Questions…

Editorial Note: As your read this, please understand I am making statements that I’ve found to be true in my experience. I do not propose to prove these statements, but instead to stimulate thought.

Life is full of questions… Perhaps at no other time in life are we more filled with questions than when difficulties find us.

I recently wrote about the New Chapters of life that we all inevitably encounter, sometimes through our choices and sometimes through what life seems to throw at us. Often, there are multiple things that seem to come at us during some particular season of life.

These times of life usually seem to provide us with challenges for which we simply weren’t prepared.

It is during these seasons that most people begin asking questions.

  • Why is this happening to me?
  • Why is <he/she/they> doing this?
  • Does anyone actually care?
  • Why would a loving God allow this to happen?

The questions themselves vary as widely as the circumstances that create these “storms” of life.

Most of these questions have no great or obvious answer. But over time, the questions themselves tend to evolve. From the question “why would a loving God allow this to happen”, in the absence of any real answers, the question becomes “is God really loving?” or even “is there even a God at all?”

By the time you’re asking these questions, most people have a default answer of “no, God isn’t really loving” or “no, there must not really be a God at all”.

Answers?

How do you console a friend or loved one who is at this point in life? When someone is at this point of asking very fundamental life questions, how do you go about that conversation?

Most of us tend to just give what we believe is “the right answer”. Or at least it’s “the answer” we’re happy with.

  • Tomorrow will be a better day.
  • Don’t worry about what <he/she/they> think or say.
  • Yes, I care about you.
  • Bad things happen to all of us.
  • Of course there’s a God, and He is loving.
  • or, Of course there’s no God. (depending on our particular pursuasion)

The problem is that when someone is genuinely asking these basic questions about life, they are looking for genuine, thoughtful answers.

Disingenuous Answers…

I can remember when my kids were 3 to 5 years old, and they entered the “why” phase. I understood this was the process by which they were learning, and so this was the opportunity they were giving me to teach them. So, I tried to give them genuine, age-appropriate answers. Of course, the questions continued. And at some point in time, I would get tired of thinking so hard to give them real answers, and I’d try to just satisfy their question without giving a real answer.

Guess what? Somehow they knew I wasn’t really telling them a genuine answer. This would frustrate them, until I decided to once again engage their question for real.

Disingenuous answers are one thing when your kids are drilling you with “Why” questions for hours. But, when someone is struggling with life and they are at a crossroads, disingenuous answers tell them more than you realize:

  • I actually don’t care enough to engage your question.
  • There is no real answer I can think of, so maybe you’re right; maybe there really is no God.

I realize I’m making this sound like a very quick process, but in reality, there will be a long timeline of questioning and being repeatedly frustrated by either disingenuous answers or no answer at all.

This tends to form a pattern over time, and eventually, people become cynical and give up on these questions, concluding the most pessimistic answer is the answer.

Taking People Seriously

Many years ago, I had a friend who was a volunteer answering phones for a suicide hotline. And, he related to me some training exercises that were used to demonstrate to the volunteers how to help someone who is at that point.

He said, they had a beam there, and it was such that they could lift it up in the air. And, they would blindfold a volunteer, and then walk them up on the beam, and then tell them it was being lifted up to 6 feet in the air. In reality, it was 6 inches off the ground, but the blindfolded volunteer had no idea.

And so the blindfolded volunteer was scared they were going to fall, and the other people (who could see what was happening) were told to offer them comfort as if the beam really was 6 feet off the ground.

Saying, “it’s only 6 inches off the ground” doesn’t really help someone who fully believes it’s 6 feet.

This is a basic principle of communication, one that most of us find incredibly difficult. We need to engage the actual questions people are asking, taking seriously their concerns or fears even if we have in our minds come to the conclusion these concerns or fears are unfounded or unimportant.

In my experience, most people simply don’t want to engage questions they don’t struggle with themselves. Most people simply dismiss these questions because they’ve already concluded the answer is obvious or, worse, unimportant.

Taking Questions Seriously

So far, I’ve been looking at people asking questions because of some difficult life event (through their choices or not), but actually this problem does not begin with a difficult life event.

