The Cost of Crying Wolf

Across this planet we’re all caught up in the Coronavirus pandemic. If you’re human and alive, this is your war as much as it is anyone else’s. In no way am I making light of the danger we’re facing. In no way am I suggesting we shouldn’t be taking it seriously or how you should handle following the criteria to “flatten the curve” as this medical disaster swarms our land’s citizens.

What’s making things harder to navigate isn’t a new issue.  Let’s be real.  We just don’t know who to trust, do we?

Can’t trust those saturated in their own power so much they believe they are above the laws they create.  Who abuse those powers seeking, truthfully, to be the ones lining their safety deposit boxes and controlling every America’s life.

Can’t trust the “experts” who can’t make up their minds about how the virus is spread, how to prevent it’s spread, how to treat those who have COVID-19 and of course, whether or not wearing a face mask helps or aids in the prevention of contamination.  They don’t really know and many times they will tell you they don’t know and some arrogant reporter or self-serving politician keeps asking them for their expert opinion.  

Which brings me to one group of people we really can’t trust.  The media.  Mainstream.  Online.  Underground.  They remind me of the fable, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. 

It’s plot is fairly straight forward.  A young lad was assigned to shepherd the sheep for the entire village in a nearby field.  It wasn’t too isolated for the villagers could hear him call for help.  But the boy was bored.  He began pranking the villagers. 

Three times he called for help.  The wolf had come to take the sheep.  Three times everyone dropped their jobs and chores racing to his rescue.  Every time he laughed at them. After the third time he tricked them he was told  no one would come if he called again.

The wolf who had witnessed it all, came out shortly after the villagers left.  He did take the sheep.  The boy did call for help.  No one showed up to assist him.  He was missed when night fell and he didn’t show up for supper.

Some men went looking for him.  The fable’s ending varies through the years.  In some the wolf has eaten him.  Others the villagers find him alone, crying and miserable.  In some they locate the sheep the next day.  In others the sheep are lost forever.  When the boy is found alive he has learned the harsh reality of what happens when you lie to people.  

Sure wish the media would learn this lesson.

Some people in the journalism profession itself saw this day coming.  One was the dean of our hall of journalism at the university I attended.  

At the end of my education the dean saw me in the hallway.  He demanded to speak to me and I agreed.  Then loud enough that anyone else in the hall could have heard, he angrily informed me I didn’t have the heart to be a journalist.  He had a list of reasons why. 

My plan to be a missionary journalist was ridiculous.  I couldn’t get past the truth of a persons whole life to write a piece designed to shred their professional, private, and community life.  He said, “You really expect to look at all sides of something.  That doesn’t make for a good journalist.”

I was stunned.  If the profession he described was the one I’d spent all this time learning about it didn’t describe one I was any longer sure I wanted to work in.  I never worked on a newspaper. 

Except for editing pages of ads for a company that published thousands of newspapers for churches, a dozen attempts at novels, ten years spent doing every aspect of monthly church newsletters and weekly bulletins; for over ten years and the same ten plus years doing weekly bulletins (writing the copy, layout, everything) I have never used that journalism degree.  Though that does sound closer to my original goal.

Yes, the question has crossed my mind, that life altering moment.  But at the end of that road, I don’t see me being in a place I would like myself very much if I had determined to prove that professor wrong.  And now, as media, reporters, lie mongers prevail in the journalism industry, I’m embarrassed by them.  There seems to be little if any sign of the truth being sought.   

I see instead the main stream media filled with journalists, reporters, writers who feeds off the pain of people, who can’t be trusted to report the truth, whose sources are “anonymous” who turn around to be “anonymous sources” who confirm their own lies?  

Who, in this day, trusts what mainstream media or special interest online sources report?  I don’t.  They are the boy who cried wolf.  Lie repeatedly and even when caught, refuse to set the record straight.  They take joy at ripping a person’s life, family, career, soul apart for something they know are lies.  Furthermore, they often include the lives of everyone around them.

I’m really glad now, I took the other road.  I’d rather keep trying to be a author who writes, even if I’m never published, than a liar who reports but  who has lost their own humanity.

—Donna

Featured post

…where do you find joy?

art and photo by dfav

What brings me joy from the depths of my heart? Here’s a partial list.

  • in the approaching dawn hours of the night when the flow of my laptop screen weakly illuminates my keyboarding fingers as I give free reign to the thoughts in my head. Especially when what has kept me awake or awakened me is a call to prayer.
  • when I am reading and studying the Word of God and He opens my mind to His understanding.
  • catching a glimpse of Heaven.
  • when my husband and I hold hands when going about our lives…for example, in church as we gather with other Believers to worship, in the car as we ride down the road, watching a television show or movie together, and in the time we are asleep and we reach for one another’s hand.
  • hearing the laughter of our daughter.
  • listening to my husband sing bass in the worship team on Sunday mornings.
  • good chocolate.
  • being in the midst of our nieces and nephews.
  • being caught up in the creative process of drawing, painting, crafting, writing.
  • breathing in the ocean breeze as I enjoy being beachside in the fall and winter months.
  • paying our bills.
  • cooking and baking.
  • reading a good book.

