Katrina and the aftermath in Newellton

Compared to the pictures from New Orleans, Gulfport, Buloxi and others, this is hardly noteworthy except for God's hand in it.

We are fine, praise God. The trees that are down fell parallel to the driveway and away from the house. My brother-in-law is alive and well even though he was in the center of the storm because he is a supervisor for an ambulance service. He's doing search and rescue right now. Pray for his safety.

My daughters and son-in-law are safe. My nephew and his family are safe. My sister and my other nephew are here with us and we begin the clean up! I do dread that which is why I'm sitting here typing this :)

I pray all is well with you.

War on Terror

If anyone thinks the War on Terror is a futile act, they will leave here thinking differently. This is a must experience for every American.

...Our deeply rooted faith sustains us. Notice how the trees obscure the sign that tells us what denomination this church is? Notice how the Survivor Tree frames the word faith from above and the shade of the tree frames from below?

I really don't know what was printed before our deeply rooted faith because I was so struck by how perfectly the glory was given to God. This was firmly planted on Federal soil.

Now compare the voice of man crying for justice and the shadow of man's works over the cry. Yet, God's creation grows underneath it and beside it. There was a sign over one of the churches at that time. Our God reigns and we remain.

After you help pay for the maintenance of the memorial, you go to the third floor. It is a short ride to horror and hope. We see lots of life-sized pictures of a normal day with normal day sounds. The time is 6:00 AM. As we walk around the room, we see the time progress from 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM until we get to a corner of the room. 9:00AM.

The first thing that pierced me was a picture taken a few days before the blast. It was of the kids at day care having a blast with their day care workers. Normal. We wait a few nose-pinching minutes so I can block the tears, then the door to the Hearing Room opens. We all crowd into the room. It has a glass wall on one side with a table and a few chairs. Benches are on the other side and several Senior citizens seat themeselves. We hear a water rights hearing and it reminds me of the Tensas Parish Police Jury meetings. Yawn. Then a boom that seems to rock the room, the lights flash on and off and the glass wall lights up. There are the faces of 168 victims of Homeland Terrorism. We are told we must leave the room and to hurry, but not to panic. "Walk this way."

A huge TV screen is informing us as we leave what just happened. The Federal Building just exploded and that was right across the street! Piles of rubble are dotted with baby shoes, eyeglasses, coffee cups, date books, shoes, wallets... It is so shocking, we can't take it all in. All the while, TV reporters are giving us a minute by minute report on the happenings. A filing cabinet, twisted open and files covered in dust, warped pages of a phone book, normal day things and necessities in a surreal environment.

We walk on. Survivors tell us what they were thinking and feeling as they were pulled from the rubble. Rescuers tell us what they were rejoicing over and despairing of as they worked. A scalple, a pocketknife and an 1/8 inch cord hang beside a picture of a woman with her leg pinned under a concrete piling. The leg had to come off, but she survived. We walk on.

It starts to rain that day and people drive by to give raincoats and rain gear to the workers, never expecting to get it back. Grief and hope flood my soul. Grief over what man had done to the innocent and hope because of the goodness mankind displayed that day. Grief over the loss of life and hope over lives that had been strengthened. Grief over the Victims' Room.

This room has pictures of each victim with a tiny shelf for a memento or two. There were several that had Bibles and Bible verses and/or angels. These were filled with hope. There were others that had golf clubs or Micky Mouse and one with an ID card and a credit card as a tribute. How sad. Others had empty shelves. How deeply and incredibly sad that is.

I pray that I live my life and order my priorities so that there is no doubt about what is important to me. I pray nothing superficial is left on my shelf. I pray that I do not leave an empty shelf as tribute.

I thank God for the rescue workers, the firemen, the policemen, doctors, nurses and every single soldier who is risking his life and limb to protect me and to protect my right to voice my feelings, opinions and beliefs. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow! I thank God for our War against Terrorism. I thank God for Gary Siedle who helped bring about a change in federal law so that people like McVey and Nichols suffer the consequences of their despicable acts instead of costing us millions in court costs for execution stays and appeals. No more waiting 17 years before execution. That, my friends, is how to change the face of America. Not with bombs and fists, but working within the system. This was pointed out at the end of the tour and I wholeheartedly agree.

I urge you to go. I urge you to take your children. I advise you to take plenty of Kleenex. You will not leave there the same person who takes the elevator up to the third floor.

[edited to correct the quote]

Vacating the Premises for a week

I thought about doing 5 or 6 posts and then making you promise to read only 1 per day, but then how would I know you did that? So I thought about what has been making me laugh for the past several days and it has to be a picture I saw on Joe B's site (God Even Loves Idiots Like Me). You may have already seen it. I can't help it. It cracks me up every time and I just love studying this picture it should be on a museum wall somewhere. The child is pure artist and she obviously knows it!


Coming up...

I roped a handsome, young, single fellow into answering some computer security questions for us. Hopefully, I'll have that ready when I get back. I pray you all enjoy the rest of the summer. I plan to, but hey, Paul said when we make plans, God laughs. Well, okay, he didn't exactly say that but he implied it.

I've been tagged

It was the double-dog dare, right?

10 years ago--I was on my knees talking to God about whether or not to divorce my husband. And God said, "Enough is enough." So I separated, hoping he would change. He did not so then 3 years later I finally divorced him.

5 years ago--I was in Hawaii with my new husband and that is one fabulous place to go! Alas, after 10 years of being a bachelor, he decided he just couldn't handle being married. He tossed me out, so I laid hands on the entire house, sprayed my perfume all over his pillow (feather), his matress, under his matress, in his underwear drawer, and just to make sure, I sprayed it in his winter clothes. Then I left Arizona and came back to Louisiana to lick my wounds and heal.

1 year ago-- Golly Shazam... what was I doing 1 year ago? I've slept since then. Oh, how could I have forgotten. I started back to college online at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX. A great place to get your degree if you do not have one already. I shopped for months trying to find a solid school with a great reputation.

Yesterday-- Blogged, studied my Bible at Studylight.org, watched my neighbor drive across the yard (and even now he's parked crooked in his carport), watched the hummingbirds, watered my plants and enjoyed my time off before school starts August 27th. I also laid to rest part of my bosom pal for the last several years. I had to face the reality that my book I've been writing and rewriting really isn't that good. Now that I've let that go, I can start a new project.

5 favorite snacks-- chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, popcorn

5 songs I know all the words to--Amazing Grace, Just As I Am, It's Amazing What Praising Can Do (there's not that many words); To Him Who Sits On The Throne; Going to the Chapel. What can I say? I learned the words when I was young... it's like Tears of a Clown. I refused to learn the words to Clouds in My Coffee because I thought that was a ridiculous song. However, I can sing almost all the commercial jingles if you hum a bar or two.... Dr. Pepper is a friendly... Plop, plop...

5 things I would do with 100 million dollars-- [after my tithe] I would ask Donald Trump to film an Apprentice down here in Povertyville, the Mississippi Delta--what a shocker to those hopefuls, eh? I would set up a trust fund for my now non-existent grandkids. I would pay my college loan off. I would give each of my kids 1 million and then I would set up a college scholarship fund for any kid that wanted to learn how to economically develop the Delta area. I would build a Community Center for tutoring these kids here in Tensas Parish so they can make it in this world. [these are not in order of importance, of course]

5 places I would run away to-- Man... I don't want to run away. 5 places I'd like to vacate to would be Colorado (Rocky Mountain High), Go to Canada to see my friend Debbie, Hawaii, England because I have so many friends there, and South Africa just because I like their accents. I do not think I want to go to Israel although it would be truly a great experience to walk where Jesus walked. That's six, so sue me.

