Thursday, June 15, 2017

Those Devilish Cell Phones

A beautiful sunset in front of her, but her
cell phone has all of her attention.
I don’t have the patience to learn patience, and its Thursday…my patience supply is severely depleted. I don’t even want to hear my cell phone ding.

Are cell phones of the devil? I grew up in a religion where just about anything could be evil. If “they” didn’t like it, understand it, or think of it, it just might be of the devil.

They may not be so very far from wrong. What happened to the good old days when you didn’t have your conversation interrupted because “Oh, I have another call.” (Even my mom does that!)

There was a time when you didn’t have to pause your face to face conversation until your lunch companion could answer that call, respond to that text, play that next word on Words with Friends…on that devil’s plaything.

Remember those quiet moments when you just couldn’t be reached? Cell phones put an end to that because, you know, there’s apparently no “off” button.

With cell phones, too many bosses feel they have 24/7 access to you.

What about those days when you didn’t see even one person walking around with their eyes glued to a device in their hands? Or talking to the air…I mean that little thing clipped to their ear.

There was a time when you could make a mistake in public (or have a really bad day and do something stupid) and it not be in danger of being in a viral video complete with comments meant to shame you for simply being human.

Since when did “viral” take on a new meaning? If I think about it long enough “viral” actually makes sense for the whole cell phone debacle.

I wonder…if parents weren’t glued to a cell phone, would most of the forgotten children who have died in hot cars over the past few years still be alive? (I don’t believe for a moment all of them were forgotten, but some surely were. We are indescribably too distracted when year after year people forget their babies are in the car.)

How many other people would still be alive had they not been killed by distracted drivers on cell phones?

Would you have ever imagined 20 years ago that somebody's best friend would be a hand-held device? It goes everywhere they go, work, church, bathroom, bed. Personal interaction has been replaced by a mini-computer. People have years-long relationships with people they’ve never touched!

What if people paid as much attention to their children, their mate, their friends…their church family, their Lord, their Bible…it would surely be a different world.

The word "their" is looking funny to me now. It's time to close the post. I think my cell phone may be ringing, or dinging, or just waiting for me to pick it up to see if I’ve missed a text, or if it’s my turn to play a word or roll the dice.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Photo Fallout

Kathy Griffin 2009
KG waving us goodbye!
(Photo by Greg Hernandez
Wikimedia Commons)
Kathy Griffin (KG)
I almost felt sorry for her. Almost.  She was led to believe nothing was off limits in this godless society with its rebellion against authority and lack of respect in general.  She is paying a heavy price for her action: CNN canned her, Squatty Potty dumped her, and venues are canceling her all over the country.  But I wonder if her greatest surprise in this fiasco was realizing she really didn’t have any friends to back her. Anderson Cooper, her CNN New Year’s Eve Cohost, the ladies of The View, Chelsea Clinton, and Hollywood starlets like Debra Messing and Alyssa Milano to name a few, all publically decried the deed. Even Roseanne Barr had some pretty unprintable things to say.

(Is it just me, or do you find it hard to pray for people whose opinions, values, and morals are completely different from yours when they are very in-your-face about it? I often do, and therefore, I often don’t.  I freely admit my attitude needs adjusting.  Loving others doesn't always come easy.)

Unfortunately, instead of letting this blow over, KG continues to stir the proverbial pot:

Lisa Bloom
KG hired attorney Lisa Bloom to make things much, much worse. I’m sure that wasn’t the intention, but that was the result. In the first few sentences, Bloom managed to alienate even further those people she was hired to manipulate. (Yes…when we get down to it, that is exactly what she was trying to do.)

Then KG took the microphone and blamed older white guys, being a woman in a male-dominated field, President Trump, his grown children, and the First Lady, saying the First Family is "personally trying to ruin my life forever.”

Sadly, she just may believe that…
but she really only has herself to blame, doesn’t she?

