Star Struck

The lobby of the CNN building in Atlanta, GA
The lobby of the CNN building in Atlanta, GA

I admit it. I get star struck.

I didn't think so for the longest time, but yes...

I tend to turn into a blithering idiot around celebrities.

I had the opportunity to visit the CNN building back in 2013, and be a guest on their After Dark show as part of the studio jury during a very high profile case. I got to meet people who are on TV everyday; who are as normal as anyone you might run into in most places.

Me and Vinnie Politan
Me and Vinnie Politan
Me and Darren Kavinoky
Me and Darren Kavinoky

Yep. Red-faced, stumbling over my words, bonafide star struck.

To tell you the truth, I didn't think much of it, other than being excited I got to meet these fascinating people.

But it all came back to me, in a rush, back in May, 2015.

You see, I'm involved with prayer groups on Twitter. One of the people I pray for is Charlie Daniels. That's right, the "Devil Went Down To Georgia" guy. (If you don't know who he is, please Google him and check him out on iTunes. You're missing out on some fine music.) My husband has seen Charlie in concert numerous times, and I decided to go with him in May.

Cyn, Charlie Daniels, and hubby, "Pyro-Jack"
Cyn, Charlie Daniels, and hubby, "Pyro-Jack"
I'm so honored Charlie chose to follow me!
I'm so honored Charlie chose to follow me!

Charlie has graciously thanked me for praying for him, Ms. Hazel, and the rest of his crew, numerous times on Twitter. Back to May. We're waiting our turn at the meet-and-greet before the show.  As Charlie shook Jack(Pyro)'s hand, Jack said, "And this is my wife, Charlie".  I stepped out from behind Jack, Charlie looked me square in the face, and said, "You're CYN!"

and shook my hand, both of us grinning. You see, Charlie was being his usual charming self, posing with people for pictures as he does for every meet-and-greet before a show, but for me, this was different.

He. Knew. My. Name.

And I couldn't help but think, 'If I'm this star struck over Charlie Daniels' knowing my name, HOW MUCH MORE when Jesus says my name?.

How much more indeed?

Praying for my readers today. And Charlie Daniels too.

(An extra note--Charlie's godson, Logan Smith was killed in an auto accident over Labor Day weekend. Please include Logan's parents, Wayne & Cindy, as well as his sister Leighanna in your prayers. Thanks.)

Need prayer? Leave a comment, and know you'll be lifted to His throne.

The Newel Post Finial Answer to Prayer

I love looking at decorating magazines.

I get ideas (sometimes too many at once!) and start to formulate how to replicate the pretty things I see for my home. For while I love to look at the catalogs I do not like the prices I see. I understand the value of the artisan's time in making some of the creations. I just don't always have the money.

A while back, I became familiar with a saying--"Lord, what can You supply before I buy?"

I knew He would supply ALL our needs; He had before and would continue to do so.

But what about the pretty things I saw in the catalogs? I didn't need them.

But I really wanted some of the things I saw.

One thing in particular, a large wooden finial (like for a fence post) caught my eye. They featured three sizes, from ten to about fifteen inches tall. They were painted wood, with a rich patina...oh, I could just imagine how perfect it would look as a book end on the shelf. I left the catalog opened to the dog-eared page, right on top of the other magazines in the basket. Oh how I wanted that painted piece of wood!

Gulp. It was $45.

But I still wanted it.

I started to ask God--could You supply this for me? I know it's a lot of money and it's just something to have... But I sounded lame asking, even to me.

I held onto the catalog for years; if I can't have the bookend, I can at least love the picture. It went into my box of things that lifted my spirits, put away on a shelf.

Three years later, while driving my mother to her doctor's appointment, a section of highway was roped off for construction. My eyes often sweep the roadside, looking for deer or treasures. I spotted some odd looking thing on one of the construction barrels on the right shoulder up ahead. (You should know I rarely, if ever, ride in the right lane.) As I pulled over, I began to grin.

There, on top of the barrel, was the finial, as it appears in the above picture.

I carried it back to the car, still grinning. My mother had no idea what I had in my hands or the story behind it.

Unable to stop grinning, I had a testimony to tell my non-believing mother on the 40 minute drive home. I showed her the picture when we got back home. Four months later, she gave her heart to Jesus.

O Lord, what can You supply before I buy?

What have you asked Him for lately?