5 favorite TV shows-- Monk, The Apprentice, NCIS (it's really awful that Agent Todd was killed off, I understand it was at her own request. I think that was a mistake for her.) SG-1 Atlantis & SG-1, Andromeda (although it is now over. I hope Kevin Sorbo does another similar.)

5 bad habits-- menopause. I know it isn't a habit, but anything that I do that is bad, I blame on menopause. Works for me.

5 biggest joys-- The Lord of my life, Jesus. Just saying His name gives me a thrill. Studying my Bible and finally understanding something that I've been puzzling over. My kids. My mom. Writing. Reading good books.

5 favorite toys-- hmmm. Uh. hmmm. My computer. Man... I wish this question had been about books.

5 people I tag to do this-- I do not know. I don't want to put anyone on the spot but how about the first 5 people that read this post! Come on now, be honest and comment so we can all go over to your place and munch chocolate cookies, drink coffee and read up about you.

I give up

You will just have to get out your magnifying glass to read the post below. I give up trying to get it to post where the letters are readable to these 50 year old eyes. However, the photo of my daughter came out well.

The more I play with the thing, the more I'm not real thrilled with the Word/Blogger feature. It isn't that I don't like change--no, really, I embrace it except when my clothes start to get tight. I don't like having to learn new stuff that supposed to be really great and sounds great but my execution of said great stuff turns out to be a flop.

Funny how God answers prayer

Funny how God answers prayers

Joe B over at God Even Loves Idiots Like Me Asked the question how God had answered a prayer unexpectedly. Well, I just have to tell you about this one.

“So, how’s your day going?”

“Fine. How’s yours?”

“Fine. How’d your meeting go yesterday?”

[Here’s the place where we go flashing back two days ago.]

Lauri Anne, my daughter the casting director, calls me up and she asks for prayer because she’s over budget in one section of extras and her boss had given her a note: “We need to talk.” I always hated those notes when I was District Sales Manager for the Berry Company (The Real Yellow Pages). It always was BAD, those “We Need To Talk” meetings. The division manager would always let me know if it was a “good” meeting by asking me if I had a minute. Of course, being very sensitive to who ran the show, I would reply, “I always have time for you, James.” Then my immediate boss would say, “Gina, come see me.” I would always cringe with the olive press feeling—you know, all the oil is squished out leaving basically nothing. You know those kinds of meetings that you are asked to attend but are given zero clue what they are about and when you walk in and sit down you are blind-sided with no where to run and nothing to deflect the fiery darts of wrath from your boss. What? You’ve never been to one of those meetings? I want a job where you work, send me an application, please.

So, she gets one of these notes and it doesn’t freak her out until she’s going over the paperwork for the day before and she sees—uh,oh—she’s over budget in one section of extras (the section that gets close-ups and/or small speaking parts). So during our daily call, she asks for prayer about this because 1.) she doesn’t want to get fired and 2.) she’d really like the next movie gig this guy does. As soon as I understand the problem, I am immediately back in my office on Essen Lane in the Jacobs Building with that huge hand squeezing my heart and the words, “What did I do now?” trying to burst from my lips. I felt her pain.

So we prayed and I prayed and she got busy doing casting director stuff and I went back to enjoying my 2 weeks off before school starts again.

[End of flashback. Back to present time]The phone rings…
“So, how’s your day going?”

“Fine. How’s yours?”

“Fine. How’d your meeting go yesterday?”

“It went great! I think he was a little intimidated because of the policeman’s uniform and I kept playing with the handcuffs. He didn’t even mention me going over budget.”

I couldn’t help it. It took a minute or two for me to quit laughing so I could find out more. She was an extra that day playing a tough policewoman with reflective sun glasses and had the full uniform on including the handcuffs. And I’m wondering why she couldn’t she have had the uniform on when the cop stopped her and gave her a ticket for running a traffic light.

[side note: I am not sure I like the Word/Blogger feature. I cannot add photos to word and they upload. However, if I want a record of all my posts so if something terrible happens like what happened to Paul at Stonegate then I'd still have my posts. We'll see.]

Testing 123 Testing

Testing… 123 … Testing… 123

Is this thing on?  Did this thing publish?

Testing the brand new Word/Blogger thingy.  Okay… here goes.  123

Of elbows and faith

Mike Synder has an excellent post at The Master's Artists which was something that made me ponder for a while, in fact almost all day. So we're all on the same page, I quote Mike:
Steve and his cronies traded blood, sweat, and elbows with murderers and rapists and thieves. That was their job. And they were good at it, winning more than they lost. The point was not to make friends or to play nice. They played to win first and make friends later. They took no crap and made no apologies. It was serious business with eternal implications. These guys demanded respect, annihilated barriers, and eventually reached the otherwise unreachable. And they earned it. See any parallels for a Master's artist?

What an interesting way of looking at the battle for souls. Yes. Yes. Michael's post was pointed toward Christian Fiction and an excellent point. But, I think this example goes bone deep and I wanted to explore it.

If, indeed, we were here on earth to "win" the war, we would have far different armor than the whole armor of God. The belt of Truth, breastplate of integrity, shoes of peace, shield of faith, helmet of Salvation, sword of the Spirit. These are the weapons of Spiritual War because our battle is not against flesh and blood. If we put on Jesus, we are fully equipped for that battle. That battle is really more of a personal one.

But... the battle for souls is a bit different. Surely we must have the whole armor of God when we battle for souls. Absolutely. However, it is different because the world holds a different standard than Jesus. Lack of respect creates a barrier. It's more than respect, it is meeting on the same plain. A person with an 8th grade education does not understand college level words (some of those words I have trouble with, too). Some singles could care less about mommy things. Some young adults cannot relate to senior adult problems.

It is a matter of common interests.


God did not design us to all be Football Maniacs or Ballet Enthusiasts or Bloggers (no, really, it's true.)

Someone on a blog I visited (I truly wish I had bookmarked the blogs I've visited because I found so many that are really interesting but I do not know how I got to the blog and so I cannot retrace my steps) ...on a blog I visited, stated that blogs are not ministries. [shocked look]

Our interests are precisely how God designed us to relate to others and to draw them to Him. Why else did Jesus tell Peter to come follow Him and He would make them fishers of men. Was that interest related or what?

Mike points out these guys traded elbow shots and sweat and won most of the time while playing these prisoners. Was the ultimate goal to win The Game? Winning souls, yes. Winning the basketball game, no.

On another blog, Wind Scraps (look on the left and you'll find the link), Shannon is rejoicing because she will finally be able to bring Bible study to some of America's finest in the Navy. Praise God!

These are two totally different ministries but there is one thing that is the same. They are based on Common Interest. Each and every person under the sun is unique. Each and every person can connect to another person because of common interest. The Great Snatch is coming folks. We must labor and be ready. What better way to labor than to have fun while doing it through common interests?

