A Little Birdie Told Me . . .

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6:26, 27

Hear the birds chirping? See them fluttering from the trees? Can you Sense their happiness and peace of mind?

Birds don’t worry about stuff like coronavirus or running out of toilet paper. They don’t fret over empty shelves at Walmart or starving to death. And they certainly don’t get their feathers ruffled about all this clutter engulfing me on my back porch.

Jesus knows what a bunch of worrywarts we humans are. That’s why He tells us to look at the birds of the air and observe how lighthearted and carefree they are. They don’t work for anything. They don’t store up anything. Yet, God takes care of them. (Matthew 6:26)

God reminded me of that again this morning as I sat fretting amongst the clutter on my back porch and wondering what the heck I’m going to do with it. How quickly I forget that God is in control of every little detail of my pitiful life. Nothing happens to me that He doesn’t know and care about. I don’t have to pace the floor biting my nails to the quick. I don’t have to beg and plead. I just have to trust Him.

Yep! That’s what a little birdie told me this beautiful sunny morning while sitting on my cluttered back porch.

I captured a few pictures while sitting with hubby and our two girls on the back porch. Pepper doesn’t mind posing for a snapshot. Bella, on the other hand, refuses to cooperate!

 

Need a Bookmark? Or Two? Or Three?

Since we are restricted to staying home, we have lots of time to catch up on our reading. And if you’re still reading tangible books . . . you know, the ones with paper or hard backs that you hold in your hands and flip actual paper pages, then you’ll need a bookmark. Have no fear! You may run out of toilet paper, but I’ll make sure you NEVER run out of bookmarks!

If you’ve never done this before, just click on as many bookmarks as you like, download to your computer and print. I wish getting a roll of toilet paper was that easy!

If you like cats, you will like these bookmarks.
Free for you to use and to share
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Running Out of Toilet Paper?

Before the advent of modern toilet paper, many different materials were used for the same purposes. Different materials were used depending upon the country, weather conditions, social customs, and status. People used leaves, grass, ferns, corn cobs, maize, fruit skins, seashells, stone, sand, moss, snow, and water.
http://www.toiletpaperhistory.net/toilet-paper-history/used-before-toilet-paper/

Hubby got up at five this morning and was sitting in the Walmart
parking lot at five-thirty thinking it opened at six. It didn’t open till seven. But that’s okay. He got everything we need for the month except flour and you guessed it . . . toilet paper.

But, we’re still good. We have one roll left in the guest bathroom and two rolls left in the master bath plus two skimpy partial rolls.

Like you and everyone else, I don’t want to run out of toilet paper!

But, what if we do??

Because I’m self-sufficient and despise relying on anyone or anything for me to survive, I create my own resources as best I can. For instance, I went online and learned how to make hand sanitizer: https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-make-hand-sanitizer. I haven’t made any yet, but I will because hubby is screaming for some. Too bad I can’t make my own toilet paper. Then again, maybe I can. I haven’t checked that one out, yet.

But, about this toilet paper thing.
When my son was born, I always used cloth diapers until he was potty-trained. For three long years, I rinsed the poop and pee in the toilet then washed the diapers in the washing machine. Before I had a washing machine, though I used the washboard. Yeah. I’m actually that old.

No, I’m not going to wear diapers,
I’m just saying there are other means of wiping our butts besides using toilet paper. Just use your imagination and do whatever works for you and your family. Running out of toilet paper is not the worst thing that can happen during this covid-19 mess.

None of us are happy about this deadly virus
and none of us were prepared for it. But it’s here and all we can do is the best we can till it passes like staying home, spending time doing the things we love that we don’t usually have time for, playing games, and talking to your kids and your spouse, and calling your friends.


We’ll all be glad when this is over
and can get back to our normal lives. This sudden smack in the face has shown me what little control I have over things like covid-19 and empty shelves at Walmart and people getting sick and dying.

As a believer, I know that God is bigger than covid-19 and that He is willing and able to take care of me and my family. I know that when I’m afraid I can talk to Him and find peace. I’m thankful that God is bigger than the universe and has everything under control and that I don’t have to worry about silly things like running out of toilet paper because He promises to supply all my needs.

And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (even toilet paper). Philippians 4:19

Pepper, My Four-legged China Doll

Yes, Pepper is the sweet, prissy-walking, submissive dainty one. Children lover her, but the feeling isn’t mutual. When she’s had enough of their petting and picking her up and rough-housing her, she runs and squeezes behind someone sitting on the couch. She’s just not the cute little play toy they think she is.

