Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Faith Walk

For the past 11 months, I have been on a Faith Walk, unlike any other in my lifetime.

I wish I could tell you that every day is met with optimism and good cheer, but that isn't always the case. Yes, I truly believe that all things work together for the good, but my humanness sometimes wins out, and I have moments of anxious thinking, wondering why, when and how. I experience angry days, wanting to hurt those who did me wrong. I get perplexed as things that seemed clear dissolve before my very eyes.

Yet, as the sun sets on this gorgeous Wednesday evening, I'm marveling at God’s unfailing provisions. All that I've needed, the song says, his hand hath provided. Great is your faithfulness, Lord unto me.

No, I'm still not certain what tomorrow holds. But whatever awaits me at sunrise--rain, shine, sleet or snow-- I've never been more certain of who holds tomorrow. ♦
_________

The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. - Lamentations 3:24

(Picture by Dayle.)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Diamond In The Grass

It had been a stressful month. After moving to a new city and into a new house, everything that could go wrong had gone wrong.

My cabinets weren’t acceptable, the stove wasn’t what we’d ordered, the master tub was nicked, the lawn people hadn’t measured properly for grass, the air conditioner was clogged, the tub wouldn’t drain, the wallpaper hadn’t been hung properly. Just one dilemma after another.

As I stood looking out the back window on a Sunday morning, I was hosting the mother of all pity parties. Stress oozed from every pore. My head hung low. I wanted to run away from home.

Why couldn’t doing God’s will be a little easier? Was I even doing God’s will?

Suddenly, something sparkled in the grass. It was so brilliant, just like a diamond, going from red to purple to orange to green.

Reluctantly, I let go of my anxieties and studied the sparkly thing. What was it?

Not a diamond, of course. It was a drop of dew. A simple drop of dew, glimmering in the sunlight, sending me a signal, straight from the throne of God.

Stop over-stressing, each sparkle seemed to say. You’re getting on my nerves. Don’t you know I love you? Always?

As sure as the dew bathes the ground each morning, I am here for you, longing to bathe you in my love, my mercy, my kindness and my compassion. I am here to give you strength and wisdom and guide you with my eye.

I know where you are. I’ve seen you moping about the house for days, stressed out, going insane, wondering why doing my will has to be so complicated.

But don’t you know I inspected (and approved) every one of your problems before they occurred?

I knew about the cabinets, the nicked tub, the clogged air conditioner, the stopped up drain and the hundred other unexpected difficulties you’ve encountered in the last 30 days. (Yes, I even knew about the sagging wallpaper ordeal. Really, I did.)

I knew about it all, Gayle, and I okayed it all. Why?

Because I knew you’d come through it—stronger, tougher, more resolved than ever in doing what I’ve called you to do.

And I have called you, Gayle. Don’t ever forget that. You are a chosen vessel, hand-picked to be exactly where you are, doing exactly what you're doing.

My ways are perfect, child. All things—and I mean all things—work together for good to them that love me, to them who are the called according to my purpose.

So stop the pity party, please. The things you’re worrying about are temporal anyway. Wipe your eyes, blow your nose and get yourself dressed for church. They’re depending on you. And so am I. ♦

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.
________________

I'm linking to Spiritual Sundays, where inspiration blooms.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Photo Challenge - "I Heart Faces"


I've loved cameras and kids since I was a teenager. This picture is of my delightful niece, and it remains a favorite of mine. ♦
_________________________

I'm participating in a photo challenge today, hosted by I Heart Faces. The theme is "angles."

Multitude Monday - Counting A Thousand Gifts

Linking to Ann's Multitude Monday, where we're counting down a thousand gifts.
___________

#29. The sound of rain against my window.
#30. Covers to keep me warm.
#31. Sleeping until I want to get up.

#32. A bowl of grits with oodles of butter.

#33. The sound of Daddy's voice on the phone.
#34. An "I love you" text from my Sunshine.

#35. Music from my piano.

#36. Friends who buy dinner.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Scenic Sunday


SOARING Texas pine.
________________________________

I'm linking to Scenic Sunday, a great place to browse on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

No Problem Is Too Small. Just Call.

At 2 a.m., I awake to the sound of my chocolate Labrador, Lucy, barking incessantly. After sniffing the air, the problem is clear: She has a skunk cornered in the backyard.

