Tuesday, October 30, 2018

So What If I Love My Pets More Than Most People?



"Whoever does not love does not know God for God is love. Be strong in the Lord (love) and in His mighty power."  ... 1 John 4:8, Ephesians 6:10


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Please read this entire post before you freak-out, ok?  πŸ˜‰


If you're into social media (as I am), you've probably seen stuff like this--




And hey, I get it. I do. This ol' homebody certainly loves her cats and appreciates their unconditional love.



But nowhere in the Bible is there a verse which says, "Love your pets more than most people."

Trust me. I've looked for one.

(I've also searched for the verse which says it's fine to just love "us four, no more. My family, not yours."

Not there, either. Er hem.)




Oh, but our pets! They've got the unconditional love thing down.

But God. He asks that we love people as He does--unconditionally. So instead of running to our pets for unconditional love, God desires that we draw it from Him.

Then spread the love we found in Him, to people. Everywhere.

Yet that's scary, right? Especially in Today's world where folks delight in squishing us: our dreams, our peace of mind, our souls, even.

But, whew. God's love is gigantic. And stronger than any future mean people coming our way. It's like Neil Vermillion wrote (as God speaking) --



"But also know I have given you compassion that will surpass your offenses (from others). As you have been forgiven, so you shall forgive those that have hurt, forgotten and neglected you. My compassion will flow into you, and your hurts ... will be washed away in the sea of forgetfulness, never to be remembered again. 
This is my gift to you ... so you can walk and abide in joy and peace all the days of your life. 
And as you come to know me and experience me, I will be your great reward despite any hardship, disappointment, or discouragement. 
So come close to me. Release your offenses. Celebrate today as you walk in total freedom and embrace your restoration."


Perfect love dissolves all fear and not even Fido the Dog can give that kind of love.




But God can. And has and still does. And that's the love, the power that He asks that we share with other people, even though, oh, what we risk. Even so.

The giving which love requires! The sacrifice, the going ahead when we'd rather not. God makes it all so worth it.

Obedience always comes with its own rewards, treasure won and seen no other way. It does.

Always.




God wants to enlarge our heart. To strengthen, then stretch its walls so we can face more, handle more, help more.


Love--for God and for people--is the most important thing. Until we get that, it's like we're pedaling a tricycle around and around in a circle. Going nowhere, just wasting lots of our energy.


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"Greater love has no man than this; that he lay down his own agenda for his friends."  (tweaked from John 15:13)

These are not easy days, but then, God was never into having us do only what's easy. He equips us for the hard stuff.





Oh, and to set things straight, no way am I saying stay around in a truly abusive situation/relationship. This isn't that at all. Not at all.


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Over at Facebook, Joyce Meyer asked people to share the funniest story about their kids. One woman shared this and it touched my heart so much. Read it, then I'll tell you why--




Funny and emotional.. my then 4 year old daughter and I were singing along with our church family before the offering was to be collected. Plates were passed and I always gave my lil one her own money offering. She refused to place in the plate. She got teary eyed, I had no idea what could possibly be going through her lil mind. As we were saying our goodbyes my daughter REFUSED to leave the church. Pastor Lonnie approached us asking lil sister in Christ, why the tears lil one? She then wipes her eyes and says: "I’m not leaving, I’m staying with you!" He asked why? She said with her money gripped tightly in her hands, "'Cuz when you give Jesus all that money I’m going to be there to hand him mine so I can get to meet Him!" One of my best memories.

***


Oh my. Her words reminded me of the times I've felt so close to Jesus that I longed to visibly see Him beside me.

Happy sigh.


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And here is another story which concerned a child and blessed me by people setting aside their differences and just doing the right thing. 




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Some older folks spend their winters in sunny Arizona or Florida, but here's where I'll spend mine --




The only improvement I'd make? I'd fix it so the colored leaves outside my windows would remain on the trees all winter long. You know, like this--



Oh well. I'll just have to keep them there inside my imagination.

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"Walk ... with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love." ... Ephesians 4:2

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Why I'll Never Be A Grammar Police Woman



"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."  ... Philippians 2:3,4


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Years ago I belonged to an email group which discussed vintage kids' books. 

Sometimes? Ladies would declare that our grammar mistakes gave them headaches/conniptions/eye-rolling episodes.


"'Whose' or 'who's'--come on people! Is it really so difficult?"

"There, their or they're--seriously, try harder!"

"Ever heard of spell check? Use it!"

"Over-comma-ing. Using ellipses or Twitter abbreviations or double negatives. All dreadful. Sloppy. A poor reflection upon oneself." 


No longer do I belong to that group.  

