twenty-four/seven

because life is so daily … and eternity is so 4/ever

A Good Name…or Not

 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
Proverbs 22:1

 

Today I was reminded of the importance of a “good name.”

I attended our annual family reunion – the first reunion without my Daddy. Surreal as it was, I was grateful for a day that reminded me who I am and where I come from.

Our reunion started with a church service. We sang the hymns that our aunt and uncles love. Then a cousin who serves on the mission field shared his family’s work in a foreign land. Our service concluded with praying around my mother who has dealt with the death of my dad and her own serious health issues.

As we sang the concluding hymn, through tears, my heart sang with thankfulness of my past and those who had paved the way for me to be where I was at this moment – a Davis.

To be a “Davis” means honest, hardworking, and God-seeking. There were seeds planted by my grandparents of several generations that led to what I experienced today at this reunion. Seeds of prayer and faithfulness to God. I am proud to have “Davis” as part of my name.

I realize everyone does not have this same experience. There is hurt, irresponsibility, and maybe even abuse associated with their family name. I know I cannot accurately feel their pain.

However, I do know the One who can heal broken lives, restore divided families, and provide needful forgiveness toward a new direction. It’s been said that we can’t change our past, but we can start today to change our future. But I would add that Jesus CAN heal our past, and direct us today to a new future. A future where our name will be a good thing for those who come after us.

After lunch today, we traveled a few miles to the family farm that is over 100 years old. Trees are planted at the death of each child who was born on this farm. Here are pictures from that:

IMG_2348

Groundbreaking for the tree

Placing the tree in the ground.

Placing the tree in the ground.

 

IMG_2354

Even little great grandsons can help

 

IMG_2364

My brother and me with my mom – and our tree for Daddy!

This tree we planted today will be around for future generations to see. I pray I  will plant seeds of a “good name” for my children and grandchildren – and generations to come. What about you?

Advertisements

Vacation – Plan C

I love going on vacation. But planning vacation? Not so much.

This year I planned not one, but three vacations – and only went on one. The unfortunate events unfolded like this:

Hubby and I deliberated at length and decided to vacation in Colorado. Hours of internet research (ughh!) resulted with a six day Colorado vacation plan. We would ride the Durango-Silverton train, and do all things Colorado (except snow skiing – which I gave up permanently after one ski trip that just seemed like an incredible amount of work).

Two days before we were to leave, we were notified of a family emergency. We would have to travel east for this family emergency (and Colorado is west of us).

Not to worry, though. Just ditch Vacation – Plan A and make new plans in an eastward direction. After more deliberation and internet research (ughh!), Niagara Falls became our eastward Vacation – Plan B. We would not be able to visit the Canadian side of the Falls because our passports had expired in 2014. But we decided to visit the American side.

At midnight before the day we were to head east, I reviewed our lodging arrangements. That’s when I saw it – I had booked us for lodging in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Did I mention our passports had expired in 2014?

Not many things make me wake up hubby at midnight. However, this was a qualifying event.

“Honey,” I frantically shook him awake. “I booked us in Ontario. I didn’t even know there was a Niagara Falls, Ontario! What are we going to go?”

“Hmmm…..guess we’ll have to make different plans,” he said as nonchalantly as Turn right at the next stop light.

I calmed down enough to get some sleep. Morning deliberations began (again) and concluded with nixing Niagara Falls until we had up-to-date passports. So vacation planning commenced again (ughh!) for Vacation – Plan C. I scoured the internet on my laptop (ughh!) in the car as we headed eastward.

Vacation – Plan C turned out fun and fascinating. Visited four Great Lakes and upper Michigan including Mackinac Island.

Wanna see?

IMG_2202

Quaint small town upper peninsula of Michigan

IMG_2185

Point Iroquis Lighthouse on Lake Michigan

DSCF1310

At the butterfly house on Mackinac Island

IMG_2121

Rock used in Lake Michigan to help gauge water levels. If it’s covered – I think they’re in trouble!

