What’m I, Chopped Beef?

There’s an idiom people sometimes use in a lighthearted way to remind their friends they’re there. Years ago, I forgot the correct wording for it and said, “What am I? Chopped beef?”

I tilted my head and added, “Wait a second… That didn’t sound right.”

Then I remembered it’s actually the lesser-appreciated chopped liver in the idiom, and not the largely-beloved beef. (Here’s a bit about its meaning.) I still say it the silly way to this day, but nobody seems to notice. Either that, or they are being kind and don’t want to correct me.

In yesterday’s blog post (here), I mentioned how paranoid I’ve become concerning new friends, alluding to many having let me down. My sister read it, and, via our ensuing conversation, I was reminded that she is one I can trust.

That got me thinking about the handful of other trusted people in my life, so this is a post that acknowledges the fact that I do have friends, and for them I am grateful.

Maybe I myself have inadvertently let friends down. Maybe I could have done more for them. Maybe I still can. Who knows?

I do know, though, that Jesus is the friend of sinners (Luke 7:34), and I’m a sinner, as is everyone but Him.

And I know that Jesus will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5)

My prayer is that all who read these words also know Jesus as their friend who will never leave them nor forsake them.

This World Is Not My Home

Although Gonzo’s got a violin here and not a mandolin, they’re both strung the same way. I feel like I’m strung the same way as this strange character from The Muppets – not of this world.

“Oh, Lord, You know I have no Friend like You.
If heaven’s not my home, then Lord what will I do?”

This world is so not my home.

I used to be too trusting of people. Over time, though, with bad experiences, the more people I met, the more I learned not to trust them.

It got to where I’d ask myself, when getting to know a new friend, “I wonder if this person will turn on me.”

That progressed to, “WHEN will this person turn on me?”

To whom can I turn who will not turn on me?

To whom can I tell the things that trouble me?

Why, to Jesus, of course!

I believe Jesus already knows my troubles, but at the same time, I take comfort in knowing He’s cool with me telling Him the same stories over and over again, as well as the ones that are new to me. He understands my situation of being human and “not all there”.

Without Jesus, I would surely feel alone in this shadowy valley of death through which I walk.

A thing about valleys, though, is that there are higher places around them. And it is to the ultimate higher place that I will one day ascend, far beyond this present darkness, where I will see the Light of God Himself.

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.  (Matthew 5:8)

That makes me ask, “Am I pure in heart?”

And my answer is, “I don’t think so.”

I did a little searching and found someone’s thoughts that help illuminate this situation: “Blessed Are The Pure In Heart” commentary

Well, I know I’m far from pure as a human. But the one in Whom my faith is established – the Lord Jesus Christ, who not only gave His life for me but also returned to life after all that – is pure. Pure and perfect and precious.

And so, with the purity of Christ covering me, I look forward to seeing God.

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

I welcome discussion on this topic, to know your thoughts on what the Lord has shown you in His Word. I surely don’t know it all.

But back to the first lines in this blog post, from the song “This World Is Not My Home”. A few days ago, I looked for it on YouTube. I had mostly only heard it while singing it with friends, back in the days when I used to meet with a local Christian assembly. Lo and behold, there it was being sung by a musician whose music I adore, AND he was also playing my favourite instrument – the mandolin, which I’m currently learning to play.

Here, have a listen to “This World Is Not My Home” as recorded by Ricky Skaggs. Maybe you can relate, too.

PS: A related post that refers back to this: What’m I, Chopped Beef?

 

 

For Those With Unsaved Loved Ones Still Alive

The father of one of my dearest friends has a bleak report from his doctor. My friend is saved, but her dad, to my knowledge, is not.

I’ve always referred to my friend’s dad as “Skip”, since I first met him in the early 1980s, as he reminded me of a TV show host named Skip Stephenson. I can’t remember anything about the show, but the name has stuck for my friend’s dad all these years.

How scary for my friend, for her sister, for their mother, and for Skip himself, knowing his medical condition is not likely to improve and death is imminent.

