Staying Close to Home

  

“…How good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.”  (Psalms 73:28 NLT)

I really enjoy feeding our mare, Cheyenne, because it gives me the chance to watch her new foal.  Yesterday as they pranced towards me, I noticed that her foal stayed so close to her that their skin was in near constant contact.  It was obvious that this tiny foal felt safer just by feeling her mother next to her.  As long as she was near momma, she was home.  Whenever Cheyenne changed direction, her foal would feel that brief loss of skin contact and would adjust her own direction so she could stay in close contact with her mother.  While observing this, I was struck by the realization that we Christians should be much like this foal.  We must constantly stay in such close spiritual contact with Jesus that if He moves, we move as well.  If He stops, we stop because as long as we are close to Him, we have that fantastic feeling of being “home.”  The children of Israel experienced this during their decades long journey in the desert.  God stayed close to them in the form of a cloud by day and fire by night.  When God moved, they moved.  When he stopped, they made camp.  He protected them. He fed them.  He loved them. They were home when they stayed close to God.  Today, we stay in contact with Jesus through daily reading His words in the Bible, prayer, and through consistent worship and Bible study with other Christian believers.  Doing these things allows us to understand what it feels like to be closely, spiritually connected to God.  This requires more than an hour on Sunday….more than mealtime and bedtime prayers.  It’s daily, even hourly, living so close to God that our spirit learns to sense when He is moving.  

Although Cheyenne is comfortable around me, my movement sometimes frightens her foal.  The world is scary and big in her new eyes!  Whenever she feels frightened by my presence and starts to run away, Cheyenne looks at her and very softly, almost inaudibly, neighs at her, calling her back to her side.  At the sound of momma’s voice, her foal immediately looks less tense.  She stops her fearful flight and returns to her momma.  Like this fragile and easily frightened foal, so many things in life can cause us to carelessly fly in directions away from our Savior.  He doesn’t get angry at us when this happens.  We shouldn’t see Him as this angry God waiting to strike us down at the smallest misstep.  Instead, He is the loving Savior who gently, and quietly calls us back to His side so He can protect us and lead us where we need to go. This reminds me of a hymn we sometimes sang in church when I was a child: “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me; see, on the portals he’s waiting and watching, watching for you and for me….Come home, come home….”  He loves us so much and tells us, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me” (‭Isaiah‬ ‭49‬:‭16‬ NIV).  What a fantastic verse to consider as we are about to enter Holy Week when Jesus entered Jerusalem knowing fully what He would suffer just to rescue us from ourselve, ensuring that mankind could finally fully enjoy constant contact with God.  May we all remember to speak with Jesus today.  Ask Him to help us stay in close contact with Him and thank Him for always calling us back home to His side.  If you are reading this and you don’t know Jesus, know that He is patiently calling your name.  He loves you.  Answer His call and run to Him rather than away.  You will not regret it.

“The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” (‭Psalms‬ ‭103‬:‭13-14‬ NLT)

Who is Lovely Lynette and why is she laughing?

Lovely Lynette Laughs

Who is Lovely Lynette and why is she laughing? You might be wondering if I played one of those Facebook games where the first initial of my second child’s name and the fourth initial of my first pet’s middle name are assigned to random names whose combination creates my exotic dancer name. Why yes. That’s exactly what happened. No. No it is not. Actually, Lovely Lynette has a very sentimental meaning for me. When I was very young, an extraordinary woman, about whom I actually know very little, insisted on referring to me as Lovely Lynette. Arguing with her over this name was apparently useless because she was wholeheartedly convinced that my name should be Lovely Lynette. This woman was my paternal grandmother. At 29 years of age, just a few months after delivering her third child, doctors found a large cancerous mass requiring them to surgically remove her entire reproductive system…

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Want to Be a “Success”? Learn to Be an Outlaster

Great article!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Original image courtesy of flowcomm, via Flickr Commons Original image courtesy of flowcomm, via Flickr Commons

Happy New Year! 2015 is now here and it is up to us what we will do with the time each of us is allotted. We all have heard the saying, “DaVinci had the same 7 days and 24 hours.” I would actually make a different point. Folks like DaVinci, Mozart, Shakespeare actually had LESS time.

