Droplets to Deluge

Water is a much-needed entity in our everyday lives. We drink it for our health, and we bathe in it for cleanliness. Rain is needed to grow beautiful flowers, and to water crops and gardens. We enjoy water for a boat ride, or to cool off on a hot summer day. The gentle patter of rain on a tin roof can lull us to sleep, while the pounding of a deluge can cause us to question our choice of roofing material. A babbling brook welcomes our toes after a long hike in the mountains, and the roaring of the ocean’s waves engulfs our senses. Water is magnificent, beautiful and a curiosity.

This liquid becomes a curiosity when it reaches out of its bounds. Sometimes the unleashing of a storm pushes those limits. The confines of reservoirs and dams that are man-made, and other times solid rock or shifting sands of nature can be challenged to hold…water.

I have always been intrigued by flooding. Maybe the Big Thompson Flood of July 31, 1976 piqued my interest. I was just eleven years old that summer, and watching the coverage on the news of that canyon flooding  really made an impact on me. I lived in Longmont, Colorado at the time, and that was almost too close for comfort. Those areas had been Sunday afternoon drives in the mountains, and I could remember them.

Water is a need in our lives. Without it, we die. But too much in wrong places can be devastating.

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Missouri and other areas are looking like those three pictures. Kansas has had some local flooding as well. We went from needing some rain after a dry winter to needing to dry out. Our garden, which needs to be tilled, is one giant mud pie. But my newly transplanted rose of sharon and baby elms are doing fantastic with all the water.

And that’s life. In everything there can be a curse and a blessing. Please pray for those affected by the flooding in Missouri. I know a few people dealing with it. Each time I look up at those gray skies and dread more rain, I’m thankful for a newer roof, holding secure. I’m thankful for my flourishing plants and the cool days. And I’m thankful for my dry house, and not needing a boat to go to the grocery store. In everything give thanks.

 

Dirty Rags

I woke up this morning to a sink full of dishes. That’s a huge one for me. Then the sink was clogged, an ongoing problem in our house in the kitchen area. The rest of the house has new plumbing, just not that section that I use every, single, day, multiple times. So, I plunged it until I worked up a sweat, and then left it. Another big deal for me. A clogged sink and dirty dishes on the counter while I sit here and write. What’s this world coming to? What’s my world coming to?

So I went to YouTube for some happy music. My daughter has been sharing some MercyMe music on Face Book the past several days, so I just typed in their name since nothing else came to mind. I wanted something upbeat and with a message, and boy did I get it with this song! When the video first started I was a bit repulsed, I must admit. There is that O.C.D side of me again! I wanted to take a rag and start wiping all that gunk off those poor guys! How could they sing and play instruments with that covering them?

And that’s where my day turned around.

How can we as people go through our days and our lives covered with our past sins? Our regrets, our mistakes, our I-wish-I hadn’t-done-that-moments? How do we crawl out from all that gunk that follows us through life, dripping over us and making us dreading the next step we need to take? How do we live our lives with physical challenges from birth, or acquired along the way.

What do we do with cancer, loss of a loved one, chronic illness, financial crisis, or just a life that is what it is from bad decisions? Because we’ve all accomplished that last one, probably several times over.

None of us are flawless, none of us are without sin. What redeems us is God’s grace. He sees us as we ought to be, not what we are. Enjoy the song. And keep those dirty rags under the sink where they belong!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjLlLPZderk

 

Confused?

I’m not really a follower. And I would rather not be a leader. But if something needs to be done, and it’s headed to the trash can…then I would rather take charge of it.

I don’t like fads or slang terminology for a certain generation. Although when I was researching my Rubyville series of books, it was extremely interesting and fun to see what slang had been used down through the decades. As far as fashion goes, I love it. I’ve always been interested in what’s in style. But these days there are some pretty weird combinations out there. If it were possible, I would wear feminine, lacy and floral prints most of the time. Do you remember Laura Ashley or Jessica McClintock fashion? I loved it! But to dress in that mode today, all the time, you might as well don the hoop skirts or bustle, you would be viewed as just as strange.

