Friday, March 31, 2017

A CHANGE OF SEASONS

As I read over all the comments on yesterday's post via the blog and Facebook, it sent me running down another path.  (Side note--if you are not my Facebook friend, please ask to be as some great comments on the blog are made on the Facebook link.)  Tornadoes come with the territory when you live anywhere from the central part of the US to the deep South.  We come to expect our watches and warnings and take it all with a grain of salt.  We expect and accept it as part of life.  Tornadoes are usually indicative of a change in seasons.

There is an old saying, dating back to the 17th Century poem-




The change of seasons this year is off to quite the start with Tuesday night's storm and more forecast for the weekend.  When you have the wide temperature swings during the bridge between seasons, thunder storms and tornadoes are the norm.



Last year's announcement of Spring included the great hail storm of March, 2016.  This lead to a new roof on the bungalow.



Our most volatile storms here in Texas come during the change of seasons, but are certainly not limited to those times. Winter does not slip away mildly when the temperatures begin to warm and fall does not give up its hold on the warm days of summer with good grace.  In fact, there is seldom a peaceful slip into the next season.  It is more like Mother Nature's version of Tug of War with everyone eventually covered in mud and debris!



At times we see the same reluctance to change seasons in ourselves and our fellow man.  I, for one, admit I am not gracefully mellowing into a senior citizen. Instead, I am zip lining, para-sailing, snow skiing, and any other form of life threatening activity in a stark denial of my new season of life.  I am not easily sliding into my rocking chair instead still perching at the top of limbs and ladders.  With every new season of life--I have not gone easily.  Instead I have closed my eyes and plunged ahead in spite of the dangers.  Though my body may not be what it once was, my head refuses to believe the truth.  I storm around spitting and sputtering and causing quite the scene.  I sit on the cusp of life altering circumstances and refuse to acknowledge the danger.  One false move could lead to life altering circumstances and yet I deny the truth.  

Yet--God---has a way to get my attention.  Though I have not admitted the season I am in, He has given me glimpses of what is to come.  I have a hip which feels like a rusty hinge and limits my activities.  My endurance mentally is still excellent, but physically I peter out before I have gotten started good many days.  Though I am roaring like a lion at this change of season, at some point, I will gracefully acquiesce like a lamb.  It's NOT the number in my age--it's the body falling apart that is the problem!

Gently like a lamb or roaring like a lion---neither will change where this is all headed.  My seasons are changing.  BE STILL and LISTEN for what the Lord has in store.  It's not over--until the fat lady sings and she may be only faintly warbling---BUT she is still on stage!  Here's to God's grand plan and its completion!

Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.


Isaiah 46:4

Thursday, March 30, 2017

WAKE UP CALL!

I keep my cell phone by my bed and do not turn it off at night for several reasons.  At 2:00 AM Tuesday night (that would be in the VERY early morning hours of Wednesday), the alert alarm jerks me out of a deep sleep induced by a Melatonin at 11 PM.  Let's see---I had slept approximately three hours---JUST getting to the good part of a deep sleep.  Thinking it is an Amber alert, I  fumble for and slap at the phone three or four times before getting it to stop.  Why there is NO WAY I can help look for an abducted child or lost senior citizen when I can't see squat at night, and besides I am too sleepy to drive.  Settling down again and studying the back of my eyelids, I hear the tornado sirens going off all around me.  At this point, the lady in the burglar alarm box begins to send her alarming alarm signal.  FINALLY--it occurs to me---PERHAPS---I should get out of bed and check things out.  


Note-not the actual warning
I was not thinking of making pictures
in the midst of all the action.

Already I have heard the winds howling, but as I go to look out toward the street light it becomes a roar.  Across the way, I see my neighbor on his front porch and we both turn around at the same time to head for cover when we see what is happening. I actually love a good storm, and am usually not frightened, but instead watch the light show with wonder.  For one of the few times in my life, it seems prudent to act upon the warning.   I take Hero and head for the closet with pillow, phone, and flashlight in hand.  




As I sat for thirty minutes in the deep dark of my interior closet, surrounded by shoes, slacks and dresses, it occurs to me the iron is in the closet-hung on an ironing board rack--just over my head.  In the same closet are shelves of framed portraits and my luggage and somewhere in the mix is my handy dandy protection piece---HIGH over my head.  Here I am alone--with an eight pound trembling ball of fur and the winds are roaring all around.  It dawns on me, I am living a reenactment of Dorothy and Toto and hope I am not headed to Oz.



