Monday, June 30, 2008

Speak Clearly

Healthy loving relationships are key to my thriving in my Christian life. I find understanding what others say along with being understood is critical to the health of all my relationships. Little things matter. Sometimes the best response is, "What do you mean exactly?"

A group of men getting to know one another illustrates this well. has this great story posted on their site.

"Defence Contractor"

My job is in the aerospace industry, and it's always been a challenge to explain what kind of work I do. At one gathering, I tried several unsuccessful attempted explanations before deciding to be as generic as possible.

When the subject came up while I was talking with a group of guys, I replied simply, "Defense contractor."The men nodded, and as the conversation went on, I silently declared victory to myself.

Then, one of them turned to me and asked, "So, what do you put up mainly? Chain-link?"


Kay wonders....
I just know this has to be a group of southern men coming fence. Buddy, you working in board fencing, bobwire or chain link? Good future in fencing.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Thriving & Church Unity

Church life is critical to my thriving life as a Christian.

Let's get real about worship in American churches.

Many years ago in a conference I sensed a presence of God greater than I had known. I spent much time in prayer and meditation to understand why this sense of God was so profound in that meeting. It hit me later that the group gathered at the conference was the same makeup racially as the community in Georgia where the meeting was being held. As I pondered over this, I was astounded at how rarely this occurs in a local church.

Since that revelation I have prayed for God to use me to bridge the races to come together in worship and as local church members. I live in South Carolina: the "buckle" of the Bible belt of America. At times this racial unity calling has been expensive, but I wouldn't trade the adventure and the blessings it has brought me for anything.

Finally I am a member of a church that all people are represented. From the top leadership all the way down to me in my pew you cannot call us white, black, or any other color or race. We're all present and giving glory to God. It's a good thing.

I believe God calls us to come together in church. These verses speak this to my heart.
John 10:16 Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and ther will be ONE flock and ONE shepherd.
John 17:21: That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

There are only a few books in print that discuss this situation. But let me encourage you to read this one, Winning the Race to Unity, by Clarence Shuler ISBN #: 0802481590

Shuler asks if our Christianity has progressed to the point of rejecting man’s approval, instead seeking God’s agenda. If we claim to be Jesus’ disciple, then it must show in our choices—to be deliberate in going beyond "passive racism" and to learn of God’s heart about racial reconciliation (pp. 73-76).

All I can say is, "You're right about this expensive call. There is a cost; but there is a reward far greater."

He asserts, "It's been said that the most segregated time of the week is Sunday morning. The church experiences the same racial tensions as the rest of society and this certainly does not bring glory to God."

In his book, Clarence Shuler directly confronts this racial divide. He challenges the church to face the issues honestly, and to forthrightly tackle them. He suggests replacing the term "racial reconciliation" with "racial partnership."

He explains: "The strength of the term racial partnership is that, first of all, it implies that equal parties are involved. This is something racial reconciliation doesn’t necessarily do. Second, partnership implies a working together for a desired goal or result. This is hard work because you are forming something out of nothing! Partners starting a business very often have to work through their differences if they are going to be successful . . . most partnerships are formed because the goal can’t be achieved by one person or company. If it could, then there wouldn’t be a need for the partnership. The same is true of us in the areas of culture, race, and even spiritual gifts in some of our own churches. We all need each other—we just pretend we don’t because we are often afraid of what we may lose personally (control, for example) and what the finished product may look like."p. 142.

Anything of value will cost a price.
Shuler adds, "It will ‘cost’ anyone—any church or organization that is serious about and committed to improving race relations among Christians today. This cost will always be more than we anticipate because that is the faith aspect of it. An attitude of flexibility, teachability, and patience must be developed by those of the majority race who desire cross-cultural relationships with minorities. This is something they can learn to do. After all, in order to survive in any culture, minority children must master the system of the majority race without losing their own identity."p. 141-142.

Love to hear from you. Most of the time we Christians won't discuss this subject so I'll understand if I don't get any comments. My commitment to seeing us together racially in worship and in serving our Lord is stronger than decades ago when I first "saw" the dilemma.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Read Instructions Before Using....

Summer's Here: Sandals & Sundresses

Summertime for women is time consuming. We have to budget in pedicures so that our toenails look good peeking out of our sandals. Then we have to be sure our legs are smooth and shaven every day for summer fashions. Yep, summertime takes extra time for grooming. Thriving, for me, is getting the most out of every day I can.

Every summer I have to laugh remembering when I discovered hair removing wax. Wow...heat it up, spread it on and rip it off. My legs looked great for weeks and I was saving time. My thought was "Why stop with my legs?" I realized I could really save time by using it on my arm pits. I heated that wax up, and slapped it all over my arm pits. I let it cool. But when I tried to get a grip on pulling the cooled wax off, nothing happened. The soft tissue of my arm pit just held the goop and wouldn't give it up.

"Oh," I muttered, " Maybe I should look at the product instruction sheet." You guessed it. There it was in bold underlined letters: NEVER APPLY THIS PRODUCT TO ARM PITS. IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE TO REMOVE. IT WILL TAKE WEEKS TO WEAR OFF.

I'm thinking impossible is too strong a word. Well, hours later after showering with the hottest water I could tolerate, pouring everything I could think of on my poor tortured wax dripping pits, I gave up.

For weeks I lived with that goop on my arm pits. In talking with friends I would forget and let my arm fall against my body. When I would raise my arm I would scream out in pain. Puzzled folks would look worried, but my daughter would snarl, "Don't mind Mom. It's just her leg wax in her arm pits sticking her together. She's fine." The whole family became so accustomed to my screaming, that they paid it no attention.

Wish I could say that this wax saga was my only catastrophic incident caused by my failure to read instructions before jumping into action. Actually I have been guilty of maneuvering life's trails without ever looking at "maps" or the main Instructions: The Bible. Then, I would find myself all messed and hurting from the needless mishaps. Hope I can remember that pain from such impatience. I do want to read the "instructions" first before moving into action.

Yep, summertime always brings me vivid memories of leg wax on arm pits.

Friday, June 27, 2008

If only...

"I'd be able to grab life and run with it if only....."

When life is not working it is natural to try to shirk responsibility by finding anyone or anything to blame other than ourselves. Looking at Adam and Eve in the Garden, we can see people have been trying to get off the hook by blaming others from the beginning. Let's see how much more we can thrive as we overcome blame-shifing.

Today I want to share with you a recent post from written by Elder Ben Reaoch.

"Our proud hearts send us desperately looking for someone else to point to every time we’re confronted with our own sin. There must be someone else—our spouse, sibling, parent, boss, co-worker, pastor, friend, or God, himself. We are so desperate to justify ourselves that we become irrational.

Here are 12 examples.
1) Anger I wouldn’t lose my temper if my co-workers were easier to get along with, or if my kids behaved better, or if my spouse were more considerate.

2) Impatience I would be a very patient person if it weren’t for traffic jams and long lines in the grocery store. If I didn’t have so many things to do, and if the people around me weren’t so slow, I would never become impatient!

3) Lust I would have a pure mind if there weren’t so many sensual images in our culture.

4) Anxiety I wouldn’t worry about the future if my life were just a little more secure—if I had more money, and no health problems.

5) Spiritual Apathy My spiritual life would be so much more vibrant and I would struggle with sin less if my small group were more encouraging, or if Sunday school were more engaging, or if the music in the worship service were more lively, or if the sermons were better.

