HOW DARK IS YOUR LIFE?

HOW DARK?

 

How dark has your life become? Do shadows dim the path you have chosen? Does sin make your heart ache?

 

Are the very walls of your life threatening to fall down around you as you try to do everything on your own?

 

 

 

 

Have you kept company with people whose evil ways have entangled you? What has trapped you, covered you, and distorted the reflection of God in your countenance?

 

The red drops of our Savior’s shed blood can cleanse all sin. Ask him to draw near.

God’s church, his people, can help comfort you along all rugged trails and journeys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sweetness and beauty of God’s peace can fill your soul.

Light will once again shine upon the path you walk.

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord:

 though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;

 though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18, KJV

Please, scroll down and leave your comments about your walk with God.

Thank you. All pictures were taken at Homeland Heritage Park or the Peace River boardwalk in Florida. I worked at Homeland for two years, plus led tours at the Peace River. If you read my Welcome page, you will see that I love writing about this area and hope to get my book published.

Karen Campbell Prough

HIDE and SEEK

High-pitched screams interrupted the careful, final strokes of my paintbrush. Forgetting the wall I was painting, I whirled toward the front door. Yellow paint splotched my clean shirt.

The screams came from the neighbor’s yard.

With my dripping paintbrush posed in the air, no makeup on my face, and my heart in my throat, I jerked open the door.

It was the child across the street. I saw little legs running as fast as they could go. Screams of glee alternated with explosive giggles.

I heard a man’s deep voice yell, “Okay, it’s your turn! I’ll do the counting this time.”

Hide and seek. The man was playing hide and seek with his three-year-old. “One, two, three ….”

Since when does a grown man play hide and seek in his front yard? What kind of an idiot is he? Doesn’t he realize people will see him—hear him? They are driving past his house as he leans against an oak tree with his face buried in his elbow! Doesn’t he know they’re all wondering what he’s doing?

Has he lost his mind?

No, the man has let down the wall protecting his self-image. He’s taking the risk that someone might see him acting like a child. He’s not ashamed. And just think of the wonderful memories that child will cherish in the future.

I closed the front door and caught sight of my imperfect reflection in the hall mirror. Yikes! I’m glad I didn’t go running out into the yard. I didn’t know that yellow paint streaked my nose and forehead.

That got me to thinking about the true images we actually reveal to others. Are we hurting others and ourselves by only showing the image considered perfect, by the world’s standards?

How high is the wall protecting your self-image as a mature adult? What does it really hurt to let it crumble?

We are so careful to preserve the images we have built up around us. Should we practice letting them drop? How many blessings do we miss or fail to bestow on others because we frantically hold in place the high wall of self-image. We brace our hands and self-will against it, add more mortar to it, pack it tight with bright smiles, and make sure it stands in place when we walk away. We can’t let it crumble!

I’m guilty. Don’t worry, I’m fussing at myself. Many times I’d like to hide, seek safety among a crowd, and not stand out.

It takes a lot of guts to let down your guard and be totally yourself. God knows us. He knows our insecurities and strong points. He accepts us, and it’s only his opinion that really counts. I need to remind myself of that fact. Do you?

If I have a crazy-hair day, and dare to venture into the grocery store, but then smile at a lonely, elderly person in the store, who cares? God does. He notes our smile in his records. I’m sure the lonely stranger goes home with a warmer feeling in their heart because someone brightened their day. And I bet they don’t recall that my hair resembled the back of crazed, wild hog.

So, shake off the constricting walls around your self-image and go forth with a smile! Ahh, I’m trying to. 🙂

Please, leave your comments below and have a great day—in spite of your hair or lack … nope, won’t go there. You look stunning!

~Karen

Please scroll down and leave your comments.

© Karen Campbell Prough

Please, no text or images may be used without the written consent of the copyright holder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PATIENCE

PATIENCE

What is the definition of patience?

Well, patience could be the ability to keep calm, wait, or endure the passing of time. Patience is fortitude, but in most cases, it is more endurable if a person keeps busy doing others things—because perseverance is a part of patience.

Whoa! That takes some thought. Perseverance is connected to patience?

When I think of perseverance, I have this mental image of a tired person trudging through thigh-high snowdrifts, trying to make it to the blurry outline of a log cabin that has a faint lamp shining in a small window. So is that associated with patience?

