Saturday, November 16, 2019

Turkey Day or Thanksgiving?

CAUTION: this message contains blatant subliminal messages. (Happy Thanksgiving.)
Beware, intrepid readers.


Thanksgiving is right around the corner.
For some indefinable reason, lately I hear it labeled "Turkey Day."
Photo courtesy of tiverylucky@freedigitalphotos.net

 (Happy Thanksgiving.)

Let's stop that insidious madness before it spreads. Okay, maybe that's too strong of a term, but it's kinda' fun to say, "insidious madness."

If you don't believe me, say, "insidious madness" out loud three times. Doesn't it roll off your tongue perfectly?

Photo courtesy of Apolonia @ freedigitalphots.com
( Happy Thanksgiving.)

This is a day to give God thanks. Something that we should do every day anyway.   

(Happy Thanksgiving.)

"Turkey Day" doesn't convey the meaning of Thanksgiving. The message of Thanksgiving. The joy of Thanksgiving. 

Chickens giving thanks that they aren't turkeys.
(Happy Thanksgiving.)

"Happy Turkey Day," is misleading to the poor turkeys. C'mon, how happy are they today? 

(Happy Thanksgiving.)

Saying, "Lord, thank you for all you've blessed me with," makes better sense, doesn't it? 

(Happy Thanksgiving.)

Even in the midst of sorrow, trial, tribulation, pressure, flat tires, clogged sinks, and colicky babies, we can find something to be grateful for.

Photo courtesy of Naypong@ freedigitalphotos.net
"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thes5:15 NLT 

So friends, whatever your circumstances, I pray you enjoy a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving.

 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Top 3 Ways God Beats The Bachelor


God vs. The Bachelor?

For the past twenty three TV seasons, women have vied to win The Bachelor's heart. The ladies resort to subterfuge and intricate ploys, fighting like Maybelline-coated wildcats to stay on the show.
To win love.
Those deemed worthy receive a rose; others are elegantly kicked to the curb.


That's not love.
So what is?

An ancient text reveals, "God is Love." Because of that, here are



Top 3 Reasons God Beats The Bachelor


1) The Bachelor welcomes only gorgeous women.
God welcomes all who come to him.  (John 6:37)

2) The women on the show battle for the Bachelor's love.
God extends never-ending love to everyone. No fighting required. (Jeremiah 31:3)


3) The Bachelor offers a rose only to those women he deems worthy.
God offers eternal life and love to all. (John 3:16)

He proved it by giving His only begotten son, Jesus, to open a path to Himself. (Romans 5:8)


Now that's love.
The best part? God's love is available everyday, all day.
There's nothing we can do to earn it, and nothing we can do to make God stop loving us.

If you'd like to dive deep into God's love, pray this simple prayer:

"Jesus, I welcome you into my life. Please forgive my sins. Be my Lord, savior, and friend."


You'll experience true love like you've never known. 


So yeah, God beats The Bachelor, but not in a WWF smack-down way.   
Because true love, God's love, is what The Bachelor and all those lovely competitors need too. 
Now that's a rosy picture.


"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:9-10
Learn more about God's amazing love on the PeaceWithGod website. 

Photos courtesy of FrameAngel @freedigitalphotos.net
and Hamachidori @Wiki commons


Friday, May 24, 2019

Ode to May 2019

Ode to May 2019
There may be rain,
There may be snow,
There may be ice,
We just don't know.

Turn on the air?
Turn on the heat?
Flip flops or snowshoes for our feet? 

May bees lighting in the flowers
May be rebuffed by sneak snow showers.

Twisters, tempests, floods all plague us.
Lord, we pray for you to save us.
Will a reprieve be coming soon?
Maybe we'll find out in June.



Sunday, March 31, 2019

What Goes Up

What's sillier than a grandmother stuck in a tree? Her sharing the story in the latest Chicken Soup for the Soul release




“Grandma, watch this!”

Our ten-year-old grandson scrambled up our backyard maple tree like King Kong scaling the Empire State building. He stood on a limb, grabbed the one above him, and bounced. Hapless young leaves dropped under his onslaught as the branch bobbed up and down.

My breath caught in my throat, a regular occurrence for a grandparent of an active boy. “Asher, be careful. You haven’t broken any bones yet. Let’s keep it that way.”

He stopped bouncing and plopped onto the limb. My lungs resumed their normal rhythm. “Grandma,” he called in a cajoling tone, “Climb up with me. Please.”

I eyed the old tree. Asher and I considered it our private fortress, but the branch I normally used to boost myself up had broken off in a recent storm. Getting into that tree would take more upper arm strength than I possessed. “Honey, I don’t think I can climb up there anymore.”

Asher’s eyes widened as if I’d uttered a blasphemy. “But Grandma, it’s our special place. You have to try.” His stricken look prompted me to grab a branch. An oversized gorilla hoisting me up would have been more helpful than Asher’s verbal assistance. “Pull harder, Grandma. Boy, you should really start working out. You’re getting pretty weak.”

After multiple tries I hefted myself onto the lowest limb and lay panting against the rough bark. Slow maneuvering brought me to a sitting position.
“See Grandma, I knew you could get up here.” Asher grinned and scooted next to me. We sat together on the branch, our feet dangling. A cool May breeze held the insects at bay as Asher told me about his school day.

I silently thanked God for the opportunity to spend time with this beloved grandson. My husband Jake and I relished our time with him. We’d forged a special bond over the years with this child, so dear to our hearts.
As sunset streaked the sky the breeze died down and mosquitoes began foraging for victims. “OK Sweetie, let’s go in. Your grandpa will be home soon.”

Asher shimmied down the trunk like a competitor in a lumberjack competition. I swung my leg lower, feeling for the limb I always used to descend. “Be careful Grandma. Your climb-down branch is gone, remember?”
I surveyed the hard surface below. The new river rock and brick landscape edging mocked me. Several dismount attempts brought one conclusion. I couldn’t get myself down safely.

“Hurry up, Grandma.” Asher bounced on the patio.

“Sweetie, I’m having trouble getting down.”

Asher stopped jumping and peered up at me. “Grandma, are you stuck in the tree?”

The knobby bark bit into my protesting backside. I cautiously shifted my weight on the branch. “I don’t want you to worry, but . . .”

“Are you REALLY stuck?”

“Yes Asher, I’m really stuck.”
His eyes gleamed with excitement. “Can I call 911?” he asked hopefully.

“No, not 911. Call your grandpa.”

Asher ran inside for the phone. A tiny gnat, the size of a pin head, landed on my arm. I jerked at its needle-jab sting, then fought to keep my balance. A red, dime-sized welt appeared where the gnat stung me. I swatted away another Mutant Robo-Gnat that was dive-bombing my face.

Asher ran back, waving the phone like a prize. “Are you sure I can’t call 911?” he asked again, anticipation written in his countenance. I could see his mental wheels turning. A firetruck or two, perhaps a rescue squad on stand-by would perk up a weekday. And make a great story at school.

“Dial your grandpa and put him on speaker,” I commanded.

Jake answered on the second ring. “Grandma’s stuck in a tree,” Asher announced cheerfully.

“What?”
I rolled my eyes and swatted another gnat.

“Grandma told me to call because she’s stuck in a tree.”

I heard a long pause before my husband asked, “Is Grandma really stuck in a tree?”

“Yeah, and she wants you to come home and help her down,” Asher enthused.

Jake’s hysterical laughter flowed through the phone line. “You’re on speaker. I can hear you,” I shouted from my perch. ”Now stop cackling, come home, and get me down.”

Between bouts of laughter Jake said, “Tell Grandma to hang on. I’ll be there soon.”

“Ok, bye Gramps. I’ll take care of things until you get home.” Asher laid the house phone on the patio table and ran back inside. I smashed a Robo-Gnat attacking my leg as Asher burst through the patio door, his new cell phone in hand. “My grandmother is stuck in a tree,” he said in his best news announcer voice.