Bloom called the photo an “edgy work of artistic expression,” and said that Kathy was fine with knowing the photo could be interpreted in different ways. Bloom stated that it was misinterpreted as a threat of violence towards President Trump, and added,
“…as soon as she (KG) learned that this is how it was being perceived (as a threat of violence), she was horrified, and she took down the picture, and she asked the photographer to take it down. And as fast as possible, she videoed a heartfelt apology, literally begging us for forgiveness. That should have been the end of it.”

Not exactly, Lisa. I think what KG does not realize…and most of the world with her…is that she is reaping years of sowing disrespect toward others while falsely labeling it “comedy.”  (God is not mocked, what is sown will be reaped. Galatians 6:7)

When was it exactly that comedy ceased to be funny and became hateful, disrespectful, and mean? How did the Kathy Griffins and Stephen Colberts slip in with their vile verbal garbage and dupe people into believing it was okay, that it was art…that it was funny?

People are deceived. We are living under a huge cloud of lies and deception, lawlessness, crudeness…and we have become a nation entrenched in self-love, greed, bragging, proud, blasphemers, disobedient, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.  (The last days...2 Timothy 3)

We really need Jesus.
Yes, Jesus Christ.
The one to whom KG held up her Emmy and said things to Him I will not type.

Ken Jennings
Remember the record-breaking Jeopardy! winner? With all of the backlash and criticism against KG, Ken Jennings apparently thought it was a good idea to tweet mocking remarks about Barron Trump’s reaction to “the photo.” I have to wonder if he was either hacked (but considering the last time I looked, there were well over 4,000 comments condemning his words and calling for his publishing company, Simon & Schuster, to drop him, I don’t believe he was hacked) or if he is mentally unstable.  He writes children’s books, yet chose to ride Kathy’s coattail into career suicide?  It will be interesting to see if he faces any consequences.

Tyler Shields
Do you know who Tyler Shields is?  He is the photographer who took the infamous KG photo, and it seems to have been his idea.  His comments about it?  He wouldn’t change anything even if he could, and said, “I can’t censor myself.” Again, another slap in the face for KG, as it may very well have marred her career permanently, and he’s just fine with that.

UPDATE: According to an article by Peter Sblendorio and Leonard Greene on nydailynews.com, Shields said the photo was mostly Griffin’s idea. “She came to me,” Shields said. “She said she’d like to do something political, that she’d love to do something that makes a statement. It’s always a collaboration. It wasn’t completely her, but it wasn’t completely me, either. Without Kathy, I would have never done a photo like that.”


The View
It galled me to call the co-hosts of The View 'ladies'…well, two in particular, with one riding the fence. I’ll let you decide who’s who. Or ask, I don’t mind sharing my opinion. (I should probably pray about my opinion and words about others.)  The View sometimes surprises me.

Prayer
My remarks about prayer are done in complete sincerity. They need prayer. America needs prayer. I definitely need prayer. When Paul said “pray without ceasing,” I believe he knew that there was always, always issues that needed God’s attention, then and now!  The Bible tells us that Jesus often got alone with God and prayed.  If He did it, it’s for sure I should be, even if I don’t see the results I am seeking.  Have I prayed for Griffin, Jennings, Shields, or the ladies of The View? No. Will I?  I do not know.

Sometimes, the pollution of the news, social media, 
and life, in general, chokes me.

I hope your weekend is a grand one.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thursday's Uncommitted Thoughts about Something...


Something I know:
If that webby-looking thing dangling from my hair that I see in the corner of my eye is a spider, I know I will compulsively beat myself in the head until either I or the monster is dead. A fight to the death.

Something baffles me:
Why does it take only Saturday and Sunday to gain back everything it took me Monday – Friday to lose? (It’s time to readdress weekend activity and refocus, isn’t it?)

Something I taste:
If you walk past me and I can taste your cologne, you are wearing $40 worth too much…and that particular scent may not cost $40 to begin with.

