Monday, December 20, 2010

It's All In The Shoes

     It's Nutcracker season! I have on my Alabama Ballet Nutcracker sweatshirt as I sit and write. I have seen a bazillion performances of all kinds of the Nutcracker. I've even have had some of my own students in professional company performances. Makes mama proud!
     Each dance company has their own take on the story of Clara and her night of Christmas magic, but the same theme is repeated no matter how the story is told. Clara is given a special gift (the Nutcracker) and there is an enemy (the Mouse King and his cohort) that tries to take it from her.
     The problem is solved very early in the ballet, in fact it is solved even before intermission and Clara goes on to experience a wonderfully, beautiful time of fantasy and the dance. Do you remember how she stops her menacing enemy that threatens to take away her prized possession?  She threw her shoes at her enemy. Off goes the problem from wince he came.
     I had a similar situation happen to me about 15 years ago. Hold on to your religious shoes. I had been going through a time of really pressing in to go further with my relationship with God. I had gotten very desperate for more of Him. I had some "prized possessions" that I knew God had given me and I needed to move from where I was to where I needed to be in order to use them.
     So, I'm at a revival. I had been attending it all week long. It was the last night of the revival and I felt I had not gotten what I wanted. My enemy, whom I am terribly ignorant of at times, was tussling with me not to go beyond where I was. It was during the altar call, I was standing up front near the side of the church. I knew what God wanted me to do but the voice of fear had me scared to obey God, that should of been a good indication to make me push on through, and my mind mumbled, and muttered, and spit, and sputtered, and rocked and reeled. It was odd what God had told me to do.
     My mind said, "This is so dumb", "You'll look ridiculous, "No one has ever done anything like this a church", "You'll be escorted out", "What has this got to do with getting closer with God", I asked. Here's what happened. I felt impressed to slip my shoes off and place them on the floor next to my feet, church. I told you it was odd. The second I got my first shoe in my hand God said, "Throw it." My brain had a meltdown, you could see it coming out of my ears. I knew in that very instant that if I didn't do it right then that I was going to put myself in the very center of my enemy's perfect place for me and THAT was not an option. So....I reared back and with stupid all over me, I threw my shoe clean to the back of the church and the second one followed shortly afterwards. I have not been the same since that day.
     All I can say is the veil that had kept He and I separate was torn in two that night. My enemy scampered off and I fell deeply in love with my God and His Word. Does God always ask you to do such dramatic things, no, no He doesn't. Drastic times take drastic measures. Everyone has their own "story". This just happens to be mine. This is the way mine is told. You have yours. The common story line is this: you can have your enemy out of the picture way before intermission and you can go on and have a wonderfully, beautiful, unabandoned, unfettered relationship with your God. It just may be the shoes holding you back.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Razzle Dazzle 'Em

     I just saw an article in a well-known and vastly-read magazine. It suggested that I needed to dazzle my family for the holidays. Being a dancer/performer I've always thought of the Thanksgiving through New Year's season as a part of a performance, just on a smaller stage.

     The moment Halloween is over, my days, for decades has consisted of rehearsals, costumes, Christmas parades, Christmas shows, Christmas scenery, field trips with students to see 'The Nutcracker', going to see my own students in 'The Nutcracker', decorating studios and home, week long parties at the studio, parties at my house, Christmas pageants at my church, all written, directed, and choreographed by me. In between all of that, family trips to Gatlinburg, Christmas shopping, hosting both sides of the family in my home for feast and festivities, all the while attending my own children's school programs and extra curricular activities. Dazzle is what I do.

     Everything I have ever done, or put my hand to was to bring joy and pleasure to anyone and everyone. My concept was to not ask anyone to do anything but to show up. I wanted the experience to be where you walked in to the theater, my home, the church, or the parade and you just sit down and experience the whole holiday magic without any effort or work. I felt as if I was presenting you with a gift.

     A labor of love is what I call it, insanity is what my husband calls it. Do you know how many 50' floats we have made scenery for, larger than life scenery, I might add. In the rain, in the freezing, in the wind, and the children just show up and step onto it and they are the stars and they go home? Or the full productions of lights, music, dance, and song. They perform and thrill and get their rewards of hand claps and flowers and go home with their admiring families. We clean up and go on to the next dazzle.

     My theme song has been: "Give 'em the old razzle dazzle, razzle dazzle 'em. Give 'em an act with lots of flash in it and the reaction will be passionate" - from Chicago. I'm in a place now where I'm ready for someone else to dazzle me. A very dear friend bought tickets for us to see the 'Rockettes Christmas Spectacular' for my birthday and then she took me out to eat. It all felt very strange for I have not always had the occasion to be the recipient of the dazzle. But, I did gobble it all up, dinner and show.

     No one has to tell me I'm performance driven, um duh. God and I are working on that. The area He has me working on during this season of my life is the, 'Let-Someone-Else-Dazzle-'Em-For-A-While' exercise. I have squirmed. He has let me. The dazzle has been dimming. I have mourned. He has let me. My identity is being tampered with. He's guiding me through the transition. I'm afraid of what will be or not be left of me when the exercise is over. He knows it's for the best.

     Do I need to dazzle my family this Christmas season or anyone else for that matter? No, I don't. Do I want to dazzle them? Yes, I do. Will I be allowed to? Yes, of course, "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything" I Corinthians 6:12. Hard lessons for a performer to learn.

     So, this season, I have laid performing down. I have agreed to lose myself, so I can become me. I'm turning off the spotlight, packing away the glitz, not attempting to put on the ritz. I'm going to enjoy this season with one thing in mind, Jesus. Not to perform a reenactment of His birth with dancing angels, but to just enjoy Him. If it weren't for His arrival, there would be no pageantry performances all across the world. Off the stage...I'm gonna let God do what He does so well, I'm gonna let Him 'razzle dazzle 'em'. How brilliant is that? Yes, He is.

Friday, September 24, 2010

How Was I Supposed to Know That You Didn't Want to Go Mattress Gliding?

     For the Realtor it's LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! For me it's COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION! I live on the I-V drip of communication. I would not have done well in primitive days of cave drawing and grunting. I need words. I need to think about them, prepare them, and then speak them. I don't just spurt out words. No, they are carefully selected like when I shop for a gift for you. I walk in and around the aisles imagining you receiving the gift, opening it and then your reaction to the gift. I like to give great gifts that are totally practical or totally frivolous. What matters is: did it do something for you? Same for me with words. So needless to say I have a black hole in my marriage in this area. I am married to the cliche' "tall, dark, and handsome" AND "the strong, silent type". That is the description of my husband.

     Words are cumbersome to my Cuban man. In some way, he thinks I should hear him think and know his precise thoughts. Sadly, after being married to him for so long, I do. But I need words like a shopaholic needs retail therapy. After reading The Five Love Languages I confirm that my love language is 'words of affirmation' and do you know what my mate of 35 years is? Words? No...'touch'. His is touch. So guess what we end up giving each other. I give him words, he gives me touch. Black hole.

     I really have to work on giving him the touch, especially when, to me, words are so befitting for every situation, like flowers, not so with touch. My husband and I are DIYers. We build, make, and do everything ourselves. In fact a running joke for a while was that the Sumners children needed braces and Dane and Jeanna were going to make them themselves. Boy, do we have some stories about non-communicating to tell you. We have on  *n u m e r o u s* occasions gone into situations with me equipped to receive words, such as instructions to how something is to be done or carried out, but have gotten caught up in the situation and don't get any. Such as it was this particular day a few years back in our earlier years of guessing what was in my hubands head...

   We purchase a king size mattress and box springs. We go to get it ourselves, no delivery trucks and fees for us! My man loads the newly purchased mattress and box springs on the bed of our 4-door dually and we get in the truck to drive home. So, there we are, riding down Highway 280 and we begin to notice that the mattress is catching some air and lifting a bit off the box springs, this would be because we didn't take rope to secure the m&bs, I'll call it. Being young and invincible, my husband decides that I should drive and he'd lie on top of the m&bs, in the back of the truck, to keep them from catching air. That was the last communication I received from him on the matter. I winged the rest.

    Considering it was summer, I have the windows rolled up and the A/C blowing and the radio going pretty loud and I'm traveling at the maximum of the speed limit. As I was, I began to see the top of Dane's hair coming in view of the rear-view mirror. But then it went down. But it came up again, and this time it had forehead with it. But it went down again. It happened again but with eyes added to it, and may I say they were huge, bugged-out kind of eyes. I had thoughts that there might be a problem 'arising' but the reality of it did not strike until the eyes went down and came back up with a huge, opened wide, and screaming mouth to match the eyes! My lightning fast mind realized that he was catching air on the mattress and was gliding in mid-air in the back of the truck, going down Highway 280 and at a pretty aggressive speed.

     I pull over on the shoulder of the road because of the non-verbal communication his face was giving me. When I got out of the truck, I got some communication. First, he shrieked. Then he asked me a lot of questions in a shrill voice like, "What was I thinking?" and, "Could I not see he was airborne?" and then I got the instructions I needed all along, in a drill instructor's tone he barked, "Roll down the blame windows, turn off the radio, go slower, and listen for me if I need to tell you something." I got back in the truck thinking that he should of said what he wanted in the first place.

     On that day, we actually by accident invented the extreme sport of mattress gliding. Though it has never really 'taken off'. (Pun intended.) My thoughts on the time I'll betcha you'll give me some kind of communicated instructions. No, this did not happen. We repeatedly have done this type of thing over and over again...until the day came I stopped the madness. Who knows if it was the day, I pulled him with a chain across town in our cars, with no instruction on whose brakes you use to stop or if it was the time we lifted a 300 pound air conditioner over our heads to put in a window, with no instructions or maybe it was the day he placed a giant air gun in my hands and asked me to un-rivet the screws holding the doors on his prized '66 Chevy II (with no instructions). I say..."You get what you get, and don't complain a bit!"

