Thursday, September 28, 2006

My Superman

This is my Superman. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see why he's getting so much attention today.

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  Posted by Picasa

My Superman
My knight in shining armor
My Hosea
He works so hard so I can stay home with our children. Then he comes home and works hard for us. He's our grillmaster, coach, handyman, and he cheers us all on in everything we do. This is my man. God gave him to me and I love him so much. Thank you, Father for this wonderful blessing of a man! You of course picked the perfect one for me.

Today is his birthday and we are off to Pigeon Forge, TN WITHOUT the kids! I made chicken salad, homemade pimento cheese, bought fresh ground whole wheat bread from a friend, and steamed whole green beans for a picnic lunch. For his birthday cake, I had another friend, who is a pastry chef, make a chocolate almond cake with and apricot filling and a dark chocolate glaze over the top. He went the extra mile and covered the top with chocolate dipped strawberries. Top all of this off with a bottle of white zin and we are set. (As good as this all sounds, I don't know if I am doing all of that for myself or for him. LOL)

See you gals next week!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Wordless Wednesday-Southern Pearls

Posted early because I am going to be away from the computer on Wednesday.

For more Wordless Wednesday see 5 Minutes for Mom

My previous Wordless Wednesdays:
Mantis Meal
Intelligent Design

Sunday, September 24, 2006

In answer to the question, "Do you trust Me?"

Before you read this, I have 3 Earthly sources that I want to credit:

  1. Cool Mama in this post called God Remembers
  2. Kpjara in this post called Strongtower
  3. And, which is a GREAT source for finding and studying scripture, and is where this post begins.

Bible Search…"Trust". Results…"See FAITH".

The result of this search was over 3 pages of Instances of Faith in the Bible. 85 all-together.

God has given us so many good faith examples to go by. Abraham trusted God enough to leave his home and go somewhere without really knowing where he was going. Then he trusted God that he would have heirs (although he too tried to take things into his own hands here. I am notorious for doing that). He trusted God when God told him to sacrifice his only son. Jochabed trusted God with Moses life. Rahab, David, Elijah, Daniel…on and on, stories of people who had faith in God. Not just a general faith that God is real, but also a specific trust that God was going to enter the situation.

Time after time, I will be faced with a decision or a dilemma and will not even think to take it to the Lord. Usually it’s my mother that reminds me. Her first question is usually, “Did you pray about it?”


Why didn’t I think of that earlier? Come to think of it, why didn’t I think of that FIRST? Why do I even allow myself to worry over anything? God has proven Himself faithful. He never fails to let me see His hand in situations-after the fact. You’d think I would know by now to give things to Him.

But even my mom, who is always asking, “Did you pray about it,” often forgets to go to the Lord from the beginning of a situation. Many of my Christian friends would admit to this too.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for-the evidence of things not seen.” Look at that chapter. Paul tells what faith is and then lists incidences of faith. He goes on to say that without faith…it…is…IMPOSSIBLE…to please God. Why? Because we have to have faith to even believe that HE IS. The very I AM wants us first and foremost to believe HE IS.

Let me offer you this: to not trust God is to put our faith in something else. In doing so, we have set up an idol-another god-before Him.

Faith, trust, is reliance-confident expectation ( We have a hope of eternal life. Faith gives substance to that by the fact that we have a confident expectation that our hope of eternal life is true. It is the evidence, or reliance, that even though we don’t see it, it exists. The NAS version says Faith is the ASSURANCE of things hoped for, the CONVICTION of things not seen.

You trust gravity when you jump in the air. You don’t see it, but you are assured that when you jump you aren’t going to go flying off into space. You don’t even question it, you just KNOW it-with conviction.

That’s the kind of trust I want to have in God-a pleasing, confident, assured, convicted reliance in the One WHO IS. The knowledge that if the world around me falls apart, He is still in control. NOTHING happens that he doesn’t know about and has already planned for.

In the days to come, there may be much to fear with three bully nations rattling their swords at our country. Be still and hear Him ask, “Will you trust Me?” He will be with us always and we have the ultimate hope to come. I choose to trust Him. When all else fails-and it does-and I am to the point where there is nothing else to do? No! I will trust Him NOW. He NEVER fails. And He has my fate in His hands.

