Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Darkest Day in History!

I sometimes wonder just what that Saturday felt like following the crucifixion felt like to those that witnessed it first hand.

I can only imagine the grief that Jesus' mother endured not only having to bring this wonderful child into the world but to stand at the foot of the cross and watch all this happening to a son she knew perfectly well was not guilty. I would have to say she spent the night with close family members and friends.

The disciples must have gathered together after having been spread about the city because the Bible states in all the gospel accounts that none were there but then how did gospels capture the story. Did they flee the city hoping to avoid capture after the garden? I feel that they did. They reunited some how and endured this day remembering those times that they walked with Him and the lessons they learned, miracles they saw Him perform. I even expect an occasional laugh came through too about some funny thing that remembered Jesus doing.

I wonder how Peter felt the day after his denial of Jesus. I wonder just how many "what if's" he played out in his mind. I personally feel that Peter felt the worst. He was now living the life of regrets. A life he probably felt he could take back and wished he could. I see Peter sitting among the rest of the disciplines in the Upper Room but isolated from the others in tears.

So they all united together with one another grieving over the loss of what they must have questioned was the true Messiah. I guess He wasn't really the one we had hoped for? It can't have ended this way? Surely we have missed something? What will happen now?

These are all questions I am sure ran through the mind of the believers and followers of Jesus Christ.

Yet this particular day was still a day of lost hope. I can't imagine anyone somewhere thinking, Hey wait remember what Jesus said, He always spoke in parables, didn't He say something about rebuilding the temple in 3 days, do you think it means Him? If so, won't He be coming back again?

I seriously doubt it because the Bible does not record this day. I can only imagine it was the longest day any of them had ever experienced in their life. Life without hope can do that to you. Rob you of time, of joy, of life even if you let it.

Heaven must have fallen silent at that very moment Christ died as well. I can only imagine the grief that God experienced after having to punish his son, who did no wrong with all the sins of man, past, present and future as those He personally had committed them all. God grief must have been greater than we would ever know. I am sure the angels were weeping. Heaven for a brief moment must have fallen silent.

In the world I am sure that Satan and his enemies were having a great old laugh at God's expense too! Fists being thrown in the air at God, mocking him that even his only perfect son, could not bear the power of death. That they had won!

Yet as we know not even the power of death could hold back our Savior. For at that moment he was in the pit of hell taking back the keys of death from Satan and his minions because in a few short hours, the world would know for certain that Christ will rise from the dead. We all know that Jesus was still on the throne, still in power and still working in the details. Wait til tomorrow!

Little however did the disciples now the majesty of what would await them in the morning. But for now, I am choosing to reflect and remember just what Jesus has done in my life today and how if it weren't for Him, I would be hopeless and lost.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Remorse or Repentence

Some 2ooo years ago today, the heavens and the earth fell silent as they mourned for the prince who would no longer exist in human form.

I wonder what the evening felt like when Jesus breathed His last and claimed, "It is finished!"

What were the feelings beyond utter grief and sadness for those that knew Him and now were without hope? Did any remember his words that He'd be back in three days or did they forget the power He possessed over death?

The Bible declares that when Jesus was on the cross it was about noon and the whole land became dark until 3pm because the sun did not shine and curtain in the Temple was torn in two.

Then Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, I give You My life." After Jesus said this, He died.

Joseph from Arimathea came and took Jesus' body down and laid in the tomb before sundown on Passover.

Yet two betrayed Jesus that day. Judas did it with a kiss, Peter with an oath in the courtyard. Both of them had heard Jesus predict their disobedience, and both were crushed at their own sins.

Judas unwilling to face his guilt, commits suicide.

Peter, shattered by his sin, broke down and wept like a child. Peter opened himself to confession, forgiveness, and resolve.

In the years that followed, Judas became an embarrassing memory.

Peter changed the world.

Remorse and repentance.

Two similar words, with incredibly potent differences.

When caught in sin, its very tempting to throw ourselves to the ground, groveling in remorse. But the message of these two unforgettable disciples is that while remorse ends a life, true repentance starts one all over again.

Jesus Christ has already died for your sin.

He paid the full price for it on the cross.

Recognize your failure, receive your pardon, and go forward in victory.

Don't let it be the end of your life - let it be a new beginning.

