Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Food Lookout - Sightings #1

Are you planning a trip to the West Virginia area and would really like to have a lunch or dinner that is unforgetable? You want something "different and memorable", a tasty meal that has "flair and "down-home, authentic goodness?" Well, you have come to the right "Lookout". I am here as the official spokesperson for the Wheeling, WV area. Since I was raised in Brooke County, (about 20 miles from the city line) I believe it is my "duty" to share the "hidden secrets" of the Upper Ohio Valley cuisine.

Today I will introduce you to one great "Rocking Fish Sandwich".

The Centre Market in downtown Wheeling, WV boasts a fish market older than me...yeserie, my Grandpa went to the "Coleman's Fish Market" WAY before this whipper-snapper was born!

In all my "research", I cannot find the year that Coleman's was established. When my brother and I visited there just a few weeks ago, we asked an employee if they sold T-shirts. She laughed and said, "I don't know if they would sell you one or not!" They only had T-shirts for the employees...none for sale for us "patron folk".

Coleman's Fish Market was honored by Goumet Magazine as one of West Virginia's most popular eating establishments. As quoted int he June 2001 issues....FILLET UP-A visit to the Mounting state leads to a surprising discovery: The County's best fish sandwich (tarter sauce not included), By Jane and Michael Stern. Also featured in the book Roadfood as, one of the best restaurants coast to coast. Wow, high praise indeed!

Company Information: Known for its quality fresh fish, friendly historic market atmosphere, and reasonable prices. Try one of their famous fish sandwiches, a shrimp or oyster boat, with a bowl of clam chowder.

Hours of Operation: Mon & Tue 10-5:30,Wed & Thur 9:00-5:30,Fri 8:30-7:00,Sat 9:00-5:30

Do you have a special place you like to eat? Fill me in....I'm all for finding new food establishments....especially the "great, one-of-a-kind" variety.

Wishing you a great day with a fish sandwich in the mix? If you are not close enough to come to WV, maybe you can find a "fish joint" close to you...the only thing, it won't be as good.....I promise!

God santified and WV proud!

I think about stuff

While on a wonderful vacation to Myrtle Beach a couple of years back, I got to visit Alabama Theater. What a delight! Along with all the other wonderful entertainment, they had a stand-up comedian named "Ricky"....yes, that is his "mugshot" at the top! I actually bought his video after the show....just a hilarious guy! He was everyone's favorite!

Well, Ricky started the "I think about stuff..." routine and I was ROFL. How smart people can act so dumb is beyond me, but he had it DOWN. From "What's that smell? .....Taco Bell" to "That's a thought loop...." to "You go girl".... he won me over!

I also love "thinking about stuff". Lately with serious matters to dwell on, it has been delightful and uplifting to just find some "humor" in life. I look up funny videos on You Tube, find cute jokes, read funny articles and try to share them all! Now, this is where I usually get more laughs than desired because I am not good at joke telling. Seems like I rush the story or forget the punchline.....sometimes making up a funnier story in the process. Oh well, life is good....:)

In all my "research" for laughter, I ran onto some funny "points to ponder". Today I want to share them with you. They make me laugh and they also make me think.... a good combination....if I am thinking while having fun, I am not wasting time, right! :)

Did you ever stop and wonder...

Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?

Why women can't put on mascara with their mouth closed?

Why toasters always have a setting so high that could burn the toast to a horrible crisp which no decent human being would eat?

Why there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?

Why you don't ever see the headline: "Psychic Wins Lottery"?

Why "abbreviated" is such a long word?

Why Doctors call what they do "practice"?

Why you have to click on "Start" to stop 'Windows'?

Why lemon juice is made with artificial flavor, while dishwashing liquid is made with real lemons?

Why there isn't mouse flavoured cat food?

Who tastes dog food when it has a "new & improved" flavor?

Why people point to their wrist when asking for the time, but don't point to their bum when they ask where the bathroom is?

Why your Obstetrician or Gynecologist leaves the room when you get undressed - if they are going to look up there anyway?

Why Goofy stands erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!

Why Noah didn't swat those two mosquitoes?

Why sheep don't shrink when it rains?

Why they are called apartments when they are all stuck together?

If con is the opposite of pro, is congress the opposite of progress?

Why they call the airport "a terminal" if flying is supposedly so safe?

Who the first first person was to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these pink dangly things here, and drink whatever comes out?"

Who the first person was that said, "See that chicken there, I'm gonna eat the next thing that comes outta it's bum?"

Why the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of coconut, but can't he fix a hole in a boat?

What do you call male ballerinas?

If blind people can see their dreams? Do they dream??

That if Wile E. Coyote from the Road Runner had enough money to buy all that ACME crap, why didn't he just buy dinner?

If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?

If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from?

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

Why the "Alphabet Song" and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" have the same tune?

Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup?

Why it is when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

How come we put a man on the moon before realizing it would be a good idea to put wheels on suitcases?

Why brain cells come and brain cells go, but fat cells are forever?

How important someone has to be before they can be 'assassinated' rather than just plain 'murdered'?

