Friday, August 19, 2016

Neither Death Nor Life...

Some of us are sending our kiddos off to school this week. Some are relieved...some are not ready to let go just yet. Our youngest is -today-on his "Last First" day...a Senior.  

As a mom...these are tough but important milestones.
May God bless and protect your littles, middles and bigs!

I am sending a story from the archives today...

This is about God's protection for our oldest son a few years back.
Thanks for reading and we will start our regular weekly post again in September.
Tell a friend...and keep sending us your stories of hope.
~Kathy


6:13 am? Are you kidding? I really was grumbling a little hearing Richard's cell phone ringing on a cold Wednesday morning in February. Didn't the caller know I had 12 wonderful minutes of sleep left in this warm bed before the alarm went off? 

This was the precious sleep. 
The 'in between' sleep. 
The 'finish the good dream' sleep.

Even if I tried I couldn't get to the phone in time. So I pulled the cover up and rolled over.
A beep, indicating a message was waiting, naggingly chirped until I gave in and got out of bed. Thinking I really need to get an extension cord, I drug myself across the room to Richard's phone which was charging.

    It flashed with the words           “Missed call from Jake”.

I yawned.
Suddenly my phone was ringing back across the room on the night stand near the bed.
The caller ID read “6:24 AM ...Jacob”.

I answered the usual “Hi honey” to which Jake responded,

“Mom...I'm bloody. I...I think I'm okay, but please help me I...” click....no signal.

 And with that, I now knew two facts.
  1. My son was hurt in some way.
  2. As of 6:24 AM on a Wednesday morning in February...he was still alive.
An ice bucket of the unknown was dumped on my head abruptly sending adrenaline and fear through my body. I was now wide awake, and shaking.

Dialing Jake's number I only knew fact #1 was valid. The call went straight to voicemail. Dial again. Voicemail! It was now about 6:28 AM.

Was fact #2 still true?

Richard, my husband, was just finishing getting ready for work. Splashing on some cologne, he was ready to head out the door for his usual 45 minute drive North to Kansas.
Last I knew, Jacob was 90 minutes South, In Oklahoma City.

With tears streaming down my face I yelled frantically for Richard to come upstairs.

The panic on my face while pointing at his phone was all the communication he needed. He dialed his voicemail and listened to the voice of our son. Shaky and sounding confused, Jake told his dad in the message that he thought he was on Macarthur somewhere. He was cold. He was in the snow. 'There's a lot of blood on my face.' He finished the message with "Please help me"!

We called 911. We gave the scarce detail to the operator. Jake lived in Oklahoma City near Edmond. He would normally be going to work in a few minutes which was downtown, but he said he thought he was on Macarthur. Macarthur was West of where he lived in the opposite direction from his office.

The operator told us that the unusual fog that morning was to blame for an almost 40 car pile up on 1-40. We gave them the description of Jacob's car. We called all Oklahoma City hospitals. We waited. We got a call back from the Oklahoma Highway patrol telling us that Jacob was not found among the vehicles involved in the Oklahoma City pile up. We began trying to call anyone who might know where Jake was.
At around 9:30 we received a call from our daughter, Kaylee, who was a student at OBU in Shawnee Oklahoma.
She was at a hospital in Shawnee almost 40 minutes away from where Jacob lived.
Having been one of the last numbers on Jake's phone, someone dialed Kaylee's number and gave her Jake's location.
She grabbed her room keys and her shoes. Running barefoot in the snow the few blocks from her dorm to the Hospital in Shawnee, she was uncertain of the condition in which she would find her older brother. She only knew there had been a car wreck. It was a stranger that called her phone.

Jake was driving back to Oklahoma City early in the morning after spending the night with his good friends in Shawnee. Jonathan and Lisa had gotten married and were finishing up the last semester of school. Jake and Jonathan had the tradition of watching Lost together on Tuesday night when they were in school together. Missing his friends, Jake made the trip to their apartment which was on MacArthur in Shawnee. After a heavy fog set in that night, he decided to spend the night and head out in the morning for work in Oklahoma City (which is a town that happens to also have a major street named Macarthur --little c).

The fog had not lifted much in the morning. Heading for work, a man in a Ford F250 was going the full 55 mph speed limit ...in the fog. As the man approached an intersection on an unfamiliar road, he could not see the stop sign in the fog and slammed into Jake's car. He “T-boned” Jake on the driver's side. We would later find out that the bumper of the man's truck actually hit directly into Jacob's head rest.
Kaylee called us. We called My sister and brother-in-law in Edmond. They were closer in distance to the hospital so they took off to get to Jacob.

We headed South.

There was a quiet panic in our car. We hadn't known where to look for Jake. We had the right name of the street...only...the wrong town. We missed him by searching in the wrong place. We had only a little information. Once we understood where he was, once we had the truth... we at least had some measure of peace. We could now head in the right direction.

Jacob belonged to the Lord. Jacob was a child of God. Jacob was our son at least for the time God placed him in our care and we were the stewards of this wonderful human being's life. What a privilege.
We began praying out loud for healing. Even though God promises to never leave us or forsake us...we don't always know what He will allow in our lives.

We prayed God's will, his favor, his mercy. "Please...please don't take him from us" I pleaded.
In my mind I wondered if I would need to make funeral arrangements...but I only had to wonder momentarily...

Richard's phone rang. It was the emergency room Nurse. “Mr. Lonsinger, someone needs to talk to you.”
I think I could hear Richard's heart pounding. Then, he put the phone on speaker...the voice on the other end said:

“Dad... I think I need a new car.”

By God's mercy, Jake was alive. After being knocked unconscious, suffering a severe concussion, bruising on his entire left side, a shoulder that was going to possibly give him trouble from now on, some teeth that were cracked and a bruised jaw...Jake was alive.

