Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I spent last week with family over the Christmas holiday. I've had a wonderful time from the regular routine celebrating the birth of Christ and visiting with family & friends I have not seen in a while. Therefore, this week I'm catching up on my domestic duties. I'll be posting on my regular schedule of Monday and Wednesday starting January 5, 2009 (Lord willing).

May you have a blessed and Happy New Year 2009!

Engrafted by His Grace--

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Word Study Wednesday - Merry

Merry Christmas!

All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast. ~~Proverbs 15:15 NKJV

Merry in this scripture means good, pleasant, and agreeable.

On Christmas, most of us have a feast serving turkey, stuffing, candied yams, mashed potatoes, green beans casserole, dinner rolls and gravy. In south Texas, tamales are a Christmas tradition. Whatever the tradition, lots of good food usually is included in our family feasts. So we’re merry.

Gifts are part of our feasts. We enjoy sharing our blessings with our loved ones this time of year. I find it pleasant to watch my children open up their gifts hoping for the one they want. I find it good and pleasant to see their eyes light up when the wrapping is removed revealing the contents.

My prayer is that each of us is in a merry state this Christmas. I pray that we can learn to be as Paul stated, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (Philippians 4:11-12 NKJV)

So whatever state we are in this season, let’s find our contentment in Christ. The Bible Readers Companion states in regard to Proverbs 15:15 “Our disposition rather than our circumstances is the key to enjoying life."

James E. Smith wrote in The Wisdom Literature and Psalms, “Solomon is advocating positive thinking. Though one is poor, he can still find life enjoyable if he cultivates a cheerful spirit. The implication is that the disposition is not dictated by outward circumstances. One who rejoices in his portion, however meager, has true riches.”

Therefore, whatever state—economically, emotionally, mentally, physically, socially, or spiritually—in Christ we can have a merry heart this Christmas and everyday we can enjoy the continual feast.

Merry Christmas!

Engrafted by His Grace--

Monday, December 22, 2008

What I Want for Christmas

I asked the Lord for a total lobotomy. I've determined in my mind by the grace given through Jesus Christ to have a new attitude. A mind that focuses on the truths and ways of Jesus. A mind that focuses on the positive and not the negative.

I'm fed up with irritating circumstances. The type of pesky circumstances that seem like chiggers. Those annoying little red insects that embed themselves just underneath the skin cause the itching sensation. This year I want to suffocate those pesky circumstances like I suffocate the chiggers with nail polish. (Painting nail polish, usually the clear coat, suffocates chiggers to death and stops the itching. I'm not a medical professional, so please consult a physician before starting this or any medical treatment at home.)

Let me say, I've been experimenting with this new attitude. I started practicing my new attitude on my husband a few weekends ago. Sometimes he does little things that annoy me like a chigger. (Please, if you're married to Mr. Perfect, then I praise the Lord. But for me, the Lord uses my husband [and children] to work me over.) My 19 year old adult child stopped by for a visit and the three of us were discussing the purchase of a new vacuum for his apartment. We told him about some that are on sell at Home Depot. He quickly claimed he did not want a cheap $40 vacuum. Then his dear daddy, my loving husband spouted off, "We paid $1000 for ours and your mom does not use it so you can take it." (Now you had to hear the tone and see him looking around the house to catch him implying I did not clean.) At this moment to keep peace in the home, I said nothing (except my vacuum cleaner stayed at home). As the conversation progressed about what we wanted for Christmas, I asked for a housekeeper. Neither one of the guys got it.

But in reality, I asked for a new mind. After praying about it, I spoke to my husband the next day. I started explaining to my husband that I did not think he was the enemy. I did not think he intended to hurt me. But then I explained how hard I work to keep up with the house and how his words to our son hurt me. He explained calmly and sweetly to me that it was only meant as a joke. Since we bought the vacuum, we've laid ceramic tile in most of the house. That's what he was thinking.

What I learned from this is my husband's thoughts were one direction. I took his comment in another direction in my mind that started to grow into hostility. That equals miscommunication. Something like this in the past could have easily sparked an argument that would last all day. But since I'm seeking the Lord for a new attitude. I applied the nail polish over this little annoyance stopping the irritation.

Now my prayer is that my new attitude carry over when all the family arrives for Christmas. My old attitude, a Martha type spirit, would get upset that no one else is helping. I want to be thankful that I have family I can serve. But starting now and throughout the year, I want to have a new attitude.

Last week I read the following scripture which I think sums it all up.

Practice hospitality to one another (those of the household of faith). [Be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly affection for the unknown guests, the foreigners, the poor, and all others who come your way who are of Christ's body.] And [in each instance] do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without complaining but as representing Him). ~~ 1 Peter 4:9 (AMP)
Engrafted by His Grace--

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Word Study Wednesday - Joy

In researching joy in the New Testament, I found two distinct Greek words for joy. Using the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, I found the following definitions:

Agalliasis means exultation, extreme joy, gladness.

Chara means 1 joy, gladness. 1a the joy received from you. 1b the cause or occasion of joy. 1b1 of persons who are one’s joy.

When the angel announced to Zechariah the birth of John the Baptist, he said, “You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.” (Luke 1:14, NIV) In this verse, we see both Greek words used to represent the joy Zechariah and Elizabeth will experience. Both the extreme joy that comes from the Lord and the joy from the situation of having a desire fulfilled.

Later when Mary visited Elizabeth, she announced, “For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.” (Luke 1:44, NIV) The Greek word used is agalliasis. The Bible Exposition Commentary states that John rejoiced in Jesus Christ even before their births. This joy comes from the Lord, regardless of circumstances.

Announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, the angel said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10 NIV) The Greek word is chara meaning joy, gladness; the cause or occasion for joy. This circumstance provided joy to the shepherds.

We can also experience joy when things are not going so well. Elizabeth was in her golden years. I know of people who experienced pregnancies after 40. These were difficult pregnancies. Still she had joy as the Lord called her to bring forth the one prophesied to foreshadow the Messiah.

