My Story…

A question was posed at church yesterday: Where and when have you experienced the movement of the Spirit?

My Story…

It was Christmas morning and I was sad.

I was sad because I felt alone.

Yes, I was the only one up…Corinne, the puppies, and the kitties were snuggled in their beds with visions of sugar plums still in their heads. But this is not the kind of “alone” I mean. This “alone” is good. I love this “alone.” I drink coffee, read, and pray to this kind of “alone.” This alone makes me happy. My introverted self has fallen in love with this “alone.”

The aloneness I’m talking about hurts deep in your spirit, and its name is rejection.

Rejected?

I was sad because I felt rejected by those who were supposed to love me.

They use to love me and welcome me into their life. We shared tears and laughter, and get-togethers…dinners and movies… We were partakers of time together. My time was their time and their time was my time.

But on this particular Christmas morning I was alone and the chasm was deep.

Seated on my sofa I began to cry.

I noticed the Bible on the table beside me. I reached for it with the intent of reading the Christmas story…after-all it was Christmas morning.

Matthew? Mark? Luke? John? What version should I read? I chose John.

John’s version of Christmas opens at the time of creation, and I envisioned Jesus’ Spirit moving within the mist among His heavens.

John speaks of Christ and how the words of His mouth created all we see. He paints Jesus as light and life, and how his light shown in the darkness and how the darkness comprehended it not…and how this light physically came into the world as a babe lying in a manger.

As I read I began to feel his presence.

I felt his Spirit urging me to read on. As if He whispered “Read on my child…I have something else to tell you…” And so I did, and as I did I saw the words…”He came unto his own and his own received him not.”

In that moment his gentle voice spoke to my heart…”I know how you feel…”

Again I cried, but I was not alone.

***

Word for the day: Mist

Beer-Battered Baby Squash & Blooms

I could wait no longer!

I had to have them and nothing would deter me.

Standing by my little garden I salivated as I gazed down upon the treasure; and so putting an end to my hesitation, I bent down and picked six baby squash, one with a lovely bloom intact.

That was the beginning of a delicious ending I’ve chosen to call, “Beer-Battered Baby Squash & Blooms.”

And so, to quote Paul Harvey… “Here’s the rest of the story…”

Ingredients

Baby Squash with blooms if possible

1 Bottle/Can Lite Beer

1 cup Self-Rising Flour

1 tsp Garlic Powder or Onion Powder (or both)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Fresh Mozzarella (or your favorite cheese)

Fresh Green Onions finely chopped

Vegetable Oil for frying

Mix flour, garlic/onion power, salt & pepper, and beer until it resembles thick pancake batter.

Remove the pistols from flowers. Blanch for 30 seconds and then put blossoms in a cold water bath for 5-10 seconds. Lay on paper towels to absorb water. Mix cheese and green onions. Carefully stuff squash blossoms with cheese, drape petals over cheese and twist the ends to seal. If the blossoms are frail and difficult to handle put them in the fridge to sit about 15-20 minutes. I totally skipped this step.

Dip stuffed squash blooms and baby squash into the batter to completely coat. Drop into hot oil (375 degrees) and fry for 1-2 minutes.

When they are golden brown, remove from oil and lay on paper towels.

Take a bite and enjoy the scrumptious soft middle surrounded by a light and airy crust (thanks to the beer). It’s truly the best “homemade homework” I produced in quite a while.

Friends, these are simply delicious!

I hope you get the chance to indulge this summer!

***

Today’s Word: Homework

What If You Could Pick?

In this life change is inevitable. From the moment we wake to the setting of the sun, our bodies and emotions continue to evolve. One could argue that we possess the power to alter the severity of these changes through prayer, meditation, exercise, and diet; however, this one thing is certain: we cannot stop change. If you’re reading this and breathing you’re on your way to the end. Hopefully that doorway is far into the future.

Ben Franklin once said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Well, Mr Franklin, you’re right about the dying part but not so right about paying taxes. Obviously, your crystal ball failed to reveal the Donald Trumps of this present world, and large corporations like Amazon and Netflix. But I refuse to talk politics. It’s a subject that has cost me family and friends.

BUT…

What if…what if we were allowed pick some of those changes?

