Strawberries and The Sucker Punch

Reprinted from ages ago

I bought a box of strawberries last week. They were lovely. They smelled wonderful through the plastic, and each seemed fully red-ripe. So, I bought them. All fruit needs washing, Mom always said, and these lovely berries were no exception.

Something strange happened, however, when I opened the plastic cover and began the bath. The first berry was far too lovely to cut! This one had to be preserved for the final product; a ‘deco berry’ I called it. The next one was washed and cut into a small bowl. The third berry was like the first, just to beautiful for the knife. Its little green hat was all fluffy and full, and its shape and color qualified it for the ‘deco berry’ pile.

I continued the process for a few more moments. Shortly it became obvious that most of these perfect red orbs deserved to be preserved, uncut, unchanged and dedicated for decoration.
My ‘deco’ pile was greater than the cut pile. These were truly beautiful. Then Jesus began to show me something.

These beautiful, perfectly formed gems were like my trials in this life. They are gifts from the Creator meant to remain in tact and not diced into manageable little chunks of my own choosing. Trials and heartaches are really life decorations Jesus gives. We do not like them. We want to chop them in little pieces and mix them all together with other events; other fruit, and fix a nice little salad that will camouflage our pain. Yet the master would preserve our trials untouched for the decoration of our souls in Glory.

Trials and heartaches are like those incredible strawberries, perfectly formed to adorn the masterpiece, you and me. Do I dare say, enjoy them? In a way, yes. At least recognize the beauty of trouble; how it draws us to Him; how it hones our prayer life; how it clears our focus.

As Christians, our tears always run deep. Yet, in the darkest valleys we are the ones, bent over by the sucker punches of life that see the tiny flowers and berries growing by the path. We are the ones whose prayers buoy the sinking dreams and throw out the forever-anchors of faith. We are the ones whose breaking heart sounds out hope for the lost and summons Heaven’s help.

“I will not question trials that bring me to my knees, that’s just His way of telling me He loves me.” Remember that old song? So let us treasure the decorations of trouble and pain considering the end product great gain. Happy Strawberries!

A Few Secrets for Happy Relationships

I learned the hard way about relationships. When children are raised without a father figure in their home, relationships as an adult can be quite confusing. In fact, Steve and I were married for several years before I realized men think differently than women! What a revelation that was for me! “You mean men actually have to think before they speak?” To me that was a needles waste of time because simply opening my mouth and letting the words come out was as easy as breathing…surely EVERYONE does that! Right? Wrong! I learned to wait for him.

When one person respectfully waits for a response from another person, no matter how many minutes that may take, the relationship is strengthened. I think we are too demanding, especially of the men folk, and that increases their frustration level and drives them into silence just for self-protection. Just patiently wait for a response and see what peace fills those moments! The other person (male or female) feels heard, respected and understood simply by us falling into a silence that honors their thought process. (They also will race home from work to be with you when they really trust that you will give them time to share their heart without rushing.)

Another helpful relationship builder is to wake up every morning and think of sometime loving to do for your special someone, or someones. Fix an extra special lunch with a love note on the napkin. Iron a golf shirt and hang it in the closet ready for their outing. Fold the clothes with extra care and stack them lovingly on their bed. Send a card in the mail for a surprise. Be creative and make life fun. Remember, children that are respected, show respect. When parents demonstrate genuine love for each other, the children learn how to find that for themselves one day. Be kind and overly kind to those in your household.

Be ready to rejoice when your day brings you back together as a family. Smiles, hugs, laughter and listening ears make for a secure home environment. Play good Christian music in the background of your home. Let the words ring through your days and nights and keep Bibles open all around the house. That scares away the darkness and lends a peace and serenity to your surroundings like nothing else can. Fast often and pray for each other.

When conflict arises, and it always will, honor the others in your home by setting an appointment for the disagreement to be settled away from the contentment of the moment. If you have something to discuss, protect the children from it. They need to be happy and they need to see you happy lest they blame themselves for the trouble. When the conflict is with the children, stop for a moment and really hear all sides; then set a time for further discussion. this gives time for cooler attitudes to prevail and for all to think about solutions.

Women set the tone in the home. The old saying, ‘when mama aint happy, aint nobody happy!” is very true. Ladies can determine the tone in all relationships by using wisdom prayed down from above and by applying a few common sense tactics. Pause and think just how what you about to say or do will affect those you love. Will they be helped or hurt? Will your sarcastic remark leave a scar, or can you speak health and love instead?

So the suggestions I feel will lead to happy and successful relationships on all levels are quite simple: Wait respectfully for others to speak or react. Be intentional about making others happy every day. Rejoice and be glad every time you come together after a time apart. Set appointments for conflict resolutions. Never use sarcasm but let your words bring peace and strength to the hearers. Live, read and display the Word of God in written form and in music to set the tone in the home for spiritual strength and security.

Oh, and three more, take time for one-on-one time with each child, each other, and occasionally with Gramma/mom. 🙂

Learn each other’s love language and endeavor to speak it.

Fast often and pray for each family member every day.

what could i not live without

What could I NOT live without? This was a question for a writing assignment recently. Do enjoy this brief answer, and perhaps write one in return. 😊
Needed to LIVE
The first thing i think about is Love. All my family has expressed their love for each other very openly and very sincerely. I never felt that stiffness in a hug so typically revealed through surface relationships. When my uncles and aunts and cousins shared a welcoming hug, i KNEW i was loved. They were all sincere and if there was EVER an issue that needed clearing, it was immediately discussed and settled so the safety of this LOVE from the time i was just a baby, kept me from ‘stuffing’ my emotions. That love is something i must have to continue life’s assignment.

It is interesting that God lined me up to spend 40 years married to a ‘stuffer.’ (I must say, however, that the match was heaven-made, and all those years were pure delight!) I feel sorry for people hindered in their expressions of love. They just stuff their feelings so deep, that affection and genuine love and compassion are hard to express for them. This is a sad thing. We are all individually and fearfully made by our Creator, so any fundamental change in our personalities or character must be intentionally pursued. And we MUST love and respect each fellow traveler, accepting them for the person they are while still protecting our own fragile and vulnerable natures. So, I try not to ‘stuff’ my emotions, and i need the freedom of love’s expression to live a full life.

I also see how living with a cat, is a source of peace for me. I suppose i could actually ’live without’ a kitty; but i sure don’t want to try it! A cat fills that empty need for affection when i miss human interaction. I look forward to her warmth and cuddles, and, yes, i talk to her! My Kitty enhances my vitality and gives a little extra purpose to my widowhood.

My Bible (all of them actually) is the first thing i would grab if i had to run away real fast. I love the comfort of God’s nearness in the pages of The Word. I need his arms around me and his abiding love; and i find that in his Word and in prayer. So, I could NOT live without prayer and the Word. This is who I am and the core reason for my life…to know Him and to be conformable unto his suffering that I will live and reign with him FOREVER. I take up his yoke, i learn of him, therefore, i live. Nothing is more important than making Heaven, and that promise keeps me alive!

Coffee is pretty much a staple…i could remain alive and breathing without my daily cup, but not sure that would be called ‘living.’ 🙂

I also must have water. Water from the sky especially. I love the rain! I miss the sea and must go to the ocean soon. I love hot and cold showers, and i am so grateful for the swim spa in my back yard. Water is vital to this life for me. Also vital to my life is the Green of the beautiful growth God allows in my world. The growing grass, towering pines and flowering bushes bring joy to me at such a deep level, i have adopted Green as my favorite color.

Sunshine and mountains are also something my life requires. The Olympics, a mountain range on the large peninsula that boarders Puget Sound, have such drama and magnificence that my breath puffs away when the clouds lift, and they appear once more. I am sure one can find beauty in all God’s creation. For me, however, the sky and the sea, the Green and the wet surround my life and secure it like an anchor does a ship trapped in a windy harbor. No matter the storm, my anchor holds in the God who made it all. I couldn’t live at all without Jesus, and I can’t even walk unless he holds my hand..

Some Bible thots

Taken from 1 Samuel 23-26, today, a bit of application.

This passage displays a vivid picture of the character of King David as he forgoes twice a chance to kill his enemy. We also see his human weakness. During the unfolding of this tale that switches back and forth during the time David fled from Saul, we see the challenge of a man full of desire to please the Lord but also a prisoner of his own fury and folly.

