Wednesday, November 30, 2016

HOME GOING

I love my home and often laugh and call it my cave.  There is no time I feel more secure than when I am within the four walls that I call home.  Though I love to travel, love experiencing great adventures, there is a deep pull within me for the place I call home.  I have been in this house almost three years now, but the length of time has no correlation to it feeling like home.  It is the knowledge it is my safe haven in a world filled with unrest that marks it as home. 

While in South Louisiana, we worked on Mr. S's home.  He came by and visited with us and told me, "I just want to come home."  During Thanksgiving break, I volunteered to help him find his way home.




At the wonderful age of 90, even though he is alone since his wife died a few years ago, Mr. S would like to finish out his life in the home they had together.  A request it would be difficult to refuse.



We accomplished our assigned task in the time we had, but there is much still to be done.  My educated guess is three more months before he is home again. Three months out of the waning time remaining here on this earth.  Driving through the flood area, those who are not home are legion.  I can promise you they all would prefer to be home than where ever they are riding out the rebuild.  Some will never be able to go back and they will have to find a new home.  Each and every flood victim is on a quest to go back home.




While in Baton Rouge, I saw the documentary by Trent Dion Soto, "Among the Discarded".  Trent chose to live on the streets of Los Angeles for 30 days and filmed and produced his documentary chronicling his experience while on the street.  He came away on a mission to provide some semblance of a home for those who have no home.  He is inspiring others to get involved with a huge national problem--even a disgrace--those who live on the street.




We all can come up with reasons to not help the homeless.  Many of them want to live on the street, they are addicts, they should get a job, on and on our excuses for not being involved roll off our tongues.  Some of this may be truth, but the children I work with every week at the homeless shelter--they just want a home.  Their mothers and fathers--for the most part--just need a helping hand to get going again.  While going to tutor, I pass the men and women who are filing through the door for a hot meal and a safe bed.  They are in the long list of those we have discarded.  We look the other way when they approach us on the street, glance away when we pass them in the park, and generally ignore the problem staring us in the face.  The vast majority of them-just want to go home.  Would you consider getting involved and helping them find a home?


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

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Saturday, November 26, 2016

ESCAPE FROM THE HOOD

I escaped from the hood
With a brief stop
in Ruston-
My Hometown.
With NEVER
Enough time to see 
Those Dear Friends!



From there I journeyed to 
South Louisiana
To help
With the flood recovery.





The job entailed
Prepping, Sanding, & Priming
The wood trim and shop
Of a house.


Mr S who is 90
Just wants to be back
In his home.

The area still has tens of thousands of houses
which are uninhabitable.

The area has suffered a tremendous blow
Which will take years to recover from.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We went to see
"Among The Discarded"
A Documentary
About The Homeless
A Ministry
Close to my heart.
Trent Soto-The Man Behind It All
Is inspiring others to become involved.


Had Thanksgiving Lunch
With these dear friends.



And sat in front of this
wonderful fire
every night.


BACK ON THE ROAD
HEADED TO THE HOOD!

Friday, November 25, 2016

THE DAY AFTER



I have spent the period from November 1st to Thanksgiving writing about 
thankfulness.  In a nutshell here is what I came away with-

As we cultivate a spirit of thankfulness our relationship with The Father begins to morph into a deeper more personal level.  By acknowledging Who is the creator--who is the omnipotent God of the universe and beyond, we are able to begin to look beyond ourselves and know who He is.  As we come to acknowledge and thank Him for His gift of grace through the death of His son, Jesus, we begin to realize our dependence upon Him in all things.  As we are able to thank Him for the good, we grow to acknowledge Him in all- the good and the bad.  As we humble ourselves, and admit it all comes from Him, He becomes more real to us and we draw closer to His throne of grace.  

Thanksgiving should live in our hearts every day--every season--throughout our lives.  I am thankful He is God.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
I Thessalonians 5:18

Thursday, November 24, 2016

AS YOU GATHER

May Your Day

Be Filled

With Blessings

As We Pause

To Give Thanks.

