Truly Seeing

The holidays are over and a new year is about to begin. The stress is over, or should be soon.  Relax for a minute with me.  This is merely a collection of photos from the past year with the occasional thought of what I intend to do more of in the coming one.

Friends are where it’s at-

GrayC-Tom

Take time for golf, even if it’s in the median strip.  Drive your favorite car there, just so it looks like you own the joint. (I don’t golf, but there are so many carpe diem lessons here!)

Golfing

There is beauty around you, even if you have to crop the photo or change your angle to see it.  Morning light is always more flattering.

Horses

HankFlowers

Hens

EarlyMornBarryStreamTrainTree

 
Home

PipsOcean

TomSandcastlesHome is not a place; it’s where those you love are.

Enjoy new places, new things, and don’t worry about your clothes.  Some of the best moments of your life happen when you were willing to just do it and be there. The moment will pass far too quickly.

 BrenKnox

Take the photo, even when the camera seems to intrude.  You’ll be glad later.Butterfly2 Babies are beautiful, in whatever form they come.  All the hope and promise – ColtTree

 

Invest heavily, with whatever you have to give. Raelynn

Lifejackets

Look for God’s glory in the smallest things.  Sometimes it takes a camera to truly see what you were looking at.  And too often, even then, it’s only in hindsight you see the blessings of where you’ve been.

 

May today be the beginning of a new life with your eyes attuned to the glories that surround all of us.

OnionCreek

As always, my photos are copyrighted.  Please do not share them without my express permission.

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Focus and the Peace Pipe

Someone I respect posted a blog today.  I have a lot higher priorities than blogging right now, but I couldn’t NOT respond to what he said here.  So today was an investment.  Even though I’ve never met him, he’s a child of God, and worth every minute of my time. He could be my child.  My other priorities will have to happen later. Mama’s about to have a tellin’ –

I remember my first drug deal.  It was a shady street on the other side of town, probably nice enough in daylight and not much different from the street where I was born, but it wasn’t too friendly from this angle.  I was left outside in a car with a couple of very trashy girls while the guys who’d professed to our fathers they’d take care of us with their lives had disappeared inside – which house, I wasn’t sure.  For a long time.  I finally got out of the smoke-filled car so I could breathe, and went for a walk.  In the days before cell phones, it was sometimes difficult to call Dad for a rescue.  Just as I decided to go knock on a door, the guys came out, laughing and ready to go have a fun time.  All the time I’d spent primping and preening for my date – I now stunk like an ashtray, my head was splitting from toxicities audible and airborne, and now I had to listen to a lame excuse as to why it was ok for me to have been temporarily abandoned for something much more interesting.

It was just this side of the transaction I’d never seen.  My brother had a small nursery in his room upstairs that was the envy of all the neighbor teens.  He had a small income on top of his job.  I helped him, on occasion, to clean the seeds.  After he vacationed in Hawaii, I learned to tell the difference between the acrid smell of the crappy local stuff and the full bodied, richer Kona Gold and Maui Wowie.  I guess I had a nose for nuances even then.  We laughed when somebody sold an oregano joint to a stupid kid who wanted to grow up faster.  We cried a few years later when someone laced a roll for the same, now stupid teen, and he ended up in the mental hospital permanently.  Some of the older kids said he had it coming; he was always an idiot.  I felt badly; he was a really nice kid.

All my friends did it, so it couldn’t have been that bad.  Every so often you heard a story of a bad trip and seeing spiders on all the walls of your home or somesuch.  That was a gauntlet of sanity I never wanted to experience.  I stayed away from it all.  They laughed at me.  It wasn’t until a decade had passed that several of them mentioned I was the only smart one in the group.  I’d drawn my line and never crossed it.

I never wanted to be in a place where I was not firmly in control of my own faculties.

As I got older,  I began learning about herbs in order to heal childhood maladies without going broke at the pharmacy.  Remember, I’d already drawn my line with the drug dealers.  I came across Lobelia, or Indian tobacco.  The kids knew if they got really sick, it wouldn’t be long before I rubbed it on their feet and made them smell like an old Indian chief.  I fear it for all the dire warnings that accompany its description, but I’m drawn to its power and adaptogenic properties.  I still use it when I need it.

But we don’t play with the peace pipe recreationally.

Ps.104:14 says that we have been given “herbs for the service of man.”  The legal status of pot has given it a position – it’s become the logo for rebellious teens all across the country for several generations instead of just another herb for holistic health.