Mackinack Island

Mackinac Island harbor. Don’t look too bad after eight hours on the island.

Bike traffic - no cars

Bike traffic craziness on Mackinac Island. No cars allowed.

IMG_2167

Soo Locks amazing! A must see if you go to Sault Ste Marie.

Canada in background from Sault Ste Marie

Canada in background from Sault Ste Marie. One can only LOOK OVER TO Canada when passports are expired.

Seashore along Lake Erie

Seashore along Lake Erie

Lake Erie - Luna Pier

Lake Erie – Luna Pier

While on Vacation – Plan C, this kept coming to mind:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”  James 4:13-16

And:

In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.  Proverbs 16:9

I was reminded, once again, that God is in control. Do we still need to make plans? Of course. But God knows around the next corner.  He knew the impending family emergency. And He knew (and might have laughed) as I planned lodging in a country I couldn’t even enter.

Plenty other things in life are way more significant and sorrowful than having to plan three different vacations. More than once in my life I’ve thought, “This isn’t the life I thought I’d signed up for.” Life hurts. Life can stink. But, I know I can’t stay there. So, the bigger questions to me are:

  • Am I OK with God being in control of my life – even if my entire life seems like Plan C?

  • Can I joyfully (or at least obediently) trust His plans?

  • Do I realize I’m just here for a little while (a mist) – and God has eternity in mind as He oversees His creation?

We can get frustrated, mad, or even bitter when life doesn’t go the way we wanted, intended, or thought it would go. But none of those responses are beneficial.

I am challenged to trust God, who gives grace to follow where He leads, and the grace and strength to deal with whatever life throws my way.

And I’m thinking that hanging out in God’s plan is the safest place to be!

Looking out into Lake Huron

PS – And if we hadn’t gone east, we might have missed our first-time-ever photo booth experience:

IMG_2258

 

I Didn’t Buy a Card This Year

Did you almost cry as you walked by the rack of Father’s Day cards? No? That’s cool. But I did.

And if you did too, maybe we teared up for different reasons. Some of you don’t have good memories of your dad – or don’t even have one memory of a dad. My heart aches for you as much as a heart can that hasn’t experienced your pain. Your pain is real and I am so very sorry.

Some of you are in the club called “I dread Father’s Day because it reminds me I don’t have a dad any more.” This is my first Father’s Day without my dad. His grave marker is just freshly laid. And the void of his presence is just as fresh. So, yes, I almost cried as I walked by the Father’s Day cards. (I’ve been working all month to silence the natural urge to go buy a card.)

I had no idea last Father’s Day would be the last one I would celebrate with him. Here is last Father’s Day. (At the best rib place in Kansas – maybe in the United States – in the town where my dad grew up. We love this picture of him in front of the tavern because he was a retired Baptist pastor!)

DSCF0702

I am extremely thankful because I have many memories of my dad. And they are good memories.

Like this:

057

Or this:

102

 

This photo is obviously before my time. We found it as we prepared for his funeral:

10955436_1596791167243294_7323423303059994641_n[1]

So, yes, I have great memories of my dad.

And as wonderful as those memories are, I have something in common with those who don’t have such good memories:
We all are in need of a heavenly father that is far beyond what we have or haven’t experienced.

 

See, while my dad was great, he wasn’t perfect. He couldn’t respond to my every joy and sorrow. He didn’t have the authority to give me eternal life. And he definitely couldn’t be with me 24/7 because I feel his void every single day.

But God can be that father to all who allow Him. He is perfect. He can respond to every joy and sorrow. He does have the authority to grant eternal life. He is with us 24/7. And He is the only One who knows everything we need during our stay here on this earth. And I have needed this Father my entire life, whether I had an earthly father or not.

So honor your dad if you are fortunate to have one to hug. But do not disqualify yourself because of your past or present circumstance.