I AM ESPECIALLY 

THANKFUL

FOR YOU!




Happy Thanksgiving,

Dear Friends!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

LORD HAVE MERCY!

How easy it is to forgive our sweet children and especially those grand children.  This one is quite the bruiser---as I almost always come away with bruises when we are together.



I correct him and tell him to not play so rough with Lulu, walk away, and go back for more the next day.  I love him so much that a few bumps and bruises are not going to come between us.

There are times in my life I have been quite perturbed at those I love.  These people do not always listen and certainly do not toe the line I have marked out for them.  I still love them and can not imagine ever walking away from them.

It takes very little effort to forgive those I love--for you see I love them--and most of the time I like them.  How easily I can transition from anger to forgiveness when I remember how much I love them.

If my neighbor needs help, if my family needs help, if my friends need help, if my fellow believers need help---I am willing and able to jump to their aid.  Even if the circumstances were caused by their willful negligence, I look past that and extend a helping hand.  

The stranger--though---showing kindness and forgiveness to the stranger--that is another story..  If they do not think like me, smell like me, and look like me--I might be guilty of cutting them not much slack.  I am much slower at offering aid to those who do not fit into the mold of the acceptable in my sight.  Sadly, I can be quite judgmental.

God calls us to love one another.  That does not mean--those who are like us, those who are family, those who are friends---that means love your fellow man-all of them.  Love the stranger in your midst--love the homeless person on the street---love the one who curses you--love the stinky--love the obnoxious--love the betrayer--love the unlovable.  Have mercy on those who sin against you and pray for your enemies.  That is a TALL order.

I am thankful for the mercy God has shown me through Jesus.  I am thankful He has given me an example of how to love those who sin against me.  I am thankful for the mercy that He has lavished on me.  I am thankful for God's Amazing Grace and Great Mercy.


Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A GOOD EAR



Momma was REALLY something--and perhaps the truth is I was really something.  How many times did she sternly ask me

"DID YOU HEAR ME?"

I am living proof that the apple sometimes does not fall far from the tree for you see I repeated those very words to my own children, more times than I can remember.

Those words were an effort to see why they were not obeying the direct command I had given them.  In my mind, I had made it abundantly clear what I expected and it seemed as if they were at a minimum ignoring me--and at times out right disobeying.  Parenting could be so frustrating!


At times I have friends - young and old alike - who come to me with a problem.  I have the heart of a fixer and if you bring a problem to me--I am on the path to help you make the problem go away.  In my mind, I give out good advice.  In many cases, the good advice is ignored as the seeker explains why their solution is best.  It would seem they did not want advice, but affirmation of what they had set out to do in the first place.  


There are times in our lives--we just want a good listener.  Someone to hear us.  One of the best things about marriage is a 24/7 partner to bounce our thoughts off of.  A set of ears who are interested in what we have to say.  We all desire the sure knowledge that we are being heard.

I am thankful for The One who faithfully listens ---even when we come across as whinny selfish brats--He listens.  I am thankful for the entire book of good advice--commands He has given us.  Commands to live by--tenants for a joyful life.  I am thankful for His, "No's" as well as the "Yes'es".  I am thankful He hears me.  My thankfulness is best displayed when I listen to what He has to say.  The proof of my listening comes in my obedience.  I am thankful He continues to listen when I am disobedient.  I am thankful for not merely second chances, but multiple chances and His Good Ear.

I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!
Psalm 66:17-20

Monday, November 21, 2016

I PROMISE

I remember as a child those sweet childish words uttered on the playground of childhood, "I Promise".  Those promises were usually made with an ulterior motive on my part.  "I promise to let you go first next time"--all in the quest to go first this time.  "I promise to be your best friend"--until we get into a cat fight over some trivial nothing and I decide to hate you forever.  "I promise to go right to sleep if you let me stay up 30 more minutes"--immediately followed by begging for 15 more minutes.  We learn at an early age to throw out those words, "I promise" with good intentions, but insincere hearts.