I settle down and begin to pray not only for my protection, my kids and grands protection, but all those in the Hood and the hospitals which are adjacent to the Hood.  The minutes drag by and the sound is deafening, but I have no control over the outcome.  I do have the sure and present knowledge, no matter the outcome---even if I am blown away to Oz--God is present with me.  In the midst of the deafening roar of the storm, His presence is real and tangible while huddled on the floor of the closet.  NOW, I truly understand the concept of a prayer closet.  My closet was anointed with the prayers of appeal.  The peace which passes all understanding settled in a tangible way over me and I knew that I know His plan is always best.  There is no need for fright, no need for panic, for He has me under His wing.  My God and my protector Who is the center of all my hope called me from a deep sleep and reminded me to WAKE UP!  and KNOW I am God.


 Yet when they cried out to the Lord in their troublethe Lord brought them out of their distress. He calmed the storm and its waves quieted down
Psalm 107:28-31


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

LESSONS FROM HERO


I was totally against adding any fur balls to my life.  Then Hero the grands' wonder dog needed rehab and a new home without stairs.  I now have eight pounds of adoration following my every move.

Hero loves me---WHY, you might ask?  Well to begin with I provide all of his basic needs--without being asked or begging.  The food appears in the bowl, there is a soft doggie bed -in case he decides to ever get out of my chair, and I follow him around the great outdoors on a leash as he sniffs EVERY blade of grass and leaf for our half mile stroll--make that a crawl.

I allow Hero to bark, snarl, and growl at all the big dogs from the safety of my arms, I chip up his joint supplement and hide it within his gourmet dog food, I even give him a treat after our thrice a day walks for doing his business outdoors--NOT on my rugs!  And then---when I sit---Hero gets picked up by walking over and giving me the above look of "SURELY?".  The thing I said I would NEVER do---allow a dog in my bed--happens every night.  It was nice to have him curl up by me in the cold winter months--but not so nice now that it has gotten warm.  I take Hero to the Pet Spa once a month for his spa day and make sure he has had his once a month medication for fleas and ticks (WHO wants fleas and ticks in their house?).  Hero LOVES me---and with good reason!  I am his protector, provider, and petter.  Hero loves me because he knows by my actions I care for him.



Look closely at Hero's side.  Collin showed me this recently--a heart.  Hero hearts me!

Love is a verb---it requires action.  Hero is confident of my love for him by my actions for his benefit.  He makes every move I make--follows me from room to room.  He listens intently when I talk to him and has learned key words such as "Are you ready for your WALK?"  "Do you need to EAT?"  "Let's go to BED."  He picks up my signals when I am leaving and tucks his tail when I tell him, "I'll be back."  Hero would like to be with me every minute of every day.  Hero is confident in my love and care for him.

So it is with our human loved ones, they pick up our signals and know from our actions our care for them.  My grands come running with open arms when I see them.  They know by my actions how much I love them.  I seldom cook for myself, but let any of the children and grands come by and I am all about cooking their favorite meal.  I get in the floor to play games and listen intently to their tales of glee or woe.  My actions show my love.

So it is with our Father, His actions shows His love for us.  He is our provider and protector.  All good things come from Him.  And when--the unthinkable occurs--the unbearable is thrust upon us--He is our Great Comforter.  The love we show to others is a small fraction of God's great love shown to us.  The greatest gift--grace---to ensure eternity in His presence is beyond man's ability to comprehend.  Jesus loves me--this I know--for the Bible tells me so!


But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, evenwhen we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—
Ephesians 2:4-5

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

BIG BROTHER

We all looked forward with great anticipation to the day when someone is no longer looking over our shoulder.  The first two decades of our life our parents or guardians were peering over our shoulder.  And then there was the community filled with believers in "It Takes A Village"!  Even when out of Momma's eyesight, a town filled with tattle tales stood ready and waiting for even the smallest infraction.  Recently my cousin told me of calling Momma about my younger brother's speedy driving.  I laughed because the grumpy old man at the gas station told the same tale on me.


