~reflections~musings~inspirations~insights~and life lessons learned by one who is
whole-heartedly, steadfastly, firmly in HIS grip~

Romans 1:6 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Johnny Appleseed's Christmas Lesson

My grandson, Hunter, is in a reading contest at school. Each week the books become larger and more complicated. Every Wednesday afternoon he takes time to read a little bit to anyone who will listen. This past week he brought home Johnny Appleseed. You remember the story... old Johnny traveled across the United States planting apple trees so people would have food and shade? It’s even rumored he wore his cooking pot on his head for a hat. It is hard to separate truth from myth where this American legend is concerned.

Hunter and I looked on line and found a little factual information about the man born as John Chapman. He was a pioneer nurseryman, who planted apple trees across Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. His legend began while he was alive due to his generous spirit and leadership in conservation. Hunter thought it was so cool that Johnny Appleseed was a missionary. He said, “That’s why he was generous, huh Granna?”

We are all a bit like Johnny Appleseed, aren’t we? In our every day life our every day actions are planting seeds. Seeds of hope, trust, compassion, generosity, kindness, forgiveness, snippets of God’s Word…all seeds of the faith… sewn in words and deeds.

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas fosters the feeling of responsibility to provide for the poor, feed the hungry, and in general a heightened sense of compassion and generosity. Christians and non-Christians alike drop change into Salvation Army kettles in the front of stores and on street corners through out the country. Old coats are gathered, cleaned and made ready for redistribution. Extra canned goods and non-perishable items are purchased and dropped in boxes placed in rows by cash registers in local stores and in church lobbies. Paper Angels with a child’s name and pertinent information are plucked from trees in malls across the nation and toys are purchased, wrapped and dropped off in time for a less fortunate family to experience the Christmas they always dreamed of having.

It would be a wonderful world if everyone everywhere were about the business of sewing the seeds of faith, love, and hope but sadly, that’s not the case. Seeds of a more ominous kind are also sewn in deeds, words, and actions…or lack there of…seeds of despair, hopelessness, discouragement, anger, apathy…seeds of hate...sewn intentionally or by careless conduct…especially during this season set aside for love and generosity.

An unkind word to a cashier that doesn’t check you out fast enough, a look of disgust or revulsion to the stranger on the street who just wants enough change to buy a dollar hamburger, a grumble to the store associate who informs you that what you want is no longer available or if available, not for the sale price; the fist raised at the person who cut you off in traffic or took the parking spot you waited on for ten minutes, the beat of impatience tapped out by a foot directed toward the person who needs a price check or doesn’t have enough money in the check-out line in front of you… grumpiness, irritability, and grouchiness because there is too much to do and not enough time to do it in… the scenarios could go on forever.

It has become an American holiday tradition…this busyness of the season…running to and fro…shopping, wrapping, decorating, cooking…giving. Add to that practice for the Christmas cantata or play, the additional dinners and programs at school and church…the holiday dinner party; and even we who profess Christ can get caught up in the hustle and bustle and brush past someone who needs nothing more than a mere smile, a word of encouragement…an act of patience…a Merry Christmas.

Over the next couple of weeks I pray we keep our eyes open and our hearts prepared to see the soil God has set before us. That we plant seeds which will draw all we come in contact with into a closer relationship with Him. That if they do not know our Savior, it is in our actions, words, and deeds they get a glimpse of the One who is truly the reason for the season. May His light not only shine upon you...but through you this Christmas.

Matthew 25:40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’” KJV

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Here I sit at 3:30 on Thanksgiving morning with my first cup of coffee in hand. I love this holiday and woke up early so I could steal a little time alone. In a few hours the place will be filled to overflowing with friends and family. The house has been properly scrubbed from crisp white ceilings to shinny hardwood floors. The cobwebs have all been swept away and the dogs bathed and warned to be on their best behavior. The children’s goodie bags have been put together and color pages, puzzles, and mazes printed out. Pies and cakes have been baked and casseroles prepared and stashed in the fridge. In just a few minutes the bread will be rising and the turkey all dressed and in the oven.

