Monday, June 30, 2014

Out Of Hope Or Out Of Nope

I personally am out of 'nope'. Meaning, to mis-quote one of my songs,
"From here on out, (my) life should be
 Red roses and sunshine."
Even the best of us cannot see even a second ahead in time. You not only don't know what tomorrow will bring, you don't know for certain what will happen six seconds after you read this sentence.
5..4..3..2..I trust that God, Who sees the end from the beginning, Who stands outside of time, will take care of things, whatever things need to be taken care of.
So, you may ask, why the picture?
Hope. Not nope. I'm reminded of one of the best but also one of the toughest Summers when I look at this photo.
I'm a long way away from there and from that Summer-I have an entirely different life now.
The year following that Summer began about as nope as nope can nope for me.
I couldn't even imagine the good things God had in store for me, and I know that He's not done yet.
Fresh out of nope, and may that be your Blessing, also.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

From The Other FDW: Refreshments Served Daily! Sometimes Hourly!






“5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart     And do not lean on your own understanding.
6    In all your ways acknowledge Him,     And He will make your paths straight.
7    Do not be wise in your own eyes;     Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
8    It will be healing to your body     And refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8
I sure need some refreshment for my bones.
The first thing that attracts my eye and mind in these verses is ‘lean not on your own understanding’.
That right there will cause any non-believer to slam shut the book and say that it is nonsense!
But the believer knows that God is in charge, and we not only don’t need the whole story, we freely admit to being incapable of understanding all that is happening. If I were to lean on my own understanding, I would quickly fall over.
I love this passage: “6    In all your ways acknowledge Him,     And He will make your paths straight.”
To put it in simple, if I acknowledge Him, if I consider the world with Him as Creator God working His plan, actively directing everything that happens or will happen or has happened…then I have no need to be led through the desert for forty years learning lessons.
Fearing (respecting) the LORD keeps me turning from evil and protects me from becoming wise in my own eyes because I recognize the limitations my intellect compared to the perfect knowledge of God.
If we get a big head due to being so impressed with the pittance we think we know, God has a cure for that.
Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Don't Mind Me At The Moment

Touchtones. Touchstones are physical stones you touch, or can be metaphorical 'touchstones', events you recall which mark the when and wheres of your life.
'Touchtones' are different. Tones that touch you.
Right now I'm listening to Corrine Bailey Rae's album "The Sea" which is good, but a much different object d'art than her eponymous first album.
Why "The Sea" tonight?
I learned today that another of my friends has died.
Bailey Rae wrote this album after her husband passed away, and although she will never know who I am, I feel a kinship, making this is a touchtone for me.
What makes this one special: her first album was bright and sunny and full of joy, and this one is half happy and half sad. It isn't at all morose or dark, just quietly sad but peppered with some upbeat moments, as if even in grief she has hope and life. I get that.
I keep saying that I've attended enough funerals in the past few years, but that doesn't stop them from coming.
God has Grace to get us through everything in life.  He makes the rainy and the sunny days.
Right now there is enough tumult and juke moves going on in my life to cause an earthquake in Alaska-(just Doug attempting to be topical).
But the more life gets shaken and stirred, the more I appreciate the Grace that God gives to help us make it through.
Touchtones. Album is done-have a good night.





Sunday, June 22, 2014

Break


The more mannered and controlled the casing
the raging more bulent inside.
God never fails but yes we do.
Imperfect til Heaven
Don't make the news.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Following The Best Example Possible

More Grace. That's not quite enough for a blog post, so let me expand on that.
If you have been shown Grace by God concerning your foibles and shortcomings,
then that is what you should extend to your best friend and your worst enemy.
Grace doesn't mean that you ignore problems or allow bad situations to continue.
It means that when you reach out to help someone and they think that you are personally
attacking them, show more Grace and forgive, just as you have been forgiven by God for much worse.
A post a while back titled "I Don't Want Justice" is an example of what I'm talking about.
Sometimes each of us will have a nemesis, opposition, someone who, to quote my brother in law,
"Hates our guts and liver, too."
I have two such nemesis, and I don't ask God for justice regarding them, because I would rather see
them repent, be saved and one day be in Heaven.
They are living unhappy lives, and for some reason, they really, really don't like me or want me to
succeed at anything.
I ask for Grace. Because God has shown me that same Grace when I've been a stinker.
If someone considers me a nemesis, it isn't because I am axe-grinding or seeking them ill
or wish to cause any pain. I want Peace, and for them to be at Peace with me.
May God grant them more Grace, and may God bring Peace and healing into their lives.



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I'm Feeling Sheepish

11“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 
12“He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 
 13He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 
 John 10:11-13


Co-incidence-read nothing, please, into the fact that this post follows the story "Vee Was Running".
The hired hand that Christ mentions above is a coward. His job, his raison d'ĂȘtre was to care for the sheep. His running is from something; Vee/Dorothy was dreaming/running towards her new life in Kansas. That postcard had held back from her so as to take away her hope, but in that card she had hope, and a future.
Maybe we should not be too hard on the hired hand-that sounds like an entry level position, so a youth, inexperienced and easily frightened may run away. After a few decades of working with sheep, possibly as a sheep owner himself, he will know that the wolves can not harm the sheep if he stands his ground and protects them.
Imagine that youthful hired hand sweating at his next job interview:
"So, boy-you have experience with sheep?"
I do, sir-I know where to find good grazing, and water, and if a wolf shows up I know to run away and leave the sheep to fend for themse..."
"NEXT!"



