Monday, June 30, 2014

Commitment


“There can be no half hearted disciples, because the essence of following Jesus is a total commitment… a disciple who will not deny self will never have any positive influence on anyone.” ~ Mark C. Black

We were reading a bible study a couple of weeks ago and it was about commitment. Not just to Christ but in relationships as well. I got sidetracked with my other posts and thought I’d come back to this one and when I seen Duke Taber speaking of commitment I knew it was time to get back on track and write about commitment.

The bible study said something like, “If you can’t commit in a relationship how are you ever going to commit fully to your relationship with Christ?” This scared me a little bit because after 11 years with Steven he has never wanted to commit to a marriage. I have been committed and wanted a marriage but I’m not one to force the marriage issue on anyone.

It speaks volumes to me because while he has become closer to God, he still has not wanted to commit to marriage for whatever selfish reasons he has in mind. To me, if he can’t commit to a woman, just how much has he really committed to Christ? This I strongly wonder.

I have stood by him through thick and thin, in sicknesses and health, through triumphs and through failures and through it all I still love him and am committed to him to where marriage is the next step, right? I guess not and it really has me thinking what Jesus expects from US as a human race? Does He expect us to halfway commit?

Not at all! He expects us to fully commit and that means denying self = selfishness, put our SELF on hold and think of others first. We can’t sit back and enjoy our sinful ways and not expect consequences. Pastor Dave said something a few weeks back that drove this home for me. He said our salvation is bought and paid for by the blood of the cross, it is non-refundable. BUT, don’t ever think there is no consequence to your sin!

I, as a committed Christian, am aware of the consequences of MY sin. When my truck went into a ditch a few years back, I knew rightly so it was a consequence of my sin. Now some will shrug off the consequences of sin as “Hey, stuff happens.” Sorry to burst your bubble but nothing EVER happens without a reason. When you become aware of the consequences, you become more aware of the sin and are less likely to commit that sin again. Well, most anyway, not ALL.

Now, back to commitment. When you commit to Christ you are committing all you own, all you have, all you are to Him and only Him. You’re not allowed to halfway be a Christian. You can’t honor or admire other gods, because that would be the false idol that you are relating to and if you can’t relate to Christ and all He commands, then you my friend have not committed to Christ FULLY.

2 Tim. 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Being a Christian is a commitment, like marriage, not just lip-service you pay to look good to others. A commitment is more than reading and believing. Let me ask you this, you say you listen to sermons on TV or the radio, you read, you believe. My question is this: If something happens in your life (a sickness and illness or a death) are those TV people gonna stand beside you and comfort you? Are they going to see you through hard times? NOT AT ALL.

It might be enough for you to go it alone with your pride saying, “I’m not alone, I have Christ.” Allow me to tell you, in your commitment to Christ, He placed the fellowship of Christians (church) to surround you and comfort you PHYSICALLY, not in some virtual realm.

You ARE committed, right? How? All the way or halfway?

“You can be committed to Church but not committed to Christ, but you cannot be committed to Christ and not committed to church.” ~ Joel Osteen



Sunday, June 29, 2014

Poetry Sunday ~ Within the Ethereal Night


Isa. 26:9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

Within The Ethereal Night

Somber still is the ethereal night,
A sheltered home for inner flight
Darkness embedding mystical light
A flurry of bouncing spheres.

Cascading over inclement beams,
Caressing colorful starlight seams
Clustered into radiant teams
 Behold the glorious sky.

Beguiled by blistering thundering sound,
Blatantly making my heart to pound.
Cautiously savoring what I have found.
Transcending the sublime.

Whispering winds wash over me
Whisking wisely to eternity
I'm bathed amid the endless sea
I touch the other realm.

Flawlessly floating back to earth
Feasting on fruits of heaven’s birth
Finding favor of my self worth
I grasp the truth within.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Quotation Saturday


1 Chron. 29:9 Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.

It has been a week of pain, no worry, relief and joy. Through all of this God is still my compass.

PAIN

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
~ C.S. Lewis

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.”
~ Oprah Winfrey

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”
~ James Baldwin

“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.”
~ Lance Armstrong

WORRY

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
~ Corrie ten Boom

“The more you pray, the less you'll panic. The more you worship, the less you worry. You'll feel more patient and less pressured.”
~ Rick Warren

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen.
Keep in the sunlight.”
~ Benjamin Franklin

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

So do not worry, saying, ``What shall we eat?'' or ``What shall we drink?'' or ``What shall we wear?'' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

~ Matthew 6:25-34

RELIEF

“I pass with relief from the tossing sea of Cause and Theory to the firm ground of Result and Fact.”
~ Winston Churchill

“Relief is a great feeling.
It’s the emotional and physical reward we receive from our bodies upon alleviation of pain, pressure and struggle. A time to bask in the lack of the negative.

And yet, think about it—relief is really the status quo, a negation of the suffering, a nothing in itself. It is the way things were before the pressure and struggle began.

So, is it a step back? A regression?

Or is it an opportunity to regroup, start over, and move in a different direction?

