A SUMMER OF PSALMS

In 1975 my thinking about suffering in life was challenged in a profound way.  A film depicting the Ten Boom family during WWII called “The Hiding Place” was playing at a local theater.  Once I saw it, Corrie Ten Boom became my favorite person on the planet.  I’m thankful to everyone involved in the film.  Nobody understands why my favorite movie is about such a horrific time in history.  Well, I suppose it’s because this film taught me about adversity in life and how to react when bad things happen.

We don’t like to think about storms, do we?  And yes, I guess this movie could be considered a “downer” to some people, but I walked away with the thought that if Corrie Ten Boom was able to lean so heavily on God and trust Him to see her through something so unbelievably evil, then I can trust Him for any bad situation I find myself in!  I was not depressed after watching it – I felt a peace and a hope that God is sufficient for any circumstance in life.  He is and always will be enough.

One day a psychologist friend asked me how I’m able to function in life.  We had talked a bit about how bumps in the road of life can affect us in negative ways as Christians.  The first thing people notice about me is that I don’t have children.  They become uncomfortable at that point.  Nobody knows what to talk about with me because the “go-to” subject of any conversation is kids.  How old are your kids?  What school do they go to?  It’s the most predictable conversation people have when they meet for the first time.

But when they ask if I have children and I say no, they’re at a loss.  They have no idea what to say next.  Once in a while I hear, “Oh, then you probably have fur babies then, right?”  Well, yes I did – but we lost our fur baby a while back.  Sometimes I just smile or nod yes to save face.  I don’t want two pity pauses in the conversation.

I was chatting with a friend recently and the subject of childlessness came up and I said something to the effect that I felt like a freak.  She said, “It stinks.”  It’s true – it does!  There’s not a thing I can do about it, but it does!  Sometimes you just want someone to acknowledge the fact that something stinks, ya know?  I felt better after she said that – I felt understood.

When I was younger, it was difficult to be around the women my age who were having children.  I kept thinking it would get easier as I got older, but now those same women have grandchildren and no…  it’s no easier to deal with that either.

The Bible says that children are a reward… which makes a childless person wonder if they are being punished Everyone’s quick to tell me that’s not the case, but that’s not how it feels.  One of my friends told me that the Lord may have saved me from worse heartache because perhaps a child of mine could have had serious health issues or something like that.  Well – I guess that could be true too.  I just don’t know – but I have to trust God.  He knows what He’s doing and I need to accept it.

God does surround me with songs of victory.  He helps me cope with all kinds of loss.  I can’t really explain it except to say I know in my soul that God’s helping me.  When it storms and I’m tempted to give up, I hear that sweet song of victory and I know it will be okay.  The Lord is with me.  Oh, and even though Corrie Ten Boom is no longer alive, she’s still my favorite person.  🙂

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

a-commentary-from-the-heart-46

I love You, O Lord, my strength.  – Psalm 18:1

I have pity on anyone who does not know God’s love.  Apart from God, there is no love because God IS love.  I get tickled when I read articles that say to keep the love alive in your relationship or marriage, you should do this or do that.  They never suggest such things as Bible study or prayer.  Heaven forbid that we should bond with the Maker of love as we bond with one another, eh?  ❤

This verse is short, simple and to the point.  David tells God that he loves Him and acknowledges Him as his strength.  Sometimes the shortest prayers we pray are the most important ones.  Short, sweet but complete is often best.  ❤

I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!  – Psalm 116:1-2

God created humans to have best friends – it’s as simple as that.  He wants us to have conversations with Him – lots of them!  Pray without ceasing – and no, that does not mean you spend your entire day knelt down in the living room – but there are days when you feel that need – and it’s okay if you do.  But most of us just think pray our way through the day.  Wow – did that rhyme or what?  ❤

It’s more of an attitude of prayer that goes with us as we live our lives each day.  The Lord does not mind if we multi-task, and He certainly welcomes it when we come to a place where we ask Him to help us through sticky parts – and what is sticky for one is not sticky for another.  We’re all different.  ❤

Don’t laugh at me…  but I say a prayer when I’m driving as I head for a 4-way stop.  It’s not that I don’t know what to do at a 4-way stop, but there’s 2 different kinds of people you meet without fail:

1) the person who doesn’t think they really have to stop – they do the rolling stop thing – like that’s all they have to do.

