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Braking Points

Exploring the Adventure of Aging

Month

November 2015

Thanksgiving Day Eighteen 2015

 

For those of you who may not recognize the flying rodent in the imagepicture, let me introduce you to Mighty Mouse, no relation to the other cartoon Mice  with initials M.M. other than both were all conceived in someone’s head and born on a drawing board.

Saturday mornings were not complete without this fellow’s antics, adventures, and in the nick of time interventions.

‘Here he comes to save the day, You know that Mighty Mouse is on the way.’  from Mighty Mouse Theme Song

I admit it.  I have a ‘Mighty Mouse Complex’ which is a desire to sweep in, clear out the bad guys/gals, and rescue the perishing. In my fantasy I always know just what the best solution is for any and all situations.  Alas, the reality does not support that fantasy in the least.

As a child my mind entertained me with stories of outlandish villians determined to do harm only to be thwarted by my quick thinking, courage, and superior fighting skills.  Or stories where everyone was about to be swept away by a tornado, only to have me grab them at the last moment, cover their bodies with my own, providing protection from harm.  All my life I have wanted to protect the people I care about, especially my husband and children.  I would have gladly taken Terry’s cancer into my own body, but all I could do was walk with him through it.  I wanted desperately to fix every problem my children have encountered even though some were decidedly in the hands of God.  I have wrung my hands, prayed, experienced gut clinching pain every time one of them was hurt or in need, but I have not to my knowledge fixed any thing.

I want to be a hero, but at best I am support personnel.  I want to feed the impoverished, bring healing to the injured and sick, and love like Jesus loves me.  I want to turn sorrow into joy, weeping into laughing, weapons into plows…..

BUT WAIT A MINUTE….Only God can do those things.  He can guide me and teach me, but

He knows my cape is tattered,

my mind scattered, and my body bruised and battered

None of that matters.

I doubt my basic instincts to be a rescuer will change, so I count on God to hold me close, help me wait to see how his plan unfolds and to fold me into it where He can use me.

Today I am thankful that the God of the Universe who sent his son to die for all creation is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords has the world with all its brokenness in his hands and heart.  He knows the homeless on the streets in the USA by name, he knows the name of every refugee anywhere in the world, and he will fold me and you into his plan where we can serve him best.

I don’t have to save my children, grandchildren, siblings, friends or enemies….IN FACT I CANNOT.

God Can and will use those willing to be bent a little to work with his plan.

 

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Thanksgiving Day Seventeen 2015

When I was studying at the University of Tulsa, I took an elective course in Semantics.  It was known to be an easy ‘A’, but BORING.  While fellow students openly snoozed around me, I plopped myself in the front row, soaking up the history of the meaning of words, how meaning changes so that some meanings become archaic.  I began to understand why Latin was a dead language, word meanings never change, and English was a living language, adding new words and changing word meanings.  Once a nerd, always a nerd.

I am also a RADICAL in the manner of Billy Graham, who once in the 1950’s had a choir at one of his rallies in the South that was decidedly mixed races.  Concerned citizens counseled Dr. Graham that to not continue with the plan.  One even told him ‘he would set Christianity back a hundred years.’  To which, Dr. Graham replied, ‘that would be a shame.  I intended to set it back 2000 years.’

This morning this scripture,

“Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe.

The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

I and the Father are one.”
‭‭John‬ ‭10:25-30‬ ‭NIV‬‬,

was in my devotion from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

The word that popped into my head to describe Jesus was ‘Radical‘.  Not a popular description in today’s world, but I couldn’t shake it.

Jesus was speaking to religious leaders, who were appalled by his inflammatory statements, his challenges of the status quo, by the way he talked to them.  Frankly, the charge that they were not his sheep probably thrilled them since everyone knew how stupid sheep are unlike goats who are clever little fellows, independent rascals.  I am really editorializing here.

Anyway I did what I often do which was to follow the etymology of the word from the root, which by the way is what the latin word meant.