On a related theme: I cannot emphasize enough the importance of journaling. Journaling offers a point of reference and a reminder. Just as the Bible gives us examples of faith, so our journals do on a more personal level. Read Cool Mama's post linked above. Nothing builds your faith more than to be reminded through your own journals that God himself is faithful and trustworthy.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


It's been a long time since I have watched a series on TV other than reruns of MASH and Star Trek. But, WOW! Did anyone see the CBS premier of "Jericho" tonight?

It looks like it's going to be a really good show and Gerald McRaney is in it. I love his down to earth, no nonsense, conservative characters. Looks like he is playing another good one.

Definately a thought provoker and especially after the comments by Chavez and Ahmadinejad about America to the UN, and the radio rumors running rampant these days(they are just that, rumors, been around since 2003 they just seem to be re-running them)

I was starting to get a little fearful. I read an article yesterday about a brother and sister reunited last weekend for the first time since the holocaust. It didn't really have any more of an effect on me other than just that it was a sweet story. But of course the story came back to me with a very different America and my own children as the characters. Along with those thoughts was that I have a son that is 17 and has to sign with the draft next year. So I am sitting there after the show, this train of thought charging into my brain, I'm about to launch into this "God what're we going to do" prayer, when I hear this quiet whisper that somehow rang out above the raging flood in my head, "Do you trust Me?"


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Wordless Wednesday-Enraptured

More Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes For Mom

My previous Wordless Wednesdays:
Mantis Meal
Intelligent Design Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 18, 2006

Anatomy of a Life Change

I'm not feeling well today so this is going to be short. I have a need to get this written down but I may have to tie up the loose ends later on. So bear with me.

From experience and from the testimonies I heard over this weekend: Many people come to Christ and it doesn't "stick". When this happens, the opportunity for reconcilliation goes quickly down the tubes due to the "fallen" being fearful of what the "faithful" will think or say. There are some solid truths that we who see ourselves as "faithful" would do well to remember. I offer these as a means to foster compassion, not judgmentalism.

Life change, such as a decision for the Lord, is not always good or complete. Sometimes, it can be a person's last ditch effort to connect and they have been told Christianity is the answer to all their problems. With no discipleship these people never learn to show Christ's love and often their expectations, both of their own faith or of those around them, leave them angry, bitter and in a place far from God that is harder to reach than they were in to begin with. Sometimes, life change is a flash in the pan, a show, and even a desperate attempt to grasp hope. Often Christians see them come in, pat them on the back, Go about our merry way, and watch them leave, wondering what happened to them. Salvation is NOT the end. It is imperative to involve new Christians in such a way that they are around people they can learn from. Look at Jesus. He called those disciples and immediately put them to work. Did they mess up? You bet they did, but they learned from their mistakes in a way that would stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Life change is not always visible. Some are seeking God, but have not left their old lifestyle. Their hearts can truly be for God in spite of the fact that they still sin. They can even love Him to the point that they hate what they are doing and may even try to share the knowledge they have even DURING their sin. Our pastor calls it "buzz witnessing" and yes, God is capable of using it. You see, those people Often, it is their perception of what their former friends, both christian and not, think about them that keep them from making a choice one way or another.

Life Change is not always permanent. The old way of life is often more of a draw than a person can withstand. We cannot allow ourselves to be shocked by their stories. We cannot allow ourselves to fall into the trap of thinking that they have to be "changed" to be a Christian. Certainly it will show with time, but it takes just that, TIME, and quite often, MANY FAILURES. We have to be ready to "go get" the ones who fall away and promise to stand with them. We must be there to say, "God has not given up on you!" And we must always remember that in spite of what we think, we are just as capable of falling into the same sin...or worse. ANYONE is capable.

To this last comment I want to add that life change is NOT ONLY not always permanent, but it RARELY is. Few who are left to their own can find their own way and I find it a RARITY indeed when an adult convert does not lose his way and fall over and over again, even with help. How often do we get to a place that we think we will be in for the rest of our lives only to have something come along and shake our little world off it's foundation. I'll add this to shake up the theory even more...I was saved when I was 8. When I was a teen, I rebelled and lived the wild life. In my early 20's I had a very real reconcilliation with God and recommitted my life to God. Then in my early 30's, well, I really don't know what happened, but it wasn't Godly. Was my salvation real? Yes. My heart has always been for the Lord, even in my ugliest moments. Do I expect to remain faithful to Him for the rest of my earthly life? I am much wiser than that now. I do expect to be more on my guard and watch more carefully what I put into my heart and mind. But I know that "there but for the grace of God go I".

