I Can See Texas From Here

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respectfully borrowed picture from cityskylineart.com

While I may have a few thousand miles between my home state and Texas, I can see you. It may not be in person but I can see you through the many images coming fast and furious on the television screen. And, while I may not see all of you and only what the media shows me, I see a bit of your heart.

I’m heartbroken for you, Texas. Sometimes miles can place a disconnect in my heart at times. “It’s not happening here” mentality if you will. I think, those poor, poor people and continue on with my life. Yet, this morning, I feel differently.

I saw image upon image of water surrounding those affected by the hurricane and flooding. I saw children and parents trying to survive. Elderly, those with illness, women with swollen bellies getting and waiting for help.

I see firemen, medics, police officers, military personnel, Red Cross, doctors, nurses, and many brave humans helping others through their own exhaustion. I remember the famous words of Mr. Rogers’ mother when she told him, “Look for the helpers. You’ll always find people who are helping.”

May I remember you, Texas, today and many days to come when I start to whine about this or that. Thanks for the perspective. Never quit helping. Stay strong, Texans.

Blogger and author (of totally awesome books that you totally need to read!) Melanie Shankle posted a list of trusted organizations accepting monetary donations. Check it out here.

 

The Call Back

“I talked to you about 15 minutes ago and just want to apologize for being rude.”36431206 - close up on female hand holding phone at office desk

This was a first. “Oh, no! You were not rude!”

Even though I continued telling him he was not rude, he kept saying, “I feel I was.”

I really wanted to tell him, “I have had rude callers who make me want to reach through the phone and shake them. Rude you.were.not!”

I tried to convince him one more time and simply thanked him for calling back.

What made this man pick the phone back up and call me? Did he have that nudge we have when in tune with the Spirit? Did his wife look at him and say, “Now, Fred, you used that tone again.” (which he didn’t)

How many times have I felt the need to apologize and ignore it? I’ve been guilty of getting bit miffed with someone on the phone when felt as if I wasn’t heard and regret my tone. Yet, have I ever apologized? Sadly, no.

Whatever the reason for the call back, there is a lesson in it. For me, I need act when the nudges hit…or about knock me over (same thing).

How about you? What is a lesson you’ve learned this week?

The Next Page

The treacherous trail undid her. Riddled with steep climbs and sharp curves, she breathed a prayer of thanks for her survival. She had little time to contemplate her life as thoughts of staying alive on the trail consumed her.

There has to be more to life than this.

There it was again, the hijacking thought filling her with discontent. She prayed time alone breathing in fresh air would clear her heart and mind.

Her toe grazed the line between the dirt path and the beginning of the arched, stone bridge. This. This is the reason for the journey.

The old, stone bridge stood majestically against the trees. Sun highlighting the beauty it seemed bent on showing her. Yet, with the mighty arch, she could not see what lay at the end. The unknown terrified her. What if the other side is far worse than the journey taken thus far?

Ah, but what if it is better? Came a voice.

Taking a breath of amen, she cautiously stepped onto the cold, stone bridge. Each graceful step of faith lead her closer to witnessing unknown. Lips curved as she reflected on how often her struggles ended in joy.

Slowly, like a new page of life being turned, the other side came into view. Her breath hitched. She was home.

Oh for the love of bonding

Oh, July, where oh where have you gone. I thought we talked about this. You promising to take your time. Me promising to keep you to your word and enjoy your long days. I felt a bond. Yet, here we are; you not following through on your promise and me remembering I expect too much out of people days. If anyone needs either of us, we will be in therapy…

And speaking of therapy, I’m seriously contemplating it. I mean, I started off this morning placing the coffee filter in my coffee cup instead of its proper location. I just stood there shaking my head and wondering if this was a precursor to the day. (I won’t even mention when someone asked me a question, the other morning, about where I was going later and all I could say was “Some house on some road.” Oiy.)

My day was instantly made better when I met Molly. A big “boned”, friendly, lovable Rottweiler. As the owner (is it wrong I don’t know the owners name but know the dogs name?) and I bonded over Rottweilers, I found Molly’s sweet spot behind her ear. She instantly loved me since she began the classic love lean and slobbered on my work shoes. I didn’t even mind the hair and the eye booger she gifted my pants. We bonded.