William Dufty, in his book Sugar Blues, compared drugs to alcohol and sugar and concluded with one statement:  “Junkies die of junk.”

We are all dying of our sins – this is the human condition.  If you repeatedly give your body unnecessary substances, physically or spiritually, eventually you’ll be unhealthy. It doesn’t matter whether it’s socially acceptable or not.  Red Bull, fast food, or weed isn’t the substance of the argument.

“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are.”  (1 Cor. 3:17)

I didn’t draw my line on smoking, drugs and illegality back in the day because of the moral high ground.  Far from it – I was afraid I’d be the one to die, first time out.  A medicinal herbalist will call for help if someone has a reaction, because he/she has no fear of the light.  Lawbreakers don’t want light shed on their activities, because 9-1-1 responders don’t care about whether what you’re doing should be legal.  You both know it’s not.

A little side note here: my dentist found that I am VERY sensitive to substances.  He remarked that I would’ve been the one in a million to OD on my first try.

But most people never have a problem and eventually dismiss those years as “adolescence”.   My brother went on to teach doctors about drugs and their interactions internationally.  Experts are amazed at his command of the subject.  Others, though, lulled by their successful foray into rebellion with no repercussions, continued to rebel in other areas as well, and stayed wasted.

Wasted lives.

Are Christians perfect?  Hardly.  Many of them think they are because they don’t smoke pot or frequent bars..  But really, we’re all humans, tainted by sin and a propensity to flirt with darkness.  The devil is cunning and will twist God’s goodness to entice us away from righteousness.  Knowing this, do we dare go off our own way -to the other side of the laws He has explicitly given us-  effectively leaving Him in the smoky backseat until we come back with a lame excuse of “it shouldn’t be illegal anyway”?

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)  I have a hard time envisioning passing a bong around a room full of wasted dudes and sharing Cheetos as a way to bring glory to God.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

It’s not the herb or a particular thing that’s the problem.  It’s your heart regarding it.

Be careful little eyes what you see
It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away

It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray 
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade, it’s a slow fade

–      Casting Crowns, “Slow Fade”

 

For another interesting article on this topic, see here.

 

Chasing Wellness

Swim LessonsHow are you doing on your fitness resolutions? Yeah, right.  If you’re at all like me, nothing was accomplished yesterday.  But today’s a new day. The best part of every morning is the opportunity to start over.  And even if you only put one foot forward today, it’s progress.  We all have to start somewhere.  It’s in the keeping going that success is found.

Nutrition is the first step to achieving overall health, although it is often overlooked.  Just like with a car, junk fuel means junk performance.  A steady diet of Cheetos and Mountain Dew doesn’t translate to having the competitive edge at the next 5K.  Aim for less sugar and junk carbs while pushing more colorful vegetables into your main meals.  That’s it.  No wild diets or crash programs that run you into the ground faster than last year’s Bikini Body program.  Eat Smart, Move More is a good, workable philosophy.

But let’s be realistic. Accept that we will all make regrettable food choices, most likely today. There will be office and tailgate parties where “imitation food product” is the only option.  So have a backup plan for when the judicious chef’s salad can’t fend off the  hot fudge marshmallow banana split chasing it down.  Running all those calories off before bedtime isn’t really feasible.  Smart planning, ahead of time, is the ticket to long-term health.  Plan what you will eat at the next meal – before you’re hungry for it – and put exercise onto the calendar to keep any splurges in check.

KayakingSo many people think exercise must mean running.  It doesn’t.  Physical fitness is a combination of cardiovascular strength, muscular strength, and flexibility.  6-pack abs look amazing, but they won’t help much when trying to keep up with toddlers for an entire afternoon or washing your back in the shower.  It takes all three to be truly fit.  Focus on endurance one day, muscle tone the next, and stretch out the kinks on Day 3 to achieve a comprehensive fitness program with the added benefit of keeping up interest over the long haul.

Getting your head in the game will be a huge asset.  It is much easier to actually move off the bed each morning if there’s something fun to do.  “Let’s go pump iron” sounds like work. Dogs are great exercise buddies since they have to go out in the morning anyway.  Grab the leash and go find some bunnies together!  Going farther or faster – or both – is more realistic once you’re out the door. Look for what inspires you to choose health, whether it’s not ruining a good workout with junk food or a buying a new outfit to reinforce improved eating and exercise habits.  Small strides in all these areas will add up and synergy will begin to work for you.