We can have joy in our circumstances. We experience this type of joy at the birth of a child in our family. Or when loved ones return home from war. Or we win a contest. The shepherds knew the birth of Christ was life changing and this announcement brought them joy. This bubbling over joy provoked the shepherds to spread the good news of the birth of our Savior.

Our circumstances change and are not always joyous. Therefore I want to end this word study with a passage related to joy, but used the synonym “happiness” from the Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations.

Where Is Happiness?

Not in Unbelief—Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: “I wish I had never been born.”

Not in Pleasure—Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure if anyone did. He wrote: “The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone.”

Not in Money—Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying, he said: “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”

Not in Position and Fame—Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: “Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret.”

Not in Military Glory—Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent, because he said, “There are no more worlds to conquer.”

Where then is happiness found?—the answer is simple, in Christ alone.

—The Bible Friend

We can rejoice in our good situations. But ultimately let’s focus on Christ and find true joy beyond our circumstances!

Engrafted by His Grace--

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Chosen People

But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." Luke 1:30-33 NIV

Approximately 2000 years ago, the Lord chose Mary to bring His son into this world. Mary was found to be highly favored and chosen among women. What was so special about Mary? Mary had a willing spirit. The Lord used her to bring forth the gospel message, the message of hope to the dark and dying world. Through Mary, salvation came to earth. Grace arrived.

But this conception was different from other conceptions. Virgin Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. She received Christ in the most literal sense. Through her obedience and willingness, the Lord permanently established the throne of David for Jesus Christ will reign forever. Mary, a young woman, witnessed the gospel message come forth and shared Him with those around her.

What Mary birthed still exists today. Jesus Christ is alive and seated on the right hand of the Father in the heavenly realms. As a believer, one who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord, we’re to have a willing spirit. We’re to bring the gospel message to those whom God places in our path. We are chosen by God to spread the message of hope.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 NIV

How are we to share the message of hope with those around us? By declaring His praises!

We can share with others the hope we have in Christ. What? Don’t know how to evangelize? Actually it’s quite easy. We don’t have to be preachers or scholarly Bible teachers. We just have to know Christ and share our experiences.

Wherever we go throughout the day, people are seeking for answers to their problems. People want to know there is hope. As a chosen one, we can share the hope wherever we go—shopping, work, ball games, laundry mat, etc.

Standing in line at Wal-Mart, one lady started sharing with me about her problem with her neighbor. After she finished, I simply said, “I can relate. I had something similar, but we reconciled.”

She asked, "How?" (Open opportunity.)

I replied, “As I read the Bible one day, the Scriptures said to bless and not curse. So I baked a fresh loaf of bread and took it to her. Then the Lord used her to help me, for at the time she called to thank me for the bread, my house caught on fire. She was there for me and our relationship reconciled.”

To bless and not curse seemed a bit overwhelming to this stranger in line, but she said she would think about it. But it was an opportunity to share how the Lord worked in my life. The gospel message, a message of hope shared and spread.

Today we still live in a dark and dying world. Mary had a willing spirit. Let us have a willing spirit to bring Jesus to those around us. As God’s chosen one’s, let’s declare His praises who brought us out of darkness into His marvelous light!

Engrafted by His Grace--

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Word Study Wednesday -- Peace

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." ~~Luke 2:13-14

Peace on earth. Isn’t that what every one wants? In Luke 2, one angel announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, but then suddenly a multitude appeared praising God. Can you imagine this scenario?

Peace is the word study word today. I don’t know about you, but I could use more peace and the good news is God sent His peace for us to experience. As I researched briefly on this today, I found an explanation in The Bible Exposition Commentary that explains the above scripture and peace very well.

“What was the Good News? Not that God had sent a soldier or a judge or a reformer, but that He had sent a Saviour to meet man’s greatest need. It was a message of peace to a world that had known much war. The famous “Pax Romana” (Roman Peace) had been in effect since 27 b.c. but the absence of war doesn’t guarantee the presence of peace.

The Stoic philosopher Epictetus said, “While the emperor may give peace from war on land and sea, he is unable to give peace from passion, grief, and envy. He cannot give peace of heart for which man yearns more than even for outward peace.”

The Jewish word shalom (peace) means much more than a truce in the battles of life. It means well-being, health, prosperity, security, soundness, and completeness. It has to do more with character than circumstances. Life was difficult at that time just as it is today. Taxes were high, unemployment was high, morals were slipping lower, and the military state was in control. Roman law, Greek philosophy, and even Jewish religion could not meet the needs of men’s hearts. Then, God sent His Son!

The angels praised God at Creation (Job 38:7), and now they praised Him at the beginning of the new creation. The whole purpose of the plan of salvation is “glory to God” (see Eph. 1:6, 12, 14). God’s glory had dwelt in the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34) and in the temple (2 Chron. 7:1–3), but had departed because of the nation’s sin (1 Sam. 4:21; Ezek. 8:4; 9:3; 10:4, 18; 11:22–23). Now God’s glory was returning to earth in the person of His Son (John 1:14). That lowly manger was a holy of holies because Jesus was there! “

Engrafted by His Grace--

Monday, December 8, 2008

Blessed Hope

When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" Luke 1:41-45 NIV

After the angel announced to Mary she would conceive the Messiah, she traveled to see her cousin, Elizabeth. As soon as she heard Mary’s voice, she was filled with the Holy Spirit as the presence of the Lord came near her. The Holy Spirit revealed to her that Mary carried the promised Messiah.

This must have been such an exciting moment for both these women who were chosen to be used by God to fulfill His prophecies. Being good Jewish women, they’ve heard the writing of the prophets read aloud. After Jewish people had not heard from God for approximately 400 years, the fulfillment of the long awaited promise was great news to their ears.

For years the people put their hope in the promises of God. They may have wondered if it would come to pass. Now the One God promised was conceived. God keeps all His promises. Not one has failed to come to pass.