May this Father’s Day you celebrate the only perfect father and experience the perfect love that only God can give.

 

 

Fifty Shades of Grace

Instead of more blurring shades of grey,

here are 50 Shades of Grace to consider…. 

 

  1. Let the other person have the last word.
  2. Give up having to be the “winner” in the discussion.
  3. Listen – really listen – instead of planning your stellar response.
  4. Meet someone’s physical need in spite of what you think of their lifestyle.
  5. Let go of perfection expectations for your family and friends.
  6. Let go of perfection expectations for yourself.
  7. Forgive one more time than you think you can.
  8. Develop thick-skin and believe that comment wasn’t an attack.
  9. Allow differences without judgments.
  10. Forgive without strings attached or “but…..”
  11. Just don’t say it.
  12. Search for and compliment one redeeming quality in someone you struggle with.
  13. Stop using your own personality as the measure of normal.
  14. Smile at someone who isn’t.
  15. Ask, “How can I help?” instead of thinking, “I told you so.”
  16. Keep comments to yourself when your spouse is driving.
  17. Wait patiently while she gets ready to leave, even if she changes clothes four times.
  18. Stop comparing your children to other people’s children.
  19. Realize you have way too much stuff and give it to help someone who doesn’t.
  20. Give sacrificially of something you need because someone else needs it more.
  21. Give anonymously.
  22. Pray the word “grace” before you respond.
  23. Consciously be aware of people and situations around you.
  24. Believe there is a statute of limitations on anger – get over it.
  25. Take the high road and initiate reconciliation.
  26. Look past the behavior and see the need.
  27. Refuse to participate in or respond to road rage.
  28. Give the remote control to someone else.
  29. Study your spouse and/or children to see what makes them tick.
  30. Do someone else’s household task.
  31. Ask yourself if someone else’s annoying trait resembles you.
  32. Stop putting off the visit to your elderly friend or family.
  33. Be willing to wait on change.
  34. Determine – and admit – if you are the problem.
  35. Accept a deserved apology with humility.
  36. Let someone else choose the movie, dinner, or music in the car.
  37. Get out of your comfort zone because someone needs help.
  38. Allow someone else the last cookie, piece of candy, or sale item on the shelf.
  39. Refrain from correcting someone in public, especially if the sole purpose is to make you look good or right.
  40. Give a compliment, not to be fake, but because it could make someone’s day.
  41. Show plain, old-fashioned kindness: send an encouraging handwritten note through the real post office, open the door for someone, give someone your seat.
  42. Respond to a hateful comment with undeserved mercy.
  43. Pretend the other person saw the parking spot first, and give it to them.
  44. Listen to the story one more time from your elderly family or friend.
  45. When your spouse didn’t hear you, respond without prefacing it with a loud, “I SAID. . . “
  46. Stop slandering others behind their backs, even if the facts are true.
  47. Consider if an extra-generous tip might encourage the bad waitress more than an insulting tip.
  48. Wait ten seconds before responding. (Or longer!)
  49. Admit you did it. Period.
  50. Realize the only way we can even begin to show grace to others is by God’s endless grace to us. He showed his grace to us even when we didn’t deserve it, when we spat in His face, when we rejected him, when we rebelled against His plan for our life, when we were determined to do things our way. Jesus died for that sin. For every sin. That, my friends, is every shade of grace I could think of.

20121027_200223 (1)

If only Gomer . . .

Hosea: Old Testament prophet. Commissioned by God to bring his Jewish people to repentance for seeking out other gods. Relentless bearer of disastrous news to an unfaithful generation. Unappreciated truth-teller. Husband of a prostitute. Bet you didn’t see that coming. (Unless you’ve been following this blog the past couple weeks – or read the book of Hosea in the Bible.)

But, yeah. Enter Gomer. The unfaithful wife of a man of God.

And with just those details, can you imagine that Gomer might often say, “If only . . . .”?

