SLOW

I struggled for quite some time during the first year of “unofficial retirement”.

Many didn’t consider my job important, but it was one where I was always busy, with little time for breaks, if we got one, and usually only a 20-minute lunch. Productivity was a necessity to meet immediate and long-term schedules and goals. Even though it only took me six minutes to drive to work, I purposely woke up at 4 AM to spend time with the Lord before my work started at 6:15. After 15 years of this work pace, it took some getting used to a slower, quieter lifestyle where some days I don’t seem to get very much accomplished. But the slowing down has allowed for more observation, contemplation, reading, study, and fellowship with the Lord AND I can sleep in until 6 AM now!

Sometimes it requires a new mindset to make changes, but the blessings of slowing down and making time in your day are immense. God help us.

“Be still and know that I am God”. Psalm 46:10

RAGE

PSALM 35:24

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

We hear that old adage but do we understand what it means?

Rudeness, road rage, shopping cart rage, self-righteousness, impatience, and lack of empathy and consideration all contribute to a cloud of discontentment and sorrow. There is so much anger and despair in the world, and it feeds on itself in a miserable cycle until finally, it ends, too late to correct the damage.

Keeping a cool head, giving the benefit of the doubt, slowing down, carefully choosing our words, and avoiding the temptation to retaliate are sorely lacking. I know I’ve been guilty, too, because sometimes it all seems too much to take, and I forget to pause and pull away to the quiet place where God’s Word shines through to instruct and comfort.

Words are important.
Actions are important.
Facts are important.
Feelings are important, even if they are not factual because by their false narrative, they give us insight into the heart of another.
Love is important.

Take the high road…. the road less traveled… and make the world a better place, if only in your little corner.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
our kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory
forever and ever.

Amen

STRONG

Some people seem to be born strong.

Others have gained strength from how they were raised. Still others, like Job’s wife, grow into their strength. Three faltering steps forward, two steps back, one forward, one back on wobbly legs that display their weakness for all to see. She caved in the wifely support department when he needed her the most. The Bible doesn’t say she repented but she was still by his side suffering along with him. Sometimes in retrospect, we Christians can see the winding path we took as we learned how to be strong in Jesus Christ and how He supported us every step of the way.


It is said that broken bones heal stronger than they were before. I believe the same is true of broken people who place their lives in the care of the Lord and believe in Him to heal their weakness. So strong.

Praise God!

For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27

THOUGHTS

Hi there! I am popping in with a heart of thanksgiving.

Nothing special happened, I just am grateful for all God has done for me, us, this last year. It’s been so, so difficult but God is so very good. He has protected our hearts and brought blessings beyond our dreams through the friendships made here and through the forced rest placed upon us by the Covid panic. It has allowed us to read, pray, think about priorities, and be ever so vigilant to watch for His direction. We’ve seen the power of fervent prayer. There are so many hurting and healing families torn apart by this culture we live in, mental illness, and bodies wearing out, the passing of family and friends, and the stress of continuous chaos taking its toll. And yet, the faithful plod on with hope and peace in their hearts. We’ve seen bodies healed, relationships on the mend and restored, and a peace and calm in the face of uncertainty that could determine life or death. We’ve heard stories of redemption. These are true miracles. There is so much more to life than what we see and hear and do. My prayers are simple but He is listening and hears each one, of that, I am sure. I guess my message today is don’t ever give up. Don’t lose hope, even when an answer isn’t forthcoming. Keep praying, and in those times when the answer will not be seen until after we’ve taken our last breath, God will sustain us. He is.

GHOSTED

Have you ever ghosted someone or been ghosted? I have on both counts.

This article touches on a subject that is more complicated than presented. There are several possible reasons for ghosting that aren’t listed.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stuck/202108/7-reasons-why-even-close-friends-could-ghost-us

Firstly, if I haven’t heard from someone in a while, I message them. Facebook has an algorithm that makes it so I can see the posts of only a small portion of the people on my friend list. If you don’t see them any more, it is possible they aren’t seeing your posts either.

Sometimes people are just curious. They want to know about your life but don’t really want to nurture a friendship online or otherwise. I get that. But I don’t collect friends. Why gather a slew of people on your friends list if you don’t participate? That just seems a little one-sided and well, strange.

If I ask someone to connect on Facebook it’s because I have some other connection to them. Occasionally, I will friend a stranger if they have requested and we have mutual friends, but I first verify the relationship to weed out any posers and fake accounts.

At one point, someone I had been online friends with for several years was posting some things that bothered me.They just didn’t sit right, and I started to pull away. I was hesitant to tell her why when she asked because she was a highly educated professional, and she was in grief, as was I. I didn’t want to deal with it then, nor did I want to hurt her. At her insistence, I reluctantly and I thought gently, told her what was bothering me. It was a disaster. She put me in my lowly place, and that was that.There were no opportunities for further discussion, apologies, or closure.

