"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Disappearing Sunsets

The Long Goodbye. It was the title that finally drew me into reading this book by Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan's second daughter.  I didn't want to read it for the longest time, because I didn't like Patti Davis. In fact, she talks about me in her book. Well, at least people like me - those that have never wanted to listen to what she has to say because of her past, her politics and her disrespect of her father. I couldn't imagine there would be anything worthy that she would have to say. This book was written in 2004 just after her father's death. It was December, 2017 when I finally relented and was drawn in by the title to see what it was she wanted to tell America. Because of her known past politics and my continued belief that she isn't a Christian, I proceeded with caution.

It was a short, easy read and actually beautifully written. Patti has a passion for writing and it shows. There were things I loved about the book and some things which I didn't agree. But I found nothing that I hated like I thought I would. I was wrong about what I thought she would write.  

There were two things I was struck by most profoundly. One was Patti's obvious deep remorse at the way she behaved during her father's Presidential term. She berated him, stood with his "enemies", loathed his policies and campaigned against him. There was a chasm between her and her parents miles wide and every bit as deep. I remember her during these years and I often wondered then, as did most Americans who followed politics, how in the world a daughter could do this to her father. It was heart-breaking. But just as heart-breaking all these years later is her very apparent remorse over it. Thank God a healing transpired from those terrible years with his daughter, before the president died. He knew it and she needed it.

The other thing that was so vividly apparent throughout the entirety of her writing was her father's deep Christian faith and love of our Lord. Now I always knew Ronald Reagan was a Christian. I never for one moment believed it was for show, like so many other politicians like to pretend. Most American politicians, even still today, know they must show a respect for God and the Bible if they are to get anywhere in the world of politics. Faith in God is still deeply ingrained into our culture regardless of what a biased, liberal  media wants us to believe. We want our politicians to have faith; therefore sometimes we see phony faith. I knew this was never the case with President Reagan. I did not know, however, just how rooted his faith actually was. And never in my wildest imagination did I believe Patti Davis would ever write about that faith. I was wrong. She did and she did it beautifully.

Now I have no idea if Patti Davis has ever made a commitment to Jesus, our Lord. I have no idea what is in her heart. With some, like Ronald Reagan, it is apparent. But there are some I would never venture to judge. I guess Patti Davis would be in that category. I believe she is wrong about certain things, but what I do know, is her father taught her about Jesus and she listened and remembers fondly the important things he taught her. This faith and our God permeated this book from start to finish. It was the paramount subject of her book if one is to read carefully and acutely her words.

With that preface, now I just want to talk about her book; the things I gleaned from it, and why I finally picked up the book in the first place. And probably a bit about my own experiences.

Alzheimer's - The Disease that Steals

As I said earlier, it is the title The Long Goodbye  that was mostly what drew me to this book. The other, was the man - Ronald Reagan. I knew of his long battle with Alzheimer's and I wanted to see how the family dealt with this dreadful disease. And now I would like to share a few messages that I gleaned from this book.

One came early in the second chapter. Patti speaks of ones memory having "pockets of time" that are unaffected by this disease. For her father, these pockets held hymns and prayers, probably Bible verses as well. Below is what she said when she had observed him perfectly citing the Lord's Prayer one day while sitting in church:

" They are his treasures; they always have been - the shiny stones he turns over in his hand, keeping them polished and smooth. I closed my eyes for a moment as I sat between my parents and prayed that he will always be able to recite the Lord's Prayers, always recall a hymn. I asked God to keep his treasures safe."

In the same chapter, she speaks of making friends with death. I am not in agreement with her on this. One of the things that made me slightly cringe while reading was her source and her feelings that death is our constant companion that travels on our left shoulder.

"I feel, in my conversations with my mother that we are both making friends with this shadowy presence, this unwelcome guest. Because the enemy-the true messenger of terror-would be the full progression of Alzheimer's. I never want to see the day when my father stands up in church and is unable to remember the Lord's Prayer. I would rather watch him turn toward his left shoulder and say, "All right, I'm ready now."

Now that is exactly how I feel, except rather than see him look to his left shoulder at death, I would want to see him reach his hands toward heaven and say those words. "All right, I am ready now."

Still, there is a powerful lesson in her story when one feels one is spinning out of control headed down a drain of dementia or Alzheimer's and losing all that one wants a loved one to hold on to.  

Something else she wrote, I clung to not so much because it was about the President's disease, but rather it was about how he lived his life. It was especially touching to me, because it was a lesson my dad had also taught me. Patti had asked her mom, Nancy Reagan, how her dad could have come through all the antics of Hollywood and then DC with his "innocence still intact".

"He never really participated in the Hollywood lifestyle....He did his work and left. He kept his dreams alive, and his innocence, by never giving too much away, by holding enough of himself in reserve so that no one could tarnish what he held dear."

Now there is some sage advice. It was exactly how my parents lived their lives. They never allowed anyone to tarnish what they held dear. Oh, if we could only teach our children to live in this way. But not only does one need to hold oneself in reserve, one also needs to be prepared to stand, all the while understanding the balance that is required as well. Ronald Reagan did and so did my folks. Never give too much away of oneself - there will come a time one needs something for oneself.

Achans in the Camp

One thing Patti wrote that I strongly disagree with is something that may not be all that important, but it is important to me. And I will admit it is controversial. Patti says in her final chapter that she believes it is no accident who is there in the final moments when someone dies. She had often wondered who it would be in the room when her dad took his last breath. She believes it to be ordained of God. I suppose there is some truth in her belief, but I also believe that this is something that could be controlled by someone, or even stolen from another. This can be human directed and orchestrated; by a medical team, by family, or anyone who chooses to take things into their own control. It can change everything for someone, while another may pride themselves that they were the ones that got to be there.

There are some things in life that just are not that concrete, though we like to pretend they are. Some Christians believe God pulls every little string to make things happen as He wants. I don't believe that and never have. The truth is we live in a fallen world. People's actions change things through choices they make, but we like to say it is God. Not necessarily. Just as Achan stole from the camp and it effected the whole camp, (Joshua 7) things are stolen from our lives every day. It is mostly due to man's fallen nature. The very biggest and most important part of God's sovereignty is the free will. Yes, His giving of free will is the biggest part of His sovereignty and in that, we do things all the time to mess up God's plan. Fortunately what Satan meant for evil God can turn to good. I say that here only to say God is not the author of all that is so difficult in our lives. I just don't believe it. Never have and never will. I really do not understand how the world would not be angry at God if it were any other way. Our own choices through our own free will is the only answer for those who question the atrocities of life.

And honestly the other thing is we forget that God has created an order to things. Some things are simply occurring within that order. Like gravity and the laws of nature. Those are God's design; He will not change those things outside of a miracle.

The Finish Line

One of the most difficult things for me in this book, was Patti's observation about how the Reagan family journeyed into accepting and even looking for the death that would inevitably come. There is guilt that comes from wanting the release; desensitization that comes from having to consider it, discuss it, think about it and sometimes even long for the end to come to free a loved one from his pain. Patti began to look at it as a beginning. There is nothing wrong in that. But the waiting, the anxiety, the fear and exhaustion...the guilt from looking at death as a release can be overwhelming. It simply feels wrong, like there is something wrong with you! But for Patti and the Reagan family they came to understand that the only way to maintain dignity "with a disease like Alzheimer's is if death beats it to the finish line." In that case, there is nothing wrong with wanting death to win...especially when one knows where the loved one is going...if we truly believe that.

