Change Beats Out Comfortable…Every Time

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Dear Reader:

Ever since I retired and got off the tread mill of meetings and deadlines…I have grown quite comfortable in a leisurely-paced day. In fact I have probably grown too comfortable.

I keep reassuring myself I deserve a slower-paced life after the hectic life I lived while the children were growing up. A time when I was teaching week-days, moonlighting weekends, and going back to school to get my graduate degree. When I look back now I honestly don’t know how I did it. (Yes I do…God did it.)

An epiphany that has come from this relatively new stage in my life is that change happens…even if we don’t. All we have to do is look in the mirror for that confirmation. I always thought if I had more time to rest and a slower pace in life…I would be healthier and have more time to ‘perk’ myself up into looking better.

Wish that were true…but my mirror doesn’t lie…aging is taking place and some days, I must admit, not very gracefully at all.

I have also come to the conclusion that there is a thin line between comfortable and stagnant.  If I want to continue giving back then I must leave comfortable behind and re-enter the world of change.

Don’t we always feel better when we get back ‘in the groove?’ Anne was telling me a few weeks ago that she does better when she has a schedule for the week and pretty much sticks with it. Too much “free” time can leave all of us feeling isolated from society and just kind of “out of it.”

In my “free” time, lately, I have been searching for signs of life in my garden and and I don’t have to look far or long. I have done absolutely nothing in the garden the past couple of months except pick up pine cones and sticks…yet the changes are happening anyway…initially hidden from sight…until suddenly bursting through the ground.

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Lillian Daniel wrote a daily devotional called “Comfortable in my Seat” which extends this discussion on comfortable vs. change.

When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor…” – Luke 14:8

At a recent Interfaith Worker Justice board meeting, a story was shared about a scene the presenter witnessed on an airplane. A mother was traveling with three small children but for some reason, none of them were seated together. So the mother asked other passengers if they would move so she could stay close to her little ones.

Everyone agreed to move, except for one woman who seemed able to move, but was just unwilling. By way of explanation she added her reason: “You see, I’m comfortable in my seat.”

The story caused all of us to stop and imagine that awkward scene in silence. To me, the point was painfully clear. Sometimes we don’t do the right thing for the most mundane of reasons. We’re comfortable in our seats.

That woman who was so comfortable in her seat may not have been as comfortable later on in the flight. I imagine her seated next to a toddler, crying for his mother, loudly, interrupting her movie. Or maybe the kid was rejoicing in his new found freedom, far from parental supervision, giddily tipping his soda into the woman’s lap. How comfortable was her seat then?

We don’t want to move because we don’t feel the pain. Why give up a comfy seat for one that could possibly be worse? Why change things? Why shake things up?

But here’s the thing. Change happens anyway. God seems to like it that way.

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Isn’t that last statement so true? No matter how hard we try to keep the status quo God has other plans for us and they definitely involve change. Life is change and nothing is going to change that…so we can either get on board or become stagnant in our surroundings and life.

God wants us “out there” doing His work…emulating His message and doing it with a smile on our faces.

So until tomorrow: *Jesus, thank you for giving up your comfortable seat in heaven to join us here on earth, and for revealing God’s ever-flexible seating arrangements. Amen. 

*Lillian Daniel

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

 

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“Who Me? I’m Feeling Just Fine.”

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Dear Reader:

I admit that I am a chronic responder to the question “How are you feeling?” with the reply: “I am just fine.”  (And 99.9% of the time I am telling the truth…as in “I am just fine” meaning I am not dead and still breathing in oxygen and letting out nitrogen.)

“How are you feeling?” is probably one of the most subjective questions we are asked, practically on a daily basis. The answer depends on our ability to re-frame the question as a comparison to something else going on in our lives. We think of situations that could be better…but also situations that could be worse…and, then, decide after weighing the two options…”We are just fine.

Once again Quinn Caldwell weighs in on all our “fine-ness” in this daily devotional.

“Lord, listen to me and answer me.  I am poor and helpless….You, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.” – Psalm 86

Psalm 86 is the kind of prayer usually reserved for when things go really bad.  A prayer for when it has all fallen apart and you’re at the end of your rope.  If that’s where you are today, then pray it, hard.

