wHo cAreS iF yOu’Re tiRed??

The most frequent excuse for throwing a tantrum is-I’m (they’re) so tired I (they) can barely keep my (their) eyes open. Ever noticed how parents and grandparents especially-pin a child’s bad behavior on the lack of a proper nap?  I’ve learned that a closed lip smile is an effective way to keep my opinion on the other side of spoken. 🙂

Alas comes The Ladybug & her 1st true tantrum. For badness sakes all she wanted was another spoonful of bananas. Poor baby was tired.  As I watched the clip of Annalise pitching a fit on Facebook I smiled and thought to myself-I’m one of them now! When Joshua (my firstborn & my parents’ first grand) was born, a lady who helped raise my sisters and me, gave Mama this advice-your grandkids are only GRAND to you so don’t bore the rest of us talking about them all the time. Nana didn’t mince words, she spoke the truth!

I began lightheartedly because I knew where we were going. Tired isn’t just about how this physical body reacts to exhaustion. If our emotions give out on us, it’s far more detrimental.

Lisa Bevere says in her book BE ANGRY BUT DON’T BLOW IT It is exhausting to live constantly on the edge of rage.

Ever walked on eggshells in fear of saying the wrong thing and sending someone to Planet Stark RAGING Mad? I’ve been the eggshell walker & I’ve been the cracked egg Sharing who I am today sometimes requires that I revert back to the dark years so that I can tell you how GOD restored me to my happy place.

We think of rage as one dimensional and it’s not. Good people can be filled with rage. I was. It became the single, most effective way I found to gain momentary release from that unrelenting albatross of emotional exhaustion. It’s actually quite difficult for me to think back to that time in my life because I no longer have rage episodes. But lingering memories of caged claustrophobia haunt me still. A RENEWED mind is a beautiful thing indeed, but I long for the day when I get a NEW mind-one that holds no recollections of the past.

As long as we JUSTIFY our emotions, we’ll NEVER overcome them. As long as we feel entitled to be angry because of what was done to us, we are captive. I fight daily..DAILY-not to go anywhere near that place anymore because I found out what life is like BEYOND it and man o man is it ever better!

Do you really want to live the rest of your life ANGRY all the time?

I’ve been doing ministry all my life without a ministry degree so going back to school-a woman in her fifties-to earn one stems from a desire to be the best guide I possibly can for those trapped in their own dark years. I read POKER faces with ease because I wore the mask. I’m grateful that someone looked deeply into my lying eyes, saw a troubled young wife & mother, and challenged me to unveil hidden secrets.  With her help and GOD’S grace, I got a new “Lis” on life!  (my Chipper came up with that one)

An arrow pierced someone’s heart unexpectedly today-I believe that because I didn’t plan to get so personal. If you see yourself in my self portrait, I pray for you to find strength and confront whatever causes you to foam up and explode. Have you been hurt by people who should know you better?  Are you overwhelmed by defeat, disappointment and broken dreams? Are you battling an addiction that started as an attempt to numb pain? Am I writing this for..you?

Did you muster up enough courage to confide in a person you trusted only to hear-everyone has things that have left them scarred. I’ll share a bad thing that happened to me so you won’t feel alone. Next thing you knew, they were telling you something trite & petty AS IF it compared to your burdens.

You LONG to have someone just listen. If you’re carrying an emotional garbage can filled with confusion, guilt, fear, paranoia-scared to death of emptying it because your pain might be minimized or dismissed altogether-listen closely here because I’m going to give it to you straight. Most people are not going to understand and it’s not wise to go out there and bare your soul to very many. But, I promise that if you’re serious about moving beyond the pain, GOD has someone waiting to help you. I know because HE gave me the right person when I was ready to deal with my own dark years.

The happy zone is possible if you’re willing to take the journey. Are you WILLING to take the road less traveled? Great!  Meet me here tomorrow then and we’ll at least get you pointed in the right direction!

yOu mAkiN mE mAd!!!

This is a phrase that our family uses quite often; it originated from a little girl in one of our most beloved pastorates.  I can still see Meghan with her hands on her hips, stomping her foot as the words left her lips. Him stole my money! My Chipper and I were in the fellowship hall with several others as Meg tattled on her brother and when she realized that her audience was more tickled at her storytelling than dealing with her big brother’s thievery, she pointed at us and stomped BOTH feet..you makin’ me mad!!  I doubt Meg remembers her tirade since she was about five years old at the time-but it became a family classic for the Morgans.

