A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

It’s not news to anyone that stress is everywhere.  If this is news to you, let me know.  Being anxious is a reaction to stressful situations – and often times anxiety is paired with depression – which is the worst feeling in the world.  Some people choose to take medication for this not so dynamic duo – but I choose to pray – and I pray so much…  long prayers, short prayers, mega short prayers.  I pray.  It doesn’t make me better than anyone else and it doesn’t mean that my faith is bigger than anyone else’s – believe me!  It’s just the way I choose to cope.  I cope and God gives me HOPE.

God’s Word tells us not to be anxious about anything.  Let’s be honest…  we do get anxious and depressed sometimes.  Just because we’re Christians does not mean we’re not human.  Putting our faith and trust in God is not a magic fix that keeps us more calm than anyone else – but the faith and trust we put in God is a way of showing the Lord that we believe HE will make a way no matter what.

In my 56 years on the planet I’ve learned two things:

  1. Prayer works and changes things.  It does make me less anxious and less depressed without harmful side effects.
  2. God in His perfect time is never early – I wish He would be sometimes because I tend to be a little more anxious as time passes without the answer being revealed; however, as I keep praying and trusting God and His right on time way of working, I know that things will work out and often times it is literally what I would call the last minute.  What I’m saying is that God is never early…  but He is NEVER LATE!

He will guard our hearts and minds and give us HIS peace that transcends all understanding IF we will trust Him and pray about every situation that crops up in life.  I’ve found that to be true.

Prayer and petition…  give it to God in prayer and in return He will guard your heart and mind.  He will bless you with peace in place of anxiety and depression.  It sounds like a very good trade to me.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  – Proverbs 27:17

Happy birthday to my daddy in Heaven.  I was thinking about all the great things he taught me and how many times I wish I could have another conversation with him.  I’d like to share part of a Father’s Day writing with you today.

Thank you, Daddy.  Thank you for showing me what it means to have a good work ethic.  Thank you for teaching me how to barter when I don’t have money.  I know growing up, we didn’t have more money than time, but there was always time for laughter, for listening, and for love.

Even though you built houses for a living, ours was the best one of all – not because it was more fancy, but because the love within those walls turned that house into a home.  I remember sitting in front of the TV in the family room listening to you laugh at some show.  I wanted to memorize that sound and tuck it in the back of my mind so I’d never forget it.  All I have left is that tape in my head… and I play it over and over again.  I would give so much to hear you laugh for real just one more time.  But you know what, Daddy?  One day I will…  yeah, I will.  – Linda Palmer

It’s always my intent to be a balcony person on this blog – an encourager and a cheerleader to folks – but I won’t be fake and pretend that everything is just peachy keen all the time, just so others will think well of me.

I believe there are moments when we are all balcony people AND basement people.  I believe that we sharpen one another’s iron – at all times.  I don’t believe that we are exclusively balcony or basement people.  I believe we are God’s children – and there are HIGHS and there are LOWS because we are all very HUMAN.  God knows us, and I don’t think it’s bad to admit that I’m not on the mountaintop every single day.

If and when I’m having basement moments…  I appreciate the balcony people who come along and encourage me in those times – but I also appreciate the basement people who are not ashamed to admit they’re struggling a bit.  If God puts a basement person in my path, it’s probably because He wants me to help them.

That’s what we do…  we help those who are going through a rough patch.  I help you…  you help me.  Iron sharpening 101.

We all want to be balcony people – encouragers – cheerleaders – energizers – affirming.  I’m no different – but if we’re honest, we’d admit that we all need someone to give us encouragement – cheer us on – energize us – and affirm us – once in a while.

The Bible tells us to sharpen one another’s iron – it’s a give and take – one day I encourage – and another day – I get encouraged.  It’s my intent to encourage and uplift others, using the wonderful Word of God; however…

If I have to be on a mountaintop 24/7 as I write this blog, maybe I’m not doing what I need to do.  If you expect this humble writer to be on a mountaintop 24/7, sorry to disappoint you.  If I’m not on the mountaintop, it does not indicate that I lack hope or peace in my life.  It just makes me human.  I won’t apologize for being human.  I won’t judge you for being human either.  🙂

 

WHITE CHRISTMAS

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Sprinkle me with water and I will be pure; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.  – Psalm 51:7

I love Lucinda’s new poem about a white Christmas.  There’s a stanza that talks about showing love and compassion at this time of year – about helping someone pick up items they’ve dropped.  I had to laugh because that very thing recently happened to me.  I’m not sure why the good folks at Walmart think that fourteen gazillion items can be stuffed into one of their plastic bags – and they don’t have to double-bag it.  Sigh…

I was crossing the parking lot and it was so crowded – people everywhere and cars lined up waiting for me to get out of the way.  I had left the cart inside the store, thinking I could carry the bag to the car alright.  I thought wrong.  The bottom of the bag broke and stuff dropped out!  It was everywhere!  I was so rattled and embarrassed!