If only I wasn’t married to him.  If only I measured up to him.  If only God loved me as much as He loves Hosea.  If only I hadn’t compromised myself. If only I could say “no” when I should. If only.  If only.  If only.

I’m pretty sure we are good with that phrase in our century too:

  • If only I were skinnier.
  • If only I had more money.
  • If only I could forgive that man.
  • If only I could believe what God says in His Word.
  • If only I had more time.

Maybe it’s time we replaced if only with What if . . .

  • What if  I were skinner?  (what difference would it really make?)
  • What if  I had more money? (what then?)
  • What if I forgave? (how would things be different?)
  • What if I chose to believe what God says in His word? (how would my life change?)
  • What if I had more time? (what then?)

See……if only invites pity.  What if creates vision.

I don’t know if a new vision for her life would have changed Gomer’s actions; but I’m willing to give it some serious consideration for my life.

What if I had more vision for change in my life?

What if you had vision for change for your life? Go ahead – ask  yourself, “What if . . .” I dare you!

 

 

Good Enough? That Could Be a Problem.

Gotta admit – I’ve had Gomer on the brain for quite a while now. If you’re wondering Gomer who?, read the backstory on last week’s blog.

As I read the Bible I’m forever trying to imagine myself right there – in some Israelite’s sandals, on some dusty trail with Jesus, or – my coolest thought ever – in one of the first churches described in the book of Acts. Can you imagine your church membership jumping by 300% in one day? That would be awesome.

And then . . . there’s Gomer.

How would I feel to be – well, like we said last week – an object lesson called WHAT NOT TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE?

God commissioned Hosea, a godly prophet (good point #1) to marry (good point #2) Gomer. What more could she ask for? Apparently, she did ask for (and search for) more – a lot more. She kept leaving him for other men. To where the grass seemed greener.

WHY? Here is my LIST OF FIVE POSSIBLE REASONS A WOMAN MIGHT LEAVE A PROPHET (pastor/preacher/clergy):

  • His paycheck wasn’t enough
  • She thought his style of partying was boring and restrictive
  • She didn’t read the handbook on HOW TO BE A PROPHET’S WIFE
  • She was jealous of his relationship with God
  • She didn’t think she was good enough for him

Hmmm…. She didn’t think she was good enough for him.

A quick review in my prayer journal this week might or might not contain these words: God, you love me. I’m still working on comprehending that. But, I really do need to get it. (And soon would be fantastic.)

Let’s pretend (wink, wink) I really did write that this week. Let’s suppose that I could totally imagine myself as not good enough – for any number of people, especially GOD! I mean, how many times does God need to forgive me for certain things over and over and over . . . . What would there be in me that God would love?

Yet – more important than that is this: IF I REALLY COULD GET IT THAT GOD LOVES ME, WHAT DIFFERENCE WOULD THAT MAKE IN MY LIFE?

I don’t know if Gomer could ever really comprehend Hosea’s love. And, if she did, what difference would that have made? Would she have curtailed her extra curricular activities?

But what if we (ummm…….I) tried to operate in this life confident of God’s love for us. What difference would that make?

The way I see it, I would have to give up a whole lot to actively live in God’s love. I would have to give up:

  • guilt
  • condemnation
  • trying to be good enough for God – or anybody else, for that matter
  • self-pity
  • shame

Well, maybe some things are best when left behind.

Because when things are left behind, that creates space in our heart to be filled with other things. For example  . . . God’s love.

Idols Within Reach

I know you’ve been anxiously awaiting since last week to see who our lady of conversation is for this week. Read last week’s post  first, if you want to refresh your memory.

If you want the cliff notes, however, here they are:

  • sometimes we chase dead-end deals that promised so much more;
  • sometimes we go after falsely-labeled relationships and situations; AND
  • sometimes we stay on those paths OR  sometimes we make the choice to change.

