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.

 

Walking Through Fire


So….my family has been going through a hard time lately. I won’t go into what happened only to say that we have been deeply hurt by a situation many families have had to face. In other words, we are not alone although that fact doesn’t really change a whole lot about how we feel. I just feel sorry for anyone who has suffered in such a way.

I am compelled to share this with you because this morning I was gifted with a moment of clarity; a beautiful moment, a revelation that put my soul at peace.

Personally, I have struggled to balance my act. My first reaction is grief and all the ugly-face crying and ‘gnashing of teeth’ within me. My husband, usually strong and brutish, grieves quietly, a steady stream of tears soaking his beard and burley chest; a strong man with the breath knocked out of him. It’s a hard thing to see.

Some are some things you never want your children to see. A marriage dissolved is one of them. I don’t need to go into details because…well…it’s not the right thing to do. I’m sharing only to tell you this: God doesn’t leave you in the fire. The following is what I learned just this morning.

My house is filled with children today. Two are my grandchildren and two their step-sisters whom I have claimed as my own.

We have been waiting all summer for this weekend long slumber party. When any of my grandchildren come for a visit, I try to keep them busy. We do a lot of projects. It cuts down on the mischief. Yes. It does even if it means I am a drooping rag doll when they leave. It’s all about good memories and loving. It’s important. Last night and today they have been working on grand masterpieces of art work – painting, gluing, stenciling, whatever they can get into from the bowels of my art room which does, in fact, contain mountains of rejected paintings (that can be gessoe-ed over), tons of acrylic paint, sparkles, piles of ‘gems’ and unused beads. It’s the young art aficionado’s paradise. They dive in with glee, with both hands, with huge smiles. I am filled with joy for being The Best Nana. I thought having them on this particular weekend would be too much for me. But I find that I am strangely appreciative of the noise and innocent chaos. I am actually enjoying this reprieve from the drama that is our normal life at the moment. I am paying attention to all the details, all the little things. I made smiley face pancakes for breakfast with red lips and blue eyes. There were also some lopsided Mickey Mouses, a spikey dog, and swirly pink and blue pancakes. Their laughter was a soothing balm. I am healing.

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After breakfast as I was washing up the dishes, my thoughts focused on the event that has us all in an uproar. I silently lambasted the situation, dredging up all the painful words I could think of. But then…I was ashamed of my thoughts. I never used to be that thoughtful, if you can call it that. I let myself talk to God about my feelings. From my heart I told Him how I felt, the anger, the sorrow, how I want to make everything go away and for everything to go back to the way it used to be. The situation hurts. How are we as a family going to get through this?

Then, I heard a little voice. One of the Grand Artists had looked up from her masterpiece and said “I have a scripture I’m thinking of but I can’t remember where it comes from in the Bible.” I asked for the scripture and she said “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I knew immediately that it was God’s message for me. The hair on the back of my neck stood up and goose bumps popped up all down my arms.
Then she asked me if I could find it in the bible. I did. Philippians 4:13

From the mouths of babes, right? My Baby-Grand was unknowingly God’s messenger. Awesome! I hope I don’t sound selfish, but I am so glad they are here this weekend! God’s word let me know how I can get through these dark times, and how I can help my family get through it. Yes, I’m still angry but that will pass. Maybe. Eventually. If I let God help me. If I allow Him to strengthen me. I like that path a lot better than the one I’ve been on. That anger has got to go. I’m not ignoring the situation that hurt my family, I am, however, planning to deal with it a little differently.

And here’s another nugget that came my way this week. A friend told me that sometimes God allows devastating things to happen to us to mold, teach, and lead us to the next life event He has planned for us. And always, always toward blessings that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Disclaimer: I am not talking about atrocities across the world. Just my life. To enter into that conversation, I would have to be some kind of gifted theologian or incredible biblical genius.

What happens when we don’t live our life according to God’s flawless plan? Well, I guess it just doesn’t work out.

Life is not easy. Some things are just too hard and painful. It’s terribly hard to practice even a little bit of forgiveness. But I trust God. He has a plan and I want to cooperate with Him. He will hold us and care for us when life throws fire at us. We go through the darkness to get to the light. We go through the fire to become refined. We won’t be burned if He is there.

Feel free to add your perspective in the comment section. Who knows? Your words may help someone who could be reading this.