I scrambled to quickly pick things up, although some things had rolled away from me.  It’s amazing how kind and helpful the folks around me were!  There seemed to be folks coming from everywhere to help – and many were showing true empathy, explaining that at some time or the other, the same thing had happened to them.

The people in cars put them in park and got out to help me!  Nobody seemed angry or upset – but everyone was so very kind and helpful.  I was silently thanking God for that.  As we all know, sometimes people are less than kind and compassionate to another person’s plight.

I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I did.

a-christmas-of-whiteAnd I’m reminded too that my neighbor is everyone – not just the person who lives in my neighborhood.  Every time others are kind and compassionate with me, I become more kind and compassionate with others.  We teach others how to treat others by our own actions and reactions, you see?  It’s a choice we make and it’s a choice to ask God for help or not.  I don’t know about you, but I want to learn every lesson I can from God if it will mold me into the kind, compassionate, caring person I need to be.

May all your Christmases be WHITE.  🙂

 

MATTHEW 6:26 ON 6/26

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Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  – Matthew 6:26

If you are feeling alone and forgotten today, this verse is just what you need!  We all need to be reminded that our God loves us more than anything!  In a world that seems to put less value and importance of the sanctity of human life – it does our hearts good to know that God values each and every one of us individually.

How can a great big God show such intimate and special concern for us?  I don’t have the answer to that question – but I know He does!

Our neighbors to the east have a bird feeder hanging on a metal shepherd’s hook.  They keep that feeder filled with bird food year around.  Sometimes I just stand at my kitchen window and watch the birds, especially in the wintertime.  I think of this verse and the old hymn, “His Eye is On the Sparrow”.  God provides for even the little sparrow – sometimes through folks like our neighbors.

My mom-in-love used to tear a slice of bread up almost every day to feed the birds.  She didn’t have much money, and I don’t think she ate very much herself, but she was bound and determined that the birds would not starve.  We used to remind her that God would take care of the birds, and she needed to take care of herself.  I don’t think she listened.  LOL!

It’s God’s desire to have an ongoing relationship with each of us throughout our life’s journey.  He loves us so much and cares about every little thing that’s happening in our lives.

HIS FAITHFULNESS RENEWS MEJust knowing that God takes such good care of the sparrows and cares even more about us…  makes me think that He will also cause us to soar like eagles!  With His help, we really do fly above the chaos that is life and run like an antelope without growing faint.

What’s stopping you today?  You are armed with the knowledge that the God of the universe favors you and wants to help you live life in a whole and happy way.  That leaves me feeling hopeful for the future.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (21)

Doing good things enriches the soul.  – Dustin James

There was a young lady standing by the roadside in 10 degree weather.  She was holding a sign that said “Homeless – anything helps.”  Dustin was prompted to go to a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts to buy her a cup of coffee.  He said the look on her face was priceless.

Each one of us is God’s special work of art… a painting like no other in all of time.  – Joni Earreckson Tada

The Bible tells us that we may be entertaining angels unaware.  How many times do we cross paths with angels, but miss the opportunity to entertain them because we are too self-absorbed or think we have no time?  We’ve all seen people standing by the side of the road with signs.  We’re scared to stop or to get involved because there really are some evil people in the world who use that as a rouse to attract others for their own evil purposes.

The conversation goes like this…  “I’d help, but if you give them money, they’ll just go buy cigs or booze or something like that.”  That sounds weak to me.

There are smart ways to help others…

If I’m impressed to meet a need, I make sure my husband is close by and I don’t give anyone cash.  I ask what the need is – if it’s a meal, I’ll buy it – if it’s gasoline for their car, I’ll buy it.  That’s how we give – we provide the need at hand to help them along their way.

Sometimes the person isn’t standing there with a sign.  One Thanksgiving we were at a restaurant.  When the waitress came to take our order, I felt a nudging from God’s Holy Spirit.  I didn’t know what her issue was, but God did and that’s all that matters.  We’ll never know if what we did helped, but we trust that God helped her through her issues.