Florida vacation??? Nuh uh

I just wanted to tell you why I won't be visiting my cousin in Florida for awhile...

A laugh from Louisiana, USA

This is my favorite Pierre and Boudreaux joke.

Pierre and Boudreaux was flying Cajun Airlines.

Boudreaux was flying da plane and Pierre was in da back foolin wit da cargo equipment an stuff.

Suddenly da plane hit some turbulence an started bouncing around an Boudreaux da pilot got knock unconcience… Den da plane started driftin’.

Pierre him come runnin’ up to da front an Boudreaux was sprawl out over da steerin’ wheel. Well, Pierre don’t know no-ting bout flyin no plane and he start to get pan-a-key!

He grab da microphone and holla “May Day! May Day! Dis is Cajun Air Line 10210. Boudreaux him knock unconscience an I don’t know no-ting bout flyin dis here plane!”

“Dis is da control tower,” someone answer Pierre. “Don you worry about nutin. We gonna splain how fo you to land dat plane, step-by-easy step, ah gar-on-tee! Jus leave arythin ta us. Fus thing, how high are you and what’s you position?”

Pierre thought a minute, den say, “I’m five foot ten and I’m all da way to da front of da plane.”

“No! No!” answer da tower. “What’s you altitude and where’s you location?”

Pierre say, “Man ah got a po attitude, and I’m from Thibodaux, Looseeana!”

“No! No! No!” came an exasperated voice. “Ah needs to know how many feet you got off da ground and how you plane’s in relation to da airport!”

Pierre start to panic by dis time. He say, “Countin Boudreaux’s and mine we got four feet off da ground and I don’t believe dis plane’s related to you airport!”

A long pause… Ok, then we needs ta know who you next of kin and where to send da flowers…”

P.S. When you speak in Cajun, you can't run SpellCheck.

Consider Laughter

Now, in Genesis 18:12 Sarah laughs when she hears about God’s promise. Here is the same word, but why does God get upset with Sarah’s laughter and not with Abraham’s?

  • She lied to God.
  • She questioned His power in her heart.
  • She put the natural order of things before the LORD God.

Compare the two passages carefully. Abraham fell upon his face and in his heart he wanted confirmation of God’s promise. Sarah did not believe God. How can we tell she didn’t believe God?

Sarah spoke of her own pleasure (carnal), she spoke about her old husband (natural) and she lied to the LORD.

This is the second time she put the “natural order of things” above God. When was the first time? (Genesis 16) So how does this time differ from the first?

She gave Hagar to Abraham as his concubine. Abraham had only one wife and that wife forced God’s promise in her own way instead of waiting for the Lord’s way & time.

Now compare Genesis 21:6. How is Sarah’s laughter different?

She is rejoicing. Her laughter is in tune with the LORD and she invites all to hear of her old age son. She enjoys the name Isaac which means laughter. I find it wonderful that Isaac’s name never changed during his life as Abram’s and Sarai’s and his own son Jacob’s. I also find it a marvelous, wonderful thing that God promised “Laughter”! Also, look at Luke 6:21…”those who weep, ye shall laugh.” Sarah’s pining for a son, her tears, turned to joyous laughter.

Sarah is ­­­­rejoicing. She invites all to hear of her old age son

Isaac means laughter. Isaac’s name never changed during his lifetime.

What we laugh at is an excellent illustration of what we as Christians harbor in our hearts. I recently watched a movie that 20 years ago, I thought was rip-roaring side splitting hilarious. But when I saw it again, I was ashamed. It wasn't funny because what it was making fun of was too sad to be funny and it was too indicative of how our minds become numb to sin. The slow degradation and pollution of our minds makes things of the world seem "normal" what ever that is. And makes us accept Satan's lies as truth.

What Makes Us Laugh?
Consider first…

Stand-up comedians will tell you that most people laugh at the ridiculous, a “twist” of meanings and a surprise outcome to the end of a story. This is why jokes are funny, they surprise us and it is why some jokes are not funny, the punch line isn’t a surprise.

What do you think is actually hilarious? Think back to a time when you laughed so hard tears streamed down your face and your cheeks hurt from laughing. Okay… so take a minute and jot down something, anything. Doesn’t have to be from the Bible, it could have happened this morning or last week or something you’ve just read, or a joke…anything that provoked a mind cleansing, soul shaking, belly laugh.

See? Your cheeks are crinkled and your mood is already better just because you thought of something to jot down. Go ahead and share the joke with us!

Ye Shall Laugh (con't)

The Hebrew word for Laugh is Tsachaq pronounced tsaw-khak'. It means to laugh, mock, play, to jest to sport, play, make sport, toy with, make a toy of . The first mention of laughter in the Bible is in Genesis 17:17. What is Abraham laughing at?

Abraham falls on his face. Which means, he is humble and reverent before the LORD. He laughs in joy with God about himself and Sarah’s being able to have a baby. He doesn’t question God’s promise at all in unbelief. Look at Romans 4:20, Paul tells us that Abraham does not waver at God’s promise in unbelief. This is Scripture interpreting Scripture and is the #1 rule in Bible study. Since Abraham never wavered in unbelief, we then know that Abraham’s questions here were in awesome marvel at the power of God not in unbelief of His promise. More at wonder as in the question asked like this: “So this is how powerful you are Lord? You can quicken the dead womb of an old woman?”

Isn’t it wonderful that the first recorded laughter is between God and Man?

I just spent a lovely afternoon reading some blogs and they were hilarious. So much so, that I got my exercise for the day. [shocked look] You didn't know? Laughter is jogging on the inside :)

Okay, I'll share a story from a friend named Bob (lost touch with him but I'm sure he wouldn't mind).

From Bob…
2 Kings 6:24-7:20
is a funny story when you think about it.
The city is under siege, and bad things are happening. Everyone is starving and in rags. The king's right hand man questions Elisha and God Himself when Elisha says, "It'll all be better tomorrow", and Elisha warns, "You'll see it, but you won't touch it." So what does God do? He uses four lepers.

Imagine these guys sitting around. The leader of the group says, "Hey, I got an idea! Let's go surrender to the enemy." Oh, yeah, this guy's on the ball. "No, wait, think about it. What's the worse that could happen?" "Hey, bright guy, they could kill us." "Yeah, but if we sit here we'll die anyway. They could take us prisoner and feed us." So they hump off across the desert . . . and God uses the sound of four pitiful lepers to frighten the entire camp into retreat. (That calls up funny images.)

So these guys suddenly find themselves to be the richest, best fed guys in the territory. And suddenly the leader speaks up again. "Hey, guys, we do not do well." What???!!! He's lost it again. "No, we need to share with the rest." So they go tell the city.

The final irony is the king's right hand man. The last thing he ever said was, "Hold it, ladies, line up." And they trampled him in the gate, fulfilling the prophecy.

What a hoot...

This is Freedom? Critique

I'm entering the short story contest over at Faith in Fiction. I would really like some honest critiques and any helpful hints/criticisims you might have. It would help me a lot! Thanks! According to the rules the story should be 3000 words (it is exactly 3000 words) and must be a conversion story... apparently conversions in fiction are not very believable. Let me know what you think, please.

This is Freedom?

