Monday, July 20, 2009


Hope is a funny thing. We just need the tinest bit in order to hang on, in order to start on a different path, in order to... well, hope. And we can all give hope to someone. We can share a story from our own lives or from others we have heard. Our stories of how God came through or how things didn't change but he gave us peace. These can give hope. So tell your story. Tell what God has done for you. At least share it with one person. Sometimes we try and pretend we are perfect and we don't want anyone to know we struggle. But when you overcome in that strugggle, who will rejoice with you? And who will draw strength and hope from your untold story? No one.

You know how when it has been dreary and rainy for days and days and a little ray of sunshine shines through a cloud and you suddenly have hope that maybe, just maybe the sun will start shining again. That is what hope is like. We can come across someone and we can just smile in passing but maybe that person needed that. You just gave a little hope. We can just speak a kind word. Share something happy you heard. Connect with someone on even a small scale. My friend Josie comes by and visits my mom for a few minutes. She brings her some food or a dessert. And on those days that she feels and I feel that no one cares, she shows us someone does. Her reaching out touches us. (We really do know others care. Just on some days doubt creeps in.) Josie gives us hope.
One day we were having car troubles. It had quit outside mom's apartment. And we were really discouraged. I was thinking, Come on God. Help! I don't mean to be disrespectful but Gees, help us out here. A little bit later here comes Josie. She had stopped in the middle of doing her dishes because God told her to come. And when she came in and after a while she said. I think we should pray. Mom's neighbor was there. My daughter who isn't following God right now was there and mom and I. Paul was outside trying to get it to work. Josie just started praying. The best prayer! A prayer that brought hope. A prayer a prodigal and a unbeliever heard and felt God's presence through. When Josie prays you can tell she is talking to someone who she knows well. It was beautiful. And, oh yeah, the car started. But even if it hadn't, we had been in God's presence for a moment and had found hope.
I encourage you give someone hope today. And if you need hope. Encourage yourself in the Lord. Remember what he has done in the past for you and others. He is the same yesterday, today and forever

On Being "Right"

A friend and I were talking and righteouness came up and that reminded me of this article I wrote for our church newsletter. Thought I would share it with you.

On being “right”

In the south we have a saying. When you think someone has problems you say, "He ain't right". (Now I know that isn't correct English but let’s ignore that for now). So if your co-worker suddenly gets mad at you and stomps out of the room slamming the door behind her. You look around and say to whoever is in the room "She ain't right", while shaking your head. Or if some bozo cuts you off while you are driving. You don't get mad you just say to yourself. "He ain't right." Or if your teenager wants something just ridiculous. You look at your spouse and say, “She ain’t right.“ Of course that might be something from your spouse’s side of the family. But that is getting off track… Just whenever someone is saying or doing something entirely off the wall you can refer to our southern saying. “He or she ain’t right”. You get the idea.
Well, today I was reading in the Bible and I got so excited it tells how you and I can be right or righteous. I heard someone explain that righteousness is right thinking, right living, right being, . So we CAN be right. But if you are like I am, you might have a long history of not being right. Maybe lots of baggage from the past. Times when we definitely didn't have a right thinking or weren't living right in anyone's eyes even our own. But I read that if we have faith in Him who raised Jesus from the dead it is counted or credited to us as righteousness. Wow isn't that awesome? We who have a long history of bad choices, mistakes and even out and out rebellion can be forgiven. And than as we believe in God, he takes our faith and see us as righteous or right. Simply amazing! It went on to say that we couldn't work for it. No matter how good we can be, that doesn't count. No matter what good works you do they don’t count. Of course, don’t stop being good or doing good things, just don’t’ think they are making you a righteous person. Only faith in the God who created us counts as righteousness.
I've heard people say that new growth like we are experiencing right now in the spring time, represents when Jesus came back to life from the dead. The trees were asleep, dormant and now they are blooming and living again. And so as I ride all over my county on my bus and see the new multi-colored tulips, the yellow daffodils, the redbud trees (which by the way are purple. I have no idea why), the yellow bell bushes, the lavender lilac bushes, the white dogwood trees and those trees that look like lace is floating on them and all the others that are blooming vibrantly with an outrageous abandon . I am reminded that He lives and I believe in him and God counts that as me being right. I, who sometimes am a mess of a person , am made right before God. So, people may be able to shake their heads at me sometimes and say, "She ain't right“. And sometimes mentally I’m not. But they can't say I'm not right spiritually. Because I am. Doesn't that just blow you away? It's so great it is hard to wrap your mind around it. We can be right before God. Way cool.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Deer in Town

