Love One Another…

You know what I think is really neat? When you’re reading a book and then you go to church and get a re-emphasis of the message from the book? I’m reading “The Shack” again after several years since first reading it. (Excellent, excellent book by William Paul Young.) I was reading it this morning and had a hard time tearing myself away from it to get ready for church. I go to church at Sunnyside Christian and nearly everything Eric Batteiger said this morning emphasized what I had been reading about that morning!! So cool!
God loves us! He wants us to be in a relationship with him. He IS love and he wants us to love others and be in relationship with others too. God is the compass. If we’re lost and don’t know what to do or where to go next in life, look to God and he will show you the way…with love! There is no place so deep or so dark that God can’t find you and point you to the way out.
GOD IS LOVE!! If he’s all about love, then what in the world is going on where all we hear about on the news is hatred, meanness, attacking one another for being different from us, for just being sometimes? We need to get back to love, respect, and decency people! We’re all different, but that’s what makes life so amazing! Wouldn’t it be boring if we were all just alike, all believed the exact same things, said the same things, did the same things? 
I don’t want to live in a world like that, do you? Please, give each other the benefit of the doubt and respond first with respect and love. You’ll be amazed at what happens next!

  

Dawn at the House

   
 
Dawn at the Lane House,

in the early morning light,

the flowers glow like sunshine,

and are such a pretty sight.
In the background are

the mountains,

where leaves will

start to turn,

the season is changing,

as the sunshine slowly burns.
These flowers were

just a wilderness,

two or three weeks ago,

and now they’ve bloomed to beauty,

and are worth more than

silver or gold.
© Elaine Wood-Lane

9/16/15
Sometimes the greatest beauty comes from the wildest, most unmanageable things in our lives. These sunflowers were a total mess about a month ago, taking over everything in the front flower beds and yard. We couldn’t even open our back gate on the south side of the yard because these plants had grown so wild, tall, and heavy. So I cleaned up the yard, chopped down some of the sunflower, mint, and purple thistle as well as some wild ash seedlings. Now, just a few weeks later, I don’t care if the entire yard is covered up with these sunflowers because they are beautiful, glowing, and cheerful. They seem like a message from God telling us that if He can turn a wild jungle mess into a beautiful sunflower garden, just imagine what He can do with us.

Isaiah 61:3

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

I hope you have a wonderful day and, if God chooses to make you into a beautiful sunflower garden, don’t resist Him too much. He knows what He’s doing, all the time!
Peace and love,  Elaine

Dawn at the House

Dawn at the Lane House,
in the early morning light,
the flowers glow like sunshine,
and are such a pretty sight.

In the background are
the mountains,
where leaves will
start to turn,
the season is changing,
as the sunshine slowly burns.

These flowers were
just a wilderness,
two or three weeks ago,
and now they’ve bloomed to beauty,
and are worth more than
silver or gold.

© Elaine Wood-Lane
9/16/15

Sometimes the greatest beauty comes from the wildest, most unmanageable things in our lives. These sunflowers were a total mess about a month ago, taking over everything in the front flower beds and yard. We couldn’t even open our back gate on the south side of the yard because these plants had grown so wild, tall, and heavy. So I cleaned up the yard, chopped down some of the sunflower, mint, and purple thistle as well as some wild ash seedlings. Now, just a few weeks later, I don’t care if the entire yard is covered up with these sunflowers because they are beautiful, glowing, and cheerful. They seem like a message from God telling us that if He can turn a wild jungle mess into a beautiful sunflower garden, just imagine what He can do with us.

I hope you have a wonderful day and, if God chooses to make you into a beautiful sunflower garden, don’t resist Him too much. He knows what He’s doing, all the time!

Peace and love,

Elaine

Joy Comes in the Morning

There is a different quality
In the atmosphere of this morning.
The details of each tree leaf
And grass blade are sharper,
In sunshine that is softer
Than it was even a week ago.

