Self Condemnation

There are things that I have regretted in my life, things I still regret.  If I could go back and change something, would I?  YES, I would change a lot.  I have had that immense, deep hurt in my heart for things that I have done or not done that I should have.  But, I have never killed anyone.

The Apostle Paul was a dedicated persecutor of Christians.  He hated them to the point of murder.  He was young and watched when Stephen was stoned to death for following Jesus.  You can call me a wimp, but I hide my eyes during violence in movies, I can not fathom what it does to someone to watch someone else being stoned to death.  It is evil.  That is all I can say.  Paul continued his education as a Pharisee and grows to despise followers of Christ.  He does all he can to have them put to death in an attempt to eliminate them all.  He hates them so much that he travels to seek out christians to kill them.  And then.  He changes.  He becomes a follower of Jesus himself.

Endless, immeasurable regret.  The faces of those that he murdered playing over and over in his head.  The anguish that Paul must have lived with.  Or did he?

“There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus.”  Those are the words of Paul.

Do you have regret in your life?  Have you murdered masses of people?  Paul did.  And he learned the meaning of true forgiveness.

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Of Mine

It approaches.  Darkness beyond the night.  An icy cold more than the winter.  Swirling and consuming.  How can I see the dark?  It is an absence of the light.  Covering all and ruling all, hiding and shielding everything in its path.

Where is this nebulous?  In my heart.

Why so lightless?  I want refuge, useless to seek.  Give me answers to questions, meaningless to ask.  The darkness that swallows me with no apology.

Blink.  Hint.  Beam.  Tiny spark.  Fragile candle.  Oh little light, you are the conquerer.  Darkness is gone.  With no fight, with no encounter.  The intensity vanishes.

Little light.  Victory.

Whistle While You Work

I am not a Walmart shopper.  Let me rephrase that, I am not a willing Walmart shopper.  I wasn’t born yesterday.  I have been treated rudely often enough by Walmart employees to not be a believer in their customer service commercials.  Oh, the post I could write about the things employees at Walmart have said to me over the years.  Shesh!  …BUT!  Although, I do most of my grocery shopping elsewhere, I am constantly sucked in.  I average about once a week.  They have stuff I need and usually the lowest price around.

HOWEVER, the other day, I actually left Walmart with a smile on my face.  Don’t fall over dead or call me a liar!  I know, I know, Doesn’t sound possible, BUT, as I am checking out, an older gentleman, I am guessing in his 70s strikes up a friendly conversation with my girl and I (already, this is far far above the normal courtesy that I find there) and then he starts to sing to us!  An old song about loving your mother.  He is singing to my daughter.  I melted.

Everyone walking by, and everyone standing near (which is a lot of people) are turning and staring and giving him the “What in the world are you doing?!” look and the “You are an idiot” look.  The look I am giving him?  The “You have made my day” look.

People that think that he has lost his mind, I say that he may be one of the few in that store that has found it!  What a joy to see a kind soul that is actually enjoying his job in customer service and is actually in the business of serving!  It was, by far, my best experience at Walmart ever.  I thanked him, but it just didn’t seem like enough.

Giving Thanks: The Final Post in a Thanksgiving Series

This is the third and last post in a Thanksgiving series.  I do not often quote other writers on this site but the facts in this post are taken from “Thanksgiving, A Time to Remember” by Barbara Rainey.

“By October 1621 the corn planted that spring was ready for harvest.  The fields yielded a large crop that would keep the colony from starvation in the coming winter.  Their hearts were full of gratitude for their renewed health, for the abundant harvest, and for the peace they enjoyed with the Indians.

William Bradford, who at thirty three years of age had been elected leader of the colony after the death of John Carver that summer, was thankful for the harvest.  As the new governor, he declared that Plymouth should hold a thanksgiving festival and invite the settlement’s Indian friends as special guests.  A date was set, and an invitation delivered to Chief Massasoit.

When Massasoit arrived with ninety hungry braves, the Pilgrims became worried.  How could they feed that many people?  And if they used too much of their precious stockpiled corn, would they have adequate food supply to survive the winter?

When Massasoit and his men arrived at Plymouth, they too went to the woods and seashore to gather food.  The Pilgrims breathed a sigh of relief and began preparing the meal.

When it was time to eat, the menu was impressive:  venison, goose, lobster, eel, oysters, clam chowder, parsnips, turnips, cucumbers, onions, carrots, cabbage, beets, radishes, and dried fruit that included gooseberries, strawberries, cherries, plums,  and ashcakes, and popcorn (provided by the Indians.)

The feasting continued over a three-day period, during which both Indians and Pilgrims participated in games and exhibitions of shooting skill with bows and arrows and guns.  The Pilgrim boys joined the races and wrestling matches of the Indians, and in turn the Indians learned how to play stoolball – a game resembling croquet.”

The Pilgrims lost 50% of those that had traveled over on the Mayflower with them.  Imagine!  Just think of journeying to a new land and half of your group dies!

