It is 4:29 in the morning and gratefully I am awake after five hours of sleep. God usually whispers “Come with me” at this time. This morning He and I will discuss the COVID-19 vaccination. Again. Our appointment is at 8:15. Today is the day. We comply with the government’s request to take this preventive measure.
No, I am not sure about this.
Our household of three had COVID in December of 2020. Of the three of us, I am the one with lasting side effects. My eyesight was weakened. I am also the one whose immune system and health history make me more vulnerable to take anything “experimental”.
For me the more the government pushes this vaccine the more I hesitate. Why?
Simple, no one can be trusted to speak the truth. Certainly not Dr. Falsely. (Misspelling intended). Nor the CDC or WHO. Neither can government officials. My own health care providers listen to my concerns and reply with the same assurances. Like every one is reading the same cue card. The risk is minimal, take the vaccine.
By nature I am a rule keeper. But, this time I am unsure. Let’s be frank, the whole COVID experience is fraught with too many questions and too few answers.
For all those assuring me the risks are minimal I wearily reply that they themselves have no idea what it is like to be in that small percentage. I do.
Herd mentality is aggressively pushing us to shut up and take the shot, get in line again and take it again. Oh, and be prepared to repeat the process in six months to a year. Wear a mask, wear two no three masks! How selfish to even think about non-compliance. I am not prepared to be an obedient cow on this. Are you?
What I am sure about is God not allowing evil to prevail. I am confident He knows the future and that He will walk me through whatever the outcome of this vaccine is for me. I am reminded that the moments and minutes I live and breathe right now at 5:18 in the morning are miraculous. I have been on the literal edge of death before and God chose to spare me for this morning.
He is trustworthy. By His very nature He is not a liar. When that needle slides into my arm later this morning I am sure that my Heavenly Father loves me and is with me. Plus, if He does not want me to take the shot He will clearly show me this too.
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.
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.
Continuation of yesterday's blog, "...what happened to Fox News? (Part 1)"
During the Summer of 2020 Murdoch and Trump had an argument.
Trump accused Murdoch of “encouraging” Fox to run negative reports about him. Though not supported by Ecarma’s* piece, it was, it appears, a decision made by Trump to question Murdoch’s support that lead to a negative consequence. It is not to far a step to see that if Murdoch used his influence to have news coverage that was positive towards Trump promoted he could use it to be stopped. Problem is, if this was true, it could just as easily backfire on Murdoch, Fox News as well as Trump.
Trump did allegedly confront Murdoch during the Summer of 2020 in anger. It’s incredible that so close to the November 3 election that Trump would do anything to risk Fox’s support, it makes little sense. But, to do so appears to fit with his personality.
Prior to the research done for this blog I witnessed several news coverages of press conferences. I noticed from what he himself revealed or people around him said, that Trump has many positive attributes.
One, he is a hard worker, survives on little sleep and expects the same dedication and work ethic from those around him.
Two, Trump is willing to make personal sacrifices for the United States of America. While there are those in our country and among the politicians of today who are calling for the wealthy to give up their wealth to assure someone else a boost up, (or level the start line for success for everyone) I never heard any of them willing to point out that Donald Trump was doing that already.
The man donates his salary as the President of the United States to various charities, keeping only the $1 required by law. Yes, it does mean he can get a tax credit for his charitable contributions but that is available to everyone who contributes to charities, non-profits, and churches for example. Of course, take that away from the wealthy and evidentualy it will mean it will be taken from us all.
Three, President Trump has kept his promise and hasn’t played “politics”. This, in my opinion, has as much to do with who Trump is as it does with how he’s been treated by Congress. He’s not been able to count on back-up even within the Republican party because he wasn’t playing the political game the way they’re accustomed to playing.
When his dedication, hard work and sacrifice goes unappreciated and unnoticed his feelings get hurt. When his feelings get hurt he does not do himself any favors by Tweeting or addressing the press. Some people find him rude, bossy, crude and worse. The picture they would paint of him, to me, is that of a bull in a china shop wearing a size 22 double pair of shoes. Although, it is that, I believe which attracts supporters of Trump to him. People are fed up with politics as usual. Whichever political party you support, you should be hearing that message by now.
It’s my opinion that Trump may not be the only person who, when they feel unappreciated, act in inappropriate ways. I believe Murdoch reacted to Trump’s words and accusations and did use his influence to pull Fox’s support.
The Murdoch’s are trying to explain their betrayal so they can save their money. Already it seems Fox is beginning to pay the cost of folding to Murdoch’s pressure. Conservatives, who made up the highest percentage of Fox viewers are pulling their viewership. Fox is in the same boat as all the other main stream media and the name of it is “Untrusted”.
This blogger repeats, Ecarma in his article in Vanity Fair HIVE, nor Maass in The Intercept made the same tie-in I did to that argument between Murdoch and Trump. We watched that coverage change right before our eyes. Not only did Fox begin to mock Trump and trash him they along with all the other main stream media they certainly do not act as if finding out the truth matters at all anymore.
