This is my dream, so just go with it. Walking along a white sandy beach with the blue/green waves lapping against my bare feet. The warm sun against my fair skin (I have lots of sunblock on – and a hat)… The warm, moist breeze blowing through my hair that won’t stay up because of the hat. I really need to braid my hair, and I will just as soon as I can stop enjoying the water around my toes, and my feet feeling like they are sinking as the water pulls back into the ocean. It just can’t help itself. It does the same thing over and over again, and seems perfectly content doing so. There is something so peaceful and perfect about this. My skirt keeps whipping around my legs, and I sort of wish I was wearing something different, but it’s light, cool and dries quickly…so I’m ok. The sun is setting; couples are walking hand in hand towards someplace special. I’m alone. So I dream…Feeling a little sad. Sad is ok, sentimental is ok, wishful thinking is ok. Life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan, but it turns out the way it does for a reason. So I am alone, in a beautiful place, a beautiful time. God’s gorgeous creation before me; the past behind me; the future ahead of me. Life is good. So I keep walking…keep moving forward. Surprising things can happen on an ocean shoreline. My dream; my story. So just go with it.
Someone who knew what they were talking about once said, “don’t use a $10 word when a nickel one will do just as well.” That quote was sent to me the day after I told someone that I really wanted to be a writer. A year later, when I admitted to him that I had been working on the same story for almost a year, he forwarded me another quote that said the following: “Good is the enemy of great.”
I had to take a step back and try to figure out what that one meant. For me, that short quote is saying, don’t settle for “good”, when it can be “great”. I have tons of stories that are good. Many of them are REALLY good. Guess how many have been published? One. A short, short story about a young Amish girl who had big dreams but lived in a community stuck in their ways and traditions. Reviews from many of my stories have been returned with statements such as “great potential,” “lots of heart and warmth.” Some even said, “left me with more questions than answers”, or “felt as if it just ended abruptly.” And the one I loved the most? “Don’t leave me hanging. Where’s the rest?”
I’m a great starter. The beginning and the middle are fun, exciting, satisfying and easy for me to create. My problem? One of my problems? Coming up with an ending. How do I wrap it up? Tie up the loose threads? Have the happily ever-after? I need something different. A different approach. Not just the guy got the girl and they ran off into the sunset…Or the Hurricane that destroyed everything in the town, was re-built and relationships restored. There are a million stories out their on the shelves that tell the same story, but have different names and addresses. I need to venture out their with something unique, but not crazy. Or maybe crazy is OK, but not insane.
I tend to write how I talk. I also write about things I hear about. Other people’s stories that I hear around the lunchroom or while standing at the coffee bar in the cafeteria. It gives me ideas. Then I realize that everyone’s life story is a little different, but really they are all tied to the same story line. Love, loss, heartache, fear, sadness, pressure, temptation, love, loss, heartache…it’s a circle. Whether its loss of love; loss of money and things; the heartache of death or sickness; the temptation of power; the realization that we need each other and we all have faith in something. The search; the mystery; the wonder of things seen and felt for the first time…All of our stories have a general theme or thread that is kindred to everyone else. We’re searching for something more; something stronger; something better. Yet deep down, most people just want love. The love of a spouse; partner; friend; child. To know beyond anything else, that they are loved by someone out their in this vast universe. So, yes, “good can truly be the enemy of great.” God is good, but He’s also great! That’s the only person I know that truly has both. Sometimes we settle for good, when in some areas of our lives, we know we can be great. I personally don’t know if my “greatness” will show up in my writing one day. It might…I know it’s possible. Being a great writer isn’t my ultimate goal. I love to write, simply for writings sake. I love putting my thoughts into words and those words having an effect on someone. Isn’t that the point?
So my title today is “Change Matters.” I am going to start making some changes in my life. Nothing monumental. Just start off small and steady. The three that I’m going to start with are these: Get Up – (I sit too much); ShowUp – (I could easily become a recluse in my 60’s); and Get to bed beforemidnight – this is self explanatory. I’m a night-owl. Always have been. That needs to change. I’ll get back with you when I start seeing some results.
When you know you need to change a bad habit that you’ve formed over time, (lots of time)… the process won’t be easy. That won’t stop me…I’m ready to make a few changes. Wish me luck.
Waking up to an annoying alarm may be good for motivating you to get out of bed, but in my opinion, it causes an instant irritation. An urge to throw the cell phone across the room or stuff it under a stack of pillows. The easy solution would be to change the alarm sound to something soothing and lovely. Wrong. If I did that, I’d never hear it. Or I would start dreaming of being in a cottage by the sea and the sound of the waves drifting through my open windows. That, my friend would motivate me to stay in bed a little longer. So I will continue to have a loud, obnoxious, irritating alarm sound so I will get up and get moving! I may be irritated for a short period of time. At least until my first cup of coffee touches my lips and I’ve read my daily devotions for the day. Yes, by then, I’m feeling much better. Prayer and coffee are two of my all-time “go-to’s” for assurance of a good day.
