What’s Love Got To Do With It?


SECRETS OF THE OLD LADIES CLUB

Guess what?  I got a phone call from a fan!  eeeeekkk!  I did, from a real fan!  I saw stars, my head started spinning, and my chest kinda puffed out a little bit.  A man who actually read my book (Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club) called me to say he enjoyed it.  And so did his mother.  I was elated – surprised, but elated.   Actually it was a humbling experience because it has been a while since it was published.  I didn’t purchase a marketing package when I self-published with IUniverse because I put all the funds I could muster up into publishing the book.  That was it.  Tapped out.  But I was happy with that.  My goal was to tell a story that was rolling around in my head bumping on the inside of my skull to get out.  And I was able to accomplish #1 on my bucket list.  For me, it isn’t about the money I coulda, woulda, shoulda made.  Trust me, I would have been happy to make a lot of money, but realistically speaking, I wasn’t going to hold my breath.  I think my first royalty check was for – ummm- $31.   Are you suitably impressed?  Perhaps if I had purchased a marketing package I would have done better.  Who knows and who cares?  All I can tell you is that phone call from the fan made a huge impact on me.  And not for the reasons one might think.  It was because of the impact my book had on this man’s life.  Yeah.  Let’s talk about a humbling experience!

So it went like this:  I had contact from this man some time back.  He heard about Secrets from someone I knew and wanted to read it.  I was more than happy to send him a copy.  When he called me the other night, it was to tell me he loaned it to his mother before reading it himself.  And now that he was nearly finished reading it, felt compelled to tell me what it meant to him.  At this point in the conversation my heart stopped.  What was going on?  He was struggling to control his emotions.  Through the phone line I could hear him choking back the tears that rendered him unable to utter the words his heart wanted me to hear, the very purpose for his phone call.  But he needn’t have worried.  I heard him loud and clear and my heart was moved.  How could it not be?  A forty something grown man going to pieces because of something I wrote?  Unheard of.  Plenty of women have told me they enjoyed the book.  A couple of men told me they enjoyed the book, but hey, they are related to me so they kinda have to say that.  I’ve had a ton of wonderful, great reviews with the exception of two: one said don’t waste your money, another said it must have been written by a 14 year old.  Haha!  I let it roll off my back.  But I digress.  Back to the fan.  When he was finally able to gather himself, he said “I am that gay boy”.   He said I nailed it on the head regarding the ways he identified with my book.  He said he finally found someone who understood what his life was like.  I was floored.  And humbled.  And thrilled.  His reaction was something real, something more than I ever expected.  What did I tell him?  I said that if for no other reason than for him to read my book, I was glad I wrote it.  And glad I fought to save enough money to publish it. For one person to have such a strong reaction is more than I ever dreamed of.  Accomplishing #1 on my bucket list turned into something more.

Let me take this one step further.  I’m going to involve God in the equation.  I can say this for certain that He does know the desires of our hearts and longs to see them fulfilled.  That’s not just for me, but for all.  If the desires of your heart fall within the perimeters of His will for your life, He will stop at nothing to see that your heart is fulfilled.  I know that to be the truth.  Of course, sometimes our desires are outside His will for our lives.  I’ve had that happen before too.  I wanted to be – , I wanted to have – , I wanted to do – .   but you know what?  Growing in relationship with the Lord changes things.  The more you get to know Him, the more you want to know Him.  And then the more the desires of your heart change.  They quietly kinda slip to the back burner until one day you discover that the desires of your heart include, first and foremost, that all you want is to do is His will!  To follow Him closely, snuggle up under His arm, and allow Him to be God to us.  In retrospect, it would seem that the desires of our hearts make a path straight to His heart and His desires for us.  It opens a way for us to learn how to love and grow in love.  That’s His message, isn’t it?  To love always?  That’s the way I see it.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to properly assume what God is thinking these days.  Did you watch the Republican Presidential Debate last night?  Good Lord in heaven!  The topics alone will bring a saint to their knees.  ISIS, abortion, gay marriage, social security, jobs, immigration, building a wall separating the United States and Mexico.  Oh, then there is balancing the budget, Hillary bashing, Obama bashing, bashing each other.  One thing I found interesting is that, when pressed, pretty much every candidate declared a strong belief in God.  I liked Ted Cruz’s answer when asked if, because he’s a Christian, God speaks to him.  He said yes, on a daily basis, God speaks through the Bible.  What a beautiful thing to say!   I seem to recall that later he went on to say that God wants us to love one another.  Well.  How do you like that?  I was waiting for the gay bashing to take place.  Thankfully I was wrong.  I’m so tired of it.  I’m tired of all this hating.  I’m not even remotely related to God so I can’t say what His take is on it, although I have seen all the scriptures concerning the “abomination”.   I’m tired of people looking at gays and lesbians as if they have two heads and three eyes.  What’s the matter, don’t people understand God loves them as well?  We are all His people, His love!   Why get all freaked out and homophobic?  (disclaimer: I am married to a homophobe, yet I still love him with all my heart.)  I say we should all reserve our judgment for worse things, like abortion, war, murder, starving children, etc.  And then, in love, do something about those instead of working to make certain people feel like less than they are.  Amen?

