Rescued Angel

The following was written by my husband yesterday;

Yesterday we noticed this old girl wandering around our neighborhood. She was laying in the road. I walked over to check her condition only to have my heart sink.

She was using the pavement to scratch her back. Her nails on her feet were extremely long.

We gave her food. I put olive only on her back to sooth her bleeding road rash. She sought relief from fleas.

A call to animal control was made and then cancelled. My compassion for the dog knew that the Animal Control option was a delivery to a kill shelter. This old girl was too nice

As we put the dog in a safe haven and got ready to depart for our church food pantry ministry, I made a call to a friend. He said after food pantry he’d come collect the dog and get her to the vet.

The reports were good. ‘Angel’ is now resting at my friend’s house with 3 other dogs being pampered. She’ll need some teeth removed as well as some tumors removed to ride out the rest of her days well cared for and not being a stray.

I am thankful for my friend. He has resources we don’t have to extend a simple act of compassion.

This act of kindness is a perfect example of how God’s will redeems through the body of his church! This compassion was for an old dog. Imagine if such was focused on people likewise.

Simple kindnesses of a handful of God’s children can change the world for one forgotten creature.

Don’t neglect the power of love.

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You May have been Evicted Because….

Sometimes I post our available homes on Facebook groups, like, “Homes for Rent/Sale in Whatever County”. Sometimes.

I would probably do it more often except that nearly every time I post, some random former tenant will start tearing up the thread, accusing the company of having evicted them for absolutely no reason.

For no reason. At. All.

Because that’s what landlords do. They find tenants who are paying their rent on time and keeping the property in good condition and they evict them, just for fun. Because empty homes generate lots of income for them.

There was a highly offended couple who had to vacate their premises just two days. I walked through the home this morning. I wish their new landlords lots of luck. Click the link below to come on a video of today’s tour with me. If you dare….

Take a Walk on the Parkside with me!

These are the Kids in My Life

Another Sabbath has come and is almost gone – will be gone by the time I finish writing this. My heart is heavy this evening, thinking about the kids in my life.

I never had any children of my own, and actually know very little about children. They just weren’t on my radar. I don’t have any regrets over not having any of my own, because some people are just not cut out to be parents. I’m one of them. Here’s the problem – not everyone recognizes this in themselves. People who are not cut out to be parents are out there in the world, breeding like rabbits, and the kids they’re bringing into the world don’t stand a chance. And these are the adults of tomorrow. We already see an entitled generation coming of age; 30 year old “men” whose parents have to legally evict them to get them out of their basements. We like to bash the 30 year old for this, but really… who made them that way?

I’d like to introduce you to some of the children who break my heart on pretty much a daily basis. I’m not using any real names in this post.

Ann. Ann is five years old. She’s adorable and bright. She was born with a condition known as Ectrodactyly, or split hand/foot syndrome. This is a genetic thing she inherited from her mother. Her parents were both drug addicts. Her father took off when she was maybe a year or two old. Her mother lost custody of her when she was maybe two or three and then she was with another family member, and then in foster care. At the age of four she came to live with her aunt, who is my friend. Her aunt, we’ll call her Michelle, is 40 years old, single and has no children of her own. Parental rights on both sides have been terminated. The mother did some time in jail and the father, who lives six miles away has never paid a dime in support and chooses meth over his child. Now the mother is apparently pregnant once again. Great. Ann is a sweet child who loves to hug people, and loves to talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. She randomly blurts out, “My mommy is in jail,” and other statements to that effect. Michelle is doing the very best she can and she got Ann at a very young age so although you can see the kid has baggage, she might not have to carry it forever.

Another friend of mine, Jan is married for the second time and one of the children she’s raising is her biological granddaughter, by her first husband. Why is she raising her granddaughter? Because her daughter and son in law sexually abused the little girl when she was an infant and a toddler. The girl is ten years old now and is sometimes very sweet, and sometimes very alarming. She displays some almost sociopathic tendencies and has issues with appropriate boundaries. I’m not sure that she consciously remembers the abuse but subconsciously that’s a whole different story. She addresses her grandmother as “momma”, though she knows she isn’t her mother, and sometimes mentions her half brothers or sisters, and I’m not sure where they are or who is raising them. She’s at an age where she’s starting to get a little more independent and that’s scary because she won’t always have someone watching her.

