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Friday, May 31, 2019

BLOOM

My yard has been blooming all spring.  The current offerings include the gardenia bushes and my hydrangea bed.  There are blooms galore!  A visual feast of God's glorious creation.


The color of the hydrangea blooms is dependent upon the acidity of the soil.  Obviously my dirt is a mixed bag of PH since I have pink, blue, and white blooms all on the same plant.  


The gardenias bushes are so filled with blooms you must look to find the green of the leaves.  As an added bonus these blooms produce a sweet aroma which floats on the breezes all the way to the street in front of the house.  A sensual delight which greets me every time I step out the door.  What a glorious painting the plants and shrubs have offered this year.

This beautiful landscape does not happen without work.  The bushes must be fertilized, watered, trimmed at the correct time, and sprayed.  It takes a vigilant eye and plenty of sweat equity to produce the fruit of the bloom.  The blooms will be here but a short time~ here today and gone tomorrow~ BUT what joy they are while they last.  I marvel at God's creation each time I cross my threshold and I am certain my neighbors are enjoying the fruit of my labor as well.

So it is with our spiritual lives.  We must nourish our soul, prune that which is dead wood, and protect ourselves from the pestilence of the evil one.  To produce the best fruit, we need to tend our eternal spirits.  And then we can


How pleased our Master Gardener must be when He gazes upon His handiwork and sees the fruits of His labor.  


Bloom where you are planted and know God's good pleasure.

For it is God who works in you,
both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Philippians 2:13

Thursday, May 30, 2019

SEALING THE DOOR

The floor replacement has been a much bigger project than I realized it would.  The old wood floors are cut and then pulled up in small pieces since they were originally glued down.  Unfortunately--when you saw--there is saw dust.  To add to the problem, the sawdust is very fine.  Taken alone~sawdust seems harmless~the problem is when you have buckets and buckets of sawdust released in a house.  This has necessitated creating barriers to keep it out of the rooms with floors not being replaced.


The kitchen has a sealed plastic barrier to keep the sawdust out.  All of the furniture is stacked in three rooms and we have gone to great lengths to keep the fine dust from invading these safe rooms.



If I should happen to need to enter one of the sealed rooms, I immediately reseal the space.  The evil sawdust must NOT infiltrate the protected space.  No contamination is acceptable!


This has worked well-NOT!  The sawdust is so fine, it cannot always be seen by the human eye.  If you dare to open the door, sawdust is escaping as if there is a vacuum needing to be filled.  The insidious dust creeps through the tiniest of holes seeping into the seemingly dust free zone.  The next thing I know there are saw dust foot prints all through the house.  You think you have swept it all up--contained it, but the footprints tell the truth.  Sawdust has crept into the rest of the house.

So it is with sin.  We think we have closed and sealed the door to the Evil One.  We have the barriers up and have become a no sin zone.  AND THEN~temptation comes knocking at the door asking for you to open it for just one second.  The next thing you know--sin has crept in and we are leaving our dirty footprints as we travel down the path.  We did not intend to sin--we only briefly opened the door--just a crack~  You know the rest of the story.  Time to call the clean up crew.  The Holy Trinity of sin redemption--who help us reseal the door, clean up the mess and start with a clean slate.  With their help we can close the cracks, slam the door and sin no more.  What a Great God we serve--Go and sin no more!

If we confess our sins, 
he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
 and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I John 1:9



Wednesday, May 29, 2019

EXTENDED WARRANTY

In case you were unaware, things are not made to last as they once were.  I have had two refrigerators go out just after the year warranty expired.  It left me wondering if there is a button they push which destroys the inner workings of the fridge in one year if you do not buy the extended warranty.  I REALLY think a fridge should last more than a year!  


I clearly remember having refrigerators which rusted before they quit working.  It takes a LONG time for a fridge to rust.  OH--but they are made of plastic now--and plastic does not rust.


When I had the spring service done on my air conditioning (we turn on the AC in the South late March ), I naively asked the serviceman how long did he think it would be before the unit had to be replaced.  Having had more than one unit that lasted thirty years, I was SHOCKED to learn they are now usually replaced in 15 years.  My home is now 13 years old---OH NO--major repairs in the future.  


