Always Remember

Well, it’s day number 7 of 2018 – how’s it going?  My new year is fantastic!  I went in for my final appointment with the surgeon – and I got cut loose!  I’m officially mobile and getting into trouble again on a regular basis.  It’s great to be up and going again!

God wants us to know that no matter what circumstances we face, He will be by our side, take our hand and guide us through it.  There are no endings while we rely on the Lord to lead us down the pathway.  There are only endings when we decide to let go of His hand and give up.

10-11 This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.  – Jeremiah 29:10-11

Have faith in God – you know He has come through in the past – so of course, He will make a way now.  He didn’t bring you this far to leave you alone!  I love the part of this Scripture that says, “I’ll SHOW UP and TAKE CARE OF YOU AS I PROMISED AND BRING YOU BACK HOME.”  I also love the reminder that He knows what He’s doing!  I sure do need to be reminded of that once in a while.

I love this poem by Lucinda Berry Hill:

Our God keeps every promise He makes to us.  We know our joy is not dependent on our circumstances – but it hinges on our faith in the One who is worthy!  Thou art worthy, oh Lord!  

Don’t let the enemy of your soul steal your joy because you’re focused on circumstances instead of keeping your spiritual eyes open with your physical eyes studying God’s precious Word.  It’s through His Word and the time we spend with Him in prayer that keeps us filled with His joy, hope, peace and love.  Trust your relationship with Jesus, and the sovereignty of God.

Isn’t she wonderful and encouraging?  I hope and pray we all have a wonderful 2018, and that the sovereign God that we put our trust in no matter what – will bless us beyond measure in our lives.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the terms speck and bolt…  Don’t try to remove the speck from your neighbor’s eye while you’re toting around a bolt.  It’s paraphrased – but short, sweet and to the point.  God doesn’t want us to judge others.  For one thing, it’s burdensome to take on someone else’s baggage and try to change them – and besides that’s not my job!  My job is to pray that God makes any changes in their life – and pray that He keep working on my life as well.  None of us have “arrived” and we never will – not until we get to Heaven.

How many of you watched the show NEWHART in the 1980’s & 1990’s?  Dick & Joanna Louden ran the Stratford Inn in Vermont.  Let’s take a look at the jury here – and the judgment.  In case Youtube takes the video down, this is episode 145 “Twelve Annoyed Men… And Women.” 

I like to “people watch” – it seems a harmless way to pass the time, and my husband would rather I sit on a bench and observe the activities of others at our local mall than spend money in a store.  LOL!  When we’re making those observations, we need to be very careful that our motives are right.  For example, if I see a young lady with tattoos, purple hair, and piercings everywhere , I should not assume anything beyond the obvious – those things are not what I like for myself, but I mustn’t say that God would disapprove, for we know that God looks upon our hearts and attitudes – not the color of our hair or how many holes or tattoos a person has.  I’ve seen some beautiful tattoos, but to be honest, I’m a coward.  I avoid needles at all cost.  I’ve actually started praying for the people I see…  I may be the only one to pray for them!  I ask that God be in their life.  It’s a short prayer – and even though I don’t know their names… God knows them!

I was raised to believe that we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God – there is no degree of sin – one is as bad as the other, so why judge someone when you can just as easily pray for them?  To judge a person is your bad – to pray for a person is your good – and God smiles!  I don’t want to make God sad, do you?

In this journey called LIFE, I believe we are to help one another as we can, and pray for each other always.  Even though I’m not able to do very much right now, God reminds me that I can still write, and more importantly, I can still pray.  There is power in prayer and I’m making prayer my first resource instead of my last resort!  Prayer is the most positive force in the universe.

God can do all things in my life, regardless of my limitations and pain level.  He will do great things in His perfect timing, and He hears our prayers.  it’s up to us to be patient and wait for His answers.  We know that He will make all things beautiful in HIS time.  Please send some prayers up for me, friends.  Thank you!  God knows what’s going on. ❤

When you’re tempted to judge, resist the temptation and make a conscious decision to pray instead.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRING YOUR MANNERS TO WORK DAY

9-2 BRING YOUR MANNERS TO WORK DAY

We learned so much from Ernestine, didn’t we?  She taught us how to behave in the workplace…  be tough, but use humor at the most crucial time (when you actually want to beat the tar out of someone).   She taught us that we need to wake up, get up, dress up (making certain you have earrings and a matching bracelet), and show up to work on time!   We also learned that it’s okay to snort on occasion during a conversation and laugh at the appropriate time.  Thank you, Ernestine!