It is during adolescence and through teen years that most young people begin questioning things they’ve been taught. This can be because their parents routinely used phrases like “because I told you so”, or it can be because they are being confronted by other young people with questions they have never seriously considered.

When a child is very young, if they want to know “why” this or that, you can give them a reason, and without fully working through that answer, they often accept that as a valid answer simply because they trust you. Assuming you are answering out of loving concern for them, there isn’t really anything wrong with this.

But later, as they grow up, they will be confronted with difficult questions, and at some point, they will ask with the sense of “I wonder if Mom or Dad was just wrong”.

During this time, if Mom or Dad (or some other adult they trust) is unwilling to engage the question at a deeper level, and have a genuine discussion, the young person will begin to conclude that Mom or Dad might be wrong, and because they were wrong this time, then that must mean other answers they gave in the past must also be doubted. And off they set on this path to work through these questions on their own, with influences other than Mom or Dad.

All of this is very normal, of course. But it’s helpful for us to see this trend is very real so we can recognize that there may have been a point in time when we could have taken their questions seriously, but having chosen not to engage them in those difficult conversations, we see our kids asking question assuming the things they’ve been taught are simply wrong.

Critical Thinking

Ultimately, this process is called critical thinking. Asking questions about fundamental assumptions. This isn’t a bad thing, but without being engaged in a true discussion or even debate, it is likely many of the conclusions will lack necessary and even critical information or perspective.

To state it another way, if a person is considering two wrong perspectives and never happens to consider another more correct perspective, then they are unlikely to draw valid (true) conclusions. So, if we are unwilling or unable to engage these questions thoughtfully, we are essentially depriving them of the perspective we have learned through our own life experience.

Firm Foundation

For some, the process of thinking critically through foundational questions can lead to a secure belief that what they had previously learned was in fact correct, or at least close to correct.

This is actually an important part of developing one’s beliefs. If one is allowed to question things and is engaged in a thoughtful, genuine discussion, then this process will usually lead to confirming beliefs.

Shifting Sands (or Liquefaction)

This idea of revisiting foundational understanding of things is not reserved for young people, though that is a time in life when the foundation is often either solidified or it becomes destabilized.

Since most people don’t like to engage questions they don’t struggle with themselves, it is not at all uncommon that these questions, or unsatisfactory answers, will lead to other more fundamental questions. This cascading effect can result in a complete tumbling of all basic beliefs about life, like a house of cards.

“Deconstructionism”

There are a set of beliefs that usually find themselves as foundational to the rest of life. Usually, these beliefs are matters of faith, often called “religious beliefs”.

It is these beliefs, on which the “issues of life” hinge, that are usually responsible for that liquefaction effect.

As these beliefs are questioned, without satisfactory answers or genuine engagement, a level of distrust grows, and the more difficult it becomes to have a constructive conversation or debate.

The term “deconstructionism” has been applied to this fundamental turning away from ones faith. However, “deconstruction” is an active voice verb, and to me, it seems to place “blame” on the one who is questioning, even to the point of passing judgment, for merely asking questions and not finding answers.

Actually, if judgment is to be passed, in my opinion, it should be passed on those who failed to engage the difficult questions which then resulted in this fundamental shift, this liquefaction that results in near wholesale rejection of formerly firmly held beliefs.

Where do we go from here?

The picture I paint may look rather bleak. Once someone has turned from beliefs at this foundational level, it becomes very difficult to even open the door for discussion once again.

So, what to do? Do we “write off” these “deconstructionists” as irretrievable?

Absolutely not!

This question really calls for yet another post later, but in short, we need to approach such people differently.

  • We need learn to allow our beliefs to be questioned at a level that may be uncomfortable.
  • We need to learn to begin with, “I can see where you’re coming from.”
  • We need to learn to probe our deepest understanding.
  • We need to realize that we can be wrong.
  • We need to start there.