In about an hour the boys will arrive for their annual Thanksgiving hunt. This year it must be ducks since they are taking Bruno along. Jimmy started the tradition when Richard was twelve. Now the hunt includes nephews, grandsons, and this year since Jake is still in training a handful of his friends are stepping up to take his place. They will be back around noon, cold, happy and hungry…sneaking a taste of this and a taste of that before showering, dressing for dinner, and turning on football.

I can not help but think of Psalm 34:8 “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.” KJV

We have another family tradition in the Kyzer compound Thanksgiving Day festivities. Everyone goes around the table at tells what they are thankful for and Psalms 100 is read. Jake was the first to read it…his idea when he was nine. His class had to memorize it for school one year and he fell in love with the scripture. When his turn came around, he stood up and said, “I am thankful that I don’t have to read this…but I want to read it"…and proceeded. My big brother, the Baptist minister, could have preached a sermon and almost did during the prayer! This year, for the first time, our seven year old grandson, Hunter, will be doing the reading.

We will definitely feel the void with Jake’s absence this year. I am almost positive the chow hall turkey and trimmings can not compare to his mama’s. smiling here… However, we know that the miles that separate us can not separate our hearts and our family is together in spirit.

My heart is full this day of thanksgiving…this day to share love…this day of joy and my soul sings to the Savior who rescued me…while I was in my worst state. He who showers me with blessings… and as I look into the faces of the 23 adults and 9 children…I will be reminded of that eternal love.

The things and people I am thankful for this year are far too numerous to be named here, but rest assured your name is among them. Happy Thanksgiving…I pray our Lord smiles upon you and yours as we enter this season of hope…this season of love. God bless you all.

Psalms 100
1) Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands,2) Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing.3) Know ye that the Lord, He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves: we are the sheep of His pasture.4) Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.5) For the Lord is good: His mercy is everlasting: and His truth endureth to all generations.~KJV

Friday, November 21, 2008

Conversation Is Art

Conversation is a subtle art. Words joined together to make sentences that meander along paths of thought, winding around unexpected corners of love, up little hills of anxiety, and at times plunging into deep valleys of fear or despair. Sometimes participants in this art run smack-dab into an utterance that contains a treasure so wonderful… that one grabs hold of it and stuffs it in a pocket for safe keeping. Expressions to be brought out time and again to relive emotions associated with mere words. That’s how I wound up sitting on a bridge back in the late 1950’s overlooking a babbling brook.

I intended to be there just a few minutes. I wanted to pick up my guitar and grab a couple snap shots of my daddy’s antique Gibson. Many of my happy childhood memories are wrapped around that old guitar. Daddy would sing and play to relieve his stress or entertain us kids while Mom was cooking dinner. We loved when he and his brother played their guitars and my aunts would sing at family get-togethers. Then there were the times when my little sister would bring out her saxophone and my brother would tap out a beat…precious, sweet memories. We were reminiscing about those times. Talking about how he should really play for his great grandchildren more since they spend so much time at his house and our conversation began its journey.

He talked of playing the guitar when he was young… of living in the boarding house where he met my mother. He told stories of dates, of their wedding, of their first house, of jobs…stories I had heard a hundred times. Then our discussion took a little detour…to a brook located along an old country road. He had taken my mother, his two children and her daughter to visit his parents. They had only been dating six months or so…but if you would have asked my granny, she would have told you they were destined to be married.

While the children were napping my parents went for a walk. Strolling along, hand-in-hand, he said he was thinking how pretty she was, what a great personality she had, and how she treated his children with love and respect… like they were her own. When they came upon the brook they sat down on the bridge to try and skip some rocks and talk. They were looking out over the water… just talking… when she placed her hand upon his shoulder and told him how beautiful it was there.

“That was when I knew I was in trouble.” He said. “I thought to myself, uh-oh, here I go again.” It was the moment he fell in love with her.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Only Christ can save the lost.
But still we spread the gospel at all cost.
Every life could be made whole...every need met.
Delivery of the enslaved is certain…when we simply cast the net.
If we follow the Lord’s command to go, teach, and do…
Every tongue, every nation, every land could be impacted because of me & you.
Now love, energy, prayer, money and time is all we need invest.
The day of the Lord is at hand...the fields are ripe for harvest.

