January 29, 2005

Small blessings



The gray tabby is my snuggle kitty. His name is Doo Doo. He will roll around and bury his head in my chest and purr anytime. He is the purrfect remedy for a case of the blues or a bad mood. It just takes a minute for him to have me smiling and feeling all warm and fuzzy. There isn't another cat (or animal) that could replace him or any amount of money that could buy him from me. He's one of a kind.

My son left didn't close the back door very well the other day, and he got out. When I called after church, they told me that he was missing and they couldn't find him even though they'd searched everywhere. We called for him and looked everywhere that night. I cried and cried and didn't go to bed (or couch) until midnight...with the doors cracked open in case he came home. I thought that I'd surely hear him from the couch if I stayed there. I was so worried and was afraid that he'd been eaten by a dog or smushed by a car. If anything happened to him...I wouldn't be worth shooting. At 01:30 I heard cats howling in the front yard and I bolted up. Thank goodness! One was my Doodie! He was home!!

I never knew that a cat could be so loving or offer so much comfort. I used to make fun of my cousin that had her cat named 'Baby.' That cat would scratch or bite me every time I got near it. Then we got a cat for my son and she was a little witch. He loved her and she loved him, but she was a little witch to me. When I'd have a seizure, I'd wake up with bloody holes where she'd take advantage of the situation and bite the blood out of me. She was cool though in ways because she' bite the heck out of the ex when he'd get abusive, bring blood, then run like crazy and hide. I still didn't understand caring that much for a cat though....until Doodie.

Doodie is just different. We were having construction done on the house and I was sitting in the yard watching one day and he walked up, climbed in my lap, laid on his back, and purred. I had to get him out of the tree a few times because the tomcat across the street or dogs had chased him there. He belonged to the people that owned the tomcat that was trying to kill him, so I worried about him. Then, the neighbor offered him to me becasue she was afraid that her other cat would kill him. I figured that I would find him a home....so I took him to parks and other places trying to find him a home. He'd ride on my shoulder in the car or in my lap. When I'd stop for gas, he'd perch up on my shoulder and watch everything going on around him with fascination. He'd nuzzle his head in my neck and ear and purr. It just took one day for me to fall in love with the little gray ball of fur and decide to keep him as my own. Since then, my armpit or my neck is a couple of his favorite resting places.

He came along when I really needed him. I think that God sent him to me because He knew that I was going to need him with the tough times coming. How in the world does anyone go through tough things without a sweet, adorable, non-complaining animal that loves them back unconditionally exactly when they need them? I thank God for my sweet, adorable, vibrating furrball.

Posted by Barbara at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2005

Happy Birthday Jesse!

Fourteen years ago today, I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy! At fourteen years old, he outweighs me by quite a few pounds and is as tall as me, at least, if not taller. It's hard to believe how small he used to be. The pediatrician told me that he would grow to be apporximately 6'2" by the time he is grown. Geez!! How did we make one that big!!??

Anyway....I'm very proud of him and wanted to recognize him since it is his special day. He is a good boy. He is a good athelete and an excellent student. He makes great grades, is a memeber of the Beta club, has been student of the year for the last couple of years at his school, is on the football team, is on the wrestling team, is in the TSA (Techology Student Association), plays paintball, gets 'good character' awards, and has a lot of friends. Besides that, he has a big heart and loves everyone. He doesn't care what you look like, how you dress, your race, your sex or how popular you are before he is your friend. He is everyone's friend. I really like that about him and I think that he will go far in life.

Happy Birthday Jesse!! I'm very proud!!

Posted by Barbara at 03:43 PM | Comments (1)

January 18, 2005

Moral Dilemmas

What is worse? To abort a child or to knowingly do hard drugs like chyrstal meth, cocaine, or even large amounts of alcohol that will cause severe physical and psychological ill effects on a baby after birth? If an abortion isn't punishable by law because it isn't a baby, then why aren't these horrible crimes done to the full term "baby" punishable in a court of law? I don't get it.

