Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Tragedy in Orlando

I've been reading so many articles in the last couple of days regarding the mass shooting in Orlando. So many are politically leaning it isn't even funny. Last night, a story regarding Westboro showed up on my news feed, the only surprise in that is how long it took to show up. I want to make one thing clear: Westboro Baptist Church does not represent my Christian walk, nor does it represent anyone else that I know who are Christians.

Today, as I was scanning my Facebook news feed, another story popped up. A Baptist Pastor is saying its good the massacre happened. Say what? I absolutely took a double take and read the story with accompanying video. To say I'm flabbergasted that a professed Christian outside of Westboro would say such a thing boggles my mind.

Now, keep in mind, as far as I know we have the same Bible. Yes, the Bible condemns homosexuality and calls it an abomination. In the Old Testament such people were stoned when it was found out. The New Testament as well says its an abomination, but says nothing about stoning them. In fact, 1 Corinthians 6:8-10 says that they will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Does it say to hate them? Nope. Does it say to kill them? Nope. In fact, Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount gave us two commandments...in Matthew 22: 34-40 He says"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[d] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[e] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

I don't know about you, but those are pretty clear. 
A life is a life, and no one should have their lives violently taken from them the way these were. To say they deserved it is wrong and does not have a place in a Christian's vocabulary.  

And just in case there is a question about my stance on the death penalty, that's another subject for another day, so please, no hate mail on this one. 

Just remember, these folks were someones kids, friends, brothers and sisters, and to them, they are devastated. Imagine if it were you in their position, how much you would be grieving right now. Would it matter to you whether or not they were gay? No, what matters is that you would be burying your child, something that should never have to happen. 

In conclusion, I want to issue this challenge. Pray. Pray for those who will have a long time in recovery, whether its physical or mental. Pray for those who've lost loved ones. Pray for those First Responders who worked the scene. Pray for the doctors, nurses and medical staff who attended or are still attending to the wounded or dead. Pray for the family of the gunman, and finally, please, please, please...Pray for this Nation. The Bible says that "where two or more are gathered in My Name, there I am in the midst." Let us come into agreement and pray.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The struggle is real, folks

It is, it really is. I've got to tell you, never before in my life have I had such a hard time following Jesus' command to love your neighbor as yourself as I have this year. I've got to tell you. The struggle is real.

Last night, I posted something I thought was funny. Heck, a couple of my friends thought it was funny as well. I mean, I had no negative feedback, no detractors, just thumbs up. Well, I took it down within a matter of hours. Why? Because I was fussed at. Okay, I know what you're thinking, "you just said you had no negative feedback or detractors. What gives?" I'll tell you what gives.

I'm a Child of the One True King, that's what gives. As I was saying my nightly prayers, I barely got into them when one thought kept me from concentrating on what I was praying about..."Take it down." Say what? Continued to pray..."take it down." Opened my eyes and looked no place in particular because the room was completely dark and asked why. Then I became bombarded with Jesus' words about loving your neighbor as yourself. I had a comeback, weak as it was..."But, Lord, she's not my neighbor, she's a politician."
"Does it matter? Is she human?"
"That's up for debate, Lord."
"No, its not. She was made in My image as much as you were."
"But, Lord..."
"Take it down."

After a conversation like that, what do you do? You take down the text.

Sometimes its tough to be a Christian in this world. I mean, seriously, there are a lot of things I don't like that people do, and I have a hard time not despising the people who do them. It boggles my mind how Jesus did it. How do you love someone who is clearly looking to destroy something or someone? How do you not despise the murderers, rapists, pedophiles, and those looking to destroy everything that is good? How do you do it? I sincerely have no clue, but I have a thought on that. Whether its right or wrong, I don't know, but I'm going to give it a shot. 

My take? Hate the sin. Hate it with all you have, but...be as neutral on the person him/herself as much as possible. I haven't figured out how to separate the two, because in my finite mind, you do something like that, that is who you are, therefore, I don't like you. Yeah, its going to be a long, drawn out process. I mean, with family and friends its almost a cake walk. They're part of your heart so its easier to love them and hate what they do. Strangers, not so much. Folks, the struggle, yeah, its real. 