How come "phonetically" is spelt with a "ph"?

Why a round pizza gets delivered in a square box?

Why people pay to go up in tall buildings, and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Why people say they "slept like a baby", when babies normally wake up every two hours?

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are flat?

What would the speed of lightning be if it didn't zigzag?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but has to check when you say the paint is wet?

Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?

Why doesn't glue stick to the bottle?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?

Whose idea was it to put an "s" in the word "lisp"?

What hair color do they put on the driver's licenses of bald men?

Do Lipton employees take coffee breaks?

If someone with a split personality threatens to commit suicide, is it a hostage situation?

If a man says something in the woods and there are no women there, is he still wrong?

How do they get deer to cross the road only at those yellow road signs?

Why is it called a hot water heater when it is actually heating cold water?

Why do you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?

Just a few of the "fun questions of life"...... do you have any more things you "wonder" about? Let me know....I have plenty, for sure!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Taking care of ...ME!

If you have a nurturing nature, like some of us do, it is very easy to always think of others and leave out someone important....ourselves.

Just do this "check" for me.....Do you have problems when you do act a "tiny bit" selfish and do something just "for yourself"? If you answered "YES" to this little test, then you are an unselfish caregiver. Although it is a Godly characteristic, you must be careful, it can be draining.... it must be monitored for the "life of the caregiver".

Don't get me wrong, being a caring person is a wonderful virtue. Kindness in today's society is great to feel, behold.....it almost feels like "generosity" is a lost art. If you ask our kids today to be "generous", many would probably ask you ~ what does that mean?

We live in a rushed, hurried, "take/take" world. Many things we do is totally about "ME" ~ Too busy, don't have time for anyone else...just "Me and Mine". Why, we cannot finish the projects of "today" for ourselves....how are we suppose to have the time to reach out to help another?

The generous heart will go out of their way to help others....sometimes at their own expense.

Is it possible to stay thoughtful and considerate without any "self-sacrificing" acts? I believe YES, but it is a fine line that must be examined regularly...

As a altruistic, selfless personality, care must be taken to:

Remember that you are not going to be any good for ANYONE if you give ALL of you away.

Realize that it is OK to think about yourself sometimes....we must preserve ourselves for the long haul.

Keep reminding yourself that, "I am important".... it is easy to let "giving" take away everything, even your self-esteem. You are WORTHY and IMPORTANT! And it is OK to believe it!

So, give until you are "spent", then plan something for yourself to help recuperate. Take a vacation with some of your best friends, a shopping trip, a "makeover" outing (complete with manicure, pedicure and tanning!)....After these "rejuvenating, peaceful, unstressful" times, you will come back refreshed, more loving and ready to "give". Sounds like a win/win situation, right?

If you are married, you will not believe how your husband will respond when you "take care of yourself". The enjoyment that he feels when he knows you are happy, is well worth the "time spent on ME". This joy radiates....from you to husband, to children, to friends.....and we all become "better and happier" in the process.

So, now we must try to figure out where the LINE comes.....WHEN do I put all this in place?...the "time" for me? Well, you alone must work that one out....but don't get too BUSY that you don't put yourself on your own schedule. Write your name in a time-slot and see what happens.....:)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

But it hurts so bad...

I heard her say, "I am just so tired"....."when will it ever end?"....."how long will this last?".... "they promised to stop"...

What do you say when a young person asks you the "tough" questions? Oh, it is EASY to give the encouraging word to situations that are not so bad...."It will be alright, honey", "Joy comes in the morning", "Keep holding on...". The stock answers work and you can go on to the next need ... resume our schedule without too much pause.

But what happens when the situation or need requires real "divine" consideration? What is your planned response to the really "tough" questions? Throughout my life, I have encountered many of these "severe" cases. I have wondered if I have responded correctly to the various needs.

What do you say to someone~

~Who has a father that gets drunk almost every day of the week?
~Who has a baby by her father?
~Who gets so "traumatized" in school and in "life-situations" that they cannot function or "handle" mingling with the rest of the world?
~Who was abused as a child and wonders if it was their fault?
~Who is so hooked on substance abuse (alcohol, drugs, tobacco...) and it is causing them to loose their family?
~Who really struggles with homosexuality?
~Who has an addiction (Ex: porno, gambling, self-mutilation, anorexia/bulimia, ...)?
~Who has a self-confidence issue that is affecting their life in a very negative manner?
~When their rebellion is so strong, they are self-destructive?
~When their family is falling apart around them?
~Who has just lost a spouse/parent/child?

How do you jump in and "save the day"? YOU are the teacher, leader, parent, friend that these hurting souls are looking to for help! How do you begin to start?

When I look at the needs listed in this manner, I am overwhelmed. I realize that within myself, there is nothing I can do/say to "fix" these problems. Without "divine intervention", the outlook for each of these cases would be dire, bleak and hopeless..... and I do not like the "places" that these options take me to!

