Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wandering in the wilderness

“Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that is patience.” ~ Anonymous

Ok, so I’m in a season of life where I’m just waiting for the next big thing to happen. I feel like I’m listening to God’s promptings and being obedient by doing what I feel I’m being called to do. However, it doesn’t seem like there’s really anything happening. Even the little things going on don’t seem to be coming together for a means to an end. It’s hard to be patient when you feel like you’ve been waiting and wandering in the wilderness without even a bread crumb trail to lead you into the promised land. Truth be told, there are days I probably wouldn’t even recognize a bread crumb trail if the entire loaf of bread was waved in front of my face!

Despite my personal frustration, I know many of you have been in a similar place in life at some point where waiting and being patient is difficult at best. We’re all such a bunch of control freaks that it’s hard to let go of our lives long enough to let God lead us in the direction in which He wants us to go. However, when we do finally feel like we’ve let go, we expect Him to lead us directly to the end of the path for the answers we’ve been waiting to see or hear. I know you’ve heard this expression before: “Getting there is half the fun.” Sometimes I don’t know if I totally agree with that phrase, but I do agree we need to step outside of ourselves long enough to realize that there is much more going on behind the scenes of our lives than we can even fathom. So for now, I’ll simply work on my patience and try to find the joy along this journey called life. Won’t you join me?

Romans 8:24-25 says “If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.” Make a list of the things you are impatient about today. Then pray for the strength to patiently await the results you are hoping to receive.

Be Excellent!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Commitments and Complications

Commitments and Complications

Some of my greatest heroes, both in the past and in the present, are people who have stood by their promises when part of those they love has been stolen from them by disease or disaster.

With every commitment comes complications, but the ultimate test is not the complications but our faithfulness to our word.Making and keeping promises is one of the things that distinguisheshumans from animals. It is also what separates good people from badones.

Yes, I can imagine some promises that should be broken. What if I am ajunior-high kid who promises his buddy to help get even with somebody who hurt his friend's feelings by trashing his bike or computer? Then I realize that I've promised to do something wrong. Break the promise!You had no right to make it.

Adults sometimes get in those situationsas well. Think first. Then speak. Yes, I can imagine some good promises made in good faith that may be broken. Suppose a woman accepts a proposal to marry -- only to discoverover the few months prior to the wedding date that the relationship is a big mistake. Better to be honest and suffer embarrassment or break his heart now than create the long-term heartache and eventual failure of a formalized commitment.

However, the general rule about keeping promises cannot be formed by exploring the exceptional cases. And the principle that holds a society together is that we must keep the promises we make to one another.Employment contracts, land sales, bank notes, installment loans --these formalized contracts about "things" require documentation and signatures. We enforce them in courts.Then there are the adult promises we make to one another. They shouldbe regarded as even more important to our integrity as human beings than the contracts we sign about mere things such as cars or money.


A Christian leader recently made negative headlines with his televised comment about keeping promises. A caller asked what advice to give afriend who had begun a romantic involvement with another woman after his wife began suffering the dreadful effects of Alzheimer's disease."I know it sounds cruel," he said, "but if he's going to do something,he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her."The speaker's on-air partner asked about the traditional -- and biblical -- vow to love and remain together "in sickness and in health"until death parts them. "If you respect that vow, you say 'til death dous part,'" he continued. Then he added: "[Alzheimer's] is a kind ofdeath."

Lots of things are "a kind of death" -- ranging from bankruptcy to paralysis from an auto accident to disfiguring cancers to Alzheimer'sdisease. That's why we make promises and are called by God to keep them. That's how we take uncertainties out of the lives of the people we love. That's how we preserve integrity in complex and painful times.

This is what the Bible says about making promises: It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it (Ecclesiastes 5:5 NLT). Amen.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Waddle Or Fly

