A Place for All Women

“Hi, Friends!”

          The first ride of the day often starts with a horse sneezing on the back of our bare legs. It’s usually followed by horse hooves kicking hot sand a couple of feet in the air to stick and stay right below the back of our knees.  The grains of sand that aren’t picked HI Friends 7up like little hitchhikers jump in the back of our boots. Sweat is already seeping into our socks to join the water sloshed in there that morning while we were filling eight individual buckets. We’re about to take a test ride around the arena to see if we dare leave the safety of the sand and the security of the fencing.  And, it is now when the stress level slowly begins to creep its way up.  

          Children who sometimes boast of their riding skills realize they are still beginners. Those who have taken English lessons on a tight rein try to wrap their understanding around a Western trail horse that wants the freedom of its mouth. And while many kids ride for the very first time, thrilled with what is finally happening, others are in tears begging to be brought back down on solid ground.

          There are four of us. Two directors. Two counselors. There are 16 of them. Eight kids. Eight horses. We usually have 20-30 minutes to get all the kids on a horse, get them going in the same direction, get them to listen to us (the kids and the horses) and override each and every opportunity our equine friends find for mischief. You know the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”? Well, it’s true! It’s also bankable information that you can take well-trained horses, put them in random riding situations every hour for five hours, and see them react in ways that will either throw your heart into overdrive or melt it in one memorable moment. Our emotions, if monitored during one ride, would look like an electrocardiogram right before a heart attack. Hi Friends 8 copyThe intensity can be indescribable, while the satisfaction at the end of a good ride can be quite soothing. But, what is constant in our world of unknown equestrian circumstances is a greeting we often receive, if and when, we venture out of the arena onto the open trails.

          “Hi, friends!”  

          The young woman easily voted Counselor of the Year at our children’s farm day camp is so full of light that she helps all of us walk right out of the darkness. Just those two words, “Hi friends,” spoken in genuine kindness, sincere sweetness and a directness that makes you feel as if you are here among the best of friends…those two little words carry amazing power. HI friends 6 We see her, we hear her, and we know her heart for the children, the horses and us; and, with those words, our fear washes away, our stress is released, and even our legs, still gripping grains of sand, feel strong and determined to walk the road ahead.

          In a place where my words look for ways to join in the cacophony of complaints, Miranda chooses her words carefully.  She is quick to listen and slow to speak, and like Proverbs 12:18 tells us, her wise words bring healing.

          If asked about her life, I would have supposed she had an idyllic childhood. I would have further ventured to guess that she has been so much the center of someone’s attention, the art of making other people feel special, just came naturally to her. But what I’ve found out is that her life has not always been fairy tales and princesses.   She’s had some struggles along the way…she rises above them. Instead of focusing on herself and “what could have been,” what “might have been,” or what “she may have missed,” she looks out ahead of herself for the next face she’s about to see.

          During a recent late night dinner, a bunch of us were gathered around a table at a 24-Hour Steak and Shake. I was on the Hi Friends 2opposite end and wasn’t always privy to her conversations. The next day, I was told she engaged others in a way they had never experienced. Full on, eye-to-eye, completely engrossed in what they were saying and obviously, genuinely interested. Those who might have felt awkward, uncomfortable, or on the outside of the little group, were immediately put at ease, welcomed in, and not just made a part, but an important part of all that was happening.

          In a world war-torn by angry and aggressive words, where what we want to say often outweighs what others might care to contribute, she honors others above herself.

         Hi Friends It’s why we all wanted to spend time with her. It’s why the kids clung to her, crying, begging, and not wanting to leave even though it was time to board the buses.

          Sumer camp is over

          The horses are grazing gracefully in the pasture as if nothing ever happened.

          And, Miranda’s life is about to change. She’s on her way to a big exciting city to pursue a graduate degree in social work. She’s confessed her fears and little bouts of anxiety. Still, she knows not to worry about tomorrow, for God has promised tomorrow will take care of itself.

          Her wise words will bring healing in her new exciting city as they did at our dusty hot summer camp. Proverbs 13:2 tells us she will be blessed because of the words she chooses. Just those two words that wield such amazing power.

