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The Buttermilk Shot

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There are many things I do that drive my grandkids crazy, but there is one that absolutely horrifies them and that is drinking buttermilk straight out of the container. It’s a staple item in my fridge and its positioned front and center right next to the 2% milk the grand kids use for cereal.

Imagine the repulsed reaction my grandson had when pouring buttermilk into his cereal bowl one morning. YOWSERS! He took one bite and spewed out a mouthful of cereal in double time.

HIM: Oh my gosh, Neenee, that milk is so spoiled.”
ME: “Did you check the label?”
HIM: “Yes, it said Country Fresh, Dairy Pure. So it should fresh.”
ME: “Did you bother to read the rest of the label?”
HIM: “No, why would I?
ME: “Because the label reads buttermilk.”

From that day forward it’s a standard joke with my grandkids that anytime they get out of line, talk back, are disrespectful or let their temper get the best of them, they have to do a shot of buttermilk. A good number of their friends who spend time with us also know this is truth.

Parent’s, if you are having behavioral issues with your child let me suggest purchasing a gallon of buttermilk; the chunkier, the better. It’s a standard antidote at Neenee and Poppy’s house. If they refuse to drink it, set up another shot glass. Before you know it, there will be 6 or 7 shot glasses lined up.

At some point it will become comical to both you and your child and laughter prevails. It’s not to say behavior issue are not be challenged, but hopefully buttermilk shots can buffer those intense moments of anger and assist in promoting a calmer environment in which you can talk with your child.

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Ball Cap Ready

ball cap readyI clean houses for a living and when you clean houses; you need to be ‘ball cap ready’ at all times. Any effort to shower, put on make-up, style hair and look like you just walked out of a salon is pointless.

By the end of the day, you will have bleach stains on your work cloths, smell like anti-bacterial wipes and multi-purpose cleaner, sock bottoms that are disgustingly black and wish you had chosen a different career path. A career where you wake up and shower, not showering in showers you clean (trust me; it does happens when you fail to push or turn the wrong knob when cleaning the shower head).

You may not clean houses for a living, but each of us will find times in our life when we need to be ‘ball cap ready’. That call from a friend in need, the bestie who wants to meet for lunch in an hour because they facing a crisis moment, the family member that unexpectedly needs a ride to an appointment or a community member in need of an extra helping hand when everyone else bailed on them.

‘Ball Cap Ready’ means you are prepared for every situation that life throws at you with no regard for your physical appearance, attire, the sentiment or opinion of others. You just put on the ball cap and do what you are called to do. Serve.

The name of my company is on my ball cap, but there are moments throughout each day that the cap changes names. It’s unperceived by others, sometimes even to myself. Sometimes the ball cap reads friend, at other times it may change to grace, shoulder to cry on, just listen or Jesus cares.

It doesn’t matter what lettering is on the front of our ball caps because at any given time it could change. You might say, “I don’t wear ball caps!” I beg to differ. It may be vicariously, but the ball cap we wear on a daily basis says something.

It might say teacher, mom, electrician, builder or any host of names that define who and what you do for work. But that same ball cap also says something about who you are as a person and your response readiness to switch caps in a minutes notice to be the person that Jesus has called you to be in any given situation.

  • Are you ball-cap ready?
  • Are you attentive to the words God has commissioned on your ball cap today?
  • Does it hang in a prominent place where it is easily grabbed when needed, or stashed in a remote corner of your closet?

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Heavenly Father, you are aware of the ball-cap I wear everyday. Let it be that of a servant’s heart, one who truly cares and seeks to lay my own will aside to serve others because that is what Jesus has called me (us) to do.

Remind me that small acts can have a huge impact when guided & ordained by you. Inspire me to wear a servant’s ball-cap every day and take the focus off my needs and put others first.

AMEN

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Seasons of Grace

img_3614[1]I gaze out window watching remnant leaves from the fall season gracefully skate across the surface of my ice-glazed deck.

They spin around and then smoothly skim the surface of the ice with occasional moments of being air bound before gracefully, flawlessly descending back to the icy surface.

And then, without notice, the edge of the remnant leave becomes caught in a crack. It fights to free itself to no avail. Suddenly a gust of wind dislodges it and it once again is free to glide across the surface of my ice-glazed deck.

We are all leaves fallen from grace trying to weather the seasons of life. There are winter season when we navigate across ice-glazed surfaces to keep our balance; avoiding cracks and thin ice.