BUT!  God was not through with them yet!  They absolutely could not know what America would grow to be!  They could not know what they were starting:  the amazing nation, the United States of America!  But God had brought them to this new land.  And after such a harsh winter, it was spring again.  They had learned to farm.  They had made friends with the Indians.  They were going to survive.  I don’t know about you, but when we get in a circle at Thanksgiving time and share what we are thankful for, I have never said, “I am going to survive.  Thank God.”  Well, that was their thanks!  They looked at the remaining children, their remaining family, and said, “We have hope.  We have God.  Look what he has done.  It looks like our dream of this new country is going to come true after all.  Let’s give thanks.”  So, a week early, I say to all my friends in the United States of America, and to all my friends around the world, “Let’s give thanks for what God has done.”  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Hardships Beyond What I Have Ever Known: Post 2 in a Thanksgiving Series

You would not think that the people that began our Thanksgiving tradition still had such hardships fresh in their minds.  Hardships that I can not begin to imagine.  This is the second post in a Thanksgiving series.  The facts are taken from “Thanksgiving, A Time to Remember” by Barbara Rainey.

“Perhaps the Pilgrims had felt that the worst was over when they finally set foot on solid ground again.  But their relief was only momentary.  As the weeks went by, the weather grew worse.  In the coldest stretch of winter, a disease made much of the community desperately ill.  The Pilgrims began to die in alarming numbers.  Near the end of March, with the weather improving and the worst of the influenza outbreak over, the surviving Pilgrims assessed their winter losses.  Several entire families had perished in the epidemic; fifteen of nineteen women were dead; in only four couples had both spouses survived.  The children had fared the best.  Of ten girls, nine survived, and only eight of the twenty-three boys died.  Nearly half of those who had arrived on the Mayflower now lay in the shallow graves dug on a windswept hill beside the sea.”

These are the men and women that established our country.  These tragedies struck the very land that we inhabit today.  These is our family tree.

Surely they questioned their journey.  I am sure some of them wished they had stayed in England.  I imagine that many of them questioned God.  Surely some of them were angry.  How hard!  Now they were in a new land with no home, no knowledge of how to survive, and now each of them had been touched by death in a huge way.  This is not the Thanksgiving story that runs through the mind of most while we prepare the turkey.

The Promise of a New Life: Post 1 in a Thanksgiving Series

A dreaded time with family that you want to avoid?  The best day where you eat and eat with no thought of calories?  Another day off work?  What is this whole “Thanksgiving thing” about anyway?  A day where we celebrate the white man taking over the red man’s home?  A Christian fiction story?  What are the facts of Thanksgiving?

Confession:  My favorite holiday is Christmas.  My second favorite holiday is the next one that is coming up.  So, right now, my second favorite holiday is:  Thanksgiving!  Seriously, I really really do love Thanksgiving!  In my teaching days, I worked at a school named Master’s Academy.  If I could insert a little commercial here, Master’s Academy held an annual Thanksgiving celebration that was out of this world!  I have absolutely no clue how they were able to pull the whole thing off.  You are going to think that I am exaggerating and I would also, if I had not experienced the day first hand.  The class would file outside to a village that was set up on school grounds.  Teachers and volunteers were dressed as Pilgrims and Indians, not like Disney Pocahontas and John Smith but the real deal.  Somehow there was always a man that had guns from this time period and he would give a demonstration, there were hard biscuits and dried meat, animal skins….it was amazing!  The closest thing to traveling back in time that I have ever experienced.  Each year, I wish that my daughter could experience that Thanksgiving celebration.  But from it, I learned a true love of Thanksgiving that I hope to pass to her and I hope will be contagious.

Years ago, I found a jewel, “Thanksgiving, A Time to Remember” by Barbara Rainey.  Most of my facts come from this book.  I can not recommend it enough!  I am going to do something here, that I do not usually do on my blog, I am going to site big portions from this book:

“The Mayflower, a small wooden ship with billowing sails, was the vessel God used to bring a group of Christian believers to an unseen land far over the Atlantic.  These Christian men and women, called Pilgrims, believed that God was leading them to establish a new community where they could worship freely…When the Mayflower finally left England, on the 6th of September, crowded on board were 102 passengers, including 33 children…The food was terrible – brine soaked beef, pork, and fish and stale, hard biscuits, which often were full of insects.  The rats living on board helped themselves to the same food supplies…The rooms for passengers were crowded and mainly below deck.  Conditions were miserable:  cramped quarters, seasick people vomiting into pails – if they were able to find one in time, no sanitary toilets; the hatches were sealed off because of constant storms, and so the passengers were unable to get fresh air.  A foul mixture of odors grew in such an environment…After 97 days at sea, the Pilgrims caught a glimpse of their destination, ‘La-a-nd, ho!'”

This series will take a quick look at some facts about Thanksgiving, with of course some followup and comments from me.  I hope you will chime in with your own views.

A NOVEL IS BORN!

It is FINALLY READY!  The news is:

After a three and a half year pregnancy, I am pleased to announce the birth of “Spiritual Flesh and Blood.” This is my baby that I have been preparing for so long and now it is available for sale.  Over 60,000 words never before published on Beautiful Life with Cancer.

My site is full of dramatic short commercials, now it is time for the full length version!

As I was writing, “Spiritual Flesh and Blood,” I found myself, the author of the book, laughing and crying.  “Get it together Caroline!  You wrote this story!  Stop crying!”  In other words, I promise it will touch you!

Please click on the link below for more information and to purchase.

https://www.createspace.com/5108444