Last year at preciously 3pm after beautiful blue skies all morning long and warm temperatures, the skies here grew cloudy and the sun failed to shine. Coincidence or not? 2000 years ago today that very same thing happened! Let us not forget the price that He ultimately paid today! Wonder if this year will bring about the same thing and if so, how many will even bother to notice. I know I will and will take the time to remember this day in a profound way. Greater love has never been shown to man than what Jesus accomplished that day.

Come quickly Lord Jesus, we await your return as promised!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Who doesn't want cash back? Do you?

We've all heard the claims, simply spend money and use this credit card on your next purchase and you'll receive a certain percentage of cash back on your purchase, normally back on your credit card as a credit. That's all fine and well, but what happens to those of us that could use a little "cash" back on things we spend money on every single day from gas, to things at our local home improvement stores, or even groceries, and we don't have a credit card or want to go through the hassle of getting another credit card. Some these days can't even qualify to obtain a credit card as well.

I think I have the answer for you and before you think, it's simply too good to be true. I've put myself out there to try it and see if it's all that its cracked up to be or merely another scam. This is where that old adage doesn't apply.

First, a little background.

In Europe, people have longed desired a way to get a larger discount on the things they purchase every single day, from gas, to groceries and every thing in between even travel. However most times, the only way you could qualify for such deep discounts is to spend a lot of cash or have a larger group all willing to purchase the same things as you wanted. Introducing Lyoness!

Lyoness is a simply idea that allows consumers to gain those deep discounts from things we purchase every single day with the promise of putting 1-2% if not more of a cash back into your bank account. Not only do you get the cash back every Tuesday, but also the more people you get to sign up with you, you benefit from gaining a .5% back on their purchases as well.

I know what you're thinking.....

What's the catch right?

Um, how about simply sign up for FREE through a referral member (someone who has already signed up as a Lyoness member) and simply go shopping one of 4 ways for the things you spend money on every single day.

Sounds too simple.....

Yes, it is, but that is the best part! Not only do you get an opportunity to save money yourself through the deeper discounts that change as new merchants sign up on the Lyoness program, but you also make money through every single person who uses their Lyoness card to make a purchase.

Sounds like a scam to me.....

Well I guess it kinda does, but when you look at the merchants who are using this program to encourage customers to spend their money at their companies over the competitors it's a win win for everyone. I mean, companies like Best Buy, Outback Steakhouse, American Airlines, Walmart, Sears, Exxon, BP, Lowes, and Home Depot must not be all that smart to get involved in a scam program right???

Because it isn't!!!

You simply sign up for a FREE membership and begin using your member ID to qualify and start earning your own cash back on things you can purchase online and through the merchants who have the Lyoness program installed in your area.

You can even download the Lyoness App on your Smart phone so whenever you are in an area you can see which merchants are nearby to use your card to save money and get cash back into your account.

You can even use your Lyoness account to purchase gift cards to Sears, Outback Steakhouse, Lowes and Home Depot and more to give away as gifts during birthdays, holidays or even use yourself to get that cash back right back into your bank account.

Remember it's all FREE and you and all the people you sign up once your a member are all working so we continue to benefit by becoming one really larger group to purchase things.

Here's the interesting part, I want you to sign up and I want to help.

If you're interested, simply email me or leave a comment below with your email address and I'll get back with you to sign you up. You have 30 days to check out the program and make a purchase. Once you do that, you're a permanent member and can sign up as many people as you want. Remember every time they make a purchase you get .5% back into your own account.

If you're like me, you already have tons of those keychain rewards programs already and this one supercedes them all because you can still benefit from those programs, but this one is a one card does it all over those merchants. Since this is fairly new in the United States, they are adding new merchants all the time, but soon, you can simply zip your card at your favorite retailer and know that you are getting cash back into your account by doing nothing more than purchasing things every single day.

I look forward to talking to you about this wonderful program and encourage you to check it out like I did by clicking on the links below:  If you're interested, email me at and I'll get you all signed up. There are NO limits to the amount of people you can help to save money.

You can visit the Lyoness website by clicking here. 

If you're a Facebook follower, you can check out Lyoness by clicking here to see all the latest ways you can save through online shopping by using the coupons codes that will give you cash back once you become a member.

There is NO risk involved!

I'm always looking for amazing ways to save money and wanted to pass this along to all my Facebook friends and family.

If you're a small business and want to become a Lyoness merchant, contact me as well so we can get you signed up and have members start purchasing things through your business so they can get cash back as well.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Life with Giles!

Meet Giles!

