Archive | June 2012

What is Your Story?

Several years ago…. wow…. I guess it has been 16 years ago about this exact time of the year…My Dad passed away from a 2 year battle with Prostrate Cancer.
We found out about his diagnosis a week or two after I found out I was pregnant with my youngest son.   By the time we found out …. it had spread and was now in the bones.
The Doctors gave him 2 years at that time and informed him he was not allowed to lift anything over 10 pounds.    Reality check…..If Colin was a 10 pound baby (thankfully he only weighed in at 8)…. that meant he could not even lift my new-born baby, his second Grandson!!

From that day forward, as many of you know, was a series of ups and downs…. good and bad days….happy days…. sad days….reflecting ….remembering….. wondering…. what if’s….wishing…….waiting…….laughing…… crying…….. Praying!!!!

As time drew near the end of his battle…. I remember one afternoon when we were having what seemed to be one of the lowest days so far ….. I found my self just staring out of the large Picture window at the many cars that were going here and there in front of my Parents house.

I began thinking about each car and wondering where they were going….
To work?   Were they late?   Were they going home after a long day at work?   Maybe a few friends just riding around with the radio blasting and their voices singing as loud as they could to their favorite songs?  Are they happy?   Are they sad?
…..and then I thought….

All of those cars that have and or would pass by this house have absolutely no idea what we are dealing with in side these 4 walls….   They go about their day…. focused on the journey ahead of them….. and we…. sit….waiting… wondering if this may be the last day we will ever get to see…. talk…. or love on my dad.

On the way home that night…. as I drove down the Highway scattered with houses…. I begin to wonder about each home.
What was going on behind those walls….?
Each house…. a different story.
Was someone welcoming home a new-born baby….. Joy bouncing off of every wall!
Newly Weds?   Excited about starting a new life together and making that house….. home!
Struggles….?  Financially … are they about to lose the home they have had for possibly decades.
Divorce…. Has the couple finally decided after many endless arguments and strife that tonight is the night they call it quits?
Or like my parents home…. are the people inside that house I just drove by in turmoil, waiting to say their last good-byes to someone they love dearly?

Each house I passed that night…New houses…..Old houses…. Trailer houses…..Big houses…. Small houses….Dark houses…..I found myself wondering…..and then Praying about the people inside.  Each house…. had a story…..chapters being written even as I drove by…. and yet…. chapters that I would never read.

My Dad passed away July 12th, 1996.   Almost 2 years from the time he was diagnosed.  Cancer is a horrible disease!  It stripped a strong hard-working  58-year-old man of his strength, dignity, pride, and several years of life with my mom, my brother, his grandchildren and me.  He did, however, receive Jesus into his heart as his savior before he passed away!

Since then, I have gone on with life…. coming and going to work….doing things I want to do…. things I don’t want to do… things I have to do…you know…..LIFE!
I forgot about those houses I passed that night so many years ago and got lost in my own little world.  The scenery has changed some….old houses torn down that were there… New houses built that were not there….remodeled houses…. neglected houses, each now with several chapters added to its own Book.

Some of those houses I have had the opportunity to read a few pages or even chapters in their Book….Good chapters….. as well as sad pages…..
Many others…. I still can only see the Cover ….making up the story as I go….or simply driving by ….not interested in opening the book because the cover doesn’t grab my attention.

We all have our own on going story….Page by page…. chapter by chapter…it’s an ever twisting plot.  I am aware once again that the Cover is just that…. and read by me or not… it is still
an important story worthy of respect.

You can’t judge a book by its cover!

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DODGEBALL

Does that bring back memories!    32176_f5b5bf19a3aba022690e1fcf958060ad_0edfaefda77751a01d900f56da0f1780[1]
I can remember I loved/hated that game.  Loved it for the challenge and the energy of everyone involved.   Hated it because there was always…..PAIN.
The older we got in school…. the harder the boys could sail those balls through the air and smack you on the leg or in the middle of your shoulders as you retreated from the line of fire!   Most of the balls were those 10-12 in round balls which hurt bad enough….. but…. it was those little 3-4 inch size that could really leave a whelp for hours!

For those of you who have never played the game …..let me see if I can paint a clear of enough picture for you.
You have 2 teams of equal or close to equal players chosen by either the numbering off method….1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2…….or the Captain of each team calling out the names of the cream of the crop all the way down to the runts of the litter….    A row of balls are then lined up on the center court line as the players line up against the wall.    Each player is SUPPOSED to keep one hand on the wall in order for everyone to have the same advantage from the start.

