Merry Christmas

Christmas 2015 b is for blessed devotional 2  “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

And this will be the sign to you; You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Luke 2:12-14

Just an observation…

Yesterday I took a walk to not only shake a few pounds but stimulate my brain. As I’m enjoying the fresh air, I am struck by the wide variety of trees and leaves and how beautiful they all are.

It then occurs to me, why can’t we appreciate people the same way? 

The woods I walk past are God planted, not man-made. The trees appear randomly placed. There are all kinds, shapes and colors. Some are evergreen magnolias, short scrub oaks, lanky pines and majestic maples. There are even more I can’t even name.

A few of them shed their leaves months ago. Others are in various states and transform daily. Some are unchanging yet provide the backdrop for the dynamic show.

I suspect God planted these different trees together for reason. Not that I will ever know what that is, but it certainly makes for a spectacular show.

We are just as diverse as the trees I walk past. We have various body shapes, skin colors, personalities, and backgrounds. Yet, God has placed us here to share this one earth.

What if the diversity among us is intended to make humanity better as a whole?

DSC_6650 (3)  Many of us attempt to “convert” others into what we believe is proper. We tend to hang around people who fit our mold. We gravitate toward people like us. Very rarely do most of us dare deliberately talk and mingle with people different from ourselves.

Often if we see someone who dresses unconventionally, acts a bit “odd” or lives a lifestyle we think is “crazy” we will superficially judge them and readily write them off.

I have seen creative or “artistic” people scoffed at and challenged to do something “practical” instead of nurturing the gifts God has given them.

I don’t know that we do them a favor by declaring their gifts aren’t valuable profitable. Is it truly a favor or a disservice when we can’t appreciate the talents of others and attempt to herd them into what we “think” they should be?

Not everyone is hardwired to become an accountant, a lawyer or whatever is deemed “practical” on any given day. I know many “professionals” who are miserable working outside of God’s plans for them.

What if the individual quirks that make each of us distinct are there to serve a purpose?

When we dismiss people different from ourselves we lose opportunities to learn and grow in the process.

It may mean you have to do something different or talk with someone unlike yourself to receive a blessing you don’t even know you need.

As I look around at all the various trees they remind me of the “different” people God placed in my life. They have been of various religions, nationalities, races, economic status, political affiliations and only God knows what else.

Many of them blessed me at some of the hardest times of my life. A few influenced my thinking. One in particular encouraged me to face my challenges head on. Still, others made my daily routine that much easier to bear.

With all of our differences we somehow managed to find more common ground that not.

Through each one of them, so very different from myself, I realize I’ve been blessed.

“Thus saith God, the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:” Isaiah 42:5 KJV


I live in the Atlanta area, kind of smack in the middle of the “Bible belt.” This long standing nickname would lead most to believe that Christianity is the most prevalent religion in these parts. It’s not.

The most prevalent religion around here is football.

I rarely see Christians rally together or cheer on one another the way sports fans do. Tailgating is the praise and worship that sets the mood for the sermon game. Season tickets sell no matter the cost. The pews may be sparsely occupied on Sunday but that stadium will be packed!

I can’t say that I’m a die hard fan by any means except for my alma mater (Go Rattlers!) but football occupies a more prominent place in the lives of many far above the basic precepts of love God and love your neighbor.

Yet, I don’t think I have ever seen anything break down barriers between people the way football can. Race, nationality, sexual orientation, religious affiliation and politics become irrelevant as long as you are for the home team. People who wouldn’t speak to one another at any other time will embrace, high five and cheer together.

We “Christians” might just learn a thing or two from these die hard fanatics. 

I rarely see such levels of commitment and devotion for the church like I see for sports. Football season is priority for many.

How often do we “religious folk” schedule activities around God instead of squeezing God into a packed schedule?

Am I bashing football? Most definitely not!

UNEXPECTED GIFTS BLESSED DEVOTIONAL  Athletics provide an opportunity for many people to improve their circumstances. Football also teaches how to win and how to accept defeat. It instills the importance of working together for a common cause. Football builds solidarity among individuals. I would just love to see these same attributes displayed prominently in the church.

What if “Christians” shared this same type enthusiasm for people?

God’s people.

I’m talking about the people we glance over or would rather not deal with. I’m talking about those who are broken and when we ask how they are, we don’t want to hear their truth.

It is our commandment to love them.

