How A $10 Bill Bought Me Some Humble Pie

Ever said something you later regretted?  Don’t feel bad; we have all ‘stuck our foot in our mouth’ at one time or another.

How about congratulating yourself prematurely over some moral achievement only to fail miserably when presented with another, similar opportunity.  This is not to be confused with ‘sticking your foot in your mouth’ because you never opened it in the first place.  This is known as ‘tearing your rotator cuff while patting yourself on the back’.

Proverbs describes it this way. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Let me give you a personal example:

One morning, while driving for Lyft, I picked up a teenage girl.  She had purple hair, numerous body piercings, several tatoos and wore army boots. As she settled in the back seat, my first thought was that I wouldn’t have anything to talk to her about.

I was about to turn on my favorite sports radio station, when I decided to give small talk a try.  I asked her how her day was going and for the next forty-five minutes we talked non-stop. Her parents had divorced and I was taking her to visit her father.  She talked about her battle with depression. She was a victim of physical and internet bullying.  Her means of coping was to cut herself.  When that didn’t help, she overdosed on prescription drugs.  Her heart had stopped by the time the medics got to her but by the grace of God she survived.

She had been to counseling and was very articulate in conveying her feelings and observations about her mental state. I told her how special she was and that I believed God had given her a second chance at life.  As I pulled into her father’s driveway, she thanked me for “the best conversation she’s had in a long time.”

For the rest of the day, I felt good about that conversation as well; especially for taking the initiative to begin a dialog despite my first impressions of her.

Later that afternoon, I was tired as I arrived at a restaurant where two middle-aged women waved at me to confirm I was their driver.  I pulled my car close to the picnic table where they were finishing up their meal.

One wore puffy, pink slippers and what appeared to be a tattered flannel bathrobe.  She took a long drag on her cigarette and slowly drug it through the leftovers on her plate.  They talked for a while before her companion reached into her purse.  Good!  She must be pulling out her wallet to pay the bill.  Instead, she held a pack of cigarettes in her boney hand, shook out one for herself and offered another to her friend.  They both lit up and resumed an animated conversation.

I felt my blood pressure rising.  Should I toot my horn to get their attention or perhaps pump the accelerator a few times.  Maybe I could just shoot them a terse text.  I chickened out and began to lower the passenger side window. I was about to ask if they really wanted a ride when they both stood and took a few steps toward the car.  I hate the smell of cigarette smoke so I was about to ask them to put out their foul smelling death sticks before entering my clean car, when they stopped to chit-chat some more.  JERKS!!!!

I put the car in reverse,  backed up parallel to them, leaned across the passenger seat and pushed open the door. They got the hint. The skinny one pinched out the flame and shoved her cig back into her purse while pink slippers flicked hers at my car.

I said, “Hello” between gritted teeth as they plopped into the back seat. They didn’t return my greetings but continued with their conversation.  I turned on the radio a louder than I normally would and sped away from the restaurant.

Halfway to their destination, pink slippers told me (not asked…not requested) but told me to stop at a 7-11 so she could buy more cigarettes.  I asked where it was and she replied that it was five or six miles after her drop-off spot.  I bit my tongue before asking if she could perhaps purchase cigarettes at a convenience store on the way to her home.

“Nope,” she replied.  “I want to see my friend who works at the 7-11.”

I thought about slamming the brake peddle into the floor to perform a safety check of my seat belts when the skinny gal put her hand on her friend’s lap and said, “Let the man stop at the Mobile station just ahead. He’s spent enough time with us.”

As pink slippers was inside buying her cigarettes, her friend tapped my shoulder.  I turned and she held out a $10 bill.  “Thank you for being so patient and kind.  My friend can be a little demanding at times.”

“You don’t have to do that,” I said rather sheepishly.

“Take it,” she answered. “You deserve it.”

No-I definitely did not deserve it.  I felt God took my unclean thoughts and  smeared them all over my face – but He’s not that petty.  I had to eat some humble pie that day.  Thank you God for revealing my pride to me.  I’ll try to do better next time.

Standing Up To Evil (Queens)

Brooklyn and Papa

Disneyland is a magical place for children of all ages…even for those who have graduated from diapers to Depends.  I should know, well, not because I wear Depends but because I’m a grandparent who loves the “happiest place on earth” as much as my grandchildren.  Karen and I just returned from the Magic Kingdom after spending five days with our daughter Jaymi, her family and her in-laws.

