Foolishness?

There was a young shepherd boy caring for his sheep at a sheep camp in Idaho. He wasn’t alone as he waded into the swift current of a stream. Others were watching the boy, curious because he was placing stones in the water. The young shepherd explained that his sheep were afraid of the running water and that he was building a dam so that the sheep would have a quiet pool from which to drink.

One of the onlookers commented how foolish he thought the sheep were and that if the boy would just force the sheep to drink from the running stream several times, they would no longer be afraid.

The boy only smiled and continued to build a dam for his sheep. He did not consider the fears of his sheep to be foolish. He knew that if one of his sheep slipped, its wool would become saturated with water and the weight could drag the sheep down to its death.

Did you agree with the gentle, quiet compassion of the shepherd?

Or did you agree with the onlooker?

Our Father, our Heavenly Shepherd, doesn’t laugh at our fears and anxieties. Even when there’s nothing to be afraid of, He is lovingly concerned about everything we hold in our hearts and minds.

It’s comforting to know that what we feel is never foolishness to Him.

As the shepherd boy loved and cared for his sheep, so does our heavenly Father love and care for us.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

(Psalm 23:1-3)

‘Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm.”‘ (Luke 8:22-24)

♥  ♥

All scripture – NKJV

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Here Am I

“Does my girlfriend live here?”

Tiny footsteps up the walk and a tiny voice asking, “Does my girlfriend live here?” floats through the open window in the dimming evening light.

Wide and curious eyes peer up at me, a tiny form on tiptoes, straining to see if this is where she might be.

Goodness! It’s getting dark, and I’ve never seen him around here before.

A neighbor shares that this little one has gone to every house on the street—walking right in through any unlocked doors—searching for his hearts love: “my girlfriend.”

No one is around—no anxious searching parent anywhere that I can see.

Well, Lord—he has come to my house. And I feel his angel prodding me to help God’s little child lost.

He has slipped out of my yard and into the dangerous street—I am close behind. “Wait a minute! Come back and talk to me before you go.”

“Okay,” he says, trundling his little-boy-self over to my side.

I kneel to talk on his level. “What’s your name?”

“Michael,” says he!

Such a beautiful boy—not a trace of pretense—except when I ask him where his mommy and daddy are. He studies the ground then looks me straight in the eye. “I don’t have any!” he boldly declares.

“How old are you, Michael?”

“I’m three,” he says, holding up the three appropriate fingers.

“Well, since it is getting dark, why don’t you take my hand, and we will go home and see if your Mom can find your girlfriend for you tomorrow. Is that okay?”

Yes, it was okay—and he grabs my little finger and holds on tight.

Lord, help me to find Michael’s home. And off we go, hand on finger, trusting that I will somehow find Michael’s house. He’s no help at all, and I only know which direction he came from. God knows . . .

A happy, “Hi, Michael!” sings out of a busy little girl and boy on a swing set as we round a corner.

Thank You, Father! And Michael and I walk together to the fenced yard.

“You know Michael?”

“Yup.”

“Where does he live?”

“Down there.” And there follows much finger-pointing along with a description on Michael’s house.

So, we’re off again and up to Michael’s house. His grip on my finger is tighter as we walk across the grass to a lighted side door and Michael’s dad comes over to us.

Michael is reluctant to let go of my finger and I sense some fear. An agreement is discussed with Daddy to have Mommy help him find his girlfriend in the morning. That seems to make it okay to let go. But I was reluctant too.

Down on Michael’s level again. “Goodnight Michael.”

“Goodnight,” he responds, too soberly for only three.

God bless you Michael, I love you.

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me’” (Isaiah 6:8 NKJV).

“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10 NKJV).

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 36:7 NKJV).

Where have you been sent for Him? Or maybe He’s sending you somewhere right now?

{There are three links in this post. One is in the first verse of scripture above. Enjoy!}

Popcorn Memories

I’m honored to have author, speaker, singer, Ann Cooper McCauley, posting on the blog today! I know you’ll love her warmth and humor as much as I do. Enjoy Ann’s . . .

POPCORN MEMORIES

One night, a few years ago now, my body as always longed for rest, but the alarm jolted me awake at midnight’s blue, when the kids would be fast asleep. What?!? Then I remembered. I slipped from beneath flannel sheets and electric blanket into the still cold of our ancient house, looking back with longing at my soft pillow. The century-old stairs creaked as I scaled them in cloak of darkness, a tight fist about a one-dollar bill. I tiptoed through the upstairs maze, my feet dodging dressers, cast-aside shoes, and prickly, little carpet tacks at every portal. As I shivered, I smiled to myself; my mission would soon be accomplished. A baby tooth awaited me in a snack-sized Ziploc tucked under my second-born’s pillow.

Carefully, carefully, I inched toward Jarred’s bunk. Five feet… Four feet… Three feet away from his wee, slumbering snore… Faint moonlight softened his little face into a deceiving sweetness. Two feet… I reached out… And the world plunged from its axis! My legs went sprawling in mid-air; the breath I’d been holding burst into a wild, squeal of terror. The room shifted, rocked, rolled, and I landed in a bruising heap among more than a thousand glass marbles.