When Ernestine’s job phased out, they introduced her to a computer and put her in a cubicle with enough room to turn your chair exactly one half turn in two directions, but not enough room to stretch your legs out in front of you.  She no longer worked for the telephone company, but for a health insurance company.  The building was in downtown Wichita, Kansas and she worked on the 6th floor.

Wait…  that’s not Ernestine – that’s me.  Okay – we’re talking about me and my job.

How do we take our manners to work with us?  I’m so glad you asked.  I happen to have made a list.  I made this list a few years ago, long before I retired.  I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to share it – and it seems the opportunity has present itself, so…  here it is.

  1.  Whether you got up on the right side of the bed or not is unimportant…  you must begin by looking at yourself in the mirror and practicing your smile.  Good manners in the workplace begin with a good attitude, and a good attitude depends on your view of yourself.  It’s true!  If you like you, then it follows that others will like you too!  I’m not advocating the self-love, can’t get enough of myself junk that hit songs are made of these days – NO.  I’m just saying a healthy self-esteem is a step in the right direction, that’s all.
  2. Pray about the coming day.  I hear you saying, “I don’t have time for devotions in the morning – I have to get to work!”  Did I say anything about having actual devotions in the morning?  If you happen to be a disciplined person who gets up and hour earlier to accommodate that into your routine, then good for you.  For the rest of us…  pray while you’re in the shower – God hears you there too, you know!  By the same token, if you get up early enough to take a jog or a run or a skip around the neighborhood – you are disciplined enough to take care of your physical body…  doesn’t your spiritual self deserve some time too?  Jus’ sayin’…
  3. Be geared up to have a great day, but be prepared for worst case scenario.  Don’t let anything blind side you.  Remember who you are and that regardless of what happens, God loves you.  People do not always love you, but that’s not in their job description.  Let’s face it, we don’t pick our family and we don’t pick our co-workers.  These are just people who need to make money.  That’s the only reason they are there – just like you.  Don’t expect to make friends.  If you do make friends, that’s a bonus!
  4. I had a pet peeve about elevator etiquette.  If you think about this rationally, it makes sense.  When you get to work and need to get in the elevator to get to the 6th floor, it’s okay to push the button and stand there – that’s fine.  But don’t stand right next to the doors of the elevator!  If there are folks inside the elevator who want to come down to the 1st floor, they will need to have some space – give them room to exit the elevator before you get on!  For Pete’s sake, don’t just charge into the elevator right after the doors open!  It made me cray cray when someone would do that and I’d be trying to exit with some degree of decorum and integrity intact.
  5. Don’t talk about anybody ever…  gossip is not pretty in a family, in a church, or in a workplace.  It’s dangerous territory – do your best to rise above the temptation.  It is tempting because some people can make you nuts, but keep that information to yourself.  A better idea is to just pray for the ones who grate on your nerves.  Funny thing, but once you start to pray for them, you don’t dislike them so much and sometimes you begin to understand them better.
  6. It’s perfectly fine to speak cordially to co-workers, but to stand around and chit-chat and laugh and carry on is rude and annoying to others.  It’s distracting when some are trying to think about – you know, work.
  7. Be available at break time or at lunch for co-workers.  Some ministry doors have been opened to me at work.  It’s amazing how much you can share with a co-worker about your faith over a Wendy’s burger.
  8. Did you know that when you’re talking on the phone with a person, when you smile, they can HEAR that you’re smiling?  It’s weird, but it’s true.  Genuine courtesy is refreshing.  We’ve all met people who seem fake and robotic where courtesy is concerned.  Work on making common courtesy a part of who you are as a person.  With a little preparation and thoughtfulness, you can be a person with genuine courtesy.  It’s still better to give than to receive and to think of others before yourself.

So like Ernestine, we can go to work all scrubbed up and spiffed up, with our smile, sense of humor and manners on board.  Have a GREAT day!  🙂

WHAT YOU THINK UPON GROWS DAY

TL 5-31 WHAT YOU THINK UPON GROWS DAYFinally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.  – Philippians 4:8

THINK ABOUT JESUS

In case you think that positive thinking is a new thing…  take a look at this Scripture in Philippians, written so long ago by the Apostle Paul!  We’re encouraged to think on the following:

  • THINGS THAT ARE TRUE.  There isn’t much truth to be found in the world today, is there?  If you follow politics at all, you know how often the subject of dishonesty and crookedness comes up.  Sadly, we know more about what truth does NOT look like than what it does look like.  What is true – what do we need to think about and focus our attention on?  Glad you asked.  The same Bible written so long ago is the inspired Word of God Himself.  It is what we trust without question.  We make decisions after consulting it and praying to our God through Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, the only One we can depend on completely.  A true thought is one that aligns with God’s laws and ways.
  • THINGS THAT ARE HONORABLE.  Honor is not a word we hear much anymore.  Do people in our world today know what it means?  It is a thought worthy of reputation; a thought that deserves respect or esteem. An honorable thought is what is right while transacting business, but it embraces also much more, and means that the Christian is to show respect to all the venerable and proper customs of society, when they did not violate conscience or interfere with the law of God.
  • THINGS THAT ARE JUST.  A just thought is one that “squares” with God, with your neighbor and with yourself.  It agrees with God’s justice and His righteousness.  It’s not judging, for only God is a judge for humanity – rather it is a thought that never gives up and holds out hope for everyone, for we know that’s what Jesus does.  He wants everyone to come to Him for saving grace.  Whosoever surely meaneth me…  and anyone else who will come to Christ for salvation.
  • THINGS THAT ARE PURE.  A pure thought refers to the state of mind and behavior of the body.  We need God’s help to achieve all of these, but in our day and age, to have pure thoughts is not possible without God’s Holy Spirit.  The moral standards these days do not lend themselves to chastity, but that does not mean that God accepts less than His best from us.  God gave you one mind and one body.  He wants HIS best for you.  He does not want you to settle for anything less.  He wants to help you develop pure thoughts and pray for the right relationship in His perfect time.
  • THINGS THAT ARE LOVELY.  A lovely thought is productive and positive in its intention.  It’s born of a good clean way of living and proper code of conduct.  It has to do with a temperament check that God’s Holy Spirit is happy to perform on His children if they ask Him to.  Think of it this way…  if we are children of a patient, loving Heavenly Father, how does it look to others if we are sour, crabby or irritable?  How confusing that must be to them!  It’s not helpful and does not reflect well on Christianity to find fault with everything, is it?  Keep your temper in check – better yet, ask God’s Holy Spirit to “check” it.  He will.
  • THINGS THAT ARE OF GOOD REPORT.  If you got a bad report card, would you show it to all your friends and family?  Of course you wouldn’t!  You’d possibly want to hide it from everyone.  But thoughts that are of good report are ones that you are anxious to share with others because they are ones that are beneficial for your fellow-man.  I’m sure we can all think of charitable institutions that are highly regarded and of excellent reputation.  These began with a thought of good report!  These thoughts are born of a sense of not only charity, but of courtesy, kindness, and respect.

Paul knew he couldn’t possibly hit on every single sort of thought a Christian should have, so he added that if any thought holds virtue or is worthy of praise – think on these things.

Negativity equals negative thinking – and that keeps Christians in neutral.  If we ask God’s Holy Spirit to help us, He will help our thinking be so much more positive – which equals productivity – and that keeps Christians pedaling forward, praising God along the way and being the positive influence on the world that God intended us to be!

The best part of all this is, if we ever feel as though we’re falling short of God’s best thoughts (and we all have fallen short) all we have to do is ask God, through Jesus, to forgive us and put us back on track.  He is so faithful to do that for us because He loves us so much!  🙂

 

PETITE AND PROUD DAY

TL 5-4 PETITE & PROUD DAY

At 5’2″ and 1/4…  I think I qualify as PETITE!  When people ask me how tall I am, I emphasize that I am 5’2 PLUS 1/4″ because let’s face it, I need every bit of height I can get!  In the 1970’s I took advantage of wedge-style shoes – you know, the ones with stacked soles that make you feel like a giant without making your feet feel too bad?  And back then they were natural colored leather – ah, I loved those.  We carried the natural leather bags that matched – it was like we were flower children, embracing all things natural.

I wanted to be just like Farrah…  but as the years went by, I learned to love and appreciate Linda.  Did you know the minimum height to do modeling in the 1970’s was 5’7″???  I’m not sure why I remember that, other than I remember thinking, “Well, there went that career opportunity down the tubes!” 