But that’s just physical stuff.  You and I are made of more than just flesh and bone.  We are made in the image of God; our bodies are His temple and His Spirit (should) reside in us.  Spiritual nutrition and exercise are necessary for health on this third plane.  Just like food for our bodies, the Bible contains the essential elements for fueling a healthy life.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

There are few people who will say the Bible is an easy read.  It must be chewed thoroughly, frequently, and in its totality (no spitting out the onions!) before being put into practice.  Real life exercise of Biblical principles is essential to full incorporation.  This is harder work still.  But no pain, no gain, right?  If we are to remodel ourselves and approach total wellness, all the aspects must be part of the program. The Apostle Paul said, “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Tim 4:8)

We are not just getting ready for the high school reunion.  Jesus said, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:54).  The food of Scripture and the blood of His life must so completely infuse us that the exercise of total wellness overflows into our surroundings.  And the ripples from that could make a big impact over time.

Family Christmas Letter, 2012

Swim LessonsThis year, I wanted to get the kids involved in activities outside the home.  So in February, we joined the YMCA.  Tommy and Rachel initially took swim lessons and are now in a Homeschool Fitness class, which teaches a new sport each month and also refines their pool skills.  Tommy’s already qualified for swim team!  Their schedule has pretty much determined the rest of our calendar, because of the early hours and regularity.  Most of us try to work out several times a week, either with weights in the gym or lap swimming during the kids’ classes.

Michael presents his billThe older ones have become involved in the Youth & Government program through the YMCA.  Michael is a youth legislator, writing and presenting bills.  He did NOT want to do this, but quickly discovered that public speaking isn’t all that hard and was actually fun, especially if you get to dress up.  His bill was featured in the first newsletter and he is enjoying the feel, if not the workload, of being a nearly high school student.  Dave and Faith signed up for media, being everywhere and writing up everything that happens around them (hence, the highlight on Michael for their first subject!).  Faith won a distinguished delegate award for her role as editor in chief of the newsletter at their first meet, and all three of them were recognized on the YMCA’s Facebook page as being notable representatives of our team.  At the state meet in January, they will convene in the Austin Capitol building where Dave hopes to merit a spot on the camera crew televising the event locally.

Jon at work Jon began work full time at Walmart in electronics as they moved into a new superstore, quickly distinguishing himself as capable of accomplishing whatever needed done.  He’s really developed his people skills in just a few months.  As his schedule permits, he still runs the sound system for church on Sundays and volunteers his free time at the fire department.  Just this week, he assisted with a county-wide reprogramming of all emergency radios to meet FEMA standards of compatibility.  He is working toward EMT certification (still – don’t ask!) while he figures out where he ultimately wants to go and how to finance college to get there.

Editor in Chief FaithOver the summer, Faith had a great time visiting all major SoCal points of interest with Grandma and Grandpa Elving before flying to help Grandma and Grandpa Bryant move to Uncle Barry’s property near the Central Coast.  I met her in Phoenix and enjoyed a brief visit with Amy, Kolby and Mia over moving boxes and sandwiches.  Dave flew into Cali in time to unload the truck with us on the other end.  He and Faith stayed with Barry’s family to help Mom settle in and I started back home, stopping briefly at my mentor/best friend’s home in Santa Cruz.  I was greatly inspired to see the achievements of homeschoolers grown up and what they still had ahead of them.  By fall when my wayward teens returned, Dave had a more surfer-influenced style and an appreciation of clean cars; Faith came home with a Starbucks habit and a personal strength she never realized was inside.

Dave, ready for actionA long-awaited answer to prayer was braces for both Faith and Dave.  We probably won’t see their smiles again for two years.  Dave’s so busy with his senior year he wasn’t smiling anyway.  In addition to working out, Y&G, and core courses at home, he enrolled in Fire Academy, which will enable him to challenge the state exam this summer and hopefully get hired on at a paid department.

