Archive for the ‘Problems’ Category

Crack Petunias

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

The sight of pink blossoms peeking through and around an old iron wheel caused me to pause. The flowers were not planted in fertile soil or growing in expensive pots of clay. Instead, these plants were the product of seeds that had fallen from petunias cascading from a display of hanging baskets. As the seeds fell, the wind gently blew them into a crack in the concrete. The seeds lay in the crack undetected as the gardener watered the petunias above. And when the petunias had drunk their fill, the baskets overflowed and fertilized water dripped into the concrete crack.

crack petunias in wheel (640x360) (450x341)The petunia seed rejoiced by sprouting—expending a portion of its energy in search of the light above and all the while sending roots down deeper than the boundary of concrete.

This crack petunia is every bit as authentic as those hanging in baskets above. Its DNA had just as much life, wonder, and ability inside its seed. It only had to choose to bloom inside the crack of concrete. Today, the plant was blooming in unexpected places, and encouraging me to do the same.

Have you ever fallen through the cracks of life? Are you surrounded—even now—by cold, hard walls of circumstances and challenges?

If so, remember the crack petunia. Seeds of talents are every bit as profound—and teeming with potential—that fall into the cracks as those whose blooms are on display around us. We only need to humble ourselves and allow the seeds of destiny to open up and sprout, and steady our souls by sending our roots deep into the life-giving soil of God’s Word. We can bloom even in the cracks of life.

If you feel you’ve fallen through the cracks and it seems your lot in life could be to live there—choose to bloom in the crack. Choose to live happy even in adverse conditions that you had no part in choosing. God can give you the ability to prosper—right where you are—right now. Rely on God and release your ways to Him. You contain the DNA to grow and bloom wherever you are.

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (II Corinthians 9:8 NIV)

It’s Not Normal

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

 Hunger made me search for food and thatched umbrellas, shading a cluster of tables on the sidewalk, helped me choose a Bistro café.  A gentle breeze and warm sunshine lulled me to slow my pace and enjoy a sandwich while observing people coming and going.  The noon hour brought a mix of young professional women in cute shoes and men in creased khakis, who mannerly held the door open for them. Some ate inside, some grabbed a bite to go, and some joined me to savor the weather and dream on the sidewalk.  The conversations mingled and overlapped into a melody with high pitched laughs, baritone voices, and the click, click rhythm of footsteps on smooth concrete.

The picture-perfect scene didn’t last long.  I began to hear a child’s voice rising above the hum. At first I couldn’t make out the words.  But the fervor and pitch made it very clear this child was passionately desperate about something.  I soon glimpsed a cute baby girl, possibly 2 or 3 years old, holding the hand of her mom near the door. The child was half crying now and the words were heartrending.  Each time the mom tried to lead her little girl into the café; she would pull back and say, “It’s not normal. It’s not normal!”  The mom would stop to explain that it was perfectly normal to go inside and eat. And yet the daughter was never convinced.  The mom had to physically lift the child into the store.  Even as the door was closing behind them the child continued to say, “No, it’s not normal!”

I love children and am always amazed at their perception of the world around them.  It was easy to see she was really saying that it wasn’t what she wanted. Normal and want had gotten confused in her vocabulary and understanding.

Smiling, I returned to the thoughts that had been going over in my mind before the distraction. It was quite shocking to find that many challenges I was fighting against was because I was saying, “It’s not normal.” I too was struggling over things I didn’t want or like. Perhaps I too had become confused on what was normal.

Just yesterday I prayed for a friend’s mom to live. By evening she had passed.  Once again I wanted to say, “It’s not normal.”  But death is a normal occurrence on earth and even a sure appointment.  Life is filled with many seasons of both sunshine and rain. Yet I so often embrace good times and pull back from discomfort.  I say that life isn’t normal when it isn’t what I want. Then God, like a good parent, somewhere in the midst of my complaints gently lifts me over the present threshold of fear and quiets me with His love.  If I should stop to listen to His wisdom, I’m pretty sure I would hear Him say, “Yes, it is earth’s normal. It is just something you don’t like.  Come on, I will take care of you.” 

I think I may always struggle and argue with earth’s definition of normal.  But I do believe that heaven is a place where what I like and normal always mean the same.

I need you – you need me – and we all need God

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

In times of trouble, in times of great need, there is but one place where my heart is secure and my thoughts are understood. There is only one power that can quiet my busy mind and soothe my desperate soul.  When my faith is shaken, I must know there is a safe place above — called heaven — where life’s pieces actually come together in a land of perfect peace.

Today, I walk below the celestial sky.  I live on earth’s imperfect soil where both good and bad intermingle along the path.  I seek to connect with the creator of heaven and earth to make sense of the now and receive courage for tomorrow.

I find a refuge — in prayer to the God who understands a language of tears and sighs. I open the Bible and personalize promises that were given to me when I accepted Christ as my Savior…. The Lord is a very present help in my time of need.  Jesus has said that He will never leave me or forsake me.  God will make a way in my every trial so that I will not be crushed entirely beneath the weight of devastation.  When I don’t know what to do, I will ask God for wisdom and the Holy Spirit will give me direction.

