Thursday, December 31, 2009

Choose LIFE That You Might Live!

I have mixed emotions about the new year. On one hand, it is refreshing...a second chance, a fresh start, a clean slate. On the other, it is a time of reflecting...people you've lost, time that's slipped away, and missed opportunities.
On one's been a very good year..a new granddaughter, happy memories, good health, the discovery that I love church again. (I went through a time of not attending's a good story I'll have to share with you all someday.) But this year had it's share of grief also. Deaths of loved ones, news of cancer and diseases upon friends and people I love, the decline of health of our parents, and yes, even the irritating little aches and pains in my own body.
Actually, 2009 has been no different than any of the other years. Each year offers you a clean slate on January 1, as the chapter in your life's story starts over again only to end on December 31. But isn't that what life is? Chapters in your life's story? Gains, losses, happy moments, sad moments, financial ups and downs, highs and lows. The chapters are YOUR story...but The Story...well it's HIS. You are a part of a bigger story. And sometimes, when we question why things happen in our chapters (because it doesn't seem to be what's in MY best interest) the answer isn't about YOUR story. We will never see the big Story if our eyes continue to remain fixed on OUR chapters of that Story.
Where am I going with this? I guess what I would like you to get out of this is that LIFE happens while we are sleep-walking through living. It's time to rise and shine and wake up to ABUNDANT LIFE! Quit focusing on your chapters and begin to read and live the BIG STORY. We can either choose to sleepwalk through life as a zombie..through all the ups and downs, moaning and complaining that it isn't fair, plugging through it, just a shadow of who we were meant to be....OR...we can WAKE-UP....enjoy LIFE with our eyes wide open. Actually choose to LIVE life with all it's surprises...both pleasant and unpleasant, and asking what is the lesson to be learned in all of this and grateful that we were given a chance at LIFE in the first place. So many of us view life through such a narrow window, that we aren't contributing very much to the bigger picture. Your life is not your own, it was bought by a price.(1 Cor. 6:19-20) You do not exist for your own purpose. You exist for ABUNDANT LIFE which can only be found in God's Son, Jesus. (I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.~John 10:10.)
A song I listen to has this phrase in it..."Choose LIFE that you might live."
As this new year (2010) comes bursting forth tonight...view it as an opportunity....It is a choice. LIFE or just living??? I CHOOSE LIFE!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gregg and the Flaming Cow Kabobs

So yesterday after I got home from work and was reading my facebook, I could hear my husband enter the house. I was excited to show him the 42 inch flat screen television set I had been admiring on the internet and thought it might be a good time to drop a few hints and "fire" him up about the approaching Christmas season. As I heard his footsteps approach the computer room the smell of a woodburning stove greeted my nostrils. I began sniffing the air like Smokey the Bear. Hubby stood in the doorway with a bewildered look on his face. I said, "Honey...come look as this tv I've been looking at." Sniff, Sniff. "Have you been burning garbage? You don't smell too hot. (notice the irony of this statement)! Hubby replied, "It's a long story." He had my attention now. I turned to give him my full attention. Our conversation could have gone something like this:
Me: So what happened?
Hubby: Well, I have some good news for you.
Me: What's the good new?
Hubby: Well, my cattle hauling trailer is finally fixed. Our naighbor got it welded and it's right on time to haul the cattle we will be selling on Friday.
Me: That is good news.
Hubby: No, that's the bad news. When I went to use it the bottom of the trailer was so slick, my cows slid all over the place.
Me: Whoa! That is bad news.
Hubby: No that's the good news. The straw I put down in the trailer helped them stay on their feet.
Me: That's good news.
Hubby: No, that was bad news. As I was driving down the road with a load of cattle, I could see smoke pouring out of the back of the trailer. I had to stop and see what was burning.
Me: That is bad news.
Hubby: No, that's good news. It was just the hay in the bottom of the trailer that was on fire NOT my cows.
Me: THAT's good news.
Hubby: No. That's bad news. The flames were leaping between the legs of the cows and was burning the hairs off of their legs and bellies.
Me: That is bad news.
Hubby: No that's the good news. The smell of cooking beef steaks made me hungry so I worked a lot faster.
Me: That is good news.
Hubby: No...that's the bad news. When I tried to stomp it all out, I kicked the hay out onto the grass prairie and it started the prairie on fire.
Me: Oh my goodness! That is terrible news.
Hubby: No. That's the good news. I had the fire out in the trailer!
Me: Well, that was good news.
Hubby: No that was the bad news. I had no cell phone, no one around to help me and the fire was starting to spread.
Me: That is bad news.
Hubby: That's the good news. I had my good stomping boots on so I was quickly able to put the prairie fire out.
Me: That's good news.
Hubby: No, that's the bad news. When I looked back in the trailer, there was ten inch flames springing up again. The cows were beginning to think they would become beef kabobs after all.
Me: That IS bad news.
Hubby: No. That's the good news. I was working so hard to put out the flames, I never had time to let those cows out of that trailer.
Me: That's good news.
Hubby: No...that's the bad news. If it snows, I won't be able to get those cows to the sale barn anyway! What really irritates me though is that the day was so hectic, I NEVER did have any time to enjoy me a good barbecued beef steak...!