That doesn’t mean everything is going to go perfect. Or even good. But it does give me the satisfaction that even if it doesn’t go as planned, it will be okay. Someone bigger than me has it in control and will help me do better tomorrow. It also allows me to breathe better, relax more and trust that even though I made mistakes, failed miserably and didn’t achieve a single thing on my check list, I’m good. The world didn’t end. The stars still came out tonight. The moon showed up and God willing, the sun will come up in the morning; my alarm will go off, and I’ll be alive to turn it off and grumble a little as I put my feet on the ground and start another day. With another chance to try again. For that, I’m grateful.
So as Wednesday winds down, and I crawl into bed, I am reminded of the simple things in my life today. A heartbeat, eyes to see, ears to hear, a voice to speak, hands to type, coffee beans, a job, my family, a few close friends and most of all, my faith.
Today was just a regular day. Most would call it dull. Some would call it boring. I call it living. My dad used to say, “live every day as if it were your last.” And if you didn’t, pray that you have another chance tomorrow.
Here are five random favorite things that I’m loving this week:
2. Noosa Yogurt! Now I’ve loved this yogurt for a long time. Coconut, Lemon, Honey, and Pumpkin were always my all-time favorites. But when they came out with Mexican Chocolate??? Well, let’s just say…Oh my goodness!!
3. If I could live 365 days in my Clark sandals, I would. These shoes are comfortable in ways that only someone with back, knee, and heel pain could understand. And…you don’t have to sacrifice cute for comfort. I love them. https://www.clarksusa.com/
4. I have to confess, I’m a little bit obsessed with cooking videos. Everything from Bobby Flay grilling something delicious on his patio, to The Barefoot Contessa whipping up her amazing Vanilla Brioche Bread Pudding.
5. Last but not least…I was a fan of adult coloring before it was a fad. My favorite coloring books are by Jade Gedeon. Her Island Escape series is amazing. I color with pencils, and it truly is a way for me to relax, with my ocean wave sounds piping through my Bose speakers. It takes my mind of the pressures of the day and allows me to be a tiny bit creative. Here are a few of my pages.
Sorry about the duplicate picture! Not very good at this, but will list 5 more fav’s next week. Stay tuned.
Do you ever have those moments when you feel peace and distress at the same time? Strange, right? Most likely the distress part is coming from this unusual and non-recognizable world I’m finding myself in. I walk outside or take a drive and it’s as if I’m visiting someplace alien. My schedule has been knocked out of balance; my norms have been completely thrown out and it’s like I’m either the alien on the same planet, or it’s still me, but on some weird place out of the twilight zone.
I’m a writer, so I’m allowed to be dramatic, but I know you catch my drift. Nothing feels stable, permanent, comfortable, normal. For a Christian like myself, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe I loved this place called Earth a little too much. Maybe it was feeling a bit too lasting than it should. I know this is not my permanent home. I know it’s temporary and I’m just here for a moment and then I’ll be where I belong.
Did all of this happen just so I could see how at ease I had become with this dwelling place? I hope not. I want to think I always had a longing for heaven. Not just after I took my last breath, but a yearning for something more. Something better. Something eternal and perfect. I got lazy. I became distracted by Earths beauty and abundance. It’s ease of use; it’s quick pleasures. Don’t get me wrong. This Earth has immense beauty and many qualities. And personally I love a good washer and dryer and dishwasher. It makes life easier. I use the technology as much as the next person. As much as I love maps and globes, its so much easier to just as Alexa, Siri or Google how to get some place, than to read a map while driving.
Corona has turned our world upside down and inside out. Some fear it, some ignore it and others just try to do the right thing and keep a balance. Personally, prayer is my go-to, but I also mask up, wash often and stay home more than I ever have. I use to love going out…sadly, not so much any more. We’re all just making the best of a bad situation and hoping things will go back to the way they were. All the times we complained about the way things were, now seem foolish. I talked to a man last week who said, “no matter how bad things were last year, I’d go back in a heartbeat to get away from where we are now…I’ll never complain about the little things again. If we can get past this, I’ll be grateful.” Maybe that’s a lesson to us all. Be grateful and thankful for what you have and where you’re at, no matter how difficult things are, because things can always get worse.
My mood today is truly a conflict of joyful, pensive, hopeful, sad, excited, scared and through it all, peaceful. I don’t have control over much of anything that’s happening, but I know the one who does have it all in control. He created me. He understands being sad, afraid, frustrated. I am forever grateful that He’s the King, and I’m his daughter. He’s got it all in control and he’s never too busy to listen to my heart. So no matter what is raging around me; no matter what I see with my eyes, He’s watching over every step I take; loving me; guiding me; encouraging me and giving me hope for a future. Yes, even a future here on planet earth for awhile longer, but better yet, an eternal future in my permanent place of residence. That give me peace, like nothing else can.
So no matter how my Monday moods are swinging, I can rest in the knowledge that today is gonna be all right. And that’s all I need.
