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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

Some Smelly Socks

          A silly little saying can sometimes stick in my head longer than the words of wisdom from a deep theological study. 

           When I was a teenager, my friends and I had a catchphrase we would use whenever we were embarrassed.

            “I’m just gonna go crawl into my socks… and peep out.”

            It helps if you imagine it being said with a bit of a Southern drawl. 

           I most often found the saying useful after I had offered up my opinion and unsolicited advice to someone, then later found myself in the very same situation, reacting exactly as they had.  My sisters and sister-in-law can certainly testify here for all the times I questioned or criticized their parenting skills before becoming a mom myself.  And I fully acknowledge after this confession that some of my current friends are about to raise their hands in agreement that I should go get my socks.

           As a full-time mom for the last 13 years, finding time to read my Bible, study, pray and spend quiet time with God, has been a breeze.  The more often I relaxed on the front porch swing, in the big mama chair or in total hammock heaven, the more I thought everyone should be doing the same thing.  My working friends would drop behind in group Bible studies and I would think they were just slacking… succumbing to the pressure of a paycheck and giving God less time than He deserved.  But now, here I am, operating most days on four hours of sleep, praying in the car on the way to work, grabbing a quick verse from my new daily devotional and looking longingly at the Beth Moore study collecting dust on the headboard of my bed. 

           While I miss the time I used to have with my family, I feel far more desperate for my quiet time with God.  But He did try to warn me.

           Before I walked reluctantly back into the working world, I kept seeing and hearing the word “sacrifice” in studies, on signs and in sermons.  Now that I can look back and sort of understand what was about to happen, the words “self righteous” are beginning to appear.  The words came to me again this morning while praying on my way to work.  The Spirit was pretty clear on how little I really comprehend the stress, struggles and tight schedules of other people’s lives.  I felt sad and sorry, though I still felt a little entitled.  That is one of the problems with our flesh… and a good God doesn’t want us to stay that way.

             So, it’s a Saturday and I’m at work.  But when I get home, I’m going to find a pair of socks and, if you look closely my friends, you will be able to see me peeping out.

 

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged.  For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

Matthew 7:1 

Yep I see that a bit more clearly now. 

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Hebrews 4:15-16 

In addition to mercy and grace, what I need is more time to do that study.  But in honor of all working women  I’m going to try to keep quiet about that for a little while.

🙂

 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Behind the Firewall

Job 29:24

“When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;

the light of my face was precious to them.” 

            When you pray for God’s provision, you can’t always predict how He might provide.  I am partial to those times when money just unexpectedly shows up in the mail.  But as soon as I start counting on that happening again, of course, it doesn’t.  If I am still able to muster up the smallest measure of faith, I eventually find that I am fascinated by God’s plan and so glad He didn’t follow mine.

            Thus, I recently found myself in a situation I had not expected.  Our city was just about to recover from historic flooding when tornadoes, straight-line winds and more flooding hit many of the surrounding areas.  It was one of the largest scale disasters ever recorded here and resulted in multitudes of rescue and recovery missions.  Federal and State disaster officials moved in and set up shop.  It wasn’t like setting up camp, but more like creating a major corporation.  It takes a massive machine to process the paperwork when thousands of people have lost everything they have ever owned. 

            But after several weeks of working it all out, the relief operation begins winding down, and that’s where this part of the story starts: 

            We needed money!  Not your normal bill-paying family financial infusion, but a big chunk of extra cash to pay for a new contractual commitment. 

            So I needed a job…or a check in the mail…and I got the job. 

            As the disaster workers began to wrap up the details in order to leave our area, a few locals were hired to come in and help out during the temporary transition.  What I expected to see inside the secure facility were a few hundred worn out and weary workers limping along until the last leg of their journey.  What I actually saw were some of the happiest people I have ever encountered. 

            “I think it comes from the top,” one employee suggested when asked for an explanation.  She must have been right because it wasn’t long before I witnessed the big boss walking around each room, calling every person by name and, not only allowing them to forgo all the official titles, but letting them use his nickname.  He was smiling, laughing and making sure everyone was having a little fun.

             It seems happiness is contagious and smiles apparently spread.  🙂 

            There is a passion in this place to help those who can’t help themselves.  And it comes with a sacrifice.  In order to assist survivors, the employees have left homes, husbands, wives, children and pets.  Most all of them are from out-of-state and have been on the clock for 12 hours a day… seven days a week… not just for a few weeks, but  for months.  

