Tag Archive | God

Do You Know This Player?

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My name is Pride, I am a cheater.

I cheat you of your God-given destiny…

because you demand your own way.

I cheat you of contentment…

because you “deserve better than this.”

I cheat you of knowledge…because you already know it all.

I cheat you of healing…because you’re too full of me to forgive.

I cheat you of holiness…

because you refuse to admit when you’re wrong.

I cheat you of vision…

because you’d rather look in the mirror than out a window.

I cheat you of genuine friendship…

because nobody’s going to know the real you.

I cheat you of love…

because real romance demands sacrifice.

I cheat you of greatness in heaven…

because you refuse to wash another’s feet on earth.

I cheat you of God’s glory…

because I convince you to seek your own.

My name is Pride.  I am a cheater.

You like me because you think I’m always looking out for you.  Untrue.

I’m looking to make a fool of you.

God has so much for you, I admit, but don’t worry…

If you stick with me,

You’ll never know.

ALL HEADS BOWED AND NO LOOKING AROUND

Are you a Christian?  Simplest question ever asked, regardless of any complications one allows to stifle the answer.

 

If so, the time has arrived when there can be no question as to whether or not you will respond to the duty you are being called to act upon.

 

You must cast your vote for the President of your United States.

 

I challenge every breathing person to look around and name the force in control of the world.  And for any complicators, that force is biblically stated.

 

Until recently, I, like many others, saw the selection of one candidate over the other as a choice between the lesser of two evils.

 

Then it was called to my attention that there is one difference that gives a bottom line answer.

 

To any of us who believe we are more than the evolution of a primate, the choice is clear.

 

We choose life, in every sense of the word.  And all the troubles of the world become bearable.  And in that choice there is no senseless killing of unborn babies.

 

Only one candidate makes this same choice.

 

Your failure to vote on November 8 is your vote for the biblically named enemy.

 

May a shudder travel up your spine.

 

 

Independence Is A State of Being

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I’ve recently returned from my holiday on the beautiful island of Maui.  I’m taking liberty to borrow the term ‘holiday’ from the British as the glorious days spent there were in all facets of the word – a holiday.  I’ve been fortunate to have taken vacations in many beautiful locales, but Maui has given new meaning to where and how I spend precious days away in the future.  I plan a post detailing my trip.  But on this Independence Day, 2016, my thoughts are in a different direction – yet my recent days on the island have contributed greatly to my perspective on this July 4th holiday at home.

My habit is to set my DVR to record Good Morning, America each day and catch up in the evenings with all that’s going on in the world.  And unless you are one of those individuals who have tucked their head in the sand and decided you can take no more of the insanity and uncertainty happening daily, you know what a large dose of detriment to our psyches is being doled out.  For the sake of my point, let’s disregard media’s ability to steer opinions and consider only the headlines themselves.

Details aside, I have been watching for many months the devastating weather patterns that have ravaged our country from one side to the other, many perishing in the wake, countless others being robbed of all they own with no idea of how they’ll recover.  The horror of attacks across the world, both by terrorists on a large scale and by close members of victims’ own families on an even more hard to understand level.  The hatred.  Absurdities. And has there ever been a more head-shaking presidential campaign?

All of this and so much more is absolutely mind boggling.

Keep this in mind, and allow me to shift gears for a moment.

Before I experienced it for myself, Maui presented itself in my mind as one of the ultimate tourist destinations – think Disney World with the not-to-miss list of sights to see as the attractions.  From that visualization, take away the well paved parking lots with attendants to direct you.  Take away billboards luring you to exorbitant entrance fees.  Take away hearing sales pitches.  And replace all that with God’s green earth, towering vistas, and sparkling blue water as far as you can see from a vantage point that’s always just around the next corner.  Yes, there are resort areas – there have to be to accomodate those of us who sojourn there.  But the paradise that can easily be described in one word – Eden – is found on your own.  Out exploring the island.

And as I explored the island, I brought home a blessing that I was not expecting.  There is one side of me that hates the terrible things that are going on in our world today, that the tides of hate may dictate how the balance of my granddaughter’s future will pan out.  But there’s also the other side of me that has hope, a hope that I had lost sight of – and possibly never even had – until I was within the spectre of the intensity and power of the beauty on Maui.  That beauty is not man-made.  And neither is the Bestower of that power. Standing within the breathtaking awesomeness of just one small piece of God’s creation, I felt His power give me the confidence to know that I can be still and know that He is capable of providing the ability for us to rise above the insanities of this world.  And the beauty equips us to be partners with the positive, enabling us to carry on.

