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As I Walk through the Valley on Shadow

There’s a line between wisdom and insanity that gets blurred, every time anyone willingly comes into Shadow trail ridecontact with Shadow.  He’s a kind, loving and obedient boy, but make a move he’s not expecting, and he’ll
Shadow head shotsnort, bolt and run.  He’s the ultimate contradiction.  A “kid broke” horse that kids can’t ride.

We love him. He’s beautiful.  He’s a gentle herd leader. And he is truly something to see when he reaches top speed running across the Shadow boltpasture.  But trust him?  Not a chance!  He doesn’t just spook, he spooks at the same things sometimes, not at all other times.  When you expect him to spook, he doesn’t; and when you don’t expect it, he does.  You can never be sure.

Shadow supposedly had lots of training before we bought him, and we were told he had worked at a kid’s camp for years.  So, given that we were looking for a “kid broke” horse and he was ebony black and beautiful, we bought him.  Paid money.  From our perspective, quite a bit of money (relative to the budget) and we confidently brought him home to join our other (free) horses.  They’re the ones that haven’t had much training, but can likely walk through a war zone with only a slight tremble or twitch. Shadow will run from his own lead rope.Shadow Dad's saddle

It’s fear, plain and simple.  We’re not sure why or what his history might be.  He is a registered Tennessee Walker, with a long lineage of family champions, and there’s a strange little quirk about him when he sort of bounces up high before he trots; but what his early life must have been like before us is an unknown. Shadow tarp  What we do know is he is very afraid…not always… and not on any recognizable timetable… as best we can tell.  It’s more like the movie, Groundhog Day.  What he learns not to fear today, he will freak out over tomorrow.

And, this is why I now think we may all be just like him.

In an attempt to get Shadow some help from someone other than myself; I was making a video to submit to a master horse trainer, showing Shadow’s sporadic spooky behavior.  As I was explaining how Shadow can be desensitized to scary objects one day, but is afraid of the same objects another day, the realization of what I was saying was not at all something I wanted to see in myself.  But, unfortunately I think it’s true.

I get afraid.  God calms my fears.  I realize there was no reason to be afraid.  And, then, confronted with the same things that scared me before, I’m afraid again.  This is an agonizing epiphany.  We worry Shadow at pondabout Shadow.  We stress over Shadow.  We don’t understand Shadow.  We make fun of Shadow.  And, yet, he’s a walking, talking testimony of what we need to work on in our own lives.

Let’s take money and bills for example, because that’s one of “my things” that causes me great fear.  I’m afraid of a bill we can’t pay.  God provides, as he tells us over and over in His Word that he will.  The bill gets paid. I’m no longer afraid.
Then another bill comes.  I look at our account and there’s not enough money to pay it.  But, it comes due and somehow (thank you, God) it gets paid.  I’m no longer afraid. Until…

Shadow walking on tarpMaybe it’s not money for you. Maybe you’re afraid of your mother-in-law…maybe it’s your boss…you’re afraid your husband is going to cheat on you even though he never has and never will…maybe you’re afraid to fly even though you’ve always landed safely.  Yet, that SAME fear keeps coming back again and again.  Shadow is a shining example of what happens.  He’s supposed to be Shadow and Bobbya “kid broke” horse and yet he can’t live out the life that was intended for him, because fear (False Evidence Appearing Real) has rendered him incapable.

Shadow saddleYou may have heard this before, but fear is the topic most often addressed in the Bible.  Our fear is no surprise to God. He knew this was going to happen.  He prepared all these many verses for us.  Right now, I’m thinking, “If Shadow could only read,” but the fact is, I can read, and I have read the verses and it would probably help me to go read them again.Shadow tarp on head

There is always going to be a bill coming due.  And, until I learn not to be afraid the next time, God is going to have to desensitize me to it this time.  He often turns up the heat until we can handle the pressure.  Remember the Israelites 40 year journey around an eleven-mile mountain? God wants to get us where he wants us to go, more than we want to get where we want to go.  But, we have to be willing to give up our unhealthy relationship with fear.  Fear is an enemy intended to keep us from fulfilling our intended purpose.