Sometimes it seems as though we wait and wait for a promise, wondering if it will ever come to pass. But God is faithful to keep all His promises. Jesus Christ was born as promised in the writings of the Prophets. He will return again as written in the Prophets. We have that glorious hope. We have Jesus Christ. We have the Scriptures. We have the Holy Spirit.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. ~~Romans 15:4 NIV

All the trials we go through create endurance in us. We have the Scriptures to read for encouragement so we have hope. When I faced a problem, one of my first instincts was to complain about it with whoever would listen whether it was my husband or an available friend. I’ve had to learn over time and retrain myself to have a new first instinct—to run to the Lord in prayer and read His Word. He provides the answer.

When we receive the answer, then we can run to our loved ones and friends as Mary went to Elizabeth. They celebrated the great news. Let’s spread the good news instead of our frustrations. We have the blessed hope in the Messiah.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Word Study Wednesday - Righteousness

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith.” ~~Romans 1:16-17 (NIV)

Righteousness. How does one become righteous? By obeying all the rules? Have you obeyed all the rules? Never sinned? According to Scriptures, we all have sinned and fall short.

What is righteousness? According to the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance it means

1. in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God

  1. the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God
  2. integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting

If we cannot follow all the rules or laws, how are we to obtain “the condition acceptable to God?” None of us have to power in us to obtain righteousness, but as it says in verse 17, “a righteousness that is by faith.” We must have faith. But faith in what?

Since righteousness is unobtainable by human efforts, it is achieved by faith in the gospel of Christ. “In response to faith this righteousness is imputed by God in justification and imparted progressively in regeneration and sanctification, culminating in glorification when standing and state become identical.”[1]

Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4. In many English versions you’ll see the word “just” translated for righteous. These two words are closely related in the Greek. “Righteousness” is dikaiosynē, and “justify” is dikaioō. To justify a person is to declare him forensically (legally) righteous. As a result of faith in Christ, a person is declared “righteous” and is given eternal life. What a marvelous work of God!”[2]

Therefore, as we focus on Christ, the Messiah, this season we by faith believe He was born of a virgin. But let us also believe that He was the Lamb who was slain, and rose again. By faith in Jesus, we are approved by God--righteous. If we have God’s approval, we can boldly and unashamedly declare the gospel to this world.

Engrafted by His Grace--

[1]Walvoord, John F. ; Zuck, Roy B. ; Dallas Theological Seminary: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983-c1985, S. 2:441

[2]Walvoord, John F. ; Zuck, Roy B. ; Dallas Theological Seminary: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983-c1985, S. 2:441

Monday, December 1, 2008

Not Impossible with God

For nothing is impossible with God. ~~Luke 1:37

An angel announced to Mary, a virgin girl, she would be with child. Not just any child, but the one foretold by the prophets—the awaited Messiah. Mary, full of faith, still wondered how it could be since she was still a virgin. The angel explained that the Holy Spirit would come upon her. She would give birth to a son and he was to be called Jesus, the son of the Most High God.

Mary replied, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said,” (Luke 1:38)

Has an angel appeared to you with a great promise? If so, I want to hear your story. But for most of us, we feel moved by the Holy Spirit that the Lord wants to fulfill a promise through us. When we receive that feeling, sometime we reason with it. Mary reasoned she was a virgin. She must have been thinking of the natural conception process. God thought supernatural. Remember His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

When my children were young, I felt a strong urge and desire to home school. At the time it seemed impossible. I worked full-time to help support our financial commitments. The mountain of debts seemed too large. I rationalized with God, how it would come to pass as there was always some bill to pay. One gets paid off, another financial crisis happens. It seemed to be never-ending.

Finally after five years, the financial burdens were lifted. I became a stay-at-home mother. Yet now other situations arose that I still did not home school. I substituted at my sons schools. I volunteered on the PTO. In the meantime, my neighborhood started changing. Three families moved on our street with school age children who homeschooled. I felt tormented. But I would not let go of the feeling inside that one day I too would homeschool. Like Mary had to wait the nine months for the birth of the promised Messiah, I had to wait for the right timing to homeschool. Since then, my oldest has graduated and my youngest is now working on sixth grade in homeschool. What seemed impossible for me, was not impossible with God.

I now I have more situations I feel the Lord has promised for me. I am waiting for His timing as nothing is impossible with Him. Perhaps you too feel a strong desire for something to come to pass in your life. Let’s stay focused on the Lord as Mary replied to the angel, “I am the Lord servant.” Let’s serve the Lord while we wait for His promise to come to pass.

Jesus came as a child, all man yet fully God. He experienced everything we experience. He died and rose again so we can have a fully engrafted, abundant life. Let’s put our faith and hope in Him as His promises will come to pass.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Word Study Wednesday

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. ~~2 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV)

In this verse Paul breaks out with a heart of thanks, relating the Roman victory procession to the victory we have in Christ. A triumphal procession is the equivalent of a parade in our day.

Many Americans on Thursday morning will watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade celebrating the many victorious blessings bestowed upon us by our Lord. The Grand Marshal will lead off with extravagant floats following down the parade route. Large crowds will be cheering as the floats cascade down the streets. After the parade, many people across our land will watch football games.

In the times Paul wrote this letter, the Romans held the custom of triumphal procession. This special tribute paid honor to victorious generals who led successful battle campaigns. These processions were planned out much like parades are in this day. Designated routes, a specified line-up order with the commander riding in a golden chariot (like a Grand Marshal), the officers, the spoils of war, captive enemy soldiers and the Roman priests burning incense were part of this procession. This parade would end up at the Circus Maximus to watch the games. (Sound familiar?)

Paul relates the Roman triumph to the triumph we have in Christ. Jesus Christ, our Great Commander in Chief or Grand Marshal already has the victory. He defeated our enemy by His death on the cross and resurrection. As His officers, co-heirs, children of the living God through Christ, we follow Him in the victory parade.

No matter what problems we face, we already have the victory in Christ!We can now shout in thanks because we know we already have the victory! Paul’s situation did not look so great, but he believed God and God turned the defeat into victory.

