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2019-03-10 - 2:10 p.m.

For those who have Christian faith this will not be a surprise: God works in amazing ways.

I found a church I really enjoy going to. Today at a conversation about how to pray in groups the pastor said he chooses words to name God which are inclusive and non gender specific very intentionally. So he likes to say "Gracious God".

I found his awareness and compassion a breath of fresh air. But that is ancillary to what I wanted to write about. The church has a series during six weeks of Advent season prior to Easter in which small groups are gathering to reflect on what it means to be Christian, how and why sharing of faith is done (reflecting on what evangelism means- discussing the bad rap of the word due to fudamentalist bible thumpers of the "Be Saved or Go to Hell" fire and brimstone types) and truth be told I didn't know the topic at first but said "Why Not host a group?"

I figured opportunity to deepen spiritual life and become involved in the church community I first visited, dabbled in and was invited to actaully join with more participation. I said "Sure" understanding hey if we want good churches that are welcoming to all to exist - well the pastors do have to have some measure of success to report back to their powers to be etc...

I joked it would also be good for my fear of commitment issues... to join a church I go to. Joke, yet true...

instead of dabbling when it suits me ( like the non committal daters-- or those men or women who just want the good sex but no responsibility) what the heck, let me be open to a more mature and not just one sided relationship with this church community.

So that means you give a little in ways can.

So I think it somewhat remarkable that when one opens oneself up to consientiously praying in a community - things really do seem to manifest if one's life. I have heard this from others. I have experienced it before.

It was remarkably tangible for me and my family this weekend.

First of all, let me backtrack- teen who would not go to church over the past two years DID go to youth group AND ENJOYED it last Sun night (or the week before... I tend to forget days... one of the two.)

So both the teens in my home were gracious in offering to babysit if needed (as one couple that signed up has a baby). That in iteself was a great incentive to host- to have my girls interact with others as they are truly introverts. And heck- if one won't go to church let me bring the church folk to HER so perhaps she can see what they are about (and that they are not the judgmental "Ye are Banished to Hell!!" type....)

So the other incentive for me , other than deepening spiritual life is that its a damn good motivator to get house clean! OK so that didn't really happen much! Two weeks ago I DID de-clutter.... but past two weeks were so busy didn't do the cleaning. But it DID WORK to and extent as there was light snow falling Friday night as I made it home to a slow commute and arrived around 6pm in my town. I splurged to get drive through dinner so would have time to straighten a little. I had rearranged living room did a quick pick up of clutter and ran the vacume and thought because of the weather it was possible no one would show, but thought "Heck if it were not for this scheduled I likely would have been still at the office, and there is NO WAY on a Friday night after working late I would be VACUUMING!"

True... Fridays I often catch up at work on things. I have things that were intended to be done by Fri and have a couple dependencies waiting on so will be doing them Mon. Regardless there is always other work I could do, and would have done even though I I know being home is more important. I I get caught up in my work and KEEP GOING until all I can do is done or I run out of steam.

So it is SO GOOD to have anything scheduled to get me out of office! Helps with work life balance and prioritization of things being in the right order of importance and value so I spend time with my kids. We work to provide for family, not the other way around so I need that reminder as get in workaholic mode all too often and its out of anxiety of thinking what I am doing isn't enough or isn't GOOD enough. IT REALLY IS!!

So the bell rang and I did have a group of 5 at my home. It was a really wonderful discussion and shared prayer time.

That is not the amazing thing however. The next day I picked up a piece of mail for my old tenant. Now I know she is a Christian and faith is important to her but in all the time living here (about 3 yrs? at least two-- I forget), we did pray together perhaps only one time and that was when she invited me to a women's retreat at her home.

So I call my old tenant, who is a friend but we have not been very good at getting together, and I last spoke with her at the graduation of her child and Sadie last June, and tell her there is mail for her here. She asked if she could come by in a couple hours and I said sure, we will be home.

She comes in bearing gifts of energy foods (avocado, coconut, Jamaican coffee, grapefruit). for the girls as I did talk about how they are doing well but their medical condition does make them tired. She is so thoughtful and sweet like that! Such a loving , giving person . We were SO BLESSED to have her as our tenant years ago! She had moved out just a couple years ago and at the time I decided I was making more money and could afford not to have a tenant and the girls really benefited from more space (Sadie had her own room for the first time in her life during that senior year of college. Now all the girls have their own rooms.)

Then she says, after we talk just a couple of minutes and I swear this is like one of the first things she says -

" You know I pray every morning, I get up at 4AM and pray and Alexy and Katie came to mind and what came to me was Proverbs 20:20"

I didn't know what it was, so got my bible to look it up.