Of course, death is imminent for everyone. Any of us could take our last breath before finishing reading this page, for any number of unexpected reasons.

The important thing is that we be prepared for what lies beyond our final earthly breath, whenever that may be.

If the Bible is true, and I believe it is because all that has been written about Jesus even many hundreds of years before He came to earth in the form of a man came to pass with accuracy impossible to force, then what is written in it on how to obtain eternal life in a new body, in a perfect place, free from pain and decay, is the way I choose to follow.

And that way is simply through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ as restitiutionary payment in full for my own state of separation from God. No ritual. Nothing to do. Nothing to buy. Everything good to gain.

The linked article below says it better than I can. May the reader find hope through checking it out, may Skip be saved and his entire family, and may somehow there be peace in this troubling time for them and for all who struggle through in these imperfect bodies.

For The Unsaved: About Christ

PS: I just discovered that this post had the “allow comments” button disabled in my settings. I have now corrected that and the commenting should work.

Forsaken Forest

FORSAKEN FOREST

There is a dark wall of forest around my heart.

The trees are tall, evergreen, angry, with needled fingers pointing while I cry on the ground.

Some say they love me but their words demand that I follow only their rules.

One berates me because I am friends with her mother, whom she hates.

Another hates me because I don’t like the same music as he.

Still another hates me because I remained in contact with her ex, a man who was my friend before I knew her.

Two more cut me out of their lives because I left a man who was my husband, with whom, they opine, I should have stayed. I regarded one as a father of sorts. He has departed this realm. Now the mind of the other, his wife, has left her aging body.

One especially was close to my heart. We talked almost daily. We shared meals, music, laughs, tears, secrets… Life.

Many more stand in the shadows, regardng me with disdain so deep, my attempts to reconcile are lost in their darkness.

Their roots whisper, “Remember when we used to talk? We laughed together many a time. We trusted each other with deep thoughts. We bounced ideas around. I knew you cared. You were always there. For me. But I remain as I was – not there for you.”

Scars are scribed where their branches had grown so closely into my life, they grafted in. When they pulled their arms away, it left open wounds.

I never cut them off myself. My arms still reach out, though with more caution: “Will you ever return?”

The wall of this forest blurs my outlook. Covered by the past, I am hidden from the future.

My yellowed leaves fall to the dirt like the friends who did forsake me.

As the wall of trees looks down on me, my figurative tears dilute their shadows and turn them to mud. I care less.

But, given time, light, and water – the water of love – I will grow back. Alone on the surface perhaps; damaged; spent; and even physically demolished, but never forsaken by the One who provides life eternal – Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

(Proverbs 18:24)

Texas Trash

Quote

A friend of mine who hails from Texas sent me a sample of this stuff called Texas Trash. It’s delicious, but probably not something I can eat a lot of lest I end up unable to fit my jeans. My kids are crazy about it, and now we have the opportunity to try making it ourselves, thanks to him publishing his grandmother’s recipe. Here it is:

via Texas Trash

Friendship Like This

im-just-going-to-come-right-out-and-say-it-23327841.png

O, to have a friend with whom sweet fellowship is shared,

Whose love is real and unretractable

Who sees my flaws and doesn’t try to fix them

Who can tell me he hates me but we know it’s a lie

Who laughs with – not at – me

Who lets me spoil him and doesn’t expect or demand

Unselfish love.

So rare a love.

The kind that lasts forever.

Hang on to those friends with love.

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity (love) these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”(1 Corinthians 13:13)

T-Shirt Renovation

Quote

The following link is for a post on how to make a big ol’ boxy T-shirt into one that fits a lady more nicely. The author is a personal friend of mine with whom I went to high school.

I love the title of her blog: The Duck Stop. My friend lives in the coolest of floating houses with her man and their feline friends. Ducks are common visitors to their “yard”. She hasn’t posted much lately, but I hope she will. She’s a good communicator.