We’re still trying to teach Shadow, but maybe now it’s just time to stop for a minute and learn from him.  We can bolt and run, or we can hide under the shelter of God’s wings, and in doing so, be reminded that First John 4:18 says there is no fear in love because perfect love casts out fear.

After all, a shadow is just an obstruction from THE LIGHT!

Shadow herd leader

Who knew more about fear than David the shepherd boy?

 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:

for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!

 Psalm 23

 

 Learning to turn away from the crooked road of fear

will lead us straight to the gateway of freedom.

Shadow and the tarp

© Copyright 2015, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserve

Trust me Moses!

          Sometimes, trust is the only thing that stands between us, and the life we were meant to live.  Or a stubborn streak keeps us from seeing what God has for us. Even worse, rebellion blocks our view, when what is waiting for us is not only what we need, but what we want.Moses happy herd

          We just fought our way through three days in a desert of distrust…Moses and me…my dad…the owners of Sycamore Valley Ranch, a couple of friends, a new vet, a vet tech, a fellow boarder and then there were the well-wishers and YouTube trainers…and count on it, this “horse tale” will preach!

          It all started with an opportunity to move our horses closer to home. The decision to leave an Moses Ranchamazing ranch was difficult enough, without Moses making the most of every opportunity to stay.  But, divine encounters, are often unexpected…and interruptions, in our normal routines, almost always tell us more about ourselves than our momentary circumstances ever could.

          Moses has never had trailer trouble, as far as we know. When we went to get our foster horse, on a cold and rainy day in March, he was Moses on trailer 2ready for a ride. So it never even occurred to us what we were going to encounter, or how his resistance would cause us to question the bigger message in the mess. Much like his namesake, our Moses did not react the same way twice.

          In Exodus 17, God told the original Moses to “strike” a rock in order to get water. And, he did. But, flip over to Numbers 20 when God tells Moses to “speak” to the rock and, we find out, he didn’t. His willful disobedience was one of the worst things that could have happened to him. Continue into the book of Deuteronomy and we discover that Moses got to see The Promised Land, but he never got to put his foot in it. Forty years in the desert and a lack of trust, stubbornness, or all out rebellion kept his feet firmly planted in the wilderness.


And that brings us back to our Moses. His feet were planted right outside the horse trailer where I threatened many times to leave him. He had watched his brother, Gideon, get on the trailer and head for Moses and trailerhome. Shadow, Star and Judah all jumped right on. But, Moses, well, he was having none of it. If you’re a horse person, I can almost hear you saying, “I’ve never seen a horse I couldn’t load onto a trailer.” We had those same discussions. Pressure/release, endless lunging, Join Up, small trailer, large trailer, withholding and reward, making the wrong thing hard, the right thing easy, and I could keep going. It didn’t work with Moses. His mind was made up. Despite visual signs of depression, due to being separated from his herd, he wouldn’t go.

          I don’t doubt there might have been some fear associated with the situation. My Dad jokes that Moses saw the others leave on the trailer and not come back, so he wasn’t about to get on and go. But, what I saw was an obstinate, determined, rebellious, willful, disobedient horse that is normally gentle, Moses defiantwell-mannered, and the first to meet you in the pasture. So, why would this happen? We all asked ourselves that more than once during the time it took to bring this bad boy back around to our way of thinking.

          And, yes, we prayed. We rebuked. We laid hands on his self-inflicted injuries. Rebellion can be very painful. In the end, God answered our prayers. Moses didn’t have a change of heart and hop on the trailer, like we all hoped. But, God did send a compassionate, caring, veterinarian to help us and to help Moses. How do we know God sent him? Well, maybe it’s because he just happened to be coming to see another horse at the exact time we ran out of strength, energy and determination.  The Doc offered to give Moses a small injection of sleepy meds, like they often use to load race horses, but even then, it still took six of us to hoist Moses’ 835-pound body up into the trailer.