She then went on to tell me that she had a dream and that the child who is the one currently providing me the challenge of disrespect will be OK (not going to name which of the two that is!), and that in her dream she saw that it was Soren and this other child of mine who are going to be the ones to take care of me. She said they are both going to be very successful and come into immense wealth- she said just tremendously successful and this one who has the most conflict with me is going to grow to appreciate me and be the one, along with Soren to take care of me in the long run.

She had shared that her mother would have these prophetic dreams that would come true.

So we visited, and she visited with this child of mine who came into the living room and after a while she asked her if she would mind if she prayed with us both and she did so- and she shared
the verse Proverbs 20:20 with some beautiful interperative language , then after she and I visited she asked my daughter if she would mind if she prayed just with her and she did so.

So Later that evening, my child who had been more mellow and respectful all the rest of the day , had a moment of reverting to the bad habit of being just nasty and judgemental and rude to me. ( Oh on Thu night I had actually told this child that once she turns 18 she would have to find a place to live if she could not control herself and learn to be respectful of me. I told her I am not going to allow anyone to curse at me. She had asked "Are you threatening me"? and I said "Not a threat, just a consequence that if you curse at me disrespectfully you will not be welcome here so you better figure out what you will do or learn to change your behavior." ) So on Sat night, she raised her voice yelling at me again about how I had loaded the dishes but should have run it and because of ME not having run the dishes she HAD to use a bowl that was too small for the can of soup and now was worried it would spill (as she was taking it out of the microwave full to the brim).

She was having none of it as I was gently asking her to stop being rude, judgemental , and not taking accountability that she can:

pitch in with the dishes
Wash what she wanted to use by hand
choose to use a different bowl (others are available)
not dump the whole can of soup... etc.... all which are irrelevant to the main point made to
RESPECT ME , your mother and don't find any excuse to yell and be rude and to express anger at me

I had been exhausted and took a nap and was coming to the kitchen to make dinner and had this barrage of nastiness.

I swear I was thinking something awful like "demon child..."
We actually have been having quality time (the other two girls and I ) watching "Supernatural" (thus the recent reference to one character from that show. What's his name? The hot James Dean kind.... I swear my memory is crappy OH WAIT "Dean" LOL I guess I truly AM not very smart as only now do I realize that name is an overt reference)

I have been joking, I know not very funny... but have said "Maybe we just need an exorcism" to which response was "NOT FUNNY"
and I have relayed to my girls that there is some psychiatrist that actually is known to perform exorcisms. This is TRUE some guy in Buffalo NY who offers to pray with his clients if they are game, and who is wildly popular and has helped many people in the black community there that I am told sing his praises (Yes literally). My oldest went to him as that was who had an appointment available and she said he seems like a nut to her who regardless is actually a very good Dr. , gave her an accurate diagnosis and medication that helped. He also told her to get a personal doll... I forget the therapeutic value of that but it is this hilarious story . And heck... he helped her. I had heard about him from a therapist friend there as well , he is kinda notorious in that area.

But I digress.

So after teen who was great all day had the one moment I figured- What the heck, I will go try reading that passage and see if any other guidance and counsel in the Bible.

And under the Proverbs 20:20 verse, there is reference I followed and somehow I quickly get to Mark 7:10 the honor thy father and mother reference,

but I want context so read the line above that talks about following God rather than your tradition of how to do dishes (LOL !! I was yelled at for doing them wrong!)

and this is the new testament that further goes on to say follow God rather than your parents and tradition if they are caught in traditions that are not the path that will truly serve and its followed by this

passage that it is not external things that destroy man, but that which comes out of man from within- himself ( I have the old version where its all HE- newer versions change that language!)

and then comes the passage at
Mark 7:25
and to give context, I am reading this as my dog runs upstairs and starts scratching at my door for attention as she is hungry. Seriously it was past when I typically feed her.

The whole thing was pretty fantastic as I then read of the mother praying to have a demon expelled from her daughter
and Jesus basically saying (my paraphrase and interpretation)

Sure if your priorities are aligned and you put your kids first and then let the dog have the scraps.

OK then. There might be something to this opening oneself to God and then suddenly being aware of God's presence being very real in one's life?

I went back to the kitchen to then make some dinner and feed the dog.

(Oh Pictures of her will be forthcoming. I took them- just a technically issue with my cheapo phone and getting them off the phone onto computer for upload...figuring that out.)

Oh and the dog's name?


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