Please don’t forget to pray for peace. And, I might add, for all the hurting people.

Psuedo Elvis, Faux Marilyn


I have just about come to the conclusion that most men want to be like Elvis Presley and most woman want to be like Marilyn Monroe. I’m going out on a limb I know, but this is just my own observation. Maybe I don’t get out much. I don’t know. You tell me.

For those of you who have read my book Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club you may remember the scene when the mysterious new resident of the retirement village is outed. His give-away is his famous (self-proclaimed) rendition of How Great Thou Art, circa Elvis Presley, which he performs from the church choir loft.

I know you are thinking that could never happen, right?

Wrong.

It happened. And not only in the book. It happened in REAL LIFE not once but TWO separate times. First of all, you should know that I MAY have patterned the character in my book on someone (or two or more) I actually MIGHT have known at one time, a man, shall we say, who imagined himself channeling Elvis from the choir loft. It was a good impersonation too, but the tinkling of the piano keys sounded a little lone-star-country-bar-ish. I fully expected to hear the clink of glasses (or beer bottles) after the dismissal. Thank God I didn’t. Keep in mind I MAY be exaggerating. Or not. At any rate, I turned that experience into a great scene for the Old Ladies’ Club.

I never expected to ever be confronted with that situation again. After all, it’s fiction, right? Sure.

Let me just say that I know more than one man who fancies himself a new age Elvis. Dear God in heaven, (seriously, not irreverently) please don’t let that happen again. If I could, I would give you dear readers all of the scary details about another hopeful who wanted to gift an unsuspecting congregation with his own impersonation of How Great Thou Art, as per Elvis, during a funeral, an act that would no doubt mortify every single person in attendance especially the straight-laced pastor who had a tendency to frown upon such unsolicited displays of talent. I was drafted to be the one person to put a stop to it before it started. I must add that pseudo Elvis dearly loves the grieving family and would do nothing to hurt them. He just over estimated his abilities … and his wife’s reaction. As for the aforementioned effort to put a halt to the show, just know that it wasn’t pretty. But nobody, I repeat nobody in the church had any idea of the ensuing concert manifestation or cancelation.

Whew. Rest assured we made up later although it was touchy for a while. We’re still friends.

Please don’t think that I’m foolishly above all. I’m not. Obviously I have huge flaws. And I’m not trying to pass judgment on anyone. I’ll put it like my husband does: Won’t they please let Elvis rest in peace? Faux Elvis is just not the same.

Thank God for His everlasting mercy and forgiveness! I’ll keep working on my flaws, my sins, my uncanny ability to (wrongfully) pass judgment. And I’ll keep asking Him to forgive me every time I fail because I know Who is King, Just, Right, Fair, Forgiving. And Everlasting. I really like that everlasting part.

As for the Marilyn Monroe remark. Well, I just threw that in there to be fair to the guys. I’d like to be Marilyn Monroe. Not BE her exactly, but look like her. Yeah, I’d love to look like her. She sizzled! Now that takes talent! Yes, to all the Elvis wanna-bes, I am a Marilyn wanna-be. So there. Don’t hate me for it. But please stop me if I ever put on a see through dress and start singing Happy Birthday Mr. President.

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Will you take a moment and pray for peace? And for the kidnapped girls of Nigeria? And for victims of Mother Nature? And for a cure for cancer? And for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven?

Announcing my new ETSY shop!


I am happy to announce that I have opened a new etsy shop! I am in the process of stocking it with tons of hand made rosaries, car rosaries, jewelry, art, and (of course) my book, SECRETS OF THE OLD LADIES’ CLUB !
Check me out at https://www.etsy.com/shop/NanTubreDesigns
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Each item is handmade by me, or authored by ~ um ~ me.

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Somebody asked me where I found the time for all of this. No easy answer, that. Let me start by saying we old ladies ROCK! Set priorities, then go for it. 1. God 2. Family 3. Others 4. Self. Lucky for me, my passion to create serves all. I’m not one to toot my own horn, but I gotta tell ya, serving God first and everyone next, saving yourself for last gives more joy to everything you can do. I’m not always successful because I am rather selfish, a little self-centered, and prone to seek out the more comfortable avenues. But I do try. So if someone like me can try, so can anyone else.