          The medication wore off quickly.  Moses enjoyed a little “Scooby Snack” on his way home and, when Moses herd runninghe stepped off the trailer 35 minutes later… there was his family… his herd…running to meet him.

          So many times, during the stress, the frustration, the 90-degree heat, the “what are we going to do next” mode, we kept trying to tell him, “Moses, if you only knew what was waiting for you, you would go.”

          And, that’s where I think we are most of the time. We’re afraid to trust, so we just go with stubborn.  We put our feet down and refuse to budge when God is trying to lead us.  But, willful disobedience and rebellion have to be dealt with if we really want the best that God has for us. It’s so easy to plant our feet in a comfort zone, or fear what is out of sight, when, what is up ahead is so much better than anything we could ever obtain on our own. I suspect God also says to us, “If you only knew what was waiting for you, you would go.”

          I’ve heard two messages on endurance since all this happened and one message on how I need to trust. So, trust me, Moses, I’m wide-awake and listening!Moses in grass

Is there some area of your life you are refusing to surrender?

Do you feel afraid, stubborn or rebellious?

Moses on back

It’s okay, God is amazingly patient.

But, the sooner you come around to his way of thinking, the better off you will be!!

Just trust Him. 

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,

but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. —Psalm 20:7

 

Trust in the lord and do good;

dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. —Psalm 37:3

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make your paths straight.” —Proverbs 3:5-6

© Copyright 2015, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserve

 

 

The “Who Can Do It” Way to a Happy Relationship

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 

 

An “A” Student

     There’s probably no one who gets in the way of what God wants to do in our lives more than we do.  We get in a hurry. We want what we want when we want it.  And when we have a need that isn’t resolved on our schedule, we lose faith and start to fret.

     Since this is so often the case, I am determined to be an “A” student in the study of Psalm 46:10I would love for you to join me, but, I will warn you in advance, I keep taking this class over and over again.

 He says, Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

     There are endless examples of times when I got in a hurry and made huge mistakes.  Times when what I wanted was the worst thing I could have requested.  And opportunities to be sure of what I hoped for and certain of what I could not see that ended up with me striving instead.  As much as I continuously try to tell myself I am not as hardheaded as the Israelites in the desert, I’ve been around this mountain more than a few times.  I want to pass the test.  I want to graduate from slipping down the slope of things that don’t go my way.

      And, there seems to be some progress, if only a little.

        In June, I was tentatively scheduled for a working vacation that was beyond anything I could have asked for or imagined.  The idea was pitched to me on a normal day when I was just doing what I do.  Factor in the concept of getting paid for doing what you love and it was almost unbelievable.  I was afraid to think about it for fear it might not happen.  And then it didn’t.  There were scheduling conflicts, endless phone tag, an injury, and it just didn’t work out.  The former “C” student in me would have behaved in a bit of a spoiled rotten way.  The aspiring “A” student sat back and analyzed the possibility that our timing wasn’t necessarily God’s timing.

     As it turned out, something happened that week that really required me to be at home.   I am so grateful God knew more about it than I did.

     In July, the trip came up again and His timing was PERFECT!  The trip was AMAZING!  And our lives were forever changed by many of the people we met…good, godly people who poured much wisdom into our hearts and souls.

     Last week, I had a similar experience.  My dad and I have been looking for a cheap horse trailer.  We found one, but couldn’t go look at it on the seller’s schedule.  When we could go, it was gone.  We found another one and it was so far away we debated the wisdom of it.  We looked at a few more and shared the laughter of What were those people thinking?  Then we found a beautiful trailer right in our hometown.  Everyone loaded up and off we went, thoroughly convinced we would be pulling that trailer home.  But, it wasn’t at all like the photos had depicted it.  I didn’t flinch.  I didn’t get upset.  I never even felt disappointed.  I was a little shocked that it was so different from what I thought it might be, but it was clearly not the one.  Instead of allowing it to mess up our evening, as I might have done in the past, I was relieved when my dad agreed we should walk away.

     We had a nice dinner, shared some laughs, enjoyed being together as a family and looked forward to our next opportunity.  Until then, I will remain a student of Psalm 46:10 and I will be still.

     Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t believe God is putting all things on hold in heaven to make sure our plans pan out, or we get something we want and think we need.  I do believe His eye is on the sparrow and His eye is on us.  I also believe He cares enough to use whatever matters in our lives to grow us and bring us closer to Him and closer to our completion.

     When I finished writing this I wasn’t at all sure if I should even share it.  So, I decided to put it aside and spend some time doing my Bible study.   It included a comment that sounded a whole lot like confirmation.  

God is always teaching me something because I have so much to learn. About the time I think I learned it, somehow I un-learned it. And here we go again.  The same lesson again.  Because God is going to make sure we get an A.  So we keep having the same test. ~Beth Moore Faithful Abundant True

      I guess I could have taken the title An A Student from Beth Moore’s quote but I had already written it.  Things like that just seem way cool.  Maybe I focus too much on the little things.  But I know He’s got all the big things covered, so why not the little things too?

 Is God asking you to be still and trust him?

Are you the one standing in Gods way when He just wants to bless you? 

We all do it.

We all want what we want when we want it.

But His timing, His economy, His favor, His gifts are always perfect!

Just watch and wait.

Keep your eyes on Jesus.  At least TRY 🙂

He really does care about every little detail of your life!

     We finally found an old trailer and wouldn’t you know it, it was HALF the price of all the others.  I love what happens when I wait.  But today, tomorrow, or next week, I’ll probably get in a hurry again and loop around the base of that mountain one more time!

What about you?  Do you ever find yourself on this journey?  

Are you also trying for an A in this class? 🙂

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Search Engine Sanity

  (Audio version)   

         KeziahCarrie may not be the most memorable of website monikers, but when I was mulling over all the practical possibilities, it’s the one that seemed to have the most meaning and set the right mood for what I thought God might want me to say.

          During the mental competition that ensued, KeziahCarrie was deadlocked with Front Porch Swing, and every now and then I second guess myself and wonder if FPS might have made more sense than KC.  I’m a woman who contemplates things.  I analyze them.  I pick them apart.  I weigh the pros and cons.  I decide.  Then I unravel the decision and start asking opinions.  When other people weigh in, sometimes I listen and sometimes I’ve already decided, and I’m just searching for validation.   I sort of wear myself out.

          It’s the same type of thing that happens to a lot of WordPress writers when we start looking at stats.  Those are the daily/weekly/monthly/yearly numbers that tell us if anyone is reading what we’re writing…where they are in the world…what posts they preferred and whether they cared enough to click on the “subscribe button” and come back.  The stats can blow your mind in a moment, make your day and send you away walking ten feet tall… OR… they can leave you dumbfounded and doubting, teetering on the edge of depression and despair.   Such is the POWER of stats.  You try not to look and then you glance up and see the Stats button and you start to click on it, and then you don’t, and then you do.

          It’s a mountain I don’t intend to travel around for the next 40 years.  I see that sneaky snake.  And I remember the song we sang in Vacation Bible School.  Be careful little eyes what you see!  🙂  So, I cast my glance away from the numbers to the real reason many women have joined us here at www.keziahcarrie.com.  It’s the Search Engine Terms.  A column of information guaranteed to lift spirits, make you laugh and remind even a doubting Thomas that God has a sense of humor, and can send you straight to any website even if it has a strange name.

          Beautiful big houseskayak womanif I had the wings of an angel in prison walls have all landed women on this
page.  My sister’s smelly socks…. world’s most smelliest socks… and my son’s personal favorite… deadly smelly socks…may
have sent some men to this site.  I’m not pulling your leg or blogging about the pastor; KeziahCarrie popped up, as a possible
answer, for those Binging, Googling or Yahooing their way through these words.  How do you draw a guitarstand in the rain…or make an angry face in the darkness?   Happy people talkingGod dreamed you…and my personal favorite…handshake in front of the Christmas tree

          A donkey drinking oil painting may or may not be better than a gift wrapped in money but little things matter so reap investment in the long run.  There’s a time image, life memories and oddly enough someone beating donkey.