As we look for the beauties in our days, we need to remember that we are not entitled to the freedoms that we have.  Those freedoms have been and continue to be bought with the lives of many soldiers who are out there doing their jobs to ensure that we remain free.  It’s easy to get caught up in the monstrosities that plague our world today, to let them make us bitter, or complacent, or reckless, or I could go on and on with the symptoms of our weary world.

But we must make a choice.  We are free to make the conscious choice to see the beauty of this world and each person we come into contact with.   There’s beauty in each of us because each of us are also one of God’s awesome creations.  We are all fighting for independence in one way or another and if we can learn to see independence as a blessing and not a right – without letting hatred be our guiding force –  we will begin to see more beauty in our moments. Call me a dreamer, but I believe those moments will begin to spill over onto those around us and we can all be enablers of the positive kind.  There’s by far too much of the devastating negative kind.

So choose to be in an independent state of mind – rising above the awfulness of this world – replace the bad with the good – and never forget that there are those always giving their all, sometimes their very lives, to allow us this choice.

Happy Independence Day to you all!

 

 

 

Look Out Kids, I’m Gonna Embarrass You Now!

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Me with Dr. Sandra Schultz

I told the truth when I said I hadn’t been anxious about hearing the results of my mammogram.   And it remained the truth until about twenty minutes before my appointment time.

As I walked in the door, that anxiety disappeared as I was greeted by the smiling Dr. Schultz herself.  She was sitting at the front desk, a highly unusual sight, and she laughed at my astonishment and told me not to get used to it that she’d be moving in just a second.  I stopped her before she could get away and asked for a picture.  She said “Certainly, come on in and we’ll get it in front of the tree.”

Before my cancer was discovered, I had known of a woman who had been diagnosed with a very rare, fast and almost always fatal form of this vicious disease.  Her doctor went to work determined to save her life.  She contacted colleagues all over the country with her immediate research.  Armed with all the knowledge available, she used her innate ability to read cancer and started an agressive attack.  I’ll not go into the details because those aren’t mine to share, but years later this woman is still cancer-free.  I believe that if God had not deemed it so, that would not be the case.  But I also believe that He placed her care in the earthly hands of Dr. Sandra Schultz, just as He did mine.

This is a story that could be repeated all day long.  There’s visual evidence of these stories all over the office in the form of quilts hanging on the walls, pink wreaths adorning the doors and artwork all up and down the hallways – all given in gratitude by patients and their families.  Not only is the care given by Dr. Schultz that of which gives hope, but the atmosphere of her office conveys an instant feeling of warmth, making her patients feel like family from the first visit forward.

As you walk up to the window to sign in, you are immediately swathed in that warmth by her receptionist, Brenda McCombs.  Of my many, many visits, never has this sweet lady failed to greet me with the most genuine smile and positive attitude.  The other members of the office – Stephanie, Lindsay, Ruby and Leanna – make the picture complete and they all bounce their warm spirits back and forth amongst themselves, drawing you into their amazing circle of healing.

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Brenda MCombs

My granddaughter doesn’t know it yet, but on June 3, she and I will be joining Dr. Schultz and her team, The Blazing Pink Flamingos, at the Relay for Life Walk in Kings Mountain.  Brenda said she would surprise my granddaughter with her own pink flamingo:

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Have you noticed the artwork and wreaths I mentioned?

As Dr. Schultz and I chatted in the examining room today, she asked how the trip plans were coming along.  I looked at her, astonished that she had remembered my telling her last year of our upcoming trip.  She grinned at me and said she’d made a note on my file so she wouldn’t forget.

In addition to being the tremendous doctor and surgeon that she is, Dr. Schultz is also a very large supporter of non-profit groups in Gaston County.  There were several raffle baskets in the office today, with proceeds going to various organizations.

From the standpoint of being a patient, it is very rare to come across this type of environment.  The dedication of Dr. Schultz, and her staff, is evident to any who find themselves in the midst of their care.  Not only was I blessed that my cancer was found so early, but my blessings were greatly enhanced by being under the care of this wonderful woman.  Her expertise is undeniable, her depth of caring is unquestionable.

