Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Not a Hermit Crab!


Being an introvert is not a disease or a shortcoming and does not need to be healed or fixed.

I shared with a woman at Bible study today that I'm not a real fan of attending retreats. I like the idea of them, but my inner hermit twitches at the thought of being a captive participant for 2-3 days with a large group of other human beings.

She right away said, well, then, that's all the more reason you need to attend -- so you can come out of your shell and stop being so introverted!

First of all, I am not a hermit crab. Anyone who knows me in real life can tell you I have no shell to come out of -- I'm very friendly and interested and talkative and engaged. It's just that I much prefer fellowshipping with smaller groups for shorter periods of time. Larger groups for longer periods of time wear me out, and it can take me days to recover.

I wish people would understand that being an introvert is not a negative thing that I need to work through and move past. It's just who I am and how I operate.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Illumination

Sometimes a Bible verse you've known for years enlightens you in a way you hadn't considered before.

"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105) is such a verse for me.

I have often wondered why the same thought was repeated twice in one sentence. It seemed kind of redundant to me (although repetition does give emphasis). Today, though, I read and understood it in a new way (thank You, Holy Spirit!).

The first description -- "a lamp unto my feet" -- indicates how the Word illuminates and safely and wisely guides the individual steps I take as I deal with present concerns and challenges. The lamp casts a shorter beam (think of aiming a flashlight directly at your feet).

The second description -- "a light unto my path" -- indicates how the Word illuminates and safely and wisely guides the walk in front of me as I consider future concerns and challenges. The light casts a longer beam (think of aiming a flashlight directly at the path). 


I am reminded of the many times in my life when I was outdoors in the night and aiming a flashlight either at my feet (to avoid tripping over rocks or twisting my ankle in a hole) or at the broader area ahead of me (to be alerted to potential dangers such as a wild animal or a turn in the trail). I needed the light for both the present and the future.

Many of you have probably read and understood this particular scripture like this already, but for me, it is a new way of meditating on its meaning.

Just sharing my morning revelation. Over coffee, of course. :-)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review: My Gentle Barn


 http://images.randomhouse.com/cover/9780385347662?width=1000&alt=no_cover_b4b.gif

Title:  My Gentle Barn
Subtitle:  Creating a Sanctuary Where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope
Author:  Ellie Laks, with Nomi Isak
Genre:  Personal Memoir
Publisher:  Crown Publishing, a division of Random House
Number of Pages:  266
My Rating:  4.5 out of 5

It was a no-brainer for me to choose this book from a menu of multiple choices offered by the publisher. Because I love animals and can't bear to see them mistreated, and because my husband and I adopted an older child who had already lived through a difficult and dysfunctional first eight years, it seemed like a perfect fit. I couldn't wait to get my hands on this woman's story.

The journey from the author's loving but lonely childhood in which her deep love for animals was misunderstood and under-appreciated to the eventual founding of The Gentle Barn where both abused animals and at-risk children can find physical and emotional healing is richly detailed. It is unlikely I'll forget the dogs, cows, horses, goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens, etc. who came into her life through a variety of ways. In fact, I wanted to drop everything and fly out to California just to meet the author and her four-legged family face-to-face and to participate in their daily care. And apparently many people spend their vacations doing just that.

Ms. Laks faced many challenges along the way to fulfilling her dream of providing a sanctuary for unwanted or unhealthy animals, including a troubled marriage, a devastating fire, and a nasty neighbor. But she was also blessed and assisted along the way by an ever-growing number of volunteers and celebrities who championed her cause.  Today, The Gentle Barn is a thriving venture thanks to a woman with the determination to make her dream a reality.

The only small criticism I have about this refreshing and inspiring read is the author's continued comments about her parents' lack of support throughout her life. Mentioning it once or twice is important to the story, but more than that seems unnecessary and awkward.

Learn more about the author or The Gentle Barn at www.gentlebarn.org.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from www.bloggingforbooks.org for review.




Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Don't Let the Devil Do His Thing

Ever have one of those days (weeks, months, years, lives)?

You're breathing. You're blinking. Undeniable proof that you are a living being. So what's up with the overwhelming feelings that you're invisible? unimportant? unnecessary?  Those feelings may seem true, but they are not truth. The devil is lying to you.

