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!”

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mesothelioma, Me, and Many Others

Back at the end of last year I received an email from a woman named Katherine Keys.  She shared with me a remarkable story about her life and mesothelioma.  This story really struck a chord with me because in 2009 my father died from mesothelioma.  I agreed to post her story and then I got sick.  Life as I knew it was put on hold.  I must apologize to Ms. Keys for my failure to carry the story out.  with that said, today, April 26th I am sitting here at work thinking about when we got the first diagnosis.  Mesothelioma is a scary word.  To me it meant instant death and  I began to research what it was and what it did. One site that helped me a great deal is the free ebook on Mesothelioma.   My dad was in the Navy during WWII and when he returned from the war, worked around asbestos.  Asbestos is the cause of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is caused by inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers. The mineral asbestos gets its name from the Ancient Greeks. The Greeks recognized the fireproof qualities of asbestos, while recognizing the harmful effects on asbestos workers. The word asbestos means inextinguishable.Mesothelioma got the best of him in 2006 and he died in 2009.  So my question is....Have you walked in my shoes?   Do you or a loved suffer from this dreaded disease?   I am sharing Katherine's story so that if someone is helped it will be a good thing.  I have also enclosed some sites for you to find out about mesothelioma.

"My name is Katherine Keys and I have been fighting mesothelioma cancer for the past 9 years. If you don’t know, mesothelioma is a cancer caused by asbestos exposure. People are can be exposed to asbestos in many ways. I was exposed when the office I was working in decided to redo the floors, which contained large amounts of asbestos.  
At the age of 49 I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Pleural Mesothelioma and was told I had less than two years to live. But I was determined to stay positive and beat this cancer against all odds. My treatment included having my right lung and the lining of the lung removed. Soon after, I began several months of radiation therapy.
I am overjoyed to say that my fight paid off and now 9 years later I am still cancer free! But I know I did not face this battle alone. The doctors and staff at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center are true miracle workers and I am forever grateful to them.
I was also helped greatly by the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma Lawyer Center. Not only did they help me obtain financial compensation which helped with my treatments and quality of life, they genuinely care about my well-being. I am proud to call them my friends and they continue to stand by my side as I fight mesothelioma.
I feel it is my duty to give back to the community--to let people with asbestos diseases know they are not alone. There is help available!
You have a great website. If it's not too much trouble, would you mind posting a link to and on your website? I know together we can help a lot of people! I look forward to hopefully hearing from you, and thanks for all your time in advance.
All the best,"

Find out all you can about this dread disease and let's all work hard to eradicate it.....NOW!

Memories and Hodgepodge

It is Hodgepodge time again.  Here are my responses to this weeks questions.  If you want to play along copy and paste the questions to your blog and jump over to Joyce's blog by clicking here and link to the party.  Hope your week is AWESOME!
From this Side of the Pond

1. April showers bring May flowers or so the saying goes. Has your April been filled with showers? Do you carry an umbrella, wear a slicker, or make a run for it? Besides rain, what else has filled your April?   I carry an umbrella but usually just make a run for it.  My April has held a good bit of rain, but fortunately it was gorgeous on Easter Weekend so I had a dry weekend and gorgeous weather.  My April has held end of the year beginnings, weddings, birthdays, and fun....oh my!