Behind all that sweetness, though lies a mischievous imp that sneaks pens off the computer desk and chews them up, or jumps on the dining room table, or countertops – – even the kitchen stove looking for something to get into. I think Bella puts her up to it, though to get stuff she can’t reach, like a loaf of bread or left-overs tightly secured in a ziplock bag. I never know what remains I’ll find on the kitchen floor when I go in there.

When we hug Bella, Pepper jumps all over us demanding our undivided attention. She even thinks that because she’s little and cute that she can get by with just about anything, like chewing the corners of my pillows, or my blankets, or anything she wants. And she’s just about right because scolding her is like scolding a tender-hearted bawling two-year-old.

And just when we think she’s potty trained, she’s not. Yesterday it was raining so we didn’t let her out as often as we usually do. When it slacked up a bit my husband let her out but the little snot just wanted back in. So I checked the den where she usually goes when she doesn’t do it outside and sure enough, there were three turds and two puddles of pee.

I love my dogs, but they can be a royal pain at times. I have to remind myself that although they think they’re people, they’re not. They’re dogs. They act like dogs, they smell like dogs, they shed like dogs, they bark like dogs, they dig holes in the yard like dogs, they scout for food like dogs. They are dogs. A lot of work. A lot of trouble. A lot of joy. That’s why we have them, right?

 

 

 

Easter Blessings: Digital Art

Easter Sunday is April 12, 2020

Easter Sunday was almost as exciting to my brothers and me as Christmas morning. As poor as we were, mom always made Easter special by cramming our baskets full of candy. We couldn’t wait to jump out of bed Easter morning and hunt for the baskets mom had hidden the night before. I will never forget those golden moments of joy and happiness.

 Some of my Easter creations are soft and whimsical, reminding me of the joy and excitement of the Easter Bunny and baskets filled with goodies. But the last few of my creations are dark and grungy, reminding of the suffering Jesus bore on the cross for my sins. Like Christmas, Jesus is the reason for the season!

 free for your own personal use
Click on any picture to enlarge or begin slideshow

 

Kites and Balloons . . . Oh to Be a Kid Again

Click on any picture to enlarge or begin slideshow
Free for your own personal use

In case you’re wondering what on earth you can do with my creations, you can use them to make cards, bookmarks, pictures to hang on the wall, scrapbook embellishments, share with your friends . . . the sky’s the limit. Most of all, have fun!

For you digital artists, my kites and balloons all have a transparent background.

KITES

BALLOONS

My Two Wannabe Queens of the House

Smiling, I watched as Pepper ate peacefully from her food bowl this morning, remembering how she had to fight for every morsel a few years ago. She was abandoned with 15 other dogs when we rescued her. She was so starved that for weeks after bringing her home, she ate bugs in the yard when we let her out. I didn’t think she’d ever get meat on her bones.

Bella was skin and bones, too when we rescued her from the dog pound. And she was skittish and cowered in the back of her cage afraid of her new surroundings. We didn’t shut the door during the day so she could go in and out as she pleased till she felt safe with us. Now, the only time she goes in the cage is when we go off or she’s in time out or she thinks Buck and I are fussing when we banter back and forth. As soon as we raise our voices, she gets up, hangs her head and creeps into her cage. It’s funny and sad at the same time. It makes me wonder what happened to her before we rescued her.

Sharing our home with two queens isn’t always easy, especially for me. Buck grew up in a house with four sisters his mother and his grandmother so he knows how the female world works. Me, on the other hand, grew up with four brothers. My sister was practically grown by the time I came along. So, I know how the male kingdom works.

I know they’re animals, but having owned only male dogs throughout our married life, these two queens are definitely different, especially Bella. She and I are both alike: strong-willed, sassy, and difficult to get along with. So, it’s a never-ending battle as we compete for the throne. So far, I’m still the one wearing the crown.

I love my girls and I’m so glad we rescued them and are able to provide a safe haven for them. I fuss and fume when Bella drags a loaf of bread off the table and eats half of it before she’s caught and when Pepper chews the corners of my throw pillows and still pees and poops on the floor. But, they are sweet and truly fill our house with joy.

Click on any picture to enlarge or begin slideshow

Take Up Your Mat and Walk Like a Boss

So, I’m paralyzed. Been this way since the car accident. I can’t walk. I can’t feed myself, bathe myself, even brush my own teeth. And this Man comes to me and asks, “Do you want to get well?”

And with a big, pearly white-toothed smile I say, “No. I’m good. I like people waiting on me hand and foot. I like using my handicap as a crutch. I like not having to do anything, prove anything, take responsibility for anything. I like people coddling me, making excuses for me, doing everything under the sun for me.

Of course, this ridiculous scenario is just fiction. I’m physically healthy. I can clean my own house, pull weeds from my flowerbeds, even walk around the block a few times.