My good friend had a vehicle which she loved and it had served her well.  UNTIL the warranty expired!  At that point there were major repairs needed.  SO major she ended up buying another vehicle from another car company.  AGAIN--in today's world of computers is there a preset self destruct button for when the mileage hits the warranty expiration?


The latest repair needed here at my casa is the wood flooring.  Almost every house in the hood has manufactured wood flooring.  This is flooring which has a thin coat of wood on top of laminate.  My flooring was beginning to show major signs of wear.  OF COURSE, I googled it and learned you can usually refinish the floor one time.  In my thinking, this gives me more than ten more years, and seems a good solution.  What I learned was NOT ALL manufactured flooring is eligible for this restoration AND it is not cheap.  SO, the men are here this week replacing my floor, and this time I am putting down ceramic tile.  THIS should definitely last my lifetime!

It would seem the world has come up with a new solution to increasing the bottom line, make things which have to be replaced more often.  That works well for corporate America, but NOT so good for my pocketbook!  What are your choices---replace or let it self destruct.  Perhaps this is why we see houses with cars and furniture in various stages of rust and decay piled around them like garden statues denoting a better day.  The theory of implosion states all things return to their original state if not cared for.


This does not bode well for the human body.  I have reached my expiration according to The Word and am living on borrowed time.  I choose to look at it as beating the warranty game.  Every day from here forward is Lagniappe and I am delighted with the dawning of each and every day.  The question becomes what do I intend to do with my Lagniappe?  Sit here waiting for the next breakdown of a part or   


Who am I to question the days given to me?  The expiration date has been extended without even having to buy an extended warranty.  WIN-WIN!  NOW to make the most of the day before me ~  ALL for God's Good Pleasure!

10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

TOMORROW

A series of recent conversations have me thinking about the past and what we should do with it.  How many times have we all heard those cliches such as "What's done is done."  " Time to start again"  "Let it go"  



I finished a book this past weekend which was a poignant reminder of the problem with allowing the past to rule the present.



If anyone had a right to hold onto the grievances of the past, this World War II family of Jewish refugees did.  Mistreatment, abuse, theft, death,  misplacement, rejection, and loss of the dreams of tomorrow are only part of the story.  The Grand Dame of this family died bitter and vowing revenge-even in her death.  It was a painful reminder of the danger of living in the past--good or bad.

The stark truth is the past is just that--in the past--history--gone.  BUT the past is a vital part of who we are--in our present.  What do we do with the past?

Honor the memory.
By embracing and acknowledging what was, we honor our history.  There are good as well as bad things in all of our past.  We cannot selectively carve out what we care to remember.  It is a collage of what has made us who we are today.  Do not deny it, do not live in it, but instead accept it as part of the very fabric of your being.

Learn from it.
Our past is perhaps one of our greatest teachers.  If a dog chases me every time I walk a certain street, I should learn to not walk down that street.  To continue to return to the same street over and over is only asking for a dog bite.  If I enjoy a wonderful meal every time I visit a certain restaurant, trust the next meal will be good also.  Learn from the experience of our history and use it to frame our present.  If history is going to repeat itself, then we should learn from our past how to avoid the painful recurrence of painful memories by avoiding the circumstances leading to the pain.  In the same manner, the successes we have enjoyed should teach us the path to pursue to repeat the circumstances that lead to our triumphs.

Embrace today.
All we are promised is this moment~make the most of it.  Do not keep one foot in yesterday for your cannot walk into tomorrow dragging yesterday behind you.  Try walking in a door with one foot planted firmly outside the door.  The door will hit you in the face stopping your forward progress.  Step forward--even  tentatively--but take a step.  Today is not found in yesterday. Yesterday is gone, but today is a blank page waiting to be filled.

Always hope.
Even if your yesterday was so wonderful you cannot fathom life being any better, tomorrow could well be better.  The better will never be discovered unless you are willing to look for it.  One thing is sure and certain, without hope, without expectation, tomorrow has no hope of being better.  If your yesterday is painful and the horror of repeating it can have you pulling the covers over your head or headed for the nearest cave, there is hope for a better tomorrow.  How do you live--how do you move forward without hope?  



