Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Thinking the Past Few Days

I guess you could call this randomness or musings, but in a way my thoughts these past few days have been deeper than random and more serious that muse. As you that read my blog know, I have not posted in several days (I need to check bethanne's blog to see just how long!). I wish I could tell you that it's because I have been very, very busy, but that is not the truth. It seems that I have had too many thoughts about too many issues that I simply could not make myself sit down and put those thoughts in black and white. Today I have purposed in my heart to relate to my blogging buddies (if there are any left) some of these thoughts that have been rolling around in my mind and heart.

Why is it that people who have been hurt or done wrong and that claim to love the Lord and say that they are Christians, stay bitter and spiteful? Where in God's word does it tell us that we are NEVER, EVER going to have to face the stark realities of this sinful life? Why do hurting people strike out at those who hurt them? In my extended family this situation has arisen. It has been several years and instead of getting over it, the hurt one has publicly tried to ruin the career of the one they feel has hurt them. In this instance, time is not a healer. Because of this bitterness, innocent people are being hurt. Because of this spitefulness, a career may be lost and the real hard part of this to accept is that there have been many embellishments and lies told and at this point outsiders can not distinguish between fact and lies. My heart is heavy because all the parties here, hurtee and hurter, claim to be Christians and yet to those watching this play out in the press, they are no different than the rest of the world. Another thing that really bothers me is what my take on this is - I want to jump right in there and let the one hurt have it - tell them to get over it and get a life instead of living every minute of every waking day to get revenge. I want to tell them what I think of them -really think of them! And then I realize that my attitude is really no different from theirs - sinful - not Godly. So, I am back at square one. He tells me in His Word - Pray for them and finally and most importantly pray for myself - that my heart would not be hard but tender and compassionate and that through all this controversy that in the end God would somehow be glorified.

Weight - Big Problem. The Dr's office called this week to let me know that after my check-up last week that my cholesterol is 299 - way too much. The Dr wants me to reschedule an appointment for three months and get off the fifteen pounds that I have gained since my last check-up (that's the 15 lbs that Luann lost!). He let me know that only through diet (ugh) and exercise (ugh, ugh) could that happen. If I have gotten my cholesterol down in three months I will have to go on medication - not! I will not go on medication so I will have to get down to business. Weight depresses me. I know - we are to love ourselves for who we are not what we look like or what size we wear. Sorry. It's a woman thing and starting today I am back on weight watchers without the meetings. I covet your prayers. I can not do it without prayer and I thank you in advance - in fact, if you could set your alarm for the beginning of each hour and just say a sentence prayer that would work!

I am sick to death of politics! Obama, McCain, local elections, choice of a Veep and this is going to go on until November. As I have told you, hubby and moved to this county after we retired from a county where I grew up. I knew everyone that was running or at least knew someone who knew them. Here, I know absolutely no one. Now that means I will need to depend on the leading of the Holy Spirit to help me push the buttons.

I have been upset with myself because I have neglected my blog. My thinking has been that I need to really have a bunch of "stuff" to share -not! In reading other blogs, I have found some of the most meaningful and thoughtful are the short ones (sorry, bethanne, no offense). Some share a scripture that spoke to their heart, others share daily experiences, others prayer requests. Also, some of my favorite ones, take the time to have photos and I have put off getting that down pat. It is something that I promised myself I would do and have not. Hopefully, I will change that in the near future.

Let's see..................can I think of anything else - no, that would make this post a bunch of "stuff"!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's Been An Interesting 20 Days!

I feel like this has been the longest yet the shortest month I have ever spent! Many of you know that hubby's son and granddaughter have been here visiting from Japan. Wow! What a change in our lives! I did not realize how set in my ways I really am. Having a teenager in the house certainly showed us that we are out in "grandparent space" and didn't even know it. As small children grow, parents are eased into the teenage era. The Lord equips you by slowly easing you into the teen years. With periodic visits, you get the "just jump right on in" cold water shock! Hubby and I learned soon on in the visit that times have changed!

Even though I have teenage grandchildren, living 24/7 with a 17 year old is a different set of circumstances. I have become knowledgeable about text messaging, power drinks, hair straighteners, ipods, American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch, Pac Sun, baggy shorts, tank tops, BIG sunglasses, LITTLE sunglasses, no pocketbooks (pocketbooks are a sign of insecurity), flip flops, flip flops, flip flops, oh yes, did I mention test messaging? Did you know that teenagers thumbs are not only flexible but fast? They also know an entirely different language - one that has one letter words like r for are and u for you. Amazing!