Blood dripped from his knuckles onto the green linoleum floor. The overhead light glared angrily at the shadows in the kitchen etching everything in stark clarity. The small Coldspot refrigerator in the corner hummed in the silence. The dingy cabinet doors were splattered with a few spots of blood. Yesterday’s dishes were piled in the sink and the faucet dripped in time with his knuckles. If he had thought about it, it would have been annoying. He felt the blood drip from his chin on to his knuckles. Then he watched each drop of blood splat between his feet and wondered idly if it was his or hers. Probably both. Ironic that their personalities had collided like a train wreck but their blood intermingled so beautifully they were finally blended as the preacher had said, “One flesh.”

Anger left him. The hole it left was cold and empty, and he had no energy left to even get up from the pink-vinyl covered chair to find something to staunch the flow of blood. Reason sifted back into his mind. His heartbeat slowed and a beat, drip, splat syncopation began. A wry grin twisted his lips. He had no need of a heart. Not now. Everything was gone and there was nothing to live for. He swiped at a dark lock of hair filled with Brillcream now matted with blood.

He unfolded from the chair slowly; his bones creaking and his muscles groaning. It was such an effort to search for a towel. The snowy white rag he dragged from a rack over the sink soaked up the blood from his hand and the side of his face. He caught a glimpse of himself in the window over the sink and wiped his face as best he could. The tiny freezer over the refrigerator held one measly ice cube. One cube left. Harumph, he groused. She had used it all downing the contents of the cheap bottle sitting on the cabinet. He tipped the bottle to see how much was left. An ounce or less swirled in the bottom. He pressed the ice cube over the wound on his temple, then tucked it into the soggy, red rag over his knuckles. Finally, he turned and sought out the cause of all the carnage to his face and his hands.

The body was draped over the back of the couch. Her knees were bent on the seat like she was leaning over the back looking for the baby’s pacifier. Just like she’d done many times before. Before, when the view she presented made his insides twist with desire and their laughter usually woke Bonny. When that happened, he would get up and soothe the babe. Those were the joyous times, before the war. Before he had to leave to fight for flag, country and freedom. “Oh, Jesus, help me. What have I done?”

A keening started in the back of his throat as he thought about freedom. What did that feel like? Not like what he was feeling now, he was sure, like an animal trapped in a space way too small. He rubbed his hand and winced, then wrapped the now red rag tightly around the scraped knuckles. He went into Bonny’s room, the trailer’s floor creaking and groaning under his weight. He had to duck to go into her room. Toys were scattered about the floor and in the corner was a trio of dolls sitting around a tiny tea set on the floor. He found the child just like he’d left her, face down among the pillows. He gently turned her over and pulled the cover over her face. He couldn’t bear to look at her, his sweet Bonny Bunny. The bruises on her neck and face were several days old and stood out deep blue against her white skin. He couldn’t bear it. Tears trickled down his cheeks and the keening turned into a wail. It blended with the sirens and built in intensity as the sirens came closer. Gravel spattered the side of the trailer sounding like distant machine gun fire.

“T-Bone!” A gravely voice shouted as the sirens died to moans then faded out. “T-Bone, aw now, what you gone and done, son?” Sheriff Bordelon jerked open the screen, nearly yanking it from the hinges. “Oh, man! Lookit this mess. Oh, man!” Bordelon’s boot crunched broken glass and he stepped back. Then he squatted down to touch the woman’s throat. He uttered a low growl. “T-Bone, where are you, boy?”

Glen Ford Thibodeaux flinched at the shout but continued gazing down at his daughter’s form under the covers, tears trickling down his face. Bordelon stepped over the broken chair and headed down the hall making the small trailer rattle as his big feet slammed into the floor.

“What did you do, boy?” the sheriff saw the crumpled covers and the small form beneath. “Oh, man! Thibodeaux, you are in deep trouble, that’s all. Deep trouble.” He grabbed the young man’s shoulder and guided him from the room. T-Bone went loose in his joints; he had no more fight. Bordelon set an overturned chair up right and pushed the younger man into it. “You sit right there and don’t move a muscle. Ya hear me?” The sheriff searched through the debris and found the phone. After a few jabs at the hook button he spoke into the receiver, “Trudy, get me Buck Graham over in Lafayette.” A pause. “Listen, woman, I’m not going to invite him to tea. This is serious and I need you to keep this line clear, here? Of course, you ring him through as soon as you find him. Okay, call Orin and wake him up. Tell him to get his butt over here pronto. What? I’m sorry, Trudy. I apologize. Just tell him to get over here to Thibodeaux’s place like white on rice. Oh, and Trudy, be sure and wake up George. We need him. Thanks. Yep, that’s all. Huh? Now, Trudy, you know I can’t tell you anything. Just get George out here.”

The Sheriff stared at the man sitting in the middle of the chaos. Glen Ford was rubbing his hand and staring vacantly at a picture torn from its frame with broken glass littered over it. The picture was of a happy family. A plump, blonde woman holding a dimpled, dark-eyed baby with the blonde single curl on top of her head. The curl almost brushed the chin of the dark-haired father whose eyes held a twinkle of fun and whose lips held nothing of the sardonic twist they had now.

“Listen up,” Bordelon had pulled out a pad of paper and held a pencil in his hand, “I need you to tell me what happened here. You got to talk to me, boy, before Buck gets here. No tellin’ what’ll happen or what he’ll think once he sees the shape you’re in and what this place looks like. Talk to me, boy.”

Glen Ford cleared his throat, a tortured rasp followed by a spate of coughing. With his good hand he pulled out a pack of cigarettes and lit one with a flick of his thumbnail over the match head. He took a long drag and heaved out the smoke. “I tole her, Jim Bob.” He rolled the pack in the sleeve of his stained t-shirt. “I tole her I’d kill her if she hit the baby one more time.”

“What in blazes is going on here? That siren woke up all my chickens! I won’t have an egg to sell for the next two weeks. Worse’n a fox, I tell ya.” The woman reached for the screen door just as the Sheriff hit the latch lock.

“Now Aunt Emma, you can’t come in here. This is a crime scene and we can’t have noncritical personnel come traipsing through here.”

“Noncritical? Personnel? What kinda talk is that, I want to know! Bord, I wiped your snot nose and tanned your hide. Personnel, my foot. Let me in there. My baby girl is in there and my grandbaby is in there. I’ve got every right to be in there. God lookit Glen Ford! What went on in there, Bord?”

“I don’t want to tell you this, Aunt Emma, but it looks like Katie Girl is not with us any longer. I don—“ the screeching cut him short. The woman had near superhuman strength as she yanked the screen door open. The lock snapped and the door slammed against the side of the trailer.

“Git outta my way, Bord,” she growled. “I knew this would happen. I just knew it.” She shoved all two hundred and thirty pounds of sheriff to the side. Her wail of grief rivaled the siren and hurt their ears. The hunting dogs in the pen out back woke and started baying. The cacophony was harsh and the siren of the deputy sheriff’s car drew closer. The noise was deafening and Glen Ford sat staring at the picture on the floor.

Emma turned on him, then, and screeched, “Not even Jesus Himself can forgive you for this, Glen Ford. I hate you. I hate you for what you did to my baby and what you did to my grandbaby. I hope you rot in hell, Glen Ford.” Bordelon caught her just before she pounced on the man.

