A Summer of Psalms

If I read one more article or series of articles about how to be happy, I’ll go cross-eyed permanently.  Every writer on planet earth thinks they know the “secret” of happiness.  Here’s my take on all that…  first, it is not a secret!  It’s in the Bible for all to see, if they’ll take a moment to read it.  Second, it’s not a mystery, this thing called happiness.  God wants to help us be happy.  So, relax in the LORD and you most certainly can be happy.  It’s not difficult – it’s not as complicated as people want to make it.

Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the conduit, the go-between, the bridge, between fallen man and perfect God.  Through Christ, we can have a wonderful relationship with Almighty God (isn’t that a humbling thought?)  Believe it because it’s absolutely true!  Accept the Lord, Jesus Christ, and you will be saved and your name will be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life forever.  It’s not written with disappearing ink.

There is joy in this life and real happiness, hope, and peace of mind and spirit.  Having said all that, I should add that this does not guarantee a life that is free of trials and tribulations.  This happiness the Bible speaks of is not magical.  In this life, we all have a set of challenges.  The great advantage Christians have is the Lord Himself!  He is in our corner as we’re fighting in the ring.  He has everything we need to fight the good fight!

There are some really tough circumstances in this journey called life, aren’t there?  I watched my mother accept a folded flag at my father’s funeral and didn’t think I’d ever seen a lower point in life; however, I could find joy and peace even in that situation because I knew my father was safe in the arms of Jesus and not in pain anymore.  I also knew that my mother was leaning on those same strong arms for her solace.  We hurt – oh, for sure; but, we knew that God through His Son Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit would be with us while we mourned.

I clung to the Lord when my mother passed away fifteen years later.  There are people who say that my faith is nothing but a crutch, but guess what?  I could name some real crutches in this world, and my faith is not one of them.  To trust a loving and forgiving God Who will never change His mind about anything – a God on Whom I can depend brings me comfort!  Things change at a rapid pace in this ol’ world (and it seems they change faster as we get older) – but my God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  I love that about Him! 

I find great assurance and stability in the notion that I don’t have to chase after the latest fad or gadget that the rest of the world has to have.  I’m less than impressed with the rich and famous, and in fact, I usually feel sorry for them.  To have your entire being wrapped up in things is very sad.  I know that happiness has nothing to do with owning the biggest and best toy.  Everything in this world is going to decay and turn to dust.  Everybody in this world will die and do the same.  Your relationship with Jesus Christ, His Father and the Holy Spirit is the only path to true happiness.  It is no secret what God can do!  Oh, that should be the title of a really great song!  Wink – I know, it already is!  Silly me.  🙂

 

 

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (21)

… where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  – Matthew 6:21

Your treasure – what you value most…  and your heart, are inseparable.  If your most precious treasures are the ones you can touch, those are also the ones that will one day rust or could be stolen.  The things of this world will not last.  Even money wears thin eventually – literally.my-treasure-boxWhat kind of heart do I want in 2017?  I want a heart that holds eternal treasures!  The hope of eternal life with Christ one day in Heaven.  The peace that only my Savior gives when things in my world seem chaotic.  A joy unspeakable at all times, under all circumstances.  I want to know that my actions and attitudes are pleasing to God, regardless of what others may say or do.the-treasures-i-lay-upThis year I want to be more of an investor and less of a collector.  I want to hug fewer things to me and hug more people.  I want to invest time and effort into mentoring and teaching when God opens the door of opportunity for me.  I hope to keep writing this blog.  I’ve gotten good feedback and interesting conversations started with it, and it’s my hope and prayer that it has uplifted and encouraged you.

The other day I was browsing in an antique store.  If you ever need to be persuaded that things turn to rust and dust – just visit an antique store.  I saw some old sheet music that I was afraid to handle because the paper was so delicate and frail.  The collections of antiques we acquire in this life…  they’re getting older every day.  Even with the best of care, it’s inevitable that they will turn to rust or dust – or both.

Maybe it’s not antiques you want to collect, but brand new shiny things.  Well, along with those brand new shiny things comes a different set of burdens – taxes, insurance, maintenance…  shall I go on???

