Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Carrot, an Egg, and a Cup of Coffee

Worship Wednesday is submitted by Sista Cala. The following is not an original posting of hers. I believe it has been circulating the internet for a while, but it is great nevertheless. We do not know who to attribute it to.

You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what you see?" “Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?" Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity...boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter.

"When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Gypsy Heart

All my life I have retreated inside myself whenever things started bothering me. People used to remark about how quiet and well-mannered I was. And although it was true that my mother raised me to be a lady, I was mostly subdued due to the fact that I was quietly brooding, not to mention extremely shy.

I made excellent grades in school and liked to read and learn, but I hated going. I remember daydreaming out the windows, wondering what the world was like outside those walls. I remember feeling out of place and trapped. And when summer came I was like a prisoner on parole. I would spend hours reading books and writing in my journal--and sometimes I would take my sketch book and pencils and sit and draw. I don't know if I really preferred to be alone, or it was just that I didn't know anyone else like me. I had a few close friends in school, but I was never outgoing and popular. And for the most part, that was okay by me.

But my favorite pasttime was trailriding. My sisters and I would take the ponies out and roam the fields and woods near home, and it seemed that all your troubles would just vanish for awhile. Especially if you were racing full speed against each other to see whose mount was the fastest. Your troubles tended to fade away with the laughter. There was always the temptation to go farther than before. And I must admit, there were times when the temptation was strong, to just keep riding and never look back.

I suppose that's why my gypsy heart is fighting that urge to run these days, because being a grown up means handling the unpleasantries. It means being responsible, tackling the tough problems, finding ways to survive. It means backing your ears and plowing on through the weeds and tough, hard soil. Sometimes it means sacrificial giving or compromising to keep the peace. And sometimes you just get tired of being the grown up. Sometimes you just want to be selfish and take off for worlds unknown and leave the tough stuff to someone else.

The only problem with that is that somehow your troubles end up following you or new ones find you when you get there. Sometimes the greener grass turns out to be a mirage that has manifested itself to you at a time when your thirsty soul wanted desperately to find a fountain to quench your thirst. And you arrive there only to find that the barstools are all filled with others just like you, sipping strong drink from fancy glasses with little paper umbrellas, drowning their sorrows and finding solace in the bartender's jokes. And the bartender just keeps doling out what they ask for, but it's never enough, because the heat of the great wide desert still lies before them when they leave, just waiting to swallow them whole.

And so you retreat to the only place that's left, into the corners of your mind, because you can make all things as they should be. All is calm and beautiful. No one ever gets old or suffers or dies. Everyone loves each other and gets along. You never make mistakes or utter words you can't take back. You can paint all the colors the way they should be, and they never end up running together in a mottled mess, or worse, fading from the page altogether. You don't have to explain yourself or your feelings. You're free. Free to race wildly in the wind again with nothing holding you back. And the world that lies ahead is evergreen, filled to overflowing with bright summer daylillies and endless honeysuckle nights.


My little one has been sick with what appears to be one of those 24-hour bugs, and on his first full day out of school no less--a parting gift. All I could get down him yesterday was ice chips and water. I felt so sorry for him. But he slept good, and woke up this morning wanting breakfast, so we will see if it stays down.

My grandfather is still critical. The prognosis is not good. The bleeding that he was experiencing last year and bounced back from has returned. And as his heart condition has not changed, they still are unable to do any exploratory surgery. He is also in renal failure, and they are treating him for bronchitis. I left Chase with his Dad last night and drove down for a visit. He is growing weaker, and had a few moments of confusion, but he knew who I was and was able to talk to me and my sisters. My grandmother, who earlier in the week expressed understanding of the medical situation, last night was talking about finding a new doctor to help him. I haven't heard this morning yet how his night went. Sista Cala was working the night shift in the lab, so I know she checked on them through the night. Continue to pray for us during the days ahead.