     This is but a small glimpse of what's it was like living in my silent world of guessing how my husband wants something done. But, I did take the reins and now when asked to do He-man type of things, we have a meeting of communication and words of instruction. Even if it is while I am in the middle of holding his feet as he leans off our 2 story commercial building roof, waist and head hanging over the street below as he paints the wall. It's better than no words at all.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

W.W.J.B. - What Would Jesus Blog?

     If Jesus were a blogger what type of blogs would He write? What would He post to His followers? Considering that there are only a few basic types of blogging, I really don't see Him writing about travel or journaling about fashion. But, I could see Him making Himself heard along the subjects of culture and lifestyles. He really would get into the 'how-to' tutorial type blogs even maybe do a few collaborative blogs here and there with other fellow publishers. But the type of blogs I could really see Him doing would be the personal blog. Yeah...don't you think?

     The word blog came from the word web log which is a diary of sorts typed out and sent into the blogosphere by various bloggers all with the intent of getting our voices and ideals out to our followers and gaining momentum day by day as new followers catch the passion with which we non-formal authors all try to exude and urge them to join in on our web of interconnecting as only the internet can do. What did I just say?! I think it was: we write about what we are passionate about and try to get others passionate about it too. Yep, that's what I said.

     There are bloggers that write about nothing but the color turquoise, or their kids, or their journey to lose weight, or about trends, or self-help information like where to get coupons and discounts or about the hobby of scrapbooking. It's all out there. I really look at myself as an encourager blogger. In everything I write I desire to be a bellow that blows dying flames or help pull someone out of their mudhole or give directions when someone keeps going around the same dumb mountain and wants to take another route. I'm willing to be the one that will say, "stop, danger ahead!" and "there's a better way" and "you and God need to talk".

      In essence, Jesus is blogging every time anyone blogs in His name, using His principles, the Kingdom principles. Matthew 4 says that Jesus "picked up where John the Baptist left off" saying: "Change your life. God's Kingdom is here." He went all over and used synagogues for meeting places and taught people the truth of God. God's Kingdom was His theme. The theme explained is this: beginning right now (as soon as you get into the kingdom) you are under God's government, a good government! He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives. Word got around the areas and people brought anybody with any ailments, whether mental, emotional, or physical and Jesus healed them, one and all. More and more people came, the momentum gathering followers, day by day. Much like the concept behind blogging.

     So I suppose that that is exactly what Jesus would blog. The truth. The kingdom. The truth concerning the kingdom, and all the intricacies that are intertwined with telling the truth about the kingdom and the way He runs it. His blog would probably be named something like..."If The Truth Be Told" or "Truth or Consequences" or "From Here to Kingdom Come". What ever its name, He would be radical and outspoken, current and edgy, honest and informative, but most of all forgiving and loving as He directed us in the ways of 'living the life befitting a follower'. Why? Because He is passionate about people and life. He loves to instruct and encourage, reveal and uplift.

     Bloggers want to know that what they are writing is providing what their reader needs or if what they are sharing is beneficial, that is why there are comment sections at the bottom of each post.They also want to know who is following the post, so there is a place to join with the other followers on each blog page. We all know that the number of followers signed up are not always the amount of people that actually read our blogs. There are numerous amounts that read this one, they just have chosen not to become a follower. Just like there are a whole lot of people that have read the Bible but never became a follower.

     I think even that some of the ones that have signed up to be a follower, don't on a steady occasion follow. Some are very devoted, others are more sporadic. If the fancy strikes. Much like the trends of Christiandom.
I'm not looking for a following for me. If I was, I would journal about repurposing household items, or maybe horses, I love horses. I used to show Quarter horses. Or I would write about raising grandchildren or stepchildren, or homeschooling. Something like that, but, I feel that the words I have to speak into cyberspace need to have a focus, a power, that will change the very lives that read them. That's why I blog.

     So, now I have another question to ask you...W. W. J. T. - What Would Jesus Tweet?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Bonehead Cometh

   When I say these words tell me what you think of first. Pink Cadillacs...Mary Kay Cosmetics...yes. A pole with 2 snakes wrapped on it...universal symbol of medicine...yes. Three green arrows following each other in a circle...recycling...yes. The Rx symbol...a pharmacy...yes. A yellow smiley face...well, I'm from the 70's so I say it means 'have a happy day', for the rest of you, you might say Wal Mart. Okay, last one, ...skulls...

   Primitive cultures might argue that skulls were symbols of protection and well-being against evil. Cultures of today might say that they are simply a fashion trend. Since our culture likes this saying, 'It is what it is', I'm gonna say 'what it is'. Death. That's right it's a symbol of death. I don't wear skulls for that very reason, why do I want my t-shirt to shout death at everyone who looks at it? Or my beach towel, or my purse, or my jewelry? I'm not about death, so I don't wear death anything. I'm not afraid of death, I just don't find any association with it. Why? Because I've already died. If you're blood bought, then you've died as well. Why do I need to don myself with tribal skull tattoos with smoking guns or bloody knives. What is the purpose for bearing this on my belongings or person? Without a word, what does it say?

   Ever since my granddaughter was about two she has, on her own, called skulls, boneheads. Which I think describes the situation very precisely. It's really more of the concept of us bearing symbols that represent ideas and truths for all to see what you think on the inside. Doves with olive branches in their mouth...peace. The dollar The's a promise to my faith which has been stolen by another group that uses it to represent their liberal beliefs and celebrate their diversity. Surely, the effects of the bonehead cometh.

   Maybe it's because I'm such a representative person. I live large and loud with what I believe. I believe in representing. So, if you got your cross on around your neck, please leave it in the car while you buy your liquor. Do what you gotta do, just don't confuse others watching you. On your Facebook page pick one or the other, either post a scripture to your status OR join the group 'If you're talking behind my back you're in a good position to kiss my ___', but not both. Same thing for everyone that wants to know if children can have ice cream trucks then where is the frozen margarita truck for the adults. It's not representing who I thought we Christians were representing. I'm amazed, shocked really, at ones that have their names imprinted in the Lambs Book of Life that will cheer someone on that feels they need a cocktail to cope with life's crappy situations. 

   Have I lost touch with reality? Am I reading way too much into what God said about living holy? Have I taken sanctification way too seriously? Did I misunderstand the part about being an ambassador for Christ? Am I supposed to mix the boneheads with my everyday life? Does it even matter if I do or if I don't?

   Here is a quote from the book 'A More Excellent Way' by Henry W. Wright, "The Church is incredibly ignorant about its enemy." We Christians have an enemy, read John 10:10. Our enemy wants us to flop here, on earth, he wants you to cause others to flop, he doesn't care about after you're gone, just here. He wants to rub it in God's face, see what I've got your kids doing? When we don't represent the kingdom we pursue the bonehead cause.

   Matthew 7:20 says that Jesus said, " your fruits you will be known". Fruits are your lifestyle. That's how everyone around us will know who we represent is because of our lifestyle. I understand that we can blow it from time to time. Grace covers your boo boos. But when you deliberately set a time and day to meet with your friends to sip with and toast one another, grace gets put on the spot. One more representative for the God cause has hit the dust and one more onlooker doesn't trust our faith. We Christians are so mocked because of our inability to reject the practice of boneheadism.

   I want to interject here that I am not judging, I'm just describing the obvious effects that bonehead-denseness produces. I'm judging when I grab a gavel and make a decree of punishment because of the obvious fruit spoilage. No, that's not my place. But if I stand up and call 'it is what it is' it's only because I can't be silent when it comes to representing. Jesus would walk straight up to people and addressed their bonehead situation without holding back. Why would He do that? Because it was death to them. It was poison. It was decay. It was rot. He told many that thought they were doing the God thing the right way that they were "white washed tombs full of dead man bones". Tombs + Bones = Death. You get the picture?

   I'm speaking to the Christian culture. We were originally designed to be a counterculture, like the early church, instead of a sub-culture. A sub-culture shifts its convictions and viewpoints about right and wrong, good and evil, acceptable and unacceptable as society's culture shifts. A counterculture does not. It remains fixed and firm with its beliefs even through the changing of the times. The things we Christians will stand back and yawn at, 60 years ago would have caused people to have heart attacks right where they stood. Let me ask you, the things we allow through the airwaves and into our homes through our TV's, would you honestly let the very same thing take place, live, in your living room? The language? The nude-i-ness? The hate? The gore? Would you let someone reenact this in your living room? Live? With your family sitting right there? We've slipped into a bonehead coma!!!

   John Bevere says this in his book 'A Heart Ablaze', "Holiness transcends legalism as rules for dress, or hair, or what to eat. If you are living a holy lifestyle, you will automatically want to do things that bring God glory". So I want to ask you to do this, while you're in the middle of doing an activity, ask yourself, does this represent the God-glory? When you think of a fig leaf, what does it represent? Sin? The reason Adam and Eve covered themselves was because the God-glory had left them. Nothing but sin and bones!

   If I see someone entertaining a bonehead, I quickly maneuver into prayer position in front of my keyboard or car, I don't care, and claim the law of representation to go into effect. I don't have to say anything to anyone. I just pray the Ephesians 1:18 prayer..."the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling...go ahead read to verse 23, it's good!

   Rise and represent you followers of the cause! Remember whose you are. Remember the name of the Christian game, Fruit Bearers. Remember our motto: Death To The Bonehead! Live To Represent! Remember our goal is not to confuse potential Christians with numb-skull choices. Remember to represent, all Jesus, all the time. Choose you this day life or death, blessing or cursing. Choose to represent. It is a LIFE or DEATH situation.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Eden Atmosphere

   If you have ever read Gary Chapman's book 'The Five Love Languages', you already know what your love language is. Mine, of course, is words of affirmation. I get great satisfaction from the usage of words, given and received. When I speak, I like to go into my mental garden and 'pick' the perfect words that will fit the occasion and conversation that I am engaged in. Like going into a flower garden and picking a variety of colors and textures of flora that I can bunch together and make a pleasing bouquet for me, and I hope for others, to enjoy.

