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Thursday, January 14, 2021

WHAT WE HAVE IN COMMON

 I find myself drawn to the daily news, but also repulsed by what I see.  I cannot stand to watch what is happening to our country and I cannot pull myself away from the television, if I dare to turn it on.  I keep thinking there has to be a better day just around the bend, and I expectantly keep watching for it to appear. (I believe that is the definition of hope)  As I pray for our great country, I keep asking God what has happened to us all.  It dawned on me this morning, what is most important today and in the days to come is NOT what our differences are, but what we have in common.

You all have heard me speak of the sweet ladies at The Well that I meet with twice a week.  We have slowly returned to a semblance of what we looked like before March 13.  These ladies ALL have not only the increased risk that comes with age, but also pre-existing health conditions which make the potential of exposure to the virus deadly.  We are VERY careful!  Masks are a must, we keep our distance and most of the time we meet outside.  That does not deter the camaraderie we experience when together.

We talk and talk and talk---one of my favorite activities (behind masks and at a distance).  Here is the bottom line, we are different.  We have had different life experiences, we have lived through sometimes very diverse circumstances, and where we are at this stage of our lives is different--or is it?  On the surface, it seems we are apples to oranges.  In the depths of our souls--we all have larger similarities than differences.  We are one and all---Loved by the Father.

We ALL love our country, we all love our families, we all wish health and happiness for our loved ones, and we all want to live in peace and joy.  As we talked yesterday, we laughed over all being Momma Bears--Don't you DARE threaten our cubs.  We all love to eat and share recipes and cooking secrets.  All of us have worked hard over the years.  We all love The Lord and are thankful for His Grace.  The list goes on and on of the things which we have in common.

I am so thankful God made us all different.  What an interesting world we live in and how much we can learn from each other.  Listening is the key to discovering those we think so different are actually strikingly similar to us.  Why are we not able to focus on what is in common?  Why are we threatened when others have different philosophies?  Why are we unable to seek common ground and build upon that?  Have we forgotten how to negotiate and seek peaceful resolutions to our differences?

I am so alarmed by what I saw happen on the 6th--it is discouraging.  I am so encouraged by what I know to be the truth deep down in my heart.  We all have much more in common than we realize.  We just need to remember how to look for that commonality before judgement over the differences.   What we have in common is FAR stronger and FAR more important than our differences.  Can we not remember what we have in common and build upon that?  How different the world might look if we could manage to do that.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

WHO IS YOUR LEADER IN FOLLOW THE LEADER?

One of the many changes which have come with the pandemic is I now order my groceries on line and pick them up-without going inside the store.  I am extremely grateful for this service and hope it is continued in the future-even after life has gone back to some sense of normalcy.  (I am beginning to wonder if that is ever going to happen)

If you have never ordered groceries on line, you send a notification through their app that you are on your way and when you have arrived.  They bring your groceries to your car based upon the order of arrival.  In my latest pick up, the man in charge, comes to my car window to confirm who I am and then tells me the man following him with the cart will load my groceries.  As he walks off, the man does not load my groceries, but follows him.  When he finally came back to my car, he told me, "I was just following him--didn't know I was supposed to load in your car." BELLS RING---LIGHTS FLASH---AND THE WRITER IN MY HEAD KNOWS I HAVE FOUND A TOPIC.

As he loaded the bags in, I told him. "We spend a lot of our lives following the wrong person."  He chuckled and told me I had a good point.  Does this not ring with truth?

When you are hiking, it is sometimes easy to get a little lost, or as I call it begin wandering around.  You might meet someone on the trail who tells you he is going to the same vista you are, but it is not always wise to follow him.  He might be going the long way round---touring several other sights--even spending the night on the trail.  It's best not to follow someone until you are certain you are headed in the same direction--with the same goal in mind.

How easily we can tuck in behind someone who seems to be headed in our same direction to only find out though the ultimate goal might be close---nothing else about the leader's trek resembles ours.  We get off track by following the wrong person and then find ourselves alone and stranded in the wilderness.

Careful who you look up to--who you follow--who seems worthy of tucking in behind.  You may get lead down the wrong trail---and find yourself at the mercy of someone headed in the opposite direction from you.  Who is worthy of being followed on this terrestrial ball?  Who should you place your faith and trust in?  Who is the leader you will choose to follow?

Seems the answer is obvious --but how easily we can become detracted by the right words from the wrong person tickling our ears.  Caution is advised when picking a leader.  None of us want to be headed down the wrong path.

Friday, January 8, 2021

LIFE OF THE BEE

 I have read several fiction books in the last few months which center around bees.  Fascinating creatures-there is much more to bees than just their ability to sting and make honey. They really only sting when they feel threatened or the all important hive is being threatened.  The honey seems to be the purpose of the bee's life, but the honey is merely the tool to provide the nourishment needed for the life of the hive.


Bees have a definite social system and each member of the hive has an assigned job.  There is no sloughing off--everyone knows their assignment and carries out their duties.  The bees inherently know each and every member of the hive is important to the success of the hive.  Bees do not live selfishly, but instead selflessly--the business of ensuring the future of the hive is the object of each bee's life.  Why even the Queen Bee is replaceable ~ at the appropriate time.  The purpose of the hive is the continuation and viability of the community - the members of the hive all do their jobs--for the sole purpose of the long life of the community.  Each bee does their part to keep the hive viable and healthy.



