Monday, January 16, 2017

Houston Marathon

Yesterday was the Houston Marathon, one of my nephews ran the 1/2 marathon to raise money for Bo's Place. My nephew and his wife have received counseling there since the death of their child a few months ago. I am so proud he crushed it.

When a tragedy occurs, we often wonder why? We think were You even there God? Some people become angry and don't want to hear His name or anything about Him. Many times, well-meaning friends and family are determined the person will get over their grief in a week and beat the person over the head with Scripture because, in reality, they are right fighters. They are most concerned with being right. Please right fighters, I urge you to be quiet and let the person grieve. Pray for the grief-stricken in your private prayer time. Pray with them if they ask you to pray with them, otherwise be quiet. Silence is OK.

We frequently hear the expression life is not a sprint but a marathon. The same applies to our spiritual life. There are starts and stops, bumps in the road, twists and turns, but none of these are too great for Christ.

He loves us, He is there with us in the good, the bad, the dark, frightening, and lonely moments. Nothing can separate us from His love. We have this promise:

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Trust Him, hold onto His promises and know you are loved.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Weeds in the Garden

Living in an area which allows for gardening year round is great except for one annoying aspect (even worse than August heat) - WEEDS!!! We have species of weeds which flourish in winter, species which flourish in spring, species which flourish in summer. and species which flourish in autumn. And to add to the mix, we have weeds that remain green and grow during droughts and others which grow when it rains and or floods.

It is cold and wet this weekend, a few snowflakes, a little sleet - gives me an excuse not to pull Chickweed and Velcro Weed which have popped up in my lawn and in 2 of my flower beds. How dare they try to choke out my Pansies, Petunias, Violas, Snapdragons, and Dusty Millers! Next Saturday, the high is predicted to be 80, so I will be working in the yard. Velcro Weed is a nickname for Galium Aparine, you pull it out of the ground and it sticks to your hands, your clothes, your shoes, if you don't pull it before it blooms, it goes to seed and the seeds stick to you, too. It is terrible.

Weeds are an illustration of the things of this world that choke out our time with God in His Word and in prayer. We are back to our normal routines after the holidays. If our schedule got off track during the holidays, we need to correct it now. It is easy to stay in bed 20 minutes more on a cold morning instead of getting up to pray. It is easy to watch the news, weather, and traffic over and over before work instead of spending time in the Word. I get it, I've done it, I will do it again. I am not perfect.

I know tomorrow it will be hard to get out of bed because it will be 25 and I am not a morning person. My alarm is set, I will have water in the kettle, coffee grounds in the press...I will light the fire and spend quiet time in prayer and in the Bible before the hustle and bustle of grocery shopping and Saturday morning errands.

Ladies make time for reading your Bible and prayer. You will never regret it. (P.S. It is 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning and 22. The rain is gone, the sun is out, the bird baths are frozen solid, I walked across the lawn to fill bird feeders, it is not often our ground is so frozen I don't sink in the mulch as I step into 1 flower bed to fill 1 of the bird feeders!)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Merry Heart

I took my mother to Walmart the other day, it was a pleasant day, so I waited in the car while she purchased a few items. My justification for waiting in the car - I didn't want to be around all the shoppers with colds and I dislike Walmart.

My car windows are open, a nice breeze is blowing, and I am reading a book. Occasionally, I glance towards the doors to see if mom is on her way out to my car. People milling about the parking lot. People smiling, people laughing, people oh so irritated they are at Walmart 2 days after Christmas.

I am nearing the end of my book, maybe I will finish it before mom returns to the car! I look up once more...and a woman is walking by my car on the way to her car. My mouth falls open, I gape at her, I think why did I leave my camera at home? I put my book down, I lean out my window, I crane my neck, I try not to laugh.

The woman tells someone she is talking to, OK, I have to go now, I need to unload my grocery cart. I think to myself, was she talking on the phone as she dressed and left home? It is the only rational explanation. Because she was wearing a beautiful paisley blouse, looked like it was part of a business suit. Her hair was impeccably styled. Her makeup was artfully applied. And the blouse totally clashed with her floral, flannel pajama bottoms and house shoes!

I generally do not laugh at people or make fun of people, but I did laugh over this. I wondered if I should have alerted her to the fact her Paisley blouse/PJ ensemble did not work or if I should have said ma'am go back home and finish dressing before you drive to the office.