But it’s also the perfect prayer to pray when things are going just fine, a prayer for those who have enough money, health, and power to get them through the day.  Praying it when you’re feeling broke down and no ‘count is a no-brainer.  Prayed when you’re flush and feeling good, it takes on a different cast.  Then, it becomes something like a call to humility, a reminder that all you have is nothing without God.

Only the dead are invulnerable.  When all is well in your world, Psalm 86 becomes a proclamation of this fact, an acknowledgement that all life is precarious.  It is an affirmation that, ultimately, all your hope lies in God.

So, to you who are in a good place, who are having a pretty good day: praise God and congratulations.  The world could use a few more of those.  Enjoy it.  Enjoy it, and pray this prayer to remind yourself that even if things weren’t going so well, still you would have the only thing that will finally matter: the love of the God who made you.  It’s a belief worth cultivating.

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Psalm 86

A prayer of David.

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
    for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you.

You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
    abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, Lord;
    listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you,
    because you answer me.

Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;
    no deeds can compare with yours.
All the nations you have made
    will come and worship before you, Lord;
    they will bring glory to your name.
10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
    you alone are God.

11 Teach me your way, Lord,
    that I may rely on your faithfulness; 

give me an undivided heart,

    that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
    I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
    you have delivered me from the depths,
    from the realm of the dead.

14 Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God;
    ruthless people are trying to kill me—
    they have no regard for you.
15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and graciousGod,
    slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and have mercy on me;
    show your strength in behalf of your servant;
save me, because I serve you
    just as my mother did.
17 Give me a sign of your goodness,
    that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
    for you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

So until tomorrow: Remind me, Father, to keep an open conversation going between us….in the good times and the bad.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

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Saying Good-bye…

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Dear Reader:

Aren’t good-byes one of the hardest things we have to deal with in life? From the time we are infants until adulthood…saying good-bye to friends and family is a ritual most of us would rather avoid.

So as children and then parents of children…didn’t we try to lighten the mood with silly sayings like the ones in the title photo. “See ya later alligator, After awhile crocodile, Out the door, dinosaur, See you soon raccoon, Hit the road happy toad, and Give a hug, ladybug.”

I remember when mother was dying…there was a part of me, the child in me, that wanted to run away and avoid the last good-bye. My brother, Ben, actually did leave to get a change of clothes, and had not gotten much past the parking lot when I called him back.

Mandy was with me and the atmosphere was charged with the imminent departure of mother. When the nurse told me her heart had stopped…but she could still hear…a sense of peace came over me and I had that conversation I had thought about for so long when this moment came and it was a memorable good-bye.

Quinn Caldwell-United Church of Christ, one of my favorite devotional authors, wrote this devotional a couple of years ago, which I read earlier in the week and marked for a re-reading. It is all about the right way to say “good-bye.”

“And now I commend you to God…”  When he had finished speaking, he knelt down with them all and prayed.  There was much weeping among them all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, grieving especially because of what he had said, that they would not see him again.  Then they brought him to the ship. – Acts 20:17-38  

Nobody likes goodbyes, and we go to many lengths to soften or avoid them.  A colleague leaves or a friend moves, and we say it’s not goodbye because we promise to have lunch, or to write, or to Facebook.  Sometimes we avoid the moment altogether: even though I barely knew her, I once hid in the bathroom for half an hour at a coworker’s goodbye party to avoid the moment when she actually left.

When Paul says goodbye to the Ephesians, he gets it right.  He remembers what they did together, he tells them what they mean to him, he commends them to God.  The word “goodbye” is a contraction of “God be with ye.”  Saying it is a reminder that even when we’re apart, God is with us both.  It’s an act of faith that if God is with you and with me, then somehow we’re still together, and that in the end we’ll join each other at a reunion in God’s heart.  It’s a promise that even when I can’t be with you, God will be, and that that will be sufficient.

Sometime soon you’ll have to say goodbye to somebody.  It’s worth doing well, for it’s all about faith.

