Sunday, July 20, 2014

Reboot---the next chapter.

What happened after my snot slinging cry? My new found friend took me under her wing and I knocked  24/7. I was a fragile piece of wreckage. Five years of physical, sexual,  and emotional abuse had taken their toll. What was left was on shaky ground. I was ready to follow. For the first time in my life I wasn't rebelling.
My friend spent hours with me, which turned into months and then years. She is my best friend the one who lives in Florida. There isn't an end to that story. BUT there was a weaning...of course.


We spent every day together. We went to church together and it was a growing thing but not quite right. Finally at one church she decided that "this is for you", but not her. 
WHHAAATTTT?

Firmly she told me to stay there and meet people. I did. I met the love of my life my sweet husband Jimmy.
I also met the Baptist potluck.

My first sight of it was GROSS!!! I have never felt such revulsion. Junk food everywhere, packaged, processed sugary piles of sweets...gluttony.  I was sick looking and my new friend said, "but it tastes so good try some". It did indeed taste good.

Why?

Why did I take the first bite? What part of me was ready to abandon all I had learned? For all of my faults diet and exercise were not one of them. I was in the best shape of my life. I was an athlete. I rode a bike, roller skated, went to jazzercize three times a week. I was fit. I had learned about nutrition and I didn't eat food LIKE THAT. Why did I take the first bite?

In Mathew chapter 23 Jesus lets the pharisees have it with both fists. The heading over the battle is called "8 woes". Here is a little of it, listen to the anger.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe (give a portion) mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes, and pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but the inside is full of robbery and self indulgence.

wow what is talking about?

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like white washed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are  full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.

WOW. Talk about show don't tell.  Jesus has that down doesn't he?

From the beginning since I was now "saved". I assumed that the scriptures that taught about scribes and Pharisees were about someone else, not me. In fact anytime there was a mention of someone not doing the right thing it wasn't me. I was the good Samaritan, the good soil, the pearl of great price....but there came a moment when I questioned that.

What if I am not good soil? Truthfully don't I let the thorns and briars in? Don't I let the worries and cares of this life take precedence over everything else? If I live like there is no God where is God? If I worry about houses and land, cars and bills, the daily grind of life, what to eat and what to wear; where is my faith?

When I drive by the homeless and look the other way to avoid the sign asking for food, when I throw the mail in the trash unopened with pleas to feed the starving; am I the good Samaritan? Am I loving my neighbor as myself?

I think not.

All of a sudden the Bible began to be a whole new book. I stopped assuming that I am the good guy and started really looking at what Jesus says and I have fallen miserably short. In fact I would go so far as to say I have done it all wrong. Seriously.

I have studied,  preached, and explained, all from a distance. When you speak with authority and proclaim and admonish...you are in effect above and out of reach.  Just like a Pharisee. I am not too harsh with myself, don't freak out, just listen to me. Do you like being preached at? Didn't think so.

What did Jesus do and how did He do it?

He walked, talked, served, ate and told stories. He connected with people. He showed them with stories the truth about God. He revealed the kingdom of heaven to men. He showed great mercy, he healed the sick, made friends with the outcasts, and lived among them...the poor, the sick, the disenfranchised. Wow he was a freak really; and we would strongly object to his methods. Which is why we are like we are, isn't it?

Did Jesus define following Him as saying a little prayer and asking him "into your heart". so that you could be once saved always saved for repeating a little ditty? Did He say that ever?

Actually he said, " Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Math. 7:13. 

Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord ," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is heaven will enter. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform miracles? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' 

Ok alrighty then.  I have a little expression when I teach, it's "you can always trust the red letters, that is Jesus talking. These red letters are scary. I don't now about you but I have not cast out demons or performed miracles.  That seems like credentials for the upper eschalon of the church and indeed it very may well be. Jesus doesn't call us to potlucks and platitudes. He calls us to pick up our own cross and die daily.  Why doesn't He know them? What does it mean to know?

 What does that look like in real life?

Does it look like the church?

Does it look like me being all about myself, my plans, my desires,my goals, my vacations, my savings accounts, my all about me agenda? I AM ALWAYS ON MY MIND.....

Why am I talking about this?

A revelation that back in the beginning instead of being transformed I picked up new junk. I dropped the behaviors that I was told to drop. Don't smoke, eat or chew; or go with boys that do.  Without inner transformation of the soul dropping one list of don'ts results in picking up a new list of do's. My new list had food. The new list had only one acceptable vice gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins.