During lunch, drama. Why is it when something should be simple it becomes drama? Long story short, and after much hunting, a delivery company ended up leaving the package in rule number 1 of where to never leave a package. I called the company just to let the employer know it happened and what could have happened if I didn’t look in this spot on a hunch. It was a terrible place, people. The customer service rep was super nice and when I told her the package location, she may or may not have gotten angry herself. So basically I got a person in trouble over my lunch hour. But, the customer service rep and I bonded over phone calls where the customer mistakenly takes their anger out on us.

So, if you are keeping score…bonding has been the word of the day.

How was your day?

 

 

Sky Falling

The conversation left me feeling, once again, all “what is wrong with people and this world?!?!” Then, sadness began to creep in.

During a contemplative lull in the conversation, I gazed out the window at the wondrous blue sky of the clear early evening hours. Come, Lord Jesus became my mantra. Amen. This world holds nothing for me. Come, Lord Jesus. You, and only You, know the future. Help me to live a life of Amen (surrender). Help me love others. Dear, Jesus.

In Revelation 21 it says,

“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Can you even imagine?!

For now, in all transparency, as much as I am sadden by events and issues of the world, I need to do my own housecleaning. What I say is venting is pretty much gossip. What angers me because of the unfairness is a pride and/or control issue. And, sadly, the list could go on. My sadness is not only for this world and its people but for the ways I have not been an example of Christ.

In Beth Guckenberger’s book, Start With Amen – How I learned to Surrender by Keeping the End in Mind, she states,

(page 14 & 15) “Living amen is a sacred rhythm. It is surrender to sovereignty in all circumstances. The result is a rapport with the living God so intense it permeates everything. It affects how I talk to my husband, interact with neighbors, spend money, make plans, and raise my kids. It influences how affected I am my other people’s thoughts of me or someone else’s crisis. It’s the antidote of fear or control that wars to raise its head in my thoughts. Surrendering to a life of so be it is an acknowledgment that my knee is bowed and someone else is on the throne. . . With my limited human understanding, I wonder how he allows all that he does, but whether I am shaking my fist or holding up my hand, the same will always be true: he has forever been and forever will be the King.”

Surrender, so be it, is not a sign of weakness. It acknowledges He is on the throne. And, thankfully, I am not! Surrender doesn’t mean I sit around and do nothing. Surrender opens me up for what God is doing.

As backward as it sounds, surrender is something I continue to fight for…getting myself out of the way and letting Him lead me down His glorious path. I am a slow learner. Emotions take over and I get in my own way. It is still not first nature to “think like God” in the moment of frustrations. It could be hours later before I realize I should have prayed or remembered God loves that person as much as He loves me. But, I’m trying.

Amen. May we all continue to be a work-in-progress as we look to You for guidance every single day. May I live a life of amen. Dear, Jesus.

Of Fireworks and Society

FireworksHappy Independence Day!

A few hours ago we attended a city fireworks display. We found a nice little spot to lay out blankets and wait for the show to begin. I only jumped a few or a dozen times as the fireworks boomed and echoed. That is a sign of a great show, right? Right.

Before the grand finale had even begun, we noticed people beginning to leave. Gotta get a jump on the traffic and all that. We are a people who wait. We let those in a hurry scamper and scatter while we sit back and wait.

And, as we waited, we noticed something over and over again. People honking the vehicle horns and getting angry during their wait in the parking lot. People speeding through the parking lot trying to get to another exit in hopes to beat everyone else. It seemed to not matter there were small children in that same parking lot.

Someone in our vehicle wondered why people were acting this way. Why a car drove through grass and almost hit another vehicle only to throw it in reverse and speed toward the road. Recklessness that could have killed someone.

Self-absorbed. Self-indulgent. Selfish. Self. Self. Self. It seems as if “self” describes society at the moment.

Yet, Christ denied himself for us by going to the cross. And, He asks us to do the same. When the world is shouting, “He deserves what he gets!” He is asking me to go out of my way to be kind and loving. Oh, how I fail more times than I want to admit. But, God…

When the world whispers, “Go on, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Push your way to the top!” God whispers, “You are beautiful, my child. Show your love to others. Take them a meal. Show that little one who doesn’t feel loved right now what love really looks and feels like. Let that person go first. Make her feel special…because she is. Slow down and listen to him, he needs someone to just listen…”

I am far from perfect. I like to be heard. I like to feel loved. I like recognition. I like to be missed when I’m not at a function. I like someone doing things for me. I. I. I. Self. Self. Self.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with self-care. We need it in order to be effective. But it seems to me like society doesn’t get past that point. Have we become so inward focused that we have forgotten to turned that focus outward to others?