(Also known as G.Gy, G. Gy Joe, P.O.T.U.S. Potamus, Big Guy, Bottomless Pit, Beggar, Fatty)

Do you ever stop and wonder why we name our cats only to invent thousands of names for them and then wonder why they don't come when we call them? 

Anyway... back to the story of Giles.

Yes, he really wants to talk to you! 

O.K. well, maybe not, so I don't think he'll mind me sharing a little bit about him. 

He is one of three cats that we share our home with. I thought I would take a moment and introduce you to him. He is my husband, Steve's cat. He truly has made Steve his personal pet. He feels he owns him rather than the way we see it. But then it's all a matter of purr-spective right?

First of all if you're a cat owner, you understand that your cats each have a distinctive personality and a voice. For quite a while, we didn't think Giles actually even had a true voice since we never heard him utter any sounds except the occasional purr when we got him. He was from a rescue and was actually housed in a small caged pen with 4 other cats. We thought he was adorable when we first saw him and he was super affectionate. In reality we realize now, it was a true plea for help. 

Giles is really special. In that way we mean, he truly can't jump like most cats can. Either he simply refuses to jump, can't because he has issues being kept cramped in his cage for so long, or he has trained us to pick him up when he needs to get someplace he can't reach. I think it's all three honestly. Here's is a classic example of one of his daily requests, which is to drink from the bathroom sink. He will quite literally wait for you to walk into the bedroom and then attempt his series of jumps

from the floor to the tub,

 then tub to sink;

 turn around to the perfect angle,

 Position himself...just.......right......

 and achieve success in only the best way he knows how.

We believe he is one of the finest water connoisseurs there is. He prefers running water to water simply placed in a bowl. He won't drink from it. 

As you can see most cats would simply make the leap in one easy jump. Giles takes multiple steps. That's why we believe he has difficulty in jumping or he's simply found a better, (more time consuming) way to do it. 

Giles favorite way to spend the day is one of two ways...sleeping (his favorite!)

 or trying to get outside. 

Even though he can't jump we still worry he might be faking it all this time, so he stays inside. At least most days. 

There are those times where his meow can get downright irritating and well....OK, I feel sorry for him and let him out.....

 The lone jungle cat, walking through the tall grass....

Wait! What was that? (Um, he has a bit of ADD too)....

Is that movement of my prey, perhaps a juicy lizard???

Ah! The lizard is all mine, mine, I say!   

(O.K. that voice is what is I hear him say in my head, but perhaps he really is saying that after all!)

Giles is also great at kneading bread, or as we like to call it making muffins, since he keeps his kneads close together and very small. Here he's making mini muffins just for you. 

Isn't Gile's nice?

He's been doing this since we got him.

Now if I can only get him to do this on my back while I lay face down, I could get a great 'cat massage'!

Isn't Gile's awesome?

Tune in again soon for more adventures from Giles.....

I'll have to find him doing something besides sleeping or begging for water...

Until then.....

Only the shadow knows....Muh ha ha!

(Yeah, the voice in my head again.. or simply watching way to many TV shows.!!!)

Monday, March 18, 2013

He's Leaving On A Jet Plane Again!

Oh these are the days, I dread the most. The packing of the suitcase, making sure nothing gets left behind, printing out boarding passes and loading up the car. Yes, it's another travel day for Steve. We've actually got used to him traveling so much over the last four years and with fingers crossed in anticipation, we are hoping the time apart since last October might in fact garner a much needed and hoped for dream job for him.

His project since last October has been working to install an upgraded antenna and fiber optic network at the Daytona 500 raceway in Daytona Beach, Florida. What this does in a nutshell is provide accessibility to those of us that want to text, talk and access the internet while watching the race at the Daytona 500 racetrack without getting failed connections. Now with wireless carriers offering 4G speeds you don't want delays of sending the latest picture message of you driving in the car with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Well, we can all dream right?

So he's been spending countless weeks away from us under the premise this might lead to a permanent job with one of the largest antenna companies on the market today! We had been doing all we could to support his efforts to hopefully score him a position with the company. What it might mean besides a great job with some security is a definite pay increase, benefits and compensation and a lot less travel ((Crossing our fingers)) We should know in the next couple weeks if this had paid off.

For now, however he is traveling these next couple of days to North Carolina for corporate meetings. We are hoping that something may happen when he actually at their headquarters and that he'll fly home with great news.

It still doesn't make his absence any easier to deal with.

