Walk on

When I was a child literally I would walk into walls, earning the name “jinks.”

The fact that any of us walk is somewhat amazing,  because it is one of the most difficult things for us to learn, yet we walk.  Crawling, then from walker to walking.

If you are around a little one, you see that look of glee when they realize they have done it!

Learning to walk is just like all of the growth experiences we have.  Growing means change.  You balance a few times, but you get back up because the alternative is to stay the same.  And staying the same disables the spirit and the body.  So, you wobble, unsure of yourself, because at any moment you could fail.  And then, you may wonder what people think…Some are watching to see if you will succeed.  Others may be sent to help you.  Nevertheless, this is your journey of discovery.

This is growth.  We grow in vulnerability.  And change makes us vulnerable.  Whether it’s changing jobs, cities, lifestyles, life partners, change you must.  Growth may be frightening, but staying the same is much more damaging to the human spirit.

It’s about the journey and not the destination and there are way more journeys in life than destinations.   Enjoy your process.  If you are struggling trying to grow, ask God for help.  He is the ultimate Helper.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;  John 14:16

Walking on trail

Walk into a new day

Your punishment is..30 lashes with a wet noodle!

Mistakes, failures, I’ve made a few.

I mustered up the courage to tell my mother about one – don’t even remember now what it was – could have been a failing grade because I crammed for an exam and planned poorly.  Or had a bad interaction with someone that damaged the relationship. Or spent too much at the shopping center. Or avoided a challenge that would have reaped a reward. Or failed at that second, third chance at something.  Something. Some “thing” that upset me, and made me feel  “not good enough” once again.

Mama listened with a calm stillness while I made my confession of wrong doing.  Then, with a very intense look on her face she said,

“Your punishment is 30 lashes with a wet noodle,” then she burst into uproarious laugh.  It was so loud and so long…. I laughed too. She was of course kidding.  She was really saying, “Honey, it’s okay.  Life goes on. You are still my child. ”  Which is the same thing the Lord is saying to us all.

 

Now that Mama is gone, I feel there were missed opportunities to love her.  For example, she wanted her mini Black & Decker oven fixed. We got it fixed but later I wish I’d gotten her a brand new one. One of those “things” I’ve regretted. The could’ve, should’ve, would’ve  “things.”  These things invade my thoughts until the Spirit interrupts with a new thought about “things:”

Do not dwell on the past. Because God is doing a new Thing. Do you perceive the new Thing God is doing in your life right now? If you do not perceive it all you have to do is ask. And then forget about the punishment for not doing the things that you think you should’ve done, because God Himself has moved on.  That’s right.  He doesn’t even remember.  He has set our wrongness as far as the east is from the west. Psalms 103:12.

There are good reasons to reflect on experiences, to think about what you have learned and to offer it up as a sacrifice to God.  But otherwise Mama would say, “Put a period behind it and move on.”  You have punished yourself enough. And the Savior who has always been there is ready to grab your hand for that next horizon that next opportunity that new Thing.

I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  II Corinthians 5:21

Heathens

 

This is posted for the  Write31days challenge.

Help Frog

It’s 6:00 pm. I’m tired.  I’ve just left work.  Speeding out of the parking lot to get to my home, my sanctuary I remember…

No food.  Got to make a quick stop at the grocery store on the way home.

While in the store and trying to remember if there are eggs in the refrigerator, I hear this scream.

A woman is running toward me, arms flailing, screaming at the top of her lungs and crying, “Oh, my God, my purse! Where’s my purse?”

Like a freeze mob, strangers in the grocery store stop and look around to locate the scream. Then within seconds like Clark Kent to Superman these grocery store heathens become helpers.  Some become investigators asking her questions about her purse, others runners, sprinting to the parking lot to search carts, some reporters explaining to the security officer and store manager the facts as they knew them and another a confidant that listened as she lamented, “My life is in that purse.”

superboy

After a few frantic moments the purse was found. Another stranger placed it in the lost and found and her “life” was returned. Nothing was stolen. Afterwards, someone said,  “She was going to give me a heart attack. I was so worried.”

Wait, what just happened here? What turned grocery-store shoppers into super heros? The complacent into caregivers? Strangers into servants?  Heathens into helpers.

Compassion. It focuses you on more important things, things greater than self.

Before her scream, we were all dragging ourselves into the grocery store to get Hamburger Helper. Before her scream, we were listening to the voices in our head, wallowing in our own anxious thoughts.   Before her scream, we were scattered. Afterwards, focused. Before, self-absorbed.  Afterwards, listeners.  Before face-to-iPhone.  Afterwards, face-to-face.

I am grateful to God for changing my focus from myself to others, to serving.  I could keep up acts of service while serving the green beans at dinner tonight. I could make the dinner experience more delicious by focusing a little less on myself, and a little more on family and friends. I could become focused, attentive, listening, face-to-face instead of face-to-iPhone.  I could keep it going, giving and receiving His compassion.

“I have called you friends.” Jesus in John 15:15

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Mahatma Ghandi

Later, Hater, While I Eat My Now & Laters, Drink Your Haterade, While I Drink My Kool aid, and make mine fruit punch

This blog post is for the Write 31 days challenge, “Messages from Mama” series.

