Life is Like Fizzy Lifting Drinks

Hi all! It’s time now to get back to the kind of writing that we read here at the table…

   Father in Heaven, join us here at the table and grant us Your wisdom. Guide us into Your truth oh Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.

       How many of you remember “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”? OH it was one of my favorite movies as a kid. Well… if I’m being honest… it’s still one of my back pocket faves.

       All the unique rooms and machines and gadgets were so neat! I imagined what it would be like to visit that factory and indulge in those sweet goodies that filled the factory…

The Chocolate River

Golden Chocolate Goose Eggs

Gum Drops galore

Gum that tastes like a Roast Beef dinner complete with sides and desserts

Everlasting Gob Stoppers

Likable Wallpaper  

And my personal favorite… Fizzy Lifting Drinks

       I’ve always had a kind of secret desire that I could fly. Fizzy Lifting Drinks would be the next best thing! I remember Grandpa and Charlie hanging back a bit when Willy Wonka led the others to the next room in his magical candy land. They were wanting to give that Fizzy Lifting a whirl.

       “One little sip won’t hurt us.” Grandpa had said. So, they both took a drink and before they knew it, they were lifted off the ground! Floating upward, they did summer-saults and back flips. Shooting up like a rocket and drifting weightlessly they hadn’t a care in the world. Until…

       Charlie began to notice that there was a giant fan just above them and it had huge blades that would… well… do them in if they kept climbing. Seeming to be sucked in and up the pair began yelling for Mr. Wonka to turn off the fan! There was nothing to grab onto and no way to stop themselves from getting shredded by the enormous blades.

       Isn’t that just how our enemy Satan works? Pulling us in to certain destruction under the disguise of great fun and enjoyment. Remember Grandpas words to Charlie?

   “One little sip won’t hurt us.”

       This is exactly what the enemy wants us to believe as well. He wants us to believe that one little sin won’t hurt us. We can indulge just a bit, right? What we don’t always see is the giant fan blades whirling just above us, waiting to shred us. Proverbs 28:13 “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” (ESV)

       You see, Grandpa and Charlie tried to sneak a sip of something they were told not to touch. He didn’t think one little sip would hurt. How often might we think that one interesting piece of gossip won’t hurt… that one item we forgot to pay for in our shopping cart… that secret conversation… that extra slice of chocolate cake… that little white lie…

       When we try to conceal what’s wrong under the guise that it’s a “little” sin, we float a little higher towards that enormous fan that’s waiting to shred us. The enemy isn’t interested in helping us out of the pickle we might find ourselves in when we fall into the trap of “one little sip won’t hurt us”. Make no mistake that he high-tails it as soon as the sip has been taken. Leaving us to deal with the consequences all on our own. Before we know it, we’re yelling for someone to turn off the fan blades. You know who will turn them off? Not Satan…

       Only our Heavenly Father is willing. Even though we willingly took the forbidden sip, He is still willing to turn off the blades.

       If there is someone who is struggling with their own Fizzy Lifting Drink, may I encourage you to go to your Heavenly Father and ask Him to turn off the fan. Ask Him to empty the bottle of Fizzy Lifting Drink and fill it with His living water. He most definitely will! His living water is so much better and so much safer. Trust God that He will turn off the blades when we ask Him too and help us down.

       Please let me know if you have something I can be praying about for you dear table family and I will be happy to do that! Blessings to you all… see ya next week!

Is This Seat Taken?

Oh dear… I hope this seat isn’t taken now. I have been on a blog break for quite sometime and I’m ready to resume my seat at the table. I had a comment from A faithful table mate expressing that she missed reading posts from the table and that simply inspired me to get back to it! I’ll share what’s been happening but as we always do… let’s pray first…

   Father in heaven, I ask that You will be here with us and reacquaint us with one another again. Help us to see and hear You Father. In Jesus name, Amen.

       Oh boy, it feels like I have so much to tell you all but not enough space to do that. So, I’ll give you the Readers Digest version. So here we go…

       I finished chemo back in August as you know and had a bit of a reprieve for about a month until the lumpectomy. Then came the fabulous news that my cancer was in remission!

Insert jumping with joy and shouts of praise here…

       Then recovery time before starting radiation. That began on November first. I feared that after the surgery I would feel… altered. I had some pain but God saw me through that time. It felt like He was telling me that what ever had to be taken from me, He would fill the void. That is one lesson I hope encourages someone reading this. When there is something taken from you, God can fill the emptiness with His love and peace.