THIS is what we should be focusing our attention on. THIS leaves us with not only painful newborn deaths, but live babies that are suffering from withdrawals, psychological problems, mental retardation, physical distortions and defects, and physiological problems. I'm not saying that we shouldn't be looking into the safest and most effective laws for abortion, but that this is far too overlooked. Women do it everyday and don't even get so much as a slap on the hand then keep on doing their drugs until they get pregnant and mess up the next child that ends up on our streets and in our mental institutions for the taxpayers to pay for with a pitiful quality of life.

Many would say that we cannot tell a woman what to do with her body when it comes to the abortion issue. Would these same people say that we cannot tell a woman not to do things that she knows will harm a baby she plans to carry to full term? When does the baby or fetus have rights? When it is born and healthy if the mother chose to let it be?

Posted by Barbara at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2005

Holy Rollers

It's been on my mind lately that my husband said that the people at his church generally reacted with pity when they found out that I was a 'holy roller.' In other words, I go to a Church of God church and believe in their doctrines. He may have been joking but he does refer to my church as the, 'holy rolling, Bible banging, pew jumping church.' However, I find this hard to believe when I have met people from his church and they all seem very nice and were very pleasant to me. I also read in a post by my husband about his church that they believe that everyone should respect each others beliefs or religion whether they embrace it themselves or not. I actually believe that he has been trying to do this with me and trying to respect my religion even though he doesn't embrace it. He has been much nicer about it lately, but I still think that he has a way to go before he actually comes to terms with it.....if he ever does. If he doesn't, I guess that it is understandable, because I will never be able to embrace the fact that he is an atheist. I will continually pray for his deliverance and that he will see the light. However, I will not badger him about it or give him a hard time about going to his church. I will just pray and fast on occasion for his salvation. I hope that we can maintain a great relationship in spite of our differences.

I think most of the pity comes from him pitying himself? :o) Maybe not pity, but embarrassment? That is understandable too...because I feel the same way about him from time to time. When I am talking to fellow Christians and the subject comes up that he is an atheist, I find myself defending him (and I guess, myself) by telling them what a good man he is and how he volunteers his time for charitable things and does things to help others and gets involved with the community as much as he can. Most people think the very worst when they hear the word atheist in the groups of people that I know. Maybe the groups of people that he knows thinks the absolute worst when they hear 'pentacostal', or 'holy roller,' or 'Church of God lady.' Who knows?

All I know is that I have to do what I think is right and feel lead to do and he does too. In the end, maybe our iedas will line up after we have done more searching individually?? Who knows?? Maybe one of us will have a revelation. Maybe we will NEVER agree at all.

Pray for us...if you pray.....jump a pew....or whatever you do. ;O)

Posted by Barbara at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2005

The Little Things

Dear friends, let us practice loving each other, for love comes from Godand those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God, and that they are getting to know him better.

The earnest prayer of a righteous man has a great power and wonderful results.

For nothing is impossible with God.

I have held many things in my hands, and have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess.

If it's nothing more than a smile--give that away and and keep on giving it.
Beth Brown

God has given us two hands--one to receive with and the other to give with.

Hope is the companion of power and mother of success; for whoso hopes strongly has within him the gift of miracles.
Samuel Smiles

Giving is the secret of a healthy life. Not necessarily money, but whatever a man has of encouragement and sympathy and understanding.

Posted by Barbara at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2005

Tommy Tenney

This was very interesting to me today so I thought that I would share. This is from the Tommy Tenney (God Chasers) website of Daily Devotions.

Experiencing His Presence
Devotions For God Catchers
Week 5, Day 2

Let Hunger Rise and Have Its Say!

Have we become like the Laodicean church members who said, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” while totally unaware that they were “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”?3 (The God Catchers, p. 63).