7dcadcf6b12c0f37cc17459a5570e54f

c326bcc021860d109c3244451a1201dc087512b826f55a61d5563e1cacbaa1afI had a pair that look like “C” – with the flower cutout design.  d6f55abc12a29f0918041a5ec2cdc8d1

Let’s face it…  a person with short legs has a very difficult time wearing bell-bottom jeans!  There’s just not enough length there to begin with!  Women with legs that never end can wear anything…  but for a short gal, I think I nailed it. But… I so wanted to look like Farrah…  I loved her name, her hair, the fact that she had legs…  and who didn’t???  She was beautiful!!!e5bf1246a0b07b78aa462f00fa84a142Farrah never had to wear heels for height – she was just so pretty.c37aa2500154abf05d879b49b7a41ed9Yes, the clutch bag brings back a memory or two as well.

I rocked “short” even as a youngster.  I did an essay in school called “Does a Person’s Height Make Them More Successful?”  Sadly, the answer is yes.  The taller a person is, the more respected they are and the further ahead they get.  So, short people have a hurdle to jump (no pun intended) – tall people jump hurdles easier too.  We get overlooked (again, no pun intended) until we speak – and if we don’t speak up, we will not be heard.  When I speak – it has to be loud so that people will look down and notice me.  It’s true.

There was a popular song back in the 1970’s that made me crazy.  It was called SHORT PEOPLE.  Ugh…  ok – here it is:  wake me up when it’s over.

Now that I’m older and the fashions have gotten more kind to all body types, I don’t feel so bad about being short.  That’s why today I am celebrating Petite and Proud Day!  I may as well embrace my petite, because it’s not likely to change anytime soon, ya know???5-4 PETITE & PROUD

I believe it has less to do with stature and physical traits – and more to do with personality, positive attitude, charisma and the traits that come from deep down inside your soul.  Get to know a short person from the inside out…  it will bless your day!  🙂

NATIONAL AWKWARD MOMENTS DAY

TL 3-18 NATIONAL AWKWARD MOMENTS DAY

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

I’ve lived on this planet for nearly five and a half decades…  and believe me when I say I’ve had my share of AWKWARD moments!  With every one of them, I’ve learned to shake it off and move on as I laugh (and pee a little…)  sorry – TMI.

There’s a reason that Taylor Swift’s song, Shake It Off resonates with the masses.  We’re all too human and that means we are not perfect, which means that at times we are all awkward and experience awkward moments.  The good news is – our awkward moments in life are not life-altering.  We know that God works ALL things for our good – and by all, I mean – ya know… ALL! 

That’s why we must not give up – on anything!  We have to remember that every day will not be filled with roses and violin music!  If it was, we’d have precious little to share in the way of life experience – let alone, things to look back on and have a hearty laugh!  Some things make us more human, and the humanity is the part that we all have in common.  It makes us more relatable to one another.

So, with a humble heart and blushing cheeks, I share my most awkward moment in ministry.  I wouldn’t trade this day for anything, yet I definitely would not like to relive it either.  :-/

I GUESS IT'S TRUE

Being part of ministry in any capacity is never a waste of time.  Remember the words to the old hymn…

Only one life, so soon ’twill be past.  Only what’s done for Christ will last.

There can be – shall I say, “awkward moments” along the way.  We know that God leads the way and He gave us many safe trips for sure!  Awkward moments happen though – with people and situations.  :-/

From the mid 1980’s through the mid 1990’s, my husband and I were part of a gospel quartet.  We spent time traveling around and ended up in a small town in Kansas for a Sunday evening service.  I decided to wear blue jeans and a tee-shirt for traveling, certain that there would be a place to change my clothes.

When we got to the church, we got all set up and was ready to practice to adjust the sound and so forth…  I casually looked around the small church, but did not see a restroom.  I began to panic a little and pray a lot.  I needed to put my dress on for the concert.

About that time, the pastor walked in – all smiles.  I was nearly in tears.  I was embarrassed to ask, so had my husband ask if there was a restroom.  When my husband came back to tell me – I could tell by the look on his face – this was not going to be good.  The restroom was an outhouse.  Yep – and that’s where I changed clothes.

I got ‘er done, folks!  Dignity intact, I’m happy to report.  Then we played a few more songs in the sanctuary – and noticed a scraggly old dog had walked into the church.  He decided to lay down in the aisle and listen.  We played one song – then the dog got up, turned around and walked right back out the door.  LOL!!!