2. What's something you could you give a 30-minute presentation on at a moment's notice and with zero preparation?  Being a Proverbs 31 woman and I have a presentation I have done several times at Women's events called Musical Bridges that is the story of the music in my life.
3. Share with us a favorite food memory from childhood.  From the time I was 3 and old enough to gnaw on a rib bone my dad always cooked ribs for our birthdays.  His birthday was the 14th of April and mine is the 15th.  Ribs has not been my birthday meal since my dad died in 2009.....this year our neighbor and good friend, Tracey cooked ribs on my birthday.  It was heavenly!!!!!  I loved it!
4. What's a song you thought you knew the lyrics to, but later discovered you were wrong?  Ahhhhh Mondegreens.  I love them.  The saying comes from a poem, "They shot the Earle of Morray and Lady Mondegreen."  The actual line is "They shot the Earle of Morray and laid him on the green."  I have several of these misheard lyrics.  My worst one is from the song, Sitting on the Dock of The Bay."  I always thought it had a bad word in it....and of course as a child loved saying it.  I heard the line "Watching the ships roll in....." as "Watching the Sh#t roll in."....for years.  It made perfect sense to me.  The other was "There's a Bathroom on the right/There's a bad moon a risin'" and the infamous Hendrix's lyric, "Scuse me while I kiss this guy/Scuse me while I kiss the sky."
5. According to one travel website, the most overrated tourist attractions in America are-
Niagara Falls (NY), Hollywood Walk of Fame (California), Times Square (NYC), Epcot (FL), Seattle Space Needle (WA), and Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market (Boston). How many of these have you seen in person? Did you feel like a tourist? Did you care? Tell us about a place (not on the list) you've visited that might be considered a tourist trap, but you love it anyway.  I have been to all of the above and loved them.  I was at Niagara Falls when Nick Wallenda walked across it.  It was amazing.  I love the hustle and bustle of Times Square and fell in love with Mt. Ranier in Washington from the Space Needle.  Frank and I went to Disney World a few years ago and I have to an adult I LOVED Epcot.  The cultural aspect and the foods from other countries was amazing.  I guess of all the Disney Properties....Epcot is my favorite.  As far as feeling like a tourist.  I don't care and I usually research the places I am going to I feel like a native.  I love Nashville....but it is so pricey and I would consider it to be a tourist trap.....I bought a pair of boots in a Nashville boutique and paid a pretty penny for them.  I found the same pair of boots at DSW in Birmingham for half the price....and not even on sale.  
6. Your signature clothing item?  Simple....jeans, my Birkenstocks, and a tee favorite is my Ron Jon's shirt.  I would wear them to church on Sunday.....if I wasn't the preacher.  LOL

7. What's an experience you've had you think everyone should experience at least once? Why?  Hearing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing, The Hallelujah Chorus, in Salt Lake City.  It was breathtaking.
8. Insert your own random thought here.  Today is East meets West Day....and I thought I would share one of my favorite songs.  Have an awesome last week of April.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fly Away With Hodgepodge

I have missed a couple of weeks doing my Hodgepodge.  The end of school is near and I my world has been in a state of Helter Skelter. Hodgepodge is back so let's get right to it. If you've answered this week's questions add your link at the end of Joyce's post. Be sure to leave a comment for the blogger linking before you because that's the neighborly thing to do here on a Wednesday. Here we go-

From this Side of the Pond  

1. Tell us about a time you felt like you were 'flying by the seat of your pants'.
Right now!  It is the end of the school year.  My seniors have given up.  There are sporting events that affect classes, there are plays, there are special events......and on top of that....Every teacher has some kind of field trip planned.  I am lucky if I have half of my original class on any given day.  I have to teach x amount of things....and I am truly flying by the seat of my pants trying to get it all in. 

2.  When or where would you most like to be 'a fly on the wall'?  The School Board Executive Sessions.

3. 'Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.'-Henry David Thoreau 
Would you agree? Why or why not?  I love the calm of nature.  I love stopping and smelling the roses and just the other day while I was smelling my knockout roses a gorgeous butterfly landing on my right shoulder.  I just stood still and enjoyed it's beauty....and smiled.

4. Share a favorite movie, book, or song with flying in it's title, lyrics, or theme somewhere.
I am going to have to borrow Joyce's movie.  I too love the movie Fly Away Home based on the true story of the young girl and her dad who helped some baby geese get from their home in Canada to the warmer waters of North Carolina. Hummingbird by Seals and Croft would be my song.  I love it when they finish it....with Come Fly Away......  I also want to agree with Joyce on her second movie, October Sky.    It was awesome.  I actually have been to the town where the Rocket Boys came from.  It was awe inspiring.  The book was Homer Hickam's memoir- Rocket Boys. Such a great story! 

5. What is one task or chore you tend to do 'on the fly'? Is this something that really needs to be done another way?  Joyce and I seem to be cut from the same cloth.  I would have to agree with her.Dusting. Eh. It just keeps coming around, doesn't it??? I do periodically give the house a thorough dusting, but a lot of times I'll be walking by a piece of furniture, will notice the dust, and do a quick wipe with the swiffer. Not the same as actual dusting which does need to happen on a more regular basis round here. 
6. What was happening the last time you thought to yourself or said aloud, 'Wow, time flies when you're having fun', and you meant it.  Spring break the week before last.  

7. This Thursday is National Garlic Day. Will you add garlic to your menu on Thursday? Do you like garlic? What's your favorite dish made with garlic?  I love garlic and cook with it fairly often. Not sure what we will be having on Thursday because we eat at Celebrate Recovery and our meal depends on what the Food Bank has to offer. My favorite dish made with garlic is Frank's homemade spaghetti sauce.  Yum Yum.