You could curl up under a tree, out of the blizzard, shut your eyes, and wait out the snowstorm. But the trouble is—you might freeze while you submit to your circumstances. On the other hand, hiking toward the goal keeps your blood pumping, fights back at the conditions you can’t control, keeps your mind active, and gets you closer to the warm, well-lit cabin.

I believe perseverance is an active part of patience when undertaking a specific assignment, project, or mission.

I have to compare this element of patience to writing and becoming a published author. Perseverance has to be part of quiet patience when you keep writing, wait for responses, and long to get your words and stories out to others in the world.

I need to preach to myself about this factor. It’s too easy to throw up my hands and say, “Why am I doing this? I’m being foolish to think I can write a book that others will want to read. I’m tired of waiting for responses to queries. I quit.”

No, I have to persevere. I need to be actively patient. Yep, sounds a little strange to say it that way. But I’m talking to myself today, preaching to myself, and telling myself to ignore the doubts. God gave me the crazy urge—yes, I said crazy—to write, create imaginary people with life-like circumstances, and perhaps, touch someone else’s heart and life.

So, have patience! And to those of you who have the passion to write, I must say, persevere and go forth with pen in hand or fingers tapping out words to be read by others.

How do you plan to reach your goals in life? How do you persevere? Please, scroll down and leave your comments about patience.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

Karen

 

 

HIDING IN THE SHADOWS

HIDING IN THE SHADOWS

Have you ever felt so insignificant that you preferred the shadows? Do you feel more secure if no one sees you or asks you a question? Has skirting around a room and hugging the dimness of solitude become a habit?

Every single one of us suffers from some form of insecurity but a lot of us do a grand job of hiding it. We smile to cover what makes us quiver with anxiety. Insecurity can create loneliness or magnify it. Asking God to help us accept who we are, so we can enjoy the company of others, is the number one step. Why would he allow you to be born, only to push you off into the darkest corner? Such actions wouldn’t bring him glory or happiness. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. The Bible states this fact.

We’re made in God’s image and he created you. That’s why there’s something special about you.

We need to strive to be strong and accept who we are—so we can touch another person’s life. This world’s dismissal and lack of compassion for others makes it hard to focus on God’s value of us, as an individual. But remember, God doesn’t want you and I to fear what others think of us.

The healing of insecurity starts when we accept the wondrous fact that God loves us.

So, take the small steps, pray for strength, speak to a stranger, smile at the next person you pass in a store, or just take a walk in the sun. Let God’s creation of warmth soak into your skin and imagine that it’s God’s perfect love touching you. The sun helps lift your mood, but God’s Son paid the ultimate price, in order to lift your soul into everlasting peace.

“When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7 KJV  Isn’t that a great verse?

What helps you overcome the feeling of insecurity? Please, scroll down and leave your comments so others can benefit from your victories.

© Karen Campbell Prough 2012 

 

BLENDING IN

DO YOU BLEND IN?

Think of a picture that has everything blended and perfect. It can be interesting. People will stand in front of it, cock their heads to the side, and murmur to eachother, “Oh, how pretty. I wish I could paint like that.” But will they remember its actual details a year later? Pictures with contrast catch our eye. It doesn’t have to be an attractive picture. It can be totally ugly. It might be unprofessional, but the main subject shouts at us, and our interest locks on it. We forget about the busy background or a dull setting.

When we think about life—what stands out about people we meet?

The things that jolt us to an abrupt halt are the moments we remember. Those times cause us to burst out in laughter or catch our breath with a sob.

What about a stranger that stops to help you? You remember them. You may never see them again but their kindness sticks with you. You don’t recall their compassion because they had a handsome face or they dressed like a model, but you will never forget them. Perhaps, it was only the fact that they soothed your upset child when you were at the end of your tolerance. What about the person who helped you gather dropped packages on the sidewalk? Your personal lists of remembrances can go on and on if you reflect back on your own life.

So, do you blend in? Or are you touching people’s lives in such a way that they won’t forget what you said, what you did, or how your immediate reactions helped them with a predicament? Do they know you care about them?

Step out of the shadows and touch someone today. Stand out for your Lord and Savior.

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” Matthew 25: 34-36 KJV

Do you want to step from the shadows? Please, leave your comments below.