It is normal to have guilt for wanting sweet release; craving an easy passage. Guilt seems normal in not knowing how to pray that through. What a challenge that presents.

I don't claim to understand all there is about Alzheimer's. I suppose I have been only remotely connected with it. But it helps to read another's words who has been dealt the blow of the declining health of parents and who has experienced the same difficult tasks and feelings. I get a bit frustrated with those that think they understand Alzheimer's well, unless they have actually taken care of someone with Alzheimer's. And that means their day in and day out care....most often for years! One cannot grasp the full weight of that burden from 1000 miles away and a weekly phone call or two.

Patti Davis obviously understood it. She understood it as a daughter losing her father, and one that was able to be there more often than most people who may have family on one coast with the other party on the other coast. Patti was fortunate that her dad had the best care that money could buy, so I suspect she and her family missed a lot of worry that money affairs might also bring into the equation. Needless to say Alzheimer's is an extremely difficult disease on a number of levels. Thank God for the things that make it easier. 

Her writing doesn't tell us that much about the disease or the trials it entails. Her words are more a tender portrayal of what it feels like to lose someone you love. Therein is the importance of this book, in my opinion. It is definitely worth the read, on so many levels. Patti Davis can write. And in her writing she provokes thought. But most of all, whether she intends to or not, she shares God; and the faith of a man who understood God as the most important part of his being. Jesus is the only thing that gets us through any of the difficulties in life.

I guess I don't know if everything is truly healed for Patti Davis. I hope so. But I found myself wondering why she took her mother's maiden name rather than her father's, showing a lack of pride and maybe even disdain for his highly respected name. I suspect she took her mother's name in anger during those terrible, rebellious years, but I don't understand why she would not want to honor her father's name now and take it as her own as author of this book. She still is unable to understand her father's politics. Unable to admit she was wrong about any part of hers, - even after all the great things this man did for our nation...proving his politics were most certainly correct. She still maintains she differs. That's ok, I guess if she is trying to stay true to who she believes she is. But she is wrong about who America is and has always been throughout our history. Though she now has a respect and love for America's people because of what she saw at her father's death, she still believes the false narrative that America is an Imperialistic nation trying to control the world. That is, she believed it at the time she wrote this book, maybe that has changed by now, as well. But all that aside, there is no doubt she loved her dad and the moments she had with him in his final days should be enviable for us all. Truly she has remorse for lost moments and she wants people to understand that. I suspect she hopes to prevent that from happening to others.

The Journey of Decline

Neither of my folks had/have Alzheimer's, but I believe any decline in a parent is a difficult passage. As with any aging person my folks have had some of the same ailments - hearing loss, loss of memory, difficulty in finding the right words, other communication problems and trouble with fine motor skills. Most of those are normal to aging, but they still present a challenge for both parties - the caregiver and the patient.

Most of the duties in taking care of my folks in their latter days has fallen to me and my older sister, i.e. doctor appointments, medical needs, bills, banking...stuff like that. Thank God I have a sister who also helps with daily care. Some families are all alone. Some parents are all alone. There is so much heartbreak in that. My sister and I try to bring everyone in the family into any important decisions that need to be made. My parents wanted that. But ultimately we are still orchestrating their lives by their own rules and preferences. We have always done what they wanted and expected.

Sometimes their needs are at odds with our own lives; it often interrupts, adds stress, and takes away time from our own families. Sometimes it is middle of the night ER calls. Sometimes it is simply an outing to try to bring some fun back into their lives. It often involves explaining and smoothing rough waters. Lately, it is difficult to know where to draw the line of how much we should do. Where should the sacrifice end when ones own family is suffering? Those are the difficult questions of late. We are tired, too. Sometimes I feel robbed of the soothing salve of grief that I should be able to have in the loss of my mom. The weight of it all is pressing down more and more. Life in general is becoming more and more arduous.

Through it all, sometimes I have been too busy doing all the necessary work for their care that I have forgotten to enjoy the moment. That is something that I regret in the case of my mom. Like Patti, I have regrets, too. Now that it is only my dad, I still forget to enjoy those moments. It is certainly not intentional. It is simply the busyness of the job. I forget to remember the man my dad once was. I forget to pray that he will never forget the words to a favorite hymn, like Patti prayed. I forget to look at his hands and remember the strength that was once held there. I forget to hold onto the sparkle of a laugh that reflects in his mostly now tired eyes. I hurry about. I die within. I lose patience and stumble over words and make things worse. I say "huh" too many times, frustrating him, when it may be better to simply let him believe that I heard and that I agree. I cannot enjoy the moment, because I do not know what is next and I don't know if I will have strength for whatever it is. I forget to take a "drink from my canteen" while on this journey, but sometimes it is only because I don't know where to find the dang canteen. Sometimes I shake it, only to find it empty.

I don't think Patti had to deal with the day to day challenges like my sister and I have had to. Her dad was on one coast and she was on the other. But what I do know, is in the pages of that book she revealed the best of who her father was. There is not one negative word about him. There is nothing that is disrespectful, no secrets revealed, no lines crossed, the world is not let into what the world should not know. I have the utmost respect for her for that. That is true love. Her remorse is palpable, but more than that, so is her love.

Disappearing Sunsets

One of the most poignant moments for me, is when Patti tells us that she is a child of a man who believed in pausing for sunsets. He demonstrated this to her often throughout their life together. Remembering that, in a final moment of her dad's life she paused on the beach to watch a sunset and say a prayer for her dad. "Help me make my father's passage easy," she prayed.     

I want that for my dad's life, too. I desperately want his passage easy. But also, I want "pausing for sunsets" to be part of my life, just as it was for Ronald Reagan's. There is goodness in that. I really believe that. I don't think I learned this as a child like Patti did. I do believe I finally learned it from my son. "Come see the sky, Mama", he would often say to me. "Look at the fingernail moon, Mom," he would call. Throughout his life as a child at home he would encourage me to slow down and look - to pause to enjoy the beauty of the moment. I always stopped to look when he called. It is the one thing I feel I did right. But I haven't done it enough of late. I am in a hurry. I run and don't feel. I am tired and frazzled and trying to get too much done in too little time. Life is passing me by; decisions are many and sometimes they begin to feel undirected and difficult. I hate that! The lack of control of my own life is something I must guard against resentment. Resentment is what "sits on my left shoulder" and I am not about to make friends with him. I continue to try to swat him away.

But mostly, I want to be someone who pauses for sunsets, like Ronald Reagan was. I want to teach that to others, like our 40th President did and like his daughter Patti Reagan Davis speaks of in her book. One thing we know; most of the time, when we run for the camera to catch the beauty in the early evening sky, by the time we get back the sunset has changed and almost gone in just seconds of time. Sunsets disappear just that quickly. I want to learn to pause and soak it all in and say a prayer as Patti did on the beach that day. Because the sun is setting fast in the life of one I care about, but it is also setting in mine.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Weak

The weak require a sign. Look at all the people in the Bible that required a sign: Gideon; the Jews - even after seeing a miracle of Jesus feeding 5000. Yikes! I do NOT want to be one of those people...especially after seeing Truth.