          “Hi, friends!”

Hi Friends 4

 © Copyright 2014, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserve

Coffee Shop Community

          The old man held court in the corner of the coffee shop. It seemed every other person, who came through the smudged glass door and braved the blinding rays of sunshine cast through the wall of windows, made their way to his table.

Coffee Shop 1He smiled and greeted each one with, “It’s a beautiful day isn’t it?” His salutation seemed amusing, given the fact that it was freezing outside. The younger crowd could be heard mumbling throughout the room about the unexpected drop in temperature.  It’s all in the perspective I guess.  As I watched him entertain a young, long-haired coffee shop employee on a break, then take company with a frazzled sweat-clad, errand-running mom, talk to a dad with a young child, and congratulate a pregnant woman, I looked on in fascination and remembrance that–even in this fast-paced technology-driven world where I frequently communicate with my own husband, daughter and son, via text message– we are still in need of personal, face to face, one on one, affirming, loving and entertaining socialization.  Years ago, this same older gentleman might have found a seat out on a park bench in the town square or down at the corner hardware store.  But his well-placed position here in the coffee shop serves him well as he caters to the needs of a younger generation more desperate than they know for his words of wisdom.

            We were created to live in community.  No matter how much we feel Facebook connects us into an online world of communal living and no matter how we feel connected to our tribe through the 140 characters allowed on Twitter, we still need some real genuine, authentic, in person, huggable, loveable, face time.Coffee shop 3

            The little girl hugged tightly to her daddy’s arm with the biggest, sweetest smile on her face.  The older gentleman reminding her dad of the innocence and beauty he was charged with protecting. The frazzled mom in her peach sweat suit, took time to talk to the little girl eye-to-eye, attention full on, and was quickly rewarded with a big bear hug before the girl followed dad out the door. The older gentleman and the mom were beaming.  And I wasn’t the only one watching.  Several people stopped to watch it all; the hope, the promise, the expectation that all will be well with the world regardless of how it sometimes seems we are losing our societal grip.  Sure, that little girl will probably open up a new iPad on the next Christmas morning or text her friends on her new iPhone; but today, she stopped to smile at the old man, to hug the frazzled mom, to cling tightly to the daddy who loves her more than anyone else.

          The old man’s attention turned to another visitor who came straight to his table. This one was sporting a new engagement ring and anticipating a brand new life.  He gushed right along with her.  Then, one by one, each visitor went out the smudged glass door with their backs to the rays of sunshine.  He reached for his coffee cup and, with a shaking hand, picked up his fork to finish off a piece of Coffee shop 2lemon cake.  He’ll probably be back tomorrow.  You could tell from the steady stream of visitors that he is here a lot, in his corner seat holding court, for anyone who has time to stop and talk.

 

© Copyright 2014, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserve

Come on, let’s laugh a little.

There’s a reason we draw lines in the sand. 

It’s so we can smudge them out.

And draw them again.

     As an at-home mom for the 16th year, I still dream of that day when the house is SPOTLESS, the laundry is DONE and dinner is on the DINING ROOM table, not the coffee table in the den.  Dinner in denBut then dreams wouldn’t be dreams now, would they, if they were just our simple reality, right? So I keep dreaming. 

     However, what I never really dreamed about, growing up, as I pondered the forever husband who would come through the back door happily exclaiming, “Honey, I’m home,” was the possibility that it would be me coming through the back door yelling, “CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS STUFF???”  Despite the fact that I no longer hold down what most people would consider a NORMAL job, I do work a lot.  I work about four hours a day as a taxi cab driver, an occasional television producer, three or more hours a day as a horse trainer, groomer, feeder and poop scooper, at least an hour running endless errands, about an hour as a cook, an ironing board attendant, a wet clothes cleaner as opposed to the nicer — more expensive — dry cleaner, a freelance writer, a band mom, a dog feeder, dog waterer and a let-them-in-and-outer.  I often wonder how many hours of my life I actually lose letting the dogs in…and out…in…and out…but I’m getting off track.  Oh wait, I do that too on a regular basis and it’s work just getting back on track and figuring out where I was and what I was doing.  So, you see, as this story goes, the little woman at home vacuuming the floors in heels and pearls was NEVER in my DNA.  I love a clean house, clean clothes and dinner on the table; but, sometimes, if that is going to happen, it’s my husband doing it after he gets done at the office.  YEP, you heard me.  I have one of those crazy husbands, who not only supports every non-paying job I have, but helps pick up the slack so I can maintain all of them. 