Use your moment of relief well.”
~ Vera Nazarian

“I wish that the last breath of your life is a sigh of relief.”
~ Saleem Sharma

“She is no longer a solitary being. She is a million different parts, each reborn, granted the miracle she prayed for in the months before her death, to be completely healed.
Death is the price for rebirth.
Death. Who would have thought it would come with such great joy? Yet, after long years battling illness, death is suddenly more than welcome.”
~ Victoria Kahler

JOY

“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”
~ Tom Bodett
“I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”
~ Anne Frank

“Part of the problem with the word 'disabilities' is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can't feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren't able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.”
~ Fred Rogers

“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”
~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


Friday, June 27, 2014

Don't Worry



Acts 2: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Don’t Worry

Last week, I knew something was wrong, we had missed a Sunday service and Adam came to me mid week saying, “Mom, you’ll probably never hear me say this again, but I think we need to go to church.”

Sunday came and no whining about the early wake-up call to Adam, we went to a wonderful service. He came home and said, “I got my answer.”

What answer, I thought. But then I remembered that the service was about not worrying and I thought he might be worrying about something needlessly. I won’t go into details out of respect for his privacy, but needless to say, he had been worrying about something and he felt the only answer would be in a church sermon, and ironically, Sunday’s service was catered just for him. What an awesome God.

We all tend to worry. Am I doing enough? Can I do more? How will I pay my bills? Is God leading me? All of these are natural worries but Pastor Dave says that they’re not LEGITIMATE worries.  Legitimate concern is when your son or daughter is having a medical issue. THAT is legitimate concern, but worrying about bills? If you can do more than you’re already doing? They are needless worries.

You see, if we have truly given ourselves to God, He’s already handling everything. Worrying is NOT from God! God has you where you are at this very moment and knows and understands your concerns. He’s walking with you. Get it?

Now it was my time to worry. Adam came home with a clean bill of health after the doctor sent him on his way saying he could find nothing wrong. Adam and I were relieved. To celebrate I came home and made some chili-dogs. You know, the kind where the hot dog is oozing with chili? I paid for it, dearly.

The burn came almost immediately. Something like indigestion only stronger and more painful. No Rolaid, no Maalox, no nothing was relieving the burn. I almost felt like I was having a heart attack and my hours were numbered. I’d die right here on the sofa. With no worry, I just lay with my heating pad close to where the pain was coming from, passing on dinner.

The pain was so bad I just lay for hours and didn’t even go to bed. Oh, I tried but returned to the sofa so I could whine without waking everyone. My arthritis in my back doesn’t like me immobile for long periods so when I went to get up the next day, my legs were like jell-o. I stayed on the sofa going in and out of sleep the entire day, not even getting up to shower. Steven was home that day and he made me some toast and butter that I had requested and all was okay.

I felt weak the entire day, and I did make it to bed but still, although the burn was gone I was in pain. Thursday came and I was so hungry. I wanted something light in fear the burn would return. I had a peanut butter and jelly on toast and it came back, lightly this time, so I passed on dinner AGAIN! No morning coffee, no dinner meal, I should be tearing my hair out at this point, right? Well, no, I wasn’t, instead I was remembering Sunday’s sermon, ‘Don’t worry’.

Friday I woke, made some coffee but only had one cup. Yeah, coffee isn’t all THAT good for you. With scarce internet (that’s a whole different story) I tried to Google my problem. What else is one to do when a doctor is not affordable? I had warned Adam of Googling his symptoms because he’d find out he’s dying! And here I was, Google my friend.

The good news is, I’m not dying, I think I may have GERD, a gastro esophagus reflux disease. Yeah, self-diagnosis via Google, not a good idea but it gives you a round-about idea of what’s wrong. It did give me some things that I could safely eat and oatmeal, which I had, was one of them. Time to boil some water and eat me some oatmeal. By this time I was starving so a bowl of oatmeal hit my stomach like a ton of bricks! And guess what? No burn!!! Woohoo! Look out dinner! I’m having oatmeal.

Right now I’m attempting to eat a ham sandwich. I’m only having a half of a sandwich because I don’t want to make myself sick from over-indulging because I’m starving. Whatever the case may be, I’m not worrying. I’m taking the blows as they come, going to change some eating habits like spicy foods and tomatoes and such and maybe I, with the power of God, might nip this thing in the bum!

Moral to the story? Sometimes things in life make an abrupt appearance like sicknesses, or chronic illnesses that surface after only being mildly hidden. The first thing you do is worry which is quite normal, but take a stand back, evaluate the situation calmly and collectively, Google it if you must, but don’t allow it to hold weight with what your instincts are telling you, in other words? Let go and let God handle the worry while YOU make a plan to change the outcome!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Time to Focus


Pss. 131:1 “Lord my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty; neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things to high for me.”

Time for me to focus or should I say RE-focus. Here lately I’ve been focused on what I deem the ‘wrong’ things in life and not focusing on the God things in life. We missed last Sunday’s service and I desperately NEEDED this Sunday’s service.

Saturday the 14ths storm left me so tired with the inability to sleep, the next day I could hardly move. But we went out and cleaned up the debris anyway. Any time I miss even ONE Sunday, the rest of the week is a fog. I feel lost and unable to focus. No internet brought things into focus for me. I often wonder how people get by in life with just living day by day, reading and believing when there is such a fountainful of beauty awaiting them in some church somewhere out there.

When we miss a church service the rest of the week becomes a blur. Sure I wake in the morning, continue with my bible reading, pray for the ones in need (and there ARE many) and have our bible reading before bed, but the week becomes a series of going through the motions and not doing anything actively to change. Then when a Sunday service comes along, I come home rejuvenated NEEDING to write, loving to read, feeling life in a whole new way.