Let’s give thanks to God and follow Christ who leads us in triumphal procession.

Engrafted by His Grace--


Source: Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. 2 Co 2:14

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Triumphant Attitude

I enjoy contemporary worship music, but sometimes I need to hear a good old-fashioned hymn.

This week of Thanksgiving, I want to focus on giving thanks. Yet sometimes, life’s circumstances attempt to inhibit my heart from giving thanks to God. When that happens, I seek the Lord to help change my perspective.

At the age of 31, Martin Rinkart was called to pastor the state Lutheran church in Eilenberg, Germany. This call coincided with the 30 Years War of 1618-1648. According to historical documents, the war yielded some of the most severe sufferings imaginable. The conflict between the Catholic and Protestant forces from European countries significantly decreased the German population from 16 million to 6 million.

Eilenberg became an over-crowded city of refuge for refugees. During these years diseases and famine decimated these inhabitants. In the climax of this war, plague and famine, Rinkart was the only surviving minister in Elienberg. He performed the work of three men and buried more than 4000 people. In the midst of this suffering, the Swedes levied an exorbitant tribute. Rinkart pleaded for mercy, but it was denied. He turned to the citizens and stated, “Come, my children, we can find no hearing, no mercy with men, let us take refuge with God.”

Rinkart prayed with such earnest fervor, the Swedish general reduced his demand. Rinkart’s personal losses were significant, yet his spirit was never broken. His life displayed a triumphant attitude, gratitude and confidence in God for all of us to know that we too can be “more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

Therefore, I realize this morning that my issues pale in comparison to Rinkart’s. I have so many blessed reasons to give thanks to God by His grace through Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit. I can give thanks!

God wants us to be victors and not the victims of life. With His presence we can overcome and not be overwhelmed. Carry this musical truth with you-- [1]

Engrafted by His Grace--

[1] Osbeck, Kenneth W.: Amazing Grace : 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Kregel Publications, 1990, S. 351

Friday, November 21, 2008

Just wanted to mention

And the headline from the local newspaper reads:

Whitworth to play baseball in Puerto Rico

by Brian Argabright
Del Rio News Herald

Del Rio’s Chase Whitworth acts like a typical 11-year-old boy.

Chase, the son of Eldon and Shonda Whitworth, is full of energy, is still shy about answering questions and smiles every time his name gets mentioned.

Like most boys his age he also enjoys sports. He’s wrapping up his first year of youth football, but it’s the sport of baseball that he loves most.

And it’s that love of baseball that has garnered Chase the opportunity to participate in a select tournament with some of the nation’s best young athletes in Puerto Rico in March as part of the Coast to Coast Baseball Program.

Oh yeah, Mom and Dad are excited about our young man. To read the rest of the story, go here.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Word Study Wednesday

"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." ~~Revelation 22:16 NIV

Jesus said He is the Root and Offspring of David. Jesus is the Root.

In the Greek the word Root is Rhiza which literally means root. Rhiza is the root word for rhizome in the English language to describe a particular type of root.

A rhizome is defined as:

n. A horizontal, usually underground stem that often sends out roots and shoots from its nodes. Also called rootstalk, rootstock.[i]

When I pictured a root, I thought of a root growing down into the soil, which some plants do. A rhizome root grows horizontally under the ground with shoots and roots growing from the horizontal root. Examples of plants with rhizomes are the Lily of the Valley, St. Augustine’s grass, the fern and bamboo. These types of plants grow in clusters and are typically invasive.

Jesus is the Root, a Rhiza, a rhizome. He is firmly planted by His Father. As believers, we are grafted into the Root and grow in clusters. We’re meant to be part of the body. We're connected by the Root. That's why we can rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. We have connection. Let’s be firmly planted and fully engrafted to the Root!

Engrafted by His Grace--

[i] rhizome. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. (accessed: November 12, 2008).


Monday, November 17, 2008

Touchdown Pass

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. ~1 John 5:14-15 NIV

This past Saturday night, my son’s youth football team played a game that heated everyone up on a cold night in South Texas. On this chilly night, the game excited the fans (aka parents) on both teams. It was one of those evenly matched, highly competitive games.

I shared last week for the football game that I prayed two specific things—first for the boys safety and second to see my son, Chase, make a touchdown. I saw the answer to the first and thanked God that if keeping him safe meant he did not play offense, then I am thankful.

This time, I prayed only the first prayer for the game—to keep all the boys safe. It just breaks my heart to see boys injured on the field, even more so if it is my boy lying on the ground (which I’ve sat through and thankful it was nothing serious).

The Lord answered my prayer (and I’m certain the prayers of all the parents) as there were no injuries during the game. Only one official time out for an injury for one of our team members, but he recovered quickly.

As I watched the game nearing the end of the first quarter, I saw my son who played on defense go in on offense. He lined up in formation with the team on about the 20 yard line. Chase went to the end ready to run out as wide receiver. The ball snapped. Players scrambled. Chase ran into the end zone wide open. The quarterback threw the ball in Chase’s direction. Chase caught the ball. The umpire’s arms lifted straight up. Touch down! I saw my boy make a touchdown.

The game went back and forth with the last one minute and eleven seconds being the most exciting. Behind our team made a touchdown putting us ahead by eight points. The opposing team made a touch down during their possession. Going for the two point conversion, they tied the game. On the kick off, our team got the ball and made a touch down and earned the extra point. With 30 seconds, our defense held them in our territory and won the game 41 to 33.

On the half-hour ride home, my son discussed how stressful the game was for him. We talked about his touchdown. His first one in his first year to play tackle football. I mentioned to him how I did not pray for it this week, but the Lord enabled him. He looked at me from across the vehicle and said, “Mom, our prayers don’t expire. God just knows the best time to answer them.”

He reminded me the Lord hears our prayers. The Lord answers all our prayers. Just as the timing for the quarterback and Chase lined up for Chase to catch the pass for a touchdown, we must wait to be in line with God’s timing to catch the answer to our prayers. Touchdown pass!