I hope everyone has a safe holiday weekend. Watch out for the other guy on the road, and have a good time. Thank you to all our servicemen and women who are bravely and proudly serving our country. And we honor those who have fallen in the line of duty for their sacrifice. Our freedom comes at a price. Thank you for being willing to do what it takes to ensure it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Memorial of Worship

Worship Wednesday by: Sista Cala

Acts of worship are as numerous as the stars in the heavens. Bowing down or lifting hands, these are some of the most basic forms of worship. Covenants and ceremonies can also be considered acts of worship. Even celebrations of victory and promotions can be geared as worship services to honor God who enabled the advancement.

In recognition of today, what would have been my mother's 67th birthday, I offer this post as an act of worship. The Lord God Almighty was her love and her life. She was a saint, a true soldier of the gospel. She loved people, even those who most would shun. She was much like the widow and her mite. Even on a fixed income, mama would always come up with something to give when another was in need. Sometimes it was money; other times it would be some home-canned tomato juice or green beans. Always with a smile, hug, and prayer.

I give God the glory for the testimony of my mama. When she was sick, He healed her body. When she was broke, He moved on others to meet her need. When she was weary, He gave her strength to continue on her way. In times of sorrow, He comforted her. When her heart was broken, He would gently hold her in His arms and console her. He was her Rock in a weary land, her strong tower, her shield, and her hiding place. I thank God for the prayers of my mama. She always prayed for us, even in her last days on this earth.

This post is meant to be a celebration of the everlasting life the Lord has granted to my mother. It is all about Him. Often I thank Him for giving me a godly heritage. I thank Him for the many answered prayers and the memories of how He showered His favor upon Mama. Yes there were tears of sorrow when she left this earth. But it is such a comfort to know that I will see her again. God has promised a crown of life to those who overcome. I thank Him for making it possible for me to be an overcomer.

It is by His blood: believing that He died and rose again, and by the words of our testimony that we overcome. I am saved by His wonderful grace. I live to give Him glory as I tell His story. The psalmist gives us a few elements to include in our worship.

Psalms 116:13-19
13I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
14I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.
15Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
16O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.
17I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.
18I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.
19In the courts of the LORD's house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Prayer Request

My Paw is back in the hospital, has been for several days. We need your prayers. Alot of things will need to be taken care of, and there are conflicting personalities that could potentially make it more difficult than it has to be. I'm probably going down to visit tomorrow while Chase is in school. Will try to get Worship Wednesday posted before I leave if Sista Cala has time to get it to me. Otherwise, you will know we are involved in more pressing matters. Your support dear friends is coveted.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

More than Skin Deep

Okay, I tried camping out in the little cabin last night. I learned two things: One, I am too old for roughing it, and two, if you're going to camp out, don't do it when it is going to be 44 degrees during the night. Still, it was fun while it lasted, and I think that maybe I should have had at least two children, so that they could enjoy it together.

My son is an only child. He gets lonesome. Mama gets to play deer hunting, army games, and baseball. Sometimes she loves it, and sometimes she sacrificially endures. But one thing is for certain, I love that child with all I have and all I am. He is the miracle I prayed for. The joy of my life. And when he looks at me and tells me my new blonde tresses look weird and I cry--I can look back and laugh. And I love him all the more when he tells me, "Mama, you're still beautiful."

I love him because he makes me wonderful homemade cards on Mother's Day. I love him because he reminds me of what's important. The other day, he was browing myspace pictures with me, and I happened to comment on some of the more bizarre-looking people. And my son gently reminded me, "Yes, but that's how God made them, Mama." Granted, some of these have altered what God gave them with peircings, wild makeup, and tattoos. But yes, God made us all beautiful. It's when we try to be what we're not that we become, "weird." God loves us all, no matter what we do to ourselves. We do not need to change ourselves for his benefit, at least not on the outside. What we must focus on changing is on the inside. And more often than not, I am guilty of trying to change this on my own. I forget that He is the one that does the changing--that with His help I become who I am meant to be.