In these twenty days I have again come to realize that time is passing very quickly. It seems like just a few days ago that the same issues that we dealt with as parents, our children are dealing with today in regard to our grandchildren. How any parent can deal with their children without the help of the Lord, I do not know. Over the past couple of weeks, we have had several family get togethers. I hope to be able to post some of the pictures we took (when bethanne gets back from her whirlwind vacation) so you can see what an absolutely wonderful family I have!

Last week, when the house became too crowded and noisy, I went to the camper at the mountain by myself to spend a couple of nights (actually, just one). I loved reading, studying and spending time with dogs, Bodie and Chessy. The campground does not really begin to fill up until the later part of the week. This was on a Tuesday, so we were by ourselves on our circle of the mountain. There is no TV reception and most of the time no cell phone coverage so when I say quiet, I mean quiet - a perfect time for me to be very still and listen. I am afraid with all the busyness going on here at the house, I have not been as faithful to read and study and listen - especially listen to what the Holy Spirit has to say to me. Not good. When I neglect my time alone with Him, I do not deal well with every day circumstances. A lesson learned a long time ago and how easily I forget!

My heart is sort-of sad today. My bethanne, her hubs, Lake and Kaden are on their way to Disney. I'm not sad because they are getting to go, but I am sad that they will be so far away. I know that they really need this time to get away from all the responsibilities of building their dream house, but I already miss them. I may not see them every single day, but I know I can if I want - now I want and can't! When my girls were small, I always felt good when they were tucked in their beds at night. If they were at a friends house or at their grandparents house for the night, it did not feel right that they were not in their beds close to me. Now, it does not seem right if they and their families are not at their own houses at night. With Anna and Zach off on mission trips, at night I would pray that the Lord would keep them safe and I pray that same prayer for bethanne and family these next ten days. Can't help it - wish it were time for them to come back!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lazy - That's Me!

Not really - but today I am totally alone in the house with the exception of baby dogs, Bodie and Chessie and I have found every excuse in the world not to do the chores I had promised to do. Hubby and son are on their way to visit my brother-in -law and will not be back until tomorrow. How great! I told myself that I would be able to get all the things that I have put off for a couple of weeks done today. Not! I have just loved being on the computer, sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee, walking in the yard, reading the book of James, talking with the Lord, closing my eyes and listening to the birds and squirrels, watching the hummingbirds, feeling the breeze, and just totally relaxing. Not very productive, but very fulfilling! There are times when I love to be alone, and yet I am never alone. When it is quiet, the Holy Spirit has many things to say to me and today it was through the book of James.

There were several truths in James that popped out at me this morning. They have been there for thousands of years, but only today spoke to me. The question "does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?" followed by "isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?" really got me to thinking. In other words - talk the talk and walk the walk. A great lesson for me! God expects me to be obedient. I can not say one thing and do another. My witness will be tarnished. I do not want that. God does not want anything to stain my witness. If I really love others as myself, then I will love the "rich" others just like the "poor" others and the "sweet" others as well as the "sour" others. It is so easy to love those who are kind to us, and just as easy to feel hard toward those are hateful to us. Lesson #1 for me this morning.

Do I want to be considered wise (Godly wisdom)? Mean-spirited wisdom is not wisdom. Saying you are wise is not wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourself sound wise isn't wisdom. The Message says that is devilish conniving. Real wisdom, God's wisdom, begins with a holy life and characterized by getting along with others. Real wisdom is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. To be considered wise, I must live a holy life and get along with others. If not, my witness will be tarnished. I do not want that. Again, God does not want anything to stain my witness. Lesson #2 for me this morning.

Remember my post yesterday about people at the campground wanting their own way and that sometimes I am also guilty of that sin. Today, James expounded on that very subject. If all I want is to have my own way, I will end up an enemy of God and His way. Proverbs says that "God is a fiercely jealous lover". What he gives in love is far better that anything else I'll ever find. As James reminds me "God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble. I very much desire humility. To be considered humble, I must die to self. If not, my witness will be tarnished. I do not want that. God does not want anything to stain my witness. Lesson #3 for me this morning.

One of the greatest statements that I read in James was "The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with". Wow! If I want my prayers to be powerful and effective then I must be living right with God. I very much want to be a powerful Prayer Warrior; therefore God and I must be of one accord. There must be nothing between us and my witness must be untarnished. I WANT THAT. God wants a stain-free witness. Lesson #4 for me this morning.

I really learned more than 4 lessons out of James, but thought maybe the others could be another post. How good to know that when we are troubled, or down-in-the-dumps, we have His Word to lift us up. We just have to be willing to read and absorb it.

Guess I've put off the chores as long as I can. Having spent time in His Word will definitely make housework a lot more pleasant!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's Been Awhile................