I’d love to see Christians help those who are hurting as quickly as we would purchase tickets to enjoy the game.

I’m sure on any given weekend millions are cheering for their team. What about encouraging the addict or the mentally ill?

What if we chose to commit to something that lasts longer than the season?  

What if for just one weekend, we offered our time and money for a charitable cause. Even assisting a neighbor, friend or family member will do.

These efforts, unlike those for the game, leave a lasting impression and demonstrate God’s love. God uses us to do His work.

Every sports team strives to build a legacy. Shouldn’t we want to do the same for God? And not grudgingly, but with that same enthusiasm we show the home team?

Just a few random thoughts today.

I’m off to watch the game.

Into The Woods!

Robert Frost wrote “I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference,” in his poem The Road Not Taken.

I suspect the route to fulfillment and blessings requires that we instead forge our own path.

As a child I was cautioned not to go into the woods that were near our home. The potential for snakes and briar bushes kept me fairly obedient. I teetered along the boundary but fear kept me content to remain just on the edge.

Yet as an adult, I’ve experienced God pulling me away from what I perceived to be a safe place and nudging me into a few “scary” ones as I kicked and screamed along the way.

Sometimes God leads us where we don’t want to go.

We may second guess what God is doing and why we need to inhabit such uncomfortable quarters.  Our prejudices and fears often place us in direct opposition to his prodding!

I don’t like to walk in the woods.  I’d rather walk through a clearing where I can see what is in front of me.

The woods are full of dark shadows, biting things and all manner of critters. The further in you go, the less sun you see.

But sometimes life is like that.

We may wander paths where we feel alone, but The Sun is still there, ever present as we confront our fears.  God has forced me time and time again to focus on my present state of affairs instead of obsessing about the future.

My present state has at times been scary. But these same life experiences taught me to look up instead of worrying about tomorrow.

I’ve learned to trust more, rationalize less.  bnw photo chall 3 blsd 2015

I have slowly learned that I’d rather forge through the woods with God than walk that more traveled path without Him.  

I think many of us don’t fulfill our purpose or reach our full potential because we want to play it “safe.” For some “safe” may mean away from the criticism of others. Or, it may mean to simply maintain the status quo.

Yet, if you are still longing for more out of life it may be time to make your own way.

Dare to knock over a few bushes, pick up your spiritual sword and hack away at your obstacles. Get up and get moving in the direction God is leading you.

Is this potentially scary?

Very much so. But if God is truly leading you “into the woods” He will certainly get you through them!

Will you get scratched up a bit or bitten?


But you will emerge stronger and resilient as you come out of those scary places with God.

Trust God to lead you. Listen and obey.

Our paths are as unique as we are.

You can follow the crowd or be led by our Shepherd.

Is it past time you took a walk into the woods?  bnwchll3 2015

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV


**Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out Day 3 of my Five for Five Black and White Photo Challenge.  Thus far I’ve only had one other blog agree to participate. The rules are simple. Just post five black and white photos daily for 5 days and nominate another blog to participate. I was nominated by Lee over at Lee’s Birds and you can enjoy his photos here.  Come join the fun!



Are You My Brother?

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
1 John 4:20-21 NKJV 

When I was a child, one of my favorite books was titled, “Are You My Mother?”  The book told the story of a baby bird who found himself frightened and alone walking up to all manner of things and asking, “Are you my mother?”

If I recall correctly, the bird walks up to a dump truck. I think there may have been a traffic light and possibly a dog somewhere in there.  The baby bird never stops searching and eventually learns the truth.

Unlike the bird, many “Christians” stop short of acknowledging the truth in front of us.

“He who loves God must love his brother also.”

Jesus did not say love those who look like you and think like you. There are no conditions attached.

I’ve noticed more and more “Christians” in their zeal to grasp God drift toward extremist doctrines and tendencies they condemn others for.

When we profess to know it all and throw around judgment about like birdseed, we place ourselves on a slippery slope where religion obscures fact. We beg God to forgive our sins, yet we readily highlight the flaws in others.

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV

Believers often loudly condemn others for all manner of things. The clothes they wear. Tattoos. Race. Religion. Lifestyles. Political beliefs!

And yes, I’ve been one of “those” people thinking I knew it all. Thankfully, the older I get the more I learn I don’t have all the answers.  And I’m okay with that.

This post by Chris Martin really resonated with me.

How about we start with the basics and pursue that second commandment?