If I spent half the time I spend on my outward appearance in prayer and looking into that mirror of His word, a lot of things would change for the better on the inside. I need to stop trying to be what I am not, and be who He created me to be. Like my novel, I am a work in progress, and He is the Master craftsman who makes all things beautiful in His time. As time goes on, I will feel more aches and pains as I attempt to keep up with my little man. I will grow old with wrinkles and gray hair, and more rolls around the middle. But what I want him to remember about his mama is that she was beautiful inside and that she always took time to show him love, understanding, and the pathway to God. Pray that I can be a good mother to him all his days.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Instructions Enclosed

Worship Wednesday is brought to you by Sista Cala.

Some time back my sister bought a new computer desk. It was one of those kind that comes in a box and you put it together yourself. She probably could have done it, but she knew I would enjoy doing it for her. It wasn't difficult, especially when I took time to read the instructions and look at the pictures.

Having a pattern really expedites the completion of any project. Sure, some folks are naturally gifted or mechanically inclined. Others go to school and learn their trade. Both types of people benefit from the experiences of others. Many times the advice of an accomplished artisan can save a lot of time or cut down on the effort required to use a certain tool. Listening to a sage can make the difference in a functional piece and one that is both functional and beautiful.

There are many styles and components of worship. Every church will have a different presentation. Even in liturgical services, there will be varying nuances with each individual. The important thing is that we worship. We must give honor to whom honor is due. If we are going to choose components of worship we should glean from a format that is proven to be acceptable in the sight of the Lord. The following verses in Revelation give a basic pattern that is without a doubt, honorable in the sight of the Lord.

"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for thou has created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." Revelation 4:11

"Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." Revelation 5:13, 14

"And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to him:" Revelation 19:6,7

Nothing fancy here, just a unified group of folks giving God the glory for being Himself. Just take a moment and read these verses aloud as worship unto Him today.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Job Update

Just an update. CWG has started a new job this week. Of course the first day, he took Frybaby, and I think he broke down like 4 times, having to stop and change the filters. Today he is in the truck. Thank God for backup vehicles. I am just thankful this didn't happen while we were in Atlanta. I have a feeling he did not filter his oil properly or something. Anyway, he's on Day#2, and everything else seems to be going good. Praise God who is faithful to supply our needs.
I seem to be having all the work I can handle too, so this is a good thing, although you may miss me around here a bit. I check in when I can, and hopefully will have more thought-provoking posts later in the week. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for all your prayers during the last year. Now, I've got to run over and check on Heather.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful mothers out there. I've had a great weekend. Hope you have too!

Thursday, May 10, 2007


"If the novel has a theme it is that of survival. What makes some people able to come through catastrophes and others, apparently just as able, strong and brave, go under? It happens in every upheaval. Some people survive; others don't. What qualities are in those who fight their way through triumphantly that are lacking in those who go under...? I only know that the survivors used to call that quality 'gumption.' So I wrote about the people who had gumption and the people who didn't." Margaret Mitchell @ Macmillan 1936

This old Southern belle has traveled this week to the city of Margaret Mitchell's lore--Atlanta, Georgia. And although I didn't have time to do much except take in a Braves game and take in a couple of nice meals, I was able to confirm that the South has not lost its reputation for hospitality and quiet gentility. People are friendly, genuine, and accommodating. And yes, Virginia, there are still gentlemen who open doors for ladies.

Yet even under the beautiful skylight of Atlanta, there is a sad truth. There are people struggling to survive in her streets. Beggars lined the walkway into Turner Field. Homeless men spread their blankets out in droves in the doorway and on the steps of churches downtown. And somewhere in the darker alleyways I'm sure there were those who sold their bodies in order to survive. It makes one pause to wonder, what on earth happened to these unfortunate souls to cause them to lose, in Mitchell's words, their "gumption?"