Riches in Christ…  a heart rich with His grace, peace, love, mercy, and the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit…  those are the treasures I will seek this year.  That’s what I want most of all in my heart.  Don’t you?  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (21)

THE ESTATE SALE

Estate sales are so much fun because, like a treasure hunt, you never know what you may find!  There may be a house filled with things that you are sure you can’t live without at bargain prices, or it might be full of things that you can easily walk away from and leave behind.

All decoration is about memories.  – Mrs. Henry Parish

The last estate sale we went to left quite an impression on me.  There is a housing development just south of ours that we laughingly refer to as “the high rent district” because the homes sell for over $500,000.00 and the HOA dues are about triple what ours are.  We’re talking about a very nice area!

Ah!  There is nothing like staying home for real comfort.  – Jane Austen

I was first impressed by the landscaping as we approached the beautiful front door.  Obviously these people did not do it themselves.  It was professionally done.  At the door there was an intercom.  I suppose that is to announce your arrival.  We walked in the door and the foyer was lovely with tile floors and textured walls.  I turned to the left and saw the master dining room, separated from the living room by two columns!  Yes, I said columns!  Do you have columns in your house?  Yeah, me neither.

He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.  – Johann von Goethe

I thought about removing my shoes, but as I looked at others, I realized that I should probably leave them on or look like an idiot walking around in sock feet while everyone else was wearing shoes.

A little house, a house of my own, out of the wind’s and rain’s way.  – Padrak colum

The sale was fairly ordinary actually…  it would seem that even wealthy people use items such as cotton balls and heating pads.  I must admit, however, that the massive stained-glass window in the oversized master bath took me aback!  The his and hers walk-in closets made me think of our own closet space – and our bi-fold doors.  To those of you who don’t know – having bi-fold doors on your closet means that there are items in your closet that are hidden forever because you will never be able to reach them!

An open home, and open heart.  Here grows a bountiful harvest.  – Judy Hand

Back to the estate sale…  yes, let’s go back to those lovely walk-in closets!  I could see each item of clothing and for a moment I just imagined what that must be like.  I think I could stay there and find out…  her clothing was all too small for me, which came as no surprise.  Most rich women are skinny.  It seems so unfair somehow, doesn’t it?  To have money and be thin…  that’s just almost too much good stuff for one woman!

I wondered through the five more than adequate sized bedrooms, the fireplace room and a few rooms that I don’t even know what they were – not sure they knew either.  The man had a very detailed train set in a train room in the basement – it was marvelous!  The woman did crafts and sewed as there were supplies and some quilts that I’m sure she made.

In the very back part of the basement, I saw it.  That is when reality slapped me upside the head – finally.  The heart pillow – you know, that heart pillow that they give folks who have open heart surgery.  I recognized it.  I knew immediately what it was and what it meant.

Surely people with wealth don’t have health problems, do they?  Are they really human like me?  And, this is an estate sale, so…  either they are downsizing or they no longer need this beautiful home for some other reason.  Suddenly my discontentment was replaced by empathy and sympathy.  There’s a reason these things were being sold and a reason the house was being auctioned.

Isn’t it strange how we can look at things more than people?  I admit it – I had house envy and was jealous of the nice closets and the size and beauty of the place.  When I saw that little heart pillow, something clicked inside of me – because I remember our experience with our own.  My mind went back and I finally put two and two together.  Reality came rushing back.

May God help us all to look beyond the temporal to the eternal.  That house will crumble and fall one day, but those people will live for eternity.  No matter what background we come from or how much education we have, one day we will be called away from this planet.  May God help us to stay focused on the things that really matter – and those are not things at all.  ❤

PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORDThe most happy people are the most thankful ones…  so today, let’s give thanks to God for all our blessings.  Yes, I know we just did that at Thanksgiving – but guess what?  We’re going to do it again – and again – and again every day until the Lord comes back to earth to snatch us away!

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It must be very difficult to be parents of a teen today – they want so much technology – and that’s so expensive!  It’s a challenge to teach them to not look at what their friend has and want one too.  How can that be done?  Well, I think a lot of people are going into debt trying to make sure their teen has the best of everything.

A CHRISTMAS RAINBOWBe thankful for a Christmas rainbow…  what a gift from God above!

Teach teens the value of money – and the importance of being grateful for the stuff you already have.  Technology changes daily!  The newest thing comes out about 5 minutes after the used-to-be new thing gets opened.  Teaching teens how to be contented with what they have is an excellent strategy.  Let them know how many hours they’d have to work at McDonald’s to earn the new toy they want.  That’s a reality check right there!