     When my dad needs a ride to the doctor, my husband believes I’m the one who should be there.  When I have a friend in need of moral support, my husband finds something else to do.  If I take up the better part of a day doing back-to-back Bible studies, he tells me how glad he is that I do it so I can share what I’ve learned with him later.

      Laundry roomNow, don’t shoot the messenger, because it’s not always, “Oh honey let me do that for you,” around here.  Just this morning, as he headed for his car, he told me how NICE it would be if he had some CLEAN underwear for tomorrow.  Just as he was backing out of the driveway, I grabbed a pair off the floor, swung them around, and told him ,“I am on it!”  Salute!  He called on his cell phone mere moments later, as he drove away, to remind me how he had joyfully folded my underclothes just the night before.  But, wait a second; this is where the title of this story plays in.  He folded laundry while he was watching a basketball game.  Why?  Because he could.  It’s one of those little secrets of a happy relationship.  I ironed his clothes and packed his lunch because, at the time, I was the one who could do it.  He took our son to school and gave me the morning off because he could do it.  I dropped off a business package downtown, because, hey I was already going that way.  He stopped by the pasture and fed the horses because he could make a quick detourFeeding Lucy and Shadow

      “Whoever can do it” should just be the way things work all over the world.  It’s worked for us… well, except for all attempts I’ve made to draw a line in the sand when it comes to the shower.  I think he should scrub it as many times as I’ve had to do it. 

     He just washes that idea right down the drain.

 

I Peter 4:11

Do you have the gift of speaking?

Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you.

Do you have the gift of helping others?

Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies.

Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.

All glory and power to him forever and ever!

Amen!

© Copyright 2014, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved 

 

The Three Wise Men

         The tumblers inside a tiny little padlock we use on the hitch of our horse trailer were stuck and it wouldn’t close.  I was struggling in the dark trying to get it done and get home before bedtime.  My son, my dad and I had returned from a tripThree Wise Men Dad later than we expected, had just unloaded the horses and turned them out into the pasture.  As Dad took over, fiddling with the lock, I stepped back and busied myself with some of the other details.  I wasn’t really aware of what all was happening until I heard him say, “If I had some WD-40 I could fix it.”  My son and I glanced at each other, both of us knowing there was a can in the barn, but neither of us wanting to make the trip up the steep hill in the dark. So, rather than ask us to do that, my dad went about looking for the next best solution.  I’ve watched him do it my entire life and now my 16-year-old son is witness to what happens when you can’t get the answer on-line. 

          Once Dad had driven his SUV over and turned on the headlights so he could see the lock and trailer in the dark, he popped open the hood.  Then, with a little hand-held flashlight shining on the engine, he reached in and slowly removed the dipstick from the oil container.  He carefully let a couple of drops ease into the lock and it snapped shut.  As we got into our separate vehicles for the 45 minute drive to our homes, my son, a straight A Honors English and AP History student, looked at me and said, “Gramps is brilliant!”  In a laugh that let him know I was in total agreement, I responded, “Yes, he is, but I bet that’s not the first time he has used that little trick to fix something.”

           My Dad is one of those people who took a 12th grade education and turned it into an ability to fix, build, design, and create just about anything he wants or needs.  He even has the most amazing and precise handwriting.  And, anytime he starts talking mathematical equations, measurements, or geometry-type stuff, I slowly slip away, hoping he won’t ask me if I know the answer.  My college-educated brain just doesn’t work that way.