Bob and I took a much-needed vacation just after Thanksgiving to Ohio for his company’s Christmas party.  We had a great time all around, including visiting Beth and Paul and attending Bible study with them.  We left all the kids home “alone” with a tank full of gas in my new-to-me Expedition and some cash for expenses.  It was awesome to check on them Friday night and find that Jon had taken them all to the nighttime Christmas parade in downtown Lockhart and arranged for the younger boys to ride on fire trucks in the procession. Rachel waved from the curb with her favorite family friend.  Saturday they hung Christmas lights on the house and watched a Hogan’s Heroes marathon.  Sunday morning, they drove up to church early to set up sound as usual, and enable Michael to meet with his Boy Scout leader to sign off the requirements for his next level, the Tenderfoot.  By the time we arrived home later that evening, my truck and Jon’s were sparkling clean, dogs were fed, cat was medicated and all children ready for bed on time. Awesome.  I love my kids and the opportunity I’ve had be on the front lines of their lives, every day. God has done more in our lives through me teaching them than I ever could have predicted when we first set out.

Family PicWe celebrated our 23rd anniversary as a family this year by sightseeing around the Alamo. It’s getting harder and harder to get everyone together for a photo. I could just merge me in, if I had any clue how to work Photoshop.  But technology is Jon’s gig; I just take the photos.Me

Merry Christmas to all our dear friends and family!

Time Away

A new year, a new look.  It was time.  I’ve changed so much since I set up this space nearly two years ago.

When I first became a mother, I was advised to reserve time for me.  I couldn’t; it just felt so wrong.  I understand the airline concept of putting on my own facemask before turning to help the child beside me; but this isn’t an emergency.  This is everyday life.  This is the season of life to rear children; I must be with them, I’d think.

“Me Time” was such a buzzword, and it grated on me.  I quickly learned to avoid the topic, since it was met with such hostility.  “It will become a necessity; you’ll see,” an old lady warned me.  But after 15 years, I was still much happier with my family intact.  Dinner out wasn’t fun if I was wondering about that little piece of me I’d left behind.  Even when I had six not-so-little pieces of me, time out wasn’t right without them.

Yeah, I’m weird.  I know that.

Eventually, though, I saw that I couldn’t breathe anymore.  I had to stop and focus on my own facemask.  I hate the taste of crow.  This space was set up as my time away – my adult time.  But the whole concept still irritated me, because no matter how much time I got to myself, I still could not breathe.  I needed something, but even getting away wasn’t helping.  It was merely taking me away from my responsibilities, which didn’t help anyone.

Then I saw something important. Jesus made time alone, away from his disciples.  But He didn’t go to spend “Me Time”; He went apart to commune with His Father before returning refreshed.  I was confirmed that my path is turning a corner.

Spending time for me and spending time with God is vastly different.  As I put aside time every morning to read Scripture, to let His word flood through my soul, and to talk with him about what I’d read or was struggling with, I was strangely strengthened.  My time is often interrupted (how could it not be in a house with 6 children?), but that’s okay. The rewards are tangible, and I see that I no longer have time not to read my Bible in the morning.

It wasn’t “Me Time” I needed; it was God Time.  I give everything I have in caring for my family, and it makes sense that I might need refreshing.  It must be refueling time, though, not just recess. God Himself put me here and gave me this family.  His Spirit must filter through every pore, into every cell, and flood every bronchiole and hemoglobin for me to actually accomplish His purpose.

“Give me your firstfruits.” “I have living water you know nothing of.”  “Come to me, you who are weary.”  His words jumble together in my mind as I think.  So when I come directly to Him in the early morning for my thirst to be quenched and my body quickened, He is there.  Just as He promised. It all comes together.

Bring it on, 2012.  I’ve got a new outlook and a new look, and I’m ready for whatever you have in store.

Family Christmas Letter, 2011

This has been a year of change.  Jon’s graduation came up too fast and January spun into May in a blur of scholastics and firefighting.  The idea of apprenticing with Uncle Barry in California surfaced, and within twenty days, his graduation party happened and he was gone.  When the dust settled, the house had changed dramatically.   More than just the move-around of rooms, we realized how Jon’s strong personality had driven much of our days.  I was excited and deflated all at once.

Jon had the whole world opening before him and a chance to see how another family worked.  The other kids had the opportunity to test their wings without his oversight and commentary.  The first thing they saw was how many of the household chores he had been doing as a matter of course.   As Jon readjusted to life outside the home as an adult but still under a family roof,  progress reports on my childrearing and homeschooling began coming in.  I thank the Lord my brother was honest with me about what he saw.  He challenged me to re-look at what we’re doing.  Summer turned into a basic retraining intensive.  I also saw that some of my foundational goals for homeschooling had been achieved.  While they didn’t score any points with the relatives, I was encouraged.

