IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

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And every six months, she would trade in her aging sheep for a new one.  Because without a little lamb, Mary didn’t know who she was.  – @ANDREWHIBBARD

God has blessed me with so many friends – most of them named Mary.  All of them are Christian musicians – go figure!  They don’t know each other, but if they could get together and form a band called “The Merry Mary Band” – I think it would be pretty cool.

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Let’s swear each with our pinky
We’ll be the best of friends
Until we are old and wrinkly!
– Author Unknown

Of course the best known Mary is the virgin mother of Jesus.  There is also Mary Magdalene, but it’s a very popular name in the Christian world.  In England it has been used since the 12th century, and it has been among the most common feminine names since the 16th century.

Mary is derived from the Latin Maria and is also used in English as well as in several other languages.  It means:  Wished-for child; rebellion; bitter.  I was surprised by that meaning.

Two queens of England were named Mary, as well as a Queen of Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots.

Mary Shelley wrote “Frankenstein”.

My Mary friends are all very sweet and kind.  They’re also crazy to the core – but to be my friend, well…  they’d have to be!

The sweetest fictional character of all time was the very independent and street-wise Mary Richards on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”.  The working woman of the 1970’s.  She let kids like me know that we really could make it in this man’s world without letting go of our nice side.

I’m also reminded of the wise and wonderful fictional character by the name of Mary – Mary Poppins.  This book by P.L. Travers convinced me that all women named Mary have the ability to fly with the aid of an umbrella.  My Mary friends have not revealed their hidden talents with an umbrella to me yet – but I keep asking!  🙂

 

 

WORLD WISH DAY

TL 4-29 WORLD WISH DAY

This event is a celebration in memory of Chris, the child who sparked a global wish-granting movement and the beginning of Make-A-Wish.

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Christopher smiling in his official policeman’s uniform.

He was only seven years, 269 days old when he died. But he taught me about being a man. Even though he was only a boy. I can tell you that because of meeting Chris, I am an entirely different man. Ron Cox said the same thing. He said he didn’t fear death anymore, because he knew Chris would be there waiting for him.   – Tommy Austin, Make-A-Wish® co-founder and retired U.S. Customs agent

When a child has a terminal illness it makes adults feel so helpless.  We all want to do anything we can to make it better.  When Chris let it be known he wished he could be an officer, it seemed like something that could happen for him – something the adults could make happen.  To see the smile on his face made the effort worth while to be sure.

It breaks our hearts to know children are so sick and likely won’t get to make their dreams come true as an adult.  What a wonderful idea to help them make a wish come true.  We naturally want to do anything we can to help them.

That is what the Make-A-Wish foundation is all about – making wishes come true for children with terminal illness.  These brave children deserve to have a wish come true because they face so many days filled with pain.

Make-A-Wish granted 14,000 wishes last year alone – on average, one every 38 minutes. But for every wish granted, another child is diagnosed with a potentially qualifying condition. A child who needs a wish.

We all look forward to the day when no more children have life-threatening medical conditions. Until that time, Make-A-Wish remains committed to granting a wish to every eligible child. Because wishes make very sick kids feel better – and sometimes, when they feel better, they get better.

It’s been more than 30 years since my son Chris received his wish, and I am still amazed and inspired how one little boy’s dream to be a police officer has touched the lives of so many thousands of people.  – Linda Pauling, mom of Chris

I’m so thankful there is an organization that can make wishes come true for brave boys and girls.  Some want to have a certain animal, or be on a TV show.  One little girl got to be a cartoon character – do the voice-over on her favorite cartoon show!  Some want to play an instrument or play a certain sport.  Some want to be a character in a play or go to a certain place.  Riding in a hot air balloon might be the wish of a child.

