Thursday, December 30, 2010

looking back; looking to future

This is some of what I wrote on my blog, July 07, 2005. I had no way of knowing the way I would need the understanding of these words just three years later. This is what I wrote:

“I am thinking about the following words of hope:

Psalm 91:2:

"I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in him will I trust."

I also like this quote from Francis of Sales:

"Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear; rather look to them with full hope that, as they arise, God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them. He is your keeper, He has kept you hitherto. Do you but hold fast to his dear hand, and he will lead you safely through all things; and, when you cannot stand, he will bear you in his arms. Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. Our Father will either shield you from suffering, or he will give you strength to bear it.’”

So this is what I know…five years later: Pain and suffering do happen. In this life, we can lose that which is most precious, and our hearts can be broken to pieces. But, through it all, God is close. He holds us, and gives the strength we need for this moment…not for tomorrow, but for this moment…


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

to be loved by God

Can I fully comprehend the love of God? I think not. It is so wide and so high…it is far beyond my ability to grasp the truth of it. I suppose the best thing I can do is to: accept it, allow it to permeate my being, and share it with others.

I like what Richard Baxter says about this love:

"Is it a small thing in your eyes to be loved by God--to be the son, the spouse, the love, the delight of the King of glory? Christian, believe this, and think about it: you will be eternally embraced in the arms of the love which was from everlasting, and will extend to everlasting--of the love which brought the Son of God's love from heaven to earth, from earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to glory--that love which was weary, hungry, tempted, scorned, scourged, buffeted, spat upon, crucified, pierced--which fasted, prayed, taught, healed, wept, sweated, bled, died. That love will eternally embrace you."

In this season…one of gathering and reflection…I want to embrace this love of God, as he embraces me…to deepen my relationship with him…to be awe of it...and to prepare for a new year of sharing it.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

you miss the beauty

At times, life comes so fast and so hard that it is hard to process all that has transpired. There are so many demands, and so little resources (like time, energy, money). It seems a blur, and like I’m living on auto-pilot.

I have kept this quote for a few years…don’t know where it came from…or when I got it…but I suppose I have kept it for this time and this place in my life. It says:

“You miss the beauty you live in.”

The fall foliage in East Texas has been spectacular this year. It was here…breath-taking, for a short time…and then it was gone…most of it got blown away over the Thanksgiving weekend. I would soak in the beauty of it as I drove home each day, thinking, “Wow, what a surprise. I didn’t think it was going to happen this year.” But it did…just like clock-work…and God spoke to my spirit about his continuing presence and control of it all.

Then, there’s the research project, about reindeer, that I’ve been involved in with my class at school. As it is every year, my students are so carried away with it, and I’m in awe and wonder, thinking: “How can something so spectacular and inexplicable continue to happen over and over…generation after generation …over thousands of miles…year after year after year. There, again, God has nudged me….whispering, “Don’t miss the beauty…don’t miss the miracle….” I’m here…I’m in control.

I need to hold fast to the truth…even when it seems to be the only thing I can hold to…the thing that never changes…God’s got it, and He loves me as I have never been loved…I need to remember to not miss the beauty of it.


Friday, November 26, 2010

god keeps us

I’ve been in a funk, lately. Probably because I am tired to my bones. I have been needing a brighter outlook. I commented on Jon and Emily’s blog today. What came out of my brain, and what I left as a comment, was exactly what I needed today:

“The God we serve is good and faithful. He loves us completely and always. "He keeps that which we've committed.’”

When I keep giving it to him; he'll perfectly care for me.

Help me remember this.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

you are blessed when you make peace

Max Lucado says this about making peace:

“Want to see a miracle? Plant a word of love heartdeep in a person’s life. Nurture it with a smile and a prayer, and watch what happens.

An employee gets a compliment. A wife receives a bouquet of flowers. A cake is baked and carried next door. A widow is hugged. A gas-station attendant is honored. A preacher is praised.

Sowing seeds of peace is like sowing beans. You don’t know why it works; you just know it does. Seeds are planted, and topsoils of hurt are shoved away.”