Your heart may be bruised, you are totally confused, you have exhausted all the options.....But, hold on....WAIT! Don't give up or give in! I have an answer.....it is NOT a magic wand or "self-help" manual! Hold on.....

I need you to be HONEST with God!

Honest? Is that all?

Yes, pure, repentance.... a cry for HELP!

Have you ever wondered why the first step to overcoming ANYTHING, is to first confess that you have a problem? Without acknowledgment, there is NO possibility of correction....NONE!

"Hello, my name is Brenda, and I have a problem with forgiveness." All of heaven says, "Hello Brenda, welcome! Come join the ranks of all the ages who have confessed and received help from our Heavenly Father".

Heaven does NOT shun or refuse a contrite heart. The Word says,

Psalm 51:17
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

A wise man of God told me on MANY occasions, "Be honest with God, he already knows how you feel anyways." Oh, words so true.....

So, what did I say to the heart that was tired and weary of the family problems that they were crying, hiding out in their room to "escape" the hurt any longer? I told them to go tell Jesus how they feel.....I mean, "Tell him how you REALLY feel!"

Go and tell Jesus on me

When my faults and failures you see
If you are my brother, don't go tell another
Go and tell Jesus on me

When you are "seeking" the answer to the "tough" questions, I go through a process I call the "honesty loop".

~ I start out by telling God HONESTLY about the problem....whether it be mine or another's.
~ I then let him know how great he is and how "capable" he is to answer/handle this need.

Many times spending prayer in these two areas, until my faith is fully "satisfied" and a joy comes in my spirit....a "knowing" that all will be well.....complete faith that the problem/issue is at the feet of Jesus and he is "working it out". Trust.

Sometimes, I have one more step to overcome... I have to place it in the #2 spot after my telling God about the problem...my "Admitting I am really upset".....Saying, "Lord I am so Mad right now!" Honest words...you are feeling them....true honest confession is good for the soul.....time to "bear it all"! Oh my, now I am being so honest that YOU ARE SURPRISED! Yes, everyone gets mad sometimes! If you think you don't....well, we won't go there, because you are not human or living on the same Earth that I am! Be angry and sin not.....telling it to Jesus ALONE, keeps you out of so much trouble!

As this young person was asking me the initial questions that I began this message with, I told her to start the "loop". Tell God the problem, Be honest and tell God how hurt you are, believe in his answer! Keep it up until YOU get relief, joy and answers in Christ.

AND....I will do the same. All the work cannot be placed back on that young ones lap! No, I will do as I have instructed. I will go into my secret place/prayer closet (wherever this "place" may be) and SHARE in obtaining the answer...the scripture says...

1 John 3:16-18 (King James Version)

16Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

17But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

18My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Do the deed....don't just love in words. Show love in all manners possible: smile, give, hug, laugh, encourage, listen, uplift, forgive, and be truthful.

Honesty is the best policy and will get the best results.

Go ahead....tell HIM how you REALLY feel, OK? Remember, he already knows....

Friday, April 24, 2009

Clean my own plate

The "Clean Your Plate" rule has been around my family forever. Since we were raised with limited resources, "wasting food" in ANY form was not permitted. We never went hungry (not with Grandma Minnie around), but we also knew that wastefulness was a form of unthankfulness, and that was NOT ALLOWED! Why it was downright un-biblical! "Be Ye Thankful, so EAT" was the 11th Commandment.

I think every kid alive has heard the phrase, "There are kids in Africa, hungry, wishing they could have that delicious food." In my early innocence, that just broke my heart. To top it off, one day as I was looking through a National Geographic, I saw the faces of starvation for the first time. Now the hungry kids had a face....it was real to me! I cleaned my plate with more "vigor" than before (except for the veggies, you'll have to read my previous "Easter Memory: Quack" blog!). :)

The concept of "plate-cleaning" can also apply to our heart. It's my "container", holding anything and everything I allow in/on it! If I don't like "peas", I don't allow them on my plate. Same with my heart.....I try hard not to bring bad feelings and negative subjects to my table. (Gives me indigestion!:))

Psalm 51:9-11 (King James Version)

9Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

10Create in me a clean heart, O God (Keep my plate clean God!); and renew a right spirit within me.

11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

What I struggle the most with is what OTHERS try to put on my plate. Many people, I'll call them my "circle" (friends, family, co-workers, neighbors...) can try to "put me in the middle" of sensitive issues. The old rule "Don't argue politics or religion" truly has some merit! Many times it is best to "not go there"....or you may end up on the wrong side....for LIFE! Sometimes no answer is the best answer!

But what are our options when we truly want to show the love of Christ and some of our "circle" are mad, arguing, or not even speaking? Those times can be "trying" at best! One of my good friends (GM/LS) says she chooses to "Pick her battles", and I agree!

Many times I have had to pray, wait and then make a conscience decision to "act" on a problem. Sometimes they won't just GO AWAY! Wouldn't that be nice? ~ No, sometimes an action is required on our part. That is the hardest part for me...confrontation is something that I run from....far, far away...and fast! I then remember the "Speak the truth in Love" and "Keep your own plate clean" quotes from my brother. (Dad and Grandpa aren't the only ones with the good quotes/advice, brother dear!).