And so you get the picture of a day in the life of my hubby. He did get the fire put out. His cows were all okay. He didn't destroy the trailer. He's healthy and safe.....that's the good news!
Now for the bad news....that's a NORMAL day!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Date with Death

We all have an appointment that we will have to keep someday, an appointment not one of us will be able to get out of. No matter how hard we try, it is impossible to escape our date with "Death". Most of the time we picture "death" with a dark hooded eyes...bony fingers beckoning to us from beyond. I personally would like to picture him like Andrew on Touched By an Angel....a blond, hunk with a boyish grin that takes me by the hand and leads me through the light.
As we age...that date begans to dog at our heals. Our bodies begin to slow down and we can feel death's hot breath on the back of our neck. We start seeing signs that he's beginning to get interested in us. He leaves little notes all over the place. Now if you're in your twenties, you probably can't relate...but if you're my age (more than halfway through life) you can. :0)
I've been thinking about this subject quite a bit lately. Life happens and you lose some people you love. It often causes you to stop and ponder the things in life that you haven't dealt with before. So I have come up with a few questions that I think we need to stop and ask ourselves long before we have to go on this "date".
1. How can I get out of this appointment or '"date"? ( ain't gonna happen!)
2. Where does he take me on this "date"?
3. Who's paying for this "date"?
4. Who's stupid idea was this any way?

Well, I think I'll start with the last question first. Would you believe me if I told you that the stupid idea began with you? We were meant to live forever in a perfect setting, in a perfect world. But man wanted to do things his own way...thus, disobedience in the Garden. Ecclesiastes 7:2 states, "It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart."
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23
Which brings me to question number 3. Who's paying for this "date"?
Well, guess what? God paid for this "date" himself. "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification." Romans 4:28 Christ Jesus...who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." 2 Timothy 1:10.
In other words, though we still have to make our appointment with death...we never have to die!!! Do you get this? "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the SHADOW of death.." Death has become a shadow....not a reality for us anymore. Shadows are not real. They have no substance. Likewise...death has no substance. It is like passing through a door. Christ has conquered our fear of death. Death will have been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" 1 Corinthians 15:54-55.
Now for the question, "Where does he take me on this "date"?
Okay, this is where I have to tell you what God himself says...."What I think....or what I believe do not count when we are talking about eternity and where you will spend it. Everyone has a lot of beliefs on the subject of heaven...but I guess the only one that matters is what is the truth. All we have to understand what this truth is, is the Word of God, Jesus Christ. And Jesus states this in John 14:6 "I am the way and the truth and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father except through me." Over and over in Matthew, Jesus starts His sentences with the phrase "I tell you the truth..."
God offers us a gift...eternal life. But that gift comes with a very steep price...the shed blood of Jesus Christ alone. It's a gift that has been completed for everyone (though many choose not to accept it)....but to receive the HAVE to accept it. You can't leave it on the table unopened and expect to get to use it the day of your appointed "date" with death like a get out of jail free card.
There is a heaven waiting after death. And it is more real than this life you walk around in right now. But there is a hell, also. And it's more real than you ever care to think about, either.
Revelation 20: 15 sadly states, "If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."
For some....the Date with Death will come when you are not expecting it. will come. But for those who have accepted the one who paid for our "date" there is no longer any thing to fear. It will be a "date" that we look forward to.
1 Corinthians 15:26 says, The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Are you ready for your date?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Am I Really a Mafia Gangster?????