His sense of humor was in tack as the nurse shared a few cute answers he had given during his assessment when he woke up from the accident.

Dana and Shawn got there right away and later that same day, Jake was released into their care. They took him to the temporary spot where his car had been taken. The car was totaled.

When they arrived, a man was cleaning out a few personal items from a Ford F250. He was still shaken and in tears. He walked over to Jake's car where Shawn was trying to get Jacob's wallet and one of his shoes and a few items which were misplaced during the wreck.

“The man crying just kept saying, I killed that boy. He was so bloody, I killed that young man.”

They took the man to the car where Jake was resting and showed the gentleman that Jake in fact was perfectly alive and recovering. The two shook hands. The man smiling and relieved asked Jacob, "How? How are you okay?" Jacob asked the man if he knew who Jesus was. The man replied, “Yes, Yes I'm a Christian.”
Smiling, Jake said, “That's how.”

We all met back at my sister's house in Edmond where Jake would stay to recover for a few days.
The next morning as I was making breakfast. Jacob smiled and said, “ Mom...did you see my car?” “No, Jake, I haven't seen the car yet.” His uncle Shawn showed me a picture from his phone.
 The door was smashed so far into the car that the steering wheel was in the middle of the dashboard where the console had been. There was a streak of blood across the airbag on the passenger side of the car where it looked as though Jake had been drug out of the car.
He somehow was found in a ditch in the snow face up.
Jake continued, “Ya know...it just dawned on me that you should be making funeral arrangements...but instead...you're making me pancakes!”

Oh how great the Father's love.

The peace Richard and I experienced if even for a brief time in the car before we knew the fate of our son...was real. The unknown was also real. Do you trust God even when you don't have the answers?

How great is the Father's love for you. Some of our stories don't end with this outcome. Many have lost their loved ones and wonder if that means God was not merciful or good.
He has promised never to leave or forsake (forget) you if you are HIS child.
I believe God is good, All the time.

Peace.
Blessed assurance.

Are these truths we can experience in the middle of the storm?
Praise HIM in the quiet. Praise HIM in the steady. Praise HIM in the secure. Praise HIM in your daily life so that you will remember how to Praise HIM in the storm. Nothing can separate us from His love.

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)

38For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

With the right information we were able to find Jake.

Do you have the right information about finding the ONE TRUE GOD? Do you know how to find out if God, The God of the Bible is real? He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to save you. Are you lost? Have you been seeking help in the wrong place? Have you looked in bars, in an affair, in false gods/idols or false teaching or by trying to be 'religious' ?

Do you listen to "another gospel"? One that doesn't claim that Jesus was the son of God sent to die on a cross to bear your sins so you may have eternal life...or does not teach that He was buried and resurrected on the third day according to scripture?

Seek God...in truth...and I promise you will find Him. There is NO OTHER NAME but the name of Jesus by which you must be saved. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I am happy to tell you that Jacob has since recovered, met and  married his beautiful bride Adrianne and they are the loving parents of a precious one year old daughter.

Just Thinkin',

Kathy

Friday, August 12, 2016

"This Little Piggy Should Have Stayed Home" or "How to Lose a Flip Flop in One Easy Step"

From The Archives:
Many of you know our story of job loss after 9/11. Unless you've heard me speak, you might not know the back story of the Kathy Jekyl and Mrs. Hyde during the attempt to sell our two, yes two, homes following said tragedy. If it were a script:


THIS LITTLE PIGGY SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME
EXT. HOME IN BEAUTIFUL SUBURB OF TULSA - MORNING.


KATHY
helplessly watches as RICHARD her aircraft engineer husband, firmly plants FOR SALE sign in front yard of home they just recently purchased, both with solemn looks on their faces.

RICHARD

I'm sorry! I wish I could make it go away!(CONT'D)
(apologetically)
We should have stayed in ADA. How could we have known two planes flying through buildings in New York, would land in our living room?


INT. ELEGANT FORMAL DINING ROOM OF LARGE HOME IN AN EXCLUSIVE COMMUNITY IN ADA-LATER THAT SAME EVENING.

RICHARD

We've always said we trusted God no matter what. Now, we get a chance to prove it! I should never have bought the new house without this one selling. I never dreamed this could happen to us.

All eyes turn to Kathy to see what her reaction to her husband will be. They see a tear silently fall down the side of her cheek. No other expression or sound.

RICHARD (CONT'D)

We will be pulling up the realtor sign and putting FOR SALE BY OWNER in it's place in the morning. Only, the owner isn't us anymore. We have to give it back to God. He knew this would happen...it's HIS to sell. There's no way we can pay a realtor's fee and sell both houses.

The sense of peace in the room is interupted by the cry of the couples 2 year old son.

The night rolls by the morning sun rises and you hear a phone ringing. The startled couple, still sleeping, jolts awake to scrounge for the phone. Again baby crying in the background.

Cut to- smiles on faces, moving truck in driveway, clearly the Home for sale by owner has been sold and the family is moving today.

Richard and the children drive off behind the moving truck in a Suburban while you see Kathy return to the porch of the house. She is left to do minor clean up before the new owner will arrive in the next scene/next day. She is reflective as music plays and emotions of saying goodbye in each child's room and a pacifier is discovered behind a curtain as she dusts. Tears well, smile remains. Next scene.

MRS. G. NEW HOMEOWNER INSERTING KEY INTO FRONT DOOR CLEARLY BEFORE AGREED TIME TO TRANSFER
OWNERSHIP-DAWN!

KATHY (embarrassed) fumbles for a robe and asks the new owner to wait a moment before entering the master bedroom.