Besides all the fun of meeting all the Disney characters, going on every ride (some four or five times), eating anything we want without parents or wives telling us “no” (well, at least Grandpa didn’t say “no”) and just being silly and goofy as a family, we even learned some valuable lessons such as:

  • When smearing suntan lotion all over every square inch of your face, don’t forget to take off your sunglasses or there will be one very burned square inch on the bridge of your nose.
  • Don’t talk about how scary certain rides are in front of the grandchildren who, before that, were excited to try out aforementioned scary rides.
  • Don’t buy new shoes for Disneyland when you know you will go on rides which will get those new shoes very, very wet.

Probably the most valuable lesson I learned though was taught to me by my five-year-old granddaughter, Brooklyn.  This was her first trip to Disneyland and we all were excited to see her reaction to all the Disney characters, especially to the princesses.  She’s a walking encyclopedia of knowledge regarding everything about Disney princesses.

On the first day at Disney, I thought I would make some brownie points with Brooklyn by carrying on a sophisticated conversation with her about princesses.  I began by asking her what color dress princess Bella wore?  She looked up at me with what I can only describe as scorn and replied, “It’s not Bella, it’s Belle and I don’t think we should talk about princesses any more if you don’t even know their names.”

So one by one we followed Brooklyn as she excitedly met Aurora, Snow White, Anna, Elsa, Belle and Ariel.  Then Brooklyn spotted Queen Grimhilde, the wicked Queen from Snow White.  She barked out orders to the children timidly standing in line to get her autograph: “Come before me and bow. And, if you want to be a queen, you must act like a queen and never smile”  She would point at the children’s parents and ask, “Are these your servants?”

Brooklyn stepped in line and she looked serious.  I thought she might be afraid so I bent over and whispered in her ear, “Don’t be afraid; she’s only pretending to be mean.”

Without taking her eyes off the queen she replied, “I’m not afraid.”

Finally it was Brooklyn’s turn and she stepped toward the Evil Queen.  The queen looked down at Brooklyn and said, “So, do you desire to be a queen?”

Brooklyn stared up at her and replied, “No, I want to be a princess.”

“Why would you only want to be a princess?” the queen snarled.  “A queen controls a whole kingdom.”

Brooklyn stood her ground and answered, “Because queens are mean and princesses are nice.”

If you know Jesus as Lord and Savior, you are His children and rightful heirs to His Kingdom.  Therefore, for those who believe, we are not paupers but princes and princesses who are in training to be nice to others along with many other important royal duties.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Luke 6:31

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The Flag and The Cross

We celebrated the birth of our nation a few days ago.  On July 4th 1776 the Declaration of Independence was approved by the 56 delegates of the Second Continental Congress.  Thirteen independent British Colonies pledged to rebel against the tyranny of the British Empire and joined together to become one sovereign nation…the United States of America.

Many of us celebrated the 4th of July by gathering with friends and family. We enjoyed delicious barbecued food, played games, watched parades and  gaped at magnificent fireworks shows. While we took pleasure in all the events of the day, I wonder how many of us even remember the sacrifice the signers of the document endured which paved the way for the many freedoms we now enjoy.

I found an article written by Gary Hildreth titled The Declaration of Independence…The Signers. http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/POLITICS/DOCUMENTS/the_signers.html  Read on to discover the sad truth behind the outcome for many of the brave men who dared to stand up against the evil actions of a bully nation.

