Monday, October 29, 2012


My sister in law's parents recently returned from Amsterdam. 
I didn't know much about it...I may or may not have just learned this very moment, that it is the capital of the Netherlands. Thank you Wikipedia.

Why didn't I know about it?? Well,there is a slight to strong possibility that I was not paying attention in World Geography. 

Which in my defense, was 1st period of my Senior year and our class was filled with people constantly distracting me. 
Francie,Tom, Beth, Grady, Stacey, Shawn, Lori, I am talking to you.....

Come on, we were doomed for failure from the first day of Fall 1984.

The good news? We were blocks away from a 7-11 and Dunkin Donuts....and our teacher was able to be bought off with Big Gulps and Munchkins. 
So we all made A's however, if you ask most of us from that class where something is...chances are slim to none, we won't be much help.

However, great news, redemption came to cover my lack of attention and care for the cities of the world Saturday night.
I was given a full blown report on Amsterdam by my nieces. 
Quite frankly, who wouldn't prefer to learn about gorgeous little people dressed in different colored skinny jeans and shiny flats??
me, that's who.

So, here is what you need to know.
Apparently "Hamsterdance is a far away land....
like the kind of far away where Shrek lived."
According to 3 certain people under the age 8, "it is a place where hamsters dance" 

"Yep, that's what they do there.....Dance."

All day.
All night.
That is what the far away land of Hamsterdance is known for.
It sounds like a great way to pass the days and nights away if you ask me.
Yes, indeed.
 The conversation made me wonder, 
Where was I not picturing enough joy...enough dancing???

God used 3 giggling, gorgeous nieces to remind me of His Promise. 
"I have come that you may have real life, 
a more & better life than you have ever dreamed of."- John 10:10

God, we live in a world filled with arguing politicians, hurricanes and wars. 
May we always look for the dancing hamsters.

In His Dust,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Love Your Neighbor...

Love your neighbor. 

I arrived early.
I parked...and something told me to back up to the next house.
So I backed up....with no real reason. That something turned out to be Someone.
Since I had time to kill...I decided I would do my Bible Study.
It was on "Loving your neighbor."
Easy peasy huh??

I answered the questions....shut the book and my Bible...and made my on to the bike rodeo at a precious local elementary school.

These kids were not kidding around about this deal. 
It was as intense as it was adorable and I may or may not have bit my nails while my two favorite participants rode through the dreaded figure 8.

And fine, I may have gotten a little teary as I watched and heard the kids cheering for each other. 
It was pretty sweet, to watch my Bible Study lesson play out...loving our neighbors.

So I left with a great feeling....having my faith restored in people with faces like this and many others that were easy to love....

As I approach my car...I am accosted by a big cranky man, aka child if God- 
Who broke in to a mild soliloquy, about how "incredibly offensive the bumper sticker on my car was to him!"

Love my neighbor....shoot!!!

This one God?
He sounds really aggressive and disrespectful....and I'm all alone here.

And that's when God made Himself known. (Although, not exactly as I would have planned it.) The is when the man saw "it" and pointed with disdain....
The Fish. 

My shiny clean Jesus loving car and it's dad gummed fish.

"If God is for us, who can be against us." ~Romans 8:31
Looks like I was not alone after all.
Well, this is just, I have a whole new problem on my hand....
The guy knows I am Christian....which I might add he was not exactly, ummmm, inspired by.
My first clue was his accusation that he was, "disgusted that I was probably one of those proselytizers that hates Muslims."

This is a good one God. 
I began searching my memory....for an escape clause in the maybe somewhere in the verse it said..."you don't need to love the hostile maniacs who interrupt a perfectly lovely morning with good friends, watching cute kids try to ride as slow as cold molasses....
but your neighbor...." (For the record, I did not locate this part of the verse.)

My choices were limited....I could blow a gasket....or burst in to tears.

I listened to my "neighbor" rant and rave. And then, I listened some more. 
He informed me that "he took plenty of pictures of my car, the sticker and my license plate!" 
(Apparently he is trying to get a job as the world's most boring photographer.)

I prayed.
I stuck my hand out and shook his, as I looked him square in the eye and said have a nice day.

Why? Because I was raised right.
His response? "I'm still deeply offended!" 
Yes, I got that.

Lest you think I was saintly, be glad I am not typing what was going thru my head...none of which is fit for a public blog connected to a church.
(Although, you should know it was goooooood......
I was quick. I was funny and I was smart. Also, in my head, he looked like this, but I was holding the axe.)

My head was about to explode....I then saw that our God was a God of details.
The man lived in the home, that God had asked me to move my car from the front of.

"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; 
He will never leave you not forsake you." ~Deuteronomy 31:8

As the man faded into my rear view mirror...I felt confused and oddly hurt. I had been polite with my mouth and actions...but not in my heart. There is a big difference.
So, my emotions for the rest of the day, came across as angry- and much worse, they came out sideways on an innocent friend, who I love to pieces.