But yeah, most often that would be me - I need a sign. Maybe not so much in the past, but definitely feeling the need, of late. A sign, please...that You are still there, or at least that You haven't forgotten me.

Oh in truth, I guess maybe I have always tried to see signs from God. Haven't we all? Not that we should go out and seek them or get all weird about it. But I have always felt that God speaks to us through nature; certain birds or animals; or sometimes situations. You know what I am talking about- "God Winks" they have sometimes been called,.

I don't think I ever look for them when I am at my lowest, but every once in a while they are just there and I know that I know that I know (hate that expression) that they are from God.

I have been feeling particularly tired the past few months...uh...maybe the past few years...the last decade...if truth be told.  But last week, after 3  or 4 midnight calls in as many days, to the emergency room for a loved one, I was feeling pretty drained. Finally after a hospital admittance and a long day at the hospital talking to doctors and nurses; making decisions, and blah, blah, blah, I was on my way home feeling pretty dismayed. God must hate me, I have been telling myself a little more often...yeah, yeah, I know...please don't preach at me - even if only to yourself, beyond the computer screen. ;-) Anyway, below was my thought process on my drive home from the hospital...

I hate this highway. I hate it with every fiber of my being. I hate the traffic lights, the rude drivers, and I hate all the moments it has stolen from my life. I hate it especially at rush hour traffic. Why am I sitting in this mess once again? The only way I hate it more is after a long day in the hospital talking to doctors and nurses and people who have to pretend they care. And on top of it all, wondering what in the world I am going to be exposed to. Oh wait! There is one way I hate this highway more...with all of that PLUS a first snow fall where people act like they have never in their life ever driven before. Yes...this would be my own personal hell. If God truly hated me and wanted to cast me into judgment, it might as well be here.

So that was my thinking. ALL. THE. WAY. HOME.

Once home, first thing on my agenda was a hot shower. Got to get rid of all those germs before I touch anything. Yes! I know! Some of that would be "Monk" style thinking. I am seeing signs of me becoming Monk, more and more and more. Don't care. I live by "Better to be safe, than sorry." 

After a somewhat soothing, hot shower, I put on my jammies, and I quickly built a fire with hopes of maybe watching a Christmas movie, in my recliner, in front of the crackling fire. Next up - a meal. Left over mashed potatoes and gravy and a part of a piece of chicken left over from yesterday's long day in the hospital. And then! Lo and behold! Finally a little mercy showed up; my husband gave up the show he was watching probably thinking Sean Hannity was on my mind.

Just as I settled in, the phone rang. I was needed back at the hospital. Alrighty, then. At least I had finished my meal. I quickly got dressed without fixing my hair and makeup. The second storm of the season had moved in after a long dry spell. I wasn't particularly looking forward to a drive back into town on slick roads. I have wimped out on snowy roads in my aging abilities.

"You want to go for a drive?" I asked my husband hoping for a chauffer on this snowy night.

"Not really," was his only response.

So I left without saying more.

The car was still warm, but I was definitely not trying to count my blessings at this time. I was able to get a text off for an explanation to my sister. But that was getting messy too. I finally just opted for "Please don't text anymore. I am driving now and the roads are slick."

So highway, you are mine once again. I was in full questioning-God-mode at this time. A few days ago, I had watched the movie "Hacksaw Ridge" and it too was on my mind. SIDE NOTE: Yes, I highly recommend this movie. And I apologize in advance for the violence. Mel Gibson produced it. Take that into consideration.

But anyway, back to my drive. Below is my thought process on this drive back into town:

I was thinking of the moment in the movie when Pfc. Desmond T. Doss, as a medic, had helped so many people and was finally left alone, wounded on the battle field (in spirit if not body) and he cried out in desperate anguish. "Lord, what is it you want of me?"

When I watched the movie that night, that line, that moment, that anguish hit my heart like a million arrows and I burst out in an avalanche of tears. Hiding my face with my blanket from my family members watching the movie with me, I was devastated for the man in the movie - the real life hero - but, I had been asking that same question myself for some time. Trying to understand the pain and discouragement I have been feeling the last few years, I woefully admit there are times I have been mad at God. It was the connection in those words that brought my tears. But no, I am certainly not comparing myself to Private Doss  - who he was as a person; or the heroics of his actions. But we all have our own circumstances that are our own personal battle. And I know full well I don't have the strength of people like that Private. I am one of the weak. So no, lets not even go there with any comparisons. It was simply a question in a moment that I related to and that pierced my heart in understanding. And I am sure I would have more than likely stated it instead as "What in the heck is it that You want from me?"  I am one of the weak.

Well in this moment when Private Doss asked that question of God, he instantly knew. He heard the cries for help behind him and immediately understood what it was God wanted him to do. He went back to battle - alone. Tired and weak, but determined in the knowledge that God was with him. He saved 75 people from that ridge. Praying after each: "Lord, please just one more." Powerful! Watch it, but with viewer advisement. I covered my eyes and my son told me when to look and when not to. I am one of the weak.

Now getting back to that. I was reflecting on this movie during my drive and thinking about myself just wanting to have an answer too. What is it you want of me, Lord?  

I. AM. EXHAUSTED. My life is disappearing without any chance to live my own. Yes, I went there. And then next I reflected on Job.

"Is this Satan trying to get me to curse You?" I asked our Lord. "Well whatever, but like Job, did You happen to remind Satan not to take my life?" I don't feel done yet. I wondered all of it and yes, even actually asked God that question. And just like He always does, He corrected me...with a bit of humor. "Don't worry, Job was a righteous man. You have no where near his righteousness, but through Me." ;-) So don't worry, you ain't gonna suffer like Job"...is what I got out of His answer.

Pretty sure He was telling me, that no, I will not have the trials of Job, because we both know full well that I couldn't handle it.

And I actually smiled at the chastisement...for a moment.

Then I remembered! Wait! God didn't take Job's life, because God knew Job could handle the trials. Then there's me...the weak. Yikes! Maybe so! ;-) (This is where you should laugh.)

Sitting at a red light, I was pondering all these things. Cursing the drive back into town. Hating every second of this highway...in the snow and actually starting to believe God hates me.

A motion from the left caught my eye. The car sitting in the turn lane next to me was rolling down their back seat window. I looked up at the car, and knew immediately who it was. I laughed cause I knew there was no one in the back seat, but I was a half a car length behind them. They could speak more easily to me through the back window. I pulled forward a bit, and rolled down my own window. My daughter, riding shotgun, then rolled down hers.

"What are you doing?" they asked.

"Hospital." I answered. And I was able to say something funny to make them both laugh. I told them I loved them, before sending them on their way at the turn of the light.

There was my God Wink. Those two, "my bluebirds of happiness", if you will. And I knew immediately in that moment, God didn't hate me. Because he just gave me a sign to show His love. My kids. I needed a sign, because I am weak...and that is ok. God cares about the weak, too. I was thrown a buoy in my sea of despair and as I realized that I burst into tears. Those tears are getting to be my morning and evening norm...most often for despair as opposed to joyful tears like in this moment.

