Because He Loves Us

Good morning! It’s been a while since I posted, but I have not been a slacker, rest assured. I’ve been busy working with a team getting ready to launch a new book. It is called Iridescent Grace and the author’s name is Carly Richaven. More about that as soon as the publisher gives us a launch date.

I recently saw a this statement on Facebook to which I felt compelled to respond. There is an idea in our culture today that suggests that because Jesus loves us there are no consequences for our words or actions. That is simply not true.

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I replied in the comments of the posting with this statement, “And as I do, you have to accept the consequences of your choices.”After much thought, I feel I need to respond further to the ideas promoted in the posting. I speak to the person who wrote it and anyone who believes that it’s okay to do these things because Jesus will still love you.

First of all, let’s get to the core of the statement : Jesus loves you as much as He loves me. I am in total agreement with that. He loves you so much that He would have suffered and died that horrible death if you had been the only human on the planet. He loves me that much, too.

Now, let’s look at the other concepts in the statement:

Tattoos. I don’t have any, but that just makes us different, not me better or worse than you. With tattoos, you can probably reach a certain group of people with the gospel that would never listen to me. Open up the Word to them. Show them Jesus and eternal life.

Road rage. I’m sure everyone who drives can relate to that. If not controlled however, bad things can happen. Google “road rage” and read some of the sickening stories. Be angry, and sin not. Ephesians 4:26

Sex before marriage. God ordained sexual activity within certain guidelines. After marriage, sexual activity is beautiful and blessed. Not before. Hebrews 13:4

Swear like a sailor = Cursing. Clean water and dirty water from the same fountain? This ought not to be. James 3:10-11

You love Jesus? Those who love Him keep His commandments. John 14:15, 21

Again, does He love you? Emphatically, yes! He certainly does and because of that wants you to make good choices. He weeps when you don’t, because He knows there are consequences for the choices you make. Choose wisely, so He can rejoice with you.

Yes, He loves you as much as He does me, but is He pleased with your words and actions? I ask myself that every day.

Choices matter. You and I have the same privilege: the ability to choose. I try my best to choose those things that please Him because He is showing me how to really live, not just survive this tenure on Earth.

Do I get it right every time? Of course not. But I repent and aim for better choices as life goes on.

I hope you will do the same. And by the way, I love you, too. We are equal at the foot of the cross.

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You Find Change When You Move

ChangeI’ve been away from my blog writing for a couple of months and I hope you will forgive the absence as I have good reason. I’ve been moving to a new area closer to my children. It took just about the entire two months to plan, prepare, and move. I’m now done. I found some change in the process.

Did you know a man can collect a ton of stuff in forty-three years? Yes, I know a ton is two thousand pounds. And I went through every ounce of it.

You may not believe this, but I found a leather bag full of change in his closet. Several hundred dollars worth. If you are going to hoard something …  I found other things, too, in the house and elsewhere. Tools and other guy stuff. Some items I didn’t even know what they were used for. Some I did. What was I to do with fifteen hammers?

I had a yard sale. Mostly my husband’s tools and guy stuff. Filled up his sixteen-foot utility trailer and sold stuff for two days. That was certainly an experience. For those who came from another county and did not know my husband or of his entry into Heaven, it was a little confusing. They couldn’t figure out what his career choice was. There was welding equipment, lawn care equipment, pipe-fitting tools, home repair tools, hunting and fishing equipment (the big stuff for hunting in the mountains or fishing in Alaska. My husband didn’t play). I finally told them he was just an all-round guy. They couldn’t understand why a man would allow his tools to be sold and asked if he was on a trip or was I just mad at him. I said, “Something like that.” Then I told them where he’d gone and they apologized. No need. It was a trip. Plan on making it myself when the Lord calls. They bought his stuff anyway. It’s good stuff.

I still have his gemstone cutting and faceting equipment if anyone is interested.

Then there was my ton of stuff. I found clothes I forgot I had. And didn’t need. Some things only worn once. I asked myself, “Why did you buy all that?” My answer, “I liked it in the store.” (Don’t shake your head. You do it , too. I’ve been shopping with some of you!)