I just finished rereading Be Angry but Don’t Blow It (Lisa Bevere) and got a lot of practical advice that I missed the first time I read it.  I have a Kindle, but I much prefer books. I put sticky notes on the covers with pages to revisit and stick colored post it flags to mark pages with significant points. I’m pretty much stingy when it comes to my books.  Anyways the book has text boxes on most pages and I focused on those this time around.  I thought you might benefit from these cliff notes I took for myself.  If you’re a girl (or guy for that matter) somebody is always MAKIN YOU MAD! How do you handle being ticked off without going off?

Lisa’s book says: (her text boxes are red & italicized for my post)

Anger in and of itself is not wrong, but rage and fury escalate it into the dimension of the destructive.

Yes indeed.

Too frequently we live in a constant state of flare-up punctuated by brief interludes of happiness.

Some use this to describe symptoms of  Bi Polar Disorder or Manic Depression. If that’s the case, Prozac will one day be available over the counter because the majority of us can live this way if we aren’t careful. I am constantly dealing with my emotions to avoid the high and low effect.

When you go to sleep upset, you wake up upset.

I usually don’t go to sleep at all if I’m dealing with extreme anger. That’s why it’s so important for us to resolve issues, especially if the conflict is within the walls of our home. My Chipper and I make it a practice NOT to go to bed bitter. TOO many folks die in their sleep and I don’t want to stand before the LORD with a sour look on my face! 😀

Rage seeks punishment or vengeance at all cost

Heaven hath no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorned.

William Congreve  The Mourning Bride

Don’t you know it! 😀 Just ask that Secret Service Agent’s wife who started the Colombia Prostitute scandal by POSTING pictures of her husband all over facebook. I don’t think she was considering the aftermath while she was slapping those photos up, do you? Positive proof of this poet’s words for real!

Let’s just leave it right there for now and I’ll share some more of Lisa’s book in tomorrow’s blog!

mOnDay mOnDay

Monday. People everywhere have started the week shouldering unbearable circumstances. Somebody is losing a loved one. Another is about to sign divorce papers. Parents anxiously await in a courtroom as a child is sentenced. Families are vacating their foreclosed homes today.  A man isn’t going to work; he lost his job last week. A single mom is filling out a food stamp application for the first time. Sigh GOD is great. But for many, life ain’t good right now.

How can we NOT worry when life falls apart? As I searched for something to share with you earlier this morning, the HOLY SPIRIT made sure that I found what I needed.  I genuinely desire to be transparent with you and so I will put this out there candidly; I’m not above seeking this kind of reassurance because I know firsthand what it’s like to have your world crumble.

The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh
The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth
And strips the forest bare
And in His temple all cry “Glory!”

PSALM 27:7-9

A splendid depiction of who THIS GOD is. I’m compelled to offer an apology for my feeble attempts to help THIS GOD out.  GOD, who fashioned the universe where things live and breath, move and float, shine and darken, bloom and wither. GOD, who made ladybugs and giraffes, crocodiles and kittens, peacocks and lizzards, man and babies. As if THIS GOD would ever need my input. Embarrassing. Unnecessary. Wrong.

There’s no force on earth or in hell with enough power to significantly alter the purpose THIS GOD has for HIS CHILDREN unless we willingly hand ourselves over. We will face gigantic trials & go through dark periods, but we mustn’t lose heart! CHILDREN of LIGHT will remain secure though the ground beneath our feet gives way. We are never abandoned even if everyone we rely on walks away.

HE HOLDS MY WORLD (AND YOURS) in HIS HANDS. Our Deliverer. Our Shield. Our Fortress. Our Guide. Our Strong Tower. Our VERY present HELP in TIMES of Need.

aNd oN tHe sEvEnTh dAy..