Photo Credit-Daily Mall

It seems we move from this monitoring of our every breath to a boss who demands accountability of every second at work.  Accounting is a billable hours driven occupation.  Multiple time sheets were required--one for the payroll department and one for the billing department.  It never ceased to puzzle me how you were supposed to make every hour of your day billable to a client.  For some reason I found it difficult to bill a client for the 15 minute coffee and bathroom break.


Then there were the work papers for client engagements which had to be reviewed and signed off on for the project.  Boss person was always watching over your shoulder and expecting timely and correct results.  His approval was required on each engagement.


Life seems to be filled with others looking over our shoulder and scrutinizing all we have done.  The IRS and Social Security Service are examples of governmental scrutiny of our work lives.  You do not want to get cross ways with either of these two bureaucracies.

The intrusion into my life has reached an apex with computers and I Phones.  If I dare to scan a site looking for a new adventure, within moments an ad will pop up on Facebook of the site I was perusing.  Dare I look at new underwear to order knowing scantily clad women in their undergarments will be on my Facebook page when I thoughtlessly click on it to show the grands something?  Perhaps the most intrusive is the I phone who knows my habits and patterns.  When I get in my car at 7:30 AM, it tells me the time it will take to get to the grands' home and how the traffic is.  It knows I am on a run for school drop off. On Tuesday nights, it tells me how long it will take to get to the shelter and the best route based upon the traffic.  When I leave to go tutor, it does the same.  My phone has learned my patterns and is more than happy to give me directions to where I need to be.  If I dare to head to Austin or Ruston, as soon as I get to a certain point early in the trip, it starts giving me a traffic update.  Am I the only one who finds this a little alarming?



It seems Orson Welles's BIG BROTHER in 1984 was not science fiction after all.  We have chips in our phones and our pets who identify them and where they are.  Who is to say we won't be next?  Why thinking it over, it would be an easy sale for Alzheimer's patients.  Then who is next?  Already our medical records and prescription medications are accessible across the WWW to other medical professionals (OF COURSE--with permission).  WHO is to say this cannot be hacked--although why anyone would want this information is beyond me!  We have finally reached the point where the WWW may well be an instrument of The Beast referred to in The Word.  Far fetched---loony tunes---maybe, but maybe not.


Here is my bottom line--my take away---as long as I am living my life righteously--what does it matter if some computer knows I am going to the Shelter?  As long as I am living the truth, what difference does it make if others know my comings and goings.  As long as I am looking at G sites on the computer, so what if those annoying ads pop up?  NOT to say I am perfect--BUT I am trying to live as He has instructed!  And YES--He is getting calls from some nosy angel updating Him on my backsliding!

There is One who knows ALL our comings and goings, what we say or write--even what we think.  There is One we who knows ALL the truth about us--there is no hiding place beyond His vision or hearing.  He knows it all!    Not our Big Brother, but our Heavenly Father is truly watching over us.

Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
Luke 12:2-3

Monday, March 27, 2017

WHY THE UNDERDOG?

Let's hear it for the Underdog!  Although I am a great fan of the game of basketball, I no longer watch the tournament leading up to the National Championship.  I had to ask Google to determine this year's underdog.




It seems Xavier had made it to the elite eight with the underdog status.  A small (6200 enrollment) private university.  It is quite the accomplishment to arrive at this pinnacle of success when playing against the giants (enrollment wise as well as height).  In those good old days when I did sit and enjoy March madness, I usually pulled for the underdogs--especially when I had no dog in the fight.  Sadly Xavier was defeated yesterday, but what an accomplishment for this small school to make it to the final eight!

I have a soft side that loves to pull for the underdog.  Take the English version of the popular television show "Britain's Got Talent".  When this lady walked on the stage, we all were holding our breath for how horrible her performance would be.  She was in extreme need of a makeover--a little soft around the middle--and her hair even made my bad hair look good.  From the outside it appeared there was no possible way she could WOW us.  I was satisfied with hoping she would not embarrass herself, and didn't think for a minute  she could do more.




WHAT a marvelous unexpected surprise when she rang out that very first note!  My heart began pulling for the underdog--the unexpected--the unlikely after her first performance.  She excelled--she succeeded--she was a winner!  The underdog--was the hit of the show!