Recently, I have been struggling with the intense desire to "tell someone like it is". They should KNOW how to treat others! They have had all the right teaching growing up...they have Jesus in their heart to help them, right? Surely they have not forgotten how to "respect" others? Why can't they love the lovable? That should be the easy part, right? It seems simple to me. Truthfully, I just don't "get it". When did God start allowing us to get mad at someone over "nothing" and never speak to them again....hold grudges? Are we making up reasons now? I can't find where HE goes for that, EVER! Where in your Bible do you find that we are allowed "not to forgive"? I cannot find this teaching in mine.... If I ask forgiveness and forgiveness is not returned, my plate is clean....they have the leftovers on theirs! Such a sad state....lonely too.

Many times I have felt like calling them up and defending the innocent party and asking them what their problem was. Each time, when I prayed about "speaking out", the Lord would let me know that if they did not listen to HIM, they would not "happily" listen to me! So, I waited. I had the chance to meet them "face-to-face" one day. I was amazed. I was treated like a stranger. I was my normal, nice self....they were not impressed. This was someone who I had (and others) given love and support to WILLING through the years! MUCH love and support. I walked away feeling spent. Did I do all the right things? Should I have "forced" them to accept me, like me? Was it MY fault that they had a problem with my friend, and then in-turn me, for standing by her? I had done no wrong....always showing kindness and love. As I walked away, questioning if I was showing the right amount of love, tolerance, and forgiveness....I was reminded. You have tried your best to show yourself friendly.....you have "kept your own plate clean"....it is now up to them. From my plate to theirs...

I am not responsible for another's actions. I am responsible for my own. I choose love, forgiveness, joy, peace and happiness in Jesus Christ. Anyone who cannot stand to be around my "Christian choices", I make no apologies....this is who I am. A wise man instructed me once, "Make friends with those more positive than you, then you will be brought higher in the process". So, I choose friends who are encouraging, uplifting, fun, sensitive and honest. They don't drag me down and I try to be the same type of friend in kind. Life is too short....if we have to "let go" of a few of our "circle" to get more happiness and peace, so be it. God will supply another to replace them that will be our encouragement and inspiration. Try it, it worked for me. We can't change people, but we can control our best friends... our "circle"... Choose wisely... positive/good for both sides! Keep your plate clean! Such a nice feeling.... a clean heart is always a winning prize! In life, I have learned there is a price to pay, but the rewards are "out of this world"!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Inspiration...from a guest

I got you guessing, right? Who could I have asked to be a guest on my blog today? The possibilities are endless, but I won't keep you guessing for long...

When I was meditating today, the word "Inspiration" came to mind.

Definition: (noun)
* A driving influence directly and immediately exerted up the mind and soul
* Something inspired, as an idea
* Result of an inspired activity
* A person or thing that inspires
* The divine quality of the writings or words of a person so influenced

To be "Inspired" also means: (adjective)
* Animated, quickening, or imbued by the spirit to do something

To "Inspire" is my favorite: (verb)
* To communicate or suggest by a divine or supernatural influence: inspired by God
* To "inhale", to "breath into or upon"

Oh, the power of inspiration! Job 32:8 says, "But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." I love "Godly" inspiration. I love to be animated, quickened in my spirit, having the ability to "inhale" the Godly wisdom and understanding. That comes from above....heavenly inspiration! A breath of fresh air!

I asked our dear friend Mark Condon about his inspiration. Yes, he is my guest here today! If you haven't been touched by his music (where do you live, on Mars?), you need to check out his resources at www.markcondoniclub.com or about him at www.markcondon.com.

His answers were definitely "inspiring":)

1. Who inspires you the most (person)? Everyone inspires me one way or the other. They either inspire me to get going or they may inspire me to never act like that! HA everything is feedback for me and I love it!!!

2. When did you first feel inspired? umm, When I was in my teens and I watched my parents and the way they handled life. They were great coaches! I learned early on that it is in my hands on how I want to handle life!

3. Where do you derive your inspiration from? The greatest source is God and His word obviously but I am a driven reader. I consume anything that makes me better. I have placed habits in my life to read every morning before I get going at least one chapter of a great book! I am not much of a novel reader. Only 4 new habits a year will be 20 new habits in 5 years. That will change anyone's life.

4. What ways have you found to inspire others with the greatest success? There all kinds of ways to inspire people but I think consistency gives you the loudest voice! Music, speaking, and any media like FB, Newsletters or any way you have influence. The world hears enough junk so why not spread something to help people.

(Thank you Mark for your "Inspirational" words! Appreciate how you share with us...on a continual basis, through your anointed singing and songwriting. Praying that the pen never runs dry.... and the inspiration keeps coming from above, in abundance!)