“All right, that’s enough, Aunt Em.” Bordelon lifter her up and carried her outside. She struggled for only a moment then slumped in his arms and gave herself over to her grief. “Shush, Aunt Em, I know it hurts. It’s the grief talkin’. I’ll pray you can forgive him.”

Her eyes flashed with fire of hate, “I’ll never forgive him. Never.”

A state trooper car, lights flashing but no siren, skidded to a halt on the gravel road beside the drive. It backed up and slid into place beside the Sheriff’s car. “Bord, what we got?” Buck Graham settled his gun on his hips as he strode up to the small trailer’s torn screen door.

Bordelon tossed his head to the side and his thumb over his shoulder, “See for yerself, Buck.” He placed his hands on Emma’s shoulders. “Aunt Em, go on home and as soon as we’re done here, I’ll come tell you all about it.”

“You just see to it that man gets what he deserves and I want him put away for good. You got that?”

“I got it. Now, go on home. I’ll be over after while.”

Bordelon reentered the trailer to see Buck putting hand cuffs on a pliable Glen Ford. “You sending him in without questioning him?”

“I don’t see any need to question him, Bord. It’s pretty obvious from the looks of him and the place here what he did.”

“Did you see the girl?” When Buck glanced at the woman over the couch, he said, “No. Not her. Bonny Bunny. It looks to me like the mother did it. The bruises on her neck are small, wouldn’t fit T-Bone’s hands.”

“Okay, let me through young man, step aside.” George St. Amant patted Orin’s thin shoulder. “What a mess!”

“George, check the child first then do what you have to for Katie Girl here.”

George took pictures of everything then wrote out certificates of death, noting the time and the manner. “Done.”

“No autopsy, George?” Bord grunted, lifting Glen Ford from the chair, hands under his arms. The man was pliant as a soggy pickle slice. “Help me, here, Glen Ford. You gotta come to the station.

“Nope. Buck, I agree. It’s plain as toast what happened here. Glen Ford got drunk and beat up on Katie Girl. The little one must have gotten in the way. Yep. He did it. Open and shut case.”

Bord grunted as he hefted Glen Ford to the car. “Well, we’ll see. Depends a lot on what the jury says, don’t ya think?”

“Open and shut. No doubt about it. Jury’ll agree. Mark my words.” George packed up his equipment and yawned. “No rest for the weary. See y’all in a couple of hours. I’ll have all these pics developed.”

Bord shoved Glen Ford in the car then got behind the wheel. “T-Bone, you are in big trouble. You want me to call a lawyer for you?”

Thibodeaux groaned in the back seat and rubbed his head. “I tole her, Bord. I tole her I’d kill her if she hurt that baby again. The last time she hurt that baby we didn’t have no money for the doctor. It’s a good thing I know how to doctor a horse or my little Bonny Bunny would’ve died then. No money for a lawyer, neither. No money no freedom.”

“Not much we can do, my frien’. They’re gonna ask me what you said and I’m gonna hafta tell ‘em. You just confessed to me, T-Bone. Where you’re going, you’re gonna need Jesus.”

“You heard her, Bord. Not even Jesus can forgive me for what I did.”

The Sheriff pulled to the side of the road, the light stabbing the pitch dark and dust from the gravel road swirling in the light beams. “There’s nothing anybody does that Jesus can’t forgive. Only if you reject Him.” He looked at his cousin over the back seat. “You just gotta give Him the chance, Glen Ford.”

Grief took the lines of Thibodeaux’s face, drawing them out until he was unrecognizable. His eyes were red-rimmed and his lashes were caked with blood. “I can’t, Bord. I’m too far gone and there’s no hope for me. Go preach to someone who Jesus can save. Not to me. I’ve got too many devils houndin’ me... this night’s work one of ‘em. ‘Sides, I don’t even know what freedom is. I fought for it; can’t define it. Soon I’ll be outta reach of Jesus in prison. I purt near know what that’s like anyway.” He tucked his hands between his knees and hunched over in desolation; devoid of hope.

“I’ve been praying for you for a long time. What have you got to lose, now? You’ve lost everything, T-Bone, what have you got to lose by trusting Jesus?”

“I don’t have a heart anymore, Bord. It’s gone and there’s nothin’ to live for ‘sides a cigarette and a bath.”

“So you feel all grimy, eh? You want to get cleaned up? You want to take a bath? Why not let Jesus clean up your insides before you clean up the outside? If your insides don’t get cleaned up then you’re just whitewashing the outside.” He sighed gustily. “Listen, T-Bone, ain’t no way out o’ this. You’re gonna need some help. The kind of help that no man can give you.”

Glen Ford pondered that a moment. “What are you talking about, clean up my insides?”

“What did you feel like tonight, Glen Ford, after it was all over?”

“Empty. Just like a sack of purple hull pea skins. Skint. Torn apart and empty of anything good.” He swiped at his face with the back of his hand. The tears trickled down his wrist and under the handcuffs.

“That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout, T-Bone. It’s like pushin’ back from the table after stuffin’ yourself and then in about a minute you’re all hungry again. Starvin’ and dying of thirst at the same time.”

Glen Ford Thibodeaux looked up at that; a glimmer of wonder in his eyes. “How’d you know that? How’d you know that’s exactly what it feels like? And like I’m filthy as a hog in mud.”

“Because, cousin, I felt the same way.” Bord stretched his shoulders, then draped a hand over the knob on the steering wheel, relaxed for the first time since he’d heard T-Bone’s dead voice asking him to come over to see his dead wife. “Remember that summer I gotta a handyman job at the church? Every time I walked in there, I felt like I was chained up and filthy as…yep, as a hog in mud. It was the middle of August and I was sweatin’ like a lawn sprinkler, so I scuttled in there where it was nice an’ cool. I just couldn’t stan’ that feelin’ no more, Glen Ford. There was this huge hole inside that I could never fill up. I just sat on one of them hard pews and tole God I couldn’t stand it no more. I asked Him to fill me up.”

“Me, I don’t deserve it, no. It can’t be that easy, Bord, can it? ”

“That’s just it, Glen Ford,” Bordelon dug in the glove compartment. He turned on the inside light and handed a black book over the seat, “I been meaning to talk to you about this since you came home. None of us deserve it. See, Jesus died on the cross while everyone was dead in sin. Listen, you think you’re bad? There’s a guy in here,” he tapped the book with a steely forefinger, “that slept with another man’s wife then had the man murdered and he was a king for crying out loud. There’s another fellow that followed Jesus around like your new bird dog puppy then flat out denied he knew Him to save his own skin. What you’ve got in here is a bunch of sinners worse than you who got saved and are even now in heaven. All you gotta do is ask Him into your heart and He’ll fill that God-sized hole up. Your body may be locked up but your soul will be free.”

Glen Ford Thibodeaux latched on to the black book with a death grip, hope blooming in his eyes and his heart. “Free? Bord, you’re right. I don’t want to go through all this without Jesus. Oh, Lord forgive me for what I’ve done. Fill me up, God, I can’t stan’it anymore.” Peace spread through him and his shoulders lost their hunch. His heart filled with wonder, “So this—­this is what freedom feels like.”

[Edited 8-11-05 to make suggested changes.]

