Monday, January 30, 2012

Introducing "Love Like This Life"

Love Like This Life
Dana Brown Ritter

Hey y'all! Shannon and I have become blog/Facebook friends over the last year or so, thanks to a random Google search.  And I'm so happy to have this opportunity to share about my life, and the blog I write with my husband,

My husband Michael and I were married in a beautiful beach wedding on the North Carolina coast, Labor Day weekend, 2009.


I had always dreamed of marrying on the beach. I wasn't sure, when the time came for me to get married, if I would be able to pull it off on the beach.  Because the man I fell in love with, the man who made me a little movie slideshow, and played in in front of a big fountain in Washington DC at night, and asked me if I would make memories with him for the rest of our lives, that man is in a wheelchair.


When Michael was 17, he broke his neck in a gymnastics accident on a church youth group missions trip.  Because of this, he's paralyzed from the chest down, and has limited use of his arms, and no use of his hands.


We got to know each other because of a chance e-mail in the beginning days of the internet.  We kept in touch via e-mail for 8 YEARS before we admitted to each other that there may be something there. You could say we took our time. More like God took HIS time!


Several airplane trips later, we were engaged, and a few more airplane trips after that was that dream wedding I mentioned.


When we got back from our honeymoon, I started a new job as the White House Producer for CBN News (Christian Broadcasting Network). This was not only an answer to prayer, but a dream come true! Well, more than one dream actually! I had always dreamed of covering the White House, and here I was, doing it!  I stood in the East Room as the first living Medal of Honor recipient was pinned since Vietnam. I stood on the South Lawn as the President of China was welcomed.  I had a seat in the White House Briefing Room.  My life was feeling very "West Wing." And I loved it.


Behind the scenes, though, I was struggling.  My new boss and co-workers had no idea that I was getting up between 2:00 and 4:00 in the morning, so that I could take care of all of my husbands needs before I embarked on my nearly two hour commute to work.  I would get up, take care of the dogs, stretch my husband's legs, transfer him to his shower chair, help him go to the bathroom and bathe him, dress him, transfer him to his wheelchair, fix us breakfast, then get myself ready for work. Then, walk to the bus stop, ride the bus to the metro, the train to DC, stop at Starbucks, then walk in the office at about 6:30am.  Exhausted.  But thrilled to be there, and with a smile on my face.


This pace almost killed me.  I lost 30 pounds without trying. (That part was nice.) My hair started falling out, and I found myself very emotionally unstable.


I remember breaking down on New Year's Eve.  We had been married just a couple of months.  I had been so looking forward to being together, and living happily ever after.  And, Michael had an accident, I cleaned him up and realized he had a small pressure sore.  I felt completely overwhelmed.  He needed to stay in the bed, to stay off of his sore.  So, I cleaned the house, cooked for him, helped him eat in the bed (at that time we did not have a bed that sat up).  Then, he fell asleep before midnight, and I watched Dick Clark ring in 2010, and I sat up in bed alone, crying.


It was one of the lowest places I had ever been.

It was about that time, that we started the blog.

I just poured myself out onto it.

All of the emotions, the guilt, the feeling of being overwhelmed.  The good things too, like the happy times we were enjoying as Newlyweds, and all of the new things I was learning to do in the kitchen.


Michael really stepped it up, and started doing more on his own.  We sought some counseling.  I started hearing from people who were reading my blog, and got to know some other couples out there, in similar situations as us. I suddenly didn't feel so alone.

I felt like maybe I CAN do this? Little by little, the strength came back, I believed in myself again, and I gained all that weight back.


And little by little, my faith in the Lord was patched back up, sustained, and is now finally in a place of growth again.  It is wonderful to be on this side of the mountain.  I am now embracing my role as a wife and a caregiver and as a career woman, living out her dreams.


I now know that it is possible to be happy and sad at the same time.  I have gone through the grief process, and now life is so much better, and is generally filled with a lot of acceptance.