But the man Jesus approached at the healing pool had been an invalid for thirty-eight years and Jesus had the audacity to ask him, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6) 

Why would Jesus ask such a no-brainer question?  Why would He even think that the man wouldn’t want to be healed? He was at the healing pool, wasn’t he?

As a snotty-nosed kid, and seeing the world through my over-sized rose-tinted glasses I often wondered about that scripture. Then, when I grew up and those glasses got punched off my face, I saw the world and the people in it differently. I even saw myself differently.

Reality stinks. It rattles our brain and makes us see things about ourselves and others that we’d rather not. Don’t open my eyes and I won’t have to see how people use their long-time physical and emotional handicaps to bully and control others. Stick in a pair of earplugs and I won’t have to hear their never-ending moans and groans.

It’s funny how you can sit in a room with strangers or even people you know and friendly conversations often become a contest of who had the most surgeries or take the most pills or has the worst ailments or suffers the most pain.

Why do people do that?

As kids growing up, my brother and I had rheumatic fever, but Kenny’s was more severe than mine. He was sickly all the time, in and out of the hospital and pumped full of penicillin at the least sign of a cold. He cried a lot. Was coddled and babied a lot. And I felt ignored a lot.

Then, when I was in the third grade, I got deathly sick every day after lunch and laid my head on my desk trying not to throw up all over the floor. Finally, mom and daddy took me to the doctor to discover I had walking pneumonia.

Finally! I was one up on my brother and rubbed it in his face boasting that I was the sickest, now and it’s my turn to get all the attention!

But, Kenny wasn’t having it and argued that he was still the sickest. After dragging mom into it, she finally ended the contest by calling it a tie. We were both equally sick.

For many years I expected people to treat me with kid gloves because of my out-of-whack emotional disorders. I relied on others to do things for me that I was afraid of doing myself. I relied on my loved ones to protect and defend me, to be there for me, to boost my confidence, to validate and make excuses for me. And the more I relied on others the more dependant I became.

Then hearing my desperate cries at the healing pool one day, Jesus knelt beside me and whispered, “Do you want to get well?”

When the prison doors swung open, I just stood there gazing wide-eyed into the vastness of freedom. It was scary out there without my crutches —- those emotional handicaps I so desperately clung to for so long. The smell of freedom was alluring and sweet, but stepping into it was like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.

I still rely on the love and support of my family, but I don’t expect them to sit and hold my hand twenty-four hours a day, not that I ever did. I don’t expect them to make up for everything I lost throughout my life. I don’t expect them to coddle me and pamper me and agree with every single thing I do or say.

Just as God has set me free I set others free. I know what it’s like to be bullied by someone else’s handicaps and I’d rather cry alone in the coldest, darkest cave than to ever do that to the ones I love.

Freedom always comes at a cost, especially if you’ve been enslaved for a long, long time. In order to gain one thing you have to let go of another and another and another, whatever tattered rag you’re clinging to because it feels reliable and safe.

And as crazy as it seems, many people would rather lay around sucking on their emotional pacifiers than get off their pity pot and walk.

I don’t want to be one of those people. I want to get well. I want to be what I was created to be. I want to take up my mat and walk like a boss!

When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, “Do you want to get well?” John 5:6

 

 

 

Till Death Do Us Part . . .

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Demon from hell, I don’t like you.

You make me sick.

You’ve robbed me of my strength.

My eyesight.

My hearing.

You’ve knocked out most of my teeth.

You pulled out my red hair and planted a cotton field on my head.

With your slimy, drooling lips you’ve sucked my skin dry and turned it into a shriveled prune.

Piece by piece you chip away my brain, making me confused. Making me forget stuff.

And what did you do to my hands? I can’t even open my prescription bottles! And they hurt like hell.

And my legs! Look at them!!! You stuffed them full of lumpy dough boys and made them turn to rubber. They can barely lift me up a flight of stairs. They used to be my best friends. Now, we can’t stand the sight of each other.

My mother warned me about you. But I didn’t listen. I thought I could out-run you. Out smart you.

But, here you are, demon from hell, laughing and sneering in my face. Just like you did my mother’s and my dad’s and every person you finally killed.

Well, hear this, demon from hell. You can destroy my mind. You can ravage my body. But you can’t touch my soul! It belongs to Jesus. Remember Him? The One you thought you killed on the cross? The One who rose from the dead? The One who smashed your head to smithereens?

Yeah. Him.

So when you’re done playing around with me and thrust your bloody sword deep into my heart, don’t stand laughing beside my grave because my life in heaven has only just begun.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16