 Meanwhile, Jon was a fish out of water.  Dropping techno-happy, 19-year old Jon into the world of antiquities was like dropping Bill Gates into the Civil War era.  Jon lives for computers and “bleeding-edge” technology – his mechanical skills just allow him to use them efficiently.   He learned new skills and honed old ones with his talented Uncle Barry, who also steered him to his first car.  He bought a ’98 Mercury Mountaineer and eventually drove it back home from California.  That was a cool trip: he spent some time with Grandma & Grandpa Elving in Murrieta, CA and toured the USS Midway with them.  From there, he went to spend a weekend with his Aunt Amy, Uncle Kolby, and Grandma & Grandpa Bryant near Phoenix.   It was another day’s drive to the White Sands Missile Range in Alamogordo, NM, to spend the night with Dad, who was there on a business trip.  Texas tested him and his truck with every type of weather it could imagine for his final day on the road.  I was happy that he had a warm bed and a hot shower for each leg of his trip – I’ve never had that luxury, and it really helps.  He’s decided, now that he’s done farming, auto restoration, and home renovation (another live-in work opportunity this year), that he wants to pursue a more technologically driven field and college in the fall.

David missed his brother terribly and didn’t want to “become him”, as he thought would be required.   He eventually developed his own brand of hands-on household maintenance, totally different from Jon but just as essential.  He took up rock climbing for a while, and really enjoyed it.  It’s just a bit expensive for someone without regular income.  While he was figuring out who and what he wanted to be, he began spending a good deal of time stargazing on our roof.  One night, he noticed a lot of cracking in the ground that could turn an ankle where he normally lands, so chose a different route down.  He  jumped onto the driveway and nearly broke both heels.  He was on crutches for several weeks and didn’t walk normally for a month.    He’s finally decided to pursue firefighting for himself, instead of merely following Jon or Dad.  He completed the Cadet Academy over the summer and expects to graduate from his Firefighter 1 class in February.  He is working toward full certification as soon as he graduates from cadet status on his way to TAMU.

Faith has really grown into a lady.  She turns 15 this year and her dog, Sheba, is still the center of her universe.  We had thought, because Sheba has birth defects, that she was infertile.  She wasn’t, and presented us with a most colorful litter of puppies at the first of the year.  The puppies were a lot of work; 6 of the 7 were males, and there was a lot of rough and tumble.  We lost two to a nasty illness that was never identified.  Faith proved herself to be a lot stronger than she wanted to be, caring for all of it.  She enjoys rock climbing with Dave, playing with her hamster, or walking Sheba.  She despises Geometry, although she’s very good at it.

Michael turned 13 this month.  Algebra is the most memorable part of his year.  He has struggled mightily and is finally claiming it for his own.   He enjoys computer games, playing with technology, and target shooting with his airsoft rifle.  He spends a lot of time honing his foreign accents, facial expressions, and mannerisms into interesting characters.   His quick wit brings these out at the most unexpected times and keeps us on our toes.  My favorite moment was when I couldn’t find Faith one afternoon, so I asked Michael if she was out back or if she’d just vanished.  He never looked up from the cookie dough he was stirring.  “Well, either that, or my buyer came through.”   It took me a moment to register before I fell over laughing.

Tommy is now 9.  He has really taken off with reading and is ploughing through all the Pathway Readers in his spare time.  Schoolwork comes so easily to him that I have trouble keeping him occupied.  He is usually off on his bike someplace, and all the neighbors know him.  He was out watching a neighbor bale a field one day, and got invited to ride in the big, new, air-conditioned tractor and learn how it all worked.  Another day, though, he went to watch heavy graders too close to the highway construction site.  A couple workers and the local constable backed him off the road a bit and then called me to come get him.  He’s the first of my children to have a run-in with  the police.   Hmm – not sure that’s positively notable!  We’ve found him some more worthwhile pursuits closer to home.

Rachel was with Tommy on that excursion, safely strapped into the bicycle trailer hitched behind his bike.  She loves spending time with her brothers, although riding on Jon’s shoulders is probably her favorite.  She is beginning to read and write and loves to put her spelling words on the white board next to Tom’s.  She will help anyone who will have her to  cook, and is quite the able kitchen assistant.  She lost her first tooth last month.  I don’t know if I’m happy or sad that my baby has hit her first real milestone on the way to adulthood.

