard.  I sat for long stretches--perfectly still in a chair without saying a word.  I did all my sitting in those years when I should have been out running instead of impressing the adults with my good behavior.

My dear friend advised me to "Rest and listen" while the lull is here.  She told me it would not last---but am I resting and listening or am I busily running around avoiding the conversation?  The first hurdle in having the conversation is determining how to snag the jumping bean.



Perhaps this is why I get the 2:00 AM wake up calls---my busy signal answers all the waking hour calls.  Praying God will show me His path for this season---and that I can slow down enough to hear His message when presented.  Though I find myself at peace--I truly desire to know the serenity of walking His path--even when it borders the raging river.


Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble. I hope for Your salvation, O LORD, And do Your commandments. My soul keeps Your testimonies, And I love them exceedingly.
Psalm 119: 165-167




Sunday, September 18, 2016

SECOND GUESSING

I HAVE SPENT

FAR TOO MANY HOURS

SECOND GUESSING




SABBATH BLESSINGS,

DEAR FRIENDS

If you are like me and discouraged
with the state of politics
in the US,
listen to this sermon
I heard at the church I attend-

http://www.ccbcfamily.org/sermons/main/in-god-we-trust/

Saturday, September 17, 2016

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

THE JUNGLE DRUMS 

HAVE QUIETED


AND I FIND 

MYSELF AT 

LOOSE ENDS

POST COMING MONDAY

ON MY LOOSE ENDS


I DON'T DO LOOSE ENDS WELL

SO I HAVE

ARRANGED FLOWERS

(YES THAT IS ME IN THE BACK LEFT)


