Archive | May 2012

PLAY-DOH

Do you remember playing with it?
I loved to open up the little cans with the bright different colors….Blue… Red…. Yellow…..Green….White…(now they have many new and colorful colors !)
…..and the smell!!!   That distinctive smell!   Kind of a salty …doughy smell… once you have smelled it, you will NEVER forget it!

ohhhh……the hours spent shaping and reshaping that colorful, soft, pliable substance.  Rolling it in to a near perfect ball…. then into the shape of a snake!    The next minute breaking it in to two pieces and now …. a mushroom….. one more time…. a snowman!

Rolling pins, cookie cutters, knives, beads then start filling up the empty spaces on the table alongside the play-doh to fulfill the ever-expanding ideas of what was possible to create with this simple substance named….Play-doh.

I ….. was the creator….What ever I deemed fit to create… that is exactly what it came to be.  Well…. as close to what my talented fingers at age 5 could form.  It didn’t matter however, because I was pleased as well as my proud momma at what the masterpiece of the moment became.
After all of the ooohhhhss…… and ahhhhhhhs  were done… we smashed it back down in to that tiny little can…. placing the lid on tight so the next creative session would be even more productive than the last.

Sometimes …. the lid was not placed on tight and when opened was found to be less pliable… it had become hard and not easy to form.   It took a lot of time to work it trying to get it soft again…. Hard, dried up pieces would be discarded in the trash too far gone to ever work again.  If I had enough patience…and muscle… or my dad….we might be able to get the rest of it back to the consistency of what it had been before…. if not… well…. we would just have to give up on it….. trash it…… and wait till the next time we could get to the store and buy some more.

I have seen some “Master Pieces” of Clay …(the grown up version of Play-doh)!
I have seen some very “primitive pieces” as well!
I have seen some very “Odd pieces” that make you tilt your head and …… wonder….. !
I have seen some “useful pieces”….
I have seen “decorative pieces”
Who ever the Creator…. determined the outcome….. and by placing their name on it….  means they have deemed it worthy ….. valuable…..Theirs!

Isaiah 64:8 says:    We are the clay, you are the potter: we are all the work of your hand.

He has taken each of us …. individually…. and began to work on us.   Molding… and shaping… and reshaping us into that perfect “Master Piece” He deems worthy to place His Name on!
He has never made anything less than “perfect”
He has always taken special care and pride in His work!
Some are still in the process of completion…
Some are used for Mighty things….
Some are used for the seemingly trivial things…
But ALL are Worthy of placing His Name on!

YOU….  are Worthy of Placing HIS Name on….. YOU ….. are His    MASTER PIECE!!!

ROMANS   9  (The Message Bible)
20-33 Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn’t talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, “Why did you shape me like this?” Isn’t it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn’t that all right? Either or both happens to Jews, but it also happens to the other people. Hosea put it well:
I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodys;  I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved. In the place where they yelled out, “You’re nobody!” they’re calling you “God’s living children.”

Isaiah maintained this same emphasis: If each grain of sand on the seashore were numbered and the sum labeled “chosen of God,” They’d be numbers still, not names; salvation comes by personal selection. God doesn’t count us; he calls us by name. Arithmetic is not his focus. Isaiah had looked ahead and spoken the truth: If our powerful God had not provided us a legacy of living children, We would have ended up like ghost towns, like Sodom and Gomorrah. How can we sum this up? All those people who didn’t seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives. And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their “God projects” that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling. Isaiah (again!) gives us the metaphor for pulling this together:
Careful! I’ve put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion, a stone you can’t get around. But the stone is me! If you’re looking for me, you’ll find me on the way, not in the way.

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The Pied Piper


Do you remember that story?   The Town of Hamelin had a terrible problem with rats….they were everywhere and no matter how or what they tried they could not get rid of them.     A traveler came to town and made a deal with the towns people to get rid of the rats.   They agreed on a price and the traveler took his musical pipe and began to play an enchanting song which lured the rats to follow….. The rats were so entranced with the music they were hearing that they never realized they were being led to their death.   They drowned in the river…. All of them…. But ONE.

When the traveler went to the towns people to collect his reward…. They refused to pay him all that was agreed on because of the ONE rat still left.   This, of course , angered the traveler and he left vowing to get his revenge.
Later, when the towns people were in church, he returned with his musical pipe in hand and began to play.    This time, however, rats were not following the enchanting music, but the children of Hamelin!