Seven is good number indeed.
GOD liked it. So does my baby girl, Jena. So much does my daughter like the number seven, it’s how we say I LOVE YOU. I was looking for a restful topic to post today & as I reflected back on my adventures this past 7 days, I thought it would be fun to designate Sunday posts to listing  7  of the most memorable things that took place in my daily life.. Why not make your own 7 list on Sundays, too?
1. My thirty three year old niece nearly died from a ruptured intestine and is recuperating after having part of her colon removed.  I saw her at Christmas & wondered if she was anorexic because she looked thin and sallow.  A conclusion that she was “dying to be thin” was spot on but DEAD wrong since we found out that she’s been suffering from CROHN’S Disease. The surgeon said he didn’t know how she was functioning & walking around because it had gone undetected & untreated for years.  I’ll be more vigilant in taking care of my body & when someone who looks sick says, I’m okay..just tired..I won’t be so quick to take them at their word.
2. My ER nurse/BONUS daughter (I don’t do IN LAWS) started a new job today. She decided that a change of scenery was in order & went for it. So proud of her for taking a leap of faith. She earns a new pair of sparkly girl power stilettos!
3. My Chipper & I spent each afternoon this week doing something together..just for us. I’ve fallen in love with my man of thirty two years all over again.
4. Desmond (NOT a pet..he’s my baby) was nearly killed because I didn’t put him on a leash to go potty. Little boys can’t be expected to resist chasing a ball into oncoming traffic. And to think I love Pet Semetary? Bwahahaha
5. After hearing about four kids in our county who died at the hands of a grandmother, mom, mom’s boyfriend, negligent dad, my Chipper and I have decided to renew our foster parenting license.  Being a granny doesn’t make me too old to continue as a foster mom. (In case you’re new to my blog, the two handsome boys in photo with me are our foster sons who lived with us while we resided in New Zealand.)
6. We joined Planet Fitness and my goal is to rock a swimsuit by vacation time at the end of June!
7. Mama got a brand NEW bag.  I’m a thrift/resale/Goodwill chick so about everything I wear but underwear has been gently used.  My Chipper looked at my bag yesterday & said it was harshly used & insisted on a new one. He asked if I wanted to hit the mall. If you don’t know me by NOW..you will Never never NEVER know me. We settled on BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY. Of course, he tsked tsked at my nothing tagged over $20. I muddled through GUESS, NINE WEST, TOMMY, LIZ before spotting this gunpowder gray XOXO.  With a penny to spare, I held it up & my dude nodded. Totally you.  I was so excited over it that I’d dumped the contents of my worn out one into it before we got back to the car. I gotta admit..sometimes new is really nice.
Hope & Happiness,
Lis:-)

dOn’T yOu hAvE aNy tEeTh yEt?

If you’re like me, when you go to the store to pick out produce, it’s a big deal to find the pottle with perfect strawberries or tomatoes. I’ll shake the carton like crazy to uncover anything mushy or bruised. You know by now that I have an insane way of bringing spiritual truths to everyday life, just another quirky way that my chaotic brain operates. Dangerously Transparent has been a successful blog and I have no doubt why.  I took a RISK to be less than perfect with my readers. THANKS for letting me to be me.

What I’ve learned in fifty years of ministry is that babies are in every church family. I don’t care how friendly, wealthy, great a location, awesome the music, inspiring the pastor’s messages are, magnificent the kids’ program, in tune with the youth, mission minded, community oriented. It won’t matter; count on a handful of colicky infants. If we’re involved in a church, we must be willing to tolerate gasp and snarl..even be expected to babysit the church babies.

I’m not talking about wicked or evil hypocrites; when it comes to that type, I pray for GOD to KICK them out of the playpen..bwahaha..gotta keep it real!  I’m referring to those poor souls who have gotta have it their way, she stuck her tongue out at me, he squeezed my hand too hard for a friendly handshake, preacher’s not visiting shut ins enough, deacons are too secretive, music’s too loud, why don’t we have Communion every month, don’t like the new bulletin, who stole our class’s podium, tables are for Homecoming dinner-not kids’ church, son didn’t get a camp tee shirt, grandma’s pillow was moved from third pew (I’m glad we had visitors but Granny can only sit in THAT pew because we bought it in her honor, it’s sort of OUR pew) church has gone to pot since we stopped Sunday night worship to do that small group stuff (we stopped coming on Sunday nights years ago because that’s our family time, but as for the other 67% of the congregation who stopped showing up..I’m sure they had lame excuses)  On and on & on it goes.

Whatever we do-someone’s going to find fault-it’s an epidemic in most churches. I read that we learn much easier once we know all there is to know. I’ve learned sometimes it is best to KEEP CALM & MOVE ALONG when it comes to the pesky babies.  Reminds me of one of  daddy’s favorite sayings when I was coming up a preacher’s kid-a bulldog can whip a skunk, but is it really worth it? Modern day translation. Choose battles wisely.  The good news..GOD’S work will be done one way or another-the bad news..I can’t control how anyone strives for the goal but myself.  GOD has the power to change a situation at anytime so who am I to question why HE allows this one or that one to throw a wrench into our efforts?  The truth is, I get bent out of shape often about them-which usually takes my focus off of CHRIST’S agenda for my life and that of the church where I am serving.