So know this my dear friends, the Lord hears our prayers and whatever we ask according to His will we shall have--in His timing.

Lord, I give You praise this morning for Your loving kindness endures forever. Thank You Lord that You hear and answer our prayers. Lord, I pray that we make the play as You call it so we will be lined up to catch the answer You have for us. Lord, I ask Your will be done. Thank You Lord for this day we have. I ask You to guide our steps and establish the work of our hands. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Not Done

“I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God: first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.” ~ J. Hudson Taylor

My oldest son, Stephen, graduated from our homeschool high school this past summer. Homeschool students receive diplomas and have transcripts just like those students who attend regular schools. At his graduation ceremony I gave a speech based on the three points of the Hudson Taylor quote.

First, Stephen came into my life when I thought it would be impossible to become pregnant. The Lord knew the right timing. And the Lord used him to bless me in ways I didn’t know to ask for or would not have asked for it. I gave up a lot of selfish ambitions to be a mother.

Second, Stephen was difficult to train. Not bad, just difficult. I think Dr. Dobson would have to re-write his Raising Boys book if he actually met Stephen. I did not find the advice in any one particular parenting book to work; I had to combine strategies. It was as if he came preprogrammed to outwit all the plans. When he was in school, I attended all the required all the parent/teacher conferences as well as the called special called sessions, which were frequent. Then I homeschooled and he was the sand paper that softened my attitude (sort of).

Third, it is done. When I got to this point in my speech at the graduation, I let out a sigh as I said, “Now I’m done.” My tone was serious as I gazed at my son, but the crowd busted out in laughter. I turned and addressed those in attendance and asked, “What I’m not finished?” Heads nodded all across the room—no. I dismissed the elderly admonishment and self-declared – I’m done. I really thought I reached a milestone that I don’t have to fret and worry over this boy any more.

I’m learning though that one does not stop being a mom just because her son has grown to be larger than she. I still stress out over the boy. He is still irresponsible, but responsible enough to skate by. I still pray fervently, probably more now as I have very little control over his choices. The choices he makes belong completely to him.

Today he rented his first apartment. He chose to work full-time delaying education for experience. Did he make the right choice? Well it is his choice and he has to own it. I ask myself if I drove him to reject what I pounded into him—education, education, education. Still it is his choice.

As he moves his personal belongings, I asked him at lunch (which I cooked and he ate) about his financial situation. Being the responsible adult teen that he is, informed me (willingly I’m certain) that he spent all his money on deposit and prorated rent. He looked at me with the little puppy look. His eyes begged for help, but his adult male ego allowed no voice to express it.

I armed myself with my wallet and took on Wal-Mart. I did what good mother’s do. I purchased his basic necessities for him until his next pay day. Basic stuff like dish soap, Clorox wipes (which my husband asked if he knew what to do with it), dish drainer, sugar canister, sugar, frozen pizza, pizza pan (for the oven that he’ll have to learn to use as he has no microwave), kettle to boil water, top ramen noodles, bread, peanut butter, jelly, cereal and milk.

So I’m not done. I still worry about him. I wonder how I’ll sleep tonight. I wonder how he’ll sleep tonight. So those parents ahead of me who laughed at me knew what lay ahead for me. I’m still not done, it’s just different.

I know the scriptures tell me not to worry or be anxious about anything. Can any of you give me some practical tips on how not to be anxious about my adult son spreading his wings?

Engrafted by His Grace--

Monday, November 10, 2008

Team Members

My son, Chase, plays sports. This fall he is playing football in a local prep league. He played soccer for five years, and decided to try football this fall. Though small, he holds his own pretty well. He holds several positions on the team both on defense and offence. If I were intelligent enough about football, I’d list those positions for you.

This past weekend was the first play off game leaving only two, possibly three games before the end. The selfish part of me wants to see my son make a touch down. Perhaps that is a dream every parent holds for their child. I hear parents admit it.

I prayed and asked the Lord two things last weekend. First, to keep the boys safe from injury. Second, to see Chase make a touch down. I watched the game. Our team did well winning 32 to 0. However, Chase played every defensive play and on all the special teams. Yet, very few times he played in an offensive position to receive the ball. I felt disappointed. I kept thanking God for keeping him and the boys safe. But then I started asking, “What do I need to learn from this? Lord, I thank You for keeping him safe, but why didn’t he get to play offense?”

The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. ~~1 Corinthians 12:21-26 NIV

Like all players on the football team are needed, so are the members of the body of Christ. It seemed that my son contributed very little to the last game, but he is still significant to the team. That’s how we are in the body of Christ. We’re all not the quarterback, running back, or receiver who carries the ball. Some of us are the linemen, guarding the ball carrier. Praying and protecting in spiritual warfare those who share the message to others. Some of us are on special teams, ready to prepare and serve at special functions at the church. Some of us are on the defense, ready to intercept or prevent the first down so our team can carry the ball to the victory.

When a team member receives an injury, it affects the whole team. Everyone has equal concern for the other. When the team wins, everyone on the team receives honor. That’s how God put His team together.

No matter what position we hold on the team, we are indispensible! Do you realize whatever position you hold, you’re needed as a vital part of God’s team? What position do you play on God’s team?

Engrafted by His Grace--

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fully Engrafted Living™

I heard many times the discussion on the reader take away at the writer's conference. When I spoke to editors about an article or book idea, the question that came up most often was, “What’s the take away?”

One can write a really funny, compelling, or sad story, but if the reader does not benefit, it’s useless.

I’ve been pondering on this much over the past ten days. What’s the take away as it relates to the ministry entrusted to me by the Lord? What is the take away of the blog? How does it benefit the reader?

Well as I prayed about this, I’ve come to the conclusion I desire to share, encourage and teach the reader how to live fully engrafted lives. Thus, I present to you

Fully Engrafted Living™

The purpose of Fully Engrafted Living™ is to teach readers what I learn about living fully committed lives to the Lord—another words fully engrafted. I have lived my life grafted into the Root just enough to escape the fire and have a little bit of life. I am ready to move beyond partially grafted living. Are you ready too? Jesus Christ came for us to live life to the fullest, not partially. That’s what I want to share on this blog.