Our partner in life I have been thinking about is Gomer. Don’t feel bad if you say, “Gomer Who?” She usually doesn’t make the Top Ten List of Women Portrayed in Church Dramas. (And you don’t hear about her in the Easter or Christmas play either.)

She is found in the book of Hosea. The cliff notes on her are:

  • God told the prophet Hosea to go marry an adulteress woman named Gomer;
  • Hosea does;
  • drama ensues; AND
  • God uses the on again/off again relationship of this prophet and an immoral woman as an object lesson of His own love for His chosen people (the Israelites) who continually reject Him for other gods.

Remember – that was just the cliff notes. Reading the entire 14 chapters of Hosea would be enlightening But, for now, I want to focus on the object lesson.

I first wonder how Gomer felt about being an object lesson. I mean, how would you feel if your name went down in history as an example of WHAT NOT TO DO?

Gomer had a wandering heart. It didn’t stay faithful. She chased dead-ends believing the grass was greener on the other side of the fence; that the one who loved her wasn’t enough to fill the desires of her heart; that surely there had to be more to life than being a prophet’s wife; and maybe that she deserved better than Hosea- or sadly believed she wasn’t good enough for Hosea.

So God chooses to parallel her unfaithfulness with his own people who had wandering hearts. They loved God one month, then chased other gods the next month. They repented another month, then decided the grass was greener where the idols sat on foreign soil. And a few months after the next call to repentance, the Israelites filled the desires of their hearts with any number of other religious acts toward gods other than their true Jehovah God.

Shame on them, we say. How could they do that? Commit idolatry time and time again?

My name isn’t Gomer, but I wonder if my life could be an ugly object lesson also? Oh, I don’t bow down to gold statues or offer sacrifices to unknown deities – but . . . maybe I should consider the definition of “idol” before I get any more smug.

One definition is: any person or thing regarded with admiration, adoration, or devotion.

I have to ask:

  • Have I adored my own  opinion more than God’s will for my actions, words, and thoughts?
  • Have I devoted time to anything that kept me from having enough time to spend with God?
  • Have I been so consumed with wanting people to admire me, accept me, or include me that I compromised godly convictions?

Basically, has anything become more important than God? If so – it fits the four letter word:  i-d-o-l.

I’m just doing some heart surgery right now. How about you? And if we ever get to the point that we think we are immune to being tempted by potential idols, we are sadly mistaken. (Check out my thoughts about idols this week on my Facebook page: Karen Morerod Writer).

And for some additional thoughts on Gomer, check out Michael Card’s song: Song of Gomer.

 

 

Birthday Trips and Rock Formations

I was born on Labor Day 1960. Which is only important to know because, when my birthday rolls around each year, I don’t just have ONE day to celebrate. There is usually a holiday around my birthday, so I have birthday weekends. I like it like that.

This birthday weekend, I wanted a short road trip. I had heard about Teter Rock in central Kansas.

It seems in the early 1900s, Mr. Teter set up a rock as a landmark for homesteaders trying to find the Cottonwood River. I thought that – and my 54th birthday weekend – was good enough reason to go in search of this historical site. So we left anticipating a two-hour trip. Three and a half hours later, 10 miles of a gravel road, and one mile of near-offroading, we finally found Mr. Teter’s rock.

DSCF1024

 

Or so we thought.

I didn’t read the fine print on the travel article before we left. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

It seems this wasn’t really the rock Mr. Teter set up. His rock had been torn down, along with the rest of Teterville. However, some nice folks in the 1950s erected this rock in memory of Mr. Teter.

Nothing like driving three and a half hours, 10 miles of a gravel road, and one mile of near-offroading to view a substitute, a re-enactment, a replica – in other words, not the REAL thing. Sort of put a damper on my 54th birthday weekend road trip. (One consolation: the view was phenomenal!)

IMG_0424

Has this ever happened to you? Oh, not going in search of imposter rock formations; but spending time searching for what you think is the real thing, only to find it’s not what it’s cracked up to be? Not what was promised? Not what you expected? Kind of like a bait and switch?