   I think of myself as a collector of words, of sorts. I did not know this about myself until recently, when I really 'looked' at my office. If you come into my office, you will find on the shelves, six, very large dictionaries. One of which, weighs about 5 pounds. I have concordances, 7 or 8 translations of the Bible, and teaching books on various topics. But, if you look around closer, you'll discover notebooks and notebooks of various sizes and thicknesses of thoughts, ideas, concerns, and dreams, some are one-liners and some are very long and detailed. If you look in one particular drawer, in my office, you will uncover stacks of letters, thank you cards, birthday cards, newspaper clippings, and the like, from students, friends, and those I love from over the years. They are words of flowers that have made me happy and made me smile. I save it all.

   If you look at where my chair is in the living room and the 'chair' in the bathroom, I have magazines, books, and all sorts of reading material. I rather enjoy verbiage. I get great pleasure from surrounding myself with words and using them on a regular basis. I really never got in trouble in school because of talking, I was quiet in school, but, boy was I an observer. And as and observer, I was collecting thoughts and opinions on every topic that my eyes and ears came into contact with. I always excelled in English, vocabulary, and spelling. In fact, when I was in school, my counselor brought me to her office and showed me some tests scores from the 9th grade from those subjects and I was in college level, like second year, 5th month! I chose to dance instead.

   Philosophers have found words as objects of fascination since at least the 5th Century BC, I am fascinated by them as well, not so much the history of them, but the way they make me feel. The right words soothe me, bathe me, heal me, encourage me, and make me feel loved. So, of course you know what the wrong words do to me. Whether it's written words or spoken words, I love them all.

   I'm a giver of words, also. Thus, the blogging. I know everyone is not into words like I am, like everyone is not into gardening where the beautiful bouquets of varieties of words come from. But have you ever stopped to realize how much God is into words and gardening? The account recorded in Genesis is: first, He brooded, second, He spoke. God is a Speaking Spirit and because we are made after His likeness, He made us the same way. We are speaking spirits, animals are not. God likes words so much that he put together a collection of His words that has withstood thousands of years, the Bible. He loves the written and spoken word, just like me ;-).

    He also loves gardens, with His words He planted a garden and gave man his first occupation. Gardeners. The 'First Couple of Humanity' would converse with their Originator in the garden that was planted with words. Whenever God shows up there has to be an atmosphere present for Him to be in. There's not a single time in the Bible that He came on the scene that an atmosphere was not first produced. There's an atmosphere that was in Eden, it was the atmosphere God made so His presence could come and talk with man. It was His spoken design. God's original concept was for man and woman to spread and expand Eden (the atmosphere, Eden means 'presence of God') until it covered the entire earth. But because of the disruption of the atmosphere during the fall of man, He had to seal off the physical Eden and go into a second plan.

   That second plan was the arrival of the second Adam. The atmosphere was a stable where millions of reenactments have been portrayed by churches across the world as well as the departure of the second Adam, Jesus on the cross and then His resurrection. All for what? Yes, so we can become born again and reunite with the One that got all of this going in the first place. Again, atmosphere was the prelude to the presence. But what was different this time was the atmosphere was set up INSIDE of humans. II Corinthians 6:16 states, "I'll live in them, move into them; I'll be their God and they'll be my people".

   God did not intend for Eden to remain in the Mesopotamia region. He wanted it to take over the earth. So it is with the new Eden inside of us. We are to spread the atmosphere, the garden, the fragrance, the beauty, the God-colors, the presence of God Himself, all over this world. If the atmosphere that you are presenting, as a Christian, is a small enclosed one, listen to Paul's words, "The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!". Then he goes into us being the temple of the Holy Spirit, an atmosphere. So if you've been eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil...the atmosphere for God to visit is non-existent.

   If you feel deserted, dry, excommunicated, jilted, left for dead, alone, and any other word you can think of, ask yourself if and when have you set up the atmosphere for you two Spirits to speak with one another, lately. Is your inside Eden overgrown with weeds and pests because of negligence? Have you given up on gardening altogether? Is the atmosphere you're living in, right now, too messed up for Him to come in? Have you sewn leaves together and are hiding from His presence? Mixing the knowledge of good and evil always ends with this results.

   As long as you have a pulse, something can be done about that, but it takes your participation. The Eden atmosphere is dominated by you, set up by you. You dictate its expansion, its growth. Clean up your garden, ask for help and the grace to stop combining the sacred with the secular because..."How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? Does Christ stroll with the devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands?",  questioned Paul. I encourage you with everything I got...get your words collected, send a formal invitation and request the pleasure of your God's presence to your garden...the Eden atmosphere. 


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

If I Lose You...I'm Going Through The Gap

   There are a couple of places in and around town where my cell phone has no bars. I either can't make a call going through these areas, which are gaps, or my calls get dropped even as I approach them. My family knows when I say, "If I lose you...I'm going through the gap, where I am. As time has progressed with my service carrier, the 'dead zones' have expanded further than they used to. Out of frustration we changed services. What made the "that's more" decision was when the dead zone had showed up at our house and we were having to stand in doorways and windows to make calls. Reliability had forsaken us.

   Who in the world does not want reliability in their lives? Who doesn't want the car to crank...every time? The water to come on...every time? The paycheck to come...every time? Listen to this definition of reliability...the ability of a person or system to perform and maintain its function in routine circumstances as well as hostile or unexpected circumstances. Ye-ah...that's what I want, I want what I expected it to do, how it's expected to do it, and when I expect it to do it. Is that too much?

    I've gotten a letter from my power company that has informed me that they are upgrading and replacing the old meters and that on a day in the near future someone is going to knock on my door, they did not give me a date or time, and interrupt my reliable service. I am thinking like Winnie-the-Pooh, 'oh bother', my groove will so be thrown off, because I expect what I expect, you know. Dropped calls, dead zones, disrupted service, my momentum is being tampered with. Glitches are not welcome in my world. They make me say..."this rots!".

   We all already know how this affects our flow and our effectiveness to get our lives done for the day. The things we rely on in our 'routine circumstances as well as hostile or unexpected circumstances' are the things we know will be there when we make a draw on its purpose of use. Right? There...I just described God. We depend heavily on His reliability, don't we? I can't even do a day without His full participation. I've tried...and here comes the dead zone. No service...on my part. The connection between my handset and His cell site antenna gets blocked. "This rots!".

   Lost service is a lot like being a lost know...the service still belongs to you but the connection is malfunctioning, like you're still God's sheep but the connection gets lost due to our lack of reliability and we live, sometimes for years, in the dead zone. "We, like sheep, have all gone astray. We have turned, everyone, to his own way" Isaiah 53:6. Do you think that there is such a thing as a believer that ventures off and lives a 'dead' life, living solely by the choices and decisions they make? What seems right in their own eyes?

   How many of you believe that there is a Service Provider that will leave the 99 other sheep, that aren't living in dead zones, and "goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray", Matthew 18:12? Ahhh...excellent, reliable service, even in the gaps. That's our GodT&T, our Veriz-Son, our J-Mobile, even in a hostile and unexpected circumstance, His service finds us and connects us and delivers us from the dead zone. God is like the internet, He's everywhere! His reliability service far surpasses any other service plan that you can have, all in exchange for reliability from the sheep that the service is provided for.

   So what is the reliability that he is looking for from us? He wants Blue-Ribbon Sheep. Not perfect sheep, mature sheep...that know to stay away from dead zones, gaps, that will cause you to lose service with your Provider. Does that make sense? Reliability keeps us connected. If you suffer from 'Lost-Sheep' Syndrome, here is a plan I know you'll want to check in to. It's called the 'Psalm 119:176 Plan'..."And should I wander off like a lost sheep - seek me! I'll recognize the sound of Your Voice". Coverage for everywhere you go...and THAT, you can totally rely on.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Pass The Dance Shoes Please

   I am a dancing queen. This is not a self-dubbed title that I've given myself. Dancing is what I do and queen is what the name Jeanna means. I have always wanted to be a dancer ever since I was 4 or 5 years old, I remember vividly wanting to take dance. My older sister did take from Mr. Saxon at the rec. department, I, however, did not get to take classes. I remember her recital costume, it was blue satin with blue netting and had silver coxcomb trim on it. It was divine. When she would go to class I would don my green one-piece swimsuit with three very large buttons down the front and just hope that Mr. Saxon would invite me to join the class. He never did. But, still I would dance, and pantomime, and choreograph in my room and even my other older sisters would ask me to teach them how to do the current dances of the day. I taught my sister, Sherrie, how to do the pony to "Summer In The City".

   I had a best friend, Lisa Wilemon, that lived across the street from me. We would sing and make up dances for hours to the Beatles, the Supremes, the Archies. She tells me now, that I made her do all that singing and dancing, that may be so, but I had to interact with her ventriloquist dummy (see "Will The Real Me Please Stand Up?). I still have only a certain tolerance for dummies, even now, none. She still does ventriloquism to this day and I still dance.

   I made up a move once called the 'bully twist' and I danced it to "Wooly Bully", everyone would ask me to do it for them. I loved that. I got my big break to perform my first solo for my 4th grade class for 'Show and Tell'. My teacher, Mrs. Wilda Jones, was so gracious to let me perform this dance in front of my classmates. I do not remember feeling nervous or anxious, I couldn't wait to show the class what I had choreographed. It was to "All You Need Is Love" by the Beatles. It could not have been very good, but she was so encouraging that I felt I should continue dancing. She is also the reason I blog, she nurtured me in my writing as well.