I don't know how I would have done it without the blog. And now, God is using us and our blog, and we are just thrilled.  We are hearing from more and more couples that are going through that dark season we went through, and not that I want anyone to go through disability – but once you realize that you an make it through – you realize that you can do anything.  And that's a feeling I will happily lead other couples to have.


Thank you so much for taking time to read our story. Follow along on our life on our blog:

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fabulous Fridays: My Poor Brain

Apparently, there is a disorder where a person's internal clock gets out of sync, and their mind can think there are more than 24 hours in a day. :) Studies are being done to see if a certain type of medication can reset the body's internal clock. It seems to be pretty common for totally blind people to have sleep disorders. I know my body can wake up at 2:30 in the morning and think it's time to get up and get busy. It usually takes me a good four hours to go back to sleep, and then, of course, it's time for everyone else to be wide awake. I mean, I always knew a mom wanted more than 24 hours in a day so they could get things done, but I want real hours, not ones created by my brain only. lol

Speaking of my brain, well, sometimes i wish I could take it out and give it a good whoopin'. It comes up with bad ideas, for one thing, and for another, it don't know when to stop working, even when it is all worn out. I'm so tired of thinking the same old thing. Am I alone in this?

I'm tired of thinking about writing. I'm tired of trying to analyze everything about my works in progress. Notice, I did not say I was tired of writing or tired of coming up with ideas, just tired of worrying about it. So, I'm taking a break. I bought a book this morning, and I'm going to read it. So far it's pretty good. When I'm finished, then I'll check in and see if I'm ready to worry about writing, again. :)

I cleaned out a dresser drawer the other day. It felt so good, I'm thinking of doing another real soon. I threw away a whole bunch of stuff I did not need, and I put back a couple of things to give away. If I keep this up, I might find some room in this little house. :)

You know, it gets difficult coming up with things to say when you blog three times a week. So, I have an idea. Why not ask you faithful readers if you have something to say. If you are a writer and would like a chance to advertise yourself, your blog or website, drop me a comment or an email at
and let me know if you'd like to write an article for this blog. The important thing to remember is the title of this blog, "Old-time Christian". I will not promote books, websites or blogs that support pornography, homosexuality or anything anti God.

Maybe, you are not a writer, but you have a question or questions about blindness, writing, baking, crocheting or singing. I admit I'm not an expert, but I'll try to answer in the best way I can. If I do not have an answer for you, I'll go a-googling and see what I can come up with in the way of info for you.

So, whether you write or not, have questions or not, feel free to get in touch.

Have a fabulous Friday, and I'll catch y'all again on Monday.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Writing Wednesday: On Publishing

Question: If God calls you to do something, are you automatically great at it?

David was God's choice for King. It seemed unlikely that a boy who did nothing all day but take care of sheep would rule, but that's what God had in store. Did David become king right off? No. He had to grow up, first. He had to go through a lot of turmoil and learn some hard lessons before he became king.

I can't speak for anyone else, but even though God gave me a love for singing, I was not born with an amazing voice. I still think there are better vocalists out there, but I'm not the worst, either. I have a cassette tape I made in 1992, and my singing, IMO is horrible. You can tell I was not gifted with voice. It's not bad for a 14-year-old, maybe, but it wouldn't win any contests. If I am any good at all, it is one, because God allows me to be, and two, I've grown up and learned a few things over the years.

I heard a minister say once, "There is a difference between God's anointing and His appointing. For the most part, I agree. If God calls a person to preach, they have to learn how. No, they don't necessarily need to go to school, but they do need to spend time in the Word and they need to be given opportunities to preach, so they can get some experience under their belt. That is why a lot of denominations are real careful about licensing and ordaining new ministers; they need to grow in the Lord.

I think that this same mentality can be applied to writing. For as long as I can remember, I have been making up stories in my head. Some I wrote, some I didn't. I write some of my own songs, I've written some poetry and I wrote a couple of novels. Does this mean I am an accomplished author? Not necessarily. Does it mean I am called to write? I believe I am.