I would need that buoy for the rest of the evening. I rested on it, as I carried out the business of my hospital visit.

Finally, I was able to leave about 9:00 pm after visiting hours had been over for an hour. As I exited the elevator, I ran into my favorite doctor. I had already ran into this man at a previous visit and at another really low moment. At that time, he had immediately recognized me, paused to talk to me and ask about my loved one. He was my God Wink on that previous visit a day or two ago and I had had no doubt about it on that particular day. And now here he was again. He almost didn't recognize me this time. You know -  no hair and no makeup done. Yeah, even my best friends don't recognize me undone. But anyway, this man had saved my loved ones life a few months ago. And here he was again, encouraging me at a low moment. My second God Wink for the evening. God bless this man. I wish all doctors were like him - the best of the best.

After our visit, I got into my car and dropped off a quick text to tell a family member (you know, the "Please don't text" person I had been texting earlier) what had happened as I knew she would be wondering. As I exited the hospital parking lot, I could already tell the roads had improved while inside the building and I was able to count my blessings a bit better at this point. Not sure why at 9:30 pm the roads were better. The temperature hadn't warmed; I thought with the less traffic they would be icing up by now...I guess I caught the highway just in time. Another blessing.

I settled a little more peacefully into my drive home. Once I got through the 10 or so traffic lights I had to travel through, I decided to turn on my favorite country CD. My son has always jokingly called this country artist my "therapy". On my many stressed runs into town, when he was a teen, he would go out and warm up my car and I don't know how he did it, but he always managed to have the CD set to my very favorite song which he knew would immediately calm me down. It never failed it was always the first song on the player as I drove out of the driveway and it ALWAYS had a calming effect.

This is where you laugh.

A few years later a t-shirt came out that read: "I don't need therapy. I just need to listen to Alan Jackson." My son saw it and posted it to my Facebook page. We both got a good laugh about it. We had been doing that for years! Anyway, I digress here, just to explain the history about my "therapy". It makes us laugh to this day.                      

So I put on my therapy and settled in for the long drive home. And just as I was backing into my driveway, my favorite therapy song came on the CD. It was my third God Wink in a long, discouraging, exhausting day. A trifecta of winks? Third times a charm? I don't know. I guess God simply knew one wasn't enough on this day; nor was two, or three. I needed a bit more. And I guess He knew I would like that it was 3 and see it as a little extra boost. Cause I am the weakest of the weak.


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Lost in Silence

"History belongs to those who write." I have posted this quote before. I still strongly believe it and I still don't know who said it. But every once in awhile, it forcefully comes back to hit my heart just how important this statement is.

Today's one of those times. Most often, silence is bigger than the truth. Sometimes it seems people care more about avoiding a possible conflict, or prevent looking argumentative than standing for truth. That's a pet peeve of mine. Pretty sure the fact that I generally speak up, is a pet peeve for others. But sometimes it just isn't in me to stay silent. The truth about my community; standing up for a friend or family member; the truth in politics; and especially Biblical truths are imperative to me. I just don't understand silence on any of those issues. Why would we let a proven inaccuracy go unchallenged, or uncorrected? The falsehood thereby continues to spread and gain momentum - sometimes even changing the way we live our lives. Why would we not politely correct someone who misquotes, or defend one who is misquoted? Why allow someone to look foolish, or like they support something that they actually oppose. Why would we allow someone to believe anything that is inaccurate? Why would we let a friend's reputation or even a politician's reputation be destroyed when we can present facts that show differently? Why do we do that? I just don't get it. In a day and age where it has never been easier to defend someone, why do we remain silent?

One of the things I was asked at a recent job interview was: "What do you do if you are maligned, or someone you know is right, but has been said to be wrong?"

Oh goodness! Why did I get that question? But the truth is that is right up my alley - it is at the depth of my being. It is how I try to live my life; or at the very least how I really want to live it. And I don't think I even live that way "out of principle". I do it simply because I don't know how to do it any other way. I want to be defended, so I defend. No, it certainly doesn't always work that way.

This is how I answered the question at my interview. "When I worked at a restaurant, I had heard someone got food poisoning there. I felt that that was an inaccurate accusation and I couldn't let it pass. I had to defend what I knew to be true. Now there is always a possibility, that someone could have gotten sick there, but could they be certain the poisoning came from there? Were they positive that is what the illness was? What I know about the restaurant from working there is that it is the cleanest restaurant I have ever seen. What I know about this business is that the health department told them they were the cleanest restaurant in the area.

I could defend the reputation of the restaurant without being argumentative. I could present to the accuser, what I knew for myself without being offensive. I could defend the restaurant without saying the accusation was wrong. That is what I chose to do and hope I will always make that choice."

More often than not I choose to defend. Hopefully, I always do it politely and respectfully. Probably not, but I do try. I do not let inaccuracies stand. But I mostly feel alone in my efforts. When I am attacked, misquoted or misunderstood, I have never felt defended, supported, restored or avenged of the inaccuracies. Never. Even when I have prayed for God to expose the truth. Mostly the untruths just stand. That is difficult to understand sometimes. And I will admit, sometimes I wonder why I have not been defended by others. So be it. But I am not talking about defending myself here. Most will say we are not to defend ourselves. And I am not arguing that point. I am talking in this post about defending others and/or standing for truth.
Biblical Counsel

Do we have a Biblical precedent to follow regarding speaking up for truth? Of course we do. Obviously we are advised in Eph 4:15 regarding Biblical doctrine to speak the truth in love. But maybe even that is off point.

I often think about when Mary, mother of Jesus, who at the wedding told Jesus they had run out of wine. She was hoping He would fix the situation even if it meant revealing who He was. This is a bit different than what I am talking about in this post, as well. But still this incident always comes to my mind in situations where I feel left out on a limb, by myself, with no one defending me. Jesus didn't defend Mary. He corrected her. Outside of timing, I suppose it was also because Jesus thought her request was for the wrong reason. Sometimes that is the way it must be; sometimes maybe it is just best to leave things unsaid, for the well-being of another person. I am not talking about those times. My other pet peeve is when someone has no respect for appropriate silence - especially again when it comes to protecting a loved one. But in the end, in this incident, Mary obeyed; then advised others by telling the servants to do whatever Jesus instructed; and in the end Jesus responded with His first public miracle. I just think there is a lesson there. There was action in Mary's obedience, but also in telling others to obey.

In another incident of apparent silence, we know Jesus stayed silent before the charges brought against Him until compelled to give an answer, but His response was only to state Who He is. In Jesus' silence He revealed his authority. Sometimes that can be true for us, as well. But only when it is about God's power, not ours. And this example was for His own purpose. He did speak on behalf of others on the cross. "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do."

What about another time that Jesus verbally spoke in defense of someone? Jesus publicly defended the woman at the well, saying "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone." Her accusers left one by one. I firmly believe this is how we are to respond, in whatever means we have available to us. This is also an example He left for us.
Of course, Jesus' whole life and purpose was about the defense of others. He is our Advocate with the Father. That always evokes strong emotion in me. But I am human and sometimes I would like earthly defense from my brothers and sisters, as well. ;-)

Ok enough of that; this isn't a Bible Study; just my random thoughts, so search for yourself and please feel free to comment if you have some thoughts regarding this. I am truly interested. Back to the subject at hand.