The air smells fresh, sweet,
With a tinge of nip and moisture.
Almost fall, but not quite.

Darkness fell earlier yesterday,
As I prayed fervently and feverishly.

I know all will be well though.
For rejoicing comes in the morning
And shines with love and hope.
This beautiful morning, seen
From my back stoop,
Reminds me that God is faithful
And good and with us all….
Forever and always, amen!

© Elaine Wood-Lane
9/7/15

For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Psalms 30:5

Humility

You know, sometimes, just when you think you have life pretty much figured out and know how to take care of all the basics, you find yourself utterly defeated by something completely ridiculous. In my past I’ve found myself challenged by big things like aging parents, angsty teens, mental illness, poverty, sexism, racism, and even sexual harassment. Those things are “normal” in the course of a lifetime I think unless you live on a pink cloud all by yourself where nothing ever happens. With God’s help, I have managed and can manage to face all those things, I think.

So, I’m feeling pretty confident about my life and myself this morning when my husband asks me to go buy gas for the lawnmower. He hands me the little red gas jug and proceeds to start mowing the back yard. No big deal! I’m happy to do it! So Buddy (my 10 year old Chihuahua) and I go to the small gas station a block away and I pull out my little red gas jug. I then proceed to fight with it for at least 5 minutes, trying not to swear at my husband beneath my breath as I do so. “Sugar bear!! Why did he ask me to do this anyway? Just because I’m incapable of mowing the lawn, that’s why! I know I don’t mow in straight lines and can’t turn corners, but this is too much!! Drat that man!” I struggled and I twisted and I pinched and, I couldn’t get it off! I couldn’t tell if I was doing something wrong or if I just wasn’t strong enough to squeeze the appropriate places and twist at the same time. I was about to give up when I noticed a young man pull up behind me to buy gas. He had a little boy in his back seat so I decided he looked safe and humbly went over and asked for help. (Women, as you know, this is something we have to be careful about. Some guys aren’t safe.) The young man said “Sure! No problem!” and then, of course, flipped something, twisted the cap and voila! The cap was off the jug in 2 seconds. I blushed at my lack of ability and humbly thanked him for his assistance. He couldn’t help himself. He grinned wryly at the old lady, i.e. me, and said, “Those things can be complicated until you’ve done it a time or two.” I laughed, he laughed and I went back to my gas pump, filled the jug with gas and the car with the gas and slinked humbly back home.

You know, we never will know everything or have all the answers. There will always be something that we need help with in this life. Whether it be getting a stupid cap off of a gas jug, getting help with our kids, parents, spouses, family at large, or even accepting help from complete strangers when we need it.

There are even those of us who have gone to church all our lives, read the bible all our lives and given ourselves to Jesus, who think we have all the answers down pat and, suddenly something comes up that leaves us questioning our previously held pat answers. I think society at large is in this state right now. So much about our society, social mores and values have changed over the last 20 years. Some of them are really good, some of them aren’t and some of them I don’t know about. Some of them I’m still wrestling with and so, I go to God’s word and try to find the answers. I have decided one thing for sure. Even if I don’t have all the answers, I know God does. I know He knows what the big picture looks like and that if I just submit to His will and “Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him,” (Micah 6:8) it will all work out okay in the end. I’m not God. I don’t have to have all the answers for every question or situation. I do need to act justly, treat people with love, dignity and mercy, and walk humbly with God. I might not agree with everyone else or anyone else, I might not be of the same religious beliefs or non-beliefs, political stripe, the same race, the same socioeconomic bracket, or of the same sexual orientation as someone else. It doesn’t matter. I am still asked, no, required, by God to act justly, treat all people with love, dignity, and mercy, and walk humbly with God. Especially when I can’t even get a stupid cap off of a gas jug, it occurs to me that I’m not in a position to act superior to anyone, ever. Do you?

