Friday, January 14, 2022

TPWK

One of my best friends recently got a new tattoo.  It is simply the letters "tpwk", which stands for "treat people with kindness."

Ashlee needs no reminder to treat people with kindness because she does that everyday.  We work together, so I have the opportunity to observe her in the best of times and the most stressful of times and she is always kind and respectful to others.

But the picture of her tattoo made me think about what it represented.  My first thought was the many references to kindness in the Scriptures:

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up." 1 Corinthians 13:4.

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."  Ephesians 4:32.

"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering." Colossians 3:12.

"And to godliness [add] brotherly kindness: and to brotherly kindness charity." 2 Peter 1:7

The most striking of the verses in Scripture regarding kindness however, are those that speak of the Lord's kindness toward us:

"For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.  Praise ye the Lord."  Psalm 117:2.

"...turn unto the Lord your God:  for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness,"  Joel 2:13.

"...for I knew that Thou are a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness."  Jonah 4:2.

None of us need to look to the dictionary for the definition of the word kindness, we know it when we see it.  When someone is kind to us, doesn't that make us feel good?  

The verb in Ashlee's tattoo really stands out to me..."treat." Now let us look to the dictionary.  One of the definitions of the word treat is "to provide with enjoyment or gratification."  When someone is kind to us, especially if we didn't expect it, isn't it like receiving a treat?  Isn't it something that brings enjoyment?  

Many of us have had the experience of giving a treat to a child.  Or, in our house these days its giving a treat to our dog.  This clearly brings enjoyment to them.  We have the ability, the capability to give a "treat" to everyone with whom we come in contact and it takes so little to do so.  Kindness is something everyone can give.  A smile, a nice word, opening a door, saying "please" and "thank you" are all simple acts of kindness.  The opportunities for kindness abound all around us if we will open our eyes to see them.

Let us look for ways to "treat" others with the joy of kindness.  It will brighten their day, lighten our own heart and will show the kindness of the Lord to others as we do so.



Me and Ashlee on Nurses' Day.



Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Shimmering Trail of Unseen Origins

 I was walking Ellie the other day and noticed something shimmering on the sidewalk.  A snail had left trails on the sidewalk that sparkled in the sunlight.  As Ellie and I continued down the street, I thought about that snail.

I never saw the snail.  I didn't know if the snail was young or old, or the purpose of his journey.  What I did know was that he crossed the sidewalk and in doing so, left a trail of his travels.  The trail itself was not pretty, but when the sunlight caught it, it became a glistening strand.

The snail caused me to think about myself.  I encounter or pass many people in my daily life, most of whom I do not know.  I don't know their names and they don't know mine.  I know nothing of their lives, their families or what they do with their days. But I didn't know the snail either and his trip across the sidewalk  impressed me enough to sit and write about it.  Why?

Because what he did reflected the sun.   The beauty of the snail's trail came not in the trail itself, but in the sunlight it reflected.  The shimmer, the glistening, the sparkle was not of the snail, but of the sun, and that sparkle made me smile.

Oh, may I be more like the unseen snail on the sidewalk.  May I live my life in such a way as to leave a trail that glistens in the light of the One true Son.  May His light so shine upon my path that others are led to Him by the shimmer they see.  May my passing someone's way lead them to see His Light and their faces turn up in smile because of the sparkle it imparts.  And most of all, like the snail, let me forgotten in the process.


Let Me Be Forgotten

Words by Glen Davis

As the dew which brought sweet manna,
and then quietly stole away.
I long to be forgotten, Lord,
to seek no accolade.

For each day the light grows brighter
as it shines in your dear face.
Only One is due all honor,
and only One inhabits praise,

So let me be forgotten, Lord.


Yes, I see it, Lord, no I see them,
those prints upon Your hands,
and I know that ’til forever 
the cry of Heavenly lands

 will sing bless the name of Jesus,
praise to the Father be,
as by the Spirit’s humble heart
we fall unto our knees.

So let me be forgotten, Lord.


Monday, January 10, 2022

Invincible!

 Invincible!  

That's how I felt when my patient tested positive for Covid-19 the other night!  Only my cape was a gortex gown and my N95 mask was covered with an additional medical mask and face shield.  But I didn't feel invincible because of what was on me, but rather because of what was in me.

I have had two Covid vaccination shots plus the booster, I have now had Covid and I have also had the monoclonal antibodies.  Grace, a friend of mine at work who also had Covid when I did, remarked that we were probably the best people to take care of Covid patients that night.

I am not a stranger to caring for Covid patients, in fact, I was the nurse for the first delivery of a Covid patient in our hospital. (You can read about that here.)  I have never felt undue fear in the role, but I have always been very careful to take all the necessary precautions.  

But this time I felt different.  Although I still used all the personal protection equipment, I didn't feel that my protection came primarily from what I wore, but from what was circulating through my body.  I knew there was something inside of me giving me a strength, a protection I didn't normally have.

How true this is of the Christian.  We aren't strong because we have puffed ourselves up to be.  In fact, the Apostle Paul stated this about himself:

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."  (2 Corinthians 12:10.)