The older I get, the less my true joy stems from materialistic things. When people ask, “What do you want for _______________”? I realize anew that there’s not really anything I want, nothing you can purchase online or in the store, wrap and tie up with a bow. Things are easily broken, wear out, can be stolen, lost or outgrown.

Instead joy, for me, is pure abandonment of want and being fully open to the presence of God in the moment I am living at that time. It is the realization that at that time my heart and soul have been flooded with the perfect love of God and His blessings. This joy is the complete, absolute of God’s love, provision and care for me and my family.

Where does your joy come from? What is the source of it?

  • romantic love?
  • parenthood?
  • being with a group of family or friends?
  • God?
  • sports?
  • retail therapy?
  • your job?
  • your paycheck?
  • your success?

Maybe your list is a bit similar to mine. Maybe it is totally different. Maybe you can list what brings joy to your heart without much thought. Maybe you need time to let the question simmer on the back-eye of the stove for a while. Neither way is right or wrong.

Joy does not come only in the good times. It comes also after times of hardship, disappointment and when we know we have given the Lord a reason to be angry with us.

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;

    praise his holy name.

For his anger lasts only a moment,

    but his favor lasts a lifetime;

weeping may stay for the night,

    but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:4-5

The Holy Bible New International Version, 1973, 1978. Zondervan Publishing Corporation.

Life does not always present joy to us in a pretty package and decorated with beautiful ribbon and bows. I have come to appreciate that joy has little to do with the circumstances of my life in the moment. Joy comes from perspective. A shift in how we are viewing the events going on in our lives allows the before unseen joys to take the spotlight.

For joy is also given as a fruit of the Spirit as Galatians 5:22 tells us.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22 (Italics mine.)

The Holy Bible New International Version, 1973, 1978. Zondervan Publishing Corporation.

Joy also arrives when life has given us reason to be anxious. Being a Christian does not mean we do not experience painful things, know disappointment and must learn to trust God in the times it is most difficult.

18 When I said, “My foot is slipping,”

    your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.

19 When anxiety was great within me,

    your consolation brought me joy.

Psalm 94:18-19 (Italics mine)

The Holy Bible New International Version, 1973, 1978, Zondervan Publishing Corporation.

My prayer for you today is that you will experience joy throughout your day and its source is our shared Lord and Savior.

—-Donna

…why did God say “Wait” to my prayer?

“Prayer”, artwork & photo by dfav.

There is a famous country song, made a hit by Garth Brooks. The chorus goes, “….I thank God for unanswered prayers, remember when you’re talking to the man upstairs, just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care…”

I do not agree with this song’s assessment of prayer and God answering our prayers. Instead I subscribe to this belief, God always answers our prayers. Always. In one of three ways.

  • He says yes.
  • He says no.
  • He says wait.

Since the third option is the hardest one for us to handle, this is where this blog will pick up here. Harder than a no? Yes. No is definite. Usually an indication that what we are petitioning God for is not within His will for our lives and/or not within His standard of righteousness. Wait, on the other hand, is defined in this case as either, “no, not right now” or “yes, just not right now”? Wait can seem like a no.

Why would God say, wait? Because sometimes what we are asking for right now, though within His will, within His parameters of right and wrong, we are not yet equipped to handle.

Suppose, for example, as a child we fall in love with missions. Especially foreign missions. We pray then that God will send us to the mission field. We are earnest in our prayers. We are praying for something God would certainly find to be right. We are eager to begin.

Why would God say, “Wait”? Common sense tells us that God is not going to send a child into the mission field unprepared. A child has not yet learned enough skills to get through the maze of life yet. So to be placed in the middle of another way of life, without ability to earn a living, secure housing, connect with people they know they can trust is beyond their maturity and capabilities. While no one can discredit the ability of children to be a part of mission work with adults, it is not common practice to put them in the mission field alone.

However, when the request is not as cut and dry our ability to understand gets stretched. What if the prayer request is to marry the person God intends for you to marry? Or to go back to school? Get a job that will enable you to provide more for your family? What if the prayer request is for complete healing of a spouse’s difficult to diagnosis disease or illness?

We pray. We are within God’s will. Healing is possible. Yet, it does not happen right away. Days tickle into months, months become a year and you find yourself on the way to a second year. The long-term disability insurance dries up, returning to work is still impossible, health insurance is canceled, life is turned upside down and the worst part is your spouse is still sick. One way or the other your spouse’s healing is within God’s will, so why would He say, wait?

Is it to teach us to trust Him regardless of the circumstances? Is it to remind us to be thankful always, during the good times and the harder, bad times? Perhaps He says wait because He wants to use this time in your life to draw other people to Him? Or to put it another way, maybe God is waiting because when He shows up He wants to show out.

