I Can Only Imagine….

Tonight was our “Flick on the Fifth” night at church.  If a month has 5 Saturdays, we show a film on that fifth evening.  Tonight’s film was “I Can Only Imagine“, the story behind the song written by Bart Milliard from MercyMe.

Such a powerful story and song.  First of all, that song was not only #1 on the Gospel charts, but was also #1 on the Country charts at the same time.  Anyone who has ever lost someone close to them tries to imagine what happens next.  I know I have, especially when I lost my best friend.

The song, inspired by his life, is about the way Bart’s father went from being the “abusive monster” he grew up with to the saved, Jesus loving man that he finally forgave and found a love for his dad that he never imagined he’d ever have.  So beautiful.  I was a teary mess by the end, of course.  Ha, ha.

It was definitely one that got us talking afterward.  Have you ever suffered at the hands of another something so terrible, that you couldn’t forgive them.  Even held a grudge?  Then, they changed.  They repented and made amends and wanted you to forgive them.  And here you are, still in that place of hurt, not ready to give in, even though you know, deep in your heart that you love them and want to; but they have shattered your trust so badly, so many times that you don’t know if you can trust them, ever!

Yeah, I know all about that.  Except, that I always forgive and end up right back in the same position, kicked in the teeth by the one I forgave countless times.  I was reading a Max Lucado book last year and Max reminded me of the time Jesus faced the same problem.  In Luke 4:16-30, we find Jesus being rejected by those who are from His own hometown, “What good can come from Nazareth?”  Max explains how even Jesus found rejection from His own family and friends and left, unable to preach to those He loved.  He further explained that when others hurt us or betray us, it is perfectly okay to walk away or leave the relationship in order to not subject yourself to their hurtful ways.

Now, for me, this was great advice.  My father and sisters constantly talk trash behind my back.  It hurts.  They make judgments about me, even though they are wrong, and I have to stand by and let them.  I have to take it.  And if I don’t?  Too bad, they’re entitled to their opinions; but I’m not.  After years of living with their abuse, I finally disassociated myself from their influence and left them.  They can no longer hurt me.

I have forgiven them.  I just don’t allow them to continue their bad behavior toward me.  I don’t give them the opportunity to hurt me.  I have turned my back on their abuse and no longer take it.  I am FREE.

As for the movie, Bart was able to restore his relationship with his father after years of abuse.  He was able to watch the monster turn into a God fearing, bible thumping, lover of Jesus.  It was a beautiful transformation and it was something that allowed the watcher a peek into forgiveness in action and working through pain and heartbreak.  Truly, the beauty of God transformed this father and son into the best of friends and for me, it was such a wonderful glimpse into how He works.

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Making Lemonade

My entire world is turning upside down; but I’m making lemonade!  So, let’s start with all the things that have happened in the last few weeks.

We’re winding down the school year and the school play went fairly well, considering the fact that there was a scene within it that was as close to a pole/lap dance as you can get, performed by an under aged girl, that made the teen boys blush and the men avert their eyes.  So shameful.  The only part of it that was any good was the music, which part of the Jazz band played and did very well.  The singing was horrible, no acting at all and had no plot line than anyone could follow.  UGH!

Then, the choir had their last performance of the year, along with them singing and performing the closing scene of “Pitch Perfect” choreographed and all, to include the breast grab.  Shocker!

This past Tuesday my son performed his last concert and NOTHING in the least bit shocking happened.  He played with the Jazz band, Concert band and Woodwinds.  He then performed a mallet piece with his two best friends and a tenor drum solo, which received much praise and ovation.  So proud of him.

Two weeks ago, my landlord put in a new air conditioner that has been needed for the last two years.  Friday, I received a rent increase notice to help pay for the unit and the taxes on the house.  Bummer!  Since I lose Ian’s “child support” this month, we can’t afford to live here anymore, especially with another rent increase, so I did a search for rentals in my area and my price range. At first I found nothing, however; I did another search and found a great place.  So, I made an appointment to view it on Saturday morning.

