Category Archives: Christianity

Y = You and You are NOT the Christ ~ Letters from the Heart #atozchallenge


Dear Impersonator:

Y is for you, and you are not the Christ. Oh, but to have just one day to be the Christ! Can you imagine all the wrongs you’d right? Of course you wouldn’t do it the way Christ did. Dying on a cross for sinners? Heck no! You’d just snuff ‘em out with an enchanted twitch of your nose or a few hocus pocus words with a swirly twirl of your magic-wand-pen.  No second chances, sinners, you’re gone! Ha ha …now wouldn’t that be fun?

Sometimes you try to play God, point your finger to the ones who are doing wrong.  You try to put things in motion  to turn out a certain way. Sometimes you do things to make other things happen to get you the desired result. How do those times turn out for you? Never very good right?

Remember cutting the Cedar tree limbs because the road was blocked? The neighbors told you they took care of the road. (Course they lied, but you still had to exert your rights). Cops came told you NOT to touch the trees, even though they were on the right of way. “The Jones (not their real name) have a lot of entitlement in these parts.” Shit you not, the officer said so himself.

God took care of it all in the end, but if you had just left it alone instead of exerting YOUR rights, you wouldn’t have so many run-ins with the neighbors.  You also would not have the sheriff’s department giving you a “friendly reminder” every time you decide to start a new project! That name has clout in the these parts…don’t you forget it. You’re a Yankee and the South is gonna do it again (that’s a whole other topic, don’t get started!)

Do you wonder if other people think about having that kind of power? Wonder what it would be like to be the Christ for one day? Isn’t that why writers write? To live in a little bit of fabricated world to set aside the real world humdrums even for a short period of time. That’s why you write when you are writing to entertain yourself.

Even in a good short story with that kind of power you couldn’t handle it. You probably wouldn’t be able to handle three wishes. You’d screw up the first two, then have to use the last one to wish that you never had them in the first place. It’s better to live by these instructions.

1. It is all in God’s hands, you are not the Christ.
2. Any questions, refer to #1.

Thanks for playing along. This was just a silly-willy kind of letter. You were convicted a lot in that last Bible study. It’s good to be humble.  He’s got it all planned and mapped out for you if you just follow His prompting. Don’t try to do it on your own. You’ll mess it up and then you know what happens? 


Your constant and faithful,


I don’t know about you guys but I am ready for a break. Omigosh so many things that I’ve not done around the house. Tomato plants are dying to be transplanted (literally). I sure hope we can all stay in touch if not daily, weekly maybe or monthly. It’s really been nice to have you loyal bloggies come around for a visit.

Understanding Truths ~ Letters from the Heart #atozchallenge


Dear Barbie

Understanding Truths, what does that even mean? Remember the truth or dare game you used to play as a kid? It was always intimidating after the question was asked knowing you had to be truthful or take the dare. Who knows what that dare could be? Kids had a funny way of making each other participate in silly and stupid things. And to be honest, how did they know if you were telling the truth or not.  Ever since the ballerina incident your conscience always got to you.  

Tall Cool ☺ne always says, “Say what you mean and mean what you say”. He is very literal. It’s hard for you because you write.  You write for effect and sometimes things need embellishment. You should work on articulating without trimming when communicating … you are not writing a story.

Point to mention, this new venture at work entails a full background check ~life time. Crazy, huh?  You are pretty good at knowing what is in your past since you’ve journaled about every little detail. While trying to get the documentation for one such incident from the court, the person on the other end tried to tell you it wouldn’t show up when they did the background check. Hello? Person on the other end of the phone, you’re seeing it, what makes you think “they” are not going to see it?

Why do people have an issue with truth? Do they think that if they don’t talk about it makes it not true? Do they think if they speak what they think is true that’s what it will be?  This is where Understanding Truths came to land on the list.



Just a quick look in your bible’s index and there are over 58 references to the word “truth”. Probably the most important one is John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” If you ask Him, He will give you all the truth you need. You don’t need to understand anyone else’s truths.

Learn about some truths here … today (4/24/21) only

 

That’s all for today. (Oh and you have a secret… )

Your constant and faithful,

 

Salting the Wounds ~Letters from the Heart #atozchallenge

Dear Salty Dawg:

Salting the wound is making an already unpleasant situation worse. As much as you want to share your little orange notebook entry for today’s letter, you know it’s not the right thing to do. Sometimes you just gotta know when to let people go. Sometimes you can’t fix the wrongs they feel in their life. Sometimes it’s not you. Sometimes you have to accept that you have done all you can. Sometimes they won’t let bygones be bygones.  Sometimes you need to let them go, scissor ✂them out of your life. Stop trying to fix them.

You probably should have picked Starbucks or Sunshine or summer or Sometimes… here’s a song by one of your favorites.  Perfect for this post…..


See ya,

                   

 

 

Quiet Time ~Letters from the Heart #atozchallenge

Dear Barbie:

As you mentioned yesterday people are part of your life. While thinking about what to write in regards to quiet time, two very special people came to mind.  Your sister and your friend Rach.  A lot could be said about the quietness between you and your sister, but instead, we are going to dedicate this one to Rachel.  She knows a whole lot about quiet times.