Wanna know what called me back?

Grace. Unfathomable, unlimited, beautiful, grace.

The voice of One whispering "Beloved, come away with me," to a woman so stained and filthy that the mere use of the word "Beloved" sent me running out of fear.

A husband, who is my Hosea, who in spite of his own pain came after me and brought me home-to my family and to my God, then took all the blame.

A worship leader who followed the call of God to stop the music and say, "The love of God is so great, that when we sin, he calls us to repent, and we do, and he forgives us and picks us up and we go on our way. Then we fall again, and he calls to us, and we repent, and he forgives us and picks us up and we go on our way. Then we fall again...!" I don't know how many times he said it, but it was from God and it was for me. Each time he said it he built to a crescendo and added, "It doesn't matter HOW MANY TIMES WE FALL! HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US, ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS REPENT. WILL WE FALL AGAIN? PROBABLY. WILL HE EVER TURN US AWAY? NEVER"

Yes, the time to choose will one day pass, but until that day, our creator longs for us, yearns for us. He will not stop wooing us till the end of our days.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Seeing the Other Side

There are two women in my church who know my story. It's a dark one that will shock most church people although I think that if I wait a couple more years to tell it, it will be mainstream like everything else. No I can say that I pioneered this blackness all on my own with the exception of satan setting me up with very ripe circumstances and a blindsided attack that left me wondering what hit me. To this day I can't explain the things from my past. There are things from my teenage years that I CAN explain now, but for whatever reason, after years of living the conservative, homemaking, raising Godly children, perfect-little-family, mom life, I found myself in a PIT. A deep, black, full-of-despair, turn-my-back-on-God, PIT! Someday, I will tell the story. I know it has to be told, but I don't know when or how. I am a firm believer that you die to bondage a little each time you tell your story and that for every time you tell it, someone else finds freedom. For now, it is too overwhelming a task to even think about.

To be honest, I'm not sure how honest I should be with the whole thing anyway. I know there are those who need to hear the real, raw, nitty-gritty version, but I also know there are those who would merely be shocked and perhaps change their entire opinion of me if they even knew the gist of it.

You would think that with such a dark and foreboding story hanging over me, I would be very understanding of people and oh so slow to judge. But guess what.

I do have a much greater empathy for those with addictions and bondages. I do know what that feels like and how hard it is to overcome. What I do NOT have understanding for is "Christians".

People are so flippant with that word anymore. I tend to refer to people who are genuinely seeking God as "Christ Followers" because of the negative connotation the word "Christian" seems to carry nowadays. I won't go any further with it. You can already see where the judgmentalism comes in to play. I am never surprised when a "sinner" (used as a general term, not as derogatory), sins. My biggest angst is when "Christians" deem "sinners" unworthy of salvation. I'm sure most people would agree that this is a worthy angst, but trust me, it's not. In doing so, I have deemed alot of "Christians" unworthy of salvation. ooooh. That's harsh. Honestly, I didn't realize it in that light till this morning.

In the Nashville area, it is not uncommon to have musicians on a church worship team who are there just to play a gig. They have no interest, in God except to get their talents on display to whatever talent or producer may happen to be in the audience. I have a tendency, when I know this for a fact, to not even be able to participate in the worship for the attitude I get over it. It is horrible. I have seen this as a satanic tool in my life for some time and have learned, not to control it-I'm not that far yet, but to recognize it and immediately pray to God to let me see them through His eyes.

Well today, God answered me with a real eye opening experience. He said, "Look around you. How many people are dealing with secrets? Secrets they can't tell because people like you will judge them. Isn't that what you were afraid of? Can you win any one of these people (including the one up front) to Me with those stones you are casting with your thoughts?"

The Kingdom of God has NEVER been advanced through ideals or even scripture used as stones.

