Thursday, September 3, 2009


It is just another work day but not exactly. It is our anniversary, a time to celebrate the events of years past. But there are so many to ponder upon. The problem and the blessing of long life together is the accumulation of stuff and memories.

Much of the stuff is worthless or belongs to one of the now adult children who needed storage space. On the other hand much of the stuff is the catalyst for the memory. The scent of a leather cowboy outfit size 3, the desk where many crayon drawings of young children were created, the forgotten motorcycle that sang for hours and the honors and school annuals. But these are the memories of children. There are other deeper memories.

There are the flowers that came after the fight. The discussion about the flowers - not needed! Just come home and resolve the conflict. The houses that bore the scars of life and time. The furniture that still holds the stains of accidents and the discarded or worn out things that once seemed so desirable to have.

Through it all one thing has grown more lustrious with time and that is the depth of love we feel for each other. It comes not from things or actions but from endurance. Love grows in the trenches of trouble and sorrow. Love returns each time it is given except in a greater number. It is the love that is celebrated this day as we remember the frantic day of our wedding. But today is not frantic. Rather we sit together holding hands, listening to the quiet and wondering where all the years went, but grateful that during all those trials, celebrations and memories there was one constant, each other.
Three weeks after my second marriage the third child of my four stepchildren stood by the dryer were I was doing my continual duty of laundry and said, "You don't love me like you do Alyssa."

The comment came from nowhere with no provocation or reason. I knew that this moment might come but I did not expect it so soon nor did I think it would be so out of context. I expected it to arrive at a time when there were troubled children in our blended family. A time when jealousy and discord would reign. Not here in the laundry room with one child who simply stated a fact and wanted to discuss it.

Many things plundered through my mind in those short few minutes before I responded. My first thought was simply how do I respond to such a comment and does he really want a response? I continued my chore of separating clothes and said, "What makes you say that?" He didn't stutter or miss a beat but rather began to relate incidences from his viewpoint which he had deemed to show favor to the other child. Of course he could not relate to the fact that he was 9 and she was 4 therefore, there would be differences in the relationship. One incidence that he cited was that I didn't hold him in my lap as much as I did the younger. Of course he couldn't see that she weighed a measly 22 pounds while he topped the scale at well over 80 pounds, plus the difference in height.

I turned my back and let a little smile creep across my face at this revelation of brewing jealousy. I nodded and let him continue with other events that were just as easily explainable, but somehow I knew that any explanation would fall on deaf ears. His heart was not for an explanation of the events, he really wanted to know if I loved him at all. He wanted to know his place in this new family.

But then again, if I declared that I did love him, it would sound empty and hollow because we had only been a family for three weeks and everyone's world had been turned upside down in that three weeks. All eight members of this new family were feeling the pinch of a crowded house, extra chores, and the trial of separation of two's. When two complete households blend there is an excess of things that should only be possessed in one's. Things like ironing boards, mixers, washing machines, etc. But then there is the excess that is needed, the extra towels, but then there is the problem of where to put them. Each solution seemed to bring a new problem.

Other problems arose as I attempted to make this house which had once been occupied by the first wife, my home. I would open a drawer and find pictures of his first family smiling as they appeared to be the perfect family. I once opened a drawer and found a love letter from my husband to his ex-wife. I felt like an intruder. I had enough problems of my own without having to verify this child's value by my love. I was hanging on by a thread myself. I frequently asked myself what had I done to my children and this family. Of course, I reminded myself that the family unit had been severed before my entrance into their lives. It was the blending of the two families that caused me to pause in thought and feel the edge of depression.

My love for my own child had flowed from the day she had been born, but this child came to me with many problems and he was not cute or loveable, he was a boy with all the things that accompany nine year old boys, things like dirt, tricks and his constant picking at the two younger children, especially Alyssa.

Now he was asking me to declare that I loved him as much as I did my own daughter. Well that would simply be a lie. I cared for him, but I don't know that I had grown to love him at that point. He was someone else's child to love, I had become his caretaker not his mother, but at the same time I had not abandoned my role of mother to my own daughter.

I pondered as long as I dared until he finally said, "you don't do you?"
In a short blast of wisdom that could only have come supernaturally from God, I stopped, looked at him and in a kind and patient voice I said, "Do you love me as much as you do your mother?"

He looked shocked and surprised. He ducked his head as he pondered the question. Then he answered with a broad smile on his face. "No, I don't." Then he hugged me and walked away, content. The question never came up again.