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Pray for peace, people!  The world needs your prayers!

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AT THE END OF THE DAY…


jesus and child

I’m sure somewhere around the country, a beautiful sunset is about to be enjoyed.  While I enjoy evenings, in my part of the country, this evening is the end of a long rainy day.  It’s Easter Sunday.  And Easter Sunday is a day of hope for believers.  I love it, I appreciate it, I need it.  It is a lesson that one never stops learning; put your hope in the Lord.  Believe in the reality of it.  God came to earth in the form of an ordinary man, flesh and blood, with a need for nutrition, shelter, and love.  He sweat, probably had indigestion occasionally, and no doubt shared any and all maladies effecting human beings during that time in history.  As a carpenter, he probably worked very hard, was practical, and had a sense of design.  He must have had the occasional splinter, busted finger, and sneezed sawdust.  He was real.

And he still is.  He is not a fable or a legend.  He really did die.  He really did come back from the dead.  He really did ascend into heaven, where he lives and reigns.  He really did send us his Holy Spirit to guide us.  He really did.

How do I know these things?  I can say I have faith, but that wouldn’t be the whole truth.  That wouldn’t satisfy the average skeptic, because I too have doubts.  Can you believe that?  Yeah, it surprises me too.  So, I have had to look for proof.  I found it.  Don’t expect any fairy stories here.  I’m a romantic, but also a realist. (Blame my life experiences for that.  It hasn’t a perfect one.)  My proof was rationalization.  I read the stories of Jesus in the Bible.  But I came to discover that the Bible isn’t the only proof of His existence and life.  His very existence, and those of his disciples and family, are documented in other ways.

I also consider the extent of His follower’s passionate beliefs.  And the extent of that belief reaching far and wide, to places the original disciples could never have dreamed of.  Plus, they were eye witnesses.  And many more eye witnesses surface in history.  Consider the saints.  Visions and prophecy?  Sounds far-fetched but mysteries such as those are beyond my realm of understanding, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe.  A short post of mine will not provide all of the proof a skeptic needs.  Everyone has to do their own exploring.  I can only testify to what I believe.

So, it’s been a quiet Easter Sunday here.  The hubs recently had surgery and is quietly recuperating in his big easy chair.  I took a nap too and have spent the rest of the day contemplating how blessed I am to be a believer.  At Mass this morning, Father Charlie Ray passionately spoke of the life, death and resurrection of our Lord.  He said something unique that will always stay with me.  It was in regards to the legions of us who aren’t so faithful about worshiping in church, those of us who come up with all kinds of excuses not to go.  He said “God doesn’t want you to worship Him the way you want to.  He wants you to worship Him the way He wants to be worshiped.”

I  can’t presume to second guess what God wants.  But I have a good feeling that the traditions of believers over the centuries can’t be entirely wrong.

At the end of the day, appreciation goes a long way and appreciation of what God did for us, the way He brought us from the brink of living in hell, lends itself to a type of worship that is beyond understanding.  I hope He receives it in the spirit it is given.  It comes from the heart.

How To Make Curtains and Still Keep Your Religion


Do you have times in your life when you bite off more than you can chew?  I do.  In fact, I am the Queen of biting off more than I can chew.  I don’t know why I do it, I just do it.  It’s not that I think I can do anything, rather it’s more along the lines of I’ve got to try.  My friend Sue believes that I am brave enough to try anything.  Wrong.  My friend Mary believes I can do just about anything.  Wrong.  My friend Barbara has known me since I was eighteen years old and she knows I am a gifted in the art of fake-it-till-you-make-it.  Sometimes I bite off a mouthful because I don’t think I can afford to pay someone else to do whatever it is I want done.  I’m, kind of cheap that way.  My husband would tell you I do it because I don’t think anyone else could do it the way I want it done.  Tsk tsk.  I thought he knew me better than that.  There are very few things I do that can’t be done better by Anyone else.  I understand me better than anyone else does and that makes explaining what I want (and how I want it) a lot easier when no one else is involved.