           Readers have searched their way here from Egypt, Italy, Australia, Indonesia, Spain, Germany, South Africa, Columbia, Trinidad, Canada, Singapore, Sweden, Jordan, the Philippines, Paraguay and some other places I need to Google.  I guess all writers dream of a mob mentality on their out day download.

          The Search Engine Terms surely documented to ease my wondering mind… two hits for front porch swing but many more for KeziahCarrie! 🙂

          God is good, God is fun, God loves laughter and whether you believe it or not, He works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose… even if He has to use majestic white horses calling on a rotary wall phone.

 

 “A joyful heart is good medicine…”

Proverbs 17:22

 “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”

Proverbs 31:25

 The craziest thing I’ve searched recently:

 How to stop a fat horse from eating?

 And you know what?

There are DOZENS of pages dedicated to the topic.

Who knew?

What’s the wildest thing you’ve searched lately?  

Come on, you can tell us.

🙂

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Life on a Leash

          There are two types of people on the rural road where we live.  There are those who keep their dogs on a tight leash, and those who don’t. I have to admit our two canines are free runners.  It’s one of the reasons we like living outside of the city. While an unleashed life comes with great risk, it also comes with incredible reward.

          Our dogs love to chase squirrels, romp through the woods, go creek walking or doggie paddle across the pool.  They have known and experienced the dangers of getting too close to the cars and have come running back home for help.

          God gives us complete freedom…so much freedom, in fact, we are free to walk away from Him…free to go it alone…free to find what is out there in the world that might bring us more happiness than Him.

          When our three-legged white terrier Zadie is headed up to the neighbor’s house for a little extra loving, or our black and white Border collie, Liberty, is bounding across the road after a squirrel, all our attempts to call them back fall on deaf ears.

          We’re more like them than we might care to comprehend.  How many times does the Spirit of God call us back?  How long does He wait for us to decide, even without a leash, that we would rather return to his presence than ever go it alone?

          Robert Robinson knew what it was like to be alone.  He lost his father when he was only five years old and was later disinherited by his wealthy grandfather.  Robert desperately desired to find his peace in the presence of Almighty God.  But in 1757, at 22-years-old, he penned the words,“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” It’s true, even the mighty men and women of God, down through the ages, have been prone to wander.

           I wandered away for a while, just a couple of weeks ago.  I was distracted by something that held worldly promise.  I tossed up a prayer, but when God didn’t respond on my timetable, I took my eyes off Him, and looked around me.  There’s always another way if you look for one.  And there’s always a way out if you change your mind.  I turned back.  It wasn’t really because I necessarily wanted to; our minds and bodies rarely want to do what is good for us.  I turned back because I had to…I needed to…I would have been crazy not to.

          And just as I open the front and back doors a dozen times every day to let the dogs back in, God was there waiting for me to return to Him.  Sometimes Zadie and Liberty are wet and muddy or covered in cockleburs but I let them back in anyway.  We clean them up and allow them to climb in our laps, on the couch or even on the beds.  We do it because we love them.  We can’t make them love us in return and we wouldn’t want to, but they do.  They love us.  They trust us. They need us.

          God knows we need our freedom.  He knows we are going to go out and get dirty.  He loves us anyway.  He’s not going to force us to love Him in return. What kind of love would that be? But when we do discover that we can’t do life without Him, He is always there waiting when we turn back and head home.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.

And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out

so that you can endure it.”

1 Corinthians 10:13  

       

          My father-in-law spent almost all his life in service to the Lord. He used to tell the story of watching 4-H animal competitions.  He said the kids would bring their prized pigs to the fairgrounds, bathe them to perfection, and adorn them with ribbons.  But if one of the pigs got away, even for a moment, it would head straight to the nearest mud hole and roll in it.  He said they did it because it was their nature…just as it is in our human nature to sin.  But God is a God of forgiveness and He will always take us in and clean us up again.

Are you prone to wander?

What are the things that cause you to take your eyes off God?

How long will you wait on God before you look for your own solution?

Would you rather do life on a leash or have a life of freedom?