Here I am. Asking and still knocking. Seeking, fasting and requesting deliverance from this most deadly sin.

 I no longer want to be a tomb full of dead men's bones. I am seeking the narrow gate. The good news is that transformation HAS INDEED been happening since that first morning on my living room floor. Step by step Jesus has been guiding me and teaching me. But now He is taking it to anutha whole level. Jesus wants to bust out of the "religious" box and take over me life. I have been just wrecked lately again, coming to the end of myself again, and realizing that the greatest gift is LOVE. Not man's love, God's love....He loves us.

I have been singing, "I want MORE of YOU God!!! I have been asking ,"BREAK every chain"!
 I have been admitting how I fail, "Help my unbelief". I want to be so radically different so full of God's love that it is irresistible.  I want to be a light in a dark place to share the love of God.

God is answering.....to be continued....

Friday, July 18, 2014

Rebooting---juice fasting--really?

How did I get here? Really?
This was me? The woman who was so into health food. NO SUGAR allowed! The girls ate halvah for a treat. Halvah is sesame candy made with honey. My daughter went straight to the junk food section of the store when she left home and bought everything in sight.  I guess I was too zealous.

But this...is me. Half the weight I am now.

I have been praying some short and powerful prayers. Prayers I mean with all my heart...like; "I want more of you God---BREAK every chain".

Who is Jesus anyway and WHY did He come?

Good question.

Jesus was authentic, accessible and vulnerable. He was constantly coming against the authority of the religious of the day; the Scribes and the Pharisees, the makers of rules of men. He called them a lot of names; snakes, vipers, tombs full of dead men's bones, sons of hell, the blind leading the blind. Not exactly politically correct. His courage to take on the phoney was without limit. He asked a lot of questions. Jules Verne said something about questions and men, that once asked it has to be answered even if it takes a hundred years. Something like that.  It seems that really good communication happens when we ask questions. People feel valued when we ask them questions about themselves. They are valued when another person stops thinking about themselves long enough to consider what is going on in the life of another. Does asking questions then also work for us about ourselves?  They might.

I have been asking. How did I get here? Simple question really, but the how lead to a why and a when and there you go we are off onto 17 rabbit trails of inquiry. I have been thinking a lot lately because I haven't been eating. I have eaten a little. Some days I have eaten nothing.  It is AMAZING how much of our lives revolve around FOOD.

Last week we had a little get-together with the women who come to my church. I had invited my friend Amy Lancaster from We Will Go to come and visit with them. Originally we were going to have a retreat but no one wanted to sign up except the leadership. That was a reality check. How effective are you at leading if no one wants to follow? I go to We Will Go every week most of the time. It's a revolution in the heart of inner city Jackson what we call in the south a "hood".  It's a revolution because it's people living like Jesus, talking like Jesus, being the hands and feet of Jesus and changing their world; one precious person at a time. Most of the time those precious people are drug dealers, crack heads, thieves, prostitutes, homeless, and stinky. The affluent refer to them as the outer circle or fringes of society.  Jesus called them sick. Those are the people he chose to hang out with. He included tax collectors which was very generous of Him don't you think?

At my little party Amy shared how We Will Go started and how God unwrapped the whole thing one step at a time. None of it was really their idea, it was all God. He orchestrated everything. It took incredible courage to follow Him into the hood.  It's cleaned up now to a fairly "safe" level, 7 years ago it was deadly. It was as rough a ghetto as you can imagine when they moved in with their little kids. An amazing story you should hear the whole thing sometime...but to cut to the chase I want to get to one particular part. Amy said from the very first night people knocked on their front door 24 hours a day they knocked and they asked.
To demonstrate she knocked on the arm of my rocking chair and I was transported back into time.

I met her at a hair appointment. I was a traveling hairdresser. I had arrived at an elderly clients home and she had a new sitter. We introduced ourselves and I went about washing and rolling my customers hair. When I put her under the dryer we began to talk.  ACTUALLY I began to talk because this woman was lit up. Not like drunk, like light....real light. I was thinking in my head, "Is this an aura"? What the heck?  As I looked at her I began telling her all of my horrible secrets, you see I was living a lie. My family thought the wayward black sheep had finally married and was in a good situation. Everyone was so proud of me. I made a lot of stupid decisions starting in high school and one after another led me to nothing but trouble. I am not sure why. Someone could say it was my parents divorce or yada yada yada, but NO I was simply stupid, irresponsible, and heartless. I followed one code of conduct, if it feels good do it. No thought to anyone else ever. I hurt a lot of people. When I got married and actually had 2 jobs my family was ecstatic! But behind closed doors I had married a son of satan himself, an evil man who hurt us. I was ashamed of it, so ashamed that it was a secret no one knew except those who were tortured behind closed doors.