What if loving our brother is key to igniting a spark that draws people to God?
Not doctrine. Or rhetoric.

Are you my brother?

For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?  Matthew 7:2-4 NKJV

Awards Day

A very kind man named
Clayton Paul, blogging over at Clayton Paul, Better days through better ways … nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award! To say I was shocked is an understatement.  However, his kind deed is very much appreciated nonetheless. I always enjoy reading his posts because I never know what I’m going to get each day (cause he’s versatile) but I look forward to them and each one leaves me with food for thought or insightful information. I’ve only been blogging for roughly three months now but here goes…

My Nominees are:

Devotions by Chris are literally “a daily dose of encouragement.” These are always good reads to start the day or end with. His voice is sincere and topics true to “real life” for anyone trying to “walk in the Light.”

Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog is the very first blog I followed.  This blog has given me laughter, inspiration, and the determination to be the best mom I can possibly be. Sometimes comical yet often touching, this very busy mom handles her challenges in stride. Some people preach, others teach by example!

Fighter Faith by Jason B. Ladd is a good one. This guy is no wuss! He’s a marine, husband, father of five and flies fighter jets! His blog is Christian but from a totally different perspective than mine. He tackles current events and some of the ugly stuff; after all he is a Marine! But he also tackles parenting and other relevant issues.  Well rounded comments from a well-rounded guy.

The Culture Monk has me hooked. You never know what topic he will take on over a cup of coffee. Relationships, religion and culture are just a few things he tackles but his posts provoke you to really search out your opinion. He takes on the good, the bad and the ugly in what we call modern society.

J.S. Park calls his blog “A Blog for Struggling Christians,” I call it a good dose of common sense! It is a Christian based blog but he definitely “keeps it real,” posting on everyday issues people battle with daily in today’s culture.

The Adventures of Fanny P has made me laugh and cry. You never know what her adventures with thing 1 and thing 2 will bring about. She is very open and honest sharing both family joys and woes. She counts the joys, tears and her blessings!

Chris Martin Writes really, really well! He really puts you there in the midst of his stories. No time for a good book? Chris provides a good read “fix” that fits within daily time restraints yet leaves you satisfied. His writings are inspirational and thought provoking.

Today’s Manger gives good insight and advice about dealing with life “situations” often met in the workplace. These thoughts and posts are not exclusive to the work environment but they are always encouraging and inspiring. You don’t have to be a “manger” to benefit from these posts. They really teach us how to manage ourselves.

Heavenly Raindrops always leaves me blessed! Her stunning photos and inspired words are one of the first things I check out each morning.

Storyshucker by Stuart M. Perkins always offers a great read. His short stories are often inspirational, comical, and or insightful. His characters are vivid, and the stories have twists and turns that leave you smiling at the end. He is very talented and his tales talk to this southern gal’s heart.

Perceptions of Reality (tagged under parenting and autism). The post “Grandmother made her cry” really struck a chord with me. Well worth checking out if you are affected by anyone with special needs or would like a peek into living along the spectrum.

Life Reference is “a Christian’s walk through everyday life,” and I always enjoy
Don Merritt’s posts. He often show’s a different perspective to commonly asked questions. He provides a good read and direction for those willing to “dig just a little deeper.”

Faith Comes from Hearing just got the Liebster award but I like the posts so much it gets another. Yes, I know it’s another Christian blog but that is where I’m usually hanging out in the blogosphere.  Do check it out. I’m obviously not alone in my opinion of this one!

The Belmont Rooster is one of my favorites. I am a die-hard gardener and so is he. Even if you aren’t gardener, his posts are quite entertaining and even educational. His blog is a gardener’s boon!

Finally, I would have nominated iChristian  by Steve Rebus but his blog has already received this award. It blesses me every day. In addition, Prayers and Promises by Diana Rasmussen and Little World of Hope and Little Words of Hope are all awards free but definitely worth checking out!

Okay… seven things about me

I am really a fan boy! Or rather, fan girl. I am a die-hard Marvel Comics lover. Nothing against DC but that love of reading had to  start somewhere. Thirty-five years later and I still love those X-men!

I’m a sucker for any pretty flower, bush or tree.

I am a therapist. No, not really but everyone treats me like one and comes to me with their problems. I think it’s because I’ll actually listen.

I’m an introvert married to an extrovert. That’s made for an interesting couple of decades of marriage.

I love jazz and classical music.

