Sunday, September 30, 2012
There comes a point in every one's life when the Sovereignty of God has to be settled. No matter how long you want to dance around it, HE either IS or HE ISN'T. There cannot be a middle of the road on this issue. Sovereignty is one of those words like pregnant, Italian, Blond, and tall. You either are or your aren't! There's no debating the fact. It's a done deal!
Every cell of my body and even the marrow of my bones believes that the Creator, Sustainer, Righteous Judge, Loving Father, Author of the Bible and the Great I AM is in charge. HE is Sovereign regardless of whether that is a comforting concept to me or not. HE is God and I am not!
He can and does as HE pleases without consulting ME! Period.
SO....how do we rest in HIS Sovereignty in a tumultuous ELECTION year, when anger is intense, and our country is harshly divided along party lines, and class warfare?
If I believe God is Sovereign does that mean that the candidate of MY choice is BOUND to win?? If the party that opposes my worldview and philosophy believes also that God is Sovereign, does that mean their candidate is a shoe-in???
The chatter about this subject is disturbing.
Here's my take.
In the OT God revealed HIS incredible patience with HIS people. Time after time, generation after generation they worshipped HIM one day and cursed HIM the next. One of the most repeated OT phrases is, "each man did what was right in his own eyes." It was a sad state of affairs. After all HE'D done for them, they refused to give HIM glory and decided they knew how to run their lives without HIM. As a nation, the people tossed HIS guidance, wisdom and grace aside.
God was Sovereign then, too. Eventually the rebellion got to the point that God used a HEATHEN ARMY to carry the people off into captivity and they were forced to stay there many years! Was it pleasant? NO. Did they question God? Probably! Did they learn a lesson? Some, no doubt did!
Skip to 2012!
IF a credible count is possible, the day after our November election there will be many folks very happy and many folks extremely upset, no matter which way it goes. That's the nature of our culture at this time.
I'm resting in the fact that GOD is in control. America will get exactly what HE determines we need.
And I have NO idea what that might look like! No one does. We will have to walk through it and HOPEFULLY REALIZE that God is the ONLY ONE that loves us, saves us, directs us, guides, gives comfort and sets us on the path of Righteousness.
Perhaps this election is not about the Dems or the Reps, but a nation in dire need of REPENTANCE.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
BUT, this road trip offered a new sight.
While sitting at a stop light in Muskogee I noticed to my right a small white tent set up right there on the corner. A banner atop the tent urged folks to stop by. A man and a woman sat behind a table with papers fluttering before them in the breeze. A long line of folks formed on the other side. Evidently they were signing up for SOMETHING! The parking lot was filled with all types of vehicles.
Honeybuns explained as the light changed. "They are receiving their new cell phones, courtesy of the American tax payer."
Yep! After a little research I discovered that since 1978 our government has been providing a "land line" for folks that can't afford it. The cost has stayed relatively stable UNTIL 2008 when changes were made and "someone, somewhere" decided that a free land line for the underprivileged did not serve them well. From that time forward free cell phones with unlimited free minutes were offered. The cost has skyrocketed dramatically.
Today I received an e-mail from a friend that explained the situation. For years your phone bill and mine have included a tax to provided those free land lines, necessary in case of emergencies. Today the cost of providing the cell phones is 1.2 BILLION DOLLARS. Telephone companies are scrambling, trying to get a piece of this government contract. U.S. Rep. Tim Bennett has written a bill trying to reverse this trend.
I'm confused! Since WHEN did it become an inalienable right to own a cell phone? Food, housing, health care, automobiles, washing machines, refrigerators, flat screen TVs, trips to Disney World, what's next? Is anybody drawing a line anywhere?
Is there any wonder at the level of anger in the U.S.? You don't have to look far to figure it out!
I would like to see the establishment of a government agency tittled "COMMON SENSE." All programs, grants, and freebies would have to undergo scrutiny before being enacted.
No, forget that, maybe it's time the American public take on that task and collectively shout,
Sending MORE tax dollars to DC makes no sense whatsoever, those folks don't know how to handle it!
As my friend summarized it, "This twists my knickers."