So my only problem was I didn’t read the fine print in the article. However, sometimes in life, our problems are bigger than not reading the fine print. Sometimes we start believing lies that shout louder than the truth. Or we buy into thoughts, plans, or relationships that include fine print that we miss as we  search for the sensationalism of an event or person. Or, worse yet, we are intentionally misled.

This happened to me recently. Maybe you have realized it’s been six months since I’ve blogged. (All bloggers like to think they are missed when they are AWOL.) And all I have to offer as an explanation is that I bought into some stinky thinking that led down a dead-end path. I believed some lies about myself, my situation, and life in general. All that is a story for another time. But let’s just say I wasted time, talents, and precious God-given opportunities.

When you find yourself in that situation, you could A) allow pride to keep you from admitting your deception, B) admit you have been duped but continue on in an ignorant sort of bliss, or C) decide what you can do to change!

I chose (C).

I hope you will be challenged to get off any misguided paths, get out of any less-than-honest relationships, or stop any deceptive thinking and come along with me.

I’m contemplating an interesting woman of the Bible who tried to get back on the right track a number of times. I think a good look at her life will be very insightful! After some more research, next week I’ll let you in on who she is. And I bet you’ll have a comment or two!

 

 

 

Oh my goodness…Do you have some?

Reviewing the list of the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5 (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control), I often have wondered the difference in kindness and goodness.

I finally decided on a reasonable distinction: kindness is shown, goodness is owned. (Catchy, huh?)

Where do I get this distinction? Psalm 119:68 made an impression on me years ago. The Psalmist says of God: You are good, and what you do is good. Teach me your decrees.

I thought it interesting that the writer of this Psalm separated what God IS and what He DOES. And, of course, God is consistent. He IS good, and his ACTIONS are good also.

Quite possibly God wants the same in us. He not only wants us to act, behave, and conduct ourselves good (and kind!); He also wants us to posses a goodness that prompts godly behavior.

We also see that the Psalmist asks to be taught God’s decrees that prompt this goodness. Quite possibly those decrees are the key to developing that goodness character in us.

One thing for sure: According to Galatians 5 God apparently wants to develop a goodness in us; and it’s a different issue than kindness.

What are you going to do about it?

(I hope you are keeping up on my Monday-Friday Facebook posts about the fruit of the Spirit. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can find them at Karen Morerod Writer on Facebook. Comments on the FB posts and on this blog are welcomed, encouraged, and appreciated!)

Kindness: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Kindness.

The word just sounds nice.

So why is it so hard?

I have a theory. Pride.

In my own experience (you could read: what I often do . . .)

  • Kindness is given to those we pity (as if somehow we are better than that person in need.)
  • Kindness is given to those we think deserve it (because that person who just acted like a jerk certainly doesn’t deserve it!)
  • Kindness is given when I feel guilty (to get me off the hook.)
  • Kindness is given when I think martyrdom is in order (so my act of kindness becomes a purple heart for me.)

If, for just a day, I could set aside my pride (which, for our purposes here is defined as a focus on “I” – the middle letter of pride), I wonder if I would display kindness from different motives.

Motives such as:

  • others are worthy of acts of kindness;
  • that “jerk” really does need a soft touch;
  • realizing the only thing that relieves me of guilt is God’s forgiveness, not my good deeds; and
  • extending kindness out of focus on another person, not me.

Sounds like a great idea. But then, as we face life, we know there will always be the one to whom it is V-E-R-Y hard to show kindness, the day when we ourselves need some kindness and it’s soooo hard to give it, and times when we just don’t see the need.

We will fail, at times, to be as kind as we should. However, in order for God to continue to produce a kind spirit in us, we do have to humble ourselves. We need to act whether we feel like it or not. And we need to realize that our kindness can be the hands and heart of our God.

Kindness. That word does sound nice.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: