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All Lives Matter?

Hmmm.  Do ALL lives really matter?  Think about your answer before letting it leave your lips.  Do you really believe that ALL lives matter?  When all of the “________ lives matter” business started up, I immediately was on the “all lives matter” bandwagon.  I didn’t give it a single thought.  Until most recently, I still didn’t put too much thought into what I was believing or saying with hashtags or posts on Facebook.

I had to sit with myself and really think about if I believed what I was saying.  At the time, I did believe that all lives do matter.  I still believe that, but I had to understand that “all” really did mean all.  First of all, what does the word “all” mean?  Well, according to Merriam-Webster:

Simple Definition of all

  • : the whole, entire, total amount, quantity, or extent of

  • : every member or part of

  • : the whole number or sum of

Look at that “simple definition.”  The whole….every member….whole number.”  So, again, I ask you if ALL lives matter.  As the conversation went on in my head, I started thinking about people like Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, David Berkowitz, and the others on this page. Manson, in my own opinion, is the epitome of evil.  Did/does his life matter?  Dahmer killed seventeen.  Not only did he kill them, he did other horrible acts to them.  Did/does his life matter?  Berkowitz killed six leaving some others severely wounded.  Again, did/does his life matter?

If I am going to spew those words that “all lives matter,” then I have to say that even those whom I see as Lucifer personified matter.  The child molesters, rapists, murderers, and anyone who has ever harmed anyone else….their lives matter, too.  It’s a difficult pill for me to swallow as I realize that if I say “all,” then “all” should be what I mean.  Yes, when I made that realization, I shuddered.  But, if I am going to live as a woman of my word, then I need to mean what I say and say what I mean.  Is murder, child abuse, any abuse okay?  Of course, it is not.  I despise those acts.  I am not okay with anything that purposely causes another pain.  I do not have to like what other people do or say.  Reading this, you may not like what I say.  That’s okay.  In fact, I hear things, read things, see people doing things all of the time that I do not like.  That does not mean that those people do not matter.  Their lives DO matter.  Should they be held responsible for the things they do and say?  Absolutely!  Does that mean I get to treat them as “less than?”  Absolutely not!  I surely do not want to be the best friend to Charles Manson.  While he has headed some of the most gruesome acts on earth, he still matters.  His life still matters.  I have to believe that if I am going to be on the “All Lives Matter” campaign.

I know some folks reading this will be disgusted, and some will call me a name like, “bleeding heart liberal.”  Your opinion is your opinion, and I respect that.  Please understand that I believe those who commit horrible crimes should be held accountable and do the time.  We all should have to be held accountable and responsible for the crappy things we do and say to each other.  That being said, we should also mind ourselves before coming down on others.

All lives DO matter.

How do we change a world where there is so much hate, discrimination, judgments, and hypocrites?  We love people.  We love ourselves enough to know that we are faulty individuals who have zero business judging other people.  People say they are a loving people, yet put a picture of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Barrack Obama in front of them.  My goodness, that loving person disappears.  I have seen some of the most self-proclaimed “loving person” people say some of the most hateful things.  Just because we have the right to free speech doesn’t mean we should always freely say some things.

If I am going to claim to love people, then I should love people.  I should also show a great deal of discernment and be safe.  I will fail at loving like I believe I should.  My promise, though, is to try as hard as possible to love my neighbor as I love myself.  I’ll let God deal with all the rest.

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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My Great Fortune

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been willing/able/determined to write.  However, something is coming up for me, and I feel so very blessed that I get the opportunity to be involved in it.  I most recently heard from a gentleman who told me a story about his nephew.  Now, this gentleman sent a message to me on Facebook a year ago, but it was hidden with many others.  When I finally saw it, I replied immediately.  I am so glad that I did.  This post will include opportunity, obedience, gratefulness, and I get the privilege of sharing such an amazing story.

Once I replied to the gentleman’s message, he seemed so happy to hear from me.  He wanted to tell me a story about his nephew who, two years ago, had been struggling with depression and did not feel like he wanted to live.  These stories always break my heart.  I know what it is like to not want to live regardless of all the really good people and things in life.  Depression does that to a person.  It sucks every good thing out and self-loathing and doubt ooze in like the hazard materials they are.  This young man, who I will call “C,” was in my hometown one day, August 16th to be exact.  He was attempting to get back home for an event in his hometown.  He had been having thoughts of suicide.  He had full intentions of making it a reality.  Again, heart is always broken when I hear that.  He saw a sign…a literal sign.  That sign had three little words scribbled in permanent marker on it.  I was holding that sign because I felt that it was important to be obedient to God’s will that was put on my heart just a few days before.

