Tag Archives: Houston

My Alienating Porcupine Quills May Come Out

1 May
A porcupine

A porcupine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a genuine knack for orchestrating excellent events.  When these occasions include my family, they hate being around me.  Moving is sort of an event, and tomorrow my youngest daughter will be helping me.  She dreads it because of the demeanor I take on during such activities.

Frankly, I don’t know what their problem is.  I’m simply focused on the task at hand and not in the mood to molly-coddle.  I guess I become like a drill sergeant without realizing how mechanical I become.  But I really need to be a different me tomorrow than I usually am during a move.

Here my daughter is planning to help me do one of the worst things for anyone to be involved with, and she’s dreading the time with me.  That’s just not good.

The question is, can I change?  Can I behave differently, after being pretty much the same all of my adult life in such situations?  Can I be sweet as a kitty, which is my usual demeanor, instead of as prickly as a porcupine?

If I don’t let pride get in the way, I know that God will answer my prayer to make tomorrow actually fun for all of us.  After all, I’m beautifully packed up with a minimal amount of work remaining.  The apartments I’m moving from have promised to pay for the move because of the situation I’ve had to put up in this toxic place.  So there’s no money pressure.

There’s simply no excuse for me to be terse tomorrow.  Lord, for my daughter’s sake, help me put on Christ instead of my prickly suit.

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The Pieces Came Together Before I Fell Apart

13 Apr

God rarely leaves me hanging for long, when I’m in a place of genuine desperation.  Today I found my answer for where to live, and it’s already all set for me to move there.  Not much longer in this toxic apartment; but I’m going to miss the completely ideal front porch with the cool breeze and freedom to let the kids play.

Where am I moving?  I’m going back to the same apartments I’ve lived at for the past four years.  They’re very nice, it’s quiet, the apartment has a large built-in bookcase, and we all feel safe there.  Best of all, to me it’s home.  I love “home.”

I’m determined to let this move — which carries a lot of significance the details of which I haven’t gone into — be an exciting new start for me and the kids.  Living life the way I truly want to, with a dependence upon God that the kids will participate in simply through acknowledging the Lord as a family more.  It doesn’t have to be a pipe dream!

Faith Like Potatoes

Faith Like Potatoes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a movie called Faith Like Potatoes.  It is an amazing true story and an ideal example of living for God.  You have to watch the movie and then also watch the documentary part which reveals true footage of the man this film is about.

I’ve mentioned an admiration for the Amish; but there is something that seems to be missing in those communities, that being an apparent faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior over and above their ordnung.  The Faith Like Potatoes guy lives out the life I long for.

Okay.  Here’s the thing.  I’ve felt that a husband was a necessary component to really pulling it off.  But of course that’s utterly ridiculous.  Living an obedient, worshipful life with God as the Lord doesn’t require a husband!

My despair has disappeared like the fog in Houston when the sun burns hot.  My feet know where to go and my heart knows what song to sing.  Praise the name of the Lord!

I’m Buried and I Can’t Dig Out

11 Apr

When I’ve needed a pep talk the most is typically when I have the most trouble giving one to myself, and that has been the case lately.  My situation has been so difficult and yet personal on several levels, I’ve had no words.  Even now, I don’t want to expose all the details of my struggle.  Don’t we all have at least a little something that we could complain about, if we really wanted to grumble?

Here’s the gist of my dilemma:  God hates complaining, and I have trouble knowing how to write sometimes without feeling that I’m partly airing grievances while tacking on a word of faith at the end.

And right now I don’t feel at all like a victorious Christian, although I believe that I am.  I’m clueless about how things are going to work themselves out, which is a very helpless feeling.  I don’t know what to do!

Česky: Kříže - symbol utrpení Ježíše Krista a ...

My hope is in Jesus and all He accomplished for me on the cross. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s one detail:  I just moved into this lovely, spacious apartment three weeks ago.  And because of the toxic air that even the landlord acknowledges, I must move.  Yes, they need to take responsibility; but if they don’t fully own it, I’m not capable of covering for their mishap at the moment.

And, Lord, where should we live?  I feel a little lost mostly for that reason.  I haven’t recovered from the recent move, and I’m physically disadvantaged because my arms and hands, which are permanently injured, are weakened and hurt more than usual.  So I don’t know where in the world to move and I don’t know how on earth I can achieve it apart from the management paying for me to be packed and moved, as I believe is only fair.

Here’s the pep talk part of this entry:  I have no doubt that this trial will ultimately work for my good because God is my Lord; I’m not trying to do my own thing.  (Right now I wonder if I have already somehow made a departure from God’s path; but since I’m not walking in any area of habitual sin that I’m aware of or trying to fulfill my own agenda, I’m inclined to believe I’m on the right track.)

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Romans 8:28

New King James Version (NKJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

 

 

7 Ways to Be at Peace When World News is Depressing

1 Apr

You don’t have to listen to the news very long to hear something that may be upsetting and probably too hard core for a young child.  In my area this week we have a toddler who wandered away from his home while mom napped, and he drowned in a nearby pond.  Andrea Yates is in the news regarding her request to visit church on Sundays; she’s the Houston area mom who drowned all five of her children in a bathtub about a decade ago.  And nationwide upset over the death of Trayvon Martin is alarming not only because of the needless loss of a young man’s life but in the way the shooting seems to be creating further racial divide.