WHERE JESUS IS HEARD

When God’s Holy Spirit impresses on you to act – you act – it’s as simple as that.  I believe that He guides me quite literally through my life and lets me know when I need to help someone – and He also lets me know when I need to walk away from someone.  God’s Spirit keeps me safe and helps me live the kind of life that is pleasing to Him.  I don’t apologize for my lifestyle.  I believe it’s the best life a person can choose to live.

I was so encouraged when I read Dustin’s story today.  I pray that we all stop to see the signs that others are holding up – whether they are literally holding a sign up or not.  May we be more sensitive to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit in 2016.  ❤

 

 

MATTHEW 10:14 ON 10/14

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Whoever doesn’t receive you, nor hear your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust from your feet.  – Matthew 10:14

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How much time, talent and treasure are you prepared to spend on a person when their eternal destination is uncertain?  When is it time to stop trying and walk away, shaking the dust off your feet (or sneakers) as you leave their house?

I struggle with this because I’m an eternal optimist!  I don’t believe God gives up on anyone…  ever – so therefore, who am I to give up?  But then I see this verse and I’m reminded that not everyone is going to accept my message.  I might add, in this modern age, very few will accept it…  sadly.

There’s a commercial playing on TV that reminds me of this Scripture – an advertisement for Choice Hotels:

https://youtu.be/EZVxDzDUXNY

Or there is this one – I’ll post it just as soon as I quit laughing – it’s so funny…

https://youtu.be/YtvFhC1vmDo

Just a quick note…  I had that job – and I think I remember that guy picking on his toes – I think he was in the cubicle next to mine.  Yeah…  what a memory!

But when we are doing our best to share the gospel with others, how do we know when it’s time to stop?  I often wonder if I stop too soon.  Once in a while I wonder if I lingered too long, though.  How do we know?  I mean, this is their soul hanging in the balance – ya know?  It’s important to stay long enough – but to know when to walk away.

There are entire groups of folks that I cannot even begin to talk to – they know who they are.  Atheists, for example, usually don’t receive me, let alone hear what I have to say.  I always leave a conversation letting them know I will pray for them.  They don’t accept that either, but they can’t stop me from praying for them.  When I walk away, I am not angry or discouraged.  I’m sad.  I pray that someone gets through – at that point it’s all I can do.

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I think as long as people are open to hearing me, I’ll keep sharing my faith.  It may seem like a painfully obvious answer, but I think it’s the right one.  A few times I have received a sort of intercession from the Holy Spirit that lets me know I need to leave it – it’s like He’s telling me that this person is not “ready” to accept Him yet.  It has only happened a few times.

I guess I just want to make sure I stay long enough.  I never want to walk away too soon – but I don’t worry about it because maybe I’m not the one who is supposed to help them pray.  Maybe I’m just the one to plant one of the seeds along the way.  I’m sure that God knows how long I’ll stay to help and I have full confidence in Him – that He will bring the next person along to plant more seeds.  That’s what we do as Christians.  We plant seeds for the lost and sharpen iron with the saved.  Don’t you love God’s plan?  🙂

IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

IRON SHARPENS IRON

I don’t pay attention to how many people follow this blog, but if you are reading this post today, I humbly ask for your prayers on behalf of my talented friend, Lucinda Berry Hill.  We don’t know what the problem is, but we most definitely know WHO the Great Physician is…  Amen!

I want to share this bit of writing with you today.  I read it and had two thoughts:

(1) This is a long piece, and (2) I must share this even if it’s not in the form of a design.

Please read and pray.  Thank you!

MY FIRST NIGHT IN THE HOSPITAL

Lucinda Berry Hill, author of “Coffee with Jesus”& “A Second Cup with Jesus” © 2015

I’m sitting in this hospital bed looking for a pen.

I asked for my phone, some number, and oh yes,

My glasses.

But how could I forget a pen and some paper?

I am a writer, after all!

So I pray.

I pray that God will help my daughter sleep.

That she won’t feel tears in her eyes like I am,

And wonder where they’re coming from.

But that He’ll give her peace and help her sleep.

I pray that my husband will be comforted.

I know being in this hospital must bring back memories

Of the last time he saw his beautiful mother.

I pray for the person out in the hall.

Whoever works a mop at 12:00 at night needs prayers.

How do I know it’s a mop?

I’ve been professional cleaning for over 27 years.

I know a mop when I hear one.

And oh, those trash bags!!!

So, I pray for them.

Maybe they’re paying for college,

Maybe their little ones are home in bed.

Maybe they like the night shift.

Praying for all possibilities out in the hallway.

I hear someone nearby faintly crying.

I pray for their comfort

And the comfort of their loved ones at home.

I pray for my mom, 400 miles away;

I know as a mom now myself, she’s hurting.

