Five Minute Friday — Disappoint

Happy Five Minute Friday!

The rules remain the same. Ponder the weekly prompt. Nothing too pithy, just honest as the words flow from the brain through the fingers. Keep it limited to five minutes {or so} with limited editing. Link up on our Community page on Facebook at fiveminutefriday.com and sit back and enjoy other posts from other writers.

In fact, I’ve been using testimonials about the group and the exercise from other members as collected in Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Flat, edited by Susan Shipe. This week’s it’s from Joanne. I encourage you to listen to the words and visit our wonderful corps of writers … and maybe be inspired to join in!

“When I started participating in the FMF linkup, I was not sure what t o expect. The idea of writing for five minutes on the same one word was intriguing, in and of itself. But the community of women [and some men] soon became a place I looked forward to each week. The FMF community has come to mean connection, encouragement, warmth, and more. Often it is in this community that I have found confirmation of the very truth God has been whispering into my heart throughout the week. FMF has become an intersection of God’s Word and friendship over my morning coffee each Friday morning. I have not yet walked away disappointed.”

After hearing the prompt word — DISAPPOINT — last night, I mulled over how I was going to put a positive spin on a negative word. Normally I fall asleep and let the word percolate into my deeper psyche and soul. I would wake up with a direction my words would take.

This morning, I woke up — wide awake — just before 4 a.m. with a direction. It wasn’t the result a dream. It wasn’t just a feeling. It was a memory that filtered through the darkness, a memory I had been suppressing for many years. It was a conversation Karen and I had the night before she died , during our last walk down 40 plus years of memories.

So, here goes. I’ll try to recapture the moment as I turn on the timer. GO …

The question came out of nowhere. One minute we were talking about our escapades, then the next she quietly asked me, “Was I ever a disappointment to you?

The question stunned me into silence. I could think of times things didn’t go as anticipated — but more on my part than hers. I was the disappointment, not giving her the stability she so longed for. I was the disappointment putting her and the family second because of work. I was the disappointment not always listening to her needs.

“No,”I answered. “The were times when I was disappointed when things  didn’t go as planned, but never, ever with you.”

She smiled through the pain.

“Was I ever a disappointment to you?” I asked.

With her own quirky smile and crinkled nose, she said, “Well …” Then, after letting me squirm in my seat for what seemed like minutes although it was only milliseconds, she added, “No.” … STOP

“Never. You were my rock. You were my go to guy. Of course sometimes I had to track you down, but you were my go to guy. I knew you loved me unconditionally. I’m sure I disappointed you, but no, you never disappointed me.”

“But …” I said. She cut me by raising her arm and putting a finger on my lips.

“But nothing.”

That, my friends, is putting a positive spin on negative word. That is grace.That’s how I know she’s waiting for me, either with a cup of coffee if it’s daytime or a glass of wine at nighttime. That’s realizing the disappointments pale in comparison to love. That is a  reflection of our Father’s love.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Just be yourself … there is no one better.

 

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Vaudeville

As many of you know, I send out a –hopefully — inspirational or uplifting message along with either a quote or cartoon. The one I sent yesterday {see attached} generated a little more comment than usual. In brief, it showed a kid tapping on his phone and an older gent saying he thought tap shows died with vaudeville.

Not totally unexpected, my grandkids {and some others} asked what vaudeville was. Another sent me a reply, “YOU went to a vaudeville show?” with a winky face attached. Another asked, “How old are you? Really?”

So, it’s time to set the record straight. I never went to a vaudeville show. I did go to a burlesque show, however. I may be old but I’m not dead yet … and I still have some memories of my youthful excursions.

For clarification, vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 19th century. A vaudeville was originally a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation: a dramatic composition or light poetry, interspersed with songs or ballets. Except for some local troupes, Some notable vaudevillians were El Brendle, Uncle Dave Macon, and Jack Haley. Jack Benny, Abbott and Costello, Kate Smith, Cary Grant, Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Judy Garland, and Gracie Allen and George Burns got their start in vaudeville, but moved their career as silent movies gave way to talkies.

Burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects. It became popular in the mid 20th century with the addition of strippers who often strip when doing burlesque. Some notables were Gypsy Rose Lee, Sally Rand, Blaze Starr, Dita Von Teese, and the irrepressibly Mae West.