We all have a hard time with the wait answer. For myself, the hardest time ever has been during my husband’s illness. The example detailed previously. God has said, wait.

Yes, I have railed against the Heaven’s because God has not said yes. I question why. I cry. I have had days when all I can think of ways to protect my family and throw in the towel at the same time. If God is not going to say, yes and say it right away how can He love me, I ask? If He does not love me enough to say yes, why does He not love my husband enough? Or our daughter? What about the crippling loneliness that creeps into our bones, into the finest of crevices in our souls that is not only overwhelming but unspeakable?

Maybe knowing the why God says to wait is not the important thing yet. Maybe the answers I should be seeking are what is He teaching me (and my family) during this time? What are those who are seated ring side in our lives seeing in us as we go through it?

Why God is still saying wait to our request for my husband’s healing I do not know. But I do know He is affirming that answer, right now. None of the possible severe consequences are off the table. I am well aware of that too.

So far though, our lives are a testimony to what is required of us when God says, “Wait”. I pray we are not failing Him.

—-Donna

…what mystery stirs? Part 2

That Magic Hat, art & photo by dfav.

Items disappearing in our homes is not absolutely unheard of. At our home though, it is the type of items disappearing that dangle the possibility the missing items are a bit outside the norm. Socks lost in the laundry are one thing but here are items that are harder to explain in their sudden absence.

The first missing objects are multiples of the same thing. Brace yourself. Towels. Warned you it is a stunning theft. Yes, I wrote theft. At the end of the day when laundry is finished all the towels will not fit in the shelves and come sunrise gone. Poof. Like magic.

We use a lot of towels in our home. I can literally tell you how many of each color we have and especially the ones that were wedding presents. Even as I tap-tap the keyboard in a quiet house with no lights burning there is some thief with a towel fetish preparing to swipe some more. Our poor towels are innocently laying as bait for the Towel Thief.

Yes, yes it is true. Especially the wedding towels are old. Twenty-four years to be exact. Yes, they are showing their age. Even some that are five-years-old are showing wear and tear. Every dried load has me snipping loosed binding. Stray threads and lint haveto be picked off them with the tacky lint tape. (Do you think super glue would hold those threads together?)

The Ziploc filled with rubber bands. Not just ordinary rubber bands. BIG, wide-stretching, red rubber bands. There is one used to keep the trash bag from submitting to gravity and sliding into the bottom of each can in our home. My urge to always be prepared meant the package I bought had enough so when they break we can replace them at that moment.

These missing have not even put into duty yet and they are AWOL. Are the cats planning to weave them together and make a bungie cord? Is that what the latest construction like noises are from our daughter’s room?

Did perhaps my nephew and niece discovered the bands and decide to send their stuffed animals over the shelf cliff for their own bungie jump and it backfired? The animals went down and did not come back up?

My favorite sleep shirts. Always tossed into the delicate laundry basket after every shower one week they did not return in the clean clothes. Nor were they in one of the other separating hampers, behind the baskets, under the bed, mixed in with the dewindling towel supply or behind the washer or dryer.

Did they dissolve in the washer? Admittedly, they were in that comfortable stage of wear. But neither had holes (well one did but I sewed it up). None were fraying.

Which brings the road back to the washing machine again. There have been some loud bangs from it. When questioned about these noises she told us it was a little twisted indigestion because the towels were not distributed evenly in the tub. Again, socks, even underwear I could buy being “eaten” by the washing machine but entire nightshirts? Unless the washer hides the portal to the Land of Unfound Stuff I have to rule it out here.

Were is this stuff going? Simple, remember the magician I cleared earlier? I take it back. Yes, a magician unable to get work during this pandemic is keeping his skills sharp by levitating odd items out of our home. When we have finally turned out the lights Mr. Magician must pull up in the drive-way and with great concentration pull off his hiest for the night.

Probably using the towels as rags to wash and dry his coffinlike box he uses to saw his assistant in two in. The rubber bands Mr. Magic must be using to practice some magic trick involving the rabbit who is sick of being pulled out of that top hat. Maybe he needed some night shirts to replace the ones the rabbit used as bedding?

Again, it is quite the mystery, is it not? But, it is bedtime for me. Top of the list for when I wake? Investigate washer!

—-Donna

…how did you learn your “station” in life?

art and photo by dfav

Cleveland Elementary School in Cleveland, Alabama August 1970. A newly fat, brown-haired, brown-eyed girl can barely contain her excitment about finally starting school. Back then kindergarten was not a requirement so first grade would be my first experience with formal education. Plus, I had been taught to read by my mama and although I did not understand why it was such a gift, I knew it was one.

What else would I be able to learn? I had no clue actually, but I was eager to begin. Mama and I walked into that classroom and the teacher tells us I can sit where I want. I choose the front row right in front of the teachers desk. I had high hopes for this woman before me.

