Tag Archives: faith

Fruity

Almost as soon as I rose, I was a mess. My bandage was stuck to my pillow case, not my forehead and my neck hurt from sleeping on my other side. I almost always begin my day by saying aloud, “Hey, thanks, God!” But instead I was all, “waa, waa, waa…”

Clearly I needed caffeine – and prayer.

Priming the pump, I thanked God for every little thing I could see. Soon that became a stream of praise. My physical pains dissipated into oblivion, and before long God and I shared a good laugh. Yeah, at my expense. Yet again.

Today’s confession: As I brewed a pot and got my prayer journal, my feelings made me miserable. The pain, the dread, the fear, would it ever end??? I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was as if a cloud of dissatisfaction blocked any light into my soul. I didn’t recognize the scary, haggard old woman watching me from the hat rack mirror by the door. And I didn’t care if she saw me.

So, what’s funny is I’d been writing about the fruit in our lives. And suddenly that morning I could see where a few of my apples had fallen and become wormy.

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:22, 23 (NLT)

I often wonder if the average person goes on this insane roller-coaster ride – or as frequently. Those of you that do can commiserate with me for a moment and then feel free to snicker or laugh out-right. It’s as if we don’t know from experience what we’re like when we’re tired, wrung dry, trying to live wholly holy without sufficient Holy Spirit time.

I can see it in the mirror when I need some one-on-one time with God. Those worry lines, the furrowed brow, shoulders sloping and neck bent… Not flattering, impressive or the image of a victor!

Laugh lines are so much better. So God and I laugh at me – a lot more than I like to admit. But as I learn to laugh at myself more, take myself less seriously, I also learn to forgive myself for not being perfect. Despite a rough beginning, thanks to God I’m quite content to be good today.

“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:43-45 (NLT)

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Passed St. Pat’s

No matter where in the world my siblings ever were, on St. Patrick’s Day we always celebrated our heritage, our family and our life together. ‘Tis tradition, don’cha know.

I admit, I did not celebrate this year, my first year back home. Three years ago, almost to the minute I’m now writing, my younger brother Seagh’s heart ruptured, he laid down his Harley, shook himself off and then walked into The Great Beyond. That moment changed everything.

We all adore our darling Seagh. Even as a small boy, he demonstrated extraordinary wisdom. We all came to depend upon him, especially when emotions ran rampant or hard times made our choices seem vague.

Over the years Seagh was always my greatest comfort, my touchstone, helping me make sense of the madness that seemed to be constantly lurking nearby.

 

 

After the years he roamed the globe he came home to the family and finally the ranch. For the brief season we were all here together I was entirely contented. I wanted us to stay together and to never leave.

But Seagh always knew something, saw something the rest of us missed. He insisted I stay close to our baby sister, Roan; “She’ll crash and burn without you.” Eventually I resigned to move on to Texas with her. Weeks later I understood why he sent me. Seagh already knew he too would be moving on soon.

Two years after his passing Roan and I were settled in Texas. Then I moved on again. We remain connected across the miles and continue on together – but differently now. Seagh dying when he did seemed to make the world a darker, sadder place and I couldn’t fix that.

It seemed.

Cole and Seagh 2012

Now Roan has Opal and her entourage in Texas. I am at home here at the ranch. I walk where Seagh walked along with Cole, Kendra and Eleven-Year-Old.

Sometimes I believe I can see the world as Seagh saw it. Very often I think I can see his unmistakable stance in the lot or where the patio used to be, one hand in a pocket, the other holding a mug, always taking in life deeply. Sure, I miss hearing him speak his few, pointed words daily. But I hear him.

I can’t conjure up his image on demand. But in the still, quiet of a peaceful day and in the midst of turmoil, I remember his words. When I don’t expect it, they come to me like rain on parched ground. Looking skyward, I soak them in, “You shouldn’t wonder about my soul. God and I are good now.”

Seagh’s death did not end him. Love lives on.

Absolutely.

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. … And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1: 3, 6 (NLT)

For Seagh:

Feature Image courtesy of Gigi @ A Warm Hello.com

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Stuffed

Late winter is my favorite season for baking. It warms the cottage while filling it with delightful aromas.

It was the last week of the month. With frozen, wet roads I had left the ranch only when necessary, so supplies dwindled. This is typical. I have seen hard times, so any day there is food is good and having choices is great! I take advantage of bargains and stock the freezer and pantry. Still, there was remarkable room in both.

That particular day I had to be especially creative. I was delighted to find all the makings for a pumpkin cheesecake pie – of all things! Hey, it includes all four food groups.

I gathered the ingredients and began making the crust. But when I went to roll out the dough I couldn’t find my rolling pin.