Although I know Lucy won’t retreat without human intervention—been there; done that—I pull the covers over my head and hope she will. I’m just too tired to deal with her tonight.

An hour later, however, the barking hasn’t ceased, and my head is about to split.

Dragging myself out of bed, I venture into the kitchen and crack open the back door. As expected, Lucy is in the far north corner, rear skyward, antagonizing her captive prey.

“Lucy, come!” I yell.

She glances my direction, but she doesn’t come. In fact, the sound of my voice seems to reenergize her resolve.

BARK! BARK! BARK! BARK! BARK!

After a lengthy time of hollering, whistling, spraying the water hose and rattling a few dishes, I do the unthinkable and dial 9-1-1.

“What is the nature of your emergency?”

“Well, it isn’t a real emergency, ma’am, but my dog has a skunk cornered in the backyard, and rabid skunks have been reported in my area. Can anybody help me?”

“I’ll contact animal control.”

After giving my address, I hang up and resume hollering out the back door. Lucy appears exhausted, and it isn't long before she darts close enough for me to grab her collar.

Holding on for dear life, I haul her heaving body through the house and into the garage, where she collapses in a smelly heap on the cold concrete floor.

About that time, the doorbell rings. I open the door to find a young police officer, flashlight in hand.

“You called?”

“Uh, yes, and I’m really sorry for bothering anybody. My dog had a skunk cornered in the backyard, but I’ve got her in the garage now.”

“Has the skunk left?”

“I have no idea.”

“I’ll go check it out.”

To my amazement, more police officers are arriving by the minute—five patrol cars in all—and while some join the backyard search, others join me inside the house and offer homemade remedies for de-skunking my dog. The mood is jovial, and I am grateful for a low-crime night in the city.

Finally, the skunk search comes to a futile end, and one by one, the policemen say good-bye and drive away.

After checking Lucy’s water in the garage, I lock the doors, return to bed and marvel at how powerful one late-night phone call, from one desperate, frazzled woman turned out to be. Trivial problem; crucial support.

Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come ‘boldly’ unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

In other words, regardless of how silly and insignificant our problems might seem, we needn’t be shy in asking for God’s assistance. He is concerned with every aspect of our lives, and he longs to help us in our times of need. All we have to do is give him a call. An army of angels is standing by. ♦
________

I'm linking to Spiritual Sunday, where good words can be found.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring On My Front Door

In the spring of 2007, a house wren built a nest in my door wreath. Despite our daily goings and comings, she laid three eggs, hatched them and all the baby birdies eventually flew. It was quite exciting. Clicking on the pictures makes them larger.

Here's a picture of her perfect little castle.

 Look carefully among the straw, and you'll see her head sticking out. It's almost in the center of the picture.

 Here are two birdies with their beaks open, waiting for a worm.

For more exciting things, click over to Cindy's Show and Tell. You never know what you'll find.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Take Another Look


It was the middle of spring, and weeds had all but conquered my backyard. Realizing procrastination was no longer an option if I wanted good relations with my neighbors, I headed out the door and went to work.

One weed gone. Two weeds gone. Three weeds gone.

The job was achingly slow, and from my vantage point, I wasn’t doing any good at all. My neck hurt. My hands hurt. My knees hurt. My back hurt.

Sundown came, and after putting my tools in the shed, I paused for one final look around.

Wow! Was that my yard? It looked almost weed-free. What a difference a different perspective made.

And indeed, it does.

Whatever you’re facing in life—a looming deadline, a difficult child or your very own Red Sea—stepping away from the problem keeps your focus realistically fine tuned.

Things that once seemed larger than life, don’t seem so large anymore. And things you didn't notice before, suddenly become clear. In other words, what you see depends mainly on where you're standing. ♦

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Outdoor Wednesday - Glimpses of Spring



It's been a harsh winter, literally and personally. The sight of these daffodils, while visiting my sister last week, brought new hope to my hibernating heart. No matter how cold the winter has been, warm winds are blowing now. New life is sure to come. Spring can't be stopped.

"He restoreth my soul." - Psalm 23:3
____________

Reposting Tuesday's blog and linking to Outdoor Wednesday.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Got Giants? Get God.