Some say the children followed him into a cave never to be seen again…. Some say he returned them after they paid him what was due him.
What a story….!

I’m not quite sure what got me to thinking about that this morning except maybe of some things I have been seeing and hearing on the news and of course of Facebook.    Now, I know that some people think I have some pretty crazy beliefs…
but… I really have to wonder how some people can actually believe some of the things they believe!!!

Physically:
Some believe that you can eat … whatever you want … and never have any health issues.
Drinking alcohol day after day year after year will never cause liver damage.
Smoking…. Will never lead to lung cancer.
Drugs….legal or not…. could not become so addictive resulting in overdose and or death.

Socially:
Abortion is not murder and is a “right” the mother has because it is her body… her choice.
Freedom of speech gives us the freedom to degrade or demean someone else.
We can fully depend on the government to meet all our needs and never work again.
Politician’ are truthful when campaigning.

Mentally:
Dwelling on negative thoughts do not make us negative, angry or depressed.
Wishing things were different without doing something different makes it so.
White lies wont hurt anyone.
As long as I am happy I can do what I want.

Spiritually:
All roads lead to Heaven.
As long as I am a good person I will be in Heaven.
There is no such thing as Heaven or Hell….
God is a crutch for weak people.
I don’t have to go to church.

…… and of course the lists go on … and on…. and…. On…..

Why do we believe what we believe?
“That’s the way my parents/grandparents have always believed…”
“I was taught that way since I was little.”
“I’m not sure why I believe that way… I just do.”
….or…. have we been entranced by the enchanting musical notes that tickled our ears with ideas that made us feel good about the world…. Life… or friends… family… and Us….that we shrug off any kind of common sense just to follow the sound of what very well could be leading us…… like the rats of Hamelin….. to our own demise?

I know that I don’t have it all right… that some of my ways of thinking would clash with many of yours… and for most of them… it is ok!     In the grand scheme of things… it really doesn’t matter!    God made us different that way…
I love the color Purple….
I Love Chocolate…
I Hate cooked spinach…
I Love Summer….
I Hate the cold…
Those things are preferences that each of us have that will never amount to any life changing decisions…..
But…
The things we fight over… that we have sometimes very loud discussions…and deep convictions…
THOSE are the things we need to really stop….and think….

WHY do I believe this way…?
WHERE is it REALLY leading me?
WHO is it REALLY benefiting?
HOW will this affect me or others?

Be aware…. The music is playing… and the Piper will get his payment ….
One way or another..

TURNIPS

TURNIPS!
Oh…. the name…. Turrrnnnniiiipppppsssss…. doesn’t it just make you wrinkle your nose just saying it?   I mean….who would want to even TRY one with that name?    Surely those who have tried them and actually liked them were probably not even told their name until AFTER they had finished or nearly finished eating one…

Do you like Turnips?

Hominy…. another one that just sounds…. well… not appealing to my mind… not only to my mind, but also to look at it is something I just can’t seem to even want to place anywhere near my taste buds…
I can feel my brow raise and my nose wrinkle just thinking about it now….
My friend Lori however would say… but Teresa…. you have never tasted MY Hominy!….Well … maybe so … but that task is NOT on my bucket list…. and… will probably never be anywhere close to the top if ever it is even placed on that list.

Do you like Hominy?

How do we decide that we do or do not like certain foods?

These are just two, of many, that you or I could place on the top of our “I can’t stand” list.    Did we at one point in our lives actually try it (by the persistent “nudging” of a parent or grandparent)…..

or…

Did we just smell or look at it on the table and make a decision there was absolutely no way we were going to put that on our plates and run the risk of never experiencing a new-found favorite…..

or….

Maybe we even thought at one point we did like it and because a friend or just a person we respected made a comment about how “gross” it was… we chose not to like it too….?
Hmmmm…..makes you think….

I know there were things I have actually tried …. and hated…
Some… I have just smelled… or saw… and made a decision I was no way even going to give it a try….
But… I also believe as a child or a teen, I was influenced by someone elses opinion.
Changing my mind on something as simple as what food I should or shouldnt like today just seems to be one of the silliest things any one could possibly do…… and yet… it still happens to our young people I would venture to say nearly every day….