Peace, blessings, and love for the week ahead to all of you,

Elaine

P.S. I have problems reading crochet and knitting patterns sometimes too. Everyone seems to think I know all there is to know about those hobbies, but let me tell you, they confound me sometimes! Here’s my current project. If I finish it and it actually ends up looking like this, I will let you know. 😀

Hugs and Prayers

I believe if there was more hugging, praying and listening to one another, there would be less hatred, bigotry, judgment, and violence. It is very difficult to hug and pray for someone and continue to hate them or fear them. You see them as they truly are, a person, just like you, with faults, foibles, gifts and goodness. (Yes, I believe there is some goodness in every person on earth. Every person.) If you actually listen to people, most of the time you will find they want the same things you want: love, safety, security, acceptance, and…love again! We’re all different people, but all people nonetheless. So, the next time you’re tempted to tell someone off, hate someone because of their ethnicity or different viewpoint or lifestyle, or worse, take a deep breath, remember they are human just like you, give them a hug either in actuality or in your heart, and say a prayer for them. Jesus said to pray for your enemies and to love one another. I think a lot of good things could come from following those instructions and examples that He gave of that. (Have you ever noticed that what Jesus taught and Jesus did were completely the same?)

Do you think hugs are too simplistic or that people won’t accept them well? Here are a few instances that reveal the error of that idea.

*One day at a grocery store, a complete stranger, an older woman, came up to me, started talking to me, and by the end of the conversation we were hugging and loving one another like long lost relatives. She was old, lonely, and just needed some love and attention. Okay, I’ll come clean, this wasn’t a one time event. It happens to me all the time! I think I must have a sign on my back that says, “Need a hug? Come to me!” Hahaha!

*At a job I had at the Texas Tech medical school, one day a young man who was HUGE, but greatly mentally challenged, broke free from his caregivers and charged down the hall at me yelling, “Want to bite! Want to bite!” He ran into my office, grabbed me by the arm and raised it towards his face as though he was going to bite my arm. (I was terrified! He could have bitten my arm in two. He was that big.) I patted him on his arm and gave him a gentle hug and said, “You don’t really want to bite me, do you? My name is Elaine. Did you know that God loves you?” He put my arm down, returned my hug in a nearly rib-cracking manner and apologized right before his caregivers caught up to me. He was calm for the remainder of his visit and kept repeating, “God loves me! God loves me!”

*As a final example among hundreds, one day I came across a young man who was obviously a criminal, a drug dealer, a gang leader. It was a highly charged, scary situation. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time quite by coincidence. There were other young men with him and all looked like they’d just as soon injure me as look at me. To this day I don’t know why I did this, but I believe the Holy Spirit took me over because I walked up to this scary looking big gang member and gave him a hug and told him God love him. He grasped me to him, hid his face in my shoulder and started crying! I’m not talking a little bit of tears. I’m talking body wracking sobs. He was trying to hide this from his fellow gang members, but whispered to me, “Do you really think God loves me after all I’ve done?” I assured him that God did love him, even now. Then I said something my Grandmother Gill used to say, “It’s time to come back to God’s country.” He shook his head in agreement, asked me to give him a moment to compose himself and thanked me as he let me go.

These are but a few examples of all the people I’ve met in life who just needed a hug and a reminder that they were loved by God, if no one else, and that they mattered. Now, I’m not suggesting you go up to a stranger on the street and give them a hug without asking. I am suggesting that when opportunities arise to give a hug or even a pat on the shoulder…take it! Pray for these people! Remember them and keep praying for them! We’re all humans who need love, even if we’re all different from each other. Thank God we’re all different from each other and have such variety! How boring would an entire world of Elaines be? Ugh! Actually, the world would fall apart if everyone were like me because although I’m a hugger, prayer, and lover of people, we also need accountants, doctors, lawyers, garbage collectors, mechanics, engineers, peacekeepers, artists, judges, factory workers and even politicians to keep the world running properly and with beauty. Ever single one of those people, though, needs love, or at the various least, respect. So, love, pray, hug.