“Who are you talking to?” I asked.

“Nobody, Grandma.”

Asher resumed his spiel, “My grandmother is stuck in the tree. She can’t get down. Grandma, would like to say a few words?”

The splintery wood dug into my palms. I tamped down exasperation. “Say a few words to who? Who are you talking to?”

“I’m not talking to anyone. I’m recording you. See?”

He flipped the phone around and held it up for me to view. Sure enough, a video played on-screen. A middle-aged woman wearing silver loafers, dark washed jeans, and an exasperated glare hunched in a maple.

“Give me that!” I make a feeble swipe at the upheld phone. Asher pulled it back and tapped buttons furiously. I wobbled on the branch before regaining my balance. Asher peered up at me through the deepening twilight. “Be careful! You almost fell. Grandma, are you really, truly stuck?”

My heart softened at his evident concern. “Yes Sweetie, but I’ll be all right. Don’t worry.”

“Oh, I’m not worried,” he said, “I just posted this online. The video already has two ‘likes.’ You’ve gone worldwide.”











Friday, February 1, 2019

Reckless Love

I'm a sucker for romantic scenes where the hero sweeps in and rescues the heroine. The song, Reckless Love, describes the most awesome rescuer ever.

The hero refuses to allow anything to come between him and his beloved. He leaves everything and everyone behind, and embarks on a search and rescue mission.




And he does it without any guarantee his devotion will ever be returned.

The song says, "When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me.
You have been so, so good to me.
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me.
You have been so, so kind to me."
"And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine.
And I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away.
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God."

"There's no wall You won't kick down,
Lie You won't tear down,
Coming after me.


There's no shadow You won't light up,
Mountain You won't climb up,
Coming after me."



Romantic books and movies take a backseat to the reality of true love. God's love. 


"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Because of that incredible love, Jesus left heaven and embarked on a search and rescue mission for us. He did it for the young, the old, the rich, the poor. For every person in the world.


God is reaching out to you right now. Do you desire His unconditional, never-ending love?

Pray this simple prayer:

"Jesus, I welcome you into my life. Please forgive my sins. Be my Lord, savior, and friend."

And get ready to experience the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God!



Photos courtesy Wicci Commons 




Thursday, November 29, 2018

Holiday Perfection



One year I struggled to create a Hallmark-perfect holiday season. Instead, chaos ensued.

Chicken Soup for the Soul shared the story of my goofy failure in their new release, "The Wonder of Christmas."

Holiday Perfection
 
The kitchen’s mustard-yellow oven mocked me from its 1970’s built-in perch. I glared at the offensive appliance, roughly the size of a child’s easy-bake oven. Next week our entire family would arrive for Thanksgiving dinner in our new home. I wanted everything to be perfect, but there was no way to fit a turkey in that tiny oven.  
Who lived here before us? Elves? 

My husband Jake shuffled into the room. “It’s midnight. What’s wrong?”
“Why did the builders put a miniature stove in a large home?” I fumed. “I can’t make a perfect Thanksgiving turkey in this stupid thing.”

Jake rubbed his eyes and yawned. “Let’s replace it.”
My heart did a momentary happy dance before reality crashed in. “We just moved. We don’t have funds for a new one.”
Jake wrapped an arm around my shoulders. “We’ll buy a used one.” He gestured to my nemesis. “We can rip this out now if you want.” 

At midnight, the idea made perfect sense. We grabbed tools, removed the old built-in appliance, and cleaned the decades of greasy dirt left behind.

The next morning we found an online ad proclaiming, “New stove for sale. $60.”
Hopping into our pickup, we drove over for a look. A friendly young couple met us at the door and led us around back to large shed. The husband said, “We bought this stove back home in Iowa, but there was already one here when we moved in last year. This one’s just been sittin’ in the shed, so we figured to sell it.”
I swiped a layer of dust off the appliance with my finger. Underneath it the white stove gleamed. It looked perfect. Since sixty dollars comprised our entire remodel budget, we bought it. The two men loaded it into the truck, and Jake and I drove home congratulating ourselves on finding a bargain. 