My favorite move is Jaws. Corny, I know but really a breakout back in its time. I watched it opening week when I was way too young leaving me traumatized for years. It continues to makes me flinch, fake shark and all.

Anything with chocolate, cream cheese or pecans is good.

Thanks again Clayton for the recognition and many thanks to all of you who have supported my writing. I have been consistently blogging (as consistently as I can) for roughly three months and the blogging community has quite generous.

I wish you all well and may you continue to bless those fortunate enough to find your words!

Lilka .

Sour Puss!

I have another blog, God,Autism and Me where I posted months ago about how a stray cat we named “Lucky” made quite an imprint on our lives.  “Mr. Lucky” has been with us ten years this month and was not at all impressed when another cat recently made her way to our front door.

“Greystone,” as my oldest son calls her, appeared roughly a year ago. She didn’t start off as a permanent fixture, but rather dropped by occasionally at her leisure.

I wasn’t going to fall for it again. I don’t even like cats. I remind our one cat in residence of that fact constantly.

Well “Grey” had kittens. I noticed her in the neighbor’s yard across the street over a month ago. She was lounging in the driveway with four kittens romping about happily.

Then I didn’t see them again for nearly a month. I figured maybe someone took them in and they had been adopted. Later, I worried that something happened to them. Guiltily, I put food out “just in case” they were homeless. Sometimes the food was eaten, other times it remained. I wasn’t quite sure what was eating the cat chow I’d put out but I finally caught her in the act of eating. But there were no kittens in sight.

Today I saw Greystone and she wasn’t looking so hot.  She now has only two kittens with her. She is definitely malnourished even though I suspect I’m not the only person in the neighborhood trying to help her out. I’ve tried to coax her closer on other occasions and she has maintained her distance until today. She came up to me, purred, rubbed and contemplated actually coming inside the house until…Lucky hissed at her!

Greystone took off running!

I could have slapped that Lucky cat!

Now before all of you animal lovers come a calling I did not.  I did, however, pick him up and give him a good talking to about his inhospitable actions! I have absolutely no doubt he understood every word I said. His behavior made me think about how we humans behave with our “selective amnesia”.

You see, Lucky appeared on my steps years ago one October just like moma cat. The very steps he chased Grey down today are the very same steps he crawled up one morning desperate for food. Lucky was once cold, hungry and lost just like her.  Now, years later, Lucky is warm, comfortable and considerably overweight due to his life of luxury. You would think he would want moma cat to come inside too.

Just like my cat, many people, “religious folks” especially, tend to forget that they were once shut out, downtrodden, dirty and homeless in some form or another once the years distance them from their prior circumstances. Some people may not have been physically homeless or broken in body, however, the mind, soul and spirit were once just as battered! Often when a person finally get’s his or her life “somewhat together,” instead of showing people the same door where they found grace, there is instead presented gossip, rejection and disdain.  Unfortunately, many people tend to reject others with the very same traits once found in themselves.

Sometimes when we are comfortable in our accomplishments and are no longer in the state we once were, our comfort turns into condescension.  Some people having attained a certain level of accomplishment, success, or recognition (especially in religious circles) tend to forget what it feels like to be where they once where. Their hearts become hardened as their memories and the pain once suffered fade away.

Where there should be an open door to welcome the “unchurched,”  the less fortunate and people who really could use an encouraging word, there is often a closed door that reads, “do not disturb,” “I made it so why can’t you,” or “I’m too busy right now.”

This isn’t the case for everyone, but it is a reality for far too many.

Time can surely dim our memories but we shouldn’t allow it to harden our hearts. We are to encourage one another which means that we should actually do something in the circumstances where we can made a difference.

“Thus also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead,”  James 2: 17 NKJV. 

Those of us who say we should “keep the faith” need to actively “keep it”  by actually doing those things or works that make a difference! Opening the figurative doors of grace and mercy, showing empathy for others who are now where you were, and allowing  your battle scars to teach you compassion is one way to do that.

I will continue to keep an eye out for Moma Grey and her kittens and attempt to get them to the vet… as soon as I can catch them!

But in the meantime, I will allow this afternoon’s adventures to remind me to keep an open door to my heart and the memories of my trials and failures always near. May I always remember that I am blessed by God’s grace and mercy. He took ME in!

Prayerfully, I will do this, less I become as guilty as the cat!

“Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy,” Matthew 5:7 NKJV