Just after my first book was published, I reviewed several books published by Publish America. I'm telling y'all, those authors, while they had good story ideas, needed an editor. Now, I'm not trying to point fingers, here, because if you've read "Wild Heart" you'll know that I needed an editor, too. What I am saying, is just because we think we can write, does not mean we can. Just because everybody tells us our book is good, does not mean it is written properly.

In today's market, ebooks, audio books and publishers who pop up over night, what is publishable has changed. But, I think we can all agree, we know a good book when we see it/hear it. lol More people are being heard than ever. FaceBook, Twitter, blogs; if readers can't find you today, there's something wrong. But, is everything you read on the internet publishable?

We can sit and hash out the good and bad about ebooks. We can hash out the good and bad about self-publishers versis mainstream ones, but the fact of the matter remains, people who read, for the most part, buy books from those mainstream publishers. Also, if it can't be bought through Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, or some other store with a large presence, folks are not going to risk it. Of course, more and more people are buying from these self-publishers, like Author House, Lulu, CreateSpace, Whiskey Creek Press, but when I ask around, the answer I get is that folks will buy from a publisher they know they can trust.

I've bought books from Whiskey Creek press, and I have found noticeable mistakes in them. I've read books published by Publish America, and I have found not only obvious mistakes but flat characters in them. I've read books published by Harlequin and found mistakes, as well. BUT, mistakes in books by mainstream publishers are few and far between. These publishing houses who won't read your manuscript without an agent have high standards, and well they should. Am I asking for perfection? Maybe.

Here's what this post boils down to. My writing might be good. In fact, some of it, the stuff I know is totally from the Holy Spirit, is really good. But, I can do better. I am not where I was, but I'm not where I want to be, either. I might be called to write, but I have a lot to learn. Just because I love to do it, does not mean I am an instant success.

I went back and read the prologue to "To Tame A Heart". I'm sorry, y'all but it's awful. Of course, that's just my opinion, but I see so much that is wrong with it that it makes me cringe. I paid a lot of money to have that book put in to audio, and I was considering paying even more to publish with someone else, but now I'm considering rewriting the thing. To all those who are saying a real loud, "NO", thank you for being my biggest fan. Y'all keep me believing in my abilities. But, seriously, I can do better, and I'm tired of throwing money away.

I told my husband the other day, if I had a thousand dollars to spend printing the book, I'd save until I had two thousand and go to a writer's class and learn how to do better. He didn't say anything, but I think he agreed with me.

It's scary, thinking about pitching to an agent. It's daunting, thinking about learning to write a 5 page synopsis. It's enough to make me want to quit, thinking about signing a contract with a mainstream publisher. Some people say I don't need to go that far. But, if the only thing holding me back is the lack of knowledge, then, folks I don't have an excuse. As we all know, the internet is plum full of articles on how to write that 5 page synopsis, so there goes that excuse. I can learn. I can do better, and I'm tired of paying someone to publish my stuff. I want to be paid for it. I want someone to buy my books from I want my books on a bookshelf for $7.99.

Maybe, God has other plans for you. In fact, I'd say that God has different plans for different folks, because as the Word says, not everybody can be an eye. Finding out what God wants for you is up to you. Finding out what He wants for me is up to me. Maybe, I'm being too ambitious, but whenever I get to praying about my books, I feel a gentle urging not to throw anymore money in to self-publishing. So, "To Tame A Heart" might not be available much longer. I might just cancel my contract with CreateSpace and rewrite it. Maybe, I won't, but don't be surprised if I do.

This post did not end up like I thought it was going to. I hope it wasn't discouraging to all you writers out there, because it wasn't meant to be. This particular time in my writing is scary, because I feel the Lord wants me to put forth more of an effort and not take the easy way out. It's hard, cause if you know me at all, I'm all about finding the easier path. So, pray for me, and I'll pray for you. Thanks for reading, and be sure to come back on Friday. I don't know if I'll write about homeschool or not, but you can be sure, I will write. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday's Musings: Independence

Wow! What can top that last post? I went back and read Friday's post this morning, and only thing I can say, is "Wow!" lol Where did that come from? Oh, yeah, the Lord. :) Had to have come from Him; nothing good in me, that's for sure. So, the question still remains, how do I top Friday's post? Hmm. Don't think I can. But, it's Monday and time for another post on another topic, so here we go.