Read about Rachel’s Quiet Time here.

What are your thoughts?  Do you know someone like Rachel?

If you have any Questions ❓ for Rachel feel free to send her an email.

Until next time,

your constant and faithful,

I don’t know about you but this has been so much fun writing and getting to talk to you guys everyday.  I really hope we will stay in touch.  If not every day maybe once a week, or a month?  I need the encouragement so I’ll help you if you help  me.  ☺

Controlling Situations ~ Letters from the Heart

Dear Barbie,

I know this is going to be hard for you, but one day when you look back on this letter you will appreciate the humor. You make yourself lists and then you make more lists to remember to look at the list you made. You have piles of paper and books (Tall Cool ☺ne hates your piles of clutter) everywhere to remind you what’s next. It’s just clutter.

You’re enjoying that nice cup of blueberry coffee right now, the cats are under your feet, and as you look out into the kitchen from your office what are you seeing? You’re seeing the cupboard doors open? Why can’t you get that habit under control and close them? Tall Cool ☺ne comes behind and closes your doors you’ve left open.

You think you have to call your mother every day. How about this? If you don’t call her and she wants to talk to you, she’ll call you. Revelation: she might not want to talk to you every day. 

You make itineraries of your days off of what you and Tall Cool ☺ne are going to do.  Then you get mad when things don’t go as you have them planned. You want to control everything ~Genesis 3:16.  No matter how much you think you have it figured out, guess what! You control nothing. Listen, doll, Christ first, then your husband, then you. “… run in such a way that you may obtain it. And in everyone who competes … is temperate in all things…” ~1 Corinthians 9:24-25. Be temperate, be accommodating and let go of things you have no control over.

A little spontaneity never hurt anyone.




Until next time,

your constant and faithful,

 

What is A2ZBlogging? Using this premise, you would start beginning April First with a topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until you finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.  It doesn’t even have to be a word–it can be a proper noun, the letter used as a symbol, or the letter itself.  The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.

Aging Gracefully- Letters from the Heart


Dear Barbie,

If you get the opportunity, the day you look back on the series of letters you’ve written to yourself, your head of hair will be all gray. Every morning you seem to find a few more strands. Those little gray hairs are unruly aren’t they? Kind of like you when you were growing up.

Some people choose to cover up those gray strands. You have never colored your hair, except for that one time when you were thirty something and you wanted a gray streak down the side because you thought it would look cool. It may have for the short time it stayed gray, but the true colors bled through and that $30 streak washed down the drain in less than a week. Remember that you cannot hide your true colors from God. He knows your heart and He sees everything.

As the years go by, you find yourself wanting to look and feel like you did at 20-something. Get over it, cupcake. You are not a super model and your days of having Bo Derek’s figure are over. Those hips and thighs are here to stay.  As long as you are healthy, so what if you can’t get into those size 10 Levis you’ve been holding on to for the last 20 years. That’s why they have lycra and spandex now. Take those things to the Goodwill…say goodbye to size 10 once and for all.

Aging gracefully is more about being healthy and happy.  There is no covering up the grays and wrinkles. Wrinkles will only go where the smiles have been. ☺ Those gray hairs and crows feet are rebellious little creatures that remind you of your disobedience to God. Wear them proud as a banner to the wisdom you have learned over the years. And with each new strand you find, tuck that bit of information you have learned from the experience under your cap. Keep learning and try not to make the same mistake twice.

Aging is a privilege. Some people are denied the opportunity.  Do not ever take it for granted. This is your legacy. One day you will be gone, but your words will live on forever. Make them count.

Until next time,

your constant and faithful,



[Side-note: this is the short version. You promised your readers you would keep these posts short and sweet. The full version can be found in that cool orange journal you bought for yourself just for this project]

Lost a Friend

As the Blogging A-Z Challenge draws closer, it brings on a bitter sweet kind of feeling. I love the challenge and the opportunity to get back to writing. But this year, I am going to miss the comments from an old friend. Berta always had something nice to say. She even commented in a constructive critical way on the posts that she didn’t agree with. She was always there to offer words of encouragement, letting me know how much she liked my writing and how I had to keep at it. I’m keeping at it, Berta.

Whenever we spent the night when she was babysitting, Berta used to say “Bye” instead of “Good night”. She’d say if we didn’t wake up, she wanted to make sure she said “good-bye”. Last week she went to sleep and didn’t wake up. She was a trooper for sure but that seventh round with cancer finally wore her out and she was tired. God brought her home.

I think about those old adages: You never know how much you miss something until it’s gone. Appreciate it now because tomorrow is not promised. You never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory. We take so much for granted. Not just material things, like the GREAT TOILET PAPER SHORTAGE of 2020, but relationships, people … too many times we take people for granted. Relationships are a precious thing.

