Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Amazing Grace

I have a new favorite classic Christian song....well that is not exactly true....the song is still the same one....just a different rendition of an old favorite. Chris Tomlin's Amazing Grace haunts me. This weekend....I watched the movie that inspired him to write the song. Ironically....the movie is called, Amazing Grace. It is the story of William Wilberforce, the English Parliament member who worked tirelessly to abolish slavery in England. It was also a sub story about John ex slave trader - turned preacher....who....received the amazing grace of God....saw the error of his way.....and wrote the words to the song, Amazing Grace. The odd thing is....most of us know the standard verses....but...we are not aware that there are verses we have never been taught. The song actually goes like this:
Verse 1: Amazing Grace (How sweet the sound) That sav'd a wretch like me!I once was lost, but now am found,Was blind, but now I see.
Verse 2: 'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,And grace my fears reliev'd;How precious did that grace appear,The hour I first believ'd!
Verse 3: Thro' many dangers, toils and snare,I have already come;'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,And grace will lead me home.
Verse 4: The Lord has promised good to me.His word my hope secures;He will my shield and portion be,As long as life endures.
Verse 5: Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,And mortal life shall cease;I shall profess, within the vail,A life of joy and peace.
Verse 6: The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,The sun forbear to shine;But God, who call'd me here below,Will be for ever mine.
Ok, so what happened to the line...."When we've been there ten thousand years...?" John Newton did not write that verse. Chris Tomlin added the lines"My chains are gone...I've been set free. My God my Savior, has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns, unending love, Amazing Grace."
This song has always had a powerful affect on me. The Chris Tomlin version brings me to my knees. I have never been a the ones William Wilberforce fought to free....but I have been enslaved in my life. Enslaved by addictions and sins....but right this moment I know that my sins (chains) are gone. I have been set free.....because God's Son Jesus died on a cross for me. During this reflective time of Lent....when I dwell upon all the things that lead up to the event we celebrate called Easter....I must tell everyone I see...Christ lived, Christ died...Christ rose again....I have been given Amazing Grace....and it truly is a sweet sound...because it saved this raggamuffin....and when the day comes that the world ends....I will live with Him....because of that Grace. Peace be with you!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Feeling Old

Last night I went to see Gordon Lightfoot in concert. Now, I know most of you are sitting there asking yourselves, "Gordon who?".....well anyways...he was one of my favorite singers in the late 60's early 70's. He is Canadian. Pre-concert, Tim, Patty, Amanda, Randy, Frank and I were sitting there watching the people claim their seats....and I laughed to myself at how old the concert goers appeared to be....then I realized I was one of the girls all asked each other...., "Do I look that old?" The lights dimmed and he walked out of stage....gosh....he looked old....his music began and I waited in anticipation for my favorites....finally....Sundown and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald came.....I felt satisfied. Several months ago....I went to see Christ Tomlin and Matt Redman in concert....I never sat down and was hoarse when the concert ended from singing at the top of my lungs...nobody stood at this was a concert for old fogies....and an old fogie....I am not!....after an hour on stage he took an intermission.....we leave. I had personally had enough nostalgia for one night. I really enjoyed the company we were in....more than the concert we were we went to Applebees and had coffee and dessert.....just to extend the afterglow of the company....I was sad when the evening ended. On our way home....I thought about people I know....who miss the boat when it comes to spending time with friends. I am such a people person....I love being with people.....people are important to me....and I also realized....people were important to Jesus too....he spent time with people....and I want to be just like Him....and be a disciple....I just don't want to have to go see Gordon Lightfoot again to do that. Next time....maybe we can go see someone a little more uplifting.....I want to stand and sing....and be heard.....not be shushed for singing softly in my seat. Hummmm......Third Day sounds like fun!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

3 points of a sermon

Today, while I sat in the pew at Waverly United Methodist....being the good preacher's darling husband Frank delivered one of his best sermons ever! He made three points...we are told in Mark 1. deny ourselves....oh...I gave up french fries for I am looking for other things to put ketchup on....but...he was talking about letting God have know...Let Go...and Let God. I thought long and hard about his first I really let God be the boss.....ALWAYS? I have to answer I am well versed in the Frank Sinatra song...."My Way" and try many times to do way. When I fail...I fall on my knees and ask for would be so much just ask for help from the start. 2. The second point was to take up YOUR cross. It does not say....his, or your next door neighbors...or anybody says your cross. So I asked myself...what is my cross? I thought about all the irregularities in my parents living with changes....I'm divorced....lots of crosses to bear....but the most wonderful that....when Jesus took up his cross....He died on it for me. 3. Follow me is the last command. It does not tell take a vacation with tells us to live a life like His...doing His work....being His disciple...Casting Crowns sings a song called "If We Are the Body"....and it asks the question....if we are the body....then why aren't His arms reaching....why aren't His words I leave you with this today......Why? I know the answer after hearing Frank is because we are not denying ourselves, taking up Our crosses and Not following Him as we should be. Go Forth All Who read this....and spread the word....God is Love!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Kathryn-Age 3

