The Speeding Ticket Part I

In a desperate attempt to escape the inevitable, I said, “This is my first ticket in 9 years.” Unimpressed, he handed me the clipboard and an ink pen and asked me to sign the ticket.

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Last school year, the day before the last day of school, I was in a hurry.(Imagine that!) I had to get my daughter to school on time, then had to be somewhere else, somewhat of a distance away, with very little time to spare.

The speed limit was 45. I saw a policeman coming towards me from the opposite direction and I knew I was busted. Somehow I had gotten away with going the speed of however far down my foot pushed on the pedal for quite a few years. Nothing outrageous but nonetheless, breaking the law. I began to think maybe they couldn’t clock me, or in my own little mind, that they just wouldn’t pull me over.

I so often justify my actions regarding my miles per hour by debating why the speed is posted as it is, what think it should be posted and why. I actually even see myself take my fingers off the keys as I’m typing this. It seems I just can’t completely shake the feeling of needing to justify my argument. In reality, it doesn’t really matter. In the words of so many these days: It is what it is. It surely was what it was: I was pulled over.

I rolled my window down as he approached my car. “Ma’am, do you know how fast you were going?” “Uhhh…. 50 something???” I said. After all, once I saw him and slowed down, that was what I was going.  “61!” He replied.

I was irritated, to say the least. I’d already grabbed my license and proof of insurance and handed them to him when he asked for them. I told him I didn’t have my registration with me but he only said “ok”. He took what I had and walked back to his vehicle behind me- you know, the one with the bright blue lights flashing.

My stepson and daughter were with me. My daughter in the back seat saying, “This is great. I’m going to be late.” And my stepson sitting beside me, shaking his head, saying something about accepting the consequences of my actions. I, of course, didn’t want to hear it.

When the cop came back to my car, he had his little clipboard with a bright pink piece of paper on it. In a desperate attempt to escape the inevitable, I said, “This is my first ticket in 9 years.” Unimpressed, he handed me the clipboard and an ink pen and asked me to sign the ticket. The $187.25 ticket!

If my low fuel light would’ve been on, I still think I would’ve made it many more miles on just fumes because I was fuming mad! Me, the kids and my attitude pulled back out onto the highway. I dropped my daughter out at school and went on towards my next destination. I spent half the day blaming this on whoever, or whatever, I could. (Yes, I’m 38.) It’s almost as if I had to go through different stages of emotions before I reached the point of admitting it was nobody’s fault but my own.

Let’s go ahead and face the truth. Rebellion is not a good thing. Me being a Christian makes it even more not a good thing. 

So many times I talk to the kids, and whoever else as it may come up, about our own actions. How on the day of judgment we won’t be able to point fingers at anyone else for what we do. That will be unacceptable.

2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV says- For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

So, did I deserve the ticket?

(Just kidding! No hesitation there.)

YES! I acknowledge that I deserved the ticket.

There is a statement on this citation in all caps right above the line where I had to sign that says:

I UNDERSTAND THE ABOVE NOTICE, AND THAT MY SIGNATURE IS NOT AN ADMISSION OF GUILT.

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The thing is, to me it was an admission of guilt. My signature clearly shows my attitude of pride and rebellion against authority, yet I really had no other choice but to admit that I WAS GUILTY.

Thank you for reading!

Stay tuned for Part II of “The Speeding Ticket”.

 

 

That Plant

There are times I end up letting that certain plant die. She then gives me a piece of the plant I had first given her.

Years ago I bought a houseplant from a lady at a yard sale. She told me if you broke off a piece of this vine-type plan and stuck it in water it would root and you could replant it. Of course as I would care for it, pieces would break off so I’d do as she said. One day my mom came over to my house and commented on my thriving plant, so I gave her the ones I had rooting in water to start her own.

Over time her plant became huge. It was beautiful and full, so full that she had started another one in a different pot. I told her my plant had died. I would forget to care for it and all I had was just a glass with a few pieces rooting.

