Tag Archives: reflective

Oldies But Goodies

Hour glassSometimes it’s good to just take a look back at your life and what you have gone through and/or what you have accomplished so you can properly appreciate where you are now or perhaps make life adjustments as you continue on down life’s road.  That’s probably why Throw Back Thursdays are so popular; you get to see snippets of your own or someone else’s past in pictures.  Sometimes those snapshots take you right back to where you were, what song might have been playing, or who you were with.  At times, however, it could just be one big old embarrassing blast from the past that you would just as soon forget about.

I have been going through some of the older blog posts I had posted over the past couple of years.  Reflected below are ten that may make you smile, grimace or even ponder…enjoy!

Getting High and Loving It
Heads Up!
Illuminate Us O Lord
Living The Trashy Life
Lookie What I Did!
Perfect Imperfections
Squirrel!!
Sshhh…Listen
Trapped in an Antique Mall
Well, That’s Not Fair!!

Forty

forty

The number forty has always been a very significant number in biblical history.  Moses was up on the mountain with God for forty days and nights and came back down with ten little laws to live by…well, at least to keep the Israelites in line–the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 34:28)  It rained for forty days and nights and flooded the earth.  Can you imagine what the dew point level was when Noah landed on Mount Ararat? (Genesis 7:1-24) The grumbling Israelites wandered through the desert for forty years until the entire generation of grumblers had perished. (Numbers 14:26-35)  Prior to the beginning of his ministry, even Jesus fasted and prayed forty days while being tempted by Satan in the wilderness.  Just think what will power Jesus must have had to fast for forty days while the devil is holding up their version of a Big Mac and fries?! (Matthew 4:1-11)

Fast forward to the 21st century and the number forty is still a major milestone in our lives for it marks the unofficial “end” of our chronological youth and a large misstep into maturity.  That’s right boys and girls; it marks the end of your association with the “in crowd” as you cross over to the “Over-the-Hill” gang…It begins so innocently with all things black and unique gift ideas that include: Preparation H, denture cream, denture cleaner, walkers, canes, wheelchairs…I don’t have time for an exhaustive list but you get the idea.  This “special” birthday usually ends in a severe case of depression, re-evaluation of your life and staring directly into the bright light of the oncoming train called midlife crisis.  It’s that time of life when things that happen to “other people” begin to happen to you!  The sad thing is, I’ve already had that special birthday plus enough years to make up a legal high school graduate…(OK, for those of you who are trying to figure this out…40+18=?)

Hhhmmm…where was I?…Oh yeah…high school graduate and another “forty” event.  This evening on August 12th, 2016 at Burr Oak lodge in Ohio, folks will be kicking off the Fortieth high school reunion for the Nelsonville-York class of 1976—GO BUCKEYES!  This weekend is sure to be packed with a lot of fun memories and life stories and even though I won’t be physically present, I WILL be there in spirit.

The year 1976 was of course our country’s bicentennial year and even though our school colors were brown, off white, and orange (blame my brother’s class for picking those stupid colors minus the orange…) we had to graduate in bicentennial red, white, and blue.  It was the age of vinyl records and vinyl platform shoes, of bell bottom jeans and leisure suits.  And as I look back, it was also an age of confusion.

I have to smile as I think back of how serious we were in high school; trying to make those good grades, attempting to fit in and just survive until graduation day came along.  We had our jocks, cheerleaders, brainiacs, bandy’s, the cool kids, and of course “the others” which had to be placed in the miscellaneous category.  We had the ones that were “all that”…I didn’t know what “all that” was but I was sure I didn’t have it, didn’t know where to find it, and didn’t even know whether it was contagious…

I remember vividly thinking on our special day, after the diplomas were handed out, “oh crap, what now”?…life my friend…and so it was that our graduating class was dispersed in the winds to work, go to college, start raising families and to find out who we really were without a secure support system.

The first few class reunions after graduation seemed to be a five year regrouping of the jocks, cheerleaders, brainiacs, bandy’s, the cool kids, and of course “the others”.  By now, reunions seem to be more like survivalist camps for we have all survived a few decades of life with all its’ possibilities, realities, pain, joy and regret.  Many of us have been forever changed by illness and loss but have also been able to smile and continue on with the support of our loved ones.  Most of us by now have had children and grandchildren and are thrilled to watch the next generations play their part in this big family called humanity.