I thought you were not coming until 3:00pm. (CONT'D)
Kathy
I'm not quite ready to go yet.

MRS. G.
(impatiently)
I'll wait!
The silence is deafening as the two women stare at each other awkwardly as Kathy bounces from room to room trying to get the last minute things out of the house.


Kathy
I'm sorry for the garage not being ready yet, I thought I had all day to get it done. I'll hurry and get out of your way.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay gang....so you get the idea. We had 2 mortgages, 2 car payments, 4 kids, 1 dog, NO JOB! God allowed our house in Ada to sell one week to the day after Richard was laid off due to 9/11. She bought the house for exactly what we paid for it 2 years earlier. We got all our equity back in cash at closing with no realtor's fee and lived off that money for a few months. God had just done a wonderful act of mercy and provision. It was like watching the feeding of the 5000. But don't you remember, the disciples who just witnessed the miracle, got into a boat and started complaining and doubting Jesus! God just sold our house! So why, overnight, was I now angry, and having a pity party? Well this God-send of a women who provided an answer by purchasing our house the day before, was now on my "DUH" list for not giving me enough time to leave peacefully! So...Plan B!

Okay, I thought to myself, I have the use of Richard's truck, ADA has a landfill...that is plan B. After all, we lived without this stuff for 10 months who will miss it now? Right? Am I Right?

I popped a mint in my mouth, put my hair in a ponytail, stepped into my flip flops and slapped on some deodorant. I gathered the last few things from inside the house which included a full set of pots and pans, random kids toys, slightly forgotten last seasons clothes and the pacifier I found the night before. I headed to the garage as I watched strangers take over the interior of my home...I mean former home.

I gathered everything left in the garage (which was quite a bit) and stuffed it all into hefty garbage bags. Tossing one by one the remains of our life on the hill with matching country club rights, into garbage bags!

My plan was...get the stuff to the dump...get the check to the bank...get out of town..get on with life...SOUNDS GOOD RIGHT?

So I drive into the Dump..which I found by following the gulls....that is until I no longer needed their guidance as my nose was now clearly able to sniff out the rotting garbage land I was approaching. I drove up a steep muddy hill to find a round little man...with only a few teeth and a wheat shock sticking out of his mouth. Harvest time I guess...I THINK I CAN I THINK I CAN...kept racing through my head as I followed his hand signals to direct me to back up into the space closest to his big bulldozer. I could think of a few hand signals for "Goober" as he kept grinnin' at me like "THIS SHOULD BE GOOD". He signaled me to stop...he smiled really big and goofy..and went back to leaning on his bull dozer...UH...HELLO..a little help here! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Nope! He just watched...and grinned!!!

Okay..I CAN DO THIS...HAD FOUR KIDS ALL C-SECTION...BEEN ON MISSIONS IN EGYPT AND MEXICO...CLEANED FLOODED TOILETS...WIPED UP MANY OCCASIONS OF PROJECTILE VOMIT...I CAN DO THE LANDFILL!

I held my breath, opened the door...took my usual step down from the tall truck...IN FLIP FLOPS (Which I do not recommend)...and...SQUISSSHHHHHHHH! LOST MY FLIP FLOP ON THE FIRST STEP!

As I looked down to try and retrieve my shoe -- I realized the squishy feeling was not just landfill mud. I could see my flip flop buried about three inches down - inside -A PIG CARCASS!
 Remember the Old Testament?
Pork!
WELL..."UNCLEAN...UNCLEAN"!

Let the yelling, screeeeeaaaaammmmmmiiiingg and -yes- I believe-mild CURSING begin! (Give a sister a break....I was standing in a DEAD PIG!)
 This little piggy - should have stayed home!!!

My little piggies...in a little piggy!!!!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I looked over at "Goober" hoping he would come running to help.
He was too busy -laughing at me!

So- being the tough Chick thst I am, I GRABBED THE SIDE OF THE TRUCK AND PULLED MYSELF INTO THE BED OF THE TRUCK...SHOELESS by now.
NOT HAPPY...NO...DOWN RIGHT FUMING!

 I was Hot! Angry did not touch this temper!
"HOW DARE SOMEONE LEAVE THIS MESS AHEAD OF ME? HOW DARE THAT ROUND LITTLE TOOTHLESS MAN PUT ME HERE...AND LAUGH AT MY LOSS OF SHOE?"

 I started pitching everything in my truck out on to what appeared to be a 20 foot circle of more dead animal parts. Okay, so it was November 1st, Did some weird Halloween ritual take place here the night before or did "GOOBER" and the boys have a Bar-b-q last night?

No matter what the explanation of the dead little piggy, it was disgusting! Again, who would dare do this "TO ME"? I mean, my slightly used toys, my dishes and old clothes...were okay to toss here, but dead animal parts! SERIOUSLY...? Other peoples garbage was horrible! MINE....?????

Oh, Man! Do we do that? Do we catagorize our sin? Their's look like dead pig parts...an abomination to God...but mine? Just a little trash, clean trash at that. No fowl (pun intended) no harm, right?

I mean...other people have murdered, not me- right? Other people have committed adultery...not me -right? Other people have had abortions...not me- right?

So ...my hate, maybe a little gossip listened to in the form of a "prayer request" maybe a little envy here or there, maybe lack of trust, maybe that "STINK-EYE" I had given MRS. G. for coming in too early that morning...not big sins right?

Well, what did God see looking down on the landfill that day?

 TRASH! DEAD TRASH. CLEAN TRASH. ROTTEN TRASH. THEIR TRASH. MY TRASH!