One day when I pulled in to my driveway, I saw a beautiful plant on my front porch. Mom came by and dropped off one of those plants from the few I’d given her years ago. I took good care of it for a while, then I didn’t. I pulled the green off and once again rooted them in a cup water.

The other day, when she had time, my mom repotted some of her plants and moved them indoors before the cold creeps up on us once again. She said her plant that we’d passed pieces of back and forth over the years had died. She said she’d just been too busy and tired to take care of all of them lately.

The supply has dwindled down quite a bit, but if she’s interested, I plan to give her half of what I have. This has almost become a tradition between the two of us and this plant, only I’m the one that usually kills mine.

As I washed dishes tonight after supper I had to move a piece of the vine hanging from a shelf above my dish drying rack where my plant sits. The remnant of that plant that still sits rooted in water. I thought about how a mom helps a daughter, and how a daughter helps a mom.

As I continued to ponder on this thought, I began to think of my daughter- how there are times I teach her certain truths about the Lord and life, and then there are times she often reminds me of those same certain truths I seem to forget. There are times I end up letting that certain plant die. She then gives me a piece of the plant I had first given her. I always relate plants to life, therefore we pass life back and forth to one another as needed.

My daughter teaches me a lot. I know there are times I disappoint her or even shock her with the realness of my mistakes. I can see that, but I know she understands that mom is a human being that messes up just like anyone else. It’s not my daughter trying to condemn me, instead it’s the Holy Spirit convicting me. It is the Lord working through her and that is a beautiful thing. How could I despise that?

Hebrews 13:16 NKJV But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Thank you for reading and God bless!

Carry Me

As the years passed and I grew older, it occurred to me that I was no longer that little kid that could easily be carried. I was in a place where I realized I needed Someone stronger. No human could carry me with all the heaviness I had found within.

My youngest brother (of the 3) is a little over two and a half years older than me so we were pretty close growing up. He may have inflicted much pain into my life but he would also stand up to anyone that tried to hurt me. From early on, any time I got hurt, I remember him carrying me home.

I had to have been about 4 years old because our grandmother passed away when I was 5. We were playing down by the creek and my brother, Keith, picked up a big round rock. I always wanted to do what he did so I decided to pick it up too, only I wasn’t as strong as he was. I dropped it on my knee and I began to bleed. Thirty-four years later and the scar is still there. Keith was not only strong enough to pick up the rock; he was strong enough to carry me all the way to our grandparent’s house. When we arrived, my grandmother cleaned my knee and put a bandage on it.

One day we were riding the school bus home on our bumpy dirt road. I was sitting in the back and let me tell you, skinny kids don’t belong in the back of the bus when you’re on a road with potholes. The bus driver showed no mercy and hit a few of them in a row. I bounced up off the seat and the breath was knocked right out of me. Thankfully it happened about a minute away from our house. Again, Keith carried me home from the bus stop.

Another time I recall is when my brother built a ramp to jump his bicycle. I watched him fly through the air, carefree. I decided I was going to do it too, only I didn’t go near as fast. After the fact, he told me I didn’t go fast enough. I rode my bike slowly up the ramp, singing a song from a perfume commercial (yes, I still remember the song haha). I flipped right over the handlebars of my bike. Guess who carried me home. Yep, Keith.

It is not often I see my brother anymore but I remain grateful for all the times he took care of me. As the years passed and I grew older, it occurred to me that I was no longer that little kid that could easily be carried. I was in a place where I realized I needed Someone stronger. No human could carry me with all the heaviness I had found within. It was no longer my brother that I needed- it was my Father.

Isaiah 46:4 NKJV says- Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.

In life there are still times when I pick something up that’s too heavy for me to hold. Just because He (God) is big enough to lift it doesn’t mean I am. I end up dropping it and scrape myself up, yet He’s still there. He picks me up and carries me.

When the bumps along the road of life knock the breath right out of me, He picks me up and carries me.