With that said, perhaps it would be better if I could step out in faith and pay someone to bring my projects to life instead of struggling to do it myself.  For example, the curtains I just made for my living room and dining room.  I put that project off for over a year before I got the nerve to start.  I just couldn’t cut the fabric, a beautiful piece, by the way, that I purchased at a phenomenal price.  Picture this, gorgeous up-graded burlap style with a French postage print.  It was originally $38/yard.  Omygoodness.  I could never pay that!  So I waited and waited and waited till it went on sale for 50% off.  Then I went to the fabric store on ‘Old-Lady-Day’ and saved another 15% on my dream fabric.  (Senior citizen discounts are the bomb!)   Just think – 65% off!  How cool is that?  It is so beautiful that I couldn’t bear to touch it for fear that I would ruin it.

I think this is THE most beautiful fabric.

I think this is THE most beautiful fabric.

Fast forward a little over a year.  I’d put it off long enough so I began to plan how I would manage to bring my project to fruition.  I searched online and found some room darkening fabric curtain panels at such a low price, taking them apart so that I could use them in my own curtain project wasn’t a problem.  I’m not ‘shamed to say I’m cheap!  Even if they aren’t exactly the right color…The back won’t show, right?

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Now do you see why it might be a good idea for me to actually pay someone else to do the work for me??  I’ll cut to the chase and tell you exactly how it went.  I cut the fabric into four nice 90 inch pieces.  I took apart the room darkening panels.  then I got in the floor with one of the expensive fabric panels and covered it with one of the el cheapo fabric panels.  I cut them to the same size, pinned them together and sewed up the top and both sides.   I then ironed the seams flat and clipped on the rings that would suspend them from the new curtain rods (which I bought at Kohl’s online using my ebates account at a 6% rebate!  I’m so cheap.)   I learned a good lesson when it comes to ironing.  If the iron is too hot, it will melt your room darkening fabric.

As my beloved late mama used to say - "Sheee-it".  She was a great seamstress but mama was no saint!

As my beloved late mama used to say – “Sheee-it”. She was a great seamstress but mama was no saint!

Here is where the comedy begins.  The new curtain rods, oh Sweet Jesus, why do things have to be so complicated?  Let us just say that after a long effort and several practice runs, I managed to get the brackets up.  It was touch and go there for a while.   I took them down, made some adjustments, put them back up.  To say nothing of me on a ladder – not good.   It seemed to be a never ending series of errors.  But I got it done.  Yep.  May not be perfect, but it’s done.   Except that I ran out of that really expensive, gorgeous, high-end burlap fabric with the French post script on it.  Yeah.  I did.  Each window needs at least another panel.  *sigh.

Not too bad,  if I say so myself.

Not too bad, if I say so myself.

But the curtains are up and of course, my good God didn’t let me get very far in the process without a lesson or two thrown in.  He is so good that way.  Don’t you love it?  As I was taking apart and sewing together, I was reminded of Job, a book in the Old Testament.  The devil was on the hunt looking for someone he could bring down.  He badgered God and hounded Him, taunting Him that he could turn a believer into his own disciple.   Poor Job, he was really in for it.  He went through so many devastating trials, any ordinary man would have keeled over under lesser circumstances. Scripture tells he was a faithful man but he was human as well. He had his doubts from time to time. He was shaken to his core. Over and over, his friends tried to convince him that God had forgotten him, sacrificed him, turned him over to die. But Job was wise in not listening to them. He knew that God would not forsake him. And God proved that He is faithful, even when we have our trials and tribulations. Even when we have to start over. Even when we make mistakes, become discouraged, feel like giving up, when nothing fits, the seams aren’t equal, we can’t seem to measure up.  Even when we think we have bitten off more than we can chew.

The lesson is to prevail, to keep doing what you have to to get the end result you want. And beyond that, the lesson is to trust, to believe, and to have faith. God is a good God. We human beings have trashed the world He has given us. We and our ancestors have poisoned, plundered, and murdered the paradise He put together with His spoken word. Yet, He still loves us. Every one of us is beloved to him.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done. He absolutely loves you, purely and faithfully.