SIN IS SIN....the bible says:

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

My ability that day to go from praise to pity party...brought to light my sin condition. I seemed to not grasp Paul's call to live in contentment NO MATTER WHAT OUR CIRCUMSTANCES.

OUCH!!!

Forgiveness was part of my trip to Owasso that night. Begging God for it, and asking Him to allow me to extend it.

I struggled with forgiveness along the way for the next few years as God allowed us to grow through what might have seemed to others as a very unfair situation. I'll tell you...wouldn't trade that time of growth and refining for our entire 401k we spent paying the mortgage, grocery and other bills the next 2 1/2 years. Not even for the 401k plus a million m & m's.

God is GOOD! He knows when to be gentle. He knew how hot the furnace had to be to get rid of some dross in our lives during that time.

I don't want to do it again...but I am ever grateful for God's mercy, forgiveness and faithfulness to us during our rough times. He has forgiven  me of so much anger, pride, sin...I am learning to trust Him NO MATTER WHAT! And someday, no more tears, no more job loss, no more death, no more planes flying through buildings....no more stinkin' pig parts! We will see Him face to face!

Will YOU?

I hope you trust Him. I hope you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and His offer to take your stinkin' trash away and cleanse you.

Just ask Him and He will save you, forgive you of your sins. And you too will see Him one day face to face...when we get...ALL THE WAY HOME.

Just Thinkin',

Kathy












.

"This Little Piggy Should Have Stayed Home" or "How to Lose a Flip Flop in One Easy Step"

From The Archives:
Length warning...grab a snack!


Many of you know our story of job loss after 9/11. Unless you've heard me speak, you might not know the back story of the Kathy Jekyl and Mrs. Hyde during the attempt to sell our two, yes two, homes following said tragedy. If it were a script:


THIS LITTLE PIGGY SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME
EXT. HOME IN BEAUTIFUL SUBURB OF TULSA - MORNING.


KATHY
helplessly watches as RICHARD her aircraft engineer husband, firmly plants FOR SALE sign in front yard of home they just recently purchased, both with solemn looks on their faces.

RICHARD

I'm sorry! I wish I could make it go away!(CONT'D)
(apologetically)
We should have stayed in ADA. How could we have known two planes flying through buildings in New York, would land in our living room?


INT. ELEGANT FORMAL DINING ROOM OF LARGE HOME IN AN EXCLUSIVE COMMUNITY IN ADA-LATER THAT SAME EVENING.

RICHARD

We've always said we trusted God no matter what. Now, we get a chance to prove it! I should never have bought the new house without this one selling. I never dreamed this could happen to us.

All eyes turn to Kathy to see what her reaction to her husband will be. They see a tear silently fall down the side of her cheek. No other expression or sound.

RICHARD (CONT'D)

We will be pulling up the realtor sign and putting FOR SALE BY OWNER in it's place in the morning. Only, the owner isn't us anymore. We have to give it back to God. He knew this would happen...it's HIS to sell. There's no way we can pay a realtor's fee and sell both houses.

The sense of peace in the room is interupted by the cry of the couples 2 year old son.

The night rolls by the morning sun rises and you hear a phone ringing. The startled couple, still sleeping, jolts awake to scrounge for the phone. Again baby crying in the background.

Cut to- smiles on faces, moving truck in driveway, clearly the Home for sale by owner has been sold and the family is moving today.

Richard and the children drive off behind the moving truck in a Suburban while you see Kathy return to the porch of the house. She is left to do minor clean up before the new owner will arrive in the next scene/next day. She is reflective as music plays and emotions of saying goodbye in each child's room and a pacifier is discovered behind a curtain as she dusts. Tears well, smile remains. Next scene.

MRS. G. NEW HOMEOWNER INSERTING KEY INTO FRONT DOOR CLEARLY BEFORE AGREED TIME TO TRANSFER
OWNERSHIP-DAWN!

KATHY (embarrassed) fumbles for a robe and asks the new owner to wait a moment before entering the master bedroom.

I thought you were not coming until 3:00pm. (CONT'D)
Kathy
I'm not quite ready to go yet.

MRS. G.
(impatiently)
I'll wait!
The silence is deafening as the two women stare at each other awkwardly as Kathy bounces from room to room trying to get the last minute things out of the house.


Kathy
I'm sorry for the garage not being ready yet, I thought I had all day to get it done. I'll hurry and get out of your way.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay gang....so you get the idea. We had 2 mortgages, 2 car payments, 4 kids, 1 dog, NO JOB! God allowed our house in Ada to sell one week to the day after Richard was laid off due to 9/11.  We sold the house for exactly what we paid for it 2 years earlier. We got all our equity back in cash at closing with no realtor's fee and lived off that money for several months. God had just done a wonderful act of mercy and provision. It was like watching the feeding of the 5000. But don't you remember, the disciples who just witnessed the miracle, got into a boat and started complaining and doubting Jesus!

 God just sold our house! So why, overnight, was I now angry, and having a pity party, and doubting Jesus?
Why was this God-send of a women who provided an answer by purchasing our house one day ago, was now on my "&#!+" list (I should not have one...I know) for not giving me enough time to leave my home peacefully!

So...Plan B!

Okay, I thought to myself, I have Richard's truck. This town has a landfill. That...is plan B. After all, we lived without this stuff for 10 months who will miss it now? Right? Am I Right?

I popped a mint in my mouth, put my hair in a ponytail, stepped into my flip flops and slapped on some deodorant. I gathered the last few things from inside the house which included a full set of pots and pans, random kids toys, slightly forgotten last seasons clothes and the pacifier I found the night before. I headed to the garage as I watched strangers take over the interior of my home...I mean former home.