To really be truthful, I would rather that women dressed as they once did back in the 1800’s. My opinion is that women were feminine and pretty, and I think this lasted until the second World War. I realize that our active lifestyle today would not be possible in the clothing from those eras, but there is a sense of sadness for me in that.

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Somewhere along the line, women gained the vote, their rights, the ability to earn an income just like a man…and lost so much more.

Are you confused as to where this is going?

I’m not really a follower, and don’t like to be a leader in most situations. And I believe I was created that way. That does not make me less than a man, or stupid, or not able to take care of myself. At one time, women basically controlled the world from their own little environment of their home, taking care of their family and raising children. They had much information to impart to a child before they left the home environment. Their job was to teach a child to be self-sufficient in the areas of survival. A child learned skills to manage a home, whether it was outside, or inside. The mother had much to say about a child’s political and religious future. Of course the father contributed to this as well, but with young children especially, the mother was the leader.

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Sadly today, grandparents and daycare oversee most of the rearing of children. Then it’s passed onto the school system. When a child spends most of their time learning from someone other than a parent, what view on the world are they going to take?

I don’t want to stir up trouble. But I do want you to think. Of course there are bad situations and scenarios concerning almost any topic, and that includes parenting. We’ve all seen children that would probably be better off being raised by a grandparent, or another loving and capable person. But that shouldn’t be the norm.

For me, having children was a huge responsibility, and I took it very seriously. After all, I had carried that child for almost 10 months, (I never seemed to want to give that baby up!) I changed their diapers, fed them every few hours, cuddled them, and took care of them when they were sick. That was my job, and I didn’t want anyone else doing it for me. I knew I had a tremendous influence in that little person’s life, and that’s how God designed it to be.

Again, I’m not trying to bash anyone’s parenting skills. But I do want to encourage you to follow your instincts as a mother, or father. Do what you were designed to do. Don’t allow society to dictate what you should be. Mothering is the most important job out there. Yes, the pay is lousy, the hours are long, and I guarantee you will want to quit many times over. But there is absolutely no other job as important, no other job with as much influence as the one of being a mother. Take it seriously, and lead those children to greatness.

As usual, I’ve probably rambled a bit. But I guess the bottom line is, don’t be afraid to be a woman or a man, and do the job God gave you to do. There is nothing wrong with wearing feminine clothing if you’re a woman, and the same is true if you’re a man wearing masculine clothing. Why do we all have to look the same? Why do we follow what society dictates? And now society is saying we should be gender neutral so as not to offend anyone. ( Yes, this is a bit of a rabbit trail, and for another post another time!) Why do we care? If we raise our children to have respect for life, respect and love for others, the outside doesn’t matter. The soul does. And that’s what we should really care about.

How Deep the Father’s Love For Us

Like many of you, my thoughts this time of year turn to spring. The renewing of the earth, trees bursting with bright green growth, flowers pushing through the  cold soil to spread their petals toward the bright sun. It’s also the time of year that we celebrate Resurrection Day, or Easter as it is commonly called. And that is fitting.

Yesterday a dear friend brought an arrangement for this song, a song I’ve always loved. A song I wish we had sung while my children and I were still active in our little bluegrass/gospel group. I sat down this morning at the piano, and played it. It was a rather rough rendition. I play piano rarely these days, and a song with three flats was always reaching out of my comfort zone. But the lovely tune was there, and the words brought the same refreshing balm to my soul that they always have. Imagine…How Deep the Father’s Love For Us…that He gave His only begotten Son?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKDujmtyAVk

I will be posting this on Sunday. I pray a beautiful, peaceful Sunday for you as you worship and learn more about our Father. Psalm 118:24

Hope In Something More

Are you having a rough day? Maybe a few days? What about days stacked upon one another, tumbling into weeks and months?