God woke me up on August 14th, 2014 and told me to go let people know that they matter.  I had zero idea what that meant.  But, I knew that it was important that I do what I was being so lovingly guided to do.  What it boiled down to was my cousin and I making signs that had encouraging, loving messages on them.  We stood on street corners in some of the busiest parts of town because that’s what I was told we should do.  My cousin never questioned anything I told him, and he didn’t look at me like I had lost my mind.  He knew that when I told him this was from and about God, it was just something that had to be done.  So, it was done.  It was done on a daily basis for a time.  We never knew the impact those signs had until much later.

So, back to this young man.  He saw my sign as he was headed out of town back to his home.  When he got back home, he told people what had happened in seeing my sign and what he had been feeling.  He shared that he was free from those horrible feelings.  While his uncle had told me this over the phone, I had chills, and I had tears.  I was so grateful that this young man was still alive.  I was/am grateful that he listened to God tell him that he was important.  That was the message I had on my sign, “You Are Important.”  No, I am not calling myself God.  But, that WAS God’s message.  C got to share that message with a group of people when he got back home.

Tomorrow evening, April 27, 2016, I get the blessed opportunity to meet C, his uncle, and other family members.  I cannot express the gratitude I feel regarding that.  My heart is full and overflowing with God’s goodness.

None of that happened by chance.  It was supposed to happen just when it did.  I think about what would have been had I not been obedient to God’s will.  That young man could be dead.  Many others could be dead as well.  I give all the glory to God.  I never thought that I’d be anybody saving anybody’s life.  That was just not my plan.  It was God’s plan, however.  Maybe you’re reading this and thinking that I have lost my mind and there is no God.  Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “I have never heard or felt God like that.”  Maybe you’re in full belief of everything I am telling you.  I don’t know.  I never in my wildest dreams ever thought that God would use me like He does.  Who was I that He would choose me??

“Moses said to the Lord, ‘Pardon your servant, Lord.  I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant.  I am slow of speech and tongue.’

The Lord said to him, ‘Who gave human beings their mouths?  Who makes them deaf or mute?  Who gives them sight or makes them blind?  Is it not I, the Lord?  Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.’  – Exodus 4:10-13

I was feeling like Moses.  Who am I that He would call on me?  God doesn’t call the qualified.  He qualifies the called.  We, as the called, have to answer.  If we let that call go to voice mail because we are “too busy” or “just being stubborn,” who dies?  Who dies when we refuse to do a simple request from God?  Maybe it’s us who die.  Maybe it’s a teenage kid who has lost all hope.  Maybe nobody dies, but maybe somebody misses out on a really good message because we are drowning in selfishness.  We have to answer that call.  HAVE TO.  God directs my path even today regarding that sign.  He has always told me where to stand and when.  He directs the amount of time I stand on any given corner.  I listen.  I obey like I have never done in my entire life.  I believe like I have never done in my life.  I have faith like I have never had in my life.  That sign didn’t just save C.  It saved me as well on so many levels.

I can’t wait to meet these people and give them the biggest hugs ever.  I know that God will be working in that meeting.  He’s working now.  He’ll be working when it’s over, and I am grateful.  I am blessed, and I get the opportunity to share those given blessings with others!  I am beyond fortunate.  My heart continues to be full.

May God bless you today and always.  Be blessed and be a blessing.

 

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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My Nightmare Lesson

So, I woke this morning feeling very teary due to a nightmare I had.  In my nightmare, I was at work (which didn’t really look like my work) when I began to hear panic ringing through every hallway.  I begin to go and find out what is happening, and I am informed that there are people in the building with guns and knives.  I hear the gunshots blasting and people screaming.  My anxiety level rises, but I stay calm.