Not only food…but what kind of clothes we should or shouldn’t like…. shoes… cars…..music… how we should talk…. who we should be…..subjects in school…. teachers… friends….

What is sad … is as adults…. some of us still let others dictate these things in our lives…. oh… the packaging has changed some, and some things have been added and subtracted…. but… still the same issues.

People…
Do we look at some and at least try to get to know them… see if they are someone we can be friends with… or learn from…and yes… maybe we find out that they are people we just prefer not to make a part of our lives….

or….
Do we make a judgement the first time we see them…. We decide because we don’t like the way they “look”… or the way they “smell” that we just turn our noses up and walk away not even giving ourselves a chance to see the treasure that is hidden deep inside of them.

or….
Have we actually liked someone and because of another persons opinion of them we chose to no longer have anything to do with them…?

I know that I have had people listen to things others have said about me.    Later,  after life has thrown us into the same circle for a period of time,  I have had some confess to me that I was nothing like they thought I was, or was told by others that I was.   Some of those have become close friends to this day!

I have to wonder while I write this… who are the Turnips and Hominy in my life….?    Who do I need to actually give a chance…?   Who have I decided I would have nothing to do with… and who… have I let someone else influence my decisions….

Turnips…
actually…. are not bad… really… by fixing them like a hashbrown .. have become one of my favorite vegetables…
go figure!

Hominy on the other hand….. well… lets just say that I have at least placed them on the bottom of my bucket list !

FILL THAT PRESCRIPTION!

For six years I have worked in a Pharmacy.    I have taken Prescriptions over the phone as well as over the counter from individuals ranging from a simple antibiotic to a strong pain reliever.   I have seen people come in who have just had to get a refill on a monthly maintenance medication and the Patient who has just been given what seems to them to be a life sentence with a prescription for insulin because of  a diabetes report.    Some, have come directly from the Doctors office filling the Prescription in hand immediately because they trusted the Doctor and his wisdom and expertise.   Some… however …. carry it around until they feel they absolutely have no other choice but to comply with the diagnosis.

A prescription, can be for a cure…. an infection of some sort…. Or ….If not “curable” a Prescription can  help us live longer, or better, by supplementing our bodies with the chemical our body lacks.
But…. If we do not do our part and take it to a Pharmacy…. and get it filled….AND ..Take the medicine… it will do us absolutely no good.

We can blame the Doctor….
“He didn’t listen to me.. take the right tests… He calls himself a Doctor….I thought He would help me…. I have gone to him over and over and still …. I am not getting better”!!!

The Doctor did his part… He DID listen and he DID hear your symptoms… your hurts….  problems…owies….
He evaluated the situation and gave his diagnosis.   He prescribed the answer by giving you instructions on how to conquer the problem you came to him about.   Lifestyle change….. changing the way you eat…..and or a medication to speed the recovery.

If we truly want to get better…. we should follow the Doctors instructions and fill the Prescription.

When we have a spiritual problem…. we take it to God.   We tell Him or symptoms….. our hurts…. our owies…
He Listens….He Hears…. He Cares…. He evaluates… and then…. He Prescribes!

He gives us a plan…. He tells us we have to make some changes…lifestyle…. eating habits… do some things we may not want to do…. our Prescription!

He has done His part!

We now have a decision.   Fill and Follow the Prescription….. or leave it in a drawer and run the risk of the pain getting worse…..the situation getting bigger……us getting sicker… more depressed….

We do that more often than we like to admit.   The nudging God gives us to do … or to stop doing…. seems like such a silly thing… or hard thing that we shrug them off…. and then…

We begin to blame God…
He doesn’t care about me…  He didn’t listen to me… Why couldnt He fix this if He is God…I thought He would help me…. I have gone to him over and over and still …. I am not getting better!!!

We need to do our part!   Sometimes, it is a simple “antibiotic” to fix our situation.   Sometimes it is some radical changes…. but it is always for our good!

I think that maybe I need to go and look for that first step I was given…..and….

FILL THAT PRESCRIPTION!

IT BURNS!!!

