Being Unique And Respected

This is a repost about a young man who is 11 today. I really need to do another interview to get his thoughts on life in the double digits now!

I love talking to children. This afternoon I had a conversation with a neighbor, who is about to be nine.

Somewhere in our conversation, the words “unique” and “respect” came up. He said he thought it would be good to be nine, but he thought ten might be more unique.

He said he thought double digit kids got more respect.

I told him he was most unique now. I told him whole bunches of people are double digits and tin fact, once he reached double digits, he would be that unless he lived to be 100.

So he should really enjoy this year of being more unique than many of the rest of us. He seemed pleased with the thought.

When we got ready to end our talk, I said, “By the way, I really respect you!” He smiled.

Today he made me feel special … unique … respected … because he chose to talk to me.

Whatever your age, enjoy it. Today is the oldest you have ever been and the youngest you will ever be again!

I Forgive You …

I have watched this video many times. I get a different message every time I watch it. (link at the end of this post)

Tonight it made me wonder what it would be like to spend just 60 seconds concentrating on someone who hurt me in my life.

Could I see them without judgement or without imprisoning them in the mold of who they used to be?

Could I let go of all there was and all there was not and never would be?

Could I hold them in my gaze and fully see them as God intended them to be … made in His Image, not mine?

And then could I gently let them go, freeing us both to live the lives now before us?

I tried it. It actually worked!

Here is the link to the video.

https://youtu.be/mEcqoqvlxPY

You Are A Promise Fulfilled!

You are here as God’s Promise to former generations that their work would go on.

You are His Promise that every thing they learned and passed on to someone would continue.

You are the arrow sent from their bow, flying through time to hit its mark.

You are the bow, even now being fashioned to pass along their work along with yours to people you may never know.

You have been given life to be The Light to The Life.

Be The Light. Be The Promise fulfilled!

Jesus said, “Become what you believe!”

Mathew 9:29

Here is the link to a wonderful song about our being the fulfillment of Promises God made long ago.

https://youtu.be/G8Bs2o-3D-M

Healing The World

Jay and I are teachers. We taught nursing and several different Sunday School classes and small groups over the years.

Even though we retired from those ways to teach, God kept calling us to do what He equipped us to do.

So, for some time now, we have taught from home on You Tube. I pray about what The Lord would have us teach, I write the scripts, Jay and I pick out pictures to illustrate the words and Jay videos my delivering the message.

The most action is really what Jay does behind the camera and in post production and getting it posted on You Tube and God Tube. What eventually goes up as a 15-20 minute video actually took us many hours to complete.

We never get concerned about how many views the videos get, because we are not doing them for the praise of anyone. We are doing it quite simply because God invited us to do it. It is our Joy to offer these videos as our praise, worship and thankfulness to our Creator.

God knows where He will deliver the videos and at what time. It may be the words are for someone we will never meet and possibly someone who will live in a future time.

If God prompts you to watch or share with someone, please do.

We just completed the ninth episode of our current series, Healing The World. It centers on the answer to this question — What do you do after you’ve made a major mistake?

Here is the link to the video.

https://youtu.be/h5UnNgxse5U

The Bench In Charleston, South Carolina

My father grew up on a farm. The love of the land never left him. He was a gardener all his life.

He even grew things he did not eat. He said he loved to watch things grow and he always wanted to have something to “divide with people.”

The garden was filled with fruits and vegetables and the front, back and side yards had a variety of flowers and shrubs.

My father was a mailman in Charleston, South Carolina for many years. His route was the old historic section. He walked many miles a day and knew every person personally who lived in those houses.

Later he became a rural mail carrier in the country where he grew up near Fairfax, South Carolina. He drove many miles a day, but as soon as he got home, it was off to his garden until supper time. And sometimes, he got up early and tended the garden before he went to work.

While I did not inherit his green thumb, I did inherit his love of the land and the joy of seeing things grow.

I also shared his love of the city of Charleston. I was born there. I went to college there. I lived there at different times in my adult life.

And I was delighted to introduce my Kentucky husband to Charleston after we met. We have made many new memories there over the years.

While we have continued to live in Kentucky, a part of our heart belongs to Charleston. The beauty of The Gardens of Charleston is amazing. The different gardens and parks always make me think of my parents and my husband’s and my time there.

And now we have found a way to celebrate the city we love, our love for each other and our Love of The Lord.

We have chosen to support the work of The Charleston Parks Conservancy. I will post more about their work at another time.