Help me to see people through Your eyes. Fill me with a love for them that is so overwhelming that I can't help but share it. Remind me, yes even when it hurts, that being a judge is not my job, but yours. I know, Lord that there are even Christians who will disagree with my way of serving You. I just want to be like Jesus and You are so tearing down the sides of the box I have always had Him in. I see now that alot of the "pit" that I walked through was in preparation for this time. And I know that had I not been through it, I would never have allowed You to bust open my box. I would have retreated and found another one. You know this has been a difficult time-learning to trust You while my ideas of faith, worship and love have all been first bashed against the wall, then stripped away and reconfigured. I had always heard of You as a radical, but to really EXPERIENCE it has been something else. Forgive me for judging Your people so harshly. It's not up to me the way they live out their faith and You are most capable of convicting them of the things YOU think are wrong. Just like you do with me. Forgive me specifically for the thoughts about N****** this morning and about J*****. Even now I have to fight to keep from seething just over her name. I KNOW that is not what you would have me to do. Most of the time, I don't even realize I am doing it. I ask you to please catch me every time and remind me to pray for her and to forgive, just as you have forgiven me.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Monday, September 11, 2006

Belated Grandparent's Day Tribute.

I would love to pay tribute to all my grandparents, but I knew my mother's parents best. Due to my parent's separation when I was 10, I don't remember much of my father's parents.

William Sylvester Goff was born in April of 1896. Josephine Constance Ford was born on the same day in April 1900. They married in 1917. He was a coal miner in Kentucky. Together they had five children.

My mom always told me that my grandfather was a hard man, but by the time I knew him, he was as soft as a kitten, having mellowed with age. I often remember him telling stories and tearing up during some of them. He had some of the funniest stories and I wish to this day somebody had thought to write them down. He played music. I remember him hooking up his amplifier and playing for us. He played guitar and had formed a brace out of coat hangers to hold his harmonica (harp as he called it) so he could play both at the same time. I remember my cousins and I kicking up our heels to his tunes after supper. I remember a song called "The Letter Edged in Red", and "The Old Rugged Cross" best. Later in life William developed Parkinson's disease and I always remember him patting me on the back with that trembling hand. Every time we would go to visit them (they lived in a two bedroom trailer), I would hear the teakettle go off in the morning meaning breakfast was ready. My grandfather would get up and cook breakfast and put the kettle on to whistle about the time the food would be done, in order to wake everyone up. As far as I know, my grandfather did this every morning for my grandmother. I just never could imagine him the way my mother remembered him. He seemed to love my grandmother dearly. When she got Alzheimer’s, he was the one who took care of her in spite of it breaking his heart.

Josephine...what I remember most about her was her LOOOOONG hair and her cooking. She had gray hair that she could sit on and kept it in a bun all day. I would ask to brush it in the evenings when she would take it down. I loved the feel of it. She was famous in our family for her homemade rolls and her cakes. She made a killer German chocolate cake. But those rolls, oh those rolls. She would let me have some of the dough and a little pan to make my own in. MMMMMMM

My grandmother's mind started failing about the time I was a teenager. I was losing interest in them and she was losing her memory of us. I went one time after she got Alzheimer’s and while she greeted us with enthusiastic friendliness, she added, "I don't know who you are, but it's always nice to have company!" I had heard of some of the strange things she had been saying and doing so it didn't really bother me. I know that she was afraid of my grandfather most of the time and this broke his heart. He loved her so much.

When I was 17, I got pregnant. It was out of wedlock and though I was being a very defiant teen, my mother was ashamed and didn't want the rest of the family to know. That was okay with me, cause inside, I was ashamed too. I was due in May of that year. I was still going to school and trying to blend in with the walls so no one would notice me. In April, William was sent to the hospital with what I assume was a heart attack. While he was there, my grandmother, who was staying with my aunt, caught some kind of viral infection and died in her sleep. A few days later, William woke up and just knew she was gone. His reason for carrying on was gone and he went home to be with her less than two weeks after her. I know it is stretching it, but just let me go on remembering them this way...My grandparents loved each other so much and their spirits were so connected, that he couldn't linger here without her.

But I never got to say goodbye to them. I had my baby and put her up for adoption and went on to college. I never cried over them, I never thought another thing about them...till I had my oldest daughter. I will never forget. I was sitting in a rocking chair singing to my baby. I just happened to start singing "The Old Rugged Cross". At some point it dawned on me what I was singing and the memory of my Grandfather overwhelmed me. I held my baby close and sang through uncontrollable, grief stricken tears. I was finally saying goodbye to them and wishing desperately they could see their latest great-grandchild. But most of all, I grieved not wanting to see them more often before they went home and that I had messed things up so much that I didn't even get to say goodbye.

Having said my goodbyes to them since, here is a photo tribute to William and Josephine Goff.