Of course, as a Bible believing Christian, I believe truth is found in the Bible. However, I must maintain an understanding that while I do believe the Bible is the source of God’s truth, that doesn’t mean everyone will agree. And, I must also distinguish between truth in the Bible and my understanding of that truth.

And, I come back to the realization that I can be wrong. And so, while I believe scripture is inerrant, my understanding of truth found in scripture can be wrong.

When I am truly at that point, I will find myself working through difficult questions of my own, and that is when I can begin to engage someone else who is asking their difficult questions.

Let me ask you one question:

  • If what I believe is actually true, then will it harm me to probe deep questions only to find that I’ve confirmed my beliefs?

I lied. Let me ask one more question:

  • If, after probing deep questions, I conclude that my understanding was wrong, and I then have opportunity to refine my understanding, then am I not on more firm ground than I was before?

Fears or Doubts?

The real question isn’t what to do about people who ask questions.

The real question is, why is it that we are not willing to ask these of ourselves?

I submit that it is either because of unspoken fear of being wrong or unspoken doubt.

As for me, I would rather ask questions and engage in genuine discussion in order to come to firm conclusions than to live without a true foundation only to find that an earthquake results in total liquefaction followed by total collapse.

Because the Bible says so…

As I’ve stated, I am a Bible believing Christian. And, I believe God’s Word is without error, meaning (in layman’s terms) that what God says in His Word, the 66 books of the Bible, is absolutely true and reliable.

The critical thing is that you can’t merely reply “because the Bible says so” if you’ve acknowledged that it’s possible your understanding of what the Bible actually says might be wrong.

And so, where questions of faith are concerned, what I am actually pursuing is a correct understanding of God’s Word.

For me, having already decided that I believe God’s Word to be the authority for the questions that matter, this becomes my pursuit.

I will dive further into this pursuit in a future post.

Final Thoughts…

Consider those who question your beliefs noble.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Acts 17:11 (ESV)

Be ready to give an answer.

“… but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect …”

1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)

New Chapters…

On October 10, 2021, the page turned, mid-sentence, and a new chapter was started.

And as some chapter transitions, this one has been as abrupt as Dawn and I have ever experienced… And we’ve experienced a few.

We are not unfamiliar with abrupt new chapters. Most of you who know us know that both Dawn and I were widowed 22 and 19 years ago (respectively). Being widowed was undoubtedly the most abrupt new chapter that neither of us was anticipating…

In fact, most chapters of life seem to be surprises rather than direct choices.

In 2009, we found out I was laid off after nearly 23 years of loyal service. This layoff lasted 16 months. It was a different kind of test than when we were widowed. When our spouses died, we knew what we needed to do, as difficult as it was. We needed to pick up the pieces and continue living life. But with unemployment, particularly with children to take care of, just getting up the next day and going through a routine was not enough. We had to face serious questions about whether we would (eventually) lose the house we were building, and consider what drastic measures we might need to take in order to care for our family.

Then, only a few years ago, Dawn found out that her Mom has a particular type of dementia (Frontotemporal Dementia) that is not “forgetting”, but it primarily shows itself over time as a profound inability to communicate. Both her expressive language (speaking and writing) and her receptive language (auditory and reading) have both been deteriorating over time. This has been accompanied by mood changes and sadness because her Mom has become increasingly “locked” inside of herself. Knowing what she’s thinking, but completely unable to put ideas into words and completely unable to understand words spoken to her. And, Dawn’s sister has become their Mom’s primary care-giver, and is dealing with the bulk of this new chapter pretty much on her own.

And, then in February of this year, my Mom died, after struggling with deteriorating lung issues for several years. And only 4 days later, on Feb 6th, my brother, Dan, died after having COVID, but he died when his kidneys ultimately failed after two extended hospital stays. Once again, a chapter has turned, though it is arguably very different.

Yes, we could go into the details of each of these turns of the chapter, but that’s not really my purpose today. My purpose is to recognize that new chapters in life are part of life. Some new chapters are decisions we make, such as getting married or having children. Or even consequences of decisions we make. Or consequences of decisions others make that impact us. But we don’t see those as turns of a chapter in the same way as we see when the end of a chapter is written totally outside of our control.