I pray for her comfort.

I pray that maybe my night in the hospital

Will reunite some estranged family members.

I wonder what’s going on with me.

Is God gonna make me better than I was when I came in?

Will I have my strength back,

Being able to live a better and more vibrant life than before?

And then I wonder,

If it were my time to go,

(I’m sitting by myself in a hospital bed, of course I’m gonna go there)…

And I say yes!

My daughter is my main concern,

And if I don’t have her covered,

I can rest assured my God does!

She couldn’t be in better hands.

I know she will have a beautiful life.

Maybe not with beautiful things and people,

But with God’s beautiful,

With love, joy, peace and hope!

And then “she” enters;

A pretty young girl coming to draw more blood,

Part of an every 2 hour cycle.

And she asks,

“Do you need anything while I’m here?”

I said, with a giggle, “Do you have a pen?”

She did and said I could keep it.

Good thing, because I had a lot to write about and then

I prayed the Lord would keep her in His hands also.

I did a lot of praying that night

For so many people I didn’t even know;

And when in pain

I sang with Jesus.

**************************************************************

Lucinda, this is my favorite writing to date!  You are in my prayers, sweet friend!  May God richly bless you!  ❤

 

 

INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY

TL 2-21 INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY

2-21 MAMA LINGO

My friends at school used to tell me how lucky I was to be an only child because I got a bedroom all to myself.  Well, let me tell you, there’s a down side.  If something went South, there was nobody to blame.  It was on me.  I had to tow the mark, walk the line, straighten up and fly right and stop crying or I’d be given a reason to cry.  Empty threats?  Oh no.

I cherished the little spurts of freedom I got as a teenager.  I didn’t have a mother, I had a smother; you know, a mother that smothers and controls.  It’s not an insult – it’s a fact.  We both knew it and discussed it quite often.  I loved her madly, but at times she drove me mad.  I’m surprised I know how to tie my own shoelaces.  Every time I’d start to do something, I’d hear, “Oh honey, let me do that for you – you might hurt yourself.”

So I’m completely helpless today because I was not given the opportunity to do anything for myself.  Of course, today I am forced to do most things for myself.  Wow – I’m still alive, isn’t that great?

As a teenager I looked forward to sitting with the other teens at church on Wednesday nights.  I couldn’t sit with them on Sundays because I had to play the piano for service.  I was stuck on the front row, piano side from the time I was twelve years old.  That’s not where a teenager wants to sit in church.  Sigh.

On Wednesdays I got to be a kid and hang out with my friends.  We whispered and giggled and had some fun – until I made eye contact with my mom.  It was the LOOK…  that, “Just wait till I get you home” look.  Every daughter knows it.  You are soon to be toast and you know it.

The most free I felt as a teen was when our church group went out for a bike ride.  Here in Wichita we have a bike path that runs from 13th street clear to O.J. Watson Park.  It was a different time in the early 1970’s.  Sure, we had to worry about BTK, but other than that, it was fairly safe here.  We didn’t have to wear helmets or anything like that – we just showed up with our ten speeds and took off – it was great!  No parents and no responsibilities – just fun! 

I remember the wind in my hair and feeling free.  My life was one big responsibility – not that it can’t be fun, but not as fun as this!  I couldn’t mess this up, right?  There was no right or wrong – just fun. 

The car my folks drove was very distinctive.  Not because it was shiny and new, but because it was an older model car.  It was a 1968 Chevy Bel Aire.  I knew that car.  It was the car I drove to school later on – trust me, I knew the car.  Our biking group got about halfway down the bike path and took a little break.  We got off our bikes and walked around and I remember thinking, “This is really great!”  Then I happened to look up to see my folks driving by – my mom waving at me as though she was excited that I was still in one piece.  There’s that smother language talking at me again.  Sigh.

It was love and concern and I knew it.  I just shook it off, got back on my bike and kept riding.  I tried not to think of it as a lack of confidence on their part.  Sometimes I admit I saw it that way, but then deep down I knew they just didn’t want to lose me.  It can be overwhelming when you are at an age when all you want to do is try your wings and be trusted.  I really wanted them to develop some confidence in my abilities.  Nah…  didn’t happen.

Until you know that life is interesting – and find it so – you haven’t found your soul.   – Geoffrey Fisher

The language between a mother and daughter is very special.  There was more to our relationship than “the look” when she turned around to scold me in church, or the mad waving from the car when she realized I could ride my bike down the bike path without riding into the Arkansas River.  There were winks and thumbs ups and hugs and a sign language that only I could decode.