Friday evening, we had Band Awards.  My son received the Outstanding Musician Award as well as the Louie Armstrong Jazz award, which is given on the National level, for high school students.  What an honor.  My mom attended the presentation and afterwards, we went out to dinner.  It was a nice night.

We had church last night and had gone over to see the house for rent earlier in the day.  We loved it.  Smaller than what we have; but we need to get rid of some junk anyway.  I contacted the owner and we’ve negotiated the terms of the lease and we’re giving notice here and will move next month.  We have graduation in 21 days, so we will be busy packing up and getting rid of stuff.

Thankfully, I have a group of fine, young band members who are helping us to move the heavy stuff.  These kids are great and were eager to help anyway they can.  So blessed.  I have God to thank for all these things, too!  After receiving the letter on Friday,  I began to pray about it all.  He has let me know in so many ways that He is orchestrating this for us.

Today, I FINALLY got to see Avengers:  Infinity War.  All I can say is WOW!  Great movie.  Not happy with the ending; but we’ll see where it goes from here.

Get this!  We left the movie and crossed the road in front of the theater.  I’m a disabled veteran and apparently not moving fast enough for some guy in a car.  He rolled down his windows and proceeded to curse me out for moving so slow and because I am apparently too fat.  He told me I should go back into the pizza place and eat some more, tubby.  I laughed at that statement and he proceeded to get out of his car.  I looked at him and asked if he were going to beat up a girl.  He put his “larger than I am in the fat department” butt back in his car and curse as he sped off through the parking lot.  I turned and saw 4 men had approached behind and beside me, in my defense.  God Bless Them!

All I can say is people are strange.  All I did was cross to the parking lot.  I had the right of way.  SMH.

FFCC Championship

So, for the last 5 months, my son has been practicing for Indoor Drumline Competitions.  His last performance was this past Saturday, April 7th.  They placed 2nd in their division in the state.  YEAH!  So proud of them.  They worked so hard and I couldn’t be happier for them.

The day began like many other competition days with the loading of the trailers.  This time, though, my son stepped off the ramp the wrong way and sprained his ankle.  Not fun.  He did, however; perform on it, swollen and all.  We later went to have it x-rayed and no break.  YEAH!

They performed at 12:30 pm and awards were at 9 pm.  We spent the rest of the day watching the rest of the groups perform.  My parents always come to watch my son perform and they love spending time with him, which makes me happy for them all.

Several of our friends showed up, too.  Such a great day.  Well, except for the sprain, oh and the fact that I started getting a sinus and middle ear infection.  UGH!  First my left ear filled with fluid, then the left side of my throat and neck.  By the time we left that night, the right ear was plugged, too.  Doctor appointment on Tuesday confirmed this.  Feeling better today, though and food has a taste and smell other than black pepper, so life is good. 😀

The week has been busy, too.  The music department has been forced to participate in the school musical, which is a disaster.  Three weeks of three day rehearsals, the show  premiered on Thursday evening.  Tone deaf kids sang flat notes and danced in a crazy, uncoordinated bird style.  However, the band sounded great, especially since it was professional level music.  The most shocking part of the play was when a teenage girl performed a chair dance that rivaled a stripper at a club.  I could hardly believe it.  I have to say, the saving grace of that dance was the gal was slim with no shape or breasts to speak of and had nothing to “fall out” the front of her dress.

They perform again tonight; but I have church, so I’m dropping my son off on my way out.  I feel sorry for the band members.  They sit on stage the entire show and so does their director.  They, too, can hardly believe that the performers are doing such a bad job.

Why, you may be asking, has the play only had minimal rehearsals and horrible choreography and singing?  The man who is running it.  He has forced the band director (his first year) and the choir teacher (her first year) to participate in this disaster, gave minimal notice, horrible direction, and no choice.  He then told the audience (for nearly 20 min before the show started —  LATE) that it was the first time they’d been able to collaborate together.  SMH.  What a putz.

Monday, we’re having an Indoor Drumline and Color Guard party to celebrate victory for the season.  The school year is rapidly coming to an end.  Next up, last concert of year and the band banquet.  Following up with the prom and Senior Awards night and then onto graduation.  YEAH!

Here we go…..

 

The End is Near!