Yet currently a handful of my Facebook friends are of the 'Grammar Police Lady' persuasion. They've little (no?) patience with friends' grammatical errors and sometimes make snide remarks, tease or even share these types of things--




--thinking no one will guess for whom it's meant.

But we do. And then we notice the faulty speller's absence, their infrequent posting thereafter.

As for me? Uhm, no. I'll not be Mrs. Grammar Police. I'll not correct your grammar, especially in a public forum. If I'm unsure of what you meant, I'll ask--but hopefully, with grace rather than a big tsk-tsk growl.

I'll not allow any annoyed feelings over your grammar to blind me from viewing your real hurts.

What bothers me way more than faulty grammar? Poor manners, curt dismissals and obvious pride.

Personally, my goal is to be approachable. I want folks to feel they can come to me with their problems, but if they fear my reaction to their less than perfect explanations grammatically or otherwise? Then I have failed as a helper, teacher or friend.

I've added to a tragedy rather than to a solution. 

I mean, hey. Probably I unconsciously say things in my blog which might make people hesitate to ask me for prayer or help. I hate to think that! But we all have our blind spots, even me. Sigh.

But hopefully, over time, God will help mine (at least some) fade away.

But the Grammar Police Woman thing? That I can say no to. Now, today. That I can refuse to be party to.

Oh, I used to regularly correct folks' grammar, but now? The conviction in this area flows deep within me. God replaced that need for a mega better one. 

All I want now, especially in this blog, is to help people love God more. That's my secret agenda here (in case you wondered). And may all the tiny things which confuse that goal, fall away like scales on a snake.

Over time. Via obedience and laying down much pride. 









"Let all that you do be done in love. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love"   ... 1 Corinthians 16:14, 1 John 4:8




People in this world are becoming more uptight. Christians? As always, we're called to be the opposite of the world. 


Having a problem with feeling small and becoming offended because of it? Go here. Excellent, excellent stuff (more than usual, even).


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If your real job is that of an English teacher? Go for it! In humility. In the classroom.   γƒ„


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"Walk ... with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love." ... Ephesians 4:2


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Decisive or Wimpy? Oh, What Goes On Inside Our Heads.

wimpy?

" ... the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."   ... James 1:6- 8


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So I arrived at the coffee shop to find a cop speaking with a woman.

Uh-oh.

Turns out, she'd left her (unlocked)car running and as she entered the shop, a man opened her car door and snatched her purse. She and another customer raced after him, later the thief flung her purse away, but he'd kept her keys and phone.

So now  as she filed a report I, of course, memorized the description of the 'perp' in case I spied him on the walk home or later, from my street-facing windows.

(I'm that nosey, good-to-have neighbor the police say is helpful, you know, the kind who watch their windows like Neighborhood TV, noting all the action out there.)

With a hopeful voice, Officer Booth asked the woman if she'd downloaded that 'find your phone' app., but alas, nope. If she had? He intimated that it could've led them, zap! Right to the guy.(At home, I emailed this info. to Tom and then Facebooked my story.) 

A phone-finding app. Hmm. Turns out it's not just for the absent-minded or the wildly-worried parent anymore.

Anyway, my faithful readers know ol' Debra imagines her little neighborhood as a retro Shangri La where ladies still wear aprons and dusters, the sun always shines and we pretend it's 1950.

Well, that darn ol' purse snatcher threatened to spoil my cozy picture and at first? Oh, temptation said, "Better stay inside lest Mr. Roaming Robber accost you. He's probably still racing along your sidewalks, crazy-grabbing anything not bolted down."

So, er. At first I skipped my daily walk. 

But you know? I refuse to let fear guide me (wisdom, yes. Fear, no), so, after a couple hours I, like a wet dog, shook the residual feelings of my morning escapade, grabbed a basement bag of cast-offs, then marched myself right down the street to the Salvation Army bin.

And then felt normal again. Free.

In Today's world? I often remind myself to be decisive. And bold, for if I'm not? Oh dear. I'll turn into an old Mrs. BackAnd Forth.


Maybe I'll take a walk today. 
No, it might be too cold. Or big dogs or scary guys might be out there.
Or maybe...?

Maybe I'll go shopping with Tom this weekend.
No, the crazy drivers might be out whipping around.
Or maybe ... ?

Maybe I'll give additional money this month to the needy.
No, we might need the extra cash. You never know.
Or maybe ... ?

Maybe I'll encourage some friends online today.
No, everybody seems to be doing great right now.
Or maybe ... ?

Ha! I could go on and on for days.

But what kind of a way is that to live, all maybe yes, maybe no? Not a good way, my friend. Not good.

So today I say, be decisive. Make decisions. Be bold and move forward. Yes, even in 2018 it's possible to live as God designed us. Always it will be, for He's terrific at showing us a new way when there appears to be absolutely none.

