Norma

Norma

When did you know you were grown up?

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Norma took her time walking back home through the pasture after checking the cows.  She gauged the time by the sun: she’d be expected home to help with supper in another half hour.  She had found two of their cows ready to drop new calves by tomorrow.  She’d let Pa know where they were, so he could check on them later tonight.

She glanced up as she heard the buzz of a small plane.  There was Mr Griffin, blowing out the cobs and checking the area fields.  He dipped his wings and waved at Norma.  She waved back and sighed.  How she would love to be in that pilot seat right now!  Oh, to fly!

Norma tarried just a bit longer in the beautiful outdoors before she headed inside.  It was a cheerful, comfortable home, full of brothers and sisters playing or trying to go about their business.  “Wash up, Norma, and start the potatoes,” Ma called over her shoulder.  She was putting in the biscuits and rocking the baby at the same time.

Everyone gathered at the supper table – all ten children with Ma and Pa.  Norma was fourth in line, after her big brother and two elder sisters.  It was a noisy, jostling affair each day, with each one eager to share their experiences and ideas and questions.  Pa was the conductor, quietly but firmly heading off, or encouraging or reproving by a nod or a smile or a look.

Just before time to clear the dishes, Pa scraped his chair back a little and cleared his throat.  Everyone looked expectantly at him.

“Well, Ma,” he started.”  Looks like we’ll have a good amount of chickens coming up, for laying and eggs.”

Ma smiled and nodded.

“There’ll be a fair amount of work for the younger crowd tomorrow.  Robert brought the straw wagon around, so it’s lined up.  The little ones can help clear out the cow barn; then the chicken coop needs a good cleaning, and it’ll need fresh straw.  He looked at the younger faces.  “Make sure you’re looking for eggs before you start throwing straw around.”  They nodded.  Lucille and two of the younger boys shot an impish grin toward Norma.  These were usually Norma’s chores, tho’ they were supposed to be helping.  It wasn’t one of Norma’s favorite ways to spend time, but at least it was outdoor work.  She was glad of her older and younger sisters, plenty of ’em for helping Ma inside.

Pa and Ma exchanged twinkles in their eyes.

Pa continued.  “Now Robert, here, as the oldest, has been my right-hand man for a long time.  But, you know, he’s taken a job working out.  So,” he paused for dramatic effect.  “So tomorrow, I’ll need Norma to hop into the tractor and work in the field.”  He smiled at Norma.  “Think you can handle that?”

Norma beamed.  Could she ever!

That night, Norma carefully laid out her work clothes for the next day.  She sure didn’t want to be late!  She smirked just a little at the younger ones’ dismay over her new chores: this meant they’d have to take over the chicken house and barn mucking.  As she lay her head on the pillow, Norma mused, “I’m an adult now.  Really grown up.  I wonder what else being an adult will mean for me?”

Luv Dat Famlee

Family get-togethers,

reunions and such,

aunties and uncles

get back in touch

 

with all those we love,

and all those we don’t;

those whom we hug

and those whom we won’t.

 

It’s hard to choose,

when family gives you lip:

grit your teeth

or let ‘er rip.

 

They gabble together,

those elders lament,

of morals and politics;

Wonder where the grandkids went?

 

Food brings us back

and ties us together.

Ice cream and sparklers

strengthen the tethers.

 

Families are funny

the way they pan out,

a mish-mash of kin

we can’t do without.

 

Born into, or adopted,

or take in a stray.

We love ’em, we hate ’em,

can’t give ’em away.

 

When it comes to family,

one cannot choose.

When it comes to family,

one cannot refuse.

 

Pour out thy love,

measure by measure,

to those whom God gives you

in His good pleasure.