Sometimes people ghost because it’s the right thing to do when their priorities have changed, but they don’t want to tell you because they think it might upset you. Instead of being kind, it hurts with uncertainty.

When the ONLY time you hear from a person is when they have something negative to say or disagree with you, they might get ghosted.

If you interact with a friend’s posts, but they don’t respond in kind, or at least wish you a happy birthday or congrats on milestones, they might get ghosted.

If you know they are close to people who have hurt you and talked about you behind your back, yup, they might get ghosted.

If you are vicious, racist, or chronically rude, you might get ghosted. Most of us have bad days, but those are the times we learn to take a break from social media so we don’t bring others down. There is absolutely no good reason to humiliate or disrespect a friend or family member on social media. If you allow your friends to verbally attack, threaten, disrespect, and shout at another friend without stepping in to stop it, you will get ghosted.

Political and religious issues won’t get you ghosted unless you start making them personal with name-calling and other forms of disrespect. If you’re a professed Christian who chronically takes the Lord’s name in vain and disrespects Him without care or remorse on social media, you might get ghosted. If I speak the truth in love and you continue, I will say a quick prayer for you, then you will get ghosted. It’s that simple. It makes my stomach turn.

We teach people how to treat us. Never has that been more evident to me than in the last few years. So often, when we don’t set boundaries in real-time and online, we get run over and manipulated, mentally and emotionally. Then when we finally do set boundaries, we may be verbally attacked, ignored, unfriended, or even blocked completely.

I know some decisive, strong souls who advise against social media participation at all, but the fact is, social media is here to stay. Even with all its complexities and potential to do harm, it serves a purpose. Social media primarily provides a venue for good interaction and communication with our tribe: the people who have love and care for us and with whom we have interests in common.

Our job is to wisely use it and learn to set boundaries in love. It’s not easy at all.

QUESTIONS

CONTINENTAL DIVIDE- COLORADO

Have you ever been met with an inconsistency that defied explanation?

My husband and I once bought a case of packaged drinks that claimed to contain 100% fruit juice. But when we opened the package, the individual cans said they had “Natural Flavoring”. We were intrigued!

So my husband called the 1-800 customer service number on the can to inquire about the natural flavorings. After all, doesn’t it make sense that if the flavoring is not real juice, then it is not natural? Why did they differentiate between the two on the inside and outside packages?

The customer service rep put him on hold. He was on hold for a long time. When she returned, she offered to send him a coupon for a free product.


In life, we don’t always get answers to our questions. Instead, we get a benefit to make us quietly leave or a cold shoulder that glosses over the infraction of questioning appearances and procedures. It can be frustrating, especially regarding important matters that affect our livelihood, health, home, family, lifestyle, and religious beliefs and traditions that we hold dear.

At the time, we thought we were pretty clever, but it’s a little scary how often we are willing to accept the status quo without answers to our questions.

We need to insist on no less, or more, than the truth.

“Test all things; hold fast to that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22

EMBARRASSED

THE CUTEST LITTLE EMBARRASSMENT EVER!

I’ve discovered there are two types of people at the dog park:

The ones who are horrified that you don’t do something about your dog’s disgusting behavior, and the ones who say, “Don’t worry. They’re dogs, and that’s what dogs do.”

Finding the middle ground with wisdom is my goal.

Presently, our dog Dandy has decided he likes the taste of urine. He follows his brother so closely he almost gets a wet head, then he licks the spot and his brother. I noticed that afterward, his senses seemed overloaded as his lips twitched, kind of like Hannibal Lecter thinking of his next meal with a side of fava beans and Chianti.

It was at the dog park the other day when another dog peed on the concrete, and Dandy started licking it and grossed everyone out that I hoped this was a temporary adolescent phase that would go away. So embarrassing, but you know what? We all are an embarrassment at certain points in our lives. Usually, our younger years find us with more pride at the chagrin we’ve caused others than ourselves. It’s all part of growing up and finding our way.

The wise parent knows those years are fleeting, and unless it involves a serious infraction, it’s relatively harmless. Eventually, maturity sets in, and a different kind of pride evolves in knowing everybody made it through. There is no middle ground for humans to enjoy their immaturity.

There is a quote attributed to John Wayne,
“Life is hard. It’s harder if you’re stupid”.

All I can say is, yes, it is, but it doesn’t have to last forever if we don’t want it. A collection of 66 books called The Holy Bible gives us all the instructions and encouragement we need to grow and mature in life, spiritually, mentally, physically, and in our relationships. People don’t have to suffer in their foolishness if they are humbled, repentant, and willing to learn a better way from Jesus Christ.

It’s highly recommended.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

BEAUTIFUL

My husband thinks I’m beautiful inside and out.
Those words, which surprised me, make me want to live up to them.

Click here for a story on how to be an “Eight Cow Wife” (or Husband).
https://journeytojoy.tv/eight-cow-wife/

The world can be a cruel place. People you trust can hurt you. Loyalty can be nonexistent or misplaced. Kindness and compassion may be offered only to those who have “earned” it.