Expectancy -- 2013

Have you ever had one of those days?100_9973 I had these great expectations...

Writing today's (Monday's) blog post was one task on the list.

I was going to finish some last bits of art projects,

mail some packages and letters;

lo -- 17 "things" could have ,theoretically,

been moved from

"to-do"===>"to-DONE"...

except...

I had been  called upon   compelled to pray for some of my friends today. These weren't the usual, "Oh Lord, bless my friend ____ today, give her a great outcome from ___.  And Please be with ___ as he goes through___."

 

Oh no. These were the gut-wrenching, sobbing, I-don't-know-what-I-can-say, O-Lord-how-can-this-happen? kind of prayers. The ones that stop you in your tracks and every fiber in your mind is thinking of your friend, picturing them wrapped in the Father's arms; His tears falling on their hair as He sobs with you on their behalf. And it was e-mail after e-mail and text after text. The needs kept coming, so I kept praying. I couldn't NOT pray.

 

 

I know a lot of people focus on a specific word for the coming year. I had never even heard of this practice, up until last year when the Lord impressed upon me the word determination. Determination kept me keeping on with what I knew, and still know, to be true.

My word for 2013 is expectancy.

I noticed, when I drive, I look to the sides of the road (of course watching where I'm going!). In fact, I was driving when the Lord and I had a conversation, and He whispered, " Yes,you look with expectancy".

I've learned to expect to find useful things by looking where others dismiss.

I notice. I ponder. But most importantly, I pray with expectancy.

Oh I still have a "to-do" list. And I'll keep at it. Unless He has something else (read: better) for me to do.

Because it's really not about me and what I want. It's about Him, His Kingdom, and what He wants.

T'was The Day After Christmas..

T'was The Day After Christmas100_9912 T'was the day after Christmas (at least at my house) Our bellies still full of cookies and grouse; The stockings, now empty, were thrown on the floor, With a half-eaten candy cane stuck to the door. Some children, still sleeping, at this stroke of one While others went shopping, hitting sales on the run. Yes, up before 7--it's shopping they went Seeking bargains. YES! Up to fifty percent! There's gift wrap and ribbon, tags and all kinds of doo-dads, The 'not-chosen' gifts that did not make this year's fads. "I'll stock up for next year! Yes, that's what I'll get!" I said as I stacked my cart full at Target. "My shopping will be done, I won't have to scurry Or go to the mall in that mad, insane flurry. Yes! I can be finished! In June if I'm lucky! And all will envy me!" (Won't THAT be just ducky?) But then I paused, my face froze in mid-grin; Had Christmas become just a battle to win? Something to be conquered; a contest? a goal? A competition for biggest and brightest of all? And what about Jesus? What would He say About the way we act around His birthday? Yes, we remember Him before that big day But after--how quickly we all turn away. "Thank goodness it's over!" "We've put on quite a show!" Then we all hunker down and wait for the snow. The rat race continues, empty faces return, Folks with no hope, no Jesus still haven't learned To seek His face daily, yes, each day of the year. Just ask Him in and He will draw near. We need to live it like we believe And not only show it on Christmas Eve.

I Don't Feel Like It!

I've been sick lately. Not an allergy/cold/headache-y sick...

I've had an ongoing chronic health issue that's gotten worse over the last two months. It makes me feel very tired and well, crappy.

Stuff has started to pile up.

Sigh.

I know there's stuff I should be doing.... but I don't feel like it.

I have piles of papers with snippets of wisdom on them...(tweets? blog posts?)

Paragraphs that could be the start of awesome articles...(book chapters? articles for publication?)

I just don't feel like it.

Add the usual "shoulds" to my daily routines--clean the house (because the kitchen floor is adhesive in spots)/ cook real food (because the take-out places are starting to recognize my voice) /and the most important one,

God is still waiting for me.

Yes, there have been times when I've left Him by the wayside... because I didn't feel like ...

Praying...

Reading His Word...

Talking to Him in some other tone than whining....

I sat in my own little corner, moaning my body's betrayal, not feeling like doing anything about it.

But then today... I could choose to not feel like it...or choose to do it anyway.

If I failed, I would be no worse off that I've been over the last two months. But if I was successful in my attempt...?