Spring brings the emergence of new growth. We labor to recover from any losses in the wintry season of our life. The arrival of summer’s glorious, bountiful sunshine is welcomed. It’s a time of renewal, joy and reprieve. Our dreams for the future blossom, we bear fruit and flourish in preparation for fall.

Fall descends and the colorful sprays of leaves will soon fade and turn brown. A reminder of how we have all fallen from grace. It’s nature’s call for us to reconcile with the Creator of all things because winter is coming.

“In [fellowship with] Christ we have redemption [i.e., we have been bought back from Satan] through His blood, and have forgiveness of sins according to the abundance of God’s unearned favor,”
Ephesians 1:7

PRAYER FOR TODAY

Heavenly Father, no matter the season I face in my life, I ask for your guidance, encouragement and the knowledge that you go before me in all things. You have eternal purpose for each and every one of us whether we choose to accept it or not.

Open my eyes to see my life through your eyes. A life that is redeemed, rescued and full of plans directed and orchestrated by you.  In my bleak and barren seasons lead me, in those seasons of rejoicing may my feet dance in praise for your enduring mercies and endless kindness.

In all things, I give you thanks always.

Amen

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Runaway Mouths

our wordsThe mouths of mankind are like a runaway train that manages to operate even though it is no longer navigated by the tracks that served to guide it to a destination of purpose.

“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
(Psalm 141:3)

Some of the most obvious runaway mouths are found in the political arena; but, there are less obvious runaway mouths to consider whose tongues yield no return when the words they speak are applied to people.

What does that mean?

It means that fruitless, idle and unproductive words spoken about others are considered unguarded with the power to injure passengers on that runaway mouth train. Your first reaction may be who cares; they are my words and I will use them as I wish. Really now, let’s see what God has to say about that.

“But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment.” (Matthew 12:36)

That one scripture alone should change our attitude and view about runaway mouths, but it’s not the only verse in the Bible that gives reference to the importance of the words we speak. There are plenty more that indicate we will be held accountable for every word we utter that yields no profitable return.

“May the words from my mouth and the thoughts from my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my defender.” Psalms 19:14

But I didn’t say it out loud…

I just typed my words on Facebook, texted or sent my words via Messenger. It was a private message. People, there are no private messages, conversations, comments or remarks where accountability to God is concerned and one day, we will be judged and held accountable.

Consider this: our thoughts are just as accountable to God as the words we speak. You say, “I don’t have any control over my thoughts!” Well, according to scripture you do. Our thoughts are formed by the things on which we focus our attention.

“Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”  (Philippians 4:8)

What are you reading or watching? What activities engage your mind? The real question is what are you allowing to capture your thought process? I remember the catchphrase from my college days when the DOS operating system was the craze, “Garbage in, garbage out.” It’s still true today.

Have you exalted yourself as jury and judge of others?

Motive is the key here. You judge someone wrongly when you criticize them out of jealousy, bitterness, selfish ambition, or some other sin, rather than seeking to build him in Christ.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  (Matthew 7: 1-2)

Prayer for Today:

Heavenly Father, navigate my runaway mouth and keep it in check. Remind me that one day my words and thoughts will be replayed on judgment day and I will be accountable for anything that was unacceptable in your sight. I ask forgiveness for all the careless words and displeasing thoughts I can’t retrieve or salvage. Starting today, let the words I speak and the thoughts I think bring glory to you.

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And So It Is Christmas

Aand so it is christmasnd so it is Christmas…

A day children awaken with wide-eyed anticipation of presents delivered overnight by Santa or gifted by family and friends. It’s a day that often includes a Christmas dinner or for some, like myself, a day of grazing on leftovers from earlier family gatherings.

And so it is Christmas…

Wrapping paper is torn from boxes and emptied of their contents. Ribbon, bows and gift tags are scattered on the floor as the joyous litter of another Christmas is tossed into an oversized garbage bag.

And so it is Christmas…

Favorite holiday movies are watched throughout the day, family board and card games are played together and laughter is shared amidst all the typical pandemonium and commotion of Christmas day.

And so it is Christmas…

Dusk descends and the day draws to a close. Bedtime prayers are said as the kiddos are tucked into bed. It’s been an eventful day and as the tree lights are switched off, I glance up at the moon and stars that shine brightly against the backdrop of the dark sky.

And so it is Christmas…

In that quiet moment I am reminded of a time long ago when a stable feeding trough was a makeshift crib for a baby destined to redeem our world from the guilt of our sin and disobedience to His Father: GOD.

