Dirty Words

You know you have reached the epitome of boredom when you create personal challenges for yourself.  Here is my newest challenge.  It came after a discussion with my BFF’s the other day when we talked about all the ways we pretend, especially around people who might “judge” us or call us hypocrites.  We all wear masks when we need them.  We never gossip and we never cuss.  Right?  Oh, my, Ladies, we have work to do.

I was inspired this morning by a rather LOUD fight my neighbor and her boyfriend were having this beautiful Sunday morning.  I never really heard his voice, but hers was unmistakable.  There were “B words” and “BS words” and many, many, many “F words”.  It’s a sign of our social decline that makes it unnecessary to “spell out” these words.  I think we all get it.  As I watered the plants on my patio, my ear alert and aimed in their direction, I pretended not to notice the verbal assaults taking place next door.  That’s when the Holy Spirit whispered Matthew 15:18-20.

 “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and slanders.  These are the things which defile the man…”

 And Ephesians 5:4.

“Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving…”

[Note:  I’m not that awesome.  I had to look up the references, but the words came through perfectly.]

God can even use the wild ranting and raving of one lost sinner to convict another sinner, who thinks she’s kinda got it all together.  Listening to the young woman across the way screaming obscenities, made me think about the words I use when I’m frustrated or angry.  Many years ago, when I was still a young woman and before I came to know the Lord, I remember my Dad telling me that my language was so vile I embarrassed him.  My Dad was a sailor in his younger day and he still had the vocabulary to prove it.  And I embarrassed him.  That hit me pretty hard.

God loves us enough to change us from the inside out whenever and however He sees fit.  It was a Wednesday evening 34 years ago when I asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart, save my soul, and be Lord of my life.  The next morning as I was getting ready to go to work, it became glaringly evident that I was completely incapable of uttering even a single expletive!  Well, that was weird.  When I drive my car is usually where my very best and most heartfelt verbal expressions are the most fluent.  But suddenly, nothing.  Speaking without cussing became my new normal.  But time moves forward and when we are not diligent, we can slip back into our old ways.  And, sometimes worse.  Luke 11:24-26 says,

“When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’  And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order.  Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there…”

I must confess, the cleaned-up version of Roni has taken a few hits…all of which I have brought upon myself.  I’m ashamed to say, the cussing has returned, but now it’s only in secret where no one can hear.  Let us not forget, however, God is always listening.  It has occurred to me that if God thought it was important enough to clean up my mouth the very first thing, not cussing must be kinda important to Him.  And I feel terrible.  Oh, how I must be disappointing my God.  So…

I have challenged myself to watch my language.  I may go so far as to learn to eliminate even those “substitute” cuss words.  You know the ones.  Shucks, darn, OMGoodness, and fudge.  Do we really need even those?  It’s going to be a rough road, but I want to try.  I’ve begun to write down the words that so easily fall out of my mouth.  I’m still trying to be careful, but I vow to write them all down to increase my awareness and then find an appropriate replacement; even if that replacement is nothing more than an enthusiastic grunt or growl.

Challenges should always come with a warning.

[WARNING!  Be on your toes, for you never know when you will be tested.]

I think I should never drive again.  What in the world happens to people when they get behind the wheel of a 3,000 pound weapon of mass destruction and are given a license to do so?!  I was me, the sweet adorable me, as I drove happily along the winding mountain roads and hills, even slowing abruptly to let a doe and her fawn cross the road.  That made me smile.  I love living in the woods.   Soon enough, I entered the huge parking lot of one of our two local big box stores.  Just a quick stop to pick up a loaf of bread, some bananas, and some cat food.  As I happily cruised the parking lot searching for a suitable parking space, an even bigger weapon of mass destruction backed out of the space it was vacating and nearly hit me.  It startled me so badly and happened so quickly, it jolted sweet, adorable me somewhere into oblivion and ugly, snarling, spewing, cursing me took the wheel.  I don’t think it’s appropriate to repeat the obscenities I was sure was blistering the interior of my vehicle.  It is incredibly embarrassing to admit that I am still capable of uttering those terrible words.  I realized, in that moment, that there really is an ugly, snarling, spewing cursing me who I do not like at all.  That part of me exploded into action the moment I was caught off guard.  In that moment, I remembered,

“But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man…”

 Is that the condition of my heart?  I humbly hung my head and appealed to the God I love with every ounce of my being.  “Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.”  Oh, yes, Ladies, I have a lot of work to do. 