Monday, September 24, 2012
While digging though old papers and photos to help feed her obsession I realized that one major memory that she will NOT find on that website is our old piano. It was a huge part of my childhood.
It sat in our tiny living room, taking up valuable space that could've, should've been used for more practical purposes. It was actually a broken player piano complete with rolls of yellowed paper with many holes! Evidently it was important to Granny to keep it. My sister and I spent hours being entertained and being the entertainers! We performed for anyone that would listen. My happiest memory was of the times Granny herself would take time from cooking, cleaning and fishing to play a tune. She knew three songs, played by ear and SANG with gusto. We knew ONE duet, Heart and Soul! Four Hands! It was fabulous!
Of course, my performances were preceded by hours/days/weeks/years of piano lessons. Miss Alama was my first teacher. In hindsight, she was wonderful. At the time, I wasn't sure. She was a pretty tough old gal and insisted that my fingers stay OFF the cracks between the ivories.
Anyone remember, John Thompsons "Teaching Little Fingers to Play?" I find that series in flea markets once in a while and have to stop and smile.
Those years spent on that old piano were wonderful and surely drove other family members crazy. How many times can sane people listen to "The Flight of the Bumble Bee" or the "Minute Waltz?"
Practice produced results and I found myself accompanying soloists at state contests, high school choirs, conference attendees, church choirs and congregations. My fondest memory was playing hymns for a Bible Study Fellowship retreat in Dallas a few years back while 3000 men and women sang the greatest hymns the church has ever known. Today I accompany the grandchildren on their horns, xylophones and plastic drums. It's the BEST TIME! We could be winners or at least finalists on America's Funniest Home Videos!
I LOVED THE PIANO, STILL DO! Don't even think of discussing the modern day keyboards!
What phonies! Yes, I'm a purist. REAL pianos do not have electric cords that must be plugged in, automatic beats, or buttons that make sounds like a flute, waterfalls, or steel drums! Some things MUST remain simplistic!
I've had two pianos since one like this picture. Another small upright that we bought WITH our first house. (The owner didn't want to move it!) A few years back an ebony, 6 foot grand joined the family. SOME family members are discussing (behind my back of course) who will inherit it when I'm playing for the angelic choir.
Yes, one day the grown-grands will remember my piano and smile!
Now, how DO you include a piano on the family tree?
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Maggie and Jamie are in India to preview places and orphanages that the KIVU GAP year kids will be visiting next spring.
AND of course, checking out all the sights.
They have experienced foreign markets, a camel ride, busy streets, orphanages, hand-made rug factories, strange food and a parade equal to Prince Ali's arrival in Alladin.
They are having the time of their life. I look forward to the pictures each day.
She's missing a few days of school, BUT receiving an education that no amount of classroom time could offer. She's done and seen things that will go down in her little life-history book.
I've never had any desire whatsoever to travel to India, but these tales are luring me that way. Wow,
what an amazing place.
Jamie and Andy are giving their children the WORLD. And I couldn't be happier about it.
Maggie's view of people and places is broad and inclusive. Her acceptance of cultures that are vastly different than her own could be a lesson for us all. Mom and sweet daughter are perfect ambassadors for KIVU and America.
They are witnessing the caste system, the horror of Human Trafficking and the sadness of children growing up without parents to love. They've spent some time "laying low" in a hotel room because it was not safe to be out on the streets. They're traveling without the security of Dad and making their way across the globe just fine!
I am SO proud of them. They were born for high adventure!
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Thirteen women, young and not so young, gathered at the back room of a local Panera Bread Restaurant to hear the details. The younger gals sat on one side of the room, the older on the other. There were lots of smiles and laughter BUT there was an invisible fence that ran right down the middle of that meeting room. The very necessity of PINK was on display.
The wisdom and calmness of the older generation is so desperately needed by harried young moms. The energy and freshness of youth is critical for life for older women that are feeling their own youth slip away. But more often than not, there is an unseen barrier hindering generational friendships.
We had door prizes, a tap dancing demonstration, an attempt at the hula hoop, a PINK pom pom game to get to know each others darkest secrets, and just a few tips and guidelines for this endeavor. Holly Tumpkin and Sharita Bent shared their desire for older women in their lives, and I cautioned the older gals to listen, listen, listen....and promised that they would be delightfully surprised by their young mentee!