There was no electric lighting and pulling all-nighters was a good way to go blind by candlelight. Thus, I’d say the difference is that these artists lived intentionally.

We all want to know the secret to “success.” First of all, I am going to add a caveat. “Success” is a very personal thing. What is “success” for you isn’t “success” for me. Yet, study after study shows that people who write down their goals are far more likely to reach them.

Why?

We have forced our…

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Who is Lovely Lynette and why is she laughing?

Who is Lovely Lynette and why is she laughing? You might be wondering if I played one of those Facebook games where the first initial of my second child’s name and the fourth initial of my first pet’s middle name are assigned to random names whose combination creates my exotic dancer name. Why yes. That’s exactly what happened. No. No it is not. Actually, Lovely Lynette has a very sentimental meaning for me. When I was very young, an extraordinary woman, about whom I actually know very little, insisted on referring to me as Lovely Lynette. Arguing with her over this name was apparently useless because she was wholeheartedly convinced that my name should be Lovely Lynette. This woman was my paternal grandmother. At 29 years of age, just a few months after delivering her third child, doctors found a large cancerous mass requiring them to surgically remove her entire reproductive system. She was lucky to be alive. Today, there are supplements to help women endure the sudden drop in hormones from such a surgery. When Grandma was 29, however, the only estrogen available was made using horse urine. She was deathly allergic to serums made from horses. Her system just could not handle the lack of hormones, and so her mind was transported into a different world where reality was way more changing for her than for those around her. Grandpa was given the choice to abandon her in an asylum, but being the genuine man that he was he refused, stating to the disbelieving doctors that he loved her when she was well and he’d love her while she was ill, until death separated them. Are you wiping tears yet? How Lovely Lynette can laugh through this story is something you are probably asking. Well, I enjoy alliteration a lot, and the stories produced from her alternate realities are actually quite comical. We discuss them from time to time and chuckle even though there exists a deep sadness over this awful knowledge that her mind was stolen, not only from her but from her husband, children and future grandchildren. It’s tragic and unfair. A family is left with few choices. Do we laugh when we hear that she has been elected first woman president of the United States and has thoroughly confused the entire nursing home population, or do we cry and dwell in sadness? Should we giggle when she tells us that my father, a minister and educator, traveled to Paris and painted every picture in the hospital and that he sold the paintings to buy her the outrageously expensive set of faux pearls she is wearing? She had high hopes for her children in the arts, apparently. Bless her beautiful heart. Do we hide away the knowledge of the craziness that can occur when illness of any kind attacks, or do we acknowledge it and realize that life is a precious thing never to be wasted?

Grandma is gone from us now, in body as well as in mind. I remember the day she died. I was a brand new second lieutenant stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I was in the field with my new unit when I was told the news. I remember the tears welling up from my heart and spilling over my cheeks as the poor gruff major tried to tell me. I didn’t know her well because her soul had been hidden from us behind this facade of an unwell body, but I loved her dearly. My memories of her are brief and fleeting, but precious. I remember her sweet smile. I remember her kind voice. I remember that she loved frosties from Wendy’s…that she used her lipstick as her rouge….that she could eat an entire jar of olives by herself, a trait my own daughter has inherited….that after having her weekly hair appointment, her head would not hit the pillow for days lest she ruin her carefully curled coiffure. She would carefully rest on her elbow instead, with her head on her hand like a lounging Egyptian queen. These are a few of my cherished memories….these and knowing that in her world, I was a special child because she named me Lovely Lynette. I laugh now because she is laughing in a plane of existence where reality is more real than anything we know here. There, where she now lives, every corner of her mind is filled with clarity and joy.  She has been freed.  I wonder if she knows that I’ve decided to embrace the name she used for me, and laugh. Has God given her a glimpse of me, just one of her many grandchildren, and let her see that I intend to use laughter as medicine for my own turbulent emotions….that rather than be defeated by my own struggle with that darkness called depression, I am laughing. Grandma, you have inspired me to begin a blog titled in your honor. Because of you, Lovely Lynette Laughs, and I aspire to bring laughter to others.