I'll still go to bed tonight alone with my only company being a virtual escape into one of my many books awaiting review, which I love. It's my guilty pleasure and one I really enjoy but hate at times to take time away from spending those precious hours with him. So I'll do what I do best, paste on my happy face, and find things to do to occupy my time. One thing for certain is the house will be spotless by the time he gets back. It's one of my filler activities and of course, looking forward to making plans with him this weekend.

Please keep him in your prayers this week and that God will provide a job if this is truly want He wants us to do. Who knows this may create a doorway for me to visit some of you that I've never met before!

I love you Steven! May you truly have a wonderful time and God is with you all the way!!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

49 Random Acts of Kindness

I've first learned about Acts of Random Kindness or what I like to call A.R.K. from the movie Evan Almighty. The concept is actually quite simple. You simply perform an Act of Kindness that doesn't require any form of payment. I'd like to think it's what God would like to see more of us doing.

I created a blog, A.R.K. for God, that I established attempting to encourage people to share their acts of random kindness with everyone else. It was created to help provide ideas on just how simple it can be to step outside of our own world and increase our population in our own little world one person at a time. You can visit that blog and if you want to submit ideas simply email me. You can get there by clicking on the link below:

I had seen people sharing videos of what they were doing and something got started called the Birthday Project. Simply put it's doing however many Acts of Random Kindness as the number of years you are celebrating in one single day if you can. It seemed like a simple thing and the best part I noticed is that far too often we don't remember the presents we get but we do remember things that truly touch our hearts in profound ways. This year I wanted to give back instead of simply getting and I wanted the results to last way past the celebration of my birthday. My family was super excited to share in this and what better way to inspire them to do the same hopefully.

On March 3, 2013, I gave back in 49 unique and sometimes very simple ways. I wanted to share some of those highlights with you and hope that it might inspire you. I know it has completely changed my life, and I now I look for ways to pay it forward and do something nice for someone else when I can. Trust me, the response you get from people who are on the receiving end is worth it.

1. My daughter's boyfriend locked his keys in his car and I called AAA for him and showed up with him to wait for help.
2. My daughter's cell phone was dead and she needed a replacement but didn't get paid for another two weeks. Bought her a new phone.
3. My kitties wanted water from the sink, so I turned them on and waited for them to finish.
4. Took my youngest daughter on a spur of the moment shopping trip to make her feel special.
5. Took all my kids to lunch.
6. Left my husband a message on our glass shower door that he could see when he took his shower, telling him how blessed I was to have him in my life.
7. Filled all my bird feeders and fed all the neighborhood birds.
8. Left my hair dresser a very BIG tip!
9. Gave 33 lbs of Iams Dog Food to my neighbor who just got a new puppy.
10. Paid off my daughters medical bills that were simply stressing her out.
11. Loaned money to a friend to buy his dream drum set.

12. Donated 2 bags of clothes to the Salvation Army.
15. Drove 2 hours to pick up drum set for a friend who couldn't fit them in his car and his car literally wasn't that safe to drive that far.
16. Went all out and bought my 3 kitties premium canned cat food. They LOVED it!
17. A friend was moving out of state and needed to sell items to help her move and we bought some stuff from her.
18. Mailed my step mom a birthday card. First time in over 17 years.

19 -30. Mailed out 12 encouraging, inspiring cards to let some special people in my life know just how much I appreciate them. Most I've never personally met.(Also all those cards that were sent out, also sponsored the Compassion International Project with the money used to buy the cards, helps orphans in third world countries!)
31. Sent my niece a $10 Amazon gift card to purchase some books for her Kindle.

Your message and gift of a CUP OF JOE was delivered to a Service Member serving at Camp Marmal in Afghanistan. They wanted to say thanks and make sure you knew your gift was received. Please see below for their note to you:

Hi Kathleen, God Bless you and Happy Birthday! My wife is also deployed here in Afghanistan with me and today is her birthday. We're blessed to be working together and she's right here spending her day with me in the office (tent) haha. Thanks again, take care and God bless you and your family.

32-40. Sent 8 cups of coffee to our service men and women serving our country overseas through the Cup of Joe for a Joe program. (I got responses back from almost all of them, thanking me! The one above is just one of them.)

41. Deposited money in expired parking meters to give people an extra 15 minutes to get to their cars before they received a ticket.


42. Left pennies by a fountain for someone to stop and make a wish.

43. Offered to take someone's picture for them as a couple.

44. Donated money to MDA or Muscular Dystrophy Association.
45. Paid for a strangers coffee and cookie at the Coffee Bean behind us.