“Late 14c., in a medieval philosophical sense, from Late Latin radicalis “of or having roots,” from Latin radix (genitive radicis) “root” (see radish ). Meaning “going to the origin, essential” is from 1650s. Radical sign in mathematics is from 1680s”

As an aside, interesting to me, but undoubtedly not a lot of folks, one antonym for radical is superficial.

Jesus challenged the deviations and misinterpretations prevalent in religious practices of the Jewish leaders, with its ceremony, exclusiveness, and legalism.  Not what God had intended.  While the years of captivity in Babylon and then under the Persians had wiped out every trace of polytheism establishing the Jews as absolutely monotheistic,  the human response was to slam the doors to foreign influence and rigidly enforce the LAW.  To deviate or allow for flexibility might bring again the wrath of God.  These were not leaders who could allow a teacher (rabbi) from a decidedly mixed region to heal on the Sabbath or equate himself with God.

The sheep might follow and be led off a cliff, but the old goats, who enforced Jewish Law without any mercy on their fellow Jews, would not.  And yet later and even today many of the old goats both Jews and Gentiles have been transformed into yielding sheep.

Good to know, Even Sheep have bad hair days.
Good to know, Even Sheep have bad hair days.

I am a radical sheep following with my eyes wide open, my ears alert, and my heart struggling to beat in rhythm with the  Radical Shepherd, I follow.  I get distracted.  I hear other voices.  I don’t always love or pray for my enemy…or even worse, my friends.  But I have heard his voice and I know that only he has the words of life.

So today I am thankful to be a RADICAL dumb sheep following the One who said, ‘By this they will know you are my dumb sheep because you will love one another as I have loved you.’  [paraphrase, completely Carolyn]

Beats Superficial anytime!

 

Thanksgiving Days 15 and 16 2015

The journey of 786 miles begins at 5:30 AM EST, at least ours did, with one “U” Turn to flip the switch on the hot water heater, one missed exit off Florida Highway 429 onto the Florida Turnpike North and three Senior citizens, two dogs determined to complete the trip safely.  One mile after another until we pulled into our driveway in Kentucky at 7:45 PM CST.  Exhausted. Road Weary. THANKFUL!

Kentucky home November 16, 2015
Kentucky home
November 16, 2015

“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭73:23-26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Today I am thankful for the physical modern world,

from

  • accessible roads,
  • a reliable vehicle,
  • available fuel,
  • funds to purchase fuel and food,
  • recorded books (we finished two) and
  • helpful people along the way

to

my husband, brother, and even the dogs who travel without being short tempered or difficult.

Today I am thankful for God, who no matter what happens on any journey in this life, in fact, on this trip from birth to death and beyond, HE WHO loves not just me but all my fellow travelers, that He is the ‘strength of my heart.’  And for how He has taught me to pray.  My deepest prayer for the world comes from the prayer Jesus taught his followers:

Our Father

Who art in heaven

Hallowed be YOUR NAME

Your kingdom come

YOUR WILL BE DONE (His perfect will)

ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.  (God’s  will in the lives of those I love, and even those I call my enemy or who call me their enemy)

Give us this day our daily bread (physical, mental, and spiritual provision one day at a time)

Forgive us our trespasses (when I infringe on God’s place or my fellow travelers)

As we forgive my trespassers (when others infringe on me)

Lead us not into temptation

BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL (both without and within).

For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory FOREVER AND EVER.  Amen.

Thanksgiving Day Fourteen 2015

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Short backdrop to the Book of Jeremiah where this verse resides. He was known as the weeping prophet. His prophesies from God were not well accepted. The leaders tried to kill him. The city of Jerusalem had been under siege for so long there was no food or water, but his message of doom did not sit well with the leaders or populous who were longing to hear words of encouragement and praise. After all, THEY were HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE.

God had had his fill of the sinfulness of those HE called HIS PEOPLE. Sure the Babylonian army outside the gates were pagan, heathens, but HIS PEOPLE had wandered so far from the truth that God sent Jeremiah to speak judgement and accountability…a chance to turn around.