I sometimes think there needs to be a reteaching of common sense again for our own protection. Let me explain. I enjoy writing my blogs and reading other blogs. It is an opportunity to express my views, my opinions, my lifestyle. I check my facebook often and enjoy the ability to have contact with all my "facebook friends", but I must admit that there are times when I don't think I really realize how many people might read what I've written. I believe we are definately leaving an impression of ourselves, a heartbeat of who or what we are and who or what we love on the pages of time for the world to view. Sometimes it may be accurate, but other times it might falsly represent us or be inaccurately interpreted. I view what I write somewhat like a journal...a place to express myself and what I am feeling or doing at any given time. If I write that my favorite music is Lawrence Welk style (God forbid) than the reader can assume that I like Lawrence Welk music, right? If I post pictures of myself...I can assume that people will look at them.
So I asked myself a question. If my facebook account was the only way anyone would ever really know anything at all about I representing myself accurately and expressing who I really am? Would I give people reason to question my trustworthiness?? my character??? my beliefs???
I was watching Dr. Phil the other day, and he was saying how many workplaces actually use Facebook, My Space, and the such to learn more about applicant's that have applied for a job with their companies. Would my facebook pages make me a good candidate for a job? Would I be embarrased by anything I had posted? What would my pastor think? My boss? My parents? My in-laws? I's just about fun, right? I guess I'm just saying that people will still take what I write and form some kind of opinion or thoughts about me. Maybe I should think for a moment, use common sense before I write...not everything I think, believe, or do was meant to be expressed or shared with the world.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Seven Days Without Laughter Makes One Weak

I can't imagine my life without humor. I am also amazed at how funny the world we live in really is. I'm especially amused at the wonderful sense of humor God has the older I get. I've tried to make a list of everyday situations that I find humorous. If you do not enjoy a good laugh, DO NOT do anything on the following list.

1. Sit in one of those carry-in-a-bag lawn chairs. They do not have stable arm rests to use as support, soooo how is anyone ever suppose to get out of them again?? Believe me...I tried. It was NOT a pretty sight. They cradle you like a beached whale sling. I had to call for recruits to hoist me out. By the way, thanks Taylor!

2. Put on pantyhose. Any woman who has tried to squeeze her belly and butt into a pair of these knows what I am talking about. You have to have a sense of humor and at least a couple of hours to try to get these on. The dancing, squirming, prodding, folding, stuffing and wiggling that goes on is worth a good laugh. But take my word for don't want to have to go to the bathroom once you're stuffed into them or you'll NEVER get them back on in one of those little stalls!

3. Give grandchildren pony rides. I repeat....DO NOT try to do anything on all fours with a kid on your back.

4. Leave a dollar tip for your waitress. Although your generosity might make you all giggly, you'll discover that she does NOT have that great a sense of humor.

5. Look in the motel mirror as you're getting out of the bathtub. Why in the name of God do they put mirrors there? Does anyone look that good naked? You definately need a sense of humor for that...a blindfold doesn't hurt, either. Nuff said!

6. Have a mammogram. You have to find some humor in it. If putting on the stinking gown isn't enough, ironing your private parts into flat pancakes will do the trick.

7. A holiday sale. There is always something funny about a group of psychotic women, standing outside a locked door, waiting to claw and shove their way in for a free cookie or snowglobe. Take time to enjoy the fear in the door unlocker's eyes as you realize the one and only free snowglobe was just handed to the pushy woman in front of you! Yes, there was ONE woman in front of you. Pushy broad!

8. Pictures of yourself. Mouth opened, shoveling food into your mouth...bending over to pick up something, hair standing on end, unflattering clothing, you might as well laugh....your children certainly are :)

9. Forgetfulness. You head for the bathroom, but before you get halfway there you forgot why you were going....oh, well, by then it's too late!

