The Gift of Laughter

A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

Have you ever seen someone sitting together in a restaurant and they look like they never ever laugh? I was blessed enough to have been raised in a household where laughter was always present. I truly believe it is one of the best gifts a parent can pass onto a child.

My Dad and I got in trouble for laughing when we weren’t supposed to. My Mom used to separate us in church. Invariably we would see the same exact thing and that would start an avalanche of uncontrollable laughter. We went to a very somber Baptist church. I think they really thought laughter was a sin, and especially laughing in church.

The church I attend now, actually sometimes uses props and videos from comedians.

Sure there is plenty to be serious about these days. But there are plenty of things to laugh at as well, just look around!

My best friend and I laugh at something just about every day, though we disagree just a bit on what is funny, and I admit, my humor could be considered sick by some. I think it’s funny when people fall down or trip over carpets. But only if someone doesn’t get hurt. I figure if someone is doing a stunt on their own volition, then I have the right to laugh at them. Hey, I laugh when I fall down too.
Let’s face it, Charlie Chaplin didn’t get to be a star because he shot out one liners, but because he fell a lot.
Humor is one of the greatest gifts God gave us. To be able to laugh at ourselves means you can shrug off the stuff that you shouldn’t waste time on, so that you can take the really big stuff that happens seriously enough to be able to get through it with grace and God’s help.
My folks have been married for 62 years are are still laughing.
I called them from work the other day and they were just coming home from having the car fixed. Instead of their Minivan they were in the old Bronco. My Mom had nothing to hold onto to get in the car so my Dad was trying to push her from behind. He was laughing, and I could hear her in the background, “just get your hands off me, I can get in just fine.” Then I heard her start to laugh. They both started laughing so hard they had to hang up.

This is why I love them, and one of the reasons they have been together so long. Young couples starting out could learn a lot from them.

Many people in the Bible laughed, and there are references about God laughing. I think Jesus must have found humor in many things on this earth. I love to think what His laughter sounded like.
Laughter is the best gift…….Share it with someone today.
Then pass it on. Counting the gifts and the promises today…….

#933-945……Laughter, birds out back in the fountain, a new artichoke, okra reaching toward sky, peace in the garden, cloudy arizona skies, watching wimbledon on a lazy morning, fresh coffee brewing, full-bodied praise, upcoming trip to see family, technology that allows face to face conversation, all my blogger friends…..

Full bodied praise

I love them that love me………and those that seek me early shall find me. Proverbs 8:17
This is when the rubber meets the road…..summer is digging in it’s heels and we are no longer greeted with cool mornings. We have to dig in too. And it’s not all bad. The desert makes you tough. It’s already hot and sticky in my prayer closet this morning.
As I finish my prayer time, I am ready. I live the words as I put on my shoes to make my trek around the park. “No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:27
As I walk, feel my body move, I am so thankful I can do this. I think of dear Briley and Kathryn whom I sit with when I volunteer in the Extrordinary Life kids group, bound to wheelchairs. I think they are the real heroes, they, and their dear parents.
I pick up my pace and think of an old Glen Frey song I played a lot when I worked out……..for those of you under 40, he was one of the Eagles……the words come back and the years fall away:
I’m outside runnin’ in the mornin’ sun
No matter what it takes, I know I’m gonna get it done
I’m pushin’ up the hill, fightin’ through the pain
Everything to lose, everything to gain
I know I’m on my way, I’m on my way to number one

Feelin’ good, gettin’ tight
‘Cause I’m livin’ right, livin’ right
Up in the mornin’, asleep at night
I’m livin’ right, livin’ right

Out of the darkness, into the light and I’m
livin right, livin right.
I thought of the worship leader yesterday and what he said, why he wears no shoes when he is up there leading the music. He says it reminds him that it’s Holy ground he stands on, and it is a way of keeping his focus on the Lord and not on all the people. He said he sees the ones sleeping, and the ones playing games on their Iphones, the halfhearted worshippers.
“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:20
He is right, the ground is Holy.
The sweat is pouring down now, and I hear the words of Mercy Me singing…….
Separated until the veil was torn.
The moment that hope was born
and guilt was pardoned once and for all.
Captivated but no longer bound by chains
left at an empty grave
the sinner and the sacred resolved

And this is it, this is full bodied praise, right here and now. How right he is, the ground here is Holy. I think, this is what keeps me going. He keeps us, day after day. We have the strength to get up and do it again somehow, carried along by His Spirit.

This is the promise I cling to, and its true: “The Lord preserves all who love Him…..” Psalm 145:20

Counting the gifts and the promises today, with these fine folks…….