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:1

“Therefore if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.”

John 8:36

 

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Moaning and Groaning

          It’s an identifiable sound that makes my heart skip a beat or beat a little faster depending on its source. I’m not sure I can even accurately describe it.  It’s not the sort of sound that comes from someone who just scaled a few flights of steps.  That’s more of a huff and puff heavy breathing.  It’s not the sound that you hear at the end of an exercise class.  That’s more of a “Thank God, it’s over,” but “oh how good I feel,” sort of sound. 

          This is a deep, intentional breath, followed by an exhalation, partnered with a frustrated noise that seems to imply something is just not going your way.

          I recently heard a teacher say, “Even a sigh is a sign of displeasure with your life.”  

            And I live in a house with a husband and son who sigh.

          Now, wait a second.  Let me get the PLANK out of my own eye and tell you I’m a complainer!  I’m also a people pleaser to a FAULT.  And, when I can’t please all the people all the time, I complain about the amount of effort I put into TRYING to please them.

          But let’s get back to the faults in my family. 🙂

          When my son sighs, my heart skips a beat as my mind quickly scans what could possibly be wrong.  I frequently discover he’s just frustrated because he wants to hurry and get his homework done…or his dad asked him to unload the dishwasher…or just because he’s bored and the weekend is almost over.

          The release of a deep sigh surely makes him feel better.  On the other hand, my pulse rate and stress level shoot straight up.  He walks away oblivious to any change in room temperature or Mom’s mood.

          When my husband sighs, my heart-speed accelerates.  It may be associated with 17 years as his soul mate.  His sigh translates into my displeasure.  Whatever it is, it freaks me out and puts me into a pint-sized panic until I discover the source of what I perceive to be his discomfort.

          He will frequently say, “Oh, there’s nothing wrong.  I was just taking a deep breath.”

          He’s sitting beside me right now and he just sighed!  So I said “Why did you just sigh?”  He replied, “ I didn’t know that I did.” OMG!   He recently had a total knee replacement and as I write this, we are at the doctor’s office.  My heart just raced through a whole scenario of possibilities…pain…impatience…frustration.  Nope he’s completely oblivious!

          IT MAKES ME CRAZY!

          I would have to be crazy to be telling you these things.  But remember, I’m a complainer. 🙂

          So that’s the situation.  I’m not sure how to change any of it.  I just needed a way to return my heart rate to normal, and writing sometimes works. 

We live in a society of people who sigh and complain.

But, God is aware of what’s going on.

2 Corinthians 5:4 says…

While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh…”

          My husband’s response to this post is, “Every time you complain, we sigh.”  I didn’t hit him in front of all the people in the waiting room, because you must have a  sense of humor to stay married this long.    I’m even going to quit complaining about his sighing,  just long enough, to write a little poem.  

          In the spirit of  Dr. Seuss with my best Eeyore voice…

Do you moan and groan?

Or are you quiet as a mouse?

Is it just the other people

who sigh in your house?

Are you a complainer?

This I can’t deny.

Could the drip, drip of my words

Be the reason that they sigh?

(Don’t tell  them I said this but NO!!!  I am NOT the reason :-))

And thank God, one of these days none of us will moan, groan or complain.

2 Corinthians 5:8 says…

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved


When Less is More

           There were advertisements, segments on talk shows, news stories, even live shots on opening day.  When the only bookstore in our city’s most prestigious shopping mall closed, a new exciting store quickly took its place.

           What would wealthy, educated Americans want more than access to the latest in literary arts?

           Containers, of course!

          The opening of The Container Store was about as big as the day the doors were unlocked at the new Nordstrom.  

          But then it makes perfect sense.  After a stop and shop at Nords, a person needs somewhere to put all the new purchases.

           I’m not knocking the new container store; it’s a pretty clever concept, I am however, making fun of our inherent need for such specialized nooks.  We’ve got a bunch of stuff and now we need more places to put it.  How many of those storage facilities have cropped up across the country?  They’re everywhere!  You can even get a look at what’s in some of them on “Storage Wars”, yet another reality show, this time allowing us to be voyeurs into the secret stash of a recently repossessed storage unit.  When you lose your stuff, because you had so much stuff you could no longer afford your stuff, that just might be…too much stuff. 