Twenty women are now involved, paired up according to Mentor and Mentee! They've all agreed to meet in person, via e-mail, Facebook, Skype, Facetime, iPhone, or iPad at least THREE times over the next six weeks. We'll have another gathering and talk about how it all went, if it was a success, worth our time, or whatever! If the pairs form lasting friendships, GREAT! If not, no big deal, they'll part agreeably and be just a memory of the summer of 2012.
THIS week, I'm hearing stories. The ones that have met and visited for the first time are THRILLED! PINK proves the point, women need other women, regardless of how they are loved (or not) by their husbands and boyfriends, regardless of how successful (or not) they are in their chosen profession, regardless of what state of life they are now experiencing! Stories are flying!
My ears and heart are full! I met with several of these women privately, just getting to know them better so I can better match them up with a possible friend. Sometimes I feel extremely helpless when I hear stories of abuse, broken hearts, impossible marriages, serious health problems, or irreconcilable differences with in-laws and children.
We are a fragile, broken people. Hopefully, eventually, every PINK participate will realize the depth of love God has for her, realize her worth, personal identity and freedom that comes from Christ, and find peace IN her present situation. Hopefully, that will be accomplished through a purposeful, inspiring, nurturing and kind friend.
I just spent 3 days in Lafayette, LA. It was fabulous experience.
The purpose of the trip was to speak at a couple of women's groups there for Stonecroft Ministries about the horrific subject of Human Trafficking. (I'm just one of many that are trying to convince the US that this modern day slavery exists so people will rise up and put a stop to it.) I expected the meetings to go well and they did!
What I didn't expect was the gracious hospitality of my host/hostesses and the conversations we had around their lovely kitchen table! I was extremely blessed.
Most of the time when I fly off like that I usually stay in a hotel so as not to inconvenience the locals.
Not this time!!!
It was about 5 minutes after I landed in Lafayette Monday that I realized I was among some very special people. Gwen and Mitch picked me up at baggage claim and made me feel like family instantly. My hostess Rachel and her husband "Boo" were simply delightful. Staying with them felt like a vacation at a faraway resort. I was amazed that I could look out the window and see huge lemons hanging on one tree, oranges on another! (Nothing like that in OK!)
Rachel let me know immediately (in her thick Cajun accent) that I was welcome in their home, but that she wasn't going to wait on me, that I was to "help myself." And then she began waiting on me!
We laughed at ourselves, took a car trip to Alexandria, attended meetings, prayed together, ate delicious homemade food, told stories, cried together, exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses and promised to remain friends.
Rachel's niece Tammy led a Bible Study at the house the first night I was there. 32 ladies filed into that beautiful home hauling in all types of food and drink. There were gals of all ages, races and creeds, sitting beside each other laughing, hugging and sharing life. The study was fabulous and Tammy was a very gifted teacher. It soon became obvious that the women were hurting from a myriad of troubles. You see, Tammy and Rachel spend their life locating, befriending and loving on people that have made some bad choices or have been victimized in some way or another. Both offer hope and help and a "stand alongside" type of friendship that is rare. Their stories of involvement in some very difficult situations set my hair ablaze. After the fire went out, I had nothing but admiration for these two steel magnolias.
Rachel and her family are deeply committed Christians, followers and lovers of Jesus. They have no time for ridiculous man-made-walls of prejudice or self-righteousness. They offer help and there are many women responding to such acceptance. Lafayette is very fortunate to have these gals and others just like them.
The Bible calls it the "remnant." It's those few true believers scattered across the globe that are very aware of their own weaknesses, yet fiercely depending upon HIS strength. They take it to heart when they read, "God so loved the world." And because HE loves, they do too. Love is a verb to them, not a mushy feeling!
They're out there IN it....not being shaped by the culture, but holding out a lifeline to those that have been duped into believing that the "here and now" is all there is and that the"here and now" consists only of painful days that must be endured. They are showing the women of Lafayette a better way!
I didn't see much of the town itself, but I got a deep look into the heart of some very fine folks.