Dear friend, if ever I should be too weak to cry out would you please say a prayer – for me.  In the middle of grief and loss each kind word, plate of food, and act of kindness gives me strength to keep on standing.  Please don’t stay away because you don’t have any words to say- for at times the greatest energy came when you said- nothing at all.  What mattered most… was that you were there.

“Amicu certus in re incerta cernitur.” (Quintus Ennius – 3rd Century BC) This quote translates from the Latin as ‘a sure friend is known when in difficulty’.

See the big picture

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

It’s important how we view single events during our day.  If we only see the small clip of what’s happening just during a specific moment then our picture is lacking and way too small.  We could be tempted to believe everything we’ve ever done is horrible if we dwell on a single negative word about us during the day.  Dwelling on, rehearsing, and replaying this single phrase can soon become what we think we accomplished for the entire day.

Look at each day at least as an episode.  Factor in the great things accomplished, the good comments and not just that one miniscule sound bite.

Something done or said wrong can be used to learn new and better ways of living.  Learn by mistakes and then move forward quickly.  There are great reasons that a person gets back on a horse after being thrown or drives soon after being rear ended.

Fear, exaggerated thinking, undue stress and excessive pain can be stopped by looking at the big picture, readjusting and then getting back into the game right away.

Life is more than just one misspoken word or bad day. Life is meant to be a beautiful journey. It’s so true that woven into the tapestry of our days there are knots and gray shadings from time to time.  These brief snubs were only mean to be indicative of normal weaving and not deemed as a flawed or castaway life.

Now, smile, and go ahead living the God life!

Improve the picture quality of your world

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Most phones have the ability to take pictures that are likely of better quality than the new digital camera that you so eagerly unwrapped only a few years ago.

But, if the lens is smudged or dirty the picture quality will be terrible no matter how great the camera. I remember snapping a great view and yet it came back totally black except for a blurb of white on the edge.  The light was great and the setting worthy of remembering- but my finger was over the lens! Nothing that I did could improve the quality of my photo until I removed my finger.

What we take away with us each day is much like the camera.  Everything we see comes through the filter of our internal lens. If we are hurting physically, emotionally or spiritually our personal lens becomes smudged.  Every snap we take of life that day will end up poor quality- no matter how desirable the setting.  When life is perceived as really bad, we pull away in depression, which begins to cut off the light to us.  The picture we have at the end of the day is a black memory.

To make our day’s picture better- and hopefully wonderful- is not always to change the light but to let it in by tearing down walls of fear and distrust.  Lens can become dirty from unforgiveness, abuse, or simply neglecting to rest and reflect.  We could have a smudged view because we need vitamins, help with a medical condition, a spiritual experience, or a change of pace.

How’s the quality of your pictures today?  The sun is shining and there are beautiful people and wonderful food.  Get help and hope. With God all things are possible.

Ode in Dark Times

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

When I read the book of Psalms I think of each chapter as an ode. Maybe it’s because an ode, in the classical form, would be writing a poem for the intention of singing it. David, the shepherd boy, who wrote most of the Psalms, of course sang them as he played the harp. When I read the Psalms I find verses that are still being used to write many of our praise and worship songs today. David defined his problems, wrote them down, reasoned them out, recognized God was on his side- and burst into song.  He declared the circumstance for what it was and began to sing about the answer- well in advance of its manifestation.  In the face of each new obstacle David would choose to compare each gigantic problem with God.  God was always bigger. So, David would choose to declare that the immediate enemy to his peace was ‘no different’ than the one from last year or yesterday and then he would realize he would be ok.

Here is one of my ode-psalm-songs that I wrote during some dark times. “Satan is no match for my Lord. When He does the fighting, there’s no way that I can lose. Victory is sweet with my life at His feet. Now, I have Jesus who knows no defeat.” ©RW

Dare to compare. Write down your thoughts. Then, begin to sing a new song of overcoming joy- today.

“Are you pig-headed?”

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1 (Quotation from Bible NIV®)

What a wonderful thing to be corrected when we are wrong. Anyone who believes otherwise has never inadvertently walked into the opposite sex restroom by mistake!  Correction is welcomed by the person wanting to arrive in Chelsea but headed down Highway 412 in the opposite direction.

Another version (kj) says ‘he that hateth reproof [is] brutish’. Awrf- like an animal?  Really now?  How bad could it be?  But, this rendering- as all words- merely tries to paint a picture for us so we can understand the meaning.  We write in words but our minds see in images.

Brutish or stupid.  What picture comes to your mind?  I see show pigs. Beautiful, wonderful, clean, glittery, glistening pigs being directed by a cute kid with an absolutely necessary, fancy prod in hand- nudging the wonderful animal into the ring.  Prod and poke and continual pressure direct the life of this phenomenal beast. Left to its own free will it- yes you know where it goes—right back to the mud hole.  Simply put, pigs lack inner understanding.