Friday, June 13, 2014

Vee Was Running




   Vee was running. Up the street, past the grocer, the police station and Mrs. Abel’s Millinery-
Vee ran with the wind at her back, laughing and singing to the beautiful day.
“Vee!” her mother called, waving a dishrag from their fifth floor window.
“Vee! Home for lunch now!”
Vee nodded, ran back and started climbing the tenement steps two at a time but her feet hurt and as she looked down she saw her feet all red with blood, and then they were blood and hurting horribly.
   “Veronica!” came her mother’s voice again, strangely angry.
Vee looked from her feet up to the window where the dishrag fell away from her mother’s limp hand. Her face burned and
   “Veronica! Wake up!”
Nurse Margaret, hand raised to slap, stood next to the hospital bed, her hatchet face dark with anger.
“I don’t know why an ignorant beggar child who puts on airs should be such trouble! You complained about me to Dr. Aust again, didn’t you?”
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but I only asked…”
“You asked to be moved next to the window. I decide the bed arrangements on this floor and you don’t need a view.”
“You need to quit whining and crying to get your way. You’re no princess to be waited on! Just trouble, an orphan who should keep her mouth shut!”
   Nurse Margaret pulled back the blankets and pointed.
“There! You see? Your feet aren’t going to grow back- you WILL BE an invalid, a nuisance and worthless for the rest of your life!”
   Vee shut her eyes and listened as Nurse Margaret stalked away, cursing the misfortune of having such a child on her ward.
Pulling the blankets back up to her chin, she wanted to cry but had no tears left.
   Mother and father and Jack.
It was a picnic day, visiting where the Chicago World’s Fair, the Columbian Exposition had taken place a few years earlier.
Mother in her best, lunchbasket on her lap.  Father looking dignified in his suit, Jack running up and down the train car as it sped across the sky.
Vee was excited to be riding the elevated train, watching the buildings whizz past the windows so close that at times it seemed that you could almost touch them.
Jack cheered as the Ferris Wheel came into view but then the train lurched sharply, grinding noises so loudly they couldn’t be heard, and then…it fell.
Jack ran and tried to brace, protect his little sister in the few seconds before it all went dark and she awoke in a hospital bed with bandages where there should have been feet.
Vee felt her cheek and wondered if it was red. Soon she was asleep, and no more dreams.
   When she woke the next morning, her bed was next to the window and she could see it was a warm summer day.
A chocolate treat landed on her bed and she turned to see Dr. Aust smiling.
“Good morning, Veronica. Did you sleep well last night?”
“Good morning, Dr. Aust. I did, and thank you for moving me to the window. It’s beautiful out today!”
   Dr. Aust reminded Vee of her Grandfather, except instead of a butcher’s apron he wore a nice suit.
He was smiling, but a frown clouded his face for a moment as he pulled a paper from his pocket.
   “Vee, I know what happened last night, and I’m sorry that Miss Hampton acted so horribly towards you. She has been let go, and she won’t be mistreating you anymore.”
“Doctor! I’m sorry! I didn’t…”
“You have nothing to be sorry for, child. One of the other nurses witnessed what she did, and told me. I apologize to you on behalf of the hospital, and I must beg you forgiveness for something else.”
   He handed her the paper, a postcard.
“Veronica, this card came for you some time ago, and Miss Hampton…kept it. It was in her locker and I’m sorry that I didn’t know about it until now.”
Vee read the card, postmarked two months earlier, four…no…five weeks after the accident.
   Dearest Veronica,
   I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to get back again to see you, but    you have a home here with us as soon as the doctor releases you.
   You will be like our own daughter, and my sister will be smiling      down on us from Heaven as we are family. Have the hospital send   word and Henry and I will come get you when you are ready. Love, Emily.
   Dr. Aust pulled up a chair and sat.
“I met them, Vee, when they came to see you-you wouldn’t remember, as we had you medicated for the pain. They’re good people-have you been to their place before?”
   Vee nodded.
   “Once we went for a Christmas visit-snow was up higher than our heads, and they met us at the station with a sled and two horses! No buildings at all! Just empty prairies and a few trees all the way to their farm.”
“I grew up on a farm myself. Do they have cattle?”
“Just a couple of cows, some pigs, chickens and a garden. My aunt makes the best pies!”
Aust smiled. “I’m sure that she does, Vee. That postmark says Topeka-do they live close to there?”
“I think so, though Mom talked of growing up near Hays.”
   “I’ve been there, and it’s a good town. Vee, I have something to say, and I want you to think about it.”
“Your life is…changed. We all have things happen that we didn’t expect, and the best way to keep moving forward and doing well is to not let your troubles hinder you.”
“Doctor, I think Nurse Margaret has been…hindered. She’s not very happy.”
“I think you’re right. You’re a bright girl, Vee, and I’m sure that you will do well in life. You’ll always have good memories of your family-you didn’t know it, but I delivered you when you were born, and I knew your father well.”
“I did know that-my mother pointed you out once and told me how nice you are.”
“She did? Well, bless her. You will be starting a new chapter in your life, and it’s important to make the most of a fresh start.”
Vee nodded.
   “I’ve had a lot of time to think, here in this bed, and when I go to Kansas, I think I will use my middle name, which was my mother’s. 
It will remind me of her and dad and Jack every time someone calls me Dorothy.”
   “That sounds like a wonderful idea. Do you remember anything else about the farm?”
“Well, I slept in a big, big bed with lots of quilts, and on the wall facing there was a cross-stitch that Aunt Em had done: “BE IT EVER SO HUMBLE, THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME”.
   That night, after watching the moon come up, she dreamt of Kansas.
Dorothy was running...