   I got my first opportunity at 16 to choreograph for my high school's musical production of "Bye Bye Birdie" and also do a solo in it as the 'sad girl' to "Put On A Happy Face". By this time I was not only taking dance classes but teaching dance and gymnastics. I also knew that that was what I was supposed to do with my life.

   Since that time of my first desires to dance, I have produced, directed, choreographed, and danced in hundreds of  performances as well as taught thousands of students, of whom three were my own children and five of my six grandchildren. I still remember every students face and usually their names. I am now teaching children of former students. It will be a couple more years that the children's children of former students will be ready to teach! And I have loved it all...every minute of it. 

   God has seen to it all along this path called my life, that there were people there to help me press on in where I was going. Mrs. Ziegler, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Calvin, Shirley Sumners Wright, Ed Dodd, were some of the teachers that influenced me and gave me an opportunity to grow in confidence and experience. Maxey Veazey, Shirley Cardwell and many many more influencers, too numerous to mention, that invested in me and helped bring me to this very place.

   2012 will mark my 40th year teaching dance. I pray that I have returned the blessing that my mentors placed on me by giving the gift of purpose, passion, creativity, focus, desire, fortitude, and lots of sweat to my students. I am very saddened that my wonderful love of dance was not caught by my daughters or granddaughters. I will not be able to ceremoniously carry out the "passing of the dance shoes" to them. Generationally speaking, it will begin and end with me. But they will have all of the years of my notebooks, notes, videos, pictures, and memorabilia, the evidence of how much this queen has loved to dance!

   I don't move quite as quick as I used to and my flexibility is slower to respond. I limp from the truck coming home from class sometimes and my legs throb after pounding the floor for hours but through all of it, I love it, and would not trade my career choice for anything else out there. I have truly loved dance and it has loved me back. It has been good to me. I have danced in rain, mud, red ants, cow patties, on grass, on gravel, on concrete, in front of car lights, on stages with holes and splinters in them, on flat bed trailers, in parking lots, pastures, churches with tiny altar areas, and in 3,000 seat arenas with 300 hundred piece orchestras and 500 member choirs with boom cameras swinging over my head. I don't care where, I don't care when, I just care to dance.

   I am determined that I will continue to "pass the dance shoes" to new generations to come and share my love for movement as long as my body will let me. There's just something about moving. Music. Mirrors. Barres. Costumes. Stages. Dancers. Learning. Growing. Performing. It's where I find who I am...the Dancing Queen.

   "You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen. Dancing queen, feel the beat on the tambourine. You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life. See that girl, watch that scene, digging the dancing queen."

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Kingdom of America

   I love my country. I love to have my say. I love that my country affords me the opportunity to have my say. We are a democracy, because of that fact our government allows us to vote, and to voice our opinions, and to protest, and to do what we think is right in our own long as it is within the law.

   I love God. I love to have my own way. God does not afford me the opportunity to have my own way. He reigns from a Kingdom, not a democracy. Kingdoms have principles, and ranks, and order, and authority. His Kingdom is not subject to our vote, our opinions, what we think we want for ourselves, or our popular beliefs. We Westerners live in a culture that does not practice the ways of a Kingdom. We think we have to agree with something to obey it, or submit to it. The right to picket, and protest, and rebel (the right of all Americans) has entered into our generations ethics and now "if it feels good do it" and "do it 'til your satisfied" has become the theme songs of not just the ones you'd expect it from, but Christians as well. These theme songs have crept into the Church and now we Christians will "fight for our right to par-ty"!

    We don't understand Kingdom Principles because we have a democratic mind-set. This very statement is why non-Christians AND Christians alike are staying away from the way God runs His Kingdom, BY THE DROVES. We are thinking that if we agree, we'll flow with Him, and if we don't want to, grace will cover us while we "do our thang"...after all nothing terrible happened today, He must be letting us run a little further with our chain before He jerks it. He's not like the police, where He sets up a sting operation, and kicks your door down when He ready for you to obey Him.

   "Don't judge me" is another song we Christians sing in our quest to "have it our way". What you're saying very loudly without realizing it is, "don't point out what I do, fix yourself first!". Here's what's up with would be fine if someone pointed out that you had lipstick on your teeth but you would be angry if they pointed out a sin? After all, who are they and what right do they have, when they are just as imperfect as you are. There's no judging going on when someone just points out an obvious fact. Judging is when they declare and degree a punishment for you because of that fact.

   There is a hidden secret power that is in operation when we live a lifestyle of democracy instead of a Kingdom life. It's an archaic word for many people. It's called lawlessness. 2 Thessalonians 2:7 says, "For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work". Lawlessness is what you get when you have no rules concerning different topics in your life. You live by the philosophy of "I think it, I feel it, I want to do it, so I do it". There is no law for yourself to stop yourself. Here's the secret power it deceives. Do you know the dangerous thing about being deceived? You're deceived about being deceived. You have you convinced that you are okay. And you sincerely believe you have it all flying on auto pilot and under control. God hasn't rocked your world yet so you'll keep rolling with that plan.

   Seeing how far you can walk the tightrope of living with no restraints on yourself and using grace as a safety net is living far more dangerous than just being a flat-out, good old-fashioned sinner. But when you wear the 'Christ' label, the 'Saved' brand, the cross symbol around your neck and you do what you want, when you want, and how you want...I'm gonna say become a 'grace abuser'. If that does not even make your eye twitch, then the 'fear of the Lord' has no affect on you. (Fear as in respect for your poppa).    

   Jesus prayed, "Thy Kingdom come...they will be done...on earth...just like it is in heaven". The Kingdom is spread by us...another concept of a Kingdom...colonization. When England took over the Bahamas, they then dressed like the English, they learned England's history, they learned English as their primary language, they took tea two times a day like the English, they walked, talked, and acted like their governing Kingdom. THAT is what we CHRISTians do, we colonize. We bring the Kingdom onto earth and then act out the will of the King.

   Our democracy has a President, not a King, something else we are not used to. We really don't get the pomp and circumstance that comes with a King in rulership. If you have a "I'm casual with the King" mentality you'll always have a war going on amongst yourself. You'll strive, you'll struggle, you'll battle with the same stuff over and over and over again. The democracy thoughts of "I will if I want to and I won't if I don't" will always keep a wedge between you and the King until you leave this earthly Kingdom. Here's a memo: He runs His heavenly Kingdom the same way.

    1 Timothy 5:24 says, "The sins of some men are conspicuous (openly evident to all eyes), going before them to the judgment seat and proclaims their sentence in advance; but the sins of others appear later (following the offender to the bar of judgment and coming into view there). I don't have to judge anything, especially if I'm not sure of the intent of someone's motives. The King of the Kingdom does the judging and the exposing, but it can all be stopped. It doesn't have to take place. At all. Here's how: stop the lawlessness. (Living without laws for yourself concerning your everyday living.) Ask the King to pardon you from your various forms of lawlessness. Live your life with a boundary line that sin cannot step over any more. And remember...just because our Kingdom of America permits certain forms of lawlessness, and even approves of those who practice them (Romans 1:32)...even hands out awards for it sometimes...there are rewards for you when you live the Kingdom life.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Listen Up! My House Is Speaking

   Everything has something to say. I don't just mean cars for example, they say things like, "Me and my owner are way cooler than you and your owner", or clothes can say things ranging from, "I'm sporting the 'frumpy dumpy' look" to "I cost more than your house payment". Jobs speak, jewelry speaks, vacations speak, houses speak.

   The house I have lived in for the past 31 years, spoke to Dane and I when we first saw it. Not because it was beautiful and fulfilled all of our needs, ooohhh nnnooo. It said, "I'm broken and dilapidated and in need of 2 DIYers to buy me, for a song, and hug me and squeeze me and call me George". And that is exactly what we did, except for the George part. In fact, the owners of the house were just about to tear down the existing barn and make the house into a barn, if that helps your mental picture any. Our children thought that we had lost our minds when we brought them to look at it because we were currently living on a 500 acre ranch with an eleven room house, four bedrooms, three baths, sunken living room with a panoramic view of the acreage and large gameroom. We were ranch hands for a couple that lived in Chicago and we ran the ranch along with cattle roundups with horses, roping and bull castration and worming, feeding, and midwifing calves. BUT, that place wasn't ours, we wanted our own place. So....

   Back to our house speaking to us...when we bought it, it continued to speak,,,"I need painting", "I need new doors", "I need a new kitchen", "I need new plumbing", "I need city water", "I need central heat and air", "I need more than 2 bedrooms" and so forth and so on. It talked constantly to us. Piles of laundry can talk to you, so can a stacked up closet and unpaid bills and an unbalanced bank account (then the bank usually talks to you). Weeds say something, peeling paint, dirty dishes. A person can walk by and without saying a word can say, very loudly, "I have no taste", "I have no discretion", "I have money", "I love food".

   Geologists have discovered that rocks 'squeal' and scientists know that ants 'squeak' and crickets make music, when you slow down the speed of the sound they make with their legs, it is actually a symphony and choir with tenors, altos, sopranos, bass, baritones, the works! Amazing!

   I have another house that speaks, too. It's my body. That's the business that doctors are in, listening to our bodies speak. They make 'house' calls. They'll check out our blood, urine, blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, etc. to see what our 'houses' are saying. There are people that are really into taking care of their 'houses'. They eat right, work out, drink plenty of water, get lots of sleep, take supplements. This is equivalent to the pristine orderly houses on Tofu and Alfalfa Sprouts Street. And then there are the 'houses' that are located on the cul de sac of the local junk yard. Those 'houses' say, "I have Type 2 diabetes", "I have cystic acne", "I have clogged arteries", "I have depression", "I have high blood pressure", "I need nicotine", "I need caffeine", "I need sugar"...