I read an email this morning. The person said she wanted full independence. She wants to learn to cut her own food without getting messy. She was asking for suggestions, one because the sighted folks she eats with do not like watching her touch her food, and two, because she wants to be independent. I'll admit, I was not as diplomatic as I should have been. My feeling on the subject of messiness is so what. But, back when I was younger...ahem, 20-years-old or so, I was the same way. I wouldn't eat pancakes unless I had someone to cut them up for me. I wouldn't eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because they were too messy to make. Then, one day I wanted a pancake and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and no one was around to fix them for me. It was either fix it myself or go without, and I was tired of going without. So, I got messy and made them. Awful glad I practiced, because my daughters' favorite foods are pancakes with syrup and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. As for total independence, that, I wanted to tell the woman, could never be achieved.

To be independent, means you can do something totally on your own; you don't need any assistance. Let's see, how many men out there depend on their wives to wash their clothes? If the wife didn't wash his clothes, he wouldn't know what to do. So, is that man totally independent? Nope. What about the owner of a company, can he or she produce that product independently? No way. That's why people have jobs. Can a person run for president without any help? Nope. Can a deaf person chat on the phone without assistance? Nope. Can a blind person see what is going on in a movie without assistance? Nope. Can someone who is paralyzed walk up that flight of stairs unassisted? I don't think so. Can one person haul their piano in to the moving truck without assistance? No. You see what I'm saying? Deed, reckon that should be asked another way. Do you hear what I'm saying? lol

Just to clarify, I believe that a person with a disability should work to be as independent as possible. In saying that, I mean a person should be able to utilize what resources he or she has in order to live as best they can. If you are losing your sight, admit it to yourself and get some training on how to care for yourself. If you are unable to walk for whatever reason, admit it to yourself and stop being so embarrassed about using walking aids or wheelchairs out in public. So what if people stare. at least you aren't running around naked. If you need a caregiver to go places with you in order to do your shopping, admit it and get out there and shop. Independent living means you know how to use what you have in order to live as you see fit. Note: I am not talking about spiritual matters; I'm talking about physical ones. That spiritual chat will happen some other day.

Ok, I'm climbing down from my soap box, now. lol I do want to say something else before I'm finished blogging for the day.

I have something to admit. All of this depending on someone scares me to death. I try not to think about it, but in my weaker moments it consumes me. Here's what runs through my head.

What if something happens to my husband? What if, someday I can't depend on him to drive us to church. I'd have to find a church that I can walk to and like it. I'd have to move to where I can get a cab or walk to a grocery store or go hungry. I know I need to use what I have and make the best of my current situation, but if my husband was seriously injured or died, I'd be stuck, and I do mean stuck. That scares me. Oh, it's ok that Shannon lives in a rural town with no public transportation, because she doesn't need it, but what if I did?

Letting these fears get the best of me won't accomplish a thing, so I don't let them get the best of me. God, in His infinite wisdom will provide for me and my family. I know this, and I trust Him.

Even so, I miss being able to get up and go whenever I wanted to. Yeah, sure, having kids would have made it hard to do that, no matter where I live, but it would have been nice to walk to the store to get a loaf of bread, rather than depend on my husband all the time. Yeah sure, I would have had to save gas money, if I could see and wanted to take the car somewhere, but at least I could have taken it.

And, before I fall in to a major pity party, I'm done with all that.

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV

Y'all have a marvelous Monday, and be sure to come back on Wednesday, when I'll write about writing. :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

On Homeschool and Life

Well, it's Friday, and it's before 6 in the morning. Am I nuts, or what? lol Been up since 4 something. Part way through my second cup of coffee. Been reading on my current WIP, hoping for inspiration. I can see some things i need to get rid of, but not sure what I'm going to add to it, next. Also, I've been planning out my day. Got to teach the children, after all.