The whistle blows….. and….chaos erupts!!!
Most everyone charges to the center line to try to retrieve at least one ball if not more before the other team can get theirs….the object now is to hurl your ball toward the opposite side of the court to hit whoever they can….some less aggressive team members lag back …. hiding behind the stronger ones…..waiting for a loose ball to snag and make their own attack.
Once a ball has made contact with the target…. they are now “out” and must leave the court to sit on the sideline only now to cheer on their remaining team mates who are still fighting the raging war in front of them, throwing…. running…. jumping……..dodging…..until,  there is no one left on the court from their team or the opposing team!
However…. IF someone were to catch one of the balls that was thrown at them…. the player who threw the ball was out…. and ….. one person from the team of the “catcher” is now allowed to return to the game from the sidelines.

Some games could be over in a very short time while others seemed to go on for what seemed to be forever.   Once over…. we would line the balls up again ….compare our whelps with our friends……. stretch our arms to the wall and wait for that whistle to blow…..determined this time…. to survive all the way to the end of the game!

I am not sure what got me thinking about that game…. Haven’t really thought about it for sometime…and then….. the analogy!

We…. are on a team….
We …… as Christians….. have been chosen…. not by the numbering method…..1-2-1-2-1-2   OR…. by a chosen Captain choosing by rank, status or stature….We…. have been chosen by THE Captain as an equal… a vital asset to His team.
Life challenges are then lined up on the center court line while we stand at a safe distance with our hands resting on our “Rock”….
When the whistle blows…. we find ourselves charging full speed ahead to retrieve those things we know or think we are to have.   Some of us, however, lag back, lacking confidence or maybe the intimidating glare of the opposite team will keep us from pursuing so we are content to just wait until that loose opportunity rolls past us before picking it up.

The other team rushes the line as well and with brutal force hurls circumstances at us that …. coming from them…. are not opportunity’s but situations that could….. if hit with one… could leave anywhere from a small red mark or a monumental whelp that will last for sometime.    Those little ones that look less intimidating when resting on the line are sometimes…. in the right hands…. are much more accurate….and deadly…. We continue in the battle…… throwing…. running…. jumping……..dodging…..and then from out of no where…. SMACK!!!

We have been hit!   You know what that means….we are now “out” of the game.    We must walk off of the battlefield and watch and cheer on our other team mates as the battle continues in front of us…..It looks like the end for us as we go over the I should’ve…. could’ve….would’ve and if only’s in our minds…. but we have forgotten one thing…..

THE Captain…. is on our team…. and He is a Pro…. a master at Dodgeball!!!
He is not only knocking out the other team players by flinging His own at them…. but… He has now caught one of the enemy’s ball and ….. you know what that means?!?!?!?!?
You got it!!!    He looks over at you…. calls your name…. and …. You are now BACK in the Game!

You may have been counted out by the worlds view of things…. but… when you have the CAPTAIN of the game on your side…. you will NEVER be forever OUT!

Perseverance

When I heard the word “Perseverance” in the past, I don’t really ever remember giving it much thought.  I never thought too much about it being of any high importance.    If asked…. and I am not sure any one actually had ever asked me….if that was something I had… or did,  I am sure I THOUGHT I had all I needed.   If it was worth persevering…. I did…. if I happened to not persevere… it must not have been meant to be.   Easy way out of that one don’t cha think?

Lately, however, that word has stuck in my craw….. so to speak.

As a Health Coach I get to see Dieters come in on a weekly basis to get weighed and measured.  Many come in with smiles on their faces because they can’t wait to see what changes have taken place since their last visit.    Some enter the door with a look of dread, admitting their fear that the changes on the scale will be a negative one because…… well…. it was just a bad week and…. “cheats happen”.

My job then, is to encourage them to get back on the wagon.  We analyze the situation that brought on the “cheat”… Give suggestions on how to make the next situation a bit less intimidating…..and…encourage them that, even though it may be a set back…they certainly have not done any irreparable damage.   Remind them to NEVER give up.
Like the story of the Turtle and the Hare….. No matter how impossible it looked at times…. the turtle kept going….. step by step…. hour by hour…. day by day…. until!
He not only crossed the finish line…… HE WON!
Now…..with a new bounce in their step and a renewed sense of determination, we get their supplies for the week and send them back out the same door they came in just moments ago ready to admit defeat.