Then there’s the weather. I love a rainy day and cloud cover but summer brings heat, bugs and the inability to move. I don’t know why but the heat just gets to me. I throw myself a pity party with no one the wiser. “She sounds good, so she must BE good.” If only they knew. I watch as so many of my friends are suffering much worse than I am and they endure, so why can’t * I * endure?

Because one Sunday of missed church service has me feeling sorry for myself. With service I coast through the week, shrugging off my pain and disability. It’s that simple. I need to focus on the God things in life and the internet is not a God thing.

I watch as my Christian friends refocus on God things and suddenly things begin to happen. Good things! GOD things. They know what I’m talking about. Much needed jobs appear, parties go on without dramatic events, dramatic events take a turn for the better, and just those sorts of things.

I watch as my semi-christian friends go on reading and believing. Semi-Christian you ask? What’s that? It’s where people call themselves Christians but do nothing but read and believe. Sorry folks, there’s much more to being a Christian than just calling yourself a Christian.

Do any of you know of this quote?
“Just because you go to church doesn't mean you're a Christian. I can go sit in the garage all day and it doesn't make me a car”  ~ Joyce Meyer

I’ve seen different renditions but they all mean the same thing. Just because you call yourself a Christian doesn’t MAKE you a Christian. Obeying the will of God, focusing on God ALL the time, not just when it’s convenient for you, and living FOR God not yourself, these are the things that make you a Christian.

Semi-Christians call themselves Christians but that’s it, they do nothing to focus their lives ON God and this is the very reason their lives remain stagnant and go nowhere. It’s not Gods fault, it’s YOUR fault for not knowing where the focus in life should be.

Yes, Church to ME is a focal point; food for my soul. It keeps me focused on God throughout the week and not myself. I’m going to state a fact here as to which I know from experience; focus on God and your life will change. It will be like a swift storm coming into you and your life gets rearranged and out of the commotion comes blessings, beautiful blessings. Your focus on LIFE will shift and you’ll now walk with God. A life changing EXPERIENCE!

I guess you have to experience it for yourself to believe it.

Pss. 131: 2 “Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child

Monday, June 23, 2014

Was I missed?

Luke 15: 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
* or peace which I had lost

Was I missed?

A few days without internet, for ME, was like a time of fasting. You know, when you do without something for a time, things you didn’t see before becomes clearer? That’s what my four days without this virtual world did for me, and I loved the experience.

I didn’t do much on the net on Saturday and by Sunday the net had disappeared not to be seen again until Wednesday afternoon. Was I missed? Would my online friends even know I was gone? Sure I’ve left before but usually I’d give a clue that I’d BE gone for a couple days, but this time I/they had no warning.

Storms are like that you know, they swoop right in sometimes with little warning, shake the trees, rearrange the view, then leaves with a clearer sky than when it all started. Much like life.

Often times we meet storms in our life and we squirm at the thought, Oh no not again. But did you know that if you looked at the storm differently you’d weather it much better?

The storms of the 14th scared the dickens outta me. The strong winds kept pounding and pounding on the rooftop and windows. I prayed and prayed and prayed some more then I woke up and we found our internet was out of commission. We didn’t call anyone because on Sunday you’d never get an answer so we waited.

Monday came and they said they’d send someone out on Wednesday to take a look at it. I know everyone will think me crazy but I felt no internet was for a reason. You see, any time something happens I believe there is a reason it happened no matter how big or how small, there is always a reason.

Wednesday came and the guy was on the roof for about an hour hooking us up a new cable wire, which apparently was dry-rotted from the sun, and the rain had seeped into the line, thus rendering us with no connection. All fixed right? Wrong.

I went onto facebook and let all my friends know I was still alive because I knew many are weather bugs and keep an eye on crazy weather. Some thought my internet was out, some thought it was due to the storm and they were right. The rain had seeped into the line, so the storm was the cause but was it really? Is that the reason it went out, really?

By Wednesday night it was gone again. Not totally gone just splotchy. You can get to Yahoo but it takes a long time to get to mail and even longer if you try opening different tabs. By Saturday when Steven got home, he was back on the phone because we had had some interesting storms the night before, again.

The tech guy had mentioned that the tree (which fell months ago in high winds that the landlord has never removed) was blocking the connection. Remove that limb there and you’ll get better reception.
Steven, determined as ever to get the internet back, decided to go out, hook the tree limb up to his truck and PULL the limb off. The entire tree moved and the limb was repositioned, but still, shotty internet connection.

Sunday’s sermon kind of had me thinking of the REASON we were getting no internet. It really became clearer for me.

1)     You really tend to see who your REAL friends are.
2)     You now have time to focus on better and more important things. (God)
3)     You now have time to Glorify God!

That’s it! Sometimes we put too much time into the net. Sure we justify it by: “But there is a lot of good.” Or “It isn’t all that bad.” Or “I’m using it for good.” Yup, justifying your actions. Let me ask, are you glorifying God in all your actions?

For ME, being away meant refocusing on more important things in the physical world. My friends will always be there, but my physical world, it is going to go one day and there are real things that need tending to AWAY from the internet, climbing inside my mind, I’m finding the REASON there is no internet.

My God given talent is poetry and writing. Whenever I veer from those two things, the internet seems to blank out. I can do a few facebook posts but veer away from the intended posts, poof, it disappears MAKING me focus on HIM!