I'm so glad I went!
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Last night the folks at our church, Kirk of the Hills Tulsa, accepted the challenge to cover (or try to cover) all of Tulsa with artwork such as this. Fat sidewalk chalk was handed out and taken home.
Today we get to be kids again and draw on concrete.
It is the latest campaign from O.A.T.H. (Oklahomans Against Trafficking Humans) The idea is to educate the public that 13 is now the age that young girls enter into prostitution, usually by FORCE, FRAUD or COERCION which is the definition of Human Trafficking. Hopefully all those casual walkers, bikers, shoppers, and joggers will be curious and actually go to their computers and type in she's13.com. A brief video will explain this awful new statistic.
(That blue thing is supposed to represent a stiletto high heeled shoe. Pitiful, I know. But, art is not exactly my gift!)
We'll see how it goes. The room was full and quiet as pictures and news of the dark world of modern day slavery was presented.
Lovely, lovely people surely struggled with nightmares last night. That's the first step of "getting in the game" in order to take some action.
The HT Task Force of the Kirk is fired up and ready to take it on. October 13th is the date set to gather as groups and "draw" all over Tulsa. This is going to be fun. Hopefully some very sweet young girls will be educated by their parents and protected from recruiters that want to use them for $$$$.
It's a 32 Billion dollar industry and it's time to eliminate their inventory, our children.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
I've walked among tombstones, over grassy roads, admired flowers and read the dates and names.
But, no cemetery matches the Memorial Waterfall at the footprint of the World Trade Center.
I suppose each one that sees the pictures or actually visits the sight leaves with different impressions.
When I look at this picture I see the tears of a nation flowing over those walls and into that deep dark square hole in the center.
Down below this structure lies dust that used to be living, breathing, loving, working, Americans and citizens from many other countries as well.
It was a horrible day, probably the worst day of my life thus far. The images are seared onto my brain and the grief of the family members left behind is fierce. There are parents trying to make a life without their children, children without their moms and dads, brothers without their brothers, sisters without their siblings, wives without their husbands, husbands without their wives, and friends and co-workers with huge holes in their hearts as well.
In a few years all this will be found only in the history books. Pain will cease and those immediately affected will hopefully be reunited with their loved ones in eternity. Museums will then tell the tales much like the Holocaust Museums remind us of that horrific time.
Right now, it's still very raw!
There will be more days like 9-11 in this world, if not on US soil then elsewhere. For it is man's inhumanity to man that is repeated time and time again.
Hatred, jealousy, greed, and pure evil reigns where there is no honor for God. Love of God precedes love of mankind. There is simply no other way!
When will we learn?
Who remembers the guy spinning the plates on the old Ed Sullivan Show? It was hilarious, and mesmerizing.
He had a long pole, got a plate spinning on top of it, set it down, proceeded to spin another, another and another. He was forever running between the poles to give them a little jerk to keep the plates in the air and turning. (Today's young whippersnappers just have no idea what they missed every Sunday night!)
I've been spinning lately.
There's the normal spin of laundry, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, pulling a few weeks, and moving dust around the house.
These past couple of weeks I've added some writing, several meetings involving Human Trafficking, even more e-mails, meetings and phone calls concerning P.I.N.K (mentoring group = Purposeful, Intentional, Nurturing and Kind) three family birthdays, one friend's funeral, a couple of car trips, the fabulous opportunity of hosting the Ridge Readers book club, volunteering at the local library, and a few secretarial duties for Honeybuns as he prepares for Bible Study Fellowship.
Since this is an important election year, two conventions and their famous speakers were tossed in the mix.
It's enough to give a gal a migraine!
Spinning a major headache is a task in itself!
Friends have told me I'm WAY TOO BUSY, that now is the time to shut down and relax!
Well, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm on the back half of life (above 50) and I don't want to waste these years pining over the past or worrying about the future. There's so much to do and enjoy in the now!
Honeybuns is forever encouraging me to get a job! Whatever for? Who has time?
Now, where IS my calendar? I need to see where I'm going tomorrow!