In 2 months time, my not so little boy will be graduating high school.  I can hardly believe the time has flown by so quickly.  I can still remember the day I found out that he was growing inside me and how I waited, anxiously, for his arrival.  And now, 18 years later, graduation is drawing near.

He’s kept me busy over the years.  T-ball, scouts, music lessons, concerts, marching band, indoor drumline, competitions, field trips, the daily grind of to and from school, etc.  He has already performed his last MPA (3 this school year), his last marching season and has only FFCC Championship in April for Indoor Drumline.  His last concerts will quickly follow and then it’s nothing but graduation from there.  Oh has the time flown this year.

His last MPA was this past Friday, which was followed by an Indoor Competition on Saturday at Cypress Bay HS.  He made All-County Jazz Band this year and yesterday and tomorrow will have practices and the concert tomorrow night.

As I reflect over the last 18 years, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride in the terrific young man he has become, despite all the obstacles in our way.  He is truly amazing.  At Cypress Bay on Saturday, after awards, we were waiting for our director to return when a number of the members of his “team” got out on the gym floor and began doing the “Ian Dance”.  This lead to other schools joining in and much laughter.

What is the “Ian Dance” you ask?  Let me explain.  My son and I watched the movie, “Meet the Robinsons” when it came out.  We love that movie and especially the T-Rex.  As Rex is trying to do the bidding of Bowler Hat Guy, he can’t do so because of his tiny arms.  My son & I have for years pulled our elbows into our sides, shortening our arm length and pretended to be Rex, with mock cries of a frustrated T-rex.

Fast forward to high school and crazy antics in the band room, where friends would gather and sometimes break into dance while singing or listening to music.  Now, enter, my son.  This young man would pull in his arms and flop his hands about “T-Rex” style,  turning left, then right, then left, etc., much to the enjoyment of his fellow bandmates.  Thus the “Ian Dance” was invented.  Never a dull moment.

What I won’t miss from all this is the dreaded parent pickup line, fundraising, parent meetings, driving to and from endless practice sessions, early morning alarms, and teenage drama (mostly from his friends, he’s pretty drama free).

I’m excited to see where God is leading my son.  He’s a hard working young man and I am so proud of all he has accomplished.  I can only imagine what God has in store for his life and the direction in which he will be taken.  God has truly blessed us so richly and I am beyond grateful for all that we have and all we have overcome.

God is good, all the time.  God is faithful, all the time.

What is wrong with people these days?

Saturday, I chaperoned my son’s Indoor Drumline trip to Riverview HS.  I so love volunteering and spending the day with the kids and my son.  In the morning, the Color Guard performed and then in the evening, the Drumline performed.  It was a long day; but I love watching them perform.

After my son’s team performed, the battery exited the gym to remove their drums and return to remove and fold the tarp. As I exited the gym, I realized they only had one person to hold the doors open, so I stood to the left side of the entrance and held open the door on the left for those exiting with instruments.

At this time, I noticed two students had not returned to the gym with the rest of the battery and that a girl was having a panic attack. It looked like she threw herself down on the ground in a fit.  I told another Mom to check on her and directed the boy to go assist with the tarp. I turned away from the situation and focused on helping those exiting the gym.

As I was helping to guide one of the instruments over the threshold, the girl entered the alcove and tried to reenter the gym. I turned and told her she was not needed and to step away. She in turn, tried to push her way through me and screaming in my face that she needed to help. I and another student told her the tarp was folded and just waiting to get through the door. I then told her to she needed to step away from the area.

All instruments and the tarp were then successfully removed from the gym. As I walked away from the doors to await the group loading the tarp on the cart, the girl was still throwing herself around in her fit and I guided her away from the others and tried to get her to calm down. I told her to breath. She pushed me away, saying she couldn’t breathe. I tried to get her to refocus away from the panic and she told me to get away from her. I then instructed her that if she didn’t calm down, I was calling an ambulance because she was becoming a danger to not only herself; but those around her.

Her panic ended after hearing this and she ran over to help with the tarp. I then talked with the tech and told her that this girl was out of control and was a danger to not just herself; but those around her.