           Likewise, my husband’s father took his high school education and not only ministered a church for 40 years, without a Three Wise Men Papawsalary, but also built houses…entire houses.  It wasn’t like he hired an architect and a contractor; he did it with sweat equity and his own two hands.  All this he did after his regular job as a weigh master at the stockyards. Some of the men he worked with used to tease him about his volunteer labor at the church and nicknamed him “Preach.” But when anyone was in need, sick or dying, he was the one they sought after.  Even at his funeral, a child of one of his co-workers credited him with leading his dad to the Lord. 

          The “Little Flock” he tended still talks of all they learned from him.  And the many houses he built are all standing as shelter for families he never met but had a hand in protecting.

          Three full-time jobs, one man, one wise and remarkable life.  

          My Papaw only got to go to the 3rd grade.  It’s unheard of these days, but back then, it wasn’t at all unusual for a child to be required to leave their opportunity to learn in order to care for family. He wasn’t very tall, mostly bald and wore bib overalls almost every day.  A little like Jesus is described in the book of Isaiah, there was nothing about the way he looked that would necessarily attract anyone to him.  Yet, he was a fascinating man.  During two weeks every summer, at Christmas and any opportunity in between, I wanted to be his shadow…except, of course, when he got up before dark, in the freezing cold, to draw water from the well and get a fire started.  Those times I was content just to lay under a heavy mountain of blankets and quilts listening as he moved about the house preparing it for the rest of us. Papaw Sumner Edge

          He grew the best garden for my mamaw, planted and worked a large tobacco crop; he worked at a lumber mill, for the railroad, and he used mules and slip scrapers to help build a highway.  (Don’t ask, I have no idea what a slip scraper is, but he told me about it once.)  And while all of this may make him sound somewhat like a common, blue-collar man, it’s totally uncommon in our society today.  Would you know how to cut a perfect beam out of an old tree sawed down in the woods?  Could you operate a freight train or connect the steel with sharp spikes to form the track?  What about hitching up a couple of stubborn old mules, convincing them to move in the same direction and then using them to navigate hills and valleys scraping out the right amount of rock and dirt for a new highway?  I have no idea where he acquired the necessary tools to make it in this world, but I know where he got the wisdom.

 “If any of you need wisdom, ask God for it. He will give it to you.

God gives freely to everyone. He doesn’t find fault.”  

James 1:5 (NIRV)

           If I weren’t always so busy telling my husband what “I” think “He” should do, I might be able to learn more from the wisdom God has given him.  He is a very wise man. When I’m in over my head, he frequently rescues me.  But this is “The Three Wise Men” — not the “Four” — so he’ll have to wait and get on our son’s “wise man list” in the lineage of family storytelling.

 As you celebrate this holiday season, look around you and identify three wise men in your life.  

You might be surprised by the great gift God has given to them.

 Remember, God took a shepherd boy and made him a king.

He took a bunch of fishermen and made them apostles.

And He took a little baby and made Him our Savior!

 

Merry, Merry Christmas!

Happy New Year!

Hope to see you again soon!

© Copyright 2013, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Worn Out on Words

          The rooster doesn’t seem to know the difference in daylight and dark.  He crows in the morning, he crows at night, and Rooster edgeat high noon, sun shining, or rain clouds forming, he perches somewhere near and wears us out with his cock-a-doodle-doo’ing.  Likewise, his harem of chickens cackle on all day, boasting of their latest egg laying experience, while those of us at the horse barn get caught up in the chaotic cacophony.

            It’s not unlike the commotion of constant chitchat, which seems to ensue at work, home, or any other event where co-workers, family or friends flock together.  Someone doesn’t meet our expectations and we assume justification in trash talking them to anyone willing to listen.  We are overworked, under-appreciated, taken advantage of, and now we feel we have a green light for gossip. chickens at barn edge

         A family member decides to ditch a once-in-a-lifetime event, and we feel we have every right to replay what they’ve done, long after they’ve forgotten it themselves.   A friend makes a foolish choice and they are fodder for tantalizing talk at the dinner table.  Someone is rude to us for no reason and the gloves come all the way off.  A boss places unreasonable demands on us and we just have to let off steam.  Venting is therapeutic.  Or, so it seems.  In reality, it’s one of the easiest traps to slip into, and one of the hardest to escape.  While we are fanning the flames, we’re the ones getting burned.  It wears us down mentally, physically, and anyone with half a conscious begins to feel guilty.  But we continue to convince ourselves it’s our duty to rake the “really guilty ones” over the coals.