We all love movies depicting underdogs winning and winning big!  Take that huge box office serial winner "Rocky".  Barely able to speak in mono-syllables, Rocky managed to defeat the greats in professional boxing.  Being beat to a proverbial pulp seemed to make the story even better!  The men especially could not get enough of it--there were EIGHT movies chronicling Rocky and his story.  Why this even won an Academy Award for Best Picture!  We ALL love an underdog story!

Why even in the cartoon and story book world we pull for the underdogs--The Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, Snow White, Alice in Wonderland--and the list goes on and on.  The very one that has the least chance of winning--surviving--marrying the prince---that is the one we want to see win-succeed-save the day-wear the crown.


Where does our fascination of rooting for the underdog come from?  Why do we feel the need to support the unlikely?  As I thought it over, I realized it all centers around HOPE.  If Susan Boyle can sing like a lark, if Rocky can defeat Apollo, if the Three Little Pigs can outsmart the Big Bad Wolf, if Cinderella can get the prince--why there is hope for me!  We all need, want, desire to have hope.  Hope there will be a better day, hope to finally reach our goals, hope to recover, hope that we can overcome the obstacles in our path and step into the light of success.  Hope is the elixir of life--the boost to reach for a better tomorrow.  The human spirit is an amazing thing--even when faced with insurmountable obstacles--we still hold on to hope.  Thus we root for the underdog--pull for the least likely--because if there is hope for them---then we certainly can also have hope!

As I wrote this post, I though of the old hymn--

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness.

Our true hope in a world which can appear hopeless.  The solid rock upon which we stand.  The fountain--the well spring--of all hope--Jesus.


They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.
Psalm 78:35


Sunday, March 26, 2017

SURRENDER

SOME THINGS

ARE EASY

BUT OTHERS

SO HARD

TO SURRENDER




IT OFTEN

TAKES

ABSOLUTE DESPERATION

TO GIVE IT ALL UP


SABBATH BLESSINGS,
MY DEAR FRIENDS

Friday, March 24, 2017

AT THE BUS STOP

While traveling, you begin to notice most places with a high concentration of tourists also have public transit.  When visiting large cities, the train or subway may be the preferred mode of shuttling travelers around.  In smaller areas, buses are more frequently used to shuttle the tourist and the dollars in their pockets from place to place.



The GREAT thing about the bus service in Sun Valley--it is free!  The not so great thing--it would take an engineer to figure the schedule out!



They named their bus routes for colors --NOT to be mistaken with the buses being the color of the routes.  The buses all looked alike!  The secret code was contained on the lighted sign on the front top of the bus.  It turned out you could take the Blue Route or the Silver Route to get to the slopes and all the fun filled snow activities.  I never saw the difference in the two routes, but the drivers were quick to point on when you dared to step on the incorrect bus.  



Each bus stop has a small sign to further confuse the novice rider.  We have seen this frequently in our travels.  All buses stop at the same point---the danger or fun is getting on the wrong bus and ending up in Outer Mongolia by mistake.  The bus stop at the Sun Valley resort where we went snow shoeing and cross country skiing had FOUR different bus stop signs in a semi circle the size of a tight car turn around in your drive.  You need to be standing by the correct sign--or you could be headed up the line to the next town.  We stood by at least two of those signs trying to decide which was the right one.  As a last resort, we asked the bus driver was he/she headed where we were going.  Of course, this could be disastrous if you are standing on the wrong side of the street or the bus you needed left five minutes ago.



There was a time in Europe we almost missed the last bus of the day after
hiking several miles up a mountain.  THAT is not the time to miss your bus!  We are always thankful for the kindness of strangers!



Once we got over the fear of missing the correct bus, we began to look around and notice the wonders of the bus stop.  You can meet the nicest people while waiting on the bus.  Don't let the funny hats fool you--these were delightful riding partners.  And don't miss the beautiful church in the background by the bus stop, nor the mountains forming the backdrop.



And best of all--the sights you are blessed to see---at the end of the ride---BEYOND COMPARE!



 So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 8:15

Thursday, March 23, 2017

YESTERDAY

Facebook gives us a blast from the past occasionally and shows us a post from our yesterday's.  Yesterday, THIS came across my feed.  I was intrigued enough from the title to go back and read the words I had placed upon the page five years ago.  A blog with a different name--I am on my third or is it fourth blog name--I felt as if it was written by another me.  A me still in the fields of all consuming grief, one year after I began my solo journey.  The best thing about journals or blogs--is we have physical evidence of our emerging self.  I for one am delighted to realize I am NOT stuck in a rut.  The me I am morphing in to--is a much better version--one of which I have grown extremely fond.  A much better friend to others, someone who looks beyond the tip of her nose, and I pray, one recognized by God as seeking Him and His will.