As a young man in the mid 60s, there were not many burlesque shows around thanks to the variety shows on television. But I remember one particular Saturday night back in 1965 …

There were four of us in our northern New Jersey tribe, friends since grade school. In addition to me, there was Bernie, Carmen, and Murray. One of them — I think it was Murray — suggested we go to a burlesque show in New York City. Bernie, I believe, backed out because he, well, had a real date. So that left the three of us. Even though I was tired from a long week of school and work, I was picked as the designated driver … a) because I never turned down an opportunity to get behind the wheel, and b) I was more familiar with and comfortable driving in New York City.

I can’t remember much of the night, except it was in a little, dark theater off Broadway. I must have dozed off and on during the show despite the hooting and hollering around me because my buddies kept teasing me about falling asleep during the”exciting” parts of the show.

Now, it wasn’t because I am or was a prude. I certainly enjoy the exquisite beauty of the female form. I was tired and kinda lost interest after the first few strips.

So, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

By the way, no one asked about the inspiration quote I posted. It was from Walt Disney. “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Go figure.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Give and you shall receive, much more than you would have ever thought possible. — Anne Frank

 

 

 

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Midweek Mirth

One of the misconceptions about being a Christian is non-Christians think we don’t know how to have fun or have a sense of humor. Trust me, if the Big Guy can have a sense of humor when it comes to dealing with us mere mortals, so can we.

The difference for Christians is we don’t have to debase ourselves or others to generate a smile. Laughter at life or ourselves is a gift from God.

Here’s this week’s edition of Midweek Mirth  … so let’s smile a little!

Send Bill to My Brother-In-Law

A man suffered a serious heart attack and had open heart bypass surgery. He awakened from the surgery to find himself in the care of nuns at a Catholic hospital. As he was recovering, a nun asked him questions regarding how he was going to pay for his treatment. She asked, “Do you have health insurance?”

He replied in a raspy voice, “No health insurance.”

The nun asked, “Do you have money in the bank?”

He replied, “No money in the bank.”

The nun asked, “Do you have a relative who could help you?”

He said, “I only have a spinster sister, who is a nun.”

The nun became agitated and announced loudly, “Nuns are not spinsters! Nuns are married to God.”

The patient replied, “Then send the bill to my brother-in-law.”

…and now for the bonus …

Revival Meeting

After the series of community multi-church revival meetings had concluded, the three churches’ pastors were discussing the results with one another. The Methodist minister said, “The revival worked out great for us! We gained four new families.” The Baptist preacher said, “We did better than that! We gained six new families.” The Presbyterian pastor said, “Well, we did even better than that! We got rid of our 10 biggest trouble makers!”

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: And keep a sense of humor. It doesn’t mean you have to tell jokes. If you can’t think of anything else, when you’re my age, take off your clothes and walk in front of a mirror. I guarantee you’ll get a laugh. – Art Linkletter

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Help

As most of you know, I am working on a new work in progress (WIP). It has been going well — generally following an outline with notes highlighting the beginning and end thoughts and specific scenes in between. As you also know, my outlines are just that … outlines not necessary fixed in place. They are fluid to allow for “detours” as the story line develops.

I confess. I took one of those detours and as I followed that ever-narrowing rabbit hole, I now find myself in totally uncharted waters. I’m finding it harder and harder to continue simply because I literally have no experience.

I’m facing a wall. I could take the path of stereotype … and probably lose all credibility for the story. I could take the other path, an uncertain road that might lead me further into the forest with no hope of getting out.

And so, friends, I need HELP!

Without divulging too many details, the WIP is about Samantha’s — yes, my Sam — granddaughter. It’s a legacy novel. It features Kathi and the challenges the 15 year old faces after the death of her best friend, Grandma. Clouded by grief and teenage emotions, she makes a series of questionable choices and finds herself in a compromising situation where she is assaulted — sexually assaulted although not physically assaulted.

That was the rabbit hole. I am not sure how a teenage girl would react. I suspect disgust, fear, self-deprecation, anger, confusion, dirty.

That’s where I’m at. Well, actually, I’m a little further but I still sense there is something missing — experience. I don’t want to pry or wake up old memories, but I’m hoping a couple of you could give me some insight. I don’t need details, but I do need to sense how someone who went through a similar experience reacted and healed. That is the request of the day.

I would also like to hear from friends, families or counselors … even from those who may have assaulted someone. Help me understand.

If interested in helping, I would suggest messaging me or sending an e-mail. I’ll privately send you more information about the scene and aftermath in exchange for your input.

Thanks!

