Saturday, November 28, 2020

How To Do All Things


                photo by Clark Tibbs

Have you ever considered your day and wondered, what did I accomplish? Have you gone back to that mountain of secret aspirations and found that you’re still at the start of your climb? Have you ever revised a goal because the finish line was way up to the sky and hidden by the clouds? Have you ever set out to conquer your To Do List for the day and you get buried under the To Dos?

That happens a lot to me, and I suspect that it happens to everyone in varying degrees. I have wondered time and again about what drives successful people to accomplishment or steadfast people to remain on the narrow path to eternity. Every once in a while my mind is boggled in a battle of I will, I can’t, I must, I can’t. The battle rages.

                        What Will It Take

Will is a powerful tool. Daily I reach for my will power and strap it on, 

it takes me far. Yet, alone I often miss the mark.

I love my family, but I seldom tell them. I love a clean house, but it takes a whole day. I love to play volleyball, but I’m out of shape. I love to have coffee with friends, but I’m way too busy. I love to write, but I rarely have time.

How can I walk in dominion? What will it take to self motivate?

I hate to be lazy, but I pound on the snooze. I hate to be fat, but I run from the diet.  I hate a chaotic house, but I struggle to regulate. I hate to wait, so I constantly relocate. I hate writing blocks, yet they pile up like rocks..

Can I conquer these mountains? What will it take to self motivate?!

I will to seize the day, but it seizes me. I will to tell my flesh no, but it shrieks in protest.  I will to write a list, but it dissipates. I will to hurry and go, but my feet squander the day. I will to establish peace, but Fret and Worry want to move in.

Is there a force that will drive me to better? What will it take to self motivate?

                                                        Philippians 4:13

I take my will and charge it with God. Through his word I will be infused with his grace. Now, I can rest and know that I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me


Thursday, November 5, 2020

How To Prepare for the Holidays


Everything in Moderation

photo by Lesly Juarez

When I love something, and enjoy it, I sometimes tend to consume it and allow it to consume me, until I’m laid out bloated and exhausted. That is how the holiday season falls into our calendar for many of us.

After a winter of hibernation the holiday season  lingers around quite content to dawdle in the sunshine. October shoves the Santa Ana winds onto us and suddenly the trees are dropping their leaves, leading the way into Fall. November is my family’s official month of kicking off the holiday season; AKA Christmas rush! Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for family and traditions which then slides us right into the Christmas countdown. Wow! I’m not sure if just before the holidays is a good time to bring up “everything in moderation” Perhaps it’s actually the best time to bring it up, so that we can intentionally maneuver our steps, rather than sink into excessiveness. If I can move me into awareness, then laying my thoughts on this page was worth it.

What tends to come naturally is excessiveness; going beyond the usual, necessary, or proper limit or degree. I’m not sure if “extra” is still a trending word, but that’s what some people are during the holidays. Extra in decorations, extra in Christmas lights, extra in shopping and gift giving, extra in baking goods, extra in Christmas cards, extra in feasts, and extra in winter wear. Extra.

So what does it actually mean to exercise moderation? And, how can we apply it to the season before us? defines moderation as the quality of being moderate; restraint; avoidance of extremes or excesses; temperance.

My children absolutely love the season, and so do I, every part of it, unwrapping every detail of it,  to the point that year after year  we have loosened our restraints; Christmas songs start in July!  As I consider moderation into the mix of the holidays, it could save my pocketbook, some energy and an inch around my waistline. Moderation could affect my blood sugar and  blood pressure readings and keep me on the healthy side. Instead of experiencing the eerie quiet after the whirlwind, moderation could walk me through the onslaught of activities and traditions with a graceful and enjoyable pace. With all that said, how do I actually practice moderation and enjoy the season?

Truly organized people have things in order starting in January! And thus, I am tempted to say that it’s too late by now, but that’s the easy way out. With just seven weeks of the season left, I can still organize and practice moderation somewhere in the forty-nine days that remain. There are the off season events of life that plod on before and between the holidays; a baby shower for my grand-niece and a  birthday dinner before Thanksgiving. I push down defeat and take courage because I have done some planning; my Christmas fund is cushy, I'll face Black Friday confident and carefully. I’ll make my lists this week, starting with the groceries needed for Thanksgiving dinner. I'll shop, using the next two week, before the stores get crowded. With plenty of time to prep; chopping, dicing, mincing and marinating, I'll calmly walk into my cooking day. After mindfully ordering my steps and it's all said and done, left-overs put away, I’ll look around and feel how moderation left its impression on this first half of the holidays.

                Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance. ~ Epicurus

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Prayer Time

                                                           A Visitor at the door

She was tired. Another restless, painful night. Her arm ached, and her head was foggy from lack of sleep. Dad had had another taunting night with dementia. Was it really time to get up? 
There was a knock at the door. She sighed, really? She didn't even have her morning cup of coffee yet, it was way too early for someone to be knocking, her heart accelerated a bit. Who could it be? As she  peek thru the window, she stopped in her tracks! “Oh my gosh, oh no...oh yes...”
She put her hand to her hair and swollen face and suddenly scurried about trying to pick up around her. The visitor was a little more persistent when he knocked again...She couldn’t keep him waiting any longer, what if he left. Oh no! She had to open.
She nervously opened the door, slowly...wider...wider...
“You came...please, please come in. I’m sorry for the mess. Or no, that’s why you came right? Wow! Did you hear me last night? Man! I always thought I had great lighting in here. But with you here, my! it's really bright with your light.” He walked in with such familiarity, she smiled, so content, so at peace, in awe that he was there again.

“So this is it... my place, I know you've been here before let me show you the changes I've made around here. "You know that everyday I have messes to clean up but  it shouldn’t be too ba...” her words trailed off as she suddenly noticed a grotesque pile in the corner. Someone had thrown up right in her main room. Wait? What? She alone lived here. She bent her head in shame as she recognized the regurgitated words from yesterday that had entered so sweetly, like a chocolate morsel. Her friend had shared someone else’s dark secret. Now she remembered her initial hesitation to accept that tidbit of gossip. It has made her stomach turn just as she swallowed it . She had decided again right then and there that she wouldn’t accept anymore more of those morsels. What kind of friend brought that into a friendship anyway? She cast aside the whole affair and forgot about it. Now here it was again, his bright light shining on it. She quickly looked over at him. "You know, I had already cleaned that up yester..." again, her words trailed off  “Why is it so hard? Tears came pouring out. Please forgive me, I’m sorry I partook of this, please help me” And he did, just like that, his very presence sanctified her. Restored! and with renewed zeal she was anxious for him to go through her whole place, she didn't want any room left untouched, even the secret room.

He'd come into this room before, he was the only one she felt comfortable to invite. A tiny space with just enough room for one, yet he fit right in, comfortably sitting with her. Suddenly she was an open book; her journal right in front of him, she blushed, embarrassed at musings, yet he didn't need to read it, he already knew. Those painful insecurities laid open, raw before his eyes. Even at her age now, the vanities of life still taunted; still distracted her, catching her eye, turning her head to look at other girls, who were "perfectly beautiful". The longing for reconciliation of broken relationships, why did rejection hurt so much? And like a pesky fly, pride buzzed around telling her that He didn't care and besides she didn't need Him anyway. What would he say? They had sat on the loneliness that always slithered in and she felt it pinch her. As they sat in her secret place, her visitor purposely stopped and studied the yearning that pulsed on the table with the unfulfilled dreams, he put his scarred hand on the discontent that was splattered across those hopes. She looked up at him holding her breath, sure that he'd be disgusted with this room. Suddenly, with fervor he pulled her into his arms and she wept again. Tears of relief flowed as her heart cherished the moment, wishing the moment would never end.

Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Rev. 3:20

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Prayer Time


                                    Jesus knocks at the door of my heart                            

Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (ESV)

For many years I filed this scripture into my daily bible reading. You know, it wasn't time to read Revelations, that usually came in December. But one day, my daughter in law shared this along with a childish photo slide on our family chat. Cute I thought, and went on with my day, although it did leave me a bit squeamish I put it off, because after all, my little grand daughters should have felt the prick, not me! But as Gods word is so faithful to do, it grabbed me the next day. I was busy asking something on that chat when, poof! there was that little slide again! So, I decided to slow and read it in my adult language 😉
I think some would call it a revelation, others an experience. I think I'll describe it as a conversion; a One-80 turn around. My heart pounded as the reality floored me.