I gathered everything left in the garage (which was quite a bit) and stuffed it all into hefty garbage bags. Tossing one by one the once important treasured  of our "life on the hill with matching country club rights", into garbage bags!

My plan was...get the stuff to the dump...get the check to the bank...get out of town..get on with life...SOUNDS GOOD RIGHT?

So I drive into the Dump...which I found by following the gulls...that is...until I no longer needed their guidance as my nose was now clearly able to sniff out the rotting garbage heap I was approaching. I drove up a steep, red, muddy hill to find a round little man...with only a few teeth and a wheat shock sticking out of his mouth. Harvest time I guess.

"I THINK I CAN I THINK I CAN" kept racing through my head as I followed his hand signals to direct me to back up into the space closest to his big bulldozer. I was thinkin' of a few hand signals for "Goober" as he kept grinnin' at me like "THIS SHOULD BE GOOD".

 He signaled me to stop...he smiled really big and goofy..and went back to leaning on his bull dozer.

UH...HELLO? A little help here? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Nope!

 He just watched...and grinned!

Okay. I CAN DO THIS. I'VE HAD FOUR KIDS ALL C-SECTION...BEEN ON MISSIONS IN EGYPT AND MEXICO...CLEANED FLOODED TOILETS...WIPED UP MANY OCCASIONS OF PROJECTILE VOMIT...I CAN DO ...THE LANDFILL!

I held my breath, opened the door...took my usual step down from the tall truck...IN FLIP FLOPS (Which I do not recommend)...and...SQUISSSHHHHHHHH! LOST MY FLIP FLOP ON THE FIRST STEP!

As I looked down to try and retrieve my shoe -- I realized the squishy feeling was not just landfill mud. I could see my flip flop buried about three inches down - inside -A PIG CARCASS!
 Remember the Old Testament?
Pork!
WELL..."UNCLEAN...UNCLEAN"!

Let the yelling, screeeeeaaaaammmmmmiiiingg and -yes- I believe-mild CURSING begin! (Give a sister a break....I was standing in a DEAD PIG!)
 This little piggy - should have stayed home!!!

My little piggies...in a little piggy!!!!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I looked over at "Goober" hoping he would come running to help.
He was too busy -laughing at me!

So- being the tough Chick that I am, I GRABBED THE SIDE OF THE TRUCK AND PULLED MYSELF INTO THE BED OF THE TRUCK...SHOELESS by now.
NOT HAPPY...NO...DOWN RIGHT FUMING!

 I was Hot! Angry did not touch this temper!
"HOW DARE SOMEONE LEAVE THIS MESS AHEAD OF ME? HOW DARE THAT ROUND LITTLE TOOTHLESS MAN PUT ME HERE...AND LAUGH AT MY LOSS OF SHOE?"

 I started pitching everything in my truck out on to what appeared to be a 20 foot circle of more dead animal parts. Okay, so it was November 1st, Did some weird Halloween ritual take place here the night before or did "GOOBER" and the boys have a Bar-b-q last night?

No matter what the explanation of the dead little piggy, it was disgusting! Again, who would dare do this "TO ME"? I mean, my slightly used toys, my dishes and old clothes...were okay to toss here, but dead animal parts! SERIOUSLY...? Other peoples garbage was horrible! MINE....?????

Oh, Man! Do we do that? Do we catagorize our sin? Their's look like dead pig parts...an abomination to God...but mine? Just a little trash, clean trash at that. No fowl (pun intended) no harm, right?

I mean...other people have murdered, not me- right? Other people have committed adultery...not me -right? Other people have had abortions...not me- right?

So ...my hate, maybe a little gossip listened to in the form of a "prayer request" maybe a little envy here or there, maybe lack of trust, maybe that "STINK-EYE" I had given MRS. G. for coming in too early that morning...not big sins right?

Well, what did God see looking down on the landfill that day?

 TRASH! DEAD TRASH. CLEAN TRASH. ROTTEN TRASH. THEIR TRASH. MY TRASH!

SIN IS SIN....the bible says:

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

My ability that day to go from praise to pity party...brought to light my sin condition. I seemed to not grasp Paul's call to live in contentment NO MATTER WHAT OUR CIRCUMSTANCES.

OUCH!!!

Forgiveness was part of my trip to Owasso that night. Begging God for it, and asking Him to allow me to extend it.

I struggled with forgiveness along the way for the next few years as God allowed us to grow through what might have seemed to others as a very unfair situation. I'll tell you...wouldn't trade that time of growth and refining for our entire 401k we spent paying the mortgage, grocery and other bills the next 2 1/2 years. Not even for the 401k plus a million m & m's.

God is GOOD! He knew how hot the furnace had to be to get rid of some dross in our lives during that time.

I don't want to do it again...but I am ever grateful for God's mercy, forgiveness and faithfulness to us during our rough times. He has forgiven  me of so much anger, pride, sin...I am learning to trust Him NO MATTER WHAT! And someday, no more tears, no more job loss, no more death, no more planes flying through buildings....no more stinkin' pig parts! We will see Him face to face!

Will YOU?

I hope you trust Him. I hope you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and His offer to take your stinkin' trash away and cleanse you.

Just ask Him and He will save you, forgive you of your sins. And you too will see Him one day face to face!

Just Thinkin',

Kathy












.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Dear Church, Don't Forget To Leave The Building...

Dear Local Church,

Moving to a new town presents Church going families with a challenge.

Finding a "Church Home" can be simple, or terribly tough.

My experience of moving three times in the last five years has been eye opening.

Our family has visited an array of churches and found  Church Lite, Church Law, Churchy Church, and on rare occasions...a Church actually teaching scriptural truth, preaching the Gospel while serving those in their community.

