Archive for the Thankful Category

Play on

If music be the food of love, play on;

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, 1602

I was reading someone’s blog recently, and not only do I not remember whose blog it was, I don’t remember when. Could have been yesterday or several days ago. Anyway, the writer had a list of tips for bloggers, and one was write about what your passion is. Or something like that. That’s too broad of an area for me to niche. I may just be too ADHD. ;)

One Friday evening 2 or 3 weeks ago, James was sick and we were hungry, but I didn’t want to cook, and so I went to Lowes Food. As I was checking out, the young lady ringing me up asked, “Don’t you sing at New Hope?” She’s a New Hoper too, turns out, and I am slowly but surely losing the anonymity I used to enjoy in Sanford due to not knowing very many people. But, alas, I’ve made it. I’m a rock star. :cool: Of course, I’m not really, but it’s actually better because it isn’t about me.

I was in Food Lion the other night, and walked through the store singing along with whatever song was playing. I have no idea what it was, but it is just kind of funny to me that I feel comfortable enough to sing out loud (albeit softly) in a store. And without my kids. Even though I don’t remember the song, I remember just hearing it made me feel good. I’m sure it was from the 80’s. Did this yesterday at Food Lion also, and at one point even felt the need to apologize to the gentleman within earshot. ;)

A few mornings ago I was listening to the songs that were scheduled for the following Sunday on the way into work because I was on the schedule, and, oh, by the way, that was the closest I had come that week to practicing. One of the songs was a newer song containing an older hymn, Just as I Am. Since I knew the hymn portion, I was practicing the harmony vocals when just out of the blue, meltdown. 2 blocks from the front gate. Really? I didn’t melt down during any of the services that day, so it was all good. I did, however, have waaaayyyy too much coffee that morning resulting in my Beavis Cornholio impression for which I quickly apologized due to the inappropriateness of quoting Beavis & Butthead at church. I think they found that more humorous. I was off the chain.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I have always loved music and all kinds. Now, one of my goals for this year was to get a sponsor. I have one now, and Friday she told me to take some time over this weekend for myself just to relax. Well, who has time to relax when you are the only one with a driver’s license, and shopping needs to be done? I made the time. First of all, I shopped alone. This meant I was alone in the car for most of my running around which meant I could play Fleetwood Mac loudly and sing along just as loudly as I wanted. And I did it with the sunroof wide open. It was fabulous. Later at home, I sat on the front porch journaling and instagramming until sundown.

Music has a way of lifting my spirit when I’m feeling down. I can hear certain songs that will put a smile on my face no matter how down I feel. I can listen to certain genres and relax, which is why I often listen to classical when I am driving to and from work, and even sometimes at work. These are things I need to remember when I get into a funk or worry cycle, and then just listen to the music.

)

Making the most of it

I had to run a virtual 5k this weekend because my foot was broken the previous weekend. “Broken” is an exaggeration. It hurt like it was broken, but 1) I didn’t go to the doctor over it and 2) whatever I did to it happened at work while I was sitting at my desk. Saturday was just nasty windy, and so was yesterday morning. But after noon yesterday, the wind died down some, and the sun was out and I made myself go run. I tried every way I could think of to not do it and yet still count it, but I finally just texted Karyn and Molly “Tell me to run,” knowing they would give me that bit of motivation I needed to just go do it.

I hated every single step of that run.

But. I’m working on finding bright spots among the suck. As I approached the halfway point, I noticed a pond. I’ve run past that house countless times, but yesterday was the first time I noticed that pond behind it. I noticed the squirrels, which really isn’t unusual. I noticed the frogs croaking in the ditch on the way back, and noticed how once I got past them, they stopped. And, by the way, I love the sound of a bunch of croaking frogs. I stopped at a neighbor’s house and chatted with him for a minute (pausing the workout – lol), and learned he was a boxer when he was younger.

The actual running (and my time) sucked, but the rest of it didn’t.

I tried to get the dogs in the photo with me, but only Brownie would even remotely cooperate. I also ripped a hole in the butt of my running tights while trying to get the dogs in the shot. :-/ But it really was a beautiful day for a run. The race was the Stop Stroke Shuffle 5k. Enjoyed supporting Dani’s cause, and would not feel the donation wasted if I hadn’t run. Thank you Dani for the reason to get off my butt! :)

Does anyone know what Christmas is all about?

I didn’t quote Charlie Brown exactly. But it’s close enough. This post will also be a little all over the place. Possibly.

I got a case of the ass last night. Ok, it’s not really exclusive to last night as I usually have a case of the ass over something, but a lot of the time I can keep it in check so that once I calm down I realize it really isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Last night I didn’t keep my tongue in check, or rather I let my fingers fly since I was commenting on a comment on a blog post I’ve been following. I thought I had been mercifully spared from my rash verbal vomit since my comment didn’t show up. I had already commented without using my DragonLady pseudonym, but comment #2 was with “DragonLady” making me think the comment went into the spam hole where it should have stayed. :sigh: But it didn’t, and so if you care, here is the article: It’s Not Us Against Them