Exploring Proverbs 31, the perfect wife

So what's a twice divorced woman know about being the perfect wife? Well... let's just say I've grown up in the Lord. Here's my study about the woman who is far above rubies.

She is described as a virtuous woman…excellent woman…capable…noble woman in various translations. But in examining the Hebrew word Chayil, we see it is translated more in tune with strength of armies. In the KJV, it is translated two hundred and forty-three times as valiant describing men of valour, riches, or strength. It is the same word used for the character of good, capable judges in Exodus 18:21. We can conclude then that the author of Proverbs 31 was describing a woman made strong by wisdom and grace and more especially by the love of God. She is not only capable but she is powerful and her worth is far above rubies.

The twenty-two verses exemplify the Hebrew way of writing. The point of all that follows is made in the first sentence or two. Then the point is expounded, first the statement of truth, then the explanation of why it is true. In this example, each verse begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet which is similar to Psalms 119. This is a way of stating that an excellent woman is the beginning and end of a husband’s and a families delight. She is the center and the light of the home. This is why the Hebrew wife lights the candles of the menorah on the Sabbath.

10 An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.

The question “who can find?” is reflective on how scarce the described woman actually is. Although, it may appear to many that a woman is excellent, the character may not sink to the core of the woman. This is an excellent wake up call to women today, although few actually see it as such.

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain.

For her husband to have faith in her and trust in her indicates her tremendous character. Trust is earned. She has earned his trust by her actions over a period of time. Too often we will superficially trust someone because of their position (both in the church and in business) then have our trust betrayed because of a word or deed. When trust is lost, it is extremely difficult to regain. Because this wife has the whole trust of her husband, she has exhibited that she is faithful and trustworthy. She has exemplified that she holds her husband in great esteem because trust is a two-way street. And the next verse illustrates that.

12 She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.

The discussion of exactly what is good could take up an entire book and is not the focus of this discussion. The Hebrew transliterated word is towb and means to be good, be pleasing, be joyful, be beneficial, be pleasant, be favorable, be happy, be righteous. This is exactly in line with goodness being listed as a fruit of the Spirit; it is actually a state of being as well as an action. This verse implies that her heart intent toward her husband is one of love as expressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13. When she demonstrates she is trustworthy in all aspects, this makes her husband easy in his thoughts toward her—without jealousy or rancor. The good comes back as a balm upon her from her husband. It is a warm reflection as we reflect Jesus.

13 She looks for wool and flax and works with her hands in delight.

The capable wife does not sit wringing her hands in worry. She actually takes a delight in providing for her family. She doesn’t ask permission from hubby to go shopping for her “wool and flax”. She takes responsibility for clothing her family. “Works with her hands” is a Hebrew idiom for being a servant. The able wife not only is a servant but takes delight in being a servant. Working does a couple of things for us women. The number one thing it does is keep us out of trouble. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying here. Idle hands are the devil’s playground (another Proverb). This is true of all humans, not just women. When we women stay busy, we’re less likely to succumb to the wiles of Satan and no matter how unpalatable that may sound… it is the truth. The next few verses illustrate this truth.

14 She is like merchant ships; she brings her food from afar.

This is the Biblical equivalent of “shop till you drop”. It indicates a picky-ness for just the right food to provide at just the right price… and in abundance, enough to fill a ship, a household a husband’s belly and all the children and servants, too.

15 She rises also while it is still night and gives food to her household and portions to her maidens.

A woman’s work is never done. Dr. Phil said that a mother of two children has the work equivalent of a full time job. If she has three children that work is equivalent to two full time jobs. It is astounding that a woman can have children and hold down a full-time job outside the home! That is the equivalent of two or more full time jobs. The “portions to her maidens” indicates she has servants…that’s plural. SuperMom does not have to do everything by herself! Although, even with servants to help, she still needs to be on top… aware of all that goes on in the household. Here again is the suggestion that being busy keeps one virtuous. But we can still sleep late on occasion…I don’t see anywhere in the Bible that it’s a sin to sleep late once in awhile. However, Proverbs 20:13 says we should not love sleep or we’ll go hungry and in Romans 12:11 Paul exhorts us we should be busy serving the Lord.

16 She considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard.

Does it say here that she has to ask her husband to buy the field? Does it say here she has to ask his permission to buy the field? She doesn’t even ask him for the money to buy the grape vines to plant. Where in the world did the notion that women should not work or have responsibilities outside the home originate? It came from second and third century influence of worldly culture. It certainly was not from God. Is it easier to care for children if a mother does not have to work outside the home? Absolutely! But it is not a sin for a woman to have a job outside the home. Is her primary concern the job or her husband and children? All twenty-two verses expound the most excellent woman’s main priority. It is her husband, her children and her household. She loves the Lord and the family He gave her. Studying this passage as a whole, it is because she loves the Lord that she labors for her husband and family so selflessly. It is because she loves her family, she gets up before dawn and works all day long, tirelessly – at least that is how it looks on the outside. But we all know it is impossible to keep going twenty-four seven without our daily refreshment in the Lord. We must take refuge in Him by reading His love letter to us and by prayer, bringing everything to Him or we’ll go bonkers. By planting a vineyard, she is providing a legacy for the future. This is the Hebrew equivalent of a 401K…the vineyard’s fruit will provide for them in the senior years and will be passed on to the children as an inheritance. She not only cares for her family in the present, she provides an income for future generations.

17 She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

This girding is a term used to indicate protecting the lower back similar to a weightlifter wrapping that leather belt about his lower back and waist. Paul uses it in his description of the full armor of God in Ephesians 6. She practices physical labor and thus her body is strengthened. There was a documentary on Discovery Channel about mummies and one of the mummies was of a female with bones so delicate the slightest pressure could have snapped them into pieces. We were told the owner of those bones had done no physical labor at all, most likely never even stood up for more than a few minutes at a time. She had never lifted anything heavier than a few ounces her entire life so therefore it was concluded the woman was most likely very rich and a ruler of some sort because everything had been done for her. Not so the perfect woman. She is industrious and…

18 She senses that her gain is good; her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle.

This doesn’t mean that she works all night. This is meant to show that she keeps the home fires burning… she keeps the oil lamps well stocked as Jesus mentions in the parable of the ten virgins. The five virgins who have extra oil for their lamps and are ready for the Bridegroom whenever He comes (Matthew 25) but the other five allow their lamps to go out and beg to borrow some oil from the prudent virgins to no avail. Prudence and planning are her strengths. She recognizes that she can make clothes and other things for her family that are of far better quality and less costly.

20 She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy.

This is another indication of how godly this woman is. This is a command of the Lord in Deut 15:11. Proverbs 22:9 tells us the one who practices generosity is blessed. Surely, she is blessed and her blessing falls upon her family as a warm blanket.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen.