Speaking of homeschool, or is it home school? I don't know. Never said I was an editor. lol Anyway, speaking of teaching at home, promised y'all a post about it, so here goes.

Not too long ago, someone asked me, "How is it coming, your in home teaching, I mean?"

In home teaching. I guess that would be opposite from out of home teaching, you know, the kind you do out on your front lawn? haha! Maybe, in home teaching is opposite from teaching on the roof. I don't know. lol But, the lady who asked, well, her brain doesn't work like mine, so I was nice and said something like, "Oh, it's going fine."

But, here's the real heart of the matter. Home school is a balancing act. I believe that spending time with my girls in any capacity is the point. Sometimes, our days are filled with handwriting, math problems, reading and science lessons straight from a book. But, other times, we play pretend, we play barbies, we talk about something the girls heard on TV, or we just cuddle. Balancing between it all is the hardest part. If we spend too much time with the books, all three of us get frustrated, but if we spend too much time outside the books, all three of us get lazy. It takes constant prayer to walk somewhere in the middle.

Another thing home school is, is tiring. :) My kids can run circles around me and not think twice about it. One day this week, they were complaining and crying around, not wanting to turn the TV's off and get started. Quite honestly, I wanted to whine and crawl back in bed, too. It would have been so easy to give place to the devil and take a day off. But, if I don't put forth an effort, how can I expect my girls to put forth one. So, we went to the piano, and I took a seat on the bench.

"Now, girls," I said, "we've been talking about mammals, reptiles, fish, birds and amphibians, right? So, while I play a song, you have to go around the room and act like one of these animals."

They pretended to be birds, and I played and sang part of "I'll Fly Away." lol They played musical chairs while we all sang, "This Little Light of Mine."

When they grew tired of this, about twenty minutes later, we sat down and got started with school. Turned out to be one of our best days yet.

Something home school is not, is boring. My girls are always saying something funny or asking questions. I'm always finding new techniques of teaching sighted kids without sight. Some ideas on how to teach sighted kids when I can't see are tried and true things, but some are new, so they take some practice. When one thing doesn't work, I stop and try something else. By the time they graduate, I'm gonna be a pro. Ha! Something that helps me a lot, are those foam numbers and letters my mom picked up at Dollar General. I know what letter or number I'm holding, and my girls know it, too. My girls like to pretend and make up stories like I do, so we make the letters in to characters. For instance, I pretended to be the letter C. As letter C, I say things like, "Hello. My name is C, and I start words like cookie and cry. What's your name?"

My 4-year-old holds up a letter A and says, "I'm A."

Every day is a challenge. Every day is a blessing, and every day I am reminded how little I know. Sometimes, a home school day is a success, and i spend all evening on cloud nine. Other days, I wish I could start all over. still other days, I wish they had never come. It's a balancing act, home schooling, writing, and somewhere in there i have to wash clothes, wash dishes and keep up with friends and family. I guess life is full of ups and downs for everyone. We can't concentrate on them as separate things, though. We have to remember the end goal and keep on keeping on, even when the way is rough. If I fail, I have to get up and try again.

My husband has this saying that I absolutely love. When our girls were smaller and learning to walk, they were always tripping and falling down. When they fell, as long as they weren't hurt and crying, he'd say, "Get up and do it again."

That's what we have to do in life. whether we home school, write, teach in public school, nurse sick folks, or greet people at Walmart; if we fall, we have to get back up and do it again. Failure isn't final, and giving up is not an option.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard a well-meaning person tell me, they just don't know how I do it, being a mom who can't see and all. If I'm in the wrong mood, I might say something like, "Well, it's not like I can get any help, anyway, so I might as well keep going." But, that's not the right answer. The answer is, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Give up just because I can't see? Not on your life. Give up because I didn't graduate from college? No way, y'all! Where there's a will, I'll find the way, and when I find it, the Lord will be there to guide me through the obstacles that the devil tries to put in my path.