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford

Some people are so busy today, they literally may be tempted to organize a community awareness campaign about how easy it is for children to drown, protest the weekend release of Andrea Yates, and then organize a fundraiser to provide assistance to parents of murdered children.  There are a million and one daily opportunities to be involved in the world.  So how do you keep from being overwhelmed by both the sadness and the urge to take action?  I will share my secret, but it’s actually advice that I got from the Bible.

God created you; He understands that life can literally knock your feet out from underneath you.  He instructs you and me (all of us) to:

  1. Simply take life one day at a time.  (Matthew 6:34)
  2. Keep your eyes on things above and not things below, which means to dwell on God’s Word, His promises, His instructions, His goodness, heaven, etc.  (Colossians 3:2)
  3. Get in tune with God and listen for His voice because He will tell you what your part in the world is intended to be.  And when you do what God has for you to do, you can be sure that it will be effective.  (Isaiah 30:21)
  4. Be thankful!  A genuinely thankful heart is a happy heart.  (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  5. Be generous.  You can’t solve world hunger.  But you can buy canned goods for the local food pantry, donate the clothing your family doesn’t need anymore, and help a friend in need.  (Luke 6:38)
  6. Treat others the way you wish you were treated, and that alone could change the world by starting a domino effect of people being good to one another.  (Matthew 7:12)
  7. Delight yourself in God and in the other good things of life, such as family.  (Psalm 37:4)

The Christian life doesn’t mean we walk around with our heads in the clouds, but it does mean that we can dwell in the peace of God no matter what the bad news of the day is.

An image of Psalm 23 (King James' Version), fr...

An image of Psalm 23 (King James' Version), frontispiece to the 1880 omnibus printing of The Sunday at Home. Scanned at 800 dpi. Français : Illustration du Psaume 23 (version autorisée par le roi Jacques), en frontispice de l'édition omnibus du Sunday at home. Version numérisée à 800 dpi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How to Be Happy When You’re Not Where You Want to Be

31 Mar

Selah, a fellow blogger, regularly posts gorgeous pictures of nature.  Today I literally wept as I looked at her images of the great outdoors.  A shot of their campground brought back a flood of delicious memories of childhood in which my daddy brought the family camping every summer at various locations across Texas.  Cousins or friends usually joined us, and the adventures were always awesome.

The desire of my heart is to live in the country and experience nature, but where has the good Lord placed me?  Directly in the heart of the fourth largest city in all of America!  This is literally the opposite of where my heart longs to be.

But don’t get the idea that this is a whining session.  I’m merely stating this fact in order to say that when we moved into our spacious new home, it was with me having decided that I would embrace city life.  I am purposely making it my own.

Before, I think I may have gone around town sort of gritting my teeth and/or holding my breath.  Now, I’ve opened my arms and heart wide to say, “This is where God has placed me, and I rejoice!”

We are members of the Houston Zoo and visit there frequently.

What a difference this decision has made.  My entire being is more relaxed, and the possibility of being an effective witness for Christ is no doubt ramped up.

My family is right here, and I’m sure that’s a great reason for God to have me in Houston.  So for now I will do what my daddy did.  I’ll bring the kids on major outdoor excursions every year, though I doubt we’ll camp the old-fashioned way (I don’t feel safe enough as a single woman in charge…armed with joy as my only weapon.)

A 2009 adventure -- a visit to Natural Bridge Caverns in Texas Hill Country.

 

Hebrews 11:8

New King James Version (NKJV)

Faithful Abraham

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

Paraffin Bath Prayers: Get on the List!

21 Mar

Did you ever come to the conclusion, when a life crisis stops you in your tracks, that God is sending you this message?

 

Slow Down!  Quit neglecting

the things of the Spirit!

Me, too.

Quiet time spent reflecting on God and praying has been a rare occurrence compared to the years when I commuted to Houston from the Clear Lake, Texas, or Alvin area.  All that drive time in bumper-to-bumper traffic was my big opportunity to sing, worship, and listen to sermon tapes.  Lately I’ve been missing all that time with God.

And wallah!  God arranged for me to have those times back, though in a different way.  Thank the Good Lord that, with these gas prices today, I don’t have to commute.  Instead, I will be dipping both of my arthritis-riddled hands in hot paraffin wax up to twice a day for 20 minutes per hand.  (Such wonderful pain relief!)

As I sit at my desk with one hand coated in lavender-scented wax, wrapped in a sandwich bag, and inserted into a thermal glove, I shall focus on God!  Okay.  I’ll also play some Words with Friends on my mobile phone.

But mostly this will be a ministry time.  I’m going to keep a running prayer journal and spend that time lifting people up.  I’ll also be writing down answered prayer.

Have you ever heard of Lakewood Church of which Joel Osteen is the pastor?  (It’s the biggest church in America.)  I’m a trained Stephen’s Minister there, which is comparable to a deacon in a Baptist church.  To be honest, I am switching to a smaller church.  But when I go to Lakewood, I am free to wear my badge and help pray, as needed.

In other words, I am a minister; and I’ve been a part of numerous prayer groups through the years.  I’ve seen God amazingly answer prayers, and I’m not shy about believing for miracles.

If you have a prayer need in your life, please consider sending me a specific prayer request.  Or, if you’d rather keep the details private, you can simply give me a person’s first name and I’ll lift them up before the Lord (He knows what’s going on, and that’s the important thing).

My hands may hurt, but I’m truly thankful that God has shown me that He’s blessing me to slow down and engage in a daily prayer ministry.

What on this earth is more powerful than a prayer of faith?  It’s crucial business and worth the suffering that drove me to my knees.

James 5:17-18

New King James Version (NKJV)

17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.