          They still smile big smiles; happy smiles…the kind where your eyes work into the equation and you can tell a genuine smile from a forced or fake one.   This secret society of public servants comes in all ages, races and religions, and I think they prove that with properly placed priorities there is provision.

            In the natural, their mind-set doesn’t seem to make sense.  How could they really be happy under these conditions?

               But, remember, they believe it comes from the top.

              They all take an oath of office to faithfully uphold the Constitution.  And, regardless of how quickly our country appears to be forgetting, they all still believe in serving “one nation under God.”

          In a world plagued with rising unemployment, they know their jobs are only temporary.  In fact, it is their mission, upon arriving at a disaster site, to work their way out of a job.  It’s how they help.   It’s how they measure success.  When the people no longer need them, they move on.  

          They can’t predict how God will provide for them the next time, but they trust He will have another assignment.  When they get the call, it will likely mean homes have been destroyed and lives have been shattered. They will drop everything they are doing and rush in to an area that everyone else is trying to escape.  

          When I took this job, I thought it was about money. We had prayed for provision and we believe God is answering our prayers.  But, now, I am far more intrigued  by God’s plan to provide a new perspective.

          I have learned that is it is not unusual for these people to be publicly criticized or ridiculed for what doesn’t happen in the recovery of a disaster zone rather than what does happen.  Hurting people sometimes lash out and hurt other people.  But these public servants seem to understand.  And, they keep going from one location… to another… always looking for the next person to help…still smiling…still happy… because it does come from the Top.  God has created us to find joy in giving, to find joy in serving, and to find joy in knowing we have made a difference. 

          At the end of the day, happiness is contagious and smiles spread.  When you pray for God’s provision, you can’t always know how He will provide. But you can always know that He will!   

Proverbs 15:15

“All the days of the oppressed are wretched,

but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.”           

Romans: 12:6-8

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.  If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage then give encouragement; if it is giving then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”   

 “The word joy is sprinkled all over the New Testament, not as something topping the cupcakes of worldly lusts or entertainment, but falling upon the hearts of men and women whose lives are caught up in who God is and what He is doing”  

~Kelly Minter, The Fitting Room

 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

 

Desperately Seeking Mary

STOP!  Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, please pause to participate in an impromptu and informal survey with me.  It won’t take long. 

Ask yourself… “Who am I most like…Mary or Martha?”

Our pastor asked the same question at a recent Sunday evening service.  In a sanctuary filled with lots of ladies, only two women raised their hands when asked if they identified their lives with Mary.  

Okay.  What about you? Is it Mary? Or Martha?      

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Martha is our role model for a Type A overachiever.  She likes to be in charge and she likes to get things done.  She has a list and when she finally gets that last item checked off, she will collapse into exhausted satisfaction… temporarily.  Tomorrow she will draft another list and the mode that makes her “all Martha” will return for another refrain.  Sometimes she gets help with her projects.  Other times, not so much.  Flying solo can bring out the best in her as she is tight wired to excel.  It can also bring out her wounded martyr mentality, and she will passively aggressively guilt anyone not able to read her mind and volunteer to help.  She loves to tell anyone who will listen all about the number of things she has accomplished.  In her mind, no one ever seems to be as busy or as booked. 

 Then, there is Mary.

 Although some might describe her as the type to stop and smell the roses, she probably hasn’t taken the time to plant any.  She recognizes that life is short… that “getting it all done” only results in “it all needs to be done again.”  She puts God first and spends quality time with people she loves.  She looks you in the eye, she listens to what you have to say and she lets you know that you matter to her.  She is not immune from stress but ponders its source and takes control of every thought.  She’s aware of all the striving round her and doesn’t mind helping as long as it doesn’t interfere with her time alone with God.  She has found the Source…the Supplier of her peace…the Keeper of her time… the Fountain of her youth.  All other activities are a meaningless chasing after the wind.  Sure, she knows if you don’t work, you don’t eat.  It says so in 2nd Thessalonians 3:10.  But there will be plenty of time to work. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a time for everything under heaven. 

While her sister Martha is on a mission to do many things… Mary knows there is really only one thing.  Her properly placed priority is the Prince of Peace.  He will bless her and reward her for choosing to seek Him first. 

Martha or Mary?