Something I (don't want to) see:
If I can see the print of your drawers or your thong (translated “hind end cheeks”) through your leotards/way-too-tight tights (that you call “yoga pants"…which would split if you actually attempted yoga) you are not properly dressed for the public. What? You feel body shamed? Please. I feel eye-raped.

Something I cannot understand:
Why have “female parts” become such a thing in the feminist community? How does it make sense to be rude, disrespectful, yell vulgarities, picket, and march demanding, among other things, that women not be viewed as sex objects, while going topless and wearing pink hats representing their under-yonder?

Something I might understand:
I can see how the above behavior could cause misogyny...I’m female, and I’m disgusted by those shenanigans.

Something I question:
Do feminists think with their under-yonder, or with their brain? There are so many better ways to accomplish things. Keep in mind that no matter who you are or what you do, there will be people who strongly disagree with you.

Something irritates me:
Me. I get annoyed with myself when I fight the same battle repeatedly instead of making a firm decision to let it go and sticking with it.

Something for you:
Have a great day.  Make good decisions for yourself and know that not only is it okay to love yourself, it’s a commandment:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  (Mark 12:31)


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Bitterness, Forgiveness, Decisions

Tulips, University of North Alabama
There are days when I’m a little mad at the world, and a lot mad at things closer to home. Something will remind me of past hurt, one I think I’ve forgiven and gotten past, but then there it is, reaching out to slap me, giving me a vivid reminder to forgive again. Forgiveness is rarely easy. I’d really rather hang on to my grudge, nurse it, nurture it, slowwwly letting it go back to the land of forgiveness. That only hurts me because the offender has no clue I am still dealing with the after-effects of their actions. 

Forgiveness is a tricky process, too. If you tell a person, “I forgive you,” their first response will normally be, “For what?” words that will sting like a slap in your face because while you struggled greatly in the battle of hurt vs forgiveness, you suddenly realize that the person who wounded you is oblivious to your pain and is living carefree and easy. You find yourself standing on the shore of unforgiveness with waves of bitterness lapping at your feet.

That’s when you get out of the sand
And back to the Rock.

If a person hasn’t asked for your forgiveness, they probably don’t think they need it. Sometimes, our desire to say, “I forgive you” is more of a need to remind them one last time that they hurt us than it is to absolve them of their transgression against us. When it backfires and you have to, again, pick up the pieces of your broken heart, readdress the anger, and push aside the resentment, it is then you finally begin to understand that forgiveness is a covenant between you and God, and that it is through His grace we are able to finally and completely let it go.

Forgiving and Forgetting
Forgiveness, I am sure you know, is for you, not for the person who hurt you, who is unconcerned with your hurt and who caused it. To forgive is a decision we have to make, and rarely is it an easy one. But unforgiveness breeds bitterness, and bitterness produces resentment, hostility, and anger. It also gives you wrinkles! Most of all, bitterness is a venomous root that grows around your heart, choking the joy and life out of you, and it alienates you from God.

Forgetting is a different matter altogether because we really don’t have much control over what we remember. Memories of bad experiences are scars left behind when someone hurts you, especially if that person is someone you love. As Christians, we work through the forgiving process, but the scar can still serve as a battle tactic the enemy of your soul will use to thwart your journey to joy, to God’s rest and peace. We may not always think about it, but the memory is there, and one day you see or hear something that reminds you of what happened, and a flood of feelings can make you feel as if you’re drowning. You have to make the decision to forgive all over again, and the quicker you do that, the better. It’s like quicksand…the further you sink, the harder it is to get back to solid ground. The moment you find yourself lingering on an uninvited memory, remind yourself you have already forgiven that transgression, and choose not to lug that baggage back to Square One.

Here's one that can be the toughest of them all…forgive yourself. Since this post is already over 600 words, I will cover forgiving myself in another post.

Final Thought:
Don’t let unforgiveness control you, and if you hang on to it, that is what it will do.
Make the choice to forgive so that you don’t end up back in The Pit.