There are many things in life that turn the chapter, outside of our control. Sometimes we can live for years, even decades, without an imposed turn of the chapter. And sometimes, the chapters seem to turn every year or faster.

You have those page turns in your life as well, where the next page abruptly begins a new chapter. Or more precisely, where the turn of the page closes an old chapter, abruptly.

This brings me to October 10, 2021. Dawn and I had been sick here at home, and working our way to health, but that Sunday, Dawn suffered a left-brain stroke in the language processing center that has left her somewhat physically challenged (though functioning pretty well), but it is aphasia, her inability to speak or write the words she wants to say, that has forced a sudden and rather harsh turn of the chapter.

If you read back through the blogs she wrote in these past years, you’ll see she loved to write, to share her thoughts. She loved to work with children especially those with special needs. To speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. These things are Dawn’s passions.

Yet today, it is Dawn who cannot speak for herself. Yes, she continues to work to recover ability to speak, and I am confident that given enough time, Dawn will be able to speak much more fluently again. But we are definitely living out a new chapter.

I’m writing today not to solicit sympathy, but because I’ve learned some things through these turns of the chapter.

  1. God has provided for us in unexpected and indescribable ways through each turn of the chapter. Though these changes have not been without immense challenge.
  2. These changes, with the challenges they bring, have not left us unchanged. They have challenged who we are, what we expect in life, and who we trust.

I write this blog today because these are some of the major turns of the page that have shaped Dawn and I. And, because I plan to write more in the future to address some particularly challenging questions that I (we) have seen others struggle with. Questions that could have been challenging to us; however, most of these did not turn out to be the questions we asked or at least the ones we struggled with.

Many wise people have observed, it is not the difficulties you face in life that determine who you are. Rather it is your response to those difficulties. Actually, those difficulties directly force a response, and so they are much more active than passive in the shaping of character.

Dawn and I are living out a new chapter, together. It’s not an easy road, but it’s the road we’re on. And while she is unable to speak for herself, I must speak on her behalf…

Fall in Love with Fall

I realize it is only mid-August. I know we are still in the heat of summer. On really humid days, when I am melting into a puddle of sweat, it can still seem like the seventh circle of Hell.

I remind myself that in only a little over a month it will be FALL. Fall is my favorite season of the year. I love candles and cozy. Sweaters and pumpkin spice. Leaves and a chill in the air. The home decor YouTube bloggers are already starting their “Fall Hauls” after shopping at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and Target. I expect the Fall home tours to be beginning shortly. Pinterest is exploding with Autumn bucket lists, and how to make your home cozy. Y’all, I live for this stuff.

The other day I bought two new Fall colored blankets, orange and yellow. They will look so warm and cozy on our brown leather furniture. I also bought an Autumn leaf wreath. I am not sure where I will put the wreath, but I am confident I will figure out the perfect spot.

“For cryin’ out loud”, you are probably thinking. This woman is crazy. She is obviously suffering from heat stroke. She thinks it is October. Someone, quick! Throw her in the pool. Give her an iced tea to sip. Snap out of it!

I admit, I have Fall fever. I am counting down the days until September when I can decorate for Autumn and people won’t think I have a problem.

Eyes Wide Open

I am going to talk about a subject today that will bother some, maybe even make some angry. That is okay. I am going to talk about it anyway. For the last decade I have been talking about human trafficking and sex trafficking. I have had people ask me why I am so passionate about this topic. Believe me when I say, I didn’t choose this fight. It chose me. This particular topic is vile, ugly, and cruel. Children as young as newborns are beaten and sodomized for the sick pleasure of the most evil among us….and make no mistake they ARE among us.

The mother was known as the town “whore”. She was a full fledged alcoholic. I don’t know when it became okay in this woman’s mind to give her 11 year old daughter to her numerous “boyfriends” and in return have them pay her in alcohol. Her young daughter’s innocence was equal to a bottle of Jim Beam. The person in this world that was supposed to love her and protect her more than anyone, sold her for liquor.