Matthew 28:19,20 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen ~NKJ

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

He Hid My Keys!

We are in the second part of ‘severe weather’ season here in Arkansas and the above picture is a storm cloud recently spotted over the Kyzer Compound. I heard a statistic recently that stated we have had over eighty tornadoes this year. The average is about twenty-something. It reminded me of another small miracle.

I have always been a bit frightened to spend the night at home alone. I’ve traveled all over the world and stayed in hotel after hotel until they blended into one homogenized brand. Never once was I afraid in those places filled with people. But…put me in my own house, out in the country, all by myself, in the dark… the dogs start barking, the cows bellowing, the owls hooting, the coyote’s howling…and the hair on the back of my neck stands up. Needless to say, I have had some serious prayer sessions during those few times.

Several years ago Jimmy was traveling a lot between Ester, Missouri and North Little Rock, Arkansas picking up plants for wholesale. It must have been around Spring Break because on this particular trip he decided to take Jake along with him. I had been working grueling hours on a new marketing campaign was looking forward to some alone time and peace and quite. I stopped at a drive through on my way home and after checking and locking all the doors and windows headed up stairs to eat, read, and watch television.

I must have fallen asleep quite early because at ten o’clock I was startled awake by the weather alert system on television and the weather man describing a tornado touching down in Little Rock...just twenty miles west and it was heading my way! “Stay calm, stay calm…first thing is…I have to get to safety. Do I hide in the stairwell closet? What if something happened and no one found me?” So I did what any “good southern girl” would do…I called Daddy. My parents live half a mile away and if anything happened at least we would be together. I grabbed my purse, briefcase, shoes and sweats and headed downstairs.

By the time I reached the kitchen I was finally dressed and reached into my purse for my keys. They were not there! I rummaged through my briefcase, not there either. Most who know me, know I have this thing about my keys…they are always in my purse, always. You know…everything has a place and everything in its place. Wasting precious time, I headed back upstairs to see if by some remote chance they were on the night stand. Not there either, hummmm.

All of the sudden, the lights went out and the winds were still…eerie silence crashed down…as if all sound had been sucked from existence by some giant, cosmic vacuum cleaner. The only sound left was the pounding of my heart as the cherished minutes drummed on…I slid down the stairs step-by-step on my bottom praying the entire way. As I reached the landing, the wind kicked up again…this time with a vengeance. It sounded like sand blasting the windows as twigs, dirt and other debris slammed into the front of the house. I hit the kitchen floor face down, sprawled out and started praying…the louder the storm…the louder the prayer. It was over as quickly as it started.

I sat up trembling and lit a candle. I was trying to decide if I should stay home now that the tornado had passed or go to my parents. I looked outside but couldn’t really see any thing. I needed to go to Mom and Dad’s…but first...I had to find my keys. Absent mindedly I opened my purse and there they were…right on top.

I was still recovering from the fear of the storm and joy of the answered prayer when my little brother began frantically hammering on the door. I’ll never forget the fear in his voice as he repeatedly called my name. I stood on wobbly legs and let him in. He had come to rescue his big sister and take her safety.

Heading out we surveyed the damage and were shocked at what we saw. The worst was my truck…the driver side was smashed…door caved in, windows broken, fender dented so bad it couldn’t be driven. We picked up pieces of the trampoline for months and have yet to find the grill.

I know that night God had His hand of protection upon me. I never saw those keys in my purse until after the storm. If I had, I would have been on the road when the tornado hit. I truly believe the Lord kept me from seeing them so He could keep me safe in His arms until the storm calmed.

Are you in the middle of a storm right now? No matter what you are facing in your life…if you will simply call upon Him and trust in Him…He will hear…He will answer…He will deliver you…

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Grandmother, a Chihuahua, and a Lab…

Our dogs are almost as spoiled as our children were. Here are some things they have taught me over the past few months of retirement. Hope they make you smile as they have me.