Tulips, University of North Alabama

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Still Standing My Ground

I lost 12 pounds in March.

I wasn’t perfect. 
There were days I struggled.
There were lessons I learned.

I have said for years that diets don’t work. “Lifestyle change” is just another word for a diet. Is there a diet I haven’t tried? Probably, but it would just be a recycled version of one of the countless plans I’ve tried before…many of them repeatedly, but all with the same loss/regain result. Falling off the wagon came easy. It seems insane to let one meal, or one “wrong” thing derail a whole month of struggle. Then there’s the discouragement: after being “good” all week and only losing .5 of a pound…but here’s a thought:

If I lost only 5 pounds a month for a year, I would weigh 60 pounds less. Would I have loved to have started this year off 60 pounds less than I did? You better know it.

In two years, I would have lost 120 pounds, and I would have been ecstatic, had I lost only 5 pounds per month and not gotten discouraged! Actually, I probably did lose close to 120 in two years, trouble is…I lost and regained those same pounds on a vicious tilt-a-whirl carnival ride.

Hard fact: If your goal is the number on the scales, in five years, you’ll still be riding the same merry-go-round…or roller coaster, with its ups and downs. I keep telling myself…and anyone who will listen…we have to find a way to eat that we can live with for the rest of our lives! And it shouldn’t involve spending 2/3 of our day planning/counting/stressing/worrying about food.

Here’s the biggest thing I am learning: 
It’s not about the weight. 
As long as I keep making it about the weight, I’ll keep failing. 

Let me interrupt myself…if this is your first visit here, please consider reading Choosing My Obsession and Standing My Ground (Part 1) and Pit Pollution (Part 2).

My Love Affair with Sugar:
A few weeks ago, I went to Nashville to celebrate my aunt’s 89th birthday. There was a plate of home-baked chocolate chip cookies on the counter, and eventually, I ate one. On the first bite…before I even swallowed, I thought to myself, “This is not going to be enough.” (Which tells me sugar addiction is partly mental!) I had two more, and I shared a piece of coconut cake with Ole Boy. Later, I had a fried dinner…catfish, fries, hushpuppies, slaw, cornbread. The next day, I ate at a Chinese buffet.

Normally, a weekend like this would be enough to derail me for the rest of the month…or year. But I remembered (or perhaps God reminded me) that I can’t rely on my own strength. It has failed me countless times!

So I made me an index card and propped it up on my desk at work:
I have written more on it since this photo.
See the end of this post for my Power Verses.
I read that card often. I cannot tell you how many times I said myself, “Lord, feed me with knowledge and understanding.” These scriptures worked every time. Every. Time.

To be Clear:
This is not about just reading/reciting scriptures! It is about having faith in them…believing the words are living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) It is renewing the mind!

Let me tell you yesterday:
I decided to eat an old standby for when I’m on a binge (yeah, who knows my reasoning?!) I stopped at Jacks for a bacon & cheese biscuit, fried potatoes, and a large sweet tea. My intention was to go on to Walmart and get some cinnamon buns, or donuts…you know, something for a binge. On my way to Walmart, which was only a few blocks from Jacks, I gave my normal thanks to God for my food, and asked Him to bless it. I often feel funny about asking God to bless food that are really bad choices, but I ask Him anyway. Then I just talked to Him.

I told Him that my eating the fast food wasn’t a sin, it just wasn’t a good choice. I asked Him to help me remember that even if I have a whole day of bad choices, I still do not have to be a glutton.

Y’all! It’s not about the food.
It’s the obsession.
It’s the gluttony! 

I sat in the parking lot and ate my food, telling myself I’d just get one piece of pie, or only one or two donuts so that I couldn’t binge. I mean, that makes sense, doesn’t it? I just ate a bad-choice breakfast, so I’ll top it off with an ever worse bad choice, even though I was full, because I cannot deny that when I eat sugar-laden food, I find myself obsessing about eating. Making better choices helps me in more ways than one.