Let’s pray for the little ones who need some wishes to come true.  WORLD MAKE A WISH DAY let’s make some wishes come true for these kids.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Aspartame is the No. 1 reason consumers are dropping diet soda.  – Seth Kaufman, vice president of Pepsi.
Aspartame needs to be released to the place where all wicked, failed experiments reside.  I have never believed it is safe and no one can convince me that it is.  I know Cher was a spokesperson for Equal back in the day – but sorry, not even Cher can convince me.
I know the jury is still out on Splenda and products like it.  I hope, however, the people who come up with better and more safe alternatives have learned from past failures, therefore, actually improving the new product.  We had Nutri-Sweet, now we have SPLENDA!
Sugar will never be a viable option for me again, so the future of my health completely depends on products that use a very safe and healthy alternative sweetener.  Coke came out with a product that uses Splenda several years ago, but it is not widely available and I’ve never seen it in a bottle – only in cans.  I have almost as much trouble drinking soda from cans as I do with the Aspartame.  I believe drinking from cans is unhealthy and cooking with aluminium (foil as well) can contribute to Alzheimer’s.
It would be nice if the Food and Drug Administration stopped issuing warnings about toxic substances and just gave me the names of one or two things still safe to eat.  – Robert Fuoss
I don’t really have a favorite as so many others do – Coke or Pepsi…  but if Pepsi puts their Splenda Diet Pepsi in bottles – I’ll be a Pepsi gal.
Kudos to Pepsi for listening to us and taking a chance by making your soda a bit more healthy for us.  We need all the help we can get in that department, don’t we?  🙂

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

 

Last week my husband and I were in Blackwell, OK, just about an hour south (via the turnpike) of Wichita.  He was getting gas at the Conoco station because it was 20 cents a gallon cheaper than gas back home.  We don’t typically drive an hour to save money on gas, but it was a nice perk since we were going that way anyhow.

I had nothing in particular running through my mind – (for all of you who know me in real life, this comes as no surprise) – then I saw a robin holding a very long blade of grass, hopping between two cars.  It struck me as funny – there were vehicles everywhere and there’s a bird – a very busy bird – making a nest in the eave of the building!  I felt privileged to be given the opportunity to witness it and thanked God.  I love spring, don’t you?

The sight took me back in time and made me think of something I have not thought about for a long time.  Tears began to stream, as they are as I write this now – but it’s okay because they are happy tears, the kind that come when a sweet memory is revisited.

When I was about 7 years old, I spotted a bird’s nest on a low branch of the pine tree in our front yard.  I excitedly ran into the house to let mom and dad know about my discovery.  Daddy sat me down to explain some ground rules.  I listened intently.

  • You can’t go too close to the nest
  • You can’t touch the nest (I remember thinking, “If I can’t go close to it, how can I possibly touch it?”)
  • You can borrow my binoculars to stand on the porch and look into the nest.  I felt so grown up.  Daddy didn’t let just anybody borrow his binoculars.
  • You can’t tell the neighbor kids about your discovery. (Did he KNOW those kids, or what?)
  • If you see something that doesn’t look right, don’t try to do anything yourself.  Find me or mom to help you.

Okey doke – I got that!  I used my daddy’s binoculars to check on the little nest every day.  The pretty blue robin eggs just stayed in one spot for what seemed like forever.  Then one day I checked on them – and the eggs had hatched – and there were 3 of the cutest baby birds!

Daddy wanted to name them Larry, Moe and Curly – but I wouldn’t hear of it.  They were Dexter, Samuel and Robbie.  No, I don’t know why – don’t ask me!

It was such fun to watch mama robin come back to the nest and feed them.  I’ve always been so impressed with the instincts and intelligence God endowed birds with – I mean, to me they are very smart!  I don’t understand people who use the phrase “BIRD BRAIN” – I take it as a compliment – LOL.

One day I peeked in on them – there were two baby birds.  I knew it wasn’t time for them to leave the nest yet – so I rushed in the house and screamed bloody murder to get someone’s attention.  Daddy was having his morning coffee but came running anyway.  I reported my findings to him with panic in my voice.  If that baby was not in the nest, it meant it had fallen out – and who knows if it was still among the living!

Daddy told me to stay in the house and he would go check things out.  He came in with the baby bird, miraculously breathing, in a small container.  He said, “Robbie fell out of the nest.  I think we need to help him, don’t you?”  I nodded my head in fervent agreement.  The task was at hand, and we were up for the challenge.  We prayed for our feathered friend and got to work.

We used a dropper to feed Robbie.  He did okay and I was tickled.  He grew and thrived!  I knew I could not keep him, but the day we had to set that bird free was the most difficult day.  Robbie knew he could not stay with us.  It could be my imagination, but I think he gave us a nod as if to say “Thank you for helping me” before flying away.  God answered our prayer.  Our baby was gonna be okay.

Once in a while, especially in the evening after working on the lawn, as we sat together as a family at the picnic table out in the back yard, my dad would see a robin and say, “Hey Linda, I think that’s Robbie!” 