And so it is Christmas…

My head hits the pillow, exhausted by the activity of the day. I whisper a prayer as I rejoice in the true meaning of Christmas: The peace, contentment and hope that the birth of Jesus gifted to me.

It may not be a peace that changes my circumstances, but IT IS a calm that can fill my mind and heart during the worst storm—contentment that poverty or plenty cannot take away—a sense of hope that God is in control, no matter what happens.

It’s not something I work up, or earn—it is a gift from God, a gift each of us can unwrap this Christmas Day, or any day. The gift of salvation brought through the birth of Jesus.

And so it is Christmas…

Rejoice, celebrate and claim your free gift of salvation because it’s the only gift that really matters at the end of the day. When tree lights are unplugged, presents unwrapped and guests return home and food put away, you are left with the backdrop of the night sky and yourself.

And in the stillness of the night, I pray you choose to embrace the true gift of AND SO IT IS CHRISTMAS. His name is JESUS.

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Our Skyline is Forever Changing

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This morning’s skyline over the lake appeared ominous and threatening. But in a short time, I watched the skyline change to a luminous, vivid spray of color that welcomed the IMG_4064dawning of a new day with open arms and shouted to anyone that cared to listen, “There is hope if you are willing to be still and wait for the Creator of all things to showcase His glorious influence over how you perceive the day He has set before you.”

“This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us be full of joy and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24

Did your day start out like this morning’s skyline? I encourage you to wait prayerfully and patiently before the Lord. He listens to us in our time of need and just when we believe all hope has vacated the skyline of our life, HE arrives in the most magnificent way and reveals hope. God has a way of turning our ominous and threatening moments into joy.

“You have changed my sadness into a joyful dance; you have taken away my sorrow and surrounded me with joy.” Psalms 30:11 (GNT)

TODAY’S PRAYER:

Lord, let me move and breathe with the knowledge that YOU go before me at the dawn of each new day. From sunrise to sunset, your grace is sufficient. You only want the best for me and no matter how dark the clouds above me, you are continually reshaping the skyline of my life into something glorious and beautiful. Thank you, Heavenly Father for caring about every detail of my life.

AMEN

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Are You the Blade that Shapes OR Shatters?

double-edged-sword2Recently, I was made privy to a comment about me that wasn’t so nice.  The blade of hurt was sharpened with the knowledge the words were spoken by someone I care about. Certainly, I am guilty of many things, but laziness is not one of them and for someone to believe it to be true (and then to share with others) were piercing, knife-like words.

I profess to be OCD, an over-achiever, addict of many things (both good and bad) and tend to offer an extreme amount of time to service projects that have eternal purpose. I don’t apologize because there is no doubt in my mind that the challenges I face on my current path are being forged by God to fulfill His ultimate plan for my life.

This year, my holiday season has been consecrated to a desire to help others in need. There are times I’ve opted to give paid jobs to others so I could give my attention to other purposeful and unpaid projects. In the spirit of giving, there are times I’ve taken a moment to breathe because I needed time to energize, regroup and rest.

You may be asking what the purpose of this post is.

It’s a message about the words we speak and share with others. You may believe you know a person; but do you really? Do you know the inflicted struggles, motive or battle God has placed before them to perfect His eternal purpose within them?

We need to recognize we are not the judge and jury of the intentions and endeavors of others, even though we deem ourselves best suited for this God ordained position. Only God has the ability to see the heart of mankind and He does it with divine knowledge of our thoughts and His purposed intentions. He hears our heartfelt cries as we desire and long to be obedient to His call even we seem to fail Him and others.

I encourage you to be the spiritual blade of God that shapes and uplifts fellow friends and loved ones. It’s done through the power of prayer, not the power of a sharp tongue. God is forever working within to do his good work to shape and sculpt us according to His perfect plan.

There are many personal battles that rage within us: addiction issues, seasons of loneliness, grief from loss or spiritual emptiness.  The ways God chooses to shape someones life into His image to fulfill His purpose isn’t for us to question, judge or debate.

God shares this with us:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9

We are all instruments God uses to guide and support each other in this journey we call life. God never intended for us to sharpen and wield our ‘I know what’s best for you’ blade into the life of others.

Don’t be the blade that shatters the spirit of others because you have a tongue that can’t be tamed. Refrain from spewing forth words that pierce and divide the soul of another. Instead, strive to be the blade that shapes the life of others with words of kindness and love.

“Let the words of my mouth…be acceptable in your sight, O Lord.” Psalms 19:4