He Promises Us Beauty For Ashes

He promised us beauty for our ashes in Isaiah 61:3. He is faithful. Many of us are going through things that would destroy someone else. People look at us and say, “Wow, I don’t know how you do it.” God is how we do it.

We suffer silently and wonder when it will ever end.  But many times we are like some ducks I encountered this week. When we are in the middle of these problems, we like to bury our heads and pretend it doesn’t exist.  I mean we know there is a problem, but sometimes we just don’t want to face it.

Funny thing about burying your head. You can’t move. As long as the duck had his head under water, he could not move. He was stuck in the same place, same perspective.

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Yet if we pursue the Lord with everything we got we won’t have time to bury our head. If you worship with your head buried, you miss out on His majesty. He will change our lives. Not only will He change it, He will make it better. It will be better than we can even imagine. And it will be hard for us to imagine something better because we have dealt with our problems for so long.

Once we remember who it is we serve. Call on His attributes, things like majestic, mighty, worthy God.  He will take the things from us that cause us so much grief and give us beauty.

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He will send amazing people into our lives to share the journey.  If they aren’t there yet, know they are coming. God always keeps His word. He knows we are not good alone. He designed us for companionship.

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A Celebration to Remember

When I was a kid, I didn’t understand much about the world around me, but I knew what a bolo sandwich was. It was a thick cut of bologna with a little barbecue sauce between to slices of white bread. It was our answer to McDonald’s, especially during June. When you have four kids and a little money, bolos go farther. This week, I ran into a bolo sandwich, but now it looks like it comes as combo.

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On June 19, 1865, Union troops landed in Galveston, announced to the slaves that the war had ended and they were free.  Slaves and their descendants have been celebrating this day ever since. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Sometimes it is good just to see that our condition has improved.

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When I was a kid, we would get our hair done for the special occasion, and possibly a new outfit. I remember going to the park and watching the men play softball. As a young kid, I could not understand why we celebrated a separate independence day. My parents believed in celebrating Juneteenth. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized that my people were not freed on July 4. Matter of fact, my enslaved relatives probably prepared the meals for their independence celebrations.

This reminds us that there are storms in life. And sometimes those storms are so bad we can hardly see past them. We are wet, cold and feel as though we are going to drown in it. I can’t imagine what it was like to work while my slave owner celebrated freedom from oppression.  But I am sure there was a light in there somewhere.

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But take courage.  There is someone outside your storm looking in on you. They have the power to stop it, but they know this is going to make you stronger. One day you or your children will look back and see it was all worth it.

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This week I got home in time to see the Juneteenth Parade. It was led by Fort Worth Police Officers. They were men and women from different races. In the first car was Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. I thought how my parents would have gotten a kick out of seeing how far this event had come.  To see that Juneteenth was not just celebrated by African Americans, but by many different Americans in a city in the South. Wow.

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5 Thing You Can Learn From Nature

Enjoy the pond, even though it might not be yours

I was at the Duck Pond this week and was amused by the sight of the turtles.  You see it is called the Duck Pond. It was designed around the ducks. There were lots of ducks there, but the turtles didn’t care.

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The turtles did not have to deal with the current of the Trinity River or the other creatures that live in the river. They enjoyed the amenities of the Duck Pond with their friends. That is what we need to do. If you are a turtle, enjoy swimming in someone else’s pond.  Don’t try to change the name to the Duck & Turtle Pond.  Just enjoy your swim. When it is time to move on, move on.

Even birds have down time from the flock

One thing I noticed about groups of birds is that it is like an endless game of tag. They all fly to one point and before the last one gets down, the first one takes off again. It is kind of like a house with a bunch of kids, they are seldom all still at the same time.

 

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So as long as I have been walking at this place, there is always one bird like this one. It sits in the tall bushes and people watches. Like this bird, we need to get away from our flock and see the world around us for what it is. We need moments to sit in the tall grass, dip our feet in cool water and rest.

Everyday is the opportunity to make a masterpiece

The sun is starting to rise earlier. On one hand I love it because I can actually see the world around me instead of dark blobs. On the other hand, I hate it because traffic is much thicker because other people can see the road too.

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As long as the Lord paints pink morning skies, there are opportunities to be had during that day. Each day is an incredible work of art and we have the chance to make it a masterpiece.

Sometimes our enemies can’t be seen

One of the most sinister enemies in the State of Texas is the heat. We all feel we have been around long enough to manage the heat or that it is not that dangerous. But heat will sneak up on you and destroy you. You may feel tired, sleepy or weak. Manage your time in the heat and hydrate.

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During the winter and spring months I could walk late in the afternoon. But as summer rears its hot head, I am making plans to walk in the cool of the mornings. Just because you don’t see your enemies, doesn’t mean they are not out there trying to destroy you. Sometimes God holds things back from you to protect you. Just like the heat, respect your enemies.

Sometimes the skies are blue and road ahead is full of obstacles

We are all on the road to somewhere and there are usually things in the way. This week I was encouraged by Muhammad Ali’s life as told by Billy Crystal in his 15 Rounds. Despite all of the obstacles, Ali continued to see himself as the Greatest. You are great too.

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We are all going somewhere and your perception of the journey will determine everything about it.  We need to be like the birds. Praising God for his timely provisions with songs. Everything about this life He has designed for you. He is telling you through all of the things around you. You only have to “Be still and know He is God.”

 

 

 

End of a Chapter

I love it when a story end well.

This week started out stormy. It rained and flooded. I read countless jokes about building an ark. My theory is that our lives are so dirty, God is washing away the filth.

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I remembered worrying about how I would navigate through the storms. All of my morning drive times was supposed to be filled with storms. Yet, every time I thought I would have a battle, God stepped in and handled it. Not one storm during my drive time. Although I did get soaked a time or two this week. Yet there is something about the water that falls from heaven. It makes things grow. It will destroy man made things, but it will make things of God grow.

I found that one of the benefits of this wet spring is flowers. I have been able to smell the fragrance of flowers before I am ever close enough to see them. That is some powerful fragrance.

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When something out of the ordinary happens, it causes a ripple effect. All of this rain also keeps birds on the ground because one of their main sources of food come up for air. I just get a kick out of a bird standing under a shade tree. They have the ability to soar through the sky, but they stay on the ground.

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The sun came out, the skies were blue with white puffy clouds. I was able to get many steps in frustrating my friends in our Fitibit challenge. (If you need to lose weight, get your competitive friends fitbits. My friends and I almost kill ourselves trying to stay ahead of one another.) Yet sometimes during the most common moments of our lives, the greatest moments come.

During this dreary rainy week, my daughter graduated from high school completing something she had been working towards for 12 years.  In the few minutes walk from the car to the staging place for the graduates, life fell apart.  The shoes she bought didn’t fit like they did in the store and began to come off with each step. We left the umbrella in the car and it began to pour rain which would make her beautifully straight hair into a nice sized afro. We were getting wet. (But I was getting my steps in)

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She didn’t fall walking across the stage. She graduated. We made it. Even though storm struck in the final hours, God held it all together. This is what life is like.

Today, I officially offered her my blessing as she entered adulthood. I had good friends write blessings to her reminding her of His faithfulness in the past. And I prayed for her. An old chapter ended and a new one began. God is faithful.