In this place we live, we don’t have many peacemakers. What we have are: chaos-makers. We have lots of snatching and grabbing for a lot of entitlement…you can see it in your home, in your town, in your country, in your world, in your church, and even in your heart. Everyone wanting what they have coming to them. Adam and Eve did not make peace. Cain did not make peace. There were times when King David did not make peace. The disciples did not always make peace when they were with Jesus. Many times, the church has failed to make peace in our world. I am not always a peacemaker.

If we want to be called Sons of God, though, we have to be peacemakers. Lucado goes on to end this chapter with these words:

“’ Be a power broker,’ the snake lied,’ and you will be like God.’

‘Be a peacemaker,’ the King promised, ‘and you will be a son of God.’”

How I need the peace of God to have any peace to share. Please, Lord, bathe me in your peace. Fill me with your peace…calm the chaos…help me to realize, daily, that I don’t need what the world has to give…that will pass away. I do, however, need what you have…for that is what will last for all eternity.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

you are blessed when you show mercy

“Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous--with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy!” (Matthew 5:7, Amplified Bible)

I like to read the Amplified version of the Bible. It shows me more exactly what the original thoughts were of the speaker/writer were, according to the language the words were written in. Because of this, I am made aware that the word “blessed” has a different meaning than I originally thought… It speaks of the blessing to be a blessing simply because it is originates in God…not from us and what we want. It also speaks of being happy/satisfied with what God has for me regardless of my outward conditions. Hmmm…really different than what I have also thought….

So, this blessing comes when I show mercy to others…when I give others what I would like them to give me…The dictionary says that mercy is:

“clemency: leniency and compassion shown toward offenders …a disposition to be kind and forgiving”

This is hard for me. Not so much if I am with the offender, and we talk about it and work through it, and continue to live through it…but if I am ignored and left alone…it is hard for me to forgive. This is a particular problem that God has been working with me for several years, now. It is very hard for me, but I know that God has a very special blessing for me every time I give him people and situations that cut me to the bone, believing and trusting him to take it and make something beautiful for his glory.

Lord, help me show mercy… even when it is hard for me. Work in my life…break my heart…mold it in your image…


Saturday, October 16, 2010


Last weekend my family came over to help with our home renovation project. (Note: it takes a lot longer to renovate than it takes those people on HGTV).

My family is precious to me. One way they make themselves precious is through the things they do for me and for others.

None of them really had the energy or the time to give a day in our behalf, but they did. It was time to be together and do something constructive (no pun intended). It gave me a fresh outlook on our project, and it gave me a “shot in the arm.”

Yes, my family is precious to me. My life has been enriched by each one of them. Thank you, family.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

happy birthday, memaw and pawpaw

...thank you for being precious to me, and to many others.

I love you,

Sunday, October 3, 2010

you are blessed when you are hungry and thirsty


When my soul is hungry and thirsty, I continue to go to the place of sustenance. I crave it. I long for it. This is the human experience…longing, wanting, and craving. We are born with it and we die with it.

Jesus wants me to have that hunger for him. He wants to fill me and sustain me. He wants to feed me. He wants to be everything to me.

Sad to say, I have spent a lifetime of looking for food and drink for my soul in all the wrong places….people, church, jobs, family, and (yes)… even through real food…you name it…I’ve gone there looking for it.

But here, Jesus is saying to me that when I go to him with my unquenchable hunger and thirst, he will fill me…in fact, in other places in the Bible, it is promised that I will be filled to overflowing. That speaks of extravagance…of having much more than I need. Who doesn’t want to be there?

Revelation is becoming one of my favorite books of the the Bible (who would have thought it)…These words of promise are spoken in the last chapter:

Is anyone thirsty? Come!
All who will, come and drink.
Drink freely of the Water of Life!

My hunger and thirst become a blessing, because they drive my straight into the arms of Jesus.


PS I am so tired today. Lord, please help me. I need all that you have for me. Fill me to overflowing.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

happy b-day, mamie

Today is our Amy’s twenty-seventh birthday. Amy is a gentle soul. She has always been so responsible that life bears down on her at times, but she keeps on going forward.

I am so proud of her because she is brave and focused and she is not afraid of hard work. She sees the path ahead, devises a plan, and keeps her eyes on the prize going full speed ahead.

Amy is a good friend and an incredible daughter.She loves to help and serve. She has been a great blessing in the lives of many (especially mine).

Happy birthday, sweet Amy. Have an incredible year loving life and learning and serving. Look to God for all that you need, and you will always have enough.

I love you,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

happy birthday, sister

My sister, Debbi’s, birthday was last Thursday. I decided to make a quick trip to see her this weekend. We had a lovely time together.

We shopped a little, “ran around” a little, ate some good food, had pedicures; and then we went back to her house, got into some comfy clothes, piled up to watch movies, eat stinky chips and ice cream, surf the internet, and read. Like I said…it was lovely. To top it off, the weather outside was rainy and fallish. I enjoyed it all immensely.

I cannot express the wonderful blessing Deb has been to my life (and many other lives, too). She is so smart and strong and willing to work. But above all, she sees the needs of others around her, and tries her best to meet those needs.

I never remember a day of my life without my sister. We have shared many joys and many sorrows. She knows me as well as anyone on earth, and she still loves me, and enjoys spending time with me. Her day of birth was a wonderful gift to me…

Happy birthday, Sister. I love you. Have a wonderful new year of life.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Em's blog

Emily blogged about death this week, and her topic is one I have thought about since Mothers' Day. My comment is my thoughts for this week. You can find it here:

thanks,Em. I needed that,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

you are blessed when you are poor in spirit

I’m not believing this…I forgot the first blessing for those who are poor in spirit! Maybe I forgot it because it one I have always had difficulty understanding. Poor in spirit has always seemed demeaning and unattractive and something I couldn’t achieve. But I have always known that it is something that Jesus saw as beautiful… desired…something I could acquire.

How does one become “poor in spirit?” Is it “Oh don’t mind little-ole me…I’m no one…I’m nothing” kind of person? Is it a person that just lays down and lets people walk all over him? I just could not understand what this blessing meant.

That’s why I am particularly impressed with the way Mr. Lucado explained it in The Applause of Heaven:

“Mark it down. God does not save us because of what we’ve done. Only a puny god could be bought with tithes. Only an egotistical god would be impressed with our pain. Only a temperamental god could be satisfied by sacrifices. Only a heartless god would see salvation to the highest bidders.
(My side note: doesn’t the above sound just like a god that a man would create….hmmm…I think that was the god sometimes explained to me as a child….)“And only a great God does for his children what they can’t do for themselves.” (Hey…you mean God is going to help me with this?! So, that means I need to be looking for help from him…expecting help from him…)

I really like what Max goes on to say:
“God’s delight is received upon surrender, not awarded upon conquest. The first step to joy is a plea for help, an acknowledgement of moral destitution, an admission of inward paucity. Those who taste God’s presence have declared spiritual bankruptcy and are aware of their spiritual crisis. Their cupboards are bare. Their pockets are empty. Their options are gone. They have long since stopped demanding justice; they are pleading for mercy.”

I don’t know about you, but I have been in this bankrupt place. I have hit the bottom…all of my earthly support systems have been jerked out from under me…all that I believed in was questioned and this left me unsure…with nothing that I thought I had…

Lucado goes on to tell of four people in the scriptures who had encounters with God: Sarah, Peter, Paul and the rich young ruler. All four of these people “hit the bottom” of their personal resources, of the four, three recognized their need for God…the other one, the young ruler, could only think of all the ways he was sufficient and acceptable to God. The three in need, received new names…the one young and rich, who did not need anything…went down in history never mentioned by name.

As Max explains:
“Perhaps that’s the clearest explanation of the first beatitude. The one who made a name for himself is nameless. But the ones who called on Jesus’ name-and his name only-got new names and, even more, new life.”

I will tell you right now…when I reached the end of myself (and it was a painful, desperate place), God was right there waiting for me…He had everything I ever needed, and I knew I had no other option than to accept it.

Wow! I’m wondering what my new name is…I’m excited to find out…
Lord, please bless my poverty of spirit,


Sunday, September 5, 2010

you are blessed when you are meek

OK…so this is the real reason I have never liked the beatitudes….it’s this word…”meek.” I’ve always heard it said that if the Kingdom of Heaven is to be yours, you have to be “meek”…a doormat…a person without an idea…a quiet person. I will tell you right now, this “meek” is not me, and for all of my early years, as a Christian, I thought I would never be able to see the Kingdom of God. My heart and my person rebelled against this kind of meekness, because I knew I would never be able to achieve it.