But guess what Class of 76?  We are not dead yet!  We are not finished playing our role in this dramatic play called life.  Only God knows what He holds for our futures but I bet we have a few more “forty” experiences ahead of us.  Our careers may be winding down in the next few years or so but our responsibility to be good examples for our future generations still needs to be as strong as ever.  As for me, God willing, it will be a fortieth wedding anniversary in a few years.  I’m just trying to make sure the number forty doesn’t pop up around the waist…

graduationpic

 Psalm 103:17-18 (NLT)  But the love of the LORD remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!

Luke 1:50 (NLT) He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him.

Awakening

Sunrise

Have you ever had something bad happen to you but in the end, became a blessing in disguise?  We may all have had such occurrences that we just chock up to a “happy accident” or perhaps a strange coincidence.  Such was the case in a rather recent adventure I’ve been on.

Somehow, sometime around two months ago, I injured my lower back.  Who knows how I did it but my lower back suddenly screamed for attention and was relentless in getting its’ own way.  I made an appointment with the doctor and he said basically to “take it easy” and if it got worse, he would prescribe something for the pain.  I went home wishing I could put the doctor in a little pain.  Finding my medical professional to be less than helpful, I thought I would try a different approach and asked my daughter if she knew a good chiropractor in the area.  After polling her friends, she gave me a couple of suggestions and I landed on one that seemed to be pretty reputable.  Having no prior experience with a chiropractor, I knew this would be a memorable experience.

I went for my first appointment where they poked, prodded, measured and x-rayed this not so perfect specimen of a body and announced they could help me with the pain along with my out of alignment situation and a few other “since you are getter older” scenarios.  The next appointment, the chiropractor began the vertebrae manipulations along with electrical stimulation for the back.  After about a week, the lower back started to feel better; after two weeks, something else started going on.

One of the areas he was working on was the C2 vertebra that was a little kinked.  During every visit as a course of treatment, he would have me lie on my back while he maneuvered my neck followed by a quick pause and a subsequent cracking sound as he jerked my neck this way or that.  (I still subconsciously check my extremities for paralysis after that manipulation).

I have been totally deaf on my right side for the past fifteen years due to Meniere’s disease which I mentioned in my blog post, “Sshhh…Listen”.  A couple of weeks after the neck manipulations began, I noticed when I used a cotton swab in my right ear there was a slight sensory response.  I didn’t think anything about it until it became more pronounced the next time and I also thought I could hear a little something from time to time.  It got to the point where I was convinced I could actually start hearing a little from my right ear and made an appointment for a hearing test.  Sure enough, I was at fifty-two percent or better and eligible for a hearing aid to make up the difference.  You see, my auditory nerves were in a dormant state until the vertebrae manipulations began to stimulate the nerves and made them active once again!  WOW, talk about a two-fer!  I had a sound back AND my hearing restored?!  All it took was the right stimulation to awaken what I thought was permanently dead!

This experience made me think about our spiritual lives.  So many people today are walking around either spiritually dead or sleep walking while wasting the time God has given them to be the best for Him.  And instead of Meniere’s disease causing their deafness, it is sin in their lives that deadens the sound of His “still small voice”.  We get so caught up in our own wants that we block out anything or anyone else that goes against our wishes.  So what do we do?  What kind of stimulus do we need to wake us up from this ungodly slumber we seem to be in?  I have an idea; open your eyes and look all around you!  We are living in the last days folks and all you have to do is turn on the news to see what’s going on.  This world and our country are in a complete political and social upheaval. Recently, there was even news of an after school program called “Satan Club” aimed at elementary aged children and teaches freedom and fun as an alternative to Christian superstition and paranoia.  Does this sound any alarms to you?

Isn’t it time we stop playing church and be the church, set apart to be God’s people not entertainers?  Shouldn’t we be used by God as tools to proclaim the gospel as it actually is reflected in the bible instead of dictating to what people think they want to hear?  Yep, I’m sounding kind of preachy but I think we will be held accountable for taking the non-offensive approach to the gospel instead of doing what is right. By the way, on August 17th I get my hearing aid so I can once again hear life in the full and in stereo!  Isn’t it time to awaken from your slumber so YOU can fully hear what God has in store for you?

Mark 4:9 (NASB) — And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Revelation 3:1-3 (NIV) — To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Mirror, Mirror

mirrorSometimes when I’m driving around our neighborhood, it seems like everyone has disappeared even though I know someone has to be home because their cars are in the driveway and the lights are on.  We seem to be an antisocial society anymore; “won’t you be my neighbor” appears to have been replaced by “I’m busy, what do you want?”  We truly seem to be living in a “ME” driven world and have equipped our cocoons with everything to entertain and tantalize.  We have everything from cable to the internet to our very precious cell phones to keep us occupied.  It even seems like we have replaced the window glass in our homes with mirrors so we can concentrate on all of “OUR” wants and needs; forget anyone else including, at times, other family members.