Some people can inspire....really move us with songs, preaching, examples in loving. There are many ways and avenues to be an inspiration. It's time to find YOUR way to inspire....sit down and do a "consult with YOURSELF"....where can I apply the most positive influence? Who can I touch and what method would be most effective? God can direct, lead, guide and provide us with the tools necessary for the task. Full package deal.... We just need to share the inspiration HE gives with others...and they share with others....full circle! The gift the keeps on giving....

I have a final "story to tell'. My Grandpa, Thomas Forsythe, loved music. No....you don't understand....he LOVED MUSIC! After trying, he realized that loving music was not enough... he did not have the ability to sing or play any musical instrument! You would think that this would have caused heartache and severe disappointment to him. No, Grandpa found ANOTHER way to be a blessing. His ten grandchildren (with my Grandma Minnie) all went to church from their youth up! (Yes, I was on the church pew when I was 3 days old!) I was #9. Sharon, Gary, Ronnie, Marla, David, Timmy, Allen, Nila & Randy rounded out the "10". When each of us became old enough to express interest, Grandpa would ask us what musical instrument we desired to play. From accordions to trumpets, saxophones, drums, guitars, tambourines...you name it, we asked for it! Off to the music shop or pawn shop he would go. Beautiful instruments for each of us! I remember when he asked me my "instrument of choice".....of course I said, "Accordion"! It didn't matter that there were four other players in our small church, it was what every girl was doing, so I followed suit!

The band was large in those days. In our small block church (Wellsburg, WV, UPC), the music "rang out"! and Grandpa would be smiling from the back row....so proud and happy for the sounds (noise? Oh well, Jesus said to "Make it Joyful", so we stayed Biblical for sure!) The organ, piano, electric keyboard, guitar, 3 saxophones, 2 or 3 trumpets, 4 (at least) accordions, drums, bongos, and tambourines (too many to number!) completed the band. And did we have a time! Oh mercy, my ears are still ringing with the heavenly sound......when we said we would "declare it to the next generation", we were serious, the sound is still reverberating! Echoing to us today! What joy came when we played and sang with inspiration and anointing!

Grandpa was an inspiration. Many may not have abilities, but they can "inspire.....breath inspiration into or upon" others. His "gift" was not any less than the most talented of musicians or singers. Sharing the gift in ministry is the inspiration. He was my inspiration.

Think hard, look deep. Find your inspiration somewhere...and when you do.....share it! The joy comes in the "giving" of the inspired thought, deed or word. Try it...and let me know that results.....can't wait to hear from you!

God's Stars...US!

Recently during the 2009 season of the popular British TV show "Britains Got Talent", some extra special talent was brought to light. You Tube, Oprah and other popular media outlets were "abuzz" with the video clips of two people: Paul Potts and Susan Boyle. If you haven't checked them out, you need to start "Googling" (Googling is a word now, right?) right now! Paul singing opera and Susan singing "I dream a dream" with perfection. It "started" the judges and all that heard them.

As my hubby and I watched the You Tube clips of these contestants, we cried. Such raw, natural talent....unpretentious....just wanting to show their God given talents to the world! Very moving. In reflection, I thought of how many times God picked the "underdog" over the "popular choice".

My first thoughts went to David. The young, ruddy, shepherd boy...out taking care of his family's sheep. Only God knew his "hidden strength". Why, he slew a lion and a bear that came in to threaten his flock! So, when the prophet was told to go anoint a new king from the house of Jesse, the older, more experienced brothers were brought forth first. They were paraded before the prophet Samuel, one by one....each time with the Lord saying, "No"...until there were no more brothers in the house! But out in the field the cry was given, "David, come home." It was David's time to shine...by God's design, not man's.

Another wonderful Bible story of mine is the one concerning the publican and sinner at prayer. The publican was "puffed up", spouting his virtues, acting "better than" the lowly sinner over "there". The sinner was so moved and "awed" by the grace of Almighty God, that he smote his chest and said, "Be merciful on me, Oh God, a sinner." Jesus said the sinner went away more justified.....chosen and accepted.

Gideon was "threshing" in the field when God called him a "Mighty Man of Valor". He looked around, wondering, "Who? Me?" After verifying the will of God by laying out the "fleeces", he let God use him for great victory for his people. What a story!

Many movies are made, heralding people who have "overcome" great obstacles....Rudy, Shawshank Redemption, the Count of Monte Christo...and the list goes on. These are my favorite types of stories....where the average guy/girl wins!

To God, it doesn't matter if you are popular, the "right" age, better equipped, have more experience, or are more beautiful than others....HE does not go by outward appearance (looks, charm, personality)...(can I interject a loud "Hallelujah, Thank You Jesus" right here?)....He makes us worthy and sees our worth in our character....the true essence of us! He "sees" me with eyes of love like no-one else can do or ever will. He believes in ME.....

So, with a thankful heart, I am overwhelmed today that a King would even acknowledge my existence. He picks me out, let's me shine for him, and continually assures me that I am the apple of his eye. No, I'll never figure out how or why he loves me like this, but it is past my finding out and I will just "receive" his love and acceptance. Just as I am I come to him....he waits for me with open arms and a smile. I'm his favorite kid! And what is so cool, his love is not diminished by loving all of us just as intently and equally.