Now, to my daughter, my son-in-law and my granddaughter, I say:  Look out paradise, here I come!  No holding back, no fears.  My feet will be as if they’re not touching the ground and I’ll be dancing to music, even if I’m the only one who can hear it.  I’m Maui bound, and I’m cancer-free!

 

 

 

Me and Bobbie McKee

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For the last month or so, my DVR has been filling up a lot more than usual.  Dirty laundry has piled up until the weekends.  And my dog just sits and stares at me, trying to figure out what’s going on.  But the new laptop with the advanced keyboard that at first had me severely frustrated is now my new best friend.

Just as many of you have mentioned having yourselves, I’m going to have to force myself to come up with a designated sort of schedule for blogging and writing or nothing else is going to get done.  I feel a bit unbalanced, off-kilter with the many other things that have to be tended to.

But even though my scales are a bit tilted right now, there’s a wonderful blessing in all of this busyness – a blessing that feels like the bud on the Oriental Lily in my yard, bursting forth with a brilliance that’s breathtaking and oh so beautiful.

Let me tell you what I mean:  My Daddy always told me I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders.  And that was while I was still in school, years ago.  I’ll not go into the marital arena, so read between the lines there.  My daughter told me years ago that I think too much, so I learned to limit the degree of which I ramble on with her. There’s been only one person with whom I learned that I could let my thoughts fly free without reservations.  A co-worker with whom I worked for 15 years:   Bobbie (Barbara) McKee.

We took morning and afternoon breaks together, went to dinner quite often.  Her husband sang with a gospel group and we’d travel around to wherever they would be performing, normally on Saturday evenings.    During all these times, we spent hour upon hour talking.  We probably knew more about each other than anyone else in our lives, even our husbands.

We’d discuss every idea you could imagine.  Did we believe in ghosts? did we believe we are the only life forms in the universe? did we believe those who’ve died know what’s going on in the lives of those they loved who are still alive? – those kind of questions.

Then there were the other kinds:  how do those bugs get in those tightly sealed light fixtures?  do fish sleep? and if you pass somebody whose in second place, what place are you in?

Bobbie was a bit older than me but we never gave that a thought at all.  Over time, the endearing look that she’d give me meant the world to me. That look meant that she just knew without even looking at me when I was about to pose a question that would set us off on a wild ride.  We would inevitably take it the distance and would end up laughing so hard we wouldn’t be able to talk.  But my word, the discussions we would have!

Bobbie died in 2005 after being diagnosed only the year before with lung cancer.

Not that Bobbie is never not a part of me, but I was reminded very vividly of our discussions one day last week when a new co-worker, one I’ve known for just a little over one year now, shared a dream with me and off she and I went on one of those wonderful discussions.  I was so elated – all at once for the reminder of Bobbie, for the fascinating talk my friend and I had just had, and for the fact that I was getting to let my mind run rampant for the first time in ages.  I had goosebumps from my toes to my ears and actually had to get up and walk around the building, I was so happy!

And then it dawned on me…the time I am spending here in blogland is essentially the same thing.  I have once again opened myself up to exploring infinite possibilities.  But I am no longer a babe drinking babe’s milk.  Even though I need not fear being drawn into wrong directions or harmful thoughts,  there is a vast and wide volume and variety of viewpoints voiced here.  I am learning to explore other ideas that are outside my own box.  And in doing so, I am finding the path that allows me to maintain my own beliefs and at the same time, consider and converse with others who differ.

Therein lies the blessing.

My daughter says she’s noticed a difference in me lately.  A contentedness.  I know now that it has its roots in my newfound confidence I’m gaining through re-connecting with myself.  I have, in a very real way, returned to myself. I am me again.  And it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve fully been ‘me’.  I am able to speak the truth here, with no pretenses, no reservations.  That is very free-ing.  And it is boiling over into other areas of my life, but I’ll save that for another post.

Thank you, my friends, for giving me back myself.

 

 

 

 

IPNNC

ian watkins

I read a post today by a fellow blogger who said she was considering giving up writing posts.  She presented the dilemma that it seems many of us are faced with today.  That being that if we express our feelings regarding what’s going on in our society , and those feelings don’t line up with popular opinion,  that we can be ostracized, basically cast out from society.