The day after the presidential election is a great day to launch the Fully Engrafted Living™ series. Though Obama won by a landslide in electoral votes, the margin was much closer in popular vote leaving almost half of the American voters disappointed.

Therefore, here’s my encouragement for all Christians regardless of which candidate has been supported. Using the Bible as a plumb line, here are a few instructions that helped me today that I want to pass on to you.

Trust in the Lord and commit our ways to HIM.

Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:

He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

~~Psalm 37:3-6 NIV

Submit to the authorities God established. McCain set a great example in his concession speech last night.

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. ~~Romans 13:1-7 NIV

Pray and intercede for all those in authority.

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. ~~ 1 Timothy 2:1-4 NIV

By following the written instruction for believers from the Word of God, we’re on our way to Fully Engrafted Living™. Now let’s live Fully Engrafted™!!

Engrafted by His Grace--

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

One Nation Under God

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands: One nation, under God, indivisible, With liberty and justice for all."

Today Americans exercise their privilege to cast their votes for president of the United States. If you have not voted yet and need more information, download the Family Research Council Guide here.

I find it disturbing that when we cite the pledge of allegiance, we declare “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” yet with our party system our nation seems divided -- divided over major issues.

Without God, there is no virtue, because there's no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we're mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what our senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.

Ronald Reagan, August 23, 1984

This morning in my scheduled chronological reading, I read Jesus’ prayer for those who believe in Him. He prayed this prayer before His crucifixion for all believers be united.

I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. ~~John 17:20-23 NASB

I ask you to join me in prayer today.

  • First, the body of Christ be one as Jesus prayed so that the world may believe that the Father sent Jesus, His son and that we be perfected in unity.
  • Second, this nation is united as one nation under God. Pray that our elected leaders will use the Bible as their plumb line for decisions not the ways that seem right to man.
  • Third, voters will be led by the Holy Spirit for whom to cast their votes.

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You that You are on the throne and no one can vote You out of Your position. Lord, You know today is election day in the United States. Lord, I pray that Your body be united as one under Jesus who is the head. I pray Your body seek Your will before marking the ballots this day. Lord, I pray that this nation is united as one nation under God who seeks to do Your will using the Your word as the basis for making decisions and not the ways of man. Lord, I pray that the Holy Spirit lead Your people today as they cast their ballots. Lord, we ask You to bless our nation. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Saturday, November 1, 2008

And the winners are...

Nicole. Nicole, you won a free book from the free book offer list.

Anna S. and Marina. You both won one free copy each from the pre-order list.

I thank each of you who entered. If you're wondering how I conducted the drawing, I went high tech. I wrote your names down on a piece of paper. Cut your names out, folded the cut papers and placed them in a bowl. I had Chase draw slips of paper out of the bowl. Whola--winners.

Winners, please send me via email your mailing address so when the books arrive I will send them out to you. My email is shonda (at) engraftedbygrace (dot) com.

I thank all of you who pre-ordered. I will be contacting you about shipping and payment options via email.

To all--the books are to arrive after Thanksgiving.

I will be posting more about what I learned from the writers conference starting next week. But for now I'm off to enjoy football this afternoon.

Have a great weekend!

Engrafted by His Grace--

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Writers Conference Experience

Have you ever been to a writers conference?

I experienced my first Christian writers conference this past week in Glorieta, New Mexico. I can only use scripture to sum it up:

Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Earlier this year, I attended a speakers training hosted by CLASServices in Austin, Texas. Prior to the speakers training, I submitted a book proposal for critique to one of the editors on staff, Tama Westman. I received positive feedback with constructive criticism on this book proposal. Tama suggested I take it to the writers conference in Glorieta, NM. I told her I would pray about it.

A series of events unfolded and I found myself at the writers conference. I read books by Terry Whalin and other authors in preparation for this event. In the meantime, I’d been preparing my proposal as well as thickening my emotional skin. I read to be prepared for the rejections. Rejection. Rejection. Rejection.

I arrived at the conference, not having any idea of what to expect other than having a print out of an overwhelming schedule for each day. I attended a pre-conference course to explain what to expect. I received much benefit from this course. I recommend to any first timers to a writers conference to attend the pre-session for new comers if it is offered.

Once the conference started, it was fast and furious. Overwhelming. I jumped into the deep and went for it. First order of business was to schedule appointments with editors. Registrants are guaranteed one appointment of their choice at preregistration. But all the other appointments are by lottery. I pictured it like casting lots in the Bible. I received most of the appointments I wanted with the editors. Both editors from book publishers as well as magazines were present.

I kept my appointments with editors and agents. Let me describe the appointment process. Appointment times are in 15 minute increments for each person with the editors. The editors are seated two to a six foot table in a large room with these tables lined up in rows. The room is buzzing with the humming sounds of authors and writers pitching their ideas to the editors. The editors are listening to the ideas being pitched at them and deciding as to whether they like the idea or not.

If one does not get the appointments she desires, then she can have lunch with the editors on a first come basis. Well I had lunch with editors and agents. This is another time one can pitch their idea to editors in a more relaxing environment. I certainly took advantage of this lunch time.

I realized that editors are real people, nice people. They are not to be feared. They like to work with writers, especially writers who are willing to cooperate with them.

Also at this particular conference, I participated in a comprehensive class titled “Get Published Now.” In this class, 24 writers, 12 editors/mentors, one class coordinator and one great publisher scrambled to put together a compilation book. I submitted a narrative essay for the book and completed it with all edited revisions for publication. This was a very stressful yet challenging class for the working time frame was short, yet I learned so much from my mentor, Karen Jordan. I learned to write more tight and concise, to say more with less words. Something I must practice, practice, practice. She encouraged me by informing me that all the authors and writers she knows need editors to help them tighten up their papers!