You are not going to believe what I saw in town the other day! I was right smack in the middle of town by the hospital and a deer ran across the road. First of all deer are not usually alone. And this one seemed afraid, of course deer always seem afraid. Hence the deer-in-the-headlights saying. But this poor thing. She ran like a wild thing right up to a fence by the hospital, she stood there for a minute looking confused and than went left onto the hot asphalt of the parking lot. It was hot enough to fry an egg on, heat rising up from it. She sort of hobbled across it towards the hospital and another parking lot and toward a busy street a few blocks away. I suggested to Paul we help her. And he reminded me of a story we had read not long ago about how a man tried to catch a deer and how they are really wild and not docile animals and how the man got very hurt trying it. So I whispered a little prayer for the deer and wished her well.
But as I thought about her I wondered what happened to her. Did she make it back to the wild? Did she find her other deer friends? Did some hunter grab his gun? Surely not in the town. Than my mind took a turn.
That look of fear on her face. I've seen that look on my face. on my kids' faces. That was a familiar look. One I had seen many times. The look of fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the known. Stark, cold fear gripping your heart until you can't breathe. Do we sometimes take a wrong turn, get out of God's will and find ourselves in fear, in dread, in over our heads? Have you had a little fear inside grow until you are chilled till you shiver with it and it possesses you?
What is the remedy for fear. The Word! God's love letter to us. He will call you beloved when you are afraid. He will tell you through his word that he doesn't give you a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind. Imagine that deer running wildly full of adrenaline, full of fear. Now imagine yourself running through life that way. God whispers, if you will listen, "Beloved" and peace comes. You have a sound mind not a run-a-way mind of fearful thoughts. You can go to the Psalms and read comforting words. He is our shepherd. A shepherd is always mindful of his sheep. He knows where they are or if they get away he comes and finds them. He provides for his sheep and cares for them. We are provided for we are cared for. He, the God who created the whole world is aware of you. Yes, you! And he loves you so much. He has good plans for you not evil thoughts. He has a purpose for your life, a plan. He is a Warrior God fighting battles for us or with us. He is strong and mighty. Go read the Book and think about him. Talk to him. A sweet friend of mine said that we can all pray from our heart. Talk to him like you would a best friend. He is waiting for you to talk to him. He accepts you, loves you, understands you. Don't run wildly through your days. Run into his arms. There is peace there.

Following your passion

A successful man said that a person should follow their passion. Okay he wasn't the first person I have heard say this. But I have always agreed that it made sense. So that led to me asking myself why I'm not blogging more. I have always wanted to be a writer. Given the opportunity why wasn't I doing it? I looked at the passion question. Is my passion writing or sharing thoughts, or telling a story? I think it is the sharing of thoughts the telling of a story, the meeting of minds. When I look at it that way. It makes me want to blog. I was looking at it as WRITING. It had an ominous sound to it. It was all bound up with duty and shoulds. You know like your mother or teacher used to say "You should do so and so". Nothing kills motivation for me like the "shoulds". But if it sounds fun or rewarding I want to do it. Sharing ideas or thoughts or stories sounds fun to me, rewarding.
So here I am sharing with you these thoughts. This line of thinking led me to the thought. How often do we make serving God a duty? A should? Of course we should serve him. But if we focus on the works are we much more than the pharisees? They were so bound with rules and shoulds. They had so little love and joy. Are we any different than someone following a religion that has a god that is dead? They go to extremes in serving. If we focus on loving God and on the pure joy and love of knowing him how much better off we will be. If we fall in love with him and spend time with him. We will naturally serve him and each other but it grows out of following our passion for him. Not out of duty but out of love. If you are feeling like you are only following the "shoulds" in your service return to your passion your first love. Return your focus on Jesus. He is so inspiring! Loving him is pure joy.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Nightime Musings

I'm not real good at posting here. Sorry. But I found something I wrote a while back. Thought you might enjoy it.