• One new roll of bathroom tissue can be spread over 3,000 square feet by a six pound Chihuahua in the thirty minutes it takes to run to the store.

• If your Chocolate Lab is used to being vacuumed…you have to use it on him before you use it on the pellet stove or he will knock you over.

• When a Chihuahua grabs the ice that fell from the ice maker…it will stick to her tongue…and she will run all over the house at the speed of lightening… until she deposits it in a pair of new shoes.

• A Labrador can and will spread three loads of sorted laundry all over a room if left alone for the time it takes to make a pot of coffee.

• If a clean load of whites is left in a basket on the floor for the length of time it takes to post a new entry into a blog…a Chihuahua will find it a great place to take a nap…only after she has rolled in the dirt outside.

• A Chocolate Lab will jump into a freshly filled bathtub if the door is left ajar.

• One-half a roll of fruit flavored Certs left over from church will make an entire ottoman sticky when attempted to be eaten by a Chihuahua.

• When it gets cold outside a queen size bed is not big enough for a Labrador, a Chihuahua, an ex-college linebacker, and a grandmother.

• You can not take a teenagers favorite shirt from his dogs after he leaves for basic training…it is not a pretty sight…if you manage to sneak it from them…they will hunt it down, find it and promptly return it to their bed.

Psalms 17:22 (a) “A cheerful heart is good medicine…”

Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

Psalms 68:3 “But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God, may they be happy and joyful.

1st Thessalonians 5:16 “Be joyful always”

Proverbs 15:13 (a) A happy heart makes the face cheerful

Monday, November 17, 2008

The B-I-B-L-E Yes That's The Book For Me

I don’t know about you but I love my Bible. Twenty years ago when Jimmy first asked me to go to church with him I ran up to Wal-Mart and bought the standard King James Version. It was kind of tough deciphering exactly what it meant. But, it didn’t really matter at the time because I wasn’t going to really read it anyway. I just needed it because people who went to church carried one. I surely wasn’t going to be one of those sisters that showed up every time the doors were opened…

However, the Monday after I got saved I went straight to the small Christian bookstore in our community and told the ladies at the counter. “I just got saved and I need a Bible that’s gonna teach me what to do next.” I’ll never forget the look on their faces…and the shock at the price of a Bible. I mean I’d only paid $10.00 for the old one. Never the less, with a discount…I purchased a red, hard back NIV Life Application Bible.

I had a plan…I was going to read the New Testament first, then start at the front and read it all the way through. I devoured that thing…I couldn’t get enough! I remember Jimmy telling me, “Honey, its 2 o’clock in the morning…you need to turn that light off and go to sleep.” My response was always, “Just a minute, I am almost finished with this story.” And he would roll over and go back to sleep.

By 1995, that poor Bible was bedraggled. It had notes in the margins…well, pretty much any place that was free of the printed word. It was underlined, sometimes high lighted…it had sticky notes that marked my favorite passages. The inside pages had been taped repeatedly with masking and scotch tape. When I resorted to using duct tape on the outside…Jimmy told me to go get a new one…I just couldn’t do it. I took it with me back to that same Christian bookstore and purchased a cover.

By that time…I was no longer a stay-at-home mom. Jake had started school and I had gone back to work. The biggest adjustment was how to accomplish in just a couple hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the evening what had taken all day in the past to get done. One of the short cuts was to do laundry in the morning. So most mornings, I would fold laundry on the dining room table while reading my Bible and drinking my first cup of coffee. Every evening I would come home, get dinner started, and put away the clean clothes.

We had been experiencing an eary spring cold snap and for a couple of days Jimmy would build a fire at 4:30 before he left for work so we would be comfortable when we got up latter in the morning. It was one of the things that made me appreciate him. However, that all changed the morning of March 12. He called the office around 10:30 a rarity in itself…when I answered, I knew something was wrong. His first words were, “Did you leave the screen off the fireplace this morning when you left?” “No why?” I asked. He said, "Your mom just called and said the house was on fire." She was the dispatcher and lived just half a mile up the road. I rushed home and sure enough…the driveway and front yard was packed with fire trucks.