Then a girl walks in, points at my seat and demands I let her have it. There were other kids there already but there were lots of desks left. Believe me, in my six-year-old mind I was not giving up my desk.

Before it became more than a flicker of a thought though my mother took my book bag, my hand and moved me to the back row, far corner, last seat. She hissed at me that the girl was the daughter of a doctor, they had money, who was I to take her seat?

Mama stayed with me a bit longer and then hissed at me again, “Do not upset the doctor’s daughter,”. Then she left.

It was not high on my list of things I wanted to do. I was puzzled. Though a part of me began to understand, I was not as “good” as the doctor’s daughter. But, the teacher was asking for our attention and the real school part was beginning. Hurray.

It took a while but eventually we got to take a book, sit in a circle and we were going to begin to learn to read. Nearly everyone could say their alphabet. Some could recognize the letters too.

For now we just looked at the page and pointed out our letters as she showed us what they looked like and read to us. She’d call on us one at a time to point out a letter. When she called on me I made the mistake of asking her if I could just read her the page.

Without her permission, Miss Eager Beaver who apparently needed another lesson about her station in life, took off reading a Dick & Jane book. Anyone familiar with the Dick & Jane readers know there are not a lot of words on a page, or more than two to three word sentences.

Faster than I thought an adult could move she snatched that book away pinching my fingers between the pages. Without explanation I was sent from the reading group. You guessed it, right back to my desk in the back row in the far corner to the last desk.

During recess Teacher kept me inside. She came back to my desk and managed to sit in the chair in front of me. “You can’t read,” she said.

I was confused. Had I not just read to her? “Yes, I can. My mama taught me.”

“No, you cannot, I have not taught you to read. You cannot read yet.”

I remember looking down at the floor. My six-year-old mind could not understand. Of course I could read. I read books with way more words than Dick & Jane. Why would this woman, who I thought held the key to everything, be telling me I could not do what I had been doing since I was four?

“You will never do what you did this morning again until I tell you I’ve taught you how to do it. Do you understand?”

“But, my Mama taught me…”

“And your mother taught you all wrong. You cannot read.”

I sat the rest of recess sitting in my corner with my head down on my desk. Of course, I cried. My cousin who was in class with me thought, as did the rest of the class, that I had done something wrong and had to stay in from recess as punishment. He went right home and told my aunt, who told my mother, who gave me a spanking.

When I saw my mother I was ashamed and afraid to tell her what the teacher had said. Maybe if she had asked me I would have, but she did not. She kept her and my father’s promise that if I got in trouble at school I would get double trouble at home, hence the spanking.

Now I feared if I did tell her she would get into trouble because I had told on her for teaching me to read. I never told anyone either until years later. Just my doll Tippy Toes, and she kept my secret.

Eventually the teacher informed me I could start to read words, but she kept the brakes on me. Maybe she thought I would appear to be a show-off to the other children? Maybe she did not know how to deal with a six-year-old who was already reading at a third to fifth grade level? I am sure she had her reasons. I am not sure any of them are good enough for what she robbed me of that year.

Where I had been excited about school I was now nervous. I had panic attacks at every test. Could not trust myself to believe I really knew the information. After all, I thought I knew how to read and it was a good thing and it turned out to be horrible.

I understood my station in life. It took one school year. One. Nine months. Afterall, was that not exactly the lesson I was taught? Turned out I was a good student.

In some ways, I am still that fat kid in the far corner, in the back row, in the last seat.

I cannot remember what that doctor’s daughter from the first grade looked like or what her name was though she taunted me for the entire school year. Is my memory void of small details for self-presevation or simply the fact we moved and I never saw her again? Or the result of getting older?

Nor can I remember my teachers name or appearance. I came back into possession of the yearbook from my first grade year when my mama died. I had no idea it even still existed.

Part of me wanted to look. Could I pick the girl out? Did I not want to see the teacher’s face? No. No I did not.

I simply threw it away. It held nothing I needed to remember. I remembered enough. The real story of my first grade year, the year I learned my station in life, was not recorded between those once white pebbly cover pages.

—–Donna

…what lessons have you learned from the felines?

25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

The Holy Bible, New International Version, Genesis 1:25 & 31, 1973, 1978, Zondervan Publishing Corporation

By now, if you are familiar with this blog, you must be acquainted with our daughter’s two cats. Meatball and Spaghetti. Both have black fur and are American Shorthairs. Spaghetti is most easily identifiable because when she “found us” she was sadly missing all but about 3 inches of her tail. (Which has finally healed. Hurray!)

These two wonder cats have set up school in our household. Here’s some of the things Meatball and Spaghetti have taught us. (Lessons in no particular order.)

Photo by KAV. Edited by dfav using PhotoGrid.