Going to get down to the nuts and bolts here. The race for the Presidency. 

There are three Candidates running. Two are visible, one is in the shadows: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Gary Johnson. Not one of them is worth their weight in salt as I've mentioned before. Only one of them do I have a severe issue with in following that commandment. This person has proven over and over again that they are a pathological liar, that it doesn't matter who or what you step on as long as you make it to a decision-making position. That the peons don't matter, all that matters is your authority and power. If I could draw a picture here, you would see this person with a big, crooked nose, wart included, rubbing their hands together while cackling the most evil cackle you've ever heard. Yup, I'm having a reaaaallllyyy hard time separating the person from the actions.

I'm afraid I'm a work in progress here, because no matter how much I try, I can't do it. All I can do is to pray about it, listen to the Spirit's leading, like I did last night, and let God take control. Will my prayers make a difference in this person's life? Probably not, but then again, who knows for sure? All I know is when I start out praying for someone that I cannot stand, every time, every time, I end up being the one changed. Let's hope that goes for this person as well. 

I can tell you, I will never be bosom buddies with this person...heck, this person doesn't even know I exist, but I can tell you that hopefully, with the Holy Spirit's help, I can be objective. That I can understandably dislike this person's policies or what they do to get to where they want to be, but I can refrain from the kind of posts that I had on my news-feed and then took down. That I can stay away from the name-calling and rhetoric that so many of my friends and family are engaging in (that will be a tough one. I predict a lot of apologies and repentance for this one).

I guess my suggestion for those who would like to join me in this quest is to be prayed up, because this ain't going to be a pretty Presidential race, no matter how you spin it. We have to focus on the issues, on what's being done and what's not being done. We have to align ourselves (thank you to a dear friend for this one) to the Candidate to whom we have the most agreement. So, do your homework, research each Candidate, their policies, and where they stand on the issues that are important to you and vote accordingly. No, you don't have to invite them to dinner (which would, no doubt include a bunch of Secret Service Agents that you didn't invite, but will probably feed anyway), but get to know them as much as possible. Use multiple browsers to do your research (Webcrawler, Bing, Yahoo, etc.), so that you have a clearer view of what they're like, so that in November you can say you voted for the one who is closest to your values and that you didn't pick the lesser of the three evils. 

I'm not going to lie, its going to be tough. Yeah, the struggle is real, folks. Chin up, hopefully things will get better, God willing.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Remembering and Honoring those who've passed from this life

They say that if you stop learning, then that is the time you may as well say your goodbyes. Of course, that's my version of it, but it was Albert Einstein who said it before me. Smart man, and it was proven with a Nobel Prize in 1921. So far, learning is still part of my daily life, so perhaps I'm still good, eh?

What I learned in the last few years, is that sometimes something that we take as tradition isn't necessarily correct. Take Memorial Day, for instance. I've always known its about the Military who had fallen in previous wars or skirmishes, but I also have learned, just here lately, that the men and women of our Military would rather you remember those who are gone on this day and not the ones who are still living. Makes sense. After all, Memorial means to remember. Remember who left behind family, friends and the "Life of Riley," as it were, to go to foreign lands.  It means to remember how they put their lives on the line to ensure that the United States of America remained a free country. It means to remember that even though they are no longer with us, they are still the ones who stood in our place, to fight the fight we chose not to or could not do, to make sure that the Evil of the World would progress no further toward our shores. It means to remember the times they had to sleep on hard ground, fight dysentery, bugs, snakes, land mines, snipers, heat, cold, damp. It means to remember the letters sent home, telling of the beautiful sights they had seen, the funny stories, and the horrors that were beyond our comprehension. It means to remember the ones who are no longer with us, if nothing else, for just today.

My Grandfather is one of those Soldiers who is no longer with us. He fought against Hitler's forces, and yes he did come home, but he is no longer with us. He served with the Civil Defense in his community, saving a young man from being run over by a train. He is one whom I will remember on this day.