Peace and love, always,

Elaine

1 Corinthians 13:1-8
The Greatest Gift
​ Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.

Let God Be

This is a poem I had posted on another blog I have.  I posted it several years ago and just saw it again.  I wrote it in 1999 when my life was a little more…chaotic and very stressful and I had several other dear friends and family going through a very stressful time too.  I thought, perhaps it might serve to encourage others who are in that place today.  We all have chaotic and stressful times in our lives when we don’t know if we’ll make it through. Let me reassure you, if you hold onto God and let Him be in charge, let Him give your strength, courage and wisdom, you will make it through!  It probably won’t look like the way you think you want it to look or be the way you think you want it to be. Instead, when we let God take over, it will be better than you could ever dream or imagine! God loves YOU!  Yes YOU!  Even if you say you don’t believe in Him and even if you think you’re too messed up, too smart, too dumb, too whatever, God loves YOU. So. That’s all I’ll say about that.  I love all of you and hope you have a good day today!

http://ladybugdaze.blogspot.com/2012/10/let-god-be.html

The Pain Problem

I have fibromyalgia. I have been doing really well lately so far as pain goes. Even on my trip to Europe, I felt pretty good most of the time. Tired and a little achy in the evenings, but we scheduled in days of rest. This was very wise.

Since we have returned my sleep schedule has been all messed up. I tend to wake up in the middle of the night. I’m usually not hurting, but just can’t sleep.

Out of the blue last evening I started hurting. The all over the body, just shoot me now, kind of pain. The pain that no matter what you do or what position you get into, nothing helps. EVERYTHING HURTS. When my pain gets like this I swear even my eyelashes hurt. It’s that burning, pervasive, what-the-hell kind of pain. I always describe it as feeling like having a bad case of flu after you’ve run a marathon. You know, where you feel feverish (I’m not), your muscles are on fire, your joints hurt, your skin tingles and prickles and you just want to lay down flat on the floor, spread eagle and die kind of pain. I’m not in this kind of pain nearly as often as I used to be, but, dear, kind, merciful God, please remove it from me now!

I hate the pain scale question that nurses and doctors always ask. You know the one: “On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, what is your pain level today?” Usually it’s between 5 and 7, but I don’t even register that pain any longer. I’ve been inured to it. Get it above a 7, though and wow! Turn up the dial on that and it’s like 10 isn’t high enough to describe it. I personally think the scale should be 1-20. Tonight I would be a 20.

Ok, now, I’ve whined long enough. I know this too shall pass because it always does. I’ve taken my “only in case of real pain” medication. I’ll drink coffee and read something excruciatingly boring and the next thing you know, I’ll be asleep on the couch. When I wake up, most of the pain will be gone. The birds will be singing, the sun will bright and I’ll forget what this pain feels like. I’ll think, “Oh, good grief! There’s nothing wrong with me! Why was I making such a fuss last night?” and I’ll forget what I was feeling until the next time.

I read a blog post on Momastery tonight that made a lot of sense. It was referring to deep depression, but whether one’s pain is mental/emotional or physical, pain is pain. She recommended that when one is down and hurting, write a note to yourself so when you do go to the doctor two days later and you’re “fine,” you can show them the note of how you felt when you weren’t fine. Hence this self-involved blog post. I’m writing down my notes of how I feel when I’m not fine. I will take it with me when I go to the doctor’s office.

I’m not an artist, but in this I’m trying to represent artistically, how fibromyalgia pain feels. 

I feel better already! Confession truly is good for what ails you. God is good, all the time, and is bigger than any kind of pain we might bear. He won’t let us be tested beyond our abilities to get through things. I know that for a fact. Sometimes I just wish He didn’t think I could bear so much! LOL!

Peace and love,

Elaine

What Are Your Hands Doing?