CATS ARE INDEPENDENT ANIMALS. It is true, cats are independent animals. In the wild they fend for themselves. As people we’ve domesticated certain animals to be “pets”. Initially though, in the beginning of existence they were wild. Their DNA is hardwired for self-preservation without humans doing the job. Nothing wrong with that, being who and what they are meant to be. We as humans forget that way to often, but cats will remind you. (Humans will too but that’s a subject for another days blogging.)

THEIR NAILS ARE ALWAYS SHARP: Meatball will kind of, maybe, sort of tolerate a very quick mani/pedi. My job is to do the actual snipping. Never too far up the nail. Never while Meatball is still moving. Our daughter holds the cat, captures and recaptures paws and gently positions each nail so I can clip it.

Forget those electronic “grinders” though. At the sound of one she will rip your internal organs out through your mouth. Seriously, do not think I am over-exaggerating. To accomodate Meatball’s preference (cough, cough) we clip.

As for Spaghetti, she was accustom to outside living when she came to us. Living 20 feet from a very busy road along with some other safety issues for her, she resides on our back screened in porch. (Which is larger than our daughter’s bedroom.) One of us brings her in when the outside temperature drops or bad storms roll in.

However, needed or not, none of us are brave (or insane enough) to clip Spaghetti’s nails. They resemble talons, embed in the carpet when she tries to walk on it and she has known great pain at someone or something else’s will. (Her tail didn’t naturally fall off.)

Because their nails are always sharp, they can accidently scratch you. Cats play too and will play with you. If you do something to them that frightens, threatens or hurts them though, their claws and their teeth will make their presence known.

THEY HAVE A UNIQUE LANGUAGE: I promise you if cats have curse words in their language then Meatball and Spaghetti will put the foulest mouth to shame. There are times when our cats get along beautifully. They are playing together or curled up, even grooming one another and then the fight is on. They hiss, they screech, they yell.

IT IS TRUE, THEY DO NOT LIKE WATER: Because of that the feline bath spa is not open for clients here. Spaghetti has, however, been subjected to one bath since her arrival. It was only because she had been injured. Two adults and four hands were little match for one cat, her teeth and four paws with razors on them.

Once though when Spaghetti was in the bathroom while my husband showered she did stalk the shower curtain. Just at the edge of the floor (its a roll-in, wheelchair accessible shower) he could see her walking one end to the other. Amazed, I guess, that anyone would willingly enter a “room” where it poured rain.

CATS DO NOT SUBMIT WELL TO LEASHES. Our daughter has tried, starting especially with Meatball when she was younger, to train both cats on being on a leash. Guess what? Cats are not dogs. Cats have instincts that refuse to submit to being on a leash and “walked”.

Owner:  "Look Spaghetti and Meatball.  See?  Other cats can be walked on a leash."
Cats: "If all the other cats jumped off a cliff, do you want us to jump?"
Owner: "Of course not.  Other owners have taught their cats to walk on a leash is all I am pointing out."
Cats: "Ah.  Well, you are not those other owners, now are you?"

Meatball simply sits or lays down and stares at you like you have grown two heads, maybe three. Instead of walking while you hold the leash, this one lifts up on her tippity toes and refuses to move, or allows you to pull her along.

Spaghetti? In a split second she can get out of a harness and be gone before you put her on the ground. (Hence her runaway gig a bit ago.) She’s a harness and leash Houdini.

CATS ARE NOT QUIET ALL THE TIME. Our felines are like kids in that when you do not hear or see them, you should jump up to investigate because they are into something. Recently my husband and I were in our room doing our own thing. Outside it is cold, and rainy so both cats were in our daughter’s room. Our daughter is at work. Then my senses hear the silence.

Me:  "Honey, what are the cats doing?"
Husband: "Oh, I'm sure they are fine, probably having a cat nap."

Splat! Something or some feline is greeting the wall in a personal way. Crash! There goes whatever they’ve managed to knock off or over. Bang! Hiss! Crunch! Louder hiss. Crash! Again with something bouncing off the wall.

By the time my husband reached the bedroom it was too late. Food and water bowls empty, contents everywhere, water mixing with the food and some litter into a truly disgusting sight. Litter box close to empty of all unused litter. Items from our daughters shelves laying helter-skelter in her floor. Cat condo knocked over. Toys scattered. Dirty clothes have been thrown out of the clothes basket. It was a mess. So cats are not always quiet and they are not neat and tidy.

CATS TREAT YOU LIKE YOU TREAT THEM. If you are kind to a cat, you have a much higher chance that the feline will be nice to you. If you aren’t chasing it, pulling its tail, or bullying in some way cats aren’t likely go to return the attention. Rough housing has its place but it isn’t with an animal (even one with talon claws and vampire looking teeth). Its one thing to play with your pet and another to bully.

—-Donna

Said yes to prayer. After months of wishing I could smack a man with a big stick.

Often, I can hear God laughing at me. You know those kind of times, right? When I make my own decision, my own declaration and I sound like an over-indulged, spoiled person instead of the Daughter of the King, the Lord God Almighty.