I’m a person who has to get my art out there. I hope you like what you see. Oh, and if you order my book, please be a darling and leave a good review on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17397862-secrets-of-the-old-ladies-club?ac=1
If you like reading ebooks, you can order one on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Old-Ladies-Club-Tubre-ebook/dp/B00BHDON3O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391975959&sr=8-1&keywords=secrets+of+the+old+ladies+club

May God bless us all, and please don’t forget to pray for peace.

Spiritually Overcoming Abuse


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I intended to post the following yesterday but I had to sleep on it and pray about it to be sure I wanted to share it with the world. Plus, I don’t want to hurt anyone who has hurt me in the past. With healing comes forgiveness. Or maybe the other way around.

I don’t even know how to put into words the experience I had, or I should say, the truth revealed to me last night. I was at my weekly prayer meeting, a group of Catholic Charismatic ladies who get together to praise God and offer prayer intentions. And sometimes share a bottle of wine. Hey, we’re Catholic, what can I say?

ANYWAY, during the course of the evening we shared and prayed and meditated. I think we all had the same thing on our hearts because it seems the conversation drifted into the realm of our pasts and the pain of our childhoods. Isn’t it something how God brings people together who have so much in common? Not a coincidence, a God-incidence. There were only three of us last night but we still made a joyful noise unto the Lord, as the saying goes. When we got down to brass tacks, it was all about surviving abusive relationships and childhoods. One by one we shared things in our lives that were devastating. We cried for each other and prayed for each other. And we thanked God that He is a God of mercy and compassion. The more I thought about that, the more I began to recognize a truth that had evaded me for as long as I could remember. And with that truth came healing.

In terms of what we all have to suffer in life, I can’t say I know the reasons why we do. The world wide web is not the place to discuss some things so I’m not going there. But I will say this: God’s timing is not our timing but his timing is perfect. Recently, I saw a post on fb that said our bad memories need to be removed from our lives because they are toxic to ourselves physically and mentally. Personally, the suffering I have had to endure was bad in my eyes but compared to some, maybe not so much. Nevertheless, it was so complicated it had to be healed by layers. I can’t say I was always fully aware of each step into healing. All I knew was I had pain that was tattooed on my heart and soul and I wanted to be free of it. I wanted to be ‘normal’, whatever that was. As the healing progressed, I began to understand the reasoning behind why I felt ‘less than’, as well as defining and understanding my own behaviors that were destructive and self-deprecating, at the same time, inevitable; symptoms manifested by my pain.

A little at a time, the eyes of my heart have been opened to see the reasoning, if there is such a thing, behind why I suffered what I did. With each revelation came healing. Like an onion (I’m sure you’ve heard this before but it still rings true) peeling away layer by layer, so were the obstacles that kept me from the area in my life that most needed healing. And it was a s l o w process. Finally, just last night, I came to understand that I needn’t search for healing and the ability to rise above. It would come to me. God would see to it. Suddenly last night, as clear as a bell, I realized that God knows what He is doing. I had to wait until His time was right to complete the work He began in me. I discovered that the reason I wasn’t healed the first time I asked was because God knew I couldn’t deal with the reasons why what happened happened. I simply wasn’t ready. God knew when I would be and he tilled the soil and fertilized the field, and pulled the weeds until I was in the exact spot I needed to be, a place where I could accept hearing what happened, what made me the way I am.

I would have not been able to handle it otherwise. Premature enlightenment of the truth might have destroyed me. There could have been weak areas in me that couldn’t go there without more damage occurring.

God’s timing is perfect. I’m pretty sure I am a much stronger person with perhaps more insight and rebounding abilities. All thanks to God.

I don’t blame Him for the bad, bad experiences I have had. His gift to the human race is free will and it isn’t His fault that the choices of others have had a negative impact on my life. For that matter, some of my own choices have had negative impact on other’s lives. But God, in His mercy, has all the tools we need to become whole. His understanding and compassion are perfect, therefore He knows the exact time in which we will be able to accept our healing so that it will become totally complete.

Amen.

Please pray for peace.

