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~ Rooted in Love

uprooted tree - Debbie Richardson

~ Rooted in Love

By my friend, Debbie Richardson

“Yesterday when I was reeling in the initial shock of things I went to the beach to feel God’s grace wash over me. He showed me the roots on these trees.

See them? All dug up and exposed?

Then I looked up to see wide beautiful branches heavy with new growth and greenery. God showed me that a tree can still thrive in conditions that pound the soil away from the roots. Exposed roots, while a little ugly, still function.

I’m going to thrive with my gnarly old roots because they are working just fine. It may not be pretty, but the tree holds fast and continues to flourish.

How’s that for a little lesson at the beach? God always meets me where I am. . . .”

~ I do believe my friend Debbie has learned one valuable lesson; that regardless of what others may think, she truly is on her way to perfection.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” ~ 1 John 4:18

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~ I was THIS Close!

Alligator

I was. I was this close to this alligator. Oh, I realize he wasn’t a really big alligator, but I was still this close. I took this picture with my iPhone, no telephoto lens involved.

He could’ve reached out and chomped off my arm in a heartbeat. But he didn’t.
In fact, he didn’t even flinch. He blinked a few times, but he kept staring at me with those reptilian eyes. Maybe it had something to do with the thick glass between us at the aquarium.

Yeah, I’m sure that was it. Because he did look like he would like to chomp off my arm.

Don’t we sometimes tempt temptation like we had aquarium glass between us and it? Na-na-na-na-na! You can’t get me!

He’s waiting to get you.

Don’t give in. Put out your hand and feel the glass. God’s got you.

~ Crowns

denmark crowns

Crowns! The Usurper will NEVER have even one ~ and yet, as CHILDREN of the KING we are entitled to qualify for several ~ each!

Millions of crowns, and the pretender to the throne gets none.

How’s them apples? That garden thing didn’t work out too well, did it?

The King of gratitude defeated bitterness before the world was formed, and then he showed us how to obtain the crown of righteousness by living in thankful surrender.

 

~ Cupidity

Cupidity Cupid

February ~ the month of desire–longing–languishing. The month above all months when desperation can make a fool of the most avowed bachelors and bachelorettes. We’ve all been there, done that. It starts early. Somewhere around preschool or before. Gets old, doesn’t it?

Girls and women look for someone to sweep them off their feet and tell them they’re beautiful. Boys and men want someone to admire them, tell them they’re enough.

Just like that old apple (pomegranate) in the garden, we look for a substitute for the real deal. Eve wanted knowledge, as if the God she walked in the garden with every day didn’t have all the answers. Adam chose Eve’s approval over God’s. Isn’t that so much like what we do when we seek, no–desperately desire, the love, companionship and adoration of a lover? No one will ever admire you, adore you, affirm you–love you–like God. No one. Get it into your immature mind. We already HAVE the most perfect love there is. We have a God who delights in us–actually rejoices over us so much that he bursts into song, just thinking about us!

Run into his arms ~

“For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

~ Forever 44

2016-02-03 16.22.06

No matter what the question, if the answer is a number, my dad will say, “forty-four.”

It started when he was about to turn forty-five. He’d aged enough, and didn’t see any point in getting older. Forty-four was old enough. As long as he could stay forty-four, he would still be young enough to . . . whatever.

Don’t tell my dad, but he’s added forty years to that number. You’d never know it. He still works twelve hour days, just not five in a row. He still thinks young and looks terrific for his age, even if he’s not working forty-four hours a week any longer.

Days like today I wonder how he does it ~ days when I wake up feeling one hundred. Seriously? It gets worse? I don’t even want to think about it.

So, instead, I choose to think about this:

Isaiah 40:28-31 KJV ~ “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

So, like Dad, I get out of bed every morning, and have a talk with my heavenly Dad. It might take a while of waiting on the Lord, but soon I’m feeling forty-four again.

Waiting and Patience ~ as much as I don’t like those words, they keep coming up again and again. I have to keep forgiving myself and forgiving others and learn all over again that no matter how many times we fail, He never does. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. I’m slowly learning to enjoy these times of weakness, just to see what God will do above and beyond my best efforts.

 

~ “You have the right to remain silent.”

Grandma and Lea

While visiting my parents, I saw a watercolor I did years ago of my grandmother and her best friend, Lea. I wrote a story to go with the illustration . . . on a typewriter. Let’s just say it was early writing. I rewrote it a bit for God Glimpses. Here’s the story in a condensed version:

~

I can’t remember ever hearing my grandmother say an unkind word about anyone. Not once. I often heard her exclaim, “If you can’t find anything good to say, don’t say anything at all!”

As a result, her friendship with her neighbor Lea was a puzzlement to me. Lea was large, loud and boisterous. Grandma was tiny and meek. Grandma was a sparrow, bright-eyed, darting about, rarely sitting down. Lea was a walrus, landing with an “oomph” into whatever room or chair would accommodate her presence.

Almost every day Lea would come by, just in time to watch her favorite soaps with my grandmother. During the programs, Lea would exclaim, “Why I never!” and “Did you hear what he just said to her?” and “Don’t you believe him honey. He’s up to no good!” My grandma would simply “tsk, tsk” and shake her head. During commercials, they retold what they had just seen, as though they hadn’t both been sitting there the entire time. When the last show ended, they would both sigh, sorry that they had to wait another day to find out what would happen next.

