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Archive for the ‘Inspirational’ Category

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

 

 

“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

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

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

If You’re Happy and You Know It

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

 

 

We’ve Got a Friend

          One of the cutest girls I have ever seen was sitting across the table from me in the coffee shop.   Her blue eyes sparkled, as short blond curls bounced around in the sunlight beaming through a wall of windows.  We had just met and I was there to mentor her.  Funny, I still feel like I need someone to show me the way.  But, I guess I am one of those “older” women described in the New Testament book of Titus…shocking as it may sound to my entire system.          

          So… we have a couple of hours of wonderful conversation, hug each other, agree to meet again and off we go.  I head to the library, boot up my computer and promptly Google this sweet little girl’s name.  If I had known what was about to pop up when I was sitting across from her, it might have changed the entire meeting.  But, as it was, her kind, sweet, humble spirit made an impression before I ever saw a video of her being crowned a beauty queen!          

          We had just had one of those mother/daughter type talks about how “nothing is ever as it appears” and here I am watching her walk the runway with that incredible crown of jewels and the big bouquet of roses.  I was so impressed…not that she had won a competition of that magnitude… but that I had just spent two hours with her and had no idea.          

          Fast forward a few weeks and we meet again for a walk and talk.  We cover every subject from the puppy she’s trying to train, to when it might be a good idea for her to think about having a baby.  Right before we make it back to our cars, we touch on the topic of Facebook.          

          Now, there’s almost 25 years difference in our ages, yet we each confess to feeling the same way.  Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, after looking at all that is going on with the hundreds of Facebook friends, we feel a little down, a little discouraged, slightly depressed.  

          There are photos of big homes, new cars and exotic vacations.  Even though we both know better, we sometimes compare ourselves with all that we see.  It might make sense for a 51-year-old woman to do that, but a 20-something beauty queen?  Really?          

          What’s happening in her life is that she’s trying to live modestly in order to remain debt free.  When she sees high school and college friends buying big beautiful houses, accepting that next grand promotion or traveling to Hawaii… well, it makes her question where she is in her life.          

          I typically just covet the travel photos and waste away an entire afternoon living vicariously through whichever FB friend is off on a great adventure.          

          It’s not that we’re not happy for them; it just makes us question ourselves.  Come on, you know you do it too.  It might not be Facebook, but somewhere in your life you’re looking at someone else and thinking they’re bragging.  And, of course, they are.  If it were you, it would only be sharing.

🙂

          So, I started thinking.  If Facebook, or any other similar website, has the power to work against us…how can we come up higher and make it work for us?  These are just a few thoughts.

          NOTE TO SELF:

          -Boast only when boasting in the Lord

          -Never use “What’s on your mind” to be a pessimistic, negative, buzz kill.

          -Consider other people’s feelings when posting.  Not everyone reads with the same inflection.

And, just as I learned from the young woman I was supposed to be teaching…

          -Never cast any light in my own direction.

Light should only reflect off of us and on to the

One who is the

Giver of ALL Good Things!

          Since back in the Old Testament books of Genesis, when one brick was laid upon another to begin building the Tower of Babel, we have all wanted to be “somebody.”  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with fame, money or success, as long as we don’t lose sight of the Source.          

          Now, don’t get me wrong and think I’m getting all self-righteous and holier than thou, or climbing up on my goody two shoes soap box.  A quick scan of my Facebook Timeline would show more than a few “Hey Look At Me” postings.  And if you asked the former Miss America contestant, she would probably tell you I gave her an entire resume of my accomplishments the morning we met.  But I’m just wondering if I can start using Facebook for the good of others rather than feeling like it lures me into an enemy trap?

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

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