       Then came the first day of radiation. I had a few steps to take before beginning this process. I had to quite literally be tattooed. Markings to follow for radiation and for any future procedures that may need tracking of the radiation. Then came the unpleasant task of raising my arms above my head to rest in arm cuffs and being… exposed to everyone in the room. The radiation was targeted to the area at the bottom of my right ribcage to the top of my right collar bone. Oh, how I felt violated even though nothing unprofessional took place.

       I felt like a cadaver being used in a lab experiment. Nameless and faceless as I lay there unzipped and under inspection. A big balloon type hat was placed over both my feet, sort of rubber banding them together so as not to move them during the radiation. Unable to move and unwilling to cry, I closed my eyes and prayed for God to just get me through it.

       I want to be clear that the radiation team was fantastic and did their jobs professionally and ethically. This was my own personal feelings about the process. I closed my eyes for the radiation and prayed for God to protect my body from the damage it was receiving. He quieted my spirit and gave me peace. He just kept reminding me that He had created the body I was asking Him to protect.

       A few weeks went by and I began feeling the affects of the radiation. Some redness, some tenderness, but I was doing alright. Then the evidence of what was happening inside my body revealed its ugliness outside my body. Burns and open wounds were getting worse and worse with each treatment. This reminded me of how the enemy attacks. When we are vulnerable and exposed, he keeps the radiation coming. God assured me that He was walking this road with me. This road that was full of ruts, stones, field trees, and uneven ground. He took my hand and helped me over and around the rough terrain.

       God never promised to clear the path of all obstacles or rough patches. He did however promise to walk the path with us. It is what we glean on those paths and what we choose to do with that which we glean that makes the journey worth it.

       Treating third degree burns and learning to function temporarily with those burns proved to be a challenge. Not being able to put my right arm down completely or even move it around to much, gave me yet another appreciation for cancer warriors as well as burn patients. I have often said throughout my excavation that I was embarrassingly naïve about what cancer patients go through. For anyone out there who may be reading this who is or has gone through cancer, I get it! I also apologize for my naivety about this disease.

       After healing from radiation, I feel like God has clothed me in new skin… Literally and figuratively. Then one week after I finished radiation, I got covid. So, Christmas and New Year looked a little different this year. I have learned the meaning of the verse found in 2 Peter…

2 Peter 1:5 – 7 “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue and virtue with knowledge and knowledge with self-control and self-control with steadfastness and steadfastness with Godliness and Godliness with brotherly affection and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (ESV)

       Every time we have a difficult time in our lives, it’s an opportunity to grow in our spiritual journey. Each trial can be a building block in our faith. We can glean and grow and gain wisdom along the way. It can be used to further God’s kingdom. I’m involved in a ministry God laid on my heart to begin during my treatments. This prayer blanket ministry has been just as big a blessing for me as it has been for the recipients. We have a choice to lay down in defeat or rise up in faith.

       It’s not easy to make that choice! When I didn’t think, I was going to survive chemo, I really had to reevaluate my faith and spiritual strength because it felt very week. But God let me lay down and rest and then gave me the strength to rise up again. Now I have targeted therapy treatments until June of this year but I’m choosing to see them as appointments to deliver prayer blankets. This is my focus for the next five months. I’d love your prayers for this ministry, God has been blessing it and I know He’ll continue to do so. I have had some very generous doners come along side me in this and I could never thank them enough for doing so. I look forward to seeing how God grows it in the future!

       I’ll share more but I think that’s enough for now, I don’t want to have too long of a post LOL. It’s just good to be writing again and I look forward to connecting with you all again! Blessings table family, hugs and love to you all!          

It’s Been Far to Long

Oh, my dear table family… it’s simply been far too long since I’ve connected with you and for that I am truly sorry! I didn’t intend for this much time to go by without posting but it’s been a journey. Let’s pray first huh?

   Father in Heaven, I pray that there are still seats that are filled here at the table. I pray for Your Holiness to be recognized Lord and that these words reflect Your goodness. In Jesus name, Amen.

       Well, here I am, ¼ of the way through my cancer excavation. It has been quite an excavation and I must admit that I am beyond happy to be done with Chemo! I’d like to share a little about my experience with Chemo if I may. My prayer is that it will be honest but also serve to encourage someone who may be facing it or knows someone who is facing it.