It seems as though the older I get, the more of a recluse I become. Not the sort of recluse that lives alone with 15 cats and a creepy doll collection, but more like an older middle-aged widow that has no pets, loves to read, listen to music and write short stories. I love being a homebody. When I say that out loud, it sounds foreign to me, yet slightly familiar and comforting. I was the kid who was the first one by the door with my shoes on whenever I heard the car keys jingle. Most of my childhood was spent outdoors, traveling across the country, and visiting friends and family. We were a busy family. I loved our home as a young girl and we all took great pride in keeping it beautiful, but I just loved traveling and being on-the-go. You wouldn’t know it looking at me now. Most days, I’m lucky if I go outside at all. I take the garbage out and get the mail every day and once a week I go out and start my car just to blow the dust off of the engine. With Covid-19, I’ve learned that having your groceries delivered and the occasional meal dropped off at my front door from Grubhub allows me to stay inside even more. Working from home means I’m here every day, 24 hours a day. I have no reason to leave except for church and the rare meet for Mexican food on a mid-week night with my kids. Life has narrowed way down to a shortlist. I’m not complaining, but I started wondering how many people really know me anymore. I’m not asking that in a negative way or to see if anyone knows my entire life…I just thought it would be fun to make a “getting to know you” list of questions. I promise to answer them as honestly and simply as I can. (I made up these questions, so that leaves me some control in the responses)… Just saying!
I’ll be the interviewer and the interviewee.
Who is your favorite Bible hero?
That’s a tough one, but I love Esther and Tamar – brave women indeed!
Who’s your favorite superhero?
That would depend if we were going with Marvel or DC? My favorite Marvel superhero is IronMan and in the DC universe, it would be Flash.
If you could live anywhere in the United States, where would it be?
In a beach bungalow or cottage by the sea! Always. Duh!
What’s your biggest fear?
Being insignificant or invisible
Favorite family vacation?
Washington DC/New York/Williamsburg
What would you change about yourself, if you could?
My first response is “how much time do you have?” along with all of the typical lists: healthier, thinner, wiser, funnier, etc… My second response is that all the changes done on my part would be temporary, and the changes that really matter are the ones where God is doing the molding.
What makes you angry?
Child abusers and disrespectful people.
What motivates you to work hard?
Bills and dreams.
What are a few of your proudest accomplishments?
The birth of my two children; Graduation from college at 54 years old and first published short story.
What’s your favorite book series?
Not a fair question for a lover of books; however, I will have to admit that the most influential fictional book series that I have ever read is The Mark of the Lion Trilogy by Francine Rivers. If you ever get the chance…read it.
Who makes you laugh?
The ones who make me truly have that deep-down, can’t breathe, belly laugh is my kids, my granddaughter Hannah and Martin Short. Yes, Martin Short is an actor/comedian that is hilarious. At least his older stuff…I’ve never seen anything over the last 10 years or so. Also, Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) is funny, funny, funny. I remember years ago watching Mr. Bean with my grandson, Yuri, when he was 1 year old, and believe it or not, Yuri would bust out laughing when Mr. Bean did something hilarious. The words didn’t matter…his actions and body language were what made him so accomplished at his job.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to sing in a famous gospel singing group; I wanted to be an airline stewardess; I wanted to be a famous ice skater like Peggy Fleming and a writer of books. I also wanted to have lots of babies. You have to understand, I went through many phases. I evolved. I did end up singing in a trio with my best friends through many years at church…good times! I was too short to be an airline stewardess and after one or two summers of ice skating lessons, I was told I had weak ankles and would never skate like Peggy Fleming (heartbreaker). I have written hundreds of short stories and continue to dream of one day having them put into a book for publishing or finish the many long novel stories I’ve started but am too afraid to finish for fear they’ll be rejected!!! Whew, that was a long sentence…That dream is still in progress. As for the many babies…I had two. They are my pride and joy, and being a mom was one of the things in my life I absolutely loved doing. Those two babies gave me five grandbabies, and I couldn’t be happier.
If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
Sit by the ocean (or better yet, lay in a hammock close enough to the ocean to see the waves)… drink my favorite iced coffee or Pina Coladas and write or read to my heart’s content.
Your favorite game or sport to play or watch?
I love baseball; playing it (when I was young) or watching it from the ballpark, or even listening to the play-by-play on the radio is all magic. The crack of the bat, the fresh-cut grass, the popcorn and hotdogs, and 7th inning stretch singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame…” Awww, the days of Summer.
Would you rather ride a horse, bike, or car?
What would you sing on Karaoke Night?
I think it would be fun to sing “Let It Rain” by Crowder and Mandisa! Or another might be, “Enough” by Koryn Hawthorne. When I think of Karaoke Night, I think of fun style songs! By the way, I’ve never done Karaoke before. It’s on my bucket list.
What kind of music do you listen to?
