Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Joel Osteen spoke April 27, 2014, about God speaking to people and how we need to listen.  In the non-Christian world, this point of view is tantamount to telling someone that we're crazy.  But those of us who know, know

Pastor Osteen says he knows in his heart when something is right.  (I note he usually holds his stomach, though, when he speaks of receiving God's guidance).  Much of my sensing is felt in my stomach, as well. 

In the religious world, many people refer to such messages as visionaries.  Some call them words of knowledge.  All take care whom they tell about them because of the negative reactions they bring from others.  There was a time people would have been committed to the loony bin for telling.  Fortunately, there are guidelines now restraining others from sending people off to asylums unless they are a danger to themselves or others.

The sermon set me off on a memory trip.  A common kind of visionary is to be headed toward a destination in a route you usually take, but feel you absolutely should not go that way this time.  How many times have you headed that way anyway and found yourself embroiled in a traffic jam?  That's what Joel Osteen means by listening to God when he speaks to you.

My two favorite times involved Montgomery Wards.  My second job, a seasonal one, was over, but I still needed extra work.  Nothing appropriate was showing up in the ads.  I just couldn't shake the feeling that I should try Montgomery Wards.  I called, but nobody answered.  I went out there.  The personnel director wasn't there.  I looked at the message board and found an announcement about a position in the sewing machine and vacuum department.  The good Lord knows I was experienced at using both of these.  Eventually the personnel department and I connected so I could fill out an application.  A week or two went by and I'd heard nothing.  I was so sure of my message from the Almighty that I asked one of my sons if Wards hadn't called.  "Oh, yeah, he said.  They did."  "When?" I asked.  "I don't know.  Two or three days ago." 

Still feeling comfortable with my word of knowledge, my visionary, I called them back and explained what had happened.  It appears the manager who received my app had felt I would be a better fit in the toy department because of my experience working with kids. 

So began my job in Lawn and Garden, Toys and Sporting Goods.  The manager of that department meant it to be a seasonal position until I said I wanted something more permanent.  He asked what experience I had with garden implements.  I could honestly say that for a number of years I had spent far more money on garden tools than clothes.  And I knew how to use them.

The next visionary is the kind that can truly get you locked up if you aren't careful.  I had just turned 62 when my full-time employer began passing bad paychecks.  Because of working two jobs much of the time, I seemed to always be applying for work and faced the prospect with great dread.  I saw the bad paychecks as a sign the company was about to fold.  So, I went to Social Security and applied for retirement.  I worked out a part time position with my company and planned to continue it as long as they stayed open.  Retirement was to become official on November 1.  On October 19 in the p.m., I bought a new computer for writing and for playing on the internet.  I had gone to the food court and prayed, asking if it would be okay.  I was certain I was told He would not authorize it, but if I chose to make the purchase, He would see I got money to pay for it.  On October 20, 2000, the company announced it was folding and most of us were working our last day.  I kept the computer, as God had promised and I knew He would be good for His word.  He didn't disappoint.

But still, I needed something part time.  Montgomery Wards near my new home was looking for a salesperson in women's clothes.  This time it wasn't a feeling in my gut or a sensing in my heart.  I was told directly not to apply because something was about to happen at Wards and "I don't want you there when it does."  What happened?  Wards, almost immediately, announced that they were going to close their doors for good.

So, like Joel Osteen said on Sunday, you have to be willing to listen.  You have to follow the messages whether they come to your stomach, your heart or your mind.  You have to heed the words.  And you have to take the opinions of others concerning the state of your mental health with a grain of salt.  You see, they may not be as privileged as God's crowd, or they may just not be tuned into the messages.  Whatever the case, this is for real, folks.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

No Money Accepted

I have received a few e-mails attempting to give me (or my devotional program) money.  Much as most of us could use extra cash in this day and age, my ministry through these blogs is free.  I receive no money for the work that I do here. 

Neither am I able to help the individuals who write and ask for financial assistance.  I am a retiree who writes because that is who and what I am and have been since high school. I live on a shoestring budget.

I hope that my three blogs are of benefit to others.  Much as I get discouraged sometimes, I believe that enough people read them to make my efforts worthwhile.