 Proverbs 26:20 Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. 

     The words are right there.  We see.  We know.  We’ve done this before.  After all, there’s nothing quite like the righteous indignation of thinking we are the ones who are right. Even if our self-focused opinions lead to anger, stress and frustration — for some insanely repetitive reason — we keep signing up for the scenic route around the same old mountain. 

          I recently found myself in more than one situation with no shortage of words.  The Holy Spirit reminded me to keep quiet.  My late father-in-law’s wisdom reworked its way through my mind, The less I say, the less I have to give account for.  And yet I ran into the fray, stumbling over everyone else’s words to hurry and get in my own.

          Chicken edgeAnd now, I am worn out on words.  I am worn out on my own words, and I am worn out on the words of others.  I feel frustrated, angry and stressed about all that has been discussed.  I’m certain nothing that was said changed any of the situations.  But every word I spoke contributed to the “dis-ease” of all that was happening.

           In the book of Titus, Chapter 3 verses 1-7, it says: “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.  

           Trust me, I’m not climbing up on a self-righteous soapbox.  In fact, this is more of a confession.  I’ve been doing a lot of  “fence-sitting” next to that rowdy old rooster.  The more I flap my mouth, the harder it is for me to hear from God.  The louder my voice, the quieter His becomes.  It causes me the greatest stress. It causes me to stop and look around; and when I recognize the same old path I’m on again, I realize it’s time to turn back.  I need His direction.  I need to hear His words, not my own.

           So, I crank up some contemporary Christian music to drown out the sounds of those crazy chickens.  Music can change our moods quicker than most anything.  Then, I stop long enough to sit down and look  for some answers to this age-old problem of talking too much.

           I get more words. 

           But these will never wear us out.

“And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.” Psalm 12:6

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing Proverbs 12:18

 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Philippians 4:8

 What are you spending your time thinking about?

Who are you talking about?

Have they done something far worse than the things you have done?

Sometimes it’s so hard to extend our mercy.

But mercy has been given to us, over and over and over again.

Barn edge

© Copyright 2013, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved 

Did They Drop the Nails?


The old Catholic convent smelled like smoke as we walked toward the flickering glow of small candles illuminating TVCthe altar.  Everyone had been handed a nail and most of us knew what we would be asked to do before the night was over.  It’s an annual tradition, a ritual of sorts, and a precious opportunity that only comes around on Good Friday.  Sometimes I think I would rather not go.  I came up with any number of excuses that sounded legitimate this year.  But just when I thought I had made up my mind to do something else, I felt drawn to go. 

            Our friends wanted to go with us this year and the desire to share this sacred moment with them was leading us back on the path that was now lit by tiny votive candles. 

            It was supposed to be a silent service.  But we, as a society, find it so hard to sit still, so hard to unplug, so hard to quit whispering messages to the person next to us.   When the auditorium was almost full and we had just begun to settle in and try to still our thoughts, a cell phone began to ring in the row in front of us.  The man’s wife gave him that scolding look only a wife can give a husband.   He struggled to turn it off as it rang and rang and rang.  About five minutes later, her phone began to ring and there was no stopping the laughter that came from all those around them.

          Then the ping, ping, ping of nails hitting the floor seemed just as distracting, at first.  But then I started to wonder, did they drop the nails?  Nails EdgeDid the men who crucified Jesus drop any of the nails?  Were their hands shaking in anger?  Were they shaking in fear?  How must it have felt to place that sharp point on His most perfect and innocent flesh and then raise the hammer, make contact with the head of the nail and drive it into those loving, giving, accepting, amazing, most beautiful hands?