In my forties, I realized a lot about God and his Word. I realized that (as a young child) I had either been taught some of the Bible wrong; or had perceived some of it wrong. The “meek” that Jesus talks about in Matthew is exactly one of those concepts.

In reality, the meekness Jesus speaks of… the kind I have to have to be part of his kingdom…is an attitude that I must have as I approach him. An attitude that causes me to come to him as an empty vessel to be used as he created it to be used.

Max Lucado says it so well in his book The Applause of Heaven:

“’ Blessed are the meek,’ Jesus explained. Blessed are the available. Blessed are the conduits, the tunnels, the tools. Deliriously joyful are the ones who believe that if God has used sticks, rocks, and spit to do his will, then he can use us….We would do well to learn a lesson from the rod, the rock and the saliva. [Here, Lucado refers to Moses and the rod, David and the rock, and Jesus healing the blind man with spit and dirt.] They didn’t complain. They didn’t question God’s wisdom. They didn’t suggest an alternative plan. Perhaps the reason the Father has used to many inanimate objects for his mission is that they don’t tell him how to do his job!”
“Once again, the mundane became majestic. Once again the dull became divine, the humdrum holy. Once again God’s power has seen not through the ability of the instrument, but through its availability.”

He goes on to explain what the attitude of my heart must be: “You can see the world standing tall, but to witness the Savior, you have to get on your knees.” There’s that juxtaposition again…that weird “Jesus” symmetry…it doesn’t seem to make sense does it?

I have learned that God wants to use me just as I am…warts and all…he made me the way I am…he has a plan for my life. When I live this way…meek…available…waiting on God…the fears of my life…the uncertainty…the craziness of the world around me…fades. Jesus whispers to me, “Don’t be afraid. Let me fill you. Let me use you. The things you were created to accomplish…the person you are to be…all of it will happen no matter what the chaos is around you.”

Lucado puts it succinctly:

“Earthly fears are no fears at all. All the mystery is revealed. The final destination if guaranteed. Answer the big question of eternity, and the little questions of life fall into perspective.”

Jesus, please fill my emptiness with your fullness. I joyfully give you all that you have entrusted to me. I’m available, please use me. Please bless my meekness,


Sunday, August 29, 2010

you are blessed when you mourn

For most of my life, I would groan if I heard someone announce that they were going to preach/speak about the “beatitudes.” Lately, I cannot get my mind off of them. I think I am finally understanding the truer meaning of Jesus’ words, and they are captivating my thoughts and filling me with joy. How can I explain this change of attitude?

Am I finally realizing what Jesus was really saying…have I grown in my spirit, so that I can accept the truth of what Jesus was saying…is the Holy Spirit opening my mind and thinking, so that I finally have understanding? Actually, I think the answer to all of these questions is “yes.”

The word “beatitude” means “blessing.” Jesus was giving blessings to his audience (which, by the way, was most likely just his disciples…I’ve always heard that…and have seen in pictures of… Jesus was up on a high place…looking down on a multitude…preaching the “sermon on the mount.” Actually, he and the disciples had moved up the mountain…away from the crowd…most likely, he was just speaking quietly, in a conversational tone, to his closest friends. He was telling them “the secret” of his mission. Something that would rock their known-world on it’s very foundation.) Jesus was giving a special blessing to those who would stand by him…those who would go on to live for him….those who would die for him….

The first blessing was to those who mourn. With the events of the past two years, I can finally understand what it means to mourn. The disciples would have the truest understanding of “mourning” in just three short years. But, really, Jesus was talking about a mourning that goes beyond our earthly grief. That grief will pass some day…the grief he speaks of, will go on for eternity if it is not confessed by us and blessed by Jesus. This is the mourning of our sins. The grief we feel when we realize what God has done for us, and how far we are from him. The road to the first blessing is sorrow for our sin…it is repentance. This is has been very hard for me, because I am so prideful. I want to be right. I want to do what I want to do. But Jesus has a different way for me to go…the way of repentance.

As Max Lucado writes in his exquisite book about the beatitudes: “Of all the paths to joy, this one has to be the strangest. True blessedness, Jesus says, begins with deep sadness.” This is another of the many juxtapositions that Jesus presents: death gives life; if you are poor, you are rich; if you are low, you’ll be raised high. It doesn’t make sense, but it is the way to the first of Jesus’ blessings. I am blessed if I mourn.