While staring at the ceiling a few nights ago, tears running down the sides of my face, I reminded God how ill-equipped I am to fight the giant that looms before me. He reminded me of young David, a slingshot and one smooth stone.

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee." - Isaiah 41:10
____________

I'm linking to Spiritual Sunday, where inspiration abounds.

Friday, March 5, 2010

“STARS” CONTRIBUTE LITTLE TO SOCIETY

With the Academy Awards coming up this weekend, I am posting an article I wrote after the horrific events of Sept. 11th. If you recall, the Emmy Awards were postponed twice following that dreadful day. Nobody was much in the mood for entertaining, and the stars were scared to gather in such a public forum.

You're welcome to your own opinion, of course, but it is my opinion that those who do the most for this country (the average Joes, you might say) get the least amount of praise, while those who do the least are worshiped and adored.

This article appeared in The Dallas Morning News and the Ft-Worth Star Telegram Nov. 3, 2001.
 ______________

We all can breathe a little easier now: Hollywood has rescheduled its beloved Emmy Awards. The twice-postponed event will take place Sunday night at the Shubert Theatre in Century City—unless something else frightens the participants into hiding, of course.

Blast those terrorists! How dare they mess up Hollywood’s plans! Maybe now America can get back to the truly important things in life and focus on something besides people in hard hats and Rudy Giuliani.

Seriously, I never have understood why the media and certain segments of society make such a fuss over actors, actresses and all who employ them. In my opinion, the “stars” of Hollywood are the worst examples of the human race.

For the most part, they have the morals of an alley cat. The only thing they are against is anyone who is against anything. They work overtime, living out the old ‘60s motto: “If it feels good, do it.” Anyone criticizing their laissez-faire existence is considered intolerant and mean.

But not only do the “stars” define immorality and self-absorption, they hold the most irrelevant professions on the face of the earth.

In essence, they waste their lives—and whatever abilities they might possess—pretending to be someone else, doing make-believe stuff with look-alike stand-ins and scripted lines.

Their contributions to society are nil—unless you count the perpetuation of lust, violence and taking God’s name in vain.

Oh, sure, they might donate a portion of their vast earnings to pet charities now and then, but technically speaking, they do nothing to make this country work.

Yet, they are paid millions of dollars for their performances and given round-the-clock pedestals for their oversized egos. In fact, the only thing larger than egos among Hollywood’s elite is the thirst for accolades and attention. It is sick, if you ask me.

So sick, actually, that when a national tragedy comes along, instead of butting out and letting the real stars of the land have the spotlight for a change, they insert themselves into the situation any way possible.

If it takes an evening of pro-bono fund-raising to get the vanished attention they so desperately crave, then fine. Whatever has to be done to reestablish their mugs on the covers of magazines, the pages of newsprint and Good Morning, America, they do it with glee.

They can’t thrive in the shadows; their egos won’t let them.

I can only imagine the angst they experienced over their nearly-cancelled Emmy Awards. I mean, how awful would that have been? No media pundits to praise them. No adoring public to obsess over their outfits, their hairdos and their dates.

Can’t terrorists understand the importance of such things and just leave America alone?

Which brings me to another point. How many other industries can you think of that gather several times a year, in front of national TV audiences, for the sole purpose of patting themselves on the back and handing out awards to the best pretenders of the bunch?

Answer: There aren’t any.

May I suggest that if the “stars” of Hollywood want to do something of lasting merit in the wake of our national tragedy, they could (1) stop putting out violent and vulgar material that tramples and demeans the Christian values upon which this country was founded, or (2) grow up and get real jobs, doing real things that really matter. ♦

© gac
___________

I'm linking to Spiritual Sundays, where great people blog and inspiriation  blooms. Click on the link and be blessed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hungering For God


For the last nine months, I've been walking through a desert. My faith has been strong, but the desert still looms. I know God knows. I know God sees. I know God cares. Other than that, that's all I know.

Today I've hungered for God. The words of an old chorus that we sang in church many decades ago keep spilling out of me, calling me to a place of solitude and prayer:

Shut in with God in a secret place.
There in the spirit, beholding His face.
Gaining new power to run in this race.
I love to be shut in with God.
 ______________

Thought for the Day: Sometimes it takes a desert to increase our thirst for righteousness.