Then in the 29th chapter the tone of the prophesies revealed through Jeremiah changes. From that point forward without taking back a single one of the previous pronouncements upon on Judah, God lifts the eyes of Jeremiah offering words of promise, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. Forty years in the wilderness, Seventy years in Babylon living day to day are nano seconds to God, but time enough for his people to return to him.

My opinion only, but God does not expect Starbucks, a secular business, to honor Christ at Christmas, but he does expect me to honor Christ in Christmas. The world is a mission field not an enemy.

God has a plan for his people and it really has not changed from day ONE, we are to be light in the darkness. Through weak, clumsy people like me who have been called according to his purpose the world should be able to know God. Kinda makes me queasy, knowing just how feeble a witness I am….Truth is if I center on “I“, the light will flicker and die…SO I am thankful that God Crossed out the “I” so when I stop hiding my cracks his brilliance shines through.

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THEN THE FUTURE LOOKS REALLY GREAT!

Thanksgiving Day Thirteen 2015

imageI am not the least bit superstitious, KNOCK ON WOOD!  Well, maybe a tad bit, but over the years I have not encountered any unexpected catastrophies on Friday the Thirteenth than any other day of the week.  We owned a black cat and while some, notably our son-in-law, Mark, considered her to be a demon cat, we loved her and I cannot remember ever thinking she might have caused any unfortunate event.

So on this Friday, November 13, 2015, I am thankful not to be terrified of a date on the calendar, broken mirrors, black cats or any assundry of  bad luck  folk lore or good luck talisman.  I am thankful that as I continue to deal with good, bad, expected and unexpected news, that God keeps me eternally safe and walks with me through any thing else I encounter.

Have a Blessed Friday the 13th!

Thanksgiving Day Twelve 2015

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‘I am woman hear me…’ whine and moan everytime I get on the scales, assess my face in the mirror, the groans becoming wales of anguish when directly out of the shower I step in front of a full length mirror.

I awoke this morning from a dream about pushing a car to the gas station and buying a horse…the key phrase here is ‘I awoke‘!

More than Seventy years ago my heart started beating in the safety of my mother’s womb and so far it has not failed to continue, inspite of Atrial Fibrillation and mild hypertension.

On April 25, 1945 I inhaled and exhaled for the very first time, continuing to do so except for brief intervals without even giving it or the atmosphere with its life giving oxygen more than a brief acknowledgement.

I was walking and talking before my first birthday.  So far except for mild arthritis in my joints, neck surgery, carpal tunnel surgery, I move through my day with only minor assistance…and am glad there is assistance available when I need it.  I may struggle with word finding skills but I still speak and write to express myself.  But those are all voluntary actions.

Every day my body flows with blood carrying oxygen to my brain, organs, fingers and toes.

Every day my body digests food and hydrates cells, uses the nutrients and discards the waste.  I take voluntary action in this project, but my body does the heavy lifting.

Every day my body sends out scouts to determine if there are enemy forces from without trying to storm the walls.  At the first sight of invasion, other cells engage the enemy with one intent destroy and protect.

Every day my body completes millions of tasks without even asking my permission.

Will it grow tired of all of these tasks?  yes

Will it lower its defenses at times?  yes

Will it fail to recognize the enemy before outside forces are needed? yes

Will I die?  yes

BUT until then enough of this b*&^hing and moaning about the wrinkles, sags, snap, crackles and pops.

I AWOKE this morning, still breathing, heart still beating, walking, talking….I AM ALIVE from the top of my head to my crooked little toe.

I may not be young.  I may not be the image of perfection.  I may not be…..BUT THANK YOU, LORD…I AM ALIVE!

My human body works just like you created it to do.

So, Precious Lord, I will leave the rest to you.

Till the end you will see me through.

 

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Thanksgiving Day Eleven 2015

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John Dougherty served his country in both World War I and in World War II.  He was a soldier who remembered vividly the two wars, the first as a teenager in the European Theater, the second as a middle aged Army officer in the Pacific Theater.  He volunteered for both conflicts. John and his wife, Ruth, were members of Yale Avenue Christian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma when Terry and I were members in the 1980’s.