We now have a bench at Colonial Lake! We will never know who sees it or sits on it. But already we are imagining all kinds of people of all ages and backgrounds.

We hope it will be our invitation to all to sit, reflect, reset, celebrate, remember, and anticipate.

The lake is fed from the ocean. And so are we fed from being in the joy of God’s Presence. We share our life verse, “In Your Presence is Fullness of Joy!”

We would be absolutely delighted if you would visit our bench and take a picture of yourself with the bench and send it to us. You can put it on Facebook, Instagram, or send it to me privately.

It may be awhile before we get to Charleston, but for now, we would love to see you there. Send pictures!

Longing

In this world of instant gratification, we have forgotten what it is like to long for someone … anticipate their touch … imagine what it might feel like … and then discover and know.

Those who have known the joy of a touch now removed from them also experience longing. We wait for Heaven and imagine the touch that will be magnified even beyond the joy we felt on earth.

Bobby Hatfield expressed the feeling of longing so well in his classic, “Unchained Melody.” Here is the link. Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/IYj2hex99gY

joy Among Sadness

There is so much sadness in the world. As much as I try to focus on the positives, there are times when grief tries to overtake me.

I have “lost” four close friends in less than a year. While they are not truly lost (we know where they are), I miss them.

Even though the pandemic separated us, we had the hope of an earthly reunion when things simmered down. Now we wait for the heavenly reunion.

It is not only their absence that has troubled me, but it is also thinking of the suffering they experienced before being released from their earthly bodies.

Suffering has a purpose, but still it is distressing both to the one experiencing it and also to those who watch, powerless to stop it.

But among the cumulative feelings of grief, today The Lord brought many opportunities to experience joy in witnessing His Grace and Mercy.

We got to spend time with our daughter, son in law and grandson. There was a time when I thought we would have to continue to be separated by distance. And then came the miracle of their moving here.

I saw our friend, who had life threatening heart surgery just a few months ago, celebrating his 76th birthday with his family. He looks wonderful!

I saw a father reunited with his once estranged daughter. I saw him helping her with her car. I saw the hugs that signaled restoration.

I saw the husband of my heavenly promoted friend out cutting his lawn. His faithful dog was by his side. Life, though different, has continued. He knows he lives in a community around him, who care.

I saw two friends, once separated by divorce, who have reunited. They were happily playing with their children and making plans for the future.

I saw children playing, enjoying the kind of childhood that so many others are missing. They were riding bikes, playing with sticks, climbing trees and running just for the fun of it.

I went on rides with my husband. We watched the sunset together, watched familiar tv shows, and shared hugs and good foot rubs.

I saw flowers and trees blooming and giving new promises of life to come. I saw birds building new nests. I heard their songs of joy. And just for an added treat, we saw “Mother Goose” tending to newly hatched babies at the lake tonight.

All of that was in one day. And there were other blessings too numerous to count. Life is hard, but God mercifully provides cushioning for the rough spots.

After the labor pains, and, indeed, in the middle of them, He brings joy immeasurable. It is a beautiful world!

You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your Presence!

Psalm 16:11

I invite you to listen to this song and reflect on the joys in your life. Here is the link.

https://youtu.be/p-T6aaRV9HY

Where Are We Going?

Frequently I ask God where we are going and how long it will be before we get there.

His Answers are always the same.

“We are here. I am with you.”

As to how long, “Don’t worry about tomorrow. I know The Plans and I’ll share them with you when it is time.”

When I look back on my journey of life, I see that all He said is true. He has been with me for every step. And He told me what I needed to know when I needed to know it.

Never did He give me the whole Plan at once. He knows I have trouble figuring out how to read a map.

He knew I needed a personal Guide.

He knew I would need to follow Him step by step.

So if you wonder where you are going, be thankful He knows, He is with you and He will lead you step by step.

Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a Light on my path.

Psalm 119:105

Growing Up!

Does the butterfly try to get back in the cocoon?

Does the chick try to crawl back into the broken shell of its former home?

Does the baby wish to go back inside the womb?

Does the child resist growing?

If we are offered Heaven, why do we fight so hard to stay within the confines of this earthly body?

Should we not anticipate it … welcome it with joy as the next phase of God’s Creation of us?

Remembering Barbara

I had a long time friendship with Barbara Worful. She exited my life just recently, just as she would have wanted. She didn’t tell me she was leaving or even that her health status had changed.

No good byes. No shows of emotion. No advice to give or take. No forwarding address.