© Karen Campbell Prough 2012

Please ask permission before reposting. No text or images may be reproduced without the written consent of the copyright holder.

 

 

 

IT WAS DIFFICULT

TODAY I BANISHED AN OLD FAMILY MEMBER

It took plenty of deep thought and more than a few tears.

It was decision I dreaded.

Did she disrupt our family? No. She kept silent during arguments, voiced no opinion on disputed subjects. She didn’t speak up when actually abused by those who failed to notice her supportive qualities.

She graciously became a babysitter. She held little children, rambunctious teens, and even the elderly. Within her arms, newborn babies were propped with pillows. When they occasionally burped milk on her, she didn’t gasp and recoil in horror. I know she never complained about popcorn spilled on her or a child’s dirty shoes kicking her. I once saw a sugary drink dumped on her dark green skirt. She failed to recoil in anger. Although, I can say she never helped with homework, I did see that she served as a backup support to teenagers lounging with a math book, wrinkled papers, or the dreaded English report.

Family members could join her in the living room—in front of the fireplace—for a late night movie or a round of cartoons in the afternoon. She never demanded the right to watch a special program. She let our cats curl up alongside her back or rub against her legs without pushing them away or voicing an observation about cat hairs. There was no murmur of disdain when she held the sick and those in pain. She let them recline against her. A spiking fever failed to frighten her. Her firm arms cradled the brokenhearted who sobbed into her softness or sought her comfort.

You’re probably wondering how anyone could turn his or her back on a family member. You ask how we could allow her to go stay with another family? Well … it wasn’t easy, but my family all agreed she had to go. It didn’t matter that she was only twenty-seven, still accommodating with gentle suppleness, and waiting in vibrant color. Yes, she was still beautiful.

But … the new couch comes tomorrow.

I wished her well. I hope the family she settles with will know we took care of her. I am sure she still has some life left in her.

Two men arrived from a charitable organization. I pointed at her and wiped away a silent tear. One of the men raised his eyebrows and said, “This one? You’re giving away this one?” Smiles lit his face.

“Someone is going to appreciate and like this one.”

What do you have that you can give away today? Your smile? Your touch of compassion? Your unique suggestions? Think about it. Please, scroll down and leave a comment.

 

NOT THE SPIRIT OF FEAR

FEAR ATTACKS

One morning I took a break from my writing, walked out back, and was surprised to see a show of aggression taking place on my wood fence.

One pathetic, ugly opossum clung to the top of the fence, confused, and pursued by a bigger, uglier bully—with lots of sharp teeth. Marsupial number one was apparently trying to figure out to escape. But when he endeavored to get away, the mean, toothy adversary would resume stalking him and inching ever closer. If he sat still, the antagonist would hiss dreadful threats and mocking intimidations. It was too high to jump from the fence to safety. And on one side of the fence there stood a big, dangerous-looking human—staring at him.

This display of strange behavior went on for quite awhile. The threatened opossum acted hopeless. He wobbled on his perch, turned, gazed at the ground, tried unsuccessfully to retreat, and showed how befuddled he had become.

How like humans.

We sometimes become stuck in a situation that we don’t like—one that makes us freeze in alarm. There seems to be no way out. Life runs aground and tosses us out on a deserted island. There’s no help riding to our rescue and no beautiful sailboat on the horizon.

We can’t run. We dare not turn back and risk attack from the enemy or those who don’t care about us. We cannot abandon our tiny, safe island and jump into unknown depths. Everything looks dismal. Life withers. We are going to fall or fail. There’s seems to be no hope presenting itself.

Satan appears to gloat, inch forward, bare his razor-sharp teeth, and taunt us. He doesn’t want us to find help. He binds us with dread. We turn in circles, uncertain, terrified, upset, and perplexed.

Sound familiar?

But there are scriptures to remember when caught between circumstances and dilemmas that Satan takes delight in pushing upon us. He wants us to be afraid. He wants to intimidate us, make us think our footing will slip, and that we will fail.

“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” Proverbs 3:25, 26 KJV.

The second one tells we can be far away from the oppression. We can believe in safety, as it comes from God. “In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear; and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” Isaiah 54:14 KJV

And one final scripture says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV

Have you faced the oppressor? Have you feared that your feet would slip? Please, scroll downward to leave a comment.