I have downsized. That means I got rid of a lot of stuff I don’t need, so that the smaller house I now live in has room to walk around in.(Don’t look in the garage.) Everybody needs to move once or twice in their life. Very refreshing. Makes you go through your belongings and decide what’s meaningful and what is not.

I kept the important stuff. The things he gave me or I gave him. The furniture we bought and used together. The pictures and the videos. Anything with a precious memory attached.

My life has changed dramatically in the last ten months. My husband’s sudden departure brought on a river of change for me. I retired from public school teaching and moved to a new area. It’s been a bit of a challenge to get everything done and wrap my head around all of the change, but by God’s grace I am moving forward.

I still love him very much. That will never change.

More Student Poetry

I had planned on posting more poetry about six weeks ago, but school ending and other stuff kind of got in the way. Hope these still bring a smile or a good memory.

The Beautiful Ocean

by James

I stand frozen like a statue

admiring the beauty of the lapping waves.

She slowly moves back and forth

like a butterfly gracefully flying.

She acts like a mirror

reflecting everything in sight.

As I slowly walk away

she says goodbye

in a soft voice.

***

What Am I?

by Unique

I slowly creep through the grass

I cannot move fast

I am like a worm

crawling on a leaf.

I tell stories to kids in the sea

about what good adults they will be.

I won against the hare

because I took my time.

He thought he would win

because his legs are faster than mine.

I may look young, but

trust me, I am old.

I am talked about horribly in this world.

You should check the things you say,

because you will also be old and slow one day.

***

Lost Mother

by Jonathan

The wind blew,

moving my hair around.

I closed my eyes

and heard her whisper my name.

She held me as her own

while I rested in the grass.

I remembered the love in her voice

as I drifted to sleep.

When I awoke, I reached out

but could not find her.

My eyes teared up

as I remembered her.

***

School is out and I have now retired. Twenty-nine years is enough, I have decided. I plan to do some writing of my own, but I sure enjoyed teaching these talented students. They will always be a part of my heart.

Gifted? Yes!

Everyone is gifted in some way. I have always believed that God put a specialty in all of us, something we are very good at doing or being.

Is one person’s gifting more important than another’s?

I think not, though often in the field of education it would appear so.

As I sit and grade essays written in preparation for our state writing test, I see all levels of language capability. On the one extreme, I grade an essay written by a seventh grader who could do tenth grade work, and on the other extreme, I grade one that couldn’t buy a vowel on Wheel of Fortune. The amazing thing is that the guy who struggles with stringing two words together, can take apart a truck motor and put it back together perfectly. He talks to me about it. I couldn’t do what he does. Another who struggles with writing can and does raise animals for the meat market at the ripe old age of thirteen. Yes, he has his own business.

Another seventh grader knows how to soothe a crying child, and what is healthy for the child to have as a snack. Another one knows the difference between archeology and paleontology, but struggles to tell why one president gave a speech a certain way, while another president handled a similar situation differently.

Is one student’s gifting to be valued more than another’s? I say, No!

Is every student destined for college? Again, a loud No! Some will go to vocational schools, others to technical schools. Some will open a business right out of high school. Why? Because they are gifted.

While I encourage every student to do his or her best, I will not act like the student who writes circles around other students is better than those who don’t write well. I hope the linguistically-gifted student understands that. And I hope that each student will recognize his or her gifting, whatever it is, as something to be thankful for and develop as they mature. We need mechanics, electricians, day-care owners, archeologists, and meat farmers!

And I will continue to teach writing skills. We need writers, too.

He Taught Us a Thing or Two, Pt. 4

He Taught Us a Thing or Two
Part 4 : About Life.

Frank taught us that a key component of a quality life is respect.

He defined respect as “an understanding that someone or something has certain attributes and should be treated in an appropriate way.” This was true for anything from poisonous snakes to sweet gray-haired old ladies.

He also felt that a person should show some respect for themselves by speaking and acting appropriately. When he opened doors for ladies, or retrieved things from high shelves in Walmart for a short person (he was tall), he was just being himself. He had enough respect for himself and those around him to conduct himself well in public.

One thing that upset Frank was disrespectful children. He wondered why parents would neglect to teach their children at least to honor the sacred and important things. Not just God and the church, but gray-haired folks, law enforcement, and institutions like schools and courtrooms. He held in high esteem those parents who taught their children respect, and had a soft spot in his heart for children who learned and lived it. He would do anything for them.