It is hard enough figuring out where to go to church if you are already a Christian, but I imagine it may be even more difficult for someone who has never been to church stepping into a local church building.

So -- church -- what is actually happening with you?

Are you "Church Lite", "Church Heavy", "Church Law", "Churchy Word Church"? Well, then...perhaps:

1.  You are pandering to the infomercial-entertain me-scroll down-sound bite-YouTube audience.

I am all for the kids program singing for Christmas, or the occasional drama department production, an attention grabbing video clip and I do love The Skit Guys...but not every Sunday.

              Productions and programs can't be your "go to" 'large bait on a big hook with weak test line- we need more members' fishing tackle.
You may hook a few -- but the line is gonna snap and they are swimming away -- fast! Be fishers of men, not numbers.

Have you heard it said, "you have to keep them with more of how you got them" ? I'm exhausted just thinking about the work that would go into a bigger production, a newer audio visual system, louder music, and a cooler guest speaker! 
Give me Jesus...just Jesus!  I'll come back...really I will.

The world needs the word of Jesus, not your latest program!

Romans 6:23



2.  Your "churchy-talk" is daunting.  How can visitors find the truth if you won't speak to folks in a language they understand?   Someone coming to church for the first time in their lives (yep, shocker, not everyone was raised in a church) hearing that they need to "repent" and be "sanctified", so God will be "glorified",  and they will be "justified"...will only be left petrified, horrified, mortified, or chicken-fried if you never even explained the need we all have for forgiveness and grace...the need for a savior...THE savior...Jesus the Christ.


The world needs a Bible, not a dictionary!


Matthew 6:7



3. Your mission field is not inside the walls of that smartly designed, high tech, contemporary, greatly mortgaged building -- complete with coffee bar and gift shop. Although I do approve of the doughnut ministry...but we are warned about it in scripture...no...REALLY... see:


Matthew 26:41 




Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Not about a doughnut?  Oh...just me then.


Yes, it is nice to have a comfortable space with comfortable seating and a jumbo tron...don't get me wrong...but if your budget reflects making sure people inside the church are comfy while people outside are perishing...then something is out of whack! Please don't take this to be a pastor's salary arguement. Pay your leaders, they have families and mortgages too!  I am talking about investing in people, not just property.

Go!  Reach out!  Meet needs!  Serve!  Tell!  Be the church...don't just be a beautiful church and don't forget to actually leave the building!

 The world needs a heart transplant, not just an extreme make-over!

   Ezekial 36:26 



I know there are so many churches doing it right. Being the church instead of just doing church. But if you have slipped into a sugar coated coma...it may be time to turn around...and for the Churchy word folk out there...that means -- REPENT! 

Thanks for considering the concerns from "the new kid in the pew" point of view.

Just Thinkin',

Kathy


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Looking for a church?
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and teach the Word...the truth found in scripture and encourage you to apply what you find in the pages of the Bible to your daily life.




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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Got Rocks in Your Beans? Examine, Sort, Rinse, Soak

Ever bitten down on a rock? It happens. No I don't mean on purpose. Not many of us set out to chew gravel...well, not many relatively sane among us do. But, I once chomped on a rock that snuck (it's a word ya know) into a bite of beans.

I am soaking beans today in order to fix a wonderful pot of ham and beans that will sit nicely next to a pan of homemade cornbread. But before I could just rush in and throw the beans in a pot on the stove, I had to rinse the beans and then soak them for a long period of time.

I remember as a little girl I wondered why my dad (the ultimate ham and beans chef) soaked the beans overnight before starting to cook them.  
The answers range from getting the "gassiness" (Yes that is now also a word...I said so) to letting the impurities rise to the surface to be washed away.

Today, I read the following message of actual instruction on the bag (the beans came in):

"Although we clean these beans, stones and debris may be present. For best result, examine, sort and rinse prior to use. Depending on water hardness, soaking time may vary. "


Reminds me of the stones of the heart and debris of sin that may be present in my life. 

*Have I hardened my heart toward God or someone in any area of my life?

*Is there debris from my past that needs to be recognized and cleansed away?

*Do I have anxious thoughts that need to be examined and rinsed in faith?

*Do I need to "soak" in God's word to get the best results in my life?

*Is there an annoying "gassiness" or hot air in my Christian talk, walk, attitude?

*How about you? Do you need to stop breaking teeth on the gravel of sin?


Psalm 51:1-3 Generous in love—God, give grace!
    Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
    soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
    my sins are staring me down.


Sorting and rinsing...Instructions here.

As for "soaking time may vary"...It may take a lifetime...Sanctification. Keep rinsing... it's a good thing!

Just Thinkin',

Kathy

P.S.  No animals were harmed in the making of this post...however, grammar was slightly abused.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Potholes On The Road To Paradise



This is NOT what I signed up for!

The road is narrowing as we drive along. 
We can’t turn around even if we tried. 

The mud from the morning rain is making the car slip and slide and the sugar cane fields on either side are so overgrown I feel like we are in a remake of Children of the Corn!





I've watched reruns of Hawaii Five-0...Danno and McGarrett aren't gonna solve this is in 43 minutes plus commercials! 

No one knows where we are. 
Why did I agree to this?  
The man I love and trust with my life is driving the car -- shouldn't I just trust him? 

Did I mention this is a rental car? 

They make you sign an agreement ya know.

Why did it not strike us as odd that people had to sign a paper promising not to go "off road" with the rental car. Off road? 

This is a road. Or at least when we started driving it was! 
    •Did the man who gave us directions hate us because we were 'Haoles' ? 

    •Why did we trust him? We’d never met. 

    •Was he sending us into a trap? I'd told him we were broke...right? 