“Have you ever wondered what happened to the fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence? This is the price they paid:
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the revolutionary army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six fought and died from wounds or hardships resulting from the Revolutionary War.
These men signed, and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor!
What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers and large plantation owners. All were men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty could be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers or both, looted the properties of Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
Perhaps one of the most inspiring examples of “undaunted resolution” was at the Battle of Yorktown. Thomas Nelson, Jr. was returning from Philadelphia to become Governor of Virginia and joined General Washington just outside of Yorktown. He then noted that British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headqurt, but that the patriot’s were directing their artillery fire all over the town except for the vicinity of his own beautiful home. Nelson asked why they were not firing in that direction, and the soldiers replied, “Out of respect to you, Sir.” Nelson quietly urged General Washington to open fire, and stepping forward to the nearest cannon, aimed at his own house and fired. The other guns joined in, and the Nelson home was destroyed. Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis’s Long Island home was looted and gutted, his home and properties destroyed. His wife was thrown into a damp dark prison cell without a bed. Health ruined, Mrs. Lewis soon died from the effects of the confinement. The Lewis’s son would later die in British captivity, also.
“Honest John” Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she lay dying, when British and Hessian troops invaded New Jersey just months after he signed the Declaration. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and his grist mill were laid to waste. All winter, and for more than a year, Hart lived in forests and caves, finally returning home to find his wife dead, his chidrvanished and his farm destroyed. Rebuilding proved too be too great a task. A few weeks later, by the spring of 1779, John Hart was dead from exhaustion and a broken heart.
Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
New Jersey’s Richard Stockton, after rescuing his wife and children from advancing British troops, was betrayed by a loyalist, imprisoned, beaten and nearly starved. He returned an invalid to find his home gutted, and his library and papers burned. He, too, never recovered, dying in 1781 a broken man.
William Ellery of Rhode Island, who marveled that he had seen only “undaunted resolution” in the faces of his co-signers, also had his home burned.
Only days after Lewis Morris of New York signed the Declaration, British troops ravaged his 2,000-acre estate, butchered his cattle and drove his family off the land. Three of Morris’ sons fought the British.
When the British seized the New York houses of the wealthy Philip Livingston, he sold off everything else, and gave the money to the Revolution. He died in 1778.
Arthur Middleton, Edward Rutledge and Thomas Heyward Jr. went home to South Carolin tight. In the British invasion of the South, Heyward was wounded and all three were captured. As he rotted on a prison ship in St. Augustine, Heyward’s plantation was raided, buildings burned, and his wife, who witnessed it all, died. Other Southern signers suffered the same general fate.
Among the first to sign had been John Hancock, who wrote in big, bold script so George III “could read my name without spectacles and could now double his reward for 500 pounds for my head.” If the cause of the revolution commands it, roared Hancock, “Burn Boston and make John Hancock a beggar!”
Here were men who believed in a cause far beyond themselves.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the America revolution. These were not wild eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: “For the support of this Declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

The Declaration of Independence is often considered the most important document ever written for the people of the United States.  The colonists no longer wanted to live their lives under the bondage of tyranny.  They were willing to risk their reputations, careers and even their lives for freedom.

Let’s remember to thank God for these men who risked it all for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  At the same time, let’s not forget to also thank God for providing His Son who willingly laid down His life as a substitute for ours.  He won the battle for our souls against the tyranny of death and Satan by dying on the cross for our sins.

If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, while you put your hand over your heart to pledge allegiance to the American flag, lift your eyes toward heaven and ask Jesus to enter your heart and acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior.

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Communication Is The Key To Prevent Your Marriage Train From Derailing

 

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I enjoy driving for Lyft and Uber.  I enjoy the freedom of scheduling my own hours, listening to music and sports radio all day long (without driving Karen crazy) and talking with my rider’s.  Being able to hear and understand some of my customers though was difficult at times because I’m completely deaf in my right ear.  Karen may call my disability, “Selective Hearing Disorder” but I really have a hard time hearing people who talk to me from the right of me, especially in the car.  All the road noise will pummel my good left ear while drowning out the words spoken by anyone in the passenger seat.

I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy hearing aids.  They aren’t normal hearing aids though.  Sound coming from my right side is captured by a transmitter in my right ear and transmitted over to a hearing aid in my left ear by a wireless signal.  Hallelujah, the deaf can hear…at least that’s what I thought until this morning.

Most mornings, Karen and I have been getting up at 7:00 to go swimming in our community pool before I take off driving for Uber and Lyft.  This morning I woke up a little before seven.  Karen was sound asleep so I decided to let her rest while I powered up the computer, opened up EveryDollar (our monthly budgeting tool) https://www.everydollar.com/ and did some much needed tweaking.

Karen joined me at the computer around 8:30.  She was disappointed I hadn’t woken her at seven to go swimming.  She asked what I had been doing so I told her I was working on our budget.  The following is the short version of the conversation that ensued.

DISCLAIMER…The following conversation is presented to only state the facts, not as a vehicle to pass judgement or take sides.

Terry:  I was working on EveryDollar.

Karen:  When are you planning on actually doing it?

SIDE NOTE:  I had actually began EveryDollar in February but temporarily stopped in May because of all the craziness from the move to our new home.  I had told Karen numerous times I would resume the budget beginning June 1st.

Terry:  I’ve told you numerous times I’d start June 1st.

Karen:  I don’t remember you telling me that.

Terry, while vigorously scratching his head in frustration:  I’ve told you at least five times.