What’s reflected below was primarily written for all of us as a wake up call, to heed the warning and change the priorities of our lives; God first, others second, and finally ourselves on the tail end.  Who knows; we may just get a different perspective on life standing in the back of the line looking forward…

2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NLT)  You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.  For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.  They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.  They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.

Mirror, Mirror

By Stephen R. Wilson

One more selfie, one last tweet

A glance at Facebook before I leave,

I’m dressed to impress with a killer smile

It’s all about me and my impeccable style.

I’m off to my career, I’m highly degreed

They are lucky to have me and my pedigree,

Even though I’m just starting, I demand a high pay

Entitlement is my game and I know how to play.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Who’s the fairest of them all,

I would think it must be me

For my face is the only one I see.

My parents call but have no time for such stuff

I may call them next week if they have any luck,

They said they were concerned and would pray for me

I would rather they leave me alone and let me be.

I don’t have time for Jesus or make believe

I’m doing just fine, just being me,

What would my friends think if I changed my view?

They love me the way I am and I do too.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Who’s the smartest of them all,

I used to be backward and so naïve

I proved them all wrong just look at me!

My new apartment is something to see

It has every amenity, fits me to a T,

All of this room and it’s only just me

Until I find that someone and give them a key.

Suddenly a shout and a trumpet sounds

My whole world shakes and comes crashing down,

I cry Lord, Lord save me please

“I never knew you” was the response I received.

Mirror, mirror smashed on the ground

Fragments of myself just lying around,

 I feel so lost and so very afraid

I traded my soul for a selfish charade.

Things That Go Bump in Our Lives

BAT2

Many times in our lives, unexpected events pop up out of nowhere, unnerving us and sending our routines into a tailspin.  Some of these sudden “surprises” like a call from an old friend or a gift from a loved one are very welcomed and leave us with a warmed heart and a renewed enthusiasm for life.  Most of the time however, it seems the little unforeseen dealings are much less than desirable.  Anything from getting an unexpected tax bill to a sudden hailstorm that turns your prizewinning flower garden into a new pile of mulch, life at times just leaves us as riddled as your shredded dahlias.  Often times though it’s how we handle the challenges of life that leave us still moving forward or stumbling about, off kilter and half crazed.  Here is a perfect example.

Some time ago, two of my sisters and I were visiting with our mom at her house.  Mom lived in an older ranch style house that actually betrayed its’ age on the outside but was firmly stuck in the 1970’s on the inside.  The living room was large and “L” shaped with an oversized brick fireplace with a poured concrete hearth, three inches thick; that thing was definitely a trip hazard and could have given many a grandchild a good concussion or goose egg contusion.  The walls consisted of composite plywood paneling that wrapped a medium brown hue to everything.  A multi-colored brown and rust wall to wall shag carpet rolled across the vast floor space.  Splotches of orange colored spots dotted across the carpet from decades of the sun kissing the carpet, licking at its’ fibers and discoloring sections.

Even though the kitchen was the “official” gathering place for our family, that evening found the three siblings and their mom conversing in the retro living room.  At night, the room always seemed dark regardless of the number of lights turned on, throwing shadows along the walls and corners.  That night one of those shadows seemed to move; there in the corner…it moved again.  All of a sudden, we heard a whoosh and saw a black fur ball with wings invading our air space; a bat had squeezed in somehow from a very small crack around the doorframe of the front door.  Someone screamed “BAT!!” and subsequently ducked as the little night creature once again circled around to make another die bomb maneuver.

Our mom was in her eighties at the time and needed the use of a walker to get around.  Mom was in her favorite blue rocking chair in the living room, the right wooden arm of the chair hand rubbed and worn from many years of habitual hand movements.   When mom heard “BAT!!”, she exclaimed “BAT!???” and her adrenaline took hold; she proceeded to pick up her walker, carrying it and making a silver streak towards her bedroom, slamming the bedroom door behind her and leaving her adult children behind to fend for themselves.

This wasn’t the first time my parents had had problems with these furry winged night riders so there were designated badminton or “batminton” rackets positioned above the hutch in the kitchen.  I felt around the top of the hutch until I found my weapons of choice and made my way back to the living room.  I had an impromptu cheering section as my sisters were eagerly awaiting the reluctant “hero” to rid the world of this fearsome beast.  Racket firmly in hand, I waited for the dingbat to make another pass so I could end this duel of wits or lack thereof.  Suddenly out of the shadows, a small black form came swooping my way; I had no time to think but acted out of instinct.  My left-handed backhand seemed to be sufficient as I made contact with the little beast, sending it whirling wildly towards the living room drapes; it stuck on the curtains like it had been made of Velcro.  I used both of the rackets, making a bat sandwich to secure the little rodent wannabe and proceeded to release the little rascal back into the wild.