46. Bought $20 worth of tokens at Shakey's and donated all the winning game tickets to one little boy.
47. Turned on a heating blanket for my kitty when she got cold.
48. Let a cars go in front of us at a busy intersections.
49. Gave our waiter a HUGE tip. Wish we could have stayed long enough to see his face, but it was super crowded.

These are what my family and I enjoyed doing for my birthday project on completing 49 Acts of Random Kindness. Hope you get the urge to try and do the same. Next year, I am already thinking bigger.

Philippians 2: 1-4 (NIV) "Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Good Bones

Lately there seems to be an influx to reality television for all those do it yourself projects. Where it's watching someone upgrade their yard for more curb appeal or perhaps even fixing up those do it yourself projects that have gone wrong, there is something within us all, I believe, that want to fix things they see that need a bit of sprucing up.

Take the picture of the old house above. It appears as if no one lives there. The roof is apparently in need of a complete overall. There are holes where the elements can enter along with a host of other oddities of nature. The clapboard siding is in need of sand blasting and repainting if not replacement in some spots. The yard is overgrown and needs to have some of the bushes trimmed and the windows possibly need to be re-sealed as well if not replace some of the panes that are missing.

I ask you one simple question, if you were given the opportunity to fix this house up, and you had the resources to do it, would you?

Or would you, like most I believe, completely bull-doze the existing structure and attempt to rebuild something completely different?

I know I would love to restore this old beauty back to it's original grandeur! The possibilities are exciting in fact. Like people who take rusted old shells of classic cars and bring them back as if they rolled off the showroom floor if not in better condition than if they were brand new.

So why do people take the harder approach to bringing back something on the brink of destruction when it would be so much easier to wipe the slate clean and start all over again.

Because there is something there to the original design. I've heard people refer to these old fixer uppers as simply having 'good bones' in them.

Meaning that the original framework, layout of the home is usually in place and it's simply removing the weathered, damaged outer pieces and begin relaying new ones in their place. It brings back a sense of character. In fact, if this house were restored, I believe it would be worth far more, than if someone would simply rebuild a new one in it's place.

Sure it might have the benefits of more modern appliances, environmentally sound products and be more energy efficient but it would lack what made this house a home.

With years of neglect, this is what happens to a home. Left unattended and uncared for it falls into a state of disrepair. Left to go on too long, those "good bones" in fact may no longer even be worth the effort to strip away the old and begin to rebuild again.

Oh what memories this house could share if in fact its walls could speak.

Sure they may not all be great, but there are bound to be some priceless ones held in place by the sands of time. Birth of children, new found love, birthdays and even weddings may in fact have taken place in this old house. Yet, we are too quick to go with the easy replace. Forget fixing things when they break, let's just toss them aside and go for something more new and improved.

Do you think you understand where this conversation is going?

Do you often look at relationships you have in life the same way?

Isn't it easier to simply walk away from them rather than fix what's broken?

I mean you loved that house when you first bought it, yet over the years of simply being too busy, we neglected its care. We simply forgot to fix things as they broke, perhaps telling ourselves we'll fix it 'one of these days' and now those days have gotten the best of us.

Seeing things through new eyes, the eyes God can provide allows us to simply see what could be instead of what is. That person sitting next to you in church that doesn't quite fall into your circle of friends may be looking for just one reason to stay here in this place another day. In fact if one person makes an effort today, they will find value in themselves.

Too often I feel, that people see themselves as the house above. Beaten down, broken, and simply not worth the effort anymore. No one even notices them anymore even if they stand right in front of someone who can help. They simply have lost the will to ask for help because they believe after all the other failed attempts that this will not change anything.

Looking around our cities and towns, due to the downward turn in our economy, there are far too many vacant homes in our neighborhoods. Run down, neglected and simply allowed to stand vacant until someone cares enough to make a difference.

There are even far too many more people in this world that are much like these vacant homes. They may appear as the man in the supermarket shopping center offering to clean your windows of your car for whatever change you can offer. Or it may be the man, you see standing on the street corner every single day, asking for a job or some money to feed himself.

I know what you're thinking too. If I stop and give them money, they'll just use it to buy drugs or alcohol. But do we really know? I didn't realize that we have within us the ability to judge people based on what they look like instead of simply trusting the gift of help to God. Pray before you hand them money and ask God to put the funds to work in the way He thinks is possible.