In time it didn't need to come up because we both grew to love each other and it didn't need to be spoken; it was understood.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Acceptance and Exclusion

It may be one's style, physique, name, race, religion, bank account or location. In some way most everyone will find acceptance in one group or another. Nonetheless, that acceptance is based upon some external factor in one's life. As a result when the external factor is removed the acceptance may go with it. Acceptance can be a fleeting condition. What happens when that acceptance is gone?

For most, there will be another external factor that cannot be changed that will give one a permanent acceptance in a certain group, things such as age, race or national heritage. However, this is not always the case. The group to which one belongs may not be an acceptable group in the group one wants to be in. That is a long sentence to say, we don't always get what we want.

The one thing all humans need and want in one form or another is some form of acceptance or love. It is love that gives one's life value and meaning, it is love that makes one desire to get up in the morning, it is love that makes one endure through the hard times, it is love both the giving and the receiving that is the desired result of acceptance. Therefore, acceptance due to an external factor is not love but merely temporary acceptance.

Acceptance even in the short term is desirable over exclusion.

The event that leads me to write this is a small thing that will disappear in a few days but it has opened my eyes to the devastating effects of being excluded for one reason or another. That little thing is a child's disease contracted from an unknown source and no apparant sources seen. It is a little disease that manifests itself in blisters on my hands. It is a disease that is highly contagious, especially to children. But because it is on my hands I am limited in my activities. The little blisters hurt so that limits my activity, but if the blisters run then I become contagious to others. No one wants this little disease so I am now excluded from my everyday life. People are kind, but even my own family does not want to touch me or have me prepare their meals. I am an outcast. I made a joke that I felt like a leper, but in fact it is not really a joke at all but rather a revelation about being excluded.

To be excluded means that there is no redemption to reconnect to the group. There is no method of cleaning oneself to be acceptable. There is frustration, loneliness and despair. I will be better in a few days and life will return to normal. But for right now I am quaranteed, mostly by my own choice, but also by others when they learn of my little temporary disease.

Nothing in life should be wasted and neither should this experience. I should learn about being excluded. I have never experienced total exclusion for I have always been loved and loved, even as I am now. Still my loved ones shun me for their own protection. I now know how significant a thing it was when Jesus touched the leper. I understand the child who has no friends at school. I understand the lonely old woman living alone and growing closer to death. I understand the single parent for whom there is no help, I understand. . . could go on and on. It is that understanding of exclusion that makes me say, "I have a Savior." Only in Him is there perfect love no matter what my filthy condition and only in Him is there redemption from my malady, even if I do not experience a cure, I do experience acceptance in His love.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

We are tired

The flames licked the air with their delicate dance moves atop a bed of vibrating moves all consuming all that came into contact. The fascination with the campfire seemed obvious as I stared into it long into the dark night. Why? What is the fascination with a simple little campfire? A fire started for the purpose of burning dead twigs and branches left lying in the yard from winter's blast. Yet, that fire held my attention and as I gazed into it there was no thought or wisdom flowing from my head, only the comfort of he warmth provided by the fire and my loved one sitting next to me. No words were spoken, no actions taken we just rested in the cool of the evening by the fire.

It wasn't the fire that was fascinating it was the rest that was needed. We were tired. The undulating coals and dancing flames provided a restful hypnosis for us. We sipped a cup of cocoa and watched.

It was the end of the school year, he had finished closing the books and storing the teaching tools, I had finished classes. The deadlines had been met and passed, the work complete. The stress relieved. We were tired.

As night fell the symphonie of the night music began with the crickets, the owls, the frogs and occasionally the dogs. We listened to the music of the quiet. The time passed by and still we sat gazing into the fire, occasionally adding another stick or log. We were tired.

We've grown old and don't remember when we did. It's the body that grows old, the mind grows young. It learns and incorporates its knowledge, it grows better, the body grows weaker. Our minds needed to see, our bodies needed to rest, we were tired.

The sounds of children long has past, but the duty of work continues on and neither of these things would we change. It is the quiet of being together without words or deeds but basking in the presence of the other that comforts and warms. It is the knowledge that although we are no longer young firm and beautiful we are more in love today than yesterday. This time by the fire is not just sitting and staring, it is foreplay for the moment we lean into each other and say, "I love you." It is the moment that we look at each other and smile becasue we know we are no longer tired.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

self destruction

I reached into the cabinet for a coffee cup and set it down on the counter by the coffee pot. Then I reached behind the door and slammed it shut with my face in the way. Needless to say the knot that arose was as big as the popping sound it made.