How do we repay him? Do we do as Job’s friends suggested and turn our back on our Maker when the going gets rough? Or do we offer ourselves, time and talent to the One who promises unending love, security, and peace? Do we work for Him and with Him? Or do we run into the world, away from our troubles and refusing to help anyone else in dire circumstances? You know, trouble will follow you. Running away won’t change a thing. Ask Job, he knows.

As I was studying for this post, I came across several scriptures that relate to God’s love for us.  If you are led to, read the book of Job.  The ending is worth it!  Then do yourself a favor and read Psalm 139.  Awesome.  That kind of reading will make a believer out of you!  If you don’t know already, you will see that God has it all worked out for you.

“For I know well the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for woe, as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me, yes when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me …” Jeremiah 29: 11-14.

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I was surprised to realize that I haven’t posted anything since November.   Wow it was a busy year end!  We had our annual Grandchildren’s Christmas party on Dec. 27th and man, was that a blast!  I’m thinkin’ one of God’s plans for me was to be somebody’s grandmother.  That’s a good thing because it has always been my favorite dream.  Back to the year end –  we had a beautiful celebration on Christmas eve with some dear friends; dinner and exchange of gifts preceded by a rosary.  It was a holy and heartfelt celebration.  Santa wasn’t invited but the Holy Spirit was!   Although I missed my grown children and all my other relatives spread across these United States, this Christmas season was spectacular in the area of spirituality.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  The Hubs, our home, our Lord.  We have blessings that are never ending.   I found out I have a brain tumor.  It is not cancer and I won’t need surgery unless it begins to grow.   Take that you old devil ~ I’m standing with Job and giving thanks and praise to the One who sustains and heals!

Now to make another couple of curtains…

Don’t forget to pray for peace y’all.

BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE


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I HAVE BEEN BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE

 I love when I wake up in the morning and my first thought is of God and His mercy. It is a very sweet time, in depth, and endearing. It is a moment of love shared, time that I cherish. When I have the presence of mind, I ask forgiveness for my sins. Invariably I run through the list of whatever I feel needs forgiving. Seldom do I have the presence of mind to ask who I need to forgive, although He has brought to my mind a person or two whose injurious actions I have been stubborn about letting go. That part brings me to my knees. Gentle chastisement, I call it. He is famous for that which is sometimes a puzzlement to me. But after all, who am I to think that whether or not I forgive someone who hurt me is such a big deal. Well…He does. But that’s another story.

This morning I woke up with our good God on my mind. Praises on my lips quickly changed to apologies for my many sins. My mind’s eye centered on a time in my life when my behavior was less than acceptable, a time when I was troubled and desperate to find love and acceptance. My heart became heavy and sad due to the grievances of my soul. The familiar feeling of shame settled in and I began my litany of sins reaching far into the past and dredging them up to the present. Then my heart heard the Lord speak. He said something like this:

“Why do you ask forgiveness for the same sins over and over? It’s done. I have forgiven you. Besides, I don’t usually condemn people whose sins are psychologically motivated. You behaved that way for reasons you didn’t know or understand. Now that you do, be free. Let it go. You are forgiven.

Now let’s talk about the present. Tell me why you …..”

And on it went. I want to let you know that a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders this morning. I’ve been barking up the wrong tree for so long. Once I realized that I continued to claim and own my sins of the past, I could accept forgiveness for them. I can’t say I will forget my sinful behavior. That would be wrong because, you see, what I did makes me who I am today. And lucky for me, God took the opportunity to make me a better person. And for that I will be eternally grateful. I am blessed that God can take something bad and use it for the good! How great is that?!

So, good-bye past. Hello freshly forgiven soul. Have a seat and let’s you and me get busy praising our majestic God. He is merciful, and beautiful, and ultimately knows us in the most intimate way. Seek Him with your heart, not your stupid logic. Know that when you confess, He forgives.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. Count your blessings and most of all, pray for peace.

 

Let’s talk about Old Ladies


I’ve had a number of people ask me why I chose to write about old ladies although obviously I am not old…um, yeah…right. I chose to write Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club for many reasons. cropped-book-cover.jpg
Below I’ve posted several notable phrases to lead you into understanding my thought processes on the matter. To sum it up for you ~ “Life is a chair of bowlies” ~ Mary Englebreit.
good womanlive your life and forget your agedrop it like it's hotsee yourselfturn back odometerthinking old

AND FINALLY~
older I get

Ya’ll enjoy your life and remember this: in the end

Growing old or aging, it’s a choice we make. So is living a good life, and finding joy wherever you are, in whatever stage of life you are in. Bethany Bertrand (a character who came to life in my book) said “Our bodies may grow old but our souls don’t. They just grow.” The woman’s a genius!