If you’re interested in renovating a T-shirt, visit her post here: T-Shirt Renovation

If you aren’t interested in renovating a T-shirt, at least go see her blog and check out her About section. She’s a lovely person.

Poutine, Tires, and Pardon My French

Here is a photo of my favourite road sign, at 70 Mile House, BC.

I’ve never actually seen anyone in a horse and carriage there. Still, the sign is cool and it suggests the possibility exists.

There is an eating establishment along the highway in that tiny community. We were leaving its parking lot when I shot the picture. It used to be a tire shop till a dozen years ago. It’s now a great place called The Sugar Shack and it is owned by one of the most charismatic characters I have ever had the privilege of meeting.

Robert is l’entrepreneur from Quebec who has built the Sugar Shack here in BC, practically with his bare hands but also with the help of some dented but heavy machinery that dots his property along with the outdoor wood-fired furnace, the sawmill, the log truck, and the piles of perfectly machine-delimbed logs. His various mixed breeds of dogs wander the property, too, calmly greeting visitors and never running out onto the highway.

While we sat there eating poutine today, waiting for summer tires to be installed on our car by the tire dealer (a friend of ours who is a preacher in a small fellowship of Christians, is owner-operator of a logging truck, and has a tire shop at his house a short drive down the road past that sign in the photo), I said, “I’d rather be here than in the finest restaurant decked out with crystal, china, and elegant cuisine.”

The poutine at Sugar Shack is like none other, and Robert is not just boasting when his signs say “You just missed the world’s greatest poutine” on the highway as you drive by.

The fries are from fresh potatoes, golden and crisp on the outside, and perfectly soft and fluffy on the inside. The cheese curds are rumoured to come all the way from Quebec, as is the gravy recipe, and the optional topping of smoked meat really should not be optional if you know what’s good for you. Even if you are a vegetarian, I don’t know if you can honestly say this is not delicious when you taste it.

As we sat there, we listened to Robert and a friend of his talking on the other side of the big wood-ensconced room.

The topic being loudly discussed was a battery charger Robert had apparently loaned to his friend.

Robert said, in his very French-Canadian accent where most of the multi-syllabled words received their emphasis on their last syllable, “I told you to take the batteRY chargER with you to PG.”

PG is what we in the Cariboo region and other parts of BC call Prince George. Of course, Robert pronounced it with the emphasis on the G.

The friend replied in a bland Canadian English voice, with a hint of humour, “Well, I always have a hard time understanding you with your French accent so I didn’t know what you meant.”

Robert let several seconds of silence pass. Then we heard his gravelly voice declaring a solid, “F*** YOU!” with hardly a French accent at all, and with no asterisks, either.

I burst out laughing and turned my head to look over across the room at them. My husband did, too, and laughter was echoing throughout the building by everyone present, Robert included.

I said quietly, “That’s so much like in our family, giving each other the middle finger all over the place. If ya can’t swear at your friends, are they really your friends?”

(This video was made after the other customers left. You can hear Robert talking in the background from the kitchen.)

An Un-churchianity Christian

For years, I couldn’t find a church where I was comfortable. I had been to many organized fellowships, but the more I read the Bible on my own, the more I didn’t feel right about the way things were.

I’m now to the point that I am simply not comfortable in organized churches of the land – and I am comfortable with that.

WE, the believers in Christ, are the church.

There is a lot out there in “churchianity” that is more like a business than the way the Bible shows us about the New Testament believers (the body of Christ) and how fellowship looks.

I know my beliefs concerning this are unpopular. I get frowned upon by a lot of people who are happy to be involved in Sunday meetings with a specific format, to sit under the teaching of a “leader” who we assume will always know more than we can ever learn on our own by studying the Scriptures like a Berean, to help pay the mortgage and/or the bills of their meeting space, etc. But there are some of us who don’t see that as Biblically correct.

That’s the condensed version to reach out in case others share my feelings. If you can relate, I’d love to hear from you. 🙂