After exhausting every possibility I looked about for anything suitable for the task. Rolling the dough with a tall juice bottle, I mentally rummaged through lists of things I’d inadvertently left in Texas or Colorado last year.

I put the pie into the oven and began cleaning up. As I put things away I began to laugh. Without some extensive reorganizing I actually have no place for anything else. This cottage is stuffed full!

I know any time I need a rolling pin or baking sheets, I can walk 20 yards and borrow Kendra’s, but the situation made me deeply reflective.

Over my history I experienced some devastating losses. Yet, hard times taught three generations of my family to be resilient, flexible, inventive and most of all thankful for what we have.

It’s not my preference, but if I must I can fish and hunt. I know how to clean fish and dress out a deer, rabbit or fowl. More important, I adore growing vegetables and canning them.

Over the years, I learned to use a pair of forks or knives as a pastry cutter. A tall glass makes an adequate rolling pin as well as a cookie cutter. Since I needn’t make it anymore, a quart of yogurt provides me calcium and protein and a storage container as well. With friends I learned how to make cheese and delightful breads. Long ago, Moms passed their talents for making biscuits, tortillas and pancakes from scratch on to me. And hanging out with Kendra I recently learned to make candy.

Though some of my history is grievous indeed I’m glad for it all today. Because of hardships and heartbreaks, God and I are sufficient in all things. I am blessed indeed!

“I am not saying this because I am in need. I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances. I know how to survive in tight situations, and I know how to enjoy having plenty. In fact, I have learned how to face any circumstances: fed or hungry, with or without.” Philippians 4:11, 12 (The Voice)

 

*Image courtesy of ABSFreePics

All other images courtesy of Gigi @ A Warm Hello

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He’s Faithful

Featured Image -- 3282I too can attest this is so very true!

 

I too can attest this is so very true!  

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Endless, by Mesca

Beautifully put thoughts by Mesca

Contrast, shadows Light and dark Nothing real, no substance or a spark Line connecting line Texture from divine  Creating in nothingness  Sometimes might lead to greatness.

Source: Endless

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Likeminded

I’ve settled in enough to miss old friends. Some slipped into my past, but others remain close no matter where in the world I pause.

Therese etcI met one of my favorite people the first week in the new apartment building in my new village of Fox Lake. She stood there in the hallway as though she’d been waiting for me. Moments after basic introductions, Therese blurted, “We should start a Bible Study in the building!”

 

We hadn’t mentioned church or matters of faith, yet she reaffirmed the old saying like attracts like. From that happy meeting we got together several times a week. Each time we excitedly share something new. We talked to God alone about the Bible Study.

sean and thereseTerry is a master quilter, something I’d always wanted to try. We’d get together a few times a week to enjoy one another’s company and explore new patchwork designs. Each visit Sean, Terry’s lively, WWII veteran and professional vocalist husband annoyed her entertained us with jokes (usually bad) or song (always wonderful). We quickly learned to have the computer or the TV on in the other room.

Every week we excitedly shared stories about what God was doing in the building and our community. We understood the Bible Study would happen in God’s time. We stayed busy.

Two years later I took my latest quilt project to Terry’s apartment. My mind was in a patchwork maze and my caffeine levels were dangerously low. But when she opened the door we both blurted together, out of nowhere, “Do you have any ideas about the Bible Study?” Her eyes widened, and she said, “I found this book that would be great to start with.”

BGB LCHOver the next couple of days she put together a syllabus, printed flyers and I passed them around the building. We started with eight women, each from different faith backgrounds and experiences; a genuine melting pot. Within weeks the group grew so we had to move to a larger room.

Sean and Therese BrooklynI moved out of the building a year later. Just before I left Terry finished chemo therapy for breast cancer – after fifteen years of remission God and she beat it again.

It’s a safe bet we keep in touch. As busy as she stays, when my brother passed away, Terry was my go-to girl, my touchstone. We hadn’t talked in three months, but you’d never know I ever left the building. Good friends are like that.

soh fb

 

 

 

Three years later, Terry reports the Bad Girls of the Bible* Group is still as diverse as ever and going strong.

 

 

“…If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:19,20 (NLT)

 

*Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs image courtesy Google.Books.Com

Images courtesy of Therese and Sean are not to be duplicated or otherwise shared without prior written permission. Thank you!

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Chickie

As I prepare for another relocation, yet uncertain where this length of my journey will take me, I think about people and events that brought me to the present.

A few years ago, while discussing a similar situation, my darling Aunt Chickie once told me, “I don’t have many words of wisdom for you, Dear, but I can tell you about mistakes, I’ve made them all!” Over the following hours, and the years afterward we laughed through her memories and with each visit the world felt far less severe.

