Do Me a Favor

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I have a cycle that I go through.  The better part of the cycle is when I have energy, I think of really great things to do, and I start projects.  I’m feeling good, sleeping well, no great aches or pains.  I’m eating healthier, might even be losing a pound or two.

And then there’s the other part of the cycle.  No energy, can’t think straight, everything looks like too much trouble.  Can’t imagine starting anything new.  My whole body hurts, I’m not sleeping well.  Eating too much, putting on weight.

These cycles have varying degrees.  Sometimes there’s not much of a spike or much of a dip.  Kinda in the middle of everything.  Sometimes the spike up is very noticeable, at least to me.  I have energy!  I am wide awake!  I have things to do, places to go, people to see! 

And then sometimes the dip is sitting in my beloved recliner, staring at the TV, my thoughts telling me that I’m stupid, inadequate, old, fat, that I’ll never finish any of my projects.

During these cycles, I basically remain the same person.  I have obligations that have to be addressed.  I have promised people I will be there to do it.  My calendar is filling up.  I have a ministry that needs my attention and that includes lots of study, reading and writing.  My husband and I like to go camping and there’s lots to do before and after each trip. 

The up and down of this cycle is not enough to warrant treatment.  I don’t make bad decisions because of it or do things I wouldn’t ordinarily do.  I would guess that most people who know me don’t even realize all this is going on.  I put on a good front.  Probably too good.

As a Christian, I want to point everything to Christ.  When I’m feeling good, it’s my joy to do it.  When I’m feeling bad, it gets a bit tough.

I’ve been a Christian my whole adult life.  I’ve been through many a crisis, just like everybody else.  I have learned, over and over, that God never changes and that He is continuously with me.  I know, no matter how I’m feeling, that God still loves me because Jesus died for my sins.  I know, no matter how I’m feeling, that Jesus rose from the dead and sent the Holy Spirit in His place to keep me connected to the Father.

I don’t have any particular scripture that I use to bring me comfort; I don’t have a life verse.  But as I am reading and studying, as I am listening in Sunday School and church, as I am talking with friends, the Lord gives me what I need to hear.  It is His presence more than His words.

Jesus promised me that He would be with me always.  Always.  So far, He’s never broken that promise.  I don’t look for it to happen anytime soon…

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rockin' Along

Sometimes your life is just rockin’ along and everything seems fine.  You have a full life with family, church, work, clubs.  You like the majority of people that you come in contact with in your full rockin’ life. 

And then, just a wee bit at first, you begin to see cracks.  You vaguely notice that one of your co-workers is complaining a lot.  And as the days go by, because your attention has been called to it, you notice that your co-worker complains a whole lot.  Little things, really.  It’s too hot or it’s too cold.  The light in the bathroom isn’t working.  Foodland’s chicken fingers aren’t as good as they used to be. 

And then, to beat that, you start noticing other people complaining a lot.  Family members are pointing out various deficiencies you may or may not have, something dear to your heart at church is scorned by others, your meeting with your club is filled with venting by numerous people on copious topics.  Gripe, gripe, gripe.

And then, when you think you can’t stand it another minute, you notice that you are complaining the very most about the greatest number of things.  Wow!  What a downer.  What happened?  Life was going along just grand until all this started.

But the thing is that it didn’t just start when you began hearing it.  Oh, no.  It’s been around your whole life.  And, yes, you’ve been adding to it all that time.

The reason I know all this about you is because this is really about me.  I’m the co-worker who can find fault in anything; I’m the one who is pointing things out to family members; I’m the one who shares my compelling opinion at church, trashing someone else’s idea; I’m the one that goes from group to group venting my little heart out.

But even worse than that – no, I believe it’s sadder than that -- I agree with what most other folks are saying as they are complaining and venting and dissing.  Wow!  A double downer.

It brings to mind a bit of advice from the Apostle Paul:

Why do you criticize and pass judgment on your brother?  Or you, why do you look down upon or despise your brother?  For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.                                   Romans 14:10

Ouch!  Did that hurt you as much as it did me?  We’ve got some work to do, don’t we?

Again from Paul:  Then let us no more criticize and blame and pass judgment on one another, but rather decide and endeavor never to put a stumbling block or an obstacle or a hindrance in the way of a brother.  Romans 14:13

So instead of complaining, lets:  Welcome and receive to your hearts one another, then, even as Christ has welcomed and received you, for the glory of God.   Romans 15:7

Now, that makes for a full rockin’ life..

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


“Peri” in the medical world means “preparing to” or “transitioning” from one thing to the next.  For example, if your doctor says that you are in peri-menopause, that means your body is preparing to enter menopause.  Hot flashes begin; and because of the hot flashes, sleep problems begin; and mood changes ramp up. 