I was pondering on how I would write this post on the drive to work this morning.  That pondering went something like this:

Years ago, my daughter was awarded the Aloha Award at a luau she and I attended in Oahu for having the brightest ‘aloha spirit’ for the evening.  This was at the end of the evening, after she had gone onstage with many others to ‘learn the hula’.  The emcee went down the line speaking with each person and when he came to my daughter, he did a double-take and asked her question after silly question just to put her heavy Southern drawl out there for all to hear. We will be in Maui next month and my granddaughter is looking forward to her time on stage as well.  Now, instead of their wonderful spirits being the highlight, I cringe to think of the silence that may ensue when they learn from where they reside – North Carolina.

So let me just put it out there and not hemhaw around the bush.  I’m proud of reigning from North Carolina, now more so than ever.  NOT because our state is leading a fight against the LGBT and transgender communities.  That is propaganda that leads news stories.  I just saw a story on GMA where a man was ranting through the aisles at a Target store telling them they would all be judged by God.  Yeah, he will too.

I am terribly ashamed for those types of representations that North Carolina is receiving.  But that is not what is fueling our governor and state lawmakers to pursue the upholding of the HB2 law.  It is in no way a discrimination of the LGBT and transgenders. The opponents, and even now the federal government, have created that to be the issue.

The general public is unaware of the number of cases of sexual abuse commited against the children in this country.  Local law enforcement agencies operate under a cloak of silence in order to protect those innocent victims.

But if you wonder whether or not this is true, let me challenge you.  Ask someone who works in such an agency, and ask them quick.  The general comment you will receive will either be yay or nay.  If it’s no, thank God.  If it’s yes, that this is true in your county, then stop and ask yourself if what the opponents of this law are saying is a scare tactic holds any truth whatsover.  If even one child is put at risk, then how can we face ourselves to not support North Carolina in this pursuit?

The picture at the top of this post is a man named Ian Watkins – look him up.  He claimed to actually procreate children so he’d have them to molest.  I sicken myself even writing that.  But these people are out there, people!

Governor Pat McCrory is doing what no one in the past has done before.  In the face of any and all opposition, he is not backing down. He holds firm to protecting our children.  It is not a protection from the LGBT and transgender community.  This has nothing to do with them – and I cringe to say ‘them’ because that signifies an ‘Us vs Them’ mentality – this nothing other than the fact that people who identify themselves as such are raising the demands that they be noticed by using this platform. Which restroom have they been using prior to this debate?  The one they identify with.  Why pass a law allowing them to do what they’ve been doing all along?   Why create this issue?    If I have any discrimination whatsoever against them, it is that they are denying the safety of our children in order to be recognized.  And that recognition is self-imposed.  And ‘them’ includes ANYONE who puts our children in harms way – regardless of sex, gender, race, nationality, or any other facet of humanity.

This all started forty miles east of my home, in Charlotte.  I don’t know the details of how and why it all started other than the city passed an ordinance that would allow anyone to use any restroom based on gender identity. Governor McCrory stepped in at once and the rest is becoming history.  McCrory, I’m sure, has access to the records to back up his strong opposition.

Please do not discredit North Carolina as a whole by the rantings of misguided individuals who put themselves in the judgment seat.  I can still see the wagging finger of my grandmother as she pointed to her Bible and said “love the sinner, hate the sin.”  And who is the sinner?  I am.  You are.  Your children are.  Your parents are.  Each and every person on either side of this problem is a sinner. To me, it doesn’t matter who you are – I believe the Bible.  And the Bible says ALL are sinners and only by the grace of God are we saved.  No one can pass judgment but God.  We each answer for our own selves.  And I don’t want to have to answer for bigotry, hatred, violence.  But neither do I want to answer for playing a part in the misguided failure to protect our children in any way possible from this sickened world we live in.

May God bless Governor McCrory as he fights this battle for not only North Carolina but the United States.  May God bless ALL of our lawmakers.  May God bless each of us who see ‘them’ as being any different than ‘us’ – we are all His children – whether we acknowledge that or not. May God bless each and every one of you reading this.  And may God bless and protect our precious children.