8. Insert your own random thought here.  This past weekend was Easter.  In our town their was a scavenger hunt for the Easter Egg Bridge.  It was a great place to take pictures and a good friend of mine did just that.  Marcie, her daughter, and daughter in law took the three grandchildren and had a field day with cell phone cameras.  The pictures are lovely. 
Kaid is a Mr. GQ.  He makes the best pictures.

Jett and Kruze are a precious brother and sister.  They make my heart smile.

Kaid, Kruze, and Jett.  I love these three with all my heart.    Did you make the traditional Easter attire pictures this year???? I didn't make the first one.

Monday, April 17, 2017

By His Grace

While preparing for my Easter Sunrise Sermon I found myself in the book of Ephesians and Ephesians 2:8-9 stuck in my head and heart all week.  "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast"
On Friday and Saturday I received 10 pieces of junk mail from credit card companies and car dealerships telling me that I’d been “pre-approved” for a line of credit. This trash mail makes me so tired.  I did not even open any of Saturday's mail because I threw it all in the trash can.  As I was looking at each envelope I thought about the fact that this mail may wear me out but I knew of something I’d never get tired of: God telling me that I’ve been pre-approved to be His child. Before Jesus began his earthly ministry, He traveled to the Jordan to be baptized by his cousin John. As soon as He came up out of the water, the heavens opened, the Spirit descended, and God spoke. “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).  Is that not amazing?  I think it is.  Before Jesus even performed the first miracle, preached the first sermon, or called the first disciple, God made sure that His identity was clear. He was accepted, approved, and completely loved. This makes me smile.....because so am I.....and so are you.  I have so many Christian friends who work so hard to earn acceptance and approval.....and guess what guys...Jesus has already taken care of that.  I am not telling you to stop doing your best....but I am telling you that you don't have to earn acceptance.  You already have it!  The problem is that the devil will do anything and everything he can to keep you from believing that truth. Make no mistake about it, Satan knows that you are a chosen, holy, dearly loved child of God who has been created to fulfill a great purpose that God has planned for you. He knows it, and he hates it. His goal is to keep you from believing it. And if he can keep you from believing the truth about your new identity, then he has won.  Who are you going to believe?  Whatever voice you listen to will determine your destiny.....and personally myself I don't want to never make it to my Promised Land....I am all about keeping on towards the land of milk and honey.  There is a military slogan that says...."Be all you can be" and believe me that is what I want to do....I want to "Be what I have been called by God to be" don't you?  There are many days when Satan gets in my head and heart and messes with them.  It is on those days I have to affirm just who I am......1.  I am His daughter and if you are a faithful follower and believer in Christ so are you.
2.  I am someone whom He loves...and dearly.  3.  I am someone with whom He is well least most days.  You know, I can never thank my Heavenly Father enough for loving me and for helping me to walk in the confidence of a woman of faith who is truly loved.  This pre-approval is not junk mail.  It is the real deal and for that I am thankful every day of my life.  How about you?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Why Am I Here?

My scripture this morning is found in Revelation 5:1-14

As I began meditating on what God would have me say to you this morning, I found myself coming back time and time again to the same theme. What would bring people out this early in the morning for a sunrise service? What would cause people to come and sit in this cold weather on these cold metal chairs? Who or what is worthy enough for this kind of devotion? Our scripture this morning tells us who is worthy of all of this and more. It tells us who is worthy and it also tells us why He is worthy.

. The Revelation given to John tells us why we are here this morning.

. 1Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals.

2And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: “Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?”

3But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it.

4Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it.

5But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

6Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth.

7He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne.

8And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.

9And they sang a new song with these words:

“You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.

10And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.”

11Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders.

12And they sang in a mighty chorus:“Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.”

13And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang:“Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne

and to the Lamb forever and ever.”

14And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.

. John describes a scene in Heaven - a search for someone who was worthy to begin the process of the final judgment.  He looked around and saw no one worthy of this honor. 

Then one of the Elders told him to look, The Lion of The Tribe of Judah was worthy. The one who had been sacrificed for the sin of all mankind. Jesus Christ was worthy. He was the only one in all of heaven, earth and under the earth who was worthy to start this process.  He was the only one worthy of the praise and honor that they gave Him afterword.

They wrote songs about Him and sang them just like we did this morning.  They praised what He had done for mankind and they worshiped Him.  Just like we are doing here this morning.  He was the only one that they would do this for.   Jesus is the only one that we will do this for.  We are here this morning to praise and honor and remember what Jesus Christ did for us.