While shopping and thinking about what sugar product to buy, I realized I was relying on my own strength: justifying, plotting, planning…obsessing! See where my own strength gets me? Somewhere near the shoe department, I recited my power verses…out loud, (but under my breath so that no one would think I was crazy). And I believed in the power of those verses.

By the time I got to the cake and pie section, my intention had changed, without any effort on my part. My effort had been walking through the store reciting scripture. I walked right past all the donuts, Little Debbie’s, cakes, and pies, and hardly glanced their way. I picked up some grapes, a honeydew melon, some peanuts, and came home.

I didn’t binge, and it wasn’t a struggle.

When I am obsessing about food, I want the food more than I want to read my power verses. Sometimes the pull of the obsession far, far outweighs my desire to lose weight or get healthy, and sadly, my desire to please God by not being gluttonous. I have to make the hard choice to give in or rely on the Word. And the Word has not failed me. The next time I find myself seriously considering giving into gluttony (a binge, that is, I am not talking about just making a bad choice), I think I’ll meditate five minutes on my power verses, breathing in the “living and powerful” and breathing out the words.

Still can’t let go the number on the scale?  Remember this:

If you hope to lose 15 or 20 pounds a month, you set yourself up for failure. Other than the first month, that is an unrealistic goal. Eight pounds a month for an obese person is a reasonable goal, remembering that there are times you will only lose five or six pounds, and you cannot let that derail you.
My Power Scriptures/Prayer:

  • Lord, You are my Shepherd.  (Psalm 23:1)  Feed me with knowledge and understanding.  (Jeremiah 3:15)
  • Let me taste and see that You are good, let me take refuge in You.  (Psalm 34:8)
  • I will trust in You and do good; I will feed on Your faithfulness.  (Psalm 37:3)
  • Lord, I will not worry about what I will eat.  (Mathew 6:25)

This is the scripture that I came across in my daily reading that put me on this path:
Jesus speaking:

  • Do not labor for the food with perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.  (John 6:27)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Quit Tooling Around

I have been thinking of writing this post for a month or so. When a friend, who sometimes has lingering doubts concerning President Trump, recently asked how I thought he was doing as president, I decided it was time to finally write one of the hardest posts addressed to Christians I’ve written thus far.

Bear with me as I start this post with very blunt words: If you are maligning, making sarcastic comments, or posting disparaging remarks on social media concerning the President, you are not walking according to the dictates of God’s word. Please don’t do that! Speak evil of no man. (Titus3:2) Don’t allow yourself to be used by the hand of the enemy as a tool to further divide America.
Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government. (1 Peter 2:13-17 MSG)
It is no coincidence that the media and many people from the liberal side of politics are so driven to destroy a newly elected President without even giving him a chance to preside. What you see is anger from satan, himself, because he was JustThisClose to destroying our nation with a political spirit that was choking the life out of us. I am not saying that we have a nation of demon possessed people who, among other things, march in protest, or that demons are running the airwaves. I am saying, however, that these people are blind, willing participants in the schemes of the devil to divide our country, because he knows that if we are divided, we cannot stand:
But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand…” (Matthew 12:25 NKJV)

Christian friends, don’t be a part of division! Ever!
Do I think Donald Trump is our savior?  No, I sure don’t.  Jesus is!  I do not know Trump’s personal relationship with God, but I do know that he is surrounding himself with people who are born again, who openly profess Jesus Christ, and God placed them all there, including Donald Trump.

…For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. (Romans 13:1)
It is not my intention to offend, but perhaps to be on the offensive…that is, to join the (spiritual) battle for our great nation in prayer and truth, and to get those who have not joined to do so by praying daily for our leaders and particularly our President. There is no better time than now! If you do not like your president and are having a hard time praying for him, keep reading, I’ll give you some starting points.