2) the person who stops and can’t seem to find the gas pedal to get going again.  I hate it when I start to go and they start to go at the same time and I’m like, “Dude, you had your chance and I got tired of waiting.”  It’s awkward squared.  ❤

So I pray, “Lord, please help this to go smoothly for me…  just help me get through this intersection without something awkward happening, please.”  ❤

This is one of my favorite poems by Lucinda.  Oh, who am I kidding?  They’re all my favorites!  I can’t choose…  but this one is really good and perfect for this topic.  ❤its-still-again

He wants to hear our prayers – even the dumb ones.  It’s part of true love.  When you’re really loved, you know the other person (or in this case, God) wants to hear from us – everything about what’s happening.  ❤

 

 

PRAYERS & WISHES FOR THANKSGIVING

tl-thanksgiving-2016-11-12-thru-11-24HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!  Obviously, today I am very thankful for…  FOOD!  Yes, family and friends make it all taste better…  but today is the day that is all about the big meal.  The day I allow myself to eat a hot roll and mashed potatoes.  I will – and I’ll enjoy every bite, thank you very much!

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.   – Meister Eckhart

Let’s say a prayer of thanks for our meal today:a-poem-prayer-for-thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.  – E.P. Powell

Of course I’m thankful for so many things…  so is Lucinda!

card-tables

What we’re really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?  – Erma Bombeck, “No One Diets on Thanksgiving,” 26 November 1981

I wish for you today fullness in a physical sense, of course, but also a spiritual sense of fullness.  I wish that you will not just see the blessings before you – food, friends, family, furbabies, shelter, warmth, love…  and yes, card tables.  But may you also literally feel a sense of thankfulness to God for all of it!  Have a lovely and blessed Thanksgiving!  🙂

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!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (22)I joined a gym.  I didn’t want to go to a gym where Barbie and Ken dolls strut their stuff all over the place and make people like me feel like a fat speed bump.  After careful and prayerful consideration, my husband and I landed at Planet Fitness.  I like the NO CRITICS signs and especially the LUNK sign that says if you drop weights or judge another person, you are a LUNK.  There are also signs around that say THIS IS A NO JUDGMENT ZONE.  Other signs say YOU BELONG.  Please LIKE their facebook page!

https://www.facebook.com/Planet.Fitness.Wichita.KS.Maize/?fref=ts

Even though I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin quite yet, I feel comfortable there – I know I will reach my goals in that kind of environment.

We have been consistent so far, and I’ve not gotten discouraged at all, so I plan to continue this lifestyle for the long haul.  For the first time in such a long time, I feel hopeful about weight loss and finally FINALLY getting my health back!  I have hit the wall…  I have no choice.  It’s either get healthy or pay over $400 a month for the rest of my life to take insulin.  I’d rather pay the gym and do the work.  I can do this – I WILL do this!  I have to do this. 

I have to share what happened on June 3rd.  As I said, there are signs all over the place.  They also have TV’s mounted in the center of the gym so you can watch any station you choose.  There is a PF TV that shows music videos and the PF advertisements in-between videos.

As I was walking on the treadmill I looked up at a sign on the PF TV that I knew should have said, DON’T FORGET TO SPRAY DOWN THE EQUIPMENT.  I know you’re going to think I’m off my rocker, but I promise you, when I looked up at it today, it said, DON’T FORGET TO PRAY.  That’s all – the “S” was too far to the left of the screen to be seen, and the rest of the message was too far down and off the screen completely.DON'T FORGET TO PRAY

Did anyone else see it?  I don’t know.  Did God mean for anyone to see it but me?  I don’t know.  I saw it though and obviously He meant for me to see it.  All I know for sure is my God is so good and so creative!  If He wants to remind you to pray, He’s gonna find a way and do it.

Tears came to my eyes.  If I had been among my own kind – my own “tribe”, I would have said, “HEY, LOOK YOU GUYS!!!”  Obviously, I was not among my own kind, so I showed great restraint and kept walking, wiping tears that rolled down my face (maybe others thought it was sweat).  I had to look up and smile, because for whatever reason, my God cared enough for me to remind me to talk with Him today.

It’s not a hassle, it’s not too time-consuming, it’s not a problem to converse with Him.  Call me crazy (go ahead, I’ve been called worse, believe me) – but at the moment I saw that sign, it was like God was letting me know He really looked forward to our daily conversation, and He would miss me if I didn’t show up.  I love that He loves me and wants my company!  Remember the song that Larnelle Harris sang called “I Miss My Time With You” – ???  Yeah – like that.  ❤

I’m loved, I’m protected and I’m heard by Him!  How many people on this ol’ earth can you say that about?  Most people just wanna talk and never listen.  God hears me – He always listens because He is a gentleman.  When I’m done talking, it’s His turn to talk to me.  I gladly listen, study His Word and look for signs everywhere I go – even the signs at the gym!  🙂

 

THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF AWESOMENESS

TL 3-10 THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF AWESOMENESS

3-10 GOD'S AWESOME PLANWhy is THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF AWESOMENESS on March 10th?  Well, because it is Chuck Norris’ birthday (happy birthday!), and is a tribute to the awesomeness of the myth of Chuck Norris.  So when you think about how awesome you will be today, think of that myth.  Perform some awesome deeds and kick some butt.