I thought back to the time my feet felt funny as I walked to church for an early morning prayer session. I arrived, looked down, I had a running shoe on one foot and a walking shoe on the other. How did I manage that, grabbing shoes out of the closet in the dark, trying to be quiet and not disturb my husband? Everyone at the prayer session laughed when we exited the chapel and they saw my feet. I laughed as well. I thought of my friend riding the elevator at the mall, looking down and noticing she never changed shoes and was wearing fuzzy slippers which entitled her to a new pair of shoes on the spot!

What has any of this to do with a Christian blog? We need to laugh and not take ourselves so seriously all the time. Proverbs tells us: A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Ladies, I pray 2017 is filled with joy, with laughter, and well-chosen shoes and ensembles.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

SSMT 2017, Verse 1

I am on board with Beth Moore's Siesta Scripture Memory Team to commit Scriptures to memory this year. My 1st verse is Psalm 36:5, ESV
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
It is a short verse, but I felt led to make it my 1st verse. It is not too late to join us as we commit at least 24 verses to memory this year. Instructions can be found on her and The SSMT Facebook page: LPM SSMT 2017

I think of all the things that are etched in my memory and think Scripture should be in it (there is some, but I could use more), too. One note and I can still sing the theme to Gilligan's Island and or The Flinstones. All manner of by brain for decades, and I tell myself it is so hard to memorize the written word, but I think I've talked myself into it. I don't think it was easy memorizing the Barefoot Boy Poem in 7th grade, I don't think it was easy memorizing how to conjugate verbs in Latin, French, or German. I was much younger, my brain was more nimble, but I agonized over some of it because I did not really want to pour my energy into those things. (I just thought of the Episcopal Catechism, I had to memorize for confirmation!) There were phone calls to make, makeup to try, ballet and pointe classes which were far more important than memorizing a poem!

Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!
With thy turned-up pantaloons,
And thy merry whistled tunes;
With thy red lip, redder still
Kissed by strawberries on the hill;
With the sunshine on thy face,
Through thy torn brim’s jaunty grace;
From my heart I give thee joy,—
I was once a barefoot boy! (There is more, but you get the drift)

Memorizing Scripture will take effort because my brain is not as nimble as it used to be, but there are not the ballet and pointe classes, nor the makeup to try, and fewer phone calls to distract me. I can pour my energy into memorization because I want to do this.

I pray 2017 is a year in which we look to the Lord, keep our focus on Him, and let the distractions of 2016 be a thing of the past. Blessings ladies!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Liturgical Calendar

I spent about 50 years as a member of a liturgical denomination. There are a few things I miss, one is celebrating Advent. I miss some of the hymns which reminded me Christmas does not begin on Black Friday.

Some years, I've found it easy not to get caught up in the commercial holiday hype, other years, I failed and was completely caught up in it. As we enter into the week before Christmas, I will now decorate the inside of my house. Today, the tree goes up as well as a few other decorations. Last year I cut back on the decorating and missed the 2 trees I normally place in the dining room; as well as other decorations around the house. I am going to determine this year if I will decorate more than 1 tree again. If I still miss them at Epiphany when I pack the decorations, I will resume decorating 3 trees and go big once more. I used to decorate the chandelier over my dining room table as well. I loved the results, but I do not see me doing that ever again!

I used to spend the Thanksgiving weekend decorating for Christmas, then 1 year due to circumstances I did not have the time over the holiday weekend and I began decorating later in December just as my family did when I was a child. We decorated the day school was dismissed for the Christmas holidays. I look back and remember how I could barely contain myself the day school was dismissed, not because it was dismissed, but because with care, we would unpack the decorations and lovingly place the Nativity Scene in the living room, hang the wreath on the front door, hang delicate ornaments on the tree. Dad let me help with the outdoor lights. In my book, one could never have too many lights!

So this afternoon, I will lovingly place Nativity Scenes around the house, one of which my mother bought in 1965. I will assemble the tree and hopefully, on the 1st attempt, plug in all the electrical cords correctly. I will look at delicate ornaments as I hang them on the tree and smile.

And if by chance, I have difficulty with the lights on the tree...I may have a future blog post concerning be angry and sinning not!

I pray this week, as anticipation builds, you have quiet time with the Lord and no matter what is on the news, no matter what the govt is doing or not doing, no matter what a difficult relative demands, you are thrilled at the Good News:

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”