10. A remote control fart machine. NEVER get your 8 year old grandson the only thing he ever wanted for his birthday. It will definately come back to haunt you :-)

Seriously, don't take life that way! Have a good heartfelt laugh at your own expense. You'll be ever so glad you did.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My Life's Story

I noticed that I hadn't written a blog since June...what does that say about me? Am I too I have nothing important to say...I know that just isn't true because I just reread some of my older blogs and believe me...I have plenty to say :)
I think that sometimes it's just really difficult to be that transparent with people. We care sooo much about what others think that we are afraid to show our vulnerable side. I've discovered that not everyone will like what you write...not everyone will appreciate or even "get" what you write...but maybe someone will know you or understand you just a little bit better by reading your blogs.
My life is a book...not always open...but full of tidbits of useful information to those who take the time to read it or even misread it.

My life is a story, a wide open book,
Peer into my pages and take a good look.
Some chapters are happy and others are sad.
They'll reveal alot of the life I have had.
Some pages are fragile, so handle with care.
Those chapters expose me and lay my life bare.
The good and the bad and the ugly are seen,
The times I was kind and the times I was mean.
Child or mother, and also a wife,
They are chapters and pages of my story's life.
If you choose to read me, you'll have to embrace,
The story unfolding, so give me some grace.
I look forward to reading all of your stories, too,
For that is the way I will get to know you.
And in reading each page, understanding will flow,
And our love for each other's life story will grow.

I appreciate that you find my thoughts, writings, and blogs worth your time. Thank you to all my readers. I love being entrusted with your friendship and your life's story, also.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I Am a Rock, I Am an Island

I've discovered the world of Facebook and find it very interesting and sometimes a little sad...It is so amazing that we can have the world at the tips of our fingertips and in a split second we can keep up on what our friends and aquaintances are doing at a moments notice. To be able to access people we don't get to see every day and to be able to post pictures and express ourselves to others in a very safe way is wonderful. The possibilities are endless. It can appear as if we have hundreds and thousands of "friends" when in actuallity, some of them barely even know us or care about us. Thus, comes the sad part. Even though we can learn very intimate, or deep things about a person, maybe even a truer self than they display in is so "safe". We never have to see the person face to face...we can answer them if we choose to or ignore them if we want, and they don't even get their feelings hurt, because they don't know it. We can know they're feeling sad...yet we can't talk to them face to face to really get to know them or understand them. We can draw little smiley faces or little frown faces, but the recipient at the other end never really knows the extent of those simple drawings. We can type LOL...but know one gets to appreciate or enjoy the sound of that laughter. We are uniting ourselves with the whole universe, yet isolating ourselves away from life at the same time. We are trying to communicate without voices, ears, eyes, and touch. We are texting, (No human voices) in abbreviations that take seconds to send. There isn't much distinction between what I "text" to my lover or what I "text" to my enemy. We don't hear the words I love you and distinguish whether their voice is telling you it means "you're my friend", or "I love you like I love my computer or an ice cream cone, or even "I want to marry you." I miss reading the real message people are sending with their body language...their eyes...are they sincere or are they lying to you. Technology is a brilliant tool...but I'm afraid we are creating a generation of people who will become as the Simon and Garfunkel song says, "I am a rock...I am an island." I hope we don't forget how badly we need each other...not just in a little square box that sits on our desks...or in the little cellular tool we carry around in our pockets....but in a real face to face physical way. I think technology makes it so much easier....we don't have to become involved or have the inconvenience of others intruding on our "own" time. Sounds a little selfish and self-centered to me...You might even disagree with my philosophy....but it really doesn't matter...I can delete what you think in a touch of a button and continue to delight and revel in the intelligence and wisdom found within the ramblings of my own "blogging...texting...and facebooking." And a rock feels no pain.....and an island never cries......

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I Am.....His!

My daughter Jill just posted an I Am poem for her college class and I thought her's was amazing. It inspired me to try my own.

I am a faithful, compassionate, child of the king.
I wonder why God has chosen to lavish upon me His unmerited favor.
I hear unwritten symphonies in the laughter of His children.
I see His unfinished masterpieces on the tablets of each human heart.
I want to appreciate the moments, shine like a beacon, and leave a hard to replace void when I'm gone.
I am a faithful, compassionate, child of the king.

I pretend to be worthy of His love and the love of others.
I feel fear at the prospect of unveiling the "Real Me" to anyone.
I touch my world warily, holding back involvement, not risking exposure.
I worry that I am unlovable.
I cry at the injustice of a crucified Jesus rejected and denied by a world that He sat free.
I am a faithful, compassionate, child of the king.

