Next Year

Nope, not resolutions. Seems like a bargain with failure. However, great ideas, you betcha!

I’m going to invite other authors to blog here. That’ll be fun.

I’m going to let my little dog take the therapy dog test, and then we’re headed for the library, hospital, and whereve else she can share love.20191203_142027

I’m going to train to be a CASA volunteer to help foster kids navigate this crazy world.

I’m going to a few weddings and birthdays and holidays and Neighborhood Watch stuff.

I’m going to get on down to love the homeless at the Shower Shuttle now and then, and take that dog I mentioned.

And I’m going to love my family despite the fact that we are cussed people, but made in the image of God. That is all, unless God has other ideas.

Prayer

As a new year begins, a thought to essentials seems appropriate. Prayer is essential for a zillion reasons.

Getting direction from God is the most obvious reason to pray, but probably also the most overlooked. By that I mean that many of us tell Him what we’re thinking, engaged in, worried about. Then we walk away without slowing to hear His responses.

But it can be worse. Throughout my life I have so often galloped into a good thing. When it came to me that I should have talked it over with God, I looked over my shoulder and said, “What do you think, God?” I have only recently realized that makes me guilty of the same thing as Satan. Wanting to be God. Darn it! And yet, because of His love for me and His grace, He longsuffered my ignorant self-interest. I wouldn’t say I’m real good at going to Him first yet, but at least I know I should and do sometimes. That’s the definition of success — heading in the right direction.

Another thing about prayer is that when we pray together, the sharing of each other’s concerns glues us together like nothing else. If the church wants unity, prayer is the answer.

God loves us beyond our understanding. He wants us to turn to Him, always. Any time of the day or night, anyplace. He wants to accept us as we are and give us a secure, purposeful, valuable relationship with Him. A relationship is hard to maintain if you don’t talk.

And finally, Jesus prayed and He taught us to pray, encouraged us. His life bought us freedom — doesn’t seem like much to ask in return. Have a great 2019.

silhouette image of person praying

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

Thanksgiving

man in white dress shirt and maroon necktie holding hands with girl in white dress

So we’ve got the controversy about whether the Pilgrims were the first Americans at all. And we’ve got the truth that without the Native Americans, the pilgrims would never have survived their first winter. And I bet, at the time, neither group gave a thought to who was first or who helped who. Because when you’re in a situation, you put one foot in front of the other and do what you think is right. It’s us who come later who decide you were a hero or a villain.

Here we are in 2018, putting our feet one in front of the other, trying to do what’s right or lamenting the fact that we’re totally incapable of figuring out what’s right, much less doing it.

I think, because we have so much input from all over the world, that we spend a good deal of our time overwhelmed. And that shuts us down. But at this Thanksgiving, I’m going to  blinder my gigantic screen, and narrow down to what I see in the real world. I think it will help me be more aware, and thus more outwardly focused.

I’m going to: challenge myself to love my neighbor, in my heart, but also with my actions;  take coats to the homeless as the weather here gets colder; check on the widows down the street;  slow and listen to people I love;  purposely hug people who don’t get touched often. And I’m going to thank God that He made me able to do these things, a weak woman, who He makes strong.

Resolutions, bah humbug!

Have you heard the saying, “Want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans?” So what’s He laughing about? Our inability to do what we know we ought to? Maybe. Our inabilty to consider the rocks we may encounter in our paths? Maybe. Our inabilty … Maybe.

On the other hand, have you heard the saying, “You aim at nothing, that’s what you’ll hit?” I think that thought pattern may be where New Year’s Resolutions came from. You may think, based on the title of this blog, I’m one of those slugs who parks on the couch, moving only to replenish the potato chips. I’m not. Unfortunately, I’m seriously goal- oriented, sometimes to the exclusion of actively loving the people I’m supposed to love. Can you relate?

I’m actually this odd conglomeration of motivation and laziness. Some days I find myself puffing because I focused so hard on what I wanted to get done that I paid no attention to my body crying for rest. Other days I’m weary, and I don’t care what doesn’t get done. Some days I’m committed to losing the ten pounds I gained during the holidays, and others I don’t understand why calories have to count or my body needs exercise. One thing I’m sure of, I’m tired of guilt based on whatever.

What’s a person to do?

Build our houses on the rock – Jesus. Let Him share our yokes. Follow Him. Stop orbitting ourselves, since we are unable to plot the course anyway. Sunday school language, you say? What does it really mean? Guilt should be like a cop’s ligths in the rear view mirror. When we feel it, we’ve started doing our own things again. So we stop the action. We hunker down and pray,  which doesn’t mean we do all the talking. We listen, and His small voice will plot us a course correction. Or we pull out the Word, find a word in the back that matches what’s bugging us, and flip around until the words give us His answer. Yep, simple, but marvelous at the same time. Here’s a way better saying: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Prov. 3:5-6 So, who needs resolutions?

Family

It seems appropriate on Thanksgiving to say what I know about family. I think it’s possible there’s a myth of the perfect family we all think someone else has. Nobody farts at the table, brings less food than they should, or cusses in front of the children. The men do the dishes instead of playing or watching football, or the women do them without complaining, or they do them together and then all play football. I do not believe this family exists. Families can be “cussed,” as my beloved Pastor Yaeger used to say. That would be cuss-ed, not spoken ill of. So what do we do about that?

I’ve seen some folks turn their backs on each other. Now, I’m not saying there isn’t a place for that. If you’ve explained to your relative, whom you did not get to pick, that their words or behavior are causing you a problem, let’s say at least three times, and the response is something like, “Can’t help it. That’s just how I am,” a little back-turning may be instructive. That’s assuming, of course, that in your heart of hearts, you are willing to forgive should they repent. See, there’s this stuff in the Book that says if we don’t forgive, God will behave in the same manner. Gives you pause, doesn’t it?

When the family gathers, like today, if the warring parties can put their differences on the back burner enough to acknowledge each other’s presence, that’s pretty good. At least it cuts the other family members a break. We just won’t sit you next to each other, being the considerate folks we are.

However, there are those, who shall remain nameless, who not only refuse to repent, but traipse blithely on dropping bombs on others just to show who’s boss. The outcome being that someone refuses to see someone else. Great, now what? Well, pilgrim, you gonna be having Thanksgiving all over the place. Now isn’t that an Irish way of dealing with it? I say that because the Irish believe you are never lost, you are just enjoying new vistas. These resilient people find a way. So, find a way. Divvy up the fam to various houses, or fly from one to another. That’s grace, right?

Just remember one thing. There is something about blood relation that God planned into us. It’s like our DNA calls back and forth, or something. That relative that drives you nuts is going to be in trouble one day, if not now, then later. When s/he is, all this hoopde goes out the window, and the family rallies round. So, if you can, why not do it now? Save a lot of stomach knots. Just sayin’.