"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It only takes...

A sweet lady called me yesterday. Nothing different...sweet ladies call me all the time. However, I've been dealing with a lot of emotional issues and ponderings and have had so much on my mind. And then a 24 year old mom, daughter, wife commits suicide and I'm just thrown for a loop emotionally. It's so hard for me to comprehend why someone would take their own life (or anyone else's for that matter.) So, dealing with that and personal issues...

A sweet lady called me yesterday. Her first thought out of her mouth was "Ouida, how are you dealing with all these hospitals and deaths?" No one had asked me that since I started my new job. And don't get me started with the young woman who called and her mother who was my age had died. While that young woman cried, I just cried right along with her, because my mom has recently died.

A sweet lady called me yesterday. She listened to my heart and the grief that I felt over dealing with so many hurts of so many people.

A sweet lady called me yesterday and after listening to me she said, "Let me pray for you." And she prayed to Our Father...and I know He heard because

A sweet lady called me yesterday...and my heart was revived.

Monday, May 25, 2009


More and more I am struggling with something.

I struggle with what this upcoming generation is allowing to penetrate their minds in the name of 'drama'. When I vocalize my frustrations with "Twilight" I'm told, it's NOT really about vampires...it's a love story.

PULLLLEEEZE...it's satan's way of allowing him to enter in your mindset and change it from God's way to his way...one little step at a time. It's satan slowly manipulating the truth--and making a lie seem like a truth.

I add onto that "MEDIUM", "Witches of Eastwick", "Harry Potter", "Charmed". Even Bewitched...when you get right down to it, but a "sweet" manipulation of evil...witchcraft.

It's just been bothering me lately.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Just love in return

After many years of comparisons... and realizing I could never live up to what the world found acceptable--(best clothes, biggest house, hobnobbing with the elite--living in the correct neighborhood) I accepted myself the way I was.

I realized I'd never fit in with the 'rich and famous'. I was segregated from the movers and shakers because I was divorced...not widowed (which is allowed.) I realized there would always be a judgment by those who were 'better' than me.

I learned a real life lesson during my years as a young Christian mom. No one... no one... was in charge of my self-esteem but me. I could wait for people to build me up, but they would disappoint. (because they are not God!) I could wait on one of my children to tell me their life was perfect... but that wasn't going to happen... nevertheless, I refused to resign. I kept plugging away to build my own garden of the necessary flowers that made me happy.

It's called survival skills. We can choose to learn them or always be waiting on someone to "water our garden". To continue with the metaphor, I've had plenty of weeds in my garden... some I allowed to procreate and they damaged the "perfect garden" I expected to have.

I've even had one friend withdraw her "friendship" from me on Facebook. At first it made me feel like I needed to run to her and bow down and ask for forgiveness for whatever it was that I said or did... then I realized that it wasn't me... it was her need to be the most important person in everyone's lives. And only Jesus and my children & grandchildren have those places. At this time of my life, I quote a dear friend who told me, everyone is entitled to their own stupid opinions... "to hell with them...I'm the queen". ('scuse the "french"'.)

A poem by Veronica Shoffstall I earlier posted on this blog fits right in here:

After a while, you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open,
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
And after a while, you learn,
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure...
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and learn...
With every good-bye you learn.

I have reached out to many friends who have never responded to me--. So as egotistical as it sounds...it's their loss. As Stuart Smalley on SNL says: "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Gosh Darn It, People Like Me!"

Life is too short not to love those that God has put around us to love. I choose this day to love those...and continue to search for those who need love and will accept my love with no strings attached........ just love in return. And lastly, because they are not God, they will disappoint... but then...so will I... it's handling the disappointment that either makes us unreasonable or accepting.

and you learn and you learn.

Monday, May 18, 2009


God slowly changed the direction of my job. I went from Single Adult Ministry to Pastoral Care.