Lord, help me to pour out the sorrow and repentance of my sin to you. Help me lean on your understanding, not my own. Help me swallow my pride, and depend on you completely. Please bless my mourning.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

missing my sister

Our Kathy has been gone for two years today. I miss my sister. I miss her care and attention to my life. I miss her daily calls to check on me…to update me…to connect with me. There are still times that I need to tell Kathy something…she is the only one who would understand…but she is gone; and the absolute finality of it takes my breath away every time I remember that she is gone.

Someone very precious and valuable has been taken from our lives…someone we did not know that we could live without. It seems she floated quietly away from our grasp. She didn’t even say goodbye.

My sister is gone, and I miss her every day.


Monday, June 7, 2010

long days, short years

This past week, Allie celebrated her eighteenth birthday and her graduation. This year, we have three who will turn sixteen. Next year, three others will graduate from high school. Milestones, all of them, the years flashing before our eyes.

Recently, I read something in a book that made me think about the passage of time…it went something like this: “The days are long; the years are short.” I never thought of it that way, but it is the way it seems to me. The days go by with their challenges…sixty minutes an hour, twenty-four hours at a time….and they can be tiring to the bone.

But when I look back on the years, and they seem to zoom by. Special dates may highlight the significant years…”that year… I turned fifty, I started working there, so-and-so got married, was born or died….,” so that certain years are used as benchmarks. But otherwise, the years seem to race by … one after another…melting together in a haze.

At times, I get so caught up in the everyday “stuff,” that I forget about the “big picture.” Actually, though, the moments, the days, the months, and the years are weaving together to piece together the fabric of my life. In this life, I have a bird’s eye view of the creation of my life; but one day, the full cloth will be spread out and seen as a whole…viewed in the light of eternal significance…on display forever, for all to see.

As Julia Fletcher wrote:
“Little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land. So the little minutes, humble though they be, make the mighty ages of eternity.”

I want to embrace the seconds and minutes of my life. I want to have a joyful and celebratory life, but I also desire acceptance of the times of pain and sorrow, knowing that hard times can give me insight and faith that I couldn’t have otherwise.

Lord, help me to look to you at all times, through all things. Help me to be faithful…to be trusting…to be thankful…and to love you no matter what comes my way…all the seconds of my days.


Sunday, May 9, 2010


I’m thinking about mothers today. The kind of mother who sticks with you through the thick and thin. The kind of mother who gives the best, while she takes what is left over. The kind of mother who works late into the night (or early in the morning) to get “it” done.

We are discussing I Corinthians 13, today at church, and I suppose that is the kind of mother I am thinking about.

As it says in The Message:

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”

Of course, no mother is able to do all of this perfectly every day, but it does describe the heart of a mom who is doing her best to take care of her family through the ups and downs of life. It is a portrait of remarkable women who make a difference in the lives of their children.

All that said…”Happy Mothers’ Day, Mama.” You are exactly the mother I am thinking about today, and I’m thanking God for letting me have you as my mom. I hope I have been the kind of mother you have been to me, and I pray that my daughters will continue in your example.

And, Mom, the end of I Corinthians 13 has the guidance and the promise for you (and us) in these sad days that we are living:

“We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”

I see you hoping and trusting and loving, and that helps me keep walking. Thank you.

I love you,

Sunday, May 2, 2010

live with him

The only way to prepare to meet God is to live with him so that to meet him shall be nothing strange.” Phillips Brooks

When you know somebody…you know them. Not perfectly, of course, but you can have a good idea of his/her thinking/reaction patterns; you can be aware of past activities and choices; and you can understand some of the motivations or his/her life. It is no different than what we can learn about God when we spend a lot of time with him. Our relationship with God is just that…a relationship. It can be spare. It can be untruthful. It can be us doing the talking. On the other hand, our relationship with God can mirror the relationship that Mary modeled. Mary’s relationship with Jesus consisted of sitting at the feet of Jesus; looking up lovingly into his eyes, and hanging on to every word.