AH--then we become adults and learn the adult art of breaking promises.  One of the basic tenants of citizenship is loyalty to our country.  How easily we throw that in the trash heap when things do not go our way.  We promise to get together--not allow time and busyness to interfere with our friendships and family.  Then life happens and the next thing we know it has been 50 years without contact.  We make promises to others and promises to ourselves which are easily broken and quickly forgotten in the midst of living our lives.  Perhaps one of the biggest promises we make as an adult is "Until death do us part."  Better than 50% of those married break that promise.  


And the really biggie are the promises we make to God.  Promises to study His Word, promises to pray, promises to serve, promises of our loyalty, promises to put Him first.  It convicts and saddens me to even think of all these promises--well intended, but back shelved for more "important" things---or so we think.  I honestly think most of us do not set out on a course to break our promises, but somehow we allow it to happen.  And it slowly chips away at our very being--each and every time we break a promise.

I am thankful the promises God has made us will never be broken.  Here is a list of 54 of those promises--and this is only the tip of the iceberg in The Word.


1.  … for the Lord my God will be with me, wherever I go.   Joshua 1:9
2.    God will keep me in perfect peace if my mind is ‘stayed’ on Him.  Isaiah 26:3
3.   “Dan, I (the Lord) will never leave you or forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:5
4.   “Dan, I am with you, always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:20
5.    The peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7
6.    He cares for me.  1 Peter 5:7
7.    I will do even greater things than Jesus did, because He went to the Father.  John 14:12
8.    If I remain in Him and His words remain in me, whatever I ask will be given to me.  John 15:7
9.    The Holy Spirit will guide me into all truth.  John 16:3
10.  The Holy Spirit will give me the right words when I need them.  Mark 13:11
11.  In this world I will have trouble.  John 16:33
12.  If I seek to live godly in Christ Jesus, I will be persecuted.  2 Timothy 3:12
13.  I am justified by Him, freely, by His grace.  Romans 3:24
14.  I have peace with God because I’ve been justified by faith in Jesus.  Romans 5:1
15.  I have access into this grace.  Romans 5:2
16.  There is no condemnation on me because I am in Christ Jesus.  Romans 8:1
17.  The Holy Spirit will help me to pray.  Romans 8:26-27
18.  All things work together for my good.  Romans 8:28
19.  Nothing will separate me from the love of Christ.  Romans 8:35
20.  I shall bear the likeness (and resurrection body) of Jesus, the ‘man from heaven.’  1 Corinthians 15:49
21.  My labor in the Lord is not in vain.  1 Corinthians 15:58
22.  God has created good works for me to walk in, today.  Ephesians 2:10
23.  I am being transformed into His likeness.  2 Corinthians 3:17
24.  God won’t let me be tried or tempted beyond what I can endure.  1 Corinthians 10:13
25.  God comforts the downcast, including me.  2 Corinthians 7:6
26.  God is able to make all grace abound to me, so all my needs will be met.  2 Corinthians 9:8
27.  I am worth (to God) more than the birds that He feeds.  Matthew 6:26
28.  God will supply all my needs.  Philippians 4:19
29.  God won’t forsake me (the righteous in Christ) nor have my children become beggars.  Psalm 37:25
30.  God’s grace will be sufficient for me.  2 Corinthians 12:9
31.  I will reap what I sow.  Galatians 6:7
32.  I have an inheritance.  Ephesians 1:14
33.  I have been brought near by the blood of Jesus.  Ephesians 2:13
34.  I may approach God with freedom and confidence.  Ephesians 3:12
35.  The Father has qualified me to share in the inheritance of the saints.  Colossians 1:12
36.  Christ now is in me!  Colossians 1:27
37.  God is faithful and will sanctify me.  1 Thessalonians 5:24
38.  God will repay with trouble those who trouble me.  2 Thessalonians 1:6
39.  God has given me a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.  2 Timothy 1:7
40.  I have a crown of righteousness awaiting me, because I long for His appearing.  2 Timothy 4:8
41.  God won’t lie to me, because God cannot lie.  Titus 1:2
42.  Jesus will help me if I’m tempted.  Hebrews 2:18
43.  Varied trials will lead to my maturity.  James 1:2
44.  If I ask for wisdom from God, He will give it to me.  James 1:5
45.  If I ask, God will provide it.  James 4:2
46.  If I resist the devil, he will take a hike.  James 4:7
47.  If I draw near to God, He will draw near to me.  James 4:8
48.  Prayer is effective (note: my organization values effectiveness).  James 5:16
49.  After I have suffered for a little while, He will strengthen, confirm and establish me.  1 Peter 5:10
50.  A new heaven and earth await me, called the ‘home of righteousness’.  2 Peter 3:13
51.  He forgives and cleanses me as I confess my sins to Him.  1 John 1:9
52.  When Jesus re-appears, I’ll be made like Him.  1 John 3:2
53.  God has given me eternal life.  1 John 5:11
54.  I am a present possessor of eternal life, which is mine in the present tense verb “have.”  1 John 5:13