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It was hard to say good-bye yesterday to neighbors and family…John, Mandy, and the children had just gotten home Tuesday evening and there I was leaving Wednesday until Sunday. After Christmas it sometimes seems a little lonely when everyone else returns to their routines and I find myself missing all the pre-Christmas and Christmas itself get-togethers with the family.

So until tomorrow: “God be with ye.”

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

6454l_balloon-bouquet12-mylarHappy Birthday to Marcia Temple and Lee Barbour…my friend-in-law and nephew. May this day be very special for both of you….a new beginning for Lee as a first-time daddy on his birthday today and for Marcia it is a birthday confirmation that life just gets better as it rolls along!

*Lee, I am sorry you ended up with the creepy birthday clown…but he had your name and the balloons didn’t….Remember no creepy clowns for Rhodes!

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(I’m at Pawleys so if the birthday cards are a little late…you know why…but they are coming!!!!)

  • Sis Kinney got her word into me just before I closed down the computer…
  • Hi Becky,
    I guess I’m “a day late and a dollar short” here, but I wanted to tell you my word for the year and to wish you a blessed and relaxing time at Pawley’s. My word will have to be “listen.” I’ve come across several Bible verses in my daily readings the past couple of days and it seems “listen” comes up. Like today: “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matthew 13: 43b)
  • I also want to add “prayer.” I need to be more faithful to my prayer list; I must admit (with great shame) that sometimes I don’t pray for the ones I’m committed to (through my affiliation with the Order of the Daughters of the King). So listen and prayer for me.
    Glad the weather has warmed up a bit for you and that y’all will be able to truly enjoy your retreat time in Pawley’s. One of these days I will have to return to SC b/c I really, truly miss beach time! Enjoy the fellowship, relaxation and warmth! Looking forward to hearing all about it!
    Much love,
    Sis

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“It Ended with a little Orange Ball”

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Dear Reader:

“What goes around does come around.” Last week, Wednesday, January 11, I wrote the story of how the Clemson victory came about as a “direct” result of three little orange balls that were really clown noses….honking us on to victory. (That’s my version of the story and I am sticking to it!)

You might remember my concern was that Donna and I had put on red (Alabama) ball noses the year before and come up just a little short for the victory. So I figured if we wore orange (Clemson) ball noses and added Sam to the equation/photo (instead of taking the picture) it would take us over the top. And guess what?

2016                                                 2017

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I left the two orange nose balls with Sam and Donna at half-time and told them to honk away the second half and then save them for next year!

Donna and I texted back and forth the whole second half until the delirious last second of the game…I feel sure I could hear the screams of delight from my house to theirs and back. Then came all the phone calls and the orange balls just became a memento from the past, a relic from our personal Clemson history.

Until last Friday…I had two of my orange balls in the plastic envelope they came in and when I glanced at it…it said 5 orange clown noses. Five? I thought there were only four. Ummmmm? There had to be another one around the house. I looked under the sofa cushions where I had made my tent for the second half…then under the sofa itself…I swept the den…nothing showed up.

I remembered squeezing the dickens out of my orange ball those last two minutes of the game….I would squeeze, then cover one of my eyes with the ball and peek out with the other as Watson methodically began his pass throws to glory. Where could it be?

Then when I woke up Saturday morning…I felt like something was stuck to my face. I sat up in bed and felt something foamy stuck to my cheek…I turned on the lights and looked in the mirror. There was the foam orange ball squished beyond recognition since I had been sleeping on that side all night.

I wouldn’t even have dreamed of trying to take a picture…I care about all of you readers too much…it was terrifyingly ugly…me first thing in the morning with no make-up and a red splotch where the ball had stuck to the side of my face while I was sleeping.

Apparently I had accidentally pushed it back under the other pillow sham and then reached for the other pillow sometime Friday night and slept right on top of it. I must have slept hard and never turned over for it to still be stuck to my face.

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You can’t really tell from the lighting and angle I took this photo…but the top two (right) balls are perfectly round and larger while the bottom left ball is about half the size and flattened out from my face lying on it all night.