   There are other kinds of doctors out there...they are doctors of the spiritual kind that listen to the spiritual house speak when they say, "I'm angry", "I'm hurt", "I'm tired of trying", "I want to give up", "Why am I even here?", "I'll never forget", "I can't forgive", "This keeps happening to me", "I can't change". And then there are those that are specialists in the area of the body/spirit/emotions, that know that 85% of the diseases you are battling have a spiritual root and wants to show you how to kick it out of your 'house'.

   The medical profession confirms that the majority of the physical, emotional, and the spiritual problems that 'houses' battle, stem from fear, worry, anxiety, and stress. Skin disorders, fibromyalgia, chemical sensitivity, environmental illnesses, general adaptation syndrome, gout, insomnia, anxiety disorder are only a few issues that can bring a 'house' down. The symptoms yell loud enough so a doctor can hear it and most definitely enough for the spiritual specialists to discern it. Sometimes the side effects of medicine given for the problem are worse than the problem itself.

   If my houses' siding was rotting, replacing the side effects of rotting would not fix the situation, stopping the root cause of the damage which is caused by water has to be handled. You may say, "Yeah, I know that", but did you know that lupus is rooted in self-hatred and a lack of self-esteem? Arthritis from unforgiveness? Varicose veins roots are anger, rage and resentment. Migraines are triggered by self-conflict or conflict with others as well as guilt concerning certain topics, real or imagined. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is from driven-ness and perfectionism usually to meet expectations of others. The Merck Manual will agree with it all. Medical doctors know it and so do ministers that this is their ministry.

   When you have a rash, or your hair is falling out, maybe your face is breaking out, or you have stomach disorders, it could be that you aren't sleeping, or suffer from bad breath, or you are tortured by the muscles in your neck and shoulders because they keep tensing up, or you have brain fog, it might be that you have OCD tendencies, and SO MUCH MORE...your 'house' is just the specialists...that you need some 'house' repairs!! To a physician...there's a pill for that. To a minister...there's a prayer for that.

   Just like your house is not the real you, it's just an expression of you. So is the 'house', your body, is just and extension of the real you. But when your 'house' begins to show warnings signs of potential problems, it's speaking up so we need to listen up! Self-hatred, guilt, driven-ness, perfectionism, unforgiveness, anger, worry...these are all things that separate us from God, not the doctor.

   If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives in your 'house', along with your broken shudders, peeling wallpaper, and cracked floor tiles. They say, "I need fixing", "This needs attention". The greatest doctor of all sees it, knows it, recognizes it, hears it, and fixes it. That's what He does...after all He built it.



Sunday, June 20, 2010

I'm Having Another Episode

   If I were to pick what TV sitcom my life most resembled, I would have to say it is "I Love Lucy". There are too many similarities and parallels that easily make me the blond version of Lucy Ricardo. For instance, my spontaneity. Which has gotten me into trouble at least once a week for the 35 years that I've been married to my Cuban husband (actually 1/2 Cuban, his mother is Cuban, his dad American). He does not speak a lick of Spanish, even though his mother tried to teach him. He says that he doesn't have English down good yet. One thing that I have discovered about being married to a Cuban man is that they are kings of their domain. Mine is king, with a La-z-boy throne and a remote scepter, but not in a demanding, domineering kind of way. And he likes order, but my spontaneous has combusted too many times for his liking which has put a big burn mark right in the middle of his kingdom of normalcy. (I must tell you at some point in time, about when I accidentally took him mattress gliding.)

   Which takes us to the next similarity...being in showbiz. Ricky was an entertainer, my Ricky is not, but all the rest is the same. This Lucy wanted to perform and choreograph big productions and have performance teams and create scenery and design costumes, and write scripts and lyrics. I wanted to be in on everything that pertained to being on a stage. My eagerness to do all that my brain has conceived has, at times, shaken the maracas of our stable marriage. I have talked that man into so many hair-brained ideas that his common sense and reasoning had to stare into the balcony section while my brilliancy tap danced across the stage where I usually ended up in the orchestra pit. At the end of each episode, my Ricky would remember how much he loved me and we would kiss and makeup while I was coming up with ideas for a new venture.

   The only real problem with any of my schemes is that I believe that they really will work, add smoothly and cheaply to that, too. When did Lucy ever plot out a scenario that it did not turn out to be a fiasco? That was the premise behind the entire show. It would not have been funny to just have her think about doing this crazy stuff...she DID the crazy stuff...with her sometimes willing, sometimes not, enabler friend, Ethel Mertz. My Ethel was my office manager and friend June Sasser and of course her husband Henry, was Fred. They have maintained their friend status with Dane and I through years of friendship tolerance testing of the most trying kind.

   You know Lucy could be very persuasive, manipulative, and conniving. She would resort to crying and pouting in order to get her way. I would like to believe that that is NOT the reason my life most mimics hers. But for reasons like, she was fun-loving, willing to be adventurous, and wanted to include others in her world of zany-ness. That's the part of her that I most want to be remembered for. Everybody's invited to be a part of my whirlwind tour of life, if you can keep up. I've often wondered, watching each episode of "I Love Lucy", were we watching her life in succession or just random days of her rubber ball thought patterns and actions bouncing down her non-boring street?

   Another thing I always was amazed at was how Ricky repeatedly trusted her, episode after episode, even after some of the most untrusting situations had taken place. How does that happen? It goes back to the vows. The marriage vows. When I took my vows, even though I was young, I meant to make them happen. On purpose. There was no back up plan just in case things didn't work out. Staying married was it. So my antics have always been toward making marriage work, not mapping out where the escape hatch was in case of an evacuation. So when my man was not conforming to the image I wanted him to be...I conformed. When he saw no need to change anything about himself...I changed. When he required his needs to be met and was oblivious to my needs...I met his. When my love language was not being spoken...I spoke his. When I was not getting...I gave. Instead of a nutty character...I am a wife of noble character. Proverbs 31:11-12, "The heart of her husband does safely trust in her, she will do him good and not evil all the days of her life".

    My marriage vows were like a script, rehearsed for the real taping of the show. When I spoke them, I was convinced that what I was saying was what I was gonna be doing 35 years later. I don't have a disposable mentality anyways. I'll keep something until it is seemingly absolutely worthless to someone else. Trading-in for a better model, is not appealing to me. It's my devotion that keeps my heart in motion. Work with what you got.

   The script set the storyline that my marriage was to follow. No rewrites. And no dress rehearsals. That was it. I've always said to women I was praying with or counseling, "I don't have to have been through a divorce to tell you how to stay married". Would you go to a financial failure to get wisdom on how to manage your finances? So why would you sit around a table of busted relationships and receive their insights on marriage? You go to the ones that endured the testing of time and strength of the vows. Like the Lucy Show that has lasted since 1951, it still airs somewhere around the world at any given moment. It's all there, the comedy, the tragedy, the seriousness, the insanity, just like marriages. A great script, originality, laugh out loud humor, and 2 people willing to stick it out, week after week, episode after episode, year after year, for others to watch and learn about making it last.

   After Lucy majorly flubs up, Ricky may rant in unintelligible Spanish as she weaves and bobs to dodge his spewing words. We'll all laugh because we all know that at the end of 30 minutes, he will be tenderly hugging her and she will proceed to do it again on another day. They'll keep to the script and before you know it, 60 years will have passed and they're still at it. Messing up and trusting, blowing it and forgiving, giving when not given to, and not keeping a chart for wrongs done, are all just a part you play in your own TV sitcom.

   What TV sitcom best parallels with your life? Why is it your favorite? Who are the characters? And the most important question, how long has it been running and is it still running? Longevity, going for the long haul. Making the script work. Make the vows work. That's how a long-running sitcom life of marriage is episode at a time.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I'm Changing In The Closet

   I'm not who I was...because of  my closet. It has changed my life. I used to never want to go into my closet because it was cluttered and unorganized and filled with stuff I needed to get rid of. If I did go in it I would do what I had to do so I could hurry out, I had so many other things that I needed to get done. I knew that the job of cleaning it would always be waiting on me, so I would put it off for as long as I could. But then, I would from time to time, spend a day of guilt cleaning to reconcile myself back with my closet. Then for several days after that I would keep it tidy and in order but assuredly I would gradually give in to my old laxidaisical ways and let it go.   
   Yeah...I was a closet owner, but I would go for days and not even talk to God. Of course, I would open The Word at church but not much at home. Busy you know. Church had become only a once a week visit, much different from my usual 3 times a week. Work clutter, family piles of responsibility, and life in general hanging everywhere had me discombobulated with my closet to match. But the day came that I got VERY tired of getting what my hand was producing. I had to resolve to make myself clean my closet. It was painful, I had to try on a lot of my favorite things only to discover that they didn't fit any longer, I had to let them go. Some things were dug up from the bottom of a pile, that I totally forgot I even had, I wasn't even using it. And there was the hard, cold fact that I had put far too much stuff in there and was overrun with useless things that took up valuable real estate. Yes, my solitary place had become a shambles.

    My closet is a place where I go in and bare myself and see the real me. I don't like seeing my thighs of frustration and my rear-end of self hatred, my flabby faith, and my dimply wounds of disappointment. That's why I would stay away from my closet as much as I could, only to do what was necessary to stay fake. But as time has marched on, and I have continued to get what I get, and I was tired of getting what I got, I have relented and willingly made the choice to purposely go into the closet and change.

   Worship changes me, not changes God. Prayer changes me, not changes God. Obedience changes me, not changes God. His Words change me, not changes Him. Fasting things move me, not moves Him.While I'm in there changing, I discard the old things that keep me where I am and not progressing, or cause me to make the same kind of mistakes over and over. I also begin using again, gifts and talents that I dropped on the floor and they got covered up and forgotten. I decide to stop bringing in useless crap that takes up my space/time and prioritize what's important.