The nine year old boy was sexually abused by his grandfather, who was also his father. You see, this boys mother was sexually abused by her own father and had given birth to this boy. They grew up in a cycle of sexual abuse to the point of it being “normal”. Even when child services got involved, and court hearings were held, it didn’t stop. Mother was told not to let her child around this man. But, this woman was broken…so broken. When her own father raped her over and over again and nothing happened, she gave up. Now, she and her child suffer the pain of living with generational abuse.

The little girl was about five years old when her older male neighbor molested her. She was confused. What was happening? Don’t tell. This is our secret. The girl grew up, living with the memory of her trauma, wondering why SHE was chosen by this man? Wondering if she was the only one?

The boy became a man. He made bad choices and poor decisions. He found himself going down a road that he probably never meant to go down. Wickedness in the heart and a seared conscience would allow him to do things he never imagined. He hooked up with a woman that had a pre-school age daughter. They hatched a plan to sell “time” with the little girl. How evil must one be, to plan to give a young child to grown men to be raped? A pre-schooler. Thankfully, an undercover FBI agent stopped this plan, and the two deviants went to prison. In this case, the girl was saved, but this kind of thing happens all too frequently. Family members pimping out their own children for money or drugs.

Every. Single. Day. I see stories in the news about local, national, and international sex-trafficking of children. Businessmen, school superintendents, police officers, meteorologists, school teachers, pastors/priests, politicians, entertainers, and athletes. Wherever there are children, these people are there. Not everyone is an abuser of children, I know that….but, and this is a big but…..there are more of these deviant people out there than you could ever imagine. You are no longer allowed to say, “This doesn’t effect me”, “I choose to keep my head buried in the sand”, or “It is too awful to think about”. The children of the world are at risk, now more than ever. Don’t turn a blind eye to this pandemic of sex-trafficking and abuse.

#eyeswideopen #thesepeopleareeverywhere #saveourchildren

Operation Underground Railroad https://ourrescue.org/,

Vets for Child Rescue–Craig Sawyer https://www.vets4childrescue.org/,

Women at Risk International https://warinternational.org/,

International Justice Mission https://www.ijm.org/,

Simply Earth Essential Oils-give 13% of their monthly profits to organizations that fight human trafficking https://simplyearth.com/,https://simplyearth.com/pages/our-cause#OurPartners

Other organizations international/national, https://www.state.gov/international-programs-to-combat-trafficking-in-persons-3/, https://www.childwelfare.gov/organizations/?CWIGFunctionsaction=rols:main.dspList&rolType=Custom&RS_ID=57

I’m Back!

Y’all, I have thought about my blog on and off throughout this year. In the past, I was blogging all the time and loved it. I still love writing and blogging, but I’ll be honest, this past year has gone by so quickly and has been so busy that I was always just too tired to put my thoughts together to blog (and have it make sense). The last time I posted was nearly a year ago. Oh, my! I said all this to say, I am back. Hopefully, all my long time followers will find it a pleasant surprise that I have returned to blogging and plan on posting regularly once again. Maybe, I will get some new followers also.

I am currently sitting in the kitchen. I have home decorating shows from YouTube playing on the TV. Yes, it is a guilty pleasure. I love watching decor shows. My husband indulges my love of decorating. Although, he probably could not care less if we have fall colored sofa pillows or a burnt orange throw blanket. I know you are probably wondering why it is mid-August and I am already thinking of Fall. It is a thing, people. The home decorators are already doing their “Fall Hauls” from Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and Kirklands. I may or may not have just purchased a rust colored blanket for the couch. Don’t judge.

School, in my county, is not starting until September 10th. This is the first year we were going to start back the day after Labor Day (planned even before the whole COVID thing), but a couple of more days were tacked on to make sure the schools are completely sanitized and all the staff is ready for our new COVID world. I am an intervention specialist (a.k.a special education teacher) with some high school students. All I can say is that the start of this school year will feel odd, unlike anything I have ever experienced in my thirty years of teaching. I am planning on still having fun with my students regardless of masks, sanitizing, and social distancing.