Looking up at the ceiling, I knew with icy certainty— my favorite red-haired mischief-maker had booby-trapped the tooth fairy! Every scene from The Ransom of Red Chief went flying through my head, as I turned red with fury.

That night carried the real potential to send me over the proverbial edge, though I forgave my repentant son, toothless grin and all. The next day, black-and-blue and sleep deprived, I needed a vacation, but there was no money for such a luxury. I calculated the cost of a sitter for the day and decided I was worth it, but none were available. Randy will watch the kids this evening, and I can escape. But events conspired against me, and of course, he had to work late.

I was stuck. Stuck! Stuck! Stuck! And in the midst of my stomping about with no glamorous place to hide from this exasperating day, memories began skipping through my brain like popcorn. Pop! Pop! Pop!

POP! The time my creative toddlers destroyed their room. No, I really mean destroyed. As in every toy out, every stitch of clothing strewn. Have you ever stood at the door to that room? Well, I knew they couldn’t clean up their mess alone – but I simply took one look, turned and walked away, shaking my head like a lunatic and babbling, “Just – clean it up.” When I returned, they had cleaned it all right. Around the baseboards in perfect rows marched a baseball, a shoe, a Big Bird bank, a sock, a soldier, another shoe, baby lotion, a Fisher-Price tape player, another sock, and on, and on, all the way around the room. I sipped my iced tea and studied the two-man clean-up crew, now chasing their squealing younger sister.

POP! The morning my son, Joshua, decided to take down the chain link fence. I had never analyzed how a chain link fence is put together, much less taken down, but my son visualized a fort built from that section of fencing. Not only did he dismantle the section screw by screw, he also took the garden shears and cut an ingenious doorway through the middle of it. Would you think dull garden shears could cut through chain? I stared at the gaping hole, thinking, My head is actually going to explode this time.

I had two choices: I could have an aneurysm, or not. Making the obvious choice, I looked at my son and said – teeth clenched – voice low, “Put. It. Back.” By sunset that evening, the section was back in place, the center bound together with wire like a great incision.

I learned from each catastrophe. When did each shenanigan my children pulled, transition in my mind to an endearing memory? Finally, I sat wilting on the back stoop, watching my kids romping in the yard, and with memories came bubbles of laughter.

I sipped my iced tea and reflected on my life with children. Hadn’t God been good to me, after my first child was stillborn? Hadn’t He whispered to me that I would have children? Me. The mom of six blessings. My heart softened. Despite my annoyance, He refreshed me. From that night forward, the tooth fairy never again retrieved teeth from under children’s pillows—making the exchange instead at the downstairs’ bookcase.

But I learned that survival is about clinging to God’s merciful gift of humor, gracing me with the perspective to laugh at, and occasionally even with, my children’s hoodlum ways. Sometimes a restorative vacation is just a step backwards into a few blessed minutes of hysterical laughter.

So, pop back in time, and tell me your funny. When did humor help you survive?

Previously published on anncoopermccauley.com shared with permission.

Thank you, Ann for sharing your post with us!  Be sure and visit Ann’s blog and enjoy her delightful sense of humor as she shares her many stories. Here’s a little about Ann.

Ann McCauley married her sweetheart thirty-eight years ago. The McCauley’s have seven children, four internationally adopted. Ann’s first stories were published by Baker/Revell in the book, Loved by Choice—True Stories That Celebrate Adoption. She led a local chapter of The Compassionate Friends, a national organization for grieving parents, and a grief counseling support group, Wellsprings. Ann, a songwriter for many years, has led praise and worship, shared her original music with churches, and performed in fundraising for Holt International Adoption Agency. Mrs. McCauley has shared her adoption and homeschooling experiences with churches, rotary clubs, women’s seminars, and homeschool support groups. She’s been a speaker and singer throughout Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Ann’s motivational speaker service, The Power Behind the Story, can be found on her website. She is now taking bookings for engagements. Having written three historical novels, Ann hopes one will be picked up by a publisher soon. Her agent is Diana L. Flegal of Hartline Literary Agency.
Website and Blogs: anncoopermccauley.com

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV).

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 36:7 NKJV).

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22 NKJV).

Has humor helped you survive? We’d love to have you leave a comment!

 

Random Rainbows

Rainbows and Ripples

My idea worked great!” says he.
Me? I just grin at my son the “Wizard” and look around for the Yellow Brick Road!

 

Early evening pulls me into my open-windowed corner, my favorite place to #relax a moment after a full and busy day. The rain has stopped, but water still pools and drips from countless leaves. Birds call their final notes before settling for the night in some mysterious, secret place.

The white paper I’m writing on turns to gold in the reflected sunset. Joking, laughing men talk in the driveway of a neighbor’s home. Noise and chatter fade from the voices of children as they wring out the last bit of fun before the inevitable call to bath and bedtime.