When I meet Jesus, at the end of this life on earth, I want nothing to be “strange” between me and him. That means I have to live as close to him as I can. It also means I need to know how he feels about things…what he sees as important…what he would give his life for.

The Bible says that God chose Noah to save the people and animals of the world, from the big flood, because Noah walked with him. I believe that God is still looking to people who walk with him…people who spend time with him…people who know his heart...people who live with him.

I want to be one of those people.


Sunday, April 25, 2010


I was reading the introduction to the book of Ezekiel in The Message. It talks about how people face catastrophe in two common ways: with denial, or with despair. Catastrophe happens, and some people “shut their eyes tight or look the other way.” They “manage to act as if everything if going to be just fine; they take refuge in distractions and lies and fantasies…” they deny. Others are “paralyzed,” and “accept it as the end of the world.” They are “unwilling to do anything, concluding that life for all intents and purposes is over.” They “listlessly close their eyes to a world in which all the color has drained out, a world gone dead…”they despair.

When God’s people faced catastrophe in Ezekiel’s day, “denial was the primary response.” He “found himself living among a people of God who stubbornly refused to see what was right before their eyes (the denial crowd). There were also some who were unwilling to see anything other than what was right before their eyes (the despair crowd).” Ezekiel was able to show them that, “yes, there was a catastrophe, but God was at work in the catastrophe, sovereignly using the catastrophe. He showed them so that they would be able to embrace God in the worst of times.” Because of Ezekiel’s faithfulness, “God’s people emerged from that catastrophic century robust and whole.”

Ezekiel wrote in Chapter 36: 24-28:
"'For here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I'll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I'll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I'll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that's God-willed, not self-willed. I'll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You'll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You'll be my people! I'll be your God!"

And in Ezekiel 34: 30-31:
"They'll know, beyond doubting, that I, God, am their God, that I'm with them and that they, the people Israel, are my people. Decree of God, the Master: You are my dear flock, the flock of my pasture, my human flock, and I am your God.”

I must admit that I have responded to catastrophe with both denial and despair (though I’m more inclined to despair). I don’t want to live like this. I want to see the world as Ezekiel did, and the only way is to see him working in a catastrophe, is by living close to his heartbeat. Draw me closer.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

find what i'm looking for

Amy Grant has a new album out…I love Amy Grant’s music. I have listened to it for decades. There is something about her lyrics that have always spoken to me “where I am.” Recently, it is apparent that she has experienced a lot of grief, and that she has caused some grief to others. Her songs speak of remorse for the grief that she has caused. Maybe she is coming to the realization of who she really is…I have done that in recent years, and I have to say that it has be liberating as well as humbling. Liberating, in that I have realized that I don’t have to be what everybody (including myself) thinks I should be; humbling, in that I’m understanding that for every “good” attribute I have, there is at least one “not-so-good” attribute to balance it out.

This is what Amy’s song, “Find What You’re Looking For,” says about it:

“What would they find if they uncovered all my tracks
Of roads I’d snuck down and darkness and never turn back
Well they’d find what they’re looking for
Secrets and so much more
What would they find if they searched for a heart of gold
They’d find sacrifices of time and money never told
Yeah they’d find what they’re looking for
Kindness and so much more
‘Cause there’s so much good in the worst of us
So much bad in the best of us
It never makes sense for any of us
To criticize the rest of us
We’ll just find what we’re looking for
We’ll find it and so much more.”

So…what am I looking for? I am trying to see the ways that I can see God working in my life and others’ lives. I would hope I would seek out the best…accept people (including myself) as people are…remembering that all of us are a compilation of good and evil; black and white… sometimes even gray…; pleasant and obnoxious. All of us loved by God.
At times (and with certain people) this isn’t easy… I’m not always able to do it…it’s that tunnel vision that I have. But I think I am getting better at it…some days….

I’m trying to remember that I’ll find what I’m looking for.


Saturday, April 3, 2010


Sometimes life can be rather depressing… especially if you pay attention to the news. This world is a mess, and it is easy to get “sucked” into the bad news and to forget the “good news” that Jesus brought to us. It is also easy to get so involved in the drama, sadness, and pain of your life every day, on this earth, and forget that this is not the real life of forever.
Jesus was very clear that there are two different kingdoms in operation…the kingdom of man and the kingdom of God. One is about power and money; the other about weakness and poverty. One chooses living for self; the other dying to self. One always wants to be first; the other willingly takes last place. I like what Jesus said in Matthew 5:

You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought. You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat. You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for. You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family. You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom. Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds.”