So yes, I was missed and I missed my friends, but really what I needed was time, time away from the net to focus on life, on my reality, and that is truly what I’m getting from the lack of internet reception. I wonder if Steven and Adam are learning the same thing about their over indulgence in YouTube? Probably not. But 'I' AM growing and learning and I praise the Lord for that! AMEN!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Soul Ascent



Pss. 11: 1 In the LORD put I my trust: How say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?

Soul Ascent

I peered up at the towering mount,
That glistened from the snow.
Would I reach that velvet cap,
That no one dared to go?

The very tip seems to drift,
In a string of pearly lace.
No end in sight for it was hid,
Upon this rocky face.

Burgeoning trees whispered still.
They called within the deep.
Nature would carry my weary legs.
If for my soul to keep.

Every aching step I took,
Impelled in me to climb.
A voice was beckoning in my head.
Transcending the sublime.

I walked on faded fury,
As the summit reared its head.
The stones were trembling underfoot,
My essence being fed.

Every time I stumbled about,
My eyes would raise to see.
The brilliance of the lemon rays,
Shining down on me.

I gasp for air my final steps,
What seems to last for miles.
My bated breath my moistened brow,
Slowly, sweeps the aisles.

I let it out a HOWLING yell!!!!
I gaze at the valley below.
My echoes resound in empty space,
My soul begins to glow.

I reach the powdered summit.
My mind now crystal clear
It's never the journey taken...
It's relinquishing all you fear!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Quotation Saturday


John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

After the week I’ve had, the one thing I cherished was the thought that my friends were out there somewhere, missing me as much as I missed them. ~ Joni

FRIENDS

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
~ Henri J.M. Nouwen

“Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
~ Albert Camus

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
~ Mark Twain

“I think if I've learned anything about friendship, it's to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don't walk away, don't be distracted, don't be too busy or tired, don't take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.”
~ Jon Katz

FRIENDSHIP

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
~ Jane Austen

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”
~ Helen Keller

“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It's not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.”
~ Muhammad Ali

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?”
~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

CHERISH

“Wounds heal. Scars fade. Awful memories can be overwritten with better ones if given the chance. The little imperfections of our psyches become overshadowed by the people whose love we cherish because they cherish us despite our faults; physical, emotional, spiritual, or otherwise. This thing we call the human condition with all its bittersweet blind corners and senseless humor evolves from within ourselves and not because of some pre-ordained reverie we desire to cast in the constellations.
All in all it is what makes life worth living.”
~ August Clearwing

“But for the most part, love is a recognition, an opportunity to say, 'There is something about you I cherish.”
~ Raymond E. Feist

“To love is to accept a soul entirely, not wishing that the person was otherwise, nor hoping for change, nor clinging to some ideal past. To love is to cherish the individual standing before you presently―charms, quirks, and all. To love is to give someone a piece of your heart that you will never, ever reclaim.”
~ Richelle E. Goodrich

“Cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey.”
~ Jack Layton

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Assessing the Damage


Acts 1: 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

After this weekend and the nasty storms, it was time to assess the damage. We had winds I know topping the 70 mile mark and they were sustained winds which meant they did not pause between gusts.

I knew we were crazy to do our planting in May but I was getting antsy. It’s planting season by May right but nothing about this year has been normal weather wise. While some were saying this was a harsh winter here in Nebraska because we had a few nights that dipped down to 20 below, yes, that’s 20 below zero!

I say it WASN’T harsh because I remember a few days in December where Steven was still wearing shorts to work. Then a cold spell would hit then back up to the 70’s. We had no back-to-back blizzards as we had had back in 2009 when we moved up here from Texas. We barely had any snow at all this year.

A harsh winter would have rendered my perennials dead, as in the other years, but not this year. This year my perennials and trees showed signs of life in late February early March. It would dip down in the 30’s and bounce back to the sixties and it did that for a month, so I assumed spring was on the way, the calendar said so, right?

Now anyone who knows me, knows I absolutely LOVE winter, but when springtime surfaces it’s as if a bug has bitten me and infects me with the getting outside and assessing the gardens. But working in the cold and sweating and the wind gusting and blowing your hair all over the place is really no fun. It kind of takes away any springtime planting joy.

I despise summer. Yes, despise! Have you ever baked a potato to an excess and it shrivels? That is what summer is to me, time to bake and shrivel. Not much more enjoyment for me other than sitting in my house and watching the birds and creatures on the farm go about their summer business. I’m relinquished to the house. The heat has a negative affect on my body and some days I can’t even move!

For some reason, people are under the impression summer is the time to walk around half naked and expose their body. I saw one girl walk into WalMart in a bathing suit. It IS WalMart mind you and that is where you can see just about ANYthing and everything, but seriously? A bathing suit?

To the best of my recollection, we have four seasons. In February, people were wearing shorts (in all that eagerness to expose their bodies) and two days later they were wearing their parka!

May 15th. That is the day I was waiting for. It is supposed to be the date where it is safe to do planting because nighttime temps should be safely above 65 degrees; should be anyway. Here it is June 19th at 6 in the morning and it is a pleasant 60 degrees. We’ve had a FEW mornings where we were above 65, but a few to me is three. Yeah, that’s about it. Spring never arrived. It was either summer or winter, but never spring.

Anyway, by May 15th we were ready to plant! We did some tilling, got the soil ready, and planted two rows of tomatoes and two rows of peppers, I went around the outside of the house planting Marigolds and Zinnia’s, my Hosta’s and Hollyhocks had surfaced and we were well on our way, right? Wrong!

We had quite a few cold nights at the end of May (some 40’s and 50’s) and I lost a few marigolds, and the tomatoes were hanging in there along with the peppers. Then the Saturday storm hit and hit pretty hard too.

Assessing the damage. The Hollyhock leaves were shredded with nary part of the leaves clinging to the stems. Marigolds were bent over and the flowers were laying inches away from the mother stem. I had a sunflower growing and all that was left standing was a stem, all the leaves were ripped from the stem.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday was spent raking out the gardens of all the leaf debris that had fallen from the surrounding trees, and assessing the damage to the tomatoes and peppers and the newly sprouts of the Peach trees.

Survival. Truly I got a taste of what was meant by only the strong survive. A bitter taste but a taste nonetheless. I saw as leaves clung to the branches of my plants. I saw the stems standing strong after being whipped through the winds. I saw trees standing as if laughing saying, “You didn’t get ME.”  I witnessed the birth of a seedling rising out of the moistened soil. I saw life, new life going on and facing the days in the sun.

We’ve had a 95 degree day and 60 degree mornings. We’ve had rain, we’ve had loss and all that I gather from the entire experience is that there IS life after devastation. It may change perspective for you but you tend to see it all differently this thing called life.
As the Salvia sprouts new blossoms, as the Hollyhocks reform new leaves, as the Marigold releases new buds, as flowers form on the tomato and pepper plants, I see new life being shaped and formed by the devastating blows.

Ever the optimist, in assessing the damage, I see new life. I see all my plants going on and becoming stronger. I see anew spirit coming alive in my garden. They are all singing praises and lifting up their flower to the Lord chanting, “We will survive!” Until the next storm that is, when they get to do it all over again.

1 Chron. 29:12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Days Without Internet

Pss. 55:8 I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.

The Days Without...

Well, my internet has been out three going on four days now. It went out late Saturday night during the storm. Storm? What storm? First…

Saturday we went to his nephews wedding. It was an odd wedding like none I’ve ever been to. The bride/groom wore white tip tennis shoes. You know like the Converse high-tops only they weren’t high tops? The invitation never stated ‘informal wedding’ so I wore my ankle length dress and sandals. It’s in style and can be worn as formal or informal so I felt I looked nice. Everyone else looked nice too except for the two or three that wore almost butt baring short mini-skirts with white tip tennis shoes mind you.

The very short ceremony was held at a reception hall, by I do believe, a female justice of the peace. A wedding/reception if you will. The vows took about ten minutes and poof the bride, groom and bridal party left afterward. The sign said they’d be back at six. They all had left to get pictures taken and went over to a park a few miles down the road.

So it was about 3:30 when they left and they’d return at six! Before the ceremony and after the ceremony we were treated to very loud rock music by the likes of AC/DC, Kiss, some Reo Speedwagon and such. You get the picture. The bride’s family were bikers and the groom’s side of the family are of the Baptist nature. While I did grow up on that type of music and it was all too familiar to me, it was interesting though, watching his aunt endure the noise.

The groom’s mom and dad aren’t church goers so they seemed to enjoy or at least bear with the whole kit and kaboodle. We had to sit and wait the two and a half hours close to three, smelling the food cooking in the background. We were all starving so that didn’t help. I’d go outside and look around at the scorching parking lot and feel the brisk winds to let myself know I was still here on the planet earth. A few had gathered outside where they had booze in the trunks of their car. One man who was already feeling his liquor commented on my skirt blowing up and I just smiled. How sweet. (not)

By this time my stomach was cramping so bad from eating Reese’s cups that were on the table; the only thing to eat while waiting. The bridal party had finally returned! We had to wait another twenty minutes while they all got to the food first. Then it was our turn to stand in line, and finally, food! Spare ribs and chicken and some delicious salads, which is all I ate. I didn’t touch the ribs or chicken.

I did like the party favors though, little Converse high-top tennis shoes in every color of the rainbow. I took three, sue me, I was bored. I was asked more times than once when WE (Steven and I) were taking the plunge. After eleven years, no proposal and witnessing THIS wedding? I NEVER want to marry again! Seriously! While I love the kids, the sanctity of marriage is a little more than… oh never mind.

By eight o’clock we were more than ready to go home. As we approached the road home, we could see the sky blackened and lightning off in the distance, probably nearing our house. As we got closer and closer to the house the winds had picked up and drops of rain the size of my hand had begun falling. I was feeling uneasy.

We pulled up to the door, parked pretty close to the steps, and we proceeded to go in the house. By the time Adam put his foot in the door (Adam was the last one in) hail began to pummel the house. It beat for far too long for me and we began worrying about his mother and sister and them driving home right into this stuff.

Can I ask something? Why do people have cell phones if they’re going to leave them off and let voicemail pick up? What’s the point?

We were assessing the damage caused by the golf ball sized hail when his sister called. They made it home only to witness her daughters car get whopped by a baseball size hailstone and bust out the rear window of her car. They couldn’t stand around looking because the hail just kept coming. They all made it home safe.

Well now, that’s exciting for a day isn’t it? Well that wasn’t it…

About two hours passed and we went to bed while lightning like a strobe-light lit up the sky! We knew we were in for a big one because my Weatherbug said so. Now I go out quick and rest for a good eight hours before I wake but by 11:30 I was jilted awake by thunder, lightning and WIND. High winds! High enough for me to be scared outta my wits! With computers off, I relied on my emergency radio.

Once on, we listened as tornado warnings were all around us. The winds howled, the house shook, water came in wherever there was a crack, I saw a small branch that looked like a tree fly by the window, leaves were being tossed around like a windy fall day. Me? I prayed.

I went and sat on the sofa clutching my bible in my hands and continued to pray as the roaring wind went on and on all around me. Tick tock there goes the clock, anticipation as I could hear the wind slowing it’s pace and the thunder rolling away from us.

I remembered my last words to my friend on facebook before the second storm hit, “I’m protected.” I had signed off with a goodnight and God Bless and that was the last I saw of the internet.

Sunday I awoke still cramped. (I never eat chocolate so I guess my stomach knew I had ate something foreign to my system.) The sun had not yet risen but there was enough morning light for me to see. My back lawn was covered in leaves and branches, not big branches but heavy enough to have to put in our wagon to move. My neighbor’s house had a big branch lying across the roof, where it had damaged a portion of her chimney.

I turned on my computer, not surprising, no internet. Still reeling in pain, I couldn’t even THINK of going to church. Oh I thought of God and I sang soft praises and thanked Him for protecting me. I knew He would and after hearing of all the devastation with downed power lines and silo’s toppled, farm crops shredded to pieces, I knew I was protected from something bigger that had gone on out there.

The days without internet. The guys of the house are antsy although they won’t admit it. Adam read an actual book. Steven played his computer game but not without calling the service provider first who told us they’d send someone out by Wednesday, he checked the modem once or twice too. Me? I’m relishing the time without it! I’ve tended my ripped apart garden, de-weeded in spots, I’ve played chess and solitaire, cooked a nice meal and just enjoyed the quiet relaxing pace of life with no net! Brought back a lot of memories of my life BEFORE the internet came into my life.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Quotation Saturday ~ Happy Father's Day


Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

In honor of Father’s Day, I give you quotes of love, honor and respect. If you have a father, then you can relate to all of these. To every father out there, have a blessed day tomorrow and honor and respect the gift you’ve been given, your children!

FATHERS

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
~ Umberto Eco

“The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.”
~ Antoine François Prévost

“Listen, there is no way any true man is going to let children live around him in his home and not discipline and teach, fight and mold them until they know all he knows. His goal is to make them better than he is. Being their friend is a distant second to this.”
~ Victor Devlin

“Children are gifts. They are not ours for the breaking. They are ours for the making.”
~ Dan Pearce

HONOR

“Be strong. Live honorably and with dignity. When you don't think you can, hold on.”
~ James Frey

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to
succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”
~ Abraham Lincoln

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.”
~ R.J. Palacio

“Our own heart, and not other men's opinions, forms our true honor.”
~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

RESPECT

“Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“How would your life be different if…You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day…You look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.”
~ Steve Maraboli

“This generation has lost the true meaning of romance. There are so many songs that disrespect women. You can’t treat the woman you love as a piece of meat. You should treat your love like a princess. Give her love songs, something with real meaning. Maybe I’m old fashioned but to respect the woman you love should be a priority.”
~ Tom Hiddleston

“Respect yourself and others will respect you.”
~ Confucius

LOVE

You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.”
~ William W. Purkey

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”
~ William Shakespeare

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
~ Robert A. Heinlein

Friday, June 13, 2014

Are You There God?


James 2: 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Are you there God?

I put a call out to God. Does He hear me? Does He know what’s going on down here? With all of the overused technology today, you’d think God would just answer his cell phone when I call on Him.

We’re in an era of overuse of technological gadgets. Our food cooks quicker, our phones need no land lines, our TV is much clearer and rarely do you ever get a rolling screen, we wash and dry clothes in machines and we sit on computers to spend hours of our precious time. It isn’t only the insane who have turned their back on God we sane folk are just as guilty.

Did you ever wonder why with all this technology God doesn’t use a cell phone? Like when I pray, why can’t I just dial Him up and have Him answer? Why? Because as much as WE’VE changed, God has NOT changed. He doesn’t need YouTube to reach you, He doesn’t need mechanical skills to wave His hand to have you prosper, all He needs is YOU, to turn your attention on Him. That’s it.

Since mass shootings are occurring more frequently, we tend to get the feeling God has turned His back on us and left us to dangle here without any help. It’s not true. God is here. The only way we hear Him is through SHOCK to our technological nation. You see, we’re so wrapped up in instant gratification, having everything here and now, we don’t have the patience NEEDED to wait on God, we don’t HEAR God’s calling out to us.

I asked God, “Are you here?” Ironically, He didn’t take days to answer just mere seconds. I HEARD even through all the humming coming from behind me through the computer, even with all the *dings* of notifications, the beep of the microwave, the churning of the washer; I HEARD!

I have an innate way of turning off the world. I didn’t have techno gadgets distracting me all my life so I knew what I was listening for. I had a phone with a cord that didn’t reach very far. I had a TV with a few stations, not hundreds, I hung clothes on the line and we used the stove to actually cook. Things like that is what keeps one focused on the here and now. I didn’t get my first computer and cell phone until eleven years ago, so really I have NOT allowed technology to taint me like it has so many millions of people.

There’s a video on YouTube (another idol distraction to the world). It shows kids seeing a corded phone for the first time. They only know texting and cells so this phone was so foreign they didn’t know what it was. When told, they laughed, “No way! You had to PAY to make a long distance call? No way!” They were kind of shocked. They couldn’t imagine living life this way.

Kids are so spoiled by technology they didn’t even know what dial-up was. When they were showed, they became confused. But when given their iPad, iPod, cell, laptop; they knew right away how to text and use the silly gadgets and how to easily get to the instantaneous internet.

Steven texted me one day and I didn’t even know that the odd ring on my phone MEANT a text call. What do I do? Respond? HOW? I see letters next to the numbers so I hit “k”. REPLY, wow, I did it. And suddenly I felt like throwing my phone out the window!

While Steven has been a techno freak for twenty-five years or so, I myself to this day can not fathom the fascination. I wrapped myself up so much with God, I didn’t see technology rising around me. I saw it as a distraction FROM God not a way to get CLOSER to God.

Now people can hand me the malarkey that technology, or better yet, the internet has a lot of GOOD in it, I tend to agree, to an extent. But within a good thing, there dwells evil always one step ahead ready to sway you away from the good. You CAN become addicted to the net no different than being addicted to alcohol. It will eat you alive, trust me I know, I’m still waiting for it to spit a few people I know back out.

So again, I ask, “Are you there God?” And quite quickly He responds,

“Yes, I kiss the earth every morning with the rising of the sun. I tuck it into bed with the setting of the sun. I sing to you daily in the chiming of the birds. I whisper to you softly with the breath of winds words. I wrap my arms tightly around you in your time of need. I fill you with abundance when it’s time to feed. I’m there right beside you in the simplest of tasks. I’m waiting for your response to everything I ask. Am I there in devastation, when no one thinks to care? I’m with you always, if you look, I’M RIGHT THERE!”

Wow! Who knew God was a poet? Me. How did I know? Because I use all six of my God given senses: I SEE Him. I HEAR Him. I TASTE Him. I SMELL Him. I TOUCH Him. And most importantly, I FEEL Him, because He’s been here inside, ALL ALONG!

Luke 2: 40And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sacrifice


1 John 4: 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

I live a life without to live a life with. Doesn’t make sense does it?

This is what is on my heart today:
Mark 8: Mark 8: 34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
[35] For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
[36] For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
[37] Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
[38] Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

I grew up in a household with five older siblings. They all had wants and needs and most of them TOOK what they wanted and needed. I learned from them. I stole, I drank, I lied, I hated. I was a normal child right? Wrong. And to think I was being raised Catholic, and you wonder why I’m not Catholic now?

I respect the Catholic religion but I lose respect for people who ABUSE that religion or any religion for that matter. I’ve seen many ‘Christians’ abuse the faith too, so I’m NOT pointing fingers here. Speaking from experience, MY experience, I’ve lost all respect for my family. There are things I’ve forgiven over and over and over again, only for them to continue to be the hypocrites they are. It truly hurts.

When I chose to convert from being a Catholic to a Christian, I knew I was different than them. Not BETTER than, just different than. They knew it too and I feel THAT is the reason I’ve been shunned half of my life.

Sacrifice. Sometimes you have to give up things in order to get the real things out of life. Yesterday’s post was about values. Sacrifice, I believe, is a part of the vitality that carries values and morals the full length. I also believe a nation without God is a faltering nation.

Imagine a young girl, say sixteen or seventeen, sacrificing the pleasure of attention from a guy, feeling so self–assured, and waiting to have sex and a baby. Because we all know teen pregnancy is out of control. The majority of these teens were born out of a teen pregnancy.

The mother feels trapped; they let grandparents, the school system, and any other person raise their kids while they go on drugging, working, ignoring the child that they bore. Then when the child grows, gets into trouble, she washes her hands of them, or worse becomes a grandmother having to raise her child’s child! She didn’t do any good at raising HER child as a teen, what makes her think she can do better at raising a grandchild?

Sacrifice. Sometimes a girl needs her confidence in herself so she DOESN’T need the attention of a man/boy. As you know, to boys, girls are what THEY need to conquer the world. Waiting to have sex is NOT an option and they take the first easy, low self-esteem girl they see, and ruins her life by making her feel that sex is the answer to both of their insecurities!

You might be saying, “What does she know?” I’ll tell you! I was one of those low self- esteem girls pregnant at sixteen! Go ahead, point fingers. Remember, I was raised in an alcoholic drug infested household where the Catholic religion was being abused. Granted my mother and father have been married sixty years now, their children, not ALL have never gotten out of the destruction alcohol causes.

Me? I married the first boy who touched me and got me pregnant. We stayed married for twenty years. I felt I owed it to God to sacrifice my entire life to Him so I stayed married, until God said it was time to move on. After cleaning myself up and dedicating my life to God, life took on a whole new meaning. (I had no one but GOD guiding me.)

I wonder if someone can reach out to these girls at a ripe young age and help them to see their inner beauty. We have too much evil crawling the streets so getting to reach these kids is harder than it sounds. Boys need to see their worthiness too! Girls are NOT just sex toys and boys are NOT just sex machines.

No one is willing to sacrifice these days. Their cable television is more important than their car. Their fast food is more important than a family-eating together-at home-meal. Their clothes are more important than their electric bill. You see what I’m saying here? If adults are struggling with the simple sacrifices, how are we to expect our children to learn from us? How is this teaching them responsibility?

Have you ever tried walking into the Goodwill and buying clothes? To proud? What? Do you think people are going to look at your butt and say, Goodwill, pass. Are you really THAT self righteous that you can’t sacrifice $20 jeans for a $6 pair of name brand jeans?
Really? Let go of that pride and ego and you might find that extra money you need every month to pay bills.

Spend time with the kids, play Frisbee, horseshoes, catch or take nature walks. By SACRIFICING small things you will unknowingly be bringing God into your life. If you already HAVE God in your life, you should already understand this.

Life is not about having it all, that’s greed. Life is not about going out and taking anything you can’t have, that’s selfishness. Life is not about killing one thing to get another, that’s anger, greed AND selfishness. Life is about LOVE and wrapping it up in your heart to share it with others. Life is about sacrifice and when you can’t sacrifice, you won’t know the blessings God has in store for you. You’ll never taste the fruit you so richly deserve and are freely given.

I live a life without to live a life with. Makes more sense now, doesn’t it?

Mark 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
[20] And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
[21] Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.




Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Family Values

Job 13: 4 But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value.

Well here we go again, yet another heinous school shooting. I remember back in 2000 when my son was old enough to start school, I knew in my heart that it was a bad idea. I could feel the winds of change although there had been no school shootings in my area, I was not going to send my kid to a government run, bureaucratic system.

There have been over one hundred school shootings since 1980 and a massive amount of fatal deaths in those shootings. Statistically it began ascending after the Columbine incident and to this day is a growing trend in America. That’s not taking into consideration the massive shootings in malls and movie houses.

What is happening in America that people just want other people dead because either their life isn’t as good as the next person’s, or they’re mentally unstable, or they’re angry at a country which is failing them.

I follow the vile hatred of these stories in disbelief. While others think I have rose colored glasses on and am blind to the world around me, I AM aware. I find it quite silly to place blame. No, school shootings are not our government’s fault, guns are not to blame, the ease of getting guns are not to blame. The mind is to blame. Self value is to blame!

Somewhere along the line we lost the value in life. These days we glorify death, we support the smarmy entertainment business, (yes, even Christians who say they can’t stand this and that are supporting the sleaze that comes through the box!)

I hear so many couples (with kids more times than not) say they can’t make ends meet. They can’t afford their two cars, clothes that they worked for, no less, eating out five or six times a month, they can’t afford the cable bills or electric bills and barely have food for the kids. What?

Sure blame the husband because he’s tired of having no money. Blame the wife for having too many shoes that she DESERVES; blame, blame, blame!! Here we go. The modern family has two people working (to barely make ends meet) the kids are off in a school system where parents allow the system to raise their children, so they can make ends meet, mind you. And what value do parents place on their children?

Sure we live in a society of let me buy you this let me buy you that. Buy materials, you’ll be happy. Enjoy trash on TV, you’ll be happy. Have two cars, buy steaks, eat out at restaurants, you’ll be happy.

Guess what people, YOU’RE NOT HAPPY!! You’re a devalued human being, being manipulated by materials and you’re ALLOWING it to happen instead of taking a stance for your FAMILY and family VALUES!

Kids are having kids, they become hard to handle so they put them on drugs. ADHD drugs that from every commercial I see come with a warning: May cause suicidal tendencies. This is what the kid’s flipping out and killing people were more than likely on as a child. Their mother’s, who became divorced, couldn’t handle the wild child, and placed him on meds. We lost value of life along the way of medication and an over abundance of materials. The media is saturating society with what they THINK people want to see, and people claim to hate it but the majority is watching it and buying into the devaluing of society.

We no longer value marriage, we no longer WANT to spend time with the kids, we’d rather put them in front of a TV and let a game system raise them. We over feed them on takeout food, we’d rather work to make more money so we can have luxuries of the world. A tainted crop of humans has emerged and it is not pretty.

Blame evil, blame satan, blame the government, blame everything but yourselves who are showing as much lack of control as these very angry students. Just because you don’t wield a gun doesn’t mean you’re NOT to blame. YOU are enabling them. You are feeding their fire with every meal and tv show, every luxury you bathe in, YOU are to blame.

My son just graduated high school. He CHOSE to go the last four years but he soon discovered it wasn’t HIM who had the societal problem it was society itself. He was taught the rights of Americans and realized he really had none at all. He has CHOSEN not to go to college so as not to burden himself with the money it will cost. And while people frown on his decision and almost laugh at his indecision, I think he made the right decision. He’s thinking of his future while the naysayers are thinking of MONEY in his future. Yeah blame me, his mother, whose life does NOT revolve around money and materials. I taught my son that.

2 Cor. 12:14 Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.

Parents need to stop owning children and raise them instead. Values are taught at an early age and you can’t tell a sixteen year old that what he is doing is wrong when he was allowed all his life not to respect morality.

We need to change. We need to put family values back in this world. I think returning to a one person working household is a start. I know you’ll say, “But we can’t AFFORD to be a one person working household.” And I’ll say why? WHAT is it you won’t be able to afford? Cable? Get rid of it. New shoes? Wear the ones you have! Take-out food? Cook at home. This alone will save you HUNDREDS each month!

How are we as adults going to teach our kids responsibility if we ourselves can’t even sacrifice for the luxuries we want and put our NEEDS first? It’s going to be a hard climb back into morality and values when our eyes are fixed on blaming everyone and everything else for the situations we find ourselves in.

God is not to blame! Satan is not to blame! Our government is not to blame! Guns are not to blame! YOU my friend, are to blame. When we start taking responsibility for our own selves, that is when the blame game will end and morals in society will surface and we can begin placing a value on life.

Rom. 30:28-32 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.


Sunshine Award

Sunshine award