AND---HE keeps His promises.  Faithfully.  I am thankful today for The Great Promise Keeper.

"No, I will not break my covenant; I will not take back one word of what I said."
Psalm 89:34

Sunday, November 20, 2016

WITH THANKSGIVING

One of the

Great hymns

Of Thanksgiving

I love these pictures!



Sabbath Blessings,

Dear Friends

Saturday, November 19, 2016

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

My sweetie I mentor
Made this for Thanksgiving
This week
Before her break.


Texas is known for its cows.
I see cows 
Even when walking 
The streets of the hood.



You never know
What you might see
From the
Front Porch



Still savoring the 50th HS reunion
By reconnecting
With old friends in the area
Had lunch with this fun classmate this week


You have to steal a picture from their FB
When you get so wrapped up in talking
You forget to make a picture!

The Little People
Are Out of School
This Week--
SO--
I am off 
Lulu Duty
BUT
Will Be Busy

HAPPY THANKSGIVING WEEK-
FROM THE HOOD!

Friday, November 18, 2016

HAVE MERCY

  If you remember in chemistry class, there are a set of basic elements, which is the primary cornerstones of everything else.  When combined in different combinations, they produce individual mixtures and compounds with their own unique makeup.  It all begins with the 118 basic elements which have been identified to date, which are the building blocks of everything in the universe.  These basic elements are unique unto themselves and most important the simplest form of all matter.






If I listed all the attributes of who I am, one would not play a more significant role than any of the others in determining who I am.  In essence, each characteristic, each element, combines to make the whole complex person. The combination of the basic points of personality, my environment, and experience have made me who I am today.  Humorous is no more important than compassionate.  Active leads to adventurous.  Peaceful does not preclude challenging.  I am a unique combination of parts of the 638 recognizable personality traits as determined by social scientist.  Some of my traits are genetic without a doubt, but others have come with life and experience.  No two of us are alike and yet many of us are so similar.

We have talked about God's attributes this week--this will be the 5th of the identifiable characteristics of God as revealed in His Word, but remember this is not a complete list.  Merciful is one of the cornerstones of who God is.  Though He is merciful---He also will judge--another of His attributes.  Today I am thankful for His mercy.  Mr. Webster tell us mercy is

compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm.

God's mercy is shown through the grace which is poured out when Jesus's blood was shed for us.  I am thankful God is more free handed with His mercy than I am with mine.  I am thankful He is teaching me the importance of being merciful.  I am thankful the never changing, constantly present, tenderly loving, all wise Father is merciful and provides this sinner the way to the eternal road.