The past can paralyze us.  We can become stuck in the world of fear over a repeat performance or idling in the denial of life ever possibly being better than yesterday.  We choose how we live today--and today is all we have.  Make the most of it and live in hope by putting both feet inside the door of today.

May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13


Sunday, May 26, 2019

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

VULNERABLE

#2 Son recently encouraged me to listen to a talk by this lady~


Upon further investigation, I discovered she is one of the gurus for the younger generations.  She is a highly effective communicator who has done her homework and knows her subject.  Perhaps she is a little too worldly for my taste, but I came away thinking.  The sure sign of a gifted communicator is the ability to make us think.

Brene Brown has spent years studying vulnerability.  Her contention is you have to be willing to experience failure and pain to grow.  She has MANY good points and I especially applaud her teaching on gratitude.


During the video I watched  "The Call to Courage,"  she addressed the armor we tend to wear in our day to day lives.  It is no secret that I am protecting my heart and there is definitely a wall around it.  Brene's contention is we need to take our armor off and allow ourselves to risk pain to fully experience life.  I thought of the book our small group studied and I have spent a lot of time writing about~


In this study of the 6th chapter of Ephesians, we are told God provides us with armor to fight the spiritual battles of this world.  We are not only given this suit of armor, but we are also told to not leave home without it. Brene would have you believe unless you are willing to strip off your armor, you will never experience life to the fullest. (In all fairness, I don't think she is talking about our spiritual armor)  God tells us, through Paul, that we are in a daily battle with evil and must be fully protected by the armor He has provided to live life fully in God's will.  A direct contradiction to each other.  

Without arguing the contradictory points, I did come away with one conclusion,

We should all be willing to be vulnerable when standing before God.

When searching for the meaning of vulnerable, my ears perked up when I read~

UNPROTECTED

Unprotected gives me a clear vision of open and willing to admit the truth of who we are.  God already knows the truth, but we need to be willing to admit that truth to Him.  Once we face the truth, then we are willing and able to change.  Perhaps there is a common theme in what Brene is saying and what I am thinking.   She desires for us to improve ourselves to live life to the fullest.  My desire is to change myself (reaching for santification) to live life in the fullness of God's grace.  

I came away from her video with this conclusion~
Much of what she says is Gospel based.  She is trying to instill in man the very things we are taught in God's Word about how He loves us.  Our roads diverge when she seems to promote "Me" to an equal status with God.  Our joy and eternal significance is found in God~all else is of this world and will fade away on the winds of time.

 God is sufficient. God is good. God loves you. And Jesus Christ will never leave you nor forsake you. No matter how weak or vulnerable we may be, we can look to Christ, whose grace is sufficient for us and made perfect in our weaknesses.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses,
insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
II Corinthians 12: 9-10

Monday, May 20, 2019

RESTORATION

There is a marked disparity between restoration and redemption.  Many times in life we are searching for restoration and do not recognize it when it is right before our eyes.  Mr. Webster defines restoration~noun
  1. 1.
    the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition

Redemption is defined as~noun
  1. 1.
    the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.


In most cases we are seeking a former place and condition when addressing restoration .

It has been just over three weeks since the F3 tornado hit my sweet home town.  The past three weeks have found me fighting to hold back tears for the bad--but also the good.  Ruston has once again proven to be exactly where God wants me planted.  The slogan has become RUSTON STRONG since the storm. The outpouring of support, help, and standing shoulder to shoulder with all our neighbors, whose world was turned upside down that night in the blink of an eye, has been heart warming and bolstering of my faith in mankind.  Restoration from those brief minutes of devastation began within minutes of its occurrence.


ALL PHOTOS WERE TAKEN BY PAUL BURNS https://www.travelingnorah.com

WHOSE MOTHER AND FATHER LOST THEIR HOME





Mother Nature threw her fury straight at Ruston that night.  Decades old trees which have marked the streets with their majestic beauty became missiles of destruction and sadly death.  Friends literally had their world split right down the middle.