          Our choir sang in Latin with an English translation on the large video screen.  It was amazing.  We silently read the last seven sayings of our Lord and Savior before He willingly gave up His spirit.  Tears were flowing throughout the darkened church as we each stood and walked toward the old wooden cross.  There, just beyond the altar, we each nailed our sins to the cross.  It is always the hammering that makes it almost unbearable.  Our son said he imagined the sound to be steady beats from a drum as he tried to contain his emotions while stepping forward to accept his part in the process.  No matter how many times you have heard hammering, you have not heard it like this.  It feels like the floor is moving, with our hearts pounding, and our hands shaking.  No matter how many times you participate, it feels much the same.  My sin, my shame, my fears, my failures, held Him there on that cross.

          Oh the sweet relief of communion.  The hammering finally subsided.  We ate the bread of life and drank from the fruit of the vine and it was over.  It was finished.  It was done.  He is alive.  Resurrected in all His glory and sitting at the right hand of our God.  Our debt PAID IN FULL!  Our lives begin again.  We are renewed.

          As we walk toward our cars, our friend says she has never gotten more out of an Easter service in her entire life.  We smile.  I joke that no matter how it made us feel, I will walk right out that door and sin again.  They double-check to make sure I’m not planning to sin anytime soon.  And I’m not.  But I know I will, probably even before the night is over.  He knows I will.  He knows me.  But He came to save me.  And He will save you too.   He can even save the men who crucified Him.  Did they believe in Him before their wretched job was over?  Did the earthquake, the sun going dark, the dividing curtain of the Temple ripping apart, convince them that He was and is in fact the Son of God?  Did they have extra nails?  Did they drop the nails?

Nails Edge

And Jesus said to the thief on the cross, the one who believed in him at the last-minute,the one who had sinned up until that very moment,

 “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

© Copyright 2013, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Happy 1          The old woman’s face was bandaged, her ruby-red lipstick spread haphazardly across her lips, her hair a bit disheveled from whatever medical procedure she had just encountered and yet her eyes were active and animated.  Her laughter was contagious and her offers of hospitality wildly amusing.  Seven fellow passengers had gathered around her in the hospital elevator, and as the doors began to close, she extended an invitation for anyone who needed more room, to sit down with her.

          Everyone laughed.  And no one felt sorry for her.  Instead, we all walked away lighter, happier, more hopeful than whatever distraction had captured our minds before we met in that little cage of steel descending five short stories to the ground Happy 4floor. As we each slipped through the automatic outside doors, the sun was shining, we were all still smiling, and at that moment we were reminded that happiness is a choice.

           

          The young girl came to our attention because of some trouble at school between her and my son.  The “mama bear” in me was not amused and I began to instruct my child on exactly how he should handle this little situation.  Then, I started to wonder about her and what might be happening at her house.  What I found out clearly changed my assessment of the situation.

          Seven months ago, she watched as her mother died from a brain tumor.  Her grief-stricken father quickly remarried and brought his new wife with her two young children into their home.  Just as quickly, they decided to sell the house and move to a new city. So, now her mother is gone, she’s in a new house with a new family, a new school, she has no friends, she’s hurt, she’s scared and she’s confused. 

          In the world of 15-year-old boys and girls, this might have seemed a bit radical and weird, Happy 6but a family horseback-riding trip seemed to be a simple solution to the current conflicts.  It was in her words, “A little awkward.”  But, by the end of the day, with the help of two aging horses named Tinker and Lucky, she felt different.  “I’ve had SO much fun! The horses have made me forget all the sad stuff.”

          We talked about her choices, about what her mother would want her to do, how she will probably have to wake up tomorrow and the next day and every day for the rest of her life and make a choice again.  But she can still be happy.  It’s okay for her to be happy.Happy 7

          God sees her.  He sees the elderly woman in the elevator.  And He sees us.  

 

         The blessings were  beyond measure recently when I was witness to the first encounter between a ten-year-old girl, who was born blind, and a small herd of horses.  As she approached the barn, feeling her way with a telescopic cane and following the verbal instructions of her teacher, I saw something only God truly understands.  The horses stood still, patient and waiting.  It was hot, they were tied in several locations, and yet they all just stood still.  She touched one and then the other, feeling their manes, ears and tails.  It took a bit of courage but she got up to ride and “happiness” was something we could all see. 