That’s another unfair question for someone who lives and breaths music. I’m a moody listener. I have lots of playlists that are named for nearly every circumstance I would need. Examples: Gettin My Worship On, Rainy Day Jazz, Mellow Mornings, Monday Motivator, Tenacious Tuesday, Whatever Wednesday, Thursday Night Inspiration, Friday Fun, Soul Saturday, A Day at the Beach, Ocean Reflections, Road-trip Anyone? and lots more. I love music, whether new or old classics, it doesn’t matter. As long as it moves me, physically, spiritually, emotionally, or mentally, I love music. Not all music, but that which changes me for the better, then yes. Whether its southern gospel greats, which I cut my teeth on, and went to the old fashioned all-night singin’s like The Happy Goodmans, The Statesmen, The Kingsmen, Dottie Rambo to name a few classics that I love. Newer traditional groups like The Gaither Vocal Band, The Collingsworth Family, and many others also play a part. I also love The black gospel greats, both men and women. A few of my favorites are Mahalia Jackson, CeCe Winans, Yolanda Adams, Tasha Cobbs, Andrea Crouch, Larnell Harris, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, and way too many more to name. I love classical (Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Yo-Yo-Ma and Itzak Perlman) and classic jazz (Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald) and on and on. I also love musicals (Disney primarily) but a few others also. Acoustical guitar vibes in the evening with a cup of coffee is also a perfect way to end the day. Like I said, my taste for good music that speaks to my soul, is wide and various. My dad taught us, kids, to love many different styles of music. He truly gave us an appreciation, but also an understanding that music is a gateway to the soul. Music is a powerful tool. God and Satan both use that channel, so be wise what you allow in.
Which would you rather do- Wash dishes; mow the grass; clean the bathroom or vacuum?
Wash dishes first and my second choice would be to vacuum.
If you could choose to hire someone to help, what would it be for? cleaning, cooking, or yard-work?
If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Who’s your favorite author?
Unfair as I’m a lover of books. Too little time to list them all, however here are a few in various genres: Francine Rivers, Ted Dekker, Joel Rosenberg, Rachelle Dekker, Lynette Easton, Diana Gabaldon, Celeste DeBlasis (RIP), Dan Brown, Daniel Silva and I’m not immune to a good romance every now and then, so Nicholas Sparks is on my list too.
Have you ever had a nickname?
Yes, PDB and Flatnose Siwash (don’t ask)
Do you like surprises?
Depends. If there are a bunch of people involved, then no. If it’s one person that shows up at my door or a gift (flowers, card) or letter left on my desk, then YES. (I’ll take food too…cookies, cupcakes, cheesecakes or bags of coffee beans).
Hawaii or Alaska for a visit?
Hawaii – duh…ocean girl here! Icebergs do not count.
Win the lottery or have the perfect job?
Win the lottery. Period. Since I don’t play, that will never happen, so I suppose the perfect job will have to prevail. Even though I know there is no perfect job. And I really really like my job. But if I picked up a lotto ticket on the ground tomorrow and it was a winner – a big winner—I’d quit my very likable job. Just being honest here.
Who would you want to be stranded with on a deserted island?
Oh man, I don’t like this question. I think about this sometimes and always try to figure out who would be great with making something out of nothing for a possible escape. The only name I can come up with is McGuyver. I would also need someone that could sing (maybe a couple so we can have some harmony)…Mahalia Jackson and Andrea Crouch sound really good to me. And of course, there should be at least one superhero, so maybe Flash so he can speed around the island and keep us posted of any intruders that would try to do us harm. He could also help McGuyver out. A good storyteller would be awesome, so maybe Peter who could also catch fish for us to eat. Esther would be a great asset too since she’s brave and queenly. Honestly, I don’t know. Fire, food, shelter, and a plan of escape are the things we’d need. Sometimes the weakest person can do incredible things when forced to survive.
If you could go back in time, what year or time period would you choose?
As much of a lover of history I am, I can’t honestly say I’d want to live in any of them. They all had their good and bad, pleasant, and horrific times. Wars, plagues, etc…I actually like the time I live in right now. If I could round up all the good parts of each era over the last 500 years and make one great time period, I’d do that. If I did that, something would be missing. It would be the heart and character of the people. I believe each generation of people, no matter how far back you go, had an essence if you will around them. The Jews during the Holocaust, the Christians during the Roman Games where thousands of Christians were murdered in the coliseums; the generation of men and women that voluntarily served during the second world war, known as the greatest generation. As horrible as those times were, it’s what built character and heroes and warriors.
For now, that’s all the interview questions and answers about me. There are more, but I believe I’ve given you enough tidbits about myself to last a lifetime. I’d love it if you would respond and choose at least one of the questions to answer about yourself.
As I sit in my little living room looking out the window, I’m smiling as the words of my pastor ring in my heart and mind from this morning’s service.
There is no way for me to tell you which parts were best because all of it was inspiring. I could never choose just one. But I can mention a few points that may bless you as they did me today.