How can we ever restore our city to its former beauty?  How can the lives so many of our friends and neighbors knew ever be restored to the place they were before that brief late night intrusion   explosion?






Life will never be the same, BUT life is still good.  We have been reminded all of this world is temporal, but our relationships--they can be eternal.  The love, goodwill, support, and compassion of our families, friends, neighbors and even strangers have made the horrendous mess into a meeting ground for the good in man.  



The mess will eventually all be cleaned up, homes will be repaired, others will disappear to never be seen again or replaced by today's architectural offerings, and the landscape is forever altered, but from the chaos there has risen great beauty.  The beauty of man's good---his desire to help those in need---his willingness to cry with those who are mourning and stand shoulder to shoulder with his fellow man in the struggle for restoration.  

In most cases restoration is never obtainable.  How do you replace trees which took decades to grow?  How do you calm the fears of those traumatized to the point of terror over any approaching storm?  How do you replace lives lost?  BUT God---lives can be rebuilt, homes can be repaired, fears will quiet with time, and man's faith in his fellow man has received a huge boost.  It may never look the same, but it can still be a glimpse of the great beauty of man's leaning toward hope .

I have been reminded of Job.  All was lost---fortune, home, family, everything was gone.  We are told at the end of the book that all was restored to Job~but there were things he lost that were never returned.  The former was gone, but that did not lessen the good of the present.  Life was forever altered, but life became good once again.  What a gift hope is!  A hope for a beautiful tomorrow, a hope that man will rise up and help those in need, a hope that there is always a rainbow at the end of the storm.  

So thankful to call Ruston home and looking forward to witnessing the restoration of this sweet town to an even better place to live.  


RUSTON STRONG INDEED!

And the God of all grace,
who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while,
will Himself restore you and make you
strong, firm and steadfast.
I Peter 5:10

Friday, May 17, 2019

I RESEMBLE THAT


How many times have I uttered this statement!   The statement was made famous by the "Three Stooges", specifically Curly~those great philosophers from my childhood.



The remark could be~"We do not allow the riff raff in the front door."  To which Curly would reply, "I resemble that remark."  It is a self demarcating stab at humor.

My dear friend can send me into spirals of thinking in any one conversation.  Recently we were discussing the things we spend a great deal of time doing.  They reminded me of the passage in Jeremiah which addresses man's propensity to become that which he chases.  The secret is to maintain balance in your life.  We become those idols we worship in life.  It could be success, wealth, learning, beauty, or fill in the blank.  When we begin to chase things of this world, we are surely stating what is important to us.

Gary Beole stated, "What people revere, they resemble either for ruin or restoration."  We can either revere the world and conform to it or revere God and become conformed to His likeness.  Jesus plainly tells us in Matthew 6:24,
"No one can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and money."  Strike through money and fill in anything else of this world.  We become what we worship and our worship is directly reflected by how we use our time and resources.

These conversations leave me soul searching and reflecting upon who I am.  Praying I do not resemble Jeremiah's admonition~

This is what the Lord says;
"What fault did your fathers find in me,
they they strayed so far from me?
They followed worthless idols
and became worthless themselves."
Jeremiah 2:5


Thursday, May 16, 2019

WARY OF STRANGERS

We all teach our children the lesson~


After all, a stranger is someone we do not know, nor do we know their intentions.  I have learned to be careful about talking with children I do not know.  I love children and my first reaction when I see one is to speak to them.  This encourages them to trust strangers.  No longer do I enter into a conversation with them unless they have an adult with them.  Certainly, I appear harmless, but in most cases, so do the adults who might harm them.

I, myself, am careful around strangers.  I squelch my natural instinct to speak with everyone in my path, especially when alone.  In today's world, unfortunately, we must be aware of our surroundings and the potential for threat or harm.  The news and social media are filled with stories of strangers robbing or doing other harm to the unsuspecting.  The rule has become check out your surroundings before proceeding.  Sadly, the innocent world of my childhood has disappeared and we need to be wary of strangers.

There have been strangers whom have become good friends over time.  One of my neighbors in Fort Worth, when walking by my house, saw me out working in my yard and shouted a greeting.  She has become a great friend whom I dearly miss.


