Monday, August 14, 2017

Storms and Hens Gathering Chicks

I like a good summer storm (when it's not destructive and/or devastating).  Storms have a way of clearing the air.

Sometimes in life we face personal storms---spiritual storms, emotional storms and the like.  Sometimes we face storms in the workplace or in organizations we are involved with.  As with atmospheric storms, we can sometimes sense when personal storms are brewing.  

God gave me a beautiful visual yesterday.  I was visiting with extended family, and I was asking my nephew how his chickens were doing.  He was telling me about one of his hens who is very maternal.  He said that as a storm was brewing Saturday in the big valley in which we live, this hen (sensing the storm) was running around the farm, gathering her chicks all around before the storm came, so that they would be safe.  As he was telling me this story, the Holy Spirit immediately brought to mind the Scripture passage from Matthew 23:37--" . . .  . How often I wanted to gather your children together [around Me], as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. . . . ." (Amplified version of the Bible).

When we sense the signs of a personal storm brewing--when we face these personal storms that come our way, do we run to God and draw close to Him?  Seek His face?  He is wanting to gather us together under His wings.  His Word says so. Under His wings is the safest place to be.  

Sunday, October 2, 2016

What Do I Know?

When good friends share crises and devastating circumstances and heartfelt worries, I am often at a loss for words.  I've learned in my many years of life that trite sayings provide little comfort and assurance, and it's better to keep silent and start praying than to spout off words just for the sake of filling the silence (for those of you who have known me before I learned this---I am sorry that I didn't know this earlier!).  My really good friends know me well enough now that I sometimes need 1-2 weeks of praying and thinking to have any type of meaningful response. 
So how do I respond after those 1-2 weeks?  Much of what some of my friends are facing are circumstances that I've never had to deal with.  But I have had different crises and devastating circumstances over the years.  And the way my mind works, I return to what I know---and this is what I can share:  
What do I know?  I know that God never promised us that life would be perfect and that everyone we love would live as long as we want them to.  He has told us in His Word that our trials help us grow.  That the process of walking through these "fires" (with Him never leaving our side) serves to refine us--like precious metals. I know that even when we can't feel the presence of God, He indeed continues to walk with us through all the paths He allows us to experience.  I know that God is our refuge and strength in trouble.  He gives strength to the weary. I know that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted.  I know that praising God "in the storm" has a healing effect.  I know that as we draw near to God, He promises to draw near to us.  I know that spending time with a community of believers who encourage and show grace and know how to love on us is necessary and invaluable.
And I've learned that God's Word can be a healing balm.  He loves us more than we can ever imagine.  His Word is a treasure.  I promised some friends today that I would share some comforting passages to read and meditate on.  Two main Scriptures to start with (for what I know these friends are experiencing and feeling) are Psalm 34 and Psalm 91.   I like the New Living Translation, and you can read these at (in any translation you prefer!). Some good verses to commit to memory are Psalm 42:5 , Psalm 9:9-10, Pslam 61:1-3, and Psalm 121.
Do we look to the mountains for our help?  No!  Our help comes from the Lord--maker of heaven and earth.  He calls us to lay down our burdens--He will carry us.  And when you come out on the other side of the path that you are currently on, you will be able to look back and see the "God moments" and know that He was with you all along.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Concerns About Some Trending Thoughts . . . .

Have you ever seen or heard someone heading in the wrong direction, and you just want to say, "Stop! That's the wrong way!  You won't get to where you want to go by continuing on that road!"  Well, I've been thinking this way for a while whenever I hear reporters interview people and people writing in blogs and facebook posts about "believing in yourself."  "The key is just believing in yourself!" they say.  As if believing in yourself can make anything happen and your dreams come true.  No, no, no!!!

But I digress----I've wanted to write about this for weeks and months, but I was thinking some may think I'm angry and yelling.  I was thinking that maybe I should approach this the way one of my favorite Bible Study teachers, Beth Moore, approaches the people she teaches:

DEAR ONE (please know I mean this---dear one---I want you to know that you are loved, and I want you to know that I'm pointing this out because I believe it's a lie, and I don't want you to believe a lie!  I want to point you to truth!)  How can "believing in yourself" solve anything or make anything happen?  If I "believe in myself," can I make all of my children's struggles disappear?  To me, that's like the "think system" toted in the "The Music Man" movie---DEAR ONES, if the "think system" really worked, we could think the Minuet in G and play it perfectly!  If the "think system" worked, I would "think" my house clean, and the clutter and dust would disappear!

Even though I've heard many athletes tell reporters, "I just believed in myself . . . ."  It's not true!  The Olympic Athletes and others (like the BMX biker I heard say this) put a whole lot of time and practice and self-discipline and effort into training for their events.

Goals are good, self-discipline and hard work are good and necessary to make things happen.  But I can also tell you from experience that we can work hard and make our plans (and they can be good and God-honoring), but it really is true, as Proverbs 16:9 says, that "the Lord determines our steps."  I can't tell you how many times in my life I have made plans and then something unexpected and unavoidable happens, and throws all of the plans to the wind.  I've learned that I should remember to pray each morning, "Lord, order my day, please---guide and direct my steps."  When I do remember to do that, the interruptions and unexpected visits and events that happen do not bother me---because I remember my prayer, and I see these as God-appointed interruptions.

DEAR ONE, our Creator loves us and wants to spend time with us.  His plans for us are good.  He made us in His image, for the purpose of showing others who He is---how much He loves us.  That is our ultimate calling.  Following Jesus.  Jesus spent a whole lot of time connecting with His Father (God), who loved Him and had a purpose for His time on earth. How much time are we spending connecting with God--reading His Word and talking to Him and listening?  Looking to Him to guide our thoughts and our path?  To remind us of the purpose He created us for "such a time as this"?