 “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh” (Luke 6:21)

 A thousand babies on my back and I'm still smiling
A thousand babies on my back and I’m still smiling.

Farm Assets

This is my first blog post, so I’m just going to go with the flow and let the words tumble out.  When I am writing in my private, handwritten journal, the words seem to flow from my mind to my hand faster than I can actually write.  Using my laptop feels awkward.  Not only do I type faster than the computer wants to place letters on my screen, my ‘A’ key is missing so there is only a tiny white nub of rubbery plastic there where a nice, flat black key used to securely sit.  My finger can barely hit that tiny little nub and it is getting on my OCD nerves, so much so that I’ve already used too many words describing this irritation. My adult onset ADD says to keep pursuing that topic, but I refuse.  My spouse is sitting at the next desk and wants to know if I am writing an award winning, million dollar story so that we can live the good life.  I’m inwardly smirking at that.  He’s playing the computer game Civilization  while I, wearing my cozy florescent pink plaid PJs, sit cross legged in one of the very nice diamond patterned arm chairs that my beautiful mother-in-law found at a garage sale before giving them to us. They are huge.  I’m thankful for them. Not only are they pretty, but receiving the set of four actually forced me to clean up our front room so they’d fit in the house.  Even if they had been hideous, which they are decidedly not, there’s a saying: “Never look a free mule in the mouth.”  That’s what I’ve always heard.  For you city types that might be interested, a free mule might be 24 years old as evidenced by his teeth, when he was given to you with the promise that he is only 10 years old.  If you actually have to fork money over for the thing, be sure to look in its mouth and check his teeth. This brings my wandering pen… I mean keyboard…to the main point of this post. We have an old jack out in our pasture.  No. Not a car jack or whatever type of Jack might enter your mind. We have a donkey….a male donkey. His name is Timmy.  Timmy was free.  In fact, I think the elderly man who gave him to us might have paid us to take him if we had insisted.  The day he brought him over, he backed up that trailer with the expertise of a NASCAR driver, let Timmy out into our pasture and then took off before I had a chance to change my mind about having a literal ass on my farm.  I don’t trust Timmy at all.  He is a rough looking, course haired, wary-eyed, uncut (still has his balls) jack who is constantly whirling his rear around into the perfect kick position.  A city friend and his wife came to visit us, and she informed him that Timmy was the ugliest horse she had ever seen.  Looks aside, Timmy’s eyes are actually quite intelligent and prettily rimmed in black.  He almost has that 1980s hair-band eye make-up thing going for him.  His white coat is spotted grey, with a dark grey cross along his spine.  Timmy has humongous ears and is always on alert. For those with large coyote populations on their farm, a donkey can be such a huge ASSett…..pun intended.  Donkeys will kick a coyote and other predators to the moon and will trample a rattle snake to pieces.  Having Timmy is a good thing since we have a few of that fragile species known as equus ferus caballus.  Yes.  We have a bunch of horses, and a few were “free.”  It is fortuitous that Timmy came to us to be their baby sitter.  His humongous ears hear things before any of our horses.  Horses can injure themselves in a padded cell, by the way, but that’s another story…So are the coyotes.  If I tell it all now, I’ll have nothing to tell you tomorrow.  I have no idea who “you” are, but if someone other than me is reading this, I hope you had a chuckle.  Stay tuned for more random musings from my farm in rural America.  Hmmmm….my husband is taking out Paris on his video game, and the computer just told him that he is a “villain who picks on the weak.”  Lol!  Should I be concerned by the maniacal laughter I hear coming from his lips? Tomorrow I’ll tell you why Lovely Lynette is laughing.   Stay tuned!
PS- I’ve corrected typing and grammatical mistakes so many times already that I’m exhausted. If you are reading this and see any mistakes, consider that I’ve left them there to stir things up a bit. You get bonus points if you can name them all. Good night and God bless!

Tiny Timmy in one of our pastures
Tiny Timmy in one of our pastures