Well, only God knows if our little Robbie ever really came back to see us, but I’d like to think he did visit us on occasion.  Wink!  😉

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.  – Psalm 4:2

REPENT AND RECOVER

Very few of our churches sing the old hymns anymore.  This will make me sound like an old lady, but I like the old hymns.  I know there are some congregations that have a “blended” service – and try to include a few hymns, but those are becoming fewer and further between.

Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.  – Psalm 83:16

This morning I drove over to QT to pick up some coffee (they make better coffee than I do – and I can afford it).  I had a CD playing – one that I burned from favorites on the computer.  As I left the driveway, I heard Brad Paisley sing “The Old Rugged Cross” live at the Grand Ole Opry.

The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.  – Proverbs 3:35

The Lord spoke to my spirit as I listened to the beautiful words in that old hymn.  He said, “Do you hear it?”  I said, “Hear what?”  He impressed on me that I should listen for the word SHAME.

1 On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.

Refrain:
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.

2 O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary. [Refrain]

3 In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me. [Refrain]

4 To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he’ll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I’ll share. [Refrain]

United Methodist Hymnal

What I’m about to say will sound like a statement filled with judgment – but it is not, believe me.  I prayed about this subject before I started writing.  I’m pointing my thumb at myself – my fingers are not pointing to anyone else!

If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.  – Hebrews 6:6

Feeling shame is an important part of learning the difference between right and wrong.  I wonder if the church has lost sight of that.  The Bible speaks about many shameful acts that were committed in the past and instructs us on what we should know about it.

What is shame?  According to Webster, shame is:

a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong

ability to feel guilt, regret, or embarrassment

dishonor or disgrace

Certainly a large part of being a Christian is praise and worship to our Creator, Lord God and King of our life – Jesus Christ.  This is the focus of praise and worship music in our churches today.  And there is a place for it.

Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.  1 Corinthians 15:34

Today is a gentle reminder that the Holy Spirit of God wants to speak to hearts about sin as well.  It’s His job to convict and speak truth.  Believe it or not, the Bible talks about shame 128 times (NIV version).

Maybe it’s just me, but when I hear hymns, the Holy Spirit speaks through them.

I wonder if we’ve committed the lyrics of these old hymns to memory, but have somehow become calloused to the meaning of the words – to the point we no longer allow God’s Spirit to speak to our hearts.

It’s just a thought.  God’s Spirit reminded me that with sin comes shame – then I need to repent and turn from it – and keep walking in the way He wants me to.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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When I feel frozen in my failure, I just try to imagine my Father running down the road to meet me. I look in his eyes—brimming with acceptance—and remember that it isn’t about my failures, it is about His love. It is about being God’s beloved daughter, who is always welcome Home.  – Sandi Patty

FROZEN IN FEAR

Have you ever felt frozen in your failure?  Boy I sure have.  It’s a miserable, uncomfortable feeling, especially when you start to believe other people’s assessment of the situation.  When you begin to believe the popular opinion that nothing will ever be right again because you have messed up so badly.

I was very close to shutting this blog down permanently because I came under some harsh criticism about it.  Personal attacks concerning my ability to write and the lack of interest I apparently generate left me crushed and ready to quit.  I felt frozen in fear when it was time to write again.  I want to grow thicker skin – I’ve asked God to help me.  I don’t understand how we can be commanded to be tenderhearted, yet need thick skin at the same time.  And what of these tender hearts of ours?  We are to guard them.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.  – Proverbs 4:23

God provided a wonderful boost to my self-esteem.  I was shown a comment that turned everything around.  You know, God is never early but He is certainly never too late.  His timing and His provision, be it physical, mental or whatever – is perfect!

I also saw this posted on facebook yesterday – and I will probably never forget it:

You will never please everyone – you are not pizza!

Well, doesn’t that just about say it all?  Even though I’m not pizza, I hope something I write blesses your heart or helps you along in life.  We are here to help one another I believe, in any way we can.

Have you felt frozen in fear after a failure, mistake or sin?  You don’t have to feel that way forever because that’s not how God wants us to feel.  He wants to help us get back to feeling happy and free in Him.  God knows we won’t get it right every time, but we don’t have to live life frozen in fear.

There is an answer for failures, mistakes and sins – His name is Jesus.  Pray to Him today and ask Him to help you.  He knows what you need and will provide just the right balm to your sad and aching heart, sad with grief.