The fact of the matter is almost everyone beyond family, starts out as a stranger.  Why I even have family members who are strange strangers.  Who do we actually know when we come into this world~except for the voices we heard from the womb?

This week I have been mulling over Peter's letters contained in The Word.  Peter calls us "strangers in the world" as he writes to God's elect.  He references the Believers twice as strangers and also aliens.  We often think of aliens as someone who was not born in this country.  One who is not a naturalized citizen of the country in which they are living.  WHY would Peter think we are strangers in the midst of those we know so well and how can we be aliens to the place we have always called home?

Remember in Ephesians we were told once we accepted Jesus as our Savior and declared our faith in God, we then were sitting in the Heavenlies with Jesus and God?  Our eternal life began at that point and we became naturalized citizens of The Heavenlies.  We were granted permission into the presence of God Almighty and His home became our home.  

At that point in time, we became citizens of The Heavenlies and therefore became strangers or aliens in this world.  We are no longer "Of the World," but instead are "At Home in the Heavenlies."  We are sojourners through this world, and strangers to this world.  

This does not mean, we are not to interact with those of this world, but instead the Great Commission states the opposite.  We are to be wary of strangers, but not withdrawn   We are to be the influencers and not allow the world to influence us. Peter encourages us as aliens of this world to live our lives in a manner which points to Jesus.  Aliens usually have different customs and habits from the citizens of a country.  I pray our customs and actions always point to our being different.  A different others want to emulate.  We are different because Christ has made us different---a citizen of The Heavenlies with all the rights and privileges according to citizenship.  May our lives be a beacon of the wonder of belonging to Him as we, as strangers, travel through this world.

For our citizenship is in heaven,
 from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior,
 the Lord Jesus Christ;
Philippians 3:20

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

ALWAYS THE SAME

We all desire to have a living legacy when we leave this terrestrial ball.  This mommy looks a great deal like her mommy at approximately the same age.






The physical resemblance is undeniable and as she ages, she looks more and more like me.  I am blessed to call her daughter.















We call this grand "Little Gabe".  He not only looks like his Uncle Gabe, but has many of his personality characteristics.  The consummate entertainer, he loves to be the center of attention.  It is really difficult to not laugh at his antics, just as it was with Uncle Gabe.  Unfortunately their teachers do not always find them quite so cute.

It is human nature to want someone to carry on our legacy.  A legacy of our character and appearance somehow gives us the peace that we will always be here. 

Physical appearance is one thing, but how often have we said, "He/She acts just like _____"  Our personality traits can be inherited as well as our physical looks.  My obsessiveness and need for order was passed on to #1 Son.  My tender heart was passed on to #2 Son.  My love of relationships was passed on to #1 Daughter.  Each of my children has been marked by some aspect of my personality.  Each of them is different, but there are distinct similarities also.  The phrase "uniquely and wonderfully made" comes to mind.

We are told in The Word that we are created in God's image.  Somehow man has turned the tables and tried to make God into our image.  God's character, unlike man's, is unchangeable.  He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  God came first and then man.  We are created in His image and not the other way around.  Man is guilty of even taking God's attributes and putting our spin on them.  God being good does not mean we are guaranteed health, wealth, and prosperity.  It does mean  "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose," Romans 8:28.  Our definition of good is not the good of eternal consequence.

We limit and define God based upon our finite mind.  God is infinite and His character is immutable.  When you stop and consider, this unchanging--unable to change character of God is a great comfort.  Man may change based upon the time and circumstance, BUT GOD is the one constant we can rely upon.  He is consistent with His character.


Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above,
 coming down from the Father of lights,
 with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
James 1:17

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

ENDLESS PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

Mother's Day brought great reminders of the joys of raising my children.  We come into this world crying for what we want to make up happy.  In those early months, happiness is easily obtained with a full stomach, dry/clean bottom and a gentle touch.  Our wants and needs are simple.


With the addition of years, the wants and desires increase.  Our children want an endless supply of junk food, unlimited screen time, always moving bedtime, and total freedom of choice.  They think this will make them happy, but we, as adults, understand why these are bad choices.  Their happiness would be temporary at best.  The consequences of these happiness desires will surely lead to unhappiness for them and many of those in their wake.