Sitting in front of the lady of light I couldn't shut up, I started crying and telling her everything. I told her I was in trouble, really bad trouble. She listened. I am not sure what I would do if someone did that to me. What would you do? Really? Don't most of us RUN as fast as we can from STRANGE crying people?
She worked for an agency. She could have said nothing. She could have asked for a job transfer to get away from me. She could have told me I was a disturbed person who needed counseling. She could have called the cops! She didn't chose any of those options. She chose to follow Jesus into an unlovely, wretched woman's life. She said, "You need God".

So simple. Some folks do say that religion is for the weak, the opiate of the masses and all that. I remember. If I would not have been so broken, so frightened and so sorry I probably would have scoffed at her. I had a taste of religion as a child and really wasn't looking for that. I was looking for a RESCUE. 

I went to her church. I wish I had a picture of us. I have one in my head. Having gone to church I knew we needed dresses. I didn't own one so I went to the Salvation Army and bought a little red calico cotton dress someone had made for $3. It had short sleeves an empire waist and some piping. I thought it was cute in a Little House on the Prairie kind of way. The girls had on cute outfits their clothes extended beyond jeans and t-shirts. I showed up in that, bra less and in flip flops. Early on being a single parent I discovered that underwear was expensive by opting out we had more to eat. I could have it then, but had decided it was a waste of money and stupid. So much for reasonable thinking. There we were in a church. The music was kind of fun but it made me want to cry. Then a man stood up and began talking. He was pretty passionate about his subject and unbelievably WE were his subject!!!

Have you ever had an experience where someone you don't even know is describing your life like they have been spying on you?

It was freaky. We looked at each other with the deer in the headlights eyes. One of the girls whispered to me, "How does he know"? I shook my head no. I didn't know the answer to that question.

Once a question is asked.

Do you remember, "Question authority"?  Now it seems like we have flipped to never question authority but that is a rabbit trail for another question.

How did he know?  He didn't. He didn't know us from the man in the moon but GOD did. It was God who was showing us their were no secrets. He laid everything out open and bare. I was shaken. They handed me a visitors packet and I went home. I don't remember anything about the rest of that day. I have a feeling I was just going through the motions on auto pilot. It was the next morning when I picked up the packet and started reading that everything fell into place. I read a tiny booklet.  It had some pictures that showed a man's life without Jesus portrayed as a circle with the man in the center chaos all around. Then a contrasting circle with Jesus in the center and order around the circle.
I turned the page.
Another picture. Two cliffs facing a deep ravine, the bridge across was a wooden cross lying on it's side. Darkness on one side and light on the other.  The journey from one side to the other could only happen by crossing that bridge.
It clicked.  I got it. As tears started flooding my face I went into my living room and got down on my knees and began to talk. I poured out everything. All of my regrets, all my shame, all my fears. I don't know how long I was there but it was a long time. My eyes were swollen and I had been slinging snot when I got up. I wasn't pretty but I got up from that floor reborn.

All the things that happened after that could fill a book. This has turned into a lengthy introduction! I was talking about something else all together really, remember? I started out with how did I get here? Twice the size of my true self. I couldn't answer the questions without setting the stage because this was the turning point.  When did I get off track? How did it happen? How am I getting back on the track?

Jesus simply said "Follow me".  He spent a lot of time "dissing" the rules of men. Outward form of godliness without inner change. He hated the lists of rules, the do do do and don't don't don't.   Jesus came to transform not conform.

How do we follow Jesus then? Not like I did.
After thirty years I realize I have been doing it wrong.

to be continued....





