Nana & Papa’s Kitchen Table

 In my Nana and Papa’s kitchen, there was a large round table. It was big enough for at least 8 people to sit around. It was at this table that so many memories were made.
 Growing up, each Thanksgiving or Christmas, we would gather at their house for our family gathering. The adults would sit at the big round table and the grandkids sat at the kids table, usually in the living room. My dad would always choose the chair in the corner, that way he wouldn’t have to refill his own tea glass or plate.
 Each Christmas, after all the gifts were opened and the meal was eaten, all of the grandkids would gather around the table with Nana and play a rousing hand of Uno. We never could get Papa or the other adults to play, probably because Nana was sometimes a sore loser and the grandkids liked to egg it on at times. I know she loved every minute of it, otherwise, she would have never played with us.
 That old table held so many memories, too many to count. But they are memories that I will always have. To me, that table represents family. I know that now that Nana and Papa are no longer with us, we will no longer gather around that table to play games, eat, or just chat. But I am so grateful that I have those memories to look back on.
 So cherish the memories you have sitting around the kitchen table.
 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Hebrews‬ ‭13‬:‭16‬


Little Blessings

 It’s easy for us to thank God for the bigger blessings. Blessings such as a healing from an illness or keeping us safe from harm are easy to see. It’s easy to see that God is providing for us when we have a roof over our heads and food on our table. However, it’s sometimes hard to see the little blessings that God provides.
 During this trial that my family has been going through, I keep asking God to bring me a new job and to take care of us. I know He hears me and I know He has the right job for me. But, since I haven’t gotten that job, it would be easy to say that God isn’t listening. He is, though. I may not have a new job, but God is taking care of us. Several times, He has shown it by lowering a monthly bill and notifying me of some money I will receive that I was not expecting. It’s not much, but every little bit helps. So not only is God keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table, He is helping us in these small ways.
 So not only should we thank God for the bigger blessings, we should look for Him in the smaller things as well. How is God blessing you today?
 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” – Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬

Halloween – I’m not a Fan

 I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween. Yes, I know that puts me in the minority, but it’s the truth. I’m not sure why I don’t like it; I just don’t. Perhaps it’s because we never really trick-or-treated when I was growing up, at least not after we moved back to Oklahoma when I was 6. (I don’t remember much before then). That wasn’t because I had bad parents that didn’t take me. It’s just that when I was young, people were beginning to put things in the candy and trick-or-treating at strangers’ houses was strongly discouraged. We lived in Oklahoma City and then Norman and not in good places to really know your neighbors. Then when we moved to Rush Springs, we didn’t live in a neighborhood. The malls were not really doing trick-or-treating to the stores yet and there weren’t really fall festivals and such at churches. I remember our Girl Scout troop in Rush Springs doing something a year or two and that was fun. But going out and trick-or-treating was not something we did. I’ve also never been a scary movie or haunted house kind of girl; and I can’t stand the Halloween themed tv shows.
 I tried not to let my dislike for the holiday rub off on my son. Until he was almost 4, we lived on a busy street in a neighborhood that wasn’t conducive to trick-or-treating, but our church had a party for the kids. So, I would dress him up and take him there. He enjoyed it. Then right before his 4th Halloween, we moved to a neighborhood that was great for trick-or-treating. So we took him while my in-laws handed out candy. One year, my father-in-law took him trick-or-treating while I stayed and handed out candy with my mother-in-law since my husband had to work. My son would come back with more candy than I handed out. But, after a few years of that, my son tired of it and chose to do other things like go to a football game or go hunting with his dad. And frankly, I was ok with that. Now that he is older, he has given up dressing up and trick-or-treating, although, last year, he did go with friends.
 I don’t begrudge anyone who loves Halloween. To each his own. However, I don’t give out candy to trick-or-treaters anymore. And so far, no one has egged my house for it.
 “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭18‬ NIV

How Do You Use Your Words

I read the other day that the average human knows 20,000 words. (I’m not sure how they conducted the study to find that out, but I’m glad I wasn’t part of it.). That’s a lot of words. We live in a time like no other where words are used more than ever – through social media, text, email, etc.