Happy 8

  “This is the day the Lord has made,

let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Psalm 118:24

 “It’s not what happens to us in life,but how we respond to it that really matters.”

 

How are you responding when pressed on every side?  

Are you choosing happiness or letting someone or some thing steal your joy?

Today is your day.  God has given you free will.  

You have a choice.  Are you happy?  Do you know it?

Does your face surely show it?  (Okay, I couldn’t resist…I had many years of Vacation Bible School) :-)  

Where ever you are, whatever you are doing,

I pray for you a happy and joyful day today!

© Copyright 2013, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Just Keep Breathing

Keep Breathing 1

The wilderness is dry and dusty

                 The heat almost unbearable…                   

The desire for nourishment insatiable…

For water, unquenchable…

Just Breath 7

 The sun peaks through the clouds.

But just as quickly, it slips back in again.

There is hope.

But not every day…

Just keep breathing 9

 Fear hovers like a repetitive nightmare.

Stealing what little peace sleep might bring.

Worry wears down the defenses and erodes its lifeline.

Guilt begins to guide.

Just Breath 5

 The loneliness is confusing.

The temptations torturing…

The soul wrestles for freedom.

Knowledge knows this won’t last.

Wisdom calls out for rescue.

Faith falls on its face again and again.

Just Breath 6

 The winds pick up.

A storm rolls in.

The rain beats down.

And there is silence.

 Tears leave traces of resisting and submitting.

Laying it down and picking it up…

Choosing…

Choosing again…

The struggle weighs its odds…

And makes one last stand.

 

The weary can go no further.

And there will certainly be no compromise.

But, things have already been worked out.

Prepared in advance…

A plan falls into place.

Keep Breathing 2

 There is no earthquake, fire or flood.

Just a still small voice…

A lamp for the feet…

A light for the path…

Just Breath 8

 And the wanderer is mercifully extradited from the wilderness.

 All that was held so tightly…

Just fades away…

 When eyes that could not see…

 Finally turn toward The Promised Land!

Just Breath 4

   There is something you are going through right now…something you are about to encounter…something you have already experienced.  It may not be as bad as what your friends or family are facing, but it is your burden to bear, your cross to carry, your test to undertake.  No matter what it is, no matter how you hurt, no matter how lost you might feel, our God is still faithful.   Nothing in all creation is hidden from his sight, no matter where your feet are about to walk. 

He will NEVER leave you, nor forsake you. 

Just keep breathing because even when you don’t see it or feel it,  

help is on the way. 

I know this to be true, because I just came out of the wilderness,

and believe me, it wasn’t my first walk.

During the times I thought I could take no more,

this song reminded me just how much I needed Him and still need him NOW!

 “Before you ever get a problem, God has your deliverance planned.”

~Joyce Meyer

 “In the fourteenth chapter of John’s gospel a puzzled Thomas says to Jesus, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going.  How can we know the way?’ Jesus answers him with no small boldness: “I am the way…” (John 14:6)

~Melissa Moore Fitzpatrick

 Happy New Year! 

I hope you are off to a good start and that you will continue to seek the will of God.  Our will and our way often lead us down the wrong road.

  If you would like to get an email when there’s a new post just click the little box at the top of the right column.  There’s no set schedule for publishing so I’m happy to send you a note.  Thanks so  much for everyone’s support and to all the subscribers.

 It’s a journey that often requires another start.

:-)

© Copyright 2013, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

She and I

 

 She had an old potbelly stove that burned coal for heat.

I have a large central heating and air unit

with computerized “comfort level” programming.

She had to draw water from a well.

I have fresh running water from an underground spring

pumped to my choice of four sinks.

Mamaw edge

She had an old wooden outhouse.

I have two full bathrooms and a six-foot shower.

She never owned a car.

I’ve owned several.

She had to make her own clothes, sometimes from empty feed sacks.

I have so many clothes they barely fit in my closet and yet I often

can’t find anything to wear.

She had a washboard and a clothesline.

I have a matching washer and dryer but never seem to get all the laundry done.

She had to plow and plant her own garden and then wait for it to grow.

