Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Lessons from a Two Year Old

Matthew 18:10 See that you do not look down on one of these little ones.  For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my father in heaven.

Lay down, you need to get some rest.  Keller was not agreeing with my talk about nap time.  Chattering away about the planned excursion on the Polar Express Grapevine Christmas train, he tossed and turned, flipped and scrunched.  Come on now, let’s be quiet and sleep a little while.  “No, Ma.  I’m not tired and I have options!”  My giggles would not suppress.  Oh, what are your options?  “Well, I can get down this way or I can get down that way!”  The ends of the daybed were open where the middle was blocked by his safety rail.  The option exercised was the one closest to the door where we escaped to play until time for the train ride.

Whether you are a toddler or a senior citizen, you DO have options!

Lately I have been plagued with hyper sensitivity.  Why does the world have to be so cruel?  Why do people I know have to be so mean, so rude?  D wisely advises to not let things bother me, but I do.  My brain is wired to rethink, rehash, relive – wondering, questioning, analyzing incidents. To. Death. 

So what are my options?

If I were Taylor Swift, I would vent by writing a song.  Mean: 

You, with your words like knives
And swords and weapons that you use against me
You have knocked me off my feet again
Got me feeling like I'm nothing
You, with your voice like nails on a chalkboard
Calling me out when I'm wounded
You picking on the weaker man

You can take me down with just one single blow
But you don't know, what you don't know...

You, with your switching sides
And your wildfire lies and your humiliation
You have pointed out my flaws again
As if I don't already see them
I walk with my head down
Trying to block you out 'cause I'll never impress you
I just wanna feel okay again

I bet you got pushed around
Somebody made you cold
But the cycle ends right now
'Cause you can't lead me down that road
And you don't know, what you don't know...

If I were Edvard Munch, I would create an expressive painting of The Scream.

Since I am me, I have to turn to the inspired words of books and speakers to guide me. The theme that has been coming to me from words of wisdom is JOY!  From my current read, the Lessons of Saint Francis, I find that a common occurrence in our modern era with people who lived in the 1200s is darkness and bad news.  Francis warned his students that dejection could “generate an abiding rust in the heart”.  Remember the tin man; I don’t want my heart to be ruined by rust!  Francis went on to caution the friars that Satan sought to exaggerate even the slightest wrongs into full- fledged crises.  “The devil exults when he can extinguish or even impede the devotion and joy brought about by pure prayer or other good works in the heart of God’s servant…it would be very easy for the devil to take the slightest thing and turn it into an ever heavier burden.” (when I first was writing this post and came to this quote about the devil, my computer mysteriously shut down and I lost everything I had written- damn the devil!- it completely creeped me out but I took a break and came back – there!) Just manually saved.  Precaution.

Francis was not denying the reality of bad news, he was instead encouraging his people to avoid dwelling on sadness and cynicism that could block out the light of God and the light of love.


During my break from the devil, I listened to an advent sermon podcast by Cindy Ryan, speaking about the pink advent candle of Joy. I had heard it back in December but it seemed like good timing to hear it again.  She talked about Joy as being out of place in our world of craziness and pain.  Joy is a supernatural gift from God.  It can be found in sunny days in January, cloud formations, sunsets, butterflies, hugs, smiles, toasts, wildlife spottings, FB posts, innocent words of little children, books, songs, art – it’s all around.  Just look.



In the recent sports world wrapped up in football mania, one commentator spoke about his time under the coaching leadership of Bill Parcells.  Preparing his team for playoffs, film would be viewed of various players while mistakes were pointed out.  The coach would say, “Don’t be that guy!”  I have been too aware of those who criticize, exclude, shun, ignore, hate, lie – it’s not pretty.  So the option I choose is – don’t be that guy.

A quote from Mr. Rogers comes to mind, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.””

For me (and maybe for you), choices are in how to respond to people/events that bring you down.  I can carry hurt, I can avoid situations, I can grow thicker skin, I can retaliate – or I can look for the good in the midst of all the messiness.  When I look for the good, I see it is so many times stronger than the bad.  There is the joy!

Philippians 4:8  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.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.





Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

This is the story of a $1000 donation to Weekend Food from Berkeys.

My heart is heavy with the needs of children – not constantly in my fore thoughts, but constantly in my subconsiousness.  Visions of my visits with hungry children in Africa remind me to support them with my prayers, my words and my finances.  Knowledge of hungry children in my own hometown should bring the same response.


Debbie Price and I connected at some time in the fall to discuss possible grant writing to seek funding for the growing numbers in the Weekend Food Program. 
 I had successfully submitted many educational grants during my time as a public school teacher so I knew that experience could help me work on grants for this community need.  First research what grant opportunities are out there – many, many can be found but requirements for a non-profit Tax ID code would not match our administrative plans through church missions.  Most opportunities available count us out, except for those listed through Wal Mart.

Local communication came to mind, so I drafted a letter to share with businesses and community groups.  Many were sent out by email to car dealerships and insurance agencies.  Results were zero response. Maybe those requests just filtered to junk mail? Dear God, am I wrong to think that you want this?

What I really believe is this.  God is so personal.  He knows our thoughts – both cognitive and subconscious.  He knows our desires – and smiles on those aligned with his good purposes.  He wants his children to be fed – both physically and spiritually.  He is the supernatural, ultimate, intimate power – and delights when we recognize this at work in the world.  Some people call it amazing coincidence – I call it God’s hands.

On one random day during the holidays, a business advertisement randomly appeared on my Facebook news feed showing a local company called Berkeys.  At the time I did not need air conditioning or heating service but something else about their ad caught my attention. They needed to make a holiday contribution to a worthy favorite charitable program.  The notice asked for an essay of 100 words or less to explain the mission and needs of such a group who could use a donation.  My heart beat quicker as I recognized hearts that God had prepared for giving!  I shared their post to put it on my home page with plans to come back to it later and apply.  As you can tell from this story, my writing tends to be wordy!  My saved letter was edited down to meet their maximum word requirement and submitted through Facebook.  Christmas plans took over my daily life and I forgot about the Berkeys post …until I received a notice in the final days of advent that this business had selected Weekend Food for their planned donation.  God is the divine connector!  I am awed and amazed but I know it is not just a coincidence.

In the following days even more good news for Weekend Food, Walmart awarded a grant through Debbie’s application from last year, church members made donations and a former GCISD teacher led her family to gather food and money to support feeding these kids in Grapevine.  God is good, all the time!

John 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches:  He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit:  for apart from me ye can do nothing.

Psalm 31:19   Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!