Josephine Constance Ford (April 1900-April 1983)

William Sylvester Goff (April 1896-April1983) He is the boy standing in the gate, the baby is his brother.
William and Josephine (taken around 1945)

William and Josephine (taken in 1982) Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 10, 2006

That day...

I heard it from the neighbor boy. They were getting ready to move so he was home. This 14 year old boy banged on my door and said, "a plane crashed into the World Trade Center!" I didn't believe him and he urged me to turn on the TV. We didn't have cable at the time and the picture was fuzzy, but I had turned it on just it time to see the second plane crashing into the tower. Then the reports about the Pentagon, planes being hijacked, we were under attack. You don't hear about it much anymore, but I remember the reports coming in right and left, mostly rumors, of fires, more planes missing, bomb sounded like DC was being invaded. Of course we later learned that many of those reports were rumors or hoaxes, but at the time, I really felt like THIS WAS IT. I had to sit down for a minute and think.

My knee-jerk reaction was to gather my children close to me. I was sooo tempted to rush to the school to bring them all home. The only thing that stopped me was that if parents started coming to get their kids, and this wasn't real, it might frightened the kids who had to stay. It was so hard to stay away, but I made that choice early on and am glad now that I stuck by it.

I was babysitting for my best friend's daughter at that time and had to fight hard to keep that little girl from seeing my tears and feeling my panic. Because the tv signal was horrible, I had taken her and gone to the neighbor's house to watch it all. It was there that we watched the 1st tower fall. I remember we were talking and watching it fall, but it didn't really dawn on us till it was over that it had fallen. I remember foggily interupting the conversation and saying, completely without feeling or understanding of what I was saying, "it's falling". Just like that-totally deadpan-but it stopped the conversation and we all stood there in silence. For the life of me, I can't remember what the tv people were saying. I suddenly felt the urge to move. I had to get out of there. I decided to go to my mother's who was out of town, but in my panic I was having a hard time deciding what I needed to do to get there. I finally got us loade up in the care with things to entertain BF'sD. I listened to the radio as I drove. I will never forget the words, (pardon the use of words, it is a quote) "OH MY G*D! The second tower is falling! NO, no, it can't be!" I was sitting at a stop sign and couldn't go. I had burst into tears and was trying desperately to get control for BF'sD's sake.

At some point that day, I walked outside and sat in my mother's swing. Looking up at a the clearest, bluest sky I could remember, I tried to find the words to pray, but all I could muster was, "God, how can it be real? It's such a perfect day,"

I won't go on with MY reaction. My oldest daughter was the only one of my children who knew. I had to break the news to them and was amazed at how little I had to explain to them. Even my kindergartener knew about the "twin towers" in New York City. I think the most notable reaction was when I told my oldest boy-then in 8th grade. He said "nuh uh". Who COULD believe the unbelievable?

There are a couple of things that happened that day that I want to make note of that took place that day. These things were a result of the attacks, but my memory of them have been nearly drowned out by the memories of the attacks themselves. Bear with me while I record them for my own memory's sake.

The kindergarten students got out of school an hour earlier than the rest of the students here. I had gone to line up to pick up my youngest daughter. While parked in the line, I saw someone roll down their window and look out...and up. Then they got out of their car and looked up. The person behind them got out and looked up. After the 3rd or fourth person, I started looking myself. By the time I got out of the car and the reality of what was happening dawned on me, everyone was out, pointing and talking. It didn't dawn on me right away. We live under a flight path. There was a plane. HIGH up in the sky, but in that crystal clear blue, it's con trails were perfectly visible-in a sky with NO other con trails. Talk about thoughts running through your head. I mean normally we wouldn't have thought twice about a plane or con trails, but the absence of any others made a stark statement about the fact that there weren't supposed to be ANY planes up there. Of course later we would learn that it was probably a fighter in route, or maybe even Air Force One, but now I find it a perfect example of the palpable fear that we all had that day. In fact, up until that moment, I hadn't realize why the sky was so perfectly clear and blue. It was normally criss-crossed with con trails.

The second was rural TN...some wise guy gas station owner got scared of the possibility of a fuel shortage and decided he was going to start profitting from it. About 5 o'clock, reports of gas prices shooting through the roof...and quick...sent enough people to the gas station, including myself, to cause very long waits. We had ended up at a little gas station with one bank of pumps and a line on each side at least 20 cars long. I remember the gas was already at $2.49 and there were rumors flying on the radio of it surging up to $5 per gallon by morning with a very real possibility of not having ANY by the end of the week. WE were there for an hour or more. I'm sure the people behind us, were happy with me cause I had a 30-something gallon van to fill.