As I walked away from the tech, Mr. and Mrs. S (band director and Guard instructor)were approaching and I walked toward them. At this point, I was not going to say anything; but wait for a better opportunity to speak with Mr. S in private. However, Mr. S read my body language and asked what was going on. I then explained what had occurred stating that in my opinion, if she can’t get herself together, she is going to wind up hurting herself and those around her.

Mr. S then asked me if she put her hands on me. I told him yes, she had pushed me at two different times. He then called out the girl, instructed her that she was never to put her hands on a parent or student and stated a parent meeting was going to be scheduled for Monday evening and he left the area. I turned to retrieve the first aid bag and the girl ran up to me, distressed, telling me that she was in a panic attack and didn’t intentionally do anything wrong. I told her to step away from me, I didn’t want to hear it and I didn’t want her to be in my face.

At that time, I took the first aid bag back to the trailer. I waited for the other parents to return with the kids, gather up my stuff and went to the bus to wait. There were more than enough parents present that I felt it would not pose a problem and distanced myself from the situation.

Now, before I reveal my questions, please know that I am not a “hater” of anyone.  I love and respect everyone, no matter their illness or persuasion.  IMO, it has nothing to do with me and is none of my business.  So, excuse my curiosity.  No offense intended.

Okay, so here is the question?  What is up with all this crap?  More and more kids are having panic attacks, ADD, ADHD, and what have you.  There are more kids these days identifying as gay or transgender, etc.  What is happening?

Can someone explain what is going on?  I don’t understand.  Is it something with all the chemicals in our food and beverages?  Is it that parents are raising their kids this way?  Is it that we can no longer spank our kids?  Are we letting the government have too much control and we just can’t raise our kids the way we were raised?  Is it that the earth is now too close to the sun and we’re on our way to hell?  I just can’t figure it out.

When I was young, I didn’t know anyone with these types of situations that were my age.  We weren’t medicated.  We weren’t in identity crisis.  I’m at such a loss as to what has happened to cause all this.

I’m not saying I didn’t know people who were gay or transgender; but not at the rate and amount of those who now identify as such.  If someone can tell me what is happening, I’d love to know.

BTW, I mean no disrespect.  I’m just curious.  I’m saddened for this young girl.  It just seems like there are more and more people who just can’t handle life anymore in any way.

Best Laid Plans

This has been a crazy week for us.  The boy had rehearsals all week long.  He had a performance on Friday evening, after which, we planned to see the movie, “Black Panther”.  I even pre-purchased the tickets at the theater, so we could go from the school upon our return right to the movie.  Well, as we were running late, and just came off stage at 8:30 pm and still had to watch one more school perform, I decided to call the theater and ask them to assist.

After explaining the situation, the theater has left 6 vouchers for us to use today in their office.  So, today, I am bringing the kids to the movie and we’ll get to see it.

Yesterday, they performed for the Edison Light Parade and we could not go to the movie.  They had great weather for the parade, met at the stadium at 4:15 pm and those bands participating in the parade spent that time dancing and blowing off steam until sunset when the parade kicked off.

They returned to the High School at 10:22 pm and were good and tired.

Between preparing for various MPA performances and Indoor Drumline, we’re busy until the first weekend in April.  After that, just prepping for Graduation.  I’m going to look at a new place for us to move to for less than I am paying now.

God only knows where this life is taking us.  I’m just along for the ride. 😀

Movies, Madness & Mayhem

So happy that it’s fast approaching the new year.  I can only hope that life will keep getting better and better.

Went to see “Greatest Showman” last night with my son and a few of his friends.  Loved it, even though it is not even close to being a biographical story on P.T. Barnum’s life, it was, however; a great movie.  The music, singing and dancing were excellent.  I’d go see it a 2nd time for sure.  From beautiful clothes and scenery to the great acting, it was a beautiful movie.  It definitely was inspirational in that it encourages us to chase our dreams, no matter what anyone else thinks or feels.