 

And so it is over….It would be nice to ‘keep the ball rolling’ (or honking) but I doubt my heart could last through another game this season. There truly is a time for everything and it is time to say good-bye to a magical night that fairy tales and pixie dust are made about…when Clemson sent one stone flying at the giant named Alabama and brought it down with a resounding boom!

I will tell this story so often that I am sure one day the grandchildren will be able to tell it on their own…and it will always begin like this: “It  started with a little orange ball.”

And I am off today! It is our mid-winter Pawleys Island retreat for the Ya’s and for once it is not freezing like the last two years with record-breaking low’s. We think this is a good sign! We can stay out on the porch and solve all the world’s problems in five days. (I am sure everyone feels better now…just knowing this!)

photo-230This popular bait shop (preserved for historic reasons) is right across the street from Carolina Corner, the beach house we use each winter for our retreat…thanks to Linda, Libby’s sister! We love you Linda!

I will be back Sunday afternoon with Tales of Pawleys and the adventures that ensued.

So until tomorrow…’Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.’ (Helen Keller)

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Here are some more “perfect” words for 2017 sent in by our wonderful readers!

Patty Knight:  Loved Trog’s story! You are so right about listening!!!! I need to do a better job myself. My word for this year is grateful. At this point in life, I can look back and be ever so grateful for all that God Has done in my life

Carolyn Sweat: Listening better is on my 2017 Intentions List. The others are Family, Self, Release Fear. I know God will help me!! Thanks again!!!!

Linda Carson: I’m going to pick the word smile. Not very original but I want to try to give more of those this year. I ran into two patients from a long time ago at different times last week. Both of them said they weren’t sure they knew me until I smiled. I was always bashful in my younger days but not as much now. My smile may not be beautiful but it’s meant to convey warmth friendliness compassion and joy of life. So if I can help one person by smiling I will keep smiling! Have a wonderful day. Keep being you cause you are wonderful! 🙂 Linda

Anne Peterson: Mine might have to be ‘reboot’ b/c you have to shut down/unplug in order to reboot, don’t you? Hopefully, by ‘rebooting’ or stopping and taking frequent pauses throughout my days, I’ll see more and make more of the opportunities that arise.

*Gin-g Edwards sent me this message this morning after reading this blog and since it is still early I am adding it….because it fits here and I had not heard or read about this…a Dabo God Wink!

Too funny about the orange ball. Hope you have a wonderful time at Pawleys. ..sounds absolutely wonderful. I am sure you saw where Dabo said it was no accident that #4 threw to #13…then he referenced Proverbs 4:13…I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…Love you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Lost Art of Listening

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Dear Reader:

For all the thirty plus years I taught in the classroom and made presentations I was always aware of the number of participants not really listening…even when they pretended to hear. For teachers, everywhere, it is an on-going problem and cause for much frustration.

But then, when we remove ourselves from the classroom…do we do any better…listening to others in our daily lives?

President Franklin Roosevelt was known for his ready grin and his boisterous personality…but even he, a President, discovered that people aren’t really listening in long reception lines to shake his hand. So he decided to play a little trick on his guests one evening.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt got tired of smiling that big smile and saying all the usual things at those White House receptions. So, one evening he decided to find out whether anybody was paying attention to what he was saying. As each person came up to him with extended hand, he flashed his big smile and said, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.”

People would automatically respond with comments such as “How lovely.” or “Continue on with your great work.” Nobody listened to what he was saying, except for one foreign diplomat. When the president said, “I murdered my grandmother this morning,” the diplomat responded softly, “I’m sure she had it coming to her.

“It’s a funny story, but how often do we do the same? It seems that we have lot’s to say but we are not very good at listening. Think about it — how many language, speech and speaking courses can you find in your college course book? But can you find even one class on listening??

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There is such a lack of good listening skills in this day and age that we have to pay someone a lot of money just to listen to us! More importantly, God has many things He desires to reveal to us — but we’re always talking, talking, talking!

Let’s strive to do less talking and more listening today. Let’s give the Lord and others a chance to be heard.