Now, in my nightmare, I am visiting with my youngest daughter.  She had come to visit with me, but she didn’t look like she was twenty-one years old.  She looked like a little girl.  When I started hearing the commotion in the hospital, I pulled my daughter down to the ground and had her lie flat to protect her.  I looked up and there were police officers firing off rounds in the direction of those trying to harm others.  My daughter started trying to get away by pulling herself, as she was still face down on the floor, down the hallway.  As she is halfway down the hall, two individuals with guns come out in the direction she was heading.  I was so afraid, so I grabbed a handgun, and I pointed it out toward the two individuals dressed all in black with blank expressions.  I squeezed the trigger.  Everything was in slow motion at this point.  I could see the bullet leaving the chamber, through the barrel, and down to hallway.  My daughter looked back at me, and she just smiled like everything was ok.  I could still see the bullet traveling in slow motion, and it was headed right between the eyes of the male standing at the end of the hall.  I was so happy!  I was saving my daughter!  Then it happened.  The bullet drops right out of the air and into the back of my daughter’s left leg.  Right above the bend of the knee, the bullet entered.  I could see the entry wound.  The individuals at the end of the hallway smiled big.  I was devastated.  The only thing I wanted to do was protect my daughter, and I ended up wounding her.  Oy!

The scene changed, but I had gotten my daughter out of the hallway.  Some time had obviously passed, and it looked like a scene from some school shooting.  Parents were outside of the hospital crying and in shock.  Then it happened, again.  Alarms started going off because another person was in the hospital attempting to harm people.  I told my daughter to just run to the restaurant that was a small distance away.  I wanted to keep her safe.  She ran to the restaurant and stayed there while I dealt with the danger.

I woke up soon after this.

As I sat on the side of my bed, I thought about the nightmare.  I usually try to find some reason or lesson in what I had dreams or nightmares about.  I thought, “Ok, what does this mean to you in real life time?”  Well, I thought about it, and I came to the conclusion that sometimes when we want to protect our kids so much, we can be the ones who end up hurting them the most.

I don’t ever want to hurt my daughters.  I can only protect them by praying for them and talking to them about the dangers in any situations.  I, also, have to understand that human beings must learn by doing.  We have all had people tell us why we shouldn’t do this or that, but we have done things that we probably should not have done anyway.  We had to find out the hard way.  As a loving mother, I want to try to shelter my kids from finding out things the hard way.  They have to, though.  There is a lesson to be learned in every single thing that we do.  I have to let my kids learn their lessons.  It doesn’t mean I don’t love them.  I love them with my entire being.  I just have to understand that me trying to be protective, or overprotective, can sometimes do more harm than good.

I want my kids to listen to God.  To trust God.  To do what is right by God.

Sigh…….I want to listen to God.  To trust God.  To do what is right by God.  I have to trust that God will take care of my daughters at every turn.  I don’t get to pick and choose when I trust Him.  I have to ALWAYS trust Him.  It’s a difficult task when it comes to my kids.  But, if I believe in God’s word, love, grace, mercy, faithfulness, then I have to believe that He will take care of them in every situation where I feel afraid.  I have to.

I.  HAVE.  TO.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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What Does Godly Look Like?

I have been criticized for dressing too casually for church at times in my life.  I have been told that “ladies of the church think you’re a lesbian because you wear jeans, don’t wear makeup, don’t do your hair.”  That was told to me by a pastor’s wife.  Yeah, I know.  I was driven away from church at that point.  I didn’t want anymore to do with it.  Was I the most Godly person at that time?  No.  Did that mean I was a lesbian?  No.  It’s a hurtful time when those who, I guess, are supposed to nurture your growth and relationship with God are the ones judging and damaging.  I still wear jeans and t-shirts to church.  I do not curl my hair.  I do not wear makeup.  I am a more Godly person than I was.  I am still not a lesbian.

Does Godly look like a three-piece suit designed by Ralph Lauren?  Does it look like a $500 haircut?  Does it look like A. Testoni shoes?  Does it look like a Vera Wang dress?  Does it look like a nicely done up-do by a premier hair stylists?  Does it look like a $3000 pair of Jimmy Choo shoes?

I don’t think it means any of those things just as much as being ungodly doesn’t look like jeans, t-shirt, Nike sneakers, and a baseball cap.  There is no specific look for a Godly person.  A Godly person could be the homeless person you passed right by and yelled at.  A Godly person could be the CEO of a business.  A Godly person could be any one of us in between there.  Godly is not a look.  It is a behavior.  It is a relationship with God.  It is doing what is good and right.  It is about loving and giving.  It is about 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

That’s my take on it, anyway.