As for the Lord and me, we’ve been trying to communicate to no avail.  I’ve been praying, asking and seeking; but I’m getting confusing replies and I’m sure that it will become clearer to me as time goes on; but at present, I’m hitting a few walls.  I’ve had two dreams on point, though they confused me greatly, I’ve received several picture clues as well; but I think I’m blocking them.  I’ve received several “MY plan, MY will, MY way” scriptures and I’m just hoping that I’ll figure it all out in time.  I think my upset from last week has me shut down on some levels and I have to let that go and continue on.  My heart is hurting; but I will carry on with the faith walk.

As for they mayhem, well, the dog is driving me nuts.  His bladder control problems are wrecking havoc all over the house and I just want to scream.  I know it’s not his fault; but it is messy and driving me nuts just the same.  I mop the floors daily.  As soon as I finish, I’m positive he waits until just then and he does it again.  UGH!

I’ve just finished John Bevere’s book, “Holy Spirit”.  Awesome book.  Loved it.  Can’t wait to start my next one, “Girls with a Sword” by his wife, Lisa Bevere.  I’ve listened to both of them speak on YouTube and am very impressed with their teachings on God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  I’m trying to grow closer to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in my faith walk.  I can only hope to get to the level these two people have reached.

I am currently sharing the job of Audio-Visual duties with another at my church.  Since we no longer have any children for “Kids Church”  I’m not teaching.  We have only 3 youth, who go to AWANA at another church on Wednesday night, so I don’t have duties for them, so I’ve been at a loss.  My dear friend has been doing the AV for years and I had the opportunity to do it for her a few weeks ago since she was unavailable.  Well, I so enjoyed it, I told her I’d love to join her in this duty.  She was overjoyed and I now feel I have renewed purpose in my church life.  So, we’re switching out weeks as needed.  When I have Indoor Drumline duty the end of January and twice in March, she’ll take it and other than that, we’ll have every other week.

I love to serve.  I like to feel useful and I know that this will be the best thing for me after the boy goes off to college.  YEAH!

Can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for us all!

Every Little Thing

Yesterday was my sons last Marching  Band Competition in Lake Worth, FL.  We took a charter bus there and for 3 1/2 hours, we were not allowed to eat, drink or use the bathroom.  WTH!!!!!  By hour 2, I had to pee so bad and I was over the limit by the time we arrived.  I tell you, THAT was my 1st priority when we got there.

Oh and one of the girls in the band, while we were still at the high school, walked past where I was sitting and accidently hit me in the head with her Mellophonium case. I’ve got a lump and it hurts; but like I said, it was an accident.  I teased her the rest of the day about it.  Now, I’ve teased every kid in that band at one time or another.  They all know me; but for some reason, she has no sense of humor and got upset.  I told her that I was teasing and I had to apologize to her for having fun with it.

I love these kids.  I’ve told them on plenty of occasions that I do.  I’ve hugged more than half of them on more than one occasion, too.  I’ve tied shoes, I’ve zipped and unzipped jackets (in the back), helped them put in plumes and take them out.  I’ve bought snacks when no one else thought of it.  I’ve taken more than a few out, had them in my home for parties and meals and enjoyed being their biggest fan and cheerleader.

The competition was a lot of fun for all of us and the kids came in 2nd place in their division.  So happy.  Mom & Dad came up from Florida City to watch and stayed until 6 pm.  It all ended around 10:30 pm.   Worst part of the trip?  Stinky footed ride home. UGH!

Auditions for Indoor Drumline are on Thursday.   There show this year is called, “Breathe” and the kids voted between this and another one last Wednesday.  They are looking forward to starting the next “season” with this show.  I’m not sure when rehearsals start; but I do know that they’ll have the same 2 day rehearsal schedule.  My son has already memorized the audition piece and was playing it yesterday while waiting for the others to finish setting up so they could start warm-ups.  His teacher was impressed since they’d just gotten it the night before, after their last game of the season.

I drop off two band kids before we headed home at a bit after 1 am (2 am) LOL!  On the radio, while stopped at a traffic light is the new country song, “Every Little Thing” by Carly Pearce.  I’ve loved the song since I first heard it.  However, this time, it hit me hard.  Memories I didn’t want to remember came flooding back and tears stung my eyes.