During all of these events, I had a very real sense of us all being in this together-Community. That's what we became in the following weeks. In spite of the terribleness of that day. I loved what came from it. The events of that day were unbelievable, but what I find even moreso is that just five short years later, we have returned to status quo. How easily we forget.

More Sept. 11 stories are found at Rocks in My Dryer.

A list of trubutes to each of the 2,996 victims of 9/11

Friday, September 8, 2006

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Dealing with my own fear

Growing up we went to a church that was based on some very DEEP Biblical teaching. I was too young to really understand most of it at the time, but my mother assures me that the teaching she got there was "ahead of its time". I do have a few things that stuck in my mind from there, most of it I take with a skeptical grain of salt due to the fact that the pastor there went off the deep end later on...LONG story that I will have to share some time. Alot of the good that may have come from that church with me, has been negated by the fact that just as I was starting to become aware of things, relationships, and meanings, serious error had entered in and the glaring, cultish, qualities that began to take shape, were what stand out in my mind. I did take one peice with me however that after years of holding that nugget to the test of time and reality, I found truth in.

"Fear opens the door to Satan"

The only reason I can think of that this stuck with me is the fact that I was about 11 years old when I heard it being taught and it made me afraid to be afraid. Oh what a vicious cycle! My parents were going through a divorce at the time and my mother was working again. I became not only a latch-key kid, having to spend after school hours alone, but due to my mother's commute, I was also alone for a few hours in the EARLY morning hours till my dad would come take me to school. Needless to say, there was alot of opportunity to be afraid. The more afraid I was, the more afraid I would be that Satan or demons would come inside me. At least in the mind of a 10 or 11 year old child that's how it seemed.

As I matured, that phrase began to take on a new meaning for me. I experienced as an adult, a night or two of waking up in a cold sweat, feeling the URGENT need to pray for someone or something. The problem was that I had dreamed something terrifying leading up to that wakefulness, that left me feeling paralyzed-afraid even to breath, much less whisper a prayer. It was after a couple of these experiences that I realized that God wanted me to pray, but Satan did NOT. What was the weapon he used? FEAR.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that fear almost always has that effect in varying degrees. Whether we are petrified and rendered immobile, or simply avoid doing something we want to do because there is a measure of fear involved, in fear, Satan has a tool with which to render the strongest in the faith, useless to God.

"Fear opens the door to Satan"

Now I am pretty sure that this term was used in the discussion of demonic powers. I am skeptical about the ability for demons to enter a Christian. How can a demon live in someone that Jesus lives in. My faulty memory may have served to imply that meaning anyway. But certainly, I do believe that certain fears DO attach themselves to us. I use the personification of fear as an analogy. I once imagined it being like a little demon-like, winged creature sitting on our heads with its claws sunk into our brains.

Certainly we have childhood fears we carry with us into adulthood, but there are also the fears we develop as a result of being hurt-either physically or emotionally. Those fears are not easily shaken. They do indeed feel at times, especially if we are aware that it is fear that is driving us or holding us back, like it has its claws sunk into us.

Which brings me to the scripture 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Now this is the scripture I learned as a child. The King James Version. I still memorize KJV because the poetic sound to it makes it easier to memorize, but not neccessarily easier to understand. Needless to say, as a child, I did not find those moments that I was afraid to be anything near a "sound mind" experience. I just didn't get it. The New American Standard Version says, "For God has not given us a (A)spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline." and the New International Version says, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of SELF-discipline."

Okay, what the hey has discipline, much less SELF-discipline have to do with overcoming fear? Power I get. I mean if we are to wrestle "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places"(Eph. 6:12), we are going to need some power, right? Love is always a great motivator. I mean, to fear death is a pretty natural fear, but who doesn't love someone enough that they would die for them? If not your spouse, then certainly you would give up your own life to save your child's life. But self-discipline...???

Now some of you may have already seen the connection, but I am a bit thicker than that. Maybe is was just that I didn't WANT to see the connection. After reading this article by Pastor David Moore, I finally got it. "Courage isn't the abscence of fear, it's the commitment to continue." Isn't a commitment to continue, self-discipline? And certainly, when you overcome fear by committing to continue, isn't that same fear replaced with a sound mind? I am stretching a bit in order to convey the thought. I understand it in my own mind, but sometimes I just can't organize the thought processes enough to make all the connections when trying to explain.

