Category Archives: Inspiratioal

Goodbye Ebony ~ she left on cat’s paws

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Ebony in 2016 when we first moved to NE Florida. She loved to sleep on the bookshelf where I piled books after I took them out of boxes.

When I returned home from Brooklyn after visiting my daughter for two weeks, I noticed Ebony had lost weight. Well, she’d always been a little chubby, so I figured now that I was back, she’d start eating again. And she did eat.

However, 72 hours later, at night, she had trouble swallowing and her tongue was hanging out of her mouth. I thought it was an abscessed tooth. I told her how sorry I was she was in discomfort…to hang on until the next morning when I’d take her to the vet and they’d pull the tooth.

Dr. Rose did a physical exam and said it wasn’t a tooth. She only had to take one ex-ray. A huge tumor pressed on Ebony’s stomach, liver, and kidneys. She had trouble eating because there was swelling in the back of her throat. The vet said Ebony would not survive this, so there was only one choice. I had to put her down. I hugged her, kissed her, and stayed with her to the end. Dr. Rose always sings at the very end. She sang, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” for Ebony.

That song was so appropriate for Ebony. She was sweet, as gentle as a whisper, and affectionate. She had particularly taken to my author friend when Jenna Victoria visited a few months ago. I’m so blessed that Jenna got to know Ebony. She was a dear pet….the epitome of the phrase: on cats’ paws.

After I left the vet’s office, I confronted myself acting as my own accuser. If only…Maybe if I had come back from New York City earlier. Guilt. I should never have misjudged Ebony’s illness and lack of appetite as being caused by missing me. Self-condemnation. After all, I was the one who said ‘yes’ to euthanasia. Judgement. Many people do this. Men feel they should be able to fix all things that aren’t working right. Women feel they should be able to comfort, bolster up, even resuscitate (emotionally and physically) those they love. This certainly includes a beloved pet.

Romans 8:1 [NASB] ~ Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

If there was something we could’ve done better, and there usualy is…we can learn from it for the next situation. In this case, as believers, we must submit to God, repent, accept His forgiveness and grace…walk on and sin no more. Whenever we find ourselves nursing guilt, we must submit to God and push it away. If there was nothing or very little we could’ve done better, again, we must submit to God, and push the truly useless condemnation away. This takes making a quality decision on our parts. The accusation is of the enemy. We must move past it and move on to what God has for us…follow the path He’s set before us.

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Ebony (l), Trouble (C), Meadow (R) when they were ‘kittlets’ ~ not kittens anymore, yet not quite cats. Brooklyn, N&

 


For a Christian Woman Over 50 ~ things profitable

woman, of the worldI hope, as a seasoned Christian woman over fifty, I’m at peace with myself and others. From time-to-time in my pondering moments, I’ve wondered what are a few benchmarks, standards, norms a Christian woman over fifty should have attained, or be shooting for in her life. Below is a list I’ve compiled, and it’s by no means exhaustive.

1. Have a healthy, intimate relationship with God. ~ Knowing the Lord can’t be tamed, managed, or manipulated, we should be willing to intentionally follow His direction on the faith-journey He is laying out before us. We should we willing to hear the personal “word” He has for us.

2. Be in possession of a good Bible, not only a preWWI family heirloom you can’t write in, except to record births and deaths, and one you’re almost afraid to open lest a page tears. Make sure your daily-use Bible is in a translation that speaks to you.  And don’t be afraid to write personal notes in the margins. According to a recent survey, the King James Version (KJV) is still the most popular Bible and the most used by Christians. The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is a more literal translation from the ancient texts. The Living Bible (TLB) is making its way into many homes because although it’s not a word-for-word translation, it tries to say exactly what was meant by the ancient texts.

3. Don’t lead a cloistered life. As the Bible tells us we are not to forsake the assembly of the saints. Also become part of the community at large. We should shine our lights, bring peace to situations in our neighborhoods, at work, where we recreate.

4. Have a pretty good idea what our emotional baggage is and where it came from. But instead of picking lint out of our navels and analyzing it to death, we should invite the Holy Spirit into the mess so He can heal it. After all, Jesus is the healer.