A week passes and …..  Success!   Temptations were easier to overcome!   The scales were our friend again…. and the inches melted off like butter …..
Is that a new shirt???
A size smaller????

Week after week the door opens and closes with new and old friends.   Some have been with us for just a few weeks…… and some ….. several months.
Each with a different numerical goal….. but each with the same desired outcome…!
To Achieve their goal!!!!
To finish!!!!

The day arrives when we take that last trip to the scale …..watching with anticipation as the numbers bounce back and forth…. up and down … until they finally rest on those
sweet set of numbers we have etched in our minds, declaring……..We- have-crossed-our-finish-line!!!!!   Bells and whistles begin to sound off inside both theirs and my head as
we celebrate the victory with a high-five or a hug… and sometimes …. a tear of happiness!   Victory is so very sweet!

Was it always easy?
Some will say it was the hardest thing they have ever done…. some say it wasn’t all that bad.    But ALL who have persevered to reach their goal will say…. Yes… it was worth it!

Unfortunately…. we have had some on the program who have given up before tasting the sweet victory.   Some have decided with in the first few weeks that this is just something
they are not ready to do…..the finish line looks too far away to even begin the race.
Life throws several wrenches in to their days and they lose focus and veer off the path and forget about any hopes of seeing a finish line.
Some…. just decide it just isn’t worth the effort to go any farther and settle for a shady spot on the side of the road to spend the rest of their lives instead of persevering to the end!
This makes me extremely sad because I KNOW what the finish line looks like….what it feels like…… and want them to be able to cross it and experience that victory as well.

The Scripture:
Luke 18:1-8 AMP
1 Also [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up).  2 He said, In a certain city there was a judge who neither reverenced and feared God nor respected or considered man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, Protect and defend and give me justice against my adversary.  4 And for a time he would not; but later he said to himself, Though I have neither reverence or fear for God nor respect or consideration for man,5 Yet because this widow continues to bother me, I will defend and protect and avenge her, lest she give me intolerable annoyance and wear me out by her continual coming or at the last she come and rail on me or assault me or strangle me. 6 Then the Lord said, Listen to what the unjust judge says! 7 And will not [our just] God defend and protect and avenge His elect (His chosen ones), who cry to Him day and night?  Will He defer them and delay help on their behalf?   8 I tell you, He will defend and protect and avenge them speedily.     However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find (persistence in) faith on the earth?

Wow… now THAT is persistence!!!   She knew what she wanted…. what she needed… and she refused to give up!!!
……. AND……
She got what she was after!

but …. did you read and comprehend verse 8?
….. However,…….when the Son of Man comes…….. will He find……. PERSISTENCE ….. in faith on the earth???

God knows that we are going to face some trials…some struggles…. some just plain old Junk in our day-to-day lives….we are going to have bad days…. bad weeks…. bad ….years!
but when we do…. we need to get back on our feet….get to our Life Coach….Our Prayer Closet with Jesus….. the Bible…. our Church home…. analyze the situation … get suggestions on how to get past this situation and learn so when faced with the next one it will be a bit less intimidating…..and…get encouraged that, even though it may be a set back…we certainly have not done any irreparable damage.

Some….or many….. by the sound of this passage…. have …. or will not persevere to the end with their faith….they will …..lose it…. forget about it…. or just plain shuck it….!   They have for whatever reason…..lost the vision of the finish line!     Some are just moments from victory… and yet… give up and choose to forfeit the crown by deciding it is not worth putting any more effort in it.

As heartbreaking as it is for me… how much more so is it to God?!   I can hear Him say…. come on… not much farther… . you can do it…. one more day…. one more year…. you’re gonna make it!!!!
If your tired of the race….. and have lost sight of the finish line….. let those words ring in your heart and in your mind today!!!
He is the greatest coach ever…. He is waiting at the finish line for each of us!   Cheering us on…. Encouraging us to keep going!!!   Don’t give up!!!!!    It’s only for a little while longer!

James 1:12 NAS
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord  has promised to those who love Him.

There is a reward at the end of the Journey!!!   It’s a Promise!!