When I try to do things my way, the wrong way, I flip right over the handlebars and land in the gravel. Still, the Lord is there. He picks me up and carries me.

Although I have some scars from life, and although I’ve endured pain, I’ve always been picked up and carried. I believe He was giving my brother the strength to carry me until I figured out I needed more than he could offer. What I needed was a Savior- I still do.

So if you’re reading this and you feel something lacking in your life- you need someone to carry you- reach out to the Lord. He will fill that void that none other can fill. He is strong enough. It doesn’t mean you won’t cry while He is carrying you in this life, but His Word is true. One sweet day, He will carry you home to be with Him: a place where there is no more sadness, no more suffering, no more pain and your tears will be wiped away.

Revelation 21:4-5 NKJV- 4) And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. 5) Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

Thank you for reading. May God bless you, for He will help you through.

 

 

 

The Piano

…because He knows you’re doing it for Him.

When I was 7 years old, my brother and sister-in-law got married. The church building they were married in had a piano. My other brother sat down at it and messed around, then someone else came in and played it. I fell in love. It was absolutely the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard.

Fast forward to the year 1997. My husband and I became friends before we dated. One day we were hanging out with my brother and another friend. We went to a state park not far from us and went inside a little church on the premises. I was shocked to see Jason, my husband, sit down at the piano and begin to play. What! He didn’t strike me as a pianist type but afterward he told me he took lessons when he was a kid.

After we married, I learned his mom played the piano at church. When I began to go to services where she attended, it made it even more special that she was the one playing.  We lived with them at the time and at night she would practice the music she would play the following day. It was a sound I still miss. One day she told me she couldn’t even play the piano until God taught her. I understood that but thought, surely there was something there to begin with.

I come from a musical family but it’s the men that hold those talents. My Dad, all 3 brothers and a couple of uncles and nephews can all sing, play something, or both. Us girls just never had it. Or at least I didn’t think we did.

Yesterday as I sat down to finish the blog post planned for the day, I decided to play some music. I love a song called “You Say” by Christian artist Lauren Daigle. As it began to play I realized I needed absolute quietness so I turned the music off. I sat there for a minute looking at my computer screen and said to myself, “I think I want to learn how to play that on the piano.” I pulled up a few videos to see what keys to put my fingers on, grabbed a dry erase marker, marked the keys and before I knew it, it sounded more like a song than noise! I was so excited! I couldn’t believe my ears (or my eyes or my fingers)!

I practiced for a while in the afternoon, last night and again this morning. I recorded it and sent it to my mother-in-law. After all, she passed this piano I was playing down to Jason. It popped in to my head about her saying God taught her how to play. Now I understood!

The video took a long time to load so I decided to call her and just play it for her over the phone. I messed up quite a bit but she encouraged me by saying, “Everyone does”. It wasn’t long before we were both crying. She knew the feeling. She knows I can’t play the piano. It’s still not perfect but I am amazed at what the Lord is allowing me to do. My mother-in-law, Pam, said, “because He knows you’re doing it for Him.” She said it even takes you to a deeper place of worship. I have to agree. I even notice when I start doing it on my own, I mess up.

I’m going to use Pam’s favorite verses of Scripture for this story.

Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV 5) Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

I have to say, I’m still astonished. I wish I had a before video to share. I could only peck around on the keys. Jason did teach me a part of the song “Heart and Soul” but I get really confused on just that, therefore I know this is ALL the Lord!

I hope what they say is true: the camera adds ten pounds. Or maybe it is those snack cakes (haha).

I hope you enjoyed reading and remember-If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes. (Mark 9:23)

click on the link below to see:

Me playing the piano

To order the shirt I’m wearing (Just Believe) which is a song on my musical uncle, Jack Pearson’s, newly released CD “Are You Listening” (t-shirt available for a limited time):

Click here

And scroll to the bottom of the page

 

 

Solitaire

I had no choice but to go back and work on myself, by myself, in complete solitude. To be able to continue on, I had no choice but to do so.