Preserving Truth

What about the fact, that "history belongs to those who write"? What are we going to do if we have read something we know is not true? Let inaccuracies stand? Our silence changes truth, not just for the moment but forever. Not just at the personal level, but at every level. Someone understands that - thus revisionist history; thus yellow journalism. If one wants to permanently change facts - write. In my opinion, if one wants truth to stand - write.

I got myself in trouble a while back correcting inaccuracies that were written on line. The lies were evident to those familiar with the circumstances, but for  the countless others who weren't a part of the situation, it was impossible to know the truth. The more I corrected, the more the attacks grew. But should I have just let the lies stand and said nothing? Those written statements were not going to go away. People could read them for years. They would eventually come to be known as truth, because there was no effort to expose the inaccuracies. What if a relative, maybe a grandchild, read those lies years later? I would rather look foolish in print, than let lies remain about someone I know.

Apart from that, sometimes it is simply about offering support. Sometimes you know someone's character, or their purpose, even if you don't know the actual facts. Innocent until proven guilty, right? I think it is important to defend simply to encourage someone in the battle. You don't leave someone dying alone on the battlefield. You just don't do it. You come to their aid.

Books have been written with no accountability, saying whatever someone wants to say. Movies, "based on an actual story" or even labeled as "fiction" somehow become real in the public's mind. People don't often reason and think for themselves anymore; they just believe it as fact because "It was on TV". That's just plain dangerous to our society. The lies/inaccuracies, then stand and eventually somehow become "representative of the times" and therefore truth. Our history, our moral compass as a society is thereby incrementally changed. Our culture becomes known as something different than what it was and even actually still is.

"A lie repeated often enough, eventually becomes truth." - Joseph Stalin

Someone understands that today, too, because "spin" i.e. distortion, is prevalent in our society. It is how some do their politics now days. It is also how some do their church.
Yes, history belongs to those who write. I am going to keep writing, no matter how unpopular. Someone has to defend truth, no matter how small or unread, or seemingly irrelevant. Because I believe somewhere, sometime, someone will read. And someone must know the truth. No matter how small or seemingly irrelevant. BECAUSE nothing is gained but for one small step at a time, and all is lost in silence.

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
~Elie Wiesel

"The philosophers are wrong; it is not words that kill, it is silence." ~Elie Wiesel


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Dear Hate

My son sent this to me this morning. I love that in his very busy life, he would think of me.
I love that he knew I would love it.

"You fall like rain and cover us in drops of pain."

Dear Hate - Maren Morris featuring Vince Gill

"Love's gonna conquer all."

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The First Light

We all need to listen to this. None of us are exempt. None of us are too good. Not one of us are without responsibility. There is none of us who call ourselves a United States citizen who should be spared from the grief of our own extended family - for that is who those who serve us via military are.

America got schooled by this former American General, outstanding patriot and Gold Star Father. And none of us get to be excused from the chastisement. It is time to listen.

And then imagine yourself sitting there waiting for the first light.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Those Are My People!

The video below is well worth a view, whether you like country music or not.

The tragedy at Las Vegas belongs to all of us; but in my opinion, no one has expressed the sorrow better than Eric Church does here.

I have always liked Eric Church's music. He may be a tad more of a rebel than I normally follow, but I have always liked what he has done. However, after hearing this, I am ready to join the Church Choir. ;-)

His expression of sorrow and love at the Grand Ole Opry yesterday, is truly beautiful and it is such a very important tribute. As you watch, please don't miss the deeper message. I don't think I am assuming too much in seeing one there.

God bless the hearts broken at Las Vegas and God bless country music - my people, too.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

When Opportunity Presents

It had been some time since my husband and I had made a trip to Costco to buy groceries. We usually go weekly, but life gets busy and we hadn't gone in a few weeks. We were out of just about everything. We also had some fairly large items to pick up, so when we arrived we grabbed two carts to contain all that we needed.

After pretty much filling up both carts and then checking out, we headed toward the door where the store always has an employee look at each and every receipt before letting anyone leave. "It is to make sure no one is charged twice for an item," they tell us. There are probably multiple reasons; but most importantly, it is probably to make sure everyone HAS a receipt.

This time, there was a young man with a somber look on his face checking the receipts. I don't know what came over me. I had no plans to do anything silly. But as I handed him my receipt, I said to him in as serious a tone as I could muster, "That man behind me is going to try to tell you he is with me, but he is NOT."

"OK" was his only reply and the look on his face was as solemn as it was when I walked up to him.

I didn't think it would go this way. I thought I would simply put a smile on the young man's face who seemed entirely too intense and grim. But when he believed me, what could I do but travel the path I had started and he had then directed.

I continued out the door, desperately trying to contain my laughter. At this point I didn't want him to catch on. This was turning into a prank that was simply taking a direction all its own. Now the joke was on my husband. He was going to get questioned!

I walked several more paces making sure I was out of the way of customers entering and leaving the store. I turned around just in time to see my husband desperately pointing at me trying to explain to the clerk that he WAS with me. "Jan, Jan!" he excitedly called my name. 

I burst out laughing...doubled over with laughter, now at what had just taken place. I had not expected this to be carried this far.

The young man looked at me with shock on his face. When he saw me doubled over barely able to control my laughter, he knew immediately what had happened. "Oh YOU!" was all he uttered but with distinct exclamation and maybe a little disgust. My husband simply shook his head.

I was laughing so hard I couldn't do anything but continue on my way to the car. I couldn't have explained anything, anyway. Opportunity had opened the door. I simply walked through and did what the reaction of those involved directed. I mean really...what else could I do?



Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Bare-naked Eyes

"What is that on your eyes?" he asked me. And I can still see the quizzical look on his face as he said it. I remember even better the twinkle in his own eyes when he saw he had stumped me.

I don't remember how old I was, but I remember the moment like it was yesterday...well almost yesterday. Perhaps, I was about 15 or 16. We were standing in my grandpa's kitchen, and I had just started wearing mascara. His comment was intended to show his disapproval of my wearing make-up, but in a teasing, non-judgmental way. That was my grandpa. He loved to tease. And Grandpa was an old-fashioned holiness preacher. He was a man of strong convictions, but I don't remember him ever making me feel chastised, or judged for trying to cover my bare-naked eyes. Nor did I ever feel he judged me for anything else, for that matter.

"Get in a church that preaches holiness, Jan." he had told me one day. I also remember those words with eternal clarity. It was something he believed deeply. I recall taking them lightly; I wanted a church that focused on grace. But I never forgot his words. And as I grew in the Lord, as well as matured in age, I came to understand both grace and holiness were equally important and that they went hand-in-hand. (2 Timothy 1:9)

Now all these years later...well actually decades; four or five decades, probably....his words are more important than ever. Why? Because all these years later, the church has changed - and it has changed dramatically.

Grandpa knew something then, that I, as a youngster, had no inkling. And that is this:

Obedience is our safety net. Holiness ensures steadfastness and assurance. And both promote growth - individually and as a church. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-9) A sound church should teach both, because Scripture does.