       I’ve shared my first rodeo with the first round and it wasn’t pretty. I had serious doubts that I would survive treatment. I wondered if I should just live whatever life I had left with a level three of aggressiveness and enjoy that time. But I remembered my husband’s plea.

       “I want you to promise me that you will do everything possible to fight this!”

       How could I give up and give in now? I shuffled my way into the next round and we made some changes that made Chemo more bearable. There were many things to deal with such as debilitating fatigue, intense body ache, fevers, very limited food options, intestinal distress… Then of course there was the trauma of losing my hair and not recognizing myself in the mirror anymore. I felt like a mannequin. Devoid of color, features, and… well… hair. I simply didn’t feel at all like myself.

       But God saw fit to spare me from the nausea and vomiting aspect of chemo. I also never got the dreaded mouth soars that I had heard about. In addition, I wasn’t fully sick from one treatment to another like so many are. God was gracious to me.   

       Then the Lord laid on my heart to begin praying for the other people at the cancer center. They were now my unofficial family. I found myself being a member of a family I had never wanted to be part of but now felt so connected to.

       I also began a little ministry… per God’s prompting… to make prayer blankets for different people at the cancer center. I made one blanket for every treatment I had after the third round. I will have targeted treatment until May of 2022 so I’ll keep going with the blankets. They have been well received thus far and I find myself incredibly blessed after delivering a blanket.

       I will be having surgery on September 30 and then radiation at the end of October. I met with my surgeon and discovered that the stage of my cancer was a little more advanced than we originally believed. We knew it was at the highest level of aggressiveness when we met with the Oncologist, but the stage was higher than we thought.

       So, my excavation goes on and I will continue to let God direct the ministries He wants me to do and speak where He wants me to speak. I have a couple of upcoming speaking engagements and I pray I can be His mouth piece.

       Well, I just wanted to give you all a quick update and apologize for the long delay in posting. I am ready to start stepping back into writing and speaking and ministry. I pray you all will still find a seat at the table. God bless each of you and my love to you all.  

Wrapped In Prayer

Hello table family! Oh, how I miss all of you! I have some things I want to share with you but let’s pray first, ok?

   Father in Heaven, would You be here with us and let Your presence be felt Lord? Fill this space with Your Holy Spirit and may these words be Yours. In Jesus name, Amen.

       So how is everyone? I’d love to hear from you and what you may have praises or prayer requests about…

       I’d like to tell you about what’s been going on around here for the last couple weeks. I know it’s been a minute and I had wanted to post over the weekend but I am trying to embrace my limits so as not to get overloaded and end up down for the count again.

       I did my first Sensitivity in Disability seminar on Sunday the 20th, I was quite nervous as I had not ever done a seminar before. This was the first time a seminar like this one had been done at this particular venue so I was advised to not get discouraged by the number of attendees.

       I was in a classroom type set up and there was room for forty people to sit. When six people came in about ten minutes before the start time, my dear friend who orchestrated this seminar told me that would be a good number for a first time. I was satisfied with that. If this was the group that God had sent me and they needed this message, that was fine with me. Also, it meant my blunders wouldn’t be in front of a larger group… wink 😉

       To my surprise, God had other plans. Before I knew it, every chair was filled and one person was standing!

       I had several people praying for this event and I knew God was hearing those prayers. Sometimes He answers with just the right number of people in a seminar that might be less then we hoped or expected and sometimes He exceeds our expectations four times over. When we can accept God’s answer to a prayer for exactly what He knows we need, He will then start to exceed our expectations beyond what we could hope for.

       My first round of Chemo, as I posted before, was not easy and I ended up in the hospital. After some adjustments and an immense amount of prayer from so many of my family and friends including my table family, my second round was much better. I have continued to defy expectations from what Chemotherapy typically brings. I had a very low blood count just a week ago but I was energetic, my color was good and I was sitting face to face with my Oncologist as she was telling me I should have been sick in bed with these numbers.

       I had a parathyroid issue that may have suggested that it was related to my cancer but it was only a hydration issue which I’ve gotten under control now. According to many people I’ve talked to including Chemo nurses, I should be sick for most of my theropy rounds. I have about three days that I am very fatigued and bodyaches. But I feel pretty good after those three days.

       I had my third round of Chemo on Monday the 21st and I am starting to feel just the slightest achiness which I expected and I will be resting for the next three days but I know God has me and He will continue to answer the prayers of my family and friends. I had two speaking engagements scheduled before I learned I had cancer. I didn’t have to miss either one. They were set in place by God at the exact right time after my treatments that I felt good enough to keep those commitments. I have two more scheduled that are falling in the same time frame. God knows what He is doing and when we pray, He hears!