I have made so many mistakes in relationships. Let me tell ya, reconciling broken relationships is not as easy as saying what you think or feel at the moment. Kind of like losing weight is not as easy as eating a whole bag of jelly beans in one sitting. I’ve had some come to Jesus moments with taming my tongue, and I’m still restraining, I can assure you. But when someone you’re close to dies, you kind of think about the other people or relationships in your life that you’ve messed up, and haven’t take the time to fix. Or at least I do.

I wish I could right all the wrongs. I wish I had inserted my foot before the times that I opened my mouth. I wish I didn’t hurt people with tactless things I said or wrote. I can’t change the past. What is done is done. I can only press onward and forward. I hope one day to look back on all these posts and see how much I have changed from being the cynical controversial writer, to a more respectful humble journalist. This is my legacy. When I die, I want my writing to live on, and I can only hope it will be kind and noteworthy.

In closing, God has made each one of us. We all have a special gift to bring glory to the Kingdom. We should use those talents accordingly. We should never take for granted the blessings God has graced us with (people, relationships, l♥ve).

Thank you Berta, for always being that kind and encouraging person who pushed me onward with writing.  Thank you that no matter how hard and lonely it was while I was writing, I could always count on a comment from you when you were able. Thank you for always taking the time to read my posts. I am sorry that I never told you how much that meant to me.  I will never forget you.

Until next time,

~Barbie

 

Be Kind Always


February 17, 2021

Dear Self:

I would like to remind you to always be kind. Don’t make fun of people’s ignorance. Do you remember that time when you went to the Catholic Diocese for a meeting a long time ago? The receptionist had an awful looking bruise on her forehead. Your co-worker said she felt so bad for the woman because it appeared to be skin cancer. You believed her. Until just this moment you never realized that your co-worker was making fun of your ignorance. You shared in the laugh about it for a long time after it happened but now you realize how dumb you were because it was Ash Wednesday. Do you forgive her? 

Self, I want to remind you that just because everyone doesn’t subscribe to the same practices as you do, it doesn’t make them any less significant to the person who is participating in it (even if it is wrong—don’t judge). I want you to find the good in every person you meet or come in contact with. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. Even bad people have something good about them. Try to find that.

Stop worrying about trying to find the perfect words to express yourself. They are not always going to come out right and people are going to interpret things different than you expect them to. You know what you mean when you put it on paper and if they take it the wrong way, that’s on them, not you. If they have a problem let them bring it to your attention. Don’t concern yourself with trying to fix everything and everyone. You are not your mother.

One more thing, that pile of laundry is not going to fold itself. I know you have these letters you want to write to yourself.  That is all fine and good and important.  I’ll be looking forward to them 20 years from now. But, you still have chores to take care of, so move your ass.

Until next time,

your constant and faithful
crackerberries

{Previous letter}

Twenty Years from Now

It’s been awhile since I’ve been here. I’ve missed blogging. Funny how life gets in our way of doing the things we enjoy most. I’ve been praying a lot, asking God to lead me on my next blogging adventure. Sometimes if we are quiet and patient and wait, the answer will come. Sometimes it is right under our nose, but we don’t recognize it.

Today starts a new journey for me and my faithful followers. I’m calling this season, “Letters to Self”.




February 16, 2021

Dear Self:

I feel like I haven’t been a very productive member of society lately. With this whole Covid thing we don’t get out as much as we used to. I am definitely not the social butterfly that I remember myself being.

I’ve been spending a lot of time writing letters to family and friends. Writing has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Mom thinks it takes up too much time and it is a lot of writing. She’s right, it does and it is, but I enjoy it so much. I started thinking more about it, and wondering how I might be able to use my gift and share things with others, even the people I don’t know.

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith, or ministry let us use it in our ministering, he who teaches, in teaching, he who exhorts, in exhortation, he who gives, with liberality, he who leads, with diligence, he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:6-8   I have this gift that has been right under my nose all these years.

Every day is a gift and what better way to take the gifts that we are blessed with to bring glory to the Kingdom of God? In the past I’ve not used my gifts wisely. Today is a brand new day. I write this in hopes that you, -myself- will read this twenty years from now and be a different person. I’m being generous with the 20…hopefully it doesn’t take that long to be wiser, smarter, more patient, all the things I struggle with now.

My blog has been on hiatus for quite some time. I have missed my daily musings. As I sat down to start this project I reviewed some of my posts in the past. Some of them are mean, disrespectful, and not very nice at all. I considered removing them. But then I realized that that’s not going to change anything. That is who I was and if I take away the person I was, it’s nothing to show for the person I am or the one I want to be. That is all part of the growing and learning process.  I have to remember where I came from to appreciate where I am now. And where I am now is part of the growing process of where I might be twenty years from now (God willing).

I had a dream the other night. Elvis was in my dream.  He was coming to tell me something. He was the young Elvis before he was overcome with the fame and fortune and drugs and alcohol. I idolized Elvis. I wanted to be just like him. I even danced around and lip synced his songs. I’m not sure what he was going to tell me, but he was there to tell me something. Before he could a train came and I woke up.