If the devil can get you to believe that nobody -- especially God -- gives a hoot, he's done his job. You will swallow the deceit he is feeding you, and you will wallow in the misery he is piling on you.

Don't let the devil do his thing.

Cut through the clamor of his hollow hogwash with the one thing that can open your eyes, ears, mind, and heart to the truth -- God's Word. You are *not* invisible. You are *not* unimportant. You are *not* unnecessary.

Because God says so.

You were created by Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16)
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
You are His workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10)
He calls you His child. (1 John 3:1)
He commands His angels to guard you. (Psalm 91:11)
His love for you is unfailing. (Psalm 33:18)
His love for you endures forever. (Psalm 100:5)
He gathers you in His arms and carries you close to His heart. (Isaiah 40:11)
His eyes are on you. (Psalm 33:18)
He turns His face toward you. (Numbers 6:24)
He delights in you. (Psalm 147:11)
He has a purpose for you. (Romans 8:28)
He has plans for you. (Jeremiah 29:11)
He makes your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:6)
He is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
He never lets you fall. (Psalm 55:32)
He meets all your needs. (Philippians 4:19)
His grace for you is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
He fills you with joy and peace. (Romans 15:13)
He gives you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
He carries your burdens. (Psalm 68:19)
He renews your strength. (Isaiah 40:31)
He shelters you from the storm. (Isaiah 25:4)
He turns your darkness into light. (Psalm 18:28)

He laid down His life for you. (John 3:16)

When the devil starts to sing his tired old song, and he bends down to whisper sweet nothings in your ear (and that's just what they are -- nothings!), sound the trumpet and strike up the chorus of God's truth, and you will cast off the devil's misery and deceit and know -- *KNOW* -- that you are visible, you are important, you are necessary.

Because God says so.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Stay Tuned

This bibliomaniac has decided the time is ripe to try her hand at book reviewing.  I love to read, and I love to write, so it makes sense to marry the two. I won't lie -- I'm rather nervous about this new venture and my ability to do justice to the publisher, to the authors, and to readers. But I'm a warm body who's willing to try, just like every infant at the moment of birth.

My first requested book is expected to arrive in about ten days, and I hope to post a review a couple of weeks after that (I'm not a fast reader).

Stay tuned!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Wings

My beloved father flew away from this temporary life into eternal life on June 7, 2014, at the age of 87. This song, written in 1829 by Albert Brumley, is dedicated to the man who raised me, introduced me to the Christian faith, and has landed at long last on the shores of the promised land.

"I'll Fly Away"

Some glad morning when this life is over,
I'll fly away;
To a home on God's celestial shore,
I'll fly away.

I'll fly away, oh glory,
I'll fly away;
When I die,
Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away.

Just a few more weary days and then
I'll fly away;
To that land where joy shall never end,
I'll fly away.

I'll fly away, oh glory,
I'll fly away;
When I die,
Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away.

Oh,
I'll fly away, oh glory,
I'll fly away;
In the morning
When I die,
Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away.

~*~

And because both of us believe in Jesus -- His birth, death, and resurrection -- I'll join my precious Daddy on that celestial shore by and by. Oh, glory! Hallelujah!

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. ~ John 3:16

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Gift

 For my mother on Mother's Day...

 The Gift

I watched the bluebirds,
royal in hue,
painted skyborne,
and wished them for you;
but no matter how sweet
their song might be,
their song is from God
and not from me.

I gazed at the daisies,
yellow and gay,
whirling like gypsies
on the brightest of days;
but no matter how happy
their dance might be,
their dance is from God
and not from me.

I stopped by the meadow,
cool and still,
smelling of spring,
at home by the mill;
but no matter how soothing
the peace might be,
the peace is from God
and not from me.

I might have despaired
at my sorry plight,
at not being able
to catch bluebirds in flight,
at not being able
to pick a bouquet
or capture the peace
of this glorious day;
but God, in His mercy,
has given to me
a gift that is greater
than all of these three.

From the mountains that tremble
to the oceans that roar,
I give you my love
for ever and more.

(I wrote this poem years ago, but it is still relevant every single year.)