It makes me wonder of all the opportunities that come to us in the forms of people seeking help, what if on the day we stand before God, He shows us that it was opportunities to help one of His angels sent to test us and see where our heart stood. What if they were Jesus in every single pair of eyes that look to us for help? What would we say then?

I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty, in fact, I am hoping to inspire a positive change in those of us that claim we are Christians. To make a difference in the lives of people all around us. To be the examples that Christ has asked us to be. We in fact may be the only Bible these people will ever know and see.

Stop walking by people every single day and not look up and say Hello or Good Morning and offer a smile. The person working the cash register at the grocery store could use a dose of something other than routine in their life. They could use a kind word from us. Let us stop neglecting those around us.

God has a unique purpose for all of us. Every single one. We all have within us the power to be used for His good and His glory or simply to look the other way and believe those tell-tale whispers in our ears that they are simply not worth the effort.

Like every great house, regardless of the condition, there is within it great bones and possibilities. Let's make sure we give them a chance before we tear them down with what we don't say and do!

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed." Psalm 34:18

"I will give repeated thanks to the Lord, praising Him to everyone. For He stands beside the needy, ready to save them from those who condemn them." Psalm 109:30-31

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Things That Go Bump In The Night

As a child growing up, I think it was only natural to be afraid of the dark. It was what you couldn't see that made you afraid.

Your imagination could literally fill in all those holes for you of what you weren't seeing.

Noises that couldn't be explained.

Shadows that you don't recall being there before.

But did you ever feel as if there was something really there? Lurking about just beyond your ability to see them?

There were many times as I lay in bed in the wee hours of the night when I would find myself wide awake at something I heard.

"What was that?" I found myself saying in my head. I didn't want to say it out loud just in case there really was something there.

I waited.

Holding my breath, closing my eyes so I could focus on what was there just out of my eyesight, but yet something that could give itself away.

There it was again. Was it outside the house or inside? I think for sure it was outside, but how can you be sure. The hallway just outside my partially closed bedroom door could make things sound different than what they really were.

Stay still, I told myself. Close your eyes. Maybe it will simply go away.

You certainly don't want whoever is making the noise to know you have heard them. So you close your eyes, pull the covers up around your shoulders and ever so slightly open your eyelids so it would look to the casual observer that you were asleep, but in reality you were looking out the slightest crack in your eyelids. Even though your bedroom is dark, you have gotten so used to the low light, you can make out what is there.

On the corners of your bed are the rising sentinels of your canopy bedposts, lacking the overhead covering thanks in part to a little creative experimenting of you and your brother thinking you could swing from the rails that stretched out to support the canopy. I guess they really weren't meant to support the weight of a little human body after all. However the poles remained. Like soldiers standing at attention waiting and watching over your bed. It looked funny no matter how you tried to picture them.

To the left of your bed was your window to the front yard. Shadowed by the growing cypress trees outside. Concealing your window and what was inside but more, hiding whatever could be lying in wait just outside the window. Spaced about 3 feet apart and staggered across the front of the house, they had grown tall ever since moving into that house. They now reached up in a zig-zag pattern up to the roof line in a frozen dance pose. I always hated those cypress trees. They prevented one from seeing out the window to whatever was happening just outside on the isolated neighborhood street. No chance in knowing for sure if there was anything outside. Those trees could keep anyone well hidden until they found a way inside.

Just in front of my bed and closer to the door on the right was my 6-drawer dresser. White and something your dad would buy cheap from the local hardware store, paint and then pass off as a fine made piece of furniture, but I knew what it was. A way to provide for your daughter a place to put your clothes when you barely had any money to avoid good quality furniture. What did I know anyway as a kid of 11?

My door was still partially closed and just outside that door was a corner hallway. One way lead into our family room, kitchen and dining room beyond and the other way lead to the small bathroom just between my door and my brother's bedroom. My mom's room was the dead end at the end of the hallway. Her door was always shut, much like my brothers. I could see no light coming from anywhere in the house which further confirmed for me that the noise had to come from outside. The way I saw it was that I was on my own. None was coming. No one heard the noise but me.

A loud thump again.

A slight pause and then another thump.

I know this is definitely coming outside. The window rattles slightly with each thump. It seems as if a giant were walking outside slowly stomping his way down the street. Is that even possible?

Heck anything is possible in the mind of an 11-year-old girl in the middle of the night that hears a noise she's never heard before.