I understand that our days are but a breath in the scheme of eternity.
I say I will make my life count and have meaning.
I dream of the moment that He looks into my eyes and says, "Well done, my good and faithful child."
I hope that my family, friends, and co-workers will hear those words, too.
I am a faithful, compassionate, child of the king.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Laughter and Tears

Things that make me Laugh:

1. A good practical joke. (Nothing to do with tatoos, though.)
2. Sarcasm. (Gregg's, mine, or anyone else's)
3. Everybody Loves Raymond, but mostly his dad! (Pretty close to my real life)
4. Making someone else laugh. (My favorite)
5. Other peoples' phobias. (Screaming men and spiders really crack me up.)
6. Making up new words to songs that make them a little "naughty".
7. Colter Lemmon.
8. Little kids trying to be funny.
9. Swinging. (Sorry...The one with chains and a seat.)
10. The word weiner. (I know...I know)
11. A good groin shot. (Probably because I am not a man)
12. Looking at myself in a mirror. (You might as well laugh)
13. When my boss brings me a stack of work and says I need this done in an hour.
14. Beating someone better than me at a game.

Things that make me cry:

1. Funerals, weddings, and graduations (Anybody's, Really)
2. A good sermon.
3. Onions.
4. Trying to hold in the giggles at the movies or at church.
5. The smell of my own feet.
6. Being really, really angry.
7. Injustice.
8. Abortions
9. Jeanne
10. My children
11. Losing things.
12. Fear
13. Pounds. (Only on myself, though.)
14. A sad movie...A happy movie....A moving movie....A boring movie...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Family Dynamics

It is interesting to me how as your children grow up into adults with families of their own the whole dynamics of the term "family" changes. Let me explain. As a parent, my family is and will always be the circle of me, my spouse, and my children. As the children go off and get married and have circle expands. My family now also includes their spouses and their children, (my grandchildren). Sometimes it even includes their spouse's extended family. They become my family, also. But, it seems I've also noticed a strange phenomenon. It's not really that strange, but whatever. My children's "family" circle becomes different. It becomes them, their spouse, and their children. Their own brothers and sisters are all still included in their family circle, also. But I've noticed that we, "their parents" become less and less a part of their family circle. "We" began to be excluded and they began to have "family" excursions without including us. Surprisingly, they no longer want to spend time with us. Hey! I know! It's weird, huh? Somehow...they no longer really see their parents as an essential part of their family.
As a parent, I guess it's difficult to understand why you some how have slipped from the pedestal you once stood on and have fallen in their eyes to the level of being somewhere between a pesky, annoying mosquito to a downright pain in their patooty! Now, may I state that as a parent, you never intend to become that! But somehow, amid their teenage years, your voice to them becomes as shrill as the scratching of fingernails across a blackboard and you begin to think that your questions are written on the ceiling the way they roll their eyes at you.
My brain realizes that this has become the way of family dynamics to this generation. It wasn't all that long ago that granny and gramps was essential to the family, and I'm sure Carol Brady and Marian Cunningham were always needed for crucial decision making in their children's lives and always a welcomed addition to Marcia and Ritchie's family outings.
Alas, this is no longer the case. Which brings me to the subject at hand.
As a parent, I wish I could take the higher road....I wish I had no feelings to express, which would make all of my children's life easier. But, I'm going to lay it out there. Sometimes it hurts! My brain heart hurts. My brain understands that my children and their families all want to go together on a summer outing. My heart says...why didn't they want and need us. Why does our role as parents never end but their role as our children ends the day they head to college?
It's a question that I'll ask God someday...and I'm sure He'll answer, "My children leave me out all the time, too. They don't seem to need or want me, either. They don't invite me along on their outings or to their homes, either. And heaven forbid, that they pay a price for Me. My heart understands this all too well. But, rest assured, I made the family dynamics, the family circle, that way on purpose. You see, a parent's heart is always bigger than their child's heart. It can take the pain. Pain helps the heart grow bigger and softer. It makes you vulnerable and real. That's a good thing. But I tell you the truth, my child, someday your child's heart will grow into a parent's heart. And when that happens, they'll understand, and they will have days that their heart will ache and hurt so bad they won't believe they can hardly stand it. But it will stretch their heart. And that in turn will stretch your heart somemore, also. In fact, somedays the pain will stretch your heart so big you will believe it will explode or break. But it won't, because I am the heart expert and making big, soft hearts is what I'm all about. So get use to it. And learn by looking at how you treat your own parents. Their hearts are the biggest and softest of all."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Thank My God Every Time I Remember You.