Once we maneuvered the stove into the kitchen, we notice an odd smell. 

“It probably just needs a good cleaning,” I said. We scrubbed every inch we could reach, inside and out, but the odor increased.
As the stench permeated the entire house, Jake shared his horrible realization. “I think a dead mouse is stuck in the insulation, but I can’t get to it without ripping the stove apart.” 

“Holiday guest expect aromas like pine boughs or gingerbread. Our house reeks of rodent carcass. We need to do something,” I whined.
So we ran the self-cleaning feature repeatedly every day. 
By Thanksgiving the stink had dissipated. Mostly. I felt confident that by the time our guests arrived, the delectable scent of perfectly roasted turkey would cover any lingering odor.
Humming, I stuffed the turkey, slid it into the new range and inspected the side dishes. Ruby colored cranberry sauce, potatoes waiting to be mashed, pumpkin pies from the bakery all passed the perfection inspection. 

The freshly cleaned house looked perfect, so I dressed, put on makeup, and did my hair. I wanted to look perfect too. Or as perfect as possible despite wrinkles and acne.
As family members arrived we greeted them, gave the house tour, then sat together, chatting and laughing. After a time Jake pulled me aside. “Honey, the turkey isn’t cooking.”

I hurried to the kitchen and opened the stove door. The huge raw turkey perched sadly in the cold oven.
 Agh! Had I burned out the stove with repeated mouse cremations? I stood paralyzed, dismay tap dancing across my brain.
My eagle-eyed mom glided into the kitchen and within seconds pointed out the problem. “Sweetheart, it will cook faster if you turn on the oven.” She tapped the knob, firmly fixed in the “off” position. 

Panic set in. “What are we going to do? There’s a house full of people and nothing to feed them except raw turkey!”
Jake sauntered downstairs and brought up large ham from the basement fridge. At my questioning look he winked. “I wanted it on hand just in case.”
And he was perfectly right, as usual.
That Thanksgiving our family ate ham sandwiches. And ribbed me unmercifully about not turning on the stove.
Although far from what I’d envisioned, that Thanksgiving was perfect in its own way. While munching my sandwich, I realized I didn’t need to strive for magazine-perfect food presentations or a picture perfect house. 

My focus didn’t need to be on perfection, but rather gratefulness. I looked around the table and thanked God for the people in my life.

My husband who showed me love in unexpected ways, like ripping out a stove because it bothered me. And having the foresight to tuck away an emergency ham.
My mother who still taught me cooking basics--like flipping the knob to the “on” setting.
And our precious daughter and grandson, siblings, cousins. I silently thanked God for the perfect blessing of having family together.

We invited everyone back for Christmas. This time, rather than trying to make everything perfect, we decided to skip the fancy turkey dinner and offer crockpots of soup instead.
I even made sure to turn the dials onto the “high” setting so the soup would cook in time for Christmas dinner.

Only one thing would have made those crockpots of soup more perfect.
If I’d remembered to plug them in.






Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Miss America, Cheese, and True Love

Have you seen the Miss America parodies in the movies or on TV?
A cheesy host asks the contestant, "If you could have one wish, what would it be?" The young woman simpers and answers in a sugary voice, "World peace."         
                   
                                                                                    
I'm not bashing the Miss America contestants. They're intelligent, talented, and beautiful.
I cheer for those young women...even with my cellulite thighs and bat-wing triceps flapping.
And even though I've experienced many times when I didn't feel intelligent, or talented, or beautiful.

Or worthwhile.

Or loved.
Have you ever felt like that?

Hold onto your Kraft American singles because this may sound as cheesy as the mock Miss America host.
If I could have one wish, I'd want everyone, young and old, to know this:

You are special. 
You are loved. 
You matter. 

Since the Miss America Fairy won't be swooping by to grant my wish, consider this.

You matter so much that God says to you, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!" Jeremiah 31:3 The Message.

May that truth bring peace to your world.

Photo of Mitzi Strother, Miss Florida 1941 from http://www.flickr.com