Ticker-Tape

Ticker-Tape-Machine[1]No matter what any one says…. I am NOT old enough to actually remember an old fashion Ticker-tape  machine.!    I only remember them being in old black and white movies and thought they were pretty awesome….      Do you even know what I am talking about when I say “ticker-tape”?    Well…..It is this machine that has a continuous paper strip that would print out information such as stocks prices and at one point, before the invention of the electronic scoreboard….Baseball scores…    It was… I guess…. the first Computer Printer… a forerunner of the fax machine….something that could get messages to a lot of people in a shorter amount of time.    I remember watching them read that strip of words or codes one word at a time…. once they received the information they were waiting for they would tear it off and run to tell those who were also waiting on the seemingly very important message of the hour.

The newer form of Ticker-tape I guess would be those LED Scrolling Message boards that are everywhere we go.  Messages that announce flight departures and arrival times…. Messages that entice you to buy the latest item on sale..    Stock prices move across the screen now,  so they are instantly seen by anxiously waiting eyes ready, to make their next move to buy or sell.

During this time of year….. storm and tornado season….. the weather warnings run along the bottom of the local station on our TV.  We watch those words scroll across the screen waiting intently to see if our County, or town is in the Warning area and then if it is…. when will it expire so that we can let our guard down and go to bed.
As a kid in school….. that same message board was used to let us know that we did NOT have to go to school because of too much snow…!    If we missed our school… we would  stay glued to the screen until the message started over and went through the entire list again!   FINALLY!!!    YES…. our school IS on the list!    SNOW DAY!!!

At the school that my son goes to, they installed a LED Scrolling Sign in the Cafeteria.   It posts the news that is in the bulletin, class changes, meeting announcements, the lunch menu …. you know … all that important stuff!!   Some…. ignore it… while others sit mesmerized by either what is being transmitted …letter by letter…. word by word…. or… simply because of the motion of the colorful red lights flashing across the screen.
At any rate….each individual will look at the same screen and decide what portion of information is pertinent to them.   What to keep and file away in their memory for later reference… or…. discard as useless information and move on with their day.

That picture of the LED Scrolling Ticker-Tape message board came to mind when I was thinking about the many thoughts that run through our minds on a daily….hourly….. if not minute by minute.     Good thoughts…..random thoughts… thoughts of the past….. thoughts of the future….
The ones that cause us the most problems are the ones that the adversary ….. the devil ….. runs across the screen of our minds… its like he has hacked into the control room of our brains that houses the scrolling program and randomly puts in the lies he hopes we will receive.

As we begin to read the words that flash across the screen of our minds…. letter by letter…. word by word…. we decide what we want to take to heart or simply fall to the floor of our minds to be swept up and taken out with the trash.   We see
“I am a child of God”
“I can do all things through Christ Jesus”
“I am a new Creature…. the old has passed away”
“I am Loved by God”
“In Right Standing with God”
“You will always be unworthy of God’s Love”
“You are more than a Conqueror”

WOAH~!!!!!
What did that say?    Ok…. now I have to let that scroll back through to re read that… Did it say what I thought it said?

Wait… here it comes….. “You will always be unworthy of God’s Love”…. yep… that’s what I thought it said…!!
Is THAT true!!!
Do I leave it on the “board” to continue to run again and again across my mind?
Or…. do I discard it….. Delete it out of the system and place it in file 13!

We have a choice you know…. Everything that runs through our mind is not necessarily put there by us…some things seem to just come out of no where….We can not always control what comes in…. we sometimes get “hacked” ….
What we DO with that virus that has penetrated the firewall of our minds….. THAT is something we CAN do….
We Can choose to accept it…
We can choose to ignore it…
Or…
We can choose to Trash it!!!

2nd Corinthians 10:5      Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

Deuteronomy 30:19     I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.

PETUNIA’S

Don’t you love Petunia’s ?

I have never had a deck …. or a front porch really….just steps… and a car port.   If I planted anything out in the yard someone  would end up mowing it down.
This last fall I had to have my car port torn down because of the ever-increasing sag from an ice storm we had a few years back and I was beginning to get a little nervous parking my car under it in fear that it would collapse.  So….I made a plea for help and with in a few days…. and a few hundred dollars…. I now see open sky when I walk out my back door…. BIG difference…. Kinda like the feeling you get after Christmas and all of the decorations are put away…. Naked!