I then read the comments from readers of that post.  Today's blogs only bring a few comments on the blog--most of my comments are on Facebook.  Back in those days, the ANONYMOUS comments could sometimes be vicious and brutal.  There will always be Haters and how easy it is to hide behind the name Anonymous.  It comes with the territory of blogging--if you are brave enough to allow comments from anonymous sources.  I chose to allow those nameless comments in an effort to get feedback---even feedback I did not want or need.



The really great thing about going back and reading this is knowing how far I have come and I am not finished yet.   It is a wonderful blessing to know God loves me enough to continue to teach me, continue to seek me, and continue to love me beyond even my greatest expectations.  



One of the many lessons I have learned over the past six ears---God knows best.  There is a reason I am alone--God allowed my marriage to end for His good reason.  He answered my pleas with a resounding "NO".  There has never been a time since that sad day that I for one minute thought it could all be fixed.  Some things are not fixable--some things are broken beyond repair.  Though As I stated the day it all began to unravel, God desires us to stay in our marriages----He does allow some to end.  Though the marriage has ended, the fruits of those decades as one is the living legacy of that which once was.  

For once, I am pleased Facebook gave me a glimpse of yesterday.  Yesterday is gone--and the future is unknown--but for today---I live life to the fullest and with the joy of knowing His grace, mercy, and love.  What a trip it has been!


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


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

WE ALL FALL


While we were in Sun Valley, we lucked into being there at the same time as the National Junior Ski Championships.  I spent two afternoons watching these young athletes prepare for the competition which began the day we came home.



They flew down those icy slopes with no sign of fear and at such speed that they were a blur of color on the backdrop of white snow and ice several feet deep.



















The jumpers turned, twisted, flipped and defied gravity beyond my imagination. 



And then there were the snow boarders on the half pipe--flying is an understatement.  As they arced back and forth between the half circles, they soared high above the edge of the snow (ice).  It seems ice is preferable when it comes to the half pipe.  The increased speed makes for the ability to reach higher in the sky.

These are the best of the best--the nation's premier junior champions.  They practice their sport throughout the winter months --all over the nation and at times the world.  Off season, they are using warm weather techniques to train.  They know all the tricks of the sport and are willing to risk it all for a win at the end of the run.

The two days I watched, I began to notice the unexpected for those that know their sport so well.  I saw quite a few brought down the mountain on ski patrol sleds and this was only the practice runs.



Even the well prepared, those who knew exactly what they were doing, the experts took falls.  Some of those falls resulted in injuries--one a serious injury.  Injuries which will take them out of the game for a while and require patience to rehab.  Yet most of these athletes will choose to go back to the game, try again, keep pursuing their goals and dreams.  Falling down--even falling down and being injured requires the mind set of willingness to get back up and, once you are able, trying again.  Continuing to seek the prize is the mark of a winner more than the trophy and podium.

So it is with our lives---we all will fall--we all will fail---the mark of a winner is trying again when we want to quit with all our being.  The easy thing is quitting--the hard thing---the difficult thing---the seemingly impossible thing can be getting back in the game--being willing to brush ourselves off and start back down the track.  The prize --the perfect prize is now the medal-not the trophy--it is those wonderful words--"Well Done".


I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;  
II Timothy 4:7 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

THE STRUGGLE TO STAY VERTICAL

Admitting to perhaps being in my declining years seems to be quite the struggle  as evidenced on my recent trip to Sun Valley, Idaho.  I last skied eight years ago--but for some reason I forget my age and condition and signed up to ski with the younger and more athletic friends of mine.  This proved to be fool hardy!  I do have enough sense to know I do not want a broken bone at this stage in life and try not to take foolish risks.  The problem seems to be recognizing my limitations.

NOT ME--but you get the picture
once your are headed down,
especially on ice,
there is no stopping!