My Father-in-law is another who no longer lives in this world. We lost him in 2012. He served in the Army, and when he retired, served with the Border Patrol. When he retired again, he served with the Forest Service. Our PopPop will be remembered so very fondly by those he left behind.

I would be remiss if I also didn't mention my former husband, Kerry Lane. Kerry served in the Air Force and was medically retired. He, too has passed on.

While I have many friends and family members who are serving or who have served, I will not be saying "Happy Memorial Day" to them, because this day isn't theirs. And to say "happy" is a disservice to the men and women who are gone. To them, and to those who have been left behind I say, "May you remember fondly those who are gone . May you remember the good times, bad times, the laughter and yes, even the tears. May you reflect on the sacrifices they made not only for you, but for everyone who lives in the United States of America. And may you remember that they did this for you, for me, for all of us, whether you agree with their service or not."

This Memorial Day, remember those who served in our Military and who are no longer with us. Celebrate their lives, remember their sacrifice and take a moment to thank God for those men and women who took the steps that were needed to keep us safe, to keep us free.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

In this year of politics...

Wow. Just wow.

I have heard so much nonsense regarding politics, that I've gotten to the point that I just have to let loose or I'm going to blow a gasket. Just so you know ahead of time, I'm a Conservative. I vote Republican, but I will vote another party if I feel the Candidate best reflects my views. This year, that's a resounding absolutely not. Anyway, this is a rant, period. 

I have a friend, a staunch Democrat, who gigs me at every turn. Don't get me wrong, I love this guy, he's a friend and always will be. I treasure my friends, even when our religious views and political views clash. However, I have this against him...he paints with a large brush, loaded with disdain for anything or anyone who has a different view. Democrats are the party who, despite being very liberal in their views, is the party who has the most common sense. Personally, I disagree, but that's another blog for another day.

Here's what I have to say about this year and politics. Enough. Enough! Yes, its an election year. Yes, we have candidates that most are wondering who is the lesser of the two evils. Neither one is a "Dream Candidate." Its very disappointing, really. However, this is more about people than the Candidates. 

Let's get this straight. Republicans, Democrats, Socialists, Communists, Tea Party...I don't care about the political affiliation you have. Take some responsibility for your actions!

Did you rob a business and get arrested/shot/killed? Excuse me, but when did it  become acceptable to take from someone else? Last I read, the Ten Commandments say not to steal. Pretty straight forward, people. Don't have money to buy the latest smart phone, the best sneakers or the coolest ride/rims? Get a stinking job! McDonalds is always hiring somewhere. Don't want to sling burgers? Go to Dominoes or Pizza Hut. No, its not going to give you the bling you desire, but it will give you some responsibility, and make you a contributing member of society. Save your money for the things you want, get out of your Mama's house and grow up. There are jobs out there, welfare and unemployment were not created for you to live off the Government's teat for your entire life. 

Did something happen that you didn't like? Protesting is okay, trashing neighborhoods and looting businesses is not. In the Constitution you have the right to PEACEFUL protests, not rioting, looting and personal harm...those are illegal and you should be prosecuted. If you are arrested because you engaged in rioting, looting and personal harm of another individual, then you have reaped what you've sown. 

My friend has posted and said as much, that the race division is the Republican's fault. I beg to differ. You want to blame someone? Blame all of the politicians. They all Race Bait. I don't care what side of the line you're on, they all do it. Quit blaming the republicans/democrats. Blame the individuals who are doing it. It has nothing to do with political affiliation, it has to do with racism and hate in that person's heart. Blame them, not the party, not the Conservative individuals who are trying to steer the moral ship back to its roots. Let me tell you something, like it or not, this Country was founded on Judeo-Christian values. In your core being, you have a moral compass...you have the choice to listen to that compass or not. Don't blame someone else for your failings. It is not the fault of someone who was born over 200 years ago. They were not the ones whispering in your ear to commit the crime, live off the government or hang out with the gang all day instead of being a responsible adult. Go to school, learn a career, get a job. Very few people are born with a silver spoon in their mouths...very few are a Golden Child, one who shoots to fame or fortune in the worlds of showbiz, music or professional sports. Most have had to pay their dues, work hard for what they've achieved, and continue to work hard to maintain the lifestyle if they so desire to. It's not going to be handed to you. Work for it.