I am amazed that people enter our lives, become important to us in various ways, then exit as quickly as they came...and they seem to be no longer all that important to us any more. School friends, teachers, pastors, neighbors, coworkers, school crushes, students, even enemies. They all fit into that catagory. People we swear we will never lose contact with, become nothing but photos in an album or memories long since faded. I suppose in some ways, it is a good thing we do not become so emotionally attached to these people or our hearts could not bear the great weight of losing them. But still, it is sad that people who were once so important and vital to us in that special time period leave us without too many tears. I guess I would like to pause to remember some of these very special people. I never stopped loving them...I guess I just outgrew them or they me. Some have passed on. Some moved away. And others, well, we just grew apart. I have a huge bulletin board above my computer filled with pictures of these special people. I look at them every day and remember them. I really haven't forgotten!
Childhood & high school friends I'd like to remember: Debbie...Billy...Kay...Jan...My high school group and graduating class...
Teachers...Mrs. Kloppel...Miss Daniels....Mrs. Ruble....
Special relatives....Theresa...Cindy...Uncle Milton...My grandparents...Aunt Shirley...
Special community members: Frank Uhl...Bill Richards....Ruby Snook...
Pastors...Rev & Lois Sauter...Rev. & Mrs. Runyan
Co-workers....Kathy...Phyllis...Twila...Kathy many! Students....Nathan....Robert....Colter...Dakota...Dustin...Kalla...Danny...Chance...Kelsey...Philip...Brandi...Ashley...Jesse...this list is so very long and special..I loved every single one of them.
Enemies...If you ever were one..I doubt you are now. But still, you have made me who I am. Thank you.
If your life has crossed paths with my life....thank you. You have been important to me. If your name is not on the does not mean you aren't important. Everyone of you has made a contribution to who I am. Thank you.
I have a scripture hanging on my bulletin board with all of your pictures. It is Philippians 1:3, "I thank my God every time I remember you." Robert Louis Stevenson once said, "A friend is a gift you give yourself."
I have given myself many friends!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Really Good Holiday

The house is quiet again. We are back to just two. The Easter holiday has come and went...another year quickly past amidst the laughter of grandchildren and the reflections of the sacrifice Christ endured for us to enjoy that laughter. We're still cleaning up from what looked like a gigantic Easter basket explosion. Plastic eggs and candy, colored grass and abundance of leftovers invade every room and we are left with the screaming quietness that always follows a holiday. Everyone is safely back to where they came from, a bit fuller, maybe, but back just the same. It was a good holiday. Like every holiday, there is always the minor bickerings of too many people in a house at the same time, too many chocolate laced children with sticky hands and chocolate filled diapers! Still, I am contented. God has graced me with wonderful parents and children, a fantastic daughter-in-law and son-in-law, and of course, the most perfect and beautiful grandchildren you could ever hope for. And what a husband! He went along behind everyone cleaning up our messes! I never could do holidays without him. Our prayer time and communion before the dinner was extremely meaningful, even when, during the middle of prayer, our 7 year old grandson, thinking the prayer was going a bit too long, spoke up sighing, "Okay..who ever hasn't prayed yet, raise your hand." I can still hear the laughter of my three year old granddaughter as she played with the noise making Flarp in her Easter basket. I smile as I reflect on the time I spent at the table with my other granddaughter enjoying an imaginary tea party with my little angel tea set that I never take out of the china hutch. I felt peace as my one year old granddaughter climbed on my lap with her "Woobie", a small fuzzy blanket with a bear's head attached to it, and pressed her nose to mine. We sat cheek to cheek in blissful contentedness for quiet sometime, gazing into one another's eyes and smiling. It was a good holiday. We frosted Easter cookies together...we hunted eggs together..went to church together as a family. We played cards and ate too much. We laughed. We fought. We cried. We were a family. A family who loves each other. My heart is full. It was a really good holiday!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Then Comes the Morning

