Just to let everyone know we are still alive.   Just going through a lot of changes and some are not physical.  Found a new writer’s block—- How to write something when one feels as though they are blind-sided by an emotional crisis that tosses them like an undertow of a tidal wave.  Hopefully it will have a good outcome.  Everyone have a good holiday season!  Will try to write soon.

A Veteran: whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve — is someone who at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to “The United States of America” for an amount of “up to and including his/her life”.

On a wall-hanging plank purchased July 4th is this:  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  For his/her family, for his/her country needs to be added.  Love this and it is a gift for a child who is now serving this country.  (Hope you’re still not reading this blog or you will know part of your house warming gift!)  The best part of this plank is the picture of a soldier with the wings of the United States flag colors and shapes of it’s stars and stripes.  And that it was Made in USA!  Thanks to Dalton, Ohio.

As much as any of us complain about anything and everything going on in this world today, we have that privilege because of the Lord and those who gave much to allow us to live in this country with whatever freedom we have.  Many of us remember this and thank the Lord every day by praying for all those who serve and have served with all they have to give.  Today will always be special in my heart, may the Lord bless and keep all of you safe.  And . . . .

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AND HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!!!!!

Search:  American Legion at: www.legion.org  /members or about

Veterans Day at: http://www.military.com/veterans-day

www.timeanddate.com     usmilitary.about.com

One might want to say thanks by clicking on Veterans Hospital or Veterans Home and see what you can do to personalize your thanks at http//www.benefits.va.gov/vow/education.htm    The upper left of the home page has a list of subjects among them is Honoring Veterans, Veterans Home, and Veterans Services.

Our flag’s colors are red, white and blue and like the other features of it, each color was purposely choosen to symbolize something of significance.  White is purity and innocence; red means hardiness and valour; and blue vigilance, perserverance and justice.  May we always remember many lives and body’s parts altered for these qualities.

Most of us know the 50 stars represent the fifty United States but how many know that number has increased to 51 by Puerto Rico’s November 2012 election*.  We may have to get a new design to represent all 51 states ( future of flag section at wikipedia.org’s flag of U.S.).  There also is a excellent section on Folding for storage.  To know the meaning of each fold go to an  American Legion.

*changing it’s political status from territorial to support of statehood status.

Just as being disciplined for sinning, being pruned so one can produce more fruit doesn’t sound like something to be desired.  As always the process is not the most pleasant path to get the results wanted, but usually the only way to get it is through the process.  “If necessary, He will risk your misunderstanding of His methods and motives, His purpose is for you to cut away immature commitments and lesser priorities to make room for even greater abundance for His glory.”  from Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson.  Much of the problem for us is that in order to grow in this glory one must go against our natural tendency.  The pruning is how we live the life that pleases the Lord and carries our impact for eternity.

Why is it so hard to get where we need to be in our spirit?  Even though the pain we suffer may be confusing, misinterpreted, and deemed unfair by us; in the Lord’s view He wants our ultimate good.  This is true both when we are off-track and sinning and when we are on-track and need to grow spiritually.  The biggest deciphering problem is distinguishing God’s purpose in the process.  Bruce Wilkinson’s premise in the Second Secret of the Vine is the pruning of a person is easy to confuse as the disciplining for a sin consciously or unconsciously being committed.  A human’s viewpoint when something goes wrong or something is removed from one’s life (loved one, possessions, desires unmet, etc.), it has to be because of sin and therefore, the Lord is disciplining the sinner.  This is not always the case.  Thus the distinguishing factor is: what is being “corrected or modified”?  As if it is disciplining, it is about sin; and if pruning, it is about self.  Both are to make room in our lives for greater good.  If pruning is misunderstood, over time anger about the process can lead to bitterness and mistrust toward the Lord and take us from pruning to disciplining for our sin of attitude about the process.  So how to tell when and what is going on in our life becomes a challenge.

According to the Second Secret in Bruce Wilkinson’s book “Secret of the Vine”, there are six steps to follow:  1. Recognize the Lord is trying to show you something and ask Him to guide you during this time of trial.  2. As any good parent would do, He will instruct you by revealing whether the experience is for “disciplining” or for “pruning”.  3. Ask of Him if it is a sin you are committing and He will “tell” you.  4. Request He show you in a short time period, such as a day or a week, the sin otherwise you will assume it is for pruning.  Many times He will “tell” you by a friend, reading the Bible, or a preacher’s sermon.  5. If it is a sin, repent and backtrack to the correct path.  Depending on the sin will determine the backtracking; ie: disobeying a commandment would be to backtrack to obeying the guidelines the Lord gave believers.  6. If it is “pruning” means the Lord is asking you to let go of something or at least trust Him enough to completely release it to Him.  The rewards are the abundance of fruit.