I’ve borrowed the following scenarios from one of my favorite blogs, This, That, and The Other. ( https://fivedotoh.com ). It is a set of “What if we could change” questions. I thought it would be fun to venture into Neverland, and post my answers here on Redhead Reflections. If you would like to share your answers to these questions please leave them in the comments section. I always seek to better know my readers.

So, here we go…

Rory Asks About Loose Change

Right now, right this minute, what could happen that would change your life totally for the better?

Healing for someone I hold dear to my heart.

How well do you handle changes in your life, to your life, or to your regular routines?

Well, it depends on the type of changes, of course. Obviously, if I won the lottery I’d be doing cartwheels, but in general, I’m not very good with change.

If you could jump into a pool of something odd [not water] what would it be?

Rice pudding, but only if I could carry a spoon.

What would be so much better if you could simply change the color of it?

My lily-white skin. (heeeheeeeheeee)

If you had a time machine, would you go back in time or visit the future and would you change anything?

I would go back to creation and chop down all the apple trees.

Do you prefer dogs over cats or cats over dogs?

I consider cats my spiritual avatar, but, that being said, I have 3 dogs and I love them with all my heart. (Is that dodging the question?)

How would you react if you were unexpectantly changed into a frog?

Well, I sure wouldn’t eat a fly! I’d probably take advantage of my jumping ability and do somersaults in the wind.

Write a random sentence about blogging without using the letter G.

My site, Redhead Reflections, is almost 6 years old!

If you could change the world over, what would you change?

Kindness would be innate.

Why did you do that?

So mankind could truly live out the golden rule.

If you could disinvent something, what would it be and why?

War. War would never be an option. Without war, perhaps we could live in peace, where no one is taken advantage of regardless of gender, race, religion, wealth, or sexual orientation.

You have been gifted an elephant – you cannot give it away, donate it, or sell it – what are you going to do with your elephant?

I’m going to hug him, kiss him, pat him, and name him George.

What are your values with regards your life?

To be kind and help others. (sounds “cheesy” but it’s genuine)

Who do you prefer to spend the most time with?

As an introvert, I love my alone time. I find I’m a better person to all those around me when I’ve had enough me time. When I’m recharged I love spending time with my wife, children, sister, my three dogs, and two cats.

Which is worse, falling over or not getting back up again?

Not getting back up again…no explanation needed.

If the currency was happiness and goodwill, what job would you perform?

I’d be a farmer.

You have lost your Interney connection for ten days, there is no internet connection within 50 miles of where you live. It matters not about what you use to connect, it simply isn’t happening – what will you for those ten days?

Read, eat good food, and be outside.

…and that’s all folks!

Feel free to leave your answers in the comments! Thanks for reading!

***

Todays Word: Pick

This, That, and The Other

Moments of Expressions

Weekly Photo Challenge: People

This weeks photo challenge is simply…people.

Below are some of my favorite photos with expressions of happiness. I love it when the click of my camera happens at the right time and place to capture expressions that fade into oblivion within a matter of mere seconds. These make me smile and my hope is that they will do the same for you.

Ms Carrie
Mama and her Elf
Studious Selfie
Kisses at the Beach

Cooking The Goose!

Is it possible that mean people are a blessing in disguise?

I’m not talking about evil people…certainly those that abuse and hurt others are never a blessing! I’m making reference to those people who “rub us the wrong way” or “get under our skin.” You know the ones…forthright, and tactless. Their words are sharp and hurtful, and they never use their tongue to uplift and edify, instead they use it to tear down and debase.

No one likes to be around someone like this. In fact, we go out of our way to avoid them.

But… Perhaps we shouldn’t.

You see, our patience is put on trial every time they grace us with their presence. Our patience literally gets a “work out” just as our muscles do when we exercise.

The apostle James writes in his book, chapter 1, verses 3 and 4, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Trials are never fun, but sometimes they can be beneficial in the growth to become a better person. I love the way Joyce Meyer puts it:

“Learning to walk in love with unlovely people and learning to be patient in trials are probably the two most important tools God uses to develop our spiritual maturity. Believe it or not, difficult people in our lives help us.”

Yes, mean people suck, but let’s “cook their goose” by allowing them to make us better!.