I can not believe that I have not blogged since July 3rd. Just to let the one or two who faithfully leave me comments, I am alive and well! It has been a busy two weeks. As I have said on more than one occasion, I am perfectly satisfied with my life being simple and, by most people's standards, boring. When I talk to my children and they tell me all the things they have done in one day, I am reminded of my former wife, Mother, and court clerk life. I miss the Mother part, but do not think I will ever want to go back into the work place full time. There may come a time when that is necessary, but I sure hope not.

The week of the 7th was our week to be campground host at Roan Mountain . It was a full week and a full campground most every night. We were again able to make some new friends and see some friends we had not seen since last year. My hubby and I have been camping at Roan Mountain since 1982. We started out with a six man tent when the children were small. What a job it was to pack everything up! We kept our camping "junk" in one place in the basement and then there was all the extras we had to take (water, etc) for six of us. It took me a week to assemble everything and then hubby would pack it in the truck and off we would go, bicycles and all. Wow! I look back now and see how much more energy I had then. The tent area is a beautiful place on the Doe River and hubby and I felt free to let the children ride their bikes and go the playground without worry, because the park is a safe enviroment - it was then and it is now. I hope that our children have good memories of those times that will stay with them forever.

One of the hardest jobs we face while working at the campground is early morning waiting line. This is the time that knowing the Lord Jesus really comes into use! People will line up when the gate opens (even before) to get THE camping spot that they want. The most sought after spots are on level ground when you first come into the campground and believe me, people will fight to get the one they like. Most people are willing to compromise, but there are a few who will stand firm (and I do mean firm). It is then that we are able to let them see that a soft answer turns away wrath. Kindness, a caring spirit, a smile, and most of all, love - the love that only comes from knowing Jesus. IT IS NOT EASY! Trust me! They say some very ugly things and they only want their way. They aren't interested in rules and procedures. They want their way and they want it now. I have to remember how like that I am at times. I want my way. I'm not interested in God's rules and procedures, and I'm not easy to deal with. It's at that point that the Holy Spirit's still small voice reminds me of God's everlasting patience with me and that He expects that same patience from me with others.

On the 8th, son Kenneth and grandaughter Courtney came home from Japan for a visit. It was so good to see them and Courtney has grown into a lovely young lady. It has been good to visit and spend time learning the Japanese culture. Lots of different ways and I mean different. I can not believe that he has been in the Navy 18 years. It seems that it was only yesterday that hubby, bethanne and I left him in Knoxville to go to basic training. He was so young (18), had never really been anywhere, and was about to embark on a life changing experience. I was scared for him, but by his own admission, it was the best thing that ever happened to him.

I have just learned that the daughter of one of my friends has drowned. She lived in the other end of the state and was found last night. This will be a devasting blow for my friend who has had many demons to fight in her life - divorce, alcoholism, poverty and also a questioning spirit. She has not been able to quit blaming God for the circumstances in her life. Her constant question to me has been "Why has God allowed these things to happen to me"? These past years I have tried to reassure her that God does not bring bad things purposely into our lives, but if we know Him, He will help us get through difficulties victoriously. She has never been able to grasp that thought. Please pray for her. She, I am afraid, will again ask why. Pray that through this tragedy she will come to know Him - really know Him and His peace and comfort.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Important Lesson Learned!

Today I learned a very valuable lesson - do not put off your quiet time. God will speak to you in spite of procrastination! I could not seem to get going this morning. Remember in one of my other posts I said that one of the greatest gifts that the Lord had given me was the ability to sleep late since I retired? Well, He has been dealing with me on that, but that is a whole other post. This post is dedicated to me and how satan (he doesn't deserve a capital S) is so sly and works so cleverly that even when good is done, he can twist that good into sin.

It was a little late when I got up (don't ask) and as usual I still took the time to drink my coffee on the porch and glance at the newspaper. Ordinarily, I have my quiet time then, but because I indulged in one of the greatest gifts the Lord had given me in retirement (remember), I thought I had better get to making beds and other VERY important things. Hubby went outside to weed eat and mow. Now, before I go any further, let me tell you about our " below us" neighbor. We live on a mountain and a couple built a house last year on the lot just below us. My hubby is a very friendly person - always the good neighbor - better than me. He likes to chat and do things for neighbors that need to be done. I have known him to mow yards for vacationing neighbors, feed dogs, take care of gardens, get mail - you know - all the things that good neighbors do to help other good neighbors. Our " below us" neighbor is a little different. When they were building their house, hubby kept an eye out for vandals and people who like to help themselves to others property. Any time we would see them we would wave and speak. In the beginning I thought they, especially the man of the house, just missed our wave, but then I noticed that I could be at the mailbox and he would pass and whoops - he missed my wave again! How 'bout that? Enough said. Back to today. Hubby is outside mowing. I'm inside doing all the VERY important that kept me from having my quiet time in the am. Time passes and I think I better check on hubby. I haven't heard him in awhile and I always worry that something bad may have happened. I step out on the porch and call his name and he is downstairs in the basement. I go down and tell him I was beginning to be worried, and then he tells me he has been fixing "below us" neighbors mailbox! I could hardly believe my ears. What in the world was he thinking. Neighbor who will not lower himself to even wave, much less speak. My hubby did not have time for that. He even had to drill new holes to make the mailbox flag work. We had plenty to do here at our house, and beside that, he was going to his brothers house to mow for him! What in the world could he have been thinking! I asked him if "below us" neighbor thanked him. And this part is what amazed me - he didn't talk to neighbor. Neighbor wasn't even home.