I am not much of a cook.  I never enjoyed it at any point in my life… I did take Home Ec. in high school … and that was fun… simply because there were several of us in one kitchen fixing a meal or yummy dessert of some kind.  When I got married and had kids… well, I HAD to cook!   But believe me when I say that the word “cook” is used very lightly in referring to the food that ended up on our table…. If it didn’t have microwave directions… it rarely got fixed.
Now…. I DO know how to make some things…and I have got my 17 year old convinced that I am a pretty good “cook”…. I figure he either is not very picky…or…He loves his momma very much!

Some of the things that I do know about cooking are:

Just because you turn the knob “off” on an electric stove…. does not mean it is instantly “off”
Not everything is cooked on “high”
The window between “done” and “burnt” can be pretty close.
Apparently not everyone’s smoke detector goes off while “cooking”
and…… You need a pot holder to take a pan off of the burner or you WILL get burned!

Now that last thing on the list is probably pretty obvious to any of us who have at least made boiling water.  THAT is one thing that is etched into my mind, but, I do have to admit that once in a while I have tried to just “scoot” a pan over or adjust it on a burner only to have a searing pain remind me that was a very dumb thing to do!

When we do grab a hot pan off of the stove…. common sense should tell us to LET GO OFF THE PAN!

If we continue to hang on to the pan….. we will continue to get burned…. 1st degree…… 2nd degree…..3rd degree….The pan may start to cool off… but not fast enough to keep from doing some major damage to our hand.   In order for it to stop burning … we first have to let go of the pan.  The pain however is still there… it may even feel as though it is getting worse as the nerve receptors begin to transmit their discomfort to our brains.   We run to the water faucet and try to stop the burn by running cold water over it.   It feels better for a while…. as long as water is pouring over the source of pain…. but … shortly after…. the dull throb is still there.   Even hours or days later when you take a hot shower or stick your hands in a sink full of hot water, you will quickly remember the pain of the moment you were burned!   It takes several days to heal… sometimes if it was bad enough…. you may even have a scar to remind you of what happened years later…. even after the pain is long gone.  But it DOES heal….the skin and the nerves are renewed to a place that there are no lasting complications…. IF …. we have let go early enough and have not let it get to the 3rd or 4th degree stage.

I have ….in life… been burnt…
Friends… Family….Co-Workers…. Church Members….
Sometimes it was because I was careless and wasn’t paying attention to all of the Signs of a “bad situation” and grabbed the “pan” of trust bare handed.
Sometimes it was just trying to adjust a trust issue or rearrange the situation only to find out the “pan” was HOT!

The PAiN is scorching!   It burns deep…..1st degree…. 2nd degree…..3rd degree!!!!
The longer we hold on to the PAiN the deeper it goes.  We can not begin to stop the burning until we LET GO OFF THE PAiN!

The pain is still there even after we choose to let go of it…. it may even seem as though it is getting worse…. We try to relieve the PAiN with tears….it seems to help at the moment while the flood of cleansing water runs over our hearts…. but… shortly after they stop… the throbbing pain is still there…  Hours…… days…. months….. YEARS later…. the pain can still be felt when we are placed in a situation where the ” heat source” shows up….reminded us of the day we were burned…. healing does come however…… with every day that goes by..the layers of our hearts can be renewed and totally healed with no lasting complications…..

BUT…..If we choose to hang on to that PAiN….we run the risk of deeper burns… 3rd… and 4th degree burns!   Once there…. the scars are deep!  Time heals… but ….Forgiveness is the  balm we must apply that will take the sting out of the burn.
Don’t hang on to that pain…..Forgive… Give it to God….. and….

LET GO OF THE PAiN!

ROSES

I love the smell of Roses….

To honor the Mothers in our church today for Mothers Day, each and every woman received a rose to take home. The many different colors in the “buckets” of water made a beautiful visual impact as each of us filed through and picked one that tickled our fancy the most. The fragrance during the service was an extra bonus to a fabulous Sermon and time spent with my Church Family.

Church over…. I headed to Carthage to go spend a little time with my mom. As I am driving I glance several times at the Rose…. picking it up… and breathing in the sweet aroma of the beautiful flower I lay it back in the passenger seat….BEAUTIFUL!!!! I left my rose in the car and went in the house to not only my mom who was happy to see me but 3 lap dogs that were EXTREMELY happy to see me…..! After lunch and some visiting time I made my way to my car to travel home and found my beautiful Rose…. in the front seat…. wilted …. from the heat of the car and the lack of water!