Can I tell y’all something? It is not that I liked being “locked down” for several weeks this past Spring, but there was something nice about not having to be anywhere. Life had become a race to be places and get things done, and being forced to slow down and stay home was not horrible. Mind you, I didn’t want to stay that way forever because after a while I wanted to see people and share some moments. I don’t want social distancing to become social isolation…for any of us. We need each other now, more than ever. What did you think about being forced to stay at home?

During the summer I also complete assessments for local homeschooling families. I am currently in the process of reorganizing my schoolroom/office area. This is no small task. I have accumulated a lot in all my years of teaching/consulting/assessing. When I say “a lot” I mean a dump truck full of stuff give or take. Maybe in another 10 years, I will gift my teaching stuff to families that will use it to continue growing life long learners. I am thankful for all the years I have been blessed to teach. It has been and continues to be, a great gig.

I am excited to be back! See you soon.

Being Seen

Last week there was a knock at my door. The dogs were going crazy. I glanced out the kitchen window and saw an orange jeep in the driveway. I don’t know anyone with an orange jeep. I figured I’d find out, as I walked to the laundry room door, keeping my barking, maniac dog at bay.

“Are you Dawn?”, a kind face asked. “Yes”, I replied. The woman introduced herself as she handed me a container full of cookies. “You like cookies, I hope?”. “Yes, I do”.

“I left my husband doing yard work at home”, she said with a smile. “I told him I was going to meet Dawn”. I felt humbled. Truth is, it was nice to meet her.

This woman standing on my porch, is the bus driver on my rural road. Even though I no longer have school age children, I would always be outside feeding the horse and chickens in the early morning hours when she went by. She would cheerily honk the bus horn at me and I would wave. I never saw her face. I didn’t know her name. I did know that she made me smile each morning as we both participated in our regular morning routine.

As the school year was drawing to an end, and summer break was awaiting, I decided to send her a card through the school transportation department. I just wanted her to know I appreciated her. I wanted her to know that something as simple as a friendly bus horn honk each morning made me happy. It made me glad to live on a country road.

I am trying to be more mindful of my interactions with people. A smile to someone, a genuine compliment, an act of kindness. We are all in this life together, and sometimes it is just the simple act of “seeing” someone else that can have a profound effect.

365 Days…

Some days can seem so very long, the click of the passing minutes echoing like a time bomb. On those days I think, “I just want this day done”! Other times, the moments slip through my grasp like tiny grains of sand. I want those moments back, but they are gone forever. 2018 will be complete in just a few short hours. As I think back over the months that created the year 2018, I smile and I cry. There were wonderful times and hard times. Nothing special and everything special, because isn’t that just life? Filled full of both good and bad. And yet, moments that instantly turned to memories, and I don’t want to forget.

On this New Year’s Eve I don’t want to write about parties or plans.

I just want to reach out and touch your hand.

I don’t want to worry about pain or age.

I am just happy to turn the next page.

As this year comes to an end, I want to think about how words can mend…

How love can heal, how God is good, knowing what is real, and doing what I could.

I want to consider what I can do to make 2019 better for you.

Love Of The 1940s

I’m listening to Christmas music on the day before Thanksgiving. Go figure. I told Google to play holiday music from the Big Band Era. That is just how I roll. I am also watching Holiday Home Tours on Youtube. This is how I spend my day off.

Y’all I think I missed my decade. I am in love with all things 1940’s. Of course, if I was actually an adult in the 1940s, I probably wouldn’t be alive right now so there is that……

The horribleness of war was over and it was a new chapter for America. People were ready to look ahead.

I love big band music, watching swing dance, and listening to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, and Rosemary Clooney. It is impossible to be down when one listens to this music…..Jazz and smooth velvety voices. 

Some of my favorite black and white movies are from the 1940s. The time when Hollywood was glamorous and golden. Casablanca, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Philadelphia Story, Arsenic and Old Lace, His Girl Friday, Miracle on 34th Street (the original!). I could go on and on. I really liked Jimmy Stewart…one of my favorites. 

