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Showing posts from 2016

The Empty Chair

The lady seated next to me in the gate area was very chatty. My head and heart were tired, but I prayed, "Lord, help me here." That's one of my simpler prayers. God knows what I mean. In this case, it meant, "Help me to pay attention to this soul, even though I feel like sitting here zoned out watching planes take off and land..."

The lady looked to be in her 70s, so that soon reminded of the days when I used to travel with my Mom. It also "tenderized" my selfish heart, because while at first I just wanted to sit and be quiet, I began to wonder if this lady was nervous about traveling alone. My suspicion was confirmed when she told me this: "I haven't flown in 20 years, so all of this is very new to me. My daughter is staying in constant contact with me by phone." This elderly traveler was clutching a very old "flip phone," and it rang shortly afterwards.

"Yes, I'm at my gate. A nice man brought me in a wheelchair and he…

So Grateful and Thankful

Do you have a gratitude list?

It's easy to make. Just sit still for a moment and jot down all the things you are grateful for, and then thank the Lord. Be gratefully thankful.

I'm grateful for a godly and loving husband. I pray for him daily, and I know that he does the same for me. And he's fun, too. Gotta love a man who laughs at his own jokes.

I'm thankful for a happy marriage. It's not as common as it used to be, and those of us who have this treasure need to be continuously thankful and willing to share what we've learned over the years of staying happily married.

I'm grateful for our three children (and a daughter-in-love). They are uniquely "themselves" and we have been enjoying the process of watching them grow into adults that can even pick up the tab. Ha ha. My turn to ask for a twenty!

I'm thankful for friends that I can call or text and say, "Can you come over for coffee?" And then we get caught up on our lives, our families, …

Petty Little Things

You worked hard on that church event, but nobody recognized it. You aren't speaking to someone because you're holding a grudge over an offense that's so old it's growing mold. Your family wasn't personally invited to the fellowship (even though it was open to all), so you're considering changing churches. There is not one life-changing issue in this list of oversights, but it's often the little things that trigger big deals. Petty little things. Pettiness is a cause of many unnecessary disputes, leading people to have their days end poorly.
Are you allowing some small thing to keep you trapped in a swirling cloud of negative emotions? When we do this, we're being petty, and it hurts us and repels others. Pettiness is a lot like a flu virus; once you catch it, people don't want to get too close, and you will need to get over it before you can function again.
Pettiness comes when we allow minor issues to morph into major offenses. When we reach the age …

Parents Are Not Responsible for That

Parenthood is not a role for wimps or whiners. There are the exciting times such as music recitals, sports tournaments, and graduations. But if your tribe is like ours, you've probably also had the maddening moments, like the time one of our children discovered how to unfasten the tapes on his diaper and used the contents as "chalk" on the bedroom  wall (yes, it was "his," so that narrows the field of suspects).
Children are young for a few blinks, and then we spin around and we're hearing "Pomp and Circumstance," that familiar graduation march as our "babies" walk down the aisle in cap and gown. If they choose to go on to college, four snaps later, we're sitting in the auditorium at their college graduation, scanning a long list of names in the commencement bulletin while waiting to watch them walk across the platform to receive yet another diploma. It's warp-speed fast (except that diaper stage).

Parents don't mind taking res…

The Voice Message

I was positively sure he was mistaken, but Austen was equally sure that he was not. "I called home, but I got Grandma's voice," he told me with amazement. 

There were two problems with this:
1. Grandma (my Mom) had passed away on May 25, 2015. This was June 21, 2016.
2. My Mom's answering service was never connected to our home phone at any time.

Austen got out his cell phone, and attempted to recreate what had just happened to him that day. 

"I was sitting in Dunn Brothers coffee shop, and I dialed the house. When I got the voicemail, I hung up and called right back and that's when it said, 'This is the Raynes' residence,' and it was Grandma's voice. I'm sure of it."

Now he had to prove it. He dialed. Our voicemail with my voice answered. He immediately hung up and called back. Our voicemail answered again. He hung up and called back. Again, it was my voice. I was beginning to wonder if the Lord had done something special for Austen that …

Was He Trying to Pick a Fight or...?

Why does the garage door malfunction ONLY when we're planning a big event? Or a trip? Or both? Blame it on Murphy's Law? Who was Murphy, anyway?
Edward Aloysius MurphyJr. (January 11, 1918 – July 17, 1990) was an American aerospace engineer who worked on safety-critical systems. He is best known for his namesake Murphy's law, which is said to state, "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_A._Murphy_Jr.)

Okay all right, so an aerospace engineer is to blame for the poor timing of everything?

I don't believe it.
But I do believe that God allows things to happen so that He can have His way.

The bright orange sticker on the wall in the garage (slapped unceremoniously over the bright yellow sticker on top of the silver sticker) listed the garage door company's phone number. Why do the repairmen paste their company labels on top of the others? Competition? Well then, why not just remove the other guy's sticker? Head sha…

The Empty "Next"

Sometimes a slip of the tongue has a meaning of its own. A friend of mine jotted me an email a few years ago, talking about how close we both were to the empty nest, only she typed "empty next." I wrote back immediately, practically shouting, "That's a book title right there!" 
The Empty Next. 
You go to bed with a house full of noise, a laundry room full of clothes, empty laundry soap containers, and an empty fridge.
You wake up to a quiet and tidy house (hopefully), an organized laundry room with a backstock of detergent and fabric softener (love the smell of Suavitel), and food spoiling in the fridge because you and your beloved didn't eat it fast enough.

The Empty Next: The sequel to the Full House.
Are you there yet? If not, don't wish for it, because it will come without the wishing. Just live in your Full House and be all there, right now. We spend way too much time waiting for the next thing to change, expecting that it will make everything better in…

Pride is Exhausting

Have you ever marveled at the simplicity of a child? They see, they say. In their innocence, they have not yet learned how to play the game of "pretend my life is perfect and I've got this all under control." How did we get trapped in the game of unreality? 

Pride. And pride is exhausting. 

Are you afraid to be yourself? Genuine yet flawed? Striving to keep up an image of having it "all together" will wear a person out, and in the end, we all know it's just an illusion anyway. There is a better course: meekness.

Just because meekness rhymes with weakness doesn't mean that they are related. It takes strength to bear the yoke of meekness and lowliness. In fact, we are more prone to the weak habit of wearing the crown of pride with the body sash of self-elevation. "Wow, you are amazing!" whispers pride to the gullible.

Maybe we're just trying too hard to make everything look just right so that others will be wowed and attracted to Christ. Is that…

Get Out of There

Negative emotions are like cold and snowy days: we have to endure them until the season changes. But just like a winter that lasts too long, we don't do well when we're stuck in the negative.

A lady once told me that she was "in a bad place within herself." What a description! It immediately formed a picture in my mind of a person trapped in a cold prison, but the bars were imaginary.

Are you with her? Are you in a "bad place within yourself," and you've been dwelling there going from bad to worse? Are you surprised that staying there seems so comfortable and yet so painful at the same time?

Get of of there.

Staying in that spot is like standing outside shivering in the cold when the nice, warm house is unlocked and right in front of you. You don't have to stay in that spot. God has already provided a way out.

It is impossible to live into adulthood without walking through a spiritual valley now and then, but the valley is not a permanent address; it'…