   In my closet, as I bare myself, I am transformed, I am changed and I emerge not resembling the way I was. Isn't that what you do in a closet? In my physical life I go in, prep and change and get all dressed up. My husband says, "You don't look like the same woman I woke up with this morning." In my spiritual life, if I go in and let God transform the soulish part of me and change me, people will be saying, "You don't look like the same person I knew."

   I'm not mourning the loss of who I was, not any more than I would mourn the loss of 10 pounds. I needed to change my clothes of being stiff-necked and unyielding, and doing it the way I wanted it, when I wanted it, and how I wanted it, and having an I'll-let-You-know-when-I-need-You attitude. No...the more I got in my closet, the more I wanted to get into it and get it in order and keep it in order and just let God have my junk. I did not need the polyester suit with the wide lapels of unforgiveness and shoulder pads of past hurts any longer, they were old and had to go. So in my closet I threw my shoes...that's a whole story in itself...later. And out I have come again and again, different and more different.

    Let me tell you, God did not 'twinkle-poof' me with a fairy wand and whoop! there it was going into the closet time upon time upon time...changing...changing...changing...throwing out skeletons, boxing up scars, and tossing lies I believed to be truth. And today, I am who I am because I clothed myself with His goodness, dressed myself in His mercy, I wear His right-standing on my feet, His necklace of grace is around my neck and His ring of royalty is on my finger. I'm worth it, not because Loreal' says I am, but because Jesus thought I was worth dying for so I could go and bare myself and change in my closet.

   You see, the Savior part was taken care of when I got born again, but the Lord part has to be taken care of in the closet day by day. You do know that I mean by closet, right? It's alone time with God. Taking off your facades and being au naturel with your Maker and not being able to be a faker. Be for real many hours do you fellowship with the TV? Has it changed you in any way? Fellowshipping with food shows up, fellowshipping with self interest and preoccupation with busyness will reveal the price later.

   The closet experience will revolutionize your life. Unless of course you don't want to be revolutionized. Then I would suggest doing absolutely nothing...and next year, you'll still have the same old clothes and same old attitudes and the same old relationship with God, same old results. If you're up for rearranging your closet, I encourage you stay with it and not back off, here a little...there a little and when someone hollers, "Hey...where are you?", you holler back, "I'm in the closet changing!".

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Will The Real Me Please Stand Up

   I hate fake...for a very long time I didn't know that I did, I just knew that I didn't like clowns, mascots, and ventriloquist dummies. I didn't like the way I felt when I was near them, like I wanted to, run, very fast in the other direction and hide from their fakeness.

   I've tried to use the -Be Very Still And They Will Go Away Method- sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Like the time I'm at Disney World eating in a restaurant with my family and I spot Chip and Dale and at the same time, they spot me. "Oh Laudy", I'm thinking, so I begin to act nonchalant and casual and make NO eye contact...oh yeah, I was a chipmunk magnet. They beelined straight to me, not my kid, to me. They were bent on drawing the attention of the whole restaurant to our table, and if that wasn't enough, they try to make me dance with them (I'm having lunch remember?). Thanks to my husband, I have a snapshot of that occasion, my face is flaming red.

    You might say, "Jeanna, you're a dancer, you're used to getting up in front of people and dancing". This is true...but that wasn't it, to me, it was like in real life when people come up to me being all fake and in front of everybody wanting to be my bestie, and when I pass them in the store they somehow aren't so congenial. Me not likey the schmoozers. You gotta be freal to be in my show. 

     "When Mascots Attack" and "Night of the Living Ventriloquist Dummy" are the names of the two books I plan to write about my experiences with my poser phobia. Telling the tales of dog mascots coming up behind me at baseball games and me screaming so loud that the ball players come out of the dugouts to look at the scene I have so not wanted to create...and the frightening night I spent at my friend's house, as a child, with a Charlie McCarthy dummy staring at me as he lay between us. That would not have been so bad but he had taken my friend's voice and he did all the talking, I wanted her to talk, not him. I SO wanted to poke him in his big huge plastic eyes.

   Even though I require genuineness from others and myself, I find that I am also a Fake ID card carrier just like all the rest. I can be jovial at work and a jerk at home. Full of mercy for one and merciless on another. Singing 'Oh Happy Day' one day and then singing 'Oh Crappy Day' the next. Yeah, I admit it. I claim the Fake Amendment, I reserve all rights to be fake as deemed necessary.

   We all carry two forms of ID. Our real us and our knockoff us, which I hate, but just like Paul said, "the very thing I hate, I do". We see people in public places and think "I'm going to go around to this aisle so I won't have to...'Hiii, how are you?' (nodding head fakely and giving double fake smile), 'I'm great'". Or we go to church and pretend that everything is okay, even when it's not, and we talk the 'church talk' and show our Fake ID's to our church friends and would not dare let anyone see us without our clown make up on.

   Maybe I think that you really wouldn't like the real me if you knew that I wasn't always upbeat and sweetalicious. That encouraging words don't always flow out of my mouth and sometimes I think about me first. I may show up and flash my Fake ID card so I can get into 'Da Club' and be my other me.

   The real you will always come out, at some point or another. Do you like the real you? Or do you pursue the fake you? Which one makes you feel comfortable and satisfied? I know the real me likes to come home after a long day in a dress and heels and put on my dance pants and a tee, going barefoot, that's me 2 a tee. Do certain people pull out the fake in you? If yes, maybe a decision to not let those people have that kind of authority over you would be a plus. Are there people that draw genuineness from you? Those are the beneficial friendships. They won't let you use your Fake ID card.

   "What chu know 'bout me?" (quote from Lil Mama from 'My Lipgloss') Most people do know the game, they know the real from the unreal. James 1:8 says that a man (person) double-minded  in his thoughts is unstable in all his ways, let not that person think that they will receive anything from the Lord. So it's time to hate the game, not the player. Hate the fake, not the faker. Burn the Fake ID card and keep only what's genuine. So when somebody asks me, "are you for real?", I'll respond by standing up with the real me and let all the clowns, mascots, and ventriloquist dummies of the world know that I will no longer let fake use my ID card ever again.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Holy Sandpaper Batman!

   We all have 'Them' in our lives. 'Them' are sandpaper people. They're the ones that unknowingly poke our very last gracious, smiling nerve in the eye and THEN has the gall to tamper with our don't-EVEN-go-there tolerance meter.

    Sandpaper people are just like left-lane drivers...they don't know that they are one!!

(Disclaimer: The previous statement is not always true in all situations, because there are some individuals that have made very successful careers in the annoyance business on purpose.)

   I have had sandpaper people leave me feeling exhausted from just having a conversation with them. Others have given me the simulation of being jack-hammered. I have at times felt like I was being tossed like a huge salad or like I was in need of an emotion resuscitation. Like I needed to be defragmented.

   Sandpaper people come in different grits, anywhere from a 36-grit which is a heavy duty sandpaper used in an orbital sanding machine to sand down hardwood floors. All the way down to a 1,000-grit, a fine paper used to sand precious metal parts in an antique car restoration.

 The results is the same.....
 Sanding rubs off all of the unnecessary and useless build up of gack that has accumulated over a period of time. Could this possibly mean that sandpaper people are in our lives to remove the layers of unyielding, unattractive, and unabashed crud we have grown to call our personalities?

   I would like to say that I am not the one with the personality malfunction. I would like to say that 'They' are the ones with the  kooky thoughts or weirdo characteristics or whack-a-do tendencies. And 'They' make me want to run and hide among the ones that are 'normal', like me, because my comrades and I feel safe when we are all 'normal' together. But, inevitably here one comes making a buzzing sound and I struggle to get through my sanding session. Argh.

    I had a black German Shepherd about 3 years ago that absolutely traumatized me. He was a sandpaper dog. Nothing he did soothed me or brought me wondrous happiness. He was a hammering hammer, a drilling drill of a personality.

   What his actions put me through challenged every area of my human kindness. The day came when my furry orbital sander got to move on to another owner, but not until I learned this:
     That it was me that needed the grinding away of my imperfections, my irritations, my exasperation.
     That I had a need to have everything and everyone around me be like me.
     That I should look at my sanding appointments with a more purposeful angle.  

   These grating people (or animals) are not placed into my life to ruin me, but to rid me of the deposits of film that has covered my life and the way I perceive myself to be. In my eyes, I DO love my neighbor, except that one...or maybe that one...and definitely not that one!

   I am okay with Sister Cuckoo being a part of the long as she doesn't act cuckoo. How about old Mrs.Grumpty Grump that insists on thriving on her vibe of negativity? There's always Mrs. Fault-Finder and Miss I'm Telling Somebody, aka Drama Queen. It's a big fat bummer.

   Or Chatty Cathy that makes you want to sing Father Guido's one-hit wonder "Shut Uppa You Face". And there's always a Mr. Know-It-All and a Miss I've-Got-It-All and a Sir I've-Done-It-All. There's an, I'm-Not-Going-To-Do-It-On-Your-Time-Schedule lady and a Would-You-Listen-To-Me-Drone man.

   The Clingy-Needy relationships and the It's-All-About-Me mentalities leave me with sore sanded spots all over my emotions and brain. I always want to use their face as the poster child of the cause of all my woes. After all, look at how 'They' make me act! That would be like turning on a light in a closet and saying, "Look at the mess this light has caused."

   "God, You know that my hardwoods can only be sanded so many times, what else could you possibly want from me?"

   "These people not only step over my boundaries, but they traipse around like they're clueless to their offense, which I find to be...offensively offensive."

    "Why am I always the one that gets singled-out? You never deal with Brother Doodad, it's always me."