I am so excited that I have a piece in a book. An essay--I'm better at teaching articles, but I stretched and wrote an essay. I have publishing credits in magazines, but to be included in a book is so delightful. Be sure to check out the post below and enter the drawing to win a free book and preorder if you desire.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Moments of Grace Free Book offer & presale

By God’s grace, I attended the Glorieta Christian Writers Conference in Glorieta, New Mexico. At this conference, I worked on a publishing product and with 23 other people, 12 editors and one great publisher. The product--one great compilation book.

The book is called Moments of Grace: true stories of those touched by God’s grace. (actual book cover above)

I will have a drawing to give away three (3) of these compilation books with 24 great stories of grace including mine. Here’s how you can enter:

First, I will give one book away via random drawing of the names of those who leave a comment with the words “free book drawing” in the comment section. No purchase necessary and the winner will NOT have to pay for shipping and handling for US addresses or APO addresse. When I say free—it’s all free including the shipping and handling. If your comment email is not enabled, please leave an email address for notification.

Second, I am accepting pre-orders at this time. The pre-order price is $10 plus shipping & handling (and sales tax for Texas residents). These books will ship to me from the publisher after Thanksgiving and I can have them to you before Christmas if you want to order extras for gifts. (Pending no delays are encountered via the publisher). Please let me know how many books you want to preorder. Once I have this list of preorders, I will contact you via email for payment options. Again, please make sure your email is enabled or leave an email address for me to contact you.

To enter the pre-order give away drawing, please leave a comment with the words “preorder book drawing” in the comments. I will draw two names from this list.

Please enter the drawing only by selecting the “free book drawing” or by the “preorder book drawing” option, not both.

The comments to enter will be open until 1 pm central time on Friday, October 31, 2008. After that comments will be closed. I will have the random drawing on Saturday, November 1. I understand this is a short time frame, but I have to place my order with the publisher by close of business on Friday.

I hope you take advantage of the preorder offer.The book will be available after the first of the year from me or with Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major online book distributors at the price of $16.95 plus shipping.

Please let your blog readers know about this book give away and presale order.

Engrafted by His Grace--

P.S. I have more exciting things I learned from this conference I'll be encorporating and sharing with you soon!! Blessings in Christ-

Monday, October 6, 2008

I interrupt this blogging break...

For an important announcement!

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” ~~~ Jesus (John 10:10 AMP)

My friend, Mary and I went to the Living the Life Conference in Corpus Christi, Texas this past weekend. The above verse was the theme for the conference. We learned about intentional living, stepping up into the supernatural, cleaning our dirty laundry, embracing the Life Giver—Jesus Christ. Becky Terabassi taught us on spending time with our Lord in prayer in such a way that God will change our lives. We learned that we must surrender to Christ and seek Him in our lives. We learned that no matter what happens we can hang onto Jesus. We are "no matter what women." This conference truly fed us the Word of God and His Seed was planted in us this weekend.

Now the enemy knows he cant take the seed, but he tried to get us to dig it up and throw it out. On our way home, Mary and I stopped at Cracker Barrel in San Antonio to eat lunch. While we were enjoying our late lunch, thieves helped themselves to the contents of my vehicle. Not only my vehicle, but two other vehicles in the parking lot were robbed also.

Well, these thieves did not realize that they were messing with the wrong people. They stirred up warriors of the living Lord. As Mary and I filed our report with the police, I noticed three other people standing around by their vehicle in the parking lot. At one point this lady came over to me and told me that they are praying for us. I told her thank you and asked if they could stick around a bit longer. When I finished filing my police report these three people informed us that the Lord put it on their hearts when they saw what was going on to stay and pray for us. Oh my! I just started bawling as I knew the Lord was with us in such a tangible way to bring peace and comfort.

The five of us held hands in the parking lot and prayed. We prayed quietly, but we started praying loudly and boldly. We prayed for the thieves to be forgiven. We prayed for the Lord to bless them. We prayed that the Holy Spirit convict them and they will recognize their need for a Savior. They stole Mary’s Drake’s study Bible and all her books purchased at the conference. They have the Word of God in their possession. We prayed that these thieves be saved by the mercy and grace of our Lord.

We stand in agreement by prayer that these thieves will turn their hearts to the Lord. We asked the Lord for them to return everything that was taken when they’re convicted by the Holy Spirit. . The items taken contain personal information such as addresses, social security numbers and medical information not to mention a camera and cell phone chargers.

This situation failed to take from us what He planted in us this past weekend. If anything, it spurred us on to know that that we’re on the right track. We know that we know that the Lord sent us out filled with His word to spread it to others. Let HIS will be done.

The material objects can and will be replaced. The sentimental objects shall remain engraved in our memories though the images captured on Mary’s camera are gone. But Mary and I both trust that what the enemy meant for harm, God will use for good.

By the way, I felt I had a confirmation about that as we finished our journey home after the theft. I saw words spray painted “Thief Caught.” I turned around and took the photo below. I just have to believe that the person or persons who caused this damage and took personal possession has been caught. Whether physically or spiritually or both, I pray specifically his or her heart has been captured by the Lord and yielded to HIM.

My conference slide show:

Corpus Christi's Living the Life Conference Photos:

P.S. I resume my blogging break.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lining Up My Ducks

I have many quirks. I’ve been called a quack. That’s alright as I do have ducks I need to get lined up. By looking at the plans laid out for me in October, this will be busy month.

My word for the day each day – FOCUS.

I had many plans for the blog. I wanted to participate in many different blog events, but just not able to do so at this time. I need to withdraw for a short season to prepare and focus for the upcoming events.

I’ll covet and cherish your prayers over the next four weeks. My scheduled return date—October 29, 2008. Please feel free to send emails or follow me on Twitter. I’d love to hear from you.

God Bless You!

Engrafted by His Grace--

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Circumbendibus Rambling

Do you know what circumbendibus means?

Come on! I confess I didn’t either until I put the word “ramble” in the online thesaurus. According to it’s a noun that means “a round about way.” Rambling is used as a verb above. So the title has a subject and a predicate which makes it a complete sentence.