I have my choice of convenient super markets and organic groceries.

She had to start preparing each meal when the other one ended.

I often wait until mealtime to decide on cooking or carryout.

She scrimped and saved for the things she wanted.

I want, I get, I forget, and I want more.

She had to live when times were hard.

Time has made life easier for me.

She had a sense of satisfaction.

I sometimes complain.

She had a little scrappy Christmas tree my Papaw cut down

from the woods behind their home.

I can buy a beautiful tree and have it trimmed right at the store.

 

She gave us nuts, fruit and a drugstore doll wrapped in re-used paper.

I can buy my children the latest technology.

but I’m not sure I can ever make them as happy as my Mamaw made me.

 

Psalm 100:4-5

 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;

 give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

May the peace that passes all understanding be present in your lives in the days ahead.

Although our world casts shadows of doubt,

He will never leave you, nor forsake you.

It is a promise.

And He is a Promise Keeper!

Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas!! :-)

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

 

 

All Things New

          A new kitchen, a new bathroom, a new den, a new school, and a new church…I could go on and on.  When I look back over the years, since I’ve been married and had children, there have been so many changes.  But when I look close, when I really examine how all these “new” things came about, it seems each one started as some sort of catastrophe, disaster or terribly tragic situation.  At least that’s the way it seemed at the time.  Go with me here for a moment, I promise not to document all of them in detail.  

          Our first remodel was the result of a slow leak under our tub.  As happy new homeowners we had no idea the water wasn’t draining out, but seeping between the floor and the tiny little ceramic tiles.  By the time we discovered the problem it was too late. The insurance company refused to pay for it, and the repairs were going to cost us thousands of dollars we didn’t really have to spend.  It was a real stressful time that only intensified when the contractor took a full YEAR to repair ONE bathroom. When it was finally finished, the contractor’s work didn’t comply with company standards, so after an inspection, our money was refunded.  I’m serious, every penny back in the bank.

          A sagging roofline and collapsing floors forced us into our 2nd remodel.  This time it was our kitchen.  Although we were more remodel savvy, we still weren’t prepared for all the things that went wrong.  The day after the new contractor told us it was going to cost much more than we ever imagined, someone sent us a check to cover the expenses.  I know, it sounds unbelievable, but it’s true.

-A late night lightning strike that set our house on fire sealed the deal on a new den.  

-A school that shut down abruptly left us in limbo but sent us searching for the school God had selected.  

-A church that split, not once but twice, turned us toward the wonderful place where we worship now.

          Every situation found us in fear, frustration, anger, tears and turmoil.  But each obstacle left us better prepared to persevere.  

          We’re obviously not “home free” because the journey continues.

          We’re now being tested by new trials.  I’d like to say we are champions of James 1:2 and consider it all joy, but that wouldn’t necessarily be true.  We do laugh, in between the latest thing to go wrong, and the mini-meltdowns that come as a result of having no control.  And we press on.

          Yesterday, as I was admiring the beautiful autumn leaves, it occurred to me that they have to die in order to make way for all things new.  And each time we go through something trying, something tough, something we would rather not experience, we die a little more to ourselves and are forced to rely more faithfully on the hand of God.

          It all sounds sort of simple in a way…something broke…we got it fixed…it all turned out better.  But I’m looking back over 17 years and I can tell you it wasn’t simple, it wasn’t easy and, at times, we saw no end in sight. 

           So, wherever we are headed now, whatever God has planned, as hard as it is to sit still and not try to orchestrate our own solutions, He already has it figured out.  He’s told us not to worry and not to fear.  I need reminding every day, sometimes every hour, often times once or twice a minute.

          In Lamentations, it says each morning His mercies begin anew. 

Where are you right now in your journey?  

 Can you look back and see how God worked things out?  

Are you so covered up that you feel your faith is faltering?  

Each time God brings me through, I think I will never doubt Him again.  

But, then, a new challenge arises, and the battle begins again.  

I’ve read the end of the Book,

I know He wins,

but the battle is still very real.

“I will remain confident of this:

I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 27:13-14

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

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