You might be asking yourself, what does this story have to do with my daily problems? Well actually more than you think.  You see, just like in the story reflected above, many times people address problems that suddenly crop up very differently.

Some, like our mom in the story, sees a potential problem and their first instinct is to run away from it, ignore it and maybe it will go away, or to close that proverbial bedroom door and heavily breathe that sigh of relief and denial.  Most of us know that left unresolved, minor problems quickly become huge problems.

Other folks are fortunate like my sisters in the story; they get to sit back as spectators to observe and watch how someone else handles and resolve a particular problem and hopefully learn something in the process.

However, most of us are or should be in the last category; addressing the problems that arise head on.  We need to take whatever it is to the Lord in prayer.  He knows our needs better than we do and if we can’t figure out a quick fix and many times we can’t, our Lord will give us the grace and peace to work through it.  It wouldn’t really be a bad idea to pray for a little patience during this time?

It must have been the fact that I was the token male that night but I had no choice but to face the problem, in this case, the bat’s unwanted appearance and resolve the crisis so we could continue on with our daily lives.  Had I not vacated the little creature from mom’s house but instead just ignored the thing, nobody would have slept that night.

Just something to think about the next time trouble comes along and tries to make a nest in your hair.  It is better to have a few moments of anxiety and excitement that ends in resolution than to have…wait for it…bats in your belfry?

Romans 5:3-5 NLT– We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

When I Go Up

morning rainbow

This may sound a little morbid but I have been thinking more about heaven lately.  Maybe it is because of everything that is going on all around us; our world seems to be in a crazy mess.  Perhaps it is due to recent losses of loved ones.  I think it might just be the fact that the older I get, the more I feel I just don’t belong here.  And before you go down the slippery slope that I sound a little too suicidal, I have no such desire to give up and “end it all”; just the contrary.

I was raised on the pillars of honesty, integrity, respect, the love for God as well as the love for fellow man (yep, man…all inclusive…includes both male and female…get over it).  Over the past decades, these pillars have been eroded away to the point where I’m not sure anyone knows the true meaning to those above mentioned words.

And while I could use this as an excuse to give up on life, I know we still have a job to do in this world while we’re still here.  Could it be just to remind our “fellow man” that we are still in this together and perhaps to make a difference in someone’s life?  I’m not really referring to our social media intimate strangers as much as the person next door or down the street.  How well do you know your neighbor?  Not that well huh?  Maybe if we really did reach out and form a bond of friendship beginning in our neighborhood, we could begin the healing process in our community…

The old adage of “Don’t judge a book by its’ cover” has so much meaning behind it for we may all have different covered bindings but we were all written by the same Author.  Our plots or storylines may vary but isn’t that part of the excitement that we aren’t all the same?  And while we still have air in our lungs, we still have blank pages to be filled in; our novel is not complete until the Author completes the last sentence.  So that’s my challenge; to fight homesickness for heaven and do what God wants me to do while I still have the time here on earth to do it.  What about you?

2 Timothy 4:7(NIV) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

The following is in a lyric/poem form of how I feel toward the life after this one.

 

When I Go Up

Written by Stephen R. Wilson

When I was a kid and had my whole life before me

I could be anything I wanted to be,

A policeman, a cowboy, an astronaut too

I had all the time in the world to figure out what I wanted to do.

When I grow up

I want to catch the bad and protect the good,

Drive some cattle and ride the angry bulls

I want to go up and fly among the stars,

 Mercury and Mars, when I grow up.

When I grow up

I want to drive around in a bright red racing car

Be a sprinter that could run so very far,

Become a doctor that could heal the very sick

So many choices, take your pick.

When I grow up.

Now I find myself all grown up and a little past my prime

There are less days ahead than what I left behind,

But there seems to be a yearning

From somewhere deep in my soul,

That this is not my home

But somewhere up ahead there is so much more,

You see I believe that Christ died for me

On that cross at Calvary,

And when he ascended, He said He’d be back

For all those that truly believe,

 So as I remain faithful to live my life for Him

My heart is more than longing to be in heaven without sin.

When I go up

I want to see my Savior face to face

My only desire is to be in His embrace,

To hear the words I love you

Without condemnation or disgrace.