“If your relationship with your Father is injured, I encourage you to apologize today for your attitudes and thoughts.” (Secret of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson)  Ask Him to forgive you for misunderstanding and misjudging His character.

Example situation: a spouse of a loved family member is verbally abusive to everyone around them, they are 80 years old and have always had tyrant behavior; when confronted, they deny any wrong and lie about behavior.  What should be done?

Issue: How do you know it’s happening?    Disciplining: pain    Pruning: pain

Situation’s answer:  emotional pain

Issue: Why is it happening?         Discipline: you’re doing something wrong    Pruning: you’re doing something right.     Situation’s answer: not sure yet, trying to do the right thing.

Issue: What is the level of fruitfulness?     Discipline: none    Pruning: some fruit     Situation’s answer:  is getting something rectified fruit?

Issue:  What is the Vinedresser’s desire?      Discipline: fruit    Pruning: more fruit      Situation’s answer: (What is the fruit suppose to look like?)

Issue:  What needs to go?      Disciplining: sin             Pruning: self     Situation’s answer: (are we talking about me or the tyrant??)

Issue:  How should you feel?        Disciplining:  guilty, sad         Pruning:  relief, trust    Situation’s answer: guilty only because I feel I’m being sneaky by helping the injured party get their property.  So should I be trusting the Lord will open a door?

Issue:  What is the right response?     Disciplining: Repentance–stop sinning    Pruning: Release –give your permission     Situation’s answer:  Letting go and letting God handle how to do this.

Issue: When does it stop?         Disciplining: When we stop sinning.      Pruning: When God is finished.      Situation’s answer:  removal of property without getting killed over it.

There will be a follow-up answer on this.

God make me brave for life,

oh braver than this.

Let me straighten after pain

As a tree straightens after rain,

Shining and lovely again.

God make me brave for life,

much braver than this.

As the blown grass lifts, let me rise,

From sorrow with quiet eyes,

Knowing Thy way is wise.

God make me brave, for life brings such blinding things.

Help me to keep my sight;

Help me to see aright —-

That out of dark comes light.

————–Author Unknown.

November 8

Learn to appreciate difficult days.  Be stimulated by the challenges you encounter along your way.  As you journey through rough terrain with Me, gain confidence from your knowlege that together we can handle anything.  This knowledge is comprised of three parts: your relationship with Me, promises in the Bible, and past experiences of coping successfully during hard times.

Look back on your life, and see how I have helped you through difficult days.  If you are tempted to think, “Yes, but that was then, and this is now,” remember who I AM!  Although you and your circumstances may change dramatically, I remain the same throughout time and eternity.  This is the basis of your confidence.  In My Presence you live and move and have your being.

(After breaking the blender’s glass this morning, author needed this!  It started a trying day. . .)

This is a follow up to “Genius” post also sent by an relative.

(Just had to send this one along!)

“Who will help me plant my wheat?” asked the little red hen.   “Not I,” said the cow.  “Not I,” said the duck.  “Not I,” said the pig.  “Not I,” said the goose.   “Then I will do it by myself.”  She planted her crop and the wheat grew and ripened.

“Who will help me reap my wheat?” asked the little red hen.  “Not I,” said the duck.  “Out of my classification,” said the pig.  “I’d lose my seniority,” said the cow. “I’d lose my unemployment compensation,” said the goose.  “Then I will do it by myself,” said the little red hen, and so she did.

“Who will help me bake the bread?” asked the little red hen.  “That would be overtime for me,” said the cow.  “I’d lose my welfare benefits,” said the duck.  “I’m a dropout and never learned how, ” said the pig.  “If I’m to be the only helper, that’s discrimination,” said the goose.  “Then I will do it by myself,” said the little red hen.