Keep going.  Keep doing what God has called you to do.  The only one who can tell you to quit is God – don’t let people get you down and keep you frozen in fear.  Wink!  😉

 

IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

IRON SHARPENS IRON

PRAYER ABOUT HOME

This morning for the first time in a few days, I eased into my day with a cozy robe, a good devotional book and a nice hot cup of coffee.  These days I don’t just drink any brand of coffee, but I enjoy Organo Gold black coffee because it helps my fibromyalgia.

As I understand it, our bodies thrive when they are well oxygenated.  The less oxygen, or the less P.h., the more likely sickness and disease is to invade.  Now I’m not a doctor or pharmacist, but I am a person who has felt better since using this coffee.

A friend on facebook read a whine of mine (that’s my name for it) on my timeline.  I was complaining, which is something I try not to do.  In this case, however, I am glad I did because this sweet lady sent me several packets of gourmet coffee.  I can’t say the fibro is gone (I wish), but I can say I feel better.

This sounds like an advertisement for Organo Gold, but trust me, it is not.  I have no affiliation whatsoever with the company.  It’s just me telling the truth about my personal experience with the product.

It apparently has something to do with an ingredient found in mushrooms (of all things). Ganoderma infused products help the body stay on the alkaline side, which promotes better health.

A special shout out and thank you to my friend for sending me such a generous amount of this great coffee!  God sent you my way.  He takes such good care of His own!

Oh – and did I mention it tastes good too?  As the name would indicate, it is a gourmet black coffee.  It’s never bitter or too strong.  The widespread pain of fibromyalgia has not gone away for me, but it has certainly become more manageable in my case.

Organo Gold has a facebook page!

https://www.facebook.com/organogold?fref=ts

Since the company is in Canada, you can save some money on shipping by purchasing through Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Organo-Gold-Gourmet-Black-Coffee/dp/B003CGJAIM

I’ve taken some interesting turns with my health in the past week, but one thing I can say is that my fibromyalgia is helped by this wonderful coffee.  I hope you will give Organo Gold gourmet black coffee a try if you have fibromyalgia.  I won’t promise that it will help you like it has helped me, but it wouldn’t hurt to try it.  🙂

 

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

TL I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE6

Today I wish my parents a happy wedding anniversary in heaven.  My folks were married at a judge’s office here in Kansas.  My mom’s brother and sister-in-law stood up with them.  It goes to show that the expense and fanfare of a big wedding is not necessary to ensure the marriage is a success.

The things we do outlast our mortality…  They’re like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs.  Only instead of being made of stone, they’re made out of the memories people have of you.  – R.J. Palacio

We used to celebrate together.  I used to take them to dinner or take a cake to the house.  In 1976 I bought them an anniversary clock – for their 30th anniversary.  We made some precious memories and they are more precious now.

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Mom & Dad’s 27th Wedding Anniversary

When their anniversary fell on a Sunday, we went to church and then to the Bonanza restaurant for lunch.  Truth be told, most Sundays we headed for the Bonanza for lunch after morning worship service.

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Mom & Dad’s 33rd Wedding Anniversary

 

I hope they would be pleased with me today.  They taught me so much about living and loving.

Thank you mom and dad for all the lessons you taught me.  Thank you for giving me a model for marriage and showing me how it should work.  In a time when people choose to walk away instead of work on relationships, thank you for teaching me how to compromise and love another person more than I love myself.

Thank you for showing me every day that having purpose and meaning in life increases well-being and satisfaction.  To love another person completely will ultimately make me more happy than expecting love from him.

Thank you for instilling Christian values in me because God is the source of love.  I know if God is in the midst of marriage, it will be successful.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART 35

I didn’t used to have to poke my finger every morning to test my blood.

When did I start having to make noises while getting up from a chair?

For the life of me I can’t remember why I came in this room.

I don’t remember my knees hurting before as I walked up the stairs.

Hugs didn’t used to hurt – but with fibromyalgia, they really do.

Acne and wrinkles at the same time…  now that’s just unfair!

There are more silver threads among the gold these days.

The weight I’ve gained these past few years just doesn’t want to go away.

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When [my old films are on TV]… I slide slowly under the table in embarrassment.  I cringe at having these huge heads of hair, big sideburns, and wearing some terrible bell-bottom pants.  – Clint Eastwood

Mr. Eastwood – be proud of your accomplishments.  Your movies have entertained us for decades and we all have photos we’d rather not display.  For most of us, the hairstyles of the late ’70’s and early ’80’s are not cool by today’s standards, but hey – back then all the girls wanted to look like Farrah and the guys – um…  well, I’m not sure what they wanted [I mean hairstyle…  lol] but those were good days – and your movies are timeless.