Transition is the dying out of one thing and the bringing in of another... as my pastor gave this definition of the word transition, I realized just how relevant it was for right now. Today. It’s only the middle of May, but I feel as though my life since January has been in one constant transition. Now that’s an oxymoron!
Learning to let go of the old and allow something new to move in is not easy. To be willing to change and be flexible, fluid or moldable, is challenging, to say the least. Take for instance the coronavirus. Not SARS or MERS, but a new one. COVID-19 is a strain of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Corona comes from the word crown. If you’ve seen any pictures of the virus strain under a microscope, you can see why. This little fellow has caused a lot of sicknesses and death over the last five months. It’s put the world in a tailspin. Self-quarantine, social distancing, face masks, shortages on hand sanitizer and toilet paper, closed businesses, working from home, the unemployment numbers growing, no proms, no graduations, no funerals, people dying, and on and on.
Talk about change. Words like adjustments, reversals, transformations, and even about-face, come to mind. My gramps might say we’ve been put through the wringer! The world who once feared bombs dropping, planes flying into buildings, and shootings in schools, restaurants, and places of employment had no idea what to expect.
It’s easy to forget that our world has experienced many infectious pandemics throughout its history. Just check the History Channel if you want a detailed outline. Malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, influenza, the bubonic plague (or Black Death), smallpox, etc…Of course in the early centuries, it was called a plague, not a pandemic. The Bubonic plague wiped out 1/3 of the world’s population. Now that’s crazy to think about. Smallpox wiped out the Aztec Empire! Scary, right? 1 million people died of cholera in Russia. They called that a pandemic and that was just the first wave. Thank the Lord a vaccine was created in 1855, but it didn’t stop the third wave of cholera breaking out… Don’t even get me started on the Spanish Flu and Russian Flu and the measle outbreaks… frightening information.
Shortly before I was born, the Asian Flu showed up. 14,000 people died in 6 months. The following year, the second wave of the Asian Flu hit, and over 1 million people died. Thank God a vaccine was developed for that as well. That’s just an overview taking us up to the ’80s. Then you have HIV/Aids, and SARS in 2003 (remember how it was spread from bats to cats to humans?) creepy. I guess my point is that pandemics and infectious diseases are not something new to the world. Humans just tend to have short memories. So enough of my history of diseases…moving on.
I believe each of us can raise our hands and say, this has been a time of regrouping and readjusting our way of thinking or doing things. Physically speaking, I’m learning to keep my hands off of my face (much easier said than done). Spiritually speaking, I want the old to die out and the new to move in and take over. I want the dust blown off certain areas of my life. Most of the time the dust, per se, gets blown off pretty well when troubles come. Whether in my health, finances, relationships, or grandparenting. Every now and then, God allows our lives to get turned upside down and inside out. And as we get on our knees and cry out to him for help, He smiles and doesn’t necessarily fix the problem, but just simply stays with us through it. When we get to the other side of the trouble, we see growth, maturity, and a little bit more confidence. God smiles and reminds us gently that He had a plan and it was all for the good.
Another highlight of today’s sermon was “show me where I’m at, Lord.” I remember hearing someone say along time ago, that “God’s Word will never change your life until you let it become personal.” That fits so perfectly with what my pastor said this morning about how the vision is being swallowed up in reality. I don’t want the Bible to be just a lot of great stories that happened 2,000 years ago. I want it to be real for me today. Right now in 2020. I want to see myself in the scriptures. I want the vision that God has for my life to become my reality. If that doesn’t happen, then something is wrong. Not with the vision or the plan, but with me. And that’s always something to think about.
Just a few more things that stood out to me today…”Don’t just read the Bible and walk away. Speak it; live it; teach it!” Wow, that’s powerful. How do I apply that to my life? I like to speak the promises of God out loud. That may seem silly since I live alone and work from home. I don’t have a whole lot of contact with other people, but when I’m in the privacy of my home or car, I talk to the Lord as if he’s right next to me. It makes it personal for me. Speaking the scripture out loud just seems to fill the room (or car) with an extra boost of faith. It’s not for anyone else, just my encouragement.
How do I live it? Only by the grace of God. Trust me. I fail miserably most days, but I don’t let that get me down. I pick myself up by the bootstraps, ask the Lord for forgiveness, and strive to do better. We will never be perfect while living on this Earth and in these bodies. But our hearts are longing to be like our heavenly Father, who is the only perfect One. I want to be like Him because I love Him. And I love Him because he loves me…unconditionally. I’m his child, and there is nothing that I could do that would ever separate me from his love. That and that alone, makes me love him even more. The only way that my life will be anything like his, is by allowing him to live through me. I certainly don’t have all the answers on how that works, but He does. He died for me because of my imperfections and sin. If I was perfect than he died in vain. A sinner needs a savior. And we are all sinners. I just accepted his sacrifice and was saved by his grace.