    •Was he really disturbed by the stupid questions from this tourist couple from                  Oklahoma? 

What if we get stranded thousands of miles from home? 


We have a 32 ounce quick stop iced tea and a can of Pringles.

We aren’t armed. We have no money. No cell phone.
No resources to get out of here except this rental car --  clearly violating the rental agreement and about to be sunk in the mud. 
God, do you know I feel fear? I don't want to go any further!


Nearly in tears now, heart racing, I want to scream at this man behind the wheel, “Take me back…I don’t want to go any further….I’m afraid!” Someone please call Chin Ho Kelly or Kono! Tell 'em I'm thinkin' we need their Op Gear!

As my good lookin', bench pressin'- weight liftin' - protective and quite determined husband continued to drive...he reached over and touched my knee and said, “Kathy...Trust me!”

Suddenly in front of us -- a sand dune signaling the end of the line. We could not drive any further and the pot holes and mud slide would not allow us to turn around so, we had to go to the side of the dune.

In the middle of muddy-gonna get stuck-no help-no phone-scary-nowhere…Richard asks me to get out of the car. 

Umm...Had he recently taken out an insurance policy I was clearly unaware of? 

He took my hand and helped me climb over the first of two fairly steep sand dunes. I could hear loud roaring then crashing that sounded familiar but unclear. I was looking down at my feet to secure my footing… when I heard Richard gasp. “Babe….You gotta see this!” 

I looked up to see the end of the terrain jetting out into a sea. The landscape was spectacular. I was staring at the same type of view which left one Captain asking 'Why is all the Rum Gone?" in a recent box office hit pirate movie. 


The sun beams reflected off of the white sand of a secluded beach which stretched further in both directions than my eyes could see.


Just as our reliable local described…we were alone -- in paradise -- well sort of.

There were two surfers on the waves riding in with style. One in his 60’s and possibly his grandson about 20 years old.

As Richard and I were dealing with the difficulty of managing 2 years of unemployment following 9/11, we did what every financially responsible broke couple would do for their 20th anniversary. 

We flew to Hawaii.

Yep! It was a trip that Richard secretly planned for me as a Christmas/Anniversary surprise. Well, SURPRISE...we have no money! 
The trip had been planned and paid for before he lost his job as an aerospace engineer. After 9/11 no one wanted to fly and many workers were laid off including my husband!

My parent's (who helped Richard plan the surprise) Christmas gift was a week's help with our kids so we could go on this trip.

We spent our first night on Oahu then on to the beautiful Island of Kauai. When we arrived at the fantastic hotel, I made a b-line to the concierge. I looked him right in the eye and said, “We are broke, we have no idea why we are here, but we are here for 7 days with barely enough money to eat at McDonalds! Our anniversay is New Year's Eve...
Please...tell me where you would go if you where in our situation…and please…forgive me that I probably can’t even tip you fairly for the information.” 

The young man’s shoulders dropped and he was silent. I thought to myself, “Boy did I just mess up! I warned him that I probably couldn't tip much before I ever got the info!”

 He smiled and asked, “Do you mind a little adventure?” 

He began to describe the things he and his friends would do to avoid the tourists when they were hanging out.

Our list of instructions included some very cool local eating places-which mostly consisted of little houses with a grandmother cooking for a few people sitting around her table as she worked -- how to get in to the cool part of where Jurassic Park was filmed, and directions  to "the real paradise" for our Anniversary!

We ate our first meal of Somen noodles and chicken cooked over a flame and then served on a stick for 5 bucks -for both of us- While 9 very tanned locals with sunkisted hair watched us curiously. They ate Somen with chop sticks...me...not so much! Spoon for this Haole girl! Face Palm!

We had a great week! We spent time alone and made memories that a tour bus and shopping outlets would never have given us! 

Our anniversary day came and we followed the detailed directions to "the real paradise"…and by detailed I mean:

“Okay, Auntie, Find the sugar cane field just south of town and drive into the middle of it... turn left when you see Toothless Old Pete. He usually sits next to the road and laughs at tour buses dat get stuck. His dog has teeth, but he won't bite you - Pete Might try to bite you...so don't get out of the car. Just follow the potholes to the dead end and you walk right to a 'choke' of white sand!  (Choke...now -- there's choking involved?) You won't need much of anything but wear a swimsuit and take towels or sand mats and something to snack on...oh and...water and dat’s all you need, well except maybe a spare tire and a hatchet or machete! Bodda you?”   I figured out that meant  'does that bother you?" My need for a machete...should bother me...RIGHT?  This girl has fought in martial arts competitions back in "the day"...I can fend off an unarmed woman from ages 17 to 35 and maybe still give Ol' Pete a roundhouse kick to the neck if needed...but...a hatchet? Seriously!

Well okay then...'Lesgo'!

And it was exciting...until...It wasn't!

After quite a drive through a nice part of the island, we stumbled on to the abandoned sugar cane factory. We turned left where the guy told us to turn. Red mud! lots of wet pot holes and red mud!

 I began to focus on the potholes, the mud, the overgrown sugar cane, the lack of money, the evidence of possible isolation and danger because of the fact that we were now near an abandoned missile base and still contemplating all the possible reasons we may need a hatchet…and don't forget toothless Old Pete and his dog...I lost sight of the destination at the end of the journey. I was having what our Hawaiian fried might say was  a 'Haad Rub'!

He had given clear directions. It was described so perfectly. We knew -- he told us it would be difficult but that the end result would be amazing! So why was I afraid?

Do I do that in my journey with GOD? 

Do I lose sight of the end game? Do I forget He said it would be difficult but worth the journey?
Do I fail to believe that His promises are true? 

Do I focus on spiritual potholes?