Yep, I'm glad he's my heavenly father....the best for sure! :) We are his STARS!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Time to Laugh

Q: What did the sergeant tomato say to the slacker soldier tomato?

A: "You better catch up!"

Today I laugh, haha, hehe, hoho, and it is SCRIPTURAL! Jesus told me to!

Ecclesiastes 3 (King James Version)

Ecclesiastes 3

1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a ti

me to build up;

4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and

a time to speak;

8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

9What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

10I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men t

o be exercised in it.

11He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

So, today is my designated "Laugh Day". I have cried a river of tears the last few weeks and it is time to "Move Ahead", get new direction, find some joy instead of grief. I hope you can "bear with me" as I quote some crazy, off-the-wall jokes that are making me chuckle today.... I hope they send a smile your way too!

Here goes,

Q: What did the ocean say to the beach?

A: Nothing. It just waved.

Q: What two words contain the most letters?

A: Post Office.

Two blondes stand on opposite sides of a lake.

One blonde yells, "How do I get to the other side?"

The other blonde yells back, "You're already on the other side!"

Joe asked God, "How much is a penny worth in Heaven?"

God replied, "$1 million."

Joe asked, "How long is a minute in Heaven?"

God said, "1 million years."

Joe asked for a penny.

God said, "Sure, in a minute."

I just had to add the "Redneck" pictures...they can made me laugh when nothing else will....just like some movies make me crack up until I cry. My number one fave is "Oh Brother Where Art Thou". It doesn't matter how many times I have seen it, I still crack up every time! I want to keep laughing, so I'll just keep on watching...

Laughter is contagious....just try it sometime. I love to walk into a serious room, where tension is high and give my brightest smile...it throws your enemy off guard! "Kill them with kindness", "Smile them into submission", "Laugh your way thru the traumatic", these are my mottos....yes, I may very well be "loco", but I sure enjoy residing there....try it...you might decide to take up residence also! All it amounts to is a conscious decision...

Now it's YOUR TURN! Have a joke to share, a funny story to re-tell? Bring them on....I'm ready....let the laughter begin! HEHE It's time....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

You name it....

Some call them antiques, collectibles, treasures, heirlooms....and some just call it "junk". I have a little of "all the above".

My love for antiques comes mostly from my mother. Her house is full of antique beds, dressers, dolls, mirrors, pictures, glass...I think you get the picture. My little grand-daughter had a "hey-day" at her house a few times...picking up and chewing on all the fancy "kick-knacks". My Grandma Forsythe called them "dust collectors" or "plunderations". Yes, we all are guilty of "collecting" mementos from the past. Each have special meaning to us that makes it's price invaluable.

I am reminded of a contest that happened in our town a few years back. A local "recycling" chapter started and wanted a new slogan. My girls submitted the "You refuse it, we'll reuse it" quote....and they won first place!

I have quite a few such "treasures" in my house. I have the cabinet that Grandma and Grandpa Forsythe purchased the year that my Dad was born (1935), I have Grandma Forsythe's McCoy pitcher, gravy boat, paring knife and sugar spoon. I have a teapot and a pitcher from Grandma Richards, a gravy boat from Grandma McBride and a couple toothpick holders from Mamaw McBride. All these "collectibles" are in my old cabinet.

The cabinet is new to me. I found it at a building supply store in Wheeling, WV. I stopped by there one day to "ramble" through the furnishing torn from houses demolished in the area.....I saw mantel after mantel....some ornate, others plain and serviceable, but all beautiful! My eye caught a cabinet with the glass broken out. The sale sign said $20. I could not believe my eyes! It's a good thing I was driving an SUV that day, it barely fit into the back of the vehicle. When I arrived home, my husband said, "What are you going to do with that piece of junk?" I told him it was a treasure! He promptly cut me a new piece of glass for the front and I think all total, we have invested $38 in this beautiful antique.

None of my pieces are in perfect condition. The cabinet has the legs scared and chipped paint....but I love it! I think the beauty is in the flaws. Looking at these items lovingly is the way that I imagine God looks at us. He knows we are not perfect, he sees the flaws, but he loves us dearly!

I received a real treasure last week. My step-mother, Jean, was cleaning out Dad's things and found another harmonica. We had found the small one that he played regularly at an earlier time. This harmonica was a large, Mississippi brand, key of C, harmonica. She gave it to me! I was so grateful! My husband has just started playing a harmonica, and I know he will enjoy practicing on this one...but for now....I go to the cabinet in the corner, full of my "precious souvenirs" and put Dad's harmonica in the gravy boat owned by his mother. It gives me peace, makes me happy knowing that they are together in this manner on earth...for I know that they are reunited in heaven. I just hope they don't start the full celebration til I get there....cause I don't want to miss a thing!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Just a whisper

Many times I have wished for a "voice from the Lord" to speak to me. I wanted this "audible" voice to give me direct commands.....explicit instructions for my daily living.....directions for the "route" to travel (Turn right, Don't go down that detour, STOP...). I have actually asked God to come down and sit with me for just a little while so I could question him "face to face"...needing the answers to my deepest, most heartfelt questions. HE lets me know that he DOES speak, and it is through his spirit and the written Word (the Holy Word of God), that provides all the answers to life's questions.

