#199 Beauty through Tragedy.

When you think of some of the great disasters in history that this world has expierenced in your lifetime and if you have lived long enough you have probably lived through many great disasters. If you could only list just two disasters that you have lived through that seem to stick in your head what would they be? And would they be the same disasters and have the same impact on everyone as they did you ? Maybe it was a certain place you were at when the news came in that you remember that keeps that horrific memory alive. Was the news so terrific that you can still remember what you were doing and who you were with that you can still remember the person who delivered the news to you and the reactions of all those who surrounded you that day ? Do you ever wonder why we live through these tragic events and for a brief moment why the world really does seem to stop turning ? Maybe it is a world event or maybe it is an event in your own world . Yet for a brief moment when the world does stop turning and you capture one image and it sticks with you for a lifetime you never seem to forget that in just one moment in time your life stopped because someone’s life stopped , history was made and in a brief moment , in a blink of an eye everything changed . The world changed , your world changed and yet through it all you know you got through it somehow but deep down you know you were saved by someone way bigger then yourself and that someone was looking out for you and your family and even if it was your world that stopped turning that day your family still went on and you realize that someone bigger then yourself got your family through it and without him you know deep down you could have never made it out alone.

#199

For me and the generation I grew up in there will always be two tragedies in history that I can remember like it was yesterday when I see videos and pictures of the two events I can’t seem to shake . Which is very strange to say because everyday there is a tragedy in history being made if you watch the nightly news. I guess we have become a society so immune to violence and accidents that it has become second nature to think we are prepared for the expected but in reality we never really are. It really is God who prepares us as he repairs us through his Son who is ready to walk with us through the tragedies that are already waiting for us around ever corner through the evil and the unexpected events that come from us living in a broken world. For me living in this sinful broken world it was at age 12 when the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart just 73 seconds after takeoff . Killing all 7 crew members . I still remember how excited my school teacher was that morning when one of the crew members on that mission was a civilian school teacher. When we heard the news of the Shuttle that day they brought our class to the school auditorium and we watched taped footage of the events on the big tv. I remember looking back at my school teacher standing behind our class who just hours before was celebrating in victory of a fellow school teacher who was going into space. It seemed the world did stop when I looked back and seen that behind my Teachers glasses she had tears running down her face. How seven people she did not know could effect her like that and how her reaction effected me not just in that moment but for a lifetime is the one image I hold with me even now is the image of all seven crew members right before they entered the Space Shuttle Challenger all excited and full of life and still full of life because in my book they will be remembered as forever living heros . The space program changed because of them . Things were made better.

The other event in history that was so terrific that probably plagues most of us to this very day. Especially if you lived in the last 18 years was the events that stemmed from the September 11 attacks (also referred to as 9/11 ). No matter whose Anniversary , whose Birthday or what awesome event takes place on this 11th day of September. This day seems to always be overshadowed as the day the world truly did stop turning. I don’t know anyone that can’t seem to remember what they weren’t doing that day when they heard the news that our Country was under attack . It was probably the most uncertain time for everyone. Not knowing what was going on with the world, what was happening . Should you continue to do your job ? Should you go pull your kids out of school? Go to the bank ? Go gas up your cars ?It was a time of great confusion hearing not one attack but 4 seperate attacks and finding out that it wasn’t just happening in New York . Finding out a plane went down in Pennsylvania that was hijacked because the hijackers were intending to fly into the US Capitol Building was a nightmare. Then reports of American Airlines flight 77 being hijacked flying into the Pentagon killing 184 people and thinking to yourself, “Thank God I’m safe , Thank God my families ok . None of us are there .” Yet deep down everyone was glued to the tv or radio that day and the days that followed really were there . Even though it was not us in that tall hi rise building. If you were human and like the rest of the world watching, you found yourself watching it happen right before your eyes. Those poor people jumping to there death who just hours before were going off to work like an ordinary day just like you did that same day not knowing it was the last time they were gonna see their loved ones . Who would have ever thought an act so violent by a group so evil could be so deceived to think their act was an act of true heroic bravery could cause the world to actually stop for so many but it did. While it did in fact stop for so many , many people captured their own still shots in their memory just like me, that will always remind them of such tragedies they could not prevent , change or erase . I am reminded through my own still shots of the brave men and women who are called by God in their everyday jobs to serve civilians and teach children when those calls come in and tragedies hit home of people we know and often times people we do not know. But in the midst of these trials and tribulations Jesus told us we would face them as his people . I am reminded by each image I save in my memory not of the people and sin that cause such devastation but of the great ways God calls his people to serve him in their everyday jobs to teach others what bravery , compassion and brotherhood really looks like. Without tragedy there could never be heros . I have so much respect for the Brave of our Nation . Not just those who have fought for our Freedom and still ensure our freedom but those who keep us safe at night. Those who enforce the law but those who run into the buildings that are on fire when everyone else is running out. The teachers who show a child what compassion looks like. You can not teach compassion , it must be shown . When I think of the many tragic events in history and in my own life where the world seems to stop turning . I am always reminded to capture a moment in time and take a look at that image and not see the hate and evil and brokeness of what comes from sin , death and the devil but to really see why God allows it to happen in the first place and allow the Holy Spirit to be the reminder to me that man was not ment to carry the burden alone. Trauma and disasters are gonna find us and only God knows why . All we can do is continue to ask God to give us the courage to fight the battles we each must face and give us the strength to keep us going in the middle of it all . With a living God as Our Father , his Son as Our Savior and the Holy Spirit as Our comforter we are never alone . Especially in our own battles . Where all seems ruined and we are weak . It is in those times where Jesus is strong. Let him do the carrying . That is what makes disasters so beautiful. It is in those moments when you capture your own image that sticks with you through a lifetime when the world stops turning in the face of disaster and the real heros come out to carry God’s people to the victory that Jesus has already won for them. Without disasters you can never see the beauty in the real heros that are called to serve the same God that you know and call as your own and the Devil does not want you to know that.

Continue reading “#199 Beauty through Tragedy.”
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#198 Out of the Darkness.