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Self-Introduction Attempt #2

Blogging 101: Day 1 Assignment, Introduction

My name is Roni.  I’m a 64-year old great-grandma of one, a grandma of five, and a mama of two daughters whom I love dearly.  I happily reside with my 12-year old Maine Coon cat, Sammie.  She will be 13 next month and I’m so blessed to have had her in my life all of her life.

I have a habit of doing things the hard way and, in this case, backwards.  I started my blog with the Blogging 201 class and wondered if I might have done better or if it would have been easier had I started where most people start, with Blogging 101.  My blog site is set up and now I’m just trying to figure out if what I’ve created is working well or if I need to tweak it a little more. You can read my first introduction on the “About” page of my blog, “Writing on the Wall” at https://ithasoccurredtome.wordpress.com.

I love to write.  And I love to sleep.  Writing has been my cure for chronic insomnia.  I discovered that, instead of tossing and turning and mulling over the dozens of things intruding on my ability to sleep, writing it down settles my brain.  I keep a journal on my night stand and that’s where I get the stuff immediately out of my head.  I have so much I want to write about, none of which would make a good novel, but might make a pretty good collection of snippets and ramblings.  I don’t write poetry because I don’t understand poetry.  I write like I speak, so bear with me.

I’m feeling just a bit overwhelmed right now because I’m trying to commit to a regular posting calendar and I haven’t been able to develop the consistency I expect of myself.  I am very particular, bordering on fastidious, when it comes to my writing.  Perfectionism can be a blessing or a curse.  I believe in the concept of writing it down, letting it get cold, and revising, revising, revising.  My problem comes when I spend so much time revising that I don’t post in a timely manner.  Having completed the Blogging U. 201 class, maybe now I’ll be able to find a comfortable, productive pace.

Blogging 101 will be a different approach for me. This time I plan to have FUN and perfect my blog and finally just get down to the business of writing.

I look forward to reading the posts my co-students are writing and invite you to read mine.  I value any input and feedback I get.  I appreciate the compliments and take very seriously the critiques I receive.  My skin is becoming sufficiently thick and I can take it.  Onward!

[NOTE: This introduction was not allowed to “get cold”, so please forgive any errors you might find.  Please let me know if you find any!]

Scratch That!

Hello!  Welcome to my blog, “Writing on the Wall”  (formerly It Has Occurred to Me).

I guess it’s time to reintroduce myself.  I am the same person with the same quirks and idiosyncrasies, just a different look and a different name.  I’ve never done this blogging thing before, and I’ve already said how much I love to write.  When I signed up for this thing, I was supposed to come up with a Name for my blog.  Well, my given name and all its creative derivatives had already been claimed.  So I came up with It Has Occurred to Me, thinking it was clever and revealing.  Well, it’s neither.  Fortunately, my blog Name isn’t etched in stone like it is on my driver’s license or Social Security card.  I guess my “email contact address” for this blog will remain https://ithasoccurredtome.wordpress.com.  Oh, well.  You can’t have everything.

I like my new name better.  It probably doesn’t fully demonstrate my brand and I’m still driving myself crazy trying to perfect the visual appeal and setup of my site so I can get on with the business of writing.  I’d love to know if there’s something that you absolutely love about my site and what really bugs you.  It all matters to me.

Still working on it….

Roni

Always in His service

Discovering Smoothie Land

I have a friend who I love with all my heart.  She’s a vegan, I’m a carnivore.  She is beautiful, I’m lookin’ kinda haggard.  She has the most beautiful skin and hair and could easily pass for 30.  My skin looks like the underneath side of an old, well-used saddle.  My hair is where they got the style for troll dolls.

Troll-Doll-troll-dolls-1353648-500-375
This is me.

She eats green smoothies and whole foods.  I ate pizza and burgers and tacos.  Oh, for the love of tacos!  She goes on long hikes every week.  I…well…I don’t.  She loved me enough to try to convince me there is a better way to eat and get healthy.  So, she gently introduced me to the smoothie.  Not just any smoothie, mind you.  Green smoothies.  Fortunately, she explained that “green” just means fresh, whole fruits and vegetables.  She invited me to her house one day to taste test the breakfast smoothie she fixes every day.  It was a beautiful vibrant red color, so that made it appear tasty.  I took the tiniest taste that barely moistened my lips.  I just couldn’t get the word “green” out of my head.  It’s a well-known fact that we “eat with our eyes” first.  If it doesn’t look good, we probably won’t even try it.  So the hook was set with that beautiful red color.  To my complete surprise, the smoothie was delicious!  Then she told me what was in it.  Had she told me what was in it before I tasted it, we probably would have gone no further.  It was the raw beets that gave it the color.  Visually, and well, even the taste, belied the fact that it also contained spinach, kale, celery, bananas and strawberries.  And this weird stuff called chia seeds.  She said it’s the same stuff used on those Chia Heads and Chia Pets you see on tv.

Chia head image chia-pet-bunny

“You can eat that stuff?”  I can’t even describe the sideways scowl she gave me.  I could see I had much to learn.  She didn’t have a recipe, but she rattled off the ingredients she usually uses and I tried hard to remember.  The measurements were basically a little of this, a little of that, and a fistful of leafy greens.  With my head spinning and her directions a blur in my mind, I spent a whole bunch of money on stuff I thought I was supposed to get.  I started tossing stuff in my blender, confident I would end up with a glass full of deliciousness just like what she had served up.  I stared in disbelief into the depths of a very tall glass of what looked like dark green swamp sludge.  Yes, I put beets in it, but it was certainly not that beautiful red color.  Terror washed over me as I picked up the glass, determined not to waste $75.00 in fresh produce and very expensive chia and flax seeds.  It was so thick I thought I’d have to slice it, but after I added half a bin of ice, it was sorta liquidy.  I choked it down, literally.  It was absolutely the nastiest stuff I had ever consumed.  I seriously considered if it was worth having baby-smooth skin and thick, shiny hair.  This nasty stuff?  Twice a day? I don’t think so.

So, I went on an internet search and, miracle of miracles, I found a site called “Incredible Smoothies” (http://www.incrediblesmoothies.com/) and my courage was renewed.  This gal offered a 21-Day Smoothie Boot Camp with recipes!  I joined up and fell in love.  The Boot Camp came and went, and my heart was broken when it came to and end.  I follow her site faithfully and she always has wonderful recipes to add to my repertoire, and I’ve even figured out how to concoct my own!  Those are the kinds of things I plan to share with you here.

Stand by for the first couple of smoothie recipes I’ve created and have very cleverly dubbed “My Own Creations”.  I hope you enjoy.

Lessons from a Cracker Jack Box

Matthew 6:19-21   “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Cracker Jacks

Yesterday I bought a 3-pack of Cracker Jack.  I didn’t see any single boxes, so I was forced to buy in bulk.  A wave of nostalgia swept over me as I carefully studied this familiar treat from my childhood.  The box is pretty much the same, except now it sports a bar code and nutritional information that I didn’t care a hoot about in the 1950’s.  I smiled back at Sailor Jack with his happy perpetual salute and his little dog, Bingo.  I guess I was a little bit bugged when I realized that Jack looks pretty darn good for being 120 years old.  Opening the box is as difficult for me now as it was then.  I struggled to open that box with my tiny little girl fingers that were too small to even wrap around the box.  Mom to the rescue.  I watched in amazement as she punctured the perforated area on the side of the box with her talon-like thumbnail.  Today arthritis still makes it difficult for me to puncture that same “Push & Tear Off Top” spot, and Mom is no longer around to call on.  But, armed with a large paring knife strategically hacking away at that perforation did the trick.  That sudden sweet aroma of caramel corn wafting from the opened box made me swoon.  It took a little doing, but I finally ripped the cardboard top off, now lined with industrial strength silver paper lining, and tossed it aside.  I gazed deeply into the box and took my time studying the puffy golden globes of caramel covered popcorn.  I have to say, I gasped a little when I spotted The Prize tucked against the inside of the box.  A flood of memories swept over me as I recalled other Prizes.  Oh, the wonder of it all!  The feeling that crept over me was childish and hopeful.  What would I find when I opened the red and white striped wrapper concealing this mysterious treasure?  It’s been more than 50 years since I found tiny ballerinas and decoder rings and magnifying glasses and miniature story books.  Times have changed.  Prizes could only get better.  Right?  I could only imagine the sophisticated and glitzy treasure hidden inside.  A diamond ring?  No.  The object is flat and square.  A Visa gift card?  No.  Too small.  How many times have we heard it said that the best gifts come in small packages?  Well, this package is certainly small.  Roughly, 1 ½ inch by 1 1/2 inch.  That would definitely be the smallest driver’s license ever.  It must be something delicate.  Fragile.  Carefully, I found a place to pull the two pieces of wrapper apart with my fingernails.  Careful.  Don’t tear it.  Careful.  With great care, I opened the tiny paper folded in half.  A note.  Aha!  A secret message directing me to the ultimate Prize of all?  I wonder if I’m supposed to eat it once I’ve read it.  There it is!  With sweaty palms, I read the message:

The Baltimore Orioles

came into existence

in 1954 when the

St. Louis Browns

franchise relocated

to Baltimore.

What?  WHAT?!  Are you kidding me?!  What kid cares about franchise politics?  I know I’m not a kid, but, seriously?  Wait!  There’s more.  Carefully I peel away another layer of paper, barely visible.  Behold!  The Prize.  A paper sticker boasting the Orioles baseball team logo.  Well, I know where I’d love to stick that…

Then I heard a still small voice say, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I guess it doesn’t take much to realize that sometimes my treasure is in the wrong place.  In Luke 12:14, Jesus warns,

“Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

Yesterday I learned how easy it is to be distracted by material things.  When I allowed myself to get so bummed out because I placed my hope in a silly little piece of paper, I forgot that there really is a Prize to look forward to.  That Prize has a name and it’s Jesus Christ.  Messiah.  Savior.  God.  The Great I Am.  That little Baltimore Orioles baseball sticker will lose its appeal and will eventually fall off of whatever it gets stuck to.  It will be lost at some point.  Jesus won’t let me get unstuck from Him.  If I lose my way for a little while, I am one of those sheep who He loves enough to find me and bring me back to Him.  How could I ever seek joy in a little trinket in a Cracker Jack box, when I have all the best of everything in Jesus Christ?

Where is your treasure?  What is your heart’s desire?

In His Service,

Roni

Hello world!

Nearly every day something crosses my mind, someone shares a confidence with me, or something earthshaking breaks on the evening news.  Life is so different now than it was when I was under the sheltering influence of my overprotective parents raising me in the 50’s and 60’s.  I remember hearing them say over and over again, “What is becoming of these kids nowadays?” with a solemn shake of their heads.

The things I think about range from the best breakfast smoothie, to relationships, to fear about “What this world is coming to.”  I have spent lots of time thinking about lots of stuff.  I’ve been accused of overanalyzing things too much.  I ask “why” questions so much as to become an annoyance, but things just have to make sense; even if it only makes sense to me.  I am of average intelligence, I have a good heart, I have a passion for kittens and puppies…in that order.  I love Sammie, my cat, without measure or question.  I have two daughters I adore so much it takes my breath away.  They have blessed me with 5 (6, really) grandchildren and a great granddaughter.  I am a proud, patriotic American and weep every time I hear America the Beautiful and the Star Spangled Banner.  I stand and place my hand over my heart when I say the Pledge of Allegiance or address our beautiful flag.  I am a faithful and devoted follower of Jesus Christ and try to live my life in a way that would be pleasing to Him.

I am an expert on nothing.  My blog is a way to get the thoughts out of my head that keep me awake at night, to put them in black and white so I can ponder them further, and to help stave off the dementia I am genetically predisposed to.  I might even come up with something mind boggling and brilliant.  Maybe I’ll make you laugh or cry.  Hopefully, I’ll inspire you.  Maybe I’ll even make a friend or two.  I will not argue, debate, or fight with anyone.  I will respect you.  I hope you will respect me.

At this point, my plan is to take my thought of the day, match it to an appropriate scripture or Bible verse, and see how it aligns with my life as a Christian.  My hope is to offer ideas that are thought-provoking, meaningful, and entertaining.  Blogging is a whole new ball game for me.  So, here we go!

Happy blogging!