6) Insubordination If my parents/bosses/elders were godly leaders, then I would joyfully follow them.

7) A Critical Spirit It’s not my fault that the people around me are ignorant and inexperienced.

8) Bitterness If you knew what that person did to me, you would understand my bitterness. How could I forgive something like that?

9) Gluttony My wife/husband/roommate/friend is a wonderful cook! The things they make are impossible to resist.

10) Gossip It’s the people around me who start the conversations. There’s no way to avoid hearing what others happen to say. And when others ask me questions, I can’t avoid sharing what I know.

11) Self-Pity I’ll never be happy, because my marriage/family/job/ministry is so difficult.

12) Selfishness I would be more generous if we had more money. Making excuses like this is arrogant and foolish. It’s a proud way of trying to justify our actions and pacify our guilty consciences. And it keeps us from humbling ourselves before God to repent of our sins and seek his forgiveness.

Consider James 1:13-15, which leaves us with no way of escaping our own sin and guilt. We cannot blame God, for he “cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” Instead, we have to accept the humbling truth that “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” This will end the blame game, and it will send us pleading for Christ’s mercy and grace. " -


Please send in your dealings with blame games. I must confess I have been guilty of all of the above on more than one occasion. Coming to see that God never wastes anything in the lives of His children, I don't need to play the blame game. When the pressure rises the temptation to lament, "If only..." always raises its head. How about you?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Relentless Mercy

Today a friend frantically phoned me because she hit this blog and nothing was new. Wow! Somebody is reading even when there are no comments. She actually missed having a word from the blog.

I'm not a confident writer. I love to weave words that bless others, but it is not easy for me. Recently I went to the She Speaks writer/speaker conference and I did not have time to write new blog posts. Thanks to this friend I am writing several articles ahead of time. If there is only one reader I want God to bless them with fresh words.

So today may we focus on thriving in mercy:
Mercy is the dearest word in my vocabulary this year. I have witnessed God's mercy in more ways than I can count. I just came through some tough problems dealing with legal matters in settling my husband's estate.

Yesterday I it took 2 hours of phone calls trying to secure a car title. I was shuffled from one department to the next in a national banking clearing house. I became so frustrated dealing with the recordings and the automated process that finally I just held zero until the automated system figured out I wasn't going to play any more.

I wasn't nice, merciful or smart. I finally blurted out to the 7th stranger, "If I were not a Christian I could go to cussin'." This woman, thousands of miles away, was not impressed or threatened. I broke down and told her how frustrated I was and apologized. She was merciful and she gave me all the contact names and numbers I needed.

I told her out of everyone I had heard and talked with she gave me solutions and I was so grateful. I ended up telling her I could not imagine how difficult it must be to work in the deceased department. It was obvious she appreciated being acknowledged.

Today I have the car title and the problem is resolved. I'm regretful I couldn't hold it together and be the lady I desire to be at all times. But I am so grateful to God and "Claudia" in the deceased department of one of the world's largest banking institutions that I received mercy I didn't deserve. Claudia sobered me up to reality. But she went far beyond her duties to completely solve my dilemma. She went far beyond her job description to help me. She went far beyond a natural response to my initial dialogue. Out of her mercy she blessed me.

Oh, I hope I hold Claudia in my heart forever when someone has an attitude with me. May I realize that the angry attitude isn't personal to me, but this person may have been through some difficult times and I just ended up being their next encounter. May I hold onto Claudia's mercy to me, so that I may be relentlessly merciful to others.


Half Baked

Reading in Hosea I found a wonderful verse: "Ephraim is a cake unturned." Hosea 7:8. The only way to fully cook a "cake" in a pan over a flame is to turn it so that heat gets all the way through.

I've got to admit I have been "half-baked" more than I want to admit. If I were a "cake" I'd probably be burned on one side and raw on the other. I can get so caught up in one area of my life and totally disregard another. In seeking to thrive in the Lord I am finding the need to seek God's leading so that I am balanced and He is the center of all of my life.

I tend to get half baked as I zealously commit to one area of my life such as Bible study. I can dive into the Word of God with such zeal that laundry, housekeeping, correspondence and other important life matters don't even exist in my mind. So I'm all fired up with Scripture and utterly undone with home maintenance. Finding the balance that pleases God and shows His goodness throughout all of my life is my ongoing dilemma.

What is working for you in being fully cooked and not ending up half baked?

Blood Pressure Cuff Attack

Being 50 Pounds overweight is hindering my thriving. Commited to health, I rejoined the YMCA this week. First requirement to begin my transformation was establishing my present condition. A beautiful young slender trainer weighed me: I won't share that shocking reading.

Next she handed me a small plastic wallet sized instrument: the BMI (Body Mass Index) to hold in my hands with my arms outstretched. In seconds this little monster buzzed and the thin YMCA trainer's eyes widened as she saw my "lard" content. I whirled around and inspected the chair I had been sitting in. "What's wrong Mrs. Martin?" she asked. "Oh, I don't want to leave grease spots in your chair. With a fat percentage that high, who knows ?" I lamented.

Thin, lovely, kind Y-trainer shrugged. Bless her heart, I bet that little BMI works itself silly finding any fat cells to measure in her.

Next she slid a blood pressure cuff on my arm. "Oh, no, I'm gonna' have to pull out the BIG one for you," she sighs. "Now, I'm so fat I need the Added Dimension, Chubby, Big Girl, Plus, Jumbo, XXX blood pressure cuff. This is not good, " I'm thinking.

Next I'm brutally attacked by the mega super-sized blood pressure cuff. Hissing, huffing sounds pound out of this automatic blood pressure machine, the cuff blows up like a Macy's Day balloon. The pressure squeezes my arm until the pain is excruciating. Little thin trainer backs away from the table. The machine is on its own. My fingers swell up like a rubber glove blown up with air. My fingers turn red and purple. The only thing coming out of cute thin trainer is, " Oh, my. it's never done this before." Finally I couldn't stand it any more, and I cried out with pain, "Look at my hand. Is this supposed to act like this?" Thin one begs me, "Well, see if you can take it for just a bit more, please." Finally I ripped the cuff off my arm and laid my head on the desk. "Oh, no," I'm thinking, "I'll probably leave a grease impression of my face on this desk."

Thin one gathers the plastic beast in her hands and massages it. With an upbeat encouraging perky voice she puts the BEAST on my arm again, "Let's see if we can get this to work now." I'm thinking, "Easy for you to say, it doesn't cut off your arm blood supply." But I know I am to work with this professional to get to my thriving physical health. I'm on a mission and I will not be stopped. Hesitantly I submit to letting her place this boa constrictor killer on my arm, one more time.

And away we go again with the automatic pumper. Just the hissing sound made my heart pound. The squeezing hurt my arm terribly, but this time it stopped short of blowing up all my fingers and they only turned to a light purple. Imagine this: my blood pressure was elevated. I tried to explain to thin one that I'm sure the episode with the blood pressure cuff attack elevated it. I told her what my usual blood pressure readings were. It didn't phase her. She added these ghastly numbers on my file along with her BMI readings (lard content.)

Then she tried to cheer me up with, "Well, Mrs. Martin, you've got a great place to begin." Umm, I interpreted that to mean any changes you make will be better than where you are right now.