My blogs are as follows:   This is a political blog.  Many of my readers might disagree with my positions, yet I pray that they find a new way of interpreting and understanding their own political beliefs.  Personally, I tend toward being a liberal Democrat.  Yet, surprisingly, I occasionally agree with Republicans, such as in matters concerning the right to bear arms.  I strongly believe that we should improve our public schools and see that they are controlled at the national level.  That way we can be more sure that all students are presented similar materials and have equal opportunities to learn.  I believe that we should continue to support education at the highest level we can afford.  These children are the future for ourselves as well as later generations.     This is a place where I vent my hurts, angers, observations and knowledge to anyone who feels they can learn and benefit from the work.  If I offend others with my interpretations of their behaviors, I consider it poetic justice for them offending us.  As President Truman once said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."  If you don't want others criticizing you, don't make waves in their lives.  It is time we demand that others treat us with the same dignity and respect that they expect and demand of us.    These devotionals are often based on life events.  They are meant to give others my spin on the world as interpreted by Bible passages and/or things I have learned from living seventy-five years. 

I believe that each of us can learn from each other.  I believe strongly in God.  I've had experiences that some would consider ridiculous, yet I know they are real because I have lived them.  I have survived much. 

Many of my beliefs are based on the Golden Rule and on my strong feeling that neither government nor religious preferences should ever interfere with individual rights.  Government and organized religions are meant to help masses of people be better organized and more considerate of each other.  They are supposed to help us survive, not interfere with our quality of life.  I seldom hear a liberal or conservative in either group who does not use his position to bully others into his/her own way of thinking.

I hope each individual who reads my work finds help, entertainment or becomes introduced to new perspectives.  My point of view is presented from the Main Street perspective.  That is how I started my political blog. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

From Sadness Comes Great Courage and Purpose

Unless you have been out of the country or live in a complete vacuum, you no doubt have heard of the recent terrors wrought on people of the Kansas City area. 

For several weeks, a phantom shooter has been targeting vehicles on some of the more traveled highways across western Missouri and eastern Kansas.  Approximately twenty incidents have happened, making drivers who use the highways experience at least high anxiety as they went to work.  Police and other law enforcement agencies worked together to find the shooter and possible copy cats.  They believe at least twelve of the incidents are linked.  There is sufficient evidence to support an arrest and arraignment of a suspect for nine of them.  He is currently in jail with a million dollar bond -- cash only.

In the midst of all this craziness, a shooter opened fire at two Jewish facilities last Sunday afternoon.  When the probable shooter was arrested that afternoon, he yelled anti-Semitic slurs and hailed Hitler as he was put into the police car.  These two incidents have been labeled as hate crimes.  A no brainer, really. 

As a young college student, I remember praying that our world could become more ecumenical.  Over the years I've felt we were making progress internationally.  There are inter-faith councils.  Priests and Rabbis talk with each other.  People attend each others celebrations where possible.

My ex and I sent two of our three children to preschool at the Jewish Community Center when it was still in Kansas City, Missouri.  Several of their teachers took university classes from my ex.  (My daughter then spent three years of her elementary education in a Catholic school.)   My wishes for a more ecumenical world sometimes seems to be close at hand.  Then the Arabs and Jews will go at it again.  Or, horror of horrors, the radical Muslims will strike out at someone.  In Africa, Christians and Muslims alike, have been killing each other.  One step forward, two steps back.

The killings at the Jewish Community Center and the Jewish nursing home actually killed three Christians, not Jews.  Today, a Memorial Service was held by Jewish people honoring the fallen Christians.  They are also grieving one more attack on themselves.  Christians, Muslims and Jews all joined together for the service today.  Voices were heard to say we will all just grow stronger despite these types of attacks.  Hear, hear.

But while the participants turn sadness into courage and purpose, the psychologist in me feels the need to say:  Let's spend some time, some dollars, some effort trying to figure out why such hate and psychosis grows inside the individuals who perpetrate such crimes.  What are we doing that keeps different races and religions from growing together and melding into one greater nation?  One greater world?  How can a man in his seventies have been able to live in this beautiful country all these years and still fester with hate that was spawned from a war fought when he was a child?  How can a young black man live in such turmoil that he needs to drive around the city breaking out windows, making holes in cars, shooting individuals and just plain scaring people?  When we get these and similar questions answered, then we may be able to communicate with each other.  Once we are able to tell each other that this or that behavior makes me feel bad or hurts my feelings, perhaps we will see the humanness in each other.  When nobody is labeled as racist or anti-Semitic or any other negative label for speaking truths, maybe we can begin to love and trust each other.

I hurt personally this weekend for many people from my past -- the three doctors who took care of by children, my OB-GYN, my University of Kansas adviser, many of my children's teachers, my former neighbors on Holmes road, etc.  How can such lovely, intelligent, gifted individuals be so hated?  How can we, after all the progress we have made in racial matters, still be breeding isolates who lash out in anger and hate?

The world has come a long way in answer to my request from God.  We still have a long way to go.  But that Memorial Service today, where at least three major religious groups came together, brings hope that we may some day be able to bring universal sadness to joy.