Paul is spot on about the spiritually immature. They keep the rest of us in a tizzy-we run around with diaper bags full of bottles & wipes to keep them pacified; a waste of valuable time indeed but I’m understanding that I complicate the matter by complaining out  loud. Changing diapers isn’t pleasant but somebody’s gotta do it. Furthermore, I pity adults who require constant attention from those half their size or age. From country churches to mega temples, we coddle more babies in our sanctuaries than we do the nurseries.  We should designate an area for ADULT DAYCARE & call it something less in your face like SPOON ROOM..cheeky.  Bottom line-it’s frustrating for the majority whose goal is to recruit warriors to disciple into soldiers-to play referee between our own troops. You want to scream out-why are you taking pious punches at hit him? Why are you throwing gossip grenades at her?  STOP fighting with each other so we can fight the REAL enemy!

I’ve been praying these words for most of my life-LORD, use me-I am willing to do whatever. But, now that I know all there is to know, I’ve learned-there are areas that I FLAT out DESPISE to be assigned to-namely ADULT DAYCARE.  I’ve lost my temper with many babies over the years & I regret it. I wish I’d had more sympathy and frankly I wish I’d shown more patience with the childlike mentality. Maybe if I’d been willing to change their “formula” instead pushing my desire to get them off the bottle, I would’ve seen more babies promoted to the preschool department.

LORD, USE me..I am willing to do whatever. And, if I’m not..well, maybe I needed to be shown that I’m not as grown up as I believed.

iT’s tHe LittLe tHiNgS iN liFe..

I just spent a few minutes talking with a friend about an upcoming ladies retreat. As we chatted, we swapped lists of  a few of our favorites things and those we wouldn’t miss if they disappeared from the planet.  I told my pal how I always loved the silly questionnaires grade school girls passed around.  I’m a self professed PINADDICT-definitely DOPE for a daydreamer.

Strong coffee with chocolate. I am a Hershey bar lover so it’s a cheap date! I love waking up to birds singing. Obsessed with white (possibilities are unlimited when you start with it); black runs close second. My friends worry if I’m dressed in any other colors and I nearly started a ruckus for wearing a purple dress one Sunday morning. Bwaha!

Brushing Bindi Sue’s hair (my rough coat collie) is therapy. Meandering at Farmers Markets to look at produce and plants. I spend hours at my piano making up songs that I don’t copy down because the music is between HIM & me. A new four pack of legal pads and fancy gel pens. True Bliss.

I look at pets on Craigslist everyday and pour over my collection of Christmas cookbooks all during the year making a preliminary menu even though I know that I’m going to resort to the same menu my family expects.

Good results from products I make at home. Two hours on sofa watching a black & white film. (The YEARLING, PINKY, DAY of WRATH, GEORGE WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE, SEVEN BRIDES for SEVEN BROTHERS, YOURS MINE OURS & WITHOUT LOVE) all enjoyed over the past couple of months.

Beam when my Chipper says YOU so funny girl and grin like a Cheshire when I win Jeopardy (two or three times a year at max cos I married a flippin’ genius).  Reading something in a book, especially the Bible & having a light bulb illuminate the words unexpectedly. Random texts from Joshua & Jena (Nikki & Scott) make me smile..proof that my kids haven’t outgrown a need to share non important stuff.

What makes you happy? Take a minute or two RIGHT now and write a few things down. Then go make one of them happen and allow your heart dance today!

wOn’t yOu be mY nEigHboR?

Months ago there was a story on the local news about five children, aged 3-12, who were removed from a home where they lived with no electricity in what cops described as unimaginable filth. The news footage seared my heart & made me ponder how the neighbors reacted when they heard the sordid details lurking behind their neighbors’ door.

I wondered why no one had called to report the squaller; surely somebody around the house knew there were kids were living there! Nope. What merited a call to authorities was the foul smell surrounding the place. Let me just go there.  What stinks to  HIGHEST HEAVEN-is the mindset-your trash is cramping MY style. That’s how most humans, we CHRISTians included, operate. If you want to mess up your life, fine! But you keep your crap to yourself!

 

Not that this is the ideal time to be cheeky, but you can bet your buttons that things would’ve turned out differently if Alice Kravitz had been peering from her window across the street. As annoying as that nosy bitty from Bewitched who kept tabs on her neighbors may have been, even Sam was thankful for her bug eyes a time or two! 😀

 

The story pricked my interest in what it means to be a neighbor. This ancient term of endearment is used by everyone from Mr. Rogers to Eminem-but who exactly are we supposed to consider as a neighbor? I studied the word origin & set out to discover how JESUS defined it. The Good Samaritan is arguably the best known parable CHRIST used to teach the subject and HE went above & beyond to illustrate HIS perspective on who we consider as a neighbor. HE was straightforward and there’s no wiggle room for religious rhetoric, affluent arrogance or piety. We treat everyone we have contact with in the same manner that we wish to be treated.

