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I WILL WAIT FOR YOU

 May I always wait for Him.



PSALMS 130

BLESSED SABBATH, DEAR FRIENDS!

WHAT AM I READING?

 What better recommendation could I give than I read this over a year ago and I can still remember it.  You all know I often  have a difficult time remembering books---this one is memorable



My note card has this description ~

Spanning the Russian Revolution to Post WW II

A book filled with beautiful imagery and wonderful relationships.

WELL WRITTEN AND READING IT SLOWLY IS BEST.

You can find it HERE


NOT ME ~ I'M NOT AFRAID!

 I am an expert at covering up my fears.  From an early age (my childhood was filled with brothers and male cousins), I learned you never show fear.  If there is even a hint that something might frighten you, it can lead to endless hours of torment for the amusement of others.  Then there was Momma and my Grandmother James and my Girl Scout Leader and ... all those strong women who did not tolerate you squealing, crying, or pretty much any form of appearing fearful.  The message was clear and concise ~ fear is a form of weakness.



I learned to not be afraid of snakes---hoes, shovels, and rifles could take care of that, but leave those good snakes alone.   My Girl Scout leader would verbally assault you if you squealed over a granddaddy long legs---I learned to pick them up and toss them aside.  NEVER run from the pack of wild dogs, who once claimed our neighborhood as home, that encouraged them to chase you.  Drag those 1000 + pound steers for a daily haltered walk, keep your eye out for the ram who loved to sneak up on you and give you a good head butt, and try to stay out of eyesight of Mama James's rooster.  Keep a watchful eye out for any signs of potential danger, but keep fearless plastered on your face.



I might be afraid, but to survive you put on a straight face, learned how to warn off those who might come after me with a deep strong yell, and, above all, never allow fear to show on my face.  It became second nature to appear stoic and calm in the midst of the worst storms.  There was nothing my daddy liked more than riding around in the midst of a hurricane or storm so fierce you could not see a foot in front of the car.  If I showed fear, the next storm would find me at home and not riding in the car with daddy.  We girls always wanted to be in the protection of our daddy's.



Those early lessons were well learned.  As an adult, I learned to stifle any fear with that same stoic expression of calm.  Underneath my insides might be shaking, the primal scream might be stuck in my throat, and my instinct to run would be stifled by the years of training to keep your feet planted.  



Suppressed emotions always find a way  out~ sooner or later they will bubble to the surface in some shape or form.  When my children had scares (as they all do), I always kept it together until the crisis had passed and then I shook and became teary.  A hard aggravating day at work would be taken out on someone close who did some small infraction of no consequence.  I would find myself unglued and foaming at the mouth over nothing.  My anger from the day boiled over on the innocent without me realizing where my wrath originated.  To this day, I have a high startle reaction when surprised--years of ducking the next scare tactic from the boys.

Lately I have been thinking about the threat of danger I feel times..  Past experience has me gun shy and wary . The threat of danger sets off warning signals when someone feels like a potential threat.  So ~ I put on my mask of having it together, being strong, and never fearful.  I am NOT afraid - I am not fearful - I have it under control - I can do this - my daily pep talk on  conquering the fears which sometimes accompany being alone.  

What is the common thread through out all of this.  ME  ~ I am under the illusion I am in control.  I forget my source of strength, my protector, my provider, the lover of my soul.  I forget in the worst of danger ~ I am never alone.  He is my shield and defender in the most dangerous of life's storms.  He does not want me to live in the spirit of fear, but in the surety of His faithful presence.  Allow Him to be the driver as I travel through the blinding fury of the greatest of storms.  Give up control and trust Him to lead.

"Fear not,

For I am with you;

Be not dismayed,

For I am your God,

I will strengthen you,

Yes, I will help you,

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Isaiah 41:10

So thankful for those of you who have signed up to be blog followers.  You are the reason I continue to write.  Writing can be a lonely pursuit.  I cherish your feedback and really love for you to make me think by questioning what I am saying.

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LET IT GO

 A few blogs ago, I told you the story  HERE of taking Hero walking down the shady path across the road and his discovery of it being a rabbit sanctuary.  Since that eventful day, all Hero has on his mind is chasing rabbits.  He is about to get on my last nerve!


Do not let this face fool you, Hero can be as stubborn as they come.  I would say mule-headed, but I would not want to insult any of the mules out there.

Everyday--every walk all Hero has on his mind is let's find the rabbits.  He will fool me into thinking we are going back to our old paths by taking a stroll down memory lane through the hood.  All paths though lead to the road leading to the rabbit trails.  He does not forget.  This necessitates me scooping him up and carrying the stubborn rabbit obsessed addict.  He CAN NOT stay away from those rabbits.



