Sunday, February 19, 2017

One Mile Radius

“One Mile Radius” links to my purpose here on earth.  My inner circle hashes out the catch phrase and we look for ways to be sensitive and aware of those we live near, work with and meet in our ordinary days. For us, it represents the call to share the Good News with others.  It's not enough to only go to church but we remind ourselves that we are the church. 

I listened to the sermon one Sunday morning and thought about my own personal one mile radius.  How can I brighten my visits with the Native American gal who cuts my hair every six weeks in the salon a few blocks away?

I think of my neglect of the friendly couple that lives a few doors down and make a mental note to invite them to dinner soon. 

I sent a quick text to the president of our road association to thank him for hiring a contractor to level out our country road.  Only half the residents pay the fee to maintain the road we all use to get in and out of our town.  The president stopped by the house and we sat in my kitchen nook and brainstormed ways we can approach our neighbors to pay up.  I realize I need to pray for him as he deals with the winy complainers.  

I am proud of our mid-week group from church.  Every Wednesday night we meet here in Smallville where one of our pastors opens up her home for us to gather in and eat snacks, delight in desserts and drink coffee and tea together.  We discuss the fine points of the Sunday sermon and ways we can implement it.  

Sometimes all you have to do is show up!
We celebrated Valentines Day last weekend at the sports bar in this one-horse town.  Yes, all 13 of us showed up at the bar and filled a long table right in front of the jazz guitarist who happens to be a brother from our church.  There we sat laughing, eating dinner and offering encouraging smiles to our brother as he played “Georgia” and “My Funny Valentine” among other bluesy greats.  The joy of the Lord cannot be hid when we show up together even in a bar.

It’s all about relationship.
I like the concept of the one mile radius.   It emphasizes relationship more than religion.  We Christians carry a big God inside of us.  Sometimes it’s enough just to show up and be there!          

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Tackling the Impossible

Last Sunday my husband invited me to watch the Super Bowl Game with him.  How could I resist with the smell of chicken wings in the oven while he searched for dipping bowls and ranch dressing.  I’m not a football fan, but I like the sound of “patriots” since I’m politically bent. 

The husband lost interest after Lady GaGa and he left the room.   I screamed for him from the sofa in the fourth quarter telling him he needs to come back and see the game.  That determined look on Tom Brady’s face braced us for that one last shot of giving it all he’s got!

Many compared the Patriot’s win to our national election last fall.  The naysayers jabbed early in the presidential campaign that Trump’s objective in the political race stemmed from a cry for attention.  When he won the nomination, they said he can’t win the election.  But I saw that determined look on his face when I watched him in the rallies.

This morning I heard the words of Jesus when I studied Mark, Chapter Nine. The disciples felt frustrated and told Jesus they could not heal the boy with convulsions.  Jesus’ words startled me when I read:  “You unbelieving generation.  How long shall I stay with you?  How long shall I put up with you?” 

Does that sound just a little chastising?  Maybe it’s just me…

When they brought the boy forward, the convulsing spirit recognized Jesus and threw the boy to the ground.  The boy’s father asked Him for pity and help if He can.  “If I can?”  Jesus answered:  “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

I ask myself:  “Where is my determination?  Do I really believe?”  Do I have that “all or nothing” look?   I wonder if those impossible things I ask for in prayer are hindered by any doubt or unbelief in me.

I hear again “How long shall I put up with you?”

Everything is possible for the one who believes.  Even for me.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Not England but Close

We dream about visiting England one day, my daughter and I, but have yet to engage in that delight.  We found a similar British exploit.  We got all dolled up, drove south to Carefree, Arizona, and enjoyed lunch at the English Rose Tea Room.

Amy, a registered nurse in mental health care, heard about the tea room from a patient.  We gave it an excellent review as the friendly staff fulfilled our fantasy of pure lady hood in English cuisine and d├ęcor. 

We chose to eat outdoors on the sidewalk cafe’ rather than the tea room.  We enjoyed the European effect, especially Amy who works in a high-stress environment.  I smiled as she relaxed with her back facing the warm sun.  The perfect temperature, 72 degrees, enveloped us and healed us. We forgot about the above freezing temperatures we left behind that morning.


In this photo, the tables behind me create lovely ambiance for an exquisite woman’s lunch!


We ordered a pot of Chocolate Almond Coconut tea.  Notice the strainer we placed over our tea cups that we used to pour our steeped tea after 2 minutes.  


Amy and I both chose the tea sandwiches with soup.  I have food allergies so I passed on the salmon with lemon but Amy enjoyed the flavor.  I liked the chicken filling and, of course, the cucumber and cream cheese.  So English!  The soup of the day, cream of chicken with wild rice, stole the show.  Very filling!


We ordered scones with clotted cream and jam for dessert as we lingered, drinking tea.


We selected tea in the gift shop to purchase and to take home to remember this wonderful experience in our ordinary days ahead.  That was when I bumped into Queen Elizabeth. 

Are you a tea drinker?  What is your favorite flavor?  Or are you a coffee person?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

When Women March

If my words could jump off the page and embrace my Christian sisters with a loving hug, I’ll reach my goal.  I don’t want to take them for granted after watching the angry Women’s March in Washington, D.C. the day after the inauguration. 

Bet You Can Guess Where This is Going
I am not going to bash the marchers.  Instead, I feel that I’ve received a divine word about them which leaves me with a different perception.

I conclude that these dark, lost women seek to find a place to belong.
Too bad they’re choosing the enemy’s camp.

We women feed our insecurities differently than our male counterparts.  Men find their worth in what they achieve whereas women long to be loved, fit in and be accepted.  It’s about relationship for us.

Both men and women excel once they find truth and fill those dark places inside with meaning.  We all need something to worship and a purpose to live.

I noticed the hate, the nasty words, and the obscene gyrations those marching women displayed.  Do they have daddy issues and hate men?  They mock Christians and call us Bible bangers. 

Remember photos of deprived women in third-world countries sitting in the dirty mud huts with flies swarming around their faces?  I see that image when I think of these ladies souls.

Back to my point!  Oh, my Christian girlfriends…how fair are you.  To know a Savior that rescues our strong flesh, filled with flaws, makes us beautiful on the inside and reflects outwardly.  We are loved women.  

Jesus Reaches Women Through Women
Women who refuse the gospel hang on to anger and hate. Bitterness grows daily.  I have a friend who had five abortions before she decided to live for Jesus.  In a social setting, she can spot a nasty woman in no time.  She tells me:  “That woman has had an abortion.”  I’m astonished how God uses her to ask questions and share Christ with an angry woman in a gentle, not scary, way.  My friend understands.

The Contrast

Christian women who know the price Jesus paid for their freedom radiate softness in a powerful way.  

The nasty women marching?   When I see them on social media I pause and I pray.  I ask God to remove the blinders and the deception.  I pray they find the only One that can fill the emptiness in them, deliver them and love them like no other.

I am reflective.  I am thankful that I belong to Jesus and that it’s His responsibility to clean me up because I’m His.  I stand shoulder to shoulder with my Christian sisters humbly thankful for a Savior who fought for us and thinks women are worth redeeming. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Life to Celebrate

I attended a memorial service last weekend with my husband and it reminded us that we are sojourners here on this earth.  We are just passing through.

Tom defined it as the best memorial service ever!  When asked why, he quipped: “It had everything:  Scripture teaching, humor, music and a catered meal.”

We celebrated Wally’s 83 years of life. I expected the service to revolve around his outstanding achievement of founding the Old Town Mission and feeding the homeless and hungry every Tuesday night.  His wife preached but Wally ran the show.

And, yes, the focus spotlighted his gift of serving, but I walked away with so much more to think upon.  This couple’s love story reflected God’s power and faithfulness.   Two broken lives found each other over 20 years ago and allowed Jesus to shape their future.  God brought bonus children to live with them who shared hilarious stories about Wally’s sweet tooth that made us laugh until we cried.

Many testified to Wally’s kindness and the way he looked for a need to meet and met it quietly.

His wife modeled bravery to us in those last days of his life.  I heard about the way she cared for her dying man despite her own weariness.  Her text to me a few days after he died stated:  “I sat on his bed holding him in my arms and watched him pass into the arms of Jesus as I sang the song: ‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.’”  

Our God-given talents bring Him glory, but I left the service realizing how effective our every, ordinary days bring opportunities to extend God’s love.  

I don’t want to miss it!  I want my ordinary days to count, too, making sure I love and care for those He places in my path.  I’m convinced that at life’s end, how I loved and cared for others matter most.

Ordinary days plus a supernatural God makes for a life to celebrate!

The Lord cares deeply
    when his loved ones die.  Psalm 116:15