The next time you decide to judge someone’s Godliness based on their clothing, hair, or makeup, you might want to see what you are really wearing beforehand.

P.S.  I’ve never seen Jesus in anything Gucci.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Dragon Breath

Have you ever woken up and thought, “Dang!  My breath could peel paint off the wall!”  Ok, maybe not those exact words, but I’m guessing some of you reading this has had that “uh oh” moment when you just hoped you didn’t have to speak to anyone in that time period.  Rushing to the bathroom, brushing and gargling, flossing, and whatever else can take place so that our breath doesn’t knock someone over and take the hair off his/her head.  Colgate Total had sales at $175,000,000 in 2014.  Now, that’s a lot of funky breath and yucky teeth to be taken care of.

I wonder, however…

Why are we not so aware of the other funk that comes out of our mouths?  Lies, assumptions, abuse, hate, prejudice.  It costs absolutely nothing to clean our mouths from the sludgy disdain that leaks from them at the drop of a hat.  We make things up about people.  We tell others what we assume others mean or think.  We harm others with our words as if we were getting paid to do so.  We call other people names, degrade them, put fear in them by sentences that do more harm than the other bacteria throwing a party in our mouths.  Why are we not more careful about that?  We could buy every tube of toothpaste known to man, , brush three times a day, and the funk in our mouths could still be there.

Moral toothpaste.

It doesn’t take a lot to cleanup our language, change how we speak to, and about, others, ask for forgiveness, and apologize.  Allowing those words constantly will cause such a cavity that no filling could ever fix.  We are fortunate that our languages allow for more than harmful words at every turn.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  Ephesians 4:29

What would it cost to speak favorably about others…ESPECIALLY when we want to be a fire-breathing dragon?  It would cost nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Let the words that fall from our mouths be uplifting and life-changing instead of things that could literally kill someone.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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My Coach

My high school coach, Rennaye O’Hair, went to Heaven on February 18, 2015. My heart is heavy, but it really shouldn’t be. She was a strong Christian. She gets to be pain free, cancer free, and death free. She gets to live eternally where the Lord has prepared her a place.

I first met her when I was 12 years old and in 7th grade at Travis Jr. High. She was my art teacher. At twelve, I knew she was a special lady. I learned that more every day once I got into high school (Palo Duro High). She was my physical education teacher and coached me for three years in soccer.

I am finding it difficult to type this up. My throat tightens with sadness, and I’m afraid to swallow because I’ll cry. Again. More.

Coach and I had our moments. She was always on my side when appropriate, and she was always not when I wasn’t appropriate. It took me a very long time to understand that she was trying to build me up into a responsible, functioning adult. I’m grateful for that, now. She was for all of her “kids,” and all of her “kids” were for her. Some of my fondest memories of Coach were spending time with her after school doing Jane Fonda workouts. She would have everyone there rolling with laughter. I spent many days with her during the summer as she worked at school gyms. We would sit and talk, crack open sunflower seeds, do word puzzles, quizzes, and games together, and she would encourage me as I would workout on exercise equipment.

I would see her every now and then once I graduated from high school. That would make my day. More recently, I had seen her at Lowe’s working. She had retired from teaching many years ago. She was her upbeat, joke-making self. It did my heart good to see her and briefly chat. Most recently, I was made aware that this strong, vibrant woman was lying in hospice due to a vicious, unrelenting monster with sharpened fangs and claws. Stage-four cancer.

Some friends and I went to visit her together. She had fallen asleep but woke up while we were there. My friends and I cried as coach spoke to us. She was positive about her prognosis. She KNEW God would heal her. I didn’t have that same faith. We talked to her a little. I related a message from another friend who couldn’t make it to her bedside. I told her that my friend said, “Tell her I love her.” She faintly spoke that she loved her, too. We held hands, and she told me that she loved me, too. ……… Through tears, I told her, “I love you, too.” My friends and I left, each of us kissing her forehead as we walked out.

I visited her solo several days later. She hugged me multiple times. I got to meet her son and his very sweet girlfriend. That would be the last time I saw her and spoke to her face-to-face.