Slip-Sliding Away                                                                        

"What one generation accepts in moderation, the next excuses in excess."  I don't remember who said it. I put that quote on my refrigerator more than 20 years ago. I recognized it as something that was being manifested at the time. It seems it has played out 10 times over, since then.

Now - two or 3 generations later, (depending on ones scale) - we have slipped into acceptance of things my grandparents' generation and even my parents' generation would never understand to be Christian. Drinking was frowned upon by most Christians back then; living together out of wedlock was considered sin. The movies and television sit-com's on the mainstream channels today would leave my grandpa with his mouth hanging open, and tears in my grandma's eyes. Homosexuality was correctly placed under Ephesians 5:12. Swearing? Well if one did it, one certainly didn't do it in church, or even in front of others. Now, it is considered hip even if it is a pastor from the pulpit or a Christian author in their writings. People laugh at it while professing it is all ok, because they just happen to love Jesus more than anyone else. Well, and you know; love covers a multitude of sin. (Please note sarcasm and my apologies for it.)

And personally, it seems to me "selfishness" - lovers of self - abounds today; not only in the world, but in the church. We claim how much we love Jesus and are doing for the church while bragging up our ministry, or our calling. Maybe we really are called, (sometimes we are only following a trend) but I am pretty sure we are not called to place the focus on us.

Now days, the popular thought is basically act like the world, so we don't scare the world away. We are thought to be selfish if we don't consider others feelings before our own desires that we might have for our church. It is all about not condemning anyone. In all honesty, we are seeing a bit of manipulation of the old adage, "When in Rome do as the Romans do."  Well yeah, that is probably wise...sometimes...in the world. (no sarcasm; perhaps a little attitude)

We certainly don't want to cast any judgment. You know: "Judge not, lest you be judged." (Matthew 7:1-3) But with no regard to "Live holy even as I am holy." 1 Peter 1: 15-17

New Mantra, Same Faith?

The new mantra is "missional living" speaking about how we must reach the lost. Well that is certainly true! That's a good thing! But it also always has been! And honestly, I believe there is an air of arrogance, that makes one feel like this new generation believes they are the only ones who have ever witnessed, or cared about missions and know how to live it. They obviously are not. And I would like to make clear, this is not an attack on the idea of missional living as it has been espoused in recent years. Yes, I do have disagreements with the social justice aspects of this movement, but my comments here are in regard to the fact that many promoting this lifestyle seem to think it is something brand new and no one has ever lived this way before. Quite simply, that is offensive to the saints of old and those who have always tried to fulfill the Great Commission without this new modern title, or any title at all for that matter. Simply google and read Wikipeida's definition of "missional living" then look at the names at the bottom of the article. Almost everyone of those names (the ones I recognize) are people that I would not only never support, but aggressively warn against. Though some of them have already fallen and lost their position, they have had a huge impact on the direction of the church today.

Where I believe the new generations error, is in their belief that we cannot reach unbelievers if we alienate them by our expectations of holiness. Preaching any do's and don'ts today is frowned upon even if it is to the church to try to promote spiritual growth!

But the truth is, the lost want to see something different from those who profess Christ. Even unbelievers do not want to see Christians act like the world. They do not want Christians to have the same actions as the world; to behave and think in the same way. To say differently, is a new message within Christian circles, not the old, timeless one. Through the decades, I have been around enough to observe that fact. I have discerned feelings and witnessed enough to people to understand holiness is attractive to them, and expected. Living life as they do, is not.

And more, there is an attempt within certain segments of the church to change the meaning of the verses about holiness. Or we oversimplify it by "cheapening grace" - as my dad used to say. " As one example, Richard Stearns attacks conservative Christians throughout his book The Hole in Our Gospel while changing the meaning of Biblical holiness. We love to say: "God's holiness is our holiness. In Christ, we are already holy." And that is absolutely true, thanks to His great sacrifice, but some have carried grace so far, that there is no notable change in attitude or behavior. We are Christians. We bare His name; but sometimes we try to carry that name while dragging it through the mud. Why would we want to do that? We are to be holy, for His  names sake. (Psalm 23:3; Psalm 143:11)

Where is Reverence?

So did I learn from Grandpa? Oh my goodness! His words are life to me. And that is due to the fact he was faithful to the One whom he served. Holiness? Grandpa lived it and he lived it without judgment, or making anyone uncomfortable.  It can be done. We don't need to live like the world in order to draw others into the Kingdom. My grandparents did it and they did it well. My parents did it. Is it a generational thing? Well again, that's where this quote comes into play. "What one generation accepts in moderation, the next excuses in excess."  We, Christian, are in decline, whether anyone wants to admit it, or not.    

Feeling a little bare-naked here. When we address something like this, we will be scrutinized by many. And before anyone judges me for judging, do I live a life of holiness? I struggle. Pretty sure we all do and we all always have. But I have a much better understanding today, of what my grandpa meant when he said "Get in a church that preaches holiness, Jan." Sometimes now I feel like it is too late; sometimes it feels like there aren't any, although I do feel like I have found a good balance in my home church.

I still don't go anywhere without my mascara. I cannot stand to have anyone see me with my bare-naked eyes. But maybe it is not out of selfishness; maybe it isn't even out of vanity. Just maybe I am actually thinking of others. Because I sure wouldn't want to scare the world away with bare-naked eyes. :-) (Please note attempt at humor.) Now maybe this is an example of why we shouldn't judge. We really don't know why someone does something, do we? We really don't know what is in someone's heart. But we are to discern; we are to correct and build each other up. (2 Timothy 4:2 amid a myriad of other verses)

Peter 1:13-17 (KJV)

13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

And really for all the questions, disputes and wonderings about holiness and why we are to be holy, it is really very simple:  "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. Sometimes we don't need to ask why. Sometimes, we don't get to. That is an important lesson for all of us to learn, because sometimes there are a whole lot of questions and wondering this side of heaven that we don't get to know the answer. Sometimes we should just obey...because it is written. And that is where trust comes in to play.

And finally, "...pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:" (i.e. reverence, respect). Sometimes, I am afraid we have forgotten that part.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Alan Jackon Style

I had the opportunity to defend someone's reputation the other day. I thought about ignoring the situation...it wasn't really that important...but I just couldn't let it go. I really did try.

It was probably even silly...truly not that important...but it just isn't in my nature to hear something inaccurate about someone and say nothing. I have to speak the truth, or at least I must cite that part which I know is right.

So like I said, the situation was silly. I will even tell you who it was regarding. It was Alan Jackson. My favorite country music singer. Well yeah, I'm going to defend him! He's my favorite!  ;-) I would have done it regardless of who it was, however. At least I hope I would have. I hate things to spread that are not true. Especially if it is about someone's character.

It was an inaccurate Facebook post about something he did. It had a little bit of truth; that is usually the case. It makes things more believable to include a bit of truth. Several years ago, he had walked off the stage at the country music awards. Someone was trying to say it was political. It wasn't. Someone tried to say he is a liberal. But truth is he chooses to not make his politics known. He has often said that he doesn't feel his fans should have to be subjected to anything other than his music. I appreciate and respect that.