My daughter Kathryn has several pet names I gave to her as a child. She was also known as Munchkin because she was so tiny and Rosebud....and I won't go there with an explanation. Anyways....when my kids were small I kept Little Debbie products in an antique Tom's jar on top of my refrigerator. I was smocking this particular afternoon....and don't know if my older two children put her up to her feat....or if she did it on her own....but she got very I got up from my sewing to check on her. I found her in the kitchen.....with a chair next to the cabinets....and cook books stacked on the to the fridge....and there in her hand....was a Little Debbie oatmeal cookie. I did not want to frighten her.....because she might fall and hurt herself....something she had managed to avoid to this point. She climbed off the books....and turned around to go down the chair....when she realized she was being watched. She turned very slowly.....held out her little munchkin hand...full of cookie....and said, " I got this for you!" I smiled inside...and sternly asked her...."How did you know I wanted a cookie?" She just shrugged. I took the cookie from her....opened it....slowly....with great anticipation....and ate every bite. She watched and waited....just knowing I was going to share....when I didn't offer some of the sweet to her....realization splattered all over her little sweet face. I licked my fingers....told her thanks....and helped her down. She never tried that stunt again. As a much older person....I realize that many time God catches me with my hand in the cookie jar....when I try to cover my way out of my sin....Hetakes the cookie(sin) from me....and gobbles it up....that is what He did for me....when His son was crucified on the cross. Jesus Christ took that cookie from me....and gave me the greatest gift of salvation. Poor Kathryn....she did not get a gift....she worked for the cookie....and I ate it! I will never look at an oatmeal cookie again...without smiling....and thanking my munchkin for the object lesson. It is better to give....than to receive. Oh, that was not what she was trying to do....but that was what was accomplished. Even today....24 years later....she is still teaching me lessons....about life....about myself....and about God. Thanks munchkin!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Reflections for Lent

How do I personally deal with temptation? That was the challenge given to me at the Ash Wednesday Service of the First United Methodist Church, Rev. Steve Strange, and God. So I left the sanctuary to begin a journey with Jesus to the holiest of holy places that I can reach at this point in my life. This Lent was different from the last 5. I attended it alone. Oh, I was with a whole row of my dearest friends....but last year, my husband Frank and I attended service together, we sat there different needs, different areas of growth, different levels of insight and understanding. Yet, as different as our needs were....they were on the same path way....we just did not know it at the time. So much has happened since Ash Wednesday 2007, all of it has been in preparation for what the Lord has going on in our lives right now.
This year, 2008, I am wanting victories. I want a victory over weight and body image. I want to be a temple extraordinaire. I want a victory for my dear husband. I want so much for him to succeed at college. I want him to achieve the feeling a diploma can give you. This can only happen if we both continue to follow God's will....for us both. What a year....we have begun a walk down the path of ministry that I never dreamed would have been....proof that God has plans for us all....we just have to listen and believe....and understand that God has a major sense of humor. To gain victory this year I know that my path will lead through the cross, into the tomb, and out where God's light and love will provide for me physical healing and new life image. I know this in my head just gets in the way sometimes. And here it is Lent again...did I waste another year? Or was it another year utilized to its fullest. It is that time....after the ashes have faded from my face....that I begin to think seriously during Lent on the sacrifices I am going to make and to begin my journey with Jesus, all the way to the cross and through the resurrection. I am reminded of the song...."Your Love is Extravagent" by Casting Crowns. I can have such an intimate friendship with this man I call my heavenly I find myself embracing my own crosses. This leads to a new year....a new attitude....a new me....and a new me is what I truly am seeking. In 40+ days we will celebrate Easter and we need to remind ourselves that this season is so much more than just a holiday of pretty eggs, chocolate bunnies and family reunions. Lent is so much more than just 40 days of enduring my personal sacrifice for the year.....eating no french fries. (For those of you who know me....that is a major deal. I love french fries....actually....I love ketchup....french fries just enhance it with the taste of salt.)....but excuse me for digressing here. To experience the complete element of Easter and Lent....I must experience the full power of resurrection, I have to experience the power of mourning and repenting from all of my sinful ways. I have to experience the powerlessness of death - the death of my selfishness, the death of my worldliness, the death of my behaviors that are not Christ-like. Spring is on its way....and I am feeling a daffodil....pushing against the ground....reaching for the sky.....that daffodil is me. This year....I believe I will bloom!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Most Beautiful Rainbow

I got an email this morning....from my friend a forward from my dear friend Carolyn. It started out with an absolutely gorgeous picture of a rainbox....and then it said as we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time. You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. You'll fight with your best friend. You'll blame a new love for things an old one did. You'll cry because time is passing too fast, and you'll eventually lose someone you love. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you've never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back. Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin. Live simply. Love generously.Care deeply. Speak kindly.Leave the rest to God. This email came at a perfect time in my life....they usually do....especially the profound ones. My father is very sick. He is not eating....he is not smiling...he is not laughing....he sleeps....alot. Yesterday he fell down in my front yard and hurt his hand. When I got home and saw the hand I grieved. I don't want to see my father hurt....or hurting. I love this man....I am a daddy's girl. Through all my life of caving in and daddy was there....he held me...he loved me....he cared....when things got to big for me to handle....I let him handle them...he truly has been the poster child for living simply, loving generously, caring deeply, speaking kindly,....and leaving the rest to God. Now it is my turn to take the lessons he taught me and run with them. I cannot fall into my daddy's arms and weep right now....but I can fall into my heavenly Father's arms and let him take care of the rest. Thank goodness He is there. It is a great strength to know that I have two such loving father's. Thanks friends for sharing the thought with me....and giving me a rainbow when my sky was looking so gray.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Silly Annoyances