Mrs. Willie’s Old Rolling Pin


I ran across Mrs. Willie’s old rolling pin as I was digging through my lost and found drawer. That is what I call that particular drawer because it is home to items we seldom use. There is stuff in that drawer that I haven’t looked at for years. Yeah, I’m not the most organized or neatest person in the world. Anyway…yesterday the lost and found drawer offered Mrs. Willie’s rolling pin along with an idea. I can’t take the credit for the idea because I have seen something like it on a TV commercial. The funny thing is when I was describing it to my husband the only thing I could remember to call it was ‘pin roller thingy’. That in itself is a statement to these modern times. Does anybody still use a rolling pin? You do?? Well, I’m not that good in the kitchen so my biscuit and pie crust making abilities are limited. If I can buy them instead of make them, I will. I used to try to make biscuits. My ex-husband used to throw them outside for the dog and then laugh when even the dog wouldn’t eat them. Did I mention EX-husband?

Ok, moving on.

My husband (NOT the ex) was raised by the most wonderful southern woman, in fact, the epitome of southern gentility with more home-maker talents that I could ever hope to have. She had her family spoiled to the nth degree with her domestic prowess. The love of my life told me his daddy always said they “didn’t have much, but they did have a roof over their head, clean sheets, and a bite to eat”. If you knew that family, you would most certainly understand that was a compliment of the highest degree.

When I tell you Mrs. Willie was a good cook, I’m saying she was a goooood cook. She had old-timey recipes like tomato gravy, gumbo, jambalaya, syrup cake, meatball stew, rice dressing, chicken gravy, wilted lettuce, mustard greens, and yes, biscuits and pies. Of course, in Louisiana, just about everything is eaten over rice. I remember her red beans and rice, her white beans (commonly known as navy beans) with ham hocks and the best cornbread I’ve ever tasted. Needless to say, her rolling pin was used often and with the love of a woman who’s focus in life was to 1) serve God and 2) serve her family. She was also very head strong, but that’s another story.

Back to the (brilliant) idea. I couldn’t see leaving the poor rolling pin in the lost and found drawer forever. Even though I don’t use it, and pretty much never will, I thought why not put it to good use? I took great pains to relay to the love of my life what I wanted to do to the rolling pin.

He was aghast and thought it a great sacrilege. Well, of course he would, we were talking about destroying his saintly mother’s rolling pin, her very own symbol of womanhood. At this point I must tell you that his mother and I had one thing in common – strong-headedness. Once I explained to my dear that using it as a towel rack was waaaay better than leaving it in the lost and found drawer, he caved. Poor thing. He mumbled something about his grandmother and his granddaughter while he set up the saw. Then it happened. He created an art work that I will cherish and enjoy forever! After he brushed away the tears -I mean sawdust- he saw the light and declared that using Mrs. Willie’s rolling pin for a kitchen towel hanger was a grand idea. He likes it, he likes it! It no longer languishes in a drawer where no one at all can appreciate it’s beauty and remember it’s history and the loving hands that worked it for years. I love it, and better yet, my darling husband loves it too.

Tell me, how do you like it?

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He cut it in half and then put a 30 degree edge on it to angle it in an upward position.

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If you want to do this project, be sure to pick a rolling pin that is solid and doesn’t have rotating handles. The type that rolls around will have a metal rod in them and that could wreck your saw if you’re not careful!

TA DA!

TA DA!

For the record, my husband spoils me much like his mother spoiled him. Trust me, he is spoiled. But so am I. He does 95% of the cooking and it is obvious who he learned that from. And he does things for me that he usually has to think twice about. Like cutting up a piece of his childhood. He did it just for me. It was a sacrifice. Does that remind you about anyone? Can you think of another who made a sacrifice he didn’t really want to?

Good grief, now I’m comparing Jesus Christ to a rolling pin! But it’s all about the sacrifice. Jesus stepped forward and made the ultimate sacrifice for people he loved. You. Me. He asked His Father to take the cup from Him, but that wasn’t the way it was supposed to happen. God’s design was that His Son would have to make a sacrifice for all of our lost souls, to offer a new beginning, a new life.

There are times in life when we all have to make a sacrifice we don’t want to make, but we do it for those we love. Kind of like cutting your mama’s old rolling pin in half. My love didn’t want to, but he did it because he loves me. It is no longer useless, as it was in the lost and found drawer. It has a new use, a new beginning of service that symbolizes a strong familial love. I’m the lucky one who gets to lay eyes on that every day! And I thank him for the sacrifice he made for me.

Above all, and with my whole heart, I thank God for the sacrifice He made. I have a new beginning, a new life, precious love. I am so spoiled, er, I mean blessed!

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Folks, won’t you do me a favor and bless the world by praying for peace?