36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Luke 6:36


Thursday, November 17, 2016

WISE GUY

I come from a long line of "Wise Guys".  Our brand of showing love in the family I grew up in was a LOT of kidding.  The sharp retort and glib comedic response ruled supreme in the James clan.  We learned it at the knee of my mother who was known for saying such things as, "You left good taste at home when you bought that."  After you scrape yourself off the floor following a zinger, you learned to play the game.  There have been times I have offended others with my sarcasm-intended for kidding creating the need for an explanation that I only pick on those that I love.  Subtle humor and quick wit ruled supreme in our family.  We still return to our love language of origin when together by trading barbs and quips.




Occasionally someone reading my musing will accuse me of being wise.  This may be a more than slight exaggeration--the fact that I am able to articulate on paper the thoughts that are whirling around in my head does not necessarily mean I am wise.  I am, though, a keen observer of all that takes place around me and have been accused in the past of over analyzing.  Perhaps, but is that not better than always taking things at face value with no thought for the why's?  

What is wisdom?  What does it mean to be considered wise?  Webster tells us being wise is-

having or showing experience, knowledge, and good judgment.

and wisdom is-

the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment.


It has been my observation that book learning does not equate into being wise or possessing wisdom.  These definitions seem to prove that out.  I have known some brilliant people who did not seem to possess the sense to come in out of the rain.  As a student of life and man, I have gained knowledge by studying and through my experiences and hopefully have the good judgement to use what I have learned to live a better life.


And then there is the source of all wisdom-God.  As pointed out in The Book, our wisdom can not hold a candle to the all wise-all knowing-eternal God.  One of the students I mentor asked me this week, "When did God appear?"  You should have seen the look on his face as I told him, "God has always been here?  God was--and all the rest came after."  If God was first--then it makes perfect sense He is the possessor of all wisdom and He is all wise. I am thankful our eternally present, unchanging, essence of love Father is also the possessor of all wisdom. Would we worship a God who was any less? 

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom
I Corinthians 1:25


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW

I am back on a tangent of watching Hallmark Christmas movies.  As I sit and watch the predictable, I am amazed at my fascination with the syrupy -love conquers all- you know the outcome -same story over and over marathon.  It's enough to gag the strongest of stomachs.  HOW in the world can I abide watching this endless string of fantasy in my free time--ad nauseum?



Occasionally I allow myself to fall into the delusion of love looking like the man made portrayal as presented by Hallmark and all its look alikes.  Man has the desire to be loved--held in high esteem--cherished--pursued--cared for--by another or others programmed into our DNA.  Since long ago--man has written fairy tales resplendent with the charm and glamour of happily ever after.  Most of us women want Prince Charming to rescue us, marry us, put us up on a pedestal and love us for all eternity.  At a bare minimum a cowboy should sweep me off my feet!    That is NOT the way is happens in This World.



Prince Charming can become an ogre and Snow White can turn into the Evil Witch in a blink of an eye in the real world.  The happily ever after can morph into a hard's day night in an instant.  All men struggle with the sin of narcissism and real love is hard to pull off when you are gazing at your navel.



God is the Author of Love---God is love. When I think of the beauty of His sacrificial love for me---nothing could begin to compare.   We seem to have traded His example of perfect love for the world's eye view of man's limited vision of earthly love.  The desire to be loved is God given. God is love and we are created in His image, so we desire to love.   We have missed the boat though when it comes to fulfilling that desire.  We have turned from God's lessons in showing love to man's desire to sit upon the throne.  We forget we live in a fallen world and fallen man will disappoint us when we look to him to quench our desire.  Only God can satisfy our quest.  Once we learn to love as God has taught us--then we will understand how to love others in the way He intended.  Selfless love which looks to satisfy the needs of another is the direct result of learning to love God by accepting His love.

Today I am thankful for God's unchanging-always present attribute of being the very essence of love.  God first loved us--so that we might be able to love others.


We love because he first loved us.  I John 4:19
And he has given us this command:
Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
I John 4:21






Tuesday, November 15, 2016

EVERYWHERE

I have been blessed to travel our fair country and beyond quite a bit.



I have stood on the mountain top and gazed down upon the beauty of creation on the peaks of the Rocky Mountains.