Behold I stand at the door and knock Jesus the author of life, the creator of the universe, the maker of heaven and earth knocked at my heart? Who in the world was I? and Why? Why would he take the time? I was just me. He loves me Then I was knocked down to my knees at the thought that he did this everyday! Maybe more than once a day? And I cried at the thought that I was too busy to know he knocked everyday. I hope he knows I love him too.

if anyone hears my voice My voice, my thoughts too loud to hear when he knocked. Is it possible to hear him everyday so that I can open the door?
and opens the door, Oh dear Lord, help me to settle down and be ready when you knock today.

I will come into him and eat with him, Lord, you'll consume the sacrifice of praise I bring to you? You'll hear my petitions, you'll calm my fears.

and he with me, Oh God, you'll bring me your bread to eat, I'll eat it in your presence and delight in your laws. I'll consume what you give me. I'll let your word heal me and change me.

Even as I wrote this account, my heart pounded with anticipation. See, I'm gonna stop to pray at our Sunday evening prayer meeting an appointed prayer time yes, but, I have that anticipation that he's been knocking at my door wanting to sup with me again 😊.


Monday, October 5, 2020

Poem About The Emotions of Death

 Sometimes it announces itself, sometimes it doesn't. 

Sometimes it barges in and ravages through our lives, taking the one it came for.

Sometimes it takes a life that's that hasn't truly lived.

Sometimes we wait, we watch, we hold our breath as it circles our perimeters.

Sometimes it enters quietly, it's presence felt.

Sometimes it's dreaded as the void of our existence has yet to be filled.

Sometimes it's welcomed as it will open the door for eternal life.

When death comes it always it leaves a hole. A loss. A wound.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Wedding Anniversary

                                                    Celebrate Your Marriage

What's in a number? how much weight can it hold? Why do we only celebrate certain numbers? Who decided which numbers would be the special ones? Isn't Thirty-Two better than Thirty? It's bigger and it's longer.  I can make Thirty-Two a good number, a wow number! I'm remembering my wedding vows:

From this day forward.....32 years later, we've chosen to look forward, I love my beloved and he loves me...

For better...A nice Chinese dinner, a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a sweet card to set the ambiance for a quiet dinner. Did I mention that our romantic dinner was a party of three? My love & I plus dear old dad.

For worse... Did I mention that lingering virus and a Stay at Home order? 

For richer....Our beautiful children and grand children and my 95 year old apa

For poorer...the pinch of the economy has drawn us closer to the One who gives and takes away

In sickness and in health...the weight of our years bearing down on us but resting in Gods protection 

To love and to cherish...time and Jesus have drawn us closer, now able to appreciate the three fold cord of our marriage 

til death do us part.....

Thirty-Two years ago, I made that promise and I'm so glad I did.

As I prepared my ninety-five year old dad for bed. He asked.

 "When did you get married again? How long has this man been your husband?" 

 "I've been married to him for thirty-two years dad. You gave me to him on my wedding day."

Monday, February 18, 2019

Deciding to Foster Parent

Psalms 37:3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness

My young friend and her husband were approached to rescue a certain little boy. Without hesitation they jumped in to help. Grueling hours of the filing process to foster parent. Needless to say adjustments in every area of life have been hard, some moments ugly, other times sweet moments to cherish. Yesterday, four months into this journey her heart broke as she heard her foster child tell his mother on the phone "Going to CPS was the worst day ever. When I go back home with you, you can help me forget about ever being in foster care" She said it was everything to hold herself together. It seemed like there is no appreciation for them and all that they sacrificed to make his life easier.

And I wondered at that...A little boy whose life has been upside down, over turned his entire life (he's the wise  old age of 6) by his mother whose number one concern is a fix.  He tells her "When I get back home..." Is there a home? Or is she his home? He can't afford to lose anything else.

I'm not a foster parent....but I think that this kind of heart is needed to nurture a lil boy back on to a good path. 

My hat goes off to foster parents who consider the child before themselves.