After the all clear, Jimmy and I went inside. One of the deacons from our church was the captain of the fire department and stayed with us as we walked through the steamy, sooty air surveying the damage…shocked…as the fire fighters and a few neighbors hunted for our poodle…waiting on the insurance adjuster…he said, “I thought you’d want this” and handed me my Bible.

What? I couldn’t believe it! I was standing right there looking at the dining room table, almost unrecognizable, charred like the long burned out logs from the fire place. While the table had burned, the Bible was not scorched, didn’t have a mark on it…the cloth cover didn’t even smell like smoke! I grabbed that Bible and hugged it tight to my chest and began crying.

While I've worn out several Bibles since then, I still have that red NIV...it sits in the shelves in our bedroom...a reminder... that in all things He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine....

Hebrews 4:12 “For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joint and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Small Voice

Jake had just started school at the local Christian Academy and I was working once again in the public relations department for the Bureau. We were both getting accustomed to this new routine. I had picked him up from the after care program when I realized I had forgotten to take something out for dinner that night. As we headed to the supermarket, he began to tell me about his day:
“You know what, Mommy?”

“Hummmm?” I responded half-listening… I mean I was a woman on a mission…

“Back in the olden days, when Jesus was alive…He went to pray and told His disciples to go ahead of him in a boat. Then when he was done…he walked on the water to them. Did you know that, Mommy?”

“I sure did know that.” now listening a little more intently.

“But they were scared of Him…I don’t know why, it was just Jesus…but they thought it was a ghost. Can you believe that, Mommy?”

“No, son, I can’t believe that.”

“It’s alright…he told them don’t be afraid, it’s just me”

“Really?” I replied.

“Yep…but Peter told him, Lord if that’s you tell me to walk out on the water to you. So He did and Peter stepped out of that boat and walked on the water too! Can you believe that, Mommy?”

“I sure can believe it, son.”

“Guess what happened then, Mommy, guess! Peter got scared and looked down and he started sinking! Can’t you just believe it? Jesus reached out and caught him just in time. That’s just like us, isn’t it, Mommy… when we take our eyes off Jesus we begin sinking in this world... don't we?”

“We sure do, son, we sure do.”

The next week our house burned and we lost almost everything…I had spent the better part of three years working to renovate it and it was gone…in the flash of an electrical fire. I remember standing there in what used to be the foyer and hearing that little kindergarten voice say… “That’s just like us, isn’t it, Mommy…when we take our eyes off Jesus we begin sinking in this world don’t we?”

The miracle here…that small voice…that reminder from God to let go and let Him prove He was in control…I knew then if I just trusted in Him…everything would be fine. It was way beyond fine...it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Elijah's Miracle

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about miracles and have decided to work my way through the Gospels for the next week or so to prepare my heart for a true Christmas celebration. From the announcement of the coming birth of Jesus to His resurrection and ascension, the Gospels are filled with miracles...and it is with that awe we should enter into this holiday season.

However, one of my favorite ‘miracles’ comes not from the Gospels but from the Old Testament (1Kings 18) Elijah confronts the people of Israel and the prophets of baal and asherah on Mount Carmel. How the false prophets (450 for baal and 400 for asherah) called all day upon their god to bring down fire from heaven, how Elijah even taunted them a bit…I can see it! 1 Kings 18:27 “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god!” and he goes on about maybe he’s sleeping, or busy, or traveling… Then the group of false prophets really worked themselves into a frenzy of begging and pleading.

Of course, Elijah waits and at nightfall has the altar of the One True God drenched with water and with a beautiful prayer calls upon God...

1Kings 18:37 “Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again”…verse38 “Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.” Verse 39 “When the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ‘The Lord – He is God! The Lord – He is God!”

It was a kind of in-your-face miracle and revelation to the people. But I digress…

I can hardly read about Elijah without thinking of one of our children’s church students from some time back. He was small even for a four year old; this boy named Elijah. His father had been ‘forced’ to attend church his entire life so when he joined the military and married an ‘unchurched’ woman attending worship services was an issue that never came up. What they had not counted on was moving into a house across the street from our Pastor’s sister, Faith.