The Bible calls us to be different than we were. It calls us to be different from the ways of the world. We are to be merciful and forgiving. There’s a lot of pride in the unmerciful heart because it hasn’t been humbled. The unmerciful heart thinks its pain will be lessened by sharing it. Instead, it’s multiplied and intensified.

I don’t want my legacy to be about perfection, but instead a fractured soul buffered against the hard realities of life by God’s forgiveness, mercy, love, and grace, and extending the same to others.

When Satan tempts us to retaliate in pain and frustration, we can step back, take a deep breath, and prayerfully exhale to the Father.

And like a wisp, the temptation blows away.

Be beautiful. Be different. Be His.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” 1 Corinthians 10:13

On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” Luke 22:40

BEAUTY

No description available.

Recently, I joined a group on social media geared toward aging gracefully. I had high hopes of finding some tips on makeup that doesn’t sink into the creases of my face and how to avert the inevitable aches and pains of an aging body. Generally, how to make the most of what I have to look and feel my best. Trading encouragement with others in the same boat to Geriatric Island sounded lucrative, and I was hopeful.

The day I joined the group, it immediately became apparent I had walked onto the boat to Alcatraz. The insensitive comments and unasked for criticism of other women’s choices and their appearance, even down to their God-given features, were appalling. I watched as a couple of new ladies tentatively posted their photos to the group, only to become overwhelmed by the responses, some of which were cruel and sarcastic. They left the group to lick their wounds on the day they joined.

Why do we place so much emphasis on looks? Is it because that’s our first impression when we meet people for the first time? What about the people we already know? Do we still pick apart their choices?

In a kinder time, it was considered rude to comment on another person’s style or looks unless it was a compliment. Even then, the mention might not be appreciated. Not everyone wants or needs to be noticed by others. At the same time, some people crave attention because somewhere along the line, they felt invisible.

Watching the drama unfold made me realize how fragile we are and how even the simplest of mishandled words can shatter souls and hope. Deep down, we will always remain children affected by bullies and those who inadvertently hurt us. Some learn to manage their feelings and come off as poised and mature, but others continue to struggle with the impulses of their youth of fight or flight. I think we are tired of fighting and choose to fly away with our broken wings, more often than not.

Is it wrong to want to look our best? Do we admire others for their inner beauty, no matter what our discerning eyes think of how they look on the outside? Do we subtly put others down because they’ve taken the time to look their best while making excuses about how we don’t have the time for such things? Does any of it even matter?

I ask questions of myself as well as of you. I wanted to know what the Bible says, and here is what I found:

You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.
Song of Solomon 4:7

A wife is beautiful inside and out to her husband, who loves her.

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
1 Peter 3:3-4

Gentleness and a quiet spirit are classic and timeless beauty. These attributes are attainable for anyone who wants them, regardless of stature and wealth. Jesus will help you.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30

A woman who thinks she is beautiful because the world tells her she is might be full of pride and act accordingly toward others. A person can let any accolades regarding her “beauty,” including inner beauty, go to her head.

Have you ever had a lovely person blurt out an insult in an effort to “help”? I have. It’s a little shocking. Giving the benefit of the doubt helps, but if it continues, you might wonder why someone who knows better keeps doing it.

Confident people can ignore the rudeness, but some sweet souls will take it to heart. The sensitive soul needs an apology, love, and encouragement, not continued criticism for “misunderstanding” or being so touchy. That’s not YHWH’s heart.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:14

Humble confidence is beautiful. It knows God made you just the way you are, and He doesn’t make mistakes.

Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,
1 Timothy 2:9

Women and men should dress appropriately to worship God, not drawing attention to themselves. It’s not a style mandate as much as an examination of motives. “Look at me” doesn’t belong in worship. In Biblical times, braided hair was considered an expensive luxury that took time. Today, it is much more common, as is wearing jewelry. It’s uncomfortable to walk into a room over or underdressed, but modesty and self-control will always be appropriate.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Philippians 4:8

God first.
Think of others before yourself.
Be humble.
Give praise and encouragement.

What if there is nothing honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or praiseworthy?

Just be kind.

You don’t have to say anything at all.

FALLING

Getting a little freaked out here.

Yesterday before church a ceramic mug fell out of the cupboard and shattered when it hit the countertop. My puppy almost chewed a piece of glass before I yelled at him to drop it. This morning, this measuring cup broke in the sink as I was filling the coffee reservoir. Not 20 minutes later, this huge clock fell off the hood vent over the stove. I’m not superstitious but I do believe in a realm besides the one we live in and I know there is spiritual warfare in our midst.

A beautiful friend reminded me what God has blessed cannot be cursed. I am so grateful for brothers and sisters in Christ who come beside us with encouragement and gentle reminders of God’s love for us!

How can I curse one whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce one whom Adonai has not denounced? Numbers 23:8

UPDATE: Word has it we had an earthquake at 11:10 this morning. That would explain my falling clock!

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