AND REDISCOVERED

HOW MUCH I LOVE 

TO COOK


SALMON ON A BED OF COUSCOUS 

WITH ROASTED ASPARAGUS


PANKO ENCRUSTED CHICKEN

WITH ROASTED POTATOES

ON A BED OF WILTED 

SPINACH SALAD


OVEN BAKED CORN AND TOMATO RISOTTO
WITH PANCETTA

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I NEED TO FIND A PROJECT

BEFORE I OUTGROW 

ALL MY CLOTHES!

~~~ ~ ~

FOR YOUR SATURDAY
TOE TAPPING
DELIGHT!





STILL LIVING LIFE LARGE

HERE IN THE HOOD

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

DENTED HALO

I fear I have given you all the wrong idea about who I really am.  The not so pretty truth is my halo is tarnished and dented, my wings lack lift off, and my feet are made of clay.


If I were a good politician, I would never admit a character flaw to you and the press reports would all be favorable. Politicians and salespeople know the importance of image management.   The truth hurts--but the truth will also set you free.  My attitude was not only not entirely God centered while in Louisiana, but the last day I found myself in a struggle between His will and mine.


The last day--the last house--proved to be my piety downfall--straight into the gutter of disgust.  The house was in a government subsidized neighborhood with very narrow streets and huge ditches in front yards.  The first glimpse of trouble came when I spotted trash literally piles of trash all over the place--not only the piles of belongings as shown above, but yards filled with stuff.  Dishes, trash, cutlery--all forms of things strewn about the lawns.    As I opened the car door, the smell slapped me in the face---refrigerators and freezers had been hauled to the street--full of food and open--not taped shut as required.  The stench of three week old rotted food literally gagged me.


The job supervisor knocked on the door of the home owner who was staying in a 5th wheel trailer in the drive.  The owner told the supervisor what he wanted done and shut the door.  After touring the job, the supervisor once again knocked on the door and asked for some clarity about what he wanted hauled to the street and what was to be packed.  The owner replied to pile it in the yard and his son would go through it.  Finally after some conversation, he came out and sat in front of his house and said yeah or nay to what was to be chunked.  My task was to pack up the kitchen cabinets which three weeks later had food still stored as well as mold growing in the dishes.  The mold was growing mold and the smell was unbearable even with a mask.

In walked my bad attitude and grumbling.  With no thought of what it would be like to have suffered this devastation, I was not happy with the owner.  We had been met with gratitude and thanks at every other job, but here we seem to be taken for granted.  What else can you do for me?  How about spraying for the mold.  The supervisor was most gracious and told the owner the steps to apply for this further help--while I was in the background mumbling to myself.

Later that day, I was forced to revisit my attitude and my lack of compassion.  I am human---gratitude motivates me---and I become disgruntled when I detected an abuse of aid.  I have had to back up--ask for forgiveness--and remember why I was there---to serve.  The human side of me took over that day---and though God can use every thing for His good---I can sometimes make it harder than it needs be.

So--remember, My Friends, I am no saint, in fact my dear ones might tell you far from it.  God though can take even fallen man and use Him for His good purpose.  The best news--though my feet are of clay--my heart belongs to Him.  I am confident He will continue to stretch me and grow me---as He draws me to the foot of His throne while upholding me with His hand.

The Lord makes firm the steps
    of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
    for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
Psalm 37:23-24


Today's post is the last in the flood series.  

Monday, September 12, 2016

NONDISCRIMINATORY

The yells of "Discrimination" are no where evident in the twelve parish flood zone in Louisiana.  The flood waters affected all of society--the young and old--the rich and poor---the black and white and all shades in between.  When two feet plus of water fell in a 36 hour period, the bayous, streams, rivers, creeks, and ditches all over flowed their banks and spread water over the flat land of South Louisiana.  South Louisiana became one big lake.



My own personal glimpse of this included a factory employee who had to go back to work--working twelve hour days--and no time to clean up the ruin of his home.  Sleeping in a house with mold on a bed held up by cinder blocks, we discovered the mattress still had water in it on which he was sleeping after five feet of water filled his home.



The white line indicates the water line.  (Photo Credit to the reflection)



Then there was 79 year old Mrs. Betty who lives on a pension and provides a home for her granddaughter and great granddaughter and has no insurance nor FEMA benefits.



And the 95 year old gentlemen who was away taking care of his 92 year old sister.  He refused to have his deceased wife's clothing moved from the closet.  We knew it was hopeless and the mildew would ruin them, but how could we refuse him.


(Me and The Crew)

And the retired couple who had their home flooded not once but twice.  The first time she was able to sweep the waters out of the house since it was below the line of the sheet rock--she felt safe.  The next day they had two more feet come rushing through and had to be taken out by humvee.



And last there was the house in the neighborhood of low income government financed housing.

The flood waters devastated everyone in its path.  If your home was built in a low area, you were flooded.  In almost every case, the flood victims were determined to recover---though reeling from their losses--they were looking toward the future.  A wonderful example of the human spirit God placed in us and the ability most have to endure even the worst nightmare.  "Not everything can be understood or resolved, but it all has to be faced." Jan Karon

As I pulled sheet rock down, jerked out nails, and hauled away debris, I was reminded of The Word.  Good and bad, wealth and want, sickness and health, success and ruin, birth and death rains down on man with no discrimination.  Wealth and success do not guarantee good health.  Bad things do happen to good people.  Fortunes are made and lost even more quickly.  The one thing constant--the only thing eternal--God and His Word.  My faith is in Him--and Him alone-Come Rain or Come Shine.


 He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Matthew 5:45

Sunday, September 11, 2016

DEEP WATERS

GOD BLESS THOSE

WHO ARE REMINDED

OF THEIR GREAT LOSS TODAY




WHEN I WALK THROUGH

DEEP WATERS

I KNOW THAT YOU 

WILL BE WITH ME




WE ARE NOT ALONE

HE WILL NEVER LEAVE US



BLESSED SABBATH,
DEAR FRIENDS

Saturday, September 10, 2016

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

A short eight hour drive away--the world is filled with the devastation caused by the havoc flood waters created-

BUT

Here in the hood life goes on

The Chat Room has blown up this week

with reports of the sparse leavings of the remains

of a cat or two being found



Some think it must be a fox


Others think it is coyotes



HERE I WAS

Thinking I lived in the city


The melee fray free for all discussion

has centered around what to do about the pests

I am thinking--we are in Texas--there are horses

why not a good old fashioned fox hunt.


Perhaps that might wreck havoc

on the traffic problem


The former rancher turned Hoodite

suggested poison.

This immediately drew fire 

from the Hood based SPCA.

Something about poisoning the dogs & children

who are domesticated  (I reserve my opinion on the children)


I guess that leaves out my sure and quick solution.

These people would NOT appreciate my skills at pest hunting!


That leaves--live traps and relocation.

They don't seem to realize here in the hood there is a vacuum effect with live trapping

For every one you trap---two more move in.


MY FAVORITE RESPONSE

was the hoodite who said,

"THIS IS TEXAS- FENCE EM IN OR FENCE EM OUT!"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A PIECE OF GOOD NEWS

A neighbor donated a back stop

to the neighborhood park.


LET THE FALL GAMES BEGIN!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

STILL LIVING LIFE LARGE

HERE IN THE HOOD

Friday, September 9, 2016

STOPPING THE GROWTH

 Water filled with sewerage, animal feces, and all forms of bacteria comes with a risk in itself when the flood waters poured in.  Thankfully in most places the water receded in a short time, but the risk does not go away with the receding water. In a hot sub-tropical climate, the next line of attack is the mold.  All forms of mold and mold growing on top of mold.  The smell as you entered the houses would turn a strong man around gasping for fresh air.



































Every house we worked in was full of mold--every surface the water touched was a perfect field for the rampant growth.  And the mold does not stop where the water line ended--it will march up the wall--into the ceiling and cover every surface in the house.  



Every house we worked in required at a minimum gloves and mask and some require a haz mat suit.  Consider it is 90+% humidity and 90 degrees and you are required to put all this on for safety purposes.  Thankfully I was never required to wear the suit.  The mask, safety glasses, and gloves were hot enough.  I continually battled with fogged up safety glasses while breathing through the mask.  It was not pleasant to say the least.

The reason for all the safety measures is obvious when you think about the environment inside your body---perfect damp conditions to allow mold growth.  Since the mold spores were flying as we demolished the interiors of these mold filled houses, we were extremely cautious about any mold being allowed to invade our bodies.  We washed the outside off and all our clothes immediately after finishing for the day.  My shoes I threw away at the end of the week, not wanting to bring any of the spores home.

Once the house was razed back to the studs--another team comes in to spray the mold with a product named "Shock".  An additional treatment is required 10 days to 2 weeks later to make certain no new mold spores are allowed to begin growing. Once mold is allowed to begin--it is a tough battle to get rid of it.

While taking all these precautions, I was reminded of the problem with giving sin a toe hold in our lives.  Once it begins growing---it can be difficult to stem the tide and slipping down the slippery slope to ruin is sadly often an easy journey.  At times God must come into our lives and strip everything away and raze all we hold dear.  Then comes His form of "Shock"---a powerful treatment called Grace which cleanses us from all the impurities and covers the stain of our sin infected lives.  All the bad is gone--and we are once again white as snow--a new beginning at no cost to us.  What a blessing!


Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin.
Psalm 51:2