How do I teach it? I suppose for me, the best way to teach is to live. I don’t have young children any longer living at home to parent, or teach, but I do have 5 beautiful grandchildren. When they come to my home and we have sleepovers, I take those moments together and weave values, both spiritual and non-spiritual together. Honesty, kindness, listening, loving each other, respect, proper etiquette, good hygiene, responsibility, and courage. And so much more. Occasionally the Lord will grant a perfect teachable moment, and those are rare but precious. The older they get, the bigger and deeper and more complex their lives get, and I spend more time praying for each of them many times a day than I actually talk to them. I pray for their protection from harm, danger, sickness, diseases, and evil spirits that roam this earth. I pray they have a personal relationship with Jesus and that He becomes the one they know will never leave them or forsake them, ever! That’s how I teach what I believe. Oh, and we sing, play games, read books, take walks, eat fun food and laugh a lot.
My last thought about today…”The watch won’t work until all the pieces are in place.”
I don’t want to be the one that keeps the watch from working. It’s all about placing. Where am I? Am I where I should be in God’s great plan for my life? I pray every day that I can hear that still small voice even through all the noise and static around me. I really don’t want to have to be smacked upside the head for him to get my attention. As a parent, I remember having to do that a few times to my own kids to get them to pay attention. My heavenly Father will do the same to me if I’m distracted and can’t see the enemy peering around the corner. Now that’s a good father. Loving us and guiding us through this journey called life so we can be prepared to live our real life. Our best life!
That’s all I have for today’s introspect of the Sunday Sermon. If the Lord wills, see you next Sunday,
When I say “freshly mowed grass” what memory comes to your mind? I was given a list of words and phrases and asked to write down the memory it triggered. When I smell fresh cut grass, what memory is stirred? Sight and smell are two incredibly strong triggers for memory. When I hear a certain song, it can instantly transport me to a place and time. The smell of certain foods or perfumes and even colognes (Old Spice anyone?) can jerk me from the present and reverse flash me to a specific moment in time that somehow clung to my neurons and brain waves over 40-50 years. It makes me wonder if anything is truly lost. A song can evoke a memory that brings tears and emotions. A certain aroma can bring us comfort and happiness, as well as a person’s voice, can bring fear and dread.
The older I get, the less I seem to remember. I know it’s there in my subconscious, but pushing it to the forefront is getting harder and harder. Yet sometimes, I’ll see something that will bring on a sense of deja vu. A feeling that you’ve done that before; a sense that you’ve been there before, and you have to wonder.
As a child, I remember sitting in the backseat of the car as we were on a road trip across the country one summer. We were in farm country. Miles and miles of wheat fields and cornfields. Barns, windmills, cows, and such. I was fascinated. I was a city girl so seeing guys on large tractors was new. All of a sudden I had the strongest sense of deja vu. Of course, I was too young to even know or understand what deja vu meant, but I excitedly started saying, “I remember this place daddy. I’ve been here before…” over and over. My mom and dad looked at each other in a weird way and said to me “Honey, you’ve never been here before. This is the first time you’ve even been in this state.”
In my mind, I knew I had been there. The feeling was so real, and I saw it in my mind’s eye in detail. The red barn, the green tractor, the telephone poles and wires, the fields of corn…Then the strangest thing happened. As quick as that intense feeling came, it started to vanish. Like a dream. It’s all so real one second, but when you start to tell someone about it, it literally starts to dissipate like a mirage. It becomes just out-of-reach. As I got older, I’ve had several of these “deja vu” moments. It’s as if in another life, I was there doing that very thing or standing in that specific spot. Who’s to say that I wasn’t?
Even the Bible talks about where we were before the foundation of the world. He was talking to Job, but every time I hear that statement, I take a dark dive into all the possibilities that entail. Pretty interesting. When God asks a question, I don’t think it’s because he’s looking for an answer. I’m confident He already knows the answer and is just patiently waiting for us small-minded humanoids to catch up and get with the program. I have no idea how God has managed to have so much patience with us over space and time. We are slow sometimes! Thick headed and stubborn most of the time.
That’s another topic altogether.
Back to the freshly cut grass… when I smell it, I think of going to the baseball field with my little brother to either practice hitting, pitching, running, etc… or actually watching one of his games. Summer, baseball, Saturday mornings after our grass in California was cut and the sprinklers were waving back and forth slow and lazy like.
Good memories for me. Maybe for others, it brought on bouts of sneezing, itchy eyes and runny noses.
Memories…the good ones, we cling to for as long as possible. The bad ones, we spend a lifetime trying to forget. Whether good or bad, I’m glad I have them. But just a word of warning: don’t get too lost in them, because they are all about the past. Not the future. You can hang out in the past for a while…just don’t get stuck. It’s easy to do. I’ve been guilty of doing just that. It starts to become comfortable and the future starts to look further out of reach.
Pull them out every now and then; enjoy, reminisce, remember, cry a little, laugh a little, then pack them away for another time, and move forward. Use them as a drink of cool water on a hot day, or as a reminder of what not to do, but don’t let them take over your life. I’m preaching to the choir here!