"I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God's holy word, a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. It's words will I hide in my heart that I might not sin against God." Amen?

Have a fabulous weekend, and we'll see y'all on Monday.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Writing Wednesday

Just FYI, I can not write with the TV on. Why that is, I don’t know. I can write when the kids are talking to me. I can write in the middle of the night when I’m half asleep. I can write inside my head when I’m in a shopping mall full of talking people. I can even make up stories when I’m supposed to be paying attention in, I didn’t mean to admit that. lol But, for some crazy reason, when my husband comes home and turns on that TV, I just can’t write!

Speaking of writing in the middle of the night, I’ve been doing quite a bit of that, here lately. About a week ago, a character waltzed in to my head, right out of the blue. Immediately, I liked him, even though I didn’t know much about him. I still don’t know a whole lot, but he lets me know when he’s ready to tell me. A couple of days after I met my character, the heroine of the story started talking to me in my head. I was like, “What is your name, anyway?”

Deed, y’all she wouldn’t tell me. So, I wrote 1,039 words, the first night, and I kept saying “She” cause I didn’t know her name. I’m like, “Lady, I can’t write a book about you, if you don’t tell me your name.” lol

So, I went a-googling, cause my male character’s family is not originally from this country, and I needed a good last name for him. While looking up names in his native language, I found what appeared to be a normal, old-fashioned, American girl’s name. But, apparently, in Spanish, it means “beauty”. Aha! That’s her name! :)

As for research, well, I’ve stopped, for now. I need to do a lot, but I can’t. The biggest reason for stopping the research is that I want to write the story. My characters live in a place called “somewhere”, and they go visit places like “that town”. The bad guy’s gun is a “gun” and the illegal organization is called “something or other”. Ha!

I’ve been following the blogs and writing advice on
and their suggestion is to do a fast write. I’m not editing, even though one character has changed gender on me. I’m not correcting bad sentences, because it all makes sense to me, right now, anyway. lol I’m just writing. It looks bad, but oh well. It’s in pieces, scenes separated by about 4 blank lines, but that’s ok. And, more importantly, I’m not talking about it. No excerpts on here, no teensy excerpts on FaceBook, no chats with my best friends Anita and Peggy about it. Nope, I’m not talking. What you’ve heard is all you get. This way, maybe it will get finished. I sure hope so.

Another thing I want to say about writing, is it’s a sacrifice. Very few people take me seriously, mostly because I never finish anything. I’m real good at the big ideas, but not so good at following through. But,with writing, the biggest problem is confidence, not laziness. I love to make up stories. Love to read them, love to write them, and someday, I’ll be taken seriously. But, I digress.

Anyway, as I was saying, writing, for now is a hobby. I have to home school my girls during the day, do laundry, dishes, yatta, yatta, yatta, so my writing has to come somewhere after that. This blog, too, has to come in between it all. In today’s world, if you want to be seen, you got to have a presence on the internet, and i like communicating with y’all, my faithful readers, via blogging. After all, why would you consider buying one of my books, if you haven’t read anything I write? This way, if you like my blog, you might be more interested in buying my books.

People ask me, “How do you find time to write, plus do everything else?”

Well, y’all, do you remember the writing in my sleep? That’s it. I get up early or stay up late, put off doing housework, stuff like that in order to write. Does it have an impact on the rest of my life? Sure it does. Sleeping off a 3 hours wakefulness in the middle of the night, usually means we don’t get started in school until 10 or 11 in the morning. But, these characters who are talking, living and breathing in my head, have to come out! Even if no one reads them, the stories have to be told.

Take this current WIP, for instance. I haven’t told you anything about it. And, truth is, I’m not writing this one for anyone, except me. I want to write this one for me. I want to know if I have what it takes to write this kind of story, and I’ll never know, if I don’t try. I wrote the sequel to “Wild Heart” for a few interested folks, but this one’s for me. I need your prayers that I finish it for me, cause if I finish it, then and only then can it be a blessing to you.