He's a pro at that.









"God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way;
He works in ways we cannot see,
He will make a way for me."
... Don Moen



"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."  ... Isaiah 48:18, 19



Sometimes--sometimes!-- we don't feel well because we're not living well.




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(And I hardly think that purpose is to hide.)




There is a foggy in-between land called Indecision. Personally, I don't wish to live there.



Had to laugh about this! --








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How very little can be done under the spirit of fear. ~ Florence Nightingale


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"Walk ... with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love." ... Ephesians 4:2

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

When a Dream Dies, Another Pops Up. But Only If We Believe.






"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom"    .--Psalm 90:12


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I don't mind this early winter cold weather. Honest.

But oh, my legs do. Go running up and down our stairs, take my walk, work on prepping for Real Wintertime and do all the detailed tasks a homemaker does? Well, (like yesterday) my legs start feeling pulled downward like by magnets and they cry, "For heaven's sake, lie down."

I'd forgotten about this. 

Oh, I did wonder last summer at my ability to arise from the couch easily, without first needing to take slow, stiff steps before quicker, smoother ones.

But oh yeah. Now I remember. When my legs grow tired, the cold seeps into them (somehow), not making them chilled, but rather, oh-so-weary. (So this is why the elderly move to Arizona! I get it now.)

I talked this over with Tom last night. 

I reminded him about those older folks we've known who, while in their wheelchairs or walkers, told us, "When our ship comes in! Oh, we're gonna build the house we've talked about for years." Or, "Someday we'll climb those Spanish Steps we saw on tv." Or, "See that pile of boards out there? We're gonna build a big shed for our motorcycles and snowmobiles."

And always, Tom and I nodded and said, "Oh wow! That'll be awesome," while knowing darn well they'll do none of that. And felt sad for them.

But it's a crime (we believe) to use our words to destroy anyone's dreams. We can't do that. Dreams are vital for health, actually--even the Bible says so.


"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he" ... Proverbs 29:18.


(And yes, it also translates that folks wander into trouble without a godly vision, but that fits my example,also.)

Anyway.  

Yesterday ol' Tired Legs Debra realized no, she cannot squeeze in one more move to a house before her final move to the old folks independent/assisted living home.

She just can't. And Tom said he can't, either.

And so, the dream died. The one where we buy another cheapo house 'round here to give me something to decorate, my very favorite hobby in the world. With my too easily wearied legs, I'd never survive the packing, the moving, the selling of Hobbit Cottage, the renovating of another place, the decorating, cleaning and yard work and -----

No, especially with Tom's post polio stuff and Debra's post TheOldGreyGooseSheAin'tWhatSheUsedToBe stuff, well, not gonna happen.

Of course, this shook me and made me sad. A dead dream is a crushing thing and for two years, in the back of my mind, I've watched it happen and have worked on acceptance (and skipped writing 30 blog posts about it). But now it's in the forefront--and finally, I believe I'm coming around to Truth--without the distaste. Or as much distaste, maybe.

But you know? Facing this truth will save me, us, from making others sad if we kept speaking of our impossible dreams as older folks have before us. Oh my, I don't want to do that to anyone. And too, I want to speak truth. That means much to me.

So what to do, instead? Find some new dreams, Debra. Find some new dreams.

And I can do that, I really can--good dreams, as good as original, different ones I'd dreamt of, even. If God will help me.

And with all my heart--I believe He will. Especially now that we're on the same page.





"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."  ... Romans 15:13


“The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.” 
― Jean-Paul Sartre




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So in the meantime, I'm learning to be extra-grateful for the things I can still do. 

Like, I can creatively find ways to get organized so that gasp! I can actually find things around here--quickly. Imagine.

And in that vein, finally (after a year+) Walmart got their spiffy white bookcases back in stock so I ordered one, then heaved the box upstairs, put it all together then squeeezed it beside a couple others. This makes the 8th set I've put together up there(!), but hey.

What else are ya gonna do when you buy a house with no built-in storage?




The more shelves I get, the more contented I become. Whatever works, right? πŸ˜ƒ


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Speaking of prepping for Winter (and having legs too tired to shop out amongst the maddening crowds), you should see all the groceries I've had delivered via Walmart or Target.

Color us Winter-ready, well, for the first part.

Now, I gave a list to a friend of what I order online and she was surprised at all the loot one can have dropped off at ones door. 