For those of you who are about to point the racist finger at me, hold on. For that one finger that's pointing at me, notice there are three more pointing back at you. Black, white, yellow, brown, red...all parts of the ethnic spectrum are being pointed at. Its not just one race that is at fault, they all have their issues, although there are fewer of some than there are of others. My point here is that its not Political Parties at fault for the race divisions, although they are pot-stirrers, let me tell you. No, the spike in crimes, the spike in unemployment or welfare...its all of them. Oh, and before there is mention of a downturn in unemployment? Here ya go...unemployment  is down because of this: People are discouraged. There are some who have run out of benefits because they cannot find a job to support their families, so they have taken part time jobs to make ends meet...multiple jobs, with no benefits, that's why there's a downturn in the unemployment rate. They have to pay the ridiculous premiums of Obamacare, and if they choose not to, they are penalized at tax time for not having insurance. So they take another job just to pay for the insurance they are REQUIRED to have by law...something that their employer does not offer. Poverty has hit new levels. 

Seriously, Political Parties are responsible for many things, for how you respond to your personal situation, they are not. Get over being butt-hurt every time someone says something that you don't like. Quit pouting when someone else wins a game. Not everyone is good at everything, sometimes there are people who are better at it than you are. Get over it. Find something you're good at or something you enjoy and get better at it. Not everyone needs a trophy just for showing up. That's what competition is all about...the one who does it better gets the award, not those who just show up. That defeats the purpose of competition. You want to be a doctor, lawyer, actor, musician? Work at it. Go to school and do the work, don't expect someone to do the work for you. No one on God's green earth owes you anything just because you breathe the same air as they do. Go out and do something to earn what you want, don't take it by force or expect it to be handed to you. Work for it. 

Okay, I think I've ranted enough. Yes, this is a bee in my bonnet. Yes, I'm opinionated. Yes, I'm old-school...I believe in morals, and justice, and competition, and fairness. If that makes me wrong or judgmental in your eyes, I'm sorry. I try to be as fair as possible to everyone, even those who think I'm off my rocker. 

To conclude, I hope that I've given you food for thought. Please do not use a broad brush to paint everyone the same. Everyone is unique and has the ability to choose what they will do. Despite my desire that everyone use their own brain to make right decisions, I know some will not. Are they Democrats or Republicans? Who cares? A political affiliation doesn't define them. Their actions, and their words define them, not the people we elect. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The strongest glue known to Man

Did you know there's a glue that's stronger than Crazy Glue? Stronger than Gorilla Glue? No? Well there is. It's strong enough to heal, strong enough to bind even the most stubborn of things to that which is good, and it's not patented, you can't find the resources for it in the deepest mine. It can't be bought or sold at any price, however, all you have to do to get this Glue is to ask for it through one Person, Jesus Christ.
That Glue is God.

Yesterday was a bit of a frustrating day for me. A lot of things went way off track, whack, insane, whatever you want to call it. Murphy's Law was in full effect. I felt as if I was losing my mind. I prayed for God to fix that which was losing cohesion, and a name kept coming through my mind. So I called. Now, I don't know right now what the outcome of the prayer and request will be, but God does, because He's already there. He's already prepared everything and I just have to trust...and believe He will hold me together. His love, His grace, His mercy and His provision are the glue that will hold me together.

When I came home from dropping the Granddaughters off with Mama, I sat on my bed and just prayed. Names started popping into my head, and all I could do was to pray that God would "hold them together." Marriages..."God, hold them together." People's finances..."God, hold them together." Folk's state of mind..."God, hold them together." The Church..."God, hold them together." This Country..."God, hold us together." Instance after instance would come to mind, and every response was a prayer to hold them together. I have no idea why.