Karen:  When I’m in this much pain from my neck you know I don’t retain things.

Terry:  You seem very irritable this morning.

Karen:  It’s not just the pain I’m trying to deal with today.  Yesterday was four years since Mom died, I’m adjusting to living here without a car and….

Terry:  What does that have to do with EveryDollar?

Karen answers with tears welling up in her eyes:  Sometimes you need hearing aids for your heart instead of your ears.

Our marriage is like a powerful train chugging down tracks laid by our communication to each other.  Once in a while, like this morning, those tracks we lay are full of defects and our train derails.  When that happens, we both have to dig deep into our tool chests to begin repairing the damage done to our relationship.

What tools do you ask?  That’s a good question.  Let me tell you.  Our tool chest is the Bible and every tool needed to repair a damaged relationship can be found inside.

1.   The first tool is actually a lubricant for the prevention of a breakdown and is found in Ephesians 4:29.  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.”

2.   The second tool is listening.  We don’t listen when we concentrate on a snarky rebuttal or interrupt.  Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening — that is his folly and his shame.”

3.   The next tool is to share a response which is sincere and proper.  I may have heard what Karen said, but my heart had tuned her out.  I ignored the advice of Galatians 6:2.  “Share in each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”  Romans 12:15 gives further insight.  “Be happy with those who are happy and weep with those who weep.”

4.    The final tool is a sincere apology.  James 5:16 says to, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”  And don’t wait to make amends.  “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and give the devil a foothold.”  Ephesians 4:26-27

So the next time your marriage train begins to wobble on poorly laid tracks of communication, grab your Bible and take out these tools before your locomotive derails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does Your Belief Necessarily Make It True?

We had a wonderful week when our daughter Jaymi, son in law Matt  and three grandchildren, Logan, Maya and Brooklyn, came to visit us in Florida on Spring Break.  Katie, our oldest daughter, and Jaymi are great planners and had the whole week scheduled with fun activities.  My Ama heart was full!!

The day before they flew back to  Washington, Terry wanted to go out to lunch with them at his favorite restaurant, Cheddars.  The food is yummy and tastes homemade.  Their croissants  are worth going off a gluten free diet for.  Terry was most excited to share his favorite fudge cake with them at the end of our meal.  So when the waiter brought out the dessert, including seven spoons, everyone was eager to dive in.  Logan took the first bite and surprisingly said, “Yuck.” Brooklyn took the cherry on top and was happy.  Matt took the next bite and shockingly said “There’s something wrong with the sauce.” Terry  was enjoying every bite totally ignoring their negative reactions.

I decided to listen to their dismay and stuck my finger in the sauce…it tasted like barbecue sauce.  I  motioned for the waiter to come over and told him, there was something very wrong with the dessert.  The  chocolate sauce tasted more like barbecue sauce.  He politely corrected us and proudly said, “That’s our special caramel sauce.”  We all disagreed (except maybe Terry) but our waiter skeptically took it back to the kitchen and had it checked out.  We looked at the menu and the fudge cake pictured didn’t seem to show caramel sauce on it …. just chocolate.  Moments later the manager of the restaurant came to our table and apologized for the mistake.  The truth was the barbecue sauce was placed along side of the dessert toppings and the fudge cake was mistakenly doused with it instead.  The saddest part was, that the barbecued flavored slice was their last piece.  So the Lee’s are going to have to wait until their next visit to enjoy a piece of Terry’s favorite dessert.

Just because our waiter didn’t believe it was barbecue sauce, didn’t change the truth that it was.  Truth…What is truth?  The dictionary says it’s the quality or state of being true.  The waiter believed us once he and the chef tasted it for themselves.   That was a minor mistake (well, maybe not so minor to Terry) but it is a reminder to me, just because I don’t believe something, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

The Bible is the Word of God and is TRUTH.  Whether we believe it or not, doesn’t change the Truth.  Jesus says “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  And John 3:16-18 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.   For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.  Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because He has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son”.

Matthew 24:35-42 ” Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.  That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.  Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”

I for one, am looking forward to Christ’s return.  I pray for and  am burdened for  friends and family who haven’t put their trust in Jesus, yet.

If you do not know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, may I encourage you today to seek the Truth, to CHEWS JESUS…Taste and See That the Lord is Good!

 

 

What Are You Waiting For?