Secret Sin Not So Secret

secret sin

In the book of Jonah, God tells Jonah to go prophesy against Nineveh. Jonah rebels and runs in the opposite direction. He jumps on a ship, which sets sail and then encounters a terrible storm. Jonah is asleep in the bowels of the ship, but the crew are running about, distracted, trying everything they know to save themselves: they pray to their gods, they throw all the wares they’re carrying overboard. Nothing assuages the storm. They find Jonah asleep. He’s the only one who isn’t panicking and trying to save himself. When questioned, he returns an honest reply (that he serves the living God who created and controls all things), and the crew’s panic deepens. Jonah offers the solution, to throw him overboard. The crew, instead of instantly obeying him, decide to try to row themselves to safety. It doesn’t work, they throw Jonah overboard, and the storm is quieted.

My initial thought was to post about all the ways we try to “fix” our own problems. The crew didn’t know what to do, didn’t even know the true God, so they did everything they could think of. Even after they were introduced to God, they still thought they could fix the situation themselves. Of course, it still didn’t work. When God wants something done, it doesn’t get fixed until we obediently follow His direction. We all do things like that: try to fix our messes (whether we caused them or they were thrust upon us) in our own strength and knowledge, only to expend a bunch of useless energy and resources before turning to God for our true Help. He always knows best.

But then I got to thinking more about this. (God always has more when you go deeper.) Another message here is how our sin doesn’t just affect us: it affects those around us.

Do you have a secret sin? Something you think is only all about you? Something you think doesn’t hurt anyone else, and you can put up with whatever harm may come to you?

Jonah ran from God. He wasn’t hurting anyone else. But the consequences affected others. Besides throwing fear into the hearts of the crew, the wares in the ship were thrown overboard. Some businessmen lost a lot of money because of Jonah. Of course, God redeems: the crew were introduced to God; and we don’t know the repercussions of the lost wares.

When we sin, it’s not just about us. God is a God of relationships, and He created us for relationships. When we sin, even if we keep it a secret, it hurts someone besides us. A secret sin changes us inside. How we think, and what we do as a result, affects others.

Another thought: secret sin builds up and destroys. (remember? The wages of sin is death?) Sin kills things inside of us, changes the way we think and feel. And, it’s going to come out somehow. Don’t let it explode in anger against someone. Don’t wait, thinking you can handle it your way, until things get out of control. Sin takes you to places you never wanted to go, makes you do things you never wanted to do, hurts people you never wanted to hurt.

CONFESS YOUR SIN. Talk to God. He can keep secrets; he can let the right people know; He can put you in a humbling position; He can lift you up. He will know the right thing to do, and He will do it because He loves you.

The Very Worst Thing

worst thing death

It seems the consensus of the masses is that life is to be had at any cost, and that death is The Very Worst Thing. Angry quotes are captured, “It didn’t have to happen. This tragedy could have been prevented!” Articles begin, “Want to live longer? Of course! We all do!” then go on to outline what steps we can take to extend our time on Earth.

Maybe I’m in the minority, but I don’t want to live longer. I want to bring glory to God while I’m here, and to take care of myself so that my years here are as productive and as healthy as possible; but I don’t want to spend any more time in this life than what God has planned for me, and I’m looking forward to spending Eternity with Him.

Philippians 1.21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain

I won’t disagree that death is a sad thing for those left on Earth. Even Jesus wept when His friend, Lazarus, died. I believe He wept because of the sadness around Him, because people didn’t see from His perspective.

Of course we miss those who have died. We may feel anguish because of the way someone died, and what we all went through in the process. We may wail at deep regret after someone is gone. We may shed bittersweet tears at the soft memories of someone gone on. We may wish that a loved one could have met someone who is no longer with us. We don’t understand death. How could we? We’ve never experienced it. No one can come back and tell us what it’s like.

What’s more, we can’t control death. We can commit murder – ourselves or another – but it is God Who decides time of death, just as He decides time of life.

Look at Moses. Although he was a man of God who slipped up sometimes, he followed hard after his God, loved Him with all his heart. And yet, God did not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land – the land that Moses had been waiting 40+ years to enter, the promise to which he’d led these stiff-necked Israelites! God allowed Moses to look upon the Promised Land, then took him to his heavenly home. Do you think Moses was bitter when God told him he couldn’t enter? I don’t. I think death was a blessing for Moses, and he knew it. He knew God doesn’t slap someone on the hand and petulantly cry, “You can’t do that because you disobeyed me!” It was simply a consequence and a blessing – and an answer to prayer. How many times had Moses begged the Lord to take him?