She baked five loaves and held them up for all of her neighbors to see.  (That was HER mistake!)  They wanted some and, in fact, demanded a share but the little red hen said, “No, I shall eat all five loaves.” “Excess profits!” cried the cow(Nancy Pelosi).  “Capitalist leech!” screamed the duck(Barbara Boxer). “I demand equal rights!” yelled the goose(Jesse Jackson).  The pig just grunted in disdain(Harry Reid).  And they all painted “Unfair!” picket signs and marched around and around the little red hen, shouting obscenities.

When the farmer (Obama) came he said to the little red hen, “You must not be so greedy.”  “But I earned the bread,” said the little red hen.  “Exactly,” said Barack the farmer.  “That is what makes our free enterprise system so wonderful.  Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants.  But under our modern government regulations, the productive workers must divide the fruits of their labor with those who are lazy and idle.”

And they all lived happily ever after, including the little red hen, who smiled and clucked, “I am grateful, for now I truly understand.”  But her neighbors became quite disappointed in her.  She never again baked bread because she joined the ‘party’ and got her bread free.  And all the Democrats smiled.  “Fairness” had been established.  Individual initiative had died but nobody noticed;  perhaps no one cared so long as there was free bread that “the rich” were paying for.  And perhaps . . . this is the end. . . . . . . . .

And the next week, there was no bread, or anything else to eat.   So, they all starved equally.

EPILOGUE: Bill Clinton is getting $12 million for his memoirs.

Hillary got $8 million for hers.

That’s $20 million for the memoirs from two people, who for eight years repeatedly testified, under oath, that they couldn’t remember anything.

DO WE LIVE IN A GREAT BARNYARD OR WHAT?

It all started with Santa Claus. . . . or was it the Easter Bunny?  We tell our children not to lie, and then we turn around and promote a lie to our child.  Like the fantasy characters of the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny and most of all Santa Claus.  A parent does this because one’s culture makes a big deal out of these illusions and it does give the parent an excuse to give extra to the child when it is not a birthday.  But to say it is from a made-up character and not the parent is a lie, even if one has to classify it as a “white” lie.

The first time I “caught” my parents in a lie was walking in on the “Easter Bunny” hiding her eggs.  (Yes, it was my mother!)  My first thought after verifying the tooth fairy and Santa Claus were the same person as the Easter Bunny was —-“What else have you been lying to me about?”  I didn’t have much time to dwell on the probing question as my mother was giving me instructions of not informing my younger siblings of this new discovery.  Thus involving me in a lie to others.

This event made such an impression on me, I vowed I would NEVER* perpetrate this lie on my offspring.  Well, things were going along until school classmates started asking what the child got from Santa Claus.  Instead of my child being able to inform these classmates who were at the age I discovered the Easter Bunny, I was pressured by the parents to “promise” my child would not reveal who Santa Claus really was and thus involving my child AND me in a lie to others.

This might have been the end of the story if it wasn’t about lying.  Everyone knows what a “tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive” because now, of course, things get worse.  Being silent was not the solution the parents hoped for, at least, not on our part because the lies had to be covered by other lies.  We had to label some of the Christmas presents as being from Santa Claus.  This had to be done because when the child didn’t receive anything from Santa Claus, the other deceived children accused my child of being a “naughty” child, which they weren’t.  Santa Claus didn’t give the child a present because the parent wasn’t perpetrating the lie of the jolly red-suited man.  Enter logic — via Christmas wrapping paper.  When one practices lying they have to remember too many things and so usually get caught in the lie.  Which this parent did.  The presents from Santa Clause had the same wrapping paper the presents we gave to my family.  Most children tear through the wrapping paper to get to the present and not even notice how it is covered.  Not my child.  So this inquiry was put on the table for discussion — why is Santa’s gift(s) wrapped in the same paper as Uncle ______?  More lies??  Or should the parent just come clean and confess?  Frankly, the parent was tired of promoting all these lies just because some people can’t face the fact that real life is not always wrapped in pretty paper.

*Never say Never!  Because when you do, it always happens. 

From our youth, each of us searches for that one person who is our “true love”.  The question “how will I know when I meet the right one?” has past over many of our lips whether we ask it of God and/or others.  Is there a right one, the one that is the one chosen for us to learn from the other how to be in a close relationship?  Many believe there is at least a type that is ideal if not a certain person.  It is apparent in fiction, such as Jane Austin’s stories which are rumored to be the basis for most modern romance stories.  Not just stories like the remakes into movies like “Sense and Sensibilities”, “Emma” or “Pride and Prejudice” or the obvious copies of  Bollywood’s “Bride and Prejudice” or “My Faraway Bride”.   Not just India’s movie makers find Jane Austin’s love story plots an engaging technique to  revealing lover’s quest.  Hollywood has a long list of movies that follow Austin’s plot lines.  And according to some “how to find your true love” books, so do each of us.

