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Fantasy Trees

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The purple flowers were the first tree

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The yellow flowers next to the bird feeder were the 2nd tree

Ever since I moved to this small rural town, I have enjoyed being closer to nature. I do not miss the hustle and bustle, pollution or noise of the big cities, and I lived in and around them for almost 40 years of my life. I rode public transportation, drove through rush hour back up and took racing taxis in and around several large cities to get to work and just do the normal activities like going to church, taking grand kids to school and grocery shopping.

I can’t even begin to explain the tension that rode around on the top of my shoulders. I often took on the load of others at a time when I already had a lot to take care of. I would be up at 5:00 am and on the road by 7:00 am. When I worked in an office or warehouse setting I wouldn’t get out until 5:00 PM and was sure to be caught up in rush hour traffic whether I was on a bus, drove or in a taxi. This meant that I often didn’t get home until 6:00 or 7:00, giving me enough time to eat, do a few chores, bath and get into bed to start all over again the next day.

When I went on the road for my work, it was close to the same with the exception that I would be done driving around to the courts by at least 3:00 which gave me a chance to get home before rush hour, just barely. But it didn’t give me any more time to unwind or relax before bed time. There was always that trip to the store, or taking the grand-kids somewhere or picking my son up from work.

As if this wasn’t stress enough, there were always the sounds of the city during the night; Cars speeding up and down the streets, horns blowing, sirens going, the occasional sound of an accident, a gun going off or someone yelling or fighting.

When I put my plan to the company to move me down here as a field agent from Ohio, I had already done the research on getting to the various courts from this small rural town that was already home to my sister and her family.

I remember the first night that I slept in the apartment I rented. The quiet was almost eerie when you are used to the city noises. I slept probably the best that I had in many years and it didn’t take me long to get used to the peacefulness that you couldn’t find in cities or even suburbs.

When I first moved here, the one thing I wanted was to get closer to nature, and what better way to do that in a small, country town than having your own garden. I didn’t have a green thumb, in fact I used to laugh and say that any plant would shrivel up and die if I even looked at. Well it looked like that curse has been lifted as I have had some luck with small container gardens and house pants.

Richard, artist that he is, came up with the idea of the fantasy trees. He makes it look so easy when he creates them. When we lived on Pine he made two for the small flower garden area in the front yard. People would often stop by and ask us what kind of trees they were. When we moved this house and brought them with us, the woman on the corner stopped one day and said she drove home down our street just so she could get a glimpse of what she called our secret little garden.

salvaging with Lori

This is the first tree for this year, there will be more

Richard   takes a branch with several other branches on it. We peruse the thrift stores, grabbing up any fake flowers and plants that we can find and he spends hours forming them into our fantasy trees. He uses hot glue and florists tape to attach the flowers, and he is very detailed when working on them. (note: the link takes you to pictures of Butler Square, look for the building that has the presidents on it, the paintings were done by Rich)

Anyone who know me, knows I am as thrifty as I can be and will not spend a dime on anything new if it can be found used. Even when I had money to spend, I wouldn’t buy anything new unless it was something I absolutely needed and couldn’t find a good used version of it. Electronics are about the only item, besides underwear that I won’t buy used. Being thrifty has been a godsend, especially  when I am living on a fixed income.

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The Weight of the World

Hands holding the worldDo you ever feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders? I’ve felt that way many times in life, especially when people were looking to me to solve their problems or help them out. The sad fact is that many didn’t want their problems solved; they were too lazy to deal with them and expected me to solve them for them. Sometimes it wasn’t help they needed but a firm stance against what they were doing, but I was too soft hearted to say so.

I live far away from some major family members, and I do that on purpose because God told me to. It was time for some people to grow up and handle their own lives instead of depending on someone else to do it for them. God literally told me to get out of his way. Unfortunately, God does not work in our time, but only in his, when he decides and to the present day, I am still waiting for him to work in several family members’ lives, trying to wait patiently, which we all know is not always easy.

Moving away from my family didn’t take the weight off my shoulders. Even though I am not trying to solve all of their problems, they and their needs are always on my mind. I guess you could call me a worry wart because that is what I seem to do so very well. But it isn’t just my family that worries me. It is them, my friends, my neighbors, our country, the world, the hungry, the sick, the disabled, and the lost.

Every time that I read about what is going on in the Middle East, all the innocent people being killed, all the Christians that are being tortured and executed, all the destruction in the cities and historical areas, my heart breaks.

Every time I read about the murder of an innocent child, the abduction and rape of young girls, and the suicides of teens that haven’t even begun to start their lives, my heart breaks. Every time I hear of someone in need, someone who lost a loved one, someone who is very ill or someone who has lost their home, my heart breaks.