I was able to tell her some things through a Facebook message a couple of days before she passed. Things I believed I needed her to know before she passed. So, three days ago, I received a text telling me the inevitable, heartbreaking news. I cried and cried. Then, I cried some more. She was right about God healing her. She is completely healed. I cannot imagine the celebration as she entered Heaven.

I am so grateful I was blessed with those last conversations with her. Those last hugs. I will see her, again. Until then, the selfish part of me will mourn her departure from this earth. The knowing Christian part of me will continue to smile because I know the truth. And The Truth. I’m so grateful that we all have that opportunity to have eternal life. I hope that those I love will open their hearts and accept Christ as their Savior. I just want to bug all of you in Heaven when it is time. 😉

So, Coach, I will attend your funeral today to celebrate your life. It’s been one of my greatest blessings knowing you. Thank you for growing me up. Thank you for the proverbial swift kicks to the butt when I needed them. Thank you for the laughter and hugs when I needed them, too.

See ya later.

P.S. Save me some sunflower seeds.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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One Last Breath

On November 26, 2014, I was witness to something that I’m certainly not forgetting soon. I was witness to a woman taking her final breath.

I did not know this woman. I did not know her family. A young man ran into the doctor’s office waiting room and yelled that help was needed. Nobody moved, however. I got up and ran out there because I know CPR, and I knew that if I had to use it, I would and could. As I ran out of the waiting room, I turned the corner into the small, cold lobby and saw that older lady exhale one last time. Her daughter was in the arms of her husband, face buried in his chest sobbing. I am fairly sure that she did not know that her mother had yet passed. It was more of a scared, shocked cry. I stood there in frozen shock. I could not move. Medical personnel finally came out screaming to call 911. Nobody else in the small area did. I yelled that I would, and I did. It happened so quickly. All of it. The daughter and son-in-law went into the waiting room to make phone calls. I remained inside the lobby for whatever reason. Again, frozen in shock.

I was asked by a member of the doctor’s office if I was waiting to see the doctor. I nodded and quietly answered, “yes.” She excused me from the lobby and said I could go inside waiting room and wait. It seemed forever for the ambulance to come. Everything seemed in slow motion from that very second it began. As I sat in the waiting room, I had tears streaming from my eyes. I knew she was dead. Again, I also really believed the daughter was not 100% sure. The medical personnel called the daughter and son-in-law back into the lobby after working on this unknown woman. The double doors opened, and I heard the wailing of reality for that daughter. I cried harder. The daughter had become fully aware that she would not have her mother for Thanksgiving that very next day.

Wailing. Wailing. Wailing.

May that woman rest in peace.

Since that moment, I have had many replays of that moment in my head as if it has been looped to repeatedly play.

I have been thinking a lot about life and death since this most recent experience. I was hit with great reality right in the face that at any split second our spirits could be released from our bodies. Our bodies could become limp before a next breath could be taken. It scared me, at first. My thoughts turned to how precious life really is. We are so not promised that next breath that we assume we will possess until we are quite old.

I started thinking about my own life and how it has been a wild roller coaster ride for the past 46 years. What I have learned is that it is not about me. What I have learned is that my life becomes fuller as I become “lesser.” I am hardly so outside of myself that I do not have moments of selfishness. I am not proud of that, but I also understand that I am human. I do understand, however, that my life is more about what I want. It is more about what I believe I need.

I have also had experiences this past week where a friend has wanted to give up. To not exist any longer. I did what I thought I was spiritually commanded to do. I helped him as much as I could. I was afraid. I could not imagine him dying without knowing that he is loved, cared about, important. Other friends and I made sure that he was fully aware of those things.

At the moment, he is safe. He made that choice. I am so grateful.

We do not always have that choice, though.

Before we take our last breaths, we need to take care of our words. We need to take care of our souls. We need to take care of those who will be left behind when our times come. We are responsible for loving others. We are responsible for loving ourselves so that we CAN love others. I am not saying we are responsible for what anyone else does with that love. We were given hearts and souls so that others could experience them.

How do you want to share your heart and soul with others? It really only takes a simple act or gesture. It does not have to be spectacular. I say this with confident knowledge. When you take your one last breath, will you have done everything you could have to love people? To let people know that they have worth? It is not too late to start.

God has a plan for you. For me. For all of us. We may never understand it, but I believe there is a plan.

May God bless you.

You are loved!

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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