Patty n Chickie

As a youngster I couldn’t comprehend Chickie ever making a mistake. Now I can appreciate how in hindsight some of her choices may have seemed so to her, but not to me. Raising three teen-aged children in the petulant 1960’s, I can only now imagine she may have felt fallible at times. As a single mother I certainly made some hard choices. She mastered putting any blunder behind her.

Most notable, Chickie never complained. Though a devout Christian, divorced, her inheritance was a devoted mother who often lived with her. She happily married again and became an exceptional step-mother as well. Despite any hardships, Chickie’s lively demeanor was a beacon to us youngsters.

Regardless of the desert heat causing my occasional sweaty, rank arrivals to her home, she always greeted me with genuine smiles, warm hugs and refreshed me. With each visit she told the best stories with helpful, happy, and usually funny anecdotes.

Chickie was a hero. She was and will always be a shining example of gentle, kind love that she consistently poured out on my siblings and me.

Today, while preparing a picnic lunch for my long drive ahead, I remembered helping Chickie make the same recipe I was employing. Long ago, gathering for a particular Memorial Day family outing, she welcomed me into her kitchen to help her prepare the potato salad. In her company I didn’t feel like a fumbling, awkward, insecure pre-teen. She made me feel like a welcome companion.

Blending the dressing into the chopped vegetables and minced pickles, up to her wrists with her bare hands, she suddenly stopped.

Looking intently in my direction, she wondered aloud, “Hmm… Did I wash my hands after I used the bathroom?” Then she overacted a relieved sigh, and answered, “Certainly I did.” Then as she eyed a piece of pickle sticking to her hand she added, “Oh, but then I fingered in my nose…”

For an instant I almost wretched, but, noticing the twinkle in her eye (and remembering how fastidious, the icon of a lady was about washing up upon entering the house and especially the kitchen), we both laughed heartily, drawing the rest of the family into the room with us. And so it always went at Chickie’s house.

Our only paternal aunt, she grew up best friends with Mother and our maternal aunts. Their combined talents for dramatically telling their stories from parochial school, like sabotaging the fearsome “Sister Rosetta Stone’s” yard stick/cane so it would break on the first strike, for instance. These first-person tales vividly etched in my mind, they provided me bright, happy memories. Such recollections often dispelled some of the menacing gloom and confusion that paved my coming years.

In today’s confusing and uncertain world I often draw upon the wealth my family ingrained in me. Chickie helped me recognize how princesses made paupers, we shine as we rise to heights which even darker, sadder souls would not otherwise aspire. Following her example, my sincerest hope is to shine God’s spirit bright enough to inspire others to rise also.

Mary Chickie Green Prince

“Chickie”
1927 – 2014

With fondest affection and deepest admiration.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Romans 12:9,10 (NLT)

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Catching Phrases

alphabet cubes

I’ve been reflecting upon pop language, or catch phrases.

Common catch phrases today:

  • Baby daddy/baby mommy (single parents)
  • Bae (before anyone else/anything else)
  • FOMO (fear of missing out)
  • Troll (the updated, viral version of the essential stalker)
  • #hashtag (anyone not familiar… never mind)
  • Lit (very intoxicated – so, not that much has changed)

This led me to examine what’s changed over the years. I have changed distinctly since I was that young. For example, I grew up with such phrases as:

  • “Easy come, easy go” (not necessarily good),
  • “Do as I say, not as I do”
  • “Trust and obey”

no time fussing fighting

And a little later on:

  • Make love not war
  • Flower Power
  • God is dead
  • Busted (You got some ‘splaining to do*)
  • Up in Smoke (original plan diverted)
  • “This tape will self-destruct in five seconds”** (something to be kept secret)
  • “Book’em, Dan-O” *** (coolest phrase ever – to be interjected whenever possible)

white smokeLater still, I adopted a new favorite that translates the point clearly today:

  • Blowing smoke… (into a body orifice or loose clothing – implies a degree of deception)

Fortunately, I survived my youth, so thanks to God, I continued to grow in body, mind and spirit.

Along with three new generations of humans I learned that the world has more dimension than our perspectives of our early years.

As a more seasoned adult, I discovered what I had once considered absolute truth was not necessarily fact. New interests in history, global current events and especially politics expanded and gradually overshadowed my passion for Natural Science – and later shifted back again.

By my early 30’s I began to recognize the collation between God and Natural Science. I began to find peace, at least in the world of my mind. That trend became my normal.

From my present perspective, aside from the draft and cyber space, not that much has actually changed. People continue to be misled, confused and angry. Decades later the scars veterans bear from warfare are ever present; PTSD among other wounded warrior’s statistics steadily rise.

But now, having come around to seeing the beginning of my life’s circle, my newest favorite expression (from Bob Goff) struck a chord in me:

“…And how could God think of me as His beloved? But then I remember Jesus said to one of the guys with Him that he was a rock even though He knew this same guy would deny ever knowing Him. I don’t think Jesus was blowing sunshine at Peter when He did that. Instead, I think He was calling something out from inside Peter.” ~

cropped-img_20150925_07363192811.jpg

    • Blowing sunshine. I love that!