I find it especially interesting that a woman, namely Abigail, was able to persuade David away from his rash folly back to the sterling character God saw in him years earlier while tending sheep. In a fury David sought to kill Nabal. Abigail interceded. Her motive was not so much to preserve the life of her ignorant husband as it was to preserve the reputation of a King.

Each Man of God tending today’s sheep, namely the Bride of Christ, who strive for sterling character and Christ-like behavior, can take a lesson from the wisdom of Abigail who risked all to protect the reputation of David. It is very important that every Man of God rely on the wisdom of the woman God has chosen for him.

None of us are perfect, yet, together, a man and his help-meet can do exploits and maintain a close relationship and a close resemblance to the character and person of Jesus Christ. With King David as an example, a man can recognize his own folly and fury and allow that to be counter balanced by the wisdom of a humble woman. This is, to my thinking, the reason God likened marriage to his relationship with The Church. We need each other to fulfil the purpose of God in the Earth.

Therefore, let us, as good saints of the Most High, exalt him in due season and strengthen one another in our called assignments. The warriors in our midst must purify themselves through fasting and study of the word of God with humble thanksgiving and carefulness. Our ‘Abigails’ must bathe each day in prayer and consecration to hear the leading of God and follow closely his directives for the preservation of reputations and family.

God will recompense.

I have expounded on this subject in the past, infact authored a book about some of it. Today, however, the urgency of it seems more pronounced. I watch men with huge dreams and plans defeated by one hasty word or even an eye roll or cast look from the most important person in their lives, the woman.

Ladies, please recognize your power and wield it with care. Our dear men, you see, have little boys inside desperate for the approval of their mommy. Oh, they don’t know that truth of course because they are all grown up now and treasure their ‘manhood.’ Yet the wise woman will know it and will realize that deep down THEY represent that primal need for feminine approval.

Act accordingly, my dears! Build your man up with joy and admiration. God will sort out the details. Just YOU get behind him and cheer him on to the victories in his dreams. Believe in him with all your heart and make sure your face shows it, and never complain (because they always take it as a personal failure.)

When your own wisdom calls for a course correction, pray for the right time, load your donkey (your kitchen) with sumptuous fare and approach the subject with grace and the leading of God. Like King David, your man will listen and honor your wisdom especially after some good soup and a hot shower.

HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE

The following is excerpted from a 1950’s high school home economics book. This is what girls were taught in their classes! Lets share this around the world…we need it NOW.

HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE

Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal – on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome home.

Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so that you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little happy and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.

Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too.

Prepare the children: Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces, comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see they playing the part.

Minimize all noise: At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him! Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him!

Some dont’s: Don’t greet him with problems and complaints. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through during the day.

Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom for a few minutes. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes, or rub his feet. Speak in a low, soft soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.

Listen to him: You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

Make the evening his: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure; his need to be home and relax.

The goal: Try to make your home a place of peace where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
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Good stuff, right? Oh, to go back to those days of decency when women truly MADE the home a castle.

God said to be his “helper.” That is not only our assignment, it is our ministry and our greatest gift.

Today I Answered a Question

How has life changed since you were a child? I started to just blab a few lines about the price of gas or the degradation of modern music; but the following is what emerged; and i felt it worth sharing.
Life has changed dramatically in my short time. “I walked 5 miles to school, barefoot in the snow and rain.” This phrase and ones similar to it has made its way into nearly every generation since the early 1900’s. I don’t remember my grandma saying them exactly; however, I do remember her extensive vocabulary and keen intellect. Imagine my surprise at the revelation her education advanced only to the 8th grade!

Studies prove that her generation fluently spoke over 40 thousand words in their daily vocabulary even with scanty years of formal schooling. College graduates today have an average speaking vocabulary of 10 thousand words. Things that make you go hmmmm.

Even in my experience conversing with teens this year i have seen a marked decline in their ability to verbally express their thoughts clearly and at an acceptable speed.

“Highly” educated youth with “straight A” averages seem unable to put two or three cohesive sentences together out loud. Time slumped over devices has actually robbed our future of literate and meaningful expression. Such a tragedy.

In my remembered teen years, we had classes in Debate. We were taught to research topics and prepare speeches and presentations OUT LOUD! Not only that…we actually discussed current events over lunch; eye to eye, not screen to screen.

I suppose every generation sees the next as less than themselves in some regard. Our wistful sighs reflect a deep disappointment for the skills and finer aspects of life trodden under foot by time. Where are the arts? The Rembrants, the Beetovens, the crooners? Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett even Elvis himself carried the romance and resonance of the male voice crooning about love and devotion. Where is that kind of drama, pathos and depth now?

Shallow is the best adjective for life today compared to the days of my early years. We lived a happier life I think. The streets were safe and doors never locked. If there was trouble at all, it was always somewhere else…not near our home. The challenges we faced were mostly of the personal nature; our efforts to become better as we grew; and to perfect an ideal we ourselves established through our knowledge of the world in which we were placed. How would we make it better? What great cause might we take up, just to secure the freedoms we loved?

As a generation of baby boomers, we heralded the liberty so valiantly fought for by our fathers and grandfathers. We knew there was a time when war would be no more; and we determined to make that a reality. Our feelings and commitment to the cause of freedom and love of humanity ran deep. Our music reflected these lofty ideals and we sang our way into what could have been the most beautiful outcome for humanity heretofore.

Then the evil ones brought drugs into the streets. The music changed to entice the young ones to “tune in and drop out.” The dreams slowly faded and adulthood burst on the scene with a longing never realized. A very frustrated generation now ages forward with backward glances at what could have been. So, our disgust and sorrow at modern generations; wordless and shallow and complacent make us stomp our righteous feet in anger. My generation would have NEVER tolerated this face-covering, fear-mongering elite takeover of our freedoms. We would march. We would burn the masks. We would demand justice.

What’s the matter with you? Why do you COMPLY with tyranny? How can you just remain numb and asleep while your world and your future are trashed by the violent evil ones? As David said, “Is there not a cause?” Are you so enthralled with your social media posts that you do not even SEE what is happening to our nation??

Now as I sit here at my computer, longing for the deeper conversations of my past; longing for the vehement thrust and determination embodied in a march for liberty; longing for the depth and treasure of the spoken word and passionate melodies, all i can do is pray these humble words and admonitions from the heart of a baby boomer might stir a young person to put down their phone long enough to pick up a flag, a cross, a calling, a REASON to trumpet the cause for justice and the American Way.

So how is life different today than when i was growing up you ask? Look around. Would any of you 30 or 40 somethings allow your six year old daughter to ride a bus alone to the downtown streets of a big city? I did that. Would you feel safe as your children walked out the door on a Saturday to meet the neighborhood kids at a distant park and safely return by dinner? I did that. Would you pack them a lunch and send them on their way? Mom did that. Today?Hardly!

If the ‘love’ generation had been successful and the evil ones not corrupted it, perhaps you still could live free. Alas, however, that was not the result. So, when will there be a generation that says ENOUGH? When will there be a group of young heroes that stand for the good and dispel the wicked; that stomp their righteous feet and demand freedom, liberty and justice? WHEN?

If it were not for the intervention of Jesus in my personal life, my sunset years would be spent in regret and brokenness. My heart aches for the once valiant warriors, now stricken in years, living without that blessed assurance of Heaven and a personal relationship with the God of Heaven’s Armies, our Creator. I have visited with some of them, and they, indeed, are floundering in a sea of regret and frustration. I just ask God to use the days i have left to reach them and, yea, any soul that is hungry for depth, meaning and a richer vocabulary. 🙂

Fight for your freedoms people. Unite under the banner of justice and turn this ship before it crashes on the rocks of no return. Write letters, join groups, run for office…make a difference, stop wearing face diapers that only hide you from your fellow man and divide us further. Stand up for what is right and true and do not entertain the fear mongers. They are liars. Be strong and of good courage because YOUR future children are depending on you.

Warm Memories

The man I dated and married for over 40 years was a romantic! Often he would send me an email titled ‘kidnap alert.’ The email would state the time of the abduction and the items that should be packed and ready. He was a delightful human! Sometimes we would just be driving and as various exits came up along the route i would try to guess our destination. He NEVER told me. Each time he kidnapped me the surprise factor added to the romance and fun.