It was hard not to throw money at each of the beggars lining the street. I averted my eyes and walked a little faster, clutching my purse to my side. I could not help them all. And in the world in which we live today, I suppose I was a bit too frightened to get within arm's reach. My dear Southern husband pulled me closer to his side and a couple steps farther from them. I think he even tossed some money into one elderly man's plate who was playing the harmonica for his supper. It was a wake up call to me. I live a sheltered life. And there for the grace of God, go I. And it made me appreciate some of the things I am blessed to have.

Like family and good friends. Like the ability to feed and clothe my child and send him to a good school. Like being able to sleep in a bed under a roof of a very nice home. Like having not one, but three nice vehicles and not having to walk everywhere I go. We take these luxuries for granted. And yet, life has no guarantees. One tragedy, and it could all disappear.

Maybe it is what Margaret Mitchell deemed to be "gumption," but I'm not so naive to realize that what I have in life is not because of anything really that I have done. There is a bigger force that comes into play. I don't deserve all I have. I am not better than anyone else. I am blessed beyond measure with unmerited favor. All Americans are afforded some measure of this--here in the land and lap of luxury. And although some might like to call it gumption or even fate, I know deep down it's neither. It's called "grace."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tagged Again

Delia tagged me to do the 8 Random Things meme. (WooHoo! I ♥ getting tagged for memes!)

Here are the rules:
1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog you need to tag 8 people and post their names.
4. Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to read your blog.
Well, here goes nothin'! 8 Random Things about Cindy:

1. I talk in my sleep when overly tired.
2. I sometimes have nightmares and wake up beating the tar out of my husband.
4. My favorite color is blue.
5. I work from home and love it.
6. I hate hate hate loading/unloading the dishwasher.
7. I hate Pepsi.
8. I like to fish, but don't get to that much, even though I live near the Tn River.

Now for the tag...
1. grandma Dawn
2. Code Yellow Mama
3. Granny B4.
5. Godzheart
6. Mom Tu-Tu
7. alot have already done this meme....i'm always a day late
8. Or a dollar short..sometimes both. LOL.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Message to Take to Heart

Worship Wednesday is submitted by Sista Cala...give her a holla. LOL.

The following is excerpted from a letter written by James Alexander (1804-1850) to his younger brother.

Is life short? Then, my dear brother, whatever you have to do in life—ought to be done soon. You ought to begin at once. If you were put to a hard task, and an hour-glass were put by you, and you were told, "This sand runs out exactly in an hour, and at the end of the hour I will come to see whether you have done your task,"—how anxious would you be not to lose a moment!

Just as anxious should you now be to make a good use of your time. If the whole of life is but a span, then the little portions of it—which we call childhood, youth, middle age, old age—are short indeed. The little portion of youth will soon be over; yet in this very season you are laying a foundation for all the rest of your days. If the young twig grows crooked, the full grown bough will have the same direction fixed.

Youth is the gathering time. You must now be busy in laying up useful knowledge for time to come. Youth is the seed-time. If the farmer lets the time of sowing pass by, he will have no harvest in summer, and must starve. If you do not fix in your mind the seeds of truth and wisdom now, you will be ignorant and foolish when you grow to be a man, if you ever do become a man. For you must never forget that multitudes never reach manhood.

Everything you do, however trifling it may seem, has its bearing upon your future life. You will reap as you sow, and every moment you are sowing some good or some evil. It seems to you no great matter to trifle away an afternoon; but you are thereby getting a habit of idleness—you are losing just so much of your life—you are letting just so much sand run down without attending to your assigned task.

The great thing for which you were made is, to please God, and to enjoy his love. Life is short; therefore, do not put off the service of God until tomorrow. If life is so short, you ought to give God the whole of it. Surely, you will not rob him of the spring of your days—the very best part of them. He has as much right to this day as to the morrow; he demands your youth as well as your old age.

Follow the example of our adorable Redeemer, who said, "I must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; the night comes when no man can work." This is what few boys think much of; but those who do are wiser and happier when they become older; and none enjoy life so much as those who have early given their affections to Jesus Christ the Lord.