Rent a meeting room, set tables, and invite 200 guests to a five-course meal “fit for kings.” Then watch what happens when your guests are “served” by perfectly dressed and trained waiters delivering single servings of sugar pills, pieces of fruit-flavored chewing gum on toothpicks, breath mints, antacid tablets, and plastic wrapped candies. The guests may manage to preserve the pretense of civility for one or two of these “courses,” but the time inevitably will come when someone brave enough to break the silence will voice his hunger (and irritation with such a façade of a feast).

Would this one person’s honesty make his less vocal companions feel embarrassed at first? Would that make his honesty inappropriate or wrong? How does this example apply to your life and your local church experience?
The medical world uses the term, placebo, to describe the sugar pills physicians sometimes prescribe as “medication” for unknowing patients. These “medications” have no medicinal or nutritional properties, but the patients gladly receive them as the cure for what ails them. How many times do we go home after our worship gatherings happily clutching powerless spiritual placebos prescribed in place of the real cure for our gnawing hunger of the heart? (It is rare to find an insincere or dishonest pastor, so the problem must be that spiritual leaders are simply human too.)

We go through life trying to fill our existence with empty platitudes and man-pleasing programs while we gradually grow weaker and colder in spirit—until the day hunger finally rises up to have its say.

Have you ever felt hunger rise up in your soul to voice your hunger in desperate tones? What would happen when or if it did?

Why does it take so long for us to perceive our condition and seek the face of our Cure? In the absence of courage, truth is most often concealed and weakness is rarely revealed. God had good reason to warn us that fearing man is the equivalent of a dangerous trap set for our souls.4 Momentary fear races through entire church congregations when even one voice rises to God in uninhibited frustration and desperation, “God, I need You!”

When this kind of honesty surfaces in a church service, we start to feel awkward. That is because most of us are uncomfortable with this amount of intense hunger ...

We are afraid to recognize and confess our gnawing hunger of the heart, and we are even more afraid of its cure—a fresh and intimate encounter with the presence of God. It’s simple: God’s children need more than Daddy’s Word, Daddy’s gifts, Daddy’s daily provision, or the assistance of Daddy’s earthly assistants. We need Him. We desperately long to feel His touch on our lives (The God Catchers, p. 63).

Why would God release such a spirit of hunger in a local church? Why did He put this book in your hands? Could it be that desperate hunger part of His divine agenda for you?

What Do You Think?

Some of us have “faked fullness” for most of our Christian lives. Whether in church or on the job, we live with a pasted-on smile, and we refuse to leave home without it. The truth is that more and more Christian “fakers of fullness” are saying, “I’ve had enough of that.” Their inner hunger is beginning to get the best of them, and God is beginning to get interested once again (page 63).

1. What do you think? Are you personally acquainted with “faked fullness” and the pasted-on smile? Explain.

2. Honestly, is your inner hunger beginning to get the best of you? Describe what is happening in your life as you learn more about hunger and the pursuit of God.

Scripture Reading: Revelation 3:14-19, in which Jesus reveals the desperate condition of the complacent and satisfied church.

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:
15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

The New King James Version, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 1998, c1982.

Prayer Father, not my will but Yours be done. In Your mercy, deliver me from the snare of satisfaction and the sin of complacency. Thank You for opening my eyes to my own desperate condition. I’m determined to pursue You and sooth my heart’s longing in Your presence.

Posted by Barbara at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2005

New Year's Resolutions

I hadn't really thought about making any because I look to better myself daily... whether it actually happens or not. I did, however, START thinking about it after seeing my husband's list on his blog. This is what his looks like...

Break alcohol addiction. I quit smoking nearly two years ago, after discovering that it was possible to do so. It has taken me so much longer to quit drinking because, frankly, alcohol is such a kick. There's nothing that beats the mellow contentment brought by a couple or three glasses of wine, slugs of whiskey, bottles of beer, or margaritas on the rocks. But that carefree bliss is unsustainable. After a few minutes, the only choices for me are to "come down", or to continue on to oblivion. Dependence is the other factor. It isn't good to be unable to relax or even make it through the day without the sauce. I'm currently five weeks dry.

Retrospectives! A year ago today, I moved to Movable Type on smijer.com. I resisted the urge to place great big honkin' "Mission Accomplished" banner at the top of the page.