We as humans have the ability to understand don’t we? If we don’t have an answer or are wrong it is the most wonderful thing in the world to receive correction.  Because, correction becomes direction and we now claim owner ship of that right information.  We can use this knowledge to direct the road we wish to travel and reach our goals and we won’t be surprised at what’s behind the doors we are about to open!  We get it. Self-control gives us knowledge so we love it.  We no longer have to be moved and directed by whatever circumstance or person is putting the most pressure on us.

We think higher thoughts.  We love correction- not because it always feels good- but because we possess… inner understanding.

Trustometer – Toppin’ or Droppin’ ???

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Want to know what the God topic is right now?  What to know the questions swirling among the stars and the wispy, fog; streaming through the sunbeams and touching every life?  The topic my friend is trust.

Spouses are being asked, kids chant the ‘trust me’ slogan and God’s spirit is digging way passed those closed doors, prying eyelids open, and holding our head so we can’t look from how we are- any longer.  Circumstances are slapping us, pushing, squeezing, causing us to become nauseous from the stress.  The more we try to fake it and put on our pretty faces, the more tears that wash away the make up and the mask.  We are used to covering our mistakes.  Covered had become cool– and getting away with doing a mediocre day and still getting the pay- had become the norm.  No longer so!

Today’s mirror has been polished and shined.  No longer can we look and forget.  No longer can we give the same dozen excuses that have littered our languages and left us feeling smug and secure- in our ability to wheel and deal.

Today, we come to the end of ourselves.  Today, we have encountered an enemy that in ourselves we don’t possess the ability to beat.  This enemy of circumstance doesn’t march when we threaten, doesn’t budge when we push, doesn’t go away when we go to bed at night.  This villain seeps into our heads and cares not that our mind is about to break.  The searchlight has turned inward- power packed with luminous strength.

We see ourselves as we really are, but a breath away- from eternity.  Our heart pounds and our livelihood reels.  It’s not business as usual.  It’s time for truth and honesty.

In the midst of the fog a voice can be heard, speaking to the child- we had hidden so long.   A voice and an extended hand, beckoning, encouraging and challenging me.  “I can help you, if you’ll only ‘trust’ me.”   “Only give me the real you that I placed inside your heart- both the good and the bad.”   “Let it go, all of it, for only part will never do.”

It’s fearful, this place of the unknown. Will I survive?  Will I be ok?  Trust makes me vulnerable and open to mistakes.  But, trust also paves the way for that voice I recognize as God’s love- to enter in.

And, when I had trusted and given Him my all, I found it was neither the turmoil nor the circumstance that was my greatest enemy.  But, my anxiety and dread was from being so out of touch with heaven’s reality.  With my mind renewed to what is real and good, and honest and true, even my feelings and body came into line.

My surroundings?  Some of them are still the same.  But, without the fear and with heaven as an ally on my side- I am totally victorious.  For when I stumble the Lord lifts me up.  I’m never alone and I cannot lose.  God is my Father and in Him I am complete.  He even trusts- in me.

Archive #203 – Pigeons

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

San Francisco is a wonderful place filled with ethnic restaurants, grand buildings, sidewalk vendors and winding streets. Just past the Bay Bridge commercial vessels laden with cargo, navigate the waters.

Shops and cafés increase their size by moving wares and tables onto the sidewalks.  The weather is cool so windows and doors are left open, creating a unique combination fragrance of food, music and conversation.

But, they do have pigeons- everywhere.  Some are so gentle they have to be shooed from food, out of doors, and off the chairs in which you sit.  Entire streets, malls, sidewalks and entrances are washed nightly to keep the area clean.  They expect to deal with the mess the birds deposit. Grand places still have pigeons.

One could become easily disheartened when ideas, jobs, health or beauty become marred by droppings from people or circumstances beyond our control.  One could discard a thing of great value because of an ongoing, daily nuisance.  Or, one could deal with the reality that pigeons have to be shooed away and cleaned up after.  Washing off pigeon poo from our minds and projects nightly will allow one to greet each day with fresh energy. Grand lives still have pigeons.

Archive #192 – Stay Sober and Alert

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

I forgot my umbrella and had to run through the rain. No worry.  I didn’t melt and the incident means nothing today. It was only a simple mistake and no big deal.

A smart friend also made a mistake last week and left a laptop inside her car. The car had an alarm and was parked in front of her home.  That too should have been no big deal. But, by the next morning a brick had smashed a window and the computer was gone. She’s still trying to get a window part replaced so the new glass can be installed. That was bad, but, she’ll probably let it go by year’s end. I still think she’ll never forget the computer again!

We’ve all made some stupid mistakes. Some are insignificant. Others are life changing. Not seeing a red light or approaching train can prove devastating and can forever change lives. Not caring for your family can leave you sad and alone.

It pays to be sober and alert on the things that really matter.

Take a look at the decisions that are vitally important in your life. Take seriously what matters today… and tomorrow.  Don’t get caught dead making a stupid mistake concerning your eternity.