It is 5:00 am on a Monday morning and I am fighting the flu. I've had two and a half days of coughing, fever, and aching headache, haven't slept for a couple of days and on top of that another winter storm warning is predicted with blowing snow and blizzard like conditions...still...I am alive and well. I'm beginning to understand that "Momma said there'd be days like this" and this happens to be one of those days. But, I can hold fast to the promise that "this too shall pass." There is a song that reminds us that even though it can get pretty dark and miserable...then comes the morning! Hope is always found in the morning! After every dark time in our lives...the hope is found in the coming light just around the corner. When things are especially gloomy, or you're exhausted, or sick, or in mourning, or whatever curveball life has thrown at you...there is light at the end of the tunnel. All the cliches that have ever been written are true. "It's just around the corner"....our hope may be found in the LIGHT! When our hope begins to fade under the shroud of darkness, and you feel there is no end to your'll slowly begin to see that the blackest darkness begins to fade to a dull gray, and the dull gray begins to soften the shadows that were so discouraging before and you begin to see the shapes of the objects that held you captive in your darkness, but in a blink of an eye.....Then comes the morning!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

25 Thrilling Things to Do After the Age of 50

1. Learn sign language. (This is usually taught to you by passing motorists as you drive 35 miles an hour on the highway.)
2. Sit in the mall and pick a new spouse for your mate. This also relieves tension by discovering that there are weirder people than you out there.
3. Guess what kind of underwear the people in the mall are wearing. (This sometimes is too easy to do.)
4. Instead of reading the newest novel, read people's tattoos. (You may not want to do this with your grandchildren along, however.)
5. Count the age spots on your hands and arms. (If you reach more than fifty, you win)
6. Eat at Arby's.
7. Watch Dancing With the Stars. (This is the new Lawrence Welk)
8. Try on a bikini thong. If you get it up to your calf, celebrate.
9. Clip your mates toenails. To really have fun, let them clip yours, also.
10. Practice pulling the hairs out of your chin without a mirror.
11. Stay awake past 8:00 pm. Live dangerously!
12. Take your dentures out of your mouth and make them talk to you like a handpuppet. (This is probably not a good idea if you have company or if your are at the dinner table.)
13. Have knitting needle sword fights.
14. Eat black licorice or red velvet cake and check the color of your stool the next morning.
15. Read the obituaries for ideas.
16. Go to Branson.
17. Write all your Christmas cards in September.
18. Make a list of all the doctors, nurses and health care people you know on a first name basis. Write them all Christmas cards in September.
19. Call all your children and grandchildren by a different name. (This really gets them as they think you don't know what you're doing)
20. Copy the obituaries of your old dead friends and make sure all your children receive a copy. (They should remember them and care, right?)
21. Collect real life horror stories to share with everyone at appropriate times, like the time a microphone fell into the baptismal and electricuted everyone. (A good source for these is the national news, Dr. Phil, and Oprah.)
22. Practice singing loudly and often, substituting words and phrases you don't remember.
23. Play bumper cars with the riding shopping carts in Walmart. (Be sure to say excuse me, though)
24. Hide the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle your spouse is putting together so you can put in the last piece!
25. Make a list of 25 thrilling things you can do after the age of 50.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Beware of Beautiful Packages