Y’all take care and come back Friday. Think I’ll write about home school and some of the funny things that happen when you get kids involved. :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Can We Be Too Holy?

1 Peter verses 15-16 says, and I quote from the King James 1611 version, “but as he hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

I listened to a sermon the other day, where the minister spoke against women waring pants, watching television, the internet and FaceBook. He didn’t get too many amens, just FYI. His message did have a positive effect on me, though; it made me think. So, here’s the results of my much thinking. :)

When I was growing up, my dad was not a Christian. Praise the Lord forever, today he is! Yay! But, a conversation with my dad when I was a teenager has stuck with me all these years. We were talking about someone we knew, and for the sake of privacy, I’ll call her Mary. I don’t know what we had been saying about Mary, who BTW is a Christian. What I do remember is my dad said, “A little holier than thou, isn’t she? I mean, from the way she acts, you’d think her name was Mary Christ.”

From what he said, I believe my dad felt like Mary had reached a level he felt he could not reach, so why bother. I believe there are lots of folks out there, who probably feel the same. Someone told me a few months ago that she had no use for organized religion. Let me say, that I think the reason for that, is quite possibly, organized religion had no use for her.

In the book of Luke, chapter 19, Jesus passes through Jericho, and in Jericho, there was a rich man, a tax collector named Zacheus. Now, Zacheus was real short, but no one felt sorry for him. In fact, no one liked him, much, I’d bet. When people saw Zacheus coming, they probably hid, like a lot of you do when the Jehovah’s witnesses or Mormons come up your front walk. Zacheus deserved people being hateful to him; he cheated folks out of their hard-earned money. Well, on the day Jesus was coming through town, Zacheus was curious to see him, but he couldn’t, because he was too short to see over the heads of the crowd. Wonder why he wanted to see Jesus? I’m sure he had heard all the stories about Him, and like any nosy person, he wanted to get a look at Him for himself. So, he climbed in to a sycamore tree and waited.

Pretty soon, he caught sight of the famous man that everyone was talking about. But, something wasn’t right. I mean, this man who reportedly healed folks and raised them from the dead didn’t look like anything holy. Why, in fact, He looked a lot like everyone else. He wasn’t especially nice-looking, either. Had Zacheus misjudged Him?

Then, as Jesus passed under the tree, He looked up and saw Zacheus hiding there. He told him to hurry up and come down, for He was going to his house to stay, today. Somewhere between that moment and the moment when Jesus left Zacheus’s house, something happened to the tax collector’s heart. And, wonder of wonders, Jesus never said anything about do’s and don’ts. He didn’t say, “Now, Zacheus, your wife and kids got to put on church clothes.” He didn’t say, “Um, Zach, buddy, better stop cussing, ‘cause the son of God is eating with you today.” He didn’t say, “Now, Zacheus, you got to start treating folks right and not cheat them anymore.”

Nope, Jesus didn’t lay down the law and expect Zacheus to obey. Instead, he just offered to be his friend, ate a meal with him, I’ll bet, and was just Himself, Jesus. Because of the Lord’s willingness to seek and save that which was lost, Zacheus had a heart transplant. :) After his heart got right, then he, Zacheus, told the Lord that he, Zacheus would pay those folks back, plus some. Zacheus’s heart was changed, and only then, did he seek to please the Lord.

Now, only you know if FaceBook is wrong for you. Only you know whether you should ware a dress or pants or a paper bag. lol Only you can make things right between you and God. If that TV keeps you from reading your Bible or going to church or praying, turn it off. If you spend more time on FB than you do praying, then stop it. But, don’t judge what is sin in another’s life. I think it’s high time, we start being real careful about saying, “Well, God told me this or that.”

Is there a such thing as being too holy? You tell me.