It may be that some of us in our youth’s quest to connect with the opposite sex either accidently bonded or “missed our ship passing by us”.  Quizzing the ones that connected produces interesting answers to the “how to know” question.   The response: “you just know” is not really a satisfying one and calls for further inquiry.  In this quest, a personal experience “popped” into mind and it was backed up in researching other’s love stories.  There seems to be two path’s to marrying “the right person”.  One is the best friend, and the other is a version of the scene where Mr. Darcy first sees Elizabeth Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice”.

In the 2005 movie version of “Pride and Prejudice”, there is a scene where Mr. Darcy is a guest with his friend and the friend’s sister.  When they are walking down the isle of parted dancing guest, Mr. Darcy barely looks at the others lining the crowded dance floor.  All of a sudden into his vision he sees Elizabeth Bennet.  They both have the sudden realization of the other.  This is the basic “you just know” moment.  The research reveals some important clues:  it is mutual, it is instant, it is like the clanging of two swords together that both of you have.  Putting it into other words: it is knowing each other when you first see each other.  Joe Wright, the director of the 2005’s “Pride and Prejudice” said, “In a way, finding the person you are supposed to be with is like coming home.”  “Recogniz- (ing) each other from their future . . .” is another comment of note the director made about the relationship between Darcy and Lizzie Bennet.  This is really a light bulb moment that those who realize they have had say “you just know”.

The other path produces just as strong, loving marriage: the best friend.  Young males, and probably females, don’t relish the “just friends” label with the opposite sex.  However, time has produced the best friend as the best and strongest marital relationship.  The “you just know” couple often instinctively have the best friend qualities inborn in the bond.  Thus it’s basis comes from the same angle as the best friends.  This relationship is based on caring more about the other person than most male-female relationships display.  It also is the purpose for developing relationships on earth; that is, to care for others as much or more than oneself and to want what is best for the other.

(Note from author— This is a segment from a male/female relationship booklet; so the last sentence/paragraph is not a closing one in a normal sense.)

Here is something all Christians can agree to pray for in this last week, also add for all leaders being selected at this time:

Dear Beloved God in Heaven:

Please give us a president that loves this country and everything it stands for.

Please give us a president who respects You as the one true God.

Please give us a president who will, with your help, restore this nation to it’s former glory, the way You created her.

Please help us to respect what You have given to us and not take anything for granted ever again.

Please Lord weaken the evil and strengthen the good both within and without.

May our eyes be opened.

In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  May the Lord bless us.

From “Laughter— the best medicine” Reader’s Digest 1962:

{  I was telling my nine-year-old granddaughter the story of the princess and the frog.  “When the little frog rescued her golden ball from the well, the princess was so grateful she let him spend the night in her room,” I said. “And the next morning when she woke up he had turned into a handsome prince and they were married and lived happily ever after.”

My granddaughter looked at me dubiously.

“Don’t you believe the story?” I asked.

“No,” she replied, “I don’t.  And I’ll bet her mother didn’t either.”               Kenneth Burke  }

Just had to chuckle at this.  Sometimes kids are much smarter than adults, what makes us think they will believe a frog can turn into a prince?  And if they get married, can they live happily ever after?  Marriage is more work than “rescuing her golden ball from the well”.  That is one side of this story–the other is what occurs if a male spends the night in a girl’s room.

There is no mention of the heated “discussion” about finding such a scenario in a daughter’s room which there would be if some parents found out this had occurred under their roof.   But then this would destroy the story.  It might be interesting to find out the motivation to the creator of the fairy tale about the Princess and the Frog.  Actually, if memory serves the author, the original version of the fairy tale had the frog working his way into the bedroom with a kiss as a promise BEFORE he “rescued” the ball.  So if one ponders the whole fairy tale, they realize there always has been challenging situations to overcome, other people’s storylines to decipher and decisions of how to react to what the world presents to each of us.   Maybe more of us should look at life in a dubious manner, we might be in less illusions.