A Sensitive Nature

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, it’s Thursday morning again! Where I live, warmer weather is trying to displace the frigid remains of winter. I have a feeling we’ll go straight to hot weather, with very little spring.

I was reading an article about how dogs sense things humans can’t. Of course, their excellent hearing helps, and the fact they can smell a cookie from one end of the house to another. But they also pick up on things like earthquakes, approaching storms, and of course, the occasional house fire. dog, rhodesian-ridgeback-2727035_1280

They also alert you to critters passing in the night, which can sometimes be annoying. Reading this article reminded me of a family trait of ours. They said Grandma had a sensitive nature. She seemed to know when something wasn’t right with one of her kids. Apparently, she passed that down to me.

The first time (that I remember) happened when I was nine or ten. My brothers and I were spending the weekend at Grandma’s, or maybe it was spring break. I had an odd feeling, like something bad was going to happen. While helping Grandma with the dishes, I mentioned it.

“Can you know when something bad is gonna happen?”

She didn’t say much, but I could see she was thinking about it. “Sometimes the Lord prompts us to pray.”

Before we’d finished the dishes, a car pulled into the driveway. It was Uncle Bud. He had bad news. My dad had been in a car accident and ended up in the hospital. He would be all right, but Uncle Bud had come to take us home.

I never forgot that feeling. I’ve had it many times over the years. I grew up, married, and gave birth to three sons. We were living on a couple of acres. My three guys were five, three, and two. There was an old pond in the woods next to our back lot. The pond had been let go and was covered with scum. I fretted over it, afraid my boys would wander over there.

Three nights in a row, I had a bad dream. The dream always ended the same way. I couldn’t find the boys, and was frantically looking for them. Then I saw four little bodies floating face down on the pond. I’d wake up, heart racing, and terrified. I kept the boys close, never letting them out of my sight.

After a death in the extended family, my parents attended the funeral. My mother called from there to tell me my cousin’s little boy had drowned in a neighbor’s pool. They’d been able to resuscitate him, but he was in a coma. I immediately thought of the dream. There had been four little boys in the pond. My little cousin was the same age as my middle son.

This has continued through the years. I’ve had a bad feeling, or an intuition that something wasn’t right. Sometimes, I found out what it was, and other times, I never knew. I remembered what Grandma said, “Sometimes, the Lord prompts us to pray.” I used these as unctions to pray for whoever may be in harm’s way.

I’m not always forewarned, but it happens enough to make me think I inherited Grandma’s sensitive nature.

I used this natural wonder in my fantasy-fiction “Jael of Rogan” series. Jael had a much stronger ability to sense when something was coming. Her abilities included greater visual acuity, and she could hear sounds from miles away—a helpful gift when you live all alone in the wilderness and have a strong and wily enemy. For more information on the books, you can click the “books” tab above.

Have you ever experienced anything like this, or known someone who has? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks so much for the gift of your time today!

Grandmotherly Advice

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, it’s Thursday morning! What an eventful week it’s been since last I wrote to you. We’ve endured a wintry onslaught, and lots more rain. It’s still raining, but at least the weather has warmed to a more spring-like temperature.

The approach of Easter has me thinking deeply about the grace of God.

I’m studying the book of 1 Samuel in the Bible, and as I read the final verses of chapter 12, I was reminded of one of my grandmothers.

“And neither will I walk off and leave you. That would be a sin against God! I’m staying right here at my post praying for you and teaching you the good and right way to live.”

My granny, Belle Thomason, prayed over her family. Kind of like counting sheep, she repeated the names of her children and grandchildren, as many as she could remember. Every night, she prayed over all of us, because she considered it a sin not to pray.

Granny’s in the middle!

She felt a call of God on her life to pray for those God had given her. The ones she’d given birth to, those who married into the family, and the ones birthed by her children, then her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She lived to the age of 96. That’s a lot of days, and so many prayers going up.

Did they work? Did God answer? I can remember a lot of tragedies, illnesses, losses. Does that mean God didn’t hear her prayers?

Well, I also remember a lot of good and wonderful things. Years later, generations gone by, if you lined us all up, you’d find a great number of Granny’s children who serve the Lord, and not only serve, but love the Lord with all their hearts.

Don’t give up. Though it seems your prayers are fruitless, and God doesn’t listen. Keep on. Never stop. Begin and end each day with a prayer, and see if it doesn’t make a difference in the long run. You see, Granny was a marathon runner, rather than a sprinter. She’d giggle at that analogy, but it’s true, all the same.