When we moved to South Auckland, New Zealand, we were the palagi or pakehacolored people on the block. One of my Chipper’s favorite tales is about the first time we visited the the church where we’d been given work visas to minister. New Zealand was so beautiful in the travel books & websites we’d drooled over and I’ll never forget the first glimpses of massive mountains, neon blue ocean & lush meadows as we flew over the country.

My picturesque vista faded the closer we got to our slice of paradise, Otara. By the time we pulled into the church car park, I was a nervous wreck and that was BEFORE our car was engulfed by ponytailed or dreadlocked brown people with a gazillion tribal tattoos, the men in skirts had swooped in to attack us! (Lava-lavas aren’t skirts but I didn’t know THAT back then) This lil’ ol ‘Southern Belle was ready to grab her hoop skirt & high tail it back to South Carolina! FYI: If you’ve wondered if Troy’s hair is fake, trust me! I’ve seen the boys when they get out of bed! Gerri Curl don’t do much for that funk!

Boy was I wrong. They were shaking our car like crazy fools-but not to frighten or harm  me.  How ignorant can we be? That was their way to say WELCOME TO OUR NEIGHBORHOOD!  I never felt unsafe once I let my guard down; I knew they had my back & they found out quickly that I had theirs. We were NEIGHBORS and we took care of each other. THE BLINDSIDE always reminds me of our Polynesian family, who to this day, call me Mums (they aren’t kids anymore, most are parents now). I’d pierce anyone with my tongue or if need be, my foot, who so much as looked at one of my boys or girls the wrong way and the way BIG MIKE took care of  his Mama (Sandra Bullock, I love her), my boys did the same for me.

Later on, we moved smack dab into an Indian community. That was a unique experience-southern Americans, working in New Zealand-living in a Hindu neighborhood!  We stood out as it was-so I kind of hated that the nature of our shifting there leaked before we could get our boxes unpacked.

Keeping it real, I can’t report that we won even one  of our HINDU neighbors to CHRIST, so in the eyes of many, we were FAILURES at what we had been sent to do. But, I was there and though it hurt to be criticized, I got over it. I KNOW my family did all that we could to show JESUS while we were there. And, when our time in their community came to an end, several of our neighbors helped the CHRISTian neighbors-load our moving container. One family brought over a lovely curry. Why? Because, we’d become neighbors. I learned many things during that time. One-there will always be the people who have no clue what they’re talking about, but for some reason WILL DO IT anyway. More importantly, basic RESPECT earns extensive kindness.

The elderly Hindu woman who lived across the street went teary eyed when I walked over to say goodbye. We hadn’t been able to carry on a real conversation since I didn’t know a dozen of her words & she spoke even less of mine. But, she had a pet rabbit and I had a yorkie and almost every afternoon we’d spend a few “smiling moments” together while our fur babies frolicked for a bit. She knew that I liked her and I knew that she felt the same about me. We were a world apart, different in nearly every way and yet somehow we’d ended up as neighbors. I have to tell you about the gift I came up with to give her. Our vet advised us not to fly dog, Phoebe, since she was only four pounds and six years old. The lady lived with her son and his family so, I called her ten year old granddaughter over who spoke English and asked if she could translate my offer.  She patted my arm so sweetly then politely explained that they had a pet rabbit because their religion did not allow them to have dogs. OOPS…my bad!

Our neighbors aren’t limited to people who live beside us or in our community. Jesus drew us a detailed map with that parable.  We’re  all neighbors-black, white, yellow, gay, straight, CHRISTian, Democrat, Republican, Green, Atheist, Muslim, divorced, unemployed, white trash, gang banger, ex con, working girl, dirty, rich…you get my drift. We don’t have to condone lifestyles and YES, we are told to share the TRUTH, but we are never told to do it with contempt, malice, or cruelty. Of course, we need to guard our faith and never let sordid lives muddle our own-but JESUS said LOVE your NEIGHBOR, while you live a holy life. You can’t live holy if you HATE!

What gets my goat is how most CHRISTians are more than happy to write out a check to SEND somewhere OVER there, but when it comes to taking care of the person next door, across town or in the next county..well that’s really not our problem now is it?

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