Lord, thank You for this newly blessed day that not only gives me a shot at being a better me, but a future and a hope.  – Pauline Seaport

The happiest people are the most thankful people.  I might add that if we are thankful to the Creator of all – it’s that much more meaningful.  I’m thankful to God for all He’s done in my life – not just for the stuff I have.

Sometimes you have to stop dwelling on the ones who have done you wrong and start being thankful for the ones who do you right! – Nishan Panwar

Thankfulness for small things can bring a chuckle to me sometimes.  I have a habit of putting my pen in my mouth before I type.  Today, I got finished writing and was ready to type – I popped my pen in my mouth and noticed that it smelled like CHOCOLATE.  I’m not joking – my pen smelled like chocolate!  Call me crazy, but I was thankful for that!  If we live in a perpetual attitude of gratitude – it makes all the difference in my life.  I think God laughed along with me!  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART1

https://youtu.be/mrapIttS9qg

What do you think of crows?  Yes, that’s what I said…  crows.  You know, those rather plain-looking black birds that appear in large numbers around this time of year in Kansas.  What is your impression of them?  What’s that you say?  You don’t think about them one way or the other?  Well…  I used to take them for granted, but that changed on September 30th.

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There’s not a deep spiritual lesson in everything I see – not by a long shot!  I probably miss more lessons than I get, sadly.  I pray to gain wisdom at every turn.  As we know, the Christian life depends on two acts of obedience:

  1. Reading God’s Word, The Bible 
  2. Prayer

From there, God works with us as individuals.  With me, He leads me to living lessons, usually through nature.  I was out with my husband to pick up some prescriptions from the pharmacy and told him I’d wait in the truck while he ran in to get them.  Not an especially exciting story so far, but stay with me.

You know how it is when you’re waiting in a pharmacy parking lot.  I people watched for a bit – then that got boring and my eyes were trained on a bunch of crows.  They were huddled around something, which attracted my interest.  The longer I observed, the clearer it was to me – it was a very large slice of bread and they were fighting over it.

As two birds would start pecking at each other, a third one would try to fly away with the bread.  Barely able to hold it up, the crow was unable to fly because the bread weighed it down!  Forced to drop the slice of bread, the other birds would once again huddle around the prize and start fighting with each other over it.

Obviously the rule was ONE SLICE OF BREAD GOES TO ONE CROW.  There was no negotiation involved – it was all or nothing.  Win or lose.  I watched each of the birds try to sneak off with the bread, to no avail.  It was too heavy to fly with, but that didn’t stop each one of them from trying.  It made me think – “If you birds would just tear the bread into bite-size pieces, you could all have some!”  Of course, they are birds and do not think that way.

It made me think…  sometimes it feels like I have so much stuff that I’m burdened by it.  At one time I had things in a storage facility – which means that I was not open to getting rid of it, but not in a position to take care of it either.  It’s crazy to pay to store things that you can’t even see.  I’m not a hoarder.  It was a time in my life when I was leaving one home to live in a smaller space temporarily.  I hoped I could one day have my things around me – and I eventually did.

Have you ever put the slice of bread in your mouth and it weighed you down so much you couldn’t fly???

When I got home from the pharmacy, I packed two large bags for Goodwill.  I feel lighter already!  🙂

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

TL I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE (2)

What was happening in America on Saturday, September 18, 1909???

The largest crowd to ever watch a baseball game, up to that time, turned out in Shibe Park as 35,409 spectators watched the Philadelphia Athletics beat the visiting Detroit Tigers, 2–0, on the pitching of future Hall of Famer Charles “Chief” Bender. The A’s were second to the Tigers in the American League pennant race.

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SEPTEMBER 18, 1909

Guess what else happened???  My Grandpa married my Granny!  I don’t have wedding photos – I’m not even sure there are any – this plate is my precious possession to remind me of my Grandpa Frank & Granny LaVella’s wedding day.  Mama told me that it was hand painted by a family friend and neighbor.  It’s not valuable – but it sure means a lot to me.  Granny kept this plate hanging in their bedroom on the farm.

People really do get married at an older age these days.  These two crazy kids were married at 16 years of age!  I think they were married at a judge’s house, if I remember the story correctly.

