It’s all a test…

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Every now and then the television set will blurt an obnoxious alarm followed by the words “This is a test” of the emergency broadcasting system. This loathsome warning results in increased heart rates followed by concern over the possible end of the world.

That test is unnerving.

Life is a test. One big, long, we didn’t prepare for, didn’t study enough and are hoping for the best – kind of test. It’s scary and all the preparation in the world may not be enough to pass. In order to survive, we cram as much knowledge into our feeble brains just to get through another day.

Here’s the deal: Life is a test of our strength, training, courage, and determination. Some days we lose and some days we win; but to pass any test, we have to accept that failure may occur before victory is achieved. It is important to remember that getting through the test pleases God.

Tom Bodett says it best: “In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.”

Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; Psalm 26:2

Born Again…

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I am not afraid of birthdays. I embrace them. Today, I celebrate my 61st.

Many years ago, I was sitting at the funeral for one of my dearest lifelong friends, Paul Marshall May, and it just struck me that I would never complain about getting older. He was a young man who would not live to see his very small children grow up and enjoy years with his family.

I think of Paul often and I miss him dearly but I honor him on my birthday as a way to remember that our days are numbered as we wait to be cross over Jordan and head homeward. Paul was so full of the joy of life and while cancer robbed him of his earthly days, his faith guaranteed him an eternity of birthdays. His legacy is his faith, his family and the beautiful music he could create on the church organ. Paul was amazing.

We grew up in church together with our families and know what it means to be born again. On each birthday, on each day, I too am born again. I walk one step closer toward Jesus and that is just all right with me.

Happy 61st birthday Paul and thank you Jesus for the many gifts you have given to me…but most of all, for the gift of grace.

I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Bigger God for a Bigger Year

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My dog Buddy thinks he is bigger and badder than any other dog. He’s not.

Buddy was quite literally dropped off at our door and into our arms. His former owners ran for their car and thus he was adopted into our home. We have never regretted this decision and he is a fine young man although possessing a rather interesting personality.

We had three small female dogs when Buddy arrived but he adapted and fit perfectly into our family. They loved him and he returned their affection. But then we took Buddy for a walk. His demeanor quickly changed and we were shocked to find a total lack of socialization and a very aggressive behavior that was troubling. All the more so because we were in a charity walk for our local Humane Society. They looked at us like we were the worst pet parents and we tried to explain that he was a recent rescue who had never behaved so poorly.

The interesting thing is the bigger the other dog, the more Buddy goes into attack mode. On a good day and with a full stomach, Buddy weighs about 12 pounds. He was not deterred…he wanted to go for the jugular of any Rottweiler or Doberman he could sink his tiny teeth into. It was alarming.

We have had Buddy a long time and tried many things but the bottom line is that somewhere in his past 8 years, he was hurt and became aggressive with other dogs. In his mind, Buddy is bigger than he thinks.

Somehow, I like this. I know I should not and we never allow him to engage with any dog because I don’t want him killed. But I like the way he thinks. He’s a big, bad dude and no one is going to mess with Buddy. Get on board or get out of his way. He’ll eat you for breakfast. Simply put Buddy has a killer mentality.

As I think on this New Year, I want Buddy’s attitude. I want a killer mentality for Christ. I want to stir the pot. I want people to think about Jesus. I want to encourage others to remember what is most important in life…a Jesus that gave His all and gave it all for us. Go big with Jesus or go home.

I promise not to hurt anyone – I just want to share the love and grace of Jesus Christ. There is no room for timid behavior, we need to be aggressive as we share the good news.

Buddy would be proud.

Because I’m Happy

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The singer, Pharrell’s, new song is making a mark on the music industry with its cheerful message and snappy tune. It is one of those songs that once you hear it…you keep singing it all day long.

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend time with a prolific Christian author, humorist, speaker, and generous soul to soak up knowledge and insight into the publishing industry. But this was not what made the weekend a success.

What made my weekend so remarkable was Patsy Clairmont’s encouragement. I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear some grace-filled words of inspiration and optimism. It made me happy.

Merriam-Webster dictionary described encouraging as “causing a hopeful feeling.” I soaked up all the great advice Patsy offered and it was a spectacular weekend because she exudes joy. I found hope. My soul soared and my life changed from her kind words. I realized how important this can be in a world full of hurt.

To some extent, all of us have been beaten down which can lead to a defeated mentality. Sharing time with someone who exudes joy and happiness and wants to share is life-changing.

I hope today you will share happiness with someone and give them a joy-filled moment in their day. It matters. People need this. I need this.

Because I’m happy.