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16

Oh, God is still working on me. May we all place others before ourselves.

Land of the Cleve and the Home of the Exhausted

As anyone should do, I took some much needed time off of work last week. Yes, I work part-time but one still needs to get away. And, just what did I do with all my free time? Well, come in really close and I’ll tell you…

I spent about 3 full days taking down wall paper border in two rooms. The 90s called and demanded I get with the times! Or perhaps one of our daughters demanded…I cannot say.

Two rooms with textured walls. Textured, did I mention that? And, back in the 90s a friend and I thought it a good idea to put EXTRA PASTE on said borders so it wouldn’t fall down. [we will now pause for a moment of silence as we remember how young and dumb we were.] Just say no to wallpaper, kids.

I am so very thankful I had the gumption to only put up borders when I was young and dumb. Wallpaper from floor to ceiling would have had me tearing down the walls and putting up new non-wallpapered walls. Oh my stars. I’m waiting until the fall, when windows can remain open, to paint. Paint fumes and I do not enjoy each other’s company.

I had a day to recuperate and then it was packing for our trip to the big city…Cleveland. My husband has successfully turned two out of three children into baseball fans. Since I would just people watch – which would lead to me getting hit with a baseball, in the head, have a brain bleed and die…yes, that escalated quickly – I decided to save us all that money and mourning period and stay back at the hotel.

Hotel. Oh, you fickle hotel. And, I haven’t mentioned it would not be a family (minus the one who just got back from an overseas vacation so don’t feel sorry for that one) vacation if we didn’t have issues. Let’s just say our room was a bit wet because the air conditioner was not working, therefore not removing humidity, and no other rooms available. Pool? Why yes, it did have a pool but the roof collapsed over the pool from a leak and therefore not open for use. By the time we left, the air was fixed and they discounted our room.

So, if you are keeping score, the Indians lost but it was dollar dog night and free sunglasses night so all is almost right with the world; our room was damp and our hairs frizzed but we got a discount!

The next day we, country bumpkins, explored downtown. Cleveland has three script “Cleveland” signs so we decided to go to the sign by the harbor. And, just our luck, and after we paid way too much dollars for parking, we discovered there was an all-day festival with parade, of course, at the same harbor. Yup, we know how to pick ’em.

At first we were all like, “We’ll just ‘bust’ through the crowds and get pictures with the sign and ‘bust’ back through to get out.” Oh, our silly, naive, little minds. We did see the sign, from afar, and noted the people and all the white tents around the sign and said a collective, “Nope!” and turned around.

We had tickets for an observation deck in one of the tall buildings. I asked the son how far the building was, because we were not going to pay way too much dollars at the parking garage just to move it 5 minutes later. Son said, “Not too far. We can walk there.” Ummmm, son?! Thirty minutes later, a bird scare, a few stops for pictures of building because nothing says tourist like whipping out a camera to take pictures of buildings, a walk through some fish-smelling water from a fire hydrant flush, we made it to the building. The sights from the observation deck were worth the walk.

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We walked around another 3 to 4 hours going to various places before I was like, “Just remember, we have to walk allllllll the way back to the parking garage.” Most of us were a bit red from the sun (it was a gorgeous day) and two out of four of us were trying to act like our aging hips and legs were not about to cry uncle and give out on us. But, I’ll let you imagine who those two could have been…

And the script sign? I’m so glad you asked. I was NOT going to leave Cleveland until I had a picture of that sign. And, it had better live up to my expectations! Thanks to GPS and the son, we got to the other park. Except it wasn’t at the part of the park we thought it was located. So, after google searching “where is the script Cleveland sign” we were on the road again and finally found it. And, yes, I was still happy.

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View of the skyline from the park. Patience, Grasshopper, picture of script sign from harbor below.

And the harbor? Well, we did go back the next day (free parking–you would have thought by our reaction it was Christmas!) to take pictures so all was well in the world.

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Overall, a wonderful trip; the memories and laughter sure overrode the small glitches. And, the night we arrived home, I may or may not have gone to bed at 8:30 and was still tired the next day. That is a sign of an awesome trip, right?!

Now, to you I say, “I’m so proud of you and thanks!” Why, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you why. You actually stuck with me and are reading this last paragraph. Give yourself (since there is probably only one of you who is still here) a big hug! Until next time…