“Every little thing
I remember every little thing
The high, the hurt, the shine, the sting
Of every little thing”

Even though I have left it all behind me, the mind still does random memory checks that flash before you like an unwanted movie, forcing you to see what you’d rather not.  I often wish I could just remove them from my mind so that I never have to review them again; but alas, it doesn’t work that way.  <sigh>

It’s a wonder my blog title is “Mind of a Mad Woman” because these memories are definitely what has made me as mad as a hatter can be.  LOL!  There is one thing I can say and that is the ride these last 49 years has been anything; but boring.

A friend asked me if I’d participate in his November Patriot Recognition.  I told him sure and that I’d get back to him.  I have to gather my thoughts and see what to reveal and what not to reveal. Ha, ha!

My birthday week, last week, was awesome.  Birthday Tuesday with dinner and cake.  Wednesday morning breakfast with my girlfriends in God.  Thursday lunch with one who could not make it to breakfast and Friday, spur of the moment Mexican dinner with same friend and another friend.  Great, great week!  So far, 49 is a great age. 😀

OH, and my son, he is not liking that he is now 18 and an adult. LOL!  He still wants to be a kid.  Speaking of which, he uploaded his auditions for his college application and submitted it for early admissions.  I told him I’ve prayed on it and believe it for a fact that he will get in.  Now, we wait to hear.  Not sweating it or stressing it; because there is no reason to, God’s got this.

Spent the morning cleaning house.  When I get to wanting to clean, I whip through my house like a tornado and everyone just backs away as I do what I have to do.  I was so busy doing other things this week, that it got away from me; but now that we’re back on the clean side of life, I’m happier. 😀

Life is good.

 

Mom?

On Saturday, I chaperoned my son’s Band Competition trip.  They competed with other bands in their 2A Class at another high school north of us.  It was a hot and tiring day; but the kids were terrific and placed 2nd in their class and received a 1st place for their Color Guard.  Overall, it was a great experience with a lot of younger, freshman competing for the first time.

At the end of the evening, the leaders come on field for awards presentation.  I had moved from where our band was in the stands to the otherside of the field’s bleachers in order to take photos for the event.  As the 2nd to last band performed, I waiting with our kids and one of them told me he wished I was his mom.  I was stunned.  I gave him a hug and told him I loved him.

For me, it’s easy to love these kids.  I am their cheerleader, mom, task master, shoe tying, instrument holder, jacket zipping, water giving volunteer!  And I love it!  I have taken them to the movies, out to eat, hosted parties at my home, cooked for them and just given out hugs where needed.  I listen to them without judging and I give gentle suggestions when needed.  No child is turned away from this loving momma.  Need a hug?  I got one for you!

So, upon hearing this declaration, I was touched.  I was also shocked.  This young man has a mom and dad; but I learned today that his mom is 30 minutes from where we competed Saturday and he is currently living with dad locally.  That his mom, despite being so close to the event, couldn’t even care enough to attend.  My heart hurts.  He hasn’t seen her in months and I hurt for him.

I was telling my son this on the bus, just before heading back that night and a gal in a seat next to us stated that she, also wished I was her mother.  WTH?  From the sadness in her eyes, I knew she was also hurting and I smiled and told her that I loved her.  I later found out that she has a horrible home life and though there isn’t any physical abuse, you can tell she’s dealing with a lot emotionally.  A friend of my son’s told me that she is a Junior, has no cell phone or internet access, isn’t allowed to have friends over and her parents are very strict when it comes to what she can and can’t do.  Her parents also “forced her to come out of the closet” when she identified herself as a lesbian.  Though none of what I have stated about her home life is truly terrible in and of itself, I cannot help but think that whether my child is gay, straight, bi or whatever, it isn’t anyone’s business but his and who am I to tell him to announce it to all and sundry?

I have, in the past, listened to these kids cry on my shoulder for hurts and heartaches and even though my son is a Senior this year, I do believe that I will still be here for those he’ll leave behind.  His very good friend has already told me he was going to call me and invite me to games and competitions next year, so I had better be prepared. LOL!