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Everything in life has potential, but it must be developed. It never develops itself. — Edwin Louis Cole, The Potential Principle — Living Life To Its Maximum

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Change

Today’s Words for the Week come from the wisdom of Ray Lammie

It’s not your parents’ fault, it’s not where you were born, how poor you were, your lack of education, the boss, your ex-spouse, etc. You are responsible for your actions. The greatest power you have is the power to change.

I’ll add a companion thought from Dick Innes.

We were not responsible for our upbringing but are totally responsible for what we do about it.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Never stop believing in hope because miracles happen every day.

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Draw Me to Yourself

 

Today’s reflection is by Ted Loder from his book, Guerrillas of Grace

In this moment
draw me to yourself, Lord,
and make me aware
not so much of what I’ve given as of all I have received
and so have yet to share.
Send me forth
in power and gladness
and with great courage
to live out in the world
what I pray and profess,
that, in sharing,
I may do justice,
make peace,
grow in love,
enjoy myself,
other people,
and your world now,
and you forever.

Loder is a retired Methodist minister known for his artistic political activism and passion for social justice. He at one time was named one of America’s Outstanding Creative Preachers. The reflection was part of the Inward/Outward Together initiative of Church of the Saviour, Washinton, DC.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: To be happy is a choice you make every day, every hour. And refining and renewing that state is a constant pursuit. — Julia Roberts

 

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Say a Little Prayer …

As we build this community prayer platform, we ask the Lord to listen to our petitions with full confidence they not only are heard but acted upon by God according to His holy will. These requests are on my prayer list and I hope you consider putting them on yours as you place your petitions before the Lord Sunday.

Approach the throne room and respond with faith and not fear, knowing the promises of God and His mighty hand will hold us through any situation! Sometimes, all it takes is just one prayer to change everything. Something extraordinary happens when two or more agree together in prayer.

What is one of the most important things we should do as Christians? Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18).

And, so, Lord, we come to You with our petitions, knowing and expecting Your will to be done.

Thoughts and prayers to all worldwide suffering from the consequences of coronavirus flu – and all other strains. Many – many – of the prayer requests are covid-19 related … people diagnosed … people sick … people dying … relatives worried and isolated. We are in this together – in prayer!

Please keep the victims of household abuse in your prayers. Whether it be physical, emotional, sexual or neglect, this time in particular is very horrifying for them to be trapped in a house with their abuser(s) and not being able to escape.

We also need to pray for colorblind peace. Racism will remain a plague until we stop looking at people as black and white, but as human beings created by the same Creator. We pray for new eyes, calmer heads, and softer hearts. 

Special prayer requests have been made for orphanages in Kenya, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and right here in the United States. The need is real.

Financial issues were also high on the prayer lists with millions still out of work. Sustain those who are hurting financially. Give us and them our daily bread.

Natural disasters continue. Keep those in the path of fires and storms safe and focused on You, Lord.

Prayers requested for Debby as she recovers from surgery.

Please keep Mark in your thoughts and prayers. He underwent brain tumor surgery this week. He is doing well post-op, but has a tough road ahead.

Keep Andrew in your prayers as he continues to fight the fight. He contacted me the other day. Things continue to deteriorate. Prayers. Prayers. Prayers.

Prayers requested for Mona who has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer of the liver. She is on a new chemo schedule and has been given about a year. She was expected to return home from the hospital today or Sunday. Please pray for her and husband Frank.

Prayers needed for J for a mental health issue and for his family members.

Please pray for Gunny who is having a multitude of health problems.

Please pray for Dawn who is struggling with several painful and difficult health challenges.

T has a list of prayer requests … please pray for him. The Lord will know the details.

Please pray for eight year old Maddie who was diagnosed with leukemia.

Please pray for Danny who has MS and is scheduled for back surgery due to a fall.

Please continue to pray for Ali, a young woman who is struggling with some health issues and reaching out for prayer.

Please pray for Frank who lost his mother and his job within two weeks.

Savannah and her daughter lost their new home in an apartment fire. They moved in just less than one month ago. Savannah was just able to save her two year old daughter and herself, but unfortunately was not able to save her cat, three kittens, and two geckos along with all of her and her daughter’s personal belongings. Not only did she just put down her deposit and rent money, she now needs to replace her ID and wallet, clothing, food, toys, and furnishings. She has lost all of her sentimental items and photographs as well. Prayers during these trying times are requested.

Julia is seeking prayer for a workplace situation.

Please pray for Fletcher who is in critical condition with several health issues.