I think it was Bob Dylan who said, “take care of your memories. You can’t relive them.” I personally find that a little sad. For many people, the only good in their lives, are in some distant memory.
Lord help me to make new memories and quit wearing out the old.
Today I had to write the new year, 2020 for the first time. It was weird. Strange really. Writing out 2020 reminded me of a type of sci-fi movie that’s set in the future. Except, it’s today and not way off in the distance. The “future” is now and my new future has been pushed out to who knows where. Okay, I’ll stop right there. It was just strange. That’s all. Call me weird.
A new decade; Wow. Remember going from 1999 to 2000? I do, and even though no one was certain how our computers were going to handle it, I don’t remember it being that big of a deal. But for some reason going from our “teens” to our twenties, is both exciting and scary.
Exciting for me, because we are just that much closer to when Jesus will come and carry His children away into a heavenly home, where we won’t ever have to worry about what year it is, or getting older, sicker, sadder or helpless. That, my friend, is something worth getting excited about.
Scary, simply because as a human being living on planet Earth, you just never know what can happen next. Environmentally, I haven’t taken as good of care of my temporary home planet as I could; politically, it’s a mess here – just saying. Socially? Yikes, don’t even get me started. We have more ways to communicate than EVER, yet everyone is looking at a screen instead of people. They are watching numbers and letters instead of body language and facial expressions. Meeting a person without already knowing everything about them, rarely happens anymore.
Does anyone remember having a connection with someone as your eyes met while standing in line at the local cafe anymore? Call me a romantic, but we need to talk more. Face to face, not Facebook. I’m afraid that our “20’s” is only going to push us further away from real relationships than draw us closer. Come on people…put down the device! Look up and see people. Look them in the eye; smile; shake hands; give a hug; fist bump; wink (well maybe not right away); say “hi”. Simple things right? Don’t let all of our gadgets and electronics take away that one thing that separates us from all other species. We’re humans. Let’s behave like them.
God Himself, wanted to come down and live as a human, just so He could connect; relate; truly see; touch; heal and do miraculous things yes, but also simple human things. Like, let the little children come to Him and play and sing. He turned water into wine at a wedding. Sure, that was wonderful, but I love to just think about the fact that He actually went to the wedding he was invited to. I mean, he was God covered in human flesh. He didn’t have to go anywhere. But he chose to mingle with His creation. I love that.
He listened, he watched, he observed, he spoke. He used all of his five senses to live on this Earth. God of Heaven and Earth came to our dimension to live amongst us. Why? He didn’t have to. He was God. He knew each of us better than we know ourselves. But yet…He had a plan. He came and lived with us – human beings. Flawed. Horribly flawed, because He wanted to walk among us – and I personally believe, He didn’t want to be alone. I mean, Angels are nice, but He created amazing, complicated human beings and he wanted to rub shoulders with us. He loved us – so He became us. How amazing is that?
It all goes back to relationships; communication; connection. We try to reach for the stars and other planets where there might be alien life to communicate with, yet we can’t even get along with our neighbor.
So whatever time we have left with our temporary home, and whatever the date is that we write on a piece of document or letter, let’s be better. Let’s do better. Let’s love God more and love each other intentionally.
My future used to be 2020, but now that’s my reality. My future has been moved, but the One who holds my future hasn’t moved at all. He has never left me, nor forsaken me and that makes today exactly as it should be. My past is the past; my future is not guaranteed, but today is what I have and I want to live each moment of it with grace.
My personal goal for 2020 is that I see others the way God sees them and that I can see myself the way God sees me.
I can’t help but think of the lyrics to that old song “One Day at a Time” written by Marijohn Wilkin and Kris Kristofferson
“Do you remember; when you walked among men. Well Jesus you know, if you’re looking below, it’s worse now than then.
Pushing and shoving. Crowding my mind. So Lord for my sake, teach me to take, one day at a time.
One day at a time, sweet Jesus. That’s all I’m asking of you. Just give me the strength to do every day what I have to do. Yesterday’s gone, sweet Jesus. And tomorrow may never be mine. Lord help me today, show me the way, one day at a time.”
So here’s to less fret and more faith in 2020.
P.S. the saying “less fret and more faith” did not come from me. I wish it had, but it’s the
title of a little book by Max Lucado. Giving credit to whom credit is due. Thanks Max.
I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Not only is it centered around family and food, two things I love, but it’s also a time for me to focus on the things I’m thankful for. Now in all seriousness, I am reminded 365 days a year of every single blessing that the good Lord has showered me with. Not just on Thanksgiving. It’s sort of like Mother’s Day. It shouldn’t be just one day of the year, right? I do my best to show my mom how much I love and appreciate her every day.