I may only have given birth to one child; but my heart is filled with love and compassion for all these other young lives.  I adore them.  I remember my son telling me that one of the Seniors last year was telling him how he didn’t like to be touched or hugged and my son reminded him that he hugged me all the time.  This young man told my son that he does it for me; because he knows I need it.  LOL!  I think that worked both ways.  He never missed an opportunity to give me one. 😀

It’s been a great 4 years.  I love watching these young people go from tentative playing/marching to full on completed shows and victory!!!  Their hard work and effort really shows by the last night and I am there, cheering them on and showing my love and support.

The band director spoke to our bus and I asked him if I could say something.  When I spoke, I told them, as a 4 yr band mom, I was proud of them, they did great for their 1st Comp. and I could hardly wait to see the completed show and watch how far they’ll go.  They then screamed out that they loved me and we left to go home after a long, exhausting  day.

Justified

I absolutely love the Apostle Paul. What a brilliant man, whom Jesus chose to be a Disciple in the 30 days after His crucifixion. Paul was a scholar, a lawyer and knew Jewish law by heart. However, he became one of the strongest follower of Christ and spreader of the new Christian religion in the first century. He’s also responsible for writing 2/3’s of the New Testament. I just love intelligence and it was something Paul loved to share with his fellow followers.

Last night’s service was on Justification. How we are all justified by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. How, by faith alone, we get to heaven. By Faith Alone! Romans is one of the hardest books of the bible because it is Paul explaining how the Laws of Moses are no longer a way to get to heaven; but only through the faith we give to God and Jesus.

Through the cross, Jesus shed His blood for us, paying for our sins, once and for all. Confess that Jesus is Lord, was crucified, died, and rose on the 3rd day, and you are free.  Our sins are gone. Forgiven by God, we are now righteous and justified in the eyes of the Lord. WOW!!!! We can’t get to heaven through good works, only through Jesus. Even those who try to get there by following the law will fail daily. Paul tells us that we do. Thank God for the Holy Spirit who resides within us for only His help gets me through the day.

Justified = Just as if I never sinned. To be righteous with the Lord. Make straight.

Confess that Jesus is Lord. Confess your sins to the Lord. Repent and you’re forgiven. God forgives, all we must do is ask.

Only God can help us to heal. For years, I’d held onto the past.  For years, I allowed it to keep me in anger, fear and hurt.  It was not until I came back to God that I have been able to move forward and get where I am now, forgiven and free.

I’m presently reading the book of Ezekiel in the bible.  It’s a tough one.  It presents God’s anger with the Israelites and the punishment He allowed them — 70 years captive by the Babylonians.  Only Ezekiel & Daniel were able to stay righteous in the eyes of the Lord.  Ezekiel, the prophet, who told the Israelites God’s intentions and Daniel, who stayed faithful to God in prayer and heart.

I’ve been very busy over the last few months with bible study.  I’ve done “The Daniel Prayer” by Ann Lotz, a study of Psalms by Cindy Heald, a study of Ruth by Liz Higgs and now Ezekiel.  I’m digging in deep to the word and learning my Father’s ways and words.  He is truly a wonderful Father.

School is back in session and we’re settling into the new year.  My boy is a Senior and back in band classes and Marching Band.  So proud of him.  First game is Friday and it’s away, so I’ll be a chaperone for the night.  He has a new band director, so I will be able to attend.

I had a horrible nightmare the other night and woke up screaming.  Scared my son, who came running from his room on the other side of the house.  I must have been really loud for him to have heard me with his headphones on.  YIKES!  I told him I’d rather dream of Pennywise than what I had dreamed that night.

The eclipse was nothing like I thought it would be.  Barely even darkened the sky here.  It was darker in yesterday’s thunderstorm than the eclipse.  Location, location, location. LOL!

I think our oldest dog, who is 12, is getting ready to cross the rainbow bridge.  He’s lost some bladder control and sleeps more hours than is awake.  He’s not in pain; just slowing down.  We shall see.

Still awaiting God’s perfect timing and have been really calm and patient lately.  I’m surprised by how calm I have been.  I can work myself up into a tizzy when I want to; but haven’t even given it much effort lately. Ha, ha.

Life is good. ❤