But first, understand that before Donald Trump was born, God had a plan for him. He wrote in His book the days fashioned for Trump….just the same as He did for you and me (Psalm 139:16). Before the foundation of the world; He chose us! (Ephesians 1:4)
…You covered me in my mother’s womb… Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. (Psalm 139:13, 16 NKJV)
It is our responsibility to pray for our leaders…do you want a great awakening in America? I know I do! I long for the day God heals our land. We won’t get that just because Donald Trump is in office. We will start to see revival sweeping our nation when we humble ourselves and seek God. (2 Chronicles 7:14) Otherwise, we remain in a state of complicity in the demise of America.

Pray.
Pray hard.
Without ceasing.
If Jesus often prayed often,
how much more do we need to pray?

Prayer points for President Trump:
  • Pray for his salvation, that he be filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • Pray that his eyes be opened so that he sees, that his ears be opened so that he hears from God, and pray that his heart is opened so that he understands.
  • Pray for maturity in his position.
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit infiltrates his every decision.
  • Pray that God gives him spiritual wisdom.
  • Pray that President Trump is consistently surrounded by God-fearing, praying men and women.
  • Pray that God gives him strength to follow through with Godly decisions, even in the face of much opposition.
  • Pray for his safety.
  • Pray for Truth to sweep our nation, that the blinders be removed from God’s people, and that the Holy Spirit will permeate and saturate this nation in a way that those of us living in this day have never seen.


Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.
Psalm 33:12

Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.
Psalm 33:22

Monday, March 6, 2017

Pit Pollution

He drew me up out of a horrible pit [a pit of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay (froth and slime),
and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings. (Psalm 40:2 AMPC)

Last Wednesday morning, after publishing my last post, I sat talking to God, remembering all my past failures and how many times I’d fallen back into the pit.  I asked Him if what I’d said in the post was true…that He is listening and His hand is already extended to us when we are drowning in the mire. Searching for an answer, I randomly (or not so randomly) opened my Bible to this passage (complete with highlights and underscores, and an arrow pointing to the word “hand”):

Jeremiah 23 NKJV
From that point, I walked in faith knowing that He would help me through that first day of letting go of the food obsession. And He did! I have lost a few pounds and haven’t even been tempted to binge.

But I was in a funk.

I wasn’t overeating, but I brought some pit pollution with me when God pulled me out to solid ground.  My feelings were hurt because of some offhand comments made by someone, and I was having a hard time getting past it.  I couldn’t find any joy, even though God had shown me through His word that He knew exactly where I was, and it was His hand that pulled me from the pit.  But still, I was gloomy.
I am blessed enough to still have my mom…a faithful prayer warrior…and I called her to share my heart about what I was experiencing.  I know she prayed for me, because it wasn’t long before He lifted the sadness.  He also let me see clearly something that perhaps I missed in the past:
Getting out of the pit is always a good thing, but when we bring pollution with us, we may not recognize that we are no longer in the pit because we are looking through the unforgiveness, or the anger, or the hurt that we did not let go of when we were pulled from the miry clay.
When we are grasping things like unforgiveness and anger instead of God’s unchanging hand, it will not be long before we are back in the pit!

I cannot stress how important it is to pray for others who are struggling. There are times when the struggle is so desperate that people stop praying for themselves. That is when praying people step in and pray on their behalf.

God knows. 
He hears every prayer. 
His Grace is sufficient for us.


Appetite Update:
Old habits sometimes die slow, painful deaths. I’d like to report that I haven’t dwelt on what to eat, what not to eat, or my next meal…but the truth is, I did think about those things. I will also admit that I failed at my scripture memorization. I wrote my scripture choice (Psalm 103:1-6) on index cards and kept them at my desk to refer to it as needed, but I didn’t memorize the verses. When I realized that I was thinking about food, I made a conscious choice to look at the index cards I’d made…and in particular, this verse that spoke to me:
But don't be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. John 6:27 NLT