Monday, December 12, 2016

Past, Present, and Future

There’s not a day in my life that I didn’t know her…this preacher’s kid from my childhood.   She’s a year and a few months younger than me, so there is a brief period of time when she wasn’t in my life, I just don’t remember it.

Growing up, I was a bad influence on her, she was a steadying influence on me.   She and her family moved away when she was 16.   We had been the best of friends for as long as we could remember.  I’m sure we had fights, but I really can’t remember any.   As young teenagers, maybe we had a few disagreements, but for the life of me, I don’t remember what they were.  

She didn’t always have it easy, but I didn’t realize it at the time.   I thought she had it all.  She was…she is…gorgeous, funny, girly, and sings beautifully.  She was the oldest child; I was the youngest.   Looking back, we didn’t have a thing in common!  She did let me sing with her a time or two…she probably shouldn’t have!

Through the years, she has been so good to keep in touch with me.   Before the days of Facebook, we would have long phone conversations full of giggles and full-blown laughter.  When I was on the phone laughing more than talking, Ole Boy always knew who was on the other end.  Every once in a while, we got to see each other, but there were long stretches of time when we didn’t.  But whether it was 5 weeks or 5 months since we’d spoken, or 5 years since we’d gotten to visit, there was never a moment of having to get to know her again.   She is my sister…I remember the day she and I, two little girls standing on the front porch of the little church on East Tuscaloosa Street where we grew up, became blood sisters.  (The germaphobe in me cringes now…but I wouldn’t trade the experience.)

She’s such a strong person, and she has been through a lot.  Her name is Tammera, but to me, she is Tammy.  I love her, and I’m so proud of the warm-hearted woman she is, and I'm honored to call her my friend.    

Recently, she moved back to Alabama.   She lives over an hour away…southerners measure distance in time, not miles…so seeing each other is so much easier than when she lived in Oklahoma.   Yesterday we met for a long lunch, but it wasn't long enough.  

Sitting across from her catching up, I realized, once again, that time has wings and it soars.  If you close your eyes for a moment, when you open them again, you are in the place of your mother, and your children are in the place of your youth.  

The last thirty years feel like only ten, and time continues uncompromisingly marching on, reminding me to be diligent to say the things in my heart, to spend more time with those I love, to live my life carefully and deliberately, with purpose.   Life is indeed short, and it is precious; a day of it shouldn’t be wasted, yet I have wasted so many.   But spending time regretting wasted days would be throwing a day away, so I will look ahead to the future and leave the past where it is, at the untouchable portal to my life that can’t be changed, but can be used to learn, to teach, to grow, to forgive, forget…and yes, to remember.  

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Thursday's Commited Thoughts: Abortion

Ohio Republicans have passed what appears to be America’s strictest abortion bill.  It’s not a “ban” because abortions will be legal until the baby’s heartbeat can be heard.   It is called "The Heartbeat Bill."

It is now on the governor’s desk for his signature.  You may remember him, John Kasich, former presidential candidate who refused to back the Republican Presidential Nominee.  Kasich may not sign the bill, and if he doesn’t, I would venture to guess it would be because the bill will prohibit abortion in cases of rape or incest, again, after the heartbeat. 

If Governor Kasich does sign the bill, the ACLU (the anti-Christian liberties union) is already prepared to challenge it in court.  

The rest of this post is all my opinion, and if you are pro-abortion, you may be enraged by the time I’m through, so you are forewarned.   

For the record, I am withholding my thoughts on cases of rape or incest because those sensitive cases deserve more than a few passing sentences in a pro-life blog post.

I am definitely pro-choice, but the choice is not whether or not to take a baby’s life.  Choices begin when one makes a decision to have unprotected sex…however, since no birth control is 100% effective, the choice actually begins when you decide to have sex. 

Already deceived and narrow-minded activists in Ohio are chanting:
“O-H! I-O! Abortion bans have got to go!” carrying signs that read, “Stop Playing Politics with Women’s Health.”

Since when did ripping a baby from the womb cease to be about a baby being ripped from the womb and about a woman’s healthcare?   Abortion is not healthcare.  It is not healthy!!  Least of all is it healthy for the baby...who actually dies...

You can call it a fetus, or you can call it a “clump of cells” but God calls it life.  The Bible tells us in Psalm 139 that He sees our substance being yet unformed (in the womb) and in His book are written all the days He fashioned for each of us before we were formed.  That makes us all pretty important.

Perhaps you don’t believe the Bible is God’s word?  
I hope you get revelation before it’s too late. 
But I digress.

I’ve heard people say that Conservatives are not pro-life, they are pro-birth, meaning that they don’t care about how babies are cared for once they are born.  And for the most part, I agree with that supposition.  Let me say it again, the choice begins BEFORE the pregnancy.

Pro-abortion activists point out that abortions were always available.  Before it was legal, they were performed in dirty basements and back alleys, where women died.  And that is true.  But that doesn’t make neutralizing unborn babies any more acceptable. 

In a world where people are lovers of self, lovers of money, boasters, proud, abusive, disobedient, ungrateful and unholy (2 Timothy 3)…deceived into thinking that they can live by their “anything goes” rules instead of God’s rules, where do you start to combat this war on the unborn.

I mean, how do you fight deception?
Not by flesh and blood. 
So we start by praying.
And follow up with education…show them what really happens in abortions.   Show them other options, such as adoption.  There are so many couples waiting for babies!   Remind young women that they are worth so much more than casual sex!   And we give…find a local charity or pro-life clinic (such as our local Shoals Sav-a-Life) and help support them.   

People who are pro-abortion are just as convinced as I am that they are right…
only they don’t have God’s word to back them up.  

For those who have had an abortion, I wrote THIS.  (link)

Psalm 139:13-16
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
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.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Great Smoky Mountains

The Sinks
If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know my love for the Great Smoky Mountains.  On Monday, I sent a message to Ole Boy that we should make a weekend run to Dollywood for the Christmas shows.  Later that evening, I starting seeing the first of many posts of the fires…

…then the reports of people missing.  Shortly thereafter, injuries were reported and deaths were being confirmed.   Like the rest of the Southeast (and across the nation), I watched news stories in horror as the fires devoured an estimated 700 homes and businesses, and some 20,000 acres of wooded forestland.

The first fires were likely to be started by human hands, according to park officials.  Add in strong winds, downed power lines, and drought conditions, and it quickly spelled devastation, for both lives and land. 

Did you know that the Great Smoky Mountains are the most visited national park in America?  

Old Homestead - Cades Cove
Michael Reed, whose story was covered by WATE TV as he searched for his wife and two daughters, put a face on the tragedy for me.  I had hoped and prayed for his wife and daughters to be found alive.   With each passing day, I knew the possibility was growing slimmer.  Today, when it was confirmed that the body of his wife, Constance, had been found, along with nine-year-old Lily and twelve-year-old Chloe, I cried. 

I’m crying now.  People are missing, families are searching and hanging on to hope that their loved ones are alive.  Still others have lost everything they own, homes and business.  Loss of jobs.   Loss of an innocence...bad things really do happen to “good” people.

I know this post is jumbled, please forgive me.  I am heartbroken for these people, and for a place I love with all my heart.  Please pray for East Tennessee.  And if you can, please join me in giving:  Dolly Parton’s My People Fund

Cades Cove

Roaring Forks (I believe)

The are called "Smoky..."

Cades Cove

Gatlinburg Overpass

Foggy Cades Cove

Roaring Forks

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