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Since my job of cleaning houses requires very little brain power, last summer I decided to download a solitaire game on my phone. I’ve heard people say it is a good activity to keep your mind active. It didn’t take long for me to become addicted to this pastime.

As I played the game, I learned more and more. I paid attention the cards I needed and tossed the rest aside, moving towards the prize: winning the game. I stayed focused on all the cards around me. I soon developed a strategy to help me move swiftly through the game. I watched for the opportunity to make the right move, constantly moving forward. At times I became discouraged, but the more I played, the less I quit. I was determined to finish the game.

On this particular game, I also had the option to play in tournaments. As I began doing so, I saw others and looked on them with pity as they trailed behind. Even though I wanted to win, I felt bad when others didn’t. The cards they were given just weren’t played right. There was the option to end the game before it was finished, but if you quit, you had no chance. If you could hold up and place in the top three, you could move on to the next level. 

At times I would see players begin to gain points rapidly toward the end. Sometimes they would end up winning, but sometimes they still lost. I would watch the one in last place and I knew their struggle. I would see their hesitation to press “END GAME”. I knew that feeling from my own experience. You don’t want to give up when you’ve come so far, yet sometimes that’s exactly what we do.

I started winning many tournaments. I spent way too much time on this habit-forming game. Once I’d won so many times, I started relying solely on my strategy. Eventually there came a time when it wasn’t working for me anymore. Maybe it would even be considered cheating to the experts, yet that loophole had gotten me so far. I began to lose at the game. My option to enter tournaments had closed due to my many losses.

I had no choice but to go back and work on myself, by myself, in complete solitude. To be able to continue on, I had no choice but to do so.

As I have lived the Christian life, I’ve made use of the cards I’ve been dealt. I’ve stayed focused and I’ve lost focus. I’ve seen the enemy (aka the devil) hit me where it hurts. I’ve seen me struggle to “stay in the game”. I’ve seen my strategy fail. And I have found myself completely removed from the tournament. 

As I sit here typing, the house is quiet. Everyone is back to work and school and I have the day off. I’m trying to spend my time wisely, staying busy doing things that need to be done. Only the sound of the keys pounding on my keyboard, the dryer and the occasional vehicle passing by break the complete silence, yet the silence is deafening. I am alone. I have a lot of things on my mind and I can’t fix them. I hear the Holy Spirit whisper, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10 [a] NKJV) In my stillness, I am made whole. And the silence? It helps me to better hear God’s still, small voice. I know I need to study His Word, I need to pray and I need to do these things alone, by myself, in complete solitude with my Father. I listen, by reading, what He has to say and even if I don’t understand now, I know that He is God and I am not and that is reassuring to me.

Be encouraged, be still and don’t quit the “game”. (By the way, it IS NOT a game- just an analogy.) Thank you for reading and God bless!

 

Patina

I was literally sick to my stomach. I rehearsed my apology speech in my mind until I heard the truck pull in the driveway.

I had been cleaning houses for several years when I received a call to clean for a certain couple. I accepted the job and became friends with them as well. They were usually there every time I cleaned but one day they left to run errands. I went about doing things almost as usual, only I sprayed the bathroom down with cleaner to let it soak. Usually I didn’t let it soak as long so it would be ready for use at any time. After several minutes, I walked back into the bathroom to begin cleaning. I noticed the faucets that were normally darker appeared more bright to me.

I began to get upset. I thought, “Oh my goodness, what have I done!” My mind was racing. This was exactly why I’d prolonged doing this type of work in my earlier years. I was always fearful I’d mess something up or break something. What if this was irreplaceable? I was literally sick to my stomach. I rehearsed my apology speech in my mind until I heard the truck pull in the driveway. I heard the doors shut. My heart began to pound. What would be their reaction? How much would this cost to replace, if it even can be replaced?