Will the recount, investigations into any of the occurrences of suspected voter fraud change the result of the election? Maybe not enough for Trump to win but it will sure begin to restore the American people’s trust in our voting process and procedures. No relationship can sustain itself, grow in a healthy manner, resolve conflicts and thrive if the foundations of truth and honesty do not exist. No such foundation exists now.
*Reference quoted in Part 1. “Is Rupert Murdoch Completely off the Trump Train?”, The Vanity Fair HIVE by Caleb Ecarma, 10/15/2020
With COVID, my husband’s illness, my lack of mobility when I am alone, we’ve not been blessed by being able to attend church services steadily once our state government made it possible again. Until the last month when it depended on physical strength, breathing and a whole lot of wanting to.
This morning, for the first time in eight months my bass singing husband was able to stand up with the worship team and sing again. It was a tremendous faith resulting event for both of us, our church and wholly the work of God in our lives.
Not surprising, music is where God worked in my heart right away this morning.
For every day and night since the 2020 Presidential Election kicked into high gear I’ve really wrestled with trying to understand what was going on. After the actual vote I kept it up. As of this writing, the only ones sure of a winner of the Presidential Election are the national news media and the Democratic Proclaimed winner.
I still have many questions. Answers seem far away. Truth seems to have disappeared. This country, America, that I love, seems closer to peril than before the election. And yes, I really struggle with not reacting to posts, comments, and people whose actions, behaviors and thought processes are plain offensive.
This morning though messages I received that eliminated part of the struggle for me came from the lyrics of a song, “In the Father’s House” as sung by Cory Asbury.
"...my failure won't define me
That's what my Father does...
Ooh...lay your burdens down.
Ooh...here in the Father's House.
Check your shame at the door,
'Cause it ain't welcome anymore,
Ooh...you're in the Father's house..."
If in my quest to avoid conflict, confrontation with people I consider friends and even some of my family members, I kept the “peace”. Had it come at a dreadful cost? If so, I found assurance that it’s a failure that won’t define me. I know I voted the way I was lead to by God, the Father. Yet, I also know people who would say the same thing about themselves who voted exactly opposite of me.
If God was leading all of us, then how did we end up at such radically different decisions when our pens touched the ballots this week? If anything should absolutely mirror us the exact same, it should be the Word of God.
Now if you don’t believe in God, or His Word and have no respect for either or anyone who does, that would answer the question immediately. I’m not talking about those who choose this way to live. I’m talking about those of us who claim we do.
"The story's never over,
If the story isn't good,
Failure's never final
When the Father's in the room."
This portion of the son brought load of tears to my eyes. If I am the one who has sinned and refused to listen to the Father’s directive, “the story” isn’t over even if it isn’t good. God will take my failure and make something good out of it. That’s the kind of God He is. Now, He won’t remove the consequences of my sin (if in this case I am the one who is wrong) but He is prepared to help all of us through the next four years. The story doesn’t end here, in these moments.
After investing a lot of time into researching a lot of the candidates and their respective parties, I have come away with a cynical, very cynical view of main stream media. Plus, so many of the alternative sources as well. Add to that the candidates themselves.
For example, in my home state we had a long-term Democratic senator on the ballot for re-election. Not sure of the reasons why exactly the Alabama Republican Party put forth a former instate SEC football coach to challenge him. In my research this coach was a decent coach but he has no political experience and at the time of his nomination was a resident of Florida.
Was this the best we had? Maybe so. Would you run for a political office given the cess pool politics has become? I sure wouldn’t. Maybe that’s why our pool of choices was so limited.
I voted for the coach simply because my conscience wouldn’t allow me to vote for the now outgoing senator. He was the least of two evils.
"Miracles take placeThe cynical find faith And love is getting through When the Father's in the room. Jericho walls are quakin' Strongholds now are shakin' Love is breakin' through When the Father's in the room..."
With those words I could picture all of our prayers combining this morning, upholding one another, a crowd of around a hundred people (and more not knowing how many were viewing our service on Facebook or YouTube), lifting our hearts and voices in prayer.
I could almost hear the steady thump, thump of the feet of the children of Israel as they marched around Jericho in silence until the last day. Or were those our feet marching around Washington D.C.? The strongholds shaking were those of the past or of the current? Right down to the private ones we hid in our lives?
We were certainly reaching God. I could almost see the movement between us of the Holy Spirit. Was this same uplifting happening in every other House of Worship this morning? If not, why not? If we’re all worshipping the same God, how can we be so divided?
Not just on abortion, healthcare, taxes, jobs, foreign relations, racial relations, education to name a few, but on the foundational stones of our society and our lives? Things like truth? Trust? You absolutely cannot build any relationship if there is not 100% honesty so there can be 100% trust.
I’m blessed again by being able to say, I was able to understand all this even before our pastor preached. He too brought the Gospel and the truth.