The weather was unseasonably mild--it seems we might be a little late for the prime season.  This is good--when it comes to the lack of crowds, but bad when it comes to the icy slopes.  The locals pride themselves in very steep slopes--which is great if you are a good skier--but treacherous if you are a novice with a long dry spell from being on the slopes.  The first run down the slopes had me falling three times.  The very first fall was on the side with the bad hip.  When I finally got up--with help---I knew I was in for trouble as I twisted my knee in the fall.  After finally getting down the mountain, I sat and rested and licked my wounds while the others explored different trails.  They insisted on me trying a another not quite as steep slope with a much wider trail.  The damage had been done and turning the twisted knee was very painful.  After slowly making it down the slope without incident, I sat out the rest of the day.  Hope springs eternal and I am hoping my knee will be better the next day.

The infamous squirrel pose
from Dear Bob and Sue. If you like
adventure books--give it a try!

The following day, two of us went snow shoeing since we had never tried this activity.  NOW--how hard could this be???  Note the short shoes--which are tipped with metal spikes and poles to help with balance.  I can do this and stay vertical---WRONG!  Somehow I forgot you need to keep your legs slightly splayed and ending up tripping over my own snowshoes.  Grace would be my middle name.  Thankfully these trails were NOT icy and the pain was minimal--when I toppled, except for my wounded pride.  It was a great workout!  



The third day, the knee is still no better, so we decide to try cross country skiing.  At LAST I have the advantage---I've done this before!  Granted it was when #1 Daughter lived in PA, oh around eight or more years ago, but THIS I know how to do.  As my Buddy so well put it, "Is this all there is to this?"


Those words were uttered just before the ice took its first victim of the day.  OH--but I did not fall--FOR ONCE!  I began to get a little cocky and thought--even with the ice--I can do this!  NOT!  My skis were flying out from under me and my rear bounced two or three times on the ice before I could utter a brag!


I came home with bumps, bruises and more sore places than I can count.  BUT-there was always someone there to help me up --each and every time I fell.  A hand reached out--and pulled me back to my feet--helped me get my balance--made sure I was not injured and waited until I was on my way again before leaving me.  I was never alone when I fell and always given a helping hand to start again.  THAT IS WHAT FRIENDS DO FOR EACH OTHER!

I am sure you see where I am going with this.  God has faithfully been by my side watching over me, protecting me, and lending me a hand throughout my life.  He has allowed me to fall, at times, but He never left my side and has always assisted me back up on my feet.  No matter if the fall was my fault or another's-God has always given me a hand up.  What A Faithful God we serve!

 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the LORD helped me. The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
Psalm 118:13-14




Monday, March 20, 2017

THE LINE FORMS AT THE REAR


I have been breaking for Spring or on Spring Break--in case you  avoid me on FB and were not aware.  Surprisingly, while in Idaho,--WAY UP NORTH--the temperatures were rather mild.  The deep snow pack, altitude, and mountain breezes keeps the snow on the mountains and my coat on my back.  I am thankful for the blessing of sweet friends who invite me along on their adventures.  




Perhaps my favorite part of any adventure--well any outing--is people watching.  OH MY--do we come in all sizes, shapes, and personalities.  I believe I could write for a year on what I see in airports, train stations, and on public transit.  While growing up under Momma's iron hand, we definitely had two standards of behavior---at home and in public.  The law of the land was you did not draw attention to yourself by unseeming behavior while in public.  That law seems to have been thrown out the door--in fact--much of what I saw lead me to believe many have never even heard of it.

One of my favorite viewings while in the airports is the boarding of the plane.  The airline industry has tweaked this process for years and it has finally morphed into today's process of boarding by groups or zones.  The line begins to queue up as soon as the airline agent appears at the gate.  Even though you may be in Group 999---for some reason many begin to crowd the gate.  Perhaps they think if they are rude enough, they will let them go first?  



At any rate, they let those who have children two and under get on board first, along with those needing additional time or assistance to get on board.  NOW---THANK YOU, Lord, I am no longer dragging a two and under on board.  It's pretty amazing they want to put the screamers on first.  I guess this gives them time to warm up their screeches.  And of course, those needing extra time should go first---LONG before the rest of us.  Who wants to show their true colors by darting around a wheel chair or someone on crutches as you walk down the loading chute?  

AND THEN--there are those who have enough money to pay for first class tickets.  They take their silver goblets, fur coats, and leather suitcases and leisurely stroll to their reclining seats that really do recline.  When you pay triple the price--the seat SHOULD recline!  Immediately after the first class comes the golden parachutes, business class, we belong to the club members.  And IF--and ONLY IF--you are an active duty military member AND have on your uniform--they will let you get on with all the uppity up's.