To put this in context, I will refer back to this post. I do fear success even in the photography I love so much. There is still so much I don't know, so much to learn yet. I have a working knowledge, but I don't just want to be a run-of-the-mill studio photographer. That's where the money is unless you get recognition enough to start working for publications or for agencies. I look at Anne Geddes and am so in awe and so overwhelmed. Then I think about my age and realize what a late start I am getting. WOW. Should I even try? I could put that time and energy into my kids and hope that one of them will develop my passion for photography at an early age so I can live vicariously through them. Do I really have time enough to develop the kind of talent I WANT to have? Fear, plain and simple. I can talk myself out of anything. I mean, I never wanted anything so bad as I do success in this, but the idea that I may finish what I'm doing and still not be any better, or that I may eventually get better and have my own studio and equipment and not have the sticktoitivness.

I have written here in the past about finally realizing success won't come to me, I have to DO something to make it happen. So in an amazing, sudden burst of courage,(the kind defined above), I started trying to set some things in motion. Each step I took, it would seem that God was matching my stride. Now each time I took a step and God helped, I DID experience a sound mind. Then fear would creep back in and I'd have to start the process all over again. I am looking at the end of the initial process and starting to feel that urge to "give up, it's not going to work out anyway". So the next step, as I understand it, is to commit to keep on.

Hopefully, my next post of substance will be on the process of disciplining myself. If I can discipline myself enough to do it. :-)

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

A poem to go with my pictures-Actually I wrote this YEARS ago.

The small ant crawls through grass so tall
Cattle graze as farmer watches them all
Farmer wipes his brow under blazing sun
Planets encircle, paths never undone
More stars so far yet a galaxy make
Beyond a void so vast and great
The universe our minds can’t comprehend
All in the hands of God for eternity to spend.

The mighty One with his finger stirs
The cosmos flows seemingly in a blur
Each galaxy's path in constant motion
Stars pass like distant ships on the ocean
The world circles defining a year
Day and night seem so fast from here
Man wakes and sleeps by it all
For Him, not one detail is too small.

©2006 Joy E. Meade

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Wordless Wednesday-Mantis Meal

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.
Yeah, he's chowing on a sweat bee. If you can handle blood and guts, click on it to see it full size. You can even see the bee butt in his "hands" and the "scraps" on the flower petals.
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Wordless Wednesday 1-Intelligent Design

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

This is what I've found on Starbucks

Seattle Times article

Aside from the fact that my daughter has been working for them for almost 2 years, is a shift super and soon to be asst. mgr., has been through pretty extensive training and forum sessions with corporate people and has been told that Starbucks does not corporately support controversial social causes, this was all I could find on the subject. None of which says "WE DO NOT SUPPORT THE GAY AGENDA" or "WE DO". There could be some ambiguous enough wording in there to go either way.

Decide for yourself. Personally, I don't go there enough to really worry about it and my daughter brings home a free pound of beans every week, so I'm not really pursuing the issue. But there again, please don't just stop going. If you want to make a difference-tell them you are leaving them and why. Otherwise, your missing $4 won't be so missed or will be attributed to the economy.

Where does my money go?

I am very active politically, but I try to keep it out of my blog. However, when something disturbs me deeply, I do want to share it.

While I do stay active in the political arena, I don't often boycott. However, I spend enough money at this place to want to change my spending habits. It seems that Wal-Mart has jumped on the gay marraige band wagon. I am passionately involved in changing the way church percieves homosexuals. They are individuals bound by a sin that is so incredibly addictive that instead of trying to get free, they try to make it "normal". However, I fundamentally disagree with the gay agenda. If Wal-mart continues down this path, that is their choice, but I don't have to give them my hard earned money to help them do so.

Please understand that if you choose to remove your business from Wal-Mart, it will do no good if you do not tell them you are doing that and why. Talk to your store manager face to face or on the phone AND contact the corporate office either by phone or e-mail. BE POLITE. Combativeness only makes people dig in their heels.

For those of you who believe that Starbucks is also in on this agenda, I have been doing some research. It is inconclusive at this point, but I can tell you with some assurity that Starbucks corporate does not endorse or support any social issue or organization that seeks to do so. However, Starbucks stores on the local level are given free reign to donate to any organization they deem fit. I don't doubt that the local Starbucks in San Fransisco and other highly homosexually populated areas does heavily support such causes. I hope to post some more concrete evidence of this soon.