Death is a transition from temporal reality to eternity. Some will spend eternity in hell; others, like Moses, will live forever with God, our Savior.

No, I believe death is not the worst thing. Some people know there are things worse than death. For some, life is worse than death: a life of abuse, a life that has been taught (and believes) lies about worth and mercy and love and tenderloving care, a life that feels alone and tossed out and uncared for, a life that seems wasted. For those we pray God’s redeeming love be poured out without measure, full and overflowing.

Mt 10.28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Psalm 90.15: Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.

We are left with however many days God gives us here on Earth. They’re for His glory. What’s important is HOW we spend our days:

Psalm 90.12, 14: So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Prayer Vigil

From Julie Dibbles’ blog: https://juliedibblewrites.wordpress.com/2018/08/17/the-prayer-vigil/

Aren’t we all mourning for adults whose childhood innocence was stolen in the name of God, mourning because their pain has been hushed and silenced for so long, mourning because some of the adults still don’t know what healing from this trauma is.

If you are a follower of Jesus, join this prayer vigil Friday August 24th at 8pm Easterntime covering all victims of sex crimes by priests with focus on the 1000 or more who have come forward in PA and for those who need to repent.

If you are a leader and follower of Jesus, please gather people. Gather them in your home, at the church, at your place of work, at your child’s sports field, on the neighborhood green, online for this prayer vigil.

If you are a follower of Jesus who has friends who have influence in their communities, please share this vigil’s time and purpose with them and ask them to share it.

Where is Your Joy?

Joy

The Joy of the Lord
Who handles your joy? In His Word, God promises us joy. It is fruit of the Spirit. It is within us at all times, if the Spirit is within us. Can you feel it?
Joy is directly related to peace (also fruit of the Spirit).
God gives us everlasting, continuous joy and peace. (Jesus said, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.) We are not to be troubled (angry, jealous) or afraid (fear lack of control).
How we handle God’s gifts is up to us. We decide who controls our joy and peace.
Your so-called friend stabbed you in the back? Don’t give your friend your joy and peace. Your spouse hurt you? Don’t give away God’s gifts.
Focus on God. Granted, we have no power in ourselves to “get over it.” Die to self. Allow God to fill you with His presence, His joy, His peace. He is the God of Comfort, the God Who Heals.
Harboring hurts only hurts us. We are to be obedient and show others Christ in us. Yes, even when it’s tough. Don’t use your own strength – use God’s. It’s eternal and powerful.
Don’t allow the fleeting things of this world to rob you of your joy and peace. Set your mind on things above. Allow God to work in and through you.

Random Acts of Kindness Award

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Stuart, you’ve done it again, nomination for the RAKA. You do bless my socks off.

My Random Act of Kindness story is all of you in this blogging world that I’ve run into. Kindness is so much more than sweet, nice, or encouraging words (although, it is all of those, when they are truly meant). Sometimes it is a kindness to point out a hard truth. Sometimes it is kind to bare one’s heart and share the deeply buried treasures (pretty or not). It is kind, always, to share the marvelous workings of the Holy Spirit. Kindness is rightly dividing the Word of God.

Here’s to you, my Blogger World Friends. Thank you for your kindnesses. I have been receiving your gifts and treasuring them.

Thank you, Amy. Stuart, thank you. Daily 😊. Julie, Wendi, Ana, Maxine, you are all blessings to me. William, I treasure your special gifts. Vickie, Christy, Savannah, Brenda, and Sue, you lift me up. John, 140CharacterChristian, Lynn and Cindy, your gifts of words are a kindness to so many. David, Rotimi, Danielle, Marie, Vanessa, Jess, and Lois, I so appreciate you.

Also very much appreciated for your kindness are the comments and replies I read from many of you in so many of the blogs we share. Thank you.

The award was created by Mws R Writings
Random Acts of Kindness Award/KA

Here are the rules:

Tell who you nominate and why.

Copy and share the picture that shows the award, posted above.