She never gave up on any of her babies, even when they seemed to be headed in the wrong direction.

Dad said Granny was “holiness.” Where they were from, deep in the Bible belt, that meant she went to the Church of God. Full gospel believers. Holy rollers. All I knew, is she wore long-sleeved dresses, mid-calf in length, and never cut her hair. She never wore makeup, either. But she had a deep joy inside that wasn’t troubled by what she saw happening around her.

She pieced and quilted until she couldn’t see anymore, and even then, she still made stitches, though they might not line up perfectly. Many of the family slept under quilts she’d sewn and each one knew, Granny had prayed all the while she worked. Those were prayer quilts.

She wasn’t super spiritual or dour, though. Granny could laugh and tell the occasional joke. She’d lived a life threaded with troubles, but stayed the course.

Her husband was an alcoholic, and he’d been known to sleep around. I’m not sure of the story, because it was never talked about, but they divorced. One of her sons died at an early age when his appendix burst. Another of her sons (my grandfather) died at the hand of his brother-in-law. My grandfather had followed in his daddy’s footsteps. He was an alcoholic. My uncle shot him to stop him from trying to kill my grandma. But that’s another story for another time.

So, you see, Granny’s life was often fraught with troubles. But the prayers never stopped. She didn’t give up. She lived to see most of her family living good lives. The alcoholism that ran deep in their veins lost its hold in my dad’s generation. All four of the children in dad’s family fought a battle with the drink and won. All four died knowing salvation, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

What I’ve learned from all this and hope to pass on to you—my grandmotherly advice—is to never give up. Even when the outlook is bleak. Even when it seems there’s no way out. A prayer whispered into the darkness all those years ago, tugs at my heartstrings now.

Granny loved Jesus, and she passed that love forward to several generations. It’s time for me to take it up and carry it forward. Maybe it’s time for you, too.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. [Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV]

The Prayer He Prayed for Us

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday morning! Grab a cup of coffee and  join me. My Thursdays are usually a little less frazzled than the rest of the week. I go through my morning routine, visit and market online, then get out my latest manuscript and start creating.

The last couple of weeks have been a little different, as I’ve completed one book and am starting another. I have lots of preparation to do in front of the June release date.

Regardless of all that, I still want to spend time reading and studying the Word of God. That’s my morning meditation. My breathing session. It’s both relaxing and invigorating. Gets my mind flowing. Oh, and you thought that was the coffee! 🙂

This week, I’m meditating something new. I’m thinking about the prayers of Jesus, and how I can pattern mine after His. He didn’t pray complicated prayers. He had such a close relationship with God the Father, he just carried on a conversation. And then I found this one–

  • Jesus prayed for us. For US. You, and me.
I’m praying not only for them,
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me. John 17:20
  • “Them” and “their” in this passage refers to his disciples. “Those” refers to us—those who come after—those who believe. He goes on to say:
 “The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.”
  • And now, we are, “all of them.” He wants us working together, not struggling against each other, because…
“Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.”
  • There’s a purpose beyond our own comfort. Believers should live in unity, loving one another. This is the natural result of our common belief. If you mix yeast into flour, add a sweetener like honey or sugar, then add some warm milk, you will see a natural reaction. We are the yeast and the flour, mixed together. The milk is the Word of God. The sweetener—the honey—is the love.
 Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.”
  • The evidence is love. He loved us first. When the man who would later become my husband first showed an interest in me, I was a little surprised. It was unexpected. But when he acted as though he liked me, and wanted to keep seeing me, I was encouraged to believe in the possibility he might love me someday.
  • Jesus loved us first. You could say He pursues us.
 “Father, I want those you gave me
To be with me, right where I am,
So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me,
Having loved me long before there ever was a world.”
  • All of this happened because God loved first. We are made for His glory.
So, here’s my prayer for you:
May you glorify God through the life you live today, exhibiting the love of Christ, so others may believe in Him, and become one of “those”.
Scriptures — John 17: 20-25 The Message

Music for the Soul, Coffee for the Brain

Hello! Thursday Morning!

I am well into my second cup this morning as I worship with one of my favorite bands via YouTube — yes, I also own their music. I like to test out new music before I buy, so this is a good way to do it.

And, this is how I usually start my day.  A short devotional, a chapter or so of the Bible, while filling my heart with praise via music.

I’m not wasting time, it’s the equivalent of mental and spiritual exercise. It gets me ready to face the day and whatever comes.