I don't endorse a boycott, but I do encourage one. I do endorse making your opinions known. Without a boycott, they will see no reason to change. It will be a hard one for someone like me who is in there ALMOST daily. I will however be removing as much of my business from Wally World as possible. The idea is that they (NGLCC) want to try to get so many businesses and corporations on board that it will be impossible for us to boycott. I do not want to help them succeed.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Fear, the generational curse.

I never thought of myself as afraid. At least not until the last year or so. That's when I started realizing that I had put all my dreams on hold, not becuase I had to, but because I was afraid. I wasn't just afraid of failure, I was afraid of success! I had heard of this phenomenom before and never really understood it. Now I know. I have started many educational and business endeavors over the years, always quitting just shy of completion or realization of any success. I used the kids and finances as excuses but I have learned that they were JUST excuses. I just didn't know what I would do with it when I completed it. Success would mean that I had to commit. Success would mean that I would have to put what I had gained to use. I have learned that while I enjoy school and would really like to work. It's just not something I want to commit to doing the same thing all the time or sticking to a schedule. I have an artists mentality even though I am no artist. I love raising my kids and following whatever whim I wake up with. But I am truly afraid of being tied to any one thing. If I were a guy, I'd be labeled shiftless or worse. I can get by with some level of respectability as a homeschooling mother. I love the flexibilty of following bunny trails. I love having the excuse to learn myself, without having to commit to pursuing a degree. I love not having to stick to one single area of study. I just wish there was some way to make money with this penchant for flightiness. I am committed however to pursuing my photography with all the creativity and flexibility in scheduling that it promises. My fear with it is the intense competition that comes with the readily and economically available semi-pro camera equipment out there. I am so fearful of this that I tend to withdraw from the photographic community that has so much for me to learn from. I yearn for a mentor, yet jealously guard what I have learned myself. I struggle to push away from these bents in my personality. I do not have youth as my ally any longer, so the younger, up and coming photogs terrify me. Especially when they go off on a tangent about exposure information that I have to really think about to catch it all. I am just really slow when they start throwing numbers around.

Today, we cooked out and had my mother over. She and I began discussing something about her and my grandmother. There was a theme in what she was saying, but I didn't catch it until later tonight when I was talking to my son. He's 12, a 7th grader. I found out about the National History Day last year, too late to participate, so I have been sitting on it till now. Tonight I printed out the info to show him. My son is a history buff. It's right up his alley to do this competition. But I hadn't taken into account one thing. FEAR. My son is deathly afraid to...SUCCEED! Although his, is based on the fact that he would rather die than speak. I can't blame him. While I am not petrified by the idea anymore, I too have always been one to avoid speaking like the plague. But he stutters. He has more of a reason to be afraid. I tried to point out to him that he could do a display or a documentary on DVD, where anyone could do the voiceover, but the thought that if he won, he might have to say something in front of people so frightened him that he wouldn't even consider it. I was terribly dissapointed because I kept thinking about all the fun it would be to do the research. Then I remembered what my mom and I were talking about.

My grandmother was afraid of almost everything, she was always afraid she would make the wrong choices. She was afraid of it to the point where she let my grandfather make EVERY decision. Not that she just submitted to him, but she would not take part at all in the decision process. The result of this was that my mother and her siblings thought of their father as oppressive to her. The girls in the family ended up with poor attitudes about men and a determination not to be "lorded" over by them. The boys all learned to run their households with a hard hand and went through marraige after marraige as the women in their lives would quickly grow tired of it.

My mother was always afraid of sin. Her father's strictness lended in part to this in that she feared God. Not in the respectful way, but in that she saw Him as waiting for her to screw up so he could back hand her. She was so worried that anything she did would lead to sin, that she ended up marrying my father, just to keep from it. They broke up when I was 10.

So now I have passed my fear on to the next generation. It may be too late for me to correct it, but I think I can make my children aware of this so they can combat it. They won't have to wait till they are in their late 30's just to see the problem.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Funny that just yesterday, Pastor spoke on self-discipline which I have already clued you in that I severely lack. So for the next few days, this is going to be my topic for study. I hope to write more about what I learn. It is my prayer that my son is willing to learn this with me and maybe even open up to the idea of stretching himself.