Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Living Awake


"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."   ... James 1:27

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Some Christians hate tv, but me? I like it. (And ok, I probably enjoy liking what other people dislike a bit too much.)

The best shows are those which remind me there's a huge world out there and it's certainly not all about me. We introvert types spend so much time alone that we must fight inching toward the center of our own quiet universe.

Have you ever watched Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown? Wow. Tom and I spent the weekend with Anthony (via Netflix) and when he took us to broken, depressed Detroit and then The Congo, God pretty much told me, "See? This is why I've asked you to stop complaining. So many people have so little, but you've been given so much--

"Your family,
home, friends, pets,
books, sunshine, health,
supermarkets, groceries, money,
yard, flowers, trees,
creativity, paint, imagination,
computer, laughter, joy--and Jesus."

Oh, watching all those people struggle for just a few dollars and slogging though such horrid conditions and--well, my complaining about the weather, broken appliances, slow Internet times or Facebook stuff, cleaning cat barf, waiting in lines, shoveling snow, back aches on walks--felt like sin.

Really. Ungrateful, unappreciative, clueless to what matters in Life sin. And it reminded me, also, of the myriad times I've complained about the weather in this blog, thus creating throw-away posts, actually, ones with only crumbs of substance.

If I'm not watchful, careful, I could create a whole throw-away life.

See? This is why I appreciate tv. It reminds me of what I've forgotten and have you noticed that in Today's world, distraction sucks meaning out of us like a magnet? Oh, that we'd seek God to replace that meaning every hour.

Because of God's using a tv show, I'm praying more this week that He'll place a watch upon my lips and that I'll remember to pray for those in need and that I'll send our latest check to our favorite ministry which helps the poor here in the U.S. and many other countries.

May I remain on fire to help others in every way I can.  May I someday step over the threshold of Heaven having fulfilled my purpose, my destiny, and may I catch every reminder, anywhere, even on tv, and allow them to change and center me (in Truth) again.

And may I live Life awake.





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"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God."   .... Hebrews 13:16

"I ... entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patience,"   ... Ephesians 4:1,2


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Well! This made me look at Stephen Colbert in a whole other way...  (Scroll down a tad for the film.)


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Go here to have a free sample of cat food mailed to your door.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Adventures in the Scary, Brown Boxy House


"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."   ... 2 Corinthians 12:10

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On Saturday, Tom and I drove to a nearby estate sale inside a small, basic two-story square style of house I've meant to show you for two years because people improve upon these dozens of homes, change the appearance, their creativity being limited only by imagination, lot size and, ok, often money. 

Once inside this one, I saw crowds of milling folks so I immediately vanished up the stairs where a woman and I stared at an entire bed with an audience of scary 1920's dolls with eyes aimed at us. "I'd be afraid to sleep in a room with those dolls," she said, shivering.

But what was worse? Downstairs. Oh, people were jammed into boxy (boxy!) rooms and everything was brown-- brown carpet and drapes and tile and some rooms had brown paneled walls. People stepped sideways, trying to grab at things and when I knelt to the carpet beside two boxes of books, I felt I'd done a foolish, dangerous thing. And did I even venture into the one-doorway kitchen? Nope. My fluttery heart told me, "Go in there and you'll be forever trapped in that box!"

Ack! That "must get out of here before you start quivering" feeling began circling inside my head. I saw too many people in too few square feet surrounded by too much clutter and too many boxy rooms so I went and found (relaxed, calm) Tom in the center of what resembled Olivia de Havilland's snake pit

I told him, "I've got to leave. Now. I'll meet you in the car." 

Though it takes an opera-house-sized crowd for Tom to start falling apart, he understood, smiled, and said he'd be there soon.

This doesn't happen to me every time, just sometimes. And you know? I don't mind it much because it helps me better understand my fellow crowd-fraidy-cats. The quivering makes me more sympathetic to you who know exactly what I'm describing here.

I mean, months ago I told a relative how I almost never go to WalMart because there's too much stuff and too many people and after 15 minutes I'm practically racing my cart to the check stand, the rest of my list be darned.

I was serious, but she laughed. And then stated she loves shopping at WalMart.

Hmm. 

What I want is my weaknesses--the ones God doesn't deliver me from--to contain some value. I want them to make me empathize with you and encourage you that you're not alone and you'll be ok. We both will be. And that just because we have weaknesses, it doesn't mean we are 100% weak throughout. Rather, God can show Himself strong by keeping us together when, without Him, we'd have crumpled into a heap. And we can do anything He asks us to do. Anyway.







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This experience must have really gotten to me (took awhile to calm down at home, even) for I had a rare nightmare that night. Someone had tricked me into becoming trapped in a white (and well-lit, fortunately) garage and I couldn't believe I'd not realized what was happening until it was too late. Yikes. (Fortunately I awoke soon after the door shut behind me.)


"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ"   ... Galations 6:2.

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Thanks so much for praying for Naomi's trip from Nashville! She arrived here at 2:30 this morning(!) safe and sound.



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I'm enjoying this free kindle book:  How Much Joy Can You Stand? How to Push Past Your Fears and Create Your Dreams.  Although (disclaimer) this is not a Christian book and I skipped over her paragraph about seeing a psychic. Alas.

I'm able to identify with so much of it, though, especially when I apply it to writing in this blog. (I'll just let that stand all mysterious-sounding.)  :)



   

Monday, April 21, 2014

Of Sleeping In Closets


A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.   ... Proverbs 17:22

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I highly recommend sleeping in a closet.

No, really.

I figured I'd try out my new tiny closet room before Naomi arrives and you know? In a closet you don't have a window beside your head with an annoying street light which shines in your eyes when, all night long, your cat moves the curtain aside and watches Kitty TV. You know, street night life.

Since closets are windowless, you don't hear the occasional car or group of laughing teenagers or the guy who, for exercise (I'm supposing), paces up and down the sidewalk while speaking loudly into his cell phone.

Closets are super dark--and hey--doctors say we sleep best in super dark (and quiet, though fans are ok) rooms.

Honestly, I am adoring my sweet little closet room. I sit in there some afternoons with the light twinkling off the mirrors and French-ish wallpaper just because I can. I think happy, grateful thoughts--and that I should have done this much sooner.

And yes, I'm even considering sleeping in my closet all the time, even after Naomi's visit. I think I'm onto something big. Maybe even a whole new national trend.

:)


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In case you missed my closet makeover post, go here.




(This photo was taken in 2012, but I did again plant yellow flowers yesterday, Violas, this time.)





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Speaking of Naomi, today she's making the long 12-hour drive to visit us and if you could pray along with us for her safety, we'd be so grateful! Thank-you much.


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If you'd visited us on Easter afternoon you'd have found me out in our yard planting flowers in sunny 60-something degrees, regretting my decision to wear a long-sleeved shirt, and thinking of this line from The Long Winter: "How marvelous it was that anyone could be too warm."

Happy sigh.


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I hope each day you renew your sense of humor and find much to celebrate, for truly, God has given us all things richly to enjoy... and may we not miss one single thing He sent down specifically to tug our lips into a smile.


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 Just when the world would have you think everybody is getting divorced, it's nice to come across stories like this one: Ohio Couple Married 70 Years Die 15 Hours Apart  (That first black and white photo of them is adorable.)

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"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."   ... Philippians 4:8