Back in the day, certain shirts, jeans, jackets – made me feel so cool and turned the darkest of days into great days!  There was a local clothing store called CRICKET ALLEY and when I close my eyes I can still see the shop and smell the incense burning!

I bought the coolest satin jacket there – it was a beautiful shade of blue with white trim.  I wore that thing everywhere – with a white tee and bell bottom jeans.  A lot of kids could wear the really big bell bottoms – but I was so short – I would have looked like some sort of freaky flying saucer if I wore them.

We wore patches on our jeans – my jeans were always brand new and never had holes in them – but I sewed patches on them – LOL.  I remember one of the patches my mom got for me – it had Smokey the Bear on it – and my poor mom misread one of the words.

It’s funny because my mom never swore – I mean if she said doggone it – you knew she meant business.  When she got the patch home and let my dad read it – he said there’s no way it was going on my jeans.  Mom was confused until dad pointed out the word that she was mistaking for another word.

By today’s standards, it’s not a big deal at all – but back then – it really was.

Smokey the Bear was saying…

HELL, DON’T FOLLOW ME, I’M LOST TOO!

My poor mom thought it said WELL.

LOL – she spent a few hours working on that patch – making the H into a W.  It’s a funny memory – my mom, the sewing machine, the patch and a lot of red thread.

I got to wear it – for a good long while.  It was on the back pocket of my favorite pair of jeans.

We also put patches on Army jackets – we had an Army Surplus store in our city where we’d go get the jackets – we wore them over tee shirts with jeans.

It was a simple time.  I don’t apologize or cringe with embarrassment because I was in great health then, I didn’t make weird noises like I do now.  I had blonde hair – natural blonde – untreated hair and lots of it.  I could hug without hurting and even though we had issues in the government like Watergate – it still seemed like a better time.

At least there were consequences for actions in Washington back then.  There are not even attempts to prosecute crimes in the government now.  There’s a scandal almost every day – and while that gives some news organizations a lot to talk about, there are no punishments for wrongdoing – and I’m scratching my head wondering why?  Isn’t anyone else scratching their head wondering why???

I miss the days when right was right and wrong – was punished.  🙂

 

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

TL ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (3)

TO THOSE IN OKLAHOMA

On April 19, 1995, two men decided to destroy the lives of people and destroy buildings, cars and other property.  It’s referred to as the Oklahoma City bombing.  It’s considered a domestic terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City.

Because Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols made a decision to carry out this evil plot, 168 people lost their lives and more than 700 people were injured.  We still don’t have answers.  Of course the question on everyone’s mind is – why?

The short answer is – we don’t know why.  We know there is evil in the world – but where there is evil, there is more good.  The best came out after tragedy struck.  Local, state, federal and worldwide agencies helped in the rescue efforts after the blast.  Donations to help were received from all over the country.  Where evil crops up – good overcomes.

McVeigh was apprehended quickly – within 90 minutes of the explosion.  Officer Charlie Hanger , an Oklahoma State Trooper, pulled him over for driving without a license plate and arrested him for illegal weapons possession.  Forensic evidence linked both McVeigh and Nichols to the attack.  Nichols was arrested, and in a matter of days both were charged.  Michael and Lori Fortier were later identified as accomplices.  McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001 and Nichols was sentenced to life in prison.  Michael and Lori Fortier testified against McVeigh and Nichols.  Michael still had to serve 12 years in prison for failing to warn the U.S. government, and Lori received immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony.

I don’t want to focus on the evil today, but the good.  Those who helped after the bombs exploded at 9:01 – then again at 9:03.

The FBI conducted 28,000 interviews, collected 3.5 short tons of evidence and collected nearly one billion pieces of information.

My husband and I went to the Oklahoma City National Memorial in 2001 and took some photos.  I didn’t think after so much time had passed it would be emotional.  I was wrong.  The memorial was dedicated on the site of the Murrah Federal Building, commemorating the victims of the bombing.  Every year remembrance services are held at the same time of day as the explosions occurred:  9:01 and 9:03am.

It’s so sad because people were just going to do their job – trying to make a living.  No one thinks that walking into their place of employment will be dangerous.  Since then, we just don’t know if it’s safe to leave the house.  May God give us the strength and courage to live our lives without fear.   😦