We could all take a lesson from the bees when it comes to our social pods--be it family, civic, social, or any form of group.  When we sacrifice our personal wants and desires to insure the viability and long life of the group, success will follow.  If we get wrapped up in our our agendas instead of looking to the good of  the all, things will begin to fall apart.  When power, prestige, and wealth begin to cloud our ability to see what is best for the whole, we slowly begin to pull apart and eventually will implode.  The success of the hive is only guaranteed when all the bees work together for the good of the hive.

A really good lesson for our families, our communities, and our country.  If we could EVER look beyond what we feel is best for us to what is best for all, we might actually begin to pull together to insure the enduring presence of the group.  If only we could quit looking at our fellow bees and judging what they are doing wrong and instead focus on what we should be doing.  If only we could work together for the good of us all, what a difference it could make.  There is much to learn from the bees, but first we have to admit We is more important than Me.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

THE PATH TO SANTIFICATION

I am curious what you think about something I have noticed.  My opinion is certainly only that--an opinion.  There is no right or wrong answer-in fact we all just have observations.  I really hope you will weigh in on this--stretch me and make me think!

We can all agree the final chapter of our earthly body involves death. " We don't get out of this alive ," is attributed to several, but no matter who said it--there is a brutal ring of truth in it.  As I have grown older and certainly in the midst of this pandemic, death has become a regular visitor.  This post has nothing to do with the promise of eternity, but instead has everything to do with how we are remembered.

I have observed, with death, in most cases, the bad is forgotten and in fact removed from our memory bank.  I have only experienced one person pointing out the faults of their dearly departed, and I suspect it came from a place of anger over being left alone.  In most cases, those who have left us become sanctified.  We chose to only remember the good and put the bad or difficult behind closed doors.  Why I wonder?  Why refuse to admit the human side of those who have left us?  Why have the need to elevate our loved ones to sainthood only once they are no longer with us?  Why do we withhold the honor when they are still sitting by our side?

I have only been to a couple of funerals where the dearly departed was honestly eulogized and remembered for who they truly were.  So this all begins almost immediately after departure from the physical world.  We seem to be willing to extend grace and forgiveness--and truly forget the bad or hard when someone is no longer with us.  We are unwilling or unable to put the difficult away as long as they are with us for some reason.  Perhaps it is a form of self-protection.  The old fool me once shame on you-fool me twice shame on me.  Or perhaps it is the age old struggle of man against man.  I am not really certain why we are only able to remember the good and truly forget the bad after the struggle on this terrestrial ball is over.  All I know is, it would seem, until we are gone--others will be unable to forgive AND forget.

Am I totally off track here?  Does anyone else notice this?  I am not saying it is a bad thing--AT ALL.  I am saying it is curious and puzzling that we can only truly forget the bad and focus on the positive with death.  The good news--some day we will all be remembered in the same manner!

What say ye?  I'm a big girl-let me have it if you disagree.  I love the conversation--with me or against me--let me hear from you!

Monday, January 4, 2021

GOOD INTENTIONS

 I have recently returned from helping #1 Daughter move.  With a growing family (size wise NOT numbers), they were stuffed like sardines in the old house and desperately needed room.  Being an old pro at moving, I volunteered to come help with the move.  I have personally moved four times in six years.  I will save this for another post, but just yesterday found myself looking at what is on the market here in Ruston.  Having vowed to never move again (never say never), I have realized the craziness of even thinking about this.  Back to the subject, I also have assisted #1 daughter in 10 moves since 2001---PRAYING this is it for the foreseeable future!  Moving is not for the faint of heart.



I was unable to go help with the packing process until two days before the move.  With 4 children, school Christmas activities, and just keeping the family going, there was PLENTY to pack after I got there in 2 1/2 days.  Suffice it to say, we were throwing things at the truck before it was all over.  I hate to think what might have been tossed in the throw away pile in the process.  We got it done, but it was FAR from my most organized moving experience.

Here is a sure thing I was reminded of~this is an opportunity to cull the unwanted or needed and reorganize that which is moved.  We all experience levels of wishing our world was more organized.  With organization comes a certain peace and streamlining of movement.  If we know where our things are and only keep what is necessary, life really is simpler.  If we drag along all we have accumulated and stick it willy-nilly in the new space, we are back to the same old confusion and clutter which we had become.  We have the opportunity to start with a clean slate, but it only works if we take advantage of the opportunity.

So it is with a new year.  We are presented with a blank calendar which we have a great deal of  control over how this year will play out.  Thus the practice of New Year Resolutions begins.  A New Year Resolution is easily bush-wacked by the failure of our good intentions.  I do not make resolutions, but instead aim for life style changes.  When a resolution is broken, we often easily give up and return to the same old bad habits.  A life style change is an opportunity to climb back on good intentions when we fall off the wagon~knowing one slip up is not defeat. 

I have several life style changes I intend to strive for-

Spiritual

Relational

Physical

All efforts to seek and know God more deeply, seek new depths of relationships, and seek a healthier life.  I will not be able to succeed every day of the year, BUT I can succeed more than I fail.  With success, I will strive harder knowing I can make these changes.  I am writing these changes down, placing them where I will see them first thing every AM, and refusing to concede defeat, but instead counting on my good intentions to hold fast.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, MY FRIENDS!

Be thankful for the past, live in the present, and seize the hope for our future.

May God Richly Bless you with the Sure Knowledge of His presence in 2021!