Any of you got any tips to get me going in this wellness venture?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Light in Darkness

It would delight me to spin a funny yarn that would bring a laugh to all of us. But some days I don't have a ready laugh in me.

Yesterday I had tough phone calls to make and people reacted strongly. It wasn't personal, but it still hurts.

Later good friends called with serious relationship issues. I knew they needed an active compassionate listening ear. Being a wordy woman, I have to work at being still and listening It is important that I honor others' thoughts over my own. Folks don't need my bits of wisdom. As they hear themselves talk their wisdom and God's infinite wisdom connect and answers emerge. Usually they need to know I truly heard them. Then we pray together. Usually in short order we celebrate their "aha" moments of knowing what to do.

I want to "fix" them quickly. My love for them joined with a natural impatience feed my temptation to rush advice to my hurting friends. Now, there's a laugh. I have enough issues myself that need fixing. Finally, in my sixties I am seeing people want a safe place to land and process their dilemmas. They don't want or need my "fix."

My peace rests in knowing God loves each of them more than I ever can. Everyone who phoned is committed to Him completely. Painful as their journey has become, we all know the end is good and God has them covered. They each have dark tunnels to pass through that I have never traveled. God has been gracious to me in recent years with extraordinary light in intense darkness. I don't have to remind them of God showing up; because they watched as He made a way in my life when nothing seemed possible.

Yesterday's blog spoke of the meaning of the word "lead" in Hebrew as used in Psalm 23. Remembering "lead" helped me as I listened to my friends' traumas.

Let me repeat Karen Lucci's words”

"Today we began with speaking of God leading us. Karen explained that the Hebrew meaning of “lead” is twinkle. In the “darkness” of our day may we seek and see God as He leads us in many ways, but a major way in shining His Word in and through our lives."

Shine Christians, with the Light of God. The darker the atmosphere the greater will be the illumination of the Light.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bible Come Alive

Yesterday I received this email from Karen Lucci. I had quoted her on the meaning of “good” according to Scripture. She replied,

“I perceive that the art of thriving is a continual process. Seasons and conditions continue to change, but our focus must be on our Savior who leads us through. If I remember correctly the root word for "lead" in the 23rd Psalm means to "twinkle". There always is a twinkling light to show the way, no matter how dark the territory. Blessings, Karen”

For many years I drudged through Bible study as a necessary duty. Now that I have a meaningful relationship in Christ I fight for time to dive into Bible study. I cannot explain this change clearly. But I will share with you the wise words of some Bible scholars expounding on the work of Holy Spirit in Bible understanding.

J.L. Packer says….
The Spirit is not given to make Bible study needless, but to make it effective. But without the Spirit’s help there can be no grasp of the message of Scripture, no conviction of the truth of Scripture, and no faith in the God of Scripture. Without the Spirit, nothing is possible but spiritual blindness and unbelief.

It follows that the Christian must approach the study of Scripture in humble dependence on the Holy Spirit, sure that he can learn from it nothing of spiritual significance unless he is taught of God. Confidence in one’s own powers of discernment is an effective barrier to spiritual understanding. The self-confidence of nineteenth-century critical scholarship was reflected in its slogan that the Bible must be read like any other book; but the Bible is more than a merely human book, and understanding it involves more than appreciating its merely human characteristics. God’s book does not yield up its secrets to those who will not be taught of the Spirit. Our God-given textbook is a closed book till our God-given Teacher opens it to us.

Full message available here: J.L. Packer

Betty Miller wrote…..
Generally, revelation on difficult issues will come to us little by little, as we continue to seek the Lord and have an open heart. As we read more of His word, we gain a bigger picture of His heart and purposes. Our "spiritual vocabulary" is increased. As our "vocabulary" is expanded, we find that it becomes increasingly easier to understand God's Word. As you regularly apply the following principles to your Bible study, you will find that knowledge and wisdom will come easily to you. The Holy Spirit wants to share the treasures of God's Word with those who esteem Him. However, these treasures will never be grasped by one who is determined to fly through the Bible in a superficial manner. God hides His greatest treasures from those who would misuse them, or who are not willing to seek Him for them. He does this both to protect His Word, and to protect the shallow seeker from receiving truth they are not ready to act upon.

The most important principle to remember in studying God's Word is that it can only be understood with the help of the Holy Spirit. Those who approach the Bible without the Holy Spirit to teach them, may gain some insight into their lives, but will receive no life-changing revelation. There are cultists and atheists who know the Bible better than many Christians. Why are some able to read of God's Word, and yet bear no fruit in their lives? The answer is simple: Because, they are not open to the Holy Spirit's guidance as they read the Word.

Therefore, it is absolutely crucial that we acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit and ask Him to lead us into all truth and to make the mysteries of God's Word known to our spirit.
"A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth" (Proverbs 14:6)

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you." (John 16:13-14).

"But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:10-14).

"Principles of Interpretation".(Adapted from the "Prove All Things" Workbook by Betty Miller)
Web address for this message:

My opinion of much of my pain and failure comes from relying on my own reasoning or only reaching out to others for help without seeking God’s Word and relying on Holy Spirit. The culture of America implies that everything is flexible and adaptable. I seek a good thriving life and if there are no sure standards, how can anyone ever know what to do? The Bible is that standard that never leads me astray.

My thriving is dependent on Jesus Christ and Apostle John said this about Him….
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood.” John 1: 1-5

Today we began with speaking of God leading us. Karen explained that the Hebrew meaning of “lead” is twinkle. In the “darkness” of our day may we seek and see God as He leads us in many ways, but a main way in shining His Word in and through our lives.


Monday, June 16, 2008

God's Goodness

Thriving is directly connected to peace at "home."

The Father's Day blog stirred up some phone calls. "Kay, I read your Father's day blog. I understood your heart; but it was unsettling for me. When I think of my father I only feel anger or absence of any feelings. What am I to do?" spoke an honest friend upon my request of reading my blog. A few daughters who have wonderful relationships with their fathers saw it as "just fine." Sorting through these different reactions is interesting for me in my journey to wholeness and maturity.

Hearing the pain of my unsettled friend initially made me question my wisdom in sharing my heart. Then I realized her hope is to be whole and clean of anything that conflicts with God's best for her. So, I stirred her up. Status quo isn't always best in our spiritual journey. She has shared with me that she knows she needs to forgive her father on deeper levels. How can she possibly forgive what she cannot see or face? I've learned that some trauma incurred at early years of age can be difficult to face.

Our heart attitude toward our father and mother will affect all significant relationships in our lives. (I have explored many behaviour experts study on this subject. I have found none who will disagree with this opinion.)

When I began daring to look at the hurtful areas of my childhood I came through some extreme change, pain and life-giving freedom. Sticking my neck out here is a bit unsettling, but my hope is someone can be free in ways God has freed me. I well recall years ago, when I would think back to my dad and I felt nothing. I did not come to "honor" him until I faced what I missed in his absence. Christian mentors and God's Word opened up a wonderful life for me.

I returned last evening from a powerful Christian meeting with Jack Taylor, R.T. Kendall and Charles Carrin: Word, Spirit and Power. These giants in the faith encouraged all of us to know that the profound truth of the power to live vibrantly is ours through Jesus Christ. But they each made it clear that pain cannot be avoided to get to all God has for us. In context of today's blog I see the truth they shared relating to our willingness to face ourselves and invite God's Truth to show any area of our lives that needs examination, prayer, Bible study and transformation.