He was never fake. If he didn’t like you, he respected you enough that he wouldn’t act like he liked you. He was cordial to everyone, but only engaged in conversations with people he liked. There were only certain people in his “inner circle” that he would go so far as to laugh and joke with. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the inner circle folks were the ones who respected him the most and showed it.

There is no question that Frank deserved and received respect. He also gave it. He held in high regard those persons and concepts everyone should, like God, and family, and country, but he also respected fellow men and women, particularly those in the military. Anytime he had an opportunity, he paid for their dinner, and it didn’t matter how many were in the party.

We were having lunch with our son and his wife one afternoon at a Mexican restaurant. Frank noticed a table of ten or so folks, one of whom was in military attire. We were seated near them, so their conversation somewhat wafted our way. We understood that this soldier was about to be deployed to a war zone, and the family was enjoying this time with him before he was to leave the next day.

As Frank paid our lunch bill, he also picked up the tab on theirs. He tried to get out of the restaurant without them knowing, but as he was finishing up, the soldier asked for the bill for their table. The cashier shook his head and then pointed to Frank.

The soldier quickly came over to thank him saying, “Sir, that was a large ticket. A lot of food. Thank you.”

Frank choked up and barely could get out the words, “No. Thank you… for your service.” The soldier nodded, shook Frank’s hand and let us leave. Mutual respect.

Frank taught us that true respect is shown, not just spoken.

Thank you, Frank, for the respect you gave me and others,

and my respect for you will go on forever.

Lion and lioness

 

He Taught Us a Thing or Two, Pt. 3

Part 3 : About Romance

Frank was a practical romantic. He had this idea that people should make sure their spouses know they are loved. He thought in order to do that one has to discover what is important to the person and do that for them.

Because I agreed with him and since I knew culinary variety was one thing important to him, I prepared meals accordingly. Being the Daniel Boone type of guy, he loved wild game. He taught me how to cook it correctly. With wild turkey, he always wanted me to “fry the breast and stew the rest.” Venison would be packaged to be fried, stewed, or ground.  Frank enjoyed stuff peppers, especially with ground venison.

Stuffed peppers

Leftovers brought a frown to his face, unless I could change it up a bit. I can be creative. Cold fried venison would  turn into smother-fried venison over rice. He also loved spicy food and added hot sauce to almost any dish. (I think his throat was seared because he could drink hot sauce right out of the bottle.) When I made chili, his was cooked in a separate pot because he was the only one who could eat it. Yes, food was important to him and so I romanced him that way.

Frank knew that words are important to me, so instead of just sending roses or a bouquet of other beautiful flowers, he found a poem on the Internet that spoke his heart, snapped a photo of it and sent it to the florist to transcribe onto the card that went with the flowers. ( Our florist is wonderful.) He did this several times a year.

Single red rose

The flowers were great, but the poem… Always beautiful because I knew he really meant what it said. I kept the little cards with the poems in my purse so that if I was having a rough day I could take one out, read it, and know that no matter what, I was loved. That kind of put things in perspective.

I’ve heard stories of young men Frank worked around receiving these lessons on romance and actually using it in their own marriage, with great results. One might comment about forgetting her birthday or their anniversary, and Frank would teach him that that was close to being a cardinal sin. He even taught him to find out what her favorite flower was and send her a bouquet of those. With a poem, of course.

The poem Frank sent with the roses on our anniversary is one of my favorites:

Today we celebrate
The joining of our hearts.
We were meant for each other
Right from the start.
We were destined to be together
And never to part.
You are my friend, my lover,
And the keeper of my heart.

The song “Waitin’ on a Woman” by Brad Paisley and Andy Griffith was special to us. (It is more true about us than I’d like to admit.) When we saw the video on TV, he told me that one day he’d find that white bench. I thought he was just being his usual romantic self, so I kissed his face and told him if that did happen he could know one thing for sure, I’d be along sometime. He wouldn’t wait in vain.

I am so looking forward to spending eternity with you, Frank.
You are my friend, my lover, and the keeper of my heart.