#198 Did you know that we are all born into darkness ? Like we are all born to actually go against God and rebel on purpose not because we want too but because it is human , sinful nature to actually be born into this life and go against God because of the broken world we are born into and because it is a world full of Sin , we are under the power of Sin, death and the Devil . But because God sent his only Son to save this World from Sin , death and the devil we are free from that spell ? I don’t know about you but when I think about everything I have done knowing all the times I was under the Devil’s spell and all the things he talked me into and could have talked me into because I listened to his lies over the Lord’s truth I give a big sigh of relief. Because I really do believe in Angels. I believe they come to us in the form of all people that surround us that listen to them when they come to our aid in our moments of despair. Who are we kidding ? If your in this life your having those moments . You might be having one now. And get this. Your not alone. Do you know how many people right now are thinking about taking their life ? And why ? Because they got someone in one ear talking louder blaring lies talking over that someone in the other ear telling them the truth that they already know . The truth is In God’s Word and it is already there. Already imbedded in us from the beginning of time. So why can they not see it ? Because that is how Sin works. Sin is darkness . Sin is scary . Sin disguises itself and comes out when you least expect it and smothers all the light in you and knocks the wind out of you like the phone call out of nowhere from the Doctor telling you to come into the office because the test results are not what they wanted to see. Or the cops that show up in the middle of the night knocking on your door asking you if you are the Father or the Mother because there has been a accident and we hate to inform you but.. Sin is the Husband or Wife that tells their child that your gonna start staying at your Dad’s house every other weekend and your Mom’s house every other weekend and 2 days each week , won’t that be fun? No , Sin is not fun. But most times . Sin disguises itself as fun until you realize it is not fun at all. In fact , that is exactly what Sin does . That is why Sin is of the Devil and Repentance is of Christ. Sin through the Devil is of bondage and Repentance through Jesus Christ is of freedom. Sin is darkness and forgivenes is light and being free from sin and let me tell you being free from sin and just knowing your not in the power of the Devil is a great feeling . Especially knowing you once were . Everyday I wake up and I’m reminded of who I once was each time I find myself going back to the person I once was . Each time I start losing my Faith in Christ. When that bill comes in and the money is not there . I remind myself that God will provide. My family will not starve. We have not starved yet. No matter what the Devil may be saying in my one ear to get me to pick a fight with my husband . Trust me , the Devil tries all kinds of things to get under my skin and he will not stop until I make him . He will keep going and going for as long as I let him. Like a little spoiled brat. The bill will come in. And my Faith kicks in. God will provide. I brush the bill off. The Devil kicks up dust and goes away . Then it will be something else later on that day . Maybe that will be the day my husband’s lawnmower breaks or I find out my family is planning a party or I get on social media and see that everyone in Decatur has decided to go on vacation somewhere and I’m stuck in a house where the air conditioner can not keep up with the humidity outside . My allergies are acting up. There is not enough money in my wallet for the claritin D I need to help me feel better. I’m not even sure I got enough gas to even get my car to CVS to not have enough money to buy the allergy medicine I need and why am I stuck in this hot house I hate and where is my Husband who promised me the world when we got married ? He’s not mowing the yard ? And why? Because our 10 year old mower that piece oh crap just broke. And why can’t we have one thing nice around this house that doesn’t break . Just one thing ! Just one day can something go our way ! Like everyone else in this life ! Why is my life like this?! (There’s the Devil right there ,feeding me the answers ).. I know ! Because your life sucks. Why are you even married ? Life being single could be so much better . Why did you even get married ? And just like that. That is the only opening the Devil needs to let Sin creep in and we don’t even see it. The Devil remembers the sinful person I once was and what he once talked me into and he will do everything he can to get an inroad into the road that lead to my own destruction the day I let him divide and conquer my own family . He will not stop until I seek God’s Word and let Jesus do it . Camille is not enough. I’m enough to make him leave for now. Not enough to make him know that if he comes back he better know the Word is gonna find him .Because without the truth that God has clearly given us in his Word we have to not only shut the Devil out the first time. We as God’s people. Have to shut him down everytime . We can not let him get even an inch in our home. Especially a person like me. Because he has got in my home before and cleaned me out of everything that I held dear to me . Only I never knew it until it was all cut in half. Never wait until you let the Devil divide your life in half to take it back abd if the Devil should divide your life in half . It is never to late to take it back. What God has given you . Has ALWAYS been yours for the taken. It was yours first and has NEVER been Satan, Sin or the Devil’s . It is never too late to take your life , your light and your half of your family back that you let the Devil steal.

#198 A few weeks ago I had a conversation with my Son about our funeral. I come from a very morbid family . We have never had any problem talking about our funeral day. In fact , we talk about our funeral day as if we are talking about our wedding day. Don’t get my Mom started because your sure to hear the names Wayne Porter and Mark Okoniewski on vocals singing Ava Maria. Ya , she already has her music picked out and everything. Like a Bride on her wedding day. A funeral day in our family is about the same way. However if you ask my Dad his opinion about his funeral his response is always the same” why do I care , I’ll be dead .” Like most grooms , their just not into it. The thing is. I do care . I care for the living. Because like a wedding. I was the Bride who worried more about the guests and my reception then my groom and my wedding. And yet I’m the same Bride that often times wondered hmm… tell me again why my first marriage didn’t work out. Total sarcasm because I know why it didn’t. It didn’t work out because I was more concerned about my wedding then my marriage. That I got talked out of it when trouble found us because I had everyone on the guest list but the most important person. Jesus. I forgot to stand on God’s Word when troubles found us and the vows we took before him . I got talked out of the vows I made. In fact , I got talked out of alot of things. I got talked out of my Husband and my Children and only seeing my Son half his life. Like the Mother’s in the story of King Solomon. Where they were gonna divide their child in half and the one Mother loved their child so much because she knew it was her blood child that she gave her baby up to the woman who was mourning the death of the baby she just lost. Nope , not me and my ex husband. We fought tooth and nail over our Son Eli . We fought so hard over him we practically took a knife and did divide him in half. We divided him so sharp that it was to the T when it came to division. Holidays , vacations , weekdays , weekends . Let me tell you . That was not love. That was torture. Torture on not only him but torture on our family. I can not tell you what ot was like for our family to rearrange everything , every year because me and his Father could not get along that we had to have a seperate guide line issued by the State telling us how to behave . How to parent the child we brought into the world together . It was complete stubborness to be honest abd the one that suffered the most was my Son. It would have been better for him had I let his Dad raise him or had his Dad let me raise him. That would have been true love. If two people can not co parent and actually get along as friends they have no right co parenting at all. We could not even sit at the same table together. It was not until my ex husband lost his oldest Son to a car accident that my eyes were opened to the darkness of what sin really does to a person . You wish nothing like that on someone . That I gave up my fight with my own Son. Anytime he needed to be with his Dad. Their plans came first. I realized our life did not stop . Our holidays went on and were just as special as they were before when I dominated the situation. My holidays were actually made better because I was not spending my holidays complaining about Eli’s Dad but actually feeling good that my kid was happy that he finally got the best of both worlds during the holidays. No more fighting, no more arguing . In my conversation with my Son about his funeral a month ago I asked him about his. He said he never really thought about it much but all he knows is he wants all his family and by that he means both sides , his Dad’s side and his Mom’s , his friends , cold beer , games , bbq and a bonfire . He went to bed that night and all I could think about was his oldest Brother Drake and how he once wanted the same . A family that could come together for just one night and celebrate him for just one night and how it never happened until the day they put him in the ground. I never quite got over the day I stopped at Drake’s grave sight to tell him that I was sorry for leaving his Dad abd dividing our family in half. Because clearly I was in the power of the Devil based on the choices I had made but clearly they were my choices and I have to live with that but I do not have to live with being under the power of the Devil. I made my mind up that day that Drake did not die in vein. No one does. God has a purpose for everyone. I know one purpose God had for Drake and that has been to give Drake’s Brother Eli a chance at a better life . One where there would be less fighting after a divorce , less division and no more confusion. But more unity and togetherness. So Eli would not grow up to be a bitter , resentful , spiteful young man blaming his parents for everything that has gone wrong in his life. Drake wanted something better for his Brother. So many people use divorce as an excuse for a reason to be evil and mean and it’s not a good one. It’s just an excuse. There is never a good excuse to cause division with your fellow man especially when they yearn for unity. Looking at Drake’s grave stone that day. I will never forget the names on it. It was the names of his Mom and Dad engraved on it. The first time I ever seen my ex husband’s name associated with his ex wife’s name. It was kind of sad. Because it was their child. And out of the ten years I was a part of his life I did not want to acknowledge that because I was young and full of sin myself. Full of jealousy and hate for what came before me that I did not want to acknowledge my Stepson’s own Mother in my home. Without acknowledging the Mom of the Stepson I claimed to love , I really couldn’t claim to love that child at all . For he would not be here without her. I realized it was the first time I seen their names in print together that Drake had finally got his way. That I did not want my Son to get his birthday wish the same way Drake did. On the day of his funeral. That I decided to listen to Eli’s girlfriend Cami and some of the best friends he’ll ever know in this life when they offered to open their home and throw a surprise party for Eli this year. I decided to make sure the guest list included both sides of his family . For the first time Eli got what he wanted for his Birthday . He got a Birthday where he was surrounded by all the people in his life that love him from both sides of the family . His Dad , His StepMom , His Mom , His StepDad , All His Sisters , His Brothers and yes Brothers plural because even though Eli’s only living blood Brother Jace may be pictured in the family picture it is clear that Drake is alive and well and resting in Christ because it is Drake who clearly helped bring his own family together again in unity through his own death and resurrection in Christ so that his Siblings could have the life he always wanted that he now gets to know they get a chance at living and the Devil does not want you to know that.