5. Forgive everyone we can think of who has done us wrong. And when our fleshly-self starts murmuring about them again, unleashes bitterness and resentment aimed at them, once again, determine to forgive on purpose…and we’re free. Also, don’t forget to forgive ourselves. Jesus died so that we would be forgiven. So, it’s important and biblical to forgive ourselves…and go free.

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Christmas Eve in my family has traditionally meant a meatless meal.

6. Have at least one tantalizing recipe, you’re known for, to hand down to your kids, your friends, or offer to your church cookbook. Better still if if came from your mom, and she got it from hers. All these little things are a part of a positive legacy women can create.

7. Have a few things in your home that document and/or attest to memories. Photos, shots or video of an abfab church activity, conference or a vacation. Curios, knickknacks, or a fine piece of furniture picked up on that awesome vacay. Women say having these things around the house makes them feel happy when they take a small trip down memory lane.

8. It’s really important to keep dreaming and to have a few dreams so big it will take God to bring them to fruition.

 

 

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Jesus Heals This Land ~ a visionary dream

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I had a healing dream. Not specifically to any person, yet a powerful healing dream…definitely a God dream.

I don’t usually remember my dreams…any of them. However, one night not long ago my little dog Sophie, who sleeps with me, woke me up. At first I was annoyed with her and then I realized I’d been dreaming…and what a dream.

Jesus stood in the middle of the American prairie. The Rocky Mountains were behind Him. Very soft, gentle, tiny, rippling waves of healing emanated from His sandled feet and went out across the entire plains toward the mountains. The overwhelming feeling I had in the dream was He had such great compassion for all of creation and its suffering and fallen state His desire was to heal even the smallest wound of the tiniest creature, even the blades of grass. Yet, as the ripples of healing continued from His sandals, His over-arching desire was to heal “this land”, this country…America.