I wasn’t either of the two women who raised their hands at church signifying they most identified with Mary.  I threw my hand up in the air and proudly went with the majority, believing I am more often Martha than Mary.  In fact, most of the women I know claim allegiance with the over-achieving sister. 

Both have their rightful places in our society and there is a great need for go-to girls.  But the older I get and the more I see my accomplishments just need repeating… the more I am DESPERATELY SEEKING MARY! 

 “If God isn’t first, sooner or later He will simply be a nice embellishment to our lives. When we put God first, we are empowered to love each other better, even if our love is not at first understood. The trouble is that too often we ignore things that should be first in our lives and go after secondary things, thereby losing both.”

~Camille Fronk Olson 

Luke 10:38-42

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.  She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?  Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed-or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her 

I did notice for the first time when reading this story again that this all happened at Martha’s house.  So for all of us who identify with Martha, but would like to be more like Mary,  I know this…it’s much easier to relax when the dinner party is at my sister’s house.

🙂  

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Age is just a Number!

          We have a saying around our house that “Pink is just a color.”  Our son spoke those words at age nine after discovering his 18-year-old sister’s pink kayak would navigate the river waters much smoother than the blue one he just “had” to have. 

            When I woke up last week as a 50-year-old woman, and laughed at the very thought of it, one of the first things that went through my mind was “Age is just a number.”  I flipped on the morning news and they were actually doing a segment called Minivan Mom turns 40.  I laughed again.  As I sat there staring at the television, I realized I was now ten years older than the woman being interviewed.   She had previously set a boundary for herself, based on what she was willing to do or not do, to stop the aging process.  But as the wrinkles worked their way around her face, she changed her mind, and was now  boasting that she would in fact bet on Botox.   

          Now, I’m a big fan of refusing to age gracefully and fighting it every step of the way.  But it seems we might need fewer miracle cures if we didn’t always worry and complain about how old we are, how bad we feel, what hurts, or all the things that are wrong with us.

            Words have power!

            Our son, who says “Pink is just a color,” also came to me one day and said, “You know Mom, ten people can say nice things to you.  But if one person says something mean or bad it’s all you really remember the rest of the day.”  So, so, true.

            Words have power!  

            But who speaks negative words over us more than we do?  I’m too skinny,  I’m too fat, my arms are flabby, I am such an idiot, I’m so forgetful, I’m getting old, I feel terrible, I have a headache, my back hurts, my knees ache…you know what I mean.  Don’t get me wrong, I have both feet in this boat too.  I do try to REMIND myself as OFTEN as possible that God spoke the world into existence.  His words have the Ultimate Power.  He didn’t just think “Let there be light,” He spoke it.  He didn’t just ponder in his heart, “Let us make man in Our image,” He said it.  All throughout the Bible, there are examples of healings by Jesus and the apostles where words were spoken over the people who were sick.  Jesus raised the dead with words.  In the Old Testament, a father’s spoken blessing carried so much weight that, once said, it couldn’t be recanted. 

            Words have power!  

            Now you may be wondering how a story about age ends up being about words.  I was sort of wondering that myself.  But a birthday has No Power over me.  It’s the words I say to myself that will determine if I’m a young, energetic, just getting started 50… or an almost ready for rocking chair retirement half-century. 

            Words have power!

            And I am here to testify, Age is just a number! 🙂

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,

Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”

Proverbs 16:24

**Despite a wonderful, “real surprise” party thrown by my husband, son, family and friends, my mind kept returning for days afterwards to the fact the house hadn’t been cleaned for guests nor the lawn mowed.  I spoke those words over and over until I began to feel burdened by what “didn’t happen” rather than joyful for “what did.”  I am trying to take those thoughts captive and further tame my tongue.  After all, I did ask God that very morning to help me with my control issues. **

🙂

Have a wonderful week.  Say something nice to yourself, lift someone up encourage those around you.

“From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things…”

Proverbs 12:14 

 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

 

 

Dear Abby Dear Abby

            Remember Dear Abby? 

            Ask Ann Landers? 

            Questions on proper in-law etiquette, noisy neighbors and philandering spouses peppered news papers all across the country.  The twin sisters could turn out a response in a couple of paragraphs and their opinions carried weight around the world.  