If you are interested, this is a great clip about why he walked off stage. He was defending a friend. And I LOVE that. It is far too rare.

He explains further here:


So pretty cool, huh? Definitely worth defending, in my opinion. I had known the story since the day it took place. I was so moved by it, I never forgot it. Someone defending someone, simply because it is the right thing to do.

Why don't we do that? Why do we just ignore falsehoods...thinking they will just go away? They won't. They will live in someone's mind. Sometimes the inaccuracies will even grow and become something worse.

But anyway, I had to defend the truth in this case. I remember when I responded on Facebook with the truth. I included the above videos to back up what I said. It made me feel so good. It was such a little, unimportant thing in the grand scheme of things and certainly in Alan Jackson's life, LOL but it made me feel so doggone good! I felt like I had defended a friend. Like I had done something right. I had spoken truth. Taking a stand for truth and the defense of someone's reputation warmed my heart...a warm, fuzzy feeling that made the effort worth it.

Later, when I went back to Facebook the people involved in the inaccurate post thanked me profusely for sharing them the real story. I was rewarded with their heartfelt thanks...on such a silly issue. Yes, this is what I always want to do. Defend truth...I like that warm, fuzzy feeling of success.

Enter another battle. Something like that occurred again today. I had to defend someone's character. Someone's integrity. There was a false report and it was brought to my attention as if it were truth. I was flabbergasted. I knew this person better than that. And this was highly out of character. I listened to the report, not really knowing what to do. I pondered. I prayed. I pondered some more. This just wasn't right. I made another phone call. And then pondered and prayed some more. And yes, I asked God, "Why in the heck am I involved in this?"

A few hours later, I knew the answer. I knew what had happened. And it came over me with a wave of peace that ended with one of those, "I knew that I knew, that I knew " kind of moments. The truth had hit my heart. God had spoken to me when I finally became quiet and had some time to reflect. It was one of those times where there is no question, but that it is God. I now knew what had happened. I should have known the answer immediately, but I had gotten caught up in the seed that wasn't true. Maybe I had even watered it a bit.

But when I knew the truth, I couldn't make the phone call fast enough in order to defend this person's character. I shared what I knew was truth. Much to my surprise, I encountered push back from the person on the other end of the line; a defensive attitude. What in the heck? I didn't expect that; I expected relief on all sides. But instead, a mild argument ensued. I held my ground. I had to; I had no choice, did I? God had spoken. Integrity and reputation were at stake and I was right. There had been an error that had to be corrected. A horrible misunderstanding. Belief by misinterpretation. I was not going to let that go without explanation.

To the credit of the person I was talking with, listening took over. This person could sense the truth, too, when all the facts were presented. But her own reputation was at stake. She had believed a falsehood and ran with it - maybe even planted and watered and watered some more. Surely she couldn't have made that kind of mistake. But she had. This wasn't going down easy. Mistakes hurt the ego. Sometimes truth hits hard. Sometimes conversations are tough. I only realized what was happening (that she was feeling corrected or exposed) near the end of our conversation. I understood fully, when she finally took a deep breath and told me how the situation would be resolved. I knew then, she saw it and believed me. But that was rough...for all involved.

I believe that is why defending truth is so rare. Sometimes defending truth ends in confrontation. Sometimes it is terribly uncomfortable and someone else's purported "truth" gets all messy. It usually comes back on them. I did want to be gentle, when I finally understood what she was fighting against. But truth is truth. It matters. 

And sometimes it isn't about silly little Alan Jackson stories. Sometimes it is far bigger, far more important. Sometimes it is about someone's life and integrity and where they might go from here. Sometimes there is no other choice but to preserve and protect. I hope I always have the strength I need to do that. That is my choice. Sometimes it doesn't end in a warm, fuzzy feeling, though...some times it ends in a feeling that is akin to climbing out of the foxhole - exhausted and beat up, from a battle that somehow became mine whether I wanted it to or not.

We've got choices to make. Not too easy sometimes; but I guess if it is Alan Jackson style, I am ok with that. ;-)


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Norman Rockwell Moments

I lost my mama. I am not ready to write about that just yet; but I can't let it go unstated, or ignored either. I will try to write a post about her soon. It is hard to write about perfection and make it believable. She was close enough to perfect, for me.

The sorrow runs deep.

But we must move on. We have no choice. It is the right thing to do.

My summer days are mostly lacking. It has been a struggle. There have been a couple good days, by God's good grace.

I will try to write about one of these better days. Below is an account of my dealings and activities for a mid-week, summer day...i.e. today.

I wake to wind. I like to sleep with my window open in summer, but the wind was strong this morning. I looked at the clock...5 something. Too early...I cover my head to shut out the morning light and go back to sleep.

6 something. It is time to get up, whether I feel like it or not.                

I let out my old man beagle for his morning potty, and start the coffee. While the coffee brews, I go out and feed the ponies. We were able to get our hay in early this year, due to all the nice rain enabling good growth. We asked a neighbor to cut for us this year, as our cutter is out of service. He was gracious enough to do it for us, though he told me a few years ago he didn't want to do it anymore. He is the best! He relented at my desperate plea. For his sake, we had him cut it high, as we didn't want to worry about him hitting any rocks. We have very rocky ground out here. Since it was cut high, it left some nice green length for the horses to graze. Additional rain, is going to keep it green a bit longer this year. That doesn't usually happen either. Yay for hay!!

Anyway, back to feeding the horses. I gave the horses all about half a flake, just to get something on their tummies. I like to start them slow on the fresh, green grass when they aren't used to it. Having something of their normal diet first, helps them from gorging more than they should on the good stuff.

While they eat, I come in for coffee that is now ready, and my daily reading.        

Refreshed with Bible and brew, it is time to think about what my day will entail. I usually have an idea, but not today. I had no plans to go to town today, but I can sense as my morning thought process begins to develop, that that is probably going to change.

It is time to let the horses out to pasture and when I am done, I come in and work on my book business. I have sorely neglected it while my mom was sick and the site I deal with, actually deactivated me. I finally got a chance to check on it last night, and I saw they were still charging me fees, though I had been inactive since April. I was surprised to see they would do this when they were the ones to deactivate me! Yikes. I sent a letter last night explaining my situation and my unintended neglect in hopes they would help me out a bit. I received the reply this morning and it was favorable, so I got busy updating my site. That felt good.

After working for about an hour on my books, it is time to let the horses back in. They always come agreeably with a little temptation of grain. Juliee is the smart one, though. She has lived this cycle for a few years now. She knows she might get a bit of grain, but then the fresh green grass will be cut off. Not a fair trade and she is smart enough to know that. She is the last one in, and I have to coax her a bit. So far, I haven't needed the halter. She eventually relents; the temptation too great.                            
Our Babies
Si, Juliee, Loco Lobo, and Misty

Next on my list -  bills and update checkbook! That has been sorely neglected through this time, as well. Another thing that felt really good to get done.

Ok, well then! Moving right along! Already a few accomplishments  behind me, and it is just a bit past 9:00 am. I decide to shower and head in to see my dad. But I have time, so I will move slowly. I make a left-over pork sandwich for breakfast, and have more coffee. I catch a bit of the news.  I LOVE the news. At this time it is time for the girls on Fox - "Outnumbered" I think it is called. Not too much of that, just a bit of an update to stay informed.