           Maybe I’m a little sensitive to the subject since I’m currently studying the New Testament book of James, and today’s lesson was on hoarding and self-indulgence.  I guess it could be a touch of Spring Fever since the daffodils are poking their little yellow heads up way ahead of schedule.  Or maybe it’s because we’ve accumulated so much stuff in the square footage God has given us, that we don’t have room for it all. 

          Clutter makes me crazy!

           What ever is causing this feeling; I wonder if The Container Store has a place for me to put it? 

          “In part, hoarding means withholding what we don’t even use from others who’d treasure it. All of us are accustomed to the saying “use it or lose it” but, the fact is, we’re going to lose it anyway.  We’re not taking one ounce of this stuff with us when we die.”

 ~Beth Moore

James: Mercy Triumphs/LifeWay Press*

 “Even if I pay all my bills and rightly pay every laborer I employ, is not my superfluous spending on myself when others need the basics for survival a contradiction of loving my neighbor as myself?”

 ~Melissa Moore Fitzpatrick

(Beth’s daughter)

James: Mercy Triumphs/LifeWay Press*

 Beth’s Advice: When we get something new, something has to go. 

 I’m WAY behind on that one.

 How about you? 🙂

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Silver Wings

           Light brown pigtails whipped in the wind as she sat in the backseat of the old ’66 Chevy Impala.  Dust from the gravel country road flew up in a cloud behind them, and the car outran it.  She had the window down, her arm propped up on the ledge, and a big smile on her face.  The backseat was all hers, and, from big rear speakers, the unmistakable voice of Merle Haggard, singing Silver Wings, drowned out all other sounds.

            She had never felt better.  She was still a kid, yet a little grown up.  In the company of her aunt and uncle, yet feeling she was out on her own.  She was a good girl, but, away from her parents, she was allowed to smoke and sneak a peek at a True Story magazine.  It was summertime and she was eleven.           

            It’s been a few decades since that day, but all I have to do is hear the sound of Merle’s voice, anytime, anywhere and the memories come flashing back.  Tears will always well up in my eyes, as I remember a time before life was tainted.  A time when I was innocent and full of wonder…where the world looked like a wonderful place from my eleven-year-old eyes. 

            The 8-track tape switched to Mama Tried and Merle told the story of a life so sad she couldn’t comprehend it; although she sensed what seemed like some sort of soul connection.  She empathized with his plight and she hurt for him.  But in that moment, while he sang of a “rebel child on a freight train leaving town”, she was still sitting safely in the backseat.  

            It was only a few years later when other people’s decisions would change her life.  She would go on to make poor choices of her own wishing, then, that silver wings would take her away. 

            Despite all I have done, I can’t comprehend the pain Merle Haggard pours into his music.  When I hear him sing, my heart still hurts for him.  

            Turning “21 in prison doing life without parolewas obviously not the end of his story.  He was paroled and went on to live a life, “…most men only dream of.”  He even received a presidential pardon.  But, apparently, none of it has ever been quite enough. 

            “There’s a feeling in my gut that says you haven’t written that one song yet, the one that’s going to live forever.  I’ll be satisfied only when I feel like I’ve written that song.” 

            Some might think a signature song like Okie from Muskogee would have been enough to fill the hole in his soul.  I used to think a successful career, the right award or the perfect person could do it for me.  But only God can do that for any of us.  He created us for relationship, and nothing will satisfy us, until we surrender to him.   

            Besides, Merle already sings a song with a message that transcends time.  He tells of a man named Leonard, who was… 

 “On his way to having what he wanted, just about as close as one could be, hey once he even followed Elvis Presley and he wrote a lot of country songs for me. But he laid it all aside to follow Jesus, for years he chose to let his music go, but preachin wasn’t really meant for Leonard, but how in the hell was Leonard supposed to know?  Well life began to twist its way around him, and I wondered how he carried such a load.  He came back again to try his luck in music and lost his wife and family on the road.  After that he seemed to bog down even deeper and I saw what booze and pills can really do.  And I wondered if I’d ever see him sober.  But I’d forgot about a friend that Leonard knew.” 