Will there be horses in Heaven?

There is one prayer I have had that was never answered…..From my earliest memory, from the time I actually believed there was a God and that I could pray to Him I prayed that one morning I would wake up and there would be a horse in the front yard. From the time I first saw one, I was instantly in awe. I held them in reverence that was almost godlike.

It started with the pony rides. I didn’t care about anything else at the carnival, if there were ponies going around a ring I was there. My Dad would shell out the two bits. And in Yosemite there was what I would classify as a deluxe pony ride. We got to ride on a track, all around the stables….oh they were pure wonder. Which one would I get? I didn’t care, to me they were all as magical as unicorns.

We used to camp in old Camp 7……and just on the border ran the horse trail. My favorite part of the day was when they would come through. I can still hear my Dad announce, “Here come the horses!”

Oh, I would hear the footfall of those wondrous creatures as they walked through the carpet of dry pine needles that fell across the trail. The sound of them, blowing and breathing and neighing. I would stand stock still as we watched every last one pass.

And when finally the day came that I myself could go……….I was on top of the world. I was taller than anything. My big gentle brown quarter horse with a butt as big as a house was my new best friend. I could have cried as I bent down to hug his neck as he carried me into a place I had never been before, but only dreamed of.

Then, as what happens so often, we grow up and put away our dreams and convince ourselves those joys may be for someone else, but not for us.

And still, as I see them, even now. I remember that magic. And I wonder, will there be horses in Heaven? I think that if God created animals in the first place, he must want them there.

The Bible says He will be riding in on a white horse, after all.

Maybe I will be riding with Him? Maybe we all will…….

I am posting this today because sometimes just remembering something magical is miracle enough.  the joy of living, the joy of memory carries us through.

And it’s all a gift from God.

Joining in with these wonderful folks today just because I want to, not because this post necessarily has anything to do with promises or counting blessings. But then again, maybe it has everything to do with it!


The Lord will hear…….

But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The Lord will hear when I call to Him.
Psalm 4:3

I pulled out of the driveway a bit late for church. I was thinking that I might miss the music, and that was okay. Certain days, it’s all I want to hear, and other days I would be content to just sit in the silence for awhile. Just to be in church…..

As I sped along the freeway another thought came. What if, instead of doing church, I went and passed out bottled water to the homeless. Went to serve in the foodbank. Went to the rest home and spent the church hour sitting with him. Praying with him. It was a radical thought. That’s what made me think it might be a God thought.

Instead, I felt my tires go the familiar groove, the safe way. Into the doors I went, into the safety of the church. It’s what I need, I thought. This is how I get ready for the rest of the week. This is what keeps me going all week.

And I was glad I went. But at service’s end, I found myself going the back way home. The way that passed the rest home where he was, Curtis, my best friend’s Dad. He has wreaked such havoc over the last few years, well, longer than that. And though he provided for the family, he was an absent father.

Now everyone is absent from his life, well just about everyone.

Though the choices that have led to this result at the end of his life have been his, it makes it no less tragic how he has ended up.

As I drove past, I felt God whisper for me to pull in. And He might have said that I should go in the room, too. But I wrestled with that, and put it aside.

What if he’s in a grouchy mood, what if he’s just gotten his lunch, he stops eating if someone is there…..what if there is a mess all over and soiled clothes piled high in the hamper, like there has been before. The smell reached all the way down the hall. Sometimes he refuses to let the aides pick up his laundry.

I think of him how he looks now. So frail, so weak, a shadow of the man he was before.

I pulled into a space and my swirling thoughts quieted down like snow at the bottom of a snowglobe.

I bowed my head, and prayed for him right there in the parking lot. For his life, for the rest of his life, however much is left. For him to remember what he heard in church all his younger years, he and his sister, still vibrant and full of life at 88. She chose the better path, the path of faith, of life. Of Jesus.

I pray for a miracle before the end.

Then, like that while feather that floated from the sky in Forrest Gump, I realized that a miracle had happened, the anger I had before was gone. It had left like a wisp of smoke and I hadn’t realized it before then,  and I know just when it happened.

Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the Lord
Psalm 4:4,5

Tomorrow, I will write more…..until then I join with the gratitude community and with the ones who are unwrapping his promises.

Okra reaching for the sky, how my story touched some hearts, and how I made some new friends, completed projects and a clean shop, friends across the miles who text, another chips and salsa timeout yesterday, freedom to gather together in worship one more Sunday, a new friend for my brother, my nieces Mom who takes Lauryn everywhere with her and doesn’t leave her behind, and facebook for keeping in touch. #933-943