A lot of things can be learned from dreams. Joseph had a dream and when he shared it his brothers sold him as a slave. Nebuchadnezza had so many dreams it caused him not to sleep. I know what happened to Daniel when he shared the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezza’s dreams.  I will skip the fire pit, thank you very much.

God gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things. He knows what is in the darkness and light dwells with Him. {Daniel 2:21-22}

I don’t know where this project will take me. I am living by faith not by sight. I know that I have a desire for my writing to be my legacy. I want to be remembered for something important. If my musings help one person find their way to Jesus, I’ve fulfilled my desire. In the meantime, I’m a writer, so I will write as long as these little fingers will strike a keyboard. And self, if you get this, twenty years from now, I’d love to hear your response.

Until next time,

your constant and faithful crackerberries

Respecting Relationship Boundaries



Boundaries are anything that help differentiate one person from another. Age, gender, social status, skin color, vocabulary, where we live, even our emotional state can provide a certain protective boundary. Sometimes boundaries are misunderstood.

We all want relationships. The most basic need in life is for relationships. We want input and teaching from others. We want to learn different things and share the knowledge we’ve learned. We want friendships. In desire, everything comes with a price. We give a little, we take a little.

Standing up for our boundaries can be misconstrued. Sometimes people will think we are being rude and insensitive. Trespassing on other people’s boundaries carries consequences. If I do this, I know this will happen, if I do that, I know something else will happen. From a young age we learned these basic instincts.  Don’t touch the hot stove or you will get burned.   

Attitudes and beliefs are what we accept as being true. There are some people who want us to change our beliefs and attitudes to what they believe and accept as being true. Perhaps some family members, friends, relatives, or even neighbors to name a few.  People who refuse to respect the boundaries we have set ooze negative energy and leave us feeling worse whenever we’re around them. Be on guard for these toxic personalities. Quickly set boundaries and let them know what will and what will not be tolerated. 

Do you have anyone like this in your life?

• Lie on a regular basis
• Take advantage of your kindness
• Don’t respect your boundaries
• Manipulate you in order to get what they want
• Put you down
• Don’t encourage you to pursue your goals
• Don’t consider other people’s feelings or needs
• Feel entitled
• Are frequently angry or aggressive
• Rarely apologize
• Blame others and don’t take responsibility for their actions
• Drain your energy
• Have a lot of “drama” or problems, but don’t want to change
• Think the rules don’t apply to them
• Talk, but don’t listen

People might be angry or offended by our choices even though we aren’t setting boundaries to be mean or difficult. Boundaries are a way to protect ourselves and maintain individuality as well as sanity. Stay safe and be sure to practice social distancing virtually as well as while you are out in public. When boundaries are not accepted, sometimes we have to accept that we are better off without the toxicity in our lives.




Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with this crazy pandemic. Being quarantined means people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new friends/contacts. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

ICONIC



So when I think of an icon, I think of those little squares on my phone that I have to press to open an application. Sometimes I hate those things because they often ask me for a password that I can’t remember. When I think of iconic I think of something considered important. The definition of iconic out of my eleventh edition Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is this: “a conventional religious image typically painted on a small wooden panel and used in the devotions of Eastern Christians.” How ironic that the word iconic was brought to my attention on Good Friday. (Thank you, Michael)

I wanted to take a look and see what the world considers iconic. As I was scrolling through the history of pictures tagged to be iconic it struck me oddly because anything and every depending on who you are could be considered iconic. The definition for iconic changes as does the times we live in.

One thing that never changes and that is God’s love for you. Good Friday is iconic to remind us that our amazing Father sent His One and Only Son to die on the Cross for us. Not just for me, not just for you, but for everyone and anyone who accepts His gift. A gift so great that every human should want to accept it. Some people may not choose to accept the gift He offers so freely. Do not be ashamed of the things you have done. He will wash away your sin like a blanket of new fallen snow. He’s knocking at your door. Can’t you hear Him? Let Him into your heart.

May God bless,






Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with the epidemic going on right. Being quarantined means more people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new people. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.


FLASHBACK

Think about last year right around Labor Day weekend, or maybe even Christmas time. Flashback to the things we were doing, activities we enjoyed, trips we took.  Think about the  visits to the grocery store that seemed trivial just such a short time ago.

Flashback to the days of walking into the restroom and seeing the sign that encouraged employees:  ‘Employees must wash their hands before returning to work’. I remember seeing so many people in these rest rooms that never paid attention to the signs. I guess they thought because they were not employees it didn’t pertain to them. 

Flashback to the days when toilet paper and paper towels filled at least a whole isle at the grocery store. The days of going in and picking up the weekly supply. The days of not having to stand in line and wait to be let in the store.  The days of not being allotted one package to each customer as if we lived in a communist country.

Flashback to more important events. Fellowship on Sundays and hugging fellow believers. Visiting your elderly parents at the nursing home without concern of spreading a sickness to them. Sunday afternoon dinners with your grown children and having all the grand kids run around the house. Just plain getting together with family and friends for cookouts and fun times.

My flashback is September last year … I seriously hope we get to do it again.



Flashback to a time when our world once was different. What are we going to do to make sure things don’t get worse? Do your part. Listen to our leaders. Don’t ignore what is happening.





Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with the epidemic going on right. Being quarantined means more people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new people. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

Unsaved

Unsaved

Can you become unsaved?  Apparently there is much controversy over this topic. Personally I don’t think you can. I have no doubt that once you are saved, you’re saved. 1 John 5:11-13 is the assurance of salvation. God has given us eternal life. Eternal life is an infinite duration. He who has the Son has life, he who does not have the Son does not have life. Once we have the Son, nothing can separate us. Romans 8:38-39 states that absolutely nothing—neither death, nor life, no angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate believers from God’s love. If God, the uncreated One, is for us and no created thing can separate us, then our security in Him is absolute.

Take a look at Ephesians 1:4-5 “… He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Why would God make a mistake? From God’s perspective, we have been glorified already because He sees us righteous because of the work of Jesus on the Cross. In the march of time we still must undergo the process of being conformed to the image of God’s Son. Romans 12:2 … do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

I don’t think you can become unsaved. There will be trials and tribulations. There will be mistakes made. There will be sin and temptations. Romans 8:36 For Your sake we are killed all day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. For those who love God have always had to face death daily.

It’s a daily struggle. It’s why we keep short accounts with God. We pray, we struggle, we pray some more. We have assurance of forgiveness 1 John 1:9 if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He will guide us. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. He will strengthen us Philippians 4:13 I can do all things though Him who gives me strength.

Being like Jesus is not about keeping the rules, it’s about knowing His forgiveness and committing acts of grace and mercy on a consistent basis. It’s about living a life that values all people. It’s about surrendering our heart to the will of our Father in heaven. Matthew 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.

I would love to hear your thoughts on being unsaved.

Keep the faith and may God bless you.

Repeat After Me:

Repeat after me: Dear God, thank You for this day You have made. Lord, fill me with Your Spirit today. I can’t fix yesterday, and tomorrow may never come. Cleanse my heart from the fleshly residue of yesterday’s fallen humanity. Scrub my thoughts and motives so they shine purposely to follow Your footsteps.

Repeat after me: Lord, fill me with Your Spirit today. I am not smart enough or strong enough to know what is best for me and choose what is righteous. The tasks ahead of me are too much to go it alone. Lord, fill me with Your Spirit right now.

Repeat after me: Lord I pray for Your forgiveness of the sins I have committed, the sins I will commit, and the sins I don’t know that I have committed.  I pray for them to be revealed to me so that I may ask for Your forgiveness. Lord fill me with Your Spirit to see these things and guide me righteously.

Repeat after me: Father in heaven, thank You for doing for us what we could never do ourselves.  Help us not to forget that, if You are for us, no one can ultimately win against us. We don’t want to forfeit any of the challenges that will ultimately reflect on You. Please work through our weakness to show Your strength today. I pray in Jesus holy name, Amen.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. May you make your peace with God today so that you may have everlasting life.

 

 

Naked Northeast

My name is Nemesio and I’ve been sober for 10 years. It has not been easy and I struggle each day, but each day I get through gives me the strength to wake and face another day. When I was growing up, my parents would send me off to camp each summer. I remember gathering at a local school parking lot with the other kids whose parents were sending them off to camp as well. We all used to complain about not wanting to go to camp. We didn’t want to be away from our friends and more importantly the laziness of summer where we could sleep in and do whatever we wanted each day. Truth of the matter is, now that I think about it, camp was probably one of the best times of my life. It was where I learned about the naked northeast.

Our team camp was called the Lake Warriors and our fearless leader was camp counselor Mr. Jackson. He let us call him Jax for short. He was a fun counselor and taught us a lot. The most important lessons came from sitting around the campfire hearing stories he told of his war battles. I didn’t realize it then but as I grew older the lessons he taught us over the course of five summers, came with me into adulthood.

I met Nina when I was twenty-six. We fell in love immediately and knew we wanted to be together forever. We wanted to make babies and grow old together. We started that journey and had two boys which we sent to summer camp. I told Nina of the stories and lesson I had learned as a boy. I told her about the Lake Warriors and fighting with the Tree Troopers and how we settled our differences at the naked northeast. She wanted our boys to have the same experiences.

She loved the naked northeast lesson and we incorporated that into our marriage. It was our neutral ground. Marriage is difficult and too often spouses take each other for granted and don’t give each other the freedom necessary to say things that should be said. Naked Northeast was a place where there was no judgement, no anger, or no hurt feelings. It was our healing ground.

Fifteen years later, there was an accident and life with Nina would never be the same. My heart was broke. Nina was not the woman I fell in love with. I was committed to her because of the vows I took, and I did what I could to help her though the pain and suffering. She never knew much of the pain and suffering she was going through. I took to the bottle to soothe my own pain and suffering. It didn’t. Right before Nina died, she held my hand. I’m pretty sure she was in her right mind at that time because she looked at me with tear filled eyes and told me she had to go. I nodded that I understood. I couldn’t speak because I was trying to hold in my sobs. As I held her hand she drew me next to her and she whispered in my ear, “See you at the naked northeast.”  And that was her last breath.