       Friends as of right now, I am half way through my treatments and I can no longer feel the tumor. I don’t know exactly what God is doing but I know He’s doing! I don’t know the full outcome but I know God is working! My whole message to all of you is that PRAYER WORKS!

       I know it can feel sometimes like God isn’t moving or working on a situation in your life but He works in just the right timing for what we need. Sometimes what seems like a closed door is just God working behind it to get everything ready for us to walk through it.

Revelation 3:8 “I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door which no one is able to shut. I know you have but little power. And yet you have kept My word and have not denied My Name.” (ESV)

       God has open doors for all of us and He wants us to trust in the timing of those open doors. Sometimes it takes walking through some pretty tough trials to get to those open doors but then He hands us the key and there isn’t anyone who can shut those doors.

       Though the waiting is difficult and the road is rocky, trust God’s process. Ask for the blanket of prayer to cover you and watch how God works! He will exceed your plans and go beyond what we could ever hope. Will you allow me to be a thread in that prayer blanket? How can I pray for you?

       I encourage you to find a prayer partner who will be intentional in your prayers together. Someone that can lift you up and who you can lift up to God in sincere heartfelt prayer. It is a game changer! Blessings to you all table mates and I look forward to hearing from you! 

He Is Leading Me Beside the Still Waters

Hi table mates! I hope everyone is doing well. I wanted to share some updates with you and I’d love to hear from you all too! But ya know how we start our conversations so let’s jump into that…

   Father in Heaven, you never allow things to happen in our lives without it first being filtered through Your hands. You always have teachable moments for us in every circumstance. Would You teach us now Lord? Show us the way. In Jesus name, Amen.

       Well, it has been two weeks since I started my first Chemo treatment. I did pretty well the first couple of days. The third day rolled around and things began to change. My body began feeling the affects of the Chemo and I felt quite fatigued. My system went through changes that I wasn’t quite prepared for and ultimately, I spent three days in the hospital.

       I became severely dehydrated and developed a fever. I felt week and vulnerable. I cried and I pleaded with the Lord to take away this valley. I didn’t think it was fair to have to go through all this and cancer too!

       God heard my cries and reminded me of a very popular and often quoted bible verse… it’s found in Psalm 23, you know the one… the Lord is my Shephard, I shall not want…

Psalm 23:2 “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” (ESV)

       This was the particular verse that He brought to mind. “Still waters” in Hebrew refers to waters of rest.  God pointed out to me that this was my still waters. I had no choice but to rest. I was in a hospital bed hooked up to an I V with nothing to do but rest. But it was also a time for my soul to rest. I was a little panicky about my situation and God needed me to stop and rest.

       I’ve had to step back from so many things due to cancer and I’m learning that it is a season for my soul to rest and be lead beside still waters. To feed my soul on God’s word and therapeutic activities that will quiet my spirit.

       I have always loved to do bead crafting. Just the simple act of stringing beads to make garlands, tie-backs, hangers, or whatever, is very therapeutic and calming. I have ordered some new beads to add to what I already have and I am going to let that be my still waters for a time. Along with other hand to project crafting that I love to do.

       Have you ever sat beside a stream or pond and felt so peaceful at its stillness? It just is serene and quiet. It’s the place of respite that we often escape to when life get’s complicated… even if it’s vicariously on YouTube or our favorite Alexa app.

       Find those still waters that God is leading you beside and just allow the respite to take place. It’s not selfish or a waste of time, it’s the very thing God is longing to do for us. It restores our soul. This is one of the things I’m unearthing as I dig deeper on this cancer excavation. I am trying to study more about our bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit and how we need to care for it. One of those ways is to nurture our souls by being lead beside still waters.

       This next week is my second round of Chemo and we will be making some changes to adjust the medication so as to not land me in the hospital again. Your prayers are as always so valued and appreciated. How can I pray for you?   

I Am Ready to tell You the News…

       Hello table family and welcome. I hope you still feel welcome here. I know it has been so very long since I’ve posted and I’m so sorry for that. I’ve had a lot to process and wasn’t sure how to sort it all out. But let’s pray first okay?

   Father in Heaven, would You help me to say what I need to say and would You help those who are reading hear it with ears to hear Your words. In Jesus name, Amen.