Faith has the biggest heart of any person I know. She is always helping others even when her resources are depleted…even if it means watching someone’s child after she’d been at the church cleaning all night. Naturally, she befriended the young couple new to the neighborhood.

It started with a prayer request one Wednesday night. Elijah was ill and the doctor’s could not pin point the problem. Round after round of tests finally offered the diagnosis most feared – cancer. He began treatment and he and his mom began attending church on Sunday’s with Faith when possible. Elijah was pretty well behaved, but the thing that sticks out most in my mind about him was how he would sometimes lay down on the floor and place his face on the cool tiles.

For almost two years the war between this child and the believers he was surrounded with and the beast cancer raged on. Some battles were won…some were lost. He had been in a period of remission for many months when he went for a check up…a mass was in the spot where a kidney had been removed and there was a spot on his diaphragm that looked ‘suspicious.’ Surgery was scheduled. His mother was almost beside herself and so we gathered together around the altar the Sunday night before surgery, Pastor anointed Elijah, and the elders and saints began to pray…praying for a healing… he is but a child…praying nothing would be there...we pleaded that the Lord would use this boy, this illness to show Himself real to this young couple… we prayed believing for a miracle.

By the time I arrived at Children's Hospital the next morning Elijah had just gone into surgery and the waiting room was full. We prayed, poured a cup of coffee and prepared to hunker down for the long day of surgery and recovery ahead. It wasn’t thirty minutes until the doctor walked in to the waiting room. This could mean either victory or defeat and we couldn’t tell which by the look on his face.

All of the sudden a huge grin spread across the doctor’s face and he said, “I don’t know what happened. The tests on Friday showed the mass and spot still there and this morning there is nothing…no mass, no spot. It must be a miracle.” It was victory indeed! Not only was there no mass or spot… Elijah went into remission! They were with us almost a year after that when the parents were transferred…such is military life.

James 5:14-16 “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” ~NIV

My plan over the next couple, three or so, posts is to share with you some miracles I have personally seen and challenge you to think about (and share) the miracles you have seen…big or small…in-your-face or subtle...

God is always at work in the midst of His people! May we have eyes to see and ears to hear!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Beginning Again

The Land of Beginning Again
by: Louise Fletcher

I wish that there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
And all of our selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat by the door
And never be put on again.

I wish we could come on it all unaware
Like the hunter who finds a lost trail
And I wish that the one whom our blindness has done
The greatest injustice of all
Could be at the gates like an old friend that waits
For the comrade he’s gladdest to hail.

We would find all the things we intended to do
But forgot, and remembered too late;
Little praises unspoken, little promises broken
And all of the thousand and one
Little duties neglected that might have perfected
The day for one less fortunate.

It wouldn’t be possible not to be kind
In the Land of Beginning Again
And the ones we misjudged and the ones whom we grudged
Their moments of victory then
Would find in the grasp of our loving handclasp
More than penitent lips could explain.

For what had been hardest we’d known had been best
And what had seemed loss would be gain
For there isn’t a sting that will not take a wing
When we’ve faced it and laughed it away,
And I think that the laughter is most what we’re after
In the Land of Beginning Again.

So I wish that there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
And all of our selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
And never be put on again.

One of my most cherished possessions was a book my mother had given me titled The Best Loved Poems of the American People. Alas, I lost the book when our house burned about ten years ago. To this day the above poem is one of my favorites. During my darkest days when I could see no way out of the mess I had made my life. I was stuck; hopeless, battered, soul-dead and weary, bitter, lost, and lonely; yet surrounded by people who called themselves "friends." This poem represented a hope, a wish. I read it so many times I could almost quote it in its entirety.