One kingdom is only for a lifetime; the other for eternity. I want to live in God’s kingdom now, and show others the way. That is not always easy because I am pulled many ways (and I still want my way a lot)…but God will help me… he has already sent everything he had and everything I need…Jesus.

Thank you, Father,

Sunday, March 21, 2010


This past week held some of the unexpected for us. Our Amy came home for spring break, went to her doctor for her yearly checkup, and ended up with a surgery and one less ovary. There was the doctor telling us that there was a fifty percent chance that the tumor she had just removed from our beloved daughter could be malignant, and that she had never seen anything like it before. Fifty-fifty had an altogether different sound to me, than it did a couple of years ago...what did it mean…half a chance for life…or half a chance for death…What (who) decides which way it goes? I’ve already learned that the most sincere prayers of the faithful don’t always turn back the course of a catastrophe about to happen; and that the life you get is not always the life you had planned. It seems arbitrary…a “shoot of the dice”, so to speak. There was one thing that came to me almost immediately, however…whatever comes this way, I can trust God with it. No matter the pain, the suffering, the loss….no matter if I soar high with eagles, or walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I can trust God in it all.

As Psalm 91:1-2 proclaims:

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.”

Our fifty percent outcome, this time, was on the side that we desired so fervently, but it reminded me, once again, I can trust him…one hundred percent of the time…through the good, and through the bad…I can trust him.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

don't save

“Don't save anything for a special occasion. Being alive is a special occasion! ~Anonymous~

I remember reading about a woman who died, and how her family found all the beautiful things that they had given her, through the years, for gifts. The nightgowns, lingerie, and other lovely clothing items were still in the tissue, in which they had been wrapped. They had never been worn. Evidently, she was saving her beautiful gifts for another, perhaps special, day. She never got to enjoy wearing them.

In my life, I don’t have trouble with clothing, but I do tend to save our wedding china and crystal for more special days, and I definitely waste a lot of “everyday” occasions, while waiting for a “special” day.

I bought some food at the grocery store this past week, and at the time I thought “Loyd and I won’t be able to eat all this,” but I still bought it all. Yesterday, we had a snow day…something we rarely have in East Texas. I got all that food out…cooked it…called MeMaw, and invited the family, and we gathered and had an impromptu feast. What a treat it was, and how glad I am that we took the effort.

We took the time to celebrate being alive, and enjoyed having the blessing of each other. The snow made it more than an ordinary day, but we made it an extraordinary occasion. One I will always remember.


Sunday, February 7, 2010


So much of life is confusing. Truth, on this earth, seems to be elusive…a lot of “she said, he said”. We can look the situations of life head-on, in the eye (as it were), and still completely miss the truth. We are so finite, so constricted, so tunnel-visioned. Much of our “truth” is based on our experience…a view of life from where we stand… and it seems we grope in the dark to touch whatever we can find that seems true and steady based on our truth. It’s precarious, at best…like stretching really far to catch a butterfly while standing on a wobbly rocking chair…

We are thinking about I Corinthians, at Java’s, right now. 4:5 says:

“So don't get ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in. When he comes, he will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of—inner motives and purposes and prayers. Only then will any one of us get to hear the "Well done!" of God.”

God knows the truth. He has known, since the beginning of time, the truth of each of our lives….the thoughts, the motives, the beginnings and the endings, even the prayers we don’t realize we utter. I can trust him to lead me into all truth, but it often means clinging to him, taking one step after another into the darkness, knowing he is taking me where I need to go…to the eternal truth of him.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

participating with jesus

I heard from two friends in the past few days. They are both going through great trials…life and death trials. We have been discussing I Corinthians, at Java Jack’s, and I thought of 1:9 when I heard from my friends. It goes like this:

“God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."

I like participating in the “good” things of Jesus: fellowship, forgiveness, joy; but I would prefer to forgo the “bad” things: pain, sorrow, suffering. The later three, though, probably help me understand Him better. I don’t like participating in “pain,” but God knows me and He knows what I need, and I can trust Him to do the best for me. God is faithful in all things.