WAIT!!!  I don’t know about you but I do not like this four letter word.  I’ve been told to “WAIT” a lot lately.  So I decided to look up it’s definition:
1) to remain inactive or in state of repose, as until something expected happens
2) to be available or in readiness
3 )to remain neglected for a time
4) to postpone or delay something or to be postponed for delayed
5) to look forward eagerly

Certain things we wait for with eager anticipation: the birth of a child, Christmas, birthdays, vacations and retirement.  Other things are not so fun to be waiting for: dental appointments, surgeries and serious test results.  Some things we wait for are significant life changers.  Terry and I have been praying for a precious man who was on the top of the waitlist for a set of lungs.  For him, waiting meant either life or death.

We sold our home in Washington and made a huge move to Florida, where our oldest daughter, Katie her husband Jason and five children live.  Our goal and intention was to stay with them for a short time while we get settled and find a home to buy. We found a couple of homes we like and are going through the process of getting preapproved for a mortgage loan. We have excellent credit and plan on putting over 60% toward a down payment.  We were not expecting to hear, “You will have to wait for two years because Terry is self-employed with Lyft and Uber.”

Really?  Wait?  Since then, we connected with another mortgage company and are now “waiting” for the house to close.  We were given April 12 as the original date to close.  Had a phone call from the lender and said it would be the 16th, then the 23rd and now the 30th.  WAIT!

God keeps reminding me in His Word I have a choice what my attitude will be while I wait.  “They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength they will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31. Yikes– I still have a lot to learn. I desire that quiet confidence and faith.

Doesn’t waiting feel like a waste of time?  I don’t want to waste my time while waiting.   Like the definition #3 says, it feels like being neglected.  I don’t know your situation you may be waiting for, but in the meantime what are we to do while waiting?  The temptation for me is to be anxious while waiting — as if that changes anything at all.  Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious abut anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I’m learning to trust the Lord in the waiting room of life.  In our situation, Terry’s applying for new jobs while still driving for Lyft and Uber.  I’m praying for the Lord to open doors and shut doors, leaning in on Him as I begin a new Bible study, meeting new people and focusing to get to know God and trust His purposes for me one day at a time.

Here is some Truth To Chew On:
Psalm 27:14 says, ” Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

What are you waiting for in life?  What is your focus while you wait?
Do you know that Lord Jesus Christ loves you and desires for you to receive Him personally as Lord and Savior?  Have you turned to Christ and decided to become a Christian and follow Him?
If not, why not?  What are you waiting for?

CHEWS JESUS…TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD!!!

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A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Esther and Grandpa

It’s easy to become confused by appearances.  For example:  Instead of flying to Florida, Karen, Molly and I drove our 2014 silver Hybrid Toyota Camry 3,668 miles to Leesburg where our daughter, her husband and their five children live.  Fresno, California was one of our pit stops on the way.

We spent the night in a nice hotel and the next morning we checked out and brought the luggage to our car.  We both stopped abruptly.   A large dent and ugly scratch extended from the rear panel of our car up to the passenger door.  We stared at each other dumbfounded.   Karen ran her hand across the damaged surface of our car.

“Do you think a car sideswiped it while backing out?”  She asked me.

“It was a tree,” a voice answered from behind us.  We turned to see a short, middle-aged man walking toward us.  “Yes, it was a tree.  I saw the whole thing happen right before my eyes.”

Both Karen and quickly surveyed our surroundings.  We were in a paved parking lot without a single tree in sight.  He must have noticed the confused expression on our faces because he quickly added.  “Oh, it wasn’t the entire tree.  Just one it’s large branches hit it, so I suppose it could have been a whole lot worse.”

Neither one of us knew what to say.  We just stood there exchanging glances between each other, the car and the little man.  The air was thick with awkwardness so he added, “Yea, the damage to my car was bad enough but then I had to deal with my stupid insurance company….what a hassle.”

I quickly took a closer look at his car.  It was identical to our car except for the Toyota emblem on the trunk.  Mine is silver with a blue background identifying it as a hybrid; his didn’t have the blue background….ooops!!!

Karen and I let out a huge sigh of relief.  A large mini-van was parked between his car and ours blocking the view of our Camry.  We both told him how sorry we were about his car and then scampered over to ours.

Looks can be deceiving.  I worked for Seafirst National Bank when Karen and I were first married.  We had weekly meetings and at one of these meetings, a man brought some counterfeit money.  He passed out the fake bills so we could examine them.  They looked real to me.  I asked him if our bank could keep some of the bogus bills so the tellers had more time to study them.  Then we could better tell the difference between them and the originals.

