Sunday, May 14, 2017

Moving Onward, Learning As I Go

Well, I have continued my forward progress in reading the Bible, at my own pace, albeit a more eager pace than in my recent history and with a deeper level of interest.  Translation:  this time around, I'm not reading the Bible in a hurry, just to get my reading quota in each day; I am reading the Bible when I have time to do so, paying attention to details and grab my attention so I can learn more deeply about areas that grab my attention.

Image result for clipart grabbed my attention

Okay... enough with my wordy intro paragraph.. let's move on to what I wanted to say when I decided to write this blog entry.

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Leviticus.  I am in the first few chapters, reading God's instructions to His people through Moses regarding what kind of sacrifices to offer for different varieties of sin.  What is acceptable, what is not... the manner in which each animal sacrifice is to be killed, how it is to be dismembered and what, very specifically, is to be done with each of its body parts and internal organs, including its fat and the contents of its intestinal tract (referred to, in the New Living Translation of the Bible, as "dung").

Image result for clip art cartoon animals for sacrifice

My stomach clenches when I read all this.  I don't like to read about the killing, dismembering and cooking/burning of these poor animals, none with any defects (like that makes a difference to my emotional response to these sacrificing procedures)... aaahhhhrrrrgh.........

Yesterday, I believe, I thanked God that we don't have to do that anymore.  My statement was one of sincere gratitude.

Image result for clipart silhouette of Jesus on the cross

Jesus served as the ultimate and final sacrifice for ALL sins.  So no longer must we keep a count of which sins we have committed and how many of each... no longer must we remember what sacrifices cover which sins... no, no more.  Jesus died on the cross, shedding the ultimate sacrifice of blood and life, which paid the ultimate price for any and all sins we imperfect humans commit for all the rest of our time on earth.

That kind of feels like I'm regurgitating a bunch of church-speak... true, that is a summary of what I learned in my church for years and years.  I do believe that is true, and that truth is rooted deep down in me, pretty much permanently.  Like there are things you can't "un-see," there are also things you can't "un-learn."  Honestly, I'm grateful to have this truth so deeply embedded into the fiber of who I am.

Thank You, Lord, for the finely-skilled and well-educated pastor under whom I grew up spiritually for many years.  I am grateful for the things I learned through him and for the techniques he used to teach his congregation so that the covered principles STUCK with us... at least with me... anyway, thank You.

Image result for clipart Larry stockstill  (Truly awesome guy... I have nothing but respect for this man.)

All I have to say for now.  Be blessed on this beautiful Sunday morning!  I am sitting outside, enjoying the calm air, the chirping of so many different birds, the green landscape, and the company of my ever-present, amazing dog Luna.

This is the day that the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.

You do the same.  Have a great one.  Let's all turn over some new stones today, wherever we end up walking, just to see what is underneath.

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Adios, mis amigos!!

Nicole

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nothing Gold Can Stay


Remember this clip of Johnny and Ponyboy from "The Outsiders"?  It is a moving scene, giving viewers a glimpse into the hearts of two scared, exiled young boys searching for a strand of hope to grasp onto in their time of desolation.  Robert Frost's poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" is a brief, thought-provoking poem that has us looking more closely at the world around us and into the world inside us.

I actually thought of that phrase "nothing gold can stay," glancing at my 11 year old dog Luna, out here with me as I sit with my laptop on our tiny... some might call it a porch... on this cool, soft, calm morning.  Lu has assumed her habitual position about 6 or 7 feet from me, lying on our cement walkway, alternately snoozing and taking in the sights and sounds around her.

There is somewhat of a golden hue to my dear Luna's coat.  I love her dearly and have had her since she was 6 or 7 months old.  She is my dear and faithful canine friend.  In our time together, she and I have traveled to numerous cities in several states.  No matter who else is around, she comes to me when she needs to go outside or needs to be fed.  She is very protective of me, our household and our property and has warded off a number of U.S. Mail carriers.  She has a heart of gold.  However, I know I will not have Luna forever.  She's getting up in age, and dogs don't live as long as we often wish they could.

Nothing Gold Can Stay.

For nearly 6 years, I worked faithfully as an embedded contractor at the Albemarle Product Development Center.  About a month ago, I fell victim to the latest round of layoffs.  I've kept to myself for awhile, blog-wise... sorting out the hurt that caused... getting slowly back up on my feet... crying a little... but, mostly, mustering the strength and gumption I've needed each morning to face another day.  I've applied to what seems like hundreds of jobs so far, have had a few interviews, and am continuing in that track until something good happens.

Nothing gold can stay... but the truth is that NEW gold can come at any time!  Newness lies ahead for all of us.  We can't see around all the corners and curves ahead in our lives' paths... but good stuff is waiting up ahead.

This is where faith comes into play... believing in what we do not see.  Jesus said we are blessed when we believe without seeing.

In addition to applying for jobs like a mad woman, I have also been burrowing down into reading the Bible. The entire Bible is rich with truth; full of practical lessons throughout that we can apply to our everyday lives.

I am garden soil overlaid with rich compost and fertilizer, being prepared for the opportunity that is to be planted in my life soon.

I trust God.  He is taking care of me in the meantime; I have Lena's support, and I have secured a very small part-time job while I search for higher-paying, full-time employment.

I have two interviews today.  Please pray I will be on my toes, that I will say the right things and ask the right questions, and that I will leave lasting, positive impressions on the people who interview me.

Nothing gold can stay... and mourning the loss of something valuable is healthy and appropriate... but it does us no good to sit around for too long a time, moping over what we have lost.

God says, "I know the plans I have for you- plans to prosper you and not to harm you; to give you a future and a hope."

I have two more interviews today, both for jobs I would love to have.  The first is for a State job.  The second is in an office at LSU and THAT is the one I would most love to have... because LSU employees can take classes tuition-exempt!  I would be so crazy about continuing my education, maybe going in a different direction this time.  But that's a whole 'nother story.  😋

So I'll pray, and y'all pray, and let's have a great day!