Then they came across judgmentally on an entire group of people, who I judged unfairly...
Ironically, just like what the man had done to me.

God was clear with me on this one.
He straightened me out smack dab in the middle of Julian Gold.

He might as well have called me right up right there. That's right- there we and Jesus right in between Laura Mercier and Estée Lauder.
I hadn't been obedient...and was reminded that evil prowls around and knows our weak spots. It robs and lies. 

Love your neighbor means - love you neighbor. Period. 

God says, I pick the neighbor.... 
You don't. 

You aren't a victim of a neighbor...
You aren't to take your mood out on your neighbor...
You aren't to put a group of neighbors in one basket and judge them...

You love your neighbor.

I learned a hard and humbling lesson on being judgmental. 

God, Thank You for Your Grace....thank You for the people that extend it. 
May I always be one of them.

In His Dust,


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ramona...25 years

You'd think after 25 years, I'd be able to wrap my mind around the fact 
that you are really gone.
However, today I find myself still trying to grasp it, as if the phone just rang.
That phone call feels like, it was a cross between 25 minutes and 2,500 years ago.

I know for those who loved you the most, the loss never leaves, the grief never completely ends. Today...we remember you. 

I hate that I don't remember your voice.
I love...that I still hear it, when your mom speaks.

I hate that I don't get a glimpse of your sparkly eyes.
I love...that I still get to see it, when your daddy smiles.

I hate that I don't get to see all your barrettes and accessories and ridiculous shoes.
I love...that your nieces, are dripping from head to toe in them.

I hate that you aren't physically here, to share a laugh spend time with.
I love...that Kakie & Anne are.

So...God, with all the respect I have in me, 
I still sometimes shake my head in confusion as to why 
Ramona's and Jon's invitations came so early in their lives.
It was the Moorman's baby girl
It was the McWilliams' baby boy.
It wasn't fair.
It felt yucky then and quite frankly, it feels yucky 25 years later.

As I type this, I realize I don't need to explain this to you, do I?
You get it, don't You?
You too, lost your One and Only Son.

At the memorial service of a 2 year old little girl last week, Dinah said...
"The actual invitation to Heaven, must trump, the timing of its arrival."

I bless you with all that I have in me, for Your Sacrifice.
For in Your great love and graciousness-
We now have a way back to them. 
"I Am The Resurrection and The Life. 
He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies." ~John 11:25

God, Thank You for the precious lives of Ramona and Jon. I ask that you cover The Moormans and The McWilliams with the peace that passes all understanding. Thank You for carrying us every single day for 25 years and for the promise that we will see them again.

In His Dust,

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

He Is Present...

Columbus Day 2012 proved to be a day of discoveries.

My day was bookended with the life of a 97 year old and a 2 year old.
Both now in The Very Presence of Christ Himself.

What started with a celebration of long life lived, for a 97 year old Christian Southern Gentleman.... 
ended sitting across from a grieving family....of a 2 year old, tragically taken.
Their anguish was visible, harrowing and heart wrenching.    

The contradiction between long life versus unspeakable-horrific- sudden loss.

As we all know, there is no reason, on this side of heaven, as to why certain people get many days and others get few.
We can scratch our heads and point our fingers...
we can do our darndest to make sense of it, to no avail. 
Because there are no words.

What there His Presence.
Whether our hearts are full of deep sorrow, anger or confusion....
He is Present.
"The Lord is close to the broken hearted 
and saves those who are crushed in spirit" ~Psalm 34:18 
God, May we not be hardened by things we don't understand. 

In His Dust,

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dear Grammy...

Dear Grammy,
It's hard to believe it has already been one year since you went Home.
I wanted to thank you for so many things.
For always making time spend with me....
whether it meant walking me to "Stop-n-Go" in 100 plus degrees just to buy me an Icee and a comic book...
or for patiently teaching me how to wrap hot caramel around an apple...
(as I may or may not have eaten the majority of the bag.)
For teaching me how to sit on the front porch and snap fresh green beans...
For hand cranking out homemade ice cream, especially when arthritis had taken over your fingers...
For (attempting to show me) how to just sit still, watch and listen... (A for effort) 
For showing me that love does last...
Most importantly, for living out your faith before me through your favorite song.

My Redeemer Lives 
"As I look back on the road I've traveled, I see so many times He carried me through. 
There's one thing I've learned in my life,
My Redeemer is faithful and true.
Everything He said, He will do and every morning His Mercies are new.
There is a place I am preparing for you.
I know someday I'll see my Lord face to Face."  

As the years passed- I am sorry to admit, that distance got the best of us.
However, I never forgot, including today, what you meant to me. 

I am Blessing God today, because I know exactly where you are... 
I know exactly who you are sitting next to and holding hands with...
 I know exactly Who You are looking at.

God, Thank You for a Grammy and Big Mac and their Godly example in my life.

In His Dust,