Praise God, I have found the true land of beginning again and the King of that wonderful place is Jesus! Just like that shabby old coat, I dropped my old life at the altar and walked through the door of forgiveness and restoration. Oh, I have suffered the consequences of my actions and decisions. Let’s just call them what they are, sins. But those consequences are a strong reminder of the grace of a living and loving God that gives beyond measure and loves beyond human reasoning. And while sometimes the road of life is long and winding, "up hill in the snow both ways" and the struggles are real. Life itself is no longer a struggle.

As I think back to those days when I tried to wash away the worries, heartache, and disappointments with a bottle of vodka and the 'pill of the week'…the times I contemplated death and took my own life as I picked up a pen and paper and died a thousand times with the written word. I am so thankful that someone somewhere was praying for my salvation. I can now see all those seed-planters along the way.

To now know that God has a plan for my life...that I am in His hand, that He is the great protector, the provider, and the giver of life, the lover of my soul… I am amazed and thankful that this joy I have is eternal! Though at times I will be sad, I will experience troubles...His hand is there guiding all the way. I have to stop here and just say, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come. His mercies are renewed daily and I rest in His presence.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Robert E. Bennett, Sr. [Grampy]
I thought everyone's grandfather had tattoos and ear rings!

Uncle Mike - US Navy UDT, SEAL - A true American Hero!

He rescued the Apollo 14 Astronauts in between tours of duty in Vietnam. We watched it on television at school. It was so cool!

Samuel D. Main, Jr. [Dave] US Army - My big brother!

Oh, that's me! US Navy

Robert E. Main [US Navy] My little brother! Sorry for the quality...the picture was scanned from a framed picture in my mom's living room.

Zachariah D. Main [Zack] My nephew! Military Police - US Air Force - England, in the process of being deployed.

Jacob L. Kyzer [Jake] Our youngest son! Military Police Training - US Army - Fort Leonard Wood, MO - I sure do miss him!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday Shorts

It will not be long before we settle down with family and friends to celebrate the thanksgiving holiday. It should be more than a one-day event...it should be a lifestyle. God bless...
Don't forget to turn the music off at the bottom of the page.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy Friday!

Thanks for the award, Sharon at Technonana...right back at 'cha, sister! You can, and should, check out her blog! She is listed in the 'blogs I read' section on the right! OOPS... I mean on the left! Mercy, I really must wear my glasses when I proof these blogs. Sorry, I still do not know how to embed the link inside the blog. And now to pass along the award. There are so many... Strider, Carey's Corner...Millennium Housewife, The Lind Family, Nanas Living the Dream, So What Can He Eat? Oh, I can't leave out Muse Swings and Dot at Counting My Blessings!

Now, I know that's almost everyone listed on the 'blogs I read' section but I love them all so please, please check them out!

Today is the first day of my first weekend as a 'deer hunting widow' Jimmy is leaving for deer camp in a couple of hours...I don't know why can you see them all along the edge of the woods there? You think they know he's not hunting here for a change?

God bless you all, and again, Thanks, Sharon...you have made my day!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Have you hugged your grandchild lately?

Don't forget to turn the sound off on the player at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Day After...

I arrived at the fire station about quarter till seven yesterday morning so I could make the coffee and help my mom, the local election sheriff, get the place set up and organized. There were about 35 people in line already, a dozen from our church, and the people just kept coming! It was the biggest turn out we’ve seen from this split liberal/conservative community in a long time. We heard stories of people who had passed by thinking they would come back later when the lines were shorter. That’s a laugh….around noon the crowd thinned out to about 100 or so and I ran to the back to cram some Cheez-it’s and a cup of coffee down, then it was back to the tables…

Not only was the presidential election a historical event in itself…woman vice-president, black president…we had several ‘moral’ issues on the ballet as well. Like a lot of states; some issues passed and other’s failed. One girlfriend won by a small margin, the other won by a great victory. Congratulations, Deborah and Dawn! Sorry, Doug, you lost again this time, but there is always next time! We still love and support you.

