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Bathroom Shower

WHAT’S IN YOUR SHOWER???

Every day without fail as I jump into the shower, the first thing I think of is the last thing I’ll do before I jump out. Going through the motions, all I can think about is how long it’s going to take me to clean the darn thing when I’m done.

It all started when I began watching HGTV’s “Love It or List It.” They do such great makeovers and most, if not all of the master bedrooms have these gi-normous en suites with glass shower doors that are beautiful!  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love a clean shower.

There are different degrees of clean. To some, a clean shower is a “tidy shower”.  It’s when you go to visit a friend or a relative and when you open the door or draw back the curtain, all the shampoos and conditioners are lined up, but there’s a wet used wash cloth thrown in the corner with a squeaky toy and a communal bar of soap. Most likely there’s no clean towel hanging there just for you, but there’s a linen closet close by so you stick your head in and find something, mismatched as it is, and it becomes yours. It’s one of those showers that when you hop out, you feel like you need to hop back in. Sorry, I’ve probably just described half of the world.  Stay with me, there’s a point to all this …

I’m not perfect and I’m certainly not one who can throw any stones. My family would be the first to tell you that if “cleanliness were next to godliness”, it would be in my best interest to “work out my own salvation” as they say.

After spending 10 years in the same bathroom, when the kids moved out, I had the opportunity to leave our master bedroom en suite and move into the main bathroom.  Before you think I’ve lost my mind moving out of my en suite, it’s no en suite, it’s more the size of an outhouse … I just like saying en suite 😉

In my typical quirky style, I try to turn every life experience into a “teaching moment” but each time I grab the spray bottle and sponge I always feel defeated.

Life can be that way; this morning I had so much on my mind that by 5:55am I had already had a bad day! I needed a little attitude adjustment and then me Jesus headed out the door to begin our day together.

Some days I feel so rushed and move so fast that there’s no real time to catch up or make good decisions.  I can honestly tell you that when I’ve had a long day and my husband starts talking to me about something important and wants my opinion; I can’t help him. I’m done, I’m clogged up and dirty.

That’s how I feel about my shower when I won’t or can’t take the time to clean it because I haven’t properly organized my day. Then when I get home and want to take a hot bath I’ve got shampoo bottles falling on my head, my razor, my loofah, my leave-in conditioner, etc., etc., it totally ruins the whole experience.

Had I just done what I needed to do, I would have experienced a nice, hot bath, cleared my head and gotten a sound night’s sleep. Wouldn’t it have been so much better just to do the work?  It’s a fair question.

Doesn’t it smell nice when the shower’s clean?  When you disinfect, spray, wipe up, or whatever, it just always leaves a nice scent, kind of like that “new car smell.”

Here comes the metaphor …

Those shower stalls are us walking around.  If someone were to open you up, what do you have on the inside? When we’ve taken the time to clean out the old so the new can shine through, it’s a place you want to be around.  But what about soap scum, clogged drains and random wet wash clothes laying off in the corner? If someone were to open that up, they could slip and fall leaving behind collateral damage. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be part of or anywhere near a collision.

We have to “look at our insides” and see what’s there. What about a new beautifully shaped, aromatic bar of soap wrapped up all pretty and on display simply for you.  What’s the first thing you do?  You stare at the beautiful display, pick up the soap and smell it, as the intoxicating aroma enters your senses. You can’t wait to use it!

Don’t you want to be one of those people others are drawn to?  You’re spirit and your countenance can do that.  Or, your downtrodden demeanor and broken spirit can send people running in the opposite direction.  Think about a lonely little bar of soap that’s been used up and cracked in half.  You know it’s been used and abused by each and every family member that goes through that bathroom.  The sad part is, there’s no fresh bar of soap in sight, so this poor little soap that’s now in about 6-one inch pieces has now got to clean and cover your entire body.  The poor little thing has nothing left to give.

My point here is that I like order, predictability and things I can count on.  The bible speaks of order and balance.  When I come home after a long day and I want to jump into a nice hot tub with my favorite bubble bath, I know I can because I made the choice to do the right thing and now I’m able to reap the benefit.

Don’t be lazy, clean your shower…literally and metaphorically.  You’ll be much happier; and so will those around you.

 

I WANT EVERYTHING

I WANT EVERYTHING

During the week I get up at 5am. I stumble down the stairs, grab a cup of coffee, and throw on the first thing hanging on the back of my bathroom door.  I grab my bible, my purse and my phone and head out the door to church for prayer.  This has been a routine of mine for 6 years now.  When I give God the first part of my day, things are off to a good start.