So guess what readers? God must have found this theme just for me to write on because my word for 2017 is LISTEN! REALLY LISTEN!

Ambika…at first I was thinking about the word TRUST too…and that is an area I could use improvement on this year. But I think listening takes priority over it.

I do listen and I think I am taking in most of what is being said….but I also realize, upon retrospect, that I am searching for an appropriate response more than listening to the speaker’s intent.

If I am doing that with my fellow man, friends and family, then what about God? This can’t be good…I am telling him about my problems, goals, hopes, and dreams…but then not staying quiet enough to hear what God’s response is to me.

In my one feeble defense, however, it is just not listening for an appropriate response that sometimes deters me from listening as deeply as I should…I am a “connection” nerd. My mind looks for connections everywhere…so if I hear another speaker mention anything or anybody…my mind is already trying to connect it to a little story I know or a joke, a quote, or line from a movie, or passage from a book…it is just the way my brain works.

There is another problem that we humans face, however, and that is knowing who and what to listen to as wise commentary and who not to listen to …because of the broken dreams these ‘advisers’ can impart upon us.

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This is where we need God’s intervention to guide us to the right ‘sages’ we come across in our journey…

So until tomorrow…God give us the wisdom to know which advice is the right one…the one sent by You directly or by a messenger sent by You. Show us the way.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Janet Bender: My word for 2017 is “renewal.” It’s not as beautiful as last year’s “treasure,”but I’m not arguing with the One who spoke it into my heart.

One of our newest blog readers, Lynn from British Columbia, sent in her word with an acronym! Thanks for sharing Lynn!

Loved this blog today. My word for this year would be HOPE. As I think about this I’m also filled with thanks for the H — Heritage God has given O–opportunities that come every day to bless others; P–problems that come along every day to refine us E– expectation of an abundant life today and always when we “walk with the Lord in the light of His Word”. Blessings, Lynn from Aldergrove, British Columbia, Canada

Michele Robertson made a word from Jeff’s sermon Sunday (Dorchester Presbyterian Church) her “perfect word” for this year.

*Becky, I,  too have been searching for my word of the year. Yesterday in Jeff’s sermon he told a story about visiting at MUSC last weekend.( I apologize if you were there and I am repeating this). He met a man in the elevator and had a conversation with him outside in the beauty of God’s glory.)

This gentleman was a patient (in a wheelchair) who lived with cystic fibrosis. As you may or may at not know, CF patients don’t usually live past the age of 30-40. This man was 60 and thriving!!  Jeff was specifically talking about the light that is inside each of us and how we need to look for the light in others. He was definitely illuminated by this man’s light! As their conversation wrapped up, Jeff shook his hand and told him his name. The gentleman then told Jeff his name was “TROG”. He said his friends called him that-because that’s how he lives his life. TROG-Totally reliant on GOD!! I love it!
I have to say that a tear might have slipped from my eye-joined by many others. This gentlemen did nothing without trusting and relying on God-each and everyday of his life. So much so that his friends actually NAMED him this!! Hence he made it to 60-beating the numbers and odds for his life expectancy. He said he sat down with God and said, “now that I’ve made it to sixty, what are you going to do with the next half of my life , God?” What an awesome and inspiring light-giver!!
 
So Jeff challenged us all to be “TROGS” in our lives-receiving God’s light and spreading it everywhere we go.
*Just had an email from Mandy….they are starting back home after their family’s mid-winter “retreat” too with the children at Disney. Mandy said they had a blast and sent these adorable photos.
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Realization of Life’s Best Moments Through a Generation

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Dear Reader:

Putting a generation between you and your grandchildren produces miraculous changes in one’s perception of the precious moments of childhood… lost on parents living in the “Hurry Up, We have to go” stage of life.

When I think back on my own parenting skills (or lack of) it is all a blur today. I remember feeling like I was playing a dot-to-dot game on a daily, constant routine.I felt sure that if I missed one connection everything would untangle and blow up in my face. Life became a “check-off” list of daily survival things to do.