Anyone in America that claims not to know there’s a presidential election on November 3, 2020 must have been off the planet since 2014. Following that election those on the losing side have been trying to undo the results of that election. It doesn’t set much hope for this election either.
As a country we’re electing a president. His running mate is going to be vice-president. The President and Vice President of the United States of America. Regardless of who I’m voting for tomorrow, the most important thing is to know who I’m voting for before I enter the poll. This is no time to feel pressured to make a decision. I’m sickened by it all and sick of it all. Can’t we just vote?
Who you’re choosing to vote for, in my opinion, doesn’t matter as much as you voting. Exercise you’re right to vote. It could save your other rights. “Please, please vote. I hope you VOTE. Fulfill your obligation”.
It’s our daughter’s first time to vote, period. We know she’s backing another candidate rather than our’s. That is her privilege, her decision, her right. But, the agony of waiting my turn to vote in person is gnawing at me. Really it’s the unknown of what either side will do or leave someone else to do that is frightening.
Remember 2016 when colleges had to call classes off because kids were so upset President Trump won and not Senator Hillary Clinton? Crayons, coloring books and pizza were brought in. Students were wailing on campus lawns. Professional counselers stood ready to help.
Who or what will they do this time?
You’re getting close to the deadline to vote. This time tomorrow it will be over.
VOTE FOR WHO YOU BELIEVE TRULY CARES ABOUT OUR COUNTRY!
Recently I was blessed to be able to go to a local retailer. For the last year with COVID-19, my husband’s health crisis and all the details around them including my mobility issues, getting out to do anything is a huge treat. On this exploration I found a unique tree that stirred my imagination.
Yes, it’s a Christmas tree. Yes, all the branches are pointed downwards and fluffed outward. Yes, it’s a silver wire sparkled up half of a dress form. Yes, it has angel wings. Yes, she’s leaning to one side. Yes, that’s it’s name, Lighted Angel Tree.
I have for years made angels without faces because the Bible tells us to be careful because we often entertain angels unaware of who they are.
“Do not forget to entertain strangers; for by so doing, some people have entertained angels without knowing.”
Hebrews 13:2, New International Version, 1973, 1978, The Zondervan Corporation.
My angels also always have a gift in their hands because no angel comes into our lives without some gift. But, I never make them without a head. They may be bald, yet never headless.
About an hour and a half later we went to see Coco. The story line was valuable. Remembering who you come from, your ancestors, has real value in helping you decide on your present life. Sometimes what we think we want, or who we want it from lacks all or most of the truth. Those blind spots can kill a dream. Or open up a door you never thought possible.
I was also struck by the colors. Bright, neon colors in the land for those who have passed away from this life and are still remembered where they because their business in this life is finished. If they go unremembered, eventually they fade completely. These beings live in a fantasy like world in amazingly colorful homes, clothes, spirit guides and the city itself is like a Christmas present on steroids with color, fireworks and color, so much color, patterns and textures.
Many thoughts entered my mind. One query I felt compelled to resolve was what kind of topper would you put on a silver angel tree with wings and no head?
A big red bow?
A big silver bow?
Rudolph’s red nose?
A face mask?
Silver or gold star?
Purple and gold star?
A rainbow striped unicorn horn?
This is no traditional holiday tree. It made me laugh initially. Later, as I pondered the topper situation, I laughed even more. Yes, the head of a lovely woman, even in silver, with a halo would be quite acceptable. But, expected. A less traditional form of that would be a wig stand, in silver, with a golden halo.
There’s also a top hat hung recklessly on the neck. Maybe add a cane and she might pass as a Rockette from the tinsel tree era.
Sometimes we ourselves have great ideas but we leave something vital out of the execution of it. Paul wrote something that reminds me of this situation. Saul, before he became Paul, had spent incredible energy on trying to rid the world of Christians. After his own conversion to Christianity he wrote:
“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 what 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.” (Emphasis mine.)
1 Corinthians 15:9-10 New International Version of the Bible, 1973, 1978, The Zondervan Corporation.
Maybe you’ll never design a headless body form as a Christmas tree leaving the rest of us to try and figure out what topper to put on it. Hopefully you’ll never try to eliminate Christians because you expect everyone to agree with you and your point-of-view. Yet we all make mistakes. We all need grace.
Mistakes sometimes mean you didn’t intend to do what you did. It was an accident. And sometimes it’s a mistake where you made a choice and you chose wrong. “But by the grace of God I am what I am and his grace to me was not without effect.”
Now you have a choice. Do you dull down your bright colors, flatten your presence out by being safe and believing you’re living in the grace of God? I challenge you though to consider how God’s grace in making you was “…NOT WITHOUT EFFECT”. You are who you are, flaws, mistakes and all.
“In his great mercy he has give us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or face—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”
I1 Peter 1:3b-5, New International Version, 1973, 1978, The Zondervan Corporation.
God needs serious thinkers, humorous people, creative people, He needs people from every part of humanity. His grace allows us to be His effective witness to a world muddy and nasty with wrong, with sin.