We emotionally damaged adult daughters and sons can be truly healed, restored and whole through the goodness of God in our lives. Whenever I have shared my recovery and processing this 5th commandment: Honor thy mother and father; I always get people telling me they cannot honor their father or mother. "You just don't know my situation,” is their position. I sound like a broken record on this one: "This is not a suggestion, it is a command."

For me, coming to know that I could not process and do this on my own was a freedom. God, Holy Spirit, is my hope in even grasping the true meaning of the Scriptures.

Tomorrow we will explore how Holy Spirit opens up the Truth in the Bible. For today may we all celebrate our uniqueness....each of us is truely one of a kind. We cannot be replicated. So, may we honor our parents in that they were critical to our creation and therefore, uniqueness?

In God's goodness, He has a destiny for unique "you" that is wonderful.

In closing, I want to share with you PRAYgreenville's coordinator, Karen Lucci's words:
Although I thought I had a general understanding of the word good, I decided to look it up in Strong’s and here is what I found in the Hebrew (2896): beautiful, best, better, bountiful, cheerful, at ease, fair, favour, fine, glad, good, gracious, joyful, kindly, kindness, liketh, loving, merry, most, pleasant, pleaseth, pleasure, precious, prosperity, ready, sweet, wealth, welfare, be well favoured. It is a highly underrated word. When Abraham asked God to show him His glory, God told him that His goodness would pass by. Goodness and glory. How can we manifest the glory? By showing goodness. "

No one can show goodness exactly like you can.

Laugh, If I Were A Bricklayer...

Have a good laugh on Thrive Christians Blog:

If I were a brick layer I imagine this little scenario would have been mine...
"I am writing in response to your request for additional information. In block number three of the accident reporting form, I put "poor planning" as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more and I trust that the following details are sufficient: I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building. When I completed my work, I discovered that I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley, which fortunately was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.

Securing the rope at the ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 500 pounds of bricks. You will note in block number 11 of the accident reporting form that I weigh 135 pounds. Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming down. This explains the fractured scull and broken collarbone. Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley. Fortunately, by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope in spite of my pain. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground - and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel now weighed approximately 50 pounds. I refer you again to my weight in block number 11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles and lacerations of my legs and lower body. The encounter with the barrel, slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of bricks and fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked. I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the bricks in pain, unable to move, and watching the barrel six stories above - I again lost my presence of mind.

I let go of the rope."

Author Unknown

This is copied by permission from: Pastor Tim at

Saturday, June 14, 2008

You Gotta Have Heart

"In the end, it doesn't matter how well we have performed or what we have accomplished...a life without heart is not worth living." Brent Curtis and John Eldridge

These authors have nailed it! You gotta' have heart or you're just going through the motions of living. Dragging through life waiting for something in the far away future is not thriving.

Passionately embracing life was not possible for me daily until I was filled with Christ's love. Knowing my value is in Him and He loves me forever has blown away the fog of trying to measure up to others' expectations, and my perfectionistic unachievable standards. When I am asked about my faith I always emphasize the vibrancy Christ has brought into all areas of my life.

Now is the most important moment in my life. Old Kay would put off living "until." No more. Life doesn't begin later, this is it. I choose to dive in wholeheartedly. Perspective and expectation have much to do with what happens in my life. My circumstances can affect me; but they cannot hold me, because I am in Christ.

"It's strange the way we meander through life, thinking we are moving forward, only to discover that we have left our hearts behind," Paula Rinehart, author of Strong Women, Soft Hearts.

Thriving is directly connected to how much you live with all your heart.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fathers We Honor You

Fathers, we honor you.

I dreaded Father's Day for years. I wanted no reminders of my father, and looking at the loving relationship of fathers/daughters just made me yearn for what was never mine. My birth home was dysfunctional by anyone's description. I have no memories of my father since he moved out when I was four. Unfortunately he died when I was ten, so I never had the opportunity to reconnect with him as an adult. In my thirties I began a quest to learn all I could about my Dad. Through photographs and family stories I have a sense of some of his best characteristics.

Through prayer and counselling I am at peace with my father. Psalm 27:10 written by King David was a breakthrough scripture in my recovery: " When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up." I was tied up in emotional knots when I was four. By court order, my father had to leave my mom and me. My mom was overwhelmed, and she needed extensive residential medical care. So, to that 4 year-old only child, Mommy and Daddy had abandoned her. Recalling Psalmist David's word, forsaken; I must have felt like I was forsaken. The 4 year-old brain has no way to process the absence of both parents and never going "home" again. I did bounce back to become a healthy toddler. As the Lord did take me up; I was loved and compassionately cared for by my maternal grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. My mother recovered to be a strong single parent in a time when she was a rarity.

In I Samuel 16 the prophet Samuel is led by the Lord to go to Bethlehem to Jesse's home to anoint the next king of Israel. Jesse gathered seven of his sons for the momentous event. Verse 11 "Are all your sons here?" asked the prophet. Perhaps Jesse usually sent David to a far away sheep pasture and rarely considered him for significant occassions: out of sight, out of mind. Samuel sent clear instructions prior to his arrival: Gather all your sons together. What part of "all" didn't David's father get?

When this Bible verse came alive to me everything in my life was transformed. I do not feel deprived or left out. I know God as Father as well as Savior.

Never do I read in David's writings any negative words directed to his parents. Why would he? He was convinced the Lord took him up when he was forsaken by his father.

So, this weekend my desire is for all of you to think of the good and honorable things about your father, the father of your children, and all the fathers in your life. I’ll begin this time of honor with my proclamation, “Dad, I honor you because you were a strong innovative worker. The world needs faithful trustworthy capable workers and you were that. I salute you, Dad.”

Randy Kilgore wrote this on the Marketplace Moments website yesterday:

“What makes our labor holy, what makes it eternal, is not just the work but the state of our hearts while performing that work. When we comprehend that truth, then we realize washing dishes is as significant to the Kingdom as operating on a patient; driving a truck is as eternally triumphant as leading a company. Then, even in the zig-zags of our careers, when life seems more random than ordered, when it feels like we're running in thick mud with heavy boots, we can rest in the knowledge we're serving God as we labor faithfully and diligently."-- Randy Kilgore, Marketplace Moments

Honoring your parents is directly connected to living an abundant thriving life. Growing up I worried about the 5th commandment, "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." Honor means what? So much "stuff" had happened in my childhood that I was very confused about exactly what the Bible meant by honor. Fearing I was failing in honor, I didn't expect a long life. Most people get depressed when they hit thirty. I was jubilant because I had exceeded my expectations of longevity. Now, in my sixties I desire to honor my Mom, Peggy, and my Dad, Melvin. I delight to thank God for both of them being my parents. I see great things in them; and this will be my focus in remembrance of them. These honorable qualities will be told to their descendants for generations.