So for the benefit of anyone else who finds herself slowing down, requiring a little groceries-right-to-your-door assistance, here's a partial list of things you, too, may not have thought could be sent right to you (saving your energy for something else) --


avocado oil, baked beans, baking cocoa, bathroom tissue, birdseed, canned cranberries, canned chicken or canned vegetables, cat food and litter, coffee, cookies, cough drops, powdered creamer, crackers, dish detergent, dishwasher detergent and rinse, flour, dried fruit, foundation (make-up), fruit juice, garlic powder, hair conditioner, kitchen trash bags (or any), ketchup, Kleenex, lemon juice,  laundry detergent, lip balm, lipstick, macaroni and cheese, mascara, mustard, olive oil, onion powder, Parmesan, pasta, pepper, relish, rice, rock salt, salsa, salt, shampoo, suet, sugar, vitamins ... and so much more.


Whew. 

And anyone else remember the days when we'd catalog-shop and they'd say, "Please allow 6 - 8 weeks for delivery"? See? Somethings really are better these days.

And may we remember--and count them as blessings.







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Oh! My friend who I'm believing will be healed of cancer wanted me to be sure to thank each of you for praying for her. This is what she wrote:


PLEASE thank your readers who added me to their prayers. . .this is so sincerely appreciated. I am praying for them . . ."for the needs of friends I have not yet met" and with thanks for the prayers.


She's such a sweetheart--please continue praying and believing along with her, ok? Thanks so much.


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"Walk ... with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love." ... Ephesians 4:2


Thursday, October 18, 2018

She Of The Perpetual Purple Toes





"Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save."   ... Isaiah 46:4


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First, I dropped the vacuum cleaner on my foot. Hurriedly, I'd replaced the canister (that thing with the handle) so it hadn't locked into place.

One night, Sammy The Cat kept meowing so, frustrated and intending to lecture him, I burst from my bedroom and tripped on the corner of a box fan.

Then two weeks ago while running late as I prepared to walk to the dentist's office, my foot caught the edge of our clothes hamper in our bathroom. Never in 7 years had that happened before.

Each time, ol' Debra ended up with some purple toes. Sigh.

Oh, nothing major, just enough to make me appear like a 90-year-old lady gingerly walking to the coffee shop.

Er hem.

Since, oh, age 35 I've been rather a running on fast-forward homemaker. Even without coffee(!) That was after the Exhausted Mommy years and before this next-year-I'll-turn-60 one.

But now at 59? Changes. I've simply got to make some changes.

What I'm loving most about God right about now is He understands "this old grey goose, she ain't what she used to be."

And He makes plans for me accordingly. He 'leads me beside these still waters'--


To the slower pace places. Slow down, He says. Listen, walk rather than run. Pause. Breathe. Renew.

To appreciation of new activities places. But to get there, I must leave behind what I can no longer do. Ban regret, hopelessness, and believe, instead, for a different happiness. 

To find my house's self-cleaning place. That's where I learn how to keep dirt and cold and heat from entering. Where I work smart, not hard. 

Oh, these new places!

Places of forgiveness for all these changes, not resentment.
Of new friends just as sweet as old ones lost.
Of yet-undiscovered adventures everywhere, even at home.
Of new topics, skills learned.
Of grasping what can only be understood in the slow, quiet places.


And longing for the old days? No, I'm thinking that spoils the progression. Oh, I can visit them, but spend my remaining hours longing for them, no, that feels too much like --


"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other."   ... Matthew 6:24



For me, there's just one day, Today, and one master--Jesus. He will still ask me to do things for Him yet, thank-goodness, they'll be customized for His dearly loved, 'old grey goose'. 

So that I can still obey Him, even now, in this later season. Whew.




"For he knows we are but dust  and that our days are few and brief, like grass, like flowers,  blown by the wind and gone forever." ... Psalm 103:14-16




Never resent having to slow down. Oh, what we can discover in the slower-paced, quiet places!


Stop often. Celebrate what you have. Take nothing for granted.

As we age, sometimes we must discover all new ways to do the same ol' thing. (And is that really all so bad?)


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Speaking of doing things differently... Last week I bought a sign, below, from Ebay because I kept forgetting to take my daily walk. This sign, now beside my computer, will remind me. Hopefully. heh.





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Found this at Twitter, shared it at Facebook, for it caught me just where my procrastinating habits have held me lately--







A bit different than what I usually share, but couldn't help myself.

This funny statement, below, made me pause and go hmmm about myself. Not making comparisons here, just asking myself if I'm moving forward the way God would like--or are a ton of unfinished tasks holding me back? (Hey, I like a good challenge!) 

"In just over 2 years Harry and Meghan have met, fallen in love, moved her entire life to London, had a royal wedding, and got pregnant.
I still haven't rehung the towel rail that fell off the wall in 2014."

--- Laura
@fairycakes



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Don't you just love that?!

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"Walk ... with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love." ... Ephesians 4:2