When I read about how people lived in the days before, during and after Christ, I think of how much more simple life was. No atomic bombs, no pollution, no bombers, submarines, biological warfare and no terrorists and yet there were still cruel and evil men, even then.

I find myself praying constantly during the day, from the time I awake until I go to sleep. Even when I wake during the night, I go back to sleep with a prayer upon my lips, often remembering something I wanted to pray about and forgot to include in my nightly prayers.

So, yes, there are times when I feel like I have the weight of the whole world on my shoulders, even though I know that is nowhere near the truth and that I am incapable of doing anything about the things I worry about.

Do you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders? There is one who is willing to carry all of that weight and make our loads so much lighter. I often have to remind myself that when I pray I am asking him to take on these weights that seem too often to bear me down. His name is Jesus, and he literally does carry the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Next time you feel pushed down by the weight of the world, remember that he is there to take the load off you and put it on his own shoulders. All you have to do is ask and he will willingly ease your load.

Matthew 11: 28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

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Just Like Job

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord Gave and the Lord has taken away, Blessed be the name of the Lord” Job 1:21
Last summer, we had already taken out the house plants because the weather was finally warm enough. We came in after doing a little bit of work and my forearms were covered with this rash. It itched like crazy. I took a shower and put some lotion on but it continued through the night.

By the next afternoon, I was at the emergency room where they told me it was a contact rash. They put me on antihistamines and prednisone. The very next day I was back at the ER. I had a bad reaction to the Prednisone, so this time it was Hydroxyzine, Decadron (another steroid) and steroid cream.

Weeks went by and it would start to clear up and then there it was again, another patch of itchy hives in another location. I spent the summer inside the house. Doc said it could be something in the house or in the air that just didn’t like me.

A couple months ago I had my yearly exams. My pap test came back with abnormal cells. I had to go in for a DNC. The tissue came back with Adenocarcinoma in Situ, which is cancer that starts in certain cells and remains there, but they have a propensity, not to spread but to kind of jump from one spot to another. That is how the gynecologist explained it to me. So I had to go in for a total hysterectomy.

As if going in for a major surgery wasn’t bad enough, he nicked my bladder and had to repair it while he was in there. I had to come home with a catheter and go back in five days to have it removed. The good news was that the tissue they removed, along with the uterus, tubes and ovaries all came back negative for any sign of disease.

While at the hospital for one of Richards’s infusions a few weeks ago, we came out to a flat tire on the rear driver’s side. Richard pulled out the spare, which was brand new, but the jack that came with the car was the wrong one.
God sent an angel that day. There was a woman parked next to us, who went down to a service garage and asked them to come help us. She even offered to pay for the repair, but the good hearted people wouldn’t allow her to and neither did they charge us. We don’t know who she was, but God put her in the right place at the right time.

Lastly, we were down at Walmart the other night. As we were getting ready to leave and I went to unlock the doors in this terribly cold wind, my key broke off in the lock. We had a spare key, but it was locked in the car in Rich’s bag. We called the police but they said they don’t provide a service where they come out and help people to get into their cars. Rich had to bust out back window because we didn’t have money for a towing company and the local police don’t help you get into your car anymore.

As I looked at the broken window today, I thought about Job. I thought about how he lost everything, how he was afflicted with boils and disease and yet through it all he never lost his faith in God, he never once blamed God for any of it.

Have you been through the “Job” periods in your life? I am sure many of you have, where it seems that just one thing after another happens. It’s Satan’s old standard of hitting us with everything he can because he knows God is working in our lives.

It has been my experience that when a string of bad events happen one right after another, it is an indication that God is getting ready to do something in my life. I’ve learned that when Satan starts hitting me with his “Job” agenda, to expect some good changes in my life. Job never lost his love or faith in God, no matter what Satan hit him with.

Job 42:10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

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Are You Judging Others?

ER -articlesI recently had a chance to look at myself and my attitudes in a different light. We were at the ER recently for a routine intravenous medicine that has to be administered every 48 hours. Usually things are pretty calm there. Patients come and go, the nurses and EMTs scurrying around, taking care of the patients that are there.

The ER has been packed for the last couple weeks because of this Flu epidemic, but even then it has remained quiet for the most part. You don’t hear much noise from any of the examining areas except for muted conversations while the nurses, EMTs or doctors are conversing with the patients and treating them.

On this particular evening, while sitting in a room with the medicine running through the infuser, both of us quietly reading and patiently waiting for it be finished so we could go home, the EMT’s brought in a patient they had picked up in the ambulance.

I heard one nurse tell another to call police before the ambulance arrived and overheard another nurse say they should be on their way, because, apparently this was considered a violent person. While everything was quiet for a few moments after, there was a sudden bout of screaming and shouting. It was from the patient they brought in.