This weekend honor your Father. As you do, may you thrive and your days be long.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Read Yourself Holy, Thin, Organized and Rich

This Friday our Upstate Christian Business Network will have Mark Hoyt, professional organizer, speak on bringing order in our business lives and offices. Leaning against several garbage bags stuffed with thrift store donoations, a month overdue for dropoff, I phoned Mark to interview him to prepare for his introduction. He is certified with NAPO, National Association of Professional Organizers, and he must stay up on the current information in this field. We talked about our favorite books on organizing. Glancing at the bookshelf with over twenty books on organizing, I admitted to Mark, "I've probably read it, if it's in print on organizing." I shared with Mark how I had battled being overwhelmed with too much stuff, procrastination and lack of organization most of my life. Placing the phone back on the hook was difficult because of the desk running over with piled up overdue correspondence.

I walked down the hall and sighed at the closed dining room door. That's the room I stick things in until I decide on where they will permanently reside. That usually occurs when I have an event that requires using the dining room. Bam! Instantly I get insight...panic is a great initiator. Oh, yeah, if you could read your way to self discipline on neatness and order I would be Martha Stewart and Monk all rolled up in one.

I love to read the Bible and I have invested much of my life in study, conferences, small group Bible studies and listening to audio about Scripture.

I've wanted to read myself holy, thin, organized and rich.

Somehow, lying down in front of the TV, reading nutrition and physical fitness books while muching down on salty chips is a self portrait I'd rather avoid revisiting in my mind. Talking to Mark, I was challenged with my absurb quest for knowledge without the commitment for putting the new found knowledge into action.

"Never mind how much we know, do we do what the Word says? It is no good saying that you know the highway code and then behaving like you do not. Obedience to the Bible is critical. Head knowledge is important, but we need to be obedient. We each have to say, 'My life must come under the authority of the Bible.' The critical thing is that God's Word can be trusted and relied upon. God always gives what He says He will give; His promises absolutely, unequivocally never fail." Battleground , by Stephen Gaukroger, Christian Focus, UK.

Gaukroger continues in his book on Joshua, " But, it was no good Joshua sitting down on the side of Jordan saying, "'Well, God, You're going to be with me. That's really great! Wonderful!' Joshua would have to go over the Jordan. It is not until leaders and other Christians take action that the promise is tested. So many want a promise from God, but they want proof before they act, whereas God says to act on the promise."

I spent part of my early years in the hills of Northeast Georgia. From those country roots I can hear some farmer chewing on hay saying, "Book larnin' aint worth spit without some proof in your doin's!"

It's time for me to get out of my reading chair and dare to put to work some of this head knowledge. Thriving as a Christian empowers me to believe I can do what I've been hesitant to think I can. My weaknesses are setups for Christ in me to be glorified. Got to get moving .... I want to try out some organizing tips before tomorrow morning when I get to hear Mark lay out some more wisdom.

Get moving!!! That's my motto today.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

God Given Potential

Writing Blogs draws me to read blogs. I landed on David Foster's site: I was blessed reading his series on God-given potential.

He discusses the essential ingredients of an extraordinary life. This lines up with this blog: Thriving Christians, Please send in your comments on the following from Foster:

1. Passion for life
2. Openness to change
3. Targeted energy
4. Expectant spirit

Ponder his questions:

“Do I demonstrate these essential qualities in my life?

Do I get up every day with a passion for life?

Am I open to the changes that God might bring into my life that will take me to where He wants me to be?

Do I target my energy or am I just overwhelmed and busy with a lot of small things that really don’t come out of my passion or my joy?

And do I live with an expectant spirit?

Do I get up every day anticipating to see God in my life, in the small things?”

I look forward to your responses.

Blog Glossary

Blog, What's That?

Some of you are reading this blog out of your kindness to me as my friend. Recently one of you blessed me by telling me you will be starting your own blog soon. I'm looking forward to reading your posts/heart. Today's post is for blog readers, "wanna be" blog writers, and anyone wanting to be informed of blog basics.

Wisdom is a key component of thriving. But in this Information Age we have "information overload" bombarding us. It is hard to know what deserves keen attention. An info nut like me has to be keen to hold onto information that can lead to true wisdom. More importantly, I have to be ruthless and swift to toss or ignore the inconsequential data that comes to my world like a giant fire hose wide open flooding my world. To improve my blog writing I feel I need to read blogs. Now I am having to gauge the best use of my time with this new task in my day. The blogs that are meaningful to me are listed in my blogroll (view on the right of this site).

Following is a basic glossary of blogging . Have a little blog basics on me and Back Bone Meida blog:

This is a direct quote from:

Blogging Glossary Of Terms
At a recent panel discussion at the Yankee chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators the panel was asked to provide definitions of blogging terms. I thought this round up of some of the terms we discussed would be helpful. Let me know if you would like me to add anything to the list.


Archives contain links to past blog entries, such pages are ordered by month, week or day. Daily calendars also exist for archives.

Archives are extremely important to blog readers, especially when a blog reader visits a new blog for the first time. The age and size of an archive will go someway to convincing that its worthwhile maintaining a connection with a new blog.


Someone who writes or authors a blog.


Lists of links to favorite bloggers on a blog, such links are usually displayed in the side navigation.


Bloggers use categories to characterize each blog post. Using keywords and phrases for categories a blogger can build a body of work around a particular theme. Bloggers find this navigational tool useful in making it easy to find past articles around a subject, and blog readers use categories to find posts of interest.


Blogs are a design of website that allow a lot of interaction between the writer of the blog, and the blogger’s audience. A comment dialog box allows a blog reader to make a comment on a blog post. Due to the increasing volume of comment spam, many bloggers moderate their comments before publishing them.

Comments are just as important to a blogger as their blog posts. Blogging is about dialogue and the opportunity to interact with your audience is paramount.

Consumer generated media

All of the electronic content generated by consumers on websites and the Internet, including email list serves and forums, such content was highlighted by the growth of blogging since the turn of the 21st century. However in 2006 the vast majority of consumer generated content exists on websites other than blogs, including forum sites.

Companies like Cymfony, Umbria and BuzzMetrics provide analysis and monitoring of Internet generated consumer generated media.

The phrase also relates to the cultural rise of consumer generated media as a contrast to traditional media in print, radio and TV, where professional journalists produce content for an audience’s consumption.


Blogs are powered by powerful content management systems that allow even non-technical people to build a web page. Once a web page is written and entered into the content management system, the blog author publishes the page onto the web. Bloggers call the process of publishing the web page ‘posting’ and the page itself is an ‘entry.’ An entry can also be called a blog post or article.


What’s a post?

Blogs are powered by powerful content management systems that allow even non-technical people to build a web page. Once a web page is written and entered into the content management system, the blog author publishes the page onto the web. Bloggers call the process of publishing the web page ‘posting’ and the page itself is a ‘post.’


What Is RSS?

Today, I was asked the question what is RSS? It occurred to me that many people are not familiar with the term or understand how the technology works between websites and web visitors, so I thought I’d discuss the issue.
RSS or really simple syndication is not as you might think an example of stick man cartoons being syndicated through national newspapers but the syndication of one website’s content to another website or RSS feed reader.

As you are reading this post, a number of other visitors are reading this same post through their RSS feed reader. is an example of a web based RSS feed reader.

The advantage to the visitor who is using an RSS feed reader is that you know if the content on a website or blog has been updated without actually visiting the website. RSS feed readers are designed in such a way that the visitor can review a large number of feeds all at the same time. Some people have 50, 100, or several hundred feeds in their feed reader. The design is much more efficient than email, in that typically an email user does not know when they are going to receive an email, for example a monthly newsletter, but with RSS the visitor can ask for the content when they are ready to receive the information. RSS makes the process of monitoring content updates much more efficient. An RSS feed can be used by a visitor or website to request for updates to a website on a periodic basis or when a visitor returns to their feed reader.