Part of my love comes from vintage decorating. I am getting ready to decorate for Christmas this weekend, which will include my 1940s inspired decorations. My Putz houses, vintage Santa, Christmas story and hymn book from the 40’s, and an old, Italian nativity set. Although I am constantly looking at new decorating styles, there is something about the old, the vintage, the retro that pulls at me. I enjoy things that tell a story and have a history. 

Even in the 1940’s laundry had to be done. Mind you it is a lot easier today than it was then, but alas, it still must be done……so off I go. 

Enjoying The Moments

Winter has come early. Last Friday it snowed, and today we have a coating of freezing rain. The school district wisely closed for the day because things are pretty slick out there. I still got up at my regular time of 5:30am because I enjoy my morning quiet, it is my time before the rest of my family begins to stir. 

I have my hot coffee (with dairy-free almond milk vanilla creamer). I have a load of laundry going, fed all the pets and let them out to take care of business. Now, I get to sit and just enjoy… for the moment.

The front window is covered in icy freezing rain so the world looks distorted as I gaze out onto the side yard. The smaller kitchen window, protected by the deck roof gives a better view. The sky is a cold gray, smoky smudges on the outside pallet. The wind gauge is quickly spinning around telling me the breeze is going to be cold this morning on my walk over to the barn. The grass looks crunchy coated in the coolness of ice. 

Thanksgiving is just a week away. Time is quickly slipping through the hourglass, and I don’t feel ready. I haven’t shopped for the big meal yet. (How long does a turkey have to thaw again?) Anyone that knows me, knows Christmas truly is my most wonderful time of the year. I love to decorate! With that said, I also love Thanksgiving. For me, it is a time to ponder and think about the year past and all the things big and small that I am thankful for. I don’t want to forget thankfulness….gratefulness….blessings in the midst of the frantic and hectic holiday season. 

So thankful for: 

*family *a loving husband that I genuinely enjoy hanging with *my young adult children–they are good kids *my grandchildren–there is nothing better than being a grandparent *a warm house that God blessed us with 9 years ago *Warm blankets *furry friends *a full refrigerator *hot drinks *colorful socks *a comfy bed *yummy dairy-free ice cream (it doesn’t matter how cold it is, ice cream always) *friends, old and new *plans with my peeps *Christmas shopping *my mom, who is my biggest encourager and without whom I would not be the woman I am today *my sister whose funny texts keep me laughing *my master’s degree *my students that make me smile, and their families that make me feel like part of the family *

My cup runneth over…

Storming The Gates Of Hell

closed eyed man holding his face using both of his hands

Photo by Ric Rodrigues on Pexels.com

“I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16 NET Bible

The enemy of our souls is real. The Father of Lies has wanted to deceive and disturb, confuse and kill since those poisonous words were first uttered in the Garden.

dry animal gift dangerous

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There is a supernatural battle going on all around us. We often cannot see it with our eyes, but instead feel it with our spirit. It is just as real as you and I. Don’t be fooled and lulled into a sense of apathy.

11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers,against the authorities,against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore take up the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground…. Ephesians 6:11-13 

Are you ready for spiritual warfare? Satan comes to kill and destroy. Do you have people in your life that you are willing to storm the gates of Hell, for?

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*A child that turned his back on you and your beliefs?

*A marriage that is on the rocks? Trust destroyed?

*A loved one who is in the clutches of alcohol or drug abuse?

*Someone who feels suicide is the only way out of a situation?

*You or someone you know who is eaten up with guilt or self-hatred over a secret sin?

*Guilt and pain from abortion? Constant reminders of the child that was never born?

*Self-injury?

*Abuse?

*Failures

*Health Issues? Pain?

*Lives torn apart through a divorce?

*Anger….hatred…..words that cut like a knife?

We are all dealing with things, or know someone who is. Prayer is powerful. It is not “the last resort”, as some would believe, but is instead direct communication with God Himself.

Things change when people pray. Your words uttered in private are heard. They are not forgotten, nor disregarded.

Suit up. Get ready for battle.

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