Eli’s 23rd Birthday 2019 Family Picture

#197 The Fiery Furnace

#197

One of the most powerful stories in the Bible I constantly go back to when the sins of this broken world seem to come at me and the people in it seem to cave to the tricks this world sets before them. Is the story of Shadrach,Meshach and Abednego. The 3 men who would not bow down to the Golden image. When I think of this world and the many golden images we sinful humans bow down to daily without even realizing it really scares me. Money, power , control , greed , fear and downright losing ones integrity just to name a few of the many reasons why this world will bow down to that golden image. When people start compromising their own integrity by making choices and rearranging words and dotting those I’s and crossing those T’s to benefit their own situation, wants or the needs of those who are either in control , fear they may lose control or will do just about anything a person says to the one they sold their own soul too who they think is in control . You just know your dealing with a broken world when God turns up the heat in your own furnace . That you start feeling like lies and deceit are not only typical from a broken world but so accepted by a broken world that it is almost protocol to follow suit and when you do not , your the odd man out. When those who are jeopardizing not only their own integrity but their eternal life and integrity look at you like your the crazy one for not bowing down to a image made of Gold . By bowing down to a broken world and all the lies and promises that comes with it verses a Savior who commands you not to believe and bow down.

I guess where I’m bothered the most by this world is that people really don’t think they’re lying when they’re bowing down at a image made of Gold . They’re just not being totally honest . I’m seeing it more everyday in almost every situation everytime I turn around. It’s everywhere . People lying about one another . Thinking so badly of one another that it not only effects how you look at someone but also how you treat someone. It’s not only a problem internally but a problem externally. Especially in the workplace . Where we all have a job to do and serve others the most. I just don’t see how a person can truly do their job to the best of their abilty and serve others in the way God has called you to unless your truly receiving everything God has for you. How do you truly give from the one if your truly not receiving from the one ? This is probably gonna hurt alot of people out there and I am really sorry about that in advance. But speaking for myself and my own experiences . I have been done dirty by more people who have sat in Church every Sunday . Especially when they have looked at me straight faced Monday through Saturday serving me in all kinds of professions. Medical , Legal and every other profession God has placed them in . And I am no exception. I too. Have sat in that pew on sunday thinking I was receiving only to turn around and tell myself ,” Now don’t I feel better that I did God a favor by serving him with my presence. Getting up and showing up and showing him how much I love him by waking up early and taling time out of my day and being there. When I could be sleeping in like a slug. ” true I am showing God how much I love him but he knows my heart. If I think Iam impressing him by being there becaise I’m there to serve him . I am definitely serving the golden image. Myself. I am Since I have found myself going in on sundays and just receiving God’s Word and doing nothing else . I find myself being used in different ways Monday through Saturday. One way you will not find me being used and that is to honor that golden image to the best of my abilty . I will not bow down and lie to the man . It has cost me alot in my life . You can ask those closest to me. They get to watch as I am definitely in the fiery furnace . I may be sweating at times , I am not on fire and I am definitely not alone. God has given me many soldiers that stand beside me in that furnace and he gave us a Savior who will walk us out if we do not bow down. So many people in this world will look at you straight face and lie to you. It may cost you the same things it has cost me . Maybe a higher price maybe a lesser one but I do find that being done dirty. Most times you will know whose calling the shots. It is not the slaves to this world that tie you up by taking the orders of the King Nebuchadnezzar’s and toss you into the flames . It is the Enemy . Satan. Sin and the Devil who are the Nebuchadnezzar’s in this World who refuse to repent and turn from their sin away from the golden image . Atleast King Nebuchadnezzar did after he seen the 3 men in the furnace with a 4th man ,untouched and unharmed. I feel really bad for medical physicians who are stuck between wanting to give their patients the care they know they need but forced to settle with giving them only what the insurance will pay for or allow. I feel bad for the Attorney whose only reading the Will or giving the advice and following exactly what the law says. Or the Employers who can not find a place for that injured employee . Where I stop losing compassion for this broken world and the people who are put in Godly higher positions to serve . Is when lower people look to the higher people in those positions and people in those positions use their power , greed and position not to serve as they are appointed by their employers but the gifts God instilled in them to serve those under them through their employers . By using the education they were Blessed with . The strings that were pulled or the means they used to get to where they are to serve and represent to the best of their abilty but instead are compromised by a sinful world and alot of those same people are sitting in Church each week believing they are serving to the best of their ability and are safe because life is going good for them . They’re at the table of the Lord each week . They got a great life. Great things . Blessed beyond Words. They are serving God and Point blank they really are. Because they are so busy serving God on Sundays . That sometimes it is so easy to forget they are there to be receiving , they are there not to be serving. We have a God who serves the weak each Sunday . It is him who is strong when we are the weak showing up each week. He gives us the strength Monday through Saturday to serve the weaker with the gifts he gives us each sunday through his Word and through his Spirit. That maybe just maybe if more people received both on Sunday , including myself , and actually rested in God the Father and let Jesus Christ rest in us, maybe just maybe this world would be better at serving the weaker people of the world Monday through Saturday the same way they serve the stronger people of the world. When the stronger people of this world wins and it seems to take your own integrity with it . You just know your serving an image made of gold . That your God is man and not the Father of man . Man made a God that will not last . It is not a living God . It is man made by our own greed and power . While the golden image of man in this world may turn up the heat and try to hurt you financially or even spiritually . Their God is not a real God and can not harm you unless you bow down to it and make it your own personal God.

#197

When this broken world turns up the heat on me . I think of my favorite story in the old Testament of the hottest furnace ever lit up. 7x hotter by a King so evil , so cruel , King Nebuchadnezzar. He had a position so high , so powerful . That he was so angry and furious that 3 men would not bow down to his image made of Gold. That he decided to have the 3 men tied up and thrown into a furnace. Have you ever felt like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in this world ? Just when things start going your way. You gain some favor and someone has a bone to pick that it seems like your set up for failure . Like the 3 men who found and were set up knowing that they would not bow down to a image made of Gold then what happens ? Everyone bows down leaving them 3 standing making a scene. When this world expects you to do something you know deep down is wrong and yet you know you must stand firm and do what is right ? Why is it always come down to you making a scene and standing out like a sore thumb ? Why can’t you just blend in when your standing up for what is right ? Why..? Because your standing when others are bowing down . That’s why. Yet to the world you look like the one whose making trouble ? The only way for you to not make trouble is to compromise your own integrity and do what you know is wrong to save face but in order to do that it is gonna cost you. It is gonna cost you your eternal life. Your gonna have to bow down to the golden image. That is why you want to enter into the narrow gate . Because the narrow gate does not lead to destruction like the wide and broad one does . And Many are those who enter by it .( We have all read those words before ) And do you know why ? Because when it gets too hot in the kitchen , the ones that are truly receiving the Word of God in their hearts and minds and honoring it by their actions are the ones who will not bow down to that golden image no matter how hot the furnace gets. Because if God delivered those 3 men out of the furnace through his Son Jesus Christ . And he delivered that same Son on Easter morning off the Cross we nailed him to . Why wouldn’t he deliver you from what your going through right now in your life ? When the Devil turns up the heat in your own fiery furnace through your own personal King Nebuchadnezzar . Stand firm and do not bow down to the sins of this World and the Images of this world. Money, greed ,power , control . There is only one living God . The Father Almighty. The one who sent his Son Jesus Christ to not only die for our sins but to walk us out of the fiery furnaces that this broken world and the people that are of this broken world like to tie us up and throw us in that fiery furnace. Sometimes turning up the heat 7x higher on purpose . Just to make our lives even more uncomfortable , more scary and more uncertain. But do not fear. God delivered his Son . His Son delivered those 3 Faithful men who did not bow down and the Same God, The Father , the Son and the Holy Spirit will deliver you and me out of our own personal furnace where no fire will harm our body, no hair on our head will be singed , no clothing of ours will be scorched and there will be no smell of fire on us . For just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. We worship the same living God . The same God as them. The same God who allows the enemy to turn up the heat on us because he knows who is receiving and who is not. Who will bow down and will not. So when life turns up the heat and you think your all alone and everyone in this life seems to have it made. Just remember they do not. They are in a fiery furnace of their own. If the kitchen is hot . Stay in there. God has something good cooking up for you but you got to have more Faith in him then fear of the flames that surround you. Those 3 men were never alone. They were walking around with Jesus in the furnace. Untouched and unharmed. These days this broken world can watch me in the furnace . Sure it gets hot and uncomfortable. Even those servants that were ordered to throw the 3 men in the furnace died from the flames being so fierce. The outcome from those who are taking those same orders to hurt you in this life and follow suit will have the same fait . Remember that. Stand firm and pray for them . What a terrible way to go to your own eternal death but by flames and all because you took orders to hurt someone else in this life and did not stand up for the weak because of fear . Stand firm and do not bow down . I would rather the heat be turned up on me and let the Lord carry me out of the flames unharmed . Knowing I have Faith that he will. Then get talked into turning up the heat on someone else never given a thought that one day I will be the one to be tossed into the fire for turning up the heat on one of his own and tieing them up and throwing them in the furnace because I feared man more then God . If God has your feet to the fire be grateful. He gave you a Savior to not only walk with you in the flames but walk with you out of them and the Devil does not want you to know that.

#196 Ain’t nothing gonna break our stride.

#196

This may be one of the shortest blogs/columns of mine you ever read so soak it up because I assure you it probably won’t happen again. However, I am only the writer . I am not the Creator . The producer , Nor the illustrator of anything I write. So it can all change as I type. Because Those fine and glorious postions belong to the Father , Son and Holy Spirit . My one and only God the Father who gets the credit of everything and anything you read of mine each week. All I am every week in this column is an undeserved actress who is not acting at all. I promise you , each week . I deliver it to you in the way it is delivered to me and if you have any problems with anything you read . You can take it up with the Creator, the producer and the illustrator because they personally hand pick each story and each creation themselves . Count yourself Blessed not cursed if you should read a story and know it may or may not be you . Only God knows but I assure you God sees and not every person can be named in the newspaper . I so do wish though every name could be named. And that is where Camille must drown out the old “Adam” in her and remind herself that this column is not to be used for her own personal use to call someone out , ruin their business, reputation or life because with a quick click of a button it can so easily be done and the moment I let my own personal emotions and vendettas intervene with what I know to be true to the Word of God. This writing I get to do is truly over for me. It is a very fine line I walk each week. However it is as wide as a mile if you know the Lord and follow his path and Word and just love him . It is actually pretty easy really. Where it gets difficult for me is when the enemy comes out of nowhere on a beautiful sunny day and rear ends you like a mad truck like he did yesterday to myself and a friend of mine. Do not ask me why we thought going to Sechler’s pickle factory in St. Joe , Indiana would be a cool little trip but we did. Actually, my friend was doing a real kind thing for a friend and their special birthday coming up and she can not drive and she asked me sometime if I could drive her one day.. There is nothing I would not do for my friend . There is nothing my friend would not do for me. So I figured . My next good day. Where I had no migraine and was feeling up to it and had nothing planned ,I would take her. Because no one knows this . But when I go to the store and my friend Sue is with me . It is Sue who lets me do all the zapping at the register while she does all the lifting and loading. The zapping at the self check out is the funniest part of checking yoursef out . Only a true friend would let you do all the zapping while they do all the lifting . Oh and by the way. Do not get behind us at the self check out line. Sue and I will drive you nuts. We are always setting the machine off and we always have to wait for assistance. It is never us though! I’m telling you it is those machines! They’re too sensitive and that is why I do the zapping now because quick draw Mcgraw Sue could not wait for the next item to be placed in the bagging area. It was always funny to watch Sue who has eye issues anyhow mess with those annoying plastic sacks that come 100 at a time and stick 10 at time when you just want one bag to put your one bag of ruffles in. That you can’t grab one that ten stick at a time ! One night Sue got so frustrated she blurted out ” Get behind me Satan!” I laughed so hard I couldn’t contain myself. Which was even funnier as Stiff Stella here(me) was trying to get her 12 pack of pop from underneath her cart zapped that I could not pull myself up from ground level zero without the help of my friend . That quick draw Mcgraw and Stiff Stella here decided to change places and now I do the zapping and dealing with the annoying bags because I can see them better and Sue deals with lifting ,loading and reaching the heavier things under the cart that I can not . It is friendship I tell ya that keeps you moving . Ain’t nothing gonna break our stride. We might slow you down if your behind us but it will not slow us down because Jesus is in front of us , beside us and all around us. And it is true. Satan is behind us. So if your in a hurry do not get behind us. And just like that. The guy on the job yesterday driving this big what appeared the front end of a semi but the back end of a delivery box truck was in a big hurry because going down I 469 taking exit 37 heading east to the pickle factory yielding at a red light.. Boom …right in the rear end. He got us. And that is why you do not get behind me and Sue when your in a hurry . Not because we are going slow but because I am not about to run a red light and pull out in front of a car and get hit on the driver side because a huge truck is on my can . Plus I have a family who will be waiting for me to come home tonight. “Satan get behind us !” Ya , well he did alright. And then he rear ended us and then his Supervisor showed up and took him in for a drug test. I felt really really bad for the guy driving that truck. Because he looked like a typical guy . And It was an accident . He did not do it on purpose . He did not wake up yesterday morning and think to himself. “Today’s the day I think I’ll rear end a Chevy Traverse and maybe lose my job.” Just like that , you go to work on a beautiful day and then Thema and Louise crosses your path when your trying to make a delivery your late for . They stop and you don’t. Praying he had no drugs in his system from maybe a seperate night of partying that had nothing to do with his job on this day that could actually cost him his job. Thinking about how many people take their jobs for granted until a accident happens and it comes back and bites them . It was out of our hands but clearly in the hands of the Lord . Sue and I still prayed for the driver. I’ll be the first to admit I think I was in shock of what happened and both me and Sue were just grateful to be alive . That I think we were deliriously in the Spirit. That I’m kind of surprised they didn’t give ol Thelma and Louise here a blood alcohol test on the way were were acting. Even though we were being ourselves. No acting at all . Our mouths going a mile a minute and both at the same time . Telling two different stories of the same event. Were we even in the same car I wonder? I bit my tongue and my neck and head hurt almost immediately but Sue felt perfectly fine. That I had to tell the officer that I’m already dealing when neck , back and spine issues. You should know that. I could have really done with out this and even though my friend over here is jumping for joy that we are both alive . I do not know how she’s gonna feel in the morning. I think we are both so grateful to be alive because that truck hit us very hard that it completely shattered my back window out . Knowing less then 48 hours ago I had a vehicle full children . 8 in fact. 5 of which were not mine. Watching the Allen County Sheriff departnent show up inspecting the damage . Seeing the lights flashing and still having the last words of the man that hit us still lingering in my head. When he first approached our vehicle right after he hit us still refusing to go away when he asked ” Was there a child in that carseat?” Being able to say ,” No , she is at school .” Thinking to myself . How many times I have took that exit and looked in my mirror and seen one of my little ones in that seat and had we been in a smaller car or had that truck been just a little bigger or been going just a little faster. We would have been surrounded with alot more flashing lights and trucks. That I am pretty sure me and my friend would not have been celebrating the way we were. And why is that ? Had there been a child in the carseat and God chose yesterday to take my child but not myself and spare my life and my friend’s . Why do I have a feeling Sue and I would have been spending the remainder of yesterday after the accident alot differently then we actually did . We would not have been celebrating in thanksgiving that we were still alive and that Satan got behind us! We were still getting our pickles ! True we spent 7 hours dealing with the other insurance company and debating what to do with the smell of gasoline coming from my vehicle . A broken back window and busted back end complete with a dangling rear view camera hanging from the hatch but it was drivable . The problem was , the lease vehicle that I drive that my family could never afford and that is why it is a lease vehicle and not mine is knowing GMAC would like their vehicle off the road and in the body shop beings Allen County is expecting rain. Looking at Sue as we got the green light from the Sheriff to drive away because legally you can drive without a backwindow and obviously we were in a accident so it is obvious why our back end is shoved into the midsection of my car but it is drivable and she could not tell us we could not drive away. So off we went . As I proceeded to tell Sue. “Nothing is stopping us from the pickle factory today ! Back off Satan ! Get behind us ! Aint no stoppin us now , we’re on the move !” Driving down that country road toward Grabill, In. Even I knew this was a bit crazy even for me. I told Sue . “Hey , lets roll up the windows and put the air on. I’m hot .” ( Here we are driving down the road with no back window, that makes alot of sense). Taking a sniff at that good ol country air and our new chance at life. I look at Sue and say ,” I smell gas , do you smell gas ? I smell gas. That can’t be good right?” Sue says to me ,” I think we should turn around and go back. The thought of being out here in Amish Country and the gas tank emptying out on us might not be such a good idea Sister. ” that I say , ” now doggone it. The enemy is winning ! I promised you Sechler’s salsa ! And I wanted a jar of Sechler mini gherkins! And now look ! He’s ruining our day just like he tried ruining my siblings night with my Brother’s the other night. Always using someone to stick a spoke in the wheel ! “So Sue says to me ever so politely in only the way Sue can , ” Would we like to meet Jesus today?” I’m telling you we both laughed so hard we were crying . Everyone needs to have a partner in crime like my friend Sue in this life. One who will feel totally responsible for why you got rear ended for doing her a solid because deep down you know darn well you would have never spent the day going to a pickle factory and been on that exit to begin with and got your butt rear ended if it were not for your friend . However you know better then to blame her because you know deep down your still here and can kiss the ground because you have a friend and Sister like Sue . Because it was your Sister’s prayers for safe travels that probably saved your butt in the first place . Had I not got rear ended on this exit with her . I might have got rear ended on a different exit by myself and my friend might have had another friend do a solid for her yesterday . She might have been thanking and praying for another friend who would have took her and I might have slipped through her fingers and God made sure yesterday I did my Sister a solid favor and served him by serving her and he kept us both safe by making sure my children and their friends were in school and that I was driving a bigger vehicle that only the back windshield took the blunt majority of the blow and my friend and I did not.

#199

While I say my vehicle took the blunt of the blow . I would be a real liar if I told you I woke up feeling real good this morning . I woke up feeling like my Brothers did last week . Roughstuff. The day after our 2nd annual Siblings night. An event my Brother Bobby started 2 years ago . Where each sibling of mine chooses a concert of their choice . A Restaurant of their choice . Where we have loads of laughs, loads of fun and wonder why we don’t do it more often . Wondering why we grew up in the first place . Wondering why we even wantee to grow up at all? Why didn’t we just stay living in the house on the corner of 12th and Miebers street anyhow? Life was so much easier then . No bills to pay. No mouths to feed and the only real problems I had was how I was gonna get 5 bucks out of my Dad for crusin money for friday night . (Ok 10 bucks out of my Dad because who am I kidding 5 bucks was for gas , 5 bucks was for feeding my gullet. ) and still finding a good excuse on why I did not make time to scrub the 2 inch coat of overspray in the upstairs bathroom that my rave #4 superhold left from my weeks worth of hairspray left on the mirror and floor . That my Dad told me to scrub off 3x that week. That I somehow managed to not ignore just managed to somehow not get too quite yet . Because I was busy! I was a teenager ! I had homework to put off and friends to talk too . A part time job to get too late and a boyfriend to hang out with. Ya , life was alot simplier back then growing up with my Brothers in that house on the corner. That I have no idea why I spent most of my life complaining that I could not wait to grow up and get away from them all! Because when I grow up and move out. Their all gonna be sorry because they all make me sick! Now that I am grown up . I find that I actually get sick the more I am away from my Brothers . If you find yourself feeling low or down in the dumps as an adult . You need to call your siblings and have a night together. Because that is exactly what your body needs. That is what the Doctor will not order but the only prescription that sometimes your ailing body and broken heart needs is the one thing your Doctor can not prescribe that you never knew God is the only one who knew you only needed to feel better . And boy did I need my 2nd annual siblings night last week. If anything to prove to myself that out of the 3 of us siblings. I am actually the calmest and sane one of the bunch. 1. ) My brother Mark chose Rick Springfield as his choice of concert . No complaints of course. It was a free concert. But I must admit I was a bit shocked to find out at dinner that both my Brothers knew more songs of Rick Springfield aka. Dr.Noah Drake . Rick Springfield’s Character’s name best known on the Soap Opera General Hospital. Need I say more? And 2) that I can behave at a concert and ignore a guy sitting behind us who clearly had other issues going on with my Brothers who were enjoying a concert like everyone around us even more then their Sister who grew up singing ‘Jesse’s girl ‘ with teen bop posters on her wall of Rick Springfield. My Brothers however , were not as good at ignoring a man who clearly had other issies going on sitting behind us . As they both got ejected for 2 Rick Springfield songs. Still laughing at the situation I must admit because how am I gonna tell this story to their great nieces and nephews on how their great Uncles got ejected from a Rick Springfield concert ? I must admit between you and me my Brothers were not doing anything out of the oridinary that no other concert goer around us was not doing . I truly believe the man behind us was doing what the guy in that big semi / delivery truck was doing to me and my friend yesterday . Following us a bit too closely. And he went up our rear on accident and just like me and Sue. My Brothers refused to move and his front end did not like it. Plus I figure. If you want a quiet night with Rick Springfield a d his sad accustics on vocals . Maybe stay home and light a candle and listen to it on sad F.M in the privacy of your home because if your gonna go and spend 40 bucks on a show in public surrounded by concert goers who love Rick Springfield . They’re gonna sing his music, shout his name and hoot and holler. That is not being disrespectful Jack . That is what fans do at concerts . So to the man who decided to pick out my Brothers and almost ruin our Siblings night . It did not work. I forgive you. I forgive you because I know deep down why you picked them two out and it had nothing to do with them being disrespectful to Rick Springfield’s music. There was not a person in our row doing anything different from them. The only difference I could see and I did not want to see it that night was the color of their skin. I have got to say it for what it is . I do not like to say it but that was the only difference. With all the hate going on in this world . The division going on in this world. Some minorities are facing things that other minorities are not. It is what it is. Right now because of the color their skin , this world is not only broken . It is angry. You would have to be a fool not to notice. I noticed and maybe because the color of my skin is the same as my Brothers . I am in fact very proud of my brown skin . God gave me this brown skin . Yes it is a color of skin. The color of brown but my skin is no color . It is just skin like everyone else’s. No other way around it. I bleed , you bleed . My Brother’s bleed and I bet so would the guy behind us in row CC had my Brother Mark knocked him out like the guy deserved had Bobby not stoodup and been able to do it first had they both not been escorted out as I know they both could have done it quite easily. I would have put money on it. But To argue with the man that he had no problem with my brothers and their skin and that it was just their behavor would have been a losing battle. Like arguing with someone about the color of one’s skin. Sometimes people just see color and not skin. I have no energy nor time to deal with neither ignorance nor fools. They get you nowhere but a busted rear end and I figure what I can not fix ,my insurance company will take care of as it is not my fault nor my problem that the guy is following me to closely because it is not gonna stop me from getting where I am going or break my stride or slow me down . You got to keep on moving. Why argue with fools when you have a great insurance agent and Savior in Christ. My Lord is better then Progressive, better then Flo . My Savior really does get you there and like a good Neighbor my Jesus is ALWAYS there. You wanna know what the Devil does not want you to know this week ? Is that the show went on without my Brothers . They only missed 2 songs. Not the whole show. I still remained in my seat . But the man behind me still stewed and was still angry and hateful . Why ? My Brothers were removed . Was it because I so calmly remained ? Taping the two songs my Brother’s were missing. One being my Brother Bobby’s favorite song he waited for all night . Or was it because The 3rd person in that row was Mexican /American still remained in her seat and maybe he thought I had no right to be there. I was not hooting and hollering. I was not disturbing his peace and ruining his quiet night at the Clyde. So why treat your wife so hateful after you got security to remove the men who were bothering you all night? Which were my Brothers. Was it because you could not remove me? 1) my Brother Mark just bpught me that margarita and I let no drink left behind and 2) I came to a show and I was not leaving the show because of some jerk behind me I was actually praying for just like the guy in that truck. His problem not mine. Besides my Brother’s had eachother. I knew they would find someway to have a great night. I never expected them to return so soon. Either did the man behind us. Because he removed himself and his wife from the concert. Or was God just taking the trash out for us ? Sometimes the problem is not what’s going on around you . Sometimes the problem is what is going on inside you . It’s easy in this life to get discouraged by what we are going through . Where we need to get , what is happening to us . That we think it is our right to run over other people and everyone and anyone in our way . Yet in the midst of it all God still finds a way to remind us that we ALL have a ticket to ride here in this life and if you follow too close you will be the one who smashes into someone and while you may jar the people in front of you . Yes it may cause them to feel it the next day . Your gonna feel the bigger blunt when it causes you your job ,you your night and maybe you, your eternal life for not slowing down and thinking of others and that maybe just maybe God loves them too and they too deserve to be not only be in this world but be in this Country because maybe just maybe your judging someone without thinking that maybe they are here legally and even if their not who are you to decide their fate? One must remember that this Country was not an all white society when white society decided to have a better life for themselves and remember that white is just a color in a box of crayons , not skin. Light skin , dark skin . It is all skin . There was darker skin tones in this country when lighter skin tones came to this Country for a better life for themselves . They should know the feeling and not be shocked when they see a mixture of all skin in a crowd at a concert and just enjoy the music and get to where their going. Not following so close to the guy in front of them. We had a great 2nd siblings night. My Brothers and I. I had a great yesterday. Sore as heck today. Amazingly I had a Doctor’s appointment today. Sue got her salsa and I got my mini gherkins. Ain’t nothing gonna stop any of my Siblings from us getting where we need to go in this life or Our Eternal one and no one is gonna break OUR stride by the GRACE OF GOD ain’t no one gonna slow us down… oh no..we got to keep on moving ūüé∂ and the Devil Does not want you to know that.

# 195 You are free.

#195

You ever get so use to seeing something or saying something that it almost becomes part of the landscape that you tend to take it for granted . Like the words ” God Bless You” when you sneeze out in public or when you go into a store and you go to the jewlery counter and you see all these beautiful crosses dangling there on chains yet you don’t see Jesus hanging on there anymore yet you know he went to the Cross and died for your Sins and because of that you know that your sins are forgiven and your reminded that you deserve that “God Bless you” when really you have not done a thing to earn it and could never do a thing to earn it. Because there is nothing you could ever do in this life that will ever be good enough to please God but to receive the love and forgiveness he has given you at the Cross through his Son Jesus Christ . Can you imagine being a parent and knowing your child is gonna die if they do not take their medicine and yet you can not get your child to willingly open up their own mouth to just swollow something that actually tastes like candy and no matter how much you beg and plead with them they refuse to do it . Could you imagine how heartbroken that would be for you as a parent to watch but to witness your child slowly dying knowing there fait is an eternal death and all because they refuse to taste and see that the Lord is indeed very good. The medicine you want them to atleast try is not only gonna save their life but is actually very good for them. Jesus is not just good. He is eternally good , eternally wonderful but he is eternally yours. Because he is no longer hanging on the Cross. He actually got off the Cross because he went to the Cross willingly. . For you , for me and for everyone . Past, present and future people of this world and he did not have too because he was a sinless man but he did it because he loved us before we ever knew him because he first knew us before we could ever love him. Because he loved us first . Like a parent with their child . A Parent loves that baby way before they even get here and the baby has no idea. 9 months before in fact. Most nurseries are done and the car seats have to be bought now before the baby even gets here. The names are picked out and we already know what our baby is gonna look like through 3D technology . God was way ahead of his time is all I can say becaise he had this all down before man ever did. So why do we keep Jesus on the Cross and keep crucifying him over and over when God clearly raised his own Son from the dead and got him off the Cross ? That is the first question I ask myself when the enemy starts in with a past sin of mine . That I know I have been forgiven from and moved on from . That he will do his best to do everything he can to try to chain you too like a Cross to a chain but to remind you of the very Sin you committed in your past while forgetting to remind you of the one and only sinless Man , God sent to this World through his Son , Jesus Christ , King of Kings , Lord of Lord. Who died on the Cross . Rose again from the dead . And complained how many times ? not one and why ? Because he wanted to save you and save me and give us all eternal life . Not just some ,but ALL. So why listen to the Devil tell you about a Sin you are no longer guilty of and have walked away from ? It does not matter what this world thinks of you and your past. But Remember this . It does matter what you think of you and your past. When each person gets judged on judgment day. They will only be asked about THEIR sins. Not about YOURS . Only worry about the sins you are not free from. No one elses . Repent of them and by that I mean , turn from them . Repent of your sins and turn away from them and be done with it. Others will see that and I pray will do the same. The worse thing a person can do is stand there with a crucifix in one hand and condemn a person for the bad things they have done in this life not realizing what they are doing to another but playing God. We have a God and even he does not have Jesus on the Cross any longer . He now sits at the right hand of the Father . He will do the judging one day but not from the Cross but from the throne. So be sorry for your own sins and only you know what they are while you can in this life and move on. Because if your being sorry over and over . One has to ask. Are you crucifying Jesus over and over and over again ? And are you really sorry ?or is it just landscape ? Wasn’t one time enough ? One sorry is enough. One crucifixion was enough. One forgiveness is enough. One repentance is enough. Jesus Christ is enough and that is what I say to the Devil when he tries to keep me locked in my past with sins I committed in my past especially on my good days when he is trying to steal my joy in this world through the people he knows he can use to do it. I remind him that they’re the ones hanging on the chains . Not this girl . My Savior got off the Cross . But thanks for the reminder that my Savior went to the Cross for me and took that same sin your reminding me of with him . Now is a good time to thank him for that . Peace out enemy.

#195

The truth really does set you free. Especially when you quit lying to yourself. Because I’m gonna tell you. If you can lie to yourself. You will have no problem lying to everyone else around you. The only problem is , the same goes with lies , you might be the only one that buys them. When you stop lying to yourself. You really do have a hard time lying to other people and what a great feeling that is . Because you do not have to remember what you told this person or what story you told that person. That can be awful exhausting. When you tell the truth , sure you may sound like a broken record but atleast your story stays the same and it is kind of interesting to watch everyone else and how their story changes and how they start slithering around and sqwirming in their seats . I can spot a liar a mile a way. When you have been a liar most of your life you learn the fine art of it. I can honestly say having Christ in my life now I have no reason to lie and often wonder why I even lied so much in my past . What was I so afraid of that I could not tell the truth ? Except for the fact I was always afraid of the consequences of what the truth would bring. When in fact , my lies brought far worse consequences for me in the end . That is why the Devil always has us running in fear and has us cooking up the next best little white lie. Because if he can get us to lie about something really small , he is sure to get us to lie about something really big and that is really what he is after anyhow but to show God what your really made of and that your not truly made out of his image at all and that Jesus really is not the antidote of your sin because if he was you would be repenting the moment you cooked up that lie and asking for forgiveness and would be asking for help to do better in that area. God will not let you down. It is like a child opening their mouth for their parents when their parents say “please take your medicine , we want you to live longer. Pleeease. ” When you repent and want help from your Sin . You say your sorry. You ask for help . Your literally opening up your heart to the Lord and willingly asking for forgiveness and receiving it like a child receives his medicine when he is sick and wants to get better. It is yours . The medicine is available . It has been for 2000 years now. Never ever let the Devil tell you it is not. Let no man keep you down with your past mistakes. The mistakes you made 20 years ago. 20 months ago. 20 days ago. 20 hours ago. They’re your mistakes. Your sins. Not theirs. You repent. You make it right. You open your heart. You receive your forgiveness and you move on with Jesus Christ and if this world wants to throw stones at you and keep you on the Cross and crucify you over and over the remainder of your days . You just remember this. Your Savior is not on the Cross anymore and neither are you. He went to the Cross for you so that you could have eternal life , so that you would have an antidote for the Sin that this broken world will bring. There is always gonna be diseases , there will always be medicine . Medicine does no good unless you open your mouth and take it. You will always have a Savior . There will always be Sin. It does no good to keep crucifying Christ over and over again until you receive the forgivness that is yours . That is what your doing. Stop letting others crucify you as well. A wise friend told me this week that you may not be able to control how people see you , judge you, and talk about you behind your back but you sure can control what you answer too . You are free from sin through the blood and body of Jesus Christ , your Lord and Savior so live like it and the Devil Does not want you to know that.

#194 The original Santa Claus

# 194

1:15 a.m the morning of the first day of school for my children and what am I doing ? Leaving wal-mart after going in to buy a flash drive for my 14 year old and a set of ear buds that any other day I’d come across an extra pair around my house but for some reason can not seem to find a pair that atleast had one good ear piece replacement attached to it . I am also in need of that extra container of disinfecting wipes for my kindergartener, 2 containers ! When did we start that stuff because like the Mom I am . I figured each of my girl’s would need a box of disinfecting wipes a month ago because each kid is germy and each teacher needs help with that so a month ago I bought one of those big 3 pack jobs and then while crossing off the school list as the girls were tucked in their beds asleep ready for the first day to begin. One kid needed 2 ! That was not in the plans for me today but that was ok because after the day I had . 3 trigger point injections of lidocaine and vitamin B 12 in my neck and watching what I call, Our family hero bare his Cross his whole life the way Our Savior bared his Cross on Calvary being able to finally mimic those same words that Christ said for us 2000 years ago . “It is finished ” . What a beautiful ending to a busy day to a beautiful life to a new beginning to an eternal life for my family hero George Leroy Laturner. The man I believed to be Santa Claus . Who I still to this day believe is.

#194

I was about 7 years old when I realized that Santa Claus had helpers and that Santa Claus was more Spirit then truth . My family had always had a Santa Claus on Christmas Eve on my Mom’s (Mendez) side of the family as my Grandpa always gave out his “goody bags ” that he always made up for each one of his Grandchildren and Children . Atleast until his family got so big that now only the women get goody bags and the children and grandchildren that are in college . If my Grandpa had his way he would make a goody bag for every child in Decatur if he could. All I know is no child goes without one in our family and no child ever will . You don’t even have to be a Grandchild of my Grandpa’s to get one , just a child. My Grandpa always shared a story on why he did that. A pretty heartbreaking one actually . One that only he can share . One about a child who never felt like he was loved by a Grandfather as he was never treated the same as the other Grandchildren and it hurt him deeply as he always knew it was because of the blood running through his veins that he made a vow to himself that no child in his presence would ever feel left out or forgotten because of their name or blood when gifts or goody bags were given out to the rest of the children. Even if but a candy cane because even something as simple as a candy cane and withholding that from a child and sharing one with each of your own can break a child’s heart in two because he knew the feeling. That he would never be responsible for doing that to a child. I can honestly say my Grandpa will never be responsible for breaking a child’s heart but uplfting many children’s spirits, most definetly and he was never alone. The Christmas I realized Santa was more Spirit then myth I realized my Grandpa had help each year from his nephew , my Grandma’s Sister Luella’s Son George. Our very own Santa Claus. That was the year we were celebrating Christmas at my Uncle Tony’s basement in a home he had just built that he was still finishing where the basement was still unfinished and the year he lost his job if memory serves correctly . It was also the year we could not find My Uncle Tony and the year My Grandpa would not start Christmas without him. Which ment those goody bags were not being given out this year until someone found my Uncle Tony ! I don’t remember a whole lot but I do remember how worried my Grandma was because she was surrounded by her daughters sitting close by her and my Grandma was rocking a grandchild and humming to herself . I also remember her saying “oh , I hope they find my Tony , I’m so worried ” Some things you never forget . I will never forget the look in her eyes as long as I live. It was the same look my Grandma would have when waiting by the phone for news of a loved one in the hospital or funeral arrangements being made for a sibling. It was a very sad and troubled look. One you try many times to be silly to take your Grandma’s attention away. I often wonder what things we all were doing in that basement that were driving them adults nuts to kill time because we were going stir crazy. We had no cell phones , internet , xbox or utube. I remember running around and screaming and my cousin Aprils cheeks being very very red and my Cousin Ponch’s hair always being wet . Not a good sign for any adult trapped in a basement with kids waiting for Santa . I remember someone saying to my Grandpa that maybe we should go ahead and start Christmas that it was getting late and the kids were getting tired. I remember the tone in my Grandpa’s voice . Which I’ve only heard a couple times in my life and he raised it once with my Grandma when he got snappy with her and did she get snappy back because it was a tone that my Grandpa had where she did not like it one bit. It was scary tone. I can still hear it to this day when he said “We are not starting Christmas until they find my SON! ” a few minutes later we heard the sound of what appeared to be jingle bells and us kids went nuts ..when we heard the voice of Santa going ” HO HO HO Merry Christmas! ” and there he was ! Santa Claus ! And there he was , my Uncle Tony ! Santa found my Uncle Tony !! My Grandma was so happy . I remember her telling my Uncle she was so worried and he said ” Oh Mom , I’m fine.” In fact he was more then fine , he was full of spirits! When my Grandpa seen him . I remember the look of relief he had on his face. I’ll never forget that look . I remember it like yesterday. I still remember what my Grandpa was wearing if that don’t tell you how clear my memory was on that moment when he said to my Uncle ” Don’t do that again Son , you worried your Mother and me. ” When my Uncle replied ” ahh, I’m alright Dad. ” It was definitely a Christmas to remember especially when my Uncle decided that it was his turn to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas and we all witnessed him as he broke down . I’m gonna tell you watching someone break down sucks. At a funeral or on Christmas day . It just sucks. That’s when the chipmunk song came on and it was time for us to say goodbye to Santa . Watching my other 2 Uncles carrying their brother up the stairs as he sobbed because he felt so bad that he lost his job and had no money for presents . That I must admit I was only being snoopy because I wanted to see where they were taking my Uncle when I realized they were just putting him to bed . As I peeked from the basement stair rail I heard voices coming from the kitchen when it appeared it was Santa at the kitchen table ! When my 2 Uncles came from the back bedroom I heard Santa ask if he was ok and I heard my Uncle Joey say ” ya , he’s gonna be fine , just being stupid , here Santa have a beer .” Hearing Santa tell my Uncles that ,” It’s not about the money or presents, he knows that .” Was brillant but when Santa pulled that beard down and twisted open that bottle of beer and wiped the sweat off his brow and I seen it was George Leroy it was classic ! My mouth never dropped so hard in my life !! That I shot right down to gather some witnesses my cousins Barbie and Ponch . Not only could they not believe that George Leroy was Santa but that Santa drank beer ! It was truly the hardest Christmas for my Uncle but the best Christmas for me and I want to thank My Uncle Tony for going through that . I know it was not an easy time for him and his family as every family goes through tough times but the people you Bless in those times as they help you along the way are classic and those moments are priceless and can truly never be bought or wrapped up but can always be regifted and shared and retold over and over again because there just too true and too funny not to be enjoyed like a precious goody bag for all. I love that I got to see my Cousin George yesterday finish what Christ started in him . It was a Spirit of a real life Santa Claus . One who bowed down to serve his brothers , his family , his neighbors , his friends , a stranger and yes many many children along the way and above all a man who served his Savior and His Creator by listening and doing as told and serving the living Spirit that lived in and dwelled inside him his whole life. You didn’t need to be a child to have eyes to see the magic of Santa that lived in my Cousin George Leroy because he truly was the original Santa Claus in our family and made a great path for so many other great Santa Claus’s who would follow in his footsteps and that’s why I know he rests in the arms of his Savior because his whole life he has always bowed down and listened too his Savior and served his master in the way he wanted not the way George wanted but something tells me George would have done it all the same had he had a choice because in this life he did and the Devil does not want you to know that.

#193 You are more valuable than you know.

Well, as July comes to a close and August rolls in . You know what that means to most parents ? Back to school time . As many parents like myself find themselves doing whatever it takes to cross off that school list and by that I mean . Working that overtime , taking that credit card advance , refinancing that loan. Swallowing your pride and getting assistance. Maybe accepting help from a family member or two. If your lucky your getting help from a living family member. Not every one is so Blessed in that way. Just the other day I was at the Fred Toegnes back ,to99 school buy one pair of kid’s shoes get the next pair for 1.00 sale and you would not believe all the Grandparents I seen. For the first time in my life I did not feel so bad for all the times I mooched a meal at my folks house and the help both my parents have been to me in all the times I have been down and out and they came to help me knowing I did not have the means to help myself and I’m talking just this week . And it’s only thursday ! I kid you not . I could see the look on every Grandparents face as they either wrote out the check or pulled out their credit/debit card to pay the bill. As their Grandkids – jumped around horse playing like all kids do. Oblivious to what’s going on and that their own parents are in the corner about to get sick because they feel so bad that their own parents are buying their kids school shoes this year. I’ve seen that look before . It’s that look of overwhelming appreciation yet the look of ” I hate school shopping” because if it was not for back to school shopping I could be asking my folks for help with something I really need help with . Like the dish payment this month . Not another pair of shoes that are gonna stay at the school that we are not gonna see till May and then when we do there gonna be so new looking and nice we still won’t let our children wear them because believe it or not . Their gonna be wearing those shoes for the first day of school next year because they’re gonna need two pairs of shoes to go to school. One for gym class and one to actually wear to school. Ay Caramba! So yes. I have had that look on my face many times. So it was nice to see the look on so many other faces out there a couple weeks ago in a line that stretched all the way back to Terre Haute. Totally worth the last of my spinal cord medication . Because a shoe that I know is gonna hold up for a whole year and another one for the price of a dollar is totally worth 2 little girls asking “are we almost there yet ?” For 2 1/2 hours and seeing the many Grandma and Grandpas coming out the doors , with multiple shoes, multiple grandkids, multiple smiles along with their children looking as broke as me looking for a bargain just trying to put their children in nice shoes and send them to school was worth the pain , the agony and assurance of knowing I’m definitely not alone in this game of life and this game the Devil is playing with us all in making us feel like we are alone is a lie because if we were . Would the line have been so long for the buy one shoe get one for a dollar ? And why would Fred Toegnes be so generous as to extend their sale a whole week ? Probably because they knew one day each year would not cut it for a so many families sending their kids back to school this year.

#193

I will never stop being amazed at the way God uses his own to provide in ways I never thought possible. In ways of providing by Blessing others to Bless others. Then in return if he Blesses me I can turn around and Bless another. I look at this blog/column as a Blessing. It is free. It is a Blessing to me to share it. If it Blesses you . It comes back and Blesses me triple fold but not without a price I admit. Like all good parties there is always that plaguing hangover and for me it will always be that plaguing enemy at myside. My own sin . My own death trying to suffocate me daily . Trying to remind me that I’m not who I say I am . Trying to talk me out of the life I know that is mine. Trying to push me off my path and while trying to steer me off my course . In this life the Devil does not have to try very hard . Most times we actually help him when we fight ourselves when he watches us worry over back to school shopping. All these reunions coming up . The birthdays . The weddings. The vacations we must payback. All the extras we were not planning for along with the regular expenses that seem to overwhelm us and take us under . Not too mention our own personal wants and items we long for that maybe we see our neighbors driving, wearing or traveling too that sometimes can be oh too easy to fall off the path of righteousness and right into the traps and grips of the Devil if we are not careful and keep reminding ourselves that we are much more valuable to God then a flock of sparrows and look at us the way he looks at us and values ourselves the way he values us. If you don’t believe me . Walk through rural king sometime. Those birds are eating good ! They got suet . All kinds of variety too! God will not just take care of us. He tends to give us more then we need . He gives us what we need with flavor! This year of all my years has really been one of my lowest (financially speaking) but God has never came through more and I am not talking with free handouts or anything like that because it does not work like that. We have a God who provides . Not a God who enables. There is a difference . Learn it. I came home yesterday to a kitchen full of groceries. I never seen anything like it . The day before I had took my friend Sue to an appointment which was in another town. Because she has visual issues driving. For her driving is not an option and getting a driver is a bit of a challenge on some days . When she asked me weeks ago . I put it on my calendar roght away and thought nothing of it. I worked around it. God must have known it was gonna be a tight week for my family as it is school sign up week this week and any extra grocery money will be going to that . Sure enough I came home last night to a fridge full of things and a freezer full of things I would have never bought for my family but sure have wanted too this last year . Items in bulk. Items I have not bought like that in a year. I was so happy I cried when I realized we really are loved more then the sparrows . I could not figure out how my friend Sue got out here when I know she can not drive . When my husband told me my Friend from church Annette drove her my heart was doubly Blessed. When God calls his own to do something for you like that , you know that you are not just being heard . You are being loved . I can go on and on . In the many ways the Devil taunts me in this life because of the many things I do that taunts him . For starters . This column . Truth is. He is always gonna taunt us . Column, blog or not. He is never gonna stop attacking. Bothering me, bothering you Upsetting me or upsetting you. Trying to get under my skin, your skin or your neighbors . Freaking me out, you out or your neighbors. Trying to get the last word. Getting me to cry, you to cry or your neighbor. Stirring the pot, your pot , his pot , her pot , their pot. Worrying me till I barf . Stressing me out till I break out in hives but the truth of the matter is he can never stop the people in my life or the people in your life or the people in your neighbor’s life from hearing the Word of God and answering him and coming to meet my need, your need and your neighbor’s need. By doing the most simpliest thing he can . By Blessing you by being a Blessing. It could be that Aunt that calls you out of the blue to invite you to a concert. It could be that Son that loans you that money or maybe it is your Daughter who picks up her little Sisters to spend the day with them . However and whoever the Lord chooses to call to serve him and in the process they are Blessing you . Use that Blessing to one day Bless another and hear God’s call when he calls upon you to help another in need because the day will come when you will be the one who will be asked to help serve another and that is the Blessing right there that will come back to Bless you when you need it most. How great it is to be a part of reminding another that they are worth more to God then a flock of sparrows?

Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it . So don’t be afraid , You are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows- Matthew 10:29,31

You never know , you might be saving someone’s life just by being a Blessing to them because you are always more valuable then you know and the Devil Does not want you to know that.