I have tried to stay out of the Duck Dynasty drama just like I stayed out of the Chick-Fil-A one. For the same reason, and because it all boils down to a bunch of posturing by both supporters and opposers of Dan Cathy and now Phil Robertson. So I will go ahead and lay my cards out on the table. I don’t eat at Chick-Fil-A because of being gluten free and all I ever ate there was the breaded, deep-fried chicken on a bun that I can’t eat any more. I could also mention that their “chicken” is likely of the same low quality as McDonald’s. Oh, wait. I just did. I also have never watched Duck Dynasty nor do I plan to. Generally speaking, I don’t watch TV period, but especially not “reality” TV. Which, by the way, is not real. I will occasionally watch Ice Road Truckers and the similar one with the truckers on the “most dangerous roads” whatever that show is. But I only watch those if my husband has them on and I have nothing better to do. I will also go ahead and state that yes, I believe homosexual activity (same-sex sex) is a sin, just as fornication, adultery, bestiality, and pornography are. Sexual sin is sexual sin before God who gave humans the good gift of sex to be used within the context of marriage between one man and one woman for life as he created it to be. Full disclosure, I am a former fornicator who for many years before and after marriage was addicted to various forms of pornography for the sole purpose of self-gratification. The self-gratification amounted to adultery of the heart. So I am no stranger to the bondage or consequences (which were thankfully pretty light) of sexual sin, and absolutely will not act towards others with judgement and/or condemnation who have or are committing sexual sin because I understand the desire. I have never had to deal with same sex attraction, nor with any sexual attraction to any animal. I do, however, have many gay friends, and several gay family members. I also have had at least one family member who was guilty of bestiality. Therefore, I can’t sit back in my self-righteous ivory tower looking down on homosexuals as an abstract group. They are real people with real struggles who need a real Savior just like I do for the same reason, and not because of the specific way they sin, but because we all sin. This is what I was trying to explain to Chad the other night. The end of the discussion came when he asked if you could “pray away the gay.” I told him if it were just that simple then his dad and I could just pray away the alcoholism and drug addiction.

All that said, this isn’t a post about homosexuality. Nor is it a post where I pledge my support for Mr. Cathy and Mr. Robinson. There is much more at stake in the Kingdom of God than the American right to free speech. I will give my opinion that the reason American Christians are so fired up about losing their voice and influence in the American/Western culture has less to do with standing firm for Christ and much more to do with fear of having to actually suffer for Christ. You know, the way Jesus promised us as Christians that we would suffer with Him if we really follow Him. Because our feel-good materialistic American culture that is the product of 20th century consumerism wants the good life now, and doesn’t really want to give up anything in order to have everything in Christ. We want to have our cake and eat it too.

I think it is all about comfort, and oh, how well do I know the futility of searching for comfort. Comfort is an idol for me almost as high up as my idol of pride. I’ve sought it in books, TV, food, tobacco, drugs, alcohol, sex, church, family, my parents (Mom specifically), friendships, my husband, my kids, running, biking, gaming, pets, blogs, social media. The list goes on and on and on. But none of those things or the myriad of other things bring lasting comfort. Lasting comfort is only found in Jesus. Now that is real easy for me to say, but way hard for me to believe. I know all the trite phrases. I know all the cliches. The Landmark Missionary Baptist deacon’s daughter Reagan conservative has had all the head knowledge for as long as I can remember. It all seems to fall apart when the trials hit because I have trust issues because I have Daddy issues. So knowing and believing were not one and the same for me. Out of sync, if you will. There were a few times over the past year where I spent time in prayer confessing and repenting for not trusting the only One who can be trusted. Why didn’t I trust? Because all of my little gods have always ultimately disappointed me by not becoming the lasting peace and comfort I crave.

Pastor Nate preached about comfort in the light of the Christmas narrative. In the midst of the sermon when he went from Matthew 1 to 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 and explained how Jesus is our comfort because he has already experienced the suffering we do. He and He alone really does know how we feel. Ridicule, betrayal, rejection, death of loved ones, loneliness. But he never really was alone. Not even on the cross. And a light bulb came on for me.

For he has not despised or abhorred

the affliction of the afflicted,

and he has not hidden his face from him,

but has heard, when he cried to him. (Psalm 22:24, ESV)

Sunday night, before I could forget, I wrote down some notes on what I managed to piece together (so far) about how Jesus is my comforter.

When Jesus was on the cross quoting Psalm 22, he hadn’t been forsaken by God the Father. The Father was still there, it just didn’t feel like it. Just like when we are so overcome in our trials and cannot feel God’s presence and wonder if he really is there. But He was there for Jesus and he is there for us because of Jesus. And Jesus really does know how we feel.

There was a brief moment of peace, and the comfort remains. My life circumstances are still as they were, there are still issues unresolved, but I can rest knowing and believing they will one day be resolved, and the broken will be fixed. Even me. Unearned favor. Amazing grace.

So what is Christmas all about? Christmas was the beginning of the end. Immanuel, God with us, the Creator came and lived among the created as one of us. Fully human and fully divine. Laying aside the riches and the power and the glory and honor that He rightfully owns and deserves to become the spotless sacrificial lamb of atonement. Born into poverty in a stable. His family having to flee to Egypt to protect him from being murdered by Herod as Herod slaughtered an untold number of innocent boys aged 2 and younger to protect his throne. Ultimately willingly submitting to a sham trial and torturous beating before a horrendous death by crucifixion under Roman authority to appease the religious Jews. Rising to life on the 3rd day showing that His sacrifice for our sins was accepted by the Father so that we who believe in Jesus by faith are granted grace and reconciled to God the Father though Jesus.

It’s not about our American rights or Western culture. It’s not about sex or chicken or reality TV. It’s not about whether people say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” It’s not about our temporal comfort. It’s about a Savior come to redeem unworthy and rebellious children.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17, ESV)

Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

A Psalm for giving thanks.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100, ESV)

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17, ESV)