Monday, September 10, 2012
13! Just when a beautiful child should be dreaming about the future and the possibility of a career in nursing, law enforcement, engineering, parenting, teaching, mission work, beauty consultant, fashion design, aeronautics, medical research, etc. she is instead being abused, neglected and used as a commodity.
13 year olds are not BAD GIRLS that are simply making the choice to enter the life of prostitution. The law states that minors (under the age of 18) are ALL victims, trapped by force, fraud or coercion and sold as easily and as often as 20 times a day. They lose all dignity, self-respect, sense of power and often even their lives.
OATH, Oklahomans Against Trafficking Humans is rolling out this new campaign, She's 13, to make people aware of the state of affairs. Our church is on board, getting the word out, educating anyone and everyone who will listen to this atrocity. First comes awareness then comes action!
Billboards and Chalk Art are going to be the visuals. Donations will plaster this picture on prominent highway signs. Hundreds of folks armed with a single piece of chalk will be covering sidewalks and parking lots all over OKC and Tulsa very soon.
It'll look something like this:
The artwork will draw attention to: She's13.com and hopefully many will view a video of this campaign. The youth of America are on board!!!
It's going to take THIS and many other campaigns instigated by like minded organizations to make a dent in the growing 32 billion dollar a year industry called Human Trafficking.
EVERY organization needs to be successful in their attempt. It's going to take a movement the size and scope of the Civil Right Movement of the 60's and 70's to change the culture.
But, it CAN be done. Look what Mothers Against Drunk Driving accomplished in a few short years.
No one looks at drunk driving the way we used to!
Yesterday I was asked, "What can the church do?" My answer, "Repent!"
"True religion is this, to care for orphans and widows." James 1:27
I'm hopeful that the day will come when we'll exchange our passion for comfort for a love of people in distress. Long ago, THAT is what the church spent it's time and money doing. Think of all the hospitals, schools and soup kitchens built by the church. Think of all the people that heard the gospel news that they did not HAVE to be controlled by their sinful desires, thoughts and habits. The church offers FREEDOM to the abused AND the abuser.
It'll require a spiritual revival unlike anything seen in modern days. BUT, the pendulum WILL swing. It has to, or our children are "goners."
Now, shall I choose pink, blue or green chalk?
Friday, September 7, 2012
Usually it means I'm exhausted and/or a bug is trying to win a battle in my body!
Those days are rare but today is an "under the rock" day.
"Under the rock" days allow me time to ponder, which can be a good thing or disastrous!
This morning I've decided we all have to determine what we do with rocks. (Life's challenges)
We can throw a rock, aimed at someone else, mentally hopefully not physically! (Anger)
We can sit on a rock, do nothing and not even think.(Lazy)
We can pick up a rock and do something hard. (Pro-active)
We can roll over a rock, ignore the hard thing before us. (Procrastination)
We can get conked on the head by a rock, pitched by someone else, we may have deserved it or maybe not. (Wounded)
We can collect rocks and stack them up. (Unforgiveness)
We can build a wall of rocks that separate us from other people. (Judgemental attitude.)
Boy, this whole thing is almost poetic!!! I'm on a roll!!
I could rock on, rock out and even dream of becoming a ROCK STAR!
Then, there is another definition of ROCK.
"The Lord is my ROCK, my fortress and my deliverer." Ps. 18:2
"The Lord lives! Praise be to my ROCK." Ps 18:46
"O Lord, my ROCK and my Redeemer." Ps 19:14
"To You I call, O Lord my ROCK." Ps.28:1
"Lead me to the ROCK that is higher than I. Ps. 61:2
"Be my ROCK of refuge, to which I can always go, for you are my ROCK and my fortress." Ps. 71:3
"The Lord is upright, he is my ROCK and there is no wickedness in Him." Ps. 92:15
"Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the ROCK eternal." Ps. 26:4
"I will put you in a cleft in the ROCK and cover you with my hand." Exodus 33:22
"They drank from the spiritual ROCK and that ROCK was Christ." I Cor. 10:3
"On this ROCK I will build my church." Matthew 16:18
Protection, sustenance, stability, strength, soaring majesty!
Why would the ROCK OF AGES reveal Himself to me? Incredible love and grace!
I'm feeling better already!