Throughout life, when I really sought HIM for answers, they always came....but not in the "format" I would have desired. Sometimes the answers were direct words from the man of God preaching in the pulpit, or a precious saint of God that walked up and gave me encouragement or quoted a scripture that spoke to my spirit. I have found answers and direction in a song, a poem, scripture, an action, nature and even in reflection.

All the answers are here, we just need to "hear" them.

Elijah once wanted to hear from the Lord:

1 Kings 19:11-13 (King James Version)

11And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

12And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

13And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

When you are "listening" for the voice of the Lord, you must be aware that the answer my come in a different form than expected. These lyrics from the song, "It wasn't in the thunder" (Phillips, Craig and Dean, 1992) speak of this passage...

It wasn't in the thunder where I heard you call my name
There were no lightning flashes, that caused my heart to change
But a voice so sweet and tender, like the soothing summer rain
It wasn't in the thunder where I heard you call my name

Sometimes the answer comes in "A Whisper"....the soft, comforting voice of the Lord washing over me....in waves of comfort. I love to sing this song recorded by one of my favorite artists, Joyce Martin (of The Martins) titled, "A whisper is enough". (Words and music by Dave Clark, Larnelle Harris and Joel Lindsey)

Lord, You are my shepherd
And the keeper of my heart
You guide my steps when I can't find my way

And yet I know deep inside
For you to truly lead
I must live in such a way

That when You call to me

A whisper is enough
When I'm close enough to hear

Where my one desire
Is just to have You near
You still the storms around me with
Gentle words of love
I want to live

So that a whisper is enough

Is it any wonder

That it's hard to know Your voice

When so consumed by the cares of the world

But in an age that competes

With everything you say

Please give me ears to hear

Above the noise it makes.

Lord, give me ears to hear your voice. The scripture talks about US being HIS sheep.....HE is our shepherd....

John 10:4-28 (King James Version)

4And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

5And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

12But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

13The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

14I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

15As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

16And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

What great and precious promises we have from the Lord! He speaks to us, leads us, protects us, cares and loves us. No need to fear, just listen and follow...listen and follow. Always danger in running ahead of the shepherd. May I always be following his lead and keeping my ears open "above the noise of this life" so I can hear his instructions being "whispered" to my spirit.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Moment Please...

Just want to take a "Moment of Silence" to remember, honor and reflect on the life of my Dad, Paul T. Forsythe.

A celebration of life

Dad and Grandpa Forsythe

Today we celebrate the life of my father, Paul Thomas Forsythe, Born July 4, 1935.

(The obituary was written by my brother Allen Forsythe)


Forsythe, Paul Thomas, age 73 of Wellsburg, West Virginia was the son of long time Brooke County residents Thomas Russell and Minnie Ennis Forsythe of Lazears Lane. Thomas, a Scottish immigrant and Minnie, of Asheville, North Carolina, had three depression era children: Howard Forsythe, Leona Forsythe - Williams, and Paul Forsythe, all long time members of the United Pentecostal Church, currently located in Beech Bottom, West Virginia.

Paul is survived by Frances Jean Virden Nolan - Forsythe of Wellsburg and vicinity and her five children, Jerry Nolan (Susan), Pamela Nolan Mercer (Brent), Gary Nolan (Patty of Springhills, Florida), Walter Nolan, Marlena Nolan Smith (Todd) and a deceased son, William Nolan also of Wellsburg. Additionally, 11 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren are numbered on the Nolan side of the Paul and Frances Jean 26 year marriage.

Paul is also survived by Rev. Paul David Forsythe (Michele of Wheeling, W.Va.), Allen Forsythe of Dallas, Texas, and Brenda Forsythe-McBride (Glen of Grantsville, West Virginia) and their mother, Rose Marie Richards - Forsythe of Belpre, Ohio along with sister Amanda Forsythe of Aiken, South Carolina. Paul is also preceded in death by daughters Pamela and Lorraine. Additionally, 6 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild are numbered on the Forsythe/Richards side of the family.