Being thankful or grateful is something that should be an integral part of our lives on a daily basis. Not just one day a year. Now I don’t know how you do things in your family around the Thanksgiving table, but many families go around and have each person say what they are most grateful for. Most people will say things like, “I’m thankful for family, friends, children, salvation, life, health, etc…” Those are wonderful and I agree 100 percent with each of those. But… (you knew that was coming, right?) I always wished I had more time to say ALL the little things that I’m grateful for too. But that would take up way too much time and the food would get cold. Sort of like asking Grandpa to pray over the meal and he goes on and on and on. Everyone’s heads are bowed, and the aroma of the food on the plates in front of you is causing serious rumblings in your stomach. All you can think about is “when is the amen coming?”
For this little posting today, I just wanted to make a list of all of those random little things that most people take for granted but would be most miserable if they were gone. Please keep in mind that these are MY realistic, everyday living things that I am so grateful for on a daily basis. Also, they are not in any order of importance. This is just the order that my brain thought of them!
Hot running water. (there isn’t a time that I don’t thank the Lord for hot running water, every time I get in the shower or bath. I know that may sound strange, but its true).
My coffee bean grinder – Yep! Every morning when I put my Jamaican coffee beans into my grinder and smell the delicious aroma, I say a prayer of thanks.
A great mattress – Another weird one? Honestly, I look forward to crawling into my bed every night. I’m glad my late hubby decided to spend a lot of money on a good one. It was the last big investment my late husband and I made before he died, so not only does it give me a great night’s sleep, even after 12 years, but it also has sentimental value.
A son-in-law that’s not just a wonderful husband and father to my daughter and grandchildren, but he’s also a great mechanic on the side! He has kept my little red Ford Focus running when I could only pay him with free babysitting until the grandchildren are 18. LOL
My college diploma. Truthfully, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t look at that diploma on my wall and feel proud (in a good way) and grateful that the Lord helped me through it all. At 50 it was much more of a challenge than it would have been at 18 or 19. It’s one of those achievements that I am truly thankful for.
My car. She’s 15 years old, but for the most part, she’s been fantastic. This was another one of those purchases that were done with my husband about 4 years before he died. And it’s the one thing that still has his name on the title. It’s still in both our names. I just never had the heart to take his name off. After 188,000 miles on her, she’s starting to have a little more problems than usual, but that’s why I’m grateful for #4 (see above).
Good music – Oh where would I be without music in my life? It would be a sad sad world without it.
Good friends – The ones that love to laugh; the ones that push me to be better; the ones that are a sounding board with no judgment; the ones that I can be completely transparent with; the ones that inspire me; the ones that are in my life forever and the ones that came into it for a season. I love each of you and am so incredibly grateful.
Family – the good, the bad, the ugly! Family brings out the best and the worst in a person. I consider myself to have been born into one of the very best. I thank God every day for putting me into the Barker family. My parents packed everything they possibly could into parenting three kids. They taught us to love God; music; three-part harmony; road trips; history; reading; writing; words; jigsaw puzzles; board games; family dinners; kindness; empathy; compassion; obedience; respect; friendship; how to dress; walk with our heads held high but our hearts humble; the list could go on and on. I am constantly grateful.
My children and grandchildren – It’s always such a good feeling to know that your two adult children are not only my children but my friends. I always tell them that if I were to run into them somewhere without knowing who they were, I would like them! I know that sounds odd, but I really love who they have become. I’m not naive enough to believe they turned out so well all because of me. Remember…it takes a village! I worked the whole time they were growing up. They were latch-key kids. Awful right? Don’t judge. We did our best. We were far from perfect as parents, but in spite of our faults, the Lord was there to lead and guide us through the challenges. I’m so proud of them; their spouses and my five adorably delicious grandchildren. Unless you’ve had a grandchild run up to you and give you hugs and say I love you, you wouldn’t understand. I’m always amazed by how much they love me. It’s one of those mysterious delights and gifts from the Lord.
My Bible – It’s my strength builder; my comforter; my teacher and my hope.
Max Lucado – Now I can just see everyone’s eyebrows rising… I am just truly thankful for his gift of writing. His devotionals over the years have helped me and inspired me each and every day. “Grace for the Moment” is my favorite, and it’s being held together by a rubber band and has writing in the margins and smiley faces on the pages that are my favorite. (It’s the little things, right?)
My testimony – I am so thankful that I have a testimony that says, “I was a sinner, saved by grace…” I was raised in a Christian home, but my parents always taught us that we each had to make that choice and decision to accept Jesus into our hearts and live for Him. I made that choice at a young age of 6. I don’t have an “edge of your seat” testimony that shows going from drugs to deliverance, but I still have a story. I was lost but now I’m found; I was blind, but now I see. I needed a savior even while living in the safety of a loving home with Godly parents. We all do. No matter where your circumstances find you; we need Him. He is my hope of seeing a better place one day, where there is no more sickness, death, heartache or sin. Without Him, none of those things on my list would be possible.
The list could go on and on, but for now, I’ll just leave you with these. My heart is full, despite the hardships and difficulties that life throws my way. The things that matter are all good. So this Thanksgiving season, take a moment to think of the things that put a smile on your face and whisper a heartfelt “thank you”.