Bob has traveled a lot this year, away from home nearly 60% of the last 5 months.  But that means business is good, and he’s been able to visit his sister, Beth, twice, and his parents once.  When he’s home, he’s very active still with the fire department and even earned Board Member of the Year for 2011.  He was out of town for the ceremony, so Tommy was honored to accept the award and handsome utility knife for him.  Bob may never see that shiny little implement again….  (just kidding!)

God blessed me with a new walking partner this year – Jake, one of Sheba’s pups.  After reminding the kids incessantly that we were not keeping any, I’m the one that did.  Oh, well – he’s diligent in waking me every morning, rain or shine, and encourages me to go farther and faster than I’d ever do on my own.   It’s a hoot to watch him bound around in search of bunnies and keeps me laughing through my daily exercise.  This is good time to mull over my thoughts, pray, or just enjoy the morning before the daily routine begins.

May the gift of the infant Lord grow to bless you in the coming year –

Defiantly Definite

“Definitely” is one of my favorite words.  I’m a pretty serious gal and don’t “maybe” anything.   I like to define terms and think things through, no matter how seemingly trivial the issue.   It’s the little steps that define the path that eventually becomes the story of my life.  I need to definitely do it well.

So I chuckled at a “definitely” comment on Facebook the other day.  The writer intended to say that she would definitely check out the posted link further.  “Definitely” has to be the most commonly misspelled word on Facebook, so the presence of an “a” didn’t surprise me.  What struck me was that she actually said she would “defiantly check this out”.

That’s intriguing.

Have you ever defiantly done anything?  Oh, sure, teens are always defiant.  But rather than just sheer rebellion against authority, true defiance is a stance made in contempt of the adversary; it is an invitation to maintain my point in combat, if anybody dare to meet me.  That’s the gist I get from the three aspects of the word in my 1828 Webster’s.  Definitions make things definite.   Without definition, the rebellion is more stubbornness than stand.   Holding a hill you’re willing to die on makes defiance definitely heroic.

Maybe this whole thread struck me because I had just posted Tim Tebow’s public response regarding his “incessant use of Jesus Christ” in speech.  Tebow, who is the star quarterback for the Denver Broncos,  responded on ESPN that that’s who he is and why, and he wouldn’t shut up.  His relationship with Jesus Christ is everything to him and he would give glory where glory was due, every time.   That is a defiant answer.  And yet, while he drew a line and cemented his foot to it, he didn’t engage his adversary.  He just said, in effect, “Yeah – what of it?”  That’s strength of character.

It reminded me of something I saw my cat do once.  Kitty was big, as cats go: 22 pounds of solid, Siamese muscle.  But when my 85 lb. yellow Labrador ran at him one day, he didn’t flinch.  Right there in the driveway, he looked the dog in the eye and laid down precisely where he was.  My cat whisperer/veterinarian brother explained the body language to me:  essentially, he’s refusing to fight.  But he’s also refusing to give ground.  This is his real estate, and he intends to keep it.  The dog can stay and ponder, or he can leave, but the cat’s going nowhere.  There’s no use growling because Kitty’s said all he’s going to say.

That’s just plain awesome.  That’s what Tebow did, and where I want to be.

I can’t believe I actually thought twice about posting the letter.  What would my friends think of me?  Would they judge me to be a  fanatic, a Jesus freak?  My sanity broke in on my fears:  moreso than I’ve already shown myself to be? 

It boils down to one question:  Will I follow my Lord, or not?

What will I do today that makes any difference?  World changers don’t go with the flow and follow the 98%.   Scary as it is, I must defy the big, ugly dog that outweighs me fourfold and look him in the eye.  Definitely.   I must sit down and say, “This is not just what I believe, it’s who I am.  Take it or go home.”

I belong to the King of kings; I have nothing to fear.  He is also the Prince of Peace.  I will not make arguments or shoot every detractor down like so much alley cleaning.  I will simply follow the Man who’s proven to love me and love Him in return.  I will go where He leads me and stand defiantly, definitely on His hill.  I may find, like I did with the Tebow letter, that I don’t stand there alone.  That may not always be the case.   May God help the man who throws the first stone.

Remember, sinner, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee–it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee–it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that is the instrument–it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not to thy hope, but to Christ, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Christ, the author and finisher of thy faith; and if thou doest that, ten thousand devils cannot throw thee down – Iain Murray