All those of upper status are now on and seated and they begin the loading by group number or zone letter of all the ordinary passengers--the members of the real world.  Although I have my doubts, they say this has nothing to do with the frequency of flying.  I did notice on these flights it seemed to be based upon where you were seated.  Those lucky enough to be in the aisle seats went last and those trapped by the window went first.   NOW here is the thing--there is limited overhead space and since the airlines now charge for baggage the jockeying to put your bag overhead can be treacherous.  Who wants to have your baggage stowed ten rows behind you?



Here is what I always laugh about when the plane is finally loaded.  They do not close the door until everyone is on board!  Who wants to sit on a crowded plane one more minute than you must?  And yet---when we see others rushing for the door--we fall quickly into a panic and become part of the mob and follow suit. What pray tell is the rush??  To date, I have NEVER seen the plane take off with half the passengers still in the loading chute.  

This all plays out again when the flight is finally concluded.  The plane lands and UP pops over half the plane---EVEN though the plane empties from the front to the back.  Perhaps these people are weary of sitting?  One thing is for sure--you are not going to get off any quicker by standing 15 minutes before the bulkhead is opened!  AND YES, sometimes we miss our connections--sometimes we have tight connections--sometimes we are in dire need of the nearest restroom--BUT unless you are a professional linebacker--I doubt you can plow over all the rows of passengers in front of you.  At best you might gain a few position advantage-to only suffer the scorn and lambasting all the way up the gangplank of those you trounced.  

We see this same behavior in other venues, at all types of events where you have reserved seating, in the 12 items or less line at the grocery store, even at the school where I volunteer they are rushing to line up to go inside a class they hate.  For some strange reason, when lines begin to form, good manners fly out the door and the pushing and shoving for position commences.  For what purpose, I am not sure--but most all of us seem to want to be at the head of the line.  We miss the fact that we all will eventually reach the destination--and arriving 5 seconds in front of the next person makes not one whit of difference.  

This, of course, reminds me of the parable Jesus taught concerning the last shall be first.  God's chosen people were called first and much later the Gentiles were given The Message.  So the Gentiles--the last to be called will be first to enter the realms of grace for they gladly accepted the prepaid ticket offered by Jesus.  A beautiful story reminding us the station we hold is not nearly as important as the acceptance of the ticket.  Being born into a first class family does not guarantee admittance through the bulkhead doors---you must have your boarding pass.  The ticket price is free to all who ask---and the boarding pass is part of the package.  And when we are lined up at The Pearly Gates--no shoving or pushing is allowed---come as you are with your pass in hand to receive a first class accommodation once you are inside the gates.  It will be the most wonderful trip ever!  



"So those who are last now will be first then,
 and those who are first will be last."
Matthew 20:16

Friday, March 17, 2017

THE GREEN BE WITH YOU


I can only claim Scot-Irish blood.  My mother's ancestors were from the McPherson Clan.  OF COURSE, she had the records to prove it!   As I learned while visiting Ireland, the true Irish look down their noses at those with Scot-Irish blood.  BUT for today, I wish you a HAPPY St. PATTY'S DAY!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

SPONGES

This crew are sponges!



Be VERY careful what you say around them, for you WILL have those same words repeated back to you and perhaps relayed to others.  Even when you think they are not listening---THEY ARE!  They can take those words you so carelessly threw out --twist them-turn them- and even use them against you.  AND they have L O N G memories.  A statement you uttered with tongue in cheek is construed as Gospel fact and used against you.  One is a literalistic--takes everything at face value; one is a joker; and the other --as his mother so correctly puts it is "wildly inappropriate".  The little one---she is taking lessons from all the big brothers and has learned how to play the game already!  I love this little crew--and they make great blogging fodder!




Sponges are living organisms and, of course, I read up on them.  They are a very simple living form which attaches itself to something with the purpose of leeching enough nutrients to grow.  It effectively sucks in everything from its host and through a filtering action discards what it doesn't need.

Fascinating reading AND do you see the similarities to us?  We often attach ourselves to others--or causes--or groups and suck in all that is offered.  The question is are do we take the time to filter through all the defective information?  Do we take everything literally or do we use the scale of truth and discard what we don't need?  Do we even dare to think and question before accepting what we are being fed?