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Difficult Choice . . . .

In my constant endeavor to declutter, I came across this essay written by my son, Joel, in sixth or seventh grade.  He is now in his senior year of college.  When he wrote this, his teacher (I forget which one), thought that I would want to read this, too, and have a copy.  I'm so glad she did!  I think we can all learn something from his attitude and thoughts from long ago, when he was probably about 12 years old (I did ask for permission to share this, and he said I could.):
Joel on a visit to Bristol, TN (around 2003 or 2004)

'Tis always a hassle to begin an essay such as this.  Flowery and aloof introductions are not my type, so I thought I'd might as well begin in this manner.  So now that this essay is started, I think it's time to get to the point--a difficult choice that arose from a problem in my life.  Such occurred in my life at about age 6.  At that point it was determined that I stutter.  Stuttering, a form of speech impediment, is defined by "blocks" and repetitions of sounds  as well as other behavioral and vocal implications.  With this impediment, I was posed with a decision:  Run from it or live with it.

To run from my speech impediment would be easy for the average person in this situation.  I would not associate or communicate with other people, fearing they would not understand and/or mock and make fun of my speech.  It would mean I would crawl into a social hole and wallow in self-pity.  This would cause me to feel lonely as well as depressed.  I would be a sorry excuse for a kid, an entire social and psychological wreck at age 10.  Sound fun to you?

On the other hand, I could stand up and deal with this minor disability--which is exactly what it is; minor.  I would go into the world and dare it to accept me as I am.  Facing fears, possible dangers of getting teased and general uncertainty.  I would be much stronger on the back end.  I'd be able to face most anything else coming at me, able to seek ways to better my speech itself, able to just be a normal kid.  Does that sound a bit better?
Playing Rail Baron with cousins

putting everything he's got into a Steeplechase race!  (2013)  Photo courtesy of Paul Nesmith

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The End of An Era, Really

I wish that I could share my extended family (both maternal and paternal) with everyone I know. Even though no one is perfect in my extended family, we have learned to love and accept and enjoy everyone just because they are family. (I never realized what a treasure that philosophy is until I moved away from home---I used to think that all families were this way.) My aunts, uncles, and cousins know how to laugh without belittling anyone---they find joy in living, enjoying hard work and the simple things of life.

My dad is one of four siblings, my mom is one of nine. For over four decades, I have enjoyed each and every one of my parents' siblings. All are different in their own way, with very unique personalities and areas of giftedness---but all are loved for exactly who they are.

This week marks the end of an era in my family. I can no longer say that all my parents' siblings are still living. My Uncle John Price has passed from this earth yesterday. While I would never wish him back (he doesn't need to struggle to breathe any more), his entire, huge family--both immediate and extended--will sorely miss his presence here on earth.

So tonight my thoughts and prayers go out especially to Aunt Patsy, Teresa, Kim, and Mark, their spouses and their children, and to my mom and all of Uncle John's siblings who will miss him (especially on "Brother's Day", at the Price sibling lunches which my cousins have begun to host, and at Mom's "Spring Fling"). Our tears express some of the depths of our often unspoken love.

"To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." and "The Lord is close to the broken-hearted." These two simple verses are some of the few comforting thoughts (to me, at least) in these times of sorrow.

"With your final heartbeat, kiss the world goodbye. Then go in peace and laugh on glory's side." (Chris Rice, from his song, "Untitled Hymn" [Come to Jesus])

I Just Want to Talk to a REAL person!

Does anyone besides me greatly dislike the phone services which most companies have---where you have to press a chain of numbers and guess which category your question may fall under? Well, several weeks ago, we had a "situation" whereby my cell phone was lost (probably in the bushes or the creek at Hersheypark, is my guess, from what my son said, and with him trying to figure out the possible trajectory---he's really into physics). So I called AT&T. I have a go-phone, so this is a bit more complicated than the contract phones. None of their answering machine categories fit my problem or question, and "went around in circles" on their phone tree several times. I was getting exasperated, and finally said to the automated voice, "I JUST WANT TO TALK TO A REAL PERSON!!!!" To my surprise, the automated voice then said, "Okay! I'll connect you with a customer service representative." Wow! I think I'll have to try that more often!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Great Quote on Marriage . . . .

I've been thinking about marriage lately, mainly because our small group at church is studying a chapter in our study book about us being the "Bride of Christ" (and so we have to dig in to figure out what exactly that means) . . . partly because my kids are getting older and I want them to have a good and right perspective on marriage (and opposed to what I perceive as society's very casual and often negative attitude towards the institution) and in a very small part because of just a snippet of conversation on my brother-in-law's Facebook status and subsequent comments. And then, today, after following some links from a "Tweet" I received, I came across this quote from "Plugged In Online." (Abby will like that I read this.) Sometimes you read what people write and think, I TOTALLY agree with that. How TRUE that is. So here, from Reviewer Paul Asay (on his review of "When In Rome"--found at ):

I'll rebut Pops' perspective with this: Marriage is about so much more than passion, more than risk—more than a lottery ticket where the winners get fairy-tale endings and losers find divorce attorneys. Marriage is about commitment—commitment that holds firm through the fickle vagaries of human emotion. Yes, there's risk involved in it, but marriage should never be analogous to rolling the dice in a game of chance. Rather, it's like building a house: You check the foundation, you build the angles square, you make sure the place will last a lifetime.