Here in the South, we don't have "peri."  Instead, we have "fixin' to."  If you’re peri-menopausal up North, you're fixin' to go into menopause in the South.

So if “peri” means fixin' to, and I'm fixin' to be elderly, then I can only conclude that I’m peri-elderly.  I'm fixin' to be a part of the social strata that can be helped across the street by a nice Boy Scout, go to the Depends aisle instead of the Kotex aisle, get a free iced tea (in a very small cup) at McDonald's, or buy a whole dinner for $5.99 on Wednesdays and Sundays at Capt. D's.  Yay for me.

Well, yay for the baby boomers, actually.  We've made it to peri-elderly or just flat out elderly (which, by definition, is always two years away, no matter how old I am).

I sometimes go into the city jail on Monday nights to talk to the female inmates about God's love for them.  I use stories and a little handout with a Bible verse and picture to help them remember my point.

The girls are so young.  The oldest I've seen was a woman in her 40's.  One girl, who looked much younger than she was, told me that she had a baby that was 6 months old.  Six months.  And his mother is in jail.  Her aunt is keeping the baby for her until she can "get straightened out."  She said she would be in our city jail for another 20 days, but another jail had a hold on her, meaning she would go to that jail and serve time for whatever law(s) she broke in that part of the county. 

I look at their faces; each one a child of God, each one troubled, missing loved ones, maybe regretting what put them there or at least regretting they got caught.  And I look at myself, and I see not a peri-elderly woman, but a little old lady from church, coming from a world they have probably never known.  That's who I am in their eyes. 

In order to speak to them, I have to find some common ground or they won't listen at all.  I remember years ago our church had a women's retreat at a nearby church camp.  We even had a guest speaker who taught Bible lessons throughout the weekend.  At some point, this woman (who I would have categorized as peri-elderly at the time) said that God had blessed her so powerfully that she had never been tempted by anything, such as alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes.  Never?  Really?  I don't think I heard a word past that point.  How could I relate to someone like that?  I had been tempted and had tried lots of un-Christian type things, including all of the above.

So I try to find common ground.  At first I didn't think I would be able to.  What could I possibly have in common with young women who had such a different lifestyle from my own?  I prayed.  This is what I received:

I'm a mother – so are a lot of them.

I'm a wife – so are a lot of them.

I'm a woman – the most obvious common ground there is.

I've dealt with depression, anxiety, an extremely strong-willed child, a husband with a life-threatening condition, my father passed away last year, I've been betrayed by people I thought were either friends and/or trustworthy…

Well, you get the picture. All I need to do is pick something out of my life, tell them about it, and tell them how God was in it.  Thank you, Lord, for my stories.  It's how I connect.

So what if I'm peri-elderly and look every day of it? God loves all of us and I'm there to prove it.

And when did we see You sick or in prison and came to visit You? And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least of these, My brethren, you did it for Me.

                                                                   Matthew 25:39-40
My Best Side
Courtesy of 2-yr-old grandson

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Psalm 119:96 -- I have learned that everything has limits; but your commandment is perfect.

I’m not a perfectionist.  Really, I’m not.  And if you saw the state of my house, you would wholly agree. 

No, I’m more of a partial perfectionist.  That doesn’t mean that I want everything partially perfect; it means that I am a perfectionist with certain things.

Before I retired, I was a perfectionist at the office.  I wanted everything done well.  I wanted each thing done in the same way every time, making it easier to pick up a file and know immediately what stage it was in.  This was imperative due to the volume of files I handled each day.

For years I was a purse perfectionist.  Every purse had to have three zippered compartments, each compartment having certain things in it.  My billfold, checkbook, pens and paper were in the first one.  The second was for Tylenol, Kleenex and anti-acids.  That left the third one as miscellaneous, but I always knew I could find my stash of Splenda if I looked long enough.

I bought a new purse recently that does not have the three compartment set up.   I am trying to deal with the lost partial perfection, but apparently that’s going to be an on-going project.

Another place I need to work on is my writing.  I want it to be perfect every time I finish a piece.  I don’t want to see my glaring errors (I swear they weren’t there when I proofed it!) looking at me from my blog.  I work and work on every little thing until I don’t know right from wrong.  It’s me there on that page; I have to look my very best every single time.  So I quit posting and I very seldom wrote any piece to completion.

But I was recently reminded that in God’s eyes, through Jesus Christ, we are all perfect.  And since we don’t work for man, but work only for God, I guess I’m already sufficiently covered in everything I do. 

To put it another way, I’ll do my best and let God do the rest! 
Photo by Cindy West McGregor