The most interesting thing that happened at our polling station yesterday was not that the McCain/Palin ticket won by a landslide, not that our sheriff was re-elected, or that my girlfriends won. It was the commitment of one man, a Vietnam Veteran that lives two doors down from Mom and Dad. He’d been in line almost two hours and was close to getting his turn on one of the three machines when he began experiencing some heaviness in his chest and tingling in his arm…they notified Mom. She immediately called the paramedics but he was not going anywhere until he was allowed to vote. She moved him to the front of the line, as she does with handicapped or infirm voters. This man…cast his ballot with paramedics standing on each side of him. When he was finished they took him into the bay, checked him out, then loaded him into the ambulance and began treating him for the heart attack he was suffering. It was minor and he is still in the hospital today recovering. I would be remiss here if I did not at least mention the two curmudgeons who walked out because he was moved in front of them. I guess that is a true picture of America.

I love this country and served for ten years, stepped into the fray during Desert Storm, and have a young son almost ready for his first duty station, which may (or may not now) be Iraq or Afghanistan. It is with great trepidation that Jimmy and I think of what will happen to our military, as well as our country, in the hands of liberal thinking. But what we do know is that God is still on the throne! He is still in charge! And HIS people will still follow HIM!

Isaiah 40:22-31 "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than He blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. ‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you say, ‘O Jacob, and complain O Israel, My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God?’ Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." ~NIV

It is time for Christians...each and every Christian... to be active on a grass roots level in spreading the message of the gospel...it's not just the outreach program of our local church...it's our individual duty, our responsibility... just as much as casting that vote yesterday! It is time for Christians to be ever more vigilant in fervent prayer for our nation as we move forward into this next era remembering all the while…Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Your voice - One Vote

I am working our local polling station today. It is going to be a very long day, indeed as we will head to the courthouse to watch the local results. Let your voice be heard today!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ordinary to Extraordinary

Remember those sports car commercials that promised a particular company's car was better at speed and handling? You don’t see them much now that the focus "to be green" has gained so much prominence. They promised 0-60 in 4.5 seconds…or something like that…however long the seconds... it was pretty quick. From the outward appearance these cars looked like any other sports car, but the advertising promised extraordinary performance.

In Matthew 4:18-22 we see a picture of four ordinary men. Looking at them they were nothing special, just plain fishermen - but when Jesus entered their lives they became extraordinary!

18) As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19) Come, follow me, Jesus said and I will make you fishers of men. 20) At once they left their nets and followed him. 21) Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father, Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called to them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

When Jesus called these four men, not one of them asked how following Him was going to improve their lives, how it was going to make their business better, their quality of life better, get them a bigger house, a larger salary, more friends, more influence in their community…a better position in their church…. They didn’t need time to think it through. They didn’t have to go and talk with their family and friends, they didn’t need to see a five-year plan or talk to the Small Business Administration. They didn’t need to know the mission, the goals, or the objectives before they made the decision to follow Christ. The scriptures say “at once and immediately” they followed him.

Sometimes, we are called and we delay. We ask ourselves, "Will our friends and family think we are becoming a fanatic?" We try to figure out the repercussions, we weigh the pros and cons; we get caught up in the work of a committee or church board. We consider who will have their feelings hurt, who will support us, we try and put together a plan; when we should really just pray and seek His step-by-step directions. All the while we are delaying the 'work' God has called us to do. Now, I'm not saying a plan is not a good thing…however, if the planning delays the work of God. I’m just saying…we only need to look at Jonah to see what happens when we delay the work of the Master.

If we are His, God calls us to be used by Him, in His timing, for His glory, for His purpose. He calls us to be faithful to Him. When we love the Lord our God with all our heart and all our strength, when we depend on Him, when we put HIM first…He will definitely use us; in big ways and small ways. We won’t have to ask someone else if our calling is from God. We will surely know without a doubt and we must go and do “at once.”

One of my favorite hymns reminds us… "Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey." Can you hear Him calling you or is the noise of a life lived to satisfy yourself drowning out His voice? Today, will you trust and obey? Will you follow Him into the battle for the souls of man…immediately and at once?

Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturday Shorts Take Two

Ok, since my trick on the pastor did not go over so well... here's another. Be sure to turn the music off at the bottom of the page.
HOW DOES A CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN DRUMMER MOW THE LAWN? featuring dwack of david crowder band