            It would be statistically interesting to see how many marriages were saved, the number of divorces finalized and apologies accepted based solely on the advice of the sisters.  If you could wait a few weeks and risk the overwhelming odds of your letter being chosen, I guess it was a logical way to learn what you should do.  Better yet, if you could just find your problem mimicked in someone else’s life, then you could piggy-back off of their solicited solution.  If Abby and Ann weren’t accessible enough, family members and friends have usually been willing to offer up advice.  Unfortunately, “Going to the phone, before going to the Throne,” (thank you Joyce Meyer for that quote) can get you in trouble.  While we can usually count on family and friends for their opinions, they are often pre-programmed to tell us what we want to hear…or they offer advice slightly slanted by their own particular experiences.  I am sometimes guilty of purposely selecting whose advice I seek, knowing in advance they are likely to give me the answer I want. 

            There are all sorts of examples on seeking advice in the Bible…some turn out well and others not so much.  Proverbs 24:6 says, “Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisors.”  I like that one.  It’s always seemed like a good idea to me, to ask around before getting yourself into a tight situation, especially to find out if you have anyone on your side.  And if you already have some ideas and plans formulated in your mind, you might want to pull up Proverbs 16:3  “Commit to the Lord everything you do, then your plans will succeed.”  Of course you have to get that “commit” part first.  It doesn’t work after the fact.  Then, there is the foundational fool-proof piece of advice Jesus gives us in Matthew 6:33  “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”   I have tested and tried that verse many times and am living proof that it is true and effective.

            But just yesterday a friend asked my advice on a risky decision she was about to make.  It’s easy to say “Go for it” or “Just do it” when you’re NOT the one standing on the edge of a cliff, grabbing hold of an old rope and preparing to launch yourself out over a pile of jagged rocks to the icy river below.  When I saw her apprehension, I should have told her to stop and pray about it.  But I egged her on.  I wanted her to do it because I had done it, and well, the kids thirty and forty years younger than us had done it.  Her success would carry a set of bragging rights for the two of us while the other adults sat safely in their kayaks watching from the shallow water. 

            So she jumped.  It didn’t go well.  I immediately found myself praying she would be okay as I looked down into the water and we exchanged horrified facial expressions.  A  few bumps, a couple of bruises, some scratches, scrapes, cuts, a little wounded pride with lots of “I should have known betters” and we floated on down the river.

            I suspect she might think twice about trusting my advice again on such life and death situations.  But if there is a next time, I hope I won’t miss the opportunity to encourage her to overlook my opinion, and take her question straight to the Top!

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you;

He will never let the righteous be shaken.”

Psalm 55:22

            Of course, even if she had asked Dear Abby or Ann Landers, I suspect the sisters would have sided with me and said:

 “You only live once.  Jump!”

Who do you count on to give you advice?

Who counts on you for answers? 

These may be questions worth contemplating. 🙂 

 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

 

Wilderness Walking

                    The tickets arrived by certified mail.  I quickly signed my name and ripped open the envelope. 

            There they were!  

            The most beautiful tickets I had ever seen.

            The most expensive tickets we had ever purchased for a single outdoor event. 

            I couldn’t wait to tell anyone who would listen, where we were going, what great seats we would have, and how I would be counting down the days. 

            It wasn’t long before I was counting all the things that were going wrong.  I should have seen the warning signs, and got prayed up and prepared, especially after the computer crashed in the middle of the ticket purchase.  But I had such tunnel vision, I couldn’t even entertain the thought, that this might not turn out the way I had always dreamed.

            There were dress disasters, last-minute mail-order obstacles, alteration emergencies, work deadlines, a medical scare…even a death… and our family’s stress level was at peak performance.

            But the clock kept ticking, the days flew by and it was finally time to go. We got there and found our section but for some strange reason we couldn’t find those great seats.  We called for help and a young sales attendant was more than happy to tell us, “Oh your seats are inside.  You will be watching on a television monitor.”

            I don’t mind telling you.  I am still such a big baby with so much more work for God to do in me, that this little piece of information brought me to my knees in what Oprah Winfrey would describe as “The Ugly Cry.”  Forget that I was in the process of reading a Priscilla Shirer book about wilderness walking.  This just can’t be happening…not now…not to me…not this event.  This is too big…too important…I had waited too long.  “I’ve given up other dreams, not this one, PLEASE God.”

            Priscilla Shirer pops back into my head. 

            Book: One in a Million

            Chapter: Six

            Title: “Why Me

            Quote:“Do we want the Promise Giver, or do we just want the Promised Land?”           