Paul T. Forsythe, who attended Wellsburg High School, was a veteran of the Korean War and was honorably discharged as an SP4 from the Army in the year 1956 and served in the Army Reserves until July, 1961. Paul was an employee of Crescent Glass Company for approx. 19 years and eventually retired from Windsor Power Coal Company in 1997 after working 24 years as an electrician. He also worked part time at Maloney’s Gulf Station as a mechanic and was an accomplished body man and auto painter as a hobby/side job. Paul was known as a devout Christian and was quick to share his faith in God with those he encountered in his daily life. He served as a Sunday school teacher, song leader, and choir member under Pastor Lewis Carl Porter at the UPC Church on Bethany Pike during his early adult life. He was most recently a respected Elder under Pastor Paul Armstrong and his son, Jay Armstrong, the current Pastor of Christian Life Church in Beech Bottom, West Virginia. He was a devoted father and husband and brandished a contagious sense of humor that was interjected seamlessly into his notorious story telling. Paul’s hobbies included but were not limited to hunting and fishing with friends and family and took most nephews and church youth members on their first treks into the woods or local streams. He enjoyed travel and spent hours driving family members in his RV and/or lounging on east coast beaches with those he held most dear, his family. He was an amateur drummer and harmonica player and had a real passion for boating and camping. His compassion and tender heart made Paul approachable by all and his patience with young children made “Pappy” a favorite with all the extended families little ones. Paul will be sorely missed by family, friends, and loved ones even as he receives his eternal reward for a life lived to the fullest.

Aunt Leona, Dad, Grandma & Grandpa Forsythe.

My favorite picture~ Dad with Me, Allen and David~ Easter 1963

I will share more of Daddy's life at a later date. Remember us today, as we join in celebrating a "life worth living". Jesus Christ made Dad worthy....and we follow in his legacy...making us a better person in the process. Today, "It's all about Dad".

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Daddy's Home

(I intentionally created this blog early on. Just knew that if something happened to "Daddy", I would not feel like writing that day....so, here is the blog I created, knowing that one day I would push the "post" button...)

All I can say is, "Daddy's Home". Later, after the grief and heartache is past, I will tell you some great, funny facts about my Dad. For now, these words will echo my thoughts:

(“Daddy’s Home” was written by Karen Peck Gooch. It is from the 1993 album by the same name. This song was written shortly after the passing of Karen’s father.)

As a child I’d gaze out the window
And wait for Daddy to come home
He made our lives complete
Gave us strength, security‘cause Daddy’s home, Daddy’s home

Now Daddy’s gone with Jesus
His love remains a memory
He waits at Jesus’ side
With his arms open wide
Saying come on in my child your Daddy’s home
Daddy’s home, Daddy’s home
A crown he’s been given‘cause he stood great and strong
Hand in hand with Jesus, around the throne
Daddy’s home, Daddy’s home

I long for that land so free
Now heaven is sweeter to me
I know he can’t come back
But I can go to him
‘Cause Daddy’s home, ‘round God’s throne, Daddy’s home

Daddy’s home, Daddy’s Home
A crown he’s been given
Because he stood brave and strong
Hand in hand with Jesus
Around the throne
Daddy’s home, Daddy’s home

Daddy went home to be with Jesus at 7:35 AM on April 15, 2009.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Angels in the Room

The memory of walking up the lane (Lazears Lane where I grew up, Brooke County, WV) was very scary at night...in the dark. No street-lights or pavement, the gravel road seemed "long and windy" to a small girl. As if the darkness was not enough, the eerie "sounds" surrounded you; screech owls, bobcats, dogs, "whispers in the wind". I remember quoting my memory verses from Sunday School all the way to the house....over and over again...."The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalms 27:1). I was afraid of the dark...

Darkness is daunting, it does not show you the path ahead. You cannot "anticipate" the course the road may take; sometimes curvy, sometimes straight, often just bumpy. Hanging on seems to be the best option during the "iffy" times.

There is a lamp in my Father's home. This lamp is very special....not because of it's monetary value, but it's sentimental price (priceless to me!). The first time I saw the lamp, I was young and was spending the night at Grandma and Grandpa Forsythe's. The extra bedroom was equipped with bed, stand, lamp, rocking chair and picture. (The picture was the famous "Guardian Angel") I was scared...it was the first time staying away from my Mom and Dad, making it hard to go to sleep. I looked back and forth between the light of the lamp and the angel on the wall...they both watched over me as my eyes finally grew heavy and I fell "safely and soundly" asleep.

When I asked about the "origin" of the lamp, my Dad told me the following story:

I (Paul), was born "at home" during the depression in 1935 weighting only 3 1/2 lbs. Mom made my bed in the dresser drawer, for I was so small. A precious lady in our church told my Mom that I was a "Prayer Baby", since I cried all the time for something....requiring my Mother to keep the "prayer wheels turning". I remember one particular night when I was suffering from a high fever... this lamp was on the stand by my bed. In my delusional, feverish state, I thought the "ladies" on the lamp were my "guardian angels".

Since hearing this story, the lamp has held special significance for me. As I stood by my father's bed today, watching him struggle for the next breath as cancer has deteriorated his body, I saw the "rays"... the "guardian angels" were watching out for him "still" ...watching over his sleeping body as they have for almost 74 years .... "lighting the way" for him to find the way, the road to the "great beyond".

The lamp has been through so much throughout the years. It has been dropped, broken and pieced back together...just like us. It now has "character" since the new plaster makes one lady look like she has a broken leg. All these "events" have not taken away the special glow the "angels" still share with us....still watching, still waiting to shine their light to the next generation. They have shined thru three generations during our possession of the lamp....how many more will they guide by their peaceful rays?

No need for sadness or gloom, there are "angels in the room".