I had sort of a revelation this week. Actually, it started with a gift I received from my husband on Valentine's Day. Now, my intention is not to hurt my husband's feelings by telling this story, but to share the insight I gained by it.
I am a gift giver. I love to give gifts. I love to plan surprises and try to make ordinary days extraordinary. This is probably an indication of my Love Language. So gifts and presents are something I am very familiar with.
As I approached the breakfast table early Valentine's Day, I was excited to see that my husband had went to some trouble to please me. He had spread a white table cloth on the table, sat red candles in crystal candleholders and sprinkled confetti of hearts and I Love You's all over the table. There by my plate sat two gifts wrapped in beautful wrapping paper with hearts on them. A card was placed next to the bigger package. It didn't really take me long to recognize what that package held. It was shaped like a jug of bubble bath, and I wasn't surprised when I opened it. However, there was a smaller wrapped box sitting in the middle of the table that grabbed my attention and intrigued me. It looked like it would hold something like a bracelet or necklace. My imagination ran wild, thinking of all the wonderful possibilities that the little box might hold. I couldn't contain my excitement and asked could I open that one now. He handed it to me across the table saying, "You probably can guess what this is." I hadn't a clue....but then as it reached my hands it rattled. In fact it rattled a lot. As I opened the package, realization of the noise hit me. I had unwrapped a 99 cent box of "Good and Plenty" candy coated licorice pieces. My heart sank and the disappointment spread to my face before I even had a chance to try to hold it in...and in that same moment I also saw the hurt on my husband's face. He knew immediately that he had unintentionally hurt me and it caused him pain. He saw what I had seen, too...that his gift was a disappointment to me. Immediately, my disappointment turned to anger. I said hurtful things to him. "Just look at this...did you really think this is a gift any wife would want for Valentine's day." I shouted at him. "Is this all 31 years of marriage is worth to you?" I hurt him because he had hurt me. Angry words, silence and pouting, tears, and unforgiveness were in my heart. I went and shut myself into the computer room to be alone. And that is when God began to speak to me. He used my husband's gift to illustrate several lessons to me that I'm hoping will teach you something, also.
You see, I cared more about the gift than the giver....and He reminded me how often that happens to Him. My eyes had been focused on a beautifully wrapped gift and I allowed my hopes and imagination and expectation to convince myself that their was something beautiful in that package. The "idea" of the gift was more important than the actual gift itself. All the good things my husband had done that morning had been forgotten and this ONE thing plagued and overtook my heart. It began to be all about ME.
God also showed me that sometimes, what is beautiful on the outside, is really not that special on the inside. And sometimes, the ugliest wrapped packages can hold the most beautiful and special gifts on the inside. We humans are usually drawn to the beautiful packages...forgetting that true beauty comes from inside. How shallow we are. We jump and cater to the beautiful, sparkly, popular, rich people, and ignore the plain, poor, undesirable, or unpresentable. Our heroes and "idols" (note the word) are celebrities and sports figures...people we don't even really know...and would more often than not discover that their lifestyles are probably not very worthy of our admiration. How often do we miss an opportunity to discover a genuine jewel or gem because it is hidden and seek after the glitz and shine only later to discover that it was a fake, a poor imitation, or downright ugly on the inside?
God had this message for me. He said to quit focusing on the wrappings...even quit focusing on the gifts. Our focus should turn to the Giver.
God's lessons are painful. I had hurt the one I loved...and I needed to ask for his forgiveness. Fortunately, I have an unbelievably forgiving husband. But more importantly we have an even more forgiving God.
People are more important than things! When you find yourself seeking the gifts rather than the giver....STOP! When outward beauty becomes more important than inward beauty....STOP! When your hurt makes you want to hurt those who hurt you...STOP! And listen to the instruction of God.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Joy of the Lord is My Strength

The dictionary's definition of joy is this: intense gladness, a cause of this.
What produces intense gladness in you? I think the key phrase here is intense. (very strong, concentrated; strained to the utmost, strenuous; marked by much action, strong emotions, etc.)
There are a lot of things in our lives that make us happy. (lucky; possessing or enjoying pleasure or good; pleased) Happiness can be found in the simple things in life. But somehow, happiness seems to be shallow. It has no depth. I can be happy one moment and very sad the next. But the intense gladness I experience in Jesus has substance. It has depth. It doesn't fleetingly go away. It is truely joy! I don't find this in many things. Joy is reserved for the deeper things in life. Happiness is found in tangible things: puppies, a good meal, a nice car, a new toy, but joy is found in the intangible: relationships, experiences, and the spiritual realm.
You can't have sadness and happiness at the same time. They are the opposites. But you can be very sad and experinece joy at the same time. My family and grandchildren bring me joy.
Happiness is fleeting....but joy is eternal.
In this new year...don't strive to be happy. Don't chase after the happiness that can be found for a fleeting moment in the material things. Seek for the eternal substance that is found in JOY. Momentary happiness will lead you down the wrong path. It will rob you of something so much better. It will try to substitute itself for the best. Seek for the real deal. The joy of the Lord is YOUR strength.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Life is Great!

Life is great! I feel wonderful, look great, and am excited for this new year! I sound bi-polar sometimes, don't I? Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm still alive and feeling great! Life is beautiful and full of great surprises! This is the year for amazing things to happen. I can't wait!