There were big and small adventures. I remember in the last days how he came home one afternoon and handed me a brochure of the Holy Land. Puzzled, I asked him what this was. Next he handed me the confirmation of our trip. This had been my hearts desire for as long as i could remember. Israel was MY dream, not his. He knew he was dying. He wanted to give me EVERY wish I had every had, and he knew them all.

He gave them all.

There are so very many happy adventures and ‘dates,’ it is difficult to highlight just one. But here goes. It was an email alert. Pack your best clothes, come hungry and plan to be gone for 48 hours. He gathered my excited self around 4 pm. We drove to the heart of the city, near the Seattle Center, actually. He found a delightful little B and B right at the bottom of Queen Anne hill. There were roses and sparkling cider in the room, and lovely music playing.

Around 5:30 he instructed that the pretty clothes were to be worn now, so I obliged. We had a lovely dinner in a quiet place. Then he took us back to the room and told me to put on my walking shoes. HE carried my pretty shoes in a little bag he already had prepared. We left the B and B and began to walk down the street. “Turn left” was his only instruction. We did.

Soon we came to the Opera House. I saw the marquee and caught my breath. “Romeo and Juliet” it said. He took me to a ballet of one of the most beautiful love stories of all time. “I would die for you, if necessary.” That was all he said at the intermission, and as we walked back to our nice resting place, the tears of thanksgiving rolled down my cheeks. How could I ever deserve such love? After the horrible years of my past, how did God every find this amazing man to rescue me? I will never fully know nor understand the grace of God and how he orchestrated this amazing life for me.

I just know that the years i had with Steven were the ‘very best date’ anyone could desire.

PS. The next day, i relaxed in the room while he bid a print for his next project. My man did his life (construction) and in the doing, he chose me to be his helper. What a privilege; what an honor; what a responsibility. Thank you, my love.

I miss your sawdust.

The Simple Things

It is way to easy to take the little things in life for granted. Some of my most memorable moments of peace and comfort have come when simply washing the dishes. I seldom use the dishwasher because doing them by hand is rewarding for me. I like how the dishes feel to my hands when they are sparkling clean, and i enjoy the challenge of arranging them in the drainer so there is room for all.

Another simple pleasure that i truly enjoy is resting for a few moments with my kitty curled up on my lap. She seems to always know where to rest her loving weight, and her desire to comfort any pain is evident. Just a tiny little brain can give and receive so much love! Everyone should love a cat. I have a sign in my Ohio home that simply reads, “Life is better with a cat.” For me, this is true; especially since my life’s mate left four years ago. My kitty has understood my grief and stayed close.

The simple pleasure and pure joy of it has never diminished: That joy is the satisfaction and love I get and give while folding clothes for my family. In the busy days with five people in the home, we would often toss huge piles of clean clothes on the sofa. I loved making five piles and carefully adding to each as the items were caressed and tenderly folded. I often prayed for each family member as one of their socks or shirts worked its way to the surface.

They are all gone now, and the only clothes i get to fold are my own. I still make laundry time a sort of meditation, however; but the reward and love once present has diminished considerably. Most missed is folding work clothes for Steven. His long underwear in the winter and chalk-stained t-shirts in the summer brought such happiness to my fingers. He worked so hard for our livelihood and never complained about the long hours or harsh elements. Hugging him each and every day at his random-hour homecoming remains one of my fondest memories. I could always tell the change in the seasons by the smell of the sawdust on his strong shoulders. “Dad is coming soon…” was the simple announcement each evening as the children and I prepared by tidying the house and ourselves.

The simple pleasure of timing dinner to be hot and ready as he finished cleaning out his truck and then entered the kitchen after a his shower was a challenge and a delight for me for all the years we sojourned together. How I miss those simple pleasures now. I would love to struggle with his heavy work clothes and create a lovely dish just for him again.

Whatever food I prepared (and it was never the same meal twice) had to be colorful and appealing to his eye. The simple pleasure of arranging it on his plate, serving him first (always) and watching his delight brought pure joy into my daily routine; and into the lives of our children, too. We had our meals as a family and he was honored as the King and Priest of our home; for it was by the sweat of HIS brow our food was provided.

Sometimes i did resent the long hours; and we fussed about it in the early years when caring for the children was harder. As the years unfolded, however, the simple pleasure of serving my hard-working, Christian lover far outweighed my own petty selfish wants.

Living with a man of his character and dedication changed me from the selfish brat of my teens into a committed, loving and supportive help meet.

Now all his heavy work clothes are in boxes in the garage. The dinner plates are boring and often the fare is too. I hope my selfish ways are gone forever, though sometimes I see the ugly wanting to resurface. Then I snuggle with kitty, spend time in the Bible and prayer; and remember how truly grand life was when the simple pleasures of housework and laundry filled my days.

To any lady reading this I exhort you to treasure each load of laundry. Make meal preparation your art form, and hold on tightly to your man at his home-coming hug. Smile and be content so he feels like the dragon slayer. Treat him like a King, and he will make you His Queen. I promise. After all, with as much time as he must spend away from you, remember that you can do ANYTHING for the few hours you have with him…even be happy. Love and respect him while you can so the regret load is light should you one day find the only clothes you fold are your own.

Let’s Chat ~ Let’s Laugh

Hi there.
Such amazing times…and what a privilege to be alive to see all that God will do in these Great and Final Days.

It truly is my heart to post more often because there is hope and faith to share and positive ‘vibrations’ to generate. I once knew a person; his real name i think was Mike, but everyone just called him ‘Vibes.” No matter when or where you encountered this young man, he was positive, smiling and ready to lift the spirits of everyone. I want to live like that. I wanna be that guy (gal) so that others find strength and hope.

Laughter is so important, and the more spontaneous it is, the better. It is especially wonderful to laugh with children. They are so free and their laughter is infectious. Always watch for opportunities to get hysterical with a kid or two. Your soul will be blessed, I promise.

The Joy of the Lord, so says the B I B L E, is our STRENGTH. And since Jesus loves the little ones so much, laughter with them is indeed the Joy of the Lord. Besides, the little ones are so worried about their future and the craziness of the current climate in America. They have many unanswered questions, and don’t have the skills adults possess to make sense of it all.
So I reiterate: Laugh with them. Make it fun. Ease their stress and your own with moments of mirth.

I saw a funny thing yesterday. There was a dog whose favorite ball was removed and tossed outside. The expression on that dog’s face and his body language as he stared through the glass was so laughable! I could have stifled the hysteria were it not for the little one sitting beside me. As I quietly laughed at the dog, she saw the same thing and burst forth with genuine giggles. The mirth grew until i could not contain the laughter, and we shared several minutes of fun. I still can laugh at the memory of those shared moments.

Do it! Find some children you can encourage with your own good “Vibes.” Foster a merry heart and revel in the sound of happy kids. Life is heavy enough for all of us; so be that guy (gal) that carries a bucket of mercy and fun into every room.

God’s Got This, after all! We Win; so rejoice now for that Victory.

A little blurb

My sweet daughter-in-love gave me a gift. Every monday a question is sent to my inbox stimulating a response about my life. She is such a lover of history; and family stories mean the world to her, so each week i plow through the memories highlighting the ones that i hope will edify, bless and enlighten the readers as the years unfold.

The selection below is a little blurb from a question about the ‘fads’ i remembered. Sharing it here because it matters. :-)…we now join the story in progress:

Upon returning to the USA, the hippy movement was in its finest day! The onset of the movement was centered in the Haight Ashbury district in San Francisco as well as on college campuses across the country. The movement was founded on Peace and Love. It really was a pure thing. We were against the War in Viet Nam and protested very peacefully. We loved everybody. I even put a flower in the pocket of a policeman making him smile. We wore bell bottoms and tie-dyed shirts. We listened and sang along with the Greats in protest folk music and early classic rock and roll.

We really did spread love and peace to all we met. Then the bad people brought the drugs into our midst and the whole movement lost it purity and became a disgrace. Most of us grieved about that, and some began to partake of the devil weed and other mind-altering substances. Our pure intentions were dismissed and the evil ones (the bankers, CIA and mafia that killed President Kennedy) took over. The Nation would never be the same, until now. 🙂

We were a determined bunch though! We would not take any nonsense that threatened our God-given Freedom as Americans. My generation would have called the entire plandemic a hoax from the start, and most of us 60 and above probably did. We have seen this before. The takeover attempt of a generation was perpetrated on the bell bottomed hippies; and we know what it looks like. I guess we neglected to instill that passion for freedom in our offspring, and now, like dumb sheep, we see compliance ushering in bondage.