Nightime Musings

Once upon a time there was a woman who couldn’t sleep. She tossed and turned and finally got out of bed. The world is a strange place in the middle of the night. All the weariness and worries of the daytime seem magnified in the wee hours of the morning. But there is also a deep silence, a sense that the world is resting, preparing for tomorrow’s sorrows and joys. Somewhere she could also feel God’s presence, for unlike many might quip, he doesn’t really sleep. He really is always awake, aware of where his children are and what they are doing. He sees what they think is done in secret and darkness. He is aware of all their life. He loves them and seeks their companionship always. He is saddened by their choices in the night time hours, mostly. There are a few who are up praying, beseeching him for those wayward ones who are in dire need. If most would just stop and listen they could feel his breath, his love for them.
But back to our sleepless one. She didn’t know what to do with herself. Her body wasn’t awake just her mind. What to do… mindless television? A book? Prayer? Write a letter? A poem? Nothing particularly appealed to her. So she decided to go back to bed and read a lame book she had beside her bed. Awe the numbing boredom of it all. How had she lost the joy in living? How had she lost the happiness she had sometimes known? She remembered when she could just watch her wee ones breathe with an angelic look on their face and she would know life would be okay. That if there was something that perfect there must be a God above who loved her so much that he blessed her with a miracle all her own. And now she wondered why God who she knew loved her because she had walked with him for many years and he had brought wonder to her over and over. But why did he allow sorrow and pain to come to her through that same sweet child who had grown into a young adult capable of making wrong choices that tore at her heart and at her peace. Did he still love her? Than why this ongoing torture? Was this somehow growing pains for her child? Was it a way for that child to find her own relationship with this wondrous God that her mom knew? If that were the reasons behind it all than she could bear the pain because their was nothing in all this wide world more precious, more true than the sweet knowledge of the love and presence of her heavenly father. And this was what she wanted for her children more than any other thing. That they know the amazing love and acceptance of their creator. That they connect with the one who made the universe. One on one. Because if they could do that than it would be well with them. Yes, she thought maybe she could sleep better knowing that perhaps this was why all the current turmoil. If this were the reason than she could just put all those wearisome worries and frets in the hands of the one who is all knowing, is all powerful and all seeing. Yes, she could trust him and cast it all on him and finally get some sweet sleep and rest.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Dare You

There are some little boys on my bus who see an adventure in everything. One lives by some woods. He just moved there and he is convinced there are wolves and rattlesnakes in the woods. He even claims he saw a bobcat. And for months another boy just KNEW the log in the lake was really an alligator. Even though it was always in the same place. And when Tristan went to city lake. He asked if sharks were in there.
They still have wonder in their eyes and expectation in their hearts that there is an adventure to be had. Reminds me of Huck Finn. I always loved how Huck was ready at any moment to explore or have fun. I could imagine floating down the Mississippi with him and Jim in the canoe. The sun shining down, fish jumping in the water. Just a sunny lazy day to enjoy all God made: trees, water, fish, sunshine and the company of another person.

I wonder what he, God, thinks of us when we lose this wonder and readiness for adventure. I don't know all the theology about if he gets sad. But if he does, losing our wonder and readiness for adventure would be something to be sad about. Just think he makes this awesome beautiful world with red headed woodpeckers, spotted skunks, bobcats, rattlesnakes, sharks and don't even get me started about all the flowers. And what do we do? We either don't see them or we ignore them and get jaded and think something like: daises, ho hum...deers, they are
Why don't we try and look at the world with a child's viewpoint. Some where in you is still that wide eyed child who found everything wondrous. Find him or her and if you just can't do it. Borrow a kid and take a walk or drive with them and look at the world through his eyes. Have an adventure. I dare you!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I was just gone from work over the weekend and suddenly when I got back I noticed that everything was bursting out in foliage. All the bare forlorn trees are happily dressed in green finery. And flowers are blooming everywhere. Apparently lavender is the color this year. The Iris seem to prefer that color for their spring attire. And the bright pink Azaleas are gorgeous. And even in the woods there are little blue flowers scattered here and there.
It is just so beautiful. I hate to go inside. No telling what I might miss. It seemed like winter would never go away this year. But like a burst from a firecracker. Boom! Beauty everywhere!
I was thinking about this and I found a correlation in prayer. We go through the wintertime of prayer. Trying to be brave and have faith but sometimes it seems cold and desolate and like the answer will never come. We straighten our shoulders and push on through the drifts of doubt and discouragement. And than suddenly like spring time, the answer bursts forth upon us. That prayer for a prodigal to come home, prayer for healing, prayer for a situation to work out, prayer for a financial need, etc. The answer is there and we bask in the sunlight of it. We look at the beauty of it and the winter time of waiting and praying disappears and we see only the beauty of the answer. An answer that took a long time and yet seems to have come to us suddenly. A good gift coming down from our Father.
Don't get discouraged while your waiting. When the answer comes it will be so sweet, so worth the wait. God controls the time for answers for our prayers just like he controls the springtime's coming. Be reminded by each flower and tree that the answer is coming.
Hang on! You can trust Him.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Okay, so I thought I would write more often. Silly life keeps getting in the way. So here is something I wrote a long time ago. First a small disclaimer. I'm not sure if I should have used "effect" or "affect" and it is too tedious to look it up. So I hope you like it. I will write "fresher" stuff soon. I have to tell you about the flying turkey and flying duck. And the new flowers on the mountain. But for now here is this:

Eric Clapton has a song called “Change the World”. I don’t remember all the words right now but I love the concept. We have heard this theme many times and in many ways. But are you in your day-to-day existence “changing the world”? Actually, you most likely are and don’t even know it. You are probably saying right now. “Change the world? I’m just trying to get by in this world. Who has time to change anything?” Well, you are being watched by the people in your life. And we never know what an impact we might have on them. We think we have to have it all together, be perfect to effect people. Do some big dramatic thing to effect them. But we don’t, we effect people as we travel through this journey we call life. No matter where you are or what you do for a living, you are effecting people. What you say, how you behave effects people. People are watching you. You may speak a good word into their lives. You may role-model something to them. You may just show them kindness. You may be that one person who believes in them. Or you could be effecting them in a negative way. You have to choose. This may all seem a bit daunting. “People are watching me? How do I do this well?”, you may ask. It’s simple really. You live the best you can with what you already know. And you keep learning and growing. You live the basic right things the Bible talks about. Honesty, kindness, joy, peace, love, gentleness, purity, integrity, etc. You read what the Bible says and keep embracing what you find there. You realize that you won’t ever be perfect but you keep trying to be Christ like and than when someone is watching and they imitate you, it will be a good thing.
One person who really affected my life and it was a good thing, was Sandra Shelton. She was a pastor’s wife at a church I attended. She probably doesn’t even know she effected me so dramatically. I was so young and so unsure of myself. I had strayed from God a few years before and felt so unworthy and unlovable. But she started me on a journey of learning to worship God. She made me believe that He cared enough about me that He wanted “my” praise. She opened my eyes to start believing that God found value in “me”. It took years for me to really be able to love and accept myself but she started me on that journey. She is an awesome woman of God. She showed me that God found value in women, 25 years ago we didn’t really know that in the church. I only lived near her for a short time and I’ve not really kept in touch with her but her influence is still felt by me and by those who I touch. I’m convinced that someday God will tell her the influence she had and she will be shocked.
I’m doing a Beth Moore Bible study that ask you to remember different eras of your life and tothink about the people who influenced you then. I remember a number of Sunday School teachers. Ican’t remember exactly what they taught in the class but I remember that they cared for me and that because of that I wanted to please them. I somehow knew that they loved God. a lot. So I got the message that loving God was important and that I would please them if I did. This made me start thinking about my being a craft teacher at my church. I need to love on those little ones and love on my awesome Father. And somehow that will be translated to them. I will be effecting them, maybe even changing the world a little at a time. That is a awesome opportunity.
So my question to you is: What are you doing to change the world? Are you loving God wholeheartedly? Are you doing the right thing though no one is looking (or so you think). Are you being kind? Do you love peace? Do you remember to be gentle? Even to your own family? Okay, don’t get discouraged. Don’t beat yourself up. We all need to grow in areas. Remember God’s mercies are new every morning. So start where you are and follow the shepherd each day as he leads you. Just do what you already know to do and keep learning and applying the new stuff you learn. I promise you will effect people for the good if you do and you might, just change the world. And how exciting is that?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Phifer's Mountain