A couple of Sunday’s ago our church began a witnessing focus where we were encouraged to pray for the one person God put on our hearts to pray for. Specifically for them to come to know Christ in a personal relationship. First, I confess I prayed and thought, “Okay, I am good. No one…”

Then God whispered a name. I groaned. Right there in church I literally groaned and began to argue with the Lord.

This particular person is someone I have prayed for on and off until last year for about a decade. Some things he has done there is pictorial evidence of. About a year ago he was arrested for allegedly physically abusing his young son. Understand this, at that point my heart was too hurt (knowing quite well the child involved as well as his other children) to keep the praying going.

God never said, “Donna you can stop”. I think He understood all the circumstances and gave me a brief reprieve. Now, this man’s name was being whispered in my ear.

“Are you sure that’s You, Lord? I mean, You know what this man has done. And IT IS CHILD ABUSE GOD. Surely You do not mean I have to start praying for him again?”

Again his name echoed in my heart.

Then the best argument against my praying for this one man I had, I thought. “But God, I do not think having me pray for him is in his best interest. All I’ve wanted to do for a year is smack the man upside his head with my big stick.”

For the third time God repeated His request.

I knew if I wanted to be in God’s will in this I was going to have to follow through with what God wanted. Around the lump in my throat (all those excuses/reasons I had to not pray for this young man) I submitted.

After day one I have not had any resentment praying for this guy. I do not recount his sins even those against people I love. Proof God is in this praying.

God is still laughing about the big stick though. (It is two 1/2″ dowel rods duck taped together at the end of one against the end of the other. I use it daily to reach things I can not get to from my wheelchair. Like the light switch.)

Let’s be honest. Christian or not, it is not easy to pray for people who you perceive as a threat to you, your family, your faith or your way of life. Sometimes our perceptions are wrong. Sometimes it is the result of realities.

Finishing up my prayer time and Bible study time with God in these wee small hours of the morning and beginning to pray for another person it was hard to submit to doing, I hear God laughing. “Have we not been in this particular conversation before?”

“Well, yes God and I will do as You have asked. But, God, I do still have my big stick”.

—Donna

…”apple of my eye”.

Our nieces and nephews are a great source of love, comfort and joy for their funcle (fun uncle) and I. On a recent occasion we were together one of eight-year-old nieces was in a mood. She was hot. She was cold. Her hair should be up, no she wanted it down. Why was the drive taking so long? Why were we there so quickly? She was finding little happiness in anything.

I called her over and gave her a huge hug. Kissed her forehead and said, “Now what’s going on with you Miss Moody?” Nothing. No reply.

I told her, “I see something has you unhappy and I’m sorry. I just want you to know you are the apple of my eye.” From her face hidden on my shoulder she peeked up at me.

“What’s Bubba?”

“Oh, he’s the orange,” I said.

She popped up and grinned. “The orange?”

She sat back down a happier child. Proceeded to eat her seven shrimp and five of mine, plus a piece of broccoli from her funcle’s plate. All her crankiness did not melt away but she giggled more and lunch was a happier experience for us all.

I understood how she felt. How often do I feel the need to feel God’s arms holding me and hear Him tell me He loves me? All the time. On this day whatever had our niece in mood was set right by the reminder she was extra special to me. She is extra special. Everyone of our nine nieces and nephews are special to us. We love the love and joy they bring to us and we try to give them love and joy too.

Today, look up to God and ask Him for a hug and reminder of how much He loves you. There is no shame in asking for what you need. Then pray about the person in your life that needs the same reminder from you.

It will change everything if you let it.

—-Donna

…where are you people of integrity?

Been thinking about elected officials a lot, especially the last two presidential elections. For the last 20 years as I have witnessed the caliber of candidates running for official offices I find myself asking “Who is their right mind would run for any office”? Especially for President of the United States. “Who is worthy of holding the office?” “Whose life, not just their own lives but their family’s and anyone else who knows them, can withstand the scrutiny?”

Should your life survive the search for dirt or any thing that could be blown up to be dirt it doesn’t matter. Your opposition, whether a person or a political party or the media, will gleefully invent one on you. Then these same people will never let the argument against you winning die. Ever.

No, I am not suggesting that just anyone should be able to be the President of the United States, a senator, a representative, governor, supreme court judge or dog catcher. These people in these leadership positions in our country should be men and women of integrity, honesty, sound judgment and whose life reflects wise discernment. They should also not be a person who has been on the wrong side of the law or who takes the law into their own hands. Their work and life should give them the experience to take what they know, listening skills, and a sense of right from wrong and put it to work for “we the people”.

Every person on planet Earth is a flawed human being. Because of that we cannot live perfect lives. Show me one man/woman who makes the claim they are perfect, never making a mistake or failing to exercise good decision making skills and I will show you a liar.