What’s interesting is that the demand for content from publishers increases with RSS, instead of cursing more regular email newsletters than once a month, an RSS feed reader might begin to question the same content provider’s ability to produce content when they are not writing every few days.
The marketing opportunity is that your customers will be more likely to read your content, as you can break up the content into chucks over time, and also the RSS reader is able to see more content then they could ever do before.


How To Send A Trackback Successfully

Today I was asked how to send a trackback successfully to another blog by blogger who has not used the technology, I wrote this post to describe how she can use trackbacks in her blog.
The best way for a blogger to alert another blogger that he has mentioned his work in a blog post is to use a trackback. Trackbacks send a notification to a blog that another blogger has written a post about their blog article. To send a trackback, a blogger has to copy and paste a trackback url from a blogger’s article into the ping field of a blog content management system. Once the blog post and trackback ping is published the blog content management system notifies a ping server that the page has been updated. The ping server then notifies the blogging system of the blog from the original trackback that a trackback has been sent from another blog. A trackback link will then appear underneath the post on the original blog.

There is an increasing amount of trackback Spam from malicious blog Spammers, and so many blogging publishing systems allow bloggers to monitor trackbacks before deciding whether to publish the trackback.

Search engines give higher rankings to those websites have more links from relevant websites. Trackback Spammers send trackbacks to attain more links in order to get higher rankings on search engines and receive direct traffic. The correct etiquette in using a trackback is to reference in your post a blog post where you wish to send a trackback. Commenting in your own blog article about a blog article on another blog where you wish to send a trackback will increase the likelihood that a blogger will publish a trackback on their blog.

Successful trackbacks like successful blog marketing can only be achieved if a blogger understands that he is having a dialogue with other bloggers. Merely targeting other blogs for links will not only get your trackback deleted but may also give you a reputation for Spamming amongst your industry’s community of bloggers. Don’t send a trackback unless you wanted to comment indirectly through a trackback on a blog post, or you wish to reference some information provided by a blogger’s article on his blog. Only send a trackback if your post is relevant to the other blogger’s article. Lastly, definitely do not randomly send trackbacks to a blogger’s article when your own article does not even reference their post, or has nothing to do with the content on another blogger’s blog.

Posted by johncass at February 27, 2006 04:35 PM

Trackback Pings
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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Watch Out It's Election Season

Today I head to the polls to vote. Lately I've been disturbed by good people offending one another with their opinions that bulldoze over someone else's different viewpoint. Now, these folks are Christians who feel proud of their right to express themselves in America. Thriving Christians must have healthy communication skills to truly be whole.

I found a Christianity Today article that made me think about healthy disagreements. "Can't We Just Have A Good Argument?" Lessons in "respectful conversation." by John Wilson.

Wilson quotes Dr. Howard Heie calling for "respectful conversation": not bland, feel-good dialogue, but the real thing. This will generally lead to strong disagreement encouraging forthright expression and undertaking with mutual respect. Heie leads a 3-part series at Northwestern College in Iowa called "Christians Engaging Culture." Their purpose is to model dialogue for public policy practitioners, politicians, scholars, and ordinary people like you and me in the pews and marketplace. To check out this article surf over to:

Dr. Heie's latest book, "Learning to Listen, Ready to Talk: A Pilgrimage Toward Peacemaking" further explores respectful communication. He invites readers to reject dogmatic confrontation with others. His philosophy encourages me as I empathize with wounded friends . Hard heartless political ranting has offended several of my friends recently. Yes, I yearn to find that way to have transparent dialogue without "dogmatic confrontation." Dr. Heie calls his readers to prepare to listen carefully and talk respecfully about diagreements.

Needing to "be right" can kill relationships. I learned that the hard way. It took years to transform this old high school and college debate champ to understand losing disagreements can be a good thing. I earned the tee shirt: How to prove you're right even if you might be wrong. Oh, some may say that means "You're a fence sitter." No, I can hear you, respect your opinion, and be steadfast in my beliefs. I can be honest and transparent and give you space to disagree with me.

Being right is highly over-rated.

Since this is a Christian blog I think I may have jumped into an exciting adventure if anyone is reading this. The risk that you might misconstrue my meaning appears real. I hope to hear from some of you...speak up; you're in a safe zone.

If your community has polls open today, please vote. This free land of America blesses you with the great opportunity of the power of your vote.

Comment emailed in:

"I enjoyed your blog it was very well written. I loved your willingness to be real about your own issue of needing to be "right." This is an issue so many people struggle with but can’t see it. Your testimony of being set free will help open their eyes. The topic you have chosen is also very good and needs to be read and applied to codependent relationships. Continue enjoying your freedom in Christ and sharing it with others. Feel free to use any of my comments.
Blessings, Denise Boggs

Monday, June 9, 2008

Too Many Words Can Ruin The Message

This weekend I wrote that blogs must be brief to be enjoyed by readers. Conversations can become burdensome if the descriptions go on too long. I have to watch that when I'm talking. Cut out the fat, Kay. Keep to the subject.

Frances Cole Jones, writes in "How to Wow" Ballantine Publishers:
"Most presentations aren’t better for being longer, most conference calls aren’t better for being extended, most meetings aren’t more productive because you spent more time in the room. It’s just that in this age of super-sizing everything from hamburgers to automobiles, we’ve become addicted to the idea that more is better. I am here to ask you to join my revolution, to tattoo on your brain, if not your backside, that “More isn’t better. Better is better.”

Yes, in business, personal and Church more isn't better, but better is better.
I've got to go; any more and I'll defy all above.

Blogroll frosted or plain?

Recently a fellow blogger suggested I get a blogroll. "Is it edible?" I asked. I started salivating thinking of a sweet roll dripping with gooey icing. Or perhaps it would be like a hoagie roll. Somehow I knew I was way off base. So I 'fessed up and emailed him I wouldn't know a blogroll from a dill pickle.

Determined to master this new thing called blogging I dove into the web seeking info on "blogrolls." Sometimes it defys logic that computers actually save us time. It took me 2 hours to find the way to attach a blogroll onto my site. But if you scroll to the right you'll see Thrive Christians' official Blogroll slowly filling up with blogs I have "enrolled."

Adventurous thriving living always includes learning new things and getting out of the norm. So everyday this blog gives me a good stretch.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Digital Goldfish Readers

I'm working on dieting my words in this blog. Today I read the following: "An article on the BBC's Web site warns we're all "turning into digital goldfish." Internet users now have the attention span of only nine seconds. The article quotes an American Web surfer admitting, "When I'm on the Internet, my attention span is shorter for each thing because there are so many things to choose from." Another has labeled this syndrome as "Internet ADD" (Attention Deficit Disorder)."

So, to all my "digital goldfish" buddies, I'll lighten up on the verbage. I only have seconds before you "swim" away, so I will close for today. Posts will be shorter from now on because I am getting smarter for the rest of our journey together. Thrive!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thriving Widows

Today I was reading through some articles and stumbled on this wonderful restoration story. I believe these two widows in Jerusalem have a blessing for everyone.
When the Old and New Cities of Jerusalem were reunited in 1967, a recently widowed Arab woman, who had been living in Old Jerusalem since 1948, wanted to see once more the house in which she formerly lived. Now that the city was one, she searched for and found her old home.