During prayer, it is not unlike me listen to music.  This morning, I hit a few buttons on my phone, put in my earphones and waited for my favorite worship song to play.  Much to my surprise, Barbra Streisand came on belting out one of my favorite tunes from back in the day.  If any of you out there are Barbra Streisand fans, you may remember the song “Everything” from the 1977 remake of “A Star Is Born”.  I remember the movie being rated “R” and my girlfriends and I were too young to get in, but back then … nobody cared.  We’d present our best, mature selves to the pimply, greasy haired seventeen year old boy behind the counter and with ease, he popped the tickets into our hands.

As we marched into the theatre feeling rather pompous that we pulled one over on the guy, we were mostly looking forward to seeing Kris Kristofferson without his shirt because in 1977, Kris Kristofferson was pretty easy on the eyes.  Ladies, am I right?  With Barbra Streisand’s pipes and his pecks, it was a powerful combination.

Barbara was always my idol and I found myself many a day down in my basement with a pool cue in my hand as a makeshift microphone singing every song off the album “A Star Is Born”.  There was a time when I sang so much that I was sure I sounded just like her, delusional as I was.

That movie inspired me, she played a strong willed, up and coming singer who would stop at nothing to succeed.  Her character was powerful and I watched her every move all 17 times I viewed the movie.  Yes, 17 times.

So, back to prayer –

As I’m assuming my “prayer posture” for the morning, here’s Barbra belting it out and I didn’t suddenly shriek in terror that I was playing a “secular” song in the sanctuary, but rather listened delighted as I re-acquainted myself with the words to the song and hung on every one of them.  You see, the song is about a very strong willed woman who wants EVERYTHING.  A very simple request, she wants EVERYTHING.

Looking back, in 1977 I didn’t see the song as a spring board to my future faith walk with God, it was just a song.  But today I listened to it with a different ear.  Just as her character “Esther Hoffman” wanted EVERYTHING, I wanted EVERYTHING.

But my EVERYTHING was different than here EVERYTHING.

She wanted the world, she wanted the moon, she wanted the man.  The final lyric to that song is “give me the man who’s gonna bring, more of everything”.

I also “wanted the man”…

… but the man I wanted was God and I didn’t even realize it.

You see, the song was powerful, forceful, strong – and my spirit even then was identifying with those qualities.  Now I am a woman; powerful, forceful, strong.

As I take inventory of my life, I have EVERYTHING.  I have the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  In 1977, Esther Hoffman had big plans for her life, and I had big plans for mine …

Be careful what you listen to, you just might get it 😉

HAPPILY NEVER AFTER

I ran into an old friend the other day. We started talking and she began sharing with me some marital issues she was having. She’s been married a long time and her husband recently moved out and has no communication with her. There is deep hostility and resentment on both sides yet each one feels helpless to do anything about it. Neither of the partners want a divorce, but feel completely stuck with no help in sight.

Change a few details in that story and perhaps this is you. No matter the details or the length of the marriage, there is always one common denominator.  UNRESOLVED SIN

From my experience, it is normally one of the partners who carries all the pain while the other is unaware and unconcerned about healing or forgiveness. One of the partners has been praying and praying and praying and praying ………………….. for YEARS and nothing has changed. More often than not, the marriages end.

THEY DON’T HAVE TO!!!

Recently, as I was listening to a couple sharing their problems, it occurred to me that it’s not just prayers but the condition of our hearts when we pray.

Mark 11:25 (Message Bible) “And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.”

Whether we like it or not — when a relationship breaks down, no matter whose at fault, Jesus puts the burden on you & me to initiate reconciliation.

Praying with unforgiveness in your heart is like trying to put gloves on over top of mittens or trying to put on socks when you’re wearing shoes.  It’s impossible.

Remember the question Peter asked Jesus about forgiveness? Matthew 18:21-22 (Message Bible) “At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.

Please understand, I realize years of hurt have left deep scars. But you can’t hold onto that excuse. You will be a prisoner in a bad marriage forever.

Jesus promised us:

  • He would use everything the devil meant for harm and turn it around for our good.
  • He would give us life and life abundantly.
  • He would give us the desires of our hearts … shall I go on???

If you’re tired of the same old problems year after year after year ……….try forgiveness BEFORE prayer.  You will be amazed at how quickly God will come to your rescue.

SEXUALITY, SINKHOLES AND SIN

I was watching a TV interview recently with a representative from the Catholic Church talking about all the sexual abuse that has taken place over the decades. Scandal in the church is not a new thing and it won’t be the last we hear of it either. The underlying cause of the whole mess is “sin”.