       In my last post, I told you that there was a possibility of a breast cancer diagnosis. So much has transpired since then. I have much to ponder and pray about.

       On April 6, 2021; I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. We believed it to be a fairly early stage and no Chemotherapy would be needed. A lumpectomy and possible radiation were the perceived plan of action. That has changed.

       We now know that I have a slow growing tumor but an aggressive form of cancer and we must begin treating it with Chemotherapy to keep it from spreading to my Lymph Nodes and subsequently other parts of the body. We found this out so abruptly and had to make some difficult decisions very quickly. I feel as though I haven’t had time to catch my breath before the next realizations begin setting in.

       I’ve stepped down from all my positions at church and must reevaluate my priorities. God has already laid another title for a book on my heart even though I haven’t finished the first one yet. I feel it’s time to set that one aside for the time being and let God teach me in this season of life.

       When I was in the torchers waiting time between biopsy and results… I lay awake at 2:00 a.m. with tears brimming my eyes.

“Is this really happening Lord?” I whispered.

“Are you willing to carry this for Me?” He whispered back.

       I thought that would be an easy question to answer, but I didn’t reply right away. After several minutes, I let the flood of tears come and I replied “I’m willing Lord.”

       I had to really search my heart for that answer.

       My Doctor delivered the news to me personally from his cell phone while sitting in his car. He told me we would get through this together and he would be there every step of the way. Praise God for the blessing of a caring Doctor. He gave me permission to go ahead on my vacation with my husband and we had a fabulous time! We made great memories and I was able to cross Parasailing off my bucket list. We laid on the beach, ate lunch on our seventeenth story balcony over-looking the Gulf, and took sunset walks along the shore line while the ocean water swallowed our feet from time to time. It was magical.

       Now the hard work begins. I am calling this my “cancer excavation” as I will be unearthing many things about myself, cancer, God and many more things. I am asking with complete humility for you, my treasured table family, to keep your seats at the table. I will post as often as I am able. I am trying to let go of time-honored commitments and planned events as I don’t yet know how I will handle Chemo treatments. I plan to try and blog about this excavation when I can in hopes that it will bring comfort to someone on their own excavation.

       This doesn’t have to be a cancer diagnosis but just something that is difficult to walk through. That will look different for everyone. I am struggling with the thought of losing my hair and the changes my body will go through but I am resting in the arms of my Savior.

       I hope to be writing more then I was before but I will have to base it on how I am feeling. I thank you for understanding this most unexpected twist in my life story. My prayer is that I will represent God well on this excavation and it will help to lead others to Jesus. Would you keep that in prayer for me?

       God be with each of you on your own excavations and please don’t hesitate to let me know how I can be praying for you. Love to you all!       

A Week Like No Other

Hi everyone, I’m sorry I’m late getting to the table. I have some thoughts and some news I wanted to share with you but as always, let’s start with prayer…

   Father in Heaven, this is a week like no other Lord. You prepared all week for such a time as this so very long ago. You showed love and mercy to one who would betray You, one who would deny You, one who would doubt You and so many who would shout to kill You. Father may we be mindful of Your sacrifice and be grateful. In Jesus name, Amen.

       I sit here on my couch and reflect on the unthinkable unmatchable sacrifice that Jesus made for me. Sometimes I feel like the verse in John 3:16 get’s watered down, ya know what I mean?

       Yes, Jesus died for our sins but it was so much more then that. He left the perfection of heaven to come to this sin-soaked world and endure seeing hatred, torcher, death, lovelessness, alienation, and out right evil. He CHOSE to do this.

       Now He not only chose to come here but he himself endured all those things done to Him. Then the ultimate gift of love as He was handed over by choice to those who sought His life. He dragged His undeserved heavy rough cross on His shoulders to where they would nail Him to it. Beaten and bloodied, they tore His garments from Him and clothed Him in a purple cloth in mockery.

       They nail Him with enormous spikes to this rugged tree with the bark scraping and ripping the torn flesh on His back from being whipped. He has been beaten beyond recognition and displayed on a cross for everyone to cheer at.

       To complete His mockery, they fashion a crown of thorns and not just place it gingerly on His head, but press the thorns down on His brow causing more pain and bloodshed. You know the most unbelievable part of this whole thing?

He would have done it just for me… just for YOU!