In John 8: 1-11 Jesus was questioned by the teachers of the law and the Pharisees who had brought a woman accused of adultery before him for his take on the matter.

Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground “When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ ”

The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1973, 1978; The Zondervan Corporation.

Who fits these qualifications? In the movie Courageous the dad whose young daughter was killed in an automobile accident asks a large congregation, Where are you men of integrity? Since it was a movie multiple men stood. Real life is not a movie and can not be scripted. My question though is still, “Where are you people of integrity? You people of character and sound judgment? Who will stand in the gap* for all American citizens and not be bought off?”

*”I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” (Ezekiel 22:30 NIV)

The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1973,1978; The Zondervan Corporation.

Can we really ask for candidates and leaders who are perfect? In doing so we, if honest, would eliminate everyone before they signed the paperwork stating their intention to run for office. I have felt like I was casting a vote for the least of two evils for the last twenty plus years. Prior to those years I didn’t exercise good judgment when voting. Not quite understanding the connection between my vote and the weight it carried when it came to running this country.

For example, I remember voting for Bill Clinton once. Why? Because I agreed with his policies? Proposed ideas? No, he was a guest on Arsenio Hall’s late night talk show and he played the saxophone. I thought it was so cool that a president would be so “normal” so “cool”. I learned a powerful lesson in that thought process.

Where are candidates who possess character? (Character as in truthful, doing the right thing in a situation or standing up to the influence of evil to do the right thing.) Not character as in, “What a character they are” that everyone laughs and jokes about. The latter we have more than enough of!

Right now I can not name one politician that I would put my trust in. Not one. I try to understand people’s reasons for voting for someone and I end up shaking my head. Here in our state we elected a former SEC football coach to be a senator. He worked in the football arena for 40 years. But his coaching is not a record on which to base a political career. He was even a legal resident of Florida when he agreed to throw his cap into the senate race. This man was not qualified to run and yet because citizens of our state were sick of the one he was running against, the coach won easily.

A consequence of political games is that in the event of and aftermath of bad leadership American’s are sick and tired of games as usual. We have no one to truly trust. In the lack of someone standing in the gap for us, we are hurling ourselves off the edges of cliffs and there are no safety nets.

I repeat, “Where are those people of integrity who we need to help seek political office”? They will not be found trying to bully anyone with an opinion or way of life that differs from their own, They will not be found breaking into any thing, a federal, state, city or personal piece of property. They will not be found setting fire to businesses. They will not be found murdering anyone whether in seemingly righteous anger or any other kind of anger. They can not be found among criminals. They cannot be found in abusing the power of any badge or office. They cannot be found if among those who have no respect for all life.

—Donna

…Help! This isn’t who I brought home!

Art & quote by dfav.

Photo filters.

Posting pictures of our pets, flowers or quotes as profile pictures on social media all the time.

Posting pictures of people other than ourselves and claiming the one pictured is us. (You do know this is the first move of a catfisher, right?)

Weaves. Wigs. Toupees.

Artifical nails.

Shapewear. Shoe lifts. Knock-offs.

Cushioned “help” in the buttocks and chest area.

Colored contact lenses.

Fat injections. Botox. Liposuction. Cool sculpture.

(This is not an exhaustive list.)

These are all things that in my opinion alter our appearance, often drastically. Or leads other people to believe we are not who we actually are. Perhaps not singularly as much as multiples of them in/on the same person.

Picture with me two people, complete strangers, meeting somewhere sharing a meal, chatting and exchanging phone numbers. Or maybe sharing this special date via Skype or some similar program. Time passes and eventually they physically meet and are alone. Can you see the surprise when Person A begins taking off all the artifical? By the time Person B has a look at the real Person A they do not know whether to stay and get to know this “new” person or run for the nearest Uber driver.

Or maybe when Person A gets finished with their reveal Person B begins theirs?

As members of the human race we go to a lot of work and spend a lot of time and money covering up what we look like. Denying even who we really are. Technology, inventors, scientists and some doctors have spent a lot of time helping us. What other “good things” could have been discovered while all these intelligent minds were rushing products to the shelves to help us hide. What good could have come from that time and effort being invested into other areas?

I know, I know, you want to look your best. Who honestly can even think its an even playing field when some humans are “born beautiful.” All the well meant and best intended advice that “you are beautiful where it matters, on the inside” does not usually translate into a date any night of the week. Looks also matter in the employment field. That or the money to be connected and so you can name drop or smile your way into a great job.

Do not all these things we do to ourselves give us equal opportunity? No. That’s a 100% honest and unvarnished piece of truth. There are hundreds of things that can keep someone from having the “big success” in career, social life, marriage, social economic status. Looks is one of them. All these items to alter your appearance? To project a person you are not on the inside? Do they help? Maybe. Depends on the people you are trying to impress. Then I question who is this person so turned by a pretty face or a fat checking account or a well known surname?