My husband said…  Now THAT’S a critic!  🙂

 

WORLD BOOK DAY

TL 3-3 WORLD BOOK DAY

There are so many great books to read, but a few come to mind that seem especially right for the season of Lent.  Here are my top ten picks:

  1.  Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  He has been called America’s first great Christian writer.  If you like a bit of mystery thrown in as you learn, you’ll enjoy the Reverend Hooper in The Minister’s Black Veil.  His veil, like the gray cross on some of our foreheads on Ash Wednesday, proclaims the sinfulness of our hearts and forces us to reckon with it before God, alone.  I like this book because it’s a compilation of short stories, so I don’t get bored.
  2. Think Well On It:  Consideration on the Great Truths of the Gospel by Richard Challoner.  Well written and thought-provoking.  If you want to meditate and deepen your understanding of the Bible, this is a great book to help you.
  3. He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado.  I’ve read this book every year during the Lent season since 2009.  I never get tired of reading of the outstanding and perfect LOVE with which my Savior went to the cruel cross of Calvary. https://youtu.be/gnKiJnQAgsk
  4. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.  I’m only on the first chapter, but it sets a great tone for Lent.  It talks about how we need to deny our own vanity – and all the sins to which it leads.
  5. The Power of Less:  The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential in Business and in Life by Leo Babauta.  By setting limits for yourself and making the most of the resources you already have, you will be happier and feel lighter in your own life.  Contentment in Christ alone is what we all want.
  6. He Leadeth Me by Walter J. Ciszek.  God has powerfully used this book in my life.
  7. The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur:  The Woman Whose Goodness Changed Her Husband from Atheist to Priest by Elisabeth Leseur.This inspiring book gives you a splendid example of how to live as a Christian in a secular environment that can be indifferent or hostile to your Faith. For Elisabeth Leseur had two great loves: God and her husband Felix, who was an atheist. Felix loved Elisabeth as well; yet to their mutual sorrow, he couldn’t share the life of the Spirit that Elisabeth cherished.Occasionally the happiness of their life together in upper-class Parisian society was shattered by Felix’s frustration and impatience. How could such an intelligent woman waste her time, as he saw it, with ignorant superstitions? Sometimes he and his friends would even ridicule and mock her faith.But Elisabeth loved Felix too much to allow their home to degenerate into an emotional war zone. She realized that confrontations and arguments were useless; she chose instead to keep quiet and pray for Felix. In her secret diary she recorded how she used his efforts to destroy her faith as means to grow in love for him and for God.Throughout their life together, it grieved Elisabeth to think that Felix might be separated from her for all eternity because of his rejection of God.For her, life in Heaven wouldn’t be happy without him. Yet when she died prematurely, Felix was still an unbeliever.The story doesn’t end there. When Felix found this diary, he discovered how Elisabeth’s whole life bore witness to the truth of the God she loved.

    In time, Felix was transformed by the diary and his memories of Elisabeth. He became a Christian and, later, a priest. Now she may even be declared a saint. Elisabeth’s diary and spiritual writings (all included in this one volume) map out for you a path to marital harmony and greater love for God — especially if you love someone who stands outside the Faith. Let Elisabeth’s two great loves, and her faith and perseverance, inspire you now.  This is an amazing book, an amazing journey which brought me to tears more than once.

  8. I Believe in Love by Fr. Jean C.J. d’Elbee.  Based on St. Therese’s little way, it stresses confidence in and abandonment to Jesus.  I’m reading it a few pages at a time.  It’s written with such depth that a little dab will provoke thought and provide inspiration.
  9. Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg.  A life changing guide about prayer.  It helps us discover how to increase loving thought and feelings toward family, then friends, then people we are ambivalent about, then people we dislike and eventually, all people.  It’s a perfect book for our journey to become more like Christ.
  10. Heart of the World by Hans Urs von Balthasar.  Pure paschal poetry of distilled Gospel.

I am actually very partial to one particular book – and I’ll bet you know what one!  😉  I want to encourage you to read Lucinda Berry Hill’s A SECOND CUP WITH JESUS, the follow-up to her popular book, COFFEE WITH JESUS.  Both of the books are excellent, but of course I’m going to recommend the one that she so graciously asked me to write prayers to go with her wonderful poetry.

I want to share the poetry for both books, in which Lucinda so cleverly used the titles of the poems in the book to write a poem!

Here’s the one for COFFEE WITH JESUS:

BE BEAUTIFUL YOU ARE GOD'S CHOICE

And here’s the poem with the titles from her book A SECOND CUP WITH JESUS:

FINDING HOM WITH A GOD OF ALWAYS

I hope you’ll check some of these books out.  They’re good reads no matter what time of year, but seem especially good during Lent.  I’d love to hear what your favorites are.  Please let me know in the comment section below.  🙂