Let me remind you again of why we are here this morning.  On Friday of what we call Passion Week, Jesus was crucified on a cross.  He died on that cross for the sins of all mankind. God had always required the shedding of blood for the forgiveness of sin.  Jesus voluntarily placed Himself on that cross so that He could die for you and for me.  He told us that if we accept this sacrifice that our sins will be forgiven and we will be seen as righteous by God.  We will be in a right relationship with God.

 He was taken off that cross and buried. He was dead.  He was dead and buried and everybody thought that it was over.  Jesus had been a great teacher. An exceptional Rabbi but now He was dead.  All of His followers were confused. What do we do now.  On Sunday…today,  though all that changed.  What happened today changed the course of mankind.  You see, today, Jesus Christ came out of that tomb.

The women who loved Jesus went to anoint His body and they found that the tomb was no longer sealed and that Jesus’ body was gone.  Angels appeared to them and told them that they shouldn’t be looking for Jesus there. They told them that Jesus had risen from the dead and that they should go and tell His disciples that He would meet them in Galilee.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:6 that Jesus appeared to over 500 of His disciples after the resurrection.  He did this so that we would believe that He had risen because of the witness of so many people.  He’s alive, I’m sure the women told the men when they saw them.  He’s alive, I’m sure Peter and John cried out when they saw the other apostles.  He’s alive I’m sure all the others who saw Jesus cried out when they saw Him

Folks we are here this morning in the cold because He is worthy of our honor and our praise.  He is worthy of this small sacrifice of comfort.  Why?  Why?  Because He Is Alive this morning.  Celebrate with me this morning… Jesus is alive this morning.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Who Is This?

"My scripture today comes from Matthew 21:1-11
What were people waving palm branches about 2,000 years ago when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey?  What did they expect would happen?  What did they want from Jesus?  What do you want from Jesus?  What do I want?  Why are we waving palm branches this morning?  I would imagine that our answers might be as varied as the people so many years ago.  Some of us might be waving our palm branches because that is what everyone else is doing.  We're not sure what to think about it, but it's kind of cool and it feels good to fit in with the crowd.  Others of us are, perhaps, welcoming King Jesus into our presence.  And by "King Jesus" we might be thinking "King Jesus" the democrat who thinks like us.  Or we might be thinking of "King Jesus" the Republican who will be backing our candidate.  Maybe we don't have a clue.  Or perhaps we do.  Who is "King Jesus" to you?  What is He King of?

Some scholars speculate that there are at least two groups of folks involved in the Palm Sunday Parade. There is the "large crowd" that "spread their clothes on the road"......and "cut palm branches off the trees."  These folks were in front and behind Jesus shouting: "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!"  These are the same people who have been on the road with Jesus all the way back from the beginning, along with many, many others who have been picked up along the way.They include tons of women, former prostitutes, J  esus' mother and sisters and other women who had been treated as equals for the first and only time in their lives by the man on the donkey.  There were former lepers in the crowd, people who had once been blind, lame, and even dead.  There were, no doubt as well, many hundreds, if not thousands of folks who had been fed by Jesus on the hillsides as He taught them.  They had been in the original crowds of 5,000 and 4,000 having miraculously eaten their fill of bread and fish.  And there were, of course, the original Twelve disciples......those guys who knew Jesus most intimately but still didn't really understand what His mission was about.  Then there was the other group of folks.  These were the residents of the city of Jerusalem.  Most of them probably watched from the sidelines as this wildly enthusiastic motley crew came marching loudly into their city.  Some of them might have joined in with the others waving palm branches and spreading their clothes out in front of Jesus--giving Him the "red carpet" treatment.  Why not join in?
People like to be part of the "in" crowd.  And the people shouting "Hosanna's" certainly seemed to be having a good time.
What's the old saying?..."Everybody loves a parade."  In any event, we are told that "when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up."  "Who is this?' they asked."  Turns out that no one seemed to have the "right answer."

Today we live in a time when lots of us are confused as to "Who Jesus Is."  Some folks preach what has come to be called "the prosperity gospel."  There is nothing in Scripture to back up their claims, but they teach the people who come to their churches that Jesus wants us to be rich.  So they insist that if they give their hard-earned money to these "prosperity preachers" they will somehow get lots more money back.  They will finally be able to buy that vacation home in the Keys, put in a swimming pool, retire, or just make their rent payments.  In the meantime, the only ones getting rich are the snake oil salesmen running these operations.  So, in some minds, Jesus is, what?...  ...a lottery ticket, a rising stock or the fastest horse on the race track?