Back to fads…mostly my generation produced the very best in music. Other than the classic Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin era, the late 50’s and all the 60’s brought the absolute BEST in musical skill and content. We sang our way through the troubles and proclaimed our freedom in songs. Each musician was skilled beyond their natural abilities it seemed; and we wallowed in the giant collection of talented performers.

Woodstock was wonderful, so they say, and our own Northwest had a similar gathering in those years. The Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair hosted Greats like the Doors, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Starship and many others. It lasted three days, and was an event that will always have a place in my memory!

My generation was given a bad reputation over the years; but I lived it, and can testify of the amazing goodness, love and decency that undergirded the baby boomers as they embraced Fads, stuck together and found adulthood. Now, the times they are a changin, and we still ask, how many deaths will it take till we know that too many people have died?…the answer my friend, is still blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind. (Acts chapter 2)

Today I Nailed It

All the three long years of this thing called widowhood, the definition of loss and its effects has remained hazy until today. Today I got it. Today I nailed it, as my contractor husband would say. Yes, today one sentence sums up all those vacant moments; all those random tears and the ache that always grips some aspect of my waking hours. One revelatory sentence gathers all those emotions together, secures them in an invisible bag, cinches them up and ties a neat bow on top. It is:
I am no longer the most important person in anyone’s life.
As a tiny baby, to the parents, I was the most important thing they had. As years moved on, and the responsibility of child rearing increased, I remained the most important; for I was the ‘project’ that needed work. The twenties chased away that ‘most important’ identity as I searched for my own, on my own.
That identity found me when God brought my life’s mate and made me a mommy. To those tiny babies, I was, once again, the most important person to somebody. Then It was my turn to focus on the ‘project.’ As those years flew by, my human value to my dear husband increased and once again I was the most important person in someone’s life, and he became the most important person to me.
Then, after 40 years, he left. The children all grown, became the most important people in someone else’s life, and their children looked to them for direction and significance.
I begin to list those important people above me in the line; my mommy, dad, grandma, grandpa, uncles, aunts, cousins…all gone now. Then I look to those in the line behind me, and the stunning revelation of singularity, aloneness and insignificance sweeps into now with the grip of reality. I am, no longer the most important person to another human being at all.
Oh, I am loved, tolerated and hopefully respected to a certain level, but that special feeling of value that comes when one knows they are the most important person in the world to another is gone.
The saying is, that we really don’t know what we have until it’s gone. I can tell you this feeling of unique importance is easy to take for granted during the years we walk therein. Oh yes, but when it is gone…the vacancy can be debilitating if we wallow therein. So, what to do now that I have nailed it?
How do I re-identify as a valuable human without the confirmation of that significant other? When it really sinks in that my importance to other human beings is cursory at best and certainly not unique or paramount to them, how do I behave, how do I spend the time left? The answer is as obvious as the question is rhetorical.
I now choose to make other people feel important to me. I choose to focus on the needs, hurts and victories of others in my life so that a small sense of significance might soften their individual transitions as the years unfold. Afterall, life hurts and we need each other to find value and personal worth to carry on. Giving of our love, time, understanding, eye contact and genuine interest builds people, and in the building up of others, we nail it for ourselves.

A little Devotional worth sharing

1 Samuel 15-17 & Psalm 85
By: Marthalee Lyman

We can only do our best with the information, skill and drive we possess at any given moment. Yet, we seem to always second guess our motives, authority and delivery; undermining self-confidence. When added to this inner monologue of supposed failure we find actual failure and deep disappointment, the result is abject depression and mourning.

In the reading today, Samuel’s broken heart stirs me. Samuel, called by God as a very young child, walks in confidence as God’s prophet for many years. He listens to God and obeys every command. His life as a prophet is well known and many in his sphere of influence look to him with respect and admiration. He has a great position of honor both with God and man.

Saul’s disobedience and subsequent demotion as king breaks the heart of Samuel. He mourns deeply and continually for the failure of this God-appointed man. In his grief, there had to be moments of personal reflection wondering where HE had failed Saul, or what HE might have done differently to bring about a better outcome.

Samuel brutally kills Agag to fulfill the command of God King Saul failed to accomplish. Samuel goes to Ramah, his home and continues his mourning. Then, (I like how the NLT shows us) God shakes Samuel with these words: “You have mourned long enough for Saul…” Get on with your duties! And Samuel sets off to anoint David as the new King.

We all second guess ourselves from time to time. “If only I had not spoken so harshly…If only I had not done that certain thing…It would have been better if I was not even there!” Oh, how the enemy and our own mental monologues condemn us! We need God to shake us! We need to listen to God as he does shake us and tell us to be about the business at hand!

When disappointment and failure dog our steps, there needs to be a resolve inside that stops the mental condemnation, silences the daily accuser and leans into the quiet whisper of the still small voice of God pressing us onward. Obey like Samuel and get on with life!

Had the prophet remained in Ramah licking his wounds, so to speak, would there be a story of Goliath? If Samuel remained in mourning, would we even have a David? You see, God really depends on the obedience of his chosen to move His plans to completion.

To simply throw up our hands and proclaim, “It’s ok, God’s Got This!” is not a statement of Faith, but of cowardice. It is up to us to make our calling and election sure. We are commanded to go…to make disciples…to spread the Gospel. We cannot remain silent in the face of suffering and sorrow. We MUST pray. We MUST listen and we must hear God’s voice and we MUST follow his lead.

How do we know we are headed in the right direction? We move forward and watch for God’s STOP signs. That is the walk of Faith. When God speaks, sometimes he only gives us a sentence or two, seldom the whole picture. He may nudge us one way; a way that seems so out of our comfort zone; but when we obey and trust him, we see, in retrospect, his guiding hand.

David was so deeply incensed at the challenge from Goliath that he moved toward him in the confidence and trust of his victorious God. That is how we conquer the Goliaths in our lives. Sometimes righteous indignation can spur us on to radical Faith and obedient action. Watch for the nudges from Him, then watch for the stop signs, too.

Psalm 85: 8-9 (NLT) I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people. But let them not return to their foolish ways. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, so our land will be filled with his glory.

P.S. So I have a brief post script to my devotional… After typing it today and thinking about the admonition to go forth and follow the leading of the Lord, I went to the grocery store. Nothing very eventful happened until I got in my car to leave … started my engine and suddenly there is a powerhouse 20’s some thing young lady standing outside my passenger window. So I put down the window and she asks me if I have a sore foot. I say, “No it’s my hip.” She said, “Well, the Lord told me to come and pray for you.” How about that! So we grab hands and begin to pray. She stops me and said “No, just receive. Don’t pray, just receive.” She proceeded to ask the Lord to not only heal my hip but also my left knee! We have this marvelous time in the Holy Ghost give each other a high-5 and off she goes.

So there I sit in absolute amazement at how God not only speaks but shows just how he wants it done and I’m claiming total healing in Jesus name! So because of one obedient servant, I see manifested the duty of us all!

Motivation

Purposeful living! This is the challenge at any age. Really, one would think with age and maturity come focus and purposeful use of time. Afterall, mature people seldom procrastinate or stop short of task completion, right? How I wish that were true! Excuses abound it seems and perhaps as we ‘mature’ we simply allow more elaborate excuses and justifications for inactivity.

This may seem like a rambling stream of conscience writing, but now it will be clearer. Since my husband left for Glory, I have used the grief process as an excuse for inactivity on many levels. Even during the justification process in my head i knew i was using grief as the excuse to not write, not exercise, not study, etc.

Some days were a huge success because laundry was folded and dishes done. Yet, the weightier matters were pushed ahead to a more convenient time. (I think of Felix in Acts 24 who, though trembling, sent away the Apostle Paul until a ‘convenient season.’) Oh my, dear Jesus, never let me become like Felix or Agrippa!

Now, three years after his departure, I come face to face with a personal weakness. Procrastination! Therefore, in order to form a more perfect me, and in order to live ‘on purpose,’ steps will be ordered in God’s Word and prayer made daily for growth in this area of weakness.

The first step, taken today actually, is the completion of a much delinquent blog post on this website. So, here it is! And you, dear reader get to witness the turning of a page in the grief process as I move into a new level of success and obedience by writing these thoughts to you.