I was reading Guideposts this morning and came across a quote so profound, I felt I had to share it and some other thoughts I have on the matter.  Here is the quote:
“Our hands are really servants of our thoughts, so if you want to understand what you’re thinking, watch what your hands are doing.”   Jewel, singer

  What are our hands treasuring?  What are they doing each day?  I like the idea that our hands reveal our thoughts, and to a greater degree, our hearts.  I wish I could say that all of my days are spent using my hands to help others, to do good works, and to enourage, love, and build others up.  I would be lying if I said that is what I do all the time.  For, my hands are often spent serving and entertaining myself, especially online on my iPad.  I also use my hands for housework, some gardening, knitting/crocheting, petting my animals, and touching people, hopefully in a loving way. I waste a lot of time, though, when my hands could be serving and loving more.

I did a search on my Bible app (via my ever present iPad) for the word “hands” in the New Testament. Do you know what came up over and over again?  Jesus or his disciples laying hands on people to heal them.  Jesus laying his hands on the  little children to bless them. Jesus lifting his hands in prayer to his father in heaven.  In other words, Jesus used his hands for the same things we can use our hands for–laying hands on people, helping them and praying. I’m not suggesting that all of us have the spiritual gift to heal people when we lay hands on them. I am saying that as a people we should be touching others in love and encouragement, more. We don’t do that anymore. Our hands are too full of things to reach out and touch someone. Our hands are even clenched into fists of anger, frustration, and protests so much that reaching out in a friendly manner and touching someone has almost become a taboo activity. Why is that? Have we become a society so filled with fear that we can’t be human?

I like to touch people, especially babies and old people. Now, before you start thinking I’m a pervert, I’m not. These two demographics of people seem reach out their hands to be touched, patted, and/or in a request for help. The interesting thing is, these people seem to inherently know when they see me, a complete stranger, that I’m a person whom they can trust and will touch them with love. I’ve had complete strangers walk up to me in public places, take my hand, and ask for help or just start talking to me. Babies, in public, when I pass by, whether I’ve seen them or not, laugh spontaneously when they see me (yeah, I’m funny looking and make lots of people laugh!) and then reach out their little hands to touch me. I’ve even had babies out in public spontaneously jump into my arms! I can’t explain this phenomenon, but both groups are right. They can trust me. I won’t hurt them. I will do what I can to help them. I actually love it when people reach out to me. It’s always a blessing to me and fills me with peace and joy the entire rest of the day!

So why don’t I reach out and touch more people? Why don’t I use my hands more often to help and serve others and God? Why do I waste so much time? It is easy for me to say, “Well, I have fibromyalgia and have a lot of pain and weakness. I can’t do things like I used to do because I don’t have the physical capacity to do so.”

A couple of years ago, God told me my mission, if I chose to accept it, was to simply “Knit, Pray, Love.”  That’s it. Three words. I started knitting/crocheting prayer shawls. As I would work on the shawl, I would pray for whomever was to receive the shawl and pray that through that shawl, they could feel my love and, more importantly, God’s loving arms around them. Sometimes I knew who I was making the shawl for, but, more often than not, I had no idea who would receive the shawl. Every time I finished one, I learned who it was for and would pass it on to them. I felt a great deal of peace, love, and usefulness in this work, but somehow let it lapse. Oh, I keep buying yarn and getting patterns, but I’m not doing what I was doing, what God asked me to do. I need to do that again. I need to use my hands for good instead of entertaining myself. I need to reach out and touch people in real life too. We all do. We’ve become a society afraid of touching and it is isolating us and creating huge rifts amongst family, friends, ethnic groups, religious groups, and the world in general. I think if there was more handshaking, pats on the back and hugging going on amongst all people, a lot of these tensions would melt away. I think if we used our hands to help and bless one another, no one would be able to take weapons up against one another in haste or hatred. Lives would be spared. All our lives would be blessed. 

What are your hands doing?