Why did I hit myself in the face I wondered? I have completed this action every morning for years and never hit myself. But this particular morning, I simply was not paying attention. Therefore, I hurt myself.

We often hurt ourselves in the effort to complete a simple task but the hurt may become deep and painful, but because we did it to ourselves we do not let anyone know about the hurt.

For example, let's say sex is a car. At age 16 all people get a car and a gift wrapped key. The car is their dream car, it is the right color, the right style and everything it should be. The key is wrapped in a beautiful box. But there is a group of people that tell you don't open the box and put the car in the garage, you can't open it until you have married. That seems really dumb.

A few will follow the instructions but most want because they are told it is stupid to wait, they have the car they might as well enjoy it. So they open the box and they see the key, bright and shiny. They take it out to the car but the car won't start. It just sets there. So they take the key and carry it in their pocket and show it to everyone else and they look at everyone elses keys. Occasionally, they take the keys and scratch the car, it doesn't do much anyway. They put graffitii on it or simply key it.

A few years later, one of those nerdy stupid people who put their car in the garage and saved it for marriage drives by and the car is more beautiful than ever. The few look at their car and wonder what happened, it is rusted and bent and ugly. They take the key and try it once more, this time the car starts, but the motor misses a little and the tires have knots on them because of the abuse of the car.

The one who took sex out before marriage finds they have a few abortions behind them or a child and a poor paying job, they couldn't finish school because they had to take car of that rusty old car. They look at the one in the car with them and they are as rusty and old as as the car.

Sex is like that car, it is the greatest gift God gives mankind. But he put instructions with the gift, not to deny one the priviledge of the gift but so that they reap the most benefits from the gift. For the one who put the car in the garage and saved it for that special one, their car will always be shiny and new and will give them pleasure all the days of their life. For the others who felt that was stupid may have spent their car up by the time they were 17. There is not another car. This is the only one that is given.

Why do we self-destruct? Because we believe the lies of the others who messed up their cars instead of following the instructions of the one who gave the gift. We self-destruct because it seems so routine and so lame to keep the car in the garage, when it is now that you have the looks and the drive to go somewhere, but those who self-destruct, didn't go anywhere, they still have the shabby old car they keyed and abused. They will have it till they die.

Pay attention to what you do and don't slam the cabinet door on your face simply because the world tells you to. Take the gift and thank the giver and then follow His instructions. It will be the most fulfilling gift you will ever receive and the best part is that it will last the rest of your life without any bumps on the car. It will always be bright and shiny and new, even when you aren't.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I begin by introducing myself. I have chosen the name for this blog as "choose the good part." That comes from the story in the Bible about two sisters, Mary and Martha. Martha is busy making dinner and preparations but her sister Mary is sitting at Jesus feet listening to Him teach. Martha complains to Jesus that Mary is not helping her, but Jesus responds by saying, "Mary, has chosen the good part."

I love hospitality and having people in my home, I love the fru fru of a sit down dinner party. I love the planning and the preparation. But I also love to study the Bible and hear the words of the Lord , they truly are words of life.

Now as I sit at his feet and do not fret over the cobwebs in the corner, I find a peace and an insatiable hunger. It seems that Jesus is saying that homemaking and caring for one's guests and family is not important but that is not the case at all. He is telling Martha that there are times the necessary things of life can be put aside for a while while we stop and be still and listen. He is saying that digesting His words and taking Him into our hearts is the good part of life.

That is what this blog will be about. The Words of our Lord, served up at a sit-down informal dinner party where my guests can enjoy the food I prepare and learn from the Words of God that I share. I am not a theologian but I am a counselor, I may not know all the theories, but I know the author. I may not express myself in theological terminology, but I will express my interpretation in the context of the whole counsel of God. I love serving the Words of God to my guests and allowing them to choose the good part.

I start and write this blog because I am a writer. I have written many journals, but my typing is much better than my penmanship. I write this mostly for my family both physical and spiritual. I do not write to impart any wise words of prophetic wisdom, but I write to reveal my heart and the things that Jesus reveals to me.

Life is short but has many opportunities and as we develop through each age we find new and more exciting opportuntines, now at the age of 60 I find the opportunity to partake of the good part. I have the time and the desire. In this blog I want to share the good things I ingest with those who do not have the time to research or sit quietly at the feet of the Master and listen to His words.

I hope to impart foundational knowledge gained from sitting at his feet, not opinionated dribble and with the graciousness of Martha, the hostess.