Share a paragraph of something that impacted your own life in the way of receiving kindness or how you extended kindness to someone else.

Nominate anyone or share to your own page. If you so choose to Participate. Tag or pingback to the original person who nominated you, or the original post.

Safe?

Can We Live in Safety? Can Our Kids / Grandkids?

The short answer is no. We cannot built a safe environment for ourselves, our kids, or our grandkids. We cannot control everything in our, and their, lives. We can try to keep the boogie man out; we can do everything in our power to keep them innocent and pure. BUT, evil lurks: sometimes it’s in other people, sometimes it’s within our kids / grandkids and the choices they make.

Our military stands at the ready to protect our country. The US is now creating a Space Force to protect us from warfare waged in space. Can we feel protected?

Hackers can break into our accounts. Thieves can break into our personal space. We set up guards. Can anti-virus and credit protection keep us safe?

All we can do is trust that the steps we have taken, and that our government have taken, are enough to keep us safe, right?

Of course it’s not enough.

So we’re left with the fact that God lets these awful things happen. Sudden illness; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; thievery; bullying. So much evil in this world, and we don’t like it.

What can we do?

We can live in peace. We have no need to live in fear for our lives, our kid’s lives, or our grandkids.

Why? How?

Even though this world is not a safe place, and we cannot promise safety to our kids, we can go about our lives in peace.

God’s got this. God’s got YOU, and your kids and grandkids. He is our loving, powerful, omniscient, omnipresent God. HE is in control.

Isaiah 41.10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. This tells me God is always with me, therefore, whatever happens, even if it’s scary, I need not fear. (Think of Jesus in the boat in the storm. The disciples were terrified for their lives, but Jesus knew God had them.)

Isaiah 41.13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. God’s got me. I’m safe with Him, even when my surroundings may not be safe.

Isaiah 43.1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. God created me for a purpose. He will keep me until that purpose is fulfilled, and then I get to go with Him.

Isaiah 43.5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed (descendants) from the east, and gather thee from the west; God has a purpose for our kids and grandkids, too. He will keep and preserve them.

Matthew 10.28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. When our physical or emotional life is in danger, it’s hard to keep an eternal focus. Call on the Lord.

Lamentations 3.57 Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not. When we call Him, He answers.

Psalm 4.8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. We need not lay awake at night, worrying about our lives or the lives of others. If we can’t sleep, talk to God.

Romans 15.13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Not in our own power, but in the power of the Holy Spirit, can we fear not, and live in joy and peace.

I close with this passage, comforting words from God that are close to my heart:

Psalm 73.23-26 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

A Love Letter to You

love letter

Dearest (insert your name here), my Beloved,

I have searched thee, and I have known thee. I understand your thoughts afar off. I encompass your path, and I am acquainted with all your ways. I have beset you behind and before, and I have laid My hand upon you. Take heart, my beloved! There is nowhere you can go from My Spirit, nowhere you can flee from my presence. Even if you dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall my hand lead you, and My right hand shall hold you. I have made thee most fearfully and wonderfully. I have made your soul to know that I have created a marvelous work in you.                                         Ps 139

I take pleasure in you. I beautify the meek with salvation.                                         Ps 149.4

I am ever in the midst of thee, and I am mighty. I will save. I will rejoice over thee with joy; I will rest in my love for you; I will joy over thee with singing.                     Zeph 3.17

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.                                                                                                                     Is 41.10

I will show you the path of life: in My presence is fullness of joy, and at My right hand there are pleasures for evermore.                                                                                 Ps 16.11

I am love. I have brought you to dwell in Me, and I dwell in you.                     1 John 4.16

Out of my love, I have created you in order that I may have a relationship with you. You are rooted and grounded in love. I draw you to Me, that you may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of Me, your Creator and Lover of your soul.                                                Ephesians 3.17 – 19

My Dear, you are Mine forever. And I have given unto you eternal life; you shall never perish, and no one can ever pluck you out of my hand.                                    John 10.28

I will cherish you forever, and we will be together forever.

Agape,

Your Lord and Creator, Jehovah