            Truthfully? Right  now?  THE PROMISED LAND!  I know that’s wrong.  I know that is not the answer God is looking for…but this is THE Promised Land…this is THE KENTUCKY DERBY!  This is for my 50th birthday.  The Bucket List.  The #1 request before I die. 

            My husband, soul-mate and the one who keeps me accountable, reminds me God has a plan.  I don’t really want to hear that…I just want this fixed because this HAS to be some sort of mistake.  He makes calls, lots of calls. And finally a nice sales supervisor explains that these are some of the most desirable seats in Churchill Downs.  “Yeah, sure they are,” I mumble through another wave of tears. 

            But wait a second; my husband is starting to smile.  Hold the phone.  It seems God does have a plan.  You know He always does.

            Fast forward my puffy face to race day.

            A guest services guide, who was so sorry we were disappointed with the tickets, got special permission to take us up to the roof for the coveted Twin Spires photo.  Thinking back, it was the one thing I had wished to come away with but had been told it would be impossible to get. 

            While the people from the outside, sitting in cold metal folding chairs, were coming in to fight the crowd inside, standing in line for an hour just to place a bet, getting food and trying to find a place to sit…we had plenty of room in our secured area, no lines, high back cushioned desk chairs and tables.  There were giant television monitors where we could watch all the action up close until post time when we walked outside to overlook the finish line and watch the race from the clubhouse balcony . 

            But because of what seemed like a dream day disaster, we met and became fast friends with the ushers, the tellers and the security guards as the “human factor” of  this famous “horse” race began to come into focus.  I love how God works all things for good, how he has his hand on us when we don’t even know it.  But I hate, hate, hate how I always seem to require a painful wilderness walk before I can let God do what God does when what He has planned is far more significant and so much more than expected.

Isaiah 49: 15-16 NIV 

I will not forget you!

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;

 

James 1:17-18 NKJV

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of  lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  Of his own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures. 

I still can’t believe I stood there…three floors above the finish line…an ultimate dream come true.

 

 

 

Psalm 20:4 NKJV

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose. 

To my dad, aunt, husband, son and friends who were dragged along with me on this particular wilderness walk…I concede I am still a work in progress.  I hope by confessing my fleshly failings I have in no way diminished real world problems that I know are far more significant than a birthday bucket wish. 

 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

 

Who Are We?

          Locks of long flowing white hair and a beard the color of freshly picked cotton have become his trademarks, despite the God-given baritone voice that made him famous.  He is, by far, the most recognizable member of the seven-time Grammy Award wining gospel and country quartet, The Oak Ridge Boys.  His “mountain man” appearance makes it easy to assume that maybe it was some sort of strange mid-life style decision.   At least, that’s what I always assumed.  But I was wrong.

            William Lee Golden wanted to see who he would be, what he would look like, if he was exactly who God made him to be.  He explains it this way.  “In 1980, I began to re-evaluate my life.  I began to seek to find the man that God created.  It just evolved.  I don’t have any intentions of cutting my hair or beard.  I am very comfortable with who I am.”

            I can’t speak for the rest of you ladies, but I’m not quite that curious.  

            My hair gets highlighted when I can afford it.  When I can’t, I still buy the cheap drugstore dye in a box, either dark blonde or light brown depending on the mood.  My body receives bi-weekly treatments of Jergens Glow.  And, I know they’re not married, but Merle Norman and Mary Kay make great partners in my make-up bag and on my face.  All lame attempts at cosmetic comedy aside…if we subscribed to William Lee’s theory, who would we be?  If we just surrendered our souls…ourselves…to God’s plan, how would our lives change?  If we just really, truly, thought of Him as the Potter and us as the clay, would we be willing to yield? 

            In 1907, Adelaide Pollard, uncertain what God wanted to do in her life, wrote “Have Thine Own Way.”  It includes the lyrics, “Mold me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.”  Who would we be if we allowed that much room for God to work?  If we could get past our control issues, our plans for the future, our preconceived lifetime goals, who would we be?  If we were stamped by God’s trademark and his words came from our mouths, what would we say?  Whose glory would we seek, ours or His?

            Jesus says In Matthew 23:12, Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”  By submitting to the God who created him, William Lee Golden not only has one of the most famous faces in the entire music industry, but a legacy that will live on long past his time here on earth.

            Although I still can’t imagine us ladies going “all nat-ur-Al” it does make me wonder how God would work in our lives if we were solely surrendered and totally submitted.   