Monday, June 16, 2014

This &That Thanks

 Flash from the past. This was when I graduated from nursing school in 1994. I pulled these pictures out for Father's Day. That's me with my Dad when I was a baby.
 It has been the BEST year so far. These pictures are of my daughter and her daughter together!!!
 I am so loving this.
 They had these made for mothers day.  Heather and I sat for a picture at her church they were free, a gift on Mother's day :)
A quick change of subjects let's go from family portraits to the front yard! how is that for this and that random?
 I did use rocks around the front of the bed and as you can see I need to be doing some weedin again!!
 We have had so much rain, and HOT sun!
 Which makes everything grow double time. One of my most favorite flowers is in this pot. Want to guess?
 Do you remember that I said I wanted to make a sign for my shed that said, "Garden of Weedin"?
 Heather painted it for me
 I love it. This "shed" just looks adorable! Inside there is nothing but junk, haha.
This kitchen is done. The smell of paint is gone the doors closed and the floor is not mopped. Got ya. I took a day off today. My back is really tired and threatening to have a hissy fit. Once in awhile I need to listen.
I boxed up packages and went to the post office & UPS.  I spent $60 shipping stuff around the globe how crazy is that? Did you ever see a 5cent stamp? I remember them they were blue and a head on them. I think it was George Washington. I also remember gas for 21 cents a gallon. Now that I have completely dated myself I can move on to another topic.....

Which is why we do all this house keeping and gardening in the first place. We make homes for family and friends. We make homes for people to gather together and sit around the table and rejoice. I love having a home and keeping a home; it is a privilege that  all of us can at times take for-granted. I think there was more meaning in the words housewife or homemaker back in the day. It seems now it's more like buying the biggest house making it look like a magazine and then eating out because everyone works. It's fine if that's the life you chose, I am not dissing anyone personally. It's just that as I get older and think more about what kind of example I leave to my family and friends I want them to remember my home, not my house.
I want them to remember meals around my table.
Evenings on the patio. Dancing to the boombox outside or picking vegetables from the garden. I hope they remember the work of my hands and the love in my heart.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Getting There Making Progress

 All of the cabinets are clean now. I am very grateful that I do not have a ginormous kitchen. This much kitchen wore me out!!!
 But it was so worth it.
 The bottom ones needed paint badly, in and out. Amazingly the wall paper that I took off had protected the paint and those with paper in them were just fine with a good scrubbing.
See these were just washed not painted. Are you wondering how I matched the paint? I wondered if I was going to get into trouble with that. I had a quart of semi gloss exterior cream color paint from the outside of the house. I figured it would work for the inside of the cabinets. I used it and as it dried I realized I really had a match!!!! I must love this color white. I couldn't have matched it this well if I tried!

 The amount of stuff I have purged from this place makes me wonder if I am getting hoarder tendencies. All of this junk came out of the little bitty store room.
 I organized it too. You could hardly walk in there. How much junk does it take to maintain two people?

How many cups? All of this did NOT go back in. I am proud to claim some empty spaces and my intentions are to leave them that way.

 Seriously? All of this is going to the garage sale.
 And the room is so much better for it.

Pantry organized. Nothing to throw away from there except for 2 snack bars that got lost in the shuffle.

Sometimes my consumerism just slaps me upside the head! I get a lot of stuff for free but that doesn't mean I have to keep it. A couple of weeks ago I found a rusty Schwinn bike in the trash. It's not as bad as it sounds I am not jumping into dumpsters. YET! Out here people set things out on the curb.
I brought it home and checked ebay. Nice and clean they sell for about $90 it looked like a 70's model. So I put it on craigslist for $20. It sold asap not bad for a little trash recycling.  I think I need to do more recycling and less keeping. I have such a hard time leaving perfectly good things on the curb for trash day.

In-spite of my dumpster inclinations and my cupboards getting over stuffed, I think my ability to toss and recycle may yet keep my kids from going through an awful ordeal when I leave this earth.  They wouldn't have to much trouble right now should I awhhhh suddenly expire for some reason; just sayin.

Like I said cleaning out Bob's place has made me think. The way I was saving up by the time I hit my nineties I'd have as much for my family to do. It's been a good experience and given me a fresh picture about accumulating. It takes everything I have to keep up with my place. Two buckets of weedin a day, vaccuming, washing, filling in the holes the dawgs dig.....and on and on. I used to do this and work full time!!!!
How did I do that? I don't know really, I marvel when I think. It's incomprehensible to me that I worked 12 hours a day and kept house.

The good news is that I am moving around well enough to take care of my home and have not been able to do that for a long time. I am so grateful! Grateful for health and grateful to this guy.
He has stayed through the good and bad, sickness and health, pack rat or minimalist; he is mine; and I love him more than I can say.  I get mushy like that when he wears a pretty shirt :)

Tomorrow I will close the cupboard doors (they have been airing still) mop the floor and move up into the attic! Then it will be back to the yard because I am behind on weedin.....