It begins like a sinkhole. There’s something happening under the surface that we don’t see. It’s ugly and it’s eroding the ground we walk on, yet we are unaware. It happens over time slowly, but consistently. Some try to “slap” a bandaid on it by digging up the ground and building new subdivisions or beautiful resorts over top of it. But yet — it’s still lurking, moving, ever widening. I think about those shivering news stories we hear where people were swallowed up and never heard from or seen again.A huge crater in Guatemala City

Sin is like that. It begins under the surface and we try and cover it up by re-directing our efforts elsewhere. But it’s still there, hiding and growing. We justify it by focusing on our surroundings and traumatic life events. Common sense is no longer “common” and those around you are infected with your now warped perspective. Those that know you begin to make excuses for you — and soon their foundation is crumbling.

Matthew 7:24-25 makes reference to a wise man building his house on a rock while a foolish man builds his house on sand.

I think about all those boys who were raped in the Church and left standing in the dark; the repeated attacks that went on for years and years that left them emotional prisoners with no where to turn. A traumatic event like that can forever change you and alter who you are to become. What you experienced was not love but evil. 1 Corinthians 13: 6-7 says “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

For those of you who are still standing in the dark, forgive your attackers. Forgive yourself. Leave the judgment to God. Hosea 9:9 says “God will remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.” There will be a Judgement Day, it comes to all of us. How we wish to stand before God is determined by what we do now. We are not the judge nor the jury.
Matthew 7:1 says “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Is your sexuality a reflection of who you are or a distortion of who you are? “Sin” is NOT our identity. Your identity began before the foundation of the world, you are a child of God; created in Love.
God said that He “knew us before the foundation of the world”. That means He knew who you were going to be before you were conceived in your mothers’ womb. God set you up to thrive.
I urge you to let go of the chains that have you bound. It is completely possible to have a beautiful and fulfilling future. As my pastor always says “God has never been your problem, He’s always been your answer.”

When you first make a commitment to God or “re-dedicate” your life to Him, it seems that good things begin to happen. I remember being a “baby” Christian and when I prayed or had questions, the answers came fairly quickly. Those things happened because God showed Himself true to His word and wanted me to experience it.

Loving Him is much different. It’s staying commited even when you ask Him for things that you don’t see coming to pass. He does mention the word “long-suffering” in the bible and there’s nothing good about that word. It means to wait … to ask, seek, knock and wait — and when you’ve had enough, you wait some more.

I can hear some of you right now yelling at the screen saying that I don’t know what you’ve been through or how long you’ve waited or how many tears you’ve cried or even if you think it’s unfair. You’ll still wait.

LISTEN TO ME … DO NOT PUT YOUR TIME OR ENERGY INTO THINGS THAT ARE NOT WORKING!!!!

God tells us to “rest in His presence”; that He will “keep us in perfect peace”. As I look back over the seasons of my life that have been spent in the “long-suffering” or “waiting” mode, it hasn’t been pretty. I cried more tears and had the worst attitude while I was in that process. I felt unloved and left behind. It’s a horribly painful feeling.

However, one day, you will rise above your circumstance. When you do, you’ll see clearly the waiting was worth the price.

Be patient, don’t loose your commitment … I’ll be praying 😉

LIFE HAS BECOME AN OXYMORON

An oxymoron is something self-contradictory. Not consistent in principles or conduct. Unsuitable, ridiculous, absurd. (Definitions taken directly from dictionary.com)

As you read this, please keep in mind it is only one woman’s observation. I take full responsibility for it. It may make you angry or you may agree with me. I encourage you to read through to the end, this story has a happy ending.

The world has never been in greater need of love than now.  Personal convictions have turned into wars; skin color has become a right. Drug overdoses, homicides and suicides are at staggering numbers and tolerance is no longer just a suggestion. People are ridiculed for their beliefs and are shamed. Their reputations are tarnished, their livelihoods taken away and are forced into submission one way or another. Right has become wrong; life is no longer a gift but a choice. God didn’t create the universe, it happened by chance and we all evolved from apes. The story of Adam and Eve is just a fable and for those who believe in Adam and Eve, there are those who believe in Adam and Steve.

For some reason, people believe that marrying the same sex affords them a happier life. But how do we account for those who split over irreconcilable differences, lack of communication, money, sex or kids.  Isn’t that the same thing that heterosexuals split over? People are people no matter the sex. But now the sexes are confusing. What was born male has now become female. We now have television shows with trans genders discussing their confusion as to why they can’t find fulfilling relationships. Only man and woman can pro-create which becomes an issue when same sex couples integrate.