With each thumping sound there is a slight pause before another thump. I lay in my bed, swallowing hard and wishing harder than ever that someone else besides me has heard that noise. Do I have the courage to get up and look outside my bedroom window? It honestly sounds as if it is coming just outside, perhaps at the end of the street.

More vibrations rattle my window and more loud thumping. I'm almost in tears now. What if I try to get out of bed and it gets me? What will happen to me if I get taken in the middle of the night? Will my mom and brother even miss me?

I hold my breath and slowly peel my covers back on my bed. I can feel my heart racing with each thump and rattle of the glass in my window. I slowly slide my bare feet out and touch the carpet. I move slowly towards the window. I have to tip toe in case it hears me or perhaps if I need to leap back to the safety of my bed.  My curtains are drawn back but the window remains open to allow the cool night air in instead of running the air conditioning and raising the electricity bill.

I need to remind myself to breath because I am holding my breath longer than I believe is humanly possible.

What if I pull back my curtains, and there is someone staring back at me? Do I even want to see what's on the other side of the curtains? Do I scream, run or just stand there literally scared stiff?

Holding my breath and placing my back against the paneled bedroom wall, I reach out for the curtains slowly. The thumping is getting louder and I honestly feel like it's right outside my window now. Slowly I pull back the curtain and try in vain to look around the lone cypress tree that is twisted outside my window. The pale night sky is lit only from the moon that is passing over creating a blueish glow on everything. Nothing is moving outside. No branches from the trees, no alley cats out for a late night stroll, everything is still as if the world outside is holding its breath too.

Then I realize that the thumping has stopped.

Does it see me?

Am I missing something I should be seeing?

I look down the street to the left and just darkened houses fill both sides of the streets, only the house right across the street has its porch lights on, everything else is asleep. Even to the right I can see a few houses, but the cars parked in our driveway are blocking my view of what could be lurking just a couple houses down.

It knows I can hear it!

It knows I am looking for it.

It knows and it's waiting for me.

Waiting for me to go back to bed thinking its all a bad dream before it comes.

But I can't go back to sleep. If I do, something bad will happen.

So I wait.

I wait until my eyes grow so dry I can barely keep them open. I tell myself I will only blink them for a short while just to moisten them with my tears and then I'll keep watch.

Only that is my fatal mistake.

The moment I close my eyes it's all over.

Morning has come and when I awaken the thing that went bump in the night is gone.

I missed it! I tell myself that tonight I'll make plans to make sure I don't fall asleep. I will find out what walks in the darkened streets just outside my house in the middle of the night. Tonight I will make plans.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Daylight Savings Time


It's the discouraging time again when we have gotten quite used to the fact that we relished our extra hour of sleep. I mean in all honesty, there are still just 24 hours in a day and it's not like we are getting anything extra, but I honestly don't like the bouncing back and forth each year, trying to remember the spring and fall sayings to remind ourselves which way to adjust our clocks.

I, for one, don't understand the logic behind gaining or losing an hour of daylight because productivity I believe struggles during those weeks while we make those adjustments to our routines. I for one, follow the rising sun to make a determination when to get up. I don't need someone telling me that today it's an hour earlier than it was last month. It's still dark.

For one thing, most accidents happen when the sun goes down, I believe. Whether it's due in part to people being more relaxed and therefore more prone to get sleepy or simply for the lack of what you can see during the day that is far different from what you can see at night. Light reveals things that the darkness keeps hidden until it's too late.

Even now, according to my clock, it's 2:40pm and I am dragging to make it through my day. Trying to go to bed an hour earlier isn't helping and neither is trying to get up earlier. I even find myself watching the setting sun to make the determination that it's time to start getting dinner ready or the kids have a couple hours left before bedtime. Even as the sun's rotation changes across the sky and the days grow longer, no one messes with the time. So why do we continue to observe something that I believe has no benefit. Pick one or the other and let's through out daylight savings time. Let's simply let time be and forget springing forward or falling backward. To me you can fall forward just as easily as you can spring backwards. So even the sayings don't make sense.

I love it when countries or states or even portions of states have simply agreed to let time alone. They don't mess around with it or change it and I wonder if the people living there have simply one less thing to worry about besides changing their time on the clocks. Who even determines this anyway? Can't be the federal government since why do some states not observe it and others do?

How do you feel? Do you like manipulating time twice each year to gain or lose an hour of daylight? I wonder what God thinks about this?