While you are making the most of your life, don’t forget to pray for peace. YOUR prayer is needed!

Big Deal, I missed #7


And isn’t 7 a lucky number? Oh well, such is life.

This post is NaBloPoMo #8

Have ya’ll seen that Aleve commercial that highlights good-deed-doers(said with respect NOT sarcasm)? I saw it several times today. After about the 6th time, it occurred to me that the message was in line with something I read in the Bible. And so help me, I can’t remember where the scripture was. I thought it was in Luke but I just scoured that book and couldn’t find it. Oh well, God knows what I mean.

Anyway, back to the commercial… Several women were featured for the work they did for the poor. One of them was a single mother for many years. She said that as she was raising her son, sometimes they didn’t have enough. I am assuming she meant enough food. It was for that reason that she organized a food pantry for other people who don’t have enough.

Now, about what I read in the Bible… The passage was about worshiping idols. I had a prayer partner tell me one time, or maybe more, that when we make something more important than our time with God, that is the definition of idolatry. If you work harder on something and put more effort into it, think about it constantly, go out of your way to do/see/eat, etc. than you are worshiping an idol, making the thing you love more important than God is in your life.

So the Aleve commercial jogged my brain and suddenly I saw that these good-deed-doers were actively doing the opposite of worshiping idols. They were taking care of business. They were sharing God’s love. They were a visible sign of what it means to love one another. I mean they went out of their way to do good deeds. It was their love, what they spent the most time doing. Clearly, not worshiping the things of the world, material things. At least that’s the way the commercial presented them if I’m not wrong.

What I’m trying to say in my tongue-tied way is think about what you love, what you spend the most time doing and arranging your life around. If it’s not the Divine Creator, than be careful, you may be worshiping idols. It is a useless, pointless way of life. How smart you are, what you have accomplished, how many books you’ve written, awards won, kudos showered upon you, how well you apply your talents – none of that means a thing if they become your idol. As a modern people, we have forgotten that. Information bombards us from every direction (no wonder our kids are ADD) and our thoughts are removed from what should be first and foremost.

Trust me, I am the last person who should be holier-than-thou. I can be judgmental, bad tempered, self-righteous, etc., etc., etc. I enjoy the pleasures of this world too. I love to write, create art, cater to the grandchildren every time I get a chance. Sometimes the things of this world consume me. Not one of us is perfect. I need to face up to what I am spending most of my time doing and weigh that in with how much time I spend doing His will. Damn little, I suspect.

Today I learned this: It’s not what I do that disappoints God. It’s what I dont do. If I don’t make time for Him and spend all my time doing worldly things, what good am I? It seemed to me that the do-gooders on the Aleve commercial had a peace about them. I’ve met people like that before and it seems they all do. In fact, I have a brother who is a do-gooder and he has that same peace about him. All of those people don’t seem like they would worry about a bad book review in the big pile of good ones, or waiting in line to purchase the latest technological toy, or the must-have new boots, dress, career. What matters is doing what does put a smile on God’s face. That is putting the worship and praise where it belongs. It can be as simple as loving one another.

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And don’t forget to pray for peace.

On the Bead Board – NaBloPoMo #5


I’ve been inspired to make a few new rosaries and a bracelet or two. Normally I would put them in my etsy shop but this time I am going to save them to display in a friend’s new boutique. I will blog about her after her grand opening. If you see something you would like feel free to contact me. If you have a suggestion, don’t hesitate to leave a comment. I’m always open to feedback.

These are a few of my infant rosaries. I made them with t-tiny 4mm beads. Perfect for a baby shower gift or baptism gift.

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These are a couple of full size rosaries. The first one is made out of blue dyed fresh water pearls, each one hand wire-wrapped using non-tarnish silver plated wire. The following is a Divine Mercy rosary. The Ave beads are clear, multi-faceted glass beads with red Pater beads. Together, they symbolize the blood and water flowing from Jesus’ side. The center connector and crucifix have the Divine Mercy emblems on them.

Blue dyed Fresh Water Pearl

Blue dyed Fresh Water Pearl

Drop of His Blood

Drop of His Blood

Divine Mercy Rosary

Divine Mercy Rosary

This single decade rosary bracelet is strung on strong jeweler’s wire. The beads are a cream color with gold crackle detail. The findings are bronze color.

Rosary Bracelet

Rosary Bracelet

Let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you!