Thursday, September 24, 2015

Comfort Zone

Isa. 49:13 Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

Through prayer people find the comforting arms of the Lord surrounding them in their time of need.

These past few weeks I have been down, depressed and not wanting to go on in life and the only thing that got me through was prayer. Even us good people have our moments of darkness shrouding us but we MUST go on and in prayer I find healing. 

Lam. 1:16 “For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed.”

I spoke the other day about our loss of electricity due to a substation malfunction and me being ever the optimist saw light in those many hours of darkness. Here I was, at a low point and who would have thought that hours without electricity and the unknown return of the electricity could spring optimism and hope?

We were sitting at the kitchen table with a kerosene lamp and candles lighting the room but it was the Lord’s presence and warmth I felt the most. As I looked at the shadowed faces trying to pick a card to throw out as we played Rummy, I smiled. I felt comfort and loving arms hugging me and allowing me to see a light in this darkness.

Facebook for some is a game room where they play their games and have fun, for some it is a place to joke around and have fun while for some it is a political pedestal that they can stand on and promote negativity. The U.S.A is a pool of negativity these days and I can’t wrap my arms around it or swim in the cesspool of hate. 

Facebook to me has become an ocean of prayer. There is not a day that goes by that someone isn’t in need of prayer; whether it is an illness they seek out prayer for, a medical procedure, or a death in the family. People seek out prayer because of the healing that they feel wash over them.

While I sat at home, wallowing in my own self-pity, I was still drawn to the power of prayer and continued on my facebook journey to see who needed prayer on any given day. Through praying for others, I felt an emotional healing within myself, and the day we lost electricity it became a God-slap moment.

In the previous weeks I had cried, I ranted and raved and sang the woe, woe is me plea. I didn’t know if anyone knew of my predicament but I do know that I have a friend on facebook who prays daily about the downtrodden and on this occasion, these prayers were for me. I could feel them holding me in place.

I used to use facebook as an avenue for writing and my writing friends but it quickly became a place of prayer for me. I can be fun and jolly with the rest of the playmates but my focus is on prayer and those in need on facebook and outside of facebook. 

Take for instance my mother. The other day she informed me that they might be raising her rent. Knowing she and my father have limited income and are swimming in medical debts, she was worried. Instead of worrying with her and adding to the worry, I chose to pray. Yesterday when I spoke to her she said that they DID raise her rent by forty dollars BUT and this is a BIG but, she was okay with the increase. I feel in every fiber of my being it was because of prayer that she was comforted. My mother, the worrywart, was comforted!

I end this week from a different perspective. I’m not down, I’m not up, I’m right in the middle seeing hope at the end of the tunnel. I see that life is not about religion, or how one practices their religion, it is not about judging people for the way they practice their faith, it is about strengthening people in their walk of faith and being a prayer warrior that they can turn to and trust and hopefully find some comfort. When all is said and done at the end of the day, I’ve found my comfort zone… in prayer.

God bless you all!

Matt. 9:22 “But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.”

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Seeing The Light

Gen. 1:4 “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”

Not all light is man-made.

Last night, as the fan churned behind me, we were gearing up for movie time; an enjoyable daily event for us. As we get everything ready, hook up the HDMI cable and watch Netflix on the television and Adam hunkered down in his room on his computer ready to game the night away; we were ready for our quiet evening. Quiet evening amid sounds mind you.

Perched on the sofa like birds on a wire, we were ready for the movie. We sat for about 15 minutes of the movie before we heard a sizzle sound, followed by a BOOM, the house trembled and the lights and sounds of the day came to an abrupt halt. Clocks stopped telling us time, computers stopped humming and the refrigerator sat silent as a tomb.

Running (as fast as my wobbly legs allowed) to the front door then to the back door, hobbling down the steps to, thankfully, seeing no fire. One neighbor was already in his jeep (he lives two houses over) and came to our house asking us what we saw and heard. When I said a sizzle and a boom he right away said the substation and went on to call the electric company.

From Google: A substation is a part of an electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system. Substations transform voltage from high to low, or the reverse, or perform any of several other important functions.

Our neighbor came back to tell us he had called the electric company and also told our other neighbor, who came to hear the news, that no electricity had enveloped our little county. It would be hours or days depending on the problem before electricity was restored. The pump to the well runs on electricity so that also means no water.

Before the daylight blinked away we hustled in the shadows of the house to gather the bottled water and candles. We had not used the kerosene lamps since we’ve been here in Nebraska, but the kerosene was easily found in the darkened corner of the shed.

We hurriedly gathered candles, filled the beautiful hurricane kerosene lamp, pulled out the flashlights and hunkered down by candlelight wondering what to do as darkness fell over the house and silence filled the air. The electric guys appeared on the scene and got to work almost immediately. There was hope that this darkness would be short lived.

My husband and son, computer nerds, needed their gadgets while I was babbling on and on saying this must be what Laura Ingalls lived like. As I prayed and joked in the stillness of the house my son asked, “So what did they do?”

“They prayed! Pa played the fiddle and they found things to do like read.”

I went on to say, “I am an optimist and there is something positive in all this.”

Adam said jokingly, “What’s your positive spin on this, Sherlock?”

“Well this is God’s way of showing us to appreciate what we have in the heart of the darkness. We will be indebted to the light and gadgets in a new way. We’ll see light in the darkness.”

I know his eyes rolled and Steven sat on the sofa contemplating what Sage Joni had spoken. In the quiet you hear well. As Adam struggled to find the toilet in the dark (that he couldn’t flush by the way) Steven sat on the sofa embracing the dark that once belonged to him. After being blind for two and a half years, he had the upper hand in this blackened house. I sat at the kitchen table and Adam joined me.

Out of the silence came a choir of angels that God sent, okay that was over dramatizing. Out of the candlelit night the sound of the saxophone began piping out Amazing Grace. (It’s not a fiddle but I felt like Pa Ingalls was here.)

After 25 minutes and no musical accompaniment from the buzzing computer, the house fell silent again, the sax stopped. The electricity went out about 6:45 and the darkness swept over the house by 7:30 and here it was almost 8:30 p.m and we were still sane.

“CARDS!” I bellowed out in the peaceful night.

Adam rose to the occasion, went to the basement with his penlight and made it back with a very new deck of cards. We gathered at the table lit by a kerosene lamp and some candles and we played cards.

By ten thirty the refrigerator had moaned back into existence. Nothing else lit up because we hadn’t had any lights on when the power went out. We played on. My neighbor drove by the house and saw us through the window playing cards by candlelight. She stopped her car, came up the path and knocked on the door; happily she exclaimed, “The electric is on.”

Adam said, “Yeah we know.”  She sounded kind of surprised as she said, “And you’re still playing cards by candlelight? COOL!” Adam chuckled, we chuckled and we continued to play, by candlelight, until 11 p.m. at which time I won my version of 500 Rummy!

Something happened in the total vacuum of darkness. We saw the light. It had been there all the time waiting for us to tap into it and as we sat listening to music on a battery operated radio and playing cards by candlelight, we were embracing being together and sharing our time as a family.

I said afterward to Adam, “That was fun. I really enjoyed myself.”

He smiled and said, “Yeah, me too.”

With the light of a new day, I thanked the Lord for showing me the way. 
~ Amen!

Through the darkness, we saw the light.

Acts 26:13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Quotation Saturday

Pss. 25:5 “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”


“A company of wolves, is better than a company of wolves in sheep's clothing.” 
~ Anthony Liccione

“What's the whole point of being pretty on the outside when you’re so ugly on the inside?” 
~ Jess C. Scott

“You will never find the real truth among people that are insecure or have egos to protect. Truth over time becomes either guarded or twisted as their perspective changes; it changes with the seasons of their shame, love, hope or pride.” 
~ Shannon L. Alder

“An open Facebook page is simply a psychiatric dry erase board that screams, “Look at me. I am insecure. I need your reaction to what I am doing, but you’re not cool enough to be my friend. Therefore, I will just pray you see this because the approval of God is not all I need.” 
~ Shannon L. Alder


“That's what real love amounts to - letting a person be what he really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love, you keep pretending - performing. You get to love your pretense. It's true, we're locked in an image, an act - and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you're trying to steal their most precious possession.” 
~ Jim Morrison

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth -- more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid ... Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.” 
~ Bertrand Russell

“You wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were beneath it.” 
~ Alan Moore

“After all, what was adult life but one moment of weakness piled on top of another? Most people just fell in line like obedient little children, doing exactly what society expected of them at any given moment, all the while pretending that they’d actually made some sort of choice.” 
~ Tom Perrotta


“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” 
~ Robert Frost

“In the space between yes and no, there's a lifetime. It's the difference between the path you walk and the one you leave behind; it's the gap between who you thought you could be and who you really are; its the legroom for the lies you'll tell yourself in the future.” 
~ Jodi Picoult

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.” 
~ Marcus Aurelius

“Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love; it will all come back to you in abundance. This is the law of nature.” 
~ Steve Maraboli


“The truth is messy. It's raw and uncomfortable. You can't blame people for preferring lies.” 
~ Holly Black

“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

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” 
~ Socrates

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.” 
~ William Faulkner

Friday, September 18, 2015


Proverbs 2:1-5 (NIV) "My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God."

Today is the day I will renounce my Christian label. Before you all go ballistic on me, allow me to explain. The label Christian means absolutely nothing these days. People toss the word around like a basketball; dribble it here, toss it there. 

Definition of renounce (before vocab nazi’s attack): to give up or put aside voluntarily: to renounce worldly pleasures.
2. to give up by formal declaration:

As I’ve been working through some tough things lately, I’ve sure been hit hard with a realization lately; I need the courage to let go of what I can’t change. I can’t change my past I accept that. I can’t change humans I have to accept that also. 

These humans are the very reason I will no longer call myself Christian. They have me struggling with my faith and it doesn’t seem fair to me. I have an extremely strong faith, a viable strength in the Lord, and an apparently different way of seeing things.

They (Christians) drink because hey, Jesus drank wine so it must be okay. Well to me, I don’t believe he drank a beer in His life and definitely don’t see Him nipping at some mushrooms in the garden before being tempted by satan. Was it all a hallucinating experience for Him and He just wish-washed the truth?

I wanna drink.  Thanks Christians.

They also curse, and that is okay too because I guess Jesus rode an ass so everyone must get the symbolization that we’re all asses? 

I wanna curse. Thanks Christians.

Is this a lie?

Ephesians 5:4 ESV “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”

So is it okay to joke and use crude vulgar language. All in fun, right Christians? 

More lies?

James 1:26 ESV “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.

I struggle. Thanks Christians.

I’m beginning to think hell is the better place to end up when I die. Heaven is going to be full of people cursing, drinking, laughing at people cursing and drinking and maybe THIS is not where I want to end up. Christians believe they’re all going to heaven and these same Christians are the drinkers and cursers. Are they all going to change AFTER they get into heaven? Hmm...

I’m confused. Thanks Christians.

I will now call myself a Follower of Christ. Not a follower of humans who fill people with lies, have no remorse, have no character and basically they have a wilted soul. I can only pray for them in their disillusionment. I cannot change THEM I can only change ME! And this is what I strive for!

Romans 12:2 ESV “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Thank you Jesus! 

Now this is a post not many will like, maybe because of the truth it holds? My point is this I can call myself a Christian but it doesn’t mean I AM one. Just as I can call myself a butterfly but until I CHANGE from a caterpillar, I am just a caterpillar.

Thank you God! For making me, ME!

Psalm 19:14 ESV “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mistakes Part II

Jas. 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Let me make something perfectly clear. In yesterday’s post I was going over mistakes I made in my life and I don’t want my reader to misunderstand me. I in no way regret not getting an abortion. Sure I was young, many would jump at the chance, but I CHOSE not to get an abortion because I don’t believe in them. I clearly was given a CHOICE and I chose life but God, for only reasons He knows, chose death. 