In the ministry of Pastoral Care we deal with hurts.
I find my heart in my throat most the time.
I talked with a single mom whose son had a massive heart attack right in front of her in March. She kept him on life support for nearly three months because she couldn't bear the pain of losing her son. He died Friday.
A man who I am acquainted with, but really didn't know that well complained about a pain like a tooth ache in his neck and then it traveled up to his head like a migraine. Within 24 hours, he died. Totally healthy, 44 years old with two sons. I think the whole church staff held their breath because of the brevity of the situation.
Then a co-worker's father died on Friday. She loved her daddy like I loved mine.

Dealing with all of this makes "blink of an eye" become way too real.

Healthy or not, I cannot stress the need for a Will. Sam McLamb, Pastoral Care Ministry has dealt with so many families who are faced with literally life and death decisions and there is no will made...and children are involved. If there's no will, sometimes the children are put in foster care until family arrangements are made...is that where you want your children to be?

I watch death every day. Each day I feel a little piece of me breaks when I hear about death, dying, sickness and pain.

It certainly gives me a reason to be on my knees...thanking God for His wonderful favor.

If you don't have a will, you can go to www.legalzoom.com and make your own. If you do have a will, please be sure it's updated. God calls us in His timing...not when WE have it all together!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Customer Service

I just need to brag a little. I seem to focus on the negative...but today...I'm focusing on the positive.

My Ti-Vo DVR quit. So I thought it was an add-on USB thingy that I had to put on it because my TV is nearly 20 years old. So I took the thingy to Best Buy. They told me it was 6 months old...but let them try to see if Best Buy would 'honor' the purchase and let me return it. I didn't even ask them, they offered. So I said sure, knowing the results. And true...they couldn't honor a purchase made last November. So I asked for a copy of the original purchase receipt, which they supplied to me with no problems, and thought I would send it and the receipt back to the manufacturer.

In the meantime, I bought another one ($69.99 Oh MY Goodness!). gulp. I got home, and it didn't work either. So I deducted that it must be my Ti-Vo.

I called Ti-Vo and he had me do this, unplug this, stand on my head and yell words, ect...you get the picture. Each time, all I got was a blank screen. So he told me it was my box. BUT...for only $129.99 I could get a BRAND NEW ONE.

Well, I don't have $129.99 and so I told him, no thank you, just give me back the 6 months prepaid service costs I had paid and we'll just cancel the contract.

Sorry, he said, can't do that. Let me transfer you to someone who may be able to help you. So he transferred me to someone else who gave me the special offer of the week...orginally $249.99, I could purchase same Ti-Vo (in previous paragraph) for only $199.99...then he put me on hold...and I waited...and I waited...and finally after 17 minutes I hung up.

The next morning, I charged out of the starting gate with my dukes up ready to tell them what I thought about them not refunding what I cannot use and giving me two different prices for the same machine...not that I was going to purchase either.

I called and got this lady named Elisha who had a very bad cold. I explained my predicament along with being put on hold. She never once put me on hold...she talked, sniffled, sneezed and coughed, but she told me she would not put me on hold.

Then she said, "Ms. Ray, we would like to offer you a free replacement for your DVR that is not working. Just follow all the directions I'm sending to your email, and when we receive your old unit, we'll mail this unit to you." "Not only that", she continued, "this new DVR can record two different shows at the same time."

I said, what? Free? She said she was so sorry for the inconvenience and that they would ship it out asap when they received mine.

I took the USB thingy back to Best Buy and they thanked me profusely and gave me a credit on my card.

I walked in my house stunned. Stunned that customer service still exists.
I'm still in shock.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

dedicated to Chris, Geoff & Melissa

Before I was a Mom,

I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put them down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much

before I was a Mom.

Happy Mother's Day to me...because of you, Chris, Geoff and Melissa.

--copied from the internet.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


She was right in my neighbor's backyard. In real life, I watched a female turtle dig a hole, lay her eggs and then she just went away.

As she slowly walked away it made me sad. Sad, because there's no chance those little turtles are going to make it to Lake Julian...there's a fence ...along with a road, a couple trailers and a pack of dogs between them and the lake. It was just a very natural thing for her. She walked away.