These words are as powerful today as they were the day they were penned. Will these posts remain valid a hundred years from now? As long as they are based on the Word that will never pass away, I believe they will speak to future generations.

Sorry--Been Busy Working So I could--

Posting from Atlanta, Georgia tonight. Hubby and I are here for two days for his training for a new job! We are hopeful that this is the answer we have been waiting for. He can't wait to begin. We just got in from a Braves game. We drove the Frybaby, and so far so good. Though I really had my doubts. Sorry I doubted you babe. We were given free tickets at the gate by some college kids that had extra. How's that for blessings! We also got in about 6 hours of some great heart-to-heart about our goals and our future. Maybe the tide is finally turning. I just stopped in to really check on Heather. I'll be back in the morning to post the Worship Wednesday. Right now I just want to pass out on this wonderful bed...I

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Pure Energy

Worship Wednesday is brought to you by my sister and blogging tag team partner, Sista Cala.

Gas prices continue to soar, regular is up to $2.89 per gallon. Corporations and consumers alike are looking for alternate energy sources. The government is offering huge incentives to the makers of hybrid automobiles. Ethanol and bio diesel are the latest innovations.

Churches today are looking for alternatives to fuel their services. They want to boost attendance and fire up the crowd. Many have replaced the choirs with rock bands and replaced the altars with wide open spaces filled with dancers. Big screens, sports figures, movie stars, and Power-Point presentations are the latest props in the performances called church. Don't forget the coffee and casual dress. What will be next?

Instead of calling on superstars or importing the hottest bands, it is time for the church to call on Jesus and be filled with the Holy Spirit. We read in Acts 1:8 you will receive power after the Holy Ghost has come upon you...and you will be be witnesses to the uttermost part of the earth. In other words, You will be filled with POWER, and you will GO. There is no better fuel for the Christian life. Nothing can take you farther or higher. He is not an alternate resource, He is the Source. To be filled today, stay loyal to the Supplier. Ask and you will receive.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Frybaby

This is my hubby's latest project. A Mercedes that has been converted to run on used vegetable oil. Yes, it runs. It sounds like a semi, though, since it is a diesel. It's 20 years old, but still has some good miles left in it. My biggest problem with it is he's storing the oil in drums in the backyard. And ruining his good clothes. But men, what can you do? "Oh honey, gas is going to hit $3.00 a gallon this summer. And I get this vegetable oil free. (From the Mexican and Chinese restaurants.) I admit, I'm skeptical. I admit I have laughed my butt off at him. I admit, I have been very angry at him over the oil in the yard.

Imagine what the neighbors think. Do they sit on their decks drinking their coffee in the mornings debating on what's in the drums and wondering if they should turn us in for suspicious behavior? Do they say, "We should get a petition up to get rid of that eyesore?" I don't know. I imagine that's what I would be saying and doing. Still, Bub just laughs and says they are the ones who are foolishly paying for that high-priced gasoline. So I let him play with his Mercedes and his WVO (Waste Vegetable Oil.) But I'm wondering where to draw the line.

We went to pick up some free filtered oil from someone in Clarksville who is doing the same experiment. They had more than they needed. As I entered their garage, I saw what looked like a still. A large tank with a coil coming from it, emptying golden liquid into vats. Oh my. What a set up. "Don't get any ideas, Bub." I whisper. What the gentleman was doing was heating the grease to take out any water molecules in it that might remain. I talked to his wife about this, and she says they are going to build a shed for his "project." I can't wait to find out if they can get a building permit for that one. Well, yes I can. I don't want a shed for WVO in my yard. But I wouldn't want it to take over my garage either.

So this is my darling husband's pet. I call it the FryBaby. He calls her SadieLou. All I can say is, keep on eating out, guys. And yes, I do have a couple of backup vehicles, just in case. LOL.