Okay! I’ll stop and put the English teacher back in her school box.

I wanted to share a few things today. (Three point post) I have no one to talk to right now and I have not used up my 50,000 words yet, so the best I can do is type them out and share them with whom ever chooses to stop by and visit. If you do, please be so kind to edit my post and leave a comment (not really on the editing part-thank you, just kidding).

First – Jury Duty. Do you know that it is our civic duty to report to jury duty when summoned? Some people try to scam their way out of it. I confess I have every year until my youngest passed the age for excuse on the affidavit. So I prayed (getting real spiritual) I asked the Lord the reason for my summons. Well I went and I don’t know the reason.

This day was a simple little day except I had to be up early. No problem. I do that anyway. The challenge for me was to be presentable for public view at such an early hour. Well I try my best to look nice. I took Beth Moore’s advice on makeup (all the Siesta’s know about this one) and purchased Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation. It works great! I spent two hours one night at the Estee Lauder counter while my son was at football practice and spent $200. Needless to say my hubs went into a state of shock, but nothing a little mouth to mouth didn’t fix.

Anyhow, I got off track – hence the reason for the title above so you cant say I didn’t warn you. I worked up a plan for being presentable so early. My hairdresser gave me some wonderful tips a few days ago as I went in for my every other monthly ridding of split ends. She suggested I wash my hair at night. When I wake up to dampen it with root lifter and roll with the Velcro rollers.

So off to Sally’s Beauty supply I went. (Dear if you’re reading this, I splurged some more, but I kept it under $200 and it’s all for the sake of beauty—don’t you love me? [He sometimes reads my blog ya’ll so say hi to him.]) I saw some rollers you can sleep in—or so the package reads. I thought (now I think that’s where my problem began) that if I could sleep in the rollers, my fine, straight hair would be curly. I’d wake up looking beautiful and be able to be primped quickly. I took home my new rollers (and chemicals). Took my shower last night, put on all the chemicals and rolled my hair with these sleep in them at night curlers. I fluffed up my pillows, pulled back the covers, cozied myself into my favorite position and---it didn’t work for me. So, no matter which way I laid my head it was uncomfortable.

So I thought again (see where I keep digging myself into a hole here? [Rhetorical you really don’t have to answer!]) Well, I’m not following Gina’s (my hairdresser) advice the way she said, so I better do what she said. So up I go to remove these rollers. As I start to remove them, my hair gets tangled in them. Then glancing down at the directions I read, “Avoid contact with hair from other sections.” I confess I only glanced at the directions. I saw that statement, but it did not tell me WHY so I ignored it figuring it is just like those “I Agree” buttons on the internet when downloading software. Just click and move on.

As I was undoing my ideal do, my hair got tangled. Now I just had it trimmed up a few days ago and now I’m pulling and tugging and breaking my hair. I think I have to go back for another trimming. Well I got caught in a bind and I was ready to cry. I go to my teen age son ready for him to use a pocket knife if necessary (that’s how desperate I was at that point). But he was gentle and caring with my hair and got the remaining curler out with minimal damage. [He’ll make some woman a good husband someday! Way later day okay?] I go on to bed with the other plan in mind.

First thing when I woke this morning, I redid the chemicals and used the Velcro rollers like Gina told me. An hour later when I removed them, I had volume and loose waves on my long layers. But it was humid this morning and by the time I arrived at the court house, I had straight flat hair. The plan didn’t work. Bummer.

Second Point – Freedom of Speech. I just have to share. When I realized that I was juror number 38 and my chances were very slim for being selected as a juror for this trial, as they chose 6 out of the first 12 not excused from the jury pool. (Being last has its advantages.) Well the defense attorney said that he wanted to get to know our viewpoints on various issues as he realized that we have different circumstances that shape our views. He said that we could be free to say whatever we wanted without hesitation as we could not be arrested for sharing our points of views.

His first question was on what we thought about our right to remain silent or why a defendant may want to exercise his right. I couldn’t resist exercising my freedom to speak and forgo my right to remain silent, so I raised my number. When he called my number, I stated, “Perhaps a defendant may not want to testify as attorneys have a way of twisting words with a person. If the defendant is not able to articulate himself well, it may be better than facing the attorneys.” He quickly moved onto another question. I raised my hand on almost all of them, but didn’t get chosen to freely express my views. Perhaps I was too free as with my thoughts as I may have tainted the jury pool.

Another questions was, “Do you think a defendant may be guilty just by his presence in court?”

Again, I raised my number. I stated, “Well from my perception, prosecuting attorneys wont bring a case to court unless they know that they have enough evidence to win. “

Defense attorney, “Do you think you would be able to listen to the facts and make a decision on facts?”

Me, “yes.”

Then he quickly turned the questioning to how many defendants are falsely accused. I see that point too, but never was picked again to answer another question. And ultimately released from serving as a juror in this trial. (Was it my number or my opinions?)

Third Point – Good citizenship. – (Okay I see this is really long so I’ll get to my point). I home school and Texas requires we teach our home students good citizenship. So I explained what jury duty means to my 11 year old son. When I had lunch with him, he wanted to go see the trial. Being a public trial, I cleared our regularly scheduled school for a spontaneous field trip. I took my son to witness a trial proceeding. Once we entered and took our seats, we observed the prosecution’s witness on the stand. It took two hours for the prosecution and the defense and the prosecution’s rebuttal on this one witness. I whispered who was who and what they were doing. He got the whole lay out figured out. Chase begged me to leave after the first witness as they still have 5 more witnesses to go. We left.

When we got inside the vehicle, Chase told me, “Mom, I never want to do anything wrong to get arrested. I don’t want to HAVE to sit in the court room that long. That guy can’t leave, but we can.”

That's a lesson you can't learn from a lecture.

Now there’s wisdom from such a young child.

I feel better now; I’ve used 1,433 1469 words according to the word count at the bottom of my word document. I hope you made it all the way through. If not, please leave me a comment anyway. I love to hear from all of you!!

Engrafted by His Grace--