Life is never easy and you never know what will happen. I don’t know if I will ever see my wife again. We never talked about Jesus and how He came to earth to die for us and if you ask Him into your life, He forgives all sins. When I quit drinking I gave my heart to Jesus and asked Him to forgive me for my sins. The naked northeast is not a real place. It sounds good in my stories that I tell. Jesus is real and His story is real. I want to tell you to get right with Him and share with those you love. That way, when the time comes around and they are gone from this world, you won’t be questioning whether you will see them in the naked northeast.

 

Outliers

Sometimes intentions are misunderstood
Taking on more than we probably should
To our chagrin we fail others desires
Passion sucked out like blood-thirsty vampires

We strive to please and make everything right
Even when we win, we’re still in the fight
It is certain always we will have strife
Betrayals and downfalls cut like a knife

His power, His glory is full of grace
Mistakes we’ve made we need not feel abased
Not focusing on failures – take a peek
For in our hindrances, HE we must seek

A world of our own apart from the rest
Our goal is perfection, to be the best
Though it won’t happen while living on earth
Corralled together his chosen rebirth.

The blogging challenge is over, but I still have that desire to write and share and help others where I can.  Thanks to Robyn for this picture of Inspiration.  Hope this inspires you as well to trudge on, even when you feel like you can’t win… you can.

The Christmas Sweater

bearThe Christmas Sweater

          Christmas eve for some is when we dig out all of our stuff: Christmas decorations, Christmas lights, Christmas trees, Christmas recipes, Christmas cards, Christmas movies, Christmas books, and my personal favorite, my Christmas sweater. Some people spend a lot of money on Christmas shopping; buying Christmas gifts and outfits to dress up in for Christmas parties and food to make Christmas candy and Christmas cookies.  As I searched for my sweater and after not finding it, I realized I had given it away when we decided to sell all of our stuff to go over the road.  I was sad and mad that I had given my favorite sweater away.  Then I found the scarf that Bear used to wear at Christmas. Our blind dog in the picture above.  I started to really get sad and thought about how depressing Christmas is for a lot of people.

Then I recalled a story about two brothers named John and James.

John, the older of the two, and James played on a little league baseball team many years ago.  Even though the two played on the same team they both were in competition with each other always trying to be better than the other one.  James could hit a home run like it was nothing, and John could pitch strikes all day long.  James couldn’t run and John couldn’t catch, but the coach always did his best to help them each excel at what they did best.

One Saturday afternoon the game was at the bottom of the ninth and the brother’s team was down by two runs.  There were two men on and James was up to bat.  John was coaching at third base.  If James could hit the ball far enough into the outfield he could have plenty of time to run the bases and make it home.  He stepped up to the plate and the crowd was cheering him on while others were making fun of him because they knew he couldn’t run that fast.  He whacked that ball as hard as he could, and it flew right out into the bushes at the edge of the outfield.  “Run! Run!” everyone was yelling.  James took off running, tagging first base, and the outfielders were searching frantically in the bushes for the ball.  “Run! Run!”  James kept on running and tagged second base.

The crowd started yelling more and clapping.  “Throw it!  Throw it!  Run! Run!”  John saw that the outfielders threw the ball into the short stop.  “Run, James!  Run!”  John waved James onto home plate.  James was running and the short stop threw the ball and James was running so fast and the ball was coming so fast.  Instead of the ball going into the catcher’s glove it hit James right in the head and knocked him out cold.  After six days in a coma, his parents took him off the life support and he died without ever waking up.

John grew up always feeling responsible for his brother’s death.  Even though he married and had children of his own, he missed so much of their lives because he spent more time in the bottle than he did at birthdays and other memorable occasions.  Eventually his wife divorced him and he grew into a lonely, grumpy old man.

One Christmas Eve, John was by himself as usual, when a knock came on his door.  It was one of his grandsons.  Ironically it was the one named after his brother, James.  He came in with a book in one hand and a thermos in the other.  “Grandpa, I have to share something with you before it’s too late.”  The old man gruffly said, “I don’t want to hear it.”  But James was persistent and he took two mugs down from the cupboard and filled them with hot chocolate from the thermos.  Then he opened his Bible and he spoke.

“One night there was a bright star which guided three men who were the three wise men to the birth of Jesus, who later in life became a carpenter and a fisher of men and souls.  He had twelve apostles who spread the Word of Christ.  But on one black day of hatred, envy and death, He was crucified.  He shed His blood for us to purify and save us.  He rose and is now in Heaven seated with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  He did all of this because of His great love for us.”

“Grandpa, everyone says you’re a mean old man because of what happened to your brother.  What happened to him is not your fault and Jesus loves you and forgives you.  You don’t have to feel like it’s your fault, just talk to Jesus and tell Him how you feel.”

Of course John, being the grumpy, old drunk that he had grown into wasn’t going to listen to what anyone had to say and he kicked his grandson out of his house and told him if he was going to preach to him not to bother coming back again.  That night, John died in his sleep.