The other child Jan and her husband are raising is a foster child. She’s seven years old now and is pretty severely autistic. She was kept in a playpen for the first few years of her life, so she really didn’t know how to walk, and her only food was mashed potatoes in a sippy cup so her digestive system was completely out of whack. She needs a specialized diet, and needed braces on her legs for a couple of years. She is a couple of years behind in physical development and she doesn’t really speak in complete sentences. She says a word or two here and there but mostly it’s the babble of a toddler.

Another friend of ours, Dan is going through a divorce right now. Almost a year ago his wife of seventeen years, who his family begged him not to marry in the first place, went whacko. That’s the nice way to describe it. She was likely having affairs for many years but this time she got involved with an ex-con (who just hasn’t been caught yet for what he’s still doing) and she made some lame attempt at suicide (took a couple of pills and then called an ambulance herself) and was committed for ten days, which did no good at all. When she was released from the hospital she took off with the other man, leaving her husband and four year old son behind. Now Dan, who works full time at night at a hospital is raising a five year old by himself, and has to try to help the kid understand why mommy disappeared. She now has a lawyer and wants to talk to the kid three nights a week, which they allow, but she’s still with the con man and they are doing drugs and there’s no way she’s getting unsupervised anything. The five year old also tells people his mommy and her boyfriend are in jail.

Another friend, Patrick is in the process of getting his second or third divorce. He has a daughter by a previous wife, and after their divorce she wound up going to jail because she was caught selling her ten year old daughter (not Patrick’s) for sex, and pictures of the younger daughter for child porn. I don’t know where the older girl is now, but the younger daughter is now eight years old. She’s a handful. Her father apparently wanted a son, so he’s not particularly involved with this child of his, and he now lives with his brother, Dan (see above, he’s raising a five year old son) and the girl acts out a lot. She can pick up on being a disappointment, and any attention she can get, even if it’s bad attention is what she’s after. I gave her a hug today and told her, “You’re better than that.” I don’t even know what to do.

I just want to grab people and shake them and ask them, “WHY ARE YOU HAVING CHILDREN?” Why is there not some kind of licensing mandated for parenthood? Why is there not mandatory sterilization for people who have proven they can’t be trusted to care for children? These kids are struggling to figure out what kind of foundation they’re standing on – is it rock, is it sand, is it going to crumble out from underneath them? They don’t know what ‘normal’ is, if there IS such a thing anymore. They’re desperately looking around for someone to tell them or show them where they fit in, what their value is as a human being, what they can count on, what’s safe… Who’s going to show them that? If not their parents, then who? There are people out there having children who shouldn’t even be allowed to have a pet rock.

I thank God for the intervention of family members in these situations. But there’s a lot of damage to try to undo. Will these kids grow up to be well-adjusted adults? I don’t know. I know that right now they’re hurting in ways that most of us can’t imagine, at a time in their lives when they’re supposed to feel safe, and loved and be out having fun, exploring new possibilities and discovering themselves.

I know in the end that those parents are going to pay a heavy price. I know what Jesus said in the Bible many times about children; how much he loved them and what the penalties were going to be for people who mistreated them. My hope is that these kids all understand that even though one or both of their biological parents didn’t want them, or didn’t love them, that they have a Father in Heaven who does love them, and does cherish them. And until they understand that… I pray that we can all fill in some of the gaps with Jesus’ love on his behalf.

Tonight especially, I’m praying for guidance and wisdom on what God wants me to do with this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are you Praying For?

I’ve prayed for a lot of things in my lifetime. I’ve prayed for the winning lottery numbers – you can see how that turned out; I live in a trailer and drive a fifteen year old car (when I’m not driving my twenty year old truck). I’ve prayed for patience when I’ve been at my wits end – and I’ve been given the opportunity to practice patience.

God answers every prayer.

Sometimes the answer is, “No.”

Sometimes the answer is, “Wait.”

We don’t always get the answer we had in mind when we said our prayer.

There are times when we have to listen very closely for an answer at all.

And then there are the times when our prayers are answered so immediately and so powerfully that there’s no mistaking what’s going on. There was a time about four years back when we were getting all jammed up, courtesy of a good deed gone horribly wrong. The thing I needed most desperately to save our situation was for someone to be revealed for who and what they truly were. I got on my knees and I prayed. I asked God to please show us what this third party was up to, what they were doing and who they really were.

Less than 24 hours later that prayer was answered in an amazingly powerful way. The third party in question was in jail – for drugs, for giving alcohol to a minor, and we found out something else disturbing about him along that line as well. The evidence that was revealed to us was immediate and undeniable. And the issue that could have torn us apart was settled then and there.