On the Sunday before Veterans Day, John would rise from his pew, approach the front of the Sanctuary, lecturn side, in full uniform. Once there, he would pull a yellowed piece of paper from the breast pocket of his jacket, unfold it, narrow his eyes over the congregation assembled until all shuffling, whispering–even from the youth pew–ceased.  The gravel in his voice betrayed his advanced years, but there was no mistaking his sense of purpose.  After a few words regarding the solemnity of the occassion, he looked at the paper, then again at the crowd and recited:

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Years have passed but I still remember as I am sure others do as well.  Since John served in the two World Wars, men and women have chosen or been selected to serve in the United States Military Service.  Some served during the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the First Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and various other places within the USA and around the world.  As Jesus said, there will be wars and rumors of war…that never seems to go away.  Until the other side, we will need Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who step up to defend the Constitution of the United States and its citizens.

Today I am thankful to John Dougherty for his service not just to his county and mine, but to the congregants who had the opportunity to hear him recite “In Flanders’ Fields.”  I am thankful for the service of ALL the men and women who have served in the military of the United States of America, over 48 million since 1776, and honor their service and sacrifice.

The ruts in the path of freedom both as a citizen of the United States and as Christian runs with the blood of sacrifice.  Thankful doesn’t even seem to cover the emotions that image evokes.

Thank you, Veterans!  Thank you, God!

Thanksgiving Day Ten 2015

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Confession:  I love murder mysteries, with smart alec protagonists, who seem gruff, but really are softies who have never really gotten used to the inhumanity of men.  I prefer books or maybe an ongoing thread in a TV drama to everything wraps up in 55 minutes, because I have figured out that every suspect prior to 50 minutes into the show DID NOT DO IT!  I also prefer an element of comic relief….life has that, needs that, so abject darkness with unlikeable characters usually turns me off….but not always.  I leave room for exceptions and there are some notable ones.

Perhaps that is one reason I love the Bible, because the wisdom of God chose not to reveal the WHOLE STORY, but to present it in such a way, with so many fascinating people and stories, so many hidden treasures waiting to be found, truth found in parables and in the lives of imperfect, flawed folks like me, smart alecs, rapists, murderers, liers, cowards, loud mouths, thieves…and those were the good guys/gals.

So many mysteries to solve, but through it all a scarlet thread.  Before the Great Lie that broke the World, God already had a plan. Free will was a risk I would not choose if I was God and wanted everything to stay perfect and good like I made it.  Knowing all, loving man, God in Three Persons had a plan.  The scarlet thread, the trail of blood, sacrifice, the Great Lie wormed its way into all creation, devestating minds, bodies, spirit, and the very earth we live on.

At seventy years of age I am still discovering the treasures and the links in Scripture.  Even familiar passages become new to me as I find more clues to the Eternal.  Today I am thankful for the Bible, God’s Holy Word, May it be a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path ….and help me to become more like Jesus.  Amen

Thanksgiving Day Nine 2015

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“If I have told you once, I have told you a thousand times.”

“Well, at least 365 times.”

“Be strong and courageous.”

“Do not be afraid.”

“Fear not.”

“No one can snatch you from my hand.”

“I will never leave you.”

“I am with you always.”

“I am a hedge of protection around you.”

WHEN

“you walk through the fire.”

“the waves threaten to drown you.”

“the enemy surrounds you.”

“you are sick, discouraged, beaten down, in an ash heap like Job.”

“you are sailing along without any regard for me at all.”

WHATEVER

“If I have told you once, I have told you a thousand times.”

“Well, at least 365 times.”

“Be strong and courageous.”

“Do not be afraid.”

“Fear not.”

“No one can snatch you from my hand.”

“I will never leave you.”

“I am with you always.”

“I am a hedge of protection around you.”

“I died that you might Live FREE!”

WHY

“Because I LOVE YOU!”

This day for the amazing presence, power, and protection of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I am ETERNALLY Grateful.  Amen

 

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