She knocked on the door of the apartment, and a Jewish widow came to the door and greeted her. The Arab woman explained that she had lived there until 1948 and wanted to look around. She was invited in and offered coffee. The Arab woman said, "When I lived here, I hid some valuables. If they are still here, I will share them with you half-and-half." The Jewish woman refused. "If they belonged to you and are still here, they are yours." After much discussion back and forth, they entered the bathroom, loosened the floor planks, and found a hoard of gold coins. The Jewish woman said, "I shall ask the government to let you keep them." She did and permission was granted.

The two widows visited each other again and again, and one day the Arab woman told her, "You know, in the 1948 fighting here, my husband and I were so frightened that we ran away to escape. We grabbed our belongings, took the children, and each fled separately. We had a three-month-old son. I thought my husband had taken him, and he thought I had. Imagine our grief when we were reunited in Old Jerusalem to find that neither of us had taken the child." The Jewish woman turned pale, and asked the exact date. The Arab woman named the date and the hour, and the Jewish widow told her: "My husband was one of the Israeli troops that entered Jerusalem. He came into this house and found a baby on the floor. He asked if he could keep the house and the baby, too. Permission was granted."

At that moment, a twenty-year-old Israeli soldier in uniform walked into the room, and the Jewish woman broke down in tears. "This is your son," she cried. This is one of those incredible tales we hear. And the aftermath? The two women liked each other so much that the Jewish widow asked the Arab mother: "Look, we are both widows living alone. Our children are grown up. This house has brought you luck. You have found your son, or our son. Why don't we live together?" And they do. ______________________ By Hillel E. Silverman (c) 1987, from Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Rabbi Dov Elkins. *
Hillel E. Silverman Http://

Sometimes our blessings will come in the most unique packages. Be open to the greatness of a mighty God.

Sunrise worth the effort to see

Sunrise from Upper Lake Park (Winter 2006) ~ by M.J. Pettengill

Good Morning Sunshine,

I ran across this picture and realized I casually rise early most mornings witout ever looking out the window for hours. What am I missing like this sunrise everyday? My inspiration to thrive each morning could be as near as my window just when the sun peaks out of the darkness. As I write about thriving I am discovering I have at hand much of everything I need to thrive. I've just got to wake up and pay attention to the beauty around me.

I made an early run this morning to the waste dump facility. Our heat wave has hit us even in the early mornings. The waste facility employee was seated by the garbage dumpster with an umbrella over his chair. I mentioned I hoped it would help with the heat. He shook his head, and told me within hours he would be in the full sun. I tried to imagine what all that garbage would smell like in 95 degree weather. Bagged garbage stewing has to create some foul fumes. Some jobs truly test you. Driving out there I had been dreading coming back home to my list of "have to's." My heart goes out to the workers at the dump, but I am getting ready to jump on my tasks with relieved vigor that I'm not sweating in the hot sun with stench filling my nose. I so appreciate the service of the dump when I'm cleaning out closets, etc., and I'm praying workers with those kinds of tasks find good ways to manage their hardships.

God has created us with ways to cope with whatever comes. That man needs that job, and has found a way to handle it. He obviously has lived through many hot days because he was quick to tell me the hour the umbrella could not offer any shade. He's found a way to make it even when he sweats and the garbage stinks. This man is encouraging me on those things I'm worrying about being too difficult and will likely stink.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

No more dullards and self consumed saints

I began this blog series quoting Paul Tournier on the adventure of living in God. The closing of his book, The Adventure of Living, speaks to the vibrant, thriving, adventurous life God calls all Christians to embrace. Read along with me...."This is what makes the Bible so concrete. It does not deal in general tells stories. The adventure of God, the tremendous adventure of God, is at work in every adventure of every man, and in every episode, even in the smallest. Why then do the lives of many Christians, members of all sorts of churches, seem so dull, so inward-looking, so void of any spirit of adventure? Why do they seem so monotonous and stuffy? Why do they seem so often to be lived in a world apart, abstact and distant? They would like to convert the whole world, but they make no contact with the world because they speak a different language and no longer understand the world's language. They have no laughter, no jokes." The Adventure of Living, by Paul Tournier, p.199-200.

Oh, sorry to say but I have been the dullard looking only at things from my view point. Years ago, I was so focused on myself that I probably was the boring, stuffy, condenscending "church lady." As I look back, I overlooked people who were desparate for more meaning in their lives. I'm sure some were curious about God. From my low self image complex I wanted to look good; sound right and be the best. I regretfully confess, it never occured to me that I might have developed an "inside" language that only church folks understood. My communication goals were about me looking great to the key church leaders and important people in my life. I never worried about others outside not "getting it" when I spoke conversationally or as a public speaker. The fact that they had no church experience or had never read a Bible was not my main concern. My casual mindset of those days grieves me as I look back at me.

In brokenness, God got my attention many years ago. Now, my desire is to honor anyone I engage in conversations with my undivided and full attention. Listening attentively with openness is a primary emphasis in all my communications. In prayer, I am learning that God wants all that I speak to be clear, simple and plain.

As an older woman I enjoy technology and this helps me to have meaningful dialogue with younger people. I invest time to stay culturally and colloquially relevant with people who never participate in church.

True evangelism only occurs when our attraction factor is strong. When I read Scriptures telling of Jesus Christ moving among the unbelievers; they were drawn to Him. He was approachable to everyone. I am drawn to genuine, transparent, humble, fun-loving, trustworthy folks. I pray to be what I am drawn to; so that hopefully, someone will be drawn to me. The highlight of my life is when someone asks me what makes me tick. That is an open door to share the greatness of Jesus Christ in my life.

Recently an EConnect Greenville networking meeting had a great speaker, David Martin. He is an engineer that intentionally uses his golf and other hobbies as ways to develop friendships with people who are not Christians. Over time in his friendships, he has had men, one on one, come to him through their trustworthy relationships to inquire about Jesus. Tournier's book echoes David's stories; both call me to embrace my adventure of life in Christ.

Tournier's book was written in 1963. Seems there are fewer of us committed to Christianity today than I recall in the sixties. Church membership and statistics support there is a falling away from church culturally in America. I see irrelevant Christians could be more of an evangelism issue today than back in Tournier's day. Recently a business associate told me about his dealings with professed Christians in his profession. He said, "They tend to be more close-minded, and sometimes it difficult to get them to discuss where we can work together. Most of all, they don't seem to be enjoying life on any level." The fact that he and I were having this discussion let me know he didn't put all Christians in one box. He knows my hope is for Christians to live up to our Master.

The Bible says this about THAT: I Peter 3:14 "But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."

The unbelievers will never ask us for "the reason for our hope" if they never detect any joy or vibrancy in our lives. So, my brothers and sisters in Christ, may we all "Get a life!!!" Yes, grasp this great life of joy and delight and risk that God has mapped out for us. Live it passionately.

"Kay, where's the laugh you led me to believe I'd get on your blog?" you ask. Consider this the balancing post between the funny ones. Thrive Christians ... again Apostle Peter proclaims, "And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."