I think He is more than amused at yet another thing we attempt to control for weird reasons.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Living the Dream

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

I remember hearing that all through my childhood and even into my early adult hood. However looking back and trying to recall just what my answers were feels like walking through a thick cloud. Often times I can't really remember and then there are the answers I think I said, like becoming an airline stewardess, a teacher, a doctor and even a lawyer or veterinarian.

People often claim that you can take a look at your "What if's?" and then make a correlation to just what might inspire you. For me growing up, I've always LOVED books. In fact from the time I began to read, I was a voracious reader. I remember one summer when our local book mobile came to our neighborhood (think portable library on wheels) I took as many books as I could check out. My favorites were anything to do with horses, Black Beauty, Misty of Chincoteague, Stormy Misty's Foal, and countless others. I read anything that was considered a classic and we were rewarded by the librarian for every book we finished. I remember I couldn't wait to redeem my weeks worth of reading for some cool plastic animals that looked like they were made of glass.

Yet my love for books never faded. It was far better than television ever was. I guess that was before the days of 24 hour cable programming. In fact the only childhood programming I can recall was 2 hours on Saturday morning when I would devote myself to watching the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show and then after that all the major networks switched to sports. The only other time you could find anything suitable was Sunday evenings for the Wonderful World of Disney and during the week just after school. So books gave me that virtual escape. I could truly be anything I wanted to be.

Even in grade school I wrote short silly stories of my own. Oh how I wish I would have kept them. I think some of my best creativity was when I was a child and truly believed anything was possible. Until the day I grabbed my umbrella, climbed to the top of my roof top, opened my umbrella and jumped. Thankfully I didn't break anything except my spirit and belief that not everything you dream is real. I still LOVE Mary Poppins however.

In high school my favorite classes were English. I loved the opportunity to write. Essays were like winning the lottery to me. It gave me a chance to pour out my heart and soul through words on a notebook page. Again before the invention of computers or even word processors. We didn't own a typewriter so writing by hand was the way to go. Penmanship still counted for something because your teacher needed to be able to read it to grade it. I didn't mind the dreaded "red pen!" It was a chance for me to improve and get better. A chance to keep on learning so I could be great at something. Life really took a turn for the better towards the end of my high school year, with Creative Writing classes. I think if I was on my death bed, I would still have made every effort to attend that class. I finally found a place to fit in. I wasn't a nerd or athletic or even had a lot of friends. In fact I had only 2 through each grade in high school. I didn't really fit in anywhere until I had the chance to write. To express what was happening in my head and what I saw happening in my imagination.

I got to color outside the lines in that course. I was never told my ideas were too far fetched or outside the possibilities of that really happening. Nothing was off limits in that class. We invented imaginary worlds, characters and dabbled in every type of genre imaginable. I took that love of writing even further and continued to write into adult life as well. Writing romance novels where the leading lady was always in danger and needed to be rescued. Perhaps that was a way of me explaining a part of myself that needed to be rescued from the mundane. But I never did anything with my stories except to file them away in a keepsake to remember my love of writing.

Now looking back on those times I see a new light dawning. I feel like the sun is shining once more and besides being blessed with the ability to read for free now, through reviewing books through a variety of publishers, I am taking up writing once again. I've discovered authors just like myself that have tried for years to keep their writing skills polished enough to eventually see their books published. I've been encouraged along the way by several authors who have inspired me once again to pick up my proverbial pen and take a go at writing again. In fact, just yesterday I found myself going through a proposed book idea and rereading those chapters once again and marveled at why I stopped going four years ago.

In fact I felt dried up and lacking in my ability to use my words once again. But I was encouraged to just sit down and write. Don't look at what you are writing and attempt to revise it right then, but just get my ideas, words and thoughts on paper.

You know what I found?

My creativity started flowing like water slowly finding a leak in a wall and soon ideas were pouring out faster than I could capture them on paper. In fact I had to walk around yesterday with a notebook and pen just to keep them from becoming a distant memory.

I think dreams are important.

I think we need more cheerleaders in the world and less people who will tell us to take our silly notions and save that for a hobby.

I think more of us need to look at our hobbies and really find a way to make them work for us.

The world would truly be a wonderful place if every single day people went to work, doing something they actually LOVED to do.

Imagine what would happen if dreams stopped being dreams and started to come true?

What would you do if simply making your dreams come true was just to stop dreaming about them and took a step towards make them a reality?

Whatever it is, I think you should do it. Take some time to dance in the rain and really enjoy the life, Jesus worked so hard to make enjoyable. The only thing holding you back is YOU!

Take a different path today and see where your own journey takes you!