       This week I went to a planned Doctor’s appointment. The night before, I found a lump. After brushing it off with the assumption that it was more dense tissue, I went to sleep. At the end of my visit with the Doctor the next morning, he asked if there were any other concerns I wanted to talk about. I paused…

       I mentioned the lump and he said “well, let’s have a look.” Time seemed to stand still and race ahead at the same time. I had a mammogram and ultrasound scheduled for the next day with the likelihood of a biopsy to follow.

       I received the call the next morning… less than twenty-four hours later, that I was being scheduled for the biopsy the next morning as I also have enlarged lymph nodes. I sank to my knees and cried.

       It is now Saturday and I have to wait until Tuesday to get any results. It’s been a week like no other for me and my family. I never thought I’d be facing a possible Cancer diagnosis. But it gives me just the tiniest glimpse of the anxiety Jesus must have been feeling before His crucifixion. Oh, I’m not comparing my situation to that of Jesus at all, but I feel like He has offered me just a small little peek.

I pray this Easter weekend, that we can stop and really reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus… the complete and full sacrifice. If Jesus asks me to carry the cross of Cancer, I will carry it with His help. I pray of course that this will not be the case. After all, Jesus did ask if it were possible to take this cup from Him. But if it is something that can lead more people to Him, I will plead for His strength to carry it.

       I would humbly ask for your prayers as well my table family. I so appreciate all of you! Have a beautiful Easter and remember that Jesus would have died just for you! Blessings.   

Caroline’s Heart, Harriet’s Mouth

Hello all and welcome back to the table! I love to gather together here and talk about things we’ve learned over the last week… month… or even year. Pull up a chair and grab your beverage and a muffin and let’s have prayer…

       Father in Heaven, would You sit here beside us as You show us lessons in everyday life and how we can look more like You. Guide us in these words Lord and teach us Your ways. In Jesus name, Amen.

       Most of you know by now that my favorite show in the world is “Little House on The Prairie” and if you didn’t know… now you do 😊

       I’ve learned quite a few lessons in my life from that show. It wasn’t all just for entertainment. Oh, I was entertained alright, but as I’ve gotten older, I have really seen a lot of spiritual lessons steaming from the prairie.

       God has no limits to what or how He can use something in our lives to teach us. I’m pretty amazed though at how often He uses what we are already paying attention to, for a teachable moment or two. So, God very often uses this most treasured show to show me His lessons.

       When I had my children, I always told myself that I wanted to be a Caroline Ingalls kind of mother. You know, always had the right words to fix a problem, made homemade bread every couple of days, made everyone’s clothes, weeded the vegetable garden often, gathered the eggs, even plowing the field when she had to! All while looking completely lovely and put together in a classic pioneer kind of way. She always had a smile and greeted her family with a cheerful joyous smile for her children and husband upon returning home from school or work.

       A hard day at the mill for Charles meant he would get a sympathetic ear and a hardy meal from Caroline. If one of the girls had a fight with Nelly Olsen or got a bad grade on a test at school, Ma was always there with the hanky to dry their eyes and a sage word to help them glean a lesson from their unfortunate experience.

       Harriet, on the other hand, was nosey, persnickety, belittling, uppity, argumentative, gossipy, and just an all-around pain in the drop-seat of those red flannels the men wore back then. She always seemed to make a situation worse not better. She nagged poor Nells to death and elevated her own children above every other child in the school. She was loud and pushy, greedy and narcissistic, annoying and just plain mean!

       If her children had a bad day at school, she made sure they knew it wasn’t their fault but was most likely the fault of another child who was just jealous of Nelly’s beauty and charm or their wealth or whatever. It usually ended up being Laura’s fault no matter what it was. If Nells had a hard day (which he usually did working with Harriet all day), he was met with coldness and a “make your own dinner” attitude. The only lessons she taught were that of gossip, lies, and out right superiority.

       I have sat and watched this show countless times and I always have the same thoughts when encountering both Caroline and Harriet. Caroline is so sweet and gentle with enough fire to protect her children and enough sass to put Harriet in her place. But she is mostly serine and lovely, brimming with femininity and grace. Harriet is selfish and brazen, brimming with venom and toxicity. These women are polar opposites and yet they both somehow live inside me.

       My heart longs to respond and react with Caroline’s grace and gentile. My mouth however can sometimes reveal a Harriet persona.