    "Why, God why?".......Pearls, baby, pearls.

   Contrary to popular belief, natural pearls are formed, not by a grain of sand, but by a parasite that gets into the shell, and because of the damage that is done by the parasite, the clam secretes nacre which coats the inside of the shell which in due time produces a beautiful pearl from the mother-of-pearl sac.

   You could call the sandpaper person a parasite of sorts, that makes you unable to do anything else but to squirt, squirm, and grow from the whole pearl making experience.

    So, when you feel totally sandblasted and are completely sanded down to the bare metal, please don't think that you are being punished. Not so!

   A Holy God has taken interest in your development and desires to further enhance your beauty by taking extra measures to do it.

   With a Masterful hand and under a watchful eye He will bring forth, out of you, a pearl worth a great price, that lo and behold, sandpaper people helped produce.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Can't Today...My Wonder Woman Outfit is at the Cleaners

   I'm sorry, I won't be perfect today, it's not gonna happen...while you're jotting that down I probably won't be able to tomorrow either. Perfection waves at me from across the street at the beautifully manicured yard of the neighbors, it drives by in the sports car that I always wanted. Perfection lifts its' nose in haughty fashion from the pages of home decor and style magazines and HGTV reminds me constantly that I'm not even perfect enough to be on one of their shows because, I live in the wrong city and state, am of the wrong age bracket, and have the wrong space to makeover.

   Wonder Woman is so perfect, she is from the Clan of the Amazons, so she is tall. She has superhuman strength, wears bracelets that deflect bullets, a golden lasso that makes everyone wrapped in it tell the truth, she flies an invisible jet and looks incredibly hot for 60+. When I look incredibly hot, I have been mowing and weed-whacking for a couple of hours. There's a stench that comes with all that hotness, too.

    I falter in my quest of perfection, it somehow eludes me. I try to be everything to everyone and that only brings me to the fact that I am NOT Holy Ghost, Jr. and that my body, my house, my clothes, my hair, my cooking, my social status, and anything else that you can think of is always going to be one degree off of its perfect axis as I spin around in my own galaxy of: 'Am I Perfect Yet?'.  I try to be a rebel and yell, "Like me or lump me, take me or leave me", but as I yell it I notice all of the pretty mani/pedi's and new purses everyone is sporting and I revert to must-be-like-them...Stepford wannabes.  

   In my perfect world, there would be no dirt, crumbs, dust or hairballs. There would be no cellulite or stray hair growing from a scar. Concrete driveways would never need pressure-washing and there would be no peeling paint. Clothes would repair themselves after an unraveled hem or a popped off button and would never wrinkle. My cooking would always have a gourmet quality to it and my kitchen would sparkle with magazine appeal after each use. Clutter would just know what to do with itself and people's heads would turn as they passed my yard and ooh and aah over its pristine appearance. And I would step out onto my freshly stripped and stained deck in my Wonder Woman outfit looking incredibly hot and I would say to myself, "Jeanna, wake up you're dreaming".

   A perfect world simply does not exist. God does not require perfectionism from me, so therefore, I should not require it from myself. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being a high achiever, they are more relaxed and enjoy their lives as they mark off their list of accomplishments. The Proverbs 31 Woman is who I really should try to mimic and not some fantasy concept of a perfect female. She worked with her hands diligently, she helped others, she bought and sold and made a profit. Her mouth was full of wisdom and she spoke kindly to others. She ran her household efficiently and her children blessed her and her husband was spoken well of because of her. She feared the Lord and because of that, the fruit of her hand was given to her and her own works praised her (v. 31).

    Because I don't live in a perfect world, I will be older tomorrow, there will be ant beds in my yard, and my floors will have to be done again. But, God has laid out a formula for me to follow. I don't know how to make myself into a Proverbs 31 Woman any more than I know how to make my barn and stalls into an eloquent  feasting place for friends and family for Thanksgiving, like Martha Stewart does so effortlessly (and pretentiously, I might add). But I do know how to read, and get quite, and pray, and ask Him for clarity and direction for this topic in my life that keeps me frustrated 90% of the time. And learn to let it go...release the driven-ness, the harried-ness, the disgust-ness, the guilt, the shame that comes with the lack of perfection. To hand over the title of Holy Ghost, Jr. and just be perfect in God's grace.

   Proverbs 31:25 says, "Strength and honor are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come". You know...since it is an imperfect world, I would rather wear strength and honor as my clothing anyway, that Wonder Woman outfit is too tight and skimpy.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

There Is a Cure For The Summertime MOOOS

   Attention, attention, calling all is now time to report for active duty. It is that time of year where you add to your enormous list of 'have to do's' to include entertainment director for your family platoon. The details of your tour of duty should be gelling right about now. In a few days you will be known as 'MOOOS'...Mothers Of Out Of Schoolers.

   That means you play when you don't want to play. Uncontrollable messes are made and remain permanent until the second week of August. Bedtime and waking up time switch places. And you'll spend a huge amount of effort to keep the 'B' word from being spoken, yes, I mean the word 'bored'.

   The word 'bored' is not allowed to be used at my house. It is considered to be a bad word, right up there with 'shut-up' and 'stupid' (oh, and the word 'butt', it's not used either, we use other words for that, bohunkus, la-tushay, and fahanny are examples). All of this because they are not fruitful words and do not achieve positive results. (My O.)

   When the kids declare boredom they are clearly saying to me that they do not have enough stuff to keep them engaged or that, that stuff has clearly lost its appeal and the need for more stuff is necessary to grant their happiness wish. Or that they have lost their imagination and creativity abilities along with their tidiness skills. Or that they are totally uncomfortable with being by themselves and quite. So they try to convince me that extra people of all kinds are needed to fill their seconds of torturous inactivity, therefore we begin a summer-long parade of a variety of friends and sleepover company in and out of our entertainment caravan.

   Granted, we do not live in a residential area where you can just go outside and meet in the street and play all day with the homies on the block, like me and my sister did in the day. In the summer, we had a babysitter which would greet me with a chocolate milkshake in the noon when I awoke and encouraged me to go out to play. Which for us, there was no need for encouragement, we were ready, willing and fully able to cooperate with her requests. I know now it was so she could chill on the inside and watch TV and talk on the phone while we stayed out of her hair. But, nonetheless, we had a wonderful understanding of what was expected of each other and that was don't mess with each other's groove.

   My sister and I had a WONDERFUL childhood, not filled with stuff and things and outings, our parents worked all of our summers. But it was with our ability to make something out of nothing. Whether it was making Barbie furniture from cardboard and crayons and her clothes from scraps of fabric to tying the Barbie car to the back of our bikes (which had playing cards clothes-pinned to the spokes of our wheels) and driving Barbie and Ken all over the neighborhood. To impromptu fashion shows on the front porch of a friend to a game of red rover in front of the sweet gum tree where it and my head collided. To jumping from the back porch onto the swing set for circus like acrobatics. And I swear that we were the inventors of the extreme sport of skim boarding...when our neighbors across the streets' backyard would flood from rain we would get plywood pieces and run and jump on them and skim across the water for several yards. When I am at the beach I keep wanting to show kids how it's done! Bored was NOT part of our vocabulary!

   All of the things we busied ourselves with back then, formed who we are today...very creative, active, and out-of-the-box thinkers. Our parents never 'played' with us, we had each other for that. We depended on each other to draw that part of us out and didn't look to MOOOS to do it for us. I have a very dear friend that produces powerful performances today because her mother would make her have quite time in her room for an hour every day. That's where she learned to put storylines together and use her imagination for shows. My sister and I created a play that we would perform in our living room by ourselves at Christmas with no parents even around to watch it. It was about an orphan girl and an angel that helped her to discover the real concept of Christmas. I have since adapted it for the stage and used the soundtrack from Swan Lake and it has been performed two times on stage. I have been working on it on a grander scale to make it a full two hour production that I hope to see come into fruition one day. All because of 2 sisters imagination and playtime together.

   So to all of you MOOOS, my encouragement to you would be to take the initiative and introduce your OOS (out of schooler) to the wonderful world of imagination and creativity. We are made in God's image so we already have the inner workings of that kind of ability accessible to us. It may take some discipline at first and you may feel like you are inadequately equipped, but if you persist and push for ways to silence the bored siren, eventually you will be amazed at the inventive ideas your kids can come up with. All you will have to do is nourish (encourage) them and guide (educate) them. How easy is that? Then you'll have this focused idea- pumping-self-sustaining kid instead of a zoned-out-and-needy one that has to have technology and activities to do it for them.

   The results that you will reap from this summer experiment will make everyone happy. No frazzled moms from trying to brush up on their roller skating or kickball skills and no all day trips to water theme parks, and no whining children because mom is too french-fried to keep moving on autopilot. You won't have to keep the family books full of entertainment appointments.What we're talking here is free, it just takes some enterprising. Get your kids to list some basic starter ideas and go with those (babysitting grandmothers are included, GOOOS) and watch the sparks of something from nothing start flying! I would definitely say that is an awesome cure for the summertime MOOOS!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Life Is Not a Dress Rehearsal

   When a woman has her first child, something amazing happens...something new is created that has never existed before. A woman births, adopts or acquires a child, a miracle in itself, and then miraculously she changes into a mother. Something that she never was before.

   How or where do you even get training to be a mother? Everyday life is your training ground. Life on some days is a hard task master and on other days can be the sweetest of all instructors. And when it comes to rearing up the children, there are no dress rehearsals, it's the real performance, everyday, all day. What they see and hear on your stage is what they will perform on their own stages.