Life on this earth can be like that at times, whether it’s one day, or even a couple years. And we’ve all heard it before, usually when life really stinks for awhile. Standing beside a loved one’s hospital bed, or during a funeral service for a person dear to us. “This is only for a season, this too shall pass. Life will get better.”

And it will.

This post is more for those Believers out there. Of course I wish that all would read it, all are most welcome to read it. But if you are not saved, you are without hope in your future, and I cannot even imagine what that would feel like. I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was nine years old, and I’ve always had the assurance that no matter how rotten this life becomes, my hope is in heaven. And that’s huge for me! I pray and wish that for all. Without that, this life is a dead end, a road traveling to nowhere. The journey is difficult, bumpy and lousy at times, and without God, without the salvation Christ has provided, there is no hope.

My life has not been a walk in the park as a Believer, and God did not mean it to be. The things that we put time into and struggle with, we appreciate more at the conclusion. Just as we trim and prune our rose bushes and shrubs to guide them into something spectacular, God works on us in the same way. After our pruning, which really hurts at times, we are better on the inside.

Listen to the words of this song. We’ve all been there. Whatever our struggles are…physical, financial, emotional, and many times all at once until we feel as though we want to curl up and die. We are stronger than we think, the sun will rise in the morning and we can begin again…and again. Just keep taking one step, then another. Breathe deeply, and then once more. God is there, and He has a plan, and it’s for your good. Trust in that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjF9IqvXDjY

Live Your Life Well

Our oldest daughter shared this song with me just a few minutes ago. It has a great beat and it makes you happy, but the words are what draw you in. Here’s a message from the song writer about the song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PS5CtTVoZoU

He said it well, and my reply to the Facebook share was this: And when you look back over the years…it’s even better than you imagined. Even with all the ‘yuck’ moments. 

Life is good! And you can live your dreams. Don’t spend so much time looking back on ‘what was’. Look to now, this moment, and ‘what is’. Here’s the song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oK6IfY-gE8

Life is Real…and so are the Answers. Live your life well. Thank you Downhere for a fantastic song!

Simple Pleasures

I absolutely love receiving pleasure from the very simple things in life!

It’s a reminder that you don’t need a lot of money to be happy. Your house doesn’t have to be enormous or in an exclusive neighborhood. The car you drive needs to be serviceable, or even a sturdy bike will do to get you from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’. And most people have two great feet that will do the job. The climate in your part of the world doesn’t have to be perfect. Contentment in…wherever you live, wherever you’re at, however you look, and how much money you make is where it’s at.

Today, I wanted to concentrate on those simple pleasures. The things in my life that give me comfort,  make me smile, and make a day that’s not going so well, just a little better. I hope they make you smile as well.

Watching the birds at my back door. Hedges planted just for them, so they would be safe and have a home for their families. I’ve now been rewarded with six pairs of cardinals, and they give me great joy.

The hummingbirds that return every summer. They sneak up, hovering over my flowers, pausing for a short visit in their busy lives.

Beautiful scenery of the seasons. The photos and pictures that take my breath away. And no, I didn’t include winter. That may not make some of you smile! But you can look forward to spring.

Simple houses in country settings. A place that I would like to one day live. If it was beside water, even better!

Landscapes that cause you to just say, “Wow!” There are so many of those. Beauty can be seen any place in the world, no matter if it’s a forest, field, mountain, river, ocean, desert or sky view. Just take a moment to visually enjoy what the photographer, or painter has seen.

Sitting beside my little fireplace, whether reading or watching a movie. It’s extra special if my husband is there with me.

The smell of coffee brewing, sunny pictures, and cute animals always make me smile. My husband took the picture of the butterfly.

And of course, my family brings me great joy. A husband to share my life with, children, their spouses and grandchildren that make it all worth while.

We  all have these simple pleasures in our lives. Take time to seek them out, relish the feel of them, smile at all that you have accomplished. It makes your heart swell with joy…and that’s what life is about.