There is a lot more to that story, but that is enough to make one contemplate what they are holding on to this Christmas.  As I started to write out my Christmas wish on Facebook for those I didn’t have addresses for to send a Christmas card, I thought about whom I had to forgive and who I needed to speak a kind word to.  There is so much stuff that gets in the way of our lives that sometimes we lose sight of the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas.  It is not about the stuff.

This little baby boy born in a manger came to live a sinless life only to die a brutal death on a Cross in order for us to have eternal life.  We celebrate His birth for that.  When we get “wrapped up” (no pun intended) in all the other stuff, when we forget to forgive someone, when we over eat or over drink or over spend, when we get so involved in things, we lose sight of what is important.  This year when you come together to celebrate Christmas think about why you are doing it and remember what the celebration is all about.

(I know I’ve shared this story before.  I wrote it in 2011 and every time I read it, it brings a tear and a new prayer in my heart. I hope it does the same for you.)

Merry Christmas!

Nebuchadnezzar’s Nightmare

Nebuchadnezzar

I love the story of King Nebuchadnezzar. He had a dream which made him afraid. The things he saw in his dream he did not understand. He called all of the wise men of Babylon before him to interpret his dream. There was only one who could interpret the dream. Betleshazzar (A.K.A. Daniel) who was friends with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.

Belteshazzar told King Nebby to break off from his sins by being righteous and showing mercy to the poor. The king was a narcissistic old bugger and one day as he was parading around through the village of Babylon speaking of how great (sound familiar) everything was. While he was letting everyone know the city was built from his mighty power, a voice fell from the heavens.

Immediately King Nebby turned looney tune and started running around like a crazy man, eating grass and rolling around on the ground naked, letting his hair grow long and unkempt. While his actions were insane and animalistic, it was during that time he learned more about God than ever before. Nebuchadnezzar had to be humbled before he could be exalted.

Moral of the nightmare: the chastisement of God is always for a holy and helpful purpose. So if Donald Trump starts running around eating grass like the oxen, praise God!

N

Perilous Times

soar

 

I spoke truth and came under attack. Co-winkie-dinks? Doubt it. A photo was under fire for containing nudity — it was a picture of the White House decked out in gay pride colors. My aliases on WordPress were questioned, and I was accused of having multiple personalities (don’t all writers?) Facebook decided I wasn’t who I said I was, and prohibited me from my account until I agreed to use my given name, and not my pseudonym. It appears that Facebook is okay with pets having their own accounts, but writers can’t use their pseudonyms.

If you don’t think perilous times are here think again. 1 Timothy 4:1-2 – Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron … some people will depart from their faith — not losing salvation, but failing to walk obediently. Walking obediently. Walking according to God’s word.

It’s difficult to walk the straight and narrow when the world around us is filled with sin. It would be so much easier to conform to the way of life around us because everyone else is doing it. I won’t lie, these past few months have been difficult.  I feel angry, hurt, disappointed and deceived all wrapped up into one huge-mungus sucky emotion. But it is not okay just because everyone else is doing it.

Praise God Tall Cool ☺ne and I both have our health. But staying positive hasn’t been easy. No matter how bleak things seem, how much we feel like some people use and abuse us, there is ONE we can always count on. He is always there, along the way. He will guide us through the good, the bad, the evil and the positive. He laid down His life for us. He has brought us through all kinds of experiences and I have no doubt He will bring us through this one, too.

Everyone Has One

a friend

 

Everyone has a story to say

Everyone carries a burden with flare
Not everyone has the courage to share
Some wear their heart on their sleeve
Engaging those, who with them, will grieve
Others will cower and rather just hide
Ashamed to tell how they feel inside.
All characteristics will darken our door
Well-versed and rich, or tattered and poor.

Everyone has a tale to convey

Everyone faces a time in their life
All they can see is despair and strife
Some fight the fight with all that they’ve got
Others back down without giving it a thought
All physiognomies appear on our path
Showered in cologne, or in need of a bath

Everyone has a story to hide

Some keep the skeleton in seclusion
And worry about facing aspersion
Do you have a secret you wish to convey?
You can reveal all without dismay
Get on your knees and simply confess
No need to worry about trying to impress

Everyone needs a friend on their side

Some will ignore the free gift He gave
Some will stay chained to their sin as a slave
Jesus gave all when He died on that cross
Even to those who live in full chaos
Get on your knees and ask for compassion
Forgiveness is free with a simple confession

Everyone has a story to say
Everyone has a tale to convey
Everyone has a story to hide
Everyone needs a friend on their side

Antagonist Strikes Again

good_vs__evil___with_cats

I found it interesting and convicting that Our Daily Bread’s lesson today was based on the tongue and how words can be used to edify or destroy. I had a disagreement with someone last night and my words were cruel. I am convicted by that, and I feel terrible about how I spoke to this person. I do not feel bad, however, for the message I was trying to relay, nor my view on the subject we were discussing. I’m right, they are wrong.