Now I have heard this same thing in other emergency rooms across the country, in different states I resided in. I assumed, in every instance where I heard this, that the person was drunk, or was on hallucinogenic drugs. I felt sorry for them and for the people who were taking care of them. I know that my assumption in some cases was correct but in others I was way off base. In one incident, I saw the person after they were treated and being admitted. This poor guy had been in an accident and both his legs were up in traction.

Most of these events that I was a visual or auditory witness too were long before I was a Christian and knew not to judge others, but again, this time I found myself jumping to conclusions about someone I knew nothing about.
I silently prayed for them and for the personnel that were trying to treat their needs. Eventually they quieted down.

As we left, they were still there. I don’t know what their injuries were or if they were eventually transferred to another facility, but I know I had no right to sit in judgment of them, to draw conclusions about what was wrong, so as we drove home asked the Lord to forgive me and teach me not to judge other people, not to jump to conclusions by what I see or hear.

The human race, as a whole, has some pretty bad habits. Not only do we run around killing, hurting, and abusing others, we also often judge what others are doing, saying or going through without actually knowing what is happening or has happened prior to our having seen or heard them.

How often do you judge someone or some circumstance, in a split second based on what you hear or see? Maybe we can all learn at some point to pray first, to seek direction on who and what we need to pray about before we pass judgment or jump to conclusions about someone and what they are going through when we don’t even know them.

Prayer: Lord help me not to judge others by their outward appearance or actions. Allow me to remember to pray for them instead, because I don’t know their circumstances, I don’t know what they might be going through.

 

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Happy New Year America : NOT

The US from spaceAnother year has come and gone and our world is constantly changing. It used to be that you would hear of special events, miracles, acts of kindness and compassion when you would listen to or read the news on New Year’s Day. I didn’t see much of that this year. Most of the news seemed to be centered on the racial problems, the murders of police officers, the slaughter by ISIS and other disturbing stories.

We live in the end times. We exist in a world gone mad. Everyone is at their neighbors, relatives and friends throats. People don’t know who they can trust anymore, especially when they see family members and friends leave to join the terrorist side of an ongoing war, or join a group of protestors or join a gang.

I have been watching the News in the evenings while eating dinner and it is discouraging that it seems like 99.9% of the news is bad. Very seldom do you hear about someone doing something kind, someone helping a neighbor or friend. Very seldom do you hear that they have found a missing child or adult alive. There is always the news about the thousands of deaths caused by terrorists, or the death or disappearance of someone and who the police think might be involved. It is not often that you see a report on a funny or happy event.

The News sources of today seem to want to dwell on all the things that are wrong in this world. Murders, racism, kidnappings, arson, burglaries, rapes, political debates, rumors about politicians and celebrities, and just about any other depressing subject you can think of.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they started digging for the good, humanitarian events and acts that are normal in everyday life? What if they actually searched for the acts of kindness, the community events where people pull together, or the wonderful story of someone being found alive that was presumed dead, or even someone being healed from a bad injury or disease.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they reported on the groups, churches, and organizations that make it their goal to help the poor, the sick, the lonely and the needy? Wouldn’t it be great if they looked for the good in people rather than searching for the mistakes and problems people have.

In everyday life, you run across these events, deeds and acts. You see people who are doing kind and thoughtful deeds, who are lending a helpful hand, whether it is helping someone put groceries in their car or delivering food to their house. You may occasionally see someone acting in a wrong way but it is not as often as the Media systems relate.

Sure, there have been major problems in cities and countries around the world, but there have been good things that happen also, but for some reason our mainstream Media thinks that only the disasters, crimes, wars and the like should make it to the news. They give their viewers no hope for this world.

If you count the goodness that you experience in each day and compare it to the wickedness you see, you are bound to discover that there is still a lot of goodness out there, and if each person would commit to trying to do something each day for someone, then eventually the News Stations won’t have anything bad to report. Just a thought, I get so tired of hearing about everything that is wrong with the human race and would enjoy hearing something good for a change.

Just my opinion – Happy New Year, be blessed, Lori

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In a Perfect World

Jesus with children 2In a perfect world there would be love, unconditional love. Couples would respect and love each other for a life time. There would be no adultery or infidelity.  There would be no dissolution of marriage, divorces or annulments. There would be no domestic violence, no sexual abuse, no rape and no same sex marriages. Children would grow up in a family atmosphere filled with hugs, compliments, and help instead of looking for attention from their friends or out on the street. There would be no child abuse, no pedophiles, no child molestations, and child murders. Children would be safe from all evil and violence.