Then you spend even more time keeping up the image, pretending everything is perfectly okay, you are on top of every square inch of your world. With each second that ticks and tocks away deep down you are constantly see-sawing between all you have created to be you (the lies) and who you are (the truth).

Regardless of how much “magic” one manages to purchase to give them opportunties that felt to be impossible one thing is status quo, inside you are who you are. Sure, you can change bad habits, diet, get more education, move up the financial and social status ladders but those aren’t “quick fixes”. These changes require hours and hours of determination, dedication, hard work, scarifice and money.

How long before the artifical changes are revealed as just one big lie? Come on, admit it. Do you know who looks back at you from that mirror? The one you do a mental checklist in before you go out into the world?

The illusion is even easier to pull off for a longer time with the internet and especially the pandemic going on across the world. We are becoming faces behind a computer screen instead of flesh and bone people.

Counting myself as an “ugly girl” my offense in the artifical “not me” would be when I had the funds I had gel nails and I’ve worn a wig a couple times. Once to hide damaged hair from medical issues and yes, once to gain more attention at a Navy Officer’s Club in my 20’s. (Yes, I know how that wig worked it’s magic. It had a life of its own. It became my identify.) I got tired of that wig though. Tired of keeping up the pretense the intensive curly long mane screamed I had become.

Then I got tired of the second wig because it was so hot in humidity ripened 100 degree weather. Even though this time it was a much more day-to-day, much shorter wig I put it in a box tucked away somewhere.

A lack of funds meant a choice between artifical nails or bills getting paid, so the nails went to the by-way.

Honestly, too I am thinking of again wearing a wig and with medication ruining nails I once could grow for myself, I long for them too. For what reason? Fifty-six or not, I still want to look in the mirror and see a woman with hair. Not splitting or breaking a nail picking up a paperclip would be wonderful too. Maybe that’s why everyone else does it too. Medical reasons. Keeping a spouse happy (dangerous reason). It just makes you happy.

Either way it saddens me to witness the great by-pass of true realness. We joke about it. The 6’2″, well built, ruggedly handsome man on the computer screen turning out to be a 5’6″, pudgy man living in his parent’s basement. Or the incredibly beautiful female with perfect skin, hair, nails, clothes and body shape who really looks like the average woman with fussy hair, not-so-perfect body and a chip in her nail polish now and then. For just a few seconds lets forget all our reasons for being artifically attractive. What does this drive communicate?

What does it say to our daughters? What lengths are we teaching them to go to in order to “have a partner/companion”? What are we showing our sons to measure a woman by? Are we showing our children that whatever it is we are trying to “overcome” in our lives it is something or someone elses fault?

What are we saying to society as a whole? Do whatever it takes to level that playing field? Better yet put yourself in a higher position to catch the prize and if you haul tons of grudges, hatred and anger with you so what? Does it matter if you crush anyone you came upon? Once you are on top you will be kind then? Life is never going to be all the same for everyone. Everyone’s mind, physical make-up, soul and hearts are not the same. Everyone’s motives are not the same. Are we human beings or have we been replaced by some yet unknown artifical intelligence?

It reminds me of faternity and sorority hazing. Whenever I would ask a full fledged member why the degredation, humilitation and pain were necessary to become a “brother or sister” I got bluntly honest answers. Bottom line always came down to, “I went through it so they have to do worse. I suffered so now they suffer even more.” Never have understood that. Not sure I ever will. If every pledge group is treated more harshly than the previous as some revenge or payback how long can it continue?

These events in a persons life I believe reveals their true self.

  • Being in a situation where your dying is the likely outcome.
  • Having the opportunity to make a change and doing it. Will you treat everyone you perceive as mistreating you the way you want them to treat you?
  • Marriage.
  • Becoming a parent.
  • Standing before God for judgment.

Why bring your attention to such a trivial matter? Who really cares if humans “fake” a bit, it is not hurting anyone right? I propose it is.

I can not feel satisifed with myself if I am constantly seeking something else I can add, raise, suck out or tuck away on my body. I only feel that okayness with who I am and what I look like if I have aligned my heart with God the Father. There are times when I question who I am, what I look like and how much more my medical issues will take from me. I learned the hardest way possible that when we let our careers define us, when they are who we are the time will come when that career will be stripped from you. Its a hard crash to come back from. But, God is always there. I am being me in this un-me world.

What if we deverted 10% of the time we spend in make-believe to spending time with God? To telling others about Jesus the Way of Life? To being a witness for all God has done for you?

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:9-11:

"For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am who I am and his grace to me was not without effect.  No I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."

The Holy Bible, New International Version.  1973, 1978 by International Bible Society.  The Zondervan Publishers

Let’s try being who we are in the grace of God. Maybe then we can make the changes in this world so needed if we can do a couple things. Be honest about who and what we are and taking care of our business instead of other peoples.

—-Donna

A WordPress.com Website.

Up ↑