Thank you for reading this, and mention me from time to time in your prayers if you remember.

THE SPIRIT OF MAN

The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord. It shows all the inside parts of his heart.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
The heart is fooled more than anything else and is very sinful. Who can know how bad it is?

Above are two translations of two verses. The summation: God watches us, he alone knows our motives and he uses our own spirits to see clearly into our innermost being; our heart. So what?
So here is a little wisdom for us; a little trick of sorts to help keep us on track.

WATCH YOUR OWN SPIRIT! Whatever is in the heart will find its way to the surface one way or another.
When a certain person’s name or a certain situation comes up in conversation, does your breath catch? Do you feel a little tightening in your core? Do you switch your gaze away from the speaker, or decide to change the subject or leave the room? Do you feel rage or fear or sadness or jealousy bubbling inside so that you are a little frightened about your own response? Do your defense mechanisms of fight or flight begin to overtake your calm exterior? Does your body language change?
If you know what I am talking about, you have experienced this. There are two reasons this happens to us. Either we have not fully forgiven (a process we will address in a moment,) or…we are still unequally tied to this person or situation and God is trying to separate us from it.

Two heavy oxen were yoked together to plow a field. The yoke between them was made of two RIGID circles that fit around the neck and then held together by a RIGID bond between the circles. Those oxen had to have the same destination; the end of the row. If one of them wanted to return to the crib for a meal, or to tend to a baby, the poor farmer (the Lord) was completely stopped in his progress because those beasts were not pulling in the same direction. They had different goals, different destinations.

They were UNEQUALLY YOKED.

Be ye NOT unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14.

Call occasionally to check up on the person if they are family, but if the destinations are radically different; i.e. heaven or hell, avoid entanglement in matters of finance, emotional exchanges or weighty matters. You can still be a friend, but if your spirit reveals to you AND TO THE LORD, any snag or unfinished turmoil, please rethink and redirect that spirit in prayer and take action to unyoke if necessary.

If unforgiveness is the issue, you must remember that forgiveness is a process, not a one-time decision. If you still feel that quickening at the mention of a person or situation and you are pretty sure you forgave it a while back, you aren’t finished yet with this process. It is time to really seek God and pray that person or situation gets blessed. Pray that God will not take vengeance; that he will shed mercy on those who hurt you and redeem them by his forgiveness. Try to really ‘get into their head,’ so to speak. Try in prayer to see the situation through the eyes of your adversary and then truly forgive from your deepest heart.

Let your spirit soften and allow God to pick up that flashlight and really look around to find any other place that needs a good prayer purge. Watch your own spirit very carefully and by this little exercise, you will walk in true victory and faith. God is watching, and this inner work will assure your worthiness to escape all that is coming upon this wicked world. Repent for your unforgiveness and do a quick work on the decisions in your life that will free you to fully serve God. Take on the yoke of Jesus, for his burden is light and you have the same destination.

Something Died Under My Deck

At first the smell seemed to come from my neighbors’ yard. Perhaps they spread some manure fertilizer. It will be gone soon.

Surely the smell will blow away in this nice summer wind. The next day, however, it intensified. No amount of free wind would clear the stench. Today, sure enough, the smell of rotten varmint pervades the atmosphere in a twelve-foot radius right around my back door.

The problem is complicated by the structure of the deck. Most of it is unreachable, blocked off by stairs and supports all around the perimeter. No human will go in there to remove the poor dead thing, so the putrid smell remains.

This deck is my haven of rest these days of fair weather, but not now. The smell of something rotting disturbs my peace and forces me to make other arrangements to avoid the assault on my olfactory senses.

Unrepented sin and roots of bitterness left in the heart are, perhaps, a stench in the nostrils of Jesus. When he would like to rest and fellowship with us, is he forced to endure the smell of our bitterness, unforgiveness and lack of repentance? Or does he make other arrangements?

What do we do with this? Blame it on the neighbors? Ignore the issues hoping the wind will blow away the constant reminder? Maybe another wonderful move of the Holy Ghost and a good shouting service will clear the air. The next day, however, the stench is still here. We might try to cover the smell with a variety of man-made solutions; and we make sure the windows and doors are closed to keep it contained.

We may even construct walls and reasons to keep others away, so they won’t smell the rotten evidence. Maybe our life is complicated by the structure we have built in our effort to control and silence the voice of our smelly conscience. Maybe no human can penetrate our supports as we keep relationships on the surface. But has something crawled up inside us and died?

Have we pushed back from our couch of prayer too early? Has the level of our personal repentance grown shallow and stagnant in the marches of indifference? Is that root of bitterness lurking below the surface waiting for a little fertilizer of anger or fear so it can spring up and defile?

Something did die under my deck, and the smell is horrible. Yet, as this experience presses me to a deeper level of repentance and forgiveness, I share these musings with you, dear readers, hoping to quicken your ready minds to a careful analysis of personal progress in prayer and relationship with Jesus; as it has for me.

The expanse of our Revival is directly proportionate to the depth of our Repentance.

 ‘Repent’ is found 10 times in the book of Acts

Acts 2:38

Acts 3:19

Acts 17:30

AND 10 times in the book of Revelation

Revelation 2:5,16

Revelation 3:3,19

And please see … Hebrews 12:14-15

Essential OIL needed in our Lamps!

Sheltering in Place

Attitude is Everything! This statement is true across all areas of our human condition.

However, I want to direct this thought to one particular group of people today. Women. ‘When mama ain’t happy, aint nobody happy…’ “Happy wife, happy life” Both sayings are probably known by most readers. Yet, the seriousness of these sayings can be easily dismissed. Don’t do that.

Understand in fact, that the women truly SET THE TONE in the home. When children come into the room to a smiling, attentive mom, their joy is boundless. When a husband receives a warm embrace and a flirty girlfriend welcome, he will do anything in his power to make that girlfriend happy and secure. When company arrives to a relaxed hostess who is unconcerned about house protocol, they will feel true hospitality and trust. When a friend confides to a sincere listening ear, she will find confidence and hope to conquer any difficulty.
When the woman in the home fulfills the above attitude behaviors, outside counseling or other damage control measures will NOT be needed. Women truly have more power for good than most realize simply by maintaining an attitude of grace and happiness.

When ill-temper threatens and fears or anger push away the sweetness of her spirit, the wise woman will steal away to her closet of prayer and tell her Best Friend all about it. She will emerge with a renewed attitude and be back in the saddle to face another onslaught of life.
Once this technique becomes a habit, there is no limit to the joy that home will share.

But ultimately this attitude adjustment is the responsibility of the woman, the keeper of the home. She cannot blame strife on loud children, or insensitive husbands, or impolite guests. There is no scapegoat; especially during this sheltering time, this END time, this challenging time. Women everywhere must reach deep inside their well of strength and pull up a big bucket of kindness, patience, sweetness, prayerfulness and mercy to water the garden of their own souls, and the souls within their influence.

Ask Jesus to really search your heart and to show you any where your attitude gets snagged. Then be quiet and wait for the searchlight of his love to quicken your understanding so you can share with him each and every obstacle impeding your progress toward the high and lofty goal of maintaining a sweet attitude. He will answer that kind of prayer, I promise. And then, when we do our part and stay consistent, in a short time those emergency dashes to the closet will be less frequent, and our homes will shine with peace and the love of God. But it is all up to the women. They set the tone. Their attitude determines the outcome, and their prayer life upholds the family. You Got This!

PS. If you are a woman living alone, this ‘attitude is everything’ exhortation is still important! You gotta live with YOU so it might as well be a happy experience. Your sweet spirit will go with you to the grocery store, and come back home with you to your shelter. This is good stuff no matter our age or living situation. Be blessed!

It is Past Time

Hello faithful followers and new friends. I don’t post here often enough, and there is no reason or excuse. All we have is NOW, we certainly are not promised tomorrow…we have NOW and the responsibility to harness it for the love of humanity.

There is reference in the Bible to the ‘cup of iniquity.’  God has a cup, and it is filling fast. Since the moral compass of our society has disintegrated over the last several decades, that cup of evil has crept closer and closer to the brim. As it begins to spill over, restaurants close. Gatherings are forbidden. Business grinds to a halt, and the economy crashes…all within a two week period. And this is just the beginning of sorrows! So much more and so much more horrible things are determined…

This present trouble will pass. The markets will rebound (Lord willing) but let us pray the lessons we are learning in these great and final days remain in the forefront of our everyday life:  Love of family and friends; health for ourselves and those for whom we are responsible; a spirit of selfless giving and random acts of kindness, and a continued focus on the things that matter, the things that remain.