Do I
Focus on the mud slung at me because of my faith, my race, my differences, my past,  my present?

 Do I
 Assume the worst by doubting and mistrusting others?

 Do I
 Forget to love and be kind and forgiving?

 Do I
 Worry over bills that crowd in like overgrown sugar cane fields?

  Do I
  Allow isolation -- fear -- uncertainty --  new situations to paralyze me instead of challenge me on life's  adventures?

  Do you?

What is happening in your life...right now...that is keeping your focus off of the exciting adventure? 


-Money?
-Relationships?
-Health?
-A Job?
-No Job?

Are you letting uncertainty paralyze you?
Just like Ol' Pete...Those fears are toothless in the presence of Our Mighty God!

I trust Richard. I know him and love him and he has proven to be a good leader and protector.Why did I begin to fear on our journey down that road?

I trust God. I know Him and love Him and HE has proven to be a faithful leader and protector.Why do I begin to fear on this journey when things seem difficult, unfamiliar or uncertain?

It is during these times, God  reaches over to me...puts his hand on my knee and says, "Kathy...Trust ME!" 

When my focus is on Him, my journey will truly be a wonderful adventure!

Richard and I celebrated our 20th anniversary that day with the white sand, the majesty of the ocean, the beauty of the Island, two surfers to entertain us, ice tea and Pringles. What more could a girl ask?
It was one of the most precious days we’d ever spent together...and I almost called it off... out of fear...because of a few potholes on the way to paradise.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Creator, help me to rely on your direction and your promise to love and care for me. You have promised that you will finish the work you have begun in our lives. You've promised an amazing adventure at the end of this journey. May I focus on the promise of one day seeing you face to face? Until then, let me enjoy this adventure. There were those who "fell away" and "walked with you no more" even after watching you perform miracles. Please give me strength to continue to trust you and walk with you...even when the journey is difficult.


I Thank You.

Deutoronomy 5:32-33
So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.


Barking Sands Beach
Kauai, Hawaii


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Update:

We were supposed to return for our 30th anniversary, but as many of our readers know, Kathy was in a level one trauma care unit for 62 days during that time. After 2 surgeries (which left scars that make her swimsuit modeling career a long shot and the new McGarrett and Danno's scars seem like scratches) and coming out of a coma...Hawaii had to wait!
She was planning a surprise for Rich -- to go back to this very spot.
Thanks to all who prayed during this difficult time!
Recovery was a blessing and all is well with K, but in August of this year Rich had a tear in an artery in his neck, a stroke, leaving medical bills and a change in plans.

Again, relying on the Lord to help us see the beauty in the journey not just at the end of the road!
Hawaii, we miss you!  Maybe next time the Big Island and then Oahu!
In the meantime our son has introduced us to binge watching the New Hawaii Five-0! Kathy got to see a couple of episodes in the hospital and Rich owned the whole boxed set of the original series before it was even cool again.

We may even try to get Rich to the next season's "Sunset on the Beach" premiere! Go check them out this season on CBS!
Thanks for reading and sharing!

Mahalo!


Kathy and Richard
A Gentle Answer Ministries
(2016)
------------------------------------

This post published before our daily news devastated our nation.

This day has been etched in history as one of hate and fear and terror.  Please join in continued pray for our Nation, Orlando and the community leaders both spiritual and political.  We must learn love...   love cast out fear and fear is simply the absence of understanding someone who is different that oneself.    

Courage, peace, faith, hope to you.
May the God of All Creation ...Heal Us!

~Kathy

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

When Life Is The Pits -- Have Hope -- Get A Rope



Pit dwellers are different from pit visitors.

Christians, sometimes... we fall in a pit.

I have been a pit dweller on several occasions and know the only hope and rope has been our Lord Jesus Christ.

We seem to get so busy 'doing' church, pointing fingers at the the pit, defending the pit, explaining the pit that we forget to point to Christ to help others out of life's pit.

 Come on now...let's not just go to or do church-let's be the church and help others find the way out of life's pit!

I hope you will be encouraged to call out to JESUS when you find yourself in one of the pits.  Despite what a Pharisee might say (see poem below)-- you ARE going to fall in a pit from time to time.

The choice to stay in it or climb out is up to you.

English Standard Version Psalm 28:1
To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit

Psalm 40: 1-2
Living
I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he
turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit
of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on
solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.

Lord, I thank you for pulling me up when I fall. Thank you for forgiveness, provision, and the hope and rope...Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray.
Amen.


Just Thinkin',
Kathy

There is a poem that has been circulating from an adaptation of Kenneth Filkins The Wittenburg Door. I thought I would share it with you.
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A man fell into a pit and called for help:

A SUBJECTIVE person came along and said:
"I FEEL for you down there!"

An OBJECTIVE person came along and said:
"It's logical that someone would fall down there."

A CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST came by and said:
"You only think you are in the pit."

A PHARISEE said:
"Only bad people would fall in a pit."

A FUNDAMENTALIST said:
"You deserve your pit."

CONFUCIOUS said:
"If you would have listened to me, you would not have fallen into that pit."

BUDDHA said:
"Your pit is only a state of mind."

A REALIST said:
"That's a pit."

A SCIENTIST
calculated the force necessary (lbs./sq.in.) to get him out of the pit.

A GEOLOGIST
told him how to appreciate the rock strata in the pit.

AN EVOLUTIONIST said:
"He is going to die in the pit, so he can't produce any pit-falling offspring."

A CHARISMATIC said:
"Just confess that you are not in the pit!"

An OPTIMIST said:
"Things could be worse."

A PESSIMIST said:
"Things are going to get worse."

JESUS, seeing the man
took him by the hand and lifted him out of the pit.

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