Bring Back The Ice Cream Truck,…well,..maybe.

This post is meant only as a service message…
Were you one of the fortunate ones who had an ice cream truck circle the neighborhood? I was. We had one that was an official Dairy Mart truck in my grandmother’s area, and another comparable to Good Humor in my own area. I have to admit I looked forward to either of them, but the Dairy Mart truck was my favorite. They had “Mr Maltys”, and chocolate sundaes, and….oh you get the idea. I’m still a huge fan of ice cream too, but got a bit concerned when I saw the local truck that services the neighborhood I live in now.
You see, I was always warned to never approach strangers, let alone talk to them, and told to run if I was ever lured to a vehicle with candy, puppies, etc. This turned out as sound advice one day as two men in a green car asked me to come to their window because they had candy for me. I ran, like a good kid, and went upstairs to my mother, breathlessly telling her they were right outside the apartment. I looked out the window and the one who asked me didn’t have trousers on. Thank God they left the area, but unfortunately, they were never caught.
This memory replayed as I saw the truck in my area pass by, as I said. With the name changed, I’ll describe it as a fifteen year old, white, Ford Econoline cargo van, with no windows except the ones for the two side doors ( broken out ), and stickers showing ice cream stuck all over below them. There is rust commonly present on the vehicle, and it is run by two men in dirty, unkempt clothing. The sides of the van are painted with purple letters “J and T Ice Cream”. So my question is this as I witness parents with children, and children alone purchasing from this truck……Who in their right minds would do such a thing???
Now, maybe these men are on the up-and-up, and just need classes on hygiene, food storage and handling,and professional appearance. But I tell you,…this is their NEW van. The last one was worse.Scary thoight, I know. I saw that one too and cringed ( and they saw me do it too as I turned away once I became close enough to see it and them.) I believe there should be food inspectors for mobile businesses too, and wish there were a few in our county.
Now as summer is here and ice cream trucks are circling nationwide, please watch your children as they play and inform them of your expectations regarding their safety. And may God post His guardian angels around your neighborhood children always.

Laughing Is Good Exercise

   I recently enjoyed the company of the elders from the church I belong to while dining out. Our conversation became comical once the flow turned from grand aspirations (also a wonderful topic), to after-dinner diet wishes. Now, if you are 40 years old, or over….you will understand this post. However, if younger, it will only serve to enlighten you of your parents plight.
   One of the elders mentioned the growing waistline and harder work it is to keep it off,( this as three of us had ice cream in our bowls) so I added my keen observations to the mix. I told them that God, in His infinite wisdom, and love for us knew we would need a little extra help as we grew older, …so he gave us blurry vision so we wouldn’t see the wrinkles of others…or ourselves. Everyone would look beautiful ! He also knew we’d be needing convenience and comfort, so our waistlines puffed out to graciously give us…armrests as we sit, and fatter behinds for better padding as we sit longer hours due to exhaustion while waiting for grandchildren at the mall. That our hearing starts to go so we don’t hear our spouses nagging us in the evening,….and eventually the memory too so we forget what we were fighting about in the first place.
   We laughed so hard my stomach felt so taught! Therefore I have decided to try to laugh 10 minutes a day to tone my tummy. I will be happier and healthier, …because I really don’t like “working out”. I worked for years lifting heavy weights, I don’t want to do it now. Walking and laughing works for me. (so does sitting and laughing, truthfully).
   I go for my new glasses next week. I may take them off once in a while, just to make me feel better. Of course, the squinting at others may confuse the purpose, looking like Clint Eastwood….
   Go ahead, make my day! Take yours off when you look at me…or don’t tell me about the wrinkles, flaws, etc. But if you do, I’ll still love ya. ‘Cause that’s the way God would like it. To love one another as Christ loved us.

“Missing You”, A Mother’s Day Poem

           ( written by me, on Mother’s Day to honor mine.)