Your money wont go to heaven with you. Your cars, homes and vacations wont go to heaven with you. Only YOU and your children and your loved ones will go IF YOU and THEY CHOOSE TO. We all have free choice you know. God is a gentleman…he will not go where he is not wanted. If you truly want to be with Him forever, it is time to get on your knees and repent for all the wasted time…all the sinful behavior…all the greed and cheating…and all the faithless moments when you figured you could do all this on your own and had no need for a savior.

Friends, true and powerful revival is EXACTLY proportionate to the depth of our repentance. We have all failed and come short of his Glory. Each of us knows in our heart where we have let ourselves and our creator down…it is time to get REAL. Cut the games, stop the running and turn it over to Jesus.

And you will smile, for the rest of the day.

Because it’s Important

Greetings all;

This is an announcement about a new Podcast !! Look at us all hi-techy! WooHoo!

The trailer is out, the name is “Because it’s Important,” and the first episode will be ready in two weeks.

Here is the link…and it will be available on several platforms including google and spotify.

PAUSE AND PONDER

Two Profound and Unrelated Events

This week two events caused profound pause. I share them with you here.
Always eager to preserve some polite behavior for the younger generation, I simply smiled through the window at the valet parking attendant and gestured to him to open the car door for me.
He fumbled for the handle and as I climbed down, he apologized: “Sorry, I am not used to people looking at me. Most of them are on their phones…”
His tone carried a sad resignation to a common loneliness. People don’t look at each other anymore; and we surely do not interact with spontaneity. We hide behind a device.
Device: interesting word. Seems like that word is close to ‘divide’ and ‘vice’ as in ‘evil tendency;’ and even similar to ‘devil.’ Cause to pause, for sure.
I felt so sorry for the young man and that pity extended to each person huddled over their ‘devices’ in the coffee shop close by. As I waited for my friend and sipped my tea, what do you think happened? I pulled out my phone, of course, and joined the isolated humans holding down the chairs, one at each table, alone.
Next time, I will bring the Good Book and focus on the One who doesn’t even own a phone, and will always be my friend.

Later in the week, I happened to be in the home of a dear family close to me. Dinner was simply a main dish placed on the stove with an open invitation to partake as schedules permitted. One by one family members helped themselves as they scurried off to various appointments. One put the dinner in a thermos, another a paper bowl for the road.
One teenage son scooped the fare into a favorite bowl and sat to enjoy. After the first bite, he sighed: “I love my mom!” How profound those simple four words, really when you think about it.
Little boys come into the world loving their mommies and wanting only to please them. They grow into men and marry women and then live only to please them! We women are so foolish in many ways when we put undue pressure and demands on our “little boys” instead of simply cooking for them. Men are so easy to please. Give them respect and good food, lots of love and quietness, and they will swim through shark infested waters just to bring us a lemonade. That is not an original word picture, I quote it from Dr. Laura; it is, nevertheless, an apt description of how wonderful our lives can be when we keep it simple and peaceful and always have food ready when they are hungry.
Think about it.

I Saw a Soldier Wounded

It’s difficult to see the hurt inflicted by the well-meaning and then stand helpless to remedy. Words without thought born of pressure, urgency and ego can cut so deeply, so quickly into the tender flesh of self-respect.

Men, especially, elbow their way through the crowds clambering for the spotlight, often intimidated by this present society and aggressive women. Their self-respect is a direct product of the little fragments of honor dropped along their life path. These fragments are treasures; some simply dropped by acquaintances over the years to maturity. Others are left as hands full on purpose by thoughtful mothers, sisters and wise wives.

Yet, how fragile man’s sense of self! How fleeting the supposed success when one set of thoughtless words can dash it all to ruin in a moment. I saw this slaughter one evening and awoke the next day with a sorrow for the ruin; and a longing to somehow leave a basket full of encouragement along the path of this stoic man now filling his day, no doubt, with work and purpose in an effort to grasp again that elusive self-respect.

Worse yet, the woman from whose mouth the daggers hurled has probably forgotten the whole episode; while I, a non-participating bystander, am plagued with the memory of the fallen countenance, the retreating and defeated body language and the invisible bleeding of a wounded brother.

Dear Christian, fellow servant, please watch for these mini-wars within the body. Learn from them, and then purpose in your own heart to never hurl daggers of ridicule. And especially do not justify such behavior with, “Oh, I’m just kidding you.” Such jesting is often a cloak of deceit and a work of the flesh. We must protect the fragile gem of respect and humbly submit to one another in love as Jesus would have us to do. Women, especially, be careful to not hurt the gentlemen. Their pain often runs more deeply than ours.

The Date

Steve, my late husband, wrote lots of notes. He wrote notes at work, notes to his family and love notes daily to me. Interesting how he dated each and every type of correspondence. The date, in fact, was the first thing he would ever record on any piece of paper.

Psalms 90 is a powerful read:

12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

13 Return, O Lord, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants.

14 O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

15 Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.

16 Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.

17 And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

Truly, God did teach him to number his days and he most assuredly did apply his heart unto wisdom as consistently for many years he read Proverbs daily.

Oh how that consistency plagues this scattered widow! It seems the only reigning consistency in me these days tends to habits not very spiritual in design, but focused rather on the things of this world. Then, in the midst of the lazy, I remember my God and speedily include him in my day.

FIRST…I want to keep him first, not just remembered. Yet, perhaps I am in good company for even our great Apostle Paul shares his proclivity to failure in Romans 7 as he says, “I find then a law that when I would do good, evil is present with me…” And his ‘therefore’ sums up the simple and profound aha!: “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of sin.”

And then there is this sharp two-edged sentence just to solidify today’s ramble: James 4:17 Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not to him it is sin. Summary: With my mind I know to do good, to serve the law of God but when the flesh is strong, I serve the law of sin and truly the wages of sin is death…Romans 6:23

I do know to do good…to study, to pray, to fast and to hunger after God and to seek his face evermore…Psalms 105:4.

The Date I have this day is with Jesus!

“I Will Never Eat Sugar or Wheat Again”

There really are lots of other things to eat. Besides, at a certain point in life, one has to decide if living to eat or eating to live wins. Our food becomes such a habit. The foods we crave are also the ones we should shun; besides, some of the alternatives are truly more enjoyable. Take Snickers for example…best candy bar ever made in my opinion, but the insulin increase and the hit to the pancreas is damaging.

God gave us one physical temple to inhabit until he calls us home and we are instructed to not defile that temple and to present it as  a living sacrifice. Therefore, is it possible to replace the Snickers with homemade granola and a fruit smoothie? Very doable!

As for the Wheat…that is a hard one. That yummy bread smothered with butter is labeled ‘organic’ ‘non-gmo,’ etc. Surely it will be fine. Afterall, even Jesus broke the ‘bread’ and fed multitudes. In this age, however, other countries refuse our wheat because of the pesticides used in America.  This poison is carried on the wind and seeds intermingle. Since round-up made me a widow, avoiding this grain is a ‘no-grainer.’ *grin*

So, a new day, starting with lovely sunshine, homemade granola and a fruit smoothie marks the turning of a new leaf: a new page of life where food is chosen to glorify and live; old habits put aside, and determination becomes my reasonable service. Bon Appetit.

A NEW Year, Oh Dear…

We all have responsibilities…some self-imposed; most circumstance-required. Our children, our jobs, our mates…lots of responsibilities are heaped upon us daily. Then comes January 1.

All day from opening eyes to dark, the voice of duty whispers. “What you do today, dear self, determines the direction for the next 364.” “Make it count!” “Eat better, lose weight, study consistently, clean out your closets and that messy garage/basement, EXERCISE!” How can a DAY have such sway?

The whispers of duty and determination increase in volume! “Write on your sleepy blog, for Heaven’s sake!” So here it is. Just a little blurb about this day; about life and responsibility.

The Good Book says that to whom much is given, much is required. So now God joins the choir of January 1 as higher duty calls the responsible Christian deeper.