That loving smother talk just meant that she cared for me – a lot.  ❤

VETERAN’S DAY

TL 11-11 VETERAN'S DAY

KEEP YOUR CHIN UP

I’ve been disillusioned with my country!  Recent events have made me shake my head and say, “Surely this isn’t happening here in the United States!  When did we stop supporting our brave men and women in the military?”

When I heard about hundreds of Veterans being put on “hold” at VA facilities instead of receiving the care they so desperately needed (some of them died as a result), I was literally sick.  The men and women who willingly defended the United States deserve nothing less than the best our country can give them – there is no statute of limitations or time limit.  Whether that Vet served during World War II,  the Vietnam conflict or the Middle East, we as a country need to do our best for them.  Shame on us!  It’s an upside-down world when we pay a man so much money to wear a football helmet, yet a man wearing a soldier’s helmet gets so little.  I don’t understand why it has to be that way.

A Marine, Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, had to stay in a Mexican prison for SEVEN MONTHS!  Everyone knows that he has PTSD and folks like me don’t have a clue what he’s had to endure!  It chapped my hide to hear the horror story of what he went through in that prison for so long.  He even got so despondent he tried to take his own life.  What makes me so angry is that  the President of the United States could have picked up the phone and gotten him out much MUCH sooner.  Did he do that?  Does he care?  NO!  He could not be bothered – not in the least.  Not a smidge! 

To say I prayed is an understatement.  I prayed and hoped that someone with some influence – (that’s not me – hate to burst your bubble) – could help him.  My prayers were answered.  Two angels came forward to help Sgt. Tahmooressi – Greta Van Susteren and Montel Williams.  There are GOOD people in this country!  Praise God! 

It’s been proven that soldiers with PTSD are helped by service dogs.  We all know how comforting our 4-legged friends can be every day.  They are especially crucial for those who are traumatized.  Dogs have such a calming effect on us and they let us know it’s going to be okay.  For years animal therapy has been beneficial for the elderly and others who live alone or in nursing homes.

May our country take a turn for the better and be good to our military – former and current.

We need to begin to TREASURE and honor our military in the United States once again instead of disrespecting it.  Let’s thank God for the men and women who willingly defend us!

If you are a Veteran and reading this post – thank you!  Know that God is pleased and Jesus loves you!  Have a blessed Veteran’s Day!  ❤

 

MAMMOGRAPHY DAY

TL 10-17 MAMMOGRAPHY DAY

Today is MAMMOGRAPHY DAY!  The “what-if’s” are frightening, but it’s important to get the test done so you know where you stand.  The sooner it is found, the better.  Nothing good comes from waiting.  I’ve lost so many friends and family to this awful cancer.  I have yearly screenings and I encourage you to do the same.

Lucinda Berry Hill has written several poems to encourage those who are currently fighting this battle.

A GIFT FROM THE PAST2

WHEN NO MEANS YES

A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS2

BECAUSE I KNOW JESUS2

EVERY DAY STEPS

I PRAYED FOR YOU

IN HIS CARE2

PRAYER BY PRAYER

WHERE YOUR BEAUTY LIES2

BEAUTIFUL REBEKAH

CLAIMED AND LOVED

HE'LL MAKE IT GOOD

HE IS FAITHFUL

HIS LOVE IS EXTRA-LARGE

IN HIS ARMS

KEEP YOUR CHIN UP 2

LIFT WITH YOUR KNEES2

LIKE A FLOWER IN A FIELD2

MASTER OF MY THOUGHTS2

RIGHT AWAY I PRAYED

LEANING

It’s my prayer that these poems speak peace and courage to your soul today.

For several years I’ve collected Longaberger baskets.  My favorite ones are the HORIZON OF HOPE.  I don’t have very many, but I have displayed them prominently in my home in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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If you like baskets of any kind, maybe you would like to join my new group on facebook called I’M A BASKET CASE!!!  Here’s the direct link:   https://www.facebook.com/groups/669536513153216/

After having a mammogram a few years ago, I was contacted and told it was “suspicious” and asked to go back for another one.  I had a few days to sit and think, worry and pray (can you worry and pray at the same time – yes!)  When I got back to the clinic, they explained all of the procedures I’d have to undergo if the second test came back “suspicious”.  The technician explained all about breast biopsy and what to expect.  I was fighting tears – I just kept praying the test would not show anything odd.

I’m so thankful – the second test was not “suspicious” so I got a clean bill of health and was told I could wait a year for the next mammogram.  Thank You, Lord!

If you have not gone in for a mammogram – please GO!  You need to stay on top of your health.  🙂