He laughed and shook his head.  “You don’t study the counterfeit to recognize the original; you study the original to expose the counterfeit.”

“Why’s that,” another teller asked.

“Because counterfeit bills will often change slightly in appearance or texture depending on who is making them.  The originals stay consistent in both appearance and texture.”

The same principle applies to Jesus.  He is the original; the only true son of God.  Many have come or will come proclaiming to be Jesus, God, or a prophet who has the answers to life’s many questions concerning the afterlife, morality, good vs evil, what is truth and how to attain happiness.  But there is only one who was born of a virgin, performed miracles, was crucified to take all of humanities sins on His shoulders.   But He rose from the grave, defeating death so that we can have salvation if we believe He is who He says He is: He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

But there is a being in this world who is just like those counterfeit bills.    He hates us so he lies to us.  His aim is to deceive us from the truth and keep us from knowing Jesus.  He is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing looking to devour the flock…which is us.

So what can we do to keep us from being deceived?  We must study the original.  By reading the Bible, we can get to know Jesus.  By prayer we can communicate to the creator of the universe.  By attending a good church we can worship our Creator and have fellowship and be encouraged by other believers.  This is the only way to keep from being deceived.

On our travels, Karen and I stopped to eat at Cracker Barrel.  After a yummy dinner we paid for our meal, walked across the parking lot and climbed into our 2014 silver, Hybrid Toyota Camry.  Once inside, I noticed that the windshield mounted GPS holder was gone.  Then I noticed that the car seemed a lot messier than when left it to go eat.  Then I noticed the Honda emblem on the steering wheel.  We’d gotten into the wrong car!!!!

Either old age is taking its toll on Karen and I or we need to do a better job of studying the original.

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What Have You Been Learning Lately?

Have you ever prayed, Lord if you want us to move, please move us swiftly? I don’t recommend it unless you are up for the challenge. Wowza! These last four months have been a whirlwind. When Terry and I thought about selling our house I prayed that very prayer. I regretted praying it a few times but mostly I am thankful for the journey God has us on.

Sorry I have not blogged for quite a while, but we are living out of our suitcases, temporarily residing at our daughter and son-in-law’s home in Florida with our five precious grandchildren. As I’m typing this, the house is filled with five loud, competing voices and numerous interruptions…I’m not used to this level of chaos any more. Oh my goodness, I never thought I would forget how busy a mother of preschoolers is. It’s non-stop. It’s all good, but exhausting. Thankful to be making memories with the grandkids but we are looking forward to moving into our own home and having more control over the noise level.

I thought I would write this blog and update you on the journey this far…if I can concentrate long enough between the interruptions…

December 22 was the closing date on our home. Our house needed to be cleaned out and cleaned up by that date. The weeks before were crazy and surreal. We had a moving/garage sale, Terry put our Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving and celebrated Christmas early with our son and daughter-in-law and grandkids from Arizona. We then helped put on a surprise party for my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday on Thanksgiving, celebrated Christmas again with our daughter Jaymi and her family by preparing another turkey dinner and all of the trimmings. I sold items on Buy, Sell & Swap, said goodbye to lifetime friends, cousins and family…and the list goes on and on. We couldn’t have done it without help: some of our sweet church ladies, my sister and brother-in -law, who helped pack up my kitchen, the day of the move, Terry’s brother, Garry, came over and helped him take a mountain of unwanted items to the dump. My mother-in-law helped me do one final mopping of a bedroom and living room that I hadn’t had time to get to. Jaymi, our daughter was a life saver and helped me organize my creative chaos. I purged 39 years of living into one moving POD. We stuffed our suitcases and personal items into our Camry, leaving only enough room for our sweet senior golden retriever, Molly…and said goodbye to Stanwood.
When I had some alone time, I took a few minutes the day of the move and reflected back on some of the memories and life we had experienced in our home. I think I was too exhausted to cry. I mostly reflected back on God’s faithfulness to us and I walked throughout each room singing Great Is Thy Faithfulness. Praising God for all of the life and blessings He bestowed upon us in the past 39 years and looking forward to what He had in store for us.