Assessment Power

Do you remember those bar graphs in school? We all had to learn different ways to monitor progress for a variety of items. I liked the pie charts and bar graphs because they were colorful and made more sense to me. I should say again that they were colorful. Any time I could bring in some creative, artistic stuff into school work, I was great with that!

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Many of you that use WordPress know that there is a bar graph showing how many people visit your site. (I guess they are people, I’m hoping they are people!) There is also a cute little map showing where the people are from. I find this highly addicting. Every day I’m drawn to see what the bar graph is showing and what parts of the country have made a visit. “Wow! Someone in Ireland checked out my blog!” That is very exciting for me and a real honor. I always think it’s pretty neat when someone reads something I’ve written. I guess I’m just new enough to this that it still thrills me.

But unfortunately, I’m still human as well. And I notice that when I don’t post for a few days, those cute, little, blue bars get shorter and shorter. And that’s depressing.

We all know and understand that marketing and promoting is very difficult in any area. So difficult that some people have gone to school just for that and they are hired at companies to do only that job. And some make a lot of money doing it. So when you’re trying to market and promote yourself, it’s like racing across a frozen lake in April, just trying to stay ahead of the breaking, disintegrating ice.

Why do we as humans focus so much on what people think? Why are we constantly striving for that reward, acknowledgement, or tall blue line? A friend of mine commented the other night while we were giving a book talk in our little town. She was referring to Facebook and what a draw it it to see who has liked something, or commented. She said it was like receiving candy. And it is! It’s another boost to our over-sugared egos. And we want more and more.

Do we function in such a manner because of our feelings of inadequacy? Is any little positive comment, or pat on our back a reason to celebrate and change the course of our day? And then the reverse be true if someone kicks us in the gut, or tears us down verbally? I would hope not, but I know it to be a fact in my own life. As I’ve aged, the jabs don’t hurt as much as they once did. My skin is a little tougher. But the positive feedback means even more to me.

We are human, and we were created with a soul and emotions. We were designed to be loved and needed. The mean words and actions from others cut deeply. The rewards and encouraging words do make our day, and I’m glad for it. There was a time in my life when those feelings were numb, and I don’t want to go through life in that manner. I want to feel the highs and the lows, the crushing hurt and the exhilaration. It’s what makes this life exciting. The hard times make us appreciate the easy ones. Just as a runner would enjoy a cool drink, a shower and a soft chair after a race, we revel in a time of peace and happiness.

So, I’ll continue to check the little, blue bars on here. I’ll be excited when I see another country check in that I haven’t heard from yet. If the bars are low, it will encourage me to post again. It’s just another way to evaluate my progress and see what I need to be doing. What do you think? (Because I really need to know if you liked this post!)

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“I Know the Plans I Have”

Anyone over the age of about thirteen can look back on this year and say, “Wow!”

It didn’t really matter if you were Republican or Democrat, rich or poor, owned a home or rented, had children or not, etc. I think we can all agree that it was a rough ride in many ways.

Every year I see something in the news about the people we lost over the past year. This year has been especially shocking to me. I don’t know if I’m just getting older, so I’m aware of more people, and have followed them over their careers. Maybe it’s more of a surprise because so many have been young…around my age. And yes, that’s young to me. To only reach your fifties or not even…half your life in the way I look at it.

And of course I always wonder what their belief system was. For me, to think that a person did not know Christ as their Savior before their death is scary and sad.

So many celebrities had it all while they lived their lives on this earth. So very many had tumultuous lives. It seems to me that they were searching for that perfect combination, that balm to the soul and all the money and fans could not appease that hunger.

That is not to say that if you accept Christ as your Savior your life is monetarily successful. That you have all that this world deems important and affluent. And I have had people say, “Then why bother? I’m fine on my own.”

But are we?

I like to have a plan, a goal, and know what’s ahead to some extent. No, you can’t know everything and life is full of surprises. Some wonderful and rocking our world, others not so much. At times those unexpected little things are just down right depressing and pretty formidable. But for me, wondering about where I would go after I’m no longer here on this earth would be unacceptable. I want to know and be sure. And I think most people do.