I am not a politically correct person. In fact, I believe that we have allowed political correctness to hurt us. I don’t go out of my way to say something hurtful, but at the same time, I don’t go out of my way not to offend someone. Terms like racism, sexist, hatred, and bigotry get overused. Those things still exist in the world and always will. However, when they are used just because someone disagrees with what you’ve said, it diminishes the true instances of them. I can disagree with someone of a different race not because of the color of his skin, but because we don’t believe the same. It seems daily there is something new for people to be offended about.

I was always taught “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. This is an innocent enough statement meant to teach us that we shouldn’t let what someone says hurt us. I was also taught not to say mean things just because I can. I was taught that when someone doesn’t like me, that’s their problem not mine. I know that words, if said enough, can and do hurt. I’ve seen it with people I know and it has happened to me. It has happened to my son. Unfortunately, there will always be people who use words to try and hurt people.

So think about how you use your words. How do you use your 20,000 words?

“And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness And of Your praise all the day long.” Psalms‬ ‭35:28‬ ‭NKJV

“Take Me Home, Country Roads”

A few posts ago, I wrote about how music has been a big part of my life. Tonight, as I was playing “SongPop” on my phone, I was reminded once again just how true that is. One song can bring back a flood of memories. It transports me right back to that moment in time when I first heard the song. Most of the time, that moment is a good memory; occasionally, it isn’t. Fortunately, tonight, it is a good one.

My fourth grade teacher in Rush Springs was Miss Karee Engle. I loved her. We shared not only the same first name (spelled differently of course) but we also shared a birthday. Now, since I am a nerd, I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. She would bring her guitar to class and teach us songs. She loved John Denver. So, she taught us “Grandma’s Feather Bed” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads” among others. So tonight, when “Take Me Home, Country Roads” was one of the songs on my game, I was instantly transported back 30 years (yes, I know I am dating myself) to those careless elementary mornings when we would sing in class.

There are so many other songs that take me back in time. Songs like “Leader of the Pack”, “Silhouettes on the Shade”, or “Earth Angel” that take me back to junior high choir when we would do our 50s and 60s concerts. “Raining Men” or “Every Heartbeat” takes me back to Pizzazz show choir (jazz hands, everyone!). When listening to the new “Totally 80s” station in the car, I’ll hear “I’ll Be Loving You” or “Love Shack” or a song like that that takes me back to high school. “Saved the Best for Last” takes me back to senior prom or “The Dance” will take me to Elk City’s prom when I went with my neighbor’s brother junior year. Then I’ll hear “Hero” by Marc Anthony and it takes me back to watching VH1 while feeding my son when he was a baby in the middle of the night.

I could go on and on but I’ll stop now. This post has no real point except to show once again just how much music impacts my life. Without it, I might not remember near the things that I do. 😄

“Begin the music, strike the timbrel, play the melodious harp and lyre” – Psalm‬ ‭81:2

Where Do I Fit In

I’m not a big movie watcher; my husband can attest to that. Where he can watch movies over and over again, there are only a handful that I can watch repeatedly. And most of those are from the 1980s. I’ve seen “Dirty Dancing” and “Top Gun” probably enough times that if my brain worked that way, I could quote them word for word. As I wrote a few weeks ago, “Grease” is my all time favorite musical movie. But probably my all time favorite 80s movie is “Can’t Buy Me Love”. In fact, I’ve seen it so many times that even my son made a comment about me watching it over and over again and said he had seen it at least three times with me…and that was before he watched it again with me last night. I remember wanting a car like Cindy’s and being a little disappointed that I couldn’t get one.
 Like many movies, especially 80s movies, there was not only there the main point of two unlikely people eventually falling in love, there was also a lesson to be learned from the movie, whether the writers actually intended it or not. “Can’t Buy Me Love” is an example of how high school; High school is full of nerds, jocks, and everything in between. There is the leaders and the followers, the “in” crowd and the “out” crowd. Many times, the “in” crowd picks on the “out” crowd. And sometimes, those on the outside just want to be part of that “in” crowd. But the bottoms line is that everyone just wants to be accepted and fit in. They want to be liked for who they are, but because of some unspoken socially set rules of adolescence, no matter to what group they belong, they feel they need to follow the leader.
 In the movies, there is always the happy ending where someone gives a speech and everyone becomes friends in the end. However, in real life, this isn’t usually the case. We all experience rejection at one time or another in our lives. We get rejected by family, jobs, or people we thought were friends. We may not feel worthy or that we fit in someplace. No matter who or how we are rejected in our lives, there is one thing to which we can cling – that we don’t have to be a jock or a nerd or anything in between to be in God’s “in group”. He loves us and accepts us no matter what we’ve done or not done in our lives. We don’t have to buy our way in with works or money. All we have to do is accept Him. God loves each and every one of us. I am so happy that I will always “fit in” to God’s group!
 “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans‬ ‭15:7‬ ‭NIV‬