I didn’t make a mistake in getting married at seventeen either because low and behold, thirteen years later I would be blessed with a beautiful baby boy, living, breathing! My whole point in these mistakes posts is a chance to look back and see that they weren’t really mistakes after all just learning experiences. I learned I had a CHOICE as to what to do with my body and soul, no matter what age I was.

Granted, at such a young age my choices weren’t that great but I did learn from them and am a better person because of them. Many people make mistakes and live a life filled with regret; why didn’t I do this, why didn’t I do that? I’m here to tell you from experience that your life will be a living hell if you live a life of regret!

Maybe this is why I’m an optimistic positive person, because I see the glass as half full not half empty. I don’t live a life of regrets, I live a life of promise. My hope is that when you read my words, sitting there full of regrets, you think to yourself all of the good things that came out of what seemed like mistakes in YOUR life.

The only way to find healing, short of therapy, is writing; if not to the world then to you and you alone. Coming to grips with a hard past is a long road and one worth taking if you are ever to heal. Healing is a process, sometimes a long slow process but a process nonetheless. It’s a painful process too and there is no humor in going over the most painful parts of your life. Pain will resurface, tears will fall, loneliness will embrace you but it is all a part of the healing on the path to a better you.

What you have to try is this: Write down what you see as a mistake and right next to it write down a positive slant like what good came from that mistake. You might be the kind of person who is afraid to admit you made any mistakes and that’s okay too, I guess. Take note: Living in denial will hurt more than heal. You have to come to terms with the mistakes you made, your mother might have made or your father in rearing you and I tell many students to write, write, write and get it off your chest and onto paper! Granted you may have had the perfect life and made no mistakes. To me that is like saying, “I’ve never sinned.” 

Jas. 5: 20 “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”

I have to admit, writing is one thing I will NEVER regret doing. It has become an emotional healer for me whether in writing my story or writing poetry it has been a healer of all sorts on so many levels.

These things you write down can be for your eyes only and when you’re done they can be deleted or burned, if you wrote them on paper. That’s just one step in the healing process to make you SEE that you’re a better person because of your mistakes. You’re not a BAD person, you’re a healing person! Own it!

With the grace of God may you all find the healing that you seek. 

Acts 4:22 “For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Pss. 19: 12 “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

I’ve made quite a few mistakes, I’m sure we all have and usually ones that we have to live with the rest of our life, like it or not. Since I began writing, well no, since I began blogging, my paintbrush of mistakes is in vivid color here. I hold nothing back and my truth is my healing place.

Some people deal with their mistakes, some timidly live with them, some take the mistakes they made in life by the horns and wrestle them to the ground and shed them from their life never to be seen or heard from again. 

To me, mistakes we made in our past shouldn’t be forcefully thrown in our face so that we have to live with the pain on a daily basis. Some people don’t deal with their mistakes very well and they live in denial as if the mistake is a joy in their life, never to be admitted as a mistake, but the pain, the pain is so evident when people live in denial. 

One mistake I made, was not getting an abortion at 16 and spending nine agonizing months pregnant only to give birth to a stillborn child whose memory still haunts me to this day, some thirty-odd years later; then marrying the guy at 17 and spending 20 years of my formative life owning up to a pledge I had made more to God than my husband.

Looking back at my mistakes helps me to see God’s hand in shaping me. I was the clay and he was the potter molding me into the woman I am now. I don’t have regrets in the choices I made and some may say I’m in denial but really; the CHOICE was mine, an act of free will that God gave to us all. 

Isa. 64:8 “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”

Have you ever lived in a moment of should’ve, could’ve, would’ve? I normally don’t but as flashbacks come back to haunt me, writing about what could’ve been helps me for some odd reason. 

It helps me because with all of the looking back, I see myself exactly where I should be and any amount of changes in what ‘could’ve been’, only changes segments in the here and now. At this juncture, I would not want one thing to change. My pain and my suffering, (that of which no one understands except myself) is what helps me to be non- judgmental to others who are suffering through their own mistakes.