Waddle Or Fly
By Elizabeth Gunter Wallace

There is something stirring about watching geese fly in perfect V-formation across the sky. Their flying south for the winter is poetry in motion. It is who God created them to be. It looks effortless, but for them it is a lot of work. I am not sure if this is a phenomenon just in the southeastern United States or if others experience this, but in our area many retail or office parking lots have become home for a flock of Canada geese. I am sure it started off innocently enough. A flock of geese on their natural migration route got a little weary, so they decided to take a break in a parking lot. At first they grazed on the grass in the medians, and then they discovered random food that someone dropped. Soon the parking lot become more and more appealing. Why spend all that time flying back and forth when we can make a pretty good life right here? Sure, we will miss out on flying across the bright blue skies, in rhythm with our Creator, but we've got French fries! In my car the other day I watched in amazement as Canada geese once again stopped traffic as they took their leisurely time walking in front of me. They were completely unfazed. I wondered how long it took them to get de-sensitized to the large metal objects on wheels that could crush them. Did they used to run scared? When did walking across a parking lot become normal? As the goose parade continued, I noticed at the very back of the line a baby goose doing its best to keep in step with the others. Unbelievable. This baby goose was born in a parking lot because these adult geese aren't flying like they are designed to. So this baby is growing up thinking a parking lot is the natural habitat for a goose! Just as condemnation of the geese began to swell in my heart, God gently tapped me on the shoulder. "Don't you do the same thing when you choose to live from your soul because living in your spirit is too much work and discipline? Don't you have days where you choose French fries in the parking lot over my beautiful design for you? When you choose to live in your soul instead of soaring in your spirit, it impacts not only you but others. How many baby geese are following you in your earthbound parking lot?" All of a sudden, my bird-watching was getting a little too convicting. We all have situations when our soul is dominant. It will happen because none of us reaches complete maturity this side of heaven. But where have we gotten so comfortable that it feels normal to live in less of who God made us? What are those familiar places or relationships that cause us to so easily slip into old patterns without even realizing that we have stopped soaring and we are now waddling on asphalt?
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Father, forgive me for being satisfied with anything less than the fullness of what you designed for me this day spirit, soul, and body. Show me the areas where I have settled for the familiarity of "less than." I choose to fly to higher heights. By your grace, I will soar in your magnificent design of me.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A day in the life of Mrs. In style

Larry came into my room and said, "Get up and pray!" Have you ever noticed that when you are in a hurry it takes forever to get your clothes on. I sleepy walked in and Larry said, "Someone has painted our roll up door." The words said, "Heroin sold here with a phone number. Larry called the police and made a report and it was also given to the NAR unit.

The rest of the day went as usual. I put 2 months of checks in Quick Books. I felt very accomplished. I read a few post but did not up ride. I have done a lot of reading. I went to to the bank and pick up lunch. Had a great conversation with Autumn. We got the wood making machines finished. I am now dressed to go to church. I am wearing a red top and pants with a yellow jacket. Call me Mrs. In style,

Monday, August 29, 2011

Life is beautiful

Isn’t Life Beautiful?

The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes. - Frank Lloyd Wright
The early-morning quiet is my time for reflection and prayer. The silence provides a suitable tabernacle for my soul. In the stillness, I consider the day to come.
My thoughts drift from the necessary and to the spectacular. I consider my day’s schedule, the tasks to accomplish and the appointments to keep. After checking off the must-dos, my mind goes deeper. It goes to a place absent of urgency – it goes to a beautiful place.

Our lives can be anything we choose to make them. We can struggle with the complexity or we can delight in the simplicity. We can be overwhelmed by the ugliness or we can celebrate the beauty. I choose to look for the beauty.

As the day begins, I pause and remind myself that what I have today can be taken away tomorrow. This is my life complete with setbacks and disappointments, but it’s also full of love and beauty. Gripping my coffee mug with both hands, I close my eyes and say a prayer of thankfulness.
I open my eyes to see our guest rising in the eastern sky and before starting my day I ask myself, “Isn’t life beautiful?”
Finding beauty
I make the choice to see beauty and it blesses my life. This perspective gives me the power to appreciate every detail I care to acknowledge. This power is the perfect conduit to happiness. It’s the small things, as well as the large, that create my beautiful life.
Here’s a properly-sized window for you to look through. Perhaps if you do, you will become reacquainted with the beauty that is already a part of life:

I notice the sun breaking over the trees. It looks like a curtain rising on a new performance. Recognizing my stage is being unveiled for another day is a beautiful sight. The sound of my heart beating still strong and capable of enduring just about anything. The rhythmic vibration feels beautiful.
After showering and dressing for work, I walk back into the bedroom stop look in the mirrow wink and say goodmorning. For a brief moment I look into my eyes and smile yes I am beautiful.
Driving to the office is my chance to listen to any song I want. I select a song and then allow the words to go deep inside so I can take in their beautiful melody.
At work, my time is typically spent solving problems. Behind each problem is a person revealing their amazing beauty.

As my children grow older I’m finding more pleasure in being their mother. A telephone call from Mark telling me about a new business opportunity, receiving a text from David (grandson) with a question, talking baseball with Landon (grandson) or getting a hug from Autumn are the most beautiful things that happen to me during the day.

Returning home, I flip on the news and start preparing dinner. The warmth of my home fills my spirit with beautiful comfort. Some evenings I read my mail and try to find time to upride my sisters, but on all evenings I experience the beautiful healing the words bring me.

As the day draws to an end, I find myself in a beautiful place. Falling asleep the question swells inside me again, “Isn’t life beautiful?”
Before I drift to sleep, I hear my answer. It is clear, confident and full of promise. My answer is my choice. It is based on how I choose to see my life.