Little Lisa and her brother, the youngest of several children in a family who are new to the neighborhood, ride their tricycles in the deserted road. Son, Jim, has dubbed them the Munchkins. Lisa calls to her older friend. “Zinda, Zinda, come and see, we found a rainbow!” An excited little brother jumps from his trike as Lisa gazes in pure delight at a puddle beside the road. And, of course, in the puddle, an oily skim reflects a rainbow in the evening light.

 

Ragamuffin Rainbows

Early this morning, his dad asked Jim to flatten some ground where we’d removed some large plants. Planning to add a new room, we’ve begun to clear that area.

Later, since Jim took his job assignment very seriously, when he spotted the mob of “Munchkins” playing outside, he had an idea. He’d save himself some time and trouble–and have some fun. He’d ask them all to come over and tramp the area down. They’d have a great time and he’d get the job done. So it was “Follow me. Do what I do!”

Well, I totally missed it, but what a sight that must have been. Six or seven little kids and a great big boy, marching around, trooping up and down, leveling the all that dirt!

“Worked great, Mom!” he says, looking all satisfied, with a “job-well-done,” expression on his face.

Me? I just grinned at the “Wizard” and looked around for the Yellow Brick Road!

It’s been a good day, Father. Thank You for every moment of it.

[Glimpses from my Notebook]

“Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord” (Psalm 96:12 NKJV).

“Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him and said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it’” (Luke 18:15-17 NKJV).

“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24 NKJV).

And within each day, there’ a story.

What are you rejoicing over and being glad for today?

PS: See that little cutie up there doing the puddle jumping? His dad titled the photo of him “Jack-in-the-puddle.”

Sticks and Stones

I’m honored to have writer, speaker, teacher, and friend, Jeanne Doyon, guest-posting on Everyone Has A Story this week. Jeanne’s post holds a message that every woman needs to hear and begins with a saying most all of us know by heart . . .

Jeanne writes:

Sticks and stones

. . . will break my bones but names will never hurt me.

Do you remember chanting this in self-defense as a child? I do and I need to tell you, it’s a lie!

For years I struggled with #insecurity—feeling ugly and awkward because I wore eyeglasses as a little girl. That may sound like an exaggeration now, but when fueled by other’s words it wasn’t then. I learned all about sticks and stones and experienced the hidden wounds they caused.

I began wearing glasses as a nine-year old and had a gym teacher who called me unkind names like, four-eyed-monkey-face. In junior-high my science teacher announced to the class that girls with glasses would never be asked out on dates.

I know; I’d like to give them a piece of my mind too!

Every little girl struggles with self-image and these callous comments only solidified the truth I saw when I looked in the mirror. I never seemed to measure up to the beauty I saw in others.

Years later as a young mother, I grew in my faith and relationship with God. During my prayer time one afternoon I sensed Him say, I love you and you’re beautiful—even your glasses. I have no idea where this came from, but as His words washed over my heart, I began to sob. Then a peace I can’t explain filled me as I sat in His presence.

God is such a gracious Father. I experienced healing that day and began a journey of seeing myself through God’s eyes rather than the eyes of others—a journey that continues to this day.

The older I get my past becomes clearer. The healing of my hurtful memories is part of learning who I am as a child of God. As I discover more about Him, He shows me more about myself and other areas that need His healing touch.

We all have events in our past that have roots to our present struggles. As we spend time in God’s presence, praying and listening, seeking Him through His word, then He uncovers hidden things and brings our brokenness into the light. Healing is the result.

As we share our story, others are encouraged and God is glorified. Romans 8:28’s truth of all things working for our good becomes a reality. Instead of the hurts being for harm, they become redemptive through the healing ways of God.

Everything that God has done for me gives hope to share with another person who struggles with a similar hurt. When I’m willing to share my brokenness, I’ll see His redemptive results. As I walk the path toward Christ-likeness, transparent about where I have come from, others will see an imperfect vessel touched by the Spirit of God.

Only Jesus Christ can heal and bring wholeness to our past. His desire is for our best and to take the areas of weakness and give us His strength. In our broken world Jesus offers healing for our heart through His Spirit who makes all things new.

The sticks and stones may have made their mark but the healing we find in Christ is transformative because of the wounds he bore on our behalf. The hurt doesn’t define us—it frees us to become all He has for us through the redemptive power of His life broken for us.

How has Jesus ministered to your broken places? Have you experienced His redemptive power?

Jeanne

Previously published on The Stream’s Edge, shared with permission.

About Jeanne Doyon:

Jeanne Doyon loves encouraging others to draw nearer to the Lover of their souls. She connects the Truths in Scripture to the ordinary events of life and shares her reflections on her blog at http://www.streams-edge.blogspot.com. Jeanne enjoys photography, tea with friends, creating with beads and looks forward to being a grandma. She and her husband, John enjoy their empty nest but wish their children weren’t so far away. Email Jeanne at jeanne.doyon@gmail.com and find out more about her speaking topics at http://www.jeannedoyon.blogspot.com

I love this quote from Jeanne’s speakers blog “. . . I am embracing what it means to balance living boldly for Him with complete dependence upon Him.”

Thanks, Jeanne, for sharing your heart, your story, and your encouragement with us.

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24 NKJV).