Because God created us that way. He created us to need other people for encouragement, support, accountability and love. He gave us a desire to have others in our lives. He designed us with emotions, feelings, taste and a decision-making process…for a reason. It was planned.

And for me, a plan is pretty fantastic. I want to know what’s ahead, and what I’m expected to do. And you can.

I look back on 2016 and think, “Wow!” But I look back on my entire last 52 years on this earth and can say the same. It’s been a pretty exciting ride, most of the time. Looking to the future of 2017 is a bit scary. There are many unanswered questions. And I don’t like that. But faith is where it’s at. I know God has a plan, and I’m part of that plan, and He’s the ultimate planner.

Jeremiah 29:11 King James Version (KJV)

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29:11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Tomorrow is the last day of the year 2016. The year has flown by, many changes have occurred over the past twelve months. We know, take by faith, that the sun will set tonight and rise again in the morning. Time is short, for all of us. None of us know how long we will be here. Make the most of the time you have, make the best decision of your life. Accepting Christ as your Savior, is a plan you can be sure of. And it sure beats having no clue! hourglass-1703330_1920

Start the New Year with a clean slate. Decide to live your life differently. Each day we are given affords that opportunity. If you are saved, make 2017 the year you put your Christian walk first in your life. That will be my goal.

John 3:16 King James Version (KJV)

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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Don’t Be so Hard on Yourself!

For some reason, a commercial I remembered from my childhood started floating through my brain sometime during the night. I do know the reason why, but I want this to be a happy post! So I won’t go into the details of why that particular commercial sprang back to life.

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“I can bring home the bacon, and fry it up in the pan…” were some of the lyrics. It was advertising the perfume, Enjoli. I don’t even know if the perfume is still available. The commercial I was thinking of was from 1978, and they remade it 1980. So sales must have been really great and it worked. It worked for me enough to remember the jingle! The part I didn’t understand at fourteen was bringing home the bacon and making it! I thought that was pretty much crazy. Why would you want to do both? Of course the goal of the commercial was to show that you could do everything as a woman… look gorgeous, and smell fantastic while doing it all! And that was a big deal back in the 1970’s.

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I must confess, and I really don’t want to get on anyone’s bad side. But I don’t want to do it all in any area of my life! Each of us has talents, gifts, and things that we are good at, and other items that aren’t so wonderful. I love to learn new things, and I’m happy that I’m pretty self-sufficient in most areas, but I don’t want to do it all.

I believe that God designed us to work well together. Each individual has areas of strength and weakness. And when we are functioning together, those talents, gifts, and areas all fit, just like the cogs on a wheel. When we apply patience and love toward those around us and not focus on the bad…life can be wonderful.

Do I apply what I just said? No! But I have applied it enough times in my life that I know it does work. And there are days when I need a kick-in-the-pants as well!

I’m perfectly happy to let someone else earn the money for the bacon while I fry it up. And I don’t mind purchasing it while someone else cooks it and does the dishes. But I would really prefer not to do it all. The same goes while I’m at work, attending church, raising my children, etc. Each of us needs to be a part of a whole.

Are women able to manage, multi-task, work hard at work and at home? Are they able to raise children, run a business, bake Thanksgiving dinner, or run the country? Yes! But what’s wrong with concentrating on just a few things rather than being fantastic at everything, and feeling lousy when you fail in some area?

Just do what God has designed you to do as a person. And do it well. Only you know what that is. Don’t let others guilt you into doing it all! Let others do their part…share the load.

If you want to be a stay-at-home mother, and you are able to, do it! You are raising the next generation. Take your job seriously and don’t feel small. Pass on the extremely important information those children need in so many areas. Teach them how to survive in this life, equip them in all areas. If you are working, be a hard worker and do your job well. Be an asset to others around you. Encourage others to use their talents and be part of that wheel.

Jump off the treadmill we call life, and live your life. Share it with others, be a part of the whole. We only have one shot at this. You make it want you want it to be.