I do believe that our mistakes are little tools in our life that carve out who and what we become. I need to see that living with no regret is where my mind and body is supposed to be at this moment.

Job 19: 4 “And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.”

Mistakes should never be used to make people bend to your whim, they should be treated with the soft-skinned hands of a person who has grown and learned from their mistakes. A mistake can be seen as a work of art instead of a hold-over-your-head lifetime of remembrance.

I think what I’m trying to say in short is this: Mistakes are sometimes blessings in disguise. Not that they are rainbows and unicorns and should be seen as such but that they are clay and mistakes are what molded you.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Baltimore, Maryland

“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”
~ Cormac McCarthy

Here recently I’ve been struggling with flashbacks. Not the good kind with happy memories that follow but truly ugly ones I thought were dead and buried, never to resurface again; but here they are upon me in a tidal wave of emotion.

It all started a few weeks ago on my facebook family page. I was looking at friends of  friends and WHAM it hit me; flashbacks. I’d see a familiar name and think, Hey, we were friends once, I wonder why she/he hasn’t friend requested me? Then I remembered, maybe we weren’t really friends we were acquaintances. Maybe I’ll friend request them, then I said to myself, no, they seriously didn’t like me – then all of the bad memories flowed.

No matter how much I’ve grown and changed in life my past is always there to remind of the evil little witch that I once was and I realize pretty vividly why no one likes me or would like to catch up with me and see how I’m doing now. You know what they say, ‘Once a witch, always a witch’ so they steer clear of me.

I have struggled all my life to put the past behind me, forgive the evil-doers, move on in a walk with Christ but like a worm, the past just slowly inches its way into my present when I least expect it and slaps me upside the head. Sure I shrug it off and look at the writing friends I have now and how they help me to see the change in me but my past is a part of who I am today.

“We are products of our past, but we don't have to be prisoners of it.”
~ Rick Warren

Sure I hear the whole spiel that people feed me. Look to the Lord -- Walk with God -- Read your Bible and quite honestly I’d like to slap THEM upside the head for not understanding one thing I’m going through.

Are they trying to tell me that if I walk with Christ, the past won’t resurface? Are they trying to tell me that if I focus on God, the past will disappear? Are they offering to me a safe haven in reading my bible and that the past will no longer be present in my mind? HOGWASH!

I have for many a year (not just a spur of the moment of caring about Christ) looked to Christ for my healing and yes, I have come a long way, some might even say I am a new person. Well I AM!!! BUT, and here’s the clincher, THAT does not change my past or make it miraculously disappear and make people from my past want to know me again.

I imagine that when people see on the sideboard of their facebook that little picture asking, “do you know Joni?” They look at it and shiver and tremble and say, “Yeah and I don’t want to know her again!” And don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to know them either only because of the ugly past that I need to leave behind to burn, but it doesn’t hurt any less realizing I’m not that likable because of who I was back then.

Then my traumatized childhood rears its ugly head and I remember the not so nice life I had growing up in a neglectful household. I didn’t have parents who cared dearly for their children, I had parents who dragged their young child into bars while the older kids stayed home or ran the streets getting into their own sort of trouble. I have to hear now that I’m grown, from my mother, “Why don’t my kids love me?” And I cannot and will not give her the God’s honest truth, “Maybe because you didn’t love THEM enough.”

I love my mother and father dearly and have dealt with the neglect and the non-neglect of me; after all my brothers and sister see it as me being the baby getting EVERYthing while I see it as me getting the traumatic events that they didn’t receive.

As I continue my journey and heal I AM walking with Christ because I know that it is only through Him I can truly heal. Make the past disappear? Probably not because by looking back into my past I can see how far I have come and also see it as a blessing that I am still alive today.

While I lock the hard-to-deal-with-flashbacks in a secure trunk, I will send it up a river never to be seen from again. I WILL heal and continue to create positive memories that I’ll enjoy looking back on.

“It's being here now that's important. There's no past and there's no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can't relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don't know if there is one.”
~ George Harrison

~ Nebraska ~