My bus route takes us up Phifer's Mountain. It isn't a mountain like they have in the Rocky's but it is a mountain like we have in Tennesse. I have wanted this route for a while because of the beauty on the mountain and all the way up there. It is soothing to the soul. You see God's handiwork there.
Just the other day we had what is probably the last snow of the season. I wish you could have seen it. It was like God took a giant shaker and shook out powered sugar on the bare limbs of the trees in the woods going up the mountain. It was so pretty, like lace. If we could have stopped and got out I bet it would have been silent there. Have you ever been in a woods and listened? If you are lucky enough to be far enough away from traffic and people, it is totally silent. Deeply silent. Sometimes when I am praying at church it is like that. In the altar, in God's presence, deeply, totally silent. And in the midst of that silence is a deep satisfying peace. And love. You just KNOW God loves you. Deeply, totally! I'm sure the feeling in both places is Him. I have friends who never go in a church but they know Him from being in his presense in places like the woods. Sometimes us church going christians discount that non church goers know God but we may be wrong. We can't see in another's heart. I'm glad God can.

But I'm sidetracked. I was telling you about the mountain. One day we saw 8 deers running across the road and across the field with their backs to us and their white tails bobbing in the wind. And I thought, "Oh, that is why they call them white tailed deers." Okay not a huge revelation but I'm a visual person. lol
We also see wild turkeys. They don't look like you might think. They are thinner. And they don't have their feathers all ruffled up like in the storybooks. And it is neat how when it gets turkey hunting season, they aren't there anymore. Do you think they got an email from the turkey working undercover at the hunting license bureau? "Watch out, they have their licences and they are coming to get you!" "smile"
We also watch as they turn over the dirt when winter is waining. They are getting it ready to plant and before you know what happened. There are shoots coming up of alfalfa or beans. They alternate what they plant so they won't tire out the dirt/soil. Who knew you could have tired dirt. Hey, not me I grew up in the middle of Detroit. And while we are talking about dirt for those reading from far away. Did you know we have red clay type dirt here in Tennessee? Not brown, red! Very cool! Once I lived in North Dakota. They have black dirt there. Not brown very black. But here I am sidetracked again...

Oh yes, the wildlife. We sometimes see gophers. Those guys can get really big. They kind of sit up on their hind legs and look around while eating. They fatten themselves up for the winter. I guess like bears. But such odd creatures.

A few times we saw a fox. He was alone and scruffy looking. He reminded me of a homeless person. Wary and tired but aware of his surroundings. Out of a need to protect himself, I guess. Do you ever find yourself like that? Wary and tired, needing to protect yourself? I would bet you have been hurt when you find yourself that way. Remember to take it to God when you get in that kind of state. He can mend and heal those wounds. And if you need protected He can do that too.

The grossiest but most morbidly interesting was the mink. Yes, like they make coats from. The reason he was gross was because he was dead. And when we noticed him he had been dead a few days. YUCK! But than again I thought, I have never seen a mink that was still attached to the original owner. My driver on the bus is such a "guy" (my apologies to all the guys). He thought it was a good idea to stop and see him. But my girly good senses took over and I just peeked from the window as we went by.

Not wild but very cool are the gunia fowl. They look so funny. If you haven't seen them do a google on them. They are a little crowd of birds and they travel tightly together all over their yard and the fields and other people's yards. I hear they are good at chasing away snakes. They are gray and very funny. I see them and think God has a sense of humour. I also think that when I look in the mirror sometimes but that's another story.

Very funny story. My driver before I rode with him was riding with another attendant on the mountain and they saw what appeared to be a bear. There had been stories in the paper about a bear siteing in Montery. They were completely convinced about the bear. Everyone in the office laughed at them. They later saw the "bear" again. He was a huge bear-like dog. Shows you can't trust your own eyes.
That reminds me of faith. We pray for something and we see with our eyes that nothing is changing. We are convince of it. But remember the "bear". Faith believes God is moving even though we can't see what he is doing.

Well, I'm tired so I will save the rest of my mountain stories for another day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this.

Since this is a blog I hope I didn't miss anything that should have been edited better. And I hope no offense was made. (my disclaimer)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This is random

I don't know if I understand this blogging thing but I want to write. So I'm jumping in! I hope it isn't too scary for you to be in my head. :o Coime on this adventure and let's see what happens. Okay?