FYI:

Idiom- “Cook Your Goose”

Just for fun: “Use Your Noodle”

***

FOWC Forthright

Word of the day: Noodle

Make America Great Again…?

ted-strutzs-town
Photo by Ted Strutz

She always knew it would end this way.  

She had lived her life…so, what of it…?! 

They had been so gentle helping her cross the road.  Their faces kind and their touch kinder. 

Lies!   

They cared nothing for her and she knew it.  They wanted her gone.  Gone and forgotten. 

Inside the boat, she pulled the blanket they had given closer, but it did little to soothe her aching bones. 

Gone? 

Never. 

Her memory would live in all the hearts she had loved.  She smiled at the thought.   

The border patrol boat left the harbor.

***

Friday Fictioneers:  100 Words

Fandango One Word Challenge:  Dreamer-DACA

The Challenge:  Look at the provided photo and create a story with beginning, middle, and end in only 100 words.

 

 

 

 

Reflections at International Harbor

Today’s Photography is inspired by RDP – Reflection

About a year ago, Corinne and I had the privilege of spending a couple days at National Harbor, which is located South of Washington DC along the Potomac River.

As a physician, she had a medical conference to attend, and as the wife of a physician, I was lucky enough to be able to tag along.  There was no indecision on my part!

I knew much of my time would be spent alone, and whereas some may find it pointless, I found I loved the long days alone, especially my quiet time at sunset.  I guess that’s one of the perks of being an introvert.

While walking along the shores of the Potomac River I was able to capture the views below.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Reflection 1
View of the Capitol Wheel from the marina at International Harbor

 

Reflection 2
Sunset view along the Potomac River at International Harbor

 

Reflection 3
Sunset by the pier at International Harbor

 

Reflection 4
Reflection of the Capitol Wheel as seen from the walking trail that hugs the Potomac River.

***

 

Baaa Or Maaa?

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There’s no time like the present for innovation.

As a writer, I usually try to read some word of inspiration in the early morning hours…and often with a cup of coffee on my desk.

Today my hand reached for Strong for a Moment Like This…The Daily Devotions of Hillary Rodham Clinton.  (Yes, I am aware of the plagiarism by the author Rev. Dr. Bill Shilladay, but, for lack of a better term… let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water.  There’s some good stuff in there.  Give it a chance.)

The scripture for today’s reading was taken from Matthew chapter 25, verses 34-35.

The scene opens to sometime in the future.  King Jesus is sitting on his throne, and all the nations of the world are gathered before him to receive judgment.  Matthew says that on that day the King will “separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.”

So, what will constitute a lamb and what will constitute a goat?  What will be the deciding factor as to whether this nation takes the left or as to why that nation takes the right?

The one deciding factor is simply this:  The way the nation treated “…the least of these…” (I wonder upon which side America will stand.)

How we treat others is extremely important to Jesus.

Jesus views your treatment of others as equivalent to your treatment of Him.  Jesus actually puts himself in the place of “the least of these.”  He becomes hungry.  He becomes thirsty.  He becomes the stranger.  He becomes naked.  He becomes sick.  He becomes the prisoner.

I like both lambs and goats; however, in this particular scenario, the goats are the bad guys.  Yes, they are the ones wearing the black hats.  They are the ones who failed to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, feed the naked, care for the sick, and failed to visit the prisoner.

Believe me, when this day happens you don’t want to find yourself on the left hand of King Jesus.

The amazing thing about this story is that both, the sheep and the goats, are stupefied as to why they are labeled as such, and amazingly their response to the King is the same.  They both ask Jesus, “…when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison…?”  The King’s answer to sheep as well as the goats is virtually the same, “…I assure you when you did it [or not] to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

Yikes!

I’ve been raised to believe that what we do with Jesus in this life determines where we will spend eternity.  Jesus says what you do to others in this life is what you do to me.

This story is intended to be a glass of cold water to the face.

It is intended to wake us from our apathy.

It is intended to help us see others through the eyes of Christ.

It is intended to show us the importance of loving our neighbor as ourselves.

It is intended to show us that we cannot pick and choose our neighbors.

That our neighbors are all those whom God chooses to bring into our life.  They are there for a reason.  Ask God to show you that reason, and then go about fulfilling your God-given destiny.

There is no time like the present to start something new.

***

Word-A-Day Blog Challenge:  Innovation

Fandango’s One Word Challenge:  Present