Whoever wrote her obituary summed up her life well. It would not surprise me at all to discover Barbara wrote it in advance. (Link at the end of this post)

While I had no opportunity to get her final thoughts on life, I have an abundance of memories. And in fact, Barbara would probably tell me there is no such thing as “final thoughts.”

I met Barbara in 1979 at the VA Medical Center where we both worked. She was the social worker and I was the Nurse Manager assigned to the newly being formed hospice unit.

We instantly became friends, not because we were alike, but because we both shared an ability to say what we thought … and to receive what the other had to say without being offended.

Barbara loved to dress well and was a bit concerned about my casual, baggy clothes, “frumpy” look. She tried for years to “dress” me, using every birthday and Christmas to give me gifts of clothes that I considered two sizes too small.

She always mandated that I try them on and told me how much she looked forward to seeing me wear them for our next outing. But even though she did not see them again, she never pushed it. She knew I was my own woman, but she never stopped trying.

Barbara was very concrete and yet very philosophical. She had been exposed to the formal church life, and she was repulsed by it.

She knew there was so much more to life than what was being crammed into limiting creeds or what she found to be narrow, judgmental views.

During the course of our friendship, my own spiritual journey changed markedly. When I would try to share my latest spiritual awakening, Barbara would roll her eyes and say, ‘You know I am not religious.” But she listened and tried not to make faces.

Barbara loved to walk … fast. Wherever we went in the early years, I had trouble keeping up with her. She told me, she loved the feel of the wind rushing past her body.

Once on a trip to Europe, she was walking rapidly down some stone steps and fell, injuring herself badly. The doctor even suggested she cancel the rest of the trip and go home.

She adamantly refused. Against all advice, she finished that trip, alternating between crutches and a cane. She was determined not to be defeated.

Barbara loved to travel. She was fearless. While I was a “cling to the side of the pool” type person, Barbara was all about exploring and seeing what else was out there.

Life was an adventure. She once told me, “If I died tomorrow, my only regret would be not seeing the places I have not seen yet.”

She took lots of pictures, put them in photograph albums, and treated us to stories about each place. It was our window on the world.

Christmas time was Barbara’s delight. She never lost the excitement and wonder of a child. We got together every year, had a meal and exchanged gifts.

Barbara decorated her house from top to bottom, often with fascinating ornaments from around the world.

She planned her menus in great detail, from appetizers to dessert and after dinner treats. Dressed in festive attire, she served everything with the flourish of a fine dining server.

While we struggled to find something that would delight Barbara, she never failed to find perfect and unique gifts for us.

She acknowledged she prepared all year for Christmas, and her stacks of catalogues proved it!

Not only did Barbara want to “dress me,” she was also bound and determined she was going to expand my tastes in food. I have been a very “selective” eater all my life. I never wanted anything beyond a few simple basics.

Barbara not only cooked, but she also made it her project to take my husband and me out to eat regularly. I both anticipated and dreaded seeing where we were going next.

When I turned up my nose, and she caught me just moving the food around on my plate, she would say, “Come on, Carolyn. Just three bites!” She said, “One bite won’t do it. You have to wade in a little further to get the full experience of anything in life.”

Barbara was single, meaning she never married one person. She said she had boy friends and got close to marriage a time or two, but just could not imagine being “tied down” with one person.

I asked her if she never felt lonely being alone. She said, “Oh I am never alone! I enjoy my own company and if I get tired of myself, I find someone I want to spend time with.”

Barbara had many friends, on all levels from casual to close. If you were her close friend, you were blessed. She was devoted, loyal and caring through all seasons.

In later years, Barbara had health challenges. She took on each one as a new adventure and was always positive.

Once when I saw her in the hospital after a serious surgery, I told her she looked good for someone who had just had surgery. She looked up through her grogginess and said, “Good. I’ll be a good looking corpse.”

Barbara fortunately lived to fight another day. She changed with each new challenge, finding new ways to have adventures. She dryly observed, “I liked my body so much better when it didn’t remind me it was there.”

I think now of the time Barbara and I attended a funeral service at the VA. The speaker gave an especially long eulogy, with dramatic repeating of the phrase, “So long, old friend.”

Barbara leaned over and whispered, “If I die first, don’t let anyone moan over me like that. Tell them I loved life, it was good and to get on with it themselves.”

Barbara, I had to say a little more than that. But you knew I would. And this time, I get the last word.

Godspeed on your next adventure. I’m betting it is better than any place you found on earth!

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/kentucky/obituary.aspx?n=barbara-worful&pid=198257022&fhid=31227