They had a piece of farmland willed to them, built a little house on it and started growing wheat, horses, cattle and children – by the time it was said and done – EIGHT kids!

Grandpa Frank also drove a truck to supplement their income.  Granny did some sewing and took in washing to help out.  They didn’t have to buy stainless for the kitchen or even entertain the notion of indoor plumbing…  but they were two of the happiest people ever!  They had the same beliefs and the same dreams for their family.  They embraced faith in God above all and were faithful to each other until the end.

I get to thinking about that sometimes.  In their life, they were so firmly rooted in family and values, the fancy stuff wasn’t important.  I loved everything about staying at the farmhouse when I was little because something as simple as snuggling down in one of Granny’s quilts meant more to me than anything fancy and showy.  That squeaky bed was the best, and using homemade soap every morning and eating farm fresh eggs…  well those are memories that will never fade from my memory!

You have to have a dream so you can get up in the morning.  – Billy Wilder

In our day, it seems like we place so much importance on possessing the best of things and less emphasis on growing a strong family.  In the end, what difference does it make if we have a hardwood floor or linoleum?  I wouldn’t want to have an outhouse…  let’s not get nuts!

I miss that farm in Oklahoma…  I felt so safe and secure there in that squeaky bed with Granny’s quilt tucked around me.  It gives me such comfort to know that Grandpa, Granny, mom and dad are in heaven waiting for me.

Happy Anniversary in heaven, Grandpa & Granny!!!

They are with Jesus, and one day I’ll join them.  Maybe I could have that squeaky bed and one of Granny’s quilts in my mansion.  I may not need it since there is no night there and I won’t get tired.  Hmm…  I have to re-think that, don’t I?  Wink!  😉

 

 

AUGUST 1-7 IS SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE WEEK

TL AUGUST 1-7 IS SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE WEEK

SIMPLIFY – To make simple or simpler: as a :  to reduce to basic essentials 

b :  to diminish in scope or complexity :  streamline <was urged to simplify management procedures>

c :  to make more intelligible :  clarify

A SIMPLE LIFE

It seems to me that it should be simple to simplify, ya know???  No matter how much effort we put into trying to simplify, it seems we work twice as hard to make it happen.  Now, does that make any sense to anyone?  No, I didn’t think so.  :-/
Well, here’s my take on simplicity.  I honestly believe that it begins within.  How high-maintenance are you, and what would you be willing to live without?  I’ve had many friends through the years and have traveled with a few.  I never let them know I was doing this, but I was secretly observing the luggage they carried.  You see, the things we travel with are the things we are not willing to part with.
The more stuff you are willing to live without, the more simple your life will be.  If you truly desire simplicity in your life, it’s necessary to let go of some non-essentials.  I know they seem like essentials right now, but stay with me.  This may make you re-think things.
For example, do you need a ton of makeup when you travel?  I’m not suggesting you go without makeup altogether (oh, heaven forbid) – but there are ways to travel with less.  I take one container of mineral make-up, a tube of mascara, a shadow, brow pencil and lip gloss.  Choose one color of lip gloss and plan your wardrobe around that theme color.  I usually choose red in the fall/winter months or dark pink in the spring/summer months.
I believe simplicity begins with the discarding of extras.  It’s about organization and pre-planning.  To make life easier, surround yourself with less.  It sounds like you would be denying yourself of things, but it is the most freeing experience to rid yourself of clutter and get organized.
Recently I went through my closet and took out pieces that I have not worn in the past year – for whatever reason.  If you have not worn a piece of clothing in the past year, you probably don’t need to keep it.
In the kitchen, organize with cook ahead cookbooks, or go online to find some great recipes.  Here are 20 of my favorites!  http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/quick-easy/make-ahead-meals-0
If you cook on the weekend and freeze each serving, that frees up the weeknight to relax and enjoy your family.  Simple.
Teach kids to pitch in and help with things like laundry.  Even boys will need to know how to do that at some point when they get older, so you’d may as well get them involved now.  They will feel like they are helping out and it will take some of the load off you…  get it – load – laundry?  Never mind.
 When you make a conscious decision to make do with less, that is when simplicity will become a reality.  When you organize things a bit and enlist help from the rest of the family, it will pay off in the long run.
Give it a try…  and bask in simplicity!  🙂