I have possibly ten things that drive me nuts. 1. My numero uno would be a southern link phone that serves as walky talkies. I hate hearing other peoples phone conversations....let alone both ends of it. When you are in a restaurant, or out in public in general....don't talk. 2. My second one would be how people use of the words seen and saw in a sentence. Nothing scalds me more than to hear someone say I seen a good movie last night. Contrary to popular belief....redneckism is a disease. 3. Number three would have to be men correcting their lower anatomy in public. It is not going to fall off...or go anywhere...if something needs fixing....excuse yourself and go to the restroom. 4. Number four would be in Walmart when children act up and momma's tell them...."just wait til your daddy get's home." Let me tell you something I feared my momma a whole lot more than my daddy. There was no waiting for him to dole out discipline when I was a child. My mom believed....if you do the do the time....NOW! Flip-flops are relatively painful when they are waved across your legs in a rapid succession. 5. Commercials with starving children and animals. They make me cry and then make me mad because they made me cry. I would really love to know how much money Sarah McLaughlin gives to abused animals....or Sally Struthers contributes to starving children in Africa. 6. The act of being a redneck. Why is it that whenever Alabama makes national news....the redneck is always the one interviewed? There are smart people here in this state...but they rarely make the news. 7. People assuming that if you are from are either a redneck....or married to your first cousin. There are laws against things like can only marry your third cousin in has to be that way....because we are kin to everyone. 8. Someone telling me...."You remember so and so....don't you?" (My response is supposed to be, "yes of could I ever forget?"....yet in reality....I don't have a clue. The one time I bit and responded appropriately.....the lady in question laughed loudly and told me she had not seen me since I was 14 months old.....well I don't know about you.....but I don't have a massive memory collection of that year. Heck...I can barely remember 2007. 9. People who tell you ....No...and then complain cause they could have done it better. If that were the case....then why didn't you?
and rounding out my top ten list....would be people who bring babies to weddings. I had three is the bride's day....leave them at home. Nothing is any worse than beautiful video footage of the wedding....and not being able to hear a blasted thing....because of the babies crying in harmony in the audience. a baby sitter....or see to it that a nursery is provided. I know these are just little quirky things, and I am not going to go on a screaming rampage when they happen to appear in my daily life.....nope...I will be the one mumbling.....bless her little heart....her momma did not teach her any better.....or never used a flip flop on her. See you soon.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Hats I Wear

I wear a number of hats throughout my day. I wake up in the morning and put on my teacher hat. With that hat and all the intelligence that is in it I go to school to impart wisdom in the lives of high schoolers. Somedays my teacher hat is clean and neat and full of good stuff. Other days, like is a little droopy and clouded by a cold. While at school I wear the hat of a friend and hug people who are having a bad day, listen to stories from the hurting, rejoice in my friends accomplishments, and sometimes I am even jealous when they achieve something I cannot seem to achieve....but all in all I love wearing this hat. During the school day I also wear a counselor hat....even though I don't have degree in counseling....the kids tell me their deepest and darkest secrets and I sometimes have to help them sort out their problems.
After school I put on the wife hat most days and go home and cook supper and do wifey type things. I wash, I iron, I clean....I would rather take a power nap. Two nights a week I don the adjunct hat and teach English at CACC. I usually love this hat...but am struggling with it right now. This hat is not fitting well this term. It is a bit tight. I have several students who are making my hat tight and I am a little angry because they are there....especially since I am only part time. I think it would be different if I had regular office hours....but I don't. So I will just plug along with this hat....and maybe take it off for the summer.
Weds. nights I put on my singer hat. I love to sing. I sing on Sunday's at the Arbor service and love it. I usually get a joyful feeling after Weds. night and go home ready to tackle the world. Singing can do that for me.
Some nights I put on my Still Magnolia big girl hat...and I really love that. I sing with two other women I absolutely adore. We have so much fun singing together. I can't imagine life without them in it.
I have a mother hat too. I love that hat. It is by far one of my favorites. All my children are gone from home now....but I still wear the hat. They call when they need a shoulder....or just want to talk....and I love hearing from them.
Hats are fun and everyone should have them. I like changing mine throughout the day and becoming something is kind of like slipping into a phone booth and becoming Superman. You never know which hat I am going to show up in.
My suggestion to you this glorious Friday is to go out and find yourself some hats...try them on....keep the ones that in the ones that don't. There are always people looking for a bargain in a hat.