       In my mind I envision my husband coming home from work on any given day and I greet him with a “welcome home” kind of smile and an embrace and the announcement that dinner is almost ready. I am tidy and put together in a modern-day pioneer ensemble of a pretty floral skirt and feminine blouse that says “I’ve prepared for you to come home”. My kids would come home from school and set the table for dinner and we would share the days events at the table and then we would discuss how we can better handle that difficult situation at school. This is only in my minds eye you understand.

       More often than I’d like to admit, my husband comes home and I’m wearing joggers and a coordinating T-shirt with my hair up in a bun or ponytail, face-naked (no makeup), and just getting dinner started only minutes before he got home. Thus, I have no time for the greeting at the door, just a “Hi” called over my shoulder from the region of the stove and the kids were somewhere off doing their own thing.

       Do I have any sisters who can feel my pain on this?

       If my children got in trouble at school, I wasn’t always inclined to sit them down and speak gentle words of encouragement to them. More like “what did you do and how long am I going to half to ground you for?”  We would eventually get to the discussion about what they did and why it was wrong and how we can make better choices in the future. But my Caroline moment was over-shadowed by my Harriet invasion. Thereby sending my desires to be like Ma up the proverbial chimney along with the smoke from her open fire upon which she made her bread.

       If my husband and I have a disagreement, my Caroline heart says to come gently to my husband and say “Honey, we need to talk. I hate it when we have a dispute and I’d like to start the discussion with saying I’m sorry for being so upset with you”. One of my favorite scenes between Charles and Caroline that best describes my preferred way of handling an argument takes place at night. They have retired for the evening and they had been silent with one another. After a few moments and an apology from Charles, Caroline responds with, “Time spent being angry with you is such a waste. I’m sorry”. I love that line.

       You see, Harriet would have responded in those moments with telling Nells her very famous line of, “Oh shut up!” She openly told her children that they were better then everyone else and even spread rumors about the Ingalls family to bolster her own family. She always lorded over people that they were richer and a better-quality people than anyone else in their town. She belittled Nells in front of others and made him look weak.  Oh, I shudder to think of the times I responded to my husband by saying “what were you thinking” or “why would you do that” or I don’t even understand why you would choose to do that”.

Colossians:6 “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer each person.” (ESV)

       My Caroline heart wants to always season my speech with salt to make it pleasant and savory. Words that leave people feeling full and happy. My Harriet mouth can sometimes leave people feeling like I’ve seasoned my words with vinegar. No description necessary.

       You see, salt also brings out the natural flavor of a food. It enhances its best attributes. This is what our words can do when they are seasoned with kindness and gentleness and love. Our words can bring out someone’s best qualities.

       If our words are dripping with vinegar, they make everything tart and sour. Those words can contort a person’s face into a pucker that is often preceding of tears.

       I long to cultivate my Caroline heart to drowned out my Harriet mouth. I’d like to get a salt shaker and a vinegar flask and keep them on my desk as a reminder to season my words appropriately before speaking them out loud. Perhaps I’ll work on doing that. Sometimes we need tangible reminders of such things. Whenever you use your salt at a meal, think about seasoning your words. If you use vinegar, take a sniff before using it and think about how it would taste to take a swig.

       This will always be my favorite show and I feel like there will be more Little House lessons to come. Blessings to you all and I’ll meet ya back here next week. I gotta go collect the eggs…     

Shouldn’t I pull Out Those Weeds?

Welcome in friends! Grab you seat at the table and pour your coffee or tea. I’ve put my spring table cloth on now. I made it last year. I love the various pink flowers that decorate one side and the green and white checked print on the other side. Right now, we’ll go ahead with the pink flowers okay? It just seems to invite spring. Let’s pray…

       Father in Heaven, would You sit beside us here at the table and speak with us. Show us what You have for us in these words. In Jesus name, Amen.

       Well gardening season will be upon us before you know it. For some of you, it may already be here. Flowers, plants and vegetables will be planted and cultivated to produce lovely and healthy fruition. There is nothing quite like going out to your own garden and selecting produce to make a beautiful salad or vegie tray.

       It’s more then satisfying to sit in the back yard on a summer evening at sunset and enjoy the colorful blooms and rich greenery that you’ve tended and cared for.

       Along with the gardening and planting comes the dreaded task of weeding said garden. Oh, those pesky weeds seem to grow wherever they darn well please, don’t they?

       So we get out there with our gardening gloves, a garden spade, and our determination to rid the space of unwanted weeds.

       But have you ever been down on your hands and knees, grabbing weeds by the handful, yanking them up, only to come upon something you are not sure of being a weed?