Please don't misread what I'm saying here. I truly had (and continue to have) a health issue that wipes me out so completely, I sometimes don't make it to the bathroom from the bedroom (a span of 12 feet). I made a pan of lasagna the other day that resulted in a 3 hour nap. There are 'invisible illnesses' that are truly devastating to experience and affect many women's daily lives. I have had a glimpse into their world and can be so empathetic to their circumstances.

I can only speak for myself.

I chose to do a long devotion today, even though I really didn't feel like it.

God was waiting for me--and graciously poured out His wisdom and love on me.

In His strength, He will guide me! In His unfailing love, He will Lead me!...the Lord tested the Israelites...'For I am the LORD who heals you!' (Exodus 15-NIV) Promise after promise. No hand slap because I've been away--He knows the afflictions I've had. I'm not condemned for my feelings.

And neither are you.

The mess may still be there. You still may not feel like doing anything about it.

Choose to feel like it. Even when you don't want to. And watch what my God will do.

Memphis - Part 5 (Conclusion/Graduation)

Sigh. Our Memphis trip is over; life is back to the somewhat normal of our routine. I've had nostalgic moments running through my mind. I'm not thinking, "where did the time go?" kinds of thoughts. When my son was small, I remember reading Erma Bombeck's quote about if she had life to do over, she would laugh more and scold less, say yes more than no, among other "Bombeck-isms" in her own unique style. I took these suggestions to heart.

I hope my son remembers the fun.

I hope he remembers the laughter.

I hope he remembers me praying for him.

I asked myself, why was I so worried about how he would turn out?

All through his later years of high school, he got himself up and out of the house, without my assistance.

He waited until he was 18 (not legal age of 16) to get his driver's license and immediately drove an hour to see his then-girlfriend --all on major highways.

He did all the applications and financial aid to change colleges after 1 semester at the local community college.

Two years later he did the same to attend a college more suited to his passion for music. He got an e-mail on Wednesday, stating his application and financial aid were approved. Move-in day was Saturday. He packed up his car and drove, sight unseen, from Pennsylvania to Tennessee, with a GPS and our blessing.

He graduated last month from that college, with honors.

Within the span of 10 days, he established residency in Tennessee, transferred his car, and got an apartment.

Really? I was worried about this kid?

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

Thank You Jesus.

Memphis - Part 1

I could of sworn it was Louie Armstrong standing there in the lobby...but of course it wasn't. It was a bronze statue against a backdrop of exquisite cut glass; at night the blue/green glass shimmered as the only light in the area--highlighting Louie in all his glory. Yes, I was in Memphis, Tennessee.

I was there for my son's senior project. He gave his all to this project--losing and finding himself in the whole process. This was a very good thing for him. Knowing him as I do--as only mothers can know their sons--he had been struggling for years to find his way. He knew his passion; yet had those fears of actually pursuing it, afraid to fail.

He didn't fail.

He succeeded with an assurance; an expertise I knew he was capable of--but didn't know if he knew. He knows now.

He graduates next week. A hard earned Bachelor's Degree in Music Business Ministry. He is ready for the position God has for him. My son has been taught the things he needs to know, and met the people he needs to connect with, to succeed in bringing God's plan for him to fruition.

I give thanks to the Lord, for His answers to my prayers.

And I am a proud mom.

Good Friday Has Passed

Back in late October 2011, we had a surprise snow storm. The snow was thick and heavy, causing some breakage of tree limbs. The lilac bush in my yard bore the brunt of the damage. (You can read about this in my Nov 8-2011 post) Two of the older thick branches were broken off by the weight of the snow. When I first saw the damage, I was heartbroken, thinking too much damage had been done and the bush wouldn't survive. All my gardening magazines stated lilacs shouldn't be trimmed more than a third of their wood; it would cause too much shock to the plant and it would die. It was too late to do anything about it. What's done is done.

The Good Friday service I attended reminded me of this lilac bush. While I'm thinking the lilac bush is as good as dead, the onlookers in Jesus' day must have thought that about Him. Jesus hung on that cross, cruelly beaten, bleeding life's precious blood from His hands, His feet and His side.

How could He survive that?

He couldn't.

But He said He would be back:

"We are going up to Jerusalem," he said, "and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death...mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise." Mark 10:33-34 (NIV)(bold letters mine)

So life would appear from what would seem dead. But, we have to wait until the proper time.

I noticed the same thing about the lilac bush the other day.

Adding Prayer to Lent...the Final Three days.

I am full. My cup is overflowing.