Okay… so now she is SuperMom. But then back then, there wasn’t TV or telephones and I suppose if I got up way before dawn, I’d have time to sew enough clothes for winter and summer plus some to sell in the marketplace, too.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. 26 She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Jesus tells us what ever is in the heart comes out of the mouth. We see that her heart embraces wisdom and kindness. She doesn’t indulge in idle gossip but is careful of the example she sets her children. The Hebrew word Torah means basically “to sit on her lap and learn her wisdom”. It is interesting that this is the word used for the first five books of the Bible and encompasses all the Law given to Moses from God Himself. Just as the Bride of Christ will be clothed in bright white linen which are the righteous acts of the saints, so this virtuous woman is clothed in her own righteous acts. Here are the qualities most valued by God because they are fruits of the Spirit: strength and dignity equal temperance and/or self-control; smiles at the future equals no idle worrying and complete trust that God is in control; wisdom and kindness come directly from the Holy Spirit and are not inbred qualities of the human; keeping her focus on her household keeps her mind and hand occupied so there is no laziness or wasted time. When Paul described women, he most definitely had Proverbs 31 in mind because his admonitions follow so closely to this passage.

28 Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: 29 "Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all."
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.

Here we see the blessings that result from the godly management of our households. All that men hold dear and hold in high esteem are an abomination to the Lord (Luke 16:15). Outward beauty is not an achievement to be pursued. Beauty that God bestows is what brings eternal and lasting pleasure and glory to the Lord. Paul exhorted women to the kind of beauty that is depicted here in Proverbs 31. A woman with good works will be praised and that clothes her in beauty.

Time Management - How do I do it all?

I have found that when I have an extra full day, if I pray and ask God to help me, He does. So I wanted to put it all down so that I can be more organized in my thought process of how to jam pack a day with everything that needs to get done, done. Here's what I came up with...

I. Obedience to the Lord comes first.
A. What does God require us to do?

  1. Spend time with Him. How can you be friends with Him if you don’t know Him? Putting Him first makes everything else fall into place.
  2. Take everything to Him in prayer. He created the universe and all that is in it—yet His greatest desire is to possess your heart.

B. What else does God require His children to do?

  1. Be trustworthy and faithful
    He has freely given us all the fruits of the Spirit. It is our privilege to use these fruits and to freely give them.
  2. Husband comes second, then children
  • a. submission does not mean inferior or subordinate
  • b. submission is a choice to yield to his advice.

C. Obeying God in the small matters leads to great blessings.

  1. Often God requires obedience in things that seem insignificant or irrational. A ship cannot have two captains. A Christian cannot have two masters. Being a slave to Him actually means great freedom!
  2. Obedience allows Him to demonstrate His power. He is still in the business of miracles
  3. Obeying Him brings a better understanding of Him and ourselves.
  4. Obedience in the small matters brings dramatic changes in our lives thus changes the lives of our families. Disobedience affects everyone.
D. Nothing is worth missing what God has planned for you!

II. Heart attitude determines mind attitude.

A. Ministering to the needs of family promotes love in the home.
Trim away the fat of self
  • Put to death the earthly desire
  • B. Physical activity promotes good health and sense of well being.

    1. Working with hands keeps the body out of trouble.
    2. Sense of well being defeats depression.

    C. Thinking things through and bringing them to God promotes success.

    1. Worry over nothing, bring everything to God in prayer.
    2. Making provisions for the future eliminates worry about the future.
    3. Decide what the worst case could be.
      a/decide what could be done if worst case happens
      b/if nothing can be done about worst case—why worry about it?
      c/if you can do something about worst case, then do it—only if it happens!
      d/after deciding what to do about worst case—forget worry and move on!

    III. Have a PLAN! Chickens only flail about because they don’t have a HEAD.

    A. Recognize if you have procrastination tendencies.

    1. Think about why you delay a duty or chore then address the reason.
    2. Know that procrastination makes deeper piles for tomorrow.

    B. Write down what needs to be done then:

    1. Assign each task a priority using 1 as most important.
    2. Assign each #1 priority task a letter using A as most important.
    3. Assign each task an amount of time to spend on it.

    C. As each task is completed, line it off.

    Understand that emotional burnout is not exclusive to business executives or delegated to the workplace. Emotional burnout begins at home and within your heart.

    It is characterized by:
    • Exhaustion
    • Cynicism
    • Negative feelings towards others and self
    • Reduced sense of personal accomplishmen

    The most common symptoms of burnout are:

    • Fatigue
    • Psychosomatic complaints
    • Irritability
    • Depression
    • Escapist and/or self-isolating behaviors
    • Sleep disturbances
    • Excessive eating or drinking
      (From “Keeping the “Spark” Alive: How to avoid Executive Burnout” by Susan Battley, PsyD)

      On the other hand, the blessings and rewards we receive from Refreshment in the Lord are:
    • Joy
    • Peace
    • Kindness
    • Patience
    • Goodness
    • Faithfulness / Fidelity
    • Gentleness
    • Self-Control

      This is the Fruit of the Spirit. These are our gifts freely given by God but we can only rejoice in them, be enveloped by them and exhibit them if we obey God and follow Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 6:

      31What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. 32People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. 33Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.34"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. The Message

    A bit more

    I find it truly intriguing that premature babies born weighing less than a pound actually survive and grow up and live productive lives. No... that's not the intriguing part. What I find intriguing is that a lot of women believe that they have a choice to abort the baby in the first trimester.

    There is now a Baby Doppler that records the baby's heart beat as early as 10 weeks, not 12 weeks.

    How can it be possible to take the life of an unborn child and it not be murder?

    David said, "You knit my in most parts while I was in the womb." How sweet the thought that God knew each of us before we were even born. We know all about DNA now, but not knowing about DNA back during Jesus' day did not make it untrue, it only was unknown. What more scientific proof that babies are live human beings do we need to stand up and cry, "Enough!" What scientific marvel will be discovered that will show us all about babies, and what shame we will then look back upon this age of murder and weep and wail about the wasted lives? I couldn't help but cry out.

    Faith In Fiction

    I am very excited about this contest. Write a short story about a conversion. After all it is THE single most important event in a person's physical life, right? If a person misses that boat then there is no next life.

    There are some people that are upset about it. Read the comments to see what some established Christian authors are saying.

    What is all the flap about? From B.J. Hoff to other Christian writers and several blogger pages later, I still do not know why so many are all in a snit over Christian books. Okay, perhaps I do know why.

    Some people are affronted because Christian lit has been called fluff and all of it has the same plot: someone needs Jesus and then in the end gets Jesus. Well... that's true, for the most part. And, frankly, I didn't dare just pick a book off the shelf just because it was Christian. I did that several times before I knew better and they turned out to be better than sleeping pills. Yawn. Then, evidently, Christian started being "in" and publishers started taking notice that Christian sells. Great! Except, I think it was really that authors started writing their hearts rather than their bank accounts. Can that be possible? Ask Francine Rivers. She got saved and started writing her heart. Great reads (except for the Sineater, it was rather transparent and wordy) .

    On the other hand, apparently, there are quite few CBA that do not want to face the fact that life is sloppy and can be gritty. We are told in creative writing to "write what you know". Well, nobody wants to hear about a humdrum life and a small town. There must be conflict and resolution! (No, I'm not talking about how Betsy's husband stepped out on her or how old man Charles grabs a peashooter every time he sees a cat on his property -- drama but no resolution.)

    So... There are a few Christian book publishers that are slowly but surely changing the face of Chrisitian literature. But, even though life is sloppy, I'll bet they won't accept sloppy writing. That brings you up to date on my research concerning CBA so far.

    Gina: Was there conflict in that piece?
    Pub: Yawn... scratch... sure, you brought that out.
    Gina: But, were you on the edge of your seat needing to know what I found out?
    Pub: hmmm. no.
    Gina: sigh... the next piece will be better. I promise. Don't forget the contest! It'll be fun!