It was such a powerful dream. I am not usually a visionary dreamer. The fact is years go by and I don’t remember a single dream. I feel so humbled and blessed to have remembered this one. I pray it blesses others.

~~~

22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. ~ Romans 8:22 [NASB]


Why Pray? ~ National Day of Prayer

Moi, War Room

Since I saw the movie War Room with my good friend, author Jenna Victoria, I’ve been praying a lot more. That film prompted e to stick my formal, written prayers up on the side of my refrigerator [my war room]. That led to me talking to God in my head a lot more. I used to converse in my haed with a an absent, respected friend in order to work something out. Increasingly, I find myself having those types of convos with God.

What I found from these talks with God was an intimacy was taking shape. Without realizing it, I was building a relationship with my Lord and Savior.

As prayer became more of a normal part of my life, I internalized that I was indeed a child of God with certain rights and priveleges (and responsibilities) in the kingdom. I was able to make a few difficult decisions with greater peace, without obsessing about the opinions of people. Did I ponder what others might think of me? Yes, I did, and then I moved on with what I had determined was the right thing to do. The result was, I had peace with it.

Do I forget to pray? Yes. Am I always in peace? No, oh, heavens no. Am I still a whiner? Sometimes, yes. But my prayer life has improved and my life is richer for it.

Moi, Ponte Vedra Beach Lib


Are You On The Outside ~ looking in?

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Are you the one who walks into a social setting and can’t find anyone to talk to? It seems all the people there are engaged in enjoyable conversations, but they won’t let you into the discussion. What do you do? Get a drink of something (wine, or a soft drink) and stand against the wall hoping someone will come by you can talk to? Maybe this even happens to you at church. Is that why you tend to come in late so you can slip in unnoticed…because you feel you’d be unnoticed anyway.

I am not a social butterfly. I do much better with the written word than I do socializing with a group of people. I suppose that’s why I’m a writer and not a public speaker. However, I’ve gotten better with people and have discovered there’s a root to this in myself and in others who are even more introverted than I am. It’s fear of man. Some of us have been sorely mistreated by others, absolutely run over (figuratively). We’ve been cheated, lied to, stolen from, and even physically threatened and abused. If we’re in a state of acute anger about this…let me remind you, anger is a cousin to fear.

Fear is the opposite of faith. And so, for believers, faith is the antidote or cure for fear. In any isolating situation, we need to focus on faith.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. ~ Romans 10:17 [KJV]

Several translations, including the NASB which is my favorite, say: and hearing by the word of Christ. Christians know the Word of God is powerful and can be and should be applied to everyday life There are many places to hear the Word of God. Just turn on any Christian television show or radio broadcast. Or go to that pesky church service, even if you have to sit way in the back at first.

In my opinion, the cure for almost anything is to follow the commandment Jesus gave us to walk in love.

37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [a]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” ~ Matthew 22: 37-40 [NASB]

What Jesus is talking about is agape love, or the God kind of love. This is the highest form of love and is sometimes translated as “charity”. We are to be kind and charitable to others and to ourselves. Who are we anyway, to be beating ourselves up with everything we did wrong, every mistake we made, every sin when God has forgiven us and remembers it no more? That self unforgiveness is really a manifestation of pride. We think: I’m so bad God might be able to forgive me because He’s God, after all. But it’s really unforgivable and so I can’t forgive myself. That’s actually funny, sadly funny.

Or, we tell ourselves, what they did to me was unforgivably horrid. How could they do that abhorrent thing? The real question is how could they not? We’re living in a lost and fallen world. Without the restraint of the Holy Spirit in their lives, they are able to commit real atrocities. Just turn on the news.

Whatever you did…whatever they did to you…let it all go and walk in love, kindness, and gentleness toward yourselves and others. This doesn’t mean you should be a doormat for the unrepentant, but you can forgive them and move on. You’ll be better for it. And maybe you won’t be so fearful and you’ll be able to come inside from the cold…even if it’s just a little bit at first. As you trust God’s grace, you’ll trust the God in you, and not be fearful of others.


Blessing Jar 2017 ~ as I start a year with new beginnings

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In many ways 2016 was a year of losses and doors closed, but also with a promise of new beginnings.

So, I prepare my 2107 Blessing Jar, as I do every year. This involves writing out my Prayer of Thanksgiving as well as my Prayer of Petition with its list of my heart felt desires and whatever vision God has given me for the new year. This is far from a new year’s resolutions list. Prayer, thanksgiving, and Scripture reading was an integral part of this process. At the top left hand corner you can see the blessing jar I’ve used for the last two years. My prayer and petitions are in the center. To the right are notes of thanksgiving for prayers that were answered in 2016. I’m sure there were others, but these are the big three.

The written document is two and a half pages long. I signed it and took communion over it. Then I folded it and along with the little notes put them all into the blessing jar.

As soon as I took communion, I received my word for 2017: cherish.

 

img_2261Thus, my Blessing Jar becomes my “war room,” as shown and explained in the amazing movie by that name. As I live in a teeny-tiny house, I don’t have a room that could be my war room. So, I’ve made one side of my refrigerator into that and I’m going to keep the Blessing Jar above it on the top of the refrigerator. This is where I pray for other people and note the Scripture I’m standing on. As prayers are answered, I will take them off the side of the refrigerator and place them into my Blessing Jar. In this way the jar becomes a repository for the record of my answered prayers.


My Church Is Having a ‘Onward’ ~ 2017 New Year 21-Day Fast

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This is a corporate fast with prayer. New Life Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville does this every year 21-days before Superbowl. We break the fast at sundown Superbowl Sunday. And I’m sure everyone has a great time feasting (translate = pigging out) on that Sunday evening.

The focus of this corporate fast isn’t only on cutting out things we could be overindulging in. The emphasis is on fasting and prayer. The pastor gave us a small fasting study guide along biblical lines. For example there is the Daniel Fast which is designed to eliminate meat, sweets, and bread. Water, juice, fruits and veggies are consumed. [Daniel 1: 11-13]

My best friend at church told me she was going to eliminate beef and pork for the 21-days. Anyone who is struggling with something such as quitting smoking might find this a supportive time to stop.

Ushers not only passed out a printed guide with the biblical types of fasts, we were also given a printed “Week One Devotional” with a memory verse, a prayer, suggested scripture for further study, and a place for us to write notes. Of course, week two and week three devotionals will be handed out as we progress through this fast.

We were also given a list of topics to pray and/or meditate upon during the fast.

1. Revival in America

2. Complete Personal Freedom

3. Blessing Over Troubles

4. Wisdom From Above

5. Victory Over Our Enemy

During this 21-day period the church will be open at different specified times, so people can gather and pray together while fasting. There is great spiritual benefit for a church body to enter into this type of fasting and prayer. This is a tremendous opportunity for individual church members to spiritually grow and for the church to spiritually grow as a whole.

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