That was when the real stories came out. The stories about politics, and the neighbors. Childish curiosity pulled me into the room when the TV went off. It wasn’t the politics — it was the stories. Two-headed calves, cattle rustling, jealousies over prize-winning quilts and jellies at the county fair, and other stories unique to farm life. But invariably, the influence of the soaps turned the conversation to the relationships between neighboring farmers, and especially their wives. Grandma barely contributed to those conversations, but she hung on every word, just as she did when viewing the black and white TV. In her exuberance, Lea would venture farther and farther into downright gossip, and if she wasn’t stopped, could be vicious. That’s when Grandma would quietly remind Lea, “If you can’t find anything good to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.”

That always mad Lea mad. Sometimes she fumed and “humphed.” Occasionally she packed up her needlework and stormed out of the house, declaring that their friendship had no value if she couldn’t voice her opinions. Sometimes she wouldn’t come back for days. She always found a way to save her dignity and return without taking the blame, however. It was usually in the form of “Well, you sit there and listen, so that makes you just as bad!”

Even in my loyalty to Grandma, I had to admit that Lea had a point. Grandma should have, and could have, stopped Lea sooner. However, when the gossip made it to Grandma’s house, that’s where it stopped. Grandma lived up to her word. She never repeated the gossip she heard from Lea or from the other neighbors who came by with their versions of the tales told.

We all have the right to remain silent, and not just the right, but the duty. It has to stop somewhere. We can choose to keep our mouths shut.

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36 (KJV)

 

~ A Chip off the Ol’ Block

2015-10-08 18.13.24

While you’re wherever you are, I’m back home in Indiana, laughing with my dad. You can be sure of it.

If there is humor to be found, we’ll find it. If there’s something to laugh at, we’ll laugh at it. If there’s nothing to laugh about, we’ll probably laugh anyway. That’s how we deal with the hard stuff, how we cope with the uncope-able, and survive the un-fixable.

Mostly, though, we laugh because no matter how bad life is, life is good. When it comes to the end of the day, we have so much more to be thankful for than we have to complain about. For every bad, there are a thousand goods. A thousand things to delight in.

I’m a chip off the ol’ block. Same quirky sense of humor, same a lot of things. When I get together with my dad, or even talk to him on the phone, it feels like the missing part of me is back in place. All is right with my world. We get each other. We can talk for hours or sit in silence for hours and it’s all the same.

Ah, God Glimpses ~ That’s the same way I feel when I’m in the right place with my heavenly father. That warm feeling of love and acceptance, that we’re on the same side and seeing the world through the same eyes. Yes, there is much to see that’s sad and makes us mad, and much we can’t do a thing about, because people have to make their own decisions and live with the consequences. But we can laugh through the tears, and we can laugh in the joy of our love, and we can delight in the incomparable beauty of the world and the people he created.

We have so much to talk about!

I think I’ll go tell him about all the delightful things I’m seeing today.

~ Misty Mystery in a Fog

2015-04-03 15.20.06-1

Home ~ That’s where I’m headed. In less than 24 hours I’ll be home.

Indiana, here I come, right back where I started from! I’ll get to gently hug my tiny mom and get a bear hug from my dad. My sis and I will share a big fluffy hug (ahem) and I’ll probably have to peel my niece off after awhile. The next day my other sister arrives, and it will start all over again.

The painting above is from my Misty Mystery series. It’s not my home in Indiana, but the scene evokes the feeling I’m having about home.

What do you think this painting portrays? Who do you think the dog is waiting for?

I know how I feel about going home, and I hope my family feels the same way about my visit. It’s a feeling of excitement, and longing, and joy, mixed with the regret that it doesn’t happen more often.

Will I have to wait to hug one of them in heaven after this week? Reality tells me that it’s quite possible. My parents are aging, and so am I. The only thing certain in life is that there are no guarantees except that we will all one day die, and when we do, we’ll leave behind the ones who love us.

They will be the ones in the fog, longing for home.

Because home is where the heart is, and for those secure in the promises of God, home can only be heaven.

I’m feeling like this dog feels, longing for my master.

Time and Priority Apps Recommendations

PLAN, PRIORITIZE, and TRACK your New Year!
Want great apps to help prioritize and plan your new year? (I wish I could benefit from these recommendations.)
The app is called Priority Matrix. I have it synced on my phone and tablet. (Free there, but costs on the computer.) Put in a master list, a weekly list, and a today list. Divide the master list into Urgent, Important, Obligations, and Eventually. (Keep in mind that only if the item is important to you and a true obligation does it belong in urgent, unless it’s unavoidable, like taking your kid to the ER) This also helps you resist volunteering yourself for things you can’t really do. The This Week and Today lists are divided into whatever categories your life takes. Right now mine is journals, home, art & writing, nonprofit & church.
Hours Tracker logo
Another great time management tool is an app called Hours Tracker. Great for tracking the time you spend on projects. Very versatile. Keeps me focused when I know I’m on the clock, and helps tremendously with putting a value on my time.

~ Self-Help is Rot

2015-09-27 17.38.30

This picture and the title may be all you need for this God-Glimpse.

Our very best efforts to repair ourselves turn out like this–a bad idea made worse by lack of experience, resources and patience.

Rot started the problem. A section of the rafter had to go before the fungus spread to the rest of the roof. We paid someone to repair the roof,  but noticed a couple of years later that the roof was sagging again, in the same location. It wasn’t enough to remove just a section of the board, the entire rafter should have been replaced with new. No wonder the roof was sagging!

It’s not enough to get rid of sin, bad habits or even weaknesses; they must be replaced with the proper support, or the roof of our good intentions will soon leak and eventually cave in.

Only The Master Carpenter has the experience, resources and patience to repair the rot of our lives. Only His Word is strong enough to shore up the roof over our heads.

Replace the old rafters of your life with new Living Words from the Father of Life.