    I was a member of a Lay Renewal team back when I was an older teen. We called it Worship Service back then. I really liked that term. When we would have our "debriefing sessions"...some of us would say, "The Holy Spirit was really working in this!" And others would say, "You really think so? I couldn't see it!" And yes, we were at the same church on the same weekend.

    Why is that? Why do some people have a consistent and wonderful worship experience when others yawn and fall asleep whenever they even think about worship?

    I believe it is a question of maturity. When I was young, I had zero attention span when it came to worshiping. But, now I love to worhip my God.

    How can anyone look at God's creation and not fall down in reverence and awe and worship?
    So what is it? I did a study and found some interesting things. It would seem that God was teaching the Israelites in the OT that worshiping was different than anything else mentioned along with it.

    Starting with Abraham in Genesis, Worship is mentioned 185 times. He and the lad would go over there and worship and then return. Now, that would have included sacrifice of "the lad" since that is what Abraham's purpose was in going there. They "bowed low" most of the time to worship. The 70 elders of Israel had to worship at a distance from God. In Exodus 33:10, all the people would "arise" and worship when the cloud descended to the tent. Then in Judges, the sons of Israel worshiped and served the Baals. Uh Oh.

    We see in 1 Samuel 1 that sacrifice by itself is not worship because "to worship and sacrifice" is used. David went into the house of the Lord and worshiped and prostrated himself before the Lord ... (this was after his son by Bathsheba died so we can infer that repentance would be part of worship, right?) Now we know that bowing low is a good position for worship, that sacrifice by itself is not worship and also worship can be done at a distance. And that repentance is a good start for worship. To be continued as I study...

    Stem cell -- what about life?

    Byron Spice of the Pittsburg Gazette reports that scienctists have now found cells that are "strikingly similar to embryonic stem cells in their ability to regenerate a wide variety of tissues." They are cells found in the placenta.

    I am going to try not to sound sarcastic here. If anyone had bothered to ask me several years ago, I would have told them that there is no way God would have created a cure for something that would require the death of an embryo. God just does not work that way. The cells, called amniotic epithelial cells, (try prononcing that, I dare you) potentially could be used to produce new liver cells to treat liver failure, or new pancreatic islet cells to cure diabetes or new neurons to treat Parkinson's disease. Hear that Michael Fox?

    At the risk of getting up on a soap box, let's take a hard look at this. Why would God give hope to the dying for a cure by causing the death of an innocent? He would not. He spared Nineveh because of their repentence but also because there were 120,000 innocent babes that could not tell their right from their left (Jonah 4:11) plus much cattle. Many have argued that God ordered many innocents killed when the Israelites took over Canaan. True, but also many were left there in order to test Israel's heart for obedience to God and for them to learn warfare. (Judges 2:22) .

    What I find truly intriguing is that the university where the fellows that discovered this amazing thing held back from letting the paper Stems Cells Express be published until they could get a patent on the discovery. At first, I'm thinking, "Good for them." Then I think, "Wha--?" Of course it's the process, but granny-get-your-gun, you can't get a patent on a placenta and blast it, you can't keep this sort of thing from helping others and keeping even more embryos from being destroyed. (Yes, there is a ban in the U.S. on that, but not in the rest of the world!)

    Hooray they've found the alternative to embryonic murder! But, it's truly a sad day when we must cover our bases (patent) before we can share medical breakthroughs like this. Oh, hurry up, Jesus, come Lord Jesus, come.

    the Truth about pleasure

    And here is a puzzle that I cannot seem to wrap my mind around, but it is true to the core, I can lose happiness and be sad but I have not lost my joy because I know that my joy comes from the Lord.

    I can be depressed but I have not lost my joy. Despair flees because of my joy.

    I have not lost my joy because I am so confident that He loves me.

    And because He is love,
    I understand love better.
    Because I understand love better,
    I can live a more pleasing life to Him.
    Living a pleasing life to Him gives me more joy.
    More joy gives me more pleasure even when I am sad; and this all stems from my firm foundation in Him.

    Without Him I would have no clue what pleasure actually is.

    Isn't that an astounding thought? Selah.

    Here on earth I have an inkling of what it will be like in Heaven and because of that clue, I yearn more for Him and my dissatisfaction comes not from lack of earthly things but from lack of having a closer relationship with Him.

    The closer I get to Him the more I want Him, the more I want Him, the more I love Him. The more I love Him the greater is my desire to please Him.

    All of this started from His first loving me. Selah. While I was wicked and filthy, He loved me.

    My pleasure is a direct gift from God and is derived from abiding in Him as He abides in me. That is my heart attitude and there is no place for a splinter to come between us.
    Then the 24 elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who is seated on the throne, saying: Amen! Hallelujah!5 A voice came from the throne, saying: Praise our God, all you His servants, you who fear Him, both small and great! 6 Then I heard something like the voice of a vast multitude, like the sound of cascading waters, and like the rumbling of loud thunder, saying: Hallelujah because our Lord God, the Almighty, has begun to reign! 7 Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory,because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself. 8 She was permitted to wear fine linen, bright and pure. For the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints.9 Then he said to me, "Write: Blessed are those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb!" He also said to me, "These words of God are true." 17 Both the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" Anyone who hears should say, "Come!" And the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift. Revelation 19

    "For we will sing a song of celebration. We will shout out with praise for the Bridegroom will come, the Glorious One. We will look on His face; we will go to a much better place. So dance with all your might, lift up your hands and clap for joy, for the time’s drawing near when He will appear. And OH! We will stand by His side, a strong, pure, spotless Bride. And we will dance on the streets that are golden, the glorious bride and the great Son of Man. From every tongue and tribe and nation, we’ll join in the song of the Lamb." Living Proof Ministries II CD

    I will finish. I'm just so...yawn...slee...zzz

    There's something about the smell. It puts me right to slee...
    Ever get tired of eating?

    Sound of Music at Princess Theater

    There is something so completely delicious about live theater. Last night I sat in the darkend theater that held less than 250 people in a little town of hardly 10,000 residents with tears of excitement running down my cheeks. Isn't it ridiculous? The acting could have been better, but, oh, how deeply enjoyable it was. Who says talent is only in Hollywood or on Broadway? If I closed my eyes, Maria was actually Julie Andrews. Such a beautiful voice this woman has. Susan Williams is her name.

    What is it about live theater that makes it so exciting--way above movie theater? I think it is the combination of imagination and reality. That is sheer joy. I think we have lost the art of imagination in today's society. Even in movies when a character is telling about something that happened, it is always shown in action with a voice over about the action. It is sad, really.

    Go to the theater! Expect fun and the thrill of audience interaction. There is something wonderful about a group of people laughing together. It takes the kinks out of humdrum living. I resolve to try to go to live theater at least once a year. It is worthy.

    Arkansas--fabulous state

    Arkansas River at Petit Jean's Grave

    Rock formations at Petit Jean State Park on the way to Cedar Falls. Looking Northeast in Arkansas' Little Grand Canyon in Northern Arkansas.
    I highly recommend Arkansas as a great place to visit. People are friendly, food is good and accomodations are extremely reasonable. Lots of fun things to do, too.