After a hot, rejuvenating shower, make-up and hair, (yes, I feed the horses in my jammies) I am ready to head out. By this time, I guess it is a bit before 11:00 and I realize Dad will already be at lunch by the time I arrive.

He is sitting with a woman and her daughter, and we have a nice visit. Two more ladies arrive to give us a full table. I have a small salad and coffee. Just a little something in order to eat with Dad and make him feel better to not eat alone. The facility is very gracious. There is no charge for guests for drinks and small house salads, or even soup.

We go back to Dad's room and visit a bit. I clean a bit and talk to him about a future outing that I have in mind. He is delighted. After a few tears at lunch, my idea has good timing. Bless my daddy.

I head for home, pleased that I had decided to come in for a visit. The drive home is leisurely and a time to reflect alone, and yes...mourn. My showers and my drives are my important times alone.

It is about 2:30 when I arrive at my home. I decide on the ride home, I will make a rhubarb pie as soon as I get there. It takes me no time at all to get out and start picking rhubarb. There may not be many more pies, this summer. My rhubarb has been a bit scant.

As the pie is baking, I decide to go check my garden and water some plants. I weed a bit, but not aggressively. A thorough job will be left for tomorrow. It feels good to water, and at the same time, I fill the horses trough.

I guess it is about 4:00 now, and I decide to ask my husband if he wants to take a drive to return two bales of hay that we had borrowed from my cousins. We ran out one weekend with no place to purchase. More good neighbors! Even if they are family! "Sure", my husband says, he is up for a drive and visit. We note there is a storm headed in now, but I ask him to weigh the bales before we go, as we didn't get a chance to do it the other day when we baled and brought in the hay.

I love doing this. Yes, weighing the hay! We have my grandpa's hay scale, that my dad passed on to us and it is an absolute thrill to pull it out and use it each year. I really should have taken a picture as we weighed...but dang that storm; and we wanted to get the hay over to cousin before rain. 
WOOHOO! 75 pound bales this year! That is a good bale for us! We couldn't be more pleased.

My husband bought himself a little side by side, 4 wheeler, this year. So we place the bales on the back of it and head down the road to cousins...probably only a quarter of a mile away. These are the things that make me love where I live. For a moment, it feels like a scene from Norman Rockwell. This is how life should be. A rare, fleeting moment these days, but this is how I want it to be. And I can't get it out of my head that this is how it should be...EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

We arrive before they are home for work, but their son, J, has also just arrived. Their plan is to go get hay. We have a nice visit with him, but we all soon realize, the storm is going to prevent them from going on the excursion they had planned.

We leave the borrowed hay with J and head home without seeing my cousin this time. The wind is picking up, just as we arrive home. The lawn chairs are being blown around. I decide to keep the horses in for their feeding, instead of letting them out to pasture. The wind and rain that is now present is just too strong. Pretty sure, the babies were ok with that. ;-) Only one refuses to go in a stall in bad weather. Si - our daughter-in-law's silly gelding. But oh what a sweetie! My Juliee heads for her stall at the first sign of rain and watches intently as she waits for me to deliver. SWEETHEART. Baby girl. I love her.

I come in and make coffee - I have warm, rhubarb pie in mind. But first, a tuna sandwich and left over beans from last night. Hubby is on his own. I don't usually eat dinner. But this is what I want for tonight. I am out of Special K, my norm. Coffee and dinner; then a second cup with the rhubarb pie. I enjoy the storm as I eat and watch a bit of the local news.

Maybe I can blog a bit.......but the sorrow runs deep...too deep to write about just yet...so this post is all I can do...unimportant ramblings.
Someday, I will be ready to write about the important things...But this is today. Today, I try to hold on to the fleeting moments, and Norman Rockwell scenes; breathing in comfort through superficial actions, and moments of distraction. Today was mostly that: distracting - one of the good days, by God's good grace.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Oh, The Shack!

Oh, The Shack. We can't ignore it. Nor should we. As predicted in the article at the link below, the author Wm. Paul Young has released his next work. It is a non-fiction book that thoroughly explains his personal views. Lies We Believe About God. It probably should be titled Lies Wm. Paul Young Would Have Us Believe.


This morning, I read an article by blogger Tim Challies, which I hesitate to post here. Tim has a few issues of his own. But he was pretty accurate in his assessment of the works of Paul Young.
You can read his article here.
Please be aware as you read his article, I believe Tim also has been misled in regard to a few of his views. I believe him to be a part of a group of young Christians who have been misled in regard to political aspects of our nation and our faith. I have read other works of his to come to that conclusion. A false view is exposed in Tim's article, when he compares Paul Young to Thomas Jefferson citing Jefferson's supposed private selection and approval of only certain Bible verses. This is an oft repeated lie about Jefferson due to revisionist history. It is thoroughly explained in David Barton's book, The Jefferson Lies. But in spite of that, Tim does a good job of explaining the problems with "The Shack".
We simply cannot be too careful these days. Please be aware of all the false doctrine coming out today.
I only want to do my part to expose it. We all have been silent too long. This is where silence leads.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; ~ 2 Timothy 4:3 (KJV)

Monday, February 20, 2017

I Call It Life

It simply looked like garbage. It was laden with dust, with a faint odor of mildew. There were old, unimportant magazines on top of a pile that looked to be miscellaneous papers. I was short on time and very tempted to toss it. But something stopped me. I had been very careful with everything since I had begun the enormous task of moving my folks out of their 55+ year home.

"I just can't get careless now." I said out loud to myself with nothing left but the basement walls to absorb my comment.

And that was what prevented me from tossing some of the last items stored away in a cabinet in what was now a very lonely room. It was an understanding that this wasn't my stuff...and therefore not my right to throw away without inspection.  I don't know, maybe it is guilt that controls me. Some would say so. Some would laugh at me, I am sure. But I am glad that I listened to that inner message sent to my spirit. I packed it all into a clean box as carefully as I could. I would look at it later.

So 9 months later I am finally getting to it. A slow, snowy Sunday when I could stay home for an afternoon would allow me the time to peruse through the box carefully.

 Oh the treasures I found. Flight records from when my dad was a crop duster. Cards from Box 124 and letters from a mama to her son as he had just returned home from overseas.
 There were letters and cards from a son, who had also served overseas, as the war in Vietnam came to an end. And there was a school library card from a daughter. There were letters from Senators and Representatives in answer to one man's lifelong efforts of staying politically active, paying close attention and understanding this to be his civic duty.

1978 Grandchild
These were memories that made me smile. These were memories that made me weep. An instruction sheet on how to put a tricycle together brought the greatest tears. Who would ever guess? But it hit me just then...these items represented a life - two lives. It was the memories they intended to keep, some intentionally, some probably just ended up there. Regardless, everyone of them represented their life.
Daddy's Sermon Notes

And on this cold, dreary day after several wearing years of  wondering how we got here, these items - carefully stored away - somehow breathed life back into me.

Yes, I suppose some would think me foolish. Obsessed even. I don't know. I don't really care. I suppose some would call it junk...I call it life.