The first night of our journey began by staying with Terry’s sister and brother-in-law in the Castle Rock area. We loved visiting with them and seeing their beautiful, newly built
home. We were loved on and spoiled with their hospitality. Medford, Oregon was our destination for the next day. Fresno, California was next and we stayed two nights there because of Christmas. Our next stop: Surprise, Arizona where our dear friends, Marilu and Norm, invited us to stay with them. They also spoiled us with yummy homecooked meals and fun fellowship. Terry came down with a bad sinus infection and needed more rest more before driving on, so we stayed three nights at their home. I felt bad Terry was sick, but I sure enjoyed the extra time with Norm & Marilu.

Next we drove to Fort Stockton, Texas. When we arrived, I felt feverish, achy and had a sore throat. The next day, I felt sicker and went to a walk-in. My diagnosis—type A influenza. The doctor told me to go home and stay in bed. We drove to San Antonio and stayed a few days because influenza was not something I wanted to share with Katie, Jason and their family. The rest of the road trip was sort of a blur–Terry listened to a book on tape and I tried to ignore it–it was about lobotomies, of all things. My head felt like it just went through a lobotomy.

We arrived at Katie’s on Jason’s birthday on January 4. We were greeted with five happy grandkids throwing indoor snowballs at us.

So, what have I learned since leaving our home in Stanwood, Washington? Let me name a few very random things…

Our possessions are just temporary things. I dare you to purge your possessions into one 8 X 16 foot storage pod. It’s quite fun…NOT!!!

When, our golden retriever, Molly was intensely panting in the backseat of our car–she wasn’t going to die–it’s her way of calming her body down.

When driving in Florida, if your husband suddenly pulls in front of a large truck, do not wind down your window to listen to what the truck driver has to say.

When you have lived all of your life in one place and you are directionally challenged–do not expect to know North from South and East from West when you move.

I’ve also learned that when Terry gets too hot, he gets crabby. When I get too hot, I get easily annoyed. Not a great combo…And this is only winter time in Florida. The best is yet to come.

I’m learning that God never ceases to amaze me…the first Sunday we were in Florida, we attended our son-in-law’s church he is the pastor of, one of first hymns we sung was Great Is Thy Faithfulness.

Mostly, I’m thankful to God for this journey we are on. Thankful for family. Everyday we learn something new. I’m learning more of God’s Word and His love and grace for me.

What are you learning these days?

Until Next Time—I’m Chewsing To Trust the Lord!!! Hope you are too!

CHEWS JESUS–Taste and see that the Lord is good!.

When Our Best Laid Plans Are Not God’s Plans

Papa with Daniel and Maya

Do you ever make plans only to see them blown to smithereens before your very eyes?  Of course you have; everyone has unless you’re Jesus, which you’re not because you can’t walk on water, raise the dead and aren’t preparing for you own crucifixion.  Best laid plans have a tendency to go up in smoke faster than a book of matches in the hands of a curious five-year-old boy.

Case in point:  For a long time, Karen and I have wanted to put our house, which has been our home for 39 years, up for sale.  Oh, we tried selling  our home twice before, but it  garnered as much interest as a leper selling  hour-long massages for $5.00.   You see, we live in a flood plain.  The Stillaguamish River slithers through our neighborhood like a thirsty snake.  When el Nino decides to visit the Pacific Ocean, his jet stream carries a warm, atmospheric river of rain from Hawaii toward Washington.  The Stillaguamish gorges herself on all the melting snow until her sides burst open and flood the land with the contents of her swollen belly.

So over the years whenever we tried to sell our home, potential buyers would look at the snake coiled around three sides of our neighborhood and say, “Thanks but no thanks.”

Twice, plans to sell our home were dampened by the specter of a snake with a leaky belly.  The list of reasons Karen and I wanted to move grew longer with each passing winter.  At first, Karen and I were mostly concerned about what would happen if the “Big One” shook our vulnerable house built on sand.  As we both have gone through physical affliction the past few years, we realize how much more difficult it’s going to get to take care of our home and continually walk up and down the two-flights of stairs.

Then this past year many of our friends are beginning to retire.  Over the years, I cashed in two 401 K’s to pay for medical and dental expenses and to pay the bills during three separate job loses.  Retirement for me was not going to happen any time soon.

Then our son-in-law Jason, half-jokingly suggested we move to Florida.  He pastors a church in a town called Leesburg, about 40 miles north of Orlando…home of the happiest place on earth.  He said the cost of living was much less than that of Washington, especially the housing.

So on a whim, Karen and I began to look on the internet for retirement communities in and around Leesburg.  Our jaws dropped when we saw beautiful  1,500 square foot homes selling for $110 to $140,000.  The 55 and over communities looked like vacation resorts sporting swimming pools, golf courses, tennis courts and too many other amenities to mention here.