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. — 1 Timothy 4:8 NIV

Most mornings, as weather and work permits, I’m out walking early. A great start to anyone’s day, if you can do it. All things, done in a good and proper order.

  1. Feed the spirit
  2. Feed the mind
  3. Feed the body
  4. Tackle the day.

It just feels good. Do you have a morning routine? How do you feel when you accomplish your routine in proper order?

It’s like making your bed as soon as you get up. You’ve finished something. If you can’t finish anything else the rest of the day, you done one good thing.

So who am I listening to this morning? Elevation Worship. Love their music!

What am I studying? Learning to pray simple prayers. Wait, what? Why does anyone actually need to learn how to pray simple prayers?

Well, it’s like this. I’m a writer and I tend to try to create beautiful passages, and outdo others when I compose (yes, I’m competitive).

But know this: when praying, simple is often best. You don’t need to worry about grammar or spelling, or sentence construction. Just speak from your heart. Sometimes it’s as simple as: “Lord, please save my daddy.”

That heartfelt prayer preceded a day when my dad ended a long career of binge-drinking. He finally started on a journey that led him to a better life. Not that I had anything to do with that, but I was hurting so badly for him, I had no words. I just prayed what was in my heart.

We truly saw God move that day. There was no other explanation for the sudden turnaround.

So today, I’m enjoying a cup of coffee, listening to great music, and getting ready to read and study. Looks like the rain has stopped, so I’ll hit the pavement afterward and breathe in the fresh morning air.

Thanks for stopping by. May God bless your day — that’s my heartfelt prayer.

[Click to tweet] Music for the soul, #coffee for the brain. What’s your morning routine? #HelloThursdayMornings

Next week – Author Sandra Ardoin is my guest. So grab a cup of your favorite morning beverage and pop by for a visit.

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This is in progress right now! Write Integrity Press (my publisher) has a fantastic sweepstakes going on. If you’d like a chance to win an 8″ Kindle Fire, along with $100 and many more prizes, you can enter the sweepstakes by clicking this link (or click the picture above): Write Integrity Press.

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In the Waiting Room

“Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles.” Isaiah 40:31

I hate waiting.

It seems like wasted time to me.  So, when I was reminded of the scripture above–it kind of felt like chastisement. Just a little bit.

This would be my conversation with that sweet spirit I should be listening to during those waiting times:

Sweet Spirit: “What are you thinking about?”

Me, tapping my foot: “Why is he so late? Doesn’t he realize my time is important too?”

Sweet Spirit: “Maybe there’s a problem. Maybe you should pray for him.”

Me: “Maybe.”

Maybe, God is using this waiting time to teach me something. Maybe it’s during the waiting times that we can mount up with wings like eagles and soar.

But how can I fly freely when I’m griping and complaining, and stewing over my precious time?

I turn my thoughts to prayer, and another passage of scripture comes to mind…

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas have been arrested and thrown in jail. They’re waiting. Waiting for morning, waiting to find out their fate. Are they whining and complaining? Crying and mad? Throwing a pity party?

None of the above.

Verse 25-26: “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.” NIV (bold & italics are mine)

They were praying and praising God.

VERY IMPORTANT POINT — “and the other prisoners were listening to them.”

Sometimes we’re throwing a big fit and others are watching…and listening. But if you react with grace, follow the whispers of the Sweet Spirit in your heart…you might not witness the drama Paul and Silas and the prisoners did, but you may make a very positive impression on those around you–the other folks in the “waiting room.”

When you’ve shown grace and patience in the face of difficulty, your coworkers may trust you with their troubles. Your children will learn to react in kind. Your situation may calm and change.

Paul and Silas had to have been weary from their very troubled day. But through prayer and praising God, they mounted up with wings as eagles. Paul’s presence of mind saved lives and paved the way for many to receive faith that night. This would not have happened, had he harbored angry thoughts and allowed himself to brood on their bad situation.

One more thing: Though the prison doors swung open, and the chains fell off, no one moved. No prisoners fled the scene. This saved not only the prisoners’ lives, but the lives of the guards.

And opened the door wide for those who saw the whole thing to enter into the Kingdom of God.

As a result, there was great rejoicing, instead of mourning and loss.

Are you weary from waiting? Reassure yourself through prayer and praise. Then try quieting your thoughts, to hear the voice of that Sweet Spirit.

Have you had a “waiting room” experience that resulted in renewed faith and energy?

Tweet: Do you hate waiting? Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.

Bonus verse: We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. Colossians 1: 11-12 MSG

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