Why is it I fail to attach myself to God 24/7 and like the sponge soak in all His glory?  Who am I allowing to be my host?  Man or God---the choice is mine.

Oh, Lord, I love the habitation of Your house
And the placed where Your glory dwells.
Psalm 26:8

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

ACCEPTANCE

It is HIGH TIME that I come to accept a few of the truths of life--

The days of running 26.2 miles are long gone, my hip screamed in agony while running a block to catch The Little Runner.



The days of climbing on roofs and up trees are over--unless I desire to try out the latest walker model.


The days of wrinkle free tight skin are long gone.  Too many hours in the sun while enjoying the great outdoors has taken its toll.  Mother Nature Wins!


The days of eating what I want-when I want are over and done with since my metabolism seems to have come to a crashing halt.  Somehow I missed the STOP sign about 20 pounds ago!


Laugh if you will, but with acceptance comes peace.  I still enjoy those walks, but I often pay the price with an aching hip.  The dog may find himself in the pound when I quit chasing after the scoundrel.  If that happens, I plan to leave him there overnight to teach him a lesson.  Climbing into trees and on roofs is for cats and squirrels.  I can pretty much see most everything from the ground.
God has given me the gift of diminished eyesight so I can not see all those wrinkles and sagging skin.  And finally, for all those who have nagged me all my life that I need to put some meat on my bones, I finally took your advice.

I hope you laughed for it always helps to approach a serious subject with a little laughter.  Grief often surrounds us in this hurting world.  God gave us grief to lament what we have loved and lost.  It is never easy and though you may think their are levels and classes of grief.  Grief is grief.  As we recently talked about a stubbed toe hurts even in the face of death it hurts.

I have finally learned though grief never goes away--the pain diminishes with acceptance of the cause.  Acceptance, for me, has brought peace and the ability to move forward.  God desires us to live our lives to the fullest and being trapped in the pit of despair makes that impossible.  Not to say we will not occasionally step back into the quagmire, but with acceptance we are able to pull ourselves up and out when we stumble and fall.  Forward motion---we all need to strive for forward motion.

My flesh and my heart may fail, 
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:26

  


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

OUCH--I STUBBED MY TOE!

#1 Daughter and I keep each other grounded in the realities of life.  When either of us start moaning and groaning over our day to day trials and tribulations, we remind each other, "FIRST WORLD PROBLEM".  For you see--most of the problems we incur are first world problems.  We are not struggling for the basic needs of life.  There is a roof over our heads, food in the refrigerator, and clothes on our backs.  We have never known the dire circumstances a large part of the world lives with moment by moment.  Our problems seem trite in comparison.




Recently I was complaining to a friend about my refrigerator dying.  My complaint centered around no one to help with the decision of buying a new one or pursuing fixing the current one.  After my brief foray into fixing it myself--courtesy the WWW--I knew a decision had to be made.  As I moaned and groaned, I looked at the friend and said, "First World Problem."  After explaining what I meant, she did not even bat an eye before responding.  

"If you are sitting in the room with a terminally ill patient and stub your toe, it still is painful---it still hurts.  Even when sitting in the presence of a much greater problem, your toe still hurts. " What a profound remark.




Our suffering is just that OUR suffering.  A good friend told me of an author who warned against labeling the suffering of others as either feathers or millstones.  You see it comes from personal perspective, circumstances, and background.  Why are some able to go through so much and still have a wonderful attitude?  Why do some take every challenge as an insurmountable obstacle?  How are some able to take loss and use it as a ministry opportunity while others are stuck in deep grief for years?  I do not have answers.  I do know these wise words are to be taken to heart--never classify suffering, loss, or grief.  It is NOT a contest any of us want to win!




So yes, the refrigerator is small potatoes in this current world.  It was a small bump in the road which caused me to slow down and proceed with caution.  I chose an option and now I am moving forward.  Every decision I have made alone has been difficult, but most have had good consequences and my skills are expanding day by day.  That does not lessen the struggle of making these decisions alone after a lifetime of discussing the day to day decisions with another.  I am learning and growing more confident with each new struggle.

Moral of the story--don't judge until you have walked a mile in the other man's shoes.  No matter who your are or where you are--if you stub your toe there is pain.


26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. 
Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:26