This morning, after a fitful night, I woke to the song, "My Story" by Big Daddy Weave. The lyrics that kept playing over and over, like a tape loop were these:

"For the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him"

I have to say that when you awaken to lyrics like these running through your head, its very hard to be unglued. Because I trust that He will hold me together, I can get through this day knowing that He is in ultimate control...that He was there in the past, is here with me now, and is at the end of whatever situation I find myself in. Because He is outside of time, He is able to see my choices and will give me the tools and the means to get through whatever comes my way. He removes from my path that which is harmful or for evil, and if I will let Him, holds me when all I can do is look up and say help. 

I know this probably sounds depressing, but the way life is going for us here in the United States, there will be a lot more times that we as Her People will look up and ask God to hold us together. Its not just me or my problems at the moment, its all of us collectively. We can't do this on our own. We can stress and worry about the issues at hand, the Presidential race, the immigration crisis, but it all boils down to this: Are we willing to get on our knees as a Nation, ask forgiveness and guidance and to ask God to hold us together? Some will shout out a resounding, yes! Some will shout out equally with a resounding, no! 

As I read back over this, I get that it seems I'm rambling a bit. Maybe so, but I feel like God has given me these words to give to you. That it would be your prayer today. Maybe you have a family that is falling apart. Pray that God will hold you together. Finances that are spiraling out of control. Pray that God will hold them together. Stress and health issues bombarding you. Pray that God will heal and hold you together. 

Have a blessed week, everyone.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Urgent Plea for Help


While there is still quite a bit of work to do, we here in Houston are well on the road to recovery. There are still some who have not had someone in to evaluate their situations, but Recovery Teams and FEMA are doing their best to get to those in need. We still covet your prayers for all involved. For the teams that are going in to do the initial assessments, the mud-outs, and the repair work...for the FEMA teams and most especially for the families who's lives have been affected by the flooding. With more rain on the way, some things will have to be put on hold until areas are dry.
Thank you so much for all of your previous prayers and support. Please keep praying.

Good morning, Everyone! Have a question for all of you.

Have you been blessed by God today? I know a good deal of you will give a resounding "yes!" to that question, and that's a wonderful thing. But.

Here in Houston, there are some who have been blessed to see another day, but the day ahead of them is filled with anxiety and fear.

As most all of you know, we were hit with flooding that some have said is a 500 or 100 Year flood (depending on who you talk to). Regardless of how many centuries we're talking about, we have some areas that are falling through the cracks. Not on purpose, mind you, but because the needs are so many and the emergency workers are so few.

I have been asked to help in an effort that is hitting brick wall after brick wall. One of my good friends, Stella, has asked me to send out a plea for help. She is trying to help the families of the Ninth Grade Campus of Dwight D. Eisenhower High School. That area has seen some devastating flooding and so many families have been displaced. Let’s be honest here, there are some areas that can take the hit because the families have the means and insurance to recover in a reasonable amount of time. This area has families that can not.

I am distressed to see her hit so many walls in getting help for these families. The first to step up should be our Brothers and Sisters in Christ. 1John 3:17 says: 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? In Philippians 2:4 it says: 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

In Proverbs 29:7 it says 7 The righteous considers the cause of the poor, But the wicked does not understand such knowledge. We, as Heirs to the Most High God have the responsibility to help those in need.

Matthew 25:35-40:

35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did itto one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

This really hit me between the eyes. I am far from being a well off person, but I have clothing I can give...I am able to donate a few cases of water. Small things in my eyes, but for them, a blessing beyond blessings for they have, at this point, nothing.

There’s another thing. There are children who are missing. It is not known whether they are being sheltered someplace and have not yet been reunited with their families, or if they are truly missing. Imagine if that were your child. You no longer have no home, no more possessions, transportation, clothing. All you have is what you left your home with...some with only the clothes on their backs. Then you find out they can’t find your child. Put yourself in their shoes. Desperation is a weak word to use here.