Others seem to think that Jesus is an American politician.
He's concerned with capitalism, oil, big business, national defense and keeping illegal aliens out of the country.  Others might say that Jesus is a Socialist or a Communist.  What did the crowds who were waving Palm Branches think about Jesus 2,000 years ago?  We are told back in Matthew Chapter 12 that they had begun to wonder whether Jesus might be the Son of David...
. other words, whether Jesus was going to be the new King David…  ...the Messiah who was gonna slaughter the occupying forces of Rome and give Israel their home back.  But, Jesus wasn't a war lord.  He didn't believe in using swords, fighting or war.  He didn't care about money...or the amassing of money.  He did care about everyone having enough to eat, and clothes to wear but that was about it.  Jesus wasn't a politician. 
Jesus wasn't a nationalist.  He cared about Israel, but He had just as much concern about the foreigners, the people in other lands, Israel's enemies.  Jesus wasn't a snake oil salesman.
Jesus told the truth and it got a lot of people mad, very, very mad.
Jesus wasn't a lottery ticket.  He told rich folks to sell all they have, give it to the poor and come follow Him.  He told His followers "stop collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth..."Jesus wasn't trying to win a popularity contest.  He told those in charge that they were hypocrites, blind guides, and children of hell.   With this said, Jesus wasn't a kill-joy either......He wasn't the judgmental "church lady" from the old   Saturday Night Live Skit.  Jesus seemed to love a good party.
His first miracle was at a wedding in Cana of Galilee where He turned six stone jars filled with water into about 180 gallons of wine.  The religious elite who watched Him suspiciously described Him as a "glutton and a drunkard," and they didn't like the company He hung out with either.  He made friends with crooks, prostitutes, losers, cripples, the homeless, the blind, the beggars.  And His acceptance of them changed their lives.  He washed their feet, fed them, loved them, taught them, healed them, had compassion on them, and welcomed them into His circle no matter their race, gender, lifestyle or religion. What are we to make of this?

At the very least, doesn't this entice you to learn more about Him?
If He is the very embodiment of God--and in seeing Him we see the Almighty--I want to know Him very well, indeed.  I want to study the Bible.  I want to participate in Sunday school, small groups, and I want to worship every chance I get.  And the more I learn about Him, the more I want to tell others about Him as well…  ...not out of fear for my soul, but out of love for my neighbor…  ...for the love of Christ fills me and I can't keep it to myself.  We are told that "when Jesus entered Jerusalem" on that first Palm Sunday so many years ago, "the whole city was stirred up.  "Who is this?' they asked.  How would you answer this question?  How does your life mirror your answer?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April and Easter

If I had to choose a holiday that was my favorite I would have to pick Easter.  I LOVE  Easter.  It is my favorite holiday because of what it stands for, what all it involves, and just the pure glory of it.   So, last week, in my Easter readings,  I found myself buried in  an awesome  devotional by Rick Warren and just had to share it with you.  The scripture that he drew his devotional from was  “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also” (1 Corinthians 6:14 NIV).

Did you know that millions and millions of Christians around the world celebrate Easter every year.   The sad part is that for far too many of us the story has become boring and rote. We have the basic facts down. I know I have since I was a small child.  I mean, come on….. Jesus was arrested. He was crucified. And three days later, God raised him from the dead.  Yet we miss something very important. We miss what turns Easter from a one-dimensional holiday to a multi-dimensional, life-transforming way of life.  We miss that the story of the Resurrection isn’t just Jesus’ story — it’s our story as well.  You see, you are a part of the Resurrection. Jesus’ death and Resurrection didn’t just prove there was life after death. The Resurrection proves you can have life after death, that there’s life beyond your grave.  Jesus says, if you trust in him, death becomes a transition, not an ending point.  I love that concept.  One day your heart will stop. That will be the end of your body. But it will not be the end of you. God made you to last forever. That’s why you often have a feeling there’s more to life than this. Jesus made this amazing promise in John 11: 25-26: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (NIV).  That’s quite a promise! Jesus proved he could do it by resurrecting himself. Otherwise, we would have no reason to believe it. If Jesus hadn’t died on the cross and been resurrected more than 2,000 years ago, you would have zero chance of getting to Heaven — no hope of the afterlife and no eternal life.  The Bible says, “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also” (1 Corinthians 6:14).  As Easter comes our way this year, that’s a truth to hang our lives upon. It’s great news that Jesus rose from the dead. But what turns that truth from black and white to living color is that one day — if you trust in him — he will raise you from the grave, too.  That’s the promise of Easter.  Is that not an amazing concept?  I know it is to me. 

Blessings, Karen