UNDER HIS WINGS

SHELTERED UNDER HIS WINGS

OUR GENTLE MAMA HEN

The yearning to be a mother kept her sitting on an old egg. The fluffy black bantam was steadfast in resisting the urge to get off the nest. When she did give in and get up, she wasted little time pecking at feed, getting a drink, and settling herself over the tiny brown egg. After a week, I removed the egg for candling. It was plain to see. There would be no hatchling but I gave the egg back to her. I hated to see her disappointed. So, I fixed the situation—at least, I hoped to bring about a happy conclusion.

I headed for a nearby, small town and a feed store I had seen on the main road. When I got there, I was appalled at the condition of the place. The area where they housed the baby chicks, ducks, assorted chickens, and rabbits was deplorable. I did not attempt to find the cage with baby chicks, but beat a hasty retreat from the flies and slimy mess covering the concrete floor under the crowded cages. Throwing caution to the wind, I asked a teenage boy—sporting a wad of tobacco in his cheek—to get me one chick. I was determined I wouldn’t go home empty-handed. My hen had to be rewarded for her diligence.

The teen brought me a box with a reddish brown chick in it. He told it was supposed to be a brown-legged something—I didn’t catch the name.

As soon as I got home, I headed out to the hen’s cage. Ignoring the waves of misgivings crowding my thoughts, I held the chick’s beak shut so it couldn’t chirp, pushed it under the hen’s wing, and slipped out the bad egg.

A BAD EGG

The hen turned her head, tipped it sideways, and stared at the brown chick poking its head out from under her black plumage. Over a week old, the little chick had the beginnings of wing feathers—she wasn’t a new hatchling, by any means. The chick shut her eyes and her head sank to the pine shavings in the box. She acted exhausted. I feared a sickness would soon present itself and the tiny bird would die. Not sure if the hen would accept it and not sure if I had done a smart thing, I walked away from the cage—not wanting to witness what might immediately happen.

Hours went by and I kept a close check on the biddy and hen. I watched as the hen used her beak to peck at the young chick, making it jerk awake, stagger to its feet, and chirp. I held my breath, trying to judge if the hen was being mean, getting ready to kill the baby, or acting helpful. The hen took her sharp curved beak, which could kill the chick with one jab, and acted like she was cleaning the baby’s fuzzy feathers, and she continued to nudge it when it dozed off.

Many times, I checked and worried needlessly. She never got up off the nest, only ruffled her feathers, and clucked a warning when I came near. The chick clearly understood her new mama and responded by burrowing under the black wing, hiding from view.

Early the next morning I stood beside the cage and watched the hen pecking at food. She scratched and softly clucked to the adopted baby. After running up under the hen’s neck, the brown biddy pecked where the hen persistently tapped with her bill. Lesson number one was in progress—there’s food here, come watch me. Then mama hen spotted me and she sounded a warning cluck. Danger! Mind me, get under my wing. I’ll protect you as one of my own. You’re in my care now. You’ve been adopted and accepted—with no reservations. You’re fluffy and brown, too old to be my hatchling, and my black feathers don’t match yours, but you’re the one I’ll fight for.

LITTLE CHICK ALL GROWN UP

I couldn’t help but think how we, as humans, may have our beginnings in mire and nasty surroundings, separated from anyone who would try to love us or rescue us. God plucks us out of places where others fear to even walk and dirty their feet or hands. We aren’t considered worth much—maybe we’re just a brown-legged something—no real title or name.

God cleans us up, not stopping to estimate the danger of the filth covering us. With no reservation, we’re sheltered under his mighty, unmatched wing of grace. We are urged and directed to stand up and overcome our weaknesses. He loves us and wants us come to the realization that we belong to him. We’re one of the adopted but treated as a real son or daughter. If we pay attention, God teaches us with his wisdom and shows us the best way to find spiritual nourishment and living water. But in all things, we must pay attention, accept his gift, and run to do his bidding.

Do you sometimes feel like a brown-legged something?  🙂

ADOPTED CHICK-NOW A HEN

Please post a comment below.

HOME REPAIRS

A WISE WOMAN’S HOME REPAIRS

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” Proverbs 14:1 KJV

This scripture can definitely apply to many aspects of our lives. Are you pulling your home down about your head? Are you closing your eyes to the grunge and deterioration eating at the very foundations of your house?