One truth I now hold dear is that God has proven to be very alive, present and quite visible to those who still seek Him. And at the moments I need Him most, He reminds me of His promises with each new sunrise.

However eloquently worded, I simply don’t have time anymore for anyone blowing smoke anywhere. Especially during the current presidential campaign, with politicians and other contenders blowing the same egocentric banalities as always.

I’m glad there’s genuine hope for tomorrow. I want to focus upon truth and blow vibrant, altruistic sunshine.

Sure the world seems to be in a horrible mess. I can look at the mess or I can walk in sunshine and trust that actually, it’s all good.

 

Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the Lord your God has come true. Not a single one has failed!” Joshua 23:14 (NLT)

 

Terms courtesy The Odyssey Online.com  If they don’t fit, talk to Odyssey

~ Taken from Love Does by Bob Goff, Wow, What A Hit!: Copyright © 2012 by Bob Goff. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.

*I Love Lucy  Television Series 1951 – 1957, “Ricky” Desi Arnaz to “Lucy” Lucille Ball
**Originally from Mission: Impossible, Television Series circa 1966
*** Hawaii Five-0 Television Series from 1968 – Updated version in 2010 (advanced photography, but not quite as cool)

Images courtesy ABSFreePic.com

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Flexible But Grounded

hopi 02aug2009

Hopi is our dog. As I understand she came from Champion Golden Retriever and Grand Champion Australian Shepherd breeding lines. Regardless of her lineage, with her natural instincts, devotion to the pack and sweet disposition she is the best herd dog I’ve ever known. The offspring of two work breeds, to say she naturally has high energy levels is an understatement. To keep her calm, happy and fit she needs lots of exercise daily.

After we moved from our rural home to a suburban condo, many of our habits changed; for one, from a third floor apartment Hopi became a house dog. In inclement weather we could no longer simply open a door and turn Hopi loose outside. So, more than ever before, daily walks became as important to me as to Hopi.

The harsher Midwest winter weather interrupting our daily routines brought even more change. After couple of weeks of ice storms and weeks of deep snow we discovered a change in Hopi. Instead of getting right down to business outdoors, she would sniff the snow and get so obsessed doing that, she began ignoring my commands. One evening instead of walking at my side as usual, Hopi bolted out the door ahead of me to meet another smaller dog, frightening the dog’s walker. This was radically different from her usual behavior which all the new neighbors had initially enjoyed.

For the first time in years I had to harness and leash Hopi to protect her and other tenants, reinforce her training, and keep her attention on me, which had previously been her second nature. We became more careful to exercise Hopi as much as possible and continually work her through her paces regardless of the weather. Now we enjoy happy adventures most every day again and during inclement weather we explore the indoor hallways and stairs, visiting with the neighbors on the way.

There’s a noteworthy parallel between Hopi’s first winter in the suburbs and the Christian walk. When circumstances cause us to change our routines it is very easy to become distracted to a degree that is not always best for us. An exciting television series can lead to the set being on habitually and valuable attention to other tasks can gradually be lost. Skipping an exercise routine to have coffee with friends can become the rule rather than the exception, or enjoying one extra snack after doing some extra running one day and then another the next day too, and before we realize it we’ve put on a couple of pounds.

Regardless of one’s faith base, daily meditation, devotional time, prayer, reading Scriptures or attending worship services can slip away into oblivion after rearranging schedules to include other tasks too. Whenever I did any of that, I soon noticed I was not as patient or content with my life as I typically am. Even after identifying what changed, it took strict personal discipline and help from God just to get back in the habit of putting everything aside for foundational enrichment.

Like Hopi, we all need exercise and socializing as well as discipline and spiritual nourishment to be well balanced individuals. Variety is good – provided it doesn’t undermine the groundwork of our purpose in life. With so many choices and distractions in our world pulling us in many different directions, routine discipline can be a mainstay to keeping that balance. Without it we could all be chasing rabbits and scaring the neighbors!

“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” Hebrews 12:11 (NLT)

 

Preceding is a slightly edited repost of an original Roo’s Ruse Blogspot post from 2009. Much has changed in my world since I wrote the article; Hopi and the rest of the fur kids have gone on to await us at the Rainbow Bridge and I now live with Roan and Opal in North Texas. However, like The Scriptures the message still rings true.

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A Reblog from Lady in Waiting

Welcome my sisters! Some of the posts and things you will find on this site will challenge you, make you uncomfortable and maybe downright mad.  You may even stop reading or visiting this site. With that being said…

 

Source: Lady in Waiting

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