My answer is yes.

Life is beautiful
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Female Hysteria

Female Hysteria and Creepy Old-Timey Vibrators

LADIES...Are you exhibiting any of the following symptoms:--Trouble sleeping?--Fluid retention?--Irritability?--"A tendency to cause trouble"?Yes, yes, yes and oh yes?Let's see, according to my medical book, circa 1895, you have a clear-cut case of Female Hysteria. (Men with similar symptoms will need to diagnose themselves with some other old-timey disease.

May I suggest "dairy fever" or perhaps "dropsy"?)In the 19th century, as many as 75% of middle-class women were estimated to suffer from hysteria, but luckily medical science was there to help them. Doctors treated hysteria with "pelvic massage" until the patient reached "hysterical paroxysm." In modern times, we know "pelvic massage" to be "the doctor jerking off his patient" and "hysterical paroxysm" to be "orgasm."

The procedure as a whole is now known as "grounds for a lawsuit."Doctors of the day were happy to provide such a treatment, as it provided a steady stream of paying customers (patients were advised to come in weekly for their treatments). It was all good, except for one thing, doctors found the actual manipulation of their patients genitals to be tedious and tiring. According to the highly entertaining Wikipedia entry on Female Hysteria: "The technique was difficult for a physician to master and could take hours to achieve 'hysterical paroxysm.'" (The physicians' widespread befuddlement at mastering these basic lady-pleasing skills puts Marrying a Doctor much lower on the To-Do list.)

The doctors were saved from the arduous task of trying to make these damn women come, already, by the magic device, the vibrator. The first of these "massage and vibratory apparatus" was patented by American physician (USA! USA!) George Taylor and was--and I can scarcely stand to type this--steam-powered. (The resulting billowing smoke making this perhaps the least discreet form of masturbatory tool.) Soon, physicians' offices were outfitted with electric vibrators, allowing doctors to get the job done in a matter of minutes instead of hours, and allowing most of mankind to stay blissfully ignorant about female orgasm until about the 1960s.

By the early 1900s, these miraculous health-giving electric vibrators started showing up in the American women's home. In fact, vibrators were one of the earliest electric home appliances invented, showing up ten years earlier than the vacuum cleaner or iron. Regular old, non-pervy companies like Hamilton Beach and Sears Roebuck were in the lucrative business of selling vibrators to housewives. There photos in the1918 Sears Roebuck and Co. catalog. "Very useful and satisfactory for home service," it says, vaguely, hoping you get the idea. Vibes were openly marketed in catalogs and women's magazines. The ads weren't directly saying, "Put this on your wang" but they did refer to its "wonderfully refreshing" effect. Read one ad: "Can be used by yourself in the privacy of dressing room or boudoir, and furnish every woman with the essence of perpetual youth." The home vibe was a thrifty purchase, too. With doctors charging $2 to jack you off, the $5.95 portable home vibrator would pay for itself after only three uses.

According to this one dude, Mike, who collects antique vibrators, there were also air-powered and hand-cranked device. I don't understand the physics of the device, but Mike explains that there is "a plunging motion of the center disk." I know it's supposed to be an erotic device, but I see this and think of the twisting motions of a hand mixer, the voluminous bushes of 1800s-era ladies, and well, I can venture a guess as to why we don't all have Macuara's Pulsocon Hand Vibrators stashed in our nightstand drawers.If you, like Mike and--apparently, me--are fascinated by these old devices, by all means make haste and check out the online Antique Vibrator Museum they put up at Good Vibrations. There is an educational video, plus photos of all sorts of creepy-ass, early electrical vibes. Like, look at this 1902 Hamilton Beach model, the "Type A":

The Hamilton Beach, Type A, 1902I mean, Good Lord! The giant motor! The thick cloth covering the cord! And is that an oil can in there? The Type A looks loud--roaringly loud, jackhammer loud. But most importantly, electricity back then was scary. I wouldn't even be brave enough to use a toaster from those days, much less put some shorting-out, spark-shooting, scary new-fangled doodad on my nether regions. I don't care how "wonderfully refreshing" it's supposed to be.As all this new information (scary old vibes! hand cranks! hysterical paroxysm!) rattles around in my mind, I find that I keep going back to the 19th century doctor's office and this strangely sexless sex between doctor and patient. Were either of them aroused by what was going on? Did the females see the doctor breaking out his Hamilton Beach 4000 or whatever and feel a thrill of anticipation, or just the kind of dull disinterest one would experience while watching a mechanic change the car's oil. And I wonder about the women's orgasm. If they were not told it was pleasurable, did they experience it as pleasure, or as just a release, akin to finally getting to pee on a long car trip?