Satan will use the people you love to cause you to sin, “…because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Satan is our self-confessed enemy. He never ceases from being hostile toward us; he is constantly accusing us before God. He is both cunning and cruel and he attacks when least expected desiring to destroy completely those whom he attacks.

God’s word is powerful and those who do not ‘get it’ do not understand the concept of the two-edged sword. They cannot fathom what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. They accuse, they attack, and thrust their worldly wisdom regarding what they believe on the subject of God and the Bible. They are angry if you don’t agree. It is important to always be ready, pray fervently, and continue to seek the will of God, so when these attacks come, we are ready.

I haven’t been challenged by anyone about the Bible and my relationship with Jesus Christ in quite some time. But when someone tells me I don’t know God, and I’m wrong following scripture because the Bible was written by man, I have to take a stand and tell it like it is. I know I stepped on toes, hurt feelings and said some things I probably shouldn’t have. I even used bad curse words. I hate those pissing contests. But MY GOD, the God of the Bible knows my heart and I have no doubt in my mind where I’m going when I die.

Satan will attack. He will use the people you love, the people you trust, and the people you care about. He will use the things that are important to you to cause you to sin. You must always be ready. Study God’s word always. Pray always. Ask for godly wisdom, biblical knowledge, and spiritual discernment. Trust in Him and He will give you what you need to dominate the attack of Satan.

Satan Attacks

Ephesians

You know how you can tell when you are following God’s calling? When Satan attacks. He will attack in any way, shape, or form, and cause strife in your life. Everything will be going along well, hunky-dory, and peachy-keen. Then KA-POW! Out of the blue, here comes the attack. It can be anything, small and large alike. Even stupid little things.

For example, the other day I read a blog about this dumb challenge where people were trying to summons a Mexican spirit named Charlie. I did not watch any of the videos, but reading some of the articles gave me the willies and a chill ran up and down my spine. My daughter, trying to be comforting, insists it’s just gravity causing the pencils to move. I know better. Satan is real and he will take any way into your life that he can get,to cause strife, if you open the opportunity for him to enter.

That night, I was afraid of the dark. I’ve been afraid of the dark all my life, but God has kept the fear at bay. That night I heard creepy noises, and I thought I was seeing things. I could feel myself getting worked up, and an anxiety attack was coming on. My heart began to palpitate, and I could feel my body drenched with sweat. I told Satan,”Back the hell off!” Then I asked God for help. I prayed and prayed for His hand to calm me. He did. I went back to sleep, and the dark hasn’t been an issue since, although I do continue to pray about that.

Satan attacked again. Another stupid little thing. Sometimes he uses the stupid little things and tries to make them big. Social media is good and evil. Sometimes when you are joking others take it seriously. We all have different views and opinions on different subjects. Not everyone thinks the same. Some people take what others post as a personal attack. Satan will use whatever he can to crush you and cause you to sin.

When you are moving forward and bringing glory to God, Satan will attack. Know this, accept this, and move on. He will try to bring you down, degrade you, and make you think what you are doing is wrong. Stand up to him, and don’t back down. Keep pushing forward. If it’s God’s will, He will stand behind you, or in front of you every step of the way.

Win An Inn

IMAG1894

 

March 19th was the day I finalized my draft for the Center Lovell Inn Essay contest. At that time it was the only thing I could think of. I had tunnel vision. I wanted to own and operate a Bed & Breakfast. I had no idea what owning and operating an Inn entailed, but I was willing to try.

 

My husband was in the process of getting his CDL. He used all of his vacation time from his current job to go to truck driving school. I didn’t think it was going to amount to anything. The only thing I was focused on was what I wanted.

 

Why? Why did I want to own and operate a country inn? Share your answer in 200 words or less. Here’s my entry:

Or not

Just a reminder that entering the contest gave Ms. Sage the copyright. She might choose to publish some or all of them in the future, so please do not publish your essays. Thank you.

 

Yesterday the Center Lovell Inn FB page shared the top 17 by entry number, town and state. I did not make the list. Today sometime before noon, Ms. Sage will call the lucky winner. Two months ago I couldn’t wait for this day to come.

 

I was so busy worrying about what my family wanted (us to move back to Maine). I was trying to figure out a way for us to live in Maine, be together, and earn a living. I lost sight of God’s word and what He taught me. “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands…” 1 Peter 3:1

 

I certainly know this will not set well with a lot of people, believers and non-believers alike. Quite frankly it didn’t set real well with me at first. When my husband told me he was going to get his CDL and drive a truck over the road to provide for us, I stomped my feet in retaliation! I didn’t want him to go. I told him, “I didn’t sign up for this!”

 

 

We prayed a lot and continue to pray. God is amazing when you let go of what you think is best for you and follow His calling. Everything has changed so quickly in the past two months. Things I didn’t think possible are happening and as scary and unknown as it is, it’s also exciting.

 
I have no doubt Ms. Sage will call the rightful winner of the Center Lovell Inn today. I am thankful for the opportunity to have entered the contest. I honestly believe it is not what God has planned for us. He is taking us in a new direction. As long as we follow what He is leading us to do, and not our own fleshly desires, we have nothing to lose. We win!