I pray during the day. A lot. I used to pray for patience. And then God gave me opportunities to be patient. I don’t pray for patience anymore. But I pray a lot during the day. I’ll see someone or speak to someone or even just have a thought of someone I know and I’ll say a prayer for them just because I know that everyone in this world is struggling with something. I don’t even have to know what they’re struggling with – because God already knows. I just pray for them; that they open their hearts to the Lord, that they accept the help or the peace that He’s willing to give them. When I pray at night I always start with prayers of gratitude; for making it through another day, for the interactions I had with others, for the blessings I’ve received. Then I pray for my family, my friends, my community, my church. By the time I’ve finished praying for others, I generally realize that I really don’t need to ask for anything for myself.

I know I talk about God a lot. I know there are people who are just sick to death of hearing me, of seeing yet another post about religion. I don’t even know how to adequately explain what God has done for me. I’m starting to realize that words are just not sufficient to convey the changes that have occurred in my life and in my heart that would never have been possible if not for my ever-growing relationship with God. So if I ramble sometimes, it’s just because I’m searching for those words and find myself lacking in ability. If I were an artist I’d try to paint a picture on a canvas. If I were a musician I’d compose something. But I can’t draw a straight line, or carry a tune.

I guess I’ll just include all that in my prayers later…

The Great Comforter

John 14:26 King James Version (KJV)

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

 

This is one of my favorite verses. I imagine the three and a half years of Jesus’ earthly ministry and how confused the apostles must have been during that time. 

 

The apostles were Jews. They’d grown up in Jewish homes, reading the Torah and hearing the stories of the great prophets. They weren’t scholars, but even fishermen knew their Torah. They were looking forward to the coming of a great Messiah who would restore Israel. The first Messianic prophecy in the Bible is in Genesis 3:15 where God warns Satan that the Messiah was going to “crush his head”. There are prophecies throughout the old testament about the savior who was coming and he was going to be a KING. So, what did the Jews of the time think of when they thought of a King? David, perhaps? Or even Saul, who was a mighty warrior. At the time that Jesus was born the Jews were under the thumb (fist, even) of Rome and how they looked for that Messiah to come who would come with a mighty army and overthrow Rome! 

 

Did Jesus come with a mighty army? Not so much. Here was this son of a carpenter who came preaching “love your enemy” and he was being called Messiah? The apostles followed him, and I think they hoped that as time went by he would start to rally an army or something and fulfill the prophecies they were longing to see come to fruition. Mind you, there are also prophecies in the old testament about the “suffering savior” that would be crucified, but I think they suffered from the same thing that we suffer from today – selective hearing. The selective hearing probably also kept them from really processing some of the things that Jesus said to them; that he was going to suffer and die for them, and that the Father would send the Great Comforter to be with them always. 

 

Jesus told the apostles that it was better that he should leave – because then the Holy Spirit could come. Jesus, in the flesh here on earth could only be in one place at a time, and only with the finite number of people who were physically there with him. The Holy Spirit, however, could be everywhere, with all people who would accept him. Jesus spoke of this Holy Spirit not as an it, but as a him. He’s the third person of the Godhead. Does he have a name, like the Father is called Yahweh, and the son is called Jesus? If the Holy Spirit does have a personal name, it’s not something that we know right now. Jesus, before his earthly, flesh incarnation was known by other monikers, such as “the Word of God” and “The Angel of the Lord”, for example. 

I often demonstrate the idea of the Godhead by using an egg. It’s an egg. But how many parts does a single egg have? Three. The shell is like the Father, holding everything together. The yolk in the center is like Jesus. The egg-white in the middle is like the Holy Spirit. One egg; three parts. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, like the Father and the Word has been around since the beginning. In the Creation story – Genesis 1:2 – we see that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. All through the Old Testament we see the Spirit of God moving on people – King Saul, for an example when he began to prophecy. But, it isn’t until Jesus begins to speak of him in the New Testament that we start to understand that he’s a person who can comfort, and can teach and can remind. He always points back to Jesus in all that he does. He comforts, but he also convicts. That feeling we get when we’ve done something wrong? That’s the Holy Spirit. 

The Spirit give us power. During Jesus’ ministry here he garnered only a handful of true followers. When the apostles had the power of the Spirit at Pentecost, Peter – who had denied Christ three times – spoke, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and converted three thousand people! 

When we give our lives to Christ, we’re baptized with water, and with fire! We’re baptized with the Holy Spirit and the Spirit comes to live in our hearts. Having a relationship with the Spirit means that he is accessible to us all the time. If we’re doing God’s will, the Spirit works with us in a powerful way. He guides our steps, he gives us the words we need, he reminds us of everything Christ taught. 