He could make that statement because of the verse that came before it.  Paul was speaking of the "thorn in the flesh" the Lord had given him, and how he had asked for it to be removed.  This is what Paul said God's response to him was:

"And He said unto me, 'My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' "

Paul then affirms, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2Corinthians 12:9.)

As we walk the Christian life, we are not strong, loving, peaceful, kind -- any attribute you want to include -- because of ourselves.  No, it is entirely because of Christ who lives in us, as the Scriptures tell us,  "Christ in you, the Hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27.)  We are strong because He is strong in and through us as we trust Him by faith.  We are loving because He is love in and through us.  It is Him, it is all about Him, as we by faith trust Him to "will and to do of His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13.)

Taking care of my Covid patient, I felt strong, powerful, almost invincible not because I am those things, but because of the natural and injected antibodies flowing in my body.  In the same vein, we have the attributes of the Holy Spirit because He lives in us.  Just as I trust those antibodies are helping me against Covid, we trust by faith the Holy Spirit works in us.

One of my favorite passage which speaks to this is found in Galatians:

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; 
yet not I but Christ liveth in me:  
and the life which I no live in the flesh 
I live by the faith of the Son of God, 
who loved me, and gave Himself for me." 
Galatians 2: 20



 I couldn't resist posting this picture that circulated during the first year of the pandemic.  It touched my heart and I am grateful its creator.


Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Contented - Part 2

 In our post yesterday, Contented, we talked about learning  "in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11.) Last week, our family was put in a position to choose contentment regarding our Christmas celebrations.

Each year we celebrate Christmas at our house, which begins with the opening of presents and is followed by our Christmas meal.  The Christmas dinner menu is almost always the same.  Additional items can be added to the menu, but none of the original items can be deleted by word of the Supreme Ruler of the Menu, Emmie Davis.  I usually begin cooking a few days before Christmas, working around my night-shift work schedule.

This year was no different.  The menu was determined and I began cooking on Monday, December 20th.  The dressing and spinach were in their casserole dishes, ready to be baked.  The turkey had been cleaned and was ready to be placed in the brine overnight.

On December 22nd, I had one errand to run.  I needed to run by the Urgent Care for them to look at my burning ears and throat, get a prescription for the antibiotics I need every year in the winter, get a negative Covid test (since I had been exposed to a +Covid co-worker) and come home to finish the rest of the cooking.

Only I didn't get a prescription for an ear infection, I received instead instructions on how to deal with my Covid infection. (You can read my post about that here.)

Our family was faced with a choice.  Could we be content with Christmas in a way other than how we always celebrated it?

The first recommendation offered by our family was to reschedule Christmas two weeks from now.  Having already cooked most of the holiday meal, and with a 20+ pound turkey thawed in the refrigerator, I wasn't thrilled with that solution.

The next suggestion was for everyone to come over as usual and I would just sequester myself in the back of the house.  No one was happy with that idea.

Then our daughter Emmie came up with the winning plan.  She suggested that since all of us are either vaccinated, or have had Covid or both, we should still meet for Christmas.  She also suggested that we open presents and eat outside and use social distancing.  I, of course, would wear a mask the whole time, as well.

Our son and his wife, Jessica, graciously offered their patio, which was spacious enough for all of us, and our son even decorated it with garland and Christmas lights and stockings, to add to the festivities.

The ever-present Baldwin County breeze blew the Covid germs away from us as we opened presents and ate our usual Christmas fare outside.  My husband summed the day up in this text to our family:

"Yesterday was a bellweather day in our family's history.  By God's grace, we went from 'we'll postpone for two weeks,' to having one of our best Christmas's ever.  The Lord gave us perfect weather, everyone adapted seamlessly, and we had yet another happy time together.

So, thanks to the Lord for the gift of yesterday, that wonderfully reflected THE GIFT.

Thanks to Emmie for the idea and the inspiration.  Brilliant!

Thanks to Noah and Jess for the accommodations and hard work.  Wow!

Thanks to Mom for getting up early, despite Covid, and cooking.  And for holding up so well all day long.  Of course!

Thanks to Marie for ensuring Sally is with us, and for resurrecting Aunt Margaret's Chex mix.  Dangerous!

Thanks to Jack, Emma, Ewan, and Evelyn for having such a great attitude and being so much fun despite the changes we had to make.  And I'm sure y'all helped get ready.  Super!

Sally, Ellie and Mr. Bates
Thanks to the Three Wise Pups for spiritually bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Woof! 

Thanks to everyone for the amazing generosity expressed through the family to one another. Incredible!

As I said last night, God has given to us an amazing family.  I know we don't take it for granted, but I know we all want to appreciate it more.  During all the activity yesterday, I sat back for a moment and took it all in.  Gratitude and thanksgiving was just not enough to do justice for such grace bestowed upon us.

'Now thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift' (II Corinthians 9:15). ' "

Our family made the choice to take a difficult, unexpected situation and see it as a wonderful adventure together.  We collectively made the choice to be content, and content we were.

"Thanks be unto to God for His unspeakable Gift" indeed.