I have had these 3 days of so much prayer; so much closeness to God and physically feeling His Presence that I have had moments I couldn't speak.

It started with my determination to start my Friday in devotional time.

"...seek first his kingdom and his righteousness..."(Matthew 6:33 NIV) "...seek and you will find..."(Matthew 7:7 NIV) "...seek and you will find..."(Luke 11:9 NIV)

Afterwards, I got many errands done; the ones that had been on recurring 'to-do' lists. I washed, dried and folded three loads of laundry. I made a big ol' pot of bean chili (simmering all day and making the house smell wonderful) I made a smaller pot of black bean soup. I worked on an art project I had been neglecting. I got three boxes ready for the mail. I spent time with friends Friday evening at our Bible study group. I went to our church's prayer vigil from 10PM-1 AM, and had a prophetic Word spoken over me.

I was filled with a new energy from that Word.

I slept.

I awoke, renewed.

I continued to slash things off the seemingly endless 'to-do' list. I went from shop to stop, finding good prices, consolidating my efforts, even finding the best route to not waste any extra time....and all throughout the day, I had the certain feeling I was totally in the moment.

I was giving praise to Him and I was indeed thankful.

I'm in the middle of reading Ann Voskamp's book,"One Thousand Gifts";(I'm not done with it yet, but I highly recommend it.) In it, the author wrestles hard with God, with the injustices of this Earth and comes nose to nose with a quote from Alexander Schmemann about the Eucharist [thanksgiving].

About giving thanks for ALL things. Bad things. Hurtful, bloody things. The things that make us dig our nails into our palms and scream until no sound comes out...

'Eucharisteo' she calls it.

Jesus went to the cross for our sins. He endured the betrayal, the beatings, the whipping, the carrying of the cross, the spikes in His hands, His feet, and the spear in His side. Jesus dies that cruel death for each one of us. If there was no one else, He did it for you. For me.

"After taking the cup, He gave thanks..." Luke 22:17(NIV) "And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it... do this in remembrance of Me." Luke 22:19(NIV)

The miracles happen after we truly give thanks.

Eucharisteo.

I pray this journey of adding prayer to Lent has brought you closer to God. I know I am not the same.

Adding Prayer to Lent - Day 37

Today started out so promising...

I got up early to go food shopping so I would be back in time for the workmen. Before I got home from the store, the headache had already dug its heels in deep. This pain would require more than the standard pain reliever. Sigh. Migraine meds will mean a nap, ice, and a fuzzy head. For hours.

Reading my Bible today was impossible--so today became a day of rest.

I could still pray, as God brought dear ones to mind.

I gave today to God--He knew what I was feeling like; if He allowed me to have this pain, it's ok with me.

And then He gave me worship.

What a mighty God we serve!

Adding Prayer to Lent - Day 36

It's been another prayer-filled day. I continue to pray for my friends facing tough circumstances.

I continue to pray for the names I wrote down at the nursing facilities.

I was called upon to pray for the outcome of a friends court case today.

The prayer needs keep coming.

I don't know if I would have been as aware; as conscious of the depth of the needs; had I not been purposely focused on having intimate prayer time with Jesus.

It's alot like something I learned about God. The more I give Him, the more of Himself He gives me.

The more time I spent with Him in prayer, the more He gives me to pray about.

Naturally, this makes me a target for the enemy of my soul.

The workmen will be here at the house again tomorrow. Odds and ends need to be tidied up. Things will go wrong, as mechanical things do. The right headlight on my car will continue to work intermittently. There will be circumstances demanding to be brought to His throne room.

My armor is in place; I am outfitted to fight the enemy.

I will continue to pray.

Adding Prayer to Lent - Day 35

I have felt led to devote myself to prayer today.

I have had various prayer requests come in--

Friends are going through horrific circumstances-- Illness is taking and changing lives-- Meetings are happening where the outcomes affect future livelihood-- Children, of all ages, are thrust into situations never imagined by their parents--

The enemy is sowing discouragement, which leads to despair and ruined lives. The enemy wants to keep us looking at the circumstances around us so we take our eyes off God. The enemy wants us to have no hope. He wants our futures to look as bleak as his.

Today, I stand in the gap and pray for you.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus; He's waiting.

"Submit to God, resist the devil--and he will flee from you." James 4:7 (NIV)

Today, I stand in the gap for you.