I gazed upon the glacier in Alaska from the back of a dog sled.



And rode along the beautiful Caribbean beach on the back of an elegant Appaloosa horse.



Walked through a great deal of Western Europe.



Cruised into the side of waterfalls in Hawaii via helicopters rides.



Snorkeled three different oceans including the barrier reef off of Belize.



Soared with the eagles high in the Swiss Alps.

No matter where I have been, when I was there, what I was doing there was always the undeniable presence of God by my side.  The fact of the matter is God is closer than by my side--He permeates my very being.  As I breath in He is carried on the warm moist air I breath.  As I glance at the wonders of His creation, He stands in the midst of my gaze.  As I smell the sweet aroma of the wildflowers adorning the mountain top, His sweet fragrance envelopes me.  As I swim on warm ocean currents, He holds me in a salt scented embrace.  As I labor up the trail, His Hand pulls me along.  God has constantly-consistently been present in my life.  I only loose sight of His presence when I become distracted by things of this world.  His presence is always here---and I have only felt closer when on the very top of the world and reached out to feel His very face.

God is omnipresent.  Another of the characteristics of His which will not--can not change.  God is here and I am thankful.


"Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?" declares the LORD "Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?" declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 23:24


Monday, November 14, 2016

CHANGE

My initial reaction to change is  NO!  Change can be difficult--at a minimum--and devastating at times.  I like to know what to expect and expect what I know.  I am not particularly a fan of surprise and change.  My rut is familiar and my tunnel vision is 20/20, so why would I want to chance hauling myself out of the rut and looking around?  The familiar is like that old pair of well worn shoes--you know when you put them on the pain they may cause, but with time they have morphed into a familiar shape which holds no surprises.  No new blisters--no different pain--only more of the same when you walk down the road.  




This line of thought lead to the changes I do like.



Like is entirely inadequate when it comes to the change of seasons.  As one season slowly dies and the next emerges, I never cease to be amazed and delighted at God's creation.



Then there are those bittersweet changes in life such as watching these people grow up.    Sad to see them growing up--so proud to see them growing up.




















Then there are the huge changes we stumble through at best.  I moved from the home our family grew up in, to living alone in Ruston, and then the bungalow here in Fort Worth.  I have loved each of these homes in a different way--but the change was more difficult than I could ever express.

Living life means living with change.  I do not know one single person whose life has remained totally stationery.  Time marches on and with the march of time life changes.  That is not all bad.  I am thankful for most of the changes in my life.  One thing is certain---God has been present during each and every change.  With change, I have gained strength and wisdom, been stretched to new heights, and increased my knowledge of who God is.  I am thankful for the experience of change, the growth through change, and the depth of assurance which has come with change.  With time and experience, I have learned to look forward to change, accept change as inevitable, and embrace the new or different.  

Most of all--I am thankful God never changes---He cannot change--He is God.  What a blessing to know the one constant in life---GOD ALMIGHTY.

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

Sunday, November 13, 2016

FOR THE BEAUTY

LORD OF ALL

TO THEE

WE RAISE

THIS OUR HYMN

OF GRATEFUL PRAISE




Sabbath Blessings,

Dear Friends!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

All is quiet 
Here in the Hood

Thought you might like to see
my everyday sights.

This is the Trinity River 
With downtown in the background.
I walk the trail along the river quite often.

This photo of Fort Worth is courtesy of TripAdvisor

If I make it all the way downtown,
I make a pass by many
Historic buildings.




This photo of Fort Worth is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The zoo is less than a mile
from my house.


This is the newest baby in residence.

The Botanical Gardens
Are a mile from my home.


Colonial Golf Club
Is just beyond the zoo.


Will Rogers Coliseum
Is just past the Botanical Gardens



This photo of Will Rogers Memorial Center is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Downtown including
Sundance Square
are just over a mile away


Even being in the midst of it all
It is still quiet
Here in the Hood.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

STILL LIVING LIFE LARGE
HERE IN THE HOOD!