Teenagers wouldn’t join gangs, take part in bullying, use drugs or alcohol, be promiscuous and would grow up showing respect, wanting to help those with less, and be part of the family they were born into. There would be less runaways, less teenage pregnancies, less homeless and lost teens. Parents would have time for their children instead of being overwhelmed with work, finances and keeping up with the Jones’s.

In a perfect world, people would be kind, friendly, and helpful. They would reach out and help those that had infirmities, disabilities, medical issues and the elderly. They would feed the hungry, help the widows, and find ways to house the homeless. Everyone would get along and everyone would be happy.

In a perfect world there would be no wars, no crime, no thought of any of this, but unfortunately, the doors of that perfect world closed permanently, here on earth when Adam and Eve committed the first sin.

In this world, we have to fight to stay alive. It is a battle each and every day to raise children, find a job, keep a home and keep safe. Rape, murder, abuse, theft, and destruction are not limited to special areas, but abound in every town, village, city and borough no matter how small or how large. Wars rage, not just in other countries, but here at home as well.

I can remember a time, when I was younger, that we never worried about closing our windows or locking our doors. When summer came we could leave all of them open at night to cool the house down for the next day. Now we live with multiple locks on each door, burglar bars on windows, home alarm systems and video surveillance. We didn’t worry about someone coming into our house while we slept or while we were not at home. We didn’t worry about gangs, drive-by shootings, drug infestation or hostile neighbors. Everyone worked to make the community safe, pleasant and friendly.

In a perfect world there would be no racism, no assassinations of the people we want to protect us, no riots or protest marches, no disappearing babies and no political wars. Everyone would respect each other and work toward the common good of all. The majority of the people in this world would not tolerate the criminals and haters.

In a way it sounds like what heaven might be like, for when we reach that heavenly realm, everyone will be filled with love for the Lord and all their brothers and sisters in Christ. There will be no crime, no poverty, nothing that tears us down and make us miserable. There will be no sickness, no diseases and no deformities.

Remember, that in a perfect world, everyone would love each other, be compassionate, forgiving, cheerful, happy and kind.  Jesus quoted two scriptures when asked what the most important commandments were. Deuteronomy 6:5 – “You shall love the LORD your God (with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” and Leviticus 19:18 – “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD

This article was originally published on 10/20/12 with the exception of the last two paragraphs which were added today, January 3, 2015

What baffles me the most, is in a world this haywire, how can anyone hope to survive without GOD in their life. He is the only source of relief and help in these terrible, troubled times.

GOD IS GOD ALL THE TIME. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME. ALL THE TIME, GOD IS GOOD

Be Blessed, Lori

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The Reversal of Our World

Author: Richard Carter

Hands holding the worldI was lying on the bed after my shower looking absently at the ceiling, and for some reason remembered when I was a kid, how I used to lie on the floor and study the ceiling and the place where the walls met it. I imagined it was the floor instead. Having to step up to go through doorways, walking around the blades of the ceiling fan, and light fixtures, an interesting world reversed. And then I couldn’t help but think about the reversal our world is experiencing.

The change I speak of is a reversal of what we have come to consider basic logic, social expectations: the stuff that once was the heart of our grade school educations. How can a country, a people reject a status-quo, a reasoning that safely served as the foundation for that countries growth? Well, they can decide as a group on change. They can also be forced through extortion and the manipulation of other laws to concede to an insistent, aggressive party, or very easily a country can, in its own way, go mad. (A silly proposition?)

 
Maybe not so much. If you were viewing our situation from the outside, as an unbiased viewer, making your decision only on the basic precepts of common sense, what would you think? If the party you were studying became so willful that it turned upon the only body established to protect them, demonizing that group that once was universally proclaimed as heroes, what would you think? What would you think about a people so self-indulgent that they’re attention to the real political process going on around them held no more intensity or long term importance than a

Sunday football game?
What would your opinion be of a people who could stand vehemently proclaiming the supposed nobility of their cause, demanding their rights and then in a heartbeat become a group of vandals sacking a modern Rome?
Robert Whitaker, is the author of “Mad America” and “Anatomy of an Epidemic : Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America”. Mr. Whitaker states that rates of mental illness have doubled since 1987 and have grown ”SIX FOLD” since 1955.

 
After a bad election we sometimes think to ourselves “I must have been crazy to vote for that party”. Well, maybe we were. I guess the real point here is that our world is becoming more twisted daily. Can we pull ourselves out of this downward spiral? Are the majority of us too far gone to even care ?
If Mr. Whitaker s statements are true, this disease could certainly claim us, and just who among us are the mentally ill? Are the leaders of our country exempt, or are they just as messed up as the rest of us? It might explain a lot!

 

Grandparents and parents, give your children and grandchildren a clearer, saner view of life and their place in it. We don’t have to relive the dark ages of the past. We can instead experience a new Renaissance of American understanding, intelligence and character.

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