I’m going to put this out there now and you can judge me all you want, but it has to be said. It doesn’t matter where this school is. It doesn’t matter what the income level, demographics, ethnicity, it doesn’t matter. What matters is our Family, our Houston Family is in need. Children are not with their families. Something needs to be done and done now. How will you respond? Me? I’m going to clean out my closets and pantry to give what I can.

I encourage you to search your hearts, and homes for whatever you can give to help these folks in their time of need. It doesn’t matter how much, even a little will help. Please contact me or Stella if you can help.

Thank you, Everyone for your help in this desperate time.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

An open blog for Donald Trump...

Good day, Mr. Trump!

I've been watching your campaign for quite a while. You see, while I am a registered Republican, I do tend to watch all of the Candidates...that are worth their salt. Unfortunately, if one were to measure quantities of salt and apply said quantity to each of the five Candidates on both sides, I'd say the total measure may not even add up to a cup. But hey, that's my opinion, and that's not why I'm writing this blog. Its about Texas, and the scarceness of the Candidates so far.

Yes, Ted Cruz is our Senator/Candidate, and I am thinking that you think that he will sweep the State. While that may be true,and Primaries aside, I still haven't seen his face grace our newscasts. If the nomination goes to contest, all bets are off, all delegates go back to square one and it's a free-for-all for the remaining candidates. But you know that already.

You may have heard while on the Campaign trail that Houston was hit with the worst flooding that they have experienced in recent memory. Not even Tropical Storm Allison caused the flooding and damage that this line of storms has caused. I've heard the terms 100 year and 500 year floods tossed around a lot. Really, that doesn't matter. What matters is the devastation that is going on even as I type this. Families who have never flooded are seeing their homes of 15, 25, even 50 years suffer from the in excess of billions of gallons of water trying to find someplace to go. Lives have been lost, people are misplaced, livelihoods are destroyed. Some have insurance and the means to move forward, but a great deal do not.

In the Meyerland area, for example. Last Memorial Day they had some severe flooding. Some of those families are just now getting back into their homes, only to have flood waters come in and wash away a year of restoration work, and all they own. Some will pull on the hip waders and go through, trying to salvage what they have left...others will give up.

In Greenspoint, many apartment complexes have water still up to two feet. These are folks who can't afford to replace everything they own...they're relying on the Red Cross and humanitarian organizations to help them to get back on their feet. Some are in shelters, some are in other family's or friend's homes, some are still there, wondering what to do next.

The thing about Houston, though, is that we come together. Watching my friend's list on Facebook, almost everyone is doing something to help somebody. People are checking on friends, neighbors and relatives, offering food, shelter, help. We had an Equestrian Center go under water not far from where I live. Total strangers went there to help rescue the more than 80 horses that were caught in the flood waters. In Greenspoint, the Red Cross has asked for volunteers and counselors to help with the onslaught of people who are coming there because they just need to know someone cares. They want to know that people will listen, even if they are not sure what they want. They receive prayers, counselling and help at that center. People have responded. So many organizations, Churches, businesses, even the regular Joe and Jane off the street are rallying together to help where they can. Newscasters and reporters are side by side with Emergency workers helping people to evacuate their homes, bringing food and necessities to those who can't leave.

So why am I telling you all this? Because we need a President who cares about the people of Texas. Not because it's part of the Campaign trail, not because it looks good, but because everyone of his or her constituents matter to him or her. I'm not suggesting you come here and spread the wealth, so to speak, although that would help immensely, but come here and tour the affected areas...Meyerland, Katy, Cypress, Spring, and get your hands in there, helping where the help is needed. Pray with those who just need to have someone to pray with them. Comfort those who have experienced devastating loss. Let the people of Houston, and ultimately Texas, know you care about them, not about the number of delegates the State provides. Then, Sir, you may actually have a fighting chance against Ted Cruz here.

You know as well as I do that things can change in a heartbeat.

Be safe. Be well and may you be blessed as you continue your quest for the Presidency.