The materialistic world has taught us we will only be happy if we have----FILL IN THE BLANK.  It is a shifting target based upon current fads and how deep our pockets are.  In fact, many do not wait for a full pocket, but use plastic to fulfill what they think will make them happy.  I will never forget the question when I expressed a desire for yet another house project, "Now will THIS make you happy?"  One project always leads to another and there is never an end to home improvement plans.  We spend far too much time comparing what we have to what others have and staring at "HG TV".  The outdoor kitchen is great proof of my point--after all HOW MANY DAYS can you actually use this multi thousand dollar improvement.  Let me assure you, this rainy year in Louisiana, there have been few days to cook outdoors.

The phrase "God wants us happy," is the way man has made God into man's image.  It is the character the world has given God and not defensible in His Word.  I beg to differ, God does not necessarily want us happy.  Happy is a temporal term.  Here today and gone tomorrow, our happiness is a moving target.  Man is seldom satisfied with what he thinks will make him happy.  God understands these fleeting desires of the worldly man and has a better plan for us.

God does want us content-

12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 
Philippians 4:12

AND he does desire for us to be joyful~

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

The peace that comes from joy is the contentment Paul spoke of in the first verse.

No, God does not want us happy--happy is temporal, but He does promise us joy--and joy is eternal.  I would trade the happiness of a day for the joy of eternity any day--there is no contest.  I thank God for the joy that comes from knowing Him and the contentment of knowing His ways are always best.

Monday, May 13, 2019

SEARCHING FOR THE TRAIL HEAD

Almost all of the hikes we have been on have clearly marked trails and trail heads which are easily found and followed.  This did not prove to be the case in California.  We spent a great deal of time looking for the beginning of the trail.  We spent as much time in Yosemite wandering around searching as we did hiking the actual trail.  A park ranger explained the loop trail we were hiking had several points of entry that caused the confusion.  I will give him the benefit of the doubt, but in all the parks we have hiked in, this has never been the case.



In Yosemite, once we found the trail, we were able to stay on it.  There was a stretch of a shower from the fall spray and the stream we had to cross in the beginning of the trail.  This necessitated wringing out of wet socks before continuing~a minor inconvenience.



And then there was the elusive bridge.  Our fellow hikers kept telling us we would have to turn around on the long bridge, because the trail became impassable.  Could I just tell you how many bridges we crossed?  FINALLY we got to the turn around point.





Well worth the effort once we finally arrived at the correct destination.  The original hike was to have been all the way around the Loop Trail.  The snow melt and flooded trails made this impossible.



Lake Tahoe proved to also have trail challenges.  Same song-different verse.  The trail quickly went underwater and we decided to wander through the woods in search of a place to hop back on the trail.  This was a stroll through the brier patch.  One of the hikers came back with a terrific case of poison ivy-could this be where she was exposed?  We were in the midst of dense foliage and identifying poison ivy in the thick maze of greenery was impossible.  I ended up completely turned around--thank goodness for the trail boss who kept her sense of direction.

We were told to stay on the trail, but it was difficult finding the trail at times and impossible to stay on it at others.  The sign above warned us it was dangerous to stray from the trail.  There were times we had no choice but to stray and hope to find our way again.

So it goes with life, we are forced off the trail at times.  The trail head becomes lost in the confusion of the world.  We become sojourners who loose our way and our sense of direction becomes turned from God's plan to the World's Way.  Just as we experienced on our trip, all is never lost.  Eventually you will discover your way and get back on the trail~if you keep searching.  Keep looking for the signs and markers--our Guide is always close by.


“Set up road markers for yourself;
 make yourself guideposts; 
consider well the highway,
 the road by which you went.
Jeremiah 31:21

Friday, May 10, 2019

CLINGING TO THE YELLOW LINE

Somehow I have been voted driver when we go on our adventure trips without our token male, Jim.  The conversation seemed to go something like this, "I don't like to drive~~~You have lived in the city and are accustomed to city traffic"  Without even running for the office, I became driver by default.  I thought when I reached 70, they would elect someone else, but OH NO--they are willing to pay additional to not have to drive.