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

The Hoy-tee Toy-tee Ducks of Green Hills

          An empty day on the calendar usually has a way of making me feel a little uneasy.  Since it’s such a rare occurrence, I guess I’m not always sure what to do about it.  I’m a detail person, a scheduler and a list maker, who operates best with a pre-set outline of obtainable goals.

          So, after a hectic week working on an impending deadline, Thursday rolls around and, all of a sudden, there is nothing to do.  I know, I know, how does that happen?  Well, it doesn’t happen very often, so this time — instead of allowing any anxiety to surface — I decide to see it as a sign, a gift from God if you will.  After all, I have been working really hard. So, Carpe diem, I seize the day!

            I start with a cardio spin class because, at my age, exercise is a blessing to my cholesterol loving heart.  I follow it with an endurance class, just to prove to myself that I can still endure it!  Then I think. “Oh, what the heck,” and head for a Yoga class so my sore body can ask my mind why I did the first two classes when I had a whole day with nothing to do. 

            I’m not sure what I was thinking when I took THREE classes, back to back, but I finally got to the coveted corpse pose.  It’s the grand finale when you just lie there like you’re dead.  It’s the one position you wish could last a little longer… okay a lot longer.  I was in some sort of semi-sleep zone and not at all ready to leave.  But, once people around you start rolling up their mats, and the senior center folks push past you for their place in the next class, well, it’s a little hard to nap.

            Reluctantly, I grab my stuff and walk out into a breezy but sunny 72 degree day.  I find an outdoor café serving rosemary grilled chicken with roasted asparagus.  I savor each herbal flavor, while simultaneously watching all the wonderful people walking by just doing what they do and going where they go. 

            My Thursday in heaven could have ended right then and there!

            However… walking back to my car I notice a creek I must have driven over a dozen times, but never really saw before, at least not like I was seeing it now.  There is a shade tree, a big ole rock large enough to sit on, a tiny little water fall…and here I am just wondering, what exactly did I do, to deserve a day like this, when the rest of the world is still at work.  It doesn’t seem fair.

            Seriously, I should feel guilty, but I don’t.  

            It helps when I see three little ducks swimming in the creek and think, as blessed as I am at this very moment, it is only right for me to “pay it forward”. 

            I check my purse… Cinnamon Altoids…hmmm, probably shouldn’t try that…coffee candy…won’t work…a miniature dark chocolate peanut butter cup…if it’s not good for dogs, it’s probably not a good idea for ducks.  Then it occurs to me, there is still a breakfast biscuit from a quick stop market wasting away in the car.  You know the kind…two bites and um, not so hungry.  I run over to the car, pick it up and wait for the ducks to dash back to my little outdoor sanctuary.  I toss a piece of bread into the creek…and nothing happens.  I toss another piece…they don’t even look.  I take a few steps in their direction.  The ducks eye me suspiciously, and nothing.  Okay… I give it one last try.  Another hard crumb causes ripples in the water, but they arrogantly turn their backs. 

            Are you kidding me? 

            Across town in Centennial Park, ducks will just darn near grab the food right out of your hand.  But these pretty little ducks just sun themselves, bathe a bit, and ignore me.  Fine, I decide I will ignore them too, and take this awesome time to do some writing.  No sooner have I put pen to paper than the ducks swim right up to me.

            “Ah ha, I knew you would come get it,” I taunt them, looking around quickly, hoping no one heard me.  I toss some more bread and once again they turn up their beaks… but this time they actually swim away…

          Then I totally figure it out!  These are not normal ducks.  These are the three happiest and smartest ducks I have ever encountered.  Their creek flows in the shadow of the largest Whole Foods Market in one of the most upscale communities in our metropolitan city.   These ducks don’t eat left over convenience store breakfast biscuits.  They only eat organic!!  They never have to exercise, and I bet they don’t have a single commitment on the calendar.  

 

Okay, I know, silly story, but it made me laugh. 

We really don’t laugh as much as we should.  

The Bible says,

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22 NIV 

             Research shows that children laugh on average of 300 times a day while adults only laugh about 15 times.  When did that happen?  When exactly did we quit laughing?  Even if you have to laugh at yourself (for talking to ducks), take some time to laugh, at least a little. 

            After all, the man who figured out how to turn barefoot beach music into a multi-million dollar empire says: 

“If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.” Jimmy Buffet.

 

 

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