Then there is the subject of religion. Created as “One Nation under God”, we have thrown Him out of schools, government, the workplace and even the church itself. People are afraid to speak out for fear of being chastised or even killed yet we go out of our way to accommodate various religions and often showcase them for a pat on the back or a TV show. We are being told to believe in something, but not God. At least not the God who had a son named Jesus. God is cool, but Jesus isn’t, unless you believe he was just a hippie prophet who went around suggesting good ideas.

Everywhere I go, everything I think, the very reason I’m here is challenged everyday. Not by me, I know where I came from and who I belong to. I wish everyone knew what I know, learned what I did, and encountered the man who saved me, changed me and made me new. The one who taught me right from wrong, gave me eternal life and guarantees me a place in eternity. He’s out there and He’s God. He created the universe and sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for my sins. Of course that begs the question of Jesus being born to a virgin. Yes, I believe he was born to a virgin if you can believe the miracle of life is just a happy accident.

The God I believe in showers me with Love, Grace, Kindness, Wisdom and Forgiveness. He teaches me truths that are not up for debate and gives me courage to fight for what I believe in. I will leave this earth with the same opinion; no one is smart enough to change my mind. I pray for you to meet this man. He is waiting to meet you. Just look up to heaven and ask Him to show you who He is. He will teach you truth and love you along the way. He will infuse you with wisdom and the strength to make good decisions. He will give you boldness and the distinct ability to know right from wrong. Best of all, He has nothing but unconditional love for you.

For those of you who stuck with me and are currently reading this, I thank you. I’ve already prayed for your personal encounter with the God I know. Look out! He will rock your world!

My mother was lovely woman. She was vibrant, beautiful and full of sass. She accomplished a great deal in her early life.  Before she was 30, she owned and operated two hair salons. She had a nice home, a sharp car and security.

Janis posing at beauty salon

She met and fell in love with my father at age 29; they married and she gave birth to me at age 31. My father was climbing the corporate ladder so he worked 7 days a week, 12 hours a day.  Mom either took me to the salon with her, or got a babysitter.  After a while it became a hassle, so she sold her businesses and settled in as a stay-at-home mom. She was the “doting” mother, had me involved in just about every activity under the sun and was there for every dance lesson, baton lesson, singing lesson, clarinet lesson etc., etc. She was proud of me and was my biggest fan.Mom bouncing me on her knee at Grandma Malones

My mother loved to take care of my father. I remember my favorite times as a child were Saturday evenings. My father would be home and we would sit around the television and watch The Carol Burnett Show.  My mother always made it special because halfway through the evening she would serve what she called a “relish tray” complete with assorted pickles, olives, cheeses, sardines in mustard sauce and crackers (my dad’s favorite); she made our house a home. Dad loved his career; upper management suited him well and he was proud that he made a very comfortable life for us.Christmas Eve 1969 Mom, Dad, Me, Fifi (2)

As the years ticked by, the focus became money, cars, vacations, houses – excess. No focus was placed upon the marriage and after 16 years, my father walked out. My mother was devastated, she poured her entire being into this life that now no longer existed. She always said that my father was the “love of her life.” She held onto it like an unforeseen banner that she would wave whenever anyone tried to get close. The light went out of her life and she never moved past it.

Over the years, I watched a confident, vibrant, self-assured woman disappear behind a veil of her former being. She never released her pain, she was unable to forgive my father for the choices he made and rehearsed the dialog over and over every day for the rest of her life. She never regained her spirit and allowed bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness to settle in and take up residence.

I watched my mother struggle in the last few years of her life. She was tormented by her past and it looked as though it was going to take her. She spent the last few months of her life in a nursing home. She lost the use of her legs and feet, her hands and only weighed 87 lbs. One evening when my husband and I went to visit her, she whispered to us with all the strength she could muster and told us that she had a visitation from Jesus and He wanted her to deal with some things that she, and I quote: “had left on the back burner and she needed to confront them.” She told us that every night the nurse would come around handing out sleeping pills, but that night she was not going to take one because she needed to wrestle this thing out with Jesus. I guess I’ll never know what took place between my mom and Jesus, but the last few days of her life were full of peace and she went to Heaven fully healed of her bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness. She finally received her healing, Jesus made sure of it and she left this life in peace with no more torment.

If you’re dealing with the torment of bitterness, resentment or unforgiveness, Jesus will chase you to the grave to make sure you release all that pain. But you don’t have to wait until the end of your life to do it – do it now, you won’t be sorry.

Simply acknowledge those who have hurt you, forgive them in your heart and forgive yourself for holding onto the001 (2) pain too long. Jesus will be with you every step of the way.