Haters, Now & Laters and Koolaid are all a part of my childhood.

Now & Later is the name of a candy that comes in little individually wrapped squares, then sold in a row sealed in plastic, in flavors like grape, lemon, banana. Unbeknownst to my mother,  with my $1.00 allowance I filled my brown bag from the convenience store with Now & Later packs, Lemonheads, Boston Baked Beans and other sundry, sugary items that resulted in thousands of dollars in dental bills later.

nowandlaters

“Hater” and “Hater-ade” are recent urban terms for an old experience.  “Hater” is someone who is jealous or hates you.  Used in a sentence, “The “Hater” should go drink her “Hater-ade,” like someone would chug down Gatorade.

Haters, Now & Laters and Koolaid are all a part of my childhood.

As a child, I had a “friend,” well at least someone who I thought was my friend.  We were like, well “peas and carrots.”  She was popular and I really wasn’t, and she liked me.  We would hold hands, go over each other’s houses, even our dolls were friends.

Day30 Frank Sinatra

We made cakes in our Easy Bake Oven. But, then one day, she just turned.  Instead of walking to school together, she walked past me – didn’t speak.  I thought maybe she didn’t see me.  But after school, she walked out with two more girls and right past me.  After a few days I was able to catch her alone and asked why.  She just laughed. our friendship was over.

“Well, I don’t know what happened, honey but sometimes people are jealous. Even hate you when you haven’t done anything to them,” Mama said while I cried at our kitchen table the place where my mother fed us physical and spiritual food.

Big tear drops falling on the table, “Jealous? Hate Me? Why? I couldn’t accept this from a friend who ate grape Now & Laters with me when I did nothing to her.

“There was a child in the Bible named Joseph who was the son of Jacob who had brothers who hated him and yet he did nothing to them either,” Mama continues while she stirs the cup of sugar, fruit punch Koolaid, water and ice in the glass pitcher.  One day he told them about a dream, that he didn’t interpret at the time, but his brothers knew it spoke of Joseph’s future.   They hated him for his dream. So, you know what they did?”

fruit punchMama consoles while she pours me a cup of fruit punch and makes me a sandwich, “They sold him into slavery. His own brothers were jealous.  According to historians, he was just 17 years old.”

Hater’s drinking a lot of haterade.

Perplexed I say, “His brothers didn’t like him, but he didn’t do anything to them!”

Mama again, “That’s right.   So you can be the gift of God you are, loved by God Himself and still be hated by others for no reason. But God was still with Joseph.  Although he was a slave, he ended up in the palace, reporting to the head man, Potiphar.  Whatever Joseph did, he did it well.

And Potiphar favored Joseph.  But some favor is not so good, because he was also favored by Potiphar’s wife.    She tried to trick him into doing the wrong thing, but he wouldn’t. Joseph was fine, like that little boy you like in school. You know?  So, she lied on him to her husband. Joseph, due to no fault of his own, goes from the palace to  prison.

Joseph suffered but then, but God…

Even in prison he became like a prison warden because along with being fine, he was also smart.

The dream gift God gave him that originally got him into slavery, later got him out of prison.  While in prison he interpreted a prisoner’s dream.  That prisoner was released and became a servant of the king.  Years later, when the King had a disturbing dream that couldn’t be interpreted, the prisoner-turned-servant remembered that there was a Dream Interpreter in prison, Joseph. Joseph interpreted the king’s dream and in one interaction, one moment, he went from prison to the palace again.  Joseph prospered and he blessed others to prosper – running things, getting married, living his life, like it’s golden.

That’s not where the story ends.  Joseph’s brothers, the same ones who sold him into slavery, ended up having to ask him for food. they ran out of food in their city and had to go to the city where Joseph ruled.  Yes, the same ones who enslaved him, Joseph now had the authority to enslave.

But he didn’t. And Joseph wasn’t perfect, he played around, scared them a little when they came to him for food.  They didn’t recognize him because the last time they saw him, he was a runt.  But when they faced him he was a fine, multi-lingual, sharp-dressed CEO.  He could have harmed, but he blessed them instead, giving them food and money.

But, baby girl, this is what I want you to know from this whole story.  Even if people hate you, God loves you.  And even though dreams are deferred, keep dreaming. And even though people harm you, if at all possible, bless them.  And even though family relationships are broken, they can be restored.  And even though you’ve experienced rejection, you can be healed.  And even in adversity, you can be excellent. And even though you suffer, you can say like,  Joseph, ‘God has made me to forget my suffering.’  None of that mattered to Joseph in the end.  Only love remained.

You Meant Evil, God Meant it for good. Genesis 50-20

Dear Reader, thank you for reading this blog post. Please comment, like or follow below. Blessings to you. Gwennie

 

 

Dorothy Richards, Happy Birthday & Transition Day, Oct 15

 

 

Strange Things My Lover Does

 

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” I Corinthians 12:21

My husband (referred to as “my Lover”) is a wonderful person. He loves God and his family, is kind and sometimes cleans the house without being asked. He is a jewel, really.

But sometimes, he does strange things – such as leaving empty plastic Tupperware that once stored food on top of the countertop.

You might say, “Well, that’s not that strange.” But I ask you to look at the picture below where you will see the Tupperware by the toaster and, a few feet away the dishwasher – that appliance created to wash dishes for you.

countertop

So, why would my lover leave this plastic stuff sitting on the countertop?

Answer, it is just one of those strange things he does.

These strange things can also be called quirks, idiosyncrasies and just like we all fall short of the glory of God we all have these strange things.

So, with that in mind, I determined there must be something I do that is strange to him, so I asked, “What do I do that you think is strange?” Hesitating to answer because my husband wondered if this was one of those “no win” questions like, “Do I look good in this dress?” he cautiously responded, “I don’t know.” After I said a few “Oh, come on’s” he finally responded with “you sit alone in the dark with the lights off.”

So, of course I thought, that’s not strange and in fact, there are perfectly good reasons for sitting in the dark, but from someone else’s perspective it could seem quite vampire-like.

So this is just another example of how different we all are and how differently we see the world.  We are all different, have different ways of doing things, different strengths and weaknesses, pet peeves and levels of patience, viewpoints and experiences. We’re different – what bothers one – doesn’t bother another. I have no problem with sitting in the dark and my husband has no problem with dishes on the countertop. In the long- and the short-run they are no big deal. They just are.

There are a multitude of ways to respond to differences but they essentially fit into two camps – appreciation or judgment. I could actually respond to the dirty Tupperware with appreciation by remembering that the food that was once there we could afford to purchase, also it was prepared by a wonderful person who prepared meals for my aging parents (which is all true). And my husband could respond to me sitting in the dark with an appreciation that I wasn’t nagging him and that I was spending time talking to God (which is also true).

 

There are some differences that are irreconcilable – such as differences in values.

 

But if you can get on the same page with mission and values, other differences can be managed and in some cases appreciated. Differences are necessary – God didn’t make us all the same intentionally so that we could rely on, relate to and appreciate each other. We have gifts differing.

Superbad

That same spirit that raised up Christ from the dead is alive IN YOU.

  • You don’t tug on superman’s cape
  • You don’t spit into the wind
  • You don’t pull the mask of the ‘ol lone ranger
  • And you don’t mess around with Jim

This story is one that I wouldn’t have believed unless I was there to see it.

I admired one of the deacons at my childhood church.  He had what we used to say was one of those “good” jobs as an autoworker for many years.  Steady employment enabled him to live modestly, while his wife stayed home and cared for the children.  He purchased nice cars, including one year the leanest, meanest delta 88 you ever wanted to see – shiny black and gold, black on the bottom and landau gold top.  Then, he topped it all off with very expensive spoke wheels that glistened in the sun.  I was impressed by this car and so was everyone else.  Because Deac got to church early, he was able to park it right up front.

Sunday morning sunshine shining on the shiny, stainless-steel spoke wheels could blind you with bling.  And since he got there every Sunday early, he could park it right it front of the church.

car

One Sunday, as he did every Sunday, Deac got out of his car, went inside to teach Sunday school. While he was in the building, a man was outside of the church building,  pulled up right beside Deac’s car.

Moma, “look,” I said as I saw this dusty-haired man drive up in a beat-up hoopty right by Deacon prized posession with crowbar in his hand.

“He doesn’t need these,” he grunted as he began removing the hub caps one-by-one. Momma whispered to me, “Run, get Deacon.”

To Catch a Thief

untitled-design-18

I ran down the church aisle to pull Deac away who was just preparing to teach Sunday school, when I told him, “Deacon M, somebody is messing with your car. A man I don’t know.”  He ran past me so fast…I turned my head he was gone, his Florsheim shoes clicking against the concrete was faster that the faster clydesdale horse. He ran into the street after a car, yes, a car, with a dusty-haired criminal driving off with his hubcaps. The Deacon morphed in front of my eyes from middle-aged man to SuperBad. With the speed of Carl Lewis, Deacon M bolts out of the church, down the stairs, down the street, in his best suit and his best shoes Deac takes off on foot, and catches the thief.

Wow!

He opens the car door, and a tussle ensues. He hits Mr. Dusty, gets his hubcaps and returns triumphantly to no Olympic medal, but to a cheering and awed crowd, Momma and me.

Deac brushes off his suit, straightens his tie, returns to teaching as if nothing happened.

Superbad versus SuperPower

 

Although this may seem impressive it isn’t nearly as impressive as the superpower Deac really was in life.

 

He was a calm, loving servant to the church, taught Adult Sunday school, took care of an ailing wife and never, I mean never treated anyone unkindly.  Keep in mind that he taught Sunday school, which means that he spent hours preparing to arbitrate the great debate that occurred every Sunday about topics such as divorce,  money and when Jesus was returning.  Sunday morning had all the drama of a soap opera and yet, this deacon remained calm and collected diligently serving for years.

Deacon  was one of the sweetest most loving persons you could ever meet.

Deac was powerful because he relied on the power within him to live a life pleasing to God.

This is a salute to all of the Superbads out there – thank you for being you and letting the real Superpower live in you.