Learn to juggle! I'm about two weeks into this project, now working on tricks like the reverse cascade. It feels nearly as good as the wine once did. And it may turn out to be even more addictive. Lord knows I start before 7:00 p.m. every day!

Learn magic. I don't know about you, but the words "how did you do that?" spoken with intensity and sincerity are among the most gratifying in the human language to me. A guy who can juggle and do magic will soon be holding in thrall nieces, nephews, and other assorted young 'uns, as he amazes and astounds them with his talents. Also, I secretly hope that understanding the secrets of the deceptive art of magical illusion will give me insight into the deceptive arts of politics and religion, where my other dark interests lie.

Learn spoken Portugese. My friend who accompanies me on my afternoon walk around the walking track at work grew up in Brazil as member of a missionary family. What better way to keep the conversation flowing than to learn his other first language?

Improve my Shower Experience. I'm going to make my wife start keeping her Skunk Juice Soap on the back of the toilet, so I don't have to smell it when I take a shower.
My goals for the New Year look more like this....

Graduate!!! I've worked so long and hard and this is the homestretch. If all goes well, I will graduate in May!! Woohoo!!

Get a new job as a nurse!!! Our financial situation requires that I go back to work and I will finally be able to...but this time doing what I have always wanted to do.

Lose the 20 lbs that I gained over the last several months!!!I threw out the Tapazole that they gave me for Graves Disease that made me gain it. If I can live without it, then 'no thank you!'

Begin learning to speak Spanish. I've always wanted to learn and I think that it would be beneficial to know for working in the health field as well as knowing for communication purposes in general.

Begin attending the Bipolar support groups in support of the members of my family that are Bipolar. People with disorders like this need all the help they can get and it is helpful to know that they are not the only ones that suffer from it as well as having a strong supportive family.

Support my husband as much as I can with the changes that he is making. He was wonderful when he laid down the cigarettes with me when I decided to quit smoking almost two years ago in support of my decision. He has also supported my decision to go back to school and pushed me all of the way. I want to offer that same kind of support for him and hope he can be as successful or more successful than I have been thanks to him.

I really am interested to see his reaction when he sees that there are no magic tricks, illusions, or delusions that draw people into worshiping God though. It's something inside us that draws us to church before they ever even begin preaching to us. We begin our search sometimes and find God without ever stepping into a church or looking to a preacher.

Posted by Barbara at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

It Is So Hard Sometimes

I find it so difficult sometimes to keep a sweet Christian spirit when people are being ugly to me. Especially when they are accusing me of things that I do not do or hurting my children...or just neglecting them in some way. It's even more difficult when someone that is supposed to be your friend takes advantage of you or makes a mistake then blames it on you. I try to remember that God knows the truth and I still have plenty to be thankful for. THAT is the easy part. THEN I remember that I am supposed to be sweet to these people anyway and pray for them....and that is hard. But then there is more. A friend reminded me that we are to do this without complaining....and that is EXTREMELY hard when you feel like you or your children have been dumped on.

Today I decided to pray and seek God's help in this matter and see what kind of scripture references I could come up with that would help me. The verse that popped up on my calendar was, "The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness." PROVERBS 11:5 I'd better work on seeking God to perfect me and direct my way and let the wicked take care of themselves........and we'd better pray for them because their end will be an unpleasant one. Other verses that helped follow....

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you MATTHEW 5:44

If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee. PROVERBS 25:21-22

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil. LUKE 6:35

My friend also reminded me that our troubles are only for a season and that we needed to go through these seasons to learn and grow and for God to teach and use us in the way that He needs to. I have found this to be true so many times in the past but hindsight is so much better.... :o) Anyway, while pondering this, I think about God's grace. Grace means 'forgiving mercy, favour, kindness, and friendship.' If God can forgive me and show me grace as great as He is, then who am I not to do it for others like He wants me to? Even if I have to do it daily.

Posted by Barbara at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)