 We are more often treacherous through weakness than through calculation.  – François VI de la Rochefoucault

The concept was apparently conceived back in 2007 by a group of co-workers while working on a project.  I’m guessing they got a little bored with the project and needed some diversion.  Hey, it happens.

 Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.   – Aesop

Maybe today is the day you discover your superpower.  Some people can make this statement: “I’m left-handed, what’s your superpower?”  My dad used to say that – but me – no, I’m right-handed, darn it.

 Every character has an inward spring; let Christ be that spring.  Every action has a keynote; let Christ be that note, to which your whole life is attuned.   – Henry Drummond

If you are a child of God, you are automatically awesome!  Awesome Christians can walk into a room and make everyone feel better!  They are like a happy ball of sunshine – except they are the first to tell you – it is SONSHINE.  Christ is our source of AWESOMENESS!

The creators of this day invite us to perform feats of awesomeness.  So, what feats of awesomeness will you perform today?  You may be thinking it has to be something big and filled with fanfare, but I think it can be as simple as visiting with someone who may be very lonely and not have anyone to talk to.

THE VALUE OF LIFE

Maybe today, on Chuck Norris’ birthday, you can visit a widow or widower.  Sadly, our society puts its elderly away and forgets them.

Head over to caregiverstress.com and laugh until tears run down your legs!  Just click on EXPERTS & BLOGS and laugh with Mary Maxwell.  She is a HOOT!  Her dead-pan delivery will crack you up, I promise!  Mary is my definition of AWESOME!

Be awesome and visit an elderly person today.  There is nothing worse in life than to be left alone when you had at one time been used to companionship.  Losing a spouse in death is the most devastating situation in life.  Loneliness can be overwhelming.  And who knows, those elderly people might teach you a new dance step or two!  Uh-huh…

 

I think Chuck Norris would approve of us using our day (his birthday) to uplift the most forgotten generation.  Awesome does not have to mean loud.  Our God is an Awesome God – and He spoke the universe into being.  He didn’t shout it into existence.  🙂

INSPIRE YOUR HEART WITH ART DAY

TL 1-31 INSPIRE YOUR HEART WITH ART DAY

I’ll bet if I were to ask each person individually what real art is, I’d get as many answers as there are individuals.  That’s the beauty of art – there are different types of art because there are so many types of people with varied tastes.

Today is INSPIRE YOUR HEART WITH ART DAY!!!

When I think of art for my heart, I imagine myself not in a gallery, theatre, cinema or music venue – but in my prayer closet.  You see, if I was to go to one of those other places, I could soak up the art and it would be pleasing to my mind for a short while – but that is short-lived and I am hungering and thirsting for more.

 Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.  – Søren Kierkegaard

If I seek the Lord in my prayer closet, it’s a wonderful conversation.  Unlike the shocking art you see more and more in our world, God’s love is soothing to the mind and heart.  I’m reassured of His love and it makes me feel secure to know He will not change, no matter how much me and my environment do.

EXERCISE FOR YOUR HEART

Life is short, and Art is long.  – Nathaniel Hawthorne, London, September 29, 1855,  Passages from the English Note-Books, 1870

We can’t be sure what we will experience from man, but we can be very sure of what we will experience with our Father in heaven.  He loves us so much and wants only the best for us.  I think the key to getting the most out of this day is being selective about the art – and the art form we choose.  I choose prayer because I cannot imagine that any other venue could possibly do my heart so much good.

The art that does my heart the most good is by Thomas Kinkade.  Mr. Kinkade died on April 6, 2012 under very sad circumstances.  I’m not his (or anyone else’s) judge, merely an admirer of his work.  His art and writings live on to encourage and inspire my heart and the hearts of many others.  My favorite painting is “The Bridge of Hope”.  It reminds me that I was on one side of the bridge with my family, but they have gone on to heaven and I’m still here.  I’m here on the other side of the bridge now without them, but I know God is by my side and He will give me just what I need, when I need it – to live a life pleasing to Him.  One day I will cross the bridge too.