I waited for them to call a friendly “Hello, we’re back” as they walked through the door. I walked towards the kitchen as they were unloading the grocery bags onto the counter. “OK, well, I apologize,” I began. “I will replace what I’ve messed up. I let the cleaner soak on the bathroom fixtures longer than usual and now they’re lighter.” I walked towards the bathroom, trailing behind them a bit. In a carefree voice the lady said, “Oh, no, that’s just patina. That’s supposed to do that. Over time, a copper-like finish shows through. That’s what we want!”

Contrary to the slogan of a popular antacid, this time relief was spelled P-A-T-I-N-A! I told them I had been so sick about it. I thought I’d really messed up. It wasn’t my plan, but apparently it was theirs. It was the way it was supposed to be. I saw tragedy, they saw progress.

Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV says 8) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Just as the people I worked for, our Father in heaven has a plan for us that we may not understand. We may not know it, but we can trust that He knows what He’s doing. We don’t think like God, we don’t know the future but God does. His ways have much more meaning than we can even imagine. So when things seem dark and dull, in time- His time, a bright finish will shine through.

Thank you for reading and God bless!

30 Mile Yard Sale

What about when it seems as if we are getting rained on and those that do wrong just go about their lives without a hitch.

Every year the town I live in has a 30 mile yard sale the weekend after Labor Day. It’s been a couple of years. I figure I have enough stuff, I should participate in the sale by selling, not buying, but I may go this year. With the big event coming up, I am reminded of a Saturday morning several years back. I was slowly dragging around the house drinking my morning coffee, but agreed to get ready and go check out a few of the sales around town with my family.

We stopped at the nearest gas station to fill up for the day. As we were under the canopy at the pump, the bottom dropped out of the sky. The rain began to beat down overhead. As we pulled out onto the highway, we saw people set up for the yard sale. One house in particular had about a dozen tables set up with tons of items and lots of furniture. It didn’t take long for all of it to become soaking wet. I then looked at the house next door. The yard was nicely manicured. And empty. Their vehicles were parked in the driveway. I pictured them inside- comfortable and dry.

It made me feel terrible for those that had done all that work to drag all those things out. I don’t know if rain was in the forecast or if everyone just hoped it would pass on by. We never know about the weather.

Today a lady I clean house for had me help her get things ready for this weekend’s annual event. She is having her sale under her carport. We sat some of the items out today, but some she kept inside in case the rain comes and blows in under the carport. Wet weather is in the forecast for this weekend.

Although this excerpt from the Bible is out of context for this particular situation, this verse is the verse that came to mind the day of the rainy sale, and again today with the weekend’s preparations. The Word of God is called the Living Word, therefore I would hope it is ok to say it can pertain to any situation that may come about in the life we live. As long as we study and remember what it’s pertaining to, we can allow it to help us along our way.

The second part of Matthew 5:45 NKJV says, “for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

These are the words of Jesus telling us about loving our enemies, how we should treat them and what we should do for them. (Of course sometimes the “downpours” in our lives are caused by our enemies.)

What about when it seems as if we are getting rained on and those that do wrong just go about their lives without a hitch. Last week there were several times it rained one place and just a piece down the road it was dry as a bone. We can’t look at our neighbor and wonder why their grass may not be wet just because ours is. It is whatever the Lord chooses. As we have probably heard many times, we need rain in our lives, just as the earth does, to make us grow.

The point is, whether we are walking with the Lord or not, we will all be rained on at some point and the sun will rise on us just as it does everyone else, as He sees fit of course.

So the next time the bottom drops out on us in life, Lord, help us to remember that you are growing us, just as the rain is needed for crops to grow. Remind us that you are filling us, just as you fill bodies of water to make them flow. Open our ears, Lord, to listen for You calling us to crawl up underneath Your canopy for shelter. No matter what, we will become bigger and stronger because of the rain You allow to pour down on us- if we only allow it.

Thank you for reading and God bless!