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

MOVING OMG


 I am always talking about moving. I really don't know why. I just get ideas and talk about going other places. It really drives my family nuts especially since the one time I actually made a move; it was huge like from California to Mississippi.




 Recently I have been working on moving. For the last month I have been packing, boxing, organizing and wearing myself out.
 It has come to this. The last of the stuff for sale.  HIS stuff!!
Because we moved him to be closer to his family. It's the best thing for him and he moves into an assisted living apartment near his sons this weekend. You would think that would be enough to do right?

But noooooooo. Actually it freaked me out about stuff. You would not believe how much stuff people accumulate A lot of it was just trash too;sooooooooo.....I decided to start CLEANING.

When we first got here wall paper was so IN. It was also cheap and I thought I was so brilliant using wallpaper for shelf paper in my kitchen cabinets.It was a lot less than contact paper which is so retro now.
She says tongue in cheek.

 It has stayed right where I put it because I glued it on. Yes indeedy! Brains I tell ya!!!

 I have a lot of cupboards to clean and remove the paper. The only thing good about it is the paint is in pretty decent shape underneath. I thought about painting but then where would I stop? Everything needs paint.All the paint is the same age if I repaint the cabinets I'll repaint the trim and then the moldings and the doors and....you SEE? It would end up with me doing all the woodwork in the whole house!  I want to live so I decided not to paint.

 So no on the painting. Yes, to the cleaning and yes to some purging. We all collect stuff. It's scary when you move to see how much there is to do. Just in case I really decide to go somewhere else it won't be so bad when I finish this.
 This entire side is finished including the drawers. It looks so clean and nice. I am worn out. But I have the rest of the kitchen to finish. Then the laundry room and the pantry.
 If I am still alive I will just stay put and enjoy it.
Pretty impressive right? Or maybe just crazy.

Truthfully I am really grateful to be able to clean my house again. It really needs it. I won't tell you how many years it's been since it's had a good, "going over". Spring is for cleaning, gardening and basically working yourself to death right?
I hope I can move tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Entertaining Out of Town Friends

 What do you do when you have company for a week? You have to find something for them to do right?
Even best friends can't sit around all day every day and just jaw, eat, and drink beer. Where we live there are a few attractions that guys would like. One day we decided to go check out this place.
 I have to admit I was impressed. I even tried on a back pack. The real kind. I immediately took it off too.
 Out here they have some fun slogans....


don't get me wrong I am not insinuating anything.

I had a blast taking pictures here.
This is a toy shop for grown up kids.


 Like
WOW.
 OK I would not want all the animal heads in my house but I am so into this fireplace and the SCREEN!
 This couch, I want this couch. Who knows what a couch trimmed in real cowhide costs. The cushions were buttery soft and the color perfect. I love country. I didn't know that until I came into this place. When I saw the couch it was love at first sit. Looking at that gorgeous fireplace and that sculptured fireplace screen.
 This is a closeup of the detailed metal sculptures on the screen. Amazing.
 The top corner talk about 3D,how about some gorgeous leaves and branches?
 He's your little Huckleberry, such great artwork. The day was coming up roses and then this!!!! They had my truck! The first vehicle I ever bought for myself and paid $200 for it. Those really were good old days.
I LOVED my Chevy truck. It was this color too, and it was a 3 speed on the column just like this.
 So I posed in front of it.
 and got some sass goin on....
 Hey baby wanta ride?
 I tried to get in it but the door was locked.
I woulda just borrowed it.
 They had a lot of exhibits, like this coyote.
 live fish
 The store has so many lights it was impossible not get reflections from the lights on the glass. These fish were huge. They are intended to make guys who like fish go for the gusto and buy out the fishing gear department.
 They make it look good.
 This is my toy of choice. These are FUN. They just are. Yeah I know they are dangerous but they are also fun.

 Meeting him would be dangerous.
This was on the wall a very cool display.
Made me want to go find a lake and paddle around.
Seriously this place can inspire you to go somewhere and get busy.


 
 Nice boats.

and my guy. What a sport he jumped up on this boat to put the SIZE of this motor in perspective. Seriously I feel like a part of the dark ages. When did this size motor come out and wow you should have seen this $22,000 boat! The seats looked awesome like you could sit in them comfortably all day long. It had a hard deck for people to stand on while fishing.  Me? I loved the motor I gotta need for speed. I wish we could have taken this baby out onto the reservoir and just borrowed it.

Like I said they gotta great store motto.