I took a break from blogging three times a week, but I’m going to try to get with it. :) So, come back Wednesday, when I’ll write about writing. Y’all take care, and remember Jesus loves you!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Birthdays and New Year's Day

I turned thirty-three the other day. You know when you’re a kid and a grown-up asks you how it feels to be such and such age? Well, if you were to ask me how it feels to be thirty-three, I’d have to say it feels a lot like thirty-two but it a bit more depressing. It’s not that I’m embarrassed or depressed about my age, but I can’t help thinking that I’m growing older and nothing spectacular seems to be happening. That sounds silly, I know, but it’s true. I guess when we’re teenagers, we think we know it all and we’re going to change the world with what we know. Then, when we’re all grown-up, we realize we didn’t know it all, and the world is very much not impressed with the little that we do know. lol

There was a song out a few years ago called, “1985”. I remember laughing when I first heard it. It was 2005, I was pregnant with my first baby, and I was on my way home from work. The radio was playing in the van. The driver turned up the volume, and I heard, “Springsteen, Madonna. Way before Nervana, there was U2 and Blondy and music still on MTV. Her two kids in high school, they tell her that she’s uncool. But, she’s still preoccupied in 1985.” :D

I remembered a lot of the things mentioned in the song. I remember my dad watching MTV, and it was music videos. I remembered listening to Springsteen and Madonna. A cousin of mine used to have a cassette tape of White Snake. 1985, in 2005 was just as real to me, as it was to the woman in the song. A few days after I heard that song, I was sitting at a table and talking to some kids in middle school. The one said something about going to a Tracy Lawrence concert. I said something like, “He was popular when I was thirteen.” One of the girls was like, “I know. That was like when I was born.” Haha! That, y’all was the first time in my life that I ever felt old. lol

A friend of mine, when she turned forty, decided it was time to sit down and write the book she always wanted to write. So, that is what she did. Her one daughter is married, her other daughter is engaged to be married, and her homeschooled son is in high school, doing most of the work on his own. Me, on the other hand, now, I wrote a book, and now I’m trying to concentrate on raising my children who are practically still babies. I don’t know what nuggets of wisdom I’ms upposed to gain in comparing my friend and I,, but I wonder, when my kids are grown, will I look back and find something I’d wish I had done? If so, wonder what that will be?

I’ve always been a dreamer. Some of my dreams are big and some aren’t. Some are way too outrageous for my own good, and some, while not too big, are big enough that I don’t have room on my already-full plate for them to ever come to fruition. But, still, I wonder if any of those dreams will ever amount to anything. Maybe, they will become books. I love making up stories, after all. Maybe, the really outrageous dreams are only meant to give me something to smile about. Then again, we can’t see the future, therefore, we never know what God has in store for us.

It’s a new year. Last year, as I told my 6-year-old on New Year’s Eve, is gone. We’ll never see 2011 again. Babies were born last year, family members died. Some folks got married, and others got divorced. Those babies will never be teeny babies again. Those who have died, we’ll never see again this side of eternity. The person you married will never be your fiance, again, and the spouse you divorced is no longer yours to have and to hold. But, since we’re alive and kicking, God isn’t finished with us. He has something He wants us to do, somewhere He wants us to go, someone out there He wants us to witness to. And, if you don’t know Him, He’s calling your name and has something wonderful planned for you, a relationship with Him. Since we can’t go back to yesterday, we have no choice but to plow ahead to the rest of today.. We’re not promised tomorrow, after all. We have to live in the “now”. Now, is all we have.

As for resolutions, I made one. I promised myself that I would do the best I could do in my now. I’m not going to worry about the decisions I made yesterday. I am not going to worry about the decisions I have to make tomorrow. I am going to live and do my best right now. Right now, I’m going to love my children and show them how much I love them. Right now, I’m going to do the job God has given me. Right now, I’m going to be the best wife I know how to be.

Last year, about this time, if you care to go back that far on this blog, I was writing about obedience. Nothing much has changed since January 2011; it has, however, gotten better. Three years ago, about this time, I had just published my first book. A few things have changed since then, mostly I’ve fallen off cloud nine and realized writing isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. :) What will I blog about in January 2013? What will be different next year? Only God knows. But, my goal for this year is to live in such a way that when I look back to January 2012, I have no regrets. How about you?