I still have some Mother’s Day cards and other mementos made at school by the children that help me remember that there were moments when I knew that these were the best of times, at the time it was happening, but, unfortunately, life, like a river, swept us all along…faster than I ever dreamed. “Row, Row, Row your boat…Life is but a dream.”

The one thing I am most proud of and see in all my grandchildren is their love of imagination. They would all rather dress up and play “pretend” than anything else in their world. Eva Cate writes whole scripts in her mind…playing several different roles and changing her voice to accompany each invisible character in her “pretend” games. Rutledge goes right into character depending on what outfit he has on….Spiderman, Captain America, or police chief. He always wants to be the hero no matter which character.

Jake and Lachlan are studies in imitations of their older siblings…whatever they are doing, they want to do it too. Thank goodness Eva Cate and Rutledge mentor imaginary worlds to perfection for their little brothers.

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Yesterday you might remember I shared one of Debbie Macomber’s daily devotions with you and there is one more sample given from the book (that I ordered) that I would like to share.

“Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:23) 

My husband Wayne and I were blessed with four children in a five-year span. By the time Dale, our youngest, was born, I hadn’t slept through the night in three long years. The house was in constant chaos, and in those pre–disposable diaper days, the washing machine was going day and night. My hands were more than full with the demands of our growing family.

Thankfully, I was blessed with wonderful parents who visited us often. Soon after Dale’s arrival, my mother came to help. Early one morning, when our newborn woke for his feeding, his older sisters and brother came looking for attention. Jody sat on one knee and Jenny on the other, and Ted shared space with his infant brother on my lap. All too soon, the older three started squabbling and whining.

My mother woke up and joined us in the living room. “Oh, Debbie,” she said with a smile, “these are the happiest days of your life.” Aghast, I looked at her and said, “Mom, you mean it gets worse?” Now, in retrospect, I can see how very blessed I was. Mom had the perspective to see it then; thank God, I can see it now.”

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So until tomorrow: Lord, give all parents the patience, the prayer and the sense of humor they need to raise their children in Your grace. 

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Gin-g shared her word with us for this upcoming new year (2017)…FAITH. If any of you know Gin-g…you know she lives this word every single day…but like she mentioned in her comment…she wants her faith to expand even larger to welcome new understandings of God’s love for all His children. Thanks for sharing Gin-g!

*Cindy Ashley said her perfect word for 2017 is EAGERNESS….to set new goals, explore new possibilities, travel, and simply be ready, be eager to continue a lifetime of learning.

*Ambika said her perfect word is TRUST….simply putting her trust in God. And that you do Ambika!

*Sue Anne Strickland also chose FAITH…she said she would be lost without it. (Again another strong woman of faith herself)

*Guess what? I found my perfect word or God found it for me and it is part of tomorrow’s blog…so I will reveal it then.

 

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“Absolutely No Admittance”

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Dear Reader:

Yesterday Jo Dufford referenced the book One Perfect Word by popular author, Debbie Macomber. The idea behind this theme was to choose one word that would be your lantern, your mantra, to guide you for the year. (* Jo chose the number “one” itself for her word.)

Macomber used the example of when her father’s health was rapidly failing and he had to be moved to a special care facility leaving her mother, who was not in good health either, alone.

She was worried about both parents and saddened at the idea of losing her devoted daddy who loved her unconditionally. She finally realized her word for the New Year must be “Surrender.” This whole sad situation was beyond her control and she had to surrender it to God.

518ig3-zftl-_sx326_bo1204203200_I have thought about this idea of choosing one word each year as my guiding compass and I am still trying to decide on my word for 2017. Think about it and if you have a word you want to follow this year please send it to me with your name or if you are more comfortable… anonymously. I would love to share your “one perfect word” for 2017. ( I will share mine when I settle on the “perfect word” for me and my situation.)

Inside another book by Debbie Macomber – Patterns of Grace (Daily Devotions) an anecdote in the author’s book made me pause for reflection.

Debbie Macomber said that she grew up suffering from dyslexia. As a child, adolescent, and young adult she was always getting turned around and lost in more situations than she could count. Here is her personal account of an epiphany that happened to her … turning her writing career into reality.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

I grew up in Yakima, Washington, with a large extended family. We cousins were as close as brothers and sisters; we lived in the same neighborhood, attended the same church and school, and often vacationed together.

After I married Wayne and moved to Kent, just a few miles south of Seattle, my cousin David, who was closest to me in age, developed leukemia. His doctors sent him to Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Although I didn’t often venture into the big city, I was determined to visit David.

Somehow I ended up at Swedish Hospital, which is connected to Fred Hutchinson by a sky bridge. Lost and confused, I wandered down a number of corridors without finding the bridge. Finally, I stopped a doctor and asked if he could give me directions.

1913633_189632258575_2511234_n“It’s simple,” he assured me. “All you need to do is walk down this hallway, take the first right and walk through the door marked ABSOLUTELY NO ADMITTANCE.” Those directions did more than show me the way to my cousin.

Somehow, that experience has given me the courage to walk through other doors: my dyslexia that I feared would keep me from working; my terror of speaking in front of people. God has met me at the door marked ABSOLUTELY NO ADMITTANCE and held it open for me.

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Lassie shared the next anecdote with me, from her sister-in-law Carolyn, and I just had to ‘pay it forward‘ to you readers so you could enjoy it… if you haven’t read it before or even if you have…share the chuckle again.

“The Deacon and the Biscuit”

One Sunday morning at a small Southern church, the new pastor called on one of his deacons to lead in the opening prayer. The deacon stood up, bowed his head and said, “Lord I hate buttermilk.”

The pastor opened one eye and wondered where this was going. The deacon continued, “Lord I hate lard.” Now the pastor was totally perplexed. The deacon continued, “Lord, I ain’t too crazy about plain flour. But after you mix ‘em all together and bake ‘em in a hot oven, I love biscuits.”

Lord, help us to realize when life gets hard, when things come up that we don’t like, whenever we don’t understand what you are doing, that we need to wait to see what you are making. After you get through the mixing and the baking, it’ll probably be better than biscuits.

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Isn’t that the perfect anecdote for this very troubled time in our country? Many Americans are confused and terrified at the mixed messages and metaphors playing out before us on a daily basis.

So until tomorrow…It is time for us to call on God to open doors of understanding and wisdom once marked “Absolutely No Admittance” and then look and wait for God’s signals and plans to help reunite all citizens out of an apathetic state into a stronger united front to keep America a leader in building a better world for all God’s children.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

img_4806*Tommy and Kaitlyn came over yesterday…and we finally got to have Tommy’s birthday lunch – we went to Continental Corner and shared different helpings…all of it yummy! We then walked around town square and checked out some of the new shops/restaurants around town.

13886464_1032747236844126_183569894265320062_nWe ended up at our new brewery in town next to Marigolds to check out our home-brewed brew! We tried different types and flavors…it was all good with some beers personally tasting a little big “gooder” …according to our individual tastes.

 

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We checked out a few more shops and then rode through some of the newer subdivisions in town….so glad Kaitlyn and Tommy stop by at intervals… so I can discover what is going on in my own town.

*Since Tommy and Kaitlyn both work for Brooks Styles Tommy wanted to show Kaitlyn where the Styles family lived (*God bless you Brooks!) we pulled into their neighborhood entrance and before we could circle around….Tommy and Kaitlyn spotted Brooks in the front yard with the grandchildren…so we stopped to speak and were generously invited to crash the party.

It was so much fun to see Ginny and Lindsay (Brooks and Ellen’s grown children again)….they were both students that went through Alston Middle School and we all went to the same church while our children were growing up.

All the grandchildren are so adorable and funny. The youngest, Mayes, is Pollyanna incarnate, I do believe. She is so filled with happiness and joy that she can’t contain it all…it just overflows onto anyone near her and as the afternoon went on…we got closer and nearer all the time. Too precious!

Thanks Styles family for your exceptionally warm hospitality for some unexpected ‘drop-ins’ on a drop-dead gorgeous January Saturday afternoon. We had a ball!!!!

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