There is NO fool like an old fool----and Hero is an old fool when it comes to rabbits.  He cannot get it in his head that he does not have a prayer when it comes to catching Mr. Rabbit.  Rabbits are Hero's weakness~ He is addicted to the scent of rabbits.  What would he do if he by some miracle he caught the rabbit?  I really do not want to know---Mother Nature has a way of often turning ugly.

Our leisurely strolls around the Hood and occasional walks on the Greenway have turned into rabbit hunts.  Once Hero catches a slight whiff of a rabbit he is off to the races pulling me down the trail behind him.  We can no longer enjoy the beauty and leisure of walking together.  Every step is consumed with looking and smelling for his mortal enemy----that cute little bunny rabbit. 


Once Hero has the rabbit scent I am forced to pick him up and carry him the rest of the way.  All else is forgotten if Hero knows a rabbit is in the neighborhood.  I have carried him so much the past couple of weeks I am beginning to lean and one side is much more muscular.  Ten pounds is not much until you have carried it a mile or two.  Hero has nothing but rabbits on his mind these days.


Are there any thoughts you are obsessed with?  Something you caught sight of, heard, or a scent of trouble you cannot walk away from?  Do you find yourself dwelling on a past incident which you keep returning to chase it yet again around in the gray matter?  How easily we can get stuck on some perceived or perhaps even real hurt.  Chasing those thoughts around in our heads until we have rehashed it to the point of ad nauseam.  What two legged rabbit are you allowing to lure you away from what is important, what is true, what is relevant to today?  Don't be stuck chasing rabbits of the past---stay in today.  Learn from the past, but do not allow yourself to be stuck chasing those thoughts which are allusive attempts at changing the unchangeable past.  Leave the past in the past.  Stay in the present and off the rabbit trails.

"Brothers and Sisters, 

I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.

But one thing I do:

Forgetting what is behind,

and straining toward what is ahead,"

Philippians 3:13

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Thankful for those of you who take the time to not only read, but encourage me!



LOCAL HEROES

 There are times when it is absolutely crystal clear the HS is pointing me to write about a subject.  Today's blog was not on my radar, in my notes, or even a blip on my screen until a series of events lead me to the need to write about it.


FIRST~I read the book American Dirt which was one of my Saturday recommendations.  It gave me a glimpse of why people are flooding to the American border.


SECOND ~ I was told about an American missionary family who fled Haiti just before the assassination of the leader there and the pursuant political unrest.  They are now in a state of flux with an complex story including adopting a Downs Syndrome child left on their doorstep.  Countless others are desperate to flee the danger in their midst with no place to go.


THIRD ~ My friend called to tell me about the organization she is volunteering with which helps transport the aliens after they are released from detention to their families or sponsors.  During our long conversation she tells me a couple of stories about those she has encountered while volunteering which absolutely sets me on edge.  The trauma many of these aliens have lived through is harrowing.




So today I am going to tell you of a local group that is working to get these aliens to their sponsors and families after they are released from detention.  Somehow the ball has been dropped when it comes to getting these sojourners to their new homes.  They are released from the detention centers and taken to a bus station often without the means to get where they need to go.  No money, no food, and sometimes they do not speak English ~ and they are supposed to figure out how to get to their sponsors or family.  Bureaucracy at its finest.


A local organization has joined hands with other such organizations to aid these strangers in our midst.  Two of the volunteers go and pick them up from the detention center and they begin the ride on today's version of the underground railroad.  They are transported to a midpoint where someone from the city where the airport or bus station is picks them up.  A church in that city provides a place for them to stay until they leave--usually the next day.  The volunteers stop and get a meal for those they are transporting since many times they have not eaten for hours.  It is an logistical quagmire my friend is sorting through to get these people to their new home.  When I heard the story, I thought of the admonishment in The Word to care for the strangers.  We have local heroes who are stepping up to do just that.  They are transporting the strangers to the next point on their journey to their final destination.


The organization, LA Advocates for Immigrants in Detention (LA-AID), is looking for volunteer drivers and contributions to provide meals for the travelers.  They are asking for volunteers for one late afternoon a week to pick up those released and take them to a mid point on their way to a airport or bus station. You will be met at the mid point by someone who will take them on the next leg of their journey.  You are only asked to stop and get them a meal for which the organization will reimburse you.  There will be someone riding along with you and you will only pick up those detainees on the list you are given.  


If you are unable to provide transportation, they are also looking for contributions to provide the simple meal on the way to their transportation.  Nothing is easier than writing a check.  Message me at the bottom of the blog page on the right if you want this address.