       It could be one or it could be a healthy plant that we just don’t know it’s kind. We stop and examine it, pull out our phone to google it, and possibly leave it alone because we simply are unsure. It may look like a healthy plant or flower so we don’t want to risk destroying a fruitful plant.

Matthew 13:29 “But He said ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.’” (ESV)

       In the book of Matthew, we see Jesus advising His disciples to not weed the garden as it were, when we don’t know if something is truly a weed. (Read Matthew 13:24 – 30) This is a story to illustrate folks that may be difficult to attend to from time to time. Mostly inside the church. God knows which ones are healthy wheat and which ones are weeds. I certainly hope and pray that I’m not a weed!

       But if we start taking it upon ourselves to make the determination if someone is a weed or healthy plants.

       God will do the separating when it is time. Our job is to keep growing in a healthy way and keep ourselves free from weeds. This is not speaking about inappropriate conduct or illegal actions… this is talking about people who seem to want to be difficult in some circumstances. You know the ones… they complain about every event or how much they had to do or why so and so didn’t help…

       Though it is exasperating sometimes, we must put their complaints aside and continue on with the work that God would have us doing. He will handle the complainers. We mustn’t get caught up in the prickly people patch, as I like to call it. Keeping our focus on Jesus and how we can best serve Him is the goal. When the Lord comes back for His people, He will deal with the weeds and gather His wheat to Himself.

       So be encouraged by these verses and don’t get ensnared in the prickly people patch. God loves each of us and will intervene when weeds start to grow. Let’s not pull up potential healthy plants in a moment of frustration. That supposed weed just might be a healthy plant having a bad season. Love them anyway and let God cultivate their hearts.

Blessings table family. See you next week… I’ll set the table for you!   

When Will He Come Home?

Hello Hello! Come on in and have a seat at the table. Let me pour you a cup of coffee… or would you prefer tea?

       Let’s pray first huh?

   Father in Heaven, please sit here at the table with us as we study Your word for a while. Bless us with Your presents and teach us well. In Jesus name, Amen.

       As I watch my children move into full adulthood, I think about how they will both be on their own soon. My son is already on his own but my daughter is still home. She is looking ahead into her future and her dreams are to finish college, find her place in the Criminal Psychology arena and has been perusing the bridal websites.

       I think many mothers have reflected on that rear view mirror of life and wondered if their kids will be alright out there on their own. I often think about the Prodigal Son story and how that Father must have felt.

       This Father gave the younger son his inheritance after he asked for it early. (Luke 15) He took said money and hit the road. He went to a far off country and squandered, drank, and something like snorted it away. He took the Father’s hard-earned savings for his son to be able to live on and blew every last dime on hard living and questionable women.

       Now I can’t relate to the son taking his inheritance and wasting it on a less than desirable lifestyle, but I can relate to a son no longer being at home. Not under my watchful eye. Out from under my wing and flying on his own. The Father had no knowledge of what his son was doing but I’m sure he had a pretty good idea.

       I find it incredible that this Father not only waited to see IF his son would come back but was actually watching for him!

Luke 15:20 “and he arose and came to his Father but while he was still a long way off his Father saw him and felt compassion and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” (ESV)

       This Father’s prayer was so heart-felt and powerful that he not only hoped his son would come home, he was expectant! His son was still “a long way off”, so he was looking down the road as it were, for his beloved son to return.

       He also didn’t give his son the proverbial “I told you so” speech. He simply felt compassion at the sight of his disheveled dishonorable son. He said not a word nor heard the words his son tried to say. He was just filled with the answer to his hearts longing for his son.

       If my son took that path, could I reconcile with him so easily? I’d like to think so. I love my son so desperately as well as my daughter. I’d like to think that seeing them return home would supersede my impulse to say anything other than “welcome home”.

       Friends God is longing to welcome His child home. If you have felt that there is no possible way God would open His arms to you, let me just set the record straight. He is watching for you. He is looking down the road for you. He sees you even if you feel a long way off. He is running to meet you where you are. Will you let Him embrace you and kiss you and bring you back home?

       When I had a time of not wanting to talk to God, I remembered that He would be watching for me to return. When I did, I never felt like He was scolding me or reprimanding me. He simply brought me back home and celebrated with me.

       Are you wanting to come back home? Are you praying for a loved one to come back home? I’d love to pray with and for you. Let me know how I can pray…

       See you back at the table next week friends.