I still feel I could call you,
Pick up the phone and dial.
Turn around and go to lunch
In your car in luxury style.
I miss the talks, traveling around,
The laughing and lessons to sing.
Shopping, dancing, stories and
Just about everything.
You taught me how to draw
And play so many tunes.
You sat with me in Florida air
And watched the stars and moon.
To a mangerie of animals
You taught me to love and care.
To help others when needed,
And always to love and share.
Through trauma and misfortune
We walked together, it’s true.
Even after all these years
I find I still miss you.
You had a special knack
To find the perfect dress,
You didn’t yell or shout at me
When I’d leave a perfect mess.
You knew what I wanted,
Before I even asked;
Provided every need for me,
No matter how hard the task.
You risked your life to save me
From bear, and dangerous men.
I don’t know how you did it all
With what little we had back then.
You always had faith God would help,
When things became so rough.
You told of all His miracles
He gave when times were tough.
So on this special day for Mom’s
I want to tell you too…
Tell your Mom you love her!
Pull her close to you.
    Happy Mother’s Day 2013!

Overcoming Fear and Trauma

   Warning, this may not be suitable for small children to read. I know I haven’t written in this blog for a long time, so I’m going to explain to you why. It’s time to be transparent, and pray this may help someone out there. Get comfy, this is a long one. (And I’ll spare most of the terrible details.)  In late September, I happily went for a walk with my fluffy white, little dog, on a leash, and a Pitt Bull leaped out of a home and charged us, clamping down on my dog to kill him, and ripping his leash from my hands and collar off of him. It was an exceedingly violent attack, and I, and the woman from the house, tried valiantly to beat the dog off mine while I shouted to the Lord for help, but to no avail. I ended up getting down on my knees and face buried in the grass praying and pleading the Lord to help….when suddenly, the much older woman was able to pry the pitt bull’s jaws open and get my dog out of it’s mouth. The Pitt didn’t bite her, or go after me, though it was growling at us. That was the first set of miracles. I raced to get my car, and drove him to the vet, as I was praying for him along the drive there because he wasn’t breathing or moving, he suddenly started breathing and moving around again. Miracle set number two. By the time he was transferred to a vet hospital in another city, he had started walking again. His recovery took over two months, with constant cleaning, wound care, hand feeding, and encouragement, but he has recovered very well. His bark is also healed now too, and hair grown back in. Miracle set number three. 
   He has shown a few signs of canine PTSD. But as his owner and someone familiar with such difficulties, I will be able to administer helpful remedies. Some of these include lots of love and attention, no shouting, bringing him to safe places to play and walk where he has only had good experiences, and avoiding large or barking dogs for a while.
    I’m going to be very transparent today and let you in on some things about me that you may find surprising, but all in the interest that some may receive the healing and help that they need. Doctors have diagnosed me with  PTSD, with side effects I won’t get into now. This is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To put the symptoms simply, I used to avoid situations that may reflect or remind me of the events that caused the problem, and have memories that invade dreams, or daily life, that thank God, He has helped me by taking the fear out of them, and making them not as frequent. I avoided showing pain and my true emotions so long, that my pain tolerance was very high, and emotions often became the opposite of what I should have shown.
   I can talk of these things now without fear or trembling,  but at one time, that was not so. With the help of counselors, more than 30 years later, and developing a relationship with Christ,and yes, some medicine,  I have overcome that crippling fear that invaded my life more seriously back then.I still deal with some things daily and take them to the Lord in prayer each morning as I declare His word over my life.  So it is my prayer, that if anyone reading this knows someone who has been the victim of, or witnessed, a horrible event such as this, or any other traumatic situation, that you guide them to a Pastor, church, and/or counselor now (or if a canine, a vet), without delay. There is no shame in admitting you need help. But the price of waiting and not seeking help can be very high.
I do have flashes, I do still experience some symptoms, but I’m learning to discern them and deal with other symptoms.It took most of my lifetime for all these situations to tie together, and it may take a while for God, and the people He puts in my life to help me unravel it all.