The wisdom of Tournier's book has sobered me up to something wonderful and real that I desire greatly: My own Adventure of Living by listening and obeying God at all times.

Enjoy the Journey

Blogging can be fun.

I have enrolled in a blogging course at The first lesson made me laugh because the title is "Enjoy." As I pray and read the Bible I am drawn to plan things in my life that encourage me to laugh and enjoy myself. I will thrive as I delight in all things.

The tips for this first lesson on blogging spill over into all the other areas of my life. May I share a few lines:

"The tip is to enjoy what you do. Blogging should be fun!
Your topic might well be serious, but that doesn't mean you should
not enjoy the process.

If you enjoy blogging, or even better have a *passion* for it, that
enthusiasm will come through to the reader. We have enough serious
in our lives, we don't need to add another chore.

All too often we become focused on the hard parts, become engrossed
in competition, or stress over every new thing we think we have to
know right away.

Take it easy! It's a journey not a race.

Keep the joy. Hold on to the fun. Make friends as well as business
contacts. Find pleasure in the process."

My family needs me to be passionate and enthusiastic with each one of them and their pursuits. In my business interactions, success may well be determined by my passion for each detail of activity. The Kingdom of God calls me to passionately love my Lord Jesus and His Kingdom and flow that love wherever I go.

Yes, lesson no. 1 on blogging is to enjoy it all. Lesson no. 1 in life is to decide to enjoy the journey; bumps and all.

Delight yourself in this day: You're alive!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I need a quiet place

Found this wonderful picture "Warning No Easy-Listening Music," and realized I tire of hearing music in every elevator, grocery store, and mall. Sometimes I need some quiet to keep my thoughts straight. When I saw this picture I yearned not to hear "that music" while waiting endlessly on hold while the customer service does "whatever." I have to watch my skeptical mind. I wait for what feels like hours, imagining that they put me on hold and remembered to join their best friend for lunch and it will be hours before they realize I'm listening to "that music." You know you're in trouble when a song is repeated. But I hesitate on hanging up and replacing the call. I get so frustrated with their recorded message, "listen to the menu and press the correct key for your needs," and then I get bored and finally my need comes up and my brain has dulled. I am screaming in my mind, "Was it 3 or 4?" I dare to press 3 and it is my department. So, hanging up and going through all that is sometimes worse than waiting for them to finally come back to me. But "that music" gets to me more than aging while I wait.

Laughter Bonds Family Together

As I have been sharing with you I am believing to find humor and laughter in my life. Laughter almost embarassed me at my 97 year old aunt's funeral this week.

Everything was coming off on cue, but the very old pastor who is related through marriage kept recalling times with my aunt. Her only son had obviously set things up...I could tell by the way his wife and sister would turn and stare at him. He kept his eyes straight on the pastor and refused any of the "subtle" looks they kept sending him. One thing my family maintains is "never let them see you sweat."

The trapped congregation began to fidget, roll their eyes, and shrug their shoulders because everyone realized that this could go on for hours. Some of the relatives were facing travel of one-way trips of five plus hours to get home on Sunday before facing the tough Monday morning workday. Pastor must haved gotten a hint because he said, "In closing...." But he didn't close it out. That really heightened the anxiety of the congregation. What could they do? My kin treat family with much grace and latitude. Remember he is family, even if it is through marriage. In fact, he's our only preacher. We would have passed out before ever making any obivious move to get him to close.

Then he came over to our family pew. He mentioned the laugh of our funny aunt. He challenged the cousin seated beside me to emulate it. She let out a cackle that peeled paint. And she kept on laughing and laughing and everyone in the the church was staring our way.

My last aunt living is in her nineties and she's deaf and has limited vision. During the refreshments and fellowship time she came up really close to me and one of my cousins. She strained to get a good look at us. She told us we both looked great. We were basking in this great compliment from this dear aunt, when she added, "Now, gaining weight is a problem in our family at your ages. It's a shame both of you have gotten so fat." He and I hugged and laughed. Looking great moved to being fat oldies. But we celebrated still being alive and together.

Since this church was our family church it stirred up memories of all the silly things we enjoyed when we got together at Grandaddy's farm most weekends. Yes, laughter comes easily in my family because we had a safe place to laugh through the years. My grandparents were committed in all things to the Lord. They had humble lives filled with hard work and joy all along the way. My grandmother was a beautiful country woman who had faith beyond compare. I have never forgotten this one line from her, "I don't know why folks have trouble believing Jonah was swallowed by a big fish. I'd believe the Bible if it read that Jonah swallowed the big fish..whale. God can do anything He decides to do." Yes, laughter and joy come easily if your faith is secure that you belong to God who can do anything.

Have a laugh today...if this is new for you; have one on me and my zany family.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Motivated to write on "thriving"

Blogging is new for me. As with most of my life pursuits I started out blogging with zest. When I didn't see any comments posted in the blog I was disappointed. It seemed I was writing to myself. Typically I gave up.

My pain from the recent death of my husband was part of my passion for writing. I wanted to live my life in spite of this grief. I was hoping to hear from others. I whined to a friend and she told me she had posted back. She had missed not having any more posts from me. Looks like blogging for me is much like many of my poor relationship communications: a one way conversation with me doing the talking. I will investigate how I am missing the posts from others. But I am back on this blog with new energy.

Last week a dear friend was going through a major tragedy and could not sleep. She hit my blog for the first time. This blog gave her hope when she could find none. Knowing one person got through a black night with this blog is enough fire under me to keep my fingers flying across the keyboard faithfully.

Thriving as a Christian is taking a new twist for me. I love a laugh as much as anyone, but recently I am finding I NEED a laugh. I am deliberately making sure I watch or read things that will encourage some joy and laughter. In prayer I am sensing that the new speaking and writing assignments I have coming up should include good humor. Sometimes I am funny, but I have never planned on it. Funny things just come up. This is most challenging for me and I don't have easy solutions. I have found a few resources in books, etc., but none of them have me confident in my abilities.

My life is framed in prayer, so I know where to go when stumped....

"Father God,

That month on the cancer floor caring for John with his lung cancer and walking out this grief has drained my joy tank. How do I refuel? I have searched the internet, library, etc. about this humor mission for myself and to encourage laughter and joy in others. What do I do? Most of the secular humor is rated X, and if I listen or read much of some of the comics I could subconsciously pick up some raw vocabulary. "

Thoughts came to me about the funny things I notice in day to day living.

"Oh, I get it .... I'll just watch folks doing silly things and I can journal my observations and share this with others."

Somehow I knew I was close, but there was something better. Then it was like a video played in my mind of the dumb, silly absurd things I have done and the way friends and family would laugh for hours at my "stuff."

"Lord, I can journal my goofs and missteps and have all the material I will ever need. I am the most absurd person I know. Oh, well this should handle keeping me humble as well as having plenty of good writing ideas."


So you want to know when does the joy ride begin? Give me a break. I just got the revelation. I am accustomed to pushing my dumbness to the back of my mind. Now, I am learning to notice it, record it and discover how to share it so we can laugh together. Want to help me out? Write back with some of your funny moments. I will gladly post all of your oops that could bring giggles on this blog.

Guess we all will thrive if we don't take ourselves so seriously. I recall an old psychiatrist telling me a key way to judge sanity and maturity is when a patient can laugh at themselves. Keep it light and fly with the angels!!!
© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.