About the time I got used to it…. I came home to a blessing one night after church…. Someone…. had installed a metal car port where the old one was!!!   That was last winter and to this day I still have no idea who was my Angel!
This car port does not come all the way to the house, which at the time was something I wasn’t used to but as Spring begin to spring I could see Sunshine next to the house that I had never in all of the years I have lived her have EVER seen!

So …. as I would make my trips to Wal-Mart, or drive past the Nursery’s, or look through sale adds, I would begin to see all of the out-door furniture sets…. the Beautiful Flower pots and Patio entertaining paraphernalia…… It once again set in that desire to have what, apparently only  in my mind, EVERYONE but me had!   SOMEDAY….. when I move out of this house… I am going to have a patio or deck that I can put pots of flowers…. a couple of Chairs…. and a little table between them to place my Coffee or Tea on while I soak up the summer sun!
AND THEN……

I saw it….!
That sad, empty spot between the house and the car port …. just the right size for …… 2 chairs and a table…..and a flower-pot of…… Petunia’s!!!

My son …. age 17, was …… ummmmmmm….. Thrilled…..to cart the two chairs out to the car for me….and he informed me …. HE…. would never be sitting in them…. I told him that was ok… I still wanted TWO chairs, and he didn’t have to carry everything…I would carry the table …. and then…..On a whim….I grabbed up a pretty purple pot of Petunia’s ( say that 5 tines in a row and see if it doesn’t put a smile on your face)….on the way to the check out stand…. Something I always have wanted to do!

We arrive home…. and before even putting up the groceries….I got my chairs…. table….and my pot of purple Petunia’s out of the jeep…. and begin to set up my “Patio”!    Awwwwwe….. I am happy now!   For someone who lives for sunlight!!!   This is JUST what I needed.

I go on with my “life”…. housework… work…. church…. mommy…grandma…. and after a few days I noticed…. my poor pot of purple Petunia’s are well….. not very “Perky”!    OHHH NO!
I noticed the little white tag still in the soil of the Petunia so NOW… I began to read how to take care of my now less than perky poor pot of purple Petunia’s!

As I read I noticed the words…..”Water Daily”…. oh yeah… plants need water….. so…. I got my handy-dandy little watering can and gave my little plant a nice healthy drink of cool water… and what do you know…… the next morning…. I once again had a perky pot of purple Petunia’s!!!

As I prepped for a lesson I was to lead in a Women’s Bible Study Class on the Fruit of the Spirit…. I read a line from the book that said….”If you’ve not been bearing the fruit of the Spirit in your life the way you’d like, ask God to help you plant good seeds and pull up any weeds that may have grown up around your soul.  Feed the soil of your heart with the food of God’s Word and ask the Holy Spirit to water it afresh very day”…..Immediately I thought about my now…. perky pot of purple Petunia’s sitting outside on my little table next to my two chairs that is now my patio!

I decided to Google Petunia’s and see what Wikipedia had to say about Cultivating this multicolored breed of flower….
This is what I learned.

Cultivation

Petunia seeds germinate in 5 to 15 days.
Petunias can tolerate relatively harsh conditions and hot climates.
They need at least five hours of sunlight every day.
They grow well in low humidity, moist soil.
In drier regions, the plants should be watered daily.
Dead petals should be pruned so that the younger branches can flourish.
Maximum growth occurs in late spring.
Applying fertilizers once a month will help the plant grow quickly.
Petunias can be cultivated in hanging baskets.

Pretty easy little plant to take care of…… then… the lesson.
We…like Petunia’s…need to Plant those seeds in our lives in order to grow….ANYTHING…. most do not germinate in 5 – 15 Days… but they WILL Germinate someday…
We…like Petunia’s…can tolerate relatively harsh Condition….
We…like Petunia’s…need at least 5 hours of  SONlight every day!
We…like Petunia’s…grow well in Moist Soil.
We…like Petunia’s…Should be watered daily!
We…like Petunia’s…should be pruned, removing the dead… and sometimes live “petals” so that younger “better” branches will flourish.

We…like Petunia’s……
Are beautiful…..colorful… strong….hardy…
but….
Like a Petunia… we will wilt and eventually die if we are not in the SON….. and Watered with the Word Of God….DAILY!
OHHHH we may get by for a few days surviving on the good watering we received on Sunday that left the soil of our hearts and Spirit moist… but… with out another drink of that Life giving Water between Sundays….well….

We…like our less than perky poor pot of purple Petunia’s…will be a

Less than caring, calloused, cranky, crop of crimson colored Christians.