While sharing a joyous visit with distant family one day this holiday season, the dreaded question broke through the mundane: “Are you still writing?” Oh my! Talk about a conversation stopper! To a writer, that question stings like no other especially when the answer is a clear, ‘No.’

Shame motivates or discourages. Which one depends on current mental conditions, and personal choices. We can be motivated, or suffer the regret of no motivation. That is a personal choice more profound on January 1 than any other day.

So, welcome to this year, dear self. Will you listen as the whispers become songs of victory? Or will you continue to wallow in the discouragement of 2018?

When the ‘victory’ belongs to Jesus and not the self, joining the choir is a natural result. So sing on New Year, I welcome the responsibilities you bring and pray for determination to fulfill them.

Children Are Like Berries

Children are like berries

They start as lovely flowers, perfect and pure.

They grow then, in clumps and the oldest ripen first;

Some ripen faster than others.

When picked and appreciated, it seems the others rejoice and grow more delicious.

The picking season may only last a few weeks, or moments.

Sometimes, we are too busy to pick the ripe ones.

We miss their little successes in life because of interest in our own!

It is a sad thing if they are missed and fall to the ground, unappreciated.

Eighteen Summers. That is all we have with them.

Turn around and they are grown, over-ripe for appreciation and honor then.

Today, they are ready to be used and appreciated in a delicious way, don’t miss it.

Be observant and check the bushes everyday lest the prime of their offering be missed.

This is their first chance at the pie of life. If this experience is soured with neglect, or indifference…

It takes a huge work to make the second growth become a promise.

Love those little berries while they blossom and ripen in your care.

Watch closely for their individual perfection and praise them with heaps of love.

This life is your pie, this is your second growth, parents…make it sweet for them, and count your summers as well as your blessings!

WARNING…

Often berry bushes send out long thorny suckers that discourage harvest. These unproductive, branches reach for the harvester as they grow; hanging down over the ripe berries with painful little spikes just waiting for a target.

Such are the wiles of the Enemy that seeks to thwart loving, patient parenting so little berries turn sour, fall to the ground and are crushed.

Cut off those suckers in prayer Mom and Dad, and treasure each moment as your little berries grow and ripen under your care.

Today We Honor Fathers ~ Two Chances at Life

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? Hebrews 12:9

A short, yet profound message I have for us today…a little nugget to slip into the pocket of our heart, treasured and held for the days we need it most.

Here it is:

We all get two chances at life. The first chance, we are the child. We have no say in the situation. We did not choose our parents. We are simply the recipient (in fact the victim) of whatever life they choose to live. If our Father or Mother leaves, or hurts us or hurts others, we can do nothing about it. If our Mother is loving and tender and forgiving and our Father gentle and protective, we are blessed beyond words; yet we have nothing to do with that either. We are the child, remember.

The second chance at life comes when we have our own children. Now, we call all the shots. We make all the choices. We determine the quality of their first chance, and we determine our own eternal destination. The choices we make in our second chance at life cannot ever be excused away as the results of our early childhood experiences when we take this nugget out and really examine it.

As adults, we are responsible to be the very best we can possible be right now in this moment. Many others are watching us and the little ones are learning from our behavior. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of Spirits and live? It will be worth the effort to do what is right on our second chance at life and attain that Great Reward from a God who may say, “Well done, thou Good and Faithful servant, enter ye into the Joy of the Lord.”

Happy Father’s Day!

Is it ok to do Nothing?

Twelve years of hurry hurry get to school

Followed by who knows how many years of hurry hurry earn a living

Now is it ok to do nothing?

Can we ever really relax enough to be non productive for a whole day?

And if we do, can we do it without scolding our lazy self about it?

Working on this today, and God says, teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Hmmmmm

CATCH IT!

EVERY DAY IS A POEM

 

Yesterday

The wind is asleep

Cottonwood snow lays drifted

Edges of grass white like winter

And the sky blinks blue

It will be hot today

 

Today

The sky spans white

Wind whispers and ripples through

So small drops echo on the leaves

And bunnies hop in grass

It will be cool today

 

Tomorrow

God will throw the day

But will we catch it?

Shh, listen to Him

 

I have a cat. Her name is Pippy, and she understands me. It is amazing how we communicate. For example, I give her food in the morning because it has been a long time since dinner. She may take a bite or two, but then patiently (sometimes not so patiently) she waits until I sit with mine. Once I have bowed in thanksgiving and begun to eat, Pippy hungrily joins me.

She awakes with the light so five am is her first attempt to rouse me. If I say, “No, Pippy, just a little more sleep,” she dutifully curls up at my feet and rests. She lets me know when she needs to run and play, and when she just needs comfort. She wonders at my loud prayer and comes to me when I cry.

Now the term ‘comfort animal’ makes total sense. Soon it will be half a year since my life mate left for Glory. Six long months of tears and sorrow and many more to follow they tell me. But I have a cat!

Funny how grief and hope coexist. My Pastor shared this concept with me and pondering this odd coupling of emotions gives me strength. With Jesus beside me, grief and hope do coexist. When God says ‘no’ and healing does not come, the wicked one does. Doubts and fears and giant ‘WHYs’ plague my mind. When God says ‘no’ and walking by faith is all I have, His Word fights for me and hope grows like a budding flower in my heart.

My hope flower needs water and fertilizer and tender care for it is fragile and easily wilted. Time in His Word nourishes. Time in prayer waters. Hope grows and the joy of sharing God with others returns. Grief always lurks behind every tree in my garden of life ready to leap out as a smell, a picture, a song, a thought or a thousand memories flood my moment. So, I let it leap on me and I steal away and weep knowing hope will be there when I return, diffusing its fragrance once again.

God is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Every day is a poem if we take the time to catch it; and besides, I have a cat!

Gramma’s Sugar Spoon

Gramma’s Sugar Spoon
And
The Dogwood Tree

They were moving north by two hours and, in my heart, I knew time was short. Some things in this life seem to last forever, though. “Take this, honey…” Over and over she said those words as the van was loaded, and end-of-life decisions made. Bruce was her second husband and he was a hideously selfish man, so whenever he was out of ear shot, Gramma would say those words and push another treasure in the direction of my box. It all happened so quickly; the men carrying the big items, the boxes closing, whisked away by strong arms; my Gramma was moving away.

Sometime during my twelfth year, my Grampa died. He taught me how to tie a hook, thread a worm, and wait for the unsuspecting dinner to take the bait. We fished together. That was the only time in my young life it felt like I had a daddy. I loved him deeply for that, and his death left a greater void in my already-empty heart. Yet, joy of joys, Gramma moved in with us!

We were the three musketeers! Three generations of women struggling together in school, work and housekeeping. Gramma made my pre-teen bed and washed my clothes, much to the consternation of my mother who thought my training was interrupted by this kindness. But I loved this arrangement! She spoiled me as only Grammas can do, and I was loved. These years hold the oldest memory of her sugar spoon.

Cinnamon toast! Remember that? Gramma would mix equal parts of cinnamon and white sugar and then lavishly dress hot buttered toast with goodness falling from her sugar spoon. The smooth silver bowl and the ornate decoration on the handle became the welcome sight of my after-school time with the lady who loved me the most. Sure, the toast tasted like heaven in my hand, but the love of this fine lady was far sweeter.

We would sit on the piano bench and laugh as my little fingers tried to copy her rhythm and style. “NO! She will have the piano, take it to her truck now!” She could even make the selfish Bruce shake in his boots when she meant it! So, I got her piano, her china, her special friendship cups and a box of her silverware on moving day.

Mother married when I was sixteen. Grandma got her own apartment not far away, yet I still missed her! We visited often and during our times together, she would share stories about our family history, Grampa and God. Always she would sprinkle her stories with the sweetness of her Savior and read the 23rd psalm to me. Lavishly she loved me all through the rebellious years of my sojourn, never condemning; always sweetening.

One spring day she took me for a walk. As we came to a lovely tree with white flowers on every branch, she stopped and gently lowered a branch. “This is the Dogwood tree…” And thus, began the family legend each of my own grandchildren hear every spring. Would you like to hear it?

The Dogwood tree is a distant cousin of the very tree used to make the Cross upon which Jesus gave his life for all. In those days, this tree and all it’s cousins were strong and had very large, sturdy trunks. The tragedy of Calvary broke the heart of this tree and from that day until this, the Dogwood will always have a weak trunk, so it can never bear the weight of a man again. Furthermore, the once full and many-peddled flowers changed to a flower of only four peddles; and those in the shape of a cross. Each peddle has a spot of red on its tip signifying the precious blood of Jesus, and in the center of each flower we see the replica of a crown of thorns.