I picked it up and the flower toppled over on the stem….droopy and tired…weak…. and looking pretty sad. I took a whiff however and the aroma was still as beautiful as it was a few hours earlier, but ….for how long would it last? As soon as I got home I cut off the end of the stem to open up what could have been sealing off the head of my rose to receive any hope of revival and placed it in a bud vase with some water ……hoping……. that just maybe… It might “revive” with just a good drink of water….

As I went on with my afternoon, I didn’t think about my Rose until several hours later…. and do you know what?????

It was now standing straight…. tall…. and firm again!!! You would have never known that it had ever had a “head hanging down” time at all!!! WATER….. that is all it took! It was determined to not give up….. to live and not die!

I have been like that flower….

I have sat in church among many different colors and types of “Roses” …..soaking in a bucket of life-giving water…..Listening to the message…. Praising God during the Worship service….loving and being loved on by my church family …. standing straight and tall and beautiful … full of life and the sweet fragrance of The Holy Spirit all over me. Radiant and living… like God intended for me to be.

After leaving church… I am refreshed and strong…. and get in my car to go home and to go on with my week. As I go I can still feel the glow and sense the presence of the Holy Spirit on my life…. determined to keep this feeling all week until I can get back to church again on Sunday morning.

When I get home, however, and get out of my car…. I somehow leave my “Rose” in the front seat. I begin to get busy with “life”….

the things I have to do….the laundry…. the dishes… the cleaning… the cooking….paying bills

the things I want to do…. the movie on TV…..the computer….socializing

the things I need to do….. going to work… volunteering my time…

and when I finally take a look at the “Rose of my Walk with God” that I had left on the front seat of my car… I find that it is wilted…droopy…..tired… weak….defeated….! I gently pick it up… and breathe in the aroma ….. It is still there!   Hope…. is still there!   What can I do to revive it?   Water?   A drink ….of the Holy Spirit!

First… I need to cut off a part of that “stem” which has sealed itself off  .. and then “soak”….. soak up the life-giving water!   Before long….I am once again… Standing tall and strong… my head lifted high… not drooping down with defeat….ready to live…and not die…and ohhhh….. the aroma of God!  Powerful once again!

That water… that stream of life… we need it soooo desperately… we should never get away from it!   But…. if we do…stick yourself in the middle of a big bucket full of life-giving water….. and …… SOAK!!!!

RUN

I have never enjoyed running.     Maybe because I had asthma and it always seemed to catch up with me at some point….. or maybe it was because we would have to run laps in gym class…. One lap added for every second the balls were not put up which sometimes resulted it MANY laps…. Or maybe, just because I wasn’t very good at it…

For what ever reason…. I just do not like to Run….
Oh… but how I would love to love to…!

I have seen people run on the highway and wanted to know how that would feel… to get that runner high they all talk about…    How they seem to have this inward push to “go run” …. They will even get up at 4 in the morning …. rain, sleet, or shine …. just….to “run”…
but,  even when I try… I just don’t have the endurance or maybe just the will power to do it.  No pull… No push….no desire….

I do however….. sometimes…. get that pull to run….. “AWAY”.

Life gets heavy… it gets hard…. its just plain no fun sometimes!
There IS that inward turmoil and that push that sometimes gets very strong… it wants me to RUN!     It actually feels very strong…….almost an audible voice that says ……RUN…..“There is no way this can be fixed”….RUN…..”You have really messed up this time”….. RUN….”it is getting too hard”….RUN…..”No one cares”…RUN….!!!!!!
That pull…. That push…..Can really get very strong!!

But….

There is a Voice that is deep inside …. Much stronger than that push…. That Voice…. If we really listen to what it is telling us …assures us that we CAN get through ANYTHING and EVERYTHING we have in front of us.    Sometimes we have pushed that voice so far back to the far corners of our heart and mind that it may be a strain to hear It….

But It is there!
That Voice says….

RUN…RUN to ME….. When things get tough…. RUN….. TO Me…. Not AWAY from me.

RUN….The Name of the LORD is a strong tower…. The righteous man RUNS into it and is SAFE, high above evil and STRONG!

RUN….. with endurance the race God has set before us.
RUN…You can do all things in Christ Jesus!
RUN…. You are more than a conqueror! .

So… It actually is a good thing to RUN…. We just have to make sure we are running in the right direction…