I am careful and prayerful about matching my gifts to the service projects I volunteer for.  This may or may not be where you are led to be of service.  I admonish you to use your gifts in some form of service.  We are given our gifts to glorify God and for His good pleasure.  Prayerfully seek where God would use you for His glory and to further His Kingdom.  I am thankful for all who hear the call and step up to volunteer.  You will always be blessed much more than you bless.  You cannot out give God!

" 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty,

or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison,

and not help you?'

And he will answer,

'I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these,

my brothers and sisters, 

you were refusing to help me.' "

Matthew 25:44-45


WHY EVEN TRY?

 My laughing joke when asked to try something artistic is I flunked coloring in the first grade and it has all been downhill since.   For some reason I felt inadequate as a five year old trying to color.  Perhaps it was my inability to stay in the lines.  Truthfully there is not one artistic bone in my body ~or so I thought.  And then the pandemic came and I had LOTS of time on my hands with my volunteering hours coming to a screeching halt.  I began the search for things to do and ~






I began by going back to embroidering .  I am no seamstress, but I can make these tiny stitches (with the help of a magnifying light).  I made my granddaughter a dancing bag, and two sets of pillowcases.

Then I began to watch youtube videos on how to draw.  I have an entire sketch book filled with drawings such as these ~


Once things began to open up a little, I made my way back to the She Shed and made a bird feeder and garden pole.  So far I still have all ten fingers.  The latest thing I have tried is acrylic painting such as this sunflower.




Who knew I would enjoy this so much?  Who knew, though I am no artist, the process was very satisfying and relaxing.  

Bottom line, I could have left this terrestrial ball never knowing how enjoyable this was because I would not try it--thinking I was not good enough.  I made the dire mistake of comparison.  I have loads of super talented friends, and there is no way I could compete with their wonderful pieces.  BUT--I should have realized this is no competition (THANK GOODNESS--HATE COMPETITION), there is only the joy in creating.  So what if I am no Rembrandt, there was only one of those.  So what if sometimes my creations are lame.  Why not create for the shear joy of creating?  What fun and enjoyment I would have missed had I never picked up that first pencil, needle, or paint brush.  My creations are hung in and around my home (some in the garage-LOL) for me to reflect upon how I enjoyed accomplishing their creation.  

So my sweet friends, stop comparing yourself.  Participate and try new things in a search for those things which bring you joy.  AND guess what, you can create by writing.  I see creative posts on social media everyday.  Posts which make me laugh, cry and think.  Sit down and write one paragraph--that is where it all begins.

Please stop the big mistake of comparison---what a joy stealer!  Be you---let others be themselves ~we are wonderfully created to be individuals.  Seek joy--above all--seek joy.

"You will show me the way of life,

granting me the joy of Your presence,

and the pleasures of living with you forever."

Psalm 16:11


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AFFIRMATION

 My middle of the night inspirations for writing are often some of my most favorite.  It is no secret that with age there often comes restless nights.  Most nights I wake up several times during the night and last night was no exception.  I immediately began praying and it occurred to me I should remind God of His attributes.  Slowly I began to list Who God is--Truth, Wisdom, Faithful, Eternal, Omnipresent, Righteous, Compassion, Love, Just, Never Changing, Holy...As I prayed and confessed to God His Glory, the movie "The Help" began to roll around in my head.


Do you remember the sweet little daughter with the emotionally abusive mother?  She was constantly beaten down by the unkind words and actions of her mother.  The kind Aibileen becomes the whisperer in the ear of the sweet child~


She reminds her of the truth of who she is, not what her broken mother is telling her.  Aibileen stands in the gap to be the truth teller.  She speaks the affirming words so desperately needed.  Aibileen spoke the affirmation of who this sweet child of God really was.

This is a lot of thinking for 3:30 AM, but when it sticks with you after you finally go back to sleep ~ it is important.  Why is it we are hesitant to speak those affirmations to each other?  Why are we not speaking words of truth and love to each other?  The sad fact is that some are broken and unable to build their loved ones up.  We do not have the time to go into the varying reasons for our brokenness.  What we do have the time for is a reminder---




Become the one who speaks affirming kind words into the life of others.  We never know the great need some have for affirmation, but we do know you can never over affirm anyone.  Be the one who takes the time to remind others ~

YOU IS ~~~~~

God does not need my reminder of who He is--it is unchangeable.  God is glorified by my acknowledgement that I understand how Holy He is.  Conversely, people need reminders of who they are.  We all need affirming. Be the one who takes the time to speak those kind words.

"Gentle words bring life and health;

a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit."

Proverbs 15:4

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