Wow!!!!  There were more retirement communities in Florida than Starbucks stores in Seattle.

What began as a fun way to pass time soon became a spark igniting a flame of passion for the idea of moving to Florida.  The passion grew every time we bundled up to take our Golden Retriever Molly for a walk in rain and 40 degree weather.  But just as the dreary gloom of a winter in Washington can drain the life out of many, the thought of leaving our family,  friends and the only town we’ve ever known would dampen our enthusiasm.  It was especially hard to think about leaving my aging mother and our Daughter Jaymi, her husband Matt and their three kids who we are very close to.

Like a  roller coaster, our emotions took us on a wild ride.  I’ve heard it said that the hardest part about making a decision is indecision.  Finally, Karen prayed that if we would put our house up for sale, we would know it was God’s will if it would sell in a week.  From past experience, I figured it would take a miracle for her prayer to be answered.  We called a real estate agent, put our home up for sale one morning and had six showings that day and had four offers the next morning.

Thank you God for your patience.  We sold our home for $270,000…$101,000 more than what we previously had asked for it twice before.  God knew to hold off the sale until the housing market was red hot in Western Washington.

I am writing this blog from a hotel room in Tallahassee, Florida.  Karen and I are on our last pit stop before arriving in Leesburg, Florida tomorrow afternoon where we will be greeted by our oldest Daughter Katie, her husband Jason and their 5 children.  It will be a bittersweet reunion because while we now will be able to enjoy the company of this family, we know the sadness of leaving other family members behind.

The journey leading up to today is worthy of a blog post all unto itself which I will write at a later time.  Until then remember this:  If God seems to be throwing a monkey wrench into some of your best laid out plans don’t get frustrated…He may just be saving you from a $100,000 mistake.

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BE STILL AND KNOW….EVEN WHEN IT’S HARD!

Don’t you love it when the Lord gives you a special verse from the Bible over and over again, at different times and in different places? Lately, God has been speaking to me through Psalms 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”  That promise is soothing to my soul.  It makes me want to say “Ahhhhhhh” and relax.

You see, I’m not naturally a “be still” kind of girl.  I tend to think I need to strive to help God, in my own self reliant kind of way. (As if He needs my help).  I constantly need to remind myself,  I am a human being–not a human doing.  I am learning to rest in Him and trust Him, especially when circumstances all around me seem overwhelming and out of my control.

A couple of months ago I had phase II of oral surgery to put implants in my upper jaw.  The surgery took 4 hours for 5 implants and a bone graft.  For healing purposes, I couldn’t put my dentures in for a month.  Pureed food, pureed soups, smoothies, and juicing only were on my list of what I could eat for the first month of healing.

The first week after surgery was the toughest for me:  Throbbing pain from the bone graft, hungry for real food, grieving my temporary loss of comfort food, still too fluffy to fit into my fall clothes, walking by the mirror and wondering who is this old lady–it wasn’t the best of times. It’s been a very long season of dental suffering for me–I actually may write a book about it one day.  Usually, healing is with pain and it HURTS!  I hate pain.

I acknowledged all of my emotions before the Lord: the good, bad and the ugly.  But then I knew I had a choice to make.  I had to chews…what my attitude would be for the rest of the month? Would this suffering draw me closer to the Lord or would I blame Him for my pain?  Would I constantly be grumpy and bite Terry’s head off, even without my teeth?  I knew I wanted to chews thankfulness.  As hard as it was to slurp my soup down while Terry was crunching on real food–I began to thank God for what I was able to drink and swallow.

What am I learning in my suffering?  I am learning:

  • This world really sucks at times and I need Jesus to help me through each day.
  • God loves me and I can be honest with Him.
  • To wait on God and to listen for Him.
  • To trust Him, especially when it’s hard.
  • To surrender my selfish will to His purposes for me.
  • To receive His comfort He offers through the Holy Spirit.
  • That I will never quit learning.

Food is a necessity for life.  I think that’s why the enemy used food to deceive Eve and Adam.  Satan also used food to tempt Jesus when He was fasting for 40 days!  It’s true we need food to physically live.  Spiritually, we need Jesus.  Satan does His best to deceive us to see our biggest need–The need for a personal Savior, Jesus Christ.

CHEWS JESUS…Taste and see that the Lord is good.

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