          It is never too late, we are never too lost.  God is always there waiting. 

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 

            All that we have done, no matter the magnitude, no matter how many times or how great the sin, all can be forgiven.  And, even after a life lived in rebellion, we can still come to him as innocent as that eleven-year-old child. 

He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     “Silver wings shining in the sunlight…silver wings, slowly fading out of sight.”

         

 

 

Quote taken from PBS American Masters Documentary: Merle Haggard “Learning to Live with Myself.”

Bible verses:  2 Peter 3:9 and Mark 10:14

 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie. All Rights Reserved

A Restless Evil

            The sounds of chicken frying and potatoes boiling, mixed in with the smell of biscuits baking, made for a most pleasant and secure feeling that night.  My mom was busy in the kitchen while I sat cross-legged on the counter watching her every move.

             Then the shrill sound of the old rotary wall phone changed it all in an instant.  I could tell by the worried look on my mother’s face and the irritated tone in her voice that this was not good.  She looked at me as she hung up the phone and said “Your Dad and I have been called to a Parent/Teacher Conference.” 

             My security slid right out the door and my appetite tanked.  My older sisters found great joy in the moment, dancing around the kitchen, singing in unison, “You’re in trouble, you’re in trouble.”  They were right.  I was in trouble with my parents, but not necessarily in trouble at school.

             I was in the 4th grade and my increasingly concerned teacher told my parents at their meeting that I didn’t get into trouble; I just laughed at those who did.  My husband jokes that it was a pre-requisite for my career as a news reporter.  But what was really happening was I had found my first excuse to talk about people.  They were in trouble.  They had done something wrong.  I not only thought it was funny that they were being judged for their actions, but I was anxious to tell other people what had happened.

     In some ways, it was a sport I had learned while watching grownups gossip at all sorts of gatherings.  In fact, I discovered it was not only okay to talk about people; it seemed to be an acceptable sin even at church.  I remember my mom getting to a point where she no longer wanted to get us all dressed up on Easter Sunday.  It made her feel uncomfortable how some people talked more about what others were wearing, and how much they were spending, than the word they were supposed to be hearing.

             I don’t know why it’s so hard to tame the tongue.  We are warned many times in the Bible about its destructive powers.  Although I know men who can slice and dice with a quick slash of their tongue, it’s usually women who get the worst rap when it comes to spreading gossip.

             The older I get the more I recognize the temptations of that old trap.  I’m far better than I was in the 4th grade, but still find that I have not yet mastered my mouth.

              It’s not as bad as it once was, back when my tongue might have gotten me all tangled in a web of my own making.  But I do get that little twinge of a spiritual reminder when I talk too much.  It’s that gut feeling that I should stop.  If I don’t, it either makes me feel really sick inside or I walk away feeling stressed and strangely justified, but sad and sorry all the same.

            I did it again today.  The conversation started innocently enough then one thing led to another and I quenched the voice of the Holy Spirit so I could have my say.  It felt just like I knew it would. 

“All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”  

James 3:7-8  

            It’s true!  Sometimes we can’t stop it; and we certainly can’t tame it.  But it’s not really up to us.  God knows our weaknesses and he’s got us covered.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

          Tomorrow is a new day and our God of second chances will let us try again to walk away or remain silent.  A friend at work frequently uses the phrase, “Stay in your lane.” It’s good advice.  If we concentrate on what we’re supposed to be doing, the temptation to talk about others won’t be so tantalizing.  If you think about it, it’s ironic in a way, when we are talking about someone else we are the ones who are wrong.

Until we meet again, I pray we all keep our hands on the wheel and our judgemental and critical tongues tucked safety behind our teeth.  

          I don’t remember if I got a reprieve, was grounded or maybe even spanked after my parents found out what I was doing.  But I suspect my sisters have a few memories they might be willing to share.   

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

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