Please pray for Houma who is struggling with depression and multiple other factors making life very difficult.

Please pray for Albert who is struggling with health issues.

Please pray for Gina who has ovarian cancer.

Please pray for Ally. The Lord will know the details. Situation is critical.

Please pray for Amir’s health.

Please pray for Carmella who had a spell and fell on the concrete suffering a deep laceration that needed stitches. Doctors thought they might be able to reconstruct her jaw but where it broke apparently won’t allow that. Her dentures were also destroyed in the fall. She also needs a stimulator replacement – it’s down to 18% — but it still has not been approved.

Please pray for Michael who is critical in the hospital ICU.

Please pray for Tawne who will have surgery Oct. 21 for cancer of the uterus. Pray the cancer is contained.

Please pray for Devorah. Something is going on with her belly which is swelling by the day.

Please say a prayer for Florence who has pain in her arms and hands and is having stomach pains. She is in hospice.

Please pray for Diane to be completely healed of pancreatic and liver cancer.

Prayers requested for Sean to be completely healed of lung and bowel cancer. He had a colostomy yesterday – at 13.

Bill is recovering from a broken foot and could use prayer.

There were a host of unspoken prayer requests and we heard of a number of deaths this week. Prayers for their families as they go through this earthly trial. We grieve … heaven rejoices.

We come to You, Lord, because prayer is the least yet the greatest thing we can do for each other. When two or more are gathered in Your name, we confidently know You are with us. What better company can we have? You reign and we trust You! We may be broken and battered but know You heal and quiet the soul. You are the source for all that happens in our lives. We thank You for the progress being made. We thank You for the many blessings we have received this week. Some we unfortunately didn’t notice. Nonetheless, those blessings are ever-present in our lives. We thank You for healing. We thank You for slowing us down. We thank You for providing us our daily needs — no more and no less. We thank You for being with us, listening to us, walking with us on this journey. We thank You for the support of our family and friends … for seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary — sunrises, sunsets, flowers, kids laughing, adventures, good news amid the bad news. We know we can come to You with our concerns and they will be heard. Through Christ all things are possible. We lift up those family members and friends who are battling various physical, emotional, financial, career or spiritual issues and ask not for Your guidance and healing (although that would be welcomed) but to keep reminding us we are not alone in our battles. Specifically we lift up Debby, Mark, Andrew, Mona, J, Gunny, Dawn, T, Maddie, Danny, Ali, Frank, Savannah, Julie, Fletcher, Houma, Albert, Gina, Ally, Amir, Carmella, Michael, Tawne, Devorah, Florence, Diane, Sean, Bill, and all those needing Your healing and guiding touch. We pray for the families of all those You have called home. We grieve … You celebrate. We pray for obedience to Your Will so Your “Son” Light shines through us through the power of the Spirit. And we come to You through the confidence of the words taught by Your Son Jesus. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Keep your joys and concerns coming. They have been and will be included during my prayer time and I trust they will be on your lips as well as you approach the altar. All it takes is a couple of keystrokes under the “Contact Me” button on the top bar {or to the right if you’re not a follower yet}. I hope it becomes your best friend as you navigate around the site so we can all be viable prayer warriors. You can also comment or reach me at wisdomfromafather@gmail.com.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Work as if everything depends on you. Pray as if everything depends on God.– St. Ignatius Loyola

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Five Minute Friday — Hold

Ready for this week’s Five Minute Friday adventure?

Five Minute Friday is, of course, and exercise where about 100 of us in the FMF community come together to independently write on a one-word prompt — this week HOLD — post it, link it at  fiveminutefriday.com then gather round to encourage and support our fellow Christian writers, each writing in their own unique style and genres.

I’ve also been including snippets from Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat compiled by Susan Shipe. They are a testament to the value of the exercise. This week, I’ll share some perspective from Cheryl, who I hope inspires you to check us out or, better yet, encourage you to try your hand at focused, unscripted writing for just five minutes. And share it on the website.

“FMF has been a source of encouragement for me. I have looked forward to Thursday nights and finding out the word for the day. [It’s released on the Five Minute Friday website and at a special #fmfparty Twitter party.] Once I have the word, I mull it over thinking about what I could possibly write. More often than not, the word has been a perspective changer giving me a chance to think bigger about life and my current circumstances. Not only have I been encouraged by the words of the many other FMF writers as they comment on my writing. FMF is not just about linking my posts but about being part of something much bigger.”

Well, it time to start the timer, so let’s GO …

If I was able to go back in time and write myself a letter as a teenager, I think the message would have been simple. Hold on! This is going to be one wild ride!

Looking back, I would tell my future self to expect ups and downs, triumphs and failures, success and loss, love and heartbreak. It’s all part and parcel of the path we take on this journey called life.

It wouldn’t necessarily have been written to scare me into making “right” choices, but rather to caution a younger me about the vagaries of life. Expect the unexpected, but, at the same time, embrace the unexpected. I would have told myself to find an Anchor. I would have told myself to be true to myself. I would have told myself to hold on to my principles.

That’s what experience has taught me. That would have been my message, There were some pits I fell into but not too many. The key was learning how to navigate through them, … STOP

to learn from them.

Maybe that was the message I carried without the benefit of experience. While I readily admit I sometimes made, let’s say, less than wise decisions, none of them ignored the essence of who I was and who I’ve become. Faith was a key element. Family was an integral element. A calmness stemming from those two anchors was an integral element. A wllingness to learn and attempt things outside my comfort zone was an integral element.

Yes, as I look back, it would have been nice to hold onto a road map for the journey, but my early me doesn’t look a lot different than my present me.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: You are somebody’s reason to smile.

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Words on Wood

There are two plaques sitting on a table in my living room. Both were sent by my daughters and await a spot on the wall — when I decide which wall. Until last week, they served as hard table top on a makeshift box end table and a laptop stand while working. Long story, not particularly interesting … just another example of my penchant for procrastination.

The first is a little whimsical albeit still delivering a message. “MOTTO TO LIVE BY: Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming “WOO HOO, what a ride!”

I think that will go on the short wall separating my living room with the kitchen as a reminder during my many trips through the portal.

That is a motto I try to embody. We can live safe, neat lives … or we can LIVE.  I’m not suggesting abusing life, but I do suggest living … with chocolately hands and a good merlot, aching back from  bending down to smell the roses, with six digits — cumulatively seven digits — on the odometer, sharing in the complexities of life, visiting with family and friends, embracing our experiences while welcoming each new adventure, too tired to go on because of zest for life and not because we played it safe. I would like my last words to echo the last phrase — “Woo Hoo, what a ride!”

The second plaque is a lot deeper. It says, “You have changed the world because YOU have TOUCHED our lives.”

I think that will be placed on the wall adjacent to the front door as a daily reminder of a goal, a legacy, if you will, my legacy.

I don’t profess to have changed the world, but I do hope, in some small measure, my words and actions will touch lives positively.

One of the issues I’ve been facing is the legacy I will leave behind. I like to think it will be positive, as reflected in my writing and outreach. Whenever I pen a blog post … or share a message on social media as I do daily … or offer messages of hope {and sometimes with sarcastic humor} to family and friends, I try to focus on the positives and encourage all to look Up. I try to be the conduit and soften hearts to be receptive to the love of the God I know.

Don’t read anything into this post or between the lines, but the adventures of the past year have focused on my mortality. I am hopeful there will be many more years of blogging and sharing, but I’m also cognizant, as a septuagenarian, there is more sand in the bottom of the hourglass than on the top. And only the One who knows how many granules are left is my Lord.

I hope to be sharing my thoughts and my faith for many moons to come, but my heart beats to a little happier rhythm knowing my legacy doesn’t have an expiration date. It will live forever through my children and their children and their children’s children and my friends and their friends and their friends’ friends.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit. — E.E. Cummings

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Smile Time

One of the misconceptions about being a Christian is non-Christians think we don’t know how to have fun or have a sense of humor. Trust me, if the Big Guy can have a sense of humor when it comes to dealing with us mere mortals, so can we.

The difference for Christians is we don’t have to debase ourselves or others to generate a smile. Laughter at life or ourselves is a gift from God.

Here’s this week’s edition of Midweek Mirth  … so let’s smile a little!

Smile

The old cynic W. C. Fields once said, “Smile first thing in the morning — and get it over with.”

… and now for the bonus …

Just Desserts?

A truck driver who was being heckled by several members of a motorcycle gang at a diner calmly finished his lunch, paid his check and walked out without responding to their taunts. “Not much of a man,” one of the bikers said to the waitress after the trucker had left.

With an amused smile, the waitress responded, “He’s not much of a driver, either. He just ran over a bunch of motorcycles out in the parking lot.”

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Love is a song that never ends.” — Bambi

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