On our recent trip to California, we made a big circle trying to see as much as possible while there.  The cost of flying inspires thrifty measures.


We landed in San Jose, drove down to Carmel and Big Sur, Across to Yosemite, Up to Lake Tahoe (and our one brush with Nevada), across to Sonoma -Golden Gate Bridge, and San Francisco, to the Muri Woods, and back to San Jose.  It was a 1414 mile sojourn through the middle of California.  The state is breath-taking beautiful, but who can afford to live there!!

The day we traveled from Yosemite to Lake Tahoe we drove over a mountain pass of over 8000 feet.  There was still LOADS of snow in the mountains.


There also were mile upon mile of switchbacks and hairpin turns.  NOT easy driving.  When we reached the crest of the pass, we found ourselves in the clouds and unable to see five feet in front of the car.  On one side we have a shear drop off of a mere 8000 feet and the other is on-coming traffic and there is no visibility.  White knuckled would describe me perfectly.  The one thing I could see was the double yellow line in the center of the road.  There was nothing else to do but to slow WAY DOWN and cling to the yellow line in hopes we would start down again and descend from the danger of the clouds.  The yellow line became my plumb line---the way out of the danger of the clouds and lack of visibility.  Stay focused and live became my mantra.

Life is filled with hair pin curves and lack of visibility.  If ONLY we knew what was around the next curve, what might be heading in our direction, where this trek is taking us.  Just as I had no idea what was in the road ahead, we do not know what tomorrow will bring as we trek along through the clouds of an uncertain future.  BUT GOD---gives us a plumb line---a double yellow stripe to follow---a road map to make the trek doable.  His Word is the map, the directions, the yellow line which leads us forward.  How thankful I am He has given us a sure and certain map to make this trek through our time on this earth the best it can be.  Cling to the yellow line and know His provision of peace and security as we traverse the beautiful road as well as the treacherous unknown.  Cling to the yellow line and know God is faithfully by your side.

My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped.”

Psalm 17:6

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

I NEED YOU




The World has encouraged my autonomy.  Unfortunately many of the lessons learned while traveling along the path of life have lead to putting a wall around my heart.  Admitting a need for each of you, tears down the boundaries I have carefully built to protect myself from pain.  In all of my introspection, it has become crystal clear God created us to be in relationships.  It is impossible to have a relationship with a mirror.  A mirror is a cold non-thinking or feeling object only used for studying our physical reflection.  It adds nothing to our lives and creates an  emotional vacuum.  A mirror has a single dimension, and we are not created as single dimension beings, but instead are multi- faceted complex beings.  The mirror does not provide a true representation of who we are.

The reflection that best exemplifies the real us comes from those we have relationships.  Just as our voice does not really sound the way we hear it, we are not always the person we think we are.  What clouds this is the eyes of the beholder are influenced by their experience and history.  One person may see us as talkative and open and another may find us aloof and withdrawn~all depending upon the point in time of interaction and their perception.  Yet, we need each other to have a true reflection of who we are.



Opening myself up to vulnerability by admitting my need for you to complete myself is not an easy step.  Yet, I find I do need you.  Family, friends, acquaintances, and even casual encounters all influence who we are. Those from the past, those who will come along in the future, and those currently in our lives~all make us who we are.  We have a clearer understanding of how others see us by the manner in which they respond to us.  We have all walked into a room and felt as if we were the odd person out.  How quickly we try to identify someone with which we can connect.  The power of rejection creates a panicky need for someone to acknowledge us.  This is the best example of the great need we have for relationships and community.

I am opening myself up and admitting to each of you


I NEED YOU

  YOU are important to me and my life will not be the same without you.  I pray I can help you be the best you.  I pray we will be mutually blessed by our relationship.  I am here for you and thankful for you.  Thank you for reading, responding, and encouraging me.  God has placed us in each other's lives for a purpose.  May this purpose be for His Glory and Good Purpose.  As for today, please know I Need You and life would not be the same without you.

"In everything, therefore,
 treat people the same way you want them to treat you,
 for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:12