  This incident with my dog did stir up memories for a while for me, but I took it to the Lord every time it happened, and He has helped me immensely. I have since walked by the same house and spoke to the owner of that dog (his dog was put down), but didn’t take my dog that way yet. It’s too soon for him. (He wouldn’t even go that direction!) The memories I started experiencing were not only from the dog attack, but made many others from my past resurface. And there were a lot of them to deal with. The church I attend has also been consistantly  praying for me, and my dog, and I have felt the calm assurance in peace overflow me from the Lord when they do.
   What happened to me in the past involved several incidents that spanned many years, but without proper time for healing in between, and I didn’t have knowledge of the word of God to help me. I was a believer, and God kept me from being killed many times in my life, and He is ultimately, the One who is helping me heal now. The list is long, but I’ll do my best to make it brief and without details:
  At a young age, I was pursued by sexual predators, witnessed violence in our home by a relative that involved knives and shotguns, and many drunken fist fights, lost all material goods in a flood, including our home, was blinded in an incident but received my sight by a miracle weeks later, hid from a hitman that attempted to shoot a family member and learned to look for bombs in the car to check daily for a time, was sexually assaulted twice, was stalked for almost 2 years, faced a serial killer face-to-face and got him caught, witnessed a hit-and-run kill a pedestrian, saw unmentionable auto/truck accidents, and narrowly escaped a few other gun incidents in Convenience stores, and been homeless more than once, for short periods, was strangled by one fiance’, and was left by another fiance’ when my mother was dying of cancer.I endured someone who was a violent drunk in our home for 12 years, was stopped by SWAT teams twice due to mistaken identity/bad information due to the color of my car, had an extended relative commit suicide due to gambling debts and drugs, another extended relative was murdered by two teens because he was gay, had things thrown at me and threats due to the way I was living before I came to know the word, almost died of pneumonia (saved by the grace of God), been fired, heckled, and persecuted. Whew!   There’s more, but that’s enough. .
  So you see, I understand what others may face when confronting violence and disaster. I went two years before I stopped looking behind doors, into closets, and in large cabinets before relaxing after coming home from work. I don’t like anyone touching my neck. I went years looking behind me to see who may be following. I couldn’t get dressed without fearing someone may be looking undetectably, I noticed the way people dressed and parked to tell if they could be concealing a weapon, or be wanting to commit a crime (profiled people), had horrible nightmares, and insomnia for years, and trouble trusting anyone, much less get into a serious relationship again. I still have memories of most everything. Sometimes that gets in the way  because the memories are so extreme that I cringe at times, or shake my head as if to think of something more pleasant.
   Now, I can sleep peacefully most of the time, and don’t have those fears invading my life. I ask God daily for His help and guidance.I take my medicine daily.   What it took to receive God’s peace in my life, and mind, was first accepting Him as my Lord and asking Him into my heart. Second, I had to learn to trust Him with my emotions. That meant, in the beginning,  revisiting the memories and letting Him heal me.I actually had to allow myself to feel again, and it was tremendously difficult. I had to develop discernment to know the difference between the enemy attack and a simple memory that could be healed. God will lead you through it gently, and will not remind you of it later, AND you’ll feel remarkably lighter afterwards. You’ll sense the peace He brings into that area. Another key step is forgiveness. God’s grace, strength, and mercy can help you with it.  
  So please, if you or anyone you know needs help from a traumatic event or illness, please seek the Lord, and get help right away. I can testify that the word is true, and leave you with these scriptures to meditate on today. Philippians 4:5-8 Highlight here only verse 7…read the rest at home and receive encouragement.) and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
   Also John 14:27…Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give unto you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
  Know, that as a child of God, He will always be with you, He is our Healer, Savior, Provider, Redeemer, and Refuge, Lord and King.  You can have peace. Trust Him. I thought I knew what peace and love really was….until I came to know Jesus. Oh , how wonderful it is…and finally know what it’s like to be truely loved. Get the help you need, …now.