When I go up.

When I go up

I’ll get to see my loved ones who have gone on before

The sound of laughter, joy but even something more,

There will be no more hurting, no more pain

Tears will be replaced by praises to God, angel’s sweet refrain,

When I go up.

Dazed and Confused

apples

I have a little confession to make.  It has been a really tough year keeping track of the political arena and who is going to lead this country beginning next year.  And perhaps like many of you, I have had a difficult time choosing someone to stand behind.  Mentally, it has been like trying to scour through a basket full of very badly bruised and rotten apples, attempting to find that one edible orb I could possibly use.  As soon as I think I’ve found that certain one, it is tossed out of the basket and I have to start all over again.  Now we are left with what looks like a choice of two; an old Granny Smith apple with a tough wrinkled skin as well as a sour bite and a new hybrid that has not been thoroughly tested and proven to be of use in the old proverbial political pie.

Mentally, I guess I am waiting for an interruption from our regularly scheduled lives to hear something that goes a little like this.  “We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for a special announcement concerning our nation’s current political figures.  As it turns out, this was all a farce and the real political candidates were on back order but are now available for service.  We apologize for any misunderstandings this may have brought about.  We now send you back to your regularly scheduled programming currently in progress.”  Don’t criticize someone for dreaming, right?

And at the same time our national political circus is in high gear, Jenny and I have the distinct opportunity to experience another political “say what?” here in North Carolina.  Our governor has passed a bill called HB 2 (House Bill 2) commonly called the bathroom bill which basically spells out that if you were born a male, you must use the restroom marked “Men” and if you were born female, you must use the restroom marked “Women”.  What seemed like a common sense piece of legislature has become a landmark case of discrimination against transsexuals who wish to use the restroom whose reflected sex on the restroom sign they currently relate to rather than going to the restroom that matches their biological equipment.  As a result, there have been corporations threatening to either pull out of or not expand their companies in the state, musicians have cancelled concerts and the Federal Government has sued the state of North Carolina based on discrimination with the state circling the wagons with a countersuit.  All over the equipment God gave us versus the equipment we wished we had?  Really?  No wonder we feel dazed and confused sometimes…

When I was growing up as the youngest of six until the time we moved and joined the “flushable” society when I was eight, we too had a choice concerning going to the restroom.  You see, down the brick path past the coal house and large cherry tree sat the “outhouse”, complete with two different sized holes.  Depending on the size of your accumulated assets, you either used one or the other.  And because of the rather pungent undesirable aroma and at times, stray wasp, there was no hording bathroom time; you came and went as fast as possible and hoped no one saw you.  Alas, simpler times…

Today, we would probably be offered free counseling for going through such a horrid ordeal, plus new government housing so we wouldn’t have to live in such deplorable conditions again and maybe a new custom built bathroom with an upgraded toilet all provided by the US government complete with an apology.

So what am I saying exactly?  Perhaps this; in the Declaration of Independence it begins with, “We the People” incorporating ALL peoples of this great country, not just those screaming the loudest, or has the most money, or has the support of those holding the most funds.  And while the government is dictating “common core” upon our children in our schools, I am looking for a leader to come forward with their own “common core” of beliefs.  First of all, the common decency to live a life that can be scrutinized and yet come through with his or her integrity intact.  A person who has the common sense to not bow to the whims of special interest groups, to not set themselves up to be palpably pleasing to the political palates and appetites of super packs, rather have the courage to go against the flow in order to represent ALL Americans.  And I would hope they would have the common courtesy of cherishing integrity over entitlement.

I know it is a tall order but nothing is impossible.  Maybe first we, as a nation, need to read the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights again.  There is a slogan going around this year “Make America Great Again”…really?  How about “Make America Accountable Again”, beginning with those at the top and letting it filter down to the everyday Joe.  Let US (you and I) be accountable for doing the right thing, for meeting the needs of others when you see a need instead of thinking someone else will step in.  Maybe for once, we can be accountable for our own actions and addictions instead of blaming others?  And maybe we can still hold on to the mindset our forefathers had.  Come on, you can still read it on MOST of our currency.  In God We Trust?  Just sayin…

I know we have a long way to go and maybe I am just cleaning off my rose colored glasses before placing them firmly back on this face of denial but I do still have hope for our country AND for each other.  I know, opinions are like belly buttons; everybody has one (unless they have been surgically augmented).  I am just hoping when it comes time for the inauguration, they don’t mistakenly play “Send in the Clowns”, instead of “Hail to the Chief”.

 

Proverbs 14:11-1211 The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish. 12 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.