Now, time passes. Hubby is on his way to his brothers and I am doing my thing of running the vacuum. Even with all the noise, Still Small Voice is loud and clear - very clear. "Donna, you have taken a good deed and you have smeared it all up with satan (no capital s). Forget what neighbor does or how he acts. Hubby did the right thing. His heart was in the right place. You were selfish and wrong. It could have been different if you had spent time with Me this morning. You need to take lessons from the head of your house. His act of kindness was exactly what the golden rule is all about. Do unto others........... Remember. If neighbor never knows who fixed his mailbox, it's okay because I know. That's all that matters."

I must say, I am very proud of hubby. The Lord was right. His heart was in the right place and mine was definitely in the wrong place. You can rest assured that my quiet time will come first in the morning. That does not mean that I will make all the right decisions because my time with the Lord was first, but I have no doubt my outlook on the day will be better.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

This & That & Random Thoughts.............

It's been a week since I've been in the blog world (that info is straight from bethanne's blog list) and I really don't have any excuse except to say that I guess I have been a little "unbloggy". Sometimes I think that we get to the place where we just want to "be still and know" and that is kind of where I've been this past week.

Several things have crossed my mind that I want to talk about, fuss about, muse about and then I think "nobody wants to hear that". Since I have not titled this post yet, guess it could be "This and That and Random Thoughts".

I did get to go to church this past Sunday and it felt so good. When I don't go to church on Sundays my whole week feels "off". Our pastor preached on the rapture and I was again greatly encouraged. I truly look forward to that time.

On Monday, hubby and I went with his brother and sister to visit his Aunt who turns 91 today. I was amazed at the sharpness of her mind (sharper than mine). She is walking with the help of a cane, but looked and seemed well. I could not help but think that I will never make it to be 91. She lives very modestly and told me she still cooks for herself and her son. She also told me she was ready to die and looked forward to being with the Lord. As I talked with her, she delighted in telling me about her grandchildren and great children - where they lived and what they did for a living. She seemed so happy that we came and asked us to please come back. As we were coming back up the road, I thought what little effort that it had taken on our part to make the visit, but how much it seemed to please her that we came. Why had we waited so long? Why do we not take the time to fit into our "busy" lives those who would just like a short visit?

Yesterday, was a full day. Hubby and I went for him to get a haircut and then had lunch at a tearoom (yes, there were men there too). It was a pleasant change from our mundane pace and not only did we eat, but we got to browse in the gift shop (loved it!). No double cheeseburger for us - chicken salad on a bed of lettuce, tomato dill soup, fresh salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing, assorted fresh fruit and a slice of banana bread with creamery butter. Terrific! We could have had quiche but we decided not to go too far out! Then we were blessed to go to grandson Lake's tournament ballgame. His team did not win but there were trophies all around and they made a great showing of team effort and sportsmanship. Best part of all was that the parents also showed great sportsmanship! Then it was to Lake's favorite place to eat, Pizza Inn.
By the time the game was over, we were all starved and sufficiently stuffed ourselves making it difficult to exit the building. It was good to be with family and son-in-law's Mom and Dad too.
Needless to say, by the time I got home, I was exhausted and a early turn in was in order.

I guess I related these past few days so that I can put down in black and white that I am slowly returning to normal. My pace is picking up and life seems to be going on. Next week will be our first week to work at the campground since my accident. I am looking forward to being back. Also, on Tuesday of next week, hubby's son Kenneth and granddaughter Courtney will be coming home for a visit from Japan. We look forward to seeing them and spending time catching up with them. After this tour in Japan, Kenneth, Heather (his wife), and Courtney will be stationed in Hawaii. It's a little bitter-sweet. Once they go to Hawaii in December, Kenneth will immediately be deployed to Iraq for six months. Why can't things be simple? Too much to ask I guess.

If you have gotten to this point in this post, I guess you are pretty well bored. Sorry. Next time I'll try to be a little more exciting, or maybe I'll have some more pretty pictures! I guess this qualifies for a meme (someone please explain to me about that - I'm still just learning).