Living in a Construction Zone

   We’ve all seen a construction zone. We’ve passed them, gazed at them, and wished the building was finished, but have you ever watched as they blew up a large building? When I lived in Orlando, the center of downtown was a construction zone for a long time as they re-vamped the city scape. After a few weeks, they removed the chain fences and put up large wooden fences surrounding the site. I was not happy, because I was curious as to what, and how they were building something. I saw the giant glass sculpture with light that looked like a huge crystal stalk of asparagus, and it peaked my interest as to WHAT they could possibly be THINKING? 
   Then it happened. The make-a-wish foundation had enlisted many children to paint pictures on the drab, tall wooden fences and I almost got into a wreck looking at them while negotiating downtown traffic. I was delighted and wanted to see more.
   They did tear down the old city building…what was left of it after the explosion. They filmed it in a Danny Glover movie.
   And they built small white, single room boxes with windows for the homeless under bridges.
      Now the thought I have is this:
   Why can’t we all be like that about construction zones? The way I see it, we are either the construction workers, or the ones looking on curiously to see what happens next. We either build, or watch others build it and make our comments.
   We are all a work in progress…those who have made Jesus the Lord of our lives and follow Him. We, and others on our lives, have to watch how we build on the foundation of Christ in our lives. I’m only going to touch on a little of the implications of this statement, otherwise it would be a series!
   We are also responsible for building for the kingdom of God, in letting people know the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Both construction zones require safety gear, or spiritual armor; and both construction zones are being watched by others. How you work, and live), and what you create are carefully being scrutinized by everyone able to see; and God can see all of it.
   In 1 Corinthians 3:10 says; According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. Then in Psalm 127:1 it says; Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it…
   Now as we build upon our lives as followers of Christ, let us all be aware, safe, have the right equipment, work as a team, show up for work, watch out for each other, and keep to the blueprints of the finished plans (word). And while we’re at it, make it interesting….keep them wanting more.
   May God bless you this Christmas and give you opportunities to spread His word !

The Gift

   This is a poem I wrote with a very special gift in mind that I received, and would like everyone to have.

The gift I would give to you
Can’t be bought with cash.
It can be put in a box,
But the feeling wouldn’t last.
You’d want it daily, hourly, NOW,
You’d want it more and more;
For once you saw what the gift really is
You’d wonder what else is in store!
You’d clamor and rush to get to it,
You’d run with heart beating fast,
Just to have it the rest of your life
And know forever it would last.
It’s a love beyond word’s expression;
Beyond what life here can teach.
It’s from a renewed heart, and faith in Him
You understand what’s been preached.
It’s a mind renewed from trashy talk,
From gossip, shame, and lust.
A heart mended from sorrow and pain,
And knit with hope as a must.
No shattered emotions, broken homes,
But family in Him all around;
No abandonment issues anymore,
But a Father, in Him, is found.
Jesus paid the price for us
At the cross with His own life;
So we may live, forever with Him,
Forever, is eternal life.
All you need to do is this:
Ask Him in your heart,
Confess your sins, believe in Him,
And He will never part.
Follow Him all your life,
Listen to His Holy Spirit,
Read the holy, written word;
Be a doer, don’t just hear it!
Follow Him no matter what,
Even when it’s tough.
Stand up for Him and His word
Even when the going gets rough.
He’ll never leave you, nor forsake you,
You’ll never be alone;
Your heart will be softer now
It won’t be hard as stone.

The Name of Peace

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I had computer issues with wordpress due to the age of my computer, but all is well now. Please read a poem I wrote on 1/9/07. It’s called:

  Jesus Is His Name

Love is He who pulls me out
Of a pit of mud and fear.
Grace is He who bears my sin
And stays forever near.
My Shield is He who shelters from
Abuse and years of pain,
He carries me when I cannot walk,
Jesus is His name.
He’s the Rock I can cling to
When no one else is around.
He’s Refuge from the storms of life,
He’s the Shelter that I’ve found.
He’s Redeemer from mistakes
I cannot mention from the shame;
My Savior, Lord, and Best Friend,
Jesus is His name.
He’s Strength in my weakness,
When I can’t find words to speak.
The Counselor in a time of need,
His face I diligently seek.
He’s the light that has led me
Out of darkness and the past.
He’s the Love I was always seeking,
The Love I’ve found at last.
The river of tears I’ve cried before
He’s turned into songs of praise.
The heart once hardened and turned so cold,
He’s softened, turned, and raised.
He paid with His life my price of sin,
Conquered death, and without blame.
Turn to Him, turn to life!
Jesus is His name.