Gramma died alone, as did my mother, my unknown father, and the man my mother married. Bruce died, too, and only three people came to his funeral. He was such a hideously selfish man; poor thing. So, today, in my seventy-first year, I thank God for the dogwood tree outside my window, for the husband I loved for 40 years, for the love God brought into the life of a lonely little girl and for the sweetness lavishly sprinkled on the bread of that life.
Jesus found me. Gramma prayed that he would, and He did. He gave me the Holy Ghost and led me to a haven where Truth is spoken. He became my Lord, my Father, my Friend and now my Husband. Knowledge of Jesus is the sweetest gift of all; even in the brokenness of grief and grip of earthly sorrow, He sprinkles love and stays close to me. It is hard to eat alone, yet, every meal I eat from Gramma’s sugar spoon and each year sweet memory will chase away the broken-hearted loneliness; I hope.

AN ATTEMPT AT BEST

Many months since an entry here. Perhaps no one cares…perhaps no one reads. Nevertheless, writers write, and blocked or not, this one must emerge once again.

He died December first. It was the beginning of another month and the day he would have read Proverbs 1. Steve Lyman was a very wise man, ” a prince of a man” as one friend penned. Proverbs by the day brought such depth of wisdom to him; if only I could have told him so more often. One really doesn’t accept this kind of a loss with clarity of mind and focused purpose. Human emotions drown out reason. Fear wins. Now 20/20 hindsight flashes big red letters …REGRETS, REGRETS, REGRETS.
These will be the fuel of anointing and hopefully the beacon of warning for younger, equally distracted wives who might listen to my stories and benefit thereby; as the Lord allows.

Love them while you can.

More to come, stay tuned, and please let me know if anyone out there reads this. Thank you.

An Admonition to Christians

Remember Korah? His whole family and all their possessions were swallowed by the Earth as punishment for his accusations against God’s man. Even Miriam was struck with Leprosy because of careless words. God has a temper; and when lines are crossed, the results can be devastating. Hebrews 10:13 tells us, It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. We would do well to ponder this aspect of The Ancient of Days and apply some Godly fear and wisdom to our daily walk.
When things happen in the church that could have been handled better, (in your opinion, at least) and you are tempted to scoff at or demean the decisions and actions of the leadership. Take heed to yourselves and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. We are just too close to Glory for foolish missteps. See what Psalms 105 teaches as it recounts I Chronicles 16:22

He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;
Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

One commentary states: God’s anointed prophets are dearer to him than anointed kings themselves. Jeroboam’s hand was withered when it was stretched out against a prophet.

God has an anointing on the men and women of God that deliver the preached word in our hearing. They are His Prophets of today. Even kings need to be careful how they treat these folks.
How Satan would love to turn us against them! The enemy of our soul knows that when we reach to touch or do harm to one of God’s anointed ministers we have committed a misstep. The principles in God’s Word are eternal. He is the same always and what mattered in the early days, matters today. When the enemy tries to pull a trick on us in this area, choose instead to entreat the ministry in a humble fashion and speak no unkind or critical words with your mouth. Remember Zipporah.

Care is also needed when sharing the Gospel with others because there are certain areas of revelation so precious and so valuable that extreme caution must be used less we lessen their value in the eyes of the unlearned. The Covenant of Baptism for example carries with it deep revelation. In order to fully understand the significance of this portion of doctrine, the student must be carefully taught the Covenant of Circumcision. (Colossians 2:1-15) Also, explanation of shedding blood to cover sins must be foundational. (Hebrews 9) These concepts take time and attention to unwind. If we pass over this too quickly, we could misstep and lose a soul instead of win a soul for Jesus. We are admonished to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, and while sharing the Gospel, careful steps and prayerful steps must be taken.

We are handling the precious Word of God, and the responsibility is great, serious and a little scary. We dare not misstep in word or deed. We must watch and be vigilant to the wiles of the enemy who would love nothing better than to see us in a melt-down in front of someone close to revelation. When you are working with a new person, be evermore watchful! Drink from the brook with only one knee bent, drawing the water up to you while watching for the enemy at the same time. (Judges 7:4-7)

The Spirit of God draws people to repentance; His spirit brings the increase. Then HE expects US to harvest the grain with tenderness, carefulness, wisdom and knowledge.

TODAY: THE WIND

Here lies a word portrait, painting the sound and sensation of the swelling swish of wind in tall evergreens. Beginning as a whisper from some direction unknown one almost discerns a large truck approaching. Immediately, however, eyes and ears turn skyward identifying the sound by movement in the branches. Here it surges, there it fades sometimes whipping the tree tops; other times bending them gracefully lower. Dramatically swells the wind on a sunny day as beams of light fight their straight way through the churning shadows creating dancing yellow splashes here and there; and the birds sing with delight. Like a surfer waiting for the perfect rise in the sea, these feathered angels call back and forth poised to meet each other on the crest of the next wind-swell. They must have a great time on days like this.
Power in the wind-swept trees thrills the human soul. At times the lull of a gently swaying pine portends quiet and an end to the gusts. Then, seemingly from nowhere, another pushing, pressing whisper becomes a roar and you can’t help but smile at the sky. Similar exhilaration happens when very fast race cars speed past your place in the stands; or when the finish of an Olympic run excites your admiration and you join in the roar and applause. Words fitly spoken or written also thrill those inclined to adore the gift of reason.
Regarding wind, there is a point where awe shifts to fear. When the whisper becomes a roar, and the very structures seem to bend with the onslaught, we feeble human things cower beneath this power; even if only for a second or two. One loud surge rumbles through a sound sleep in the early morning hours and we lie suddenly wide awake in a flash of wonder. Those who experience the dash to basement shelters as hurricanes threaten know this instant fear only too well. God can show us His dominion in many ways. Nevertheless, in my relatively safe domain, I can honestly say, “I love the wind in all its many manifestations!” Look up!
John 3:8
2 Samuel 22

Season Changes

How we long for the spring time in the midst of winter chill and dark evenings! Much like we long for God’s grace in times of soul darkness and cold. Seek the Lord while he may be found; work while it is day, for the hour soon comes when seasons will change, windows of opportunity slam shut, and the search for his face and grace proves fruitless.
Even when we feel cold in our relationship with God, there are reasons to pray hard! A dearly beloved brother clinging to life after a horrific automobile accident needs YOUR voice lifted to heaven. A dear brother or sister caught in the grip of cancer and fear needs YOUR scream of intercession. A sacred Nation facing extinction needs YOUR prayers for survival.
Pray HARD for others; for needs higher than yourself, and your sweet relationship with Jesus will return. PRAY NOW! Step into YOUR new season change.

As we navigate the road of life…

Dear Readers;

This journey we call life is moving faster than we expected, isn’t it? Daily our challenge is to rein in the galloping moments. Our focus on the eternal destination must be protected.

We will never forget Reverend Johnny King’s message at West Coast Conference: Sing Me One More Song About Heaven. That message drove home the truth: many of us have lost the focus on Heaven. Our worship songs no longer speak of the streets of gold or the Lamb as the Light. We do not focus on how everybody will be happy over there, or how they tell us of an unclouded day.

So, the tragic result is that the next generation are raised up know worship as the beat of a fast song instead of the depth of verse after verse of memorized lyrics about the glory land way. And we sleep as it happens.

I am writing this note so those who get it will search for the old hymnals and pull them out for their children and grandchildren. Let them learn to speak the words and sing the melody of the songs about our eternal home. Give them hope of the victory in Jesus of which we will one day partake. For, when the role is called up yonder and we are there, we will understand it all by and by. The children need this hope and the joy these lyrics impart.

Please do not let these great songs die with the baby-boomer generation of Christians nearing their reward. Soon and very soon we are going to see The King, and we want to see you all, young and younger, cross the mighty Jordan on that great homecoming day. We get what we think about. Energy follows thought. Let’s think and sing about heaven.

I love the modern songs, many of them are very edifying; it is the old paths, the ancient landmarks that we must look to, however if we are to preserve this great truth, and triumph in these great and final days.

Please, sing me one more song about heaven, and teach them to the children. We are running out of time. Look up.