   You know what a dress rehearsal is don't you? You wear what you would wear in the real performance, you sing, say, or perform exactly what you are going to do in the real performance, but it's a mock performance. The audience is not there only technicians and the players. I call it the only time you get to boo boo. If you're gonna blow it, blow it at dress rehearsal, not the real performance. But in reality, there is grace for when we blow it, but stuff done and said in front of our childrens eyes and ears cannot be, like eggs, unscrambled.

   The miracle of motherhood brings forth from the woman a beauty that is beyond surface beauty. My mother always taught me, "Pretty is as pretty does". No make up can make up for inner beauty. A beautiful soul DOES  pretty things, not just LOOKS pretty. My mother also taught me that selfish is not part of the mother equation nor is giving up.

   If the mother/child relationship is going as planned, not only should your child be learning from you, but you should be learning from them also. I learned from my oldest that there is more than one way to get something done, she is persistent. My middle child taught me that smiles and laughter in the middle of hurts and disappointments are a strength, and my youngest has taught me to not to ever let go of my dreams. They WILL come true.

   I'm inserting my O right here, I believe mothers loosely but naturally 'know' the course that their child should follow and part of our call, as a mom, is to keep those things hidden in our hearts and pray for them to actively pursue the hidden things planted as we were rocking them and kissing their tiny hands and feet and looking at them in amazement as we wondered what they would become in their futures. That's how we just 'know' when a decision that is being made by our child is a good one or not. We gauge it to the hidden things of our hearts and compare it to the rocking days.

   My mama is the standard that I have to measure my own success as a woman, wife, and mother. She activated and set in motion my motherly skills like how to handle having children from different decades. And how to laugh later at the horrible nightmares that we put her through, that are now part of our family history and story telling. Also how to live off of 4 hours of sleep because her children were sick or hadn't come home yet, there is no sleeping during that time. One trick she learned to make things fun for us that I have passed on myself is cooking breakfast for dinner, we never knew that it was because groceries were low. She could whip the daylights out of us and we still knew that we were loved because she would hold our heads while we threw up and nurse us back to health, stay up all night to sew for us (even our Barbie clothes) and cook every single night for dinner and we sat every night at the dinner table. Yep. My mama is a Proverbs 31 woman.

   She knew there were no do-overs, she got one chance with us girls to form us and send us into our futures and with absolutely no mother conferences or mom support groups to attend she did and still does have the status of "The Best Mother I Could Have Ever Been Given". A dress rehearsal is to see if you can do it, a real life performance is you did do it! And she did do it! I will always be thankful for your gift of love to me mama, I love you!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ding Dong The Frogs Are Dead

   Call it the teacher in me, but I have this need for people to be educated in divers topics. I don't even pretend to know why, that's just the way that I'm made. I've taught dance since 1972 and I've been teaching children in dance or homeschooling or raising/teaching children since 19forever&ever. If there is ever a conversation that comes up and I have information pertinent to the topic I begin to transmit, because a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Carpe Minutam 'seize the minute', I say, for I may never have the opportunity to give out these nuggets of useless or valuable wisdom again.

   People might call me a Cliff Claven, a know-it-all, or opinionated...I think of myself as an informer. A  know-it-all or Claven is full of and a disperser of useless trivia and I DO have my O's but the informer is one who believes they are accurate concerning truth. For me, the only truth I use as a guide comes from the Handbook of Living Life, the Manual for Life Junkies. If there's an answer in there for the thing you're talking to me about...out it comes...just like gum from the gumball machine. I do what I do. No apologies.

   When you mention that you're not sleeping, or your back is in constant pain or you cry all the time, my data bank kicks into high gear searching for the truth to help you change your situation. Why stay one more night among the frogs like Pharaoh, when he told Moses to ask God to remove the plague of frogs and when Moses asked when do you want them removed Pharaoh said, "tomorrow" (Exodus 8:10).

   Tomorrow? Really? So you need more time to part with your miserableness? I feel the informer taking's knock your plague in the head right now. Is now a good time for you? I feel like David when Goliath was terrorizing Israel and he comes on the scene and hears what's going on and while everyone else was in 'let's-pretend-it's-not-that-bad' mode, David is yelling, "oh no you d'ent" to the enemy. While you make plans to take your pet plague home with you I'm looking in my vaults for inform-a-tion for us to use to get rid of it.

   Here's my O...I think everyone should be an informer. Everyone should have a safety deposit box of important, vital help to shed abroad to others that are standing in front of you and saying that their lives are being shaken or that they're at a crossroad or that their faith has gone mushy. But many are afraid of coming across as a judge. Informing someone is not judging someone. Saying, "I have information that will help you get over this", is not a judgment. Especially if they are sharing their hurts or pain, it sorta opens the door for you to speak into their lives.  

   In my car, I have in the glove compartment, my car manual, my tag receipt, my insurance card, a flash light, and other important paperwork that I might need when there is a need for spirit also has a glove compartment that when someone needs that inform-a-tion, bam, there it is. Ready to do the thing that it is there to do. Inform.

   I work for the DKB, I'm an informer for the DKB. Department of Kingdom Business. Agent Jeanna reported for duty when she got born again. Part of the kingdom business I'm responsible for, my informer manual tells me, is telling others of this good news. The good news don't have to live with the frogs! The town crier was the town informer, "Hear ye, hear ye,we're having frog legs tonight!". "Ding dong the frogs are dead!".

   If you went to the mechanic because your car was out of sorts and he told you that you had a dirty carburetor from sludge or if your doctor told you that your arteries were clogged from bad cholesterol or a professional organizer said that your collecting of stuff was out of hand, would you think that they were judging you? or simply stating the facts from the evidence in front of them? That's what an informer does, states facts of truth, not so they can show off their informant skills but to further Kingdom Business.
   Because of my teacher tendencies I would not have you ignorant. Here is some info. for you to put into your spiritual glove compartment for upcoming life exams...
God is the REformer
satan is a DEformer
and you are an INformer!
A reformer adjust, changes, and makes a difference. A deformer kills, steals, and destroys. An informer tells you what I just told you.

   So, when you and I meet and you tell me that life has been crappy, or you've had the crud, or you worry all the time or that it's always been this way and will always be this my'll see a tiny hourglass with sand trickling to the other end while I retrieve, in prayer, the truth for the minute. And then, with great speed and determination I'm gonna serve up some frog stew! Ka-pow! Not another night among the frogs. Class dismissed.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Drop the Apostrophe and Put Your Hands Up

   When was the last time you gave the apostrophe props? too, never. I use it all the time to shorten words that we call contractions. Without it I couldn't tell the difference between shell and she'll, hell and he'll, were and we're, well and we'll. I couldn't be witty and informal and write he'd've without I want to give a shout out to the '. It makes writing and speaking have more of a quick route feel...'cause (because), 'twas (it was), o'er (over), 'twernt (it wern't not, a hillybilly contraction).

   Did you know that the word alone is a contraction where the ' has been dropped off? Who knew'd? Yeah, the word used to be al'one, all one, which originated around the 1250s to the 1300s the ' over a period of time began to get left out. If you think about it, just like the ' changes the word ill into I'll, which means two different things, so does the ' change the meaning from alone to all one.

   The first time the word alone was used in the Bible was very soon, in Genesis 2:18: "And the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone (all one); I will make him an help meet for him'." So God said out of His very own mouth that all one was not good. In this verse He means a mate was needed to stop the all one situation, but the principle of it all is the all one, of any situation, is not good...except when you need to be all one in the restroom, that's good.

   In Luke 4:4 Jesus is reminding satan what God had already told Moses in Deuteronomy 8, that..."man shall not live by bread alone (al'one), but by every word of God". Again, all one was not a positive place. Lone is another way we use alone, it's more poetic, The Lone Ranger, one lone soul, lone wolf. I know lots of people that are uncomfortable with being 'lone or all 'lone, by oneself or solitary... alone or lone is being without association. Their identity is found with others which my O is that God knew He made mankind with a desire to not be all one. Joining together is a spiritual concept.

   The opposite or extreme of alone is never alone even if it's the TV or computer or M & M Blizzards or a new boat as the companion...there's always a need of a balancer. Good things have been sent into my life that caused all one to balance out. Cupcakes and coffee brought my sister and I to a beyond the 'related' status, to the 'friends we never were before' status. We were always passing each other in our everyday lives not taking the value of each other as a gift. After all we were family, there wasn't a need to try to go beyond that, was there? But, we were all one as sisters. Not anymore, thanks to baking and drinking!

   Baseball brought me and my grandchildren's mother from being unassociated to a deeper love and appreciation for one another. A ballgame...gathering together to cheer on our favorite people, that we both love, brought us to a new place of respect and acceptance. All one could not ever possibly accomplish that. Why do we marry? Why do we join car clubs? Why do we eat out with others? Why do we go to church? Why are there Trekkie conventions? We don't want to be all one and those things bring us all together and away from the al'one principle. We like it, it's our nature. We want pets or chat rooms or facebook or parties. The opposite would be cave dwelling. That's why I know that depression is an al'one disease. It takes you to the desert and you get lost there. All one.

   God sends things like German Shepherds to un-traumatize you 'cause another dog that you should'nt've 
ever brought home made you want to be forever without another dog. I love you Suki. Or He sends people like children to grow you up and wake you up and they help you become who you are because of their lives and influence. I love you, Tangae, Stacey, and Ramey. Or He sends dance (or fill in the blank) to you to connect you to the world around you and enjoy life because of it and share it with others. The first thing you want to do is tell someone about whatever it is. If you're all one, you can't. You don't. You won't.

   So the idea is for us not to be 'all one' as in al'one or alone, but to be 'all one' as in all together, in association with others, whatever brings that. Sorry apostrophe, I don't mean to dis you, you have you're place, but when it comes to whether I want to be 'all for one', me-all one, I have to choose 'one for all'
all-all one. When I drop the apostrophe and the philosophy with it I'm securing that I'll never again be "Alone Again, Naturally".
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