Mildew growing on your bathroom ceiling can present serious health problems to individuals in your family. It is silent, but you can see it spreading along a wall, under wallpaper, and across the paint on the ceiling. You can scrub it, wipe it with a cloth dampened in bleach, and inhibit its growth.

However, what do you do with the filth of this world creeping into the minds of your children or loved ones? Bleach will not wipe it away. It is a deep cleansing that you cannot do on your own.

God offers what you need for the life you live. By keeping Jesus in your home, you can maintain a healthy, safe environment. But many women in today’s society, and in the world, are plucking down the very standards that the Bible tells us will help support our families and children.

God can help with home repairs. He is a Custom Home Builder, specializing in unique preservation, and he offers a “house plan” that fits the quality of life he envisioned for your family.

His Word can help you plan the changes and upkeep in your home. You can rest assured when even the smallest detail of your family’s well-being is in God’s hands. Your walk with Him can help you become a home repair specialist.

GOD’S DESIGN FOR YOUR HOME

God’s arrangement is a unique concept. His plans for the home fit the needs of as many people as possible. Did you ever think of it that way? God designed the home as one man, one woman—with their varying personalities—producing offspring that differ from each other. But they can all live together in harmony! His blueprint provides all the solace each family member needs as they grown spiritually and physically. Children are then equipped to go out into the world and build another home centered on God’s plan.

But we are human. We manage to drift out of God’s plan. We sometimes deliberately tear down the walls around our families. We let dirt from the world soil the carpets of our families’ souls, and we track it in every day—if we are not careful to stay close to God.

WHERE DO YOU START?

Start with your own repentance. Ask God to show you the major, structural damages in your life. Seek the heart repairs needed to rebuild. Be willing to let God take out the rotten parts of your life, reframe you, rebuild you, and restore you. After accepting salvation, which is God’s plan for your life, you will be in his hands. He can help you assemble your family life and home.

Putting God’s ideas into the initial layout of the home should be your number one goal.

Tell God your household problems and talk to him. What kind of cleansing and repairs are you willing to let him do? Is the joy of communication broken? Or perhaps, some “walls” need to come down. What do the members of your family require for their quality of life or even the sustaining of their life? The answer is God, his love, and his perfect home plans.

The home that God helps you build will be of good quality. Seek his set of plans and let God guide you during the fabulous, exciting repairs.

Do not be like the foolish woman. Take the first step, get your life straight with God, and then apply the repairs.

How do you build your house? What steps have you taken? Leave a comment/reply in the space below and help a friend turn in the right direction.

YOUR TALENTS

SMIDGENS OF TALENT LAID AT HIS FEET

How many of you have sat and listened to a preacher or motivational speaker list the gifts of the Spirit and then add fourteen or more other gifts attributed to humankind. They say some of us have only one gift. Failing to discern your gifts seems unforgivable! You listen attentively as you hear the speaker read the extensive list of gifts.

Maybe, I am different from the rest of you. I could never put a finger on my one, special gift. It made me uncomfortable to listen to the preacher talk about it, because I could not smile and say, that is my gift. I have the gift of ….

And then you sit and think—what am I to do? How do I use something I am not sure I really have? Does that make sense?

I once walked up to an evangelist after he preached a whole sermon on gifts, talents, and how to identify them … so we could appropriately use them. I asked him, “Can the ability to do little bits of lots of things be a gift? You know the saying … jack of all trades, a master of none?” He stared at me as if I was kidding, and my husband ran and hid. Then the evangelist cleared his throat and said in a very deep voice, “Well … yes, I believe so.” I guessed, from his reaction, that no one had ever ventured to ask him that profound question.

But I bet there are many people just like me, even though my husband keeps shaking his head and saying I am one of a kind.

Could your gift or talent be a big bundle of smidgens? A smidgen is a very small amount of something. But squish a bunch of smidgens together, pack them very tight, bundle the whole lot up where you can find them, and you just might have a talent.

            Go use your talents or bundle of smidgens for the Lord !  🙂 Please, scroll down and leave a comment.

 

 

 

 

Represented by Linda S. Glaz at http://www.hartlineliterary.com.