And yet....in today's world, fathers do that to their children. They make children, and they walk away. They don't look back. It's a very unnatural thing to do.

God formed the family to be a man and a woman. It's a very natural thing..created by God to multiply...families.

I remember when my husband left. I don't remember the month...but I remember the moment. I had just had major surgery. In fact, he had to carry me into the house. As we walked in the door, I saw my three babies covered in chicken pox, and I saw suitcases at the door.

He put me on the couch, with a phone, a box of diapers, a glass of water and said "I can't do this anymore." And he walked out of my life. My three children didn't know what was going on, they were just happy to have mommy home. At ages two, four and six, they had no idea their lives were going to change so dramatically.

I do remember the emptiness. I was left with broken dreams, no place to live, and three children whose father walked out on them. For years I've always said he left me, not them. But who am I kidding. He left all of us. Just like those baby turtles, left alone to try to make it, unnaturally.

I have watched what the effects of a broken home does to innocent children. I've watched with great pain. The effects are still real and sometimes multiply. I watched with pain etched in my heart the many times my children couldn't participate in an activity, because I couldn't be four places at one time.

I went to three different PTA meetings...I talked with so many teachers it made my head spin. I tried to make our life normal...and there was absolutely nothing normal or natural about our lives.

Through many hours of counseling, a total break-down panic attack in 1991, more counseling, I learned to accept the things I could not change.
I couldn't change the fact my husband, my children's father walked away.
I couldn't change the fact I lived right above poverty level for nearly our whole lives. I couldn't change our circumstances.

Honestly, I really don't remember the pain anymore. I really don't live in regret, because I know in my immaturity and ignorance, I did the very best I could do.

And there's no way I could have made it without my dysfunctionally challenged family, who did the best they could do. I was the only child my parent's had that divorced. When my husband left, my mom and dad and my brothers, picked me and my children up, dusted us off and for years, became the "father" to my children.

They provided meals when I had nothing. My brothers would babysit when I had to be somewhere else for another child. Dad provided me with a job when I had no experience.

There were years of pain, tears, a broken arm, children hanging on to me 24/7... and there was Ms. Peggy.

Ms. Peggy watched my children for me as I worked a full time job. She always invited me to church, and I would allow her to take my children, because that was when I'd fill the bathtub with the hottest water I could stand...I'd lie in the tub and I'd cry. Sunday after Sunday.

Every Sunday, Ms. Peggy would bring my children home from church and tell me that she'd take me too next week if I wanted to go. I'd always decline. Afterall, what had God done for me lately?

I've said since I accepted Christ in 1984, that precious woman has jewels in her crown...she never gave up, she never gave in...she took my children to church and I always knew her car door was open for me. I only went to church one Sunday with her. It was the Sunday they talked about the need for a $60,000 stained glass window over the baptistry. Satan had a heyday with me. I left that church so angry. I made just enough to pay Ms. Peggy to watch my children...and this church that she loved so much wanted people to give over and above for some stupid window. Ms. Peggy even went so far as to have the pastor of the church come to visit me the next day. Boy did I give him a piece of my mind. When he left, I was still unsaved...and very angry...

Now, as I look back at the people who made my situation a winning combination...I praise God. I praise God for my parents who didn't know what to do with a daughter and three grandchildren...they just did. I praise God for Ms. Peggy. I am positive that she lifted my name and my children's names up to God for many years.

These people were stepping stones on the pathway to God. As I recall their actions and see the memory stones, I pick them up...and I put these memories on the altar and just praise God for godly, understanding people.

Even though I didn't understand it then, I truly understand it now... we were an unnatural 'family' and we all did the best we could to survive. No one can tell me that divorce doesn't ruin lives.

But God...takes ruined lives and puts us in the society of His beloved ones if we accept His gift of eternal life...and we just fit so perfectly.

If I had my life to live over would I change things...you better believe it. But we all know, there are no do-overs in life.

Nevertheless...even now we will never be left alone like those turtle eggs. We will always have a FATHER to show us the way.

2 Corinthians 3:18 NAS
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.