Being Gideon in a Hollywood World

Last weekend at church, Pastor Ethan taught about Gideon and how God used him. If you don’t know, Gideon was a man in the Old Testament that, with the help of God, led an army of 300 men to defeat a group of 130,000 Midianite men who had been invading and pillaging Israel for seven years. Pastor Ethan tells the story much better than I ever could, which you can listen to it here
“If You’re Not Ready, You’re Perfect, Part 2”

As usual, this lesson made me think, which is kind of the point. The Bible is full of examples of God using the people who society would deem “the least likely to succeed”. Moses had a stutter when he was called to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. David was a child when he slayed Goliath. Paul was a tax collector. These are just a few that come to mind. But God used them. He is still using them to tell the story and lead us. Next time you are in a hotel, look in the drawer for a Bible. In that Bible, look at the inside and see how it got there. Gideon’s army is still working all these years later.

There are examples in our own lives as well. My mom is not and never has been a public speaker. Yet, years ago, after she had been involved in Emmaus for several years, God placed her on a team in a position where she had to give one of the talks. Then she became a lay director. And since then, she has been on other teams and given other talks. If you had asked her twenty or so years ago if she thought she’d be sharing her story in front of a group of people, she probably would have thought you were crazy. But through this, she has been able to touch several lives. God has used her to bring others closer to Him and to let them know that they are not alone in whatever they have experienced or are experiencing in their lives.

When I set out to start blogging, my intention was not to necessarily have life lessons or to share God’s word regularly, at least not like this. It’s called “Random Ramblings by Kerry” for a reason. It was basically a way for me to quiet the voices in my head without posting constantly on Facebook or rattling to my husband. And while it may change focus occasionally or completely in the future, it looks as though God has other plans for this blog for now. I’m ok with that; however, I am probably perceived as one of least likely people to teach about God. I am not a Bible scholar, not even close. In fact, I may know several stories from the Bible, but I cannot tell you where many of them are. I do not have a lot of scriptures memorized, and again, many of the ones I do, I am not 100% sure in what book and chapter they are. Thank goodness for my Bible app that has the search feature 😀. However, like Gideon and Moses and David, and people like my mom, God seems to be using me to help spread the Good news! I may not feel qualified, but that is the point.

If you think about it, it makes sense that God would use those that seem to be the least likely. Think about all the times that someone who is a natural born leader or a dynamic speaker talks and no one listens. But then along comes someone who rarely speaks or seems shy but when he/she does speak, he/she has the perfect answer and people know to listen to him/her. So why wouldn’t God use the least likely?

Just like God gave Gideon the courage and the tools to defeat the enemy, God will give us the tools to do what He wants/needs us to do. We may have to, well most likely have to, step out of our comfort zone, our safe space. We may not realize that is to where or to what God is leading us until we’re already there or have already been there. It doesn’t have to be a booming voice telling us what to do. It doesn’t even have to be something as big as defeating 130,000 men or sharing your story. It could be as simple as giving someone a hug or just listening to them. It could be writing a simple note or a simple blog or other social media post. You never really know until you listen and watch for what God is telling you. And just like He was with Gideon and my mom, God is always there and will never send you out alone.

“The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly.” Isaiah‬ ‭60:22‬ ‭