The Spirit gives us gifts. First Corinthians 12 says this; There are different kinds of gifts. But they are all given to believers by the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve. But they all come from the same Lord. There are different ways the Spirit works. But the same God is working in all these ways and in all people.

The Holy Spirit is given to each of us in a special way. That is for the good of all. To some people the Spirit gives a message of wisdom. To others the same Spirit gives a message of knowledge. To others the same Spirit gives faith. To others that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. 10 To others he gives the power to do miracles. To others he gives the ability to prophesy. To others he gives the ability to tell the spirits apart. To others he gives the ability to speak in different kinds of languages they had not known before. And to still others he gives the ability to explain what was said in those languages. 11 All the gifts are produced by one and the same Spirit. He gives gifts to each person, just as he decides.

 

Again, we see the Spirit referred to here as he. 

 

Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit working in you? I have. Every day. It’s something I pray for more of, every day. 

 

I’ll share a little story or two with you about some pretty amazing experiences I’ve had, courtesy of the Holy Spirit and his gifts to me… tomorrow…. 

Humbled by a Child

I was humbled by an eight year old today.

I got up this morning, did a little more study for the lesson I was going to teach at church today and folded the bulletins I printed last night. I got dressed and ready, and we met up with our friend who lives a few doors down – she and her eight year old daughter have been coming to church with us for the last three or four weeks.

Her daughter said to us, “I changed my mind today. I woke up and I was tired so I wasn’t going to go to church, but then God told me to go to church.” That blew me away. But then she asked us, “If you could choose, would you rather be a helper to God or would you rather be a regular person? I’d rather be a helper to God.”

This kid has been to church like three times in her life and this is what she comes up with. I knew that everything I was prepared to teach in church was going to pale in comparison to the lesson I got from the kid.

Matthew 21:16 – “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”

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Writers – Life in an Alternate Reality

Are you a writer? Is your daily reality a little… different?

The other day my husband said to me that he noticed a home in our community looked abandoned. He takes our dog for a walk all around the park early every morning and he hadn’t lately seen any cars there or activity. I started to take notice of the same thing after he mentioned it. The tenants aren’t behind on their lot rent or anything, a payment was made online on the first of the month. But still…no cars. No one coming or going. No lights on at night. Just the porch light, which is on all day and all night. So…where are they? Are they on vacation? For almost a month? They don’t have the kind of funds necessary for something like that. Are they in there? Have they all been murdered in their sleep? And if they’re not in there, where did they go? Did they have to leave town, sneaking out in the middle of the night? Is there a body in there?


Do you plot out the deaths of your friends and co-workers or complete strangers in the grocery store just for the fun of it? I mean, just the logistical part of it?

Do you create back-stories in your head about everyone you meet? I’m convinced that certain people in our neighborhood had the same last name before they got married. Maybe I’ve just seen Flowers in the Attic too many times. I go through each and every newly vacated home in our community (part of my job, I’m not a creeper) like a CSI agent examining a crime scene. Even a drive to the Dollar Store becomes an adventure when you’re a writer.

Recently, HULU started streaming one of my favorite old TV shows; NYPD Blue. I adored the series back then and I’m enjoying it even more now. The writing was tight. The characters were real. One early episode featured the character Andy Sipowicz encountering a childhood acquaintance named Jimmy Socks. Of course that wasn’t the guy’s real name, but that’s what they’d called him when they were kids, because his feet always smelled so bad. As I’m watching those scenes with Jimmy Socks I start thinking about the kid in my kindergarten class picture who was picking her nose. The writers sparked a memory of mine by bringing up the memory of a character. Brilliant. 


That guy who cut me off in traffic yesterday afternoon? He met a grisly fate later that night in a book I’m working on.

Do you watch people? I mean, really watch them? And listen to them? The friend that pronounces nuclear, “nucular”, and the one who sniffles when she’s nervous? The guy you know who always to be singing to himself when you walk in on him? The couple next door who are always yelling at each other, or the guy who practices his guitar really early on Saturday mornings? I have whole mental files on people; their voices, mannerisms, the ways they walk or words they use over and over.

I would love to know who the real Jimmy Socks was, because I know there was some kid whose feet stunk enough to stick in some writer